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Results: 1 - 18 of 18
View Randy Boissonnault Profile
Lib. (AB)
View Randy Boissonnault Profile
2019-06-04 20:11 [p.28541]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a moment, as a first-term parliamentarian, to thank each of the hon. members who shared their remarks with us this evening, at the end of their distinguished parliamentary careers. There were many life lessons in those comments. There were many words of wisdom, a few funny stories and indeed things that I hope to be able to reflect on and learn from with multiple mandates in this chamber. However, as members know, that is up to our residents so I look forward to a vigorous campaign this summer and into the fall.
It is the great honour of my life to serve in this chamber and to represent the residents of Edmonton Centre. Therefore, tonight I would like to share my reflections on Bill C-97 and, more particularly, how this 2019 budget says very clearly that our government, budget 2019 and I are here for Edmonton.
I want to start with those people who paved the way for us. I want to start with the seniors and to acknowledge the tremendous sacrifice that seniors have made to build up our communities, to build up our country and, in my case, to build up the city of Edmonton. I honour and respect the wealth of knowledge that they carry with them and the experience and the skills that they continue to contribute and that we want to see them contributing today.
In budget 2019, we recognize the contribution that seniors have made to Canada and we are returning the favour by investing in them. Budget 2019 would help to support their active participation in society, including through work, and would smooth the transition to retirement for seniors when they choose to leave the workforce. I have seen the very good work that the horizons program for seniors has done to reduce social isolation.
I can see the work that we have done to make sure that seniors are able to retain more of the income they now spend. Seniors asked me at the doors why we were clawing back some of the money that they make when they go to work at the Walmart or their kids' school. They asked why we were taking some of that money and we listened. The Minister of Employment, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and the Minister of Seniors were very clear. Now seniors will not pay tax on the first $5,000, it is not going to be clawed back from their GIS and 50% of the next $10,000 will also be exempt. That is $7,500 on the $15,000 that seniors make that will now be in their pockets.
Unfortunately, some seniors are penalized. When they try to keep working, they see significant cuts to their benefits. That is why we listened to seniors and changed the program.
As I mentioned, that is why we are making changes to the GIS allowance benefit. It would begin in the July 2020 to July 2021 benefit year.
Our government respects seniors. Seniors are respected in the budget. We listened to them and we took action.
On innovation and jobs, our government and I are building, together with western Canadians, a strong and competitive west by focusing on business development, innovation and community development. We have pledged to do that by increasing support to Western Economic Diversification Canada with a $100-million increase over three years to increase its programming across western Canada. That means more jobs and more investment in companies. It means more companies will be able to scale up in Edmonton, in Red Deer, in Calgary and across the west.
We have also provided $100 million to the Clean Resource Innovation Network that will help make Alberta's oil and gas even greener and even cleaner.
As members know, when tragedy strikes every second counts, and that makes helicopters an indispensable tool for getting people the care they need quickly and efficiently, which is especially true across such a vast region as western Canada. Since 1985, STARS air ambulance, known as Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service, has provided rapid and specialized emergency helicopter ambulance service to patients who are critically ill or injured in communities across Manitoba, British Columbia and Alberta.
STARS has contributed to saving hundreds of lives and it has helped all of us in some of the worst tragedies: helping after the Pine Lake tornado in July 1999; saving people during the floods of Calgary in 2013; providing transportation away from the fires that swept through Fort McMurray in 2016; and, when the nation's heart sank at the Humboldt crash, helping get those survivors to safety.
Our government recognizes the vital role that STARS plays in delivering access to emergency care for the communities it serves. Our budget will put five new emergency medical helicopters in the air, with a $65-million allocation in budget 2019, making sure that STARS can renew half of its aging fleet and continue its life-saving work.
One of the key aspects of this budget, and even this government, is the hard work we do on behalf of all Canadians, including LGBTQ2 Canadians.
All Canadians deserve our respect, and that includes LGBTQ2 Canadians. That is why I am so delighted to state that in budget 2019 we have included, for the first time in the history of this country, an allocation of $20 million over two years for capacity-building and community-level work for LGBTQ2 service organizations in Canada. This means that community-based organizations that have been shut out and not able to apply to the federal government for anything, ever, will now have that opportunity, starting later this summer and into the new year.
I want to pause and thank the Minister of Finance and member of Parliament for Toronto Centre and his team for this historic investment in budget 2019. It did not have to be there, but it is there. I want to thank the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and MP for Peterborough—Kawartha and her team, because that is the department that will flow the money. I want to thank the LGBTQ2 Secretariat that resides in the Privy Council Office. Without its steadfast work, without its coordination, this would not be possible. I want to thank my own team. To each of them, I want to say that they have made history and they will change and save lives.
Why is the pan-Canadian suicide prevention service, money that we put aside for the national suicide prevention line, so important? It is $25 million over five years.
Earlier today, I was at something called Children First. It was a luncheon and colleagues from the other side of the aisle were also there. We each got paired up with a young person, and I was paired up with 11-year-old Ethan from PETES, an elementary school. We started chatting, in front of a hundred of his colleagues. I asked him what he likes to do. He said he was a video games guy; he likes to play, draw and dance. Then I asked him, “When you talk with your friends, what are some of the big things you want adults to fix?” He looked me straight in the eye and said, “Can you stop bullying? Can you stop people from hurting other people?” I asked if he knew someone who was bullied, and he said he was. It scared him. It ruined his life, and he was quiet for way too long. He became really depressed and had suicidal thoughts. This is an 11-year-old kid who was opening up to me in front of a hundred people at a luncheon today. He asked if we can do something to keep more kids safe.
He wanted to make sure that people would listen. He was not sure that if he told an adult, somebody would listen. The people we will employ on this pan-Canadian suicide prevention hotline will listen to people like Ethan, and that is why budget 2019 is going to make a difference in the lives of so many Canadians.
Turning to another pressing issue in Edmonton Centre, it is important that we do better for, with and by indigenous people, particularly urban indigenous communities. About 60% of indigenous people in Canada live in an urban setting, and Edmonton is home to Canada's second-largest indigenous population. That makes indigenous supports in urban settings a priority for me and for our government. We are investing in safe and culturally relevant community spaces, with $60 million over five years to support capital infrastructure in friendship centres.
With budget 2019, our government is on track to end boil water advisories in Canada by 2021. That affects first nations people whether they are in urban settings or across the country. I attended the Kehewin First Nation sod turning in February. By January 2020, that will be the last boil water advisory for any first nation in Alberta.
With the minute I have left, I want to talk about why an urban riding like mine needs infrastructure. We have the youngest city in the country, with an average age of 34, which is putting me on the other side of the young age now. When a city is that young and dynamic, we need infrastructure, like transit. We have invested almost $1 billion in the transit system that would go through my riding all the way to West Edmonton Mall and to Lewis Estates, so that parents can get home to their kids faster, so that young professionals can get to their activities after work, so that our dynamic economy can continue to grow.
In an urban riding like mine, we need to see commerce increase, and we need people to be able to get home to their families. Our government has listened. Our historic investments in infrastructure will continue, with $16 billion a year over the next nine years. That is improving lives. It is making things better. That is why, with budget 2019, our government and I are here for Edmonton.
View Kelly McCauley Profile
View Kelly McCauley Profile
2019-02-26 15:37 [p.25811]
Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to stand to speak once again on Bill C-83, which amends the Corrections and Conditional Release Act.
The Liberals seem to have a long history and a running streak of putting forward bills focusing more on criminals' rights than on those of the victims, and in some ways this bill seems to be another one of those. It is mostly a poorly thought-out bill that provides no resources or thoughts to employee safety among those working in correction services.
The government should have spent time consulting with CSC workers, figuring out how it could reconfigure the prisons and how it would also pay for all of these changes. Bill C-83 is another example of the government making a big announcement and thinking that everything ends at the announcement, that everything is done, without putting any planning behind it.
We have seen this with the government and its infrastructure program. It announces $180 billion in infrastructure spending, but kind of overlooks the fact that $90 billion of it was commitments from the previous government.
The Parliamentary Budget Officer is not able to locate within the budget or the estimates a significant amount of the spending. The Senate committee did a study on the infrastructure spending, and it said that the only metric for success in infrastructure was how much money was spent, not how many roads were built or how many highways were upgraded; it was just how much money was spent.
We see the same thing from the Liberals with their housing plan. They make grandiose announcements, standing in this House again and again to say it is $40 billion. Kevin Page, the former parliamentary budget officer, reported that it is actually about $1.5 billion. The Prime Minister and the parliamentary secretary responsible for housing stood up in this House and said that a million families have been helped under this plan, believing that if they just make an announcement, then everything happens. It turns out that if we look at the departmental results plan, it was 7,500 families helped, not a million.
We see this again and again. Bill C-83 is no different. I will get to that later.
There are some things in Bill C-83 that I can support. The Liberal government is much like a broken watch, which is correct twice a day, and sometimes the government can be correct in its bills. The bill calls for body scanners to prevent contraband and drugs from getting into the prison. I fully support that. I wish the Liberals would modify it so that everyone coming in gets a body scan.
However, I do have to agree with the people I have talked to at corrections services. Why are we trying to stop drugs, but at the same time bringing in and handing out needles to the prisoners? These are needles that we have heard are being used as weapons against CSC workers.
I also like the fact that Bill C-83 gives more consideration to indigenous offenders. It is no secret that the indigenous population is overrepresented in prisons, and that has to be addressed, so I do agree with that measure. However, there are too many parts of the bill that would negatively impact the safety of corrections officers.
We all know of the Ashley Smith situation, which was a tragedy, and the government should do everything in its power to prevent such an occurrence from happening again. However, a poorly thought-out plan and an underfunded bill that just bans segregation is not the answer.
We have to keep in mind that it is not just inmates who are committing crimes who are going into segregation. Often it is a victim. They are put in there to assure their safety by moving them away from their abuser. They obviously do not want to name their abuser because of prison rules, so to speak, so the assaults continue unless the victim is moved into segregation. Unfortunately, that person eventually has to desegregate back into the prison system or change prisons. Nothing in Bill C-83 addresses that issue.
A CBC report says segregation is not the deterrent it once was. Prisoners now receive all of their possessions, their television and all of their belongings, within 24 hours of being put in segregation. Another CBC report quoted a couple of corrections officers. One of them stated that whereas the more violent inmates used to be in separate containers, now they are all in one bag, so they are just waiting for one to go off. That sets the rest of them off, and they end up with murder, stabbings, slashing, and officer injuries higher than ever.
Another one is saying that the inmates can get away with a lot more than they used to in the past, and that contributes to the growing violence and the crisis in corrections. Another says that all removing segregation does, especially disciplinary segregation, is soften reprisals for bad behaviour. Inmates know there is one less tool for corrections officers to use to maintain order and ensure their own safety.
In September 2017, with respect to a provincial study that I imagine would also cover federal, the CBC reported a massive upswing, a 50% increase, in inmate assaults over the five years that segregation had been removed or reduced.
Under this proposal, whenever inmates move from segregation to have their additional hours in the open, two officers will be needed to escort them. I have to ask where those resources will come from. If I look at the manpower figures in the departmental plan for the Correctional Service of Canada, which shows what its budget would be several years out, I see that the figures are identical in 2021 to what they are now. We are planning all this extra work for the officers, but there is no plan to provide extra officers. In fact, if we look at the plan, which has been signed off by the Minister of Public Safety himself, we see that the Liberals have cut the number of officers on staff from what it was when the Harper government was in charge. Again, where are the resources coming from?
As well, where are the added dollars coming from to renovate these new cells? I have heard the Minister of Public Safety stand and say that there is $80 million from the last budget and $400 million in the estimates. That is fine, but when we look at the departmental plans, again we see that from last year in 2017 to this year, the Liberals have cut $152.5 million from corrections services, and in the next couple of years, they are cutting an additional $225 million.
If they are spending $400 million on renovations and resources and the end result is $225 million less, where is the missing $600 million? I am sure the Parliamentary Budget Officer will be unable to find where this money is, as was the case with the missing infrastructure money.
Getting back to the departmental plans, these plans lay out the priorities for the government for this department. Again, the plans are reviewed and signed by the Minister of Public Safety. In this plan, there are 20 priorities, yet not a single one mentions or addresses officer safety or the safety of anyone working for corrections services.
The government, when discussing Bill C-83, brags about how it is the first time ever it has given the head of Correctional Services of Canada a mandate letter. I looked at the mandate letter. There are 1,400 words in the mandate letter for the head of the CSC. Let us keep in mind the government is so proud of this letter. Of the 1,400 words, 24 are about victims of crime, and just 52 are about the safety or well-being of corrections officers. The 52 words include this gem: “I encourage you to instill within CSC a culture of ongoing self-reflection.”
Can members imagine an inmate coming at them with a knife or a needle? What would their response be? If we looked it up in the manual, we would find “self-reflection”. Self-reflection sounds like something that would be more appropriate after being confronted after having groped someone at a concert, not when dealing with inmates in a criminal institution.
The president of the union of correctional officers, Rob Finucan, described how a guard in the Millhaven Institution was slashed across the face with a shard or knife. Why? It was because of the new rule that inmates can only be handcuffed in front and not behind. The inmate was cuffed and being moved to segregation. He had a shard of glass or a knife with him and cut across the face of the officer. Luckily, the officer's eye was not lost, but that happened because of rules we are putting into effect without any consideration for the officers.
In the minute I have left, I will end with the money set aside for mental health for inmates in the last budget. No one can argue with that, as it is obviously a very important issue.
Money has also been put aside for mental health for RCMP officers. There is 40% more money put aside per capita for inmates than for RCMP officers. That sums up the government's priorities in a nutshell: more money for criminals, less for the RCMP and less for our valued officers in prisons.
I think it is time for the government to show some self-reflection on this issue.
View Randy Boissonnault Profile
Lib. (AB)
View Randy Boissonnault Profile
2018-11-20 11:26 [p.23588]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to express my support for Bill C-75. I would like to use my time today to discuss the proposed changes to this bill that would affect the LGBTQ2 community, human trafficking and the victim surcharge.
As special adviser to the Prime Minister on LGBTQ2 issues, I am particularly proud of the work of our government in advancing the rights of LBGTQ2 Canadians and the work of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in making concrete, tangible legislative changes that would improve the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirit Canadians.
Today, on the the International Transgender Day of Remembrance, when we pause to reflect on the lives of transgender people here in Canada and around the world that have been lost to murder, suicide, hatred and discrimination; the lives diminished due to overt transphobia and misogyny; and the daily discrimination faced by trans children, siblings, parents and their loved ones, I am proud, as the first openly gay MP elected from Alberta to the House, that Parliament passed Bill C-16 to protect trans persons in the Criminal Code and the Canadian Human Rights Act. I am particularly proud that our government led this charge.
I am also proud of the work of our government in passing legislation to enable Canadians who have criminal records for same-sex consensual activity to have these records expunged, and I acknowledge the leadership of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness on this file.
I would also like to thank the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada for including in Bill C-75 the removal of section 159, which discriminates against young gay or bisexual men. That would now be removed from the Criminal Code with the passing of Bill C-75.
I also applaud the work of the committee and the ministry in responding to expert testimony for the repeal of the bawdy house and vagrancy provisions that were used by police forces to arrest gay men who frequented gay clubs and bathhouses. Men arrested in these police raids, many now in their 60s, 70s and 80s, still face criminal records as a result of these charges. We heard the testimony, and the committee and the ministry responded. Should Bill C-75 pass, these odious provisions in the Criminal Code would be removed and amends could thus be made.
Parts of the bill pertain to human trafficking and the victim surcharge.
I think it is very important to clearly state that human trafficking cannot be tolerated and that our government sees it as a very serious concern. That is why we continue to work closely with the provinces, territories, law enforcement agencies, victim services groups, organizations representing indigenous peoples, and other community groups, as well as our international partners. We are working together to combat all forms of human trafficking in Canada and abroad, to provide victims with special protection and support, to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice and to ensure that their punishment reflects the severity of the crime.
Human trafficking is a very difficult crime to detect because of its clandestine nature and victims' reluctance to report their situations out of fear of their traffickers. We heard testimony about that when the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights travelled across the country to listen to victims of human trafficking and to see how we could change the Criminal Code to provide more opportunities for police to work with those organizations that work with victims.
The legislative changes within Bill C-75 would provide police and prosecutors with additional tools for investigation and prosecution. These measures would bring the perpetrators of human trafficking to justice so they can answer for the severity of their actions.
The amendments proposed in Bill C-38 would bring into force amendments that have already been passed by Parliament, but were not promulgated in the former parliamentary initiative, Bill C-452. They would also strengthen the legislation to combat all forms of human trafficking, whether through sexual exploitation or forced labour, while respecting the rights and freedoms guaranteed in our Constitution.
We heard of heinous crimes being committed not just against those who are unknown to the perpetrators, but also against family members. Family trafficking exists in this country, and we must make sure that police forces are armed with the tools they need to be able to put an end to such heinous crimes.
More specifically, the proposed changes will make it easier to prosecute human trafficking offences by introducing a presumption that will enable the Crown to prove that the accused exercised control, direction or influence over the victim's movements by establishing that the accused lived with or was habitually in the company of the victim.
In addition, these changes would add human trafficking to the list of offences to which the provisions imposing a reverse onus for forfeiture of proceeds of crime apply.
I would now like to discuss the changes that would affect the victim surcharge. Bill C-75 proposes to restore judicial discretion to waive the victim surcharge by guiding judges to waive the victim surcharge only when the offender is truly unable to pay. For certain offences against the administration of justice, where the total amount would be disproportionate in certain circumstances, the bill would also provide for limited judicial discretion to not impose a federal victim surcharge amount per offence.
The federal victim surcharge, which is set out in the Criminal Code, is imposed on a sentencing basis, and revenue is collected and used by the province or territory where the criminal act was committed to assist in the sentencing process for funding victims services. Bill C-75 would maintain that the federal victim surcharge must be imposed ex officio and must apply cumulatively to each offence. However, to address concerns about the negative impact of current federal victim surcharge provisions on marginalized offenders, the bill would provide limited judicial discretion regarding the mandatory and cumulative imposition of the surcharge in certain circumstances.
Bill C-75 would provide clear direction as to what would constitute undue hardship. These guidelines would ensure that the mandatory exemption, or waiver, would be applied consistently and only to offenders who were truly unable to pay the surcharge. In addition, the bill would state that undue hardship would refer to the financial ability to pay and was not simply caused by harm associated with incarceration. We are trying to avoid the criminalization and over-criminalization of people simply because of their inability to pay a federal victim surcharge.
For certain offences against the justice administration, in the event that the cumulative surcharge was disproportionate to the circumstances, Bill C-75 would contain provisions allowing an exception to the victim fine surcharge ratio. This exception would apply to two types of offences against the administration of justice: failure to appear in court; and breach of conditions of bail by a peace officer or court order, and only when said breach did not cause any moral, bodily or financial damage to the victim.
Studies show that marginalized offenders, especially indigenous offenders and offenders with mental health and addiction issues, are more likely to be found guilty of offences against the administration of justice.
Under the existing victim surcharge provisions, it is unlikely that much of the money collected in the federal victim surcharges that are paid out to the provinces and territories comes from groups of offenders who are unable to pay the victim surcharge or who are only able to pay part of the surcharge because of their personal situation or because of their multiple offences against the administration of justice.
In addition, offenders who suffer undue hardship as a result of the mandatory victim surcharge are, by the current application of the provisions, hampered in their ability to regain financial stability. This places them in a situation where the surcharge does not allow them to successfully reintegrate into society after serving their sentences or paying their outstanding fines, and they risk reoffending. These types of situations do not help survivors or victims of crime or the provision of services to help them. This proposed exception would be consistent with the principles of fairness and equity.
I am confident that by maintaining a higher mandatory surcharge, this proposed legislation would support the objective of the victim surcharge to provide a source of funding for provincial and territorial victim services while strengthening offender accountability regarding victims and society in general. At the same time, the bill would be in keeping with the principles of proportionality, fairness and respect for the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Not having gone through law school, I can say that it is an honour to serve on this committee and to be part of making Bill C-75 appear in the House today.
View Kevin Sorenson Profile
Madam Speaker, I want to share a quick quote. With respect to the current government's dealing with first nations indigenous programs, our Auditor General described it as an “incomprehensible failure of the federal government to influence better conditions for Indigenous people in Canada.” He went on to talk about a number of programs.
The member opposite stood and said that he likes Bill C-75 because it incorporates a principle of restraint as it relates to the circumstances of aboriginal accused or other accused from vulnerable populations when interim release decisions are made. In other words, if a police officer sees that indigenous individuals have a long record, they can bring a lesser charge or a quicker and maybe in some regard more compromised response to it. Then he cited all the different groups that supported that, which were typically indigenous groups. None of them were victims organizations or victims groups that have real concerns about this part.
Does the member believe this is another indictment on the government, in that it is looking for ways to deal with the high indigenous populations in prisons at a cost to the victims?
View Kevin Sorenson Profile
Madam Speaker, it is a real pleasure to speak to Bill C-75, an act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other acts and to make consequential amendments to other acts.
I have real concerns about the legislation, as do many stakeholders, including the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police.
First, this is another omnibus bill, containing 302 pages of major reforms to our criminal justice system. For our constituents, that means we need to study 302 pages of legalized legislation. Similar to many other Liberal promises, this is another broken promise, as the Liberals promised not to bring forward omnibus legislation.
It also signals very clearly, the Liberals' reluctance to allow for a thorough review and debate on the modernization of the criminal justice system, including reducing court delays and judicial proceedings, an extremely important debate given the current congestion within our courts, which is resulting in serious offenders having their cases thrown out.
Second, the bill would somehow undo the mandatory victim surcharge that our Conservative government imposed in 2013 under the Increasing Offenders’ Accountability for Victims Act.
The federal victim surcharge is a monetary penalty that is automatically imposed on offenders at the time of their sentencing. Money collected from offenders is intended to help fund programs and services for victims of crime.
We made this surcharge mandatory, recognizing that many judges were routinely deciding not to impose it. While we did recognize that they were doing so with some offenders who lacked the ability to pay, we believed it should be imposed in principle to signify debt owing to a victim.
Like any penalty, fine or surcharge, if people do not have the means to pay, they do not pay. However, it is the principle of the matter, and many times the guilty party does have the ability to pay some retribution to the victim.
The Conservatives strongly believe that the protection of society and the rights of victims should be the central focus in the Canadian criminal justice system rather than special allowances and treatment for criminals. This is why we introduced the Victims Bill of Rights and created the office of the victims ombudsman.
On that note, I would like to thank Sue O'Sullivan for her tremendous efforts on behalf of victims. Ms. O'Sullivan, who retired as the victims ombudsman in November 2017, had a very distinguished career in policing before being appointed to this extremely important position in 2010.
We created the ombudsman's office in 2007 to act as an independent resource for victims to help them navigate through the system and voice concerns about federal policy or legislation.
While we placed such high regard and importance on this office, the prolonged vacancy in fulfilling the position after Ms. O'Sullivan retired demonstrates very clearly what the Liberals think of the office.
In April of this year, more than four months after Ms. O'Sullivan retired, the CBC revealed the frustrations of many victims and victims advocates, including that of Heidi Illingworth, former executive director of the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime.
Ms. Illingworth said:
...the community across Canada feels like they aren't being represented, their issues aren't being put forward to the government of the day...Victims feel that they're missing a voice. The people we work with keep saying, why isn't somebody there? Isn't this office important? Who's speaking for victims... who's bringing their perspectives to the minister?
I would like to congratulate Ms. Illingworth for those sentiments, which I think may influence the government, and also for her appointment on September 24 as the third victims ombudsman for Canada.
Third, Bill C-75 would effectively reduce penalties for a number of what we on this side of the House, and many Canadians, deem serious offences. The Liberals are proposing to make a number of serious offences that are currently punishable by a maximum penalty of 10 years or less hybrid offences.
Making these hybrid offences means they can be proceeded in court by other indictment or summarily. Summary offences are tried by a judge only, are usually less serious offences and have a maximum of two years imprisonment. These hybrid offences will now include: causing bodily harm by criminal negligence, bodily harm, impaired driving causing bodily harm, participation in activities of criminal organizations, abduction of persons under the age of 14 and abduction of persons under the age of 16.
As pointed out in their testimony before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police expressed significant concern about the proposal to hybridize the indictable offences. It said:
These 85 indictable offences are classified as “secondary offences” under the Criminal Code. If the Crown proceeds by indictment and the offender is convicted of one of these 85 offences, the Crown can request that the offender provide a DNA sample for submission to the National DNA Data Bank (NDDB).
If these 85 offences are hybridized...and the Crown elects to proceed by summary conviction, the offence will no longer be deemed a “secondary offence” and a DNA Order cannot be obtained. The consequence of this will be fewer submissions being made to the NDDB. The submission of DNA samples to the NDDB is used by law enforcement to link crime scenes and to match offenders to crime scenes. Removing these 85 indictable offences from potential inclusion into the NDDB will have a direct and negative impact on police investigations.
I realize that due to the pressure exerted by the Conservatives, last night I believe, two offences, primarily the terrorism offences, have been taken out of this and it is now 83 offences with the two terrorism-related offences being removed. However, according to the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, the uploading of DNA taken from 52 indictable or secondary offences, which are among those initial 85 to be made hybrid offences, resulted in 221 matches to primary offences, including 19 homicides and 24 sexual assaults. At the very least, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police is recommending that this significant unintended consequence of Bill C-75 on hybridization be rectified by listing these 85 indictable offences as secondary or primary offences so DNA orders can be made regardless of how the Crown proceeds.
We watch CSI and other programs and we see the importance of this new type of science and technology. However, now the Liberals are saying that these 85 offences are no longer important for the DNA database.
Last, I would like to talk about the intent of Bill C-75 to incorporate a principle of restraint as it relates to circumstances of aboriginal accused and other accused from vulnerable populations when interim release decisions are made.
Section 493.2 places an unreasonable onus on police officers at time of arrest to make a determination on whether an offender falls within this classification. Furthermore, and more important, it wrongly uses the criminal justice system to address the problem of overrepresentation of indigenous peoples within the criminal justice system. Instead, the government should be dealing with the socio-economic and historical generational factors that are contributing to this problem.
I, unfortunately, do not believe that the Liberal government has any intention of redressing the plight of our indigenous people in any meaningful way and will continue to fail in this regard despite its promise of reconciliation and renewed relationship.
As chair of the public accounts committee, our Auditor General came with two reports this spring. The objective of one audit was to determine whether Employment and Social Development Canada managed the aboriginal skills and employment training strategy in the skills partnership. To make a long story short, the Auditor General said that when the government was dealing with many of these programs for indigenous people, it was an incomprehensible failure.
It is unfortunate that the government is using this one part of Bill C-75 to address the overrepresentation of indigenous people in our penitentiaries.
View Kevin Sorenson Profile
Madam Speaker, that is a very sad question from the member. He stated that we should look at how the Liberals have helped indigenous people, and then he said that they have put billions upon billions of dollars into it. We have a government that believes that throwing billions of dollars at a problem is going to solve it. It is not going to solve the problem. What does the hon. member suggest? He suggests that when there is charge after charge for an indigenous offender, we do not charge that person for all the offences.
With all due respect to the member and the government, I see that as an affront to victims, to the people who have been victimized by those crimes. Liberals are saying that they are going to whittle this down because they think there are too many first nations in our penitentiaries, and they do not want them to have records that are quite so long, unfortunately.
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
2018-06-05 10:58
She said: Madam Speaker, on behalf of Lakeland and communities in every corner of Canada, I strongly oppose Bill C-69, which would radically overhaul Canada's regulatory system, and by extension, hurt Canada's responsible natural resources development.
It is rich for the Liberals to talk about transparency and for their mandate letters to instruct meaningful engagement with opposition members while they ram through legislation with this magnitude of impact on the Canadian economy. The Liberals refused to split this massive omnibus bill, which involves three big ministries; denied all but a handful of the literally hundreds of amendments proposed by members of all opposition parties; introduced 120 of their own amendments at the last minute; did not provide timely briefings or supplementary material to MPs; and ultimately ignored all the recommendations in the two expert panel reports, from months and months of consultation, rumoured to cost a million dollars each. They shut down debate in committee and are pushing the bill through the last stages with procedural tools.
Bill C-69 would make it even harder for Canada to compete globally. More than $100 billion in energy investment has already left Canada under the Liberals. Foreign capital is leaving Canada across all sectors.
The government should focus on market access, on streamlining regulations, and on cutting red tape and taxes in Canada, especially because the U.S. is Canada's biggest energy competitor and customer. However, the Liberals are layering on additional regulatory burdens and costs that make it more difficult for Canada's private sector to compete. The Liberals are damaging certainty and confidence in Canada, putting our own country at a disadvantage.
Bill C-69, without a doubt, compounds red tape and costs in natural resources development. During testimony, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers said:
Unfortunately, today Canada is attracting more uncertainty, not more capital, and we will continue to lose investment and jobs if we do not have a system of clear rules and decisions that are final and can be relied upon.
Unfortunately, CAPP and the investment community today see very little in Bill C-69 that would improve that status.
CAPP went on:
We see substantial risk that all the work undertaken today could be deemed incomplete. Therefore, they may have to restart and follow an entirely different process, which would add more time and more uncertainty for our investment community.
That issue was addressed in committee by amendments giving proponents the option for reassessment. What I worry about is that the Liberals have now given anti-energy activists the opportunity to demand that all projects go back through that new process, because they have spent years denigrating Canada's regulatory reputation. It has already begun. The Liberals have created years of a regulatory vacuum, destabilizing the framework for Canada's responsible resource development, and have added hurdles during an already challenging time, the worst time, for prices, costs, and competitiveness. That has caused the biggest decline in Canadian oil and gas investment of any other two-year period since 1947, and hundreds of thousands of Canadians losing their jobs. This year alone, during three-year price highs, Canadian oil and gas investment is projected to drop 47% from 2016 levels. The Bank of Canada says that there will be zero new energy investment in Canada after next year.
In committee, the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association said:
In the two years leading up to this bill, you can pick your poison: policies, including a tanker moratorium...; proposed methane emission regulation reductions; clean fuel standards; provincial GHG emission regulation; B.C.'s restrictions on transporting bitumen; a lack of clarity regarding the government's position on the implementation of UNDRIP and FPIC; and the fierce competition from energy-supportive policies in the United States, etc. The cumulative effect of these policies has significantly weakened investor confidence in Canada. It is seriously challenging the energy sector's ability to be competitive.
Nancy Southern, the CEO of ATCO said “our competitive edge is slipping away from us. ...it's layer upon layer [of regulatory burden]. It's increasing regulatory requirement, it's compliance, new labour laws, it's taxes—carbon tax.”
She called it “heartbreaking”.
What is really galling is that it makes neither economic nor environmental sense to harm Canada's ability to produce oil and gas. The IEA says that 69% of the world's oil demand growth was in the Asia-Pacific in the past five years, and global demand will grow exponentially for decades to come. Therefore, the world will keep needing oil and gas, and other countries will keep producing it, but of course, to no where near the environmental or social standards of Canadian energy.
Right now, Canada has more oil supply that it does pipeline capacity, but if Canada had more pipelines, to both the United States and other international markets, Canada could capitalize on its almost limitless potential to be a global supplier of the most responsible oil to the world.
Building new pipelines makes sense, but as if the Liberals have not already done enough damage, Bill C-69 would make it even harder for new major energy infrastructure to be approved. It is based more on ideology and politics than on science, evidence, and economic analysis.
The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association said:
...it is preposterous to expect that a pipeline proponent would spend upwards of a billion dollars only to be denied approval because the project must account for emissions from production of the product to consumption in another part of the world. If the goal is to curtail oil and gas production and to have no more pipelines built, this legislation has hit the mark.
Oil and gas proponents are seeing clearly that Bill C-69 would ensure that no future major energy projects will be built in Canada.
The Liberals claim that this bill would enhance indigenous participation. In fact, it actually would make no substantive changes to indigenous rights or duties in the approval process. Indigenous people and communities and all directly impacted communities must be consulted on major energy projects. That is the crown's duty. However, this bill plays right into the hands of anti-energy activists. It would allow distant, unaffected communities, even non-Canadians, to interfere in the review process by removing the standing test and would allow anti-energy groups to subvert the aspirations of indigenous communities that want energy and economic development.
A hallmark of both Canada's regulatory system and Canadian oil and gas developers has long been world-leading best practices for indigenous consultation and the incorporation of traditional knowledge. Canada's energy sector is more committed to partnerships, mutual benefit agreements, and ownership with indigenous people than anywhere else in the world, so shutting down Canadian oil and gas will hurt them, too. However, the Liberals say one thing and do another when it comes to indigenous people and energy development. The tanker ban was imposed without any meaningful consultation whatsoever with directly impacted communities, such as the Lax Kw'alaams Band, which is taking the government to court over it.
The tanker ban is also the main obstacle to the Eagle Spirit pipeline, which would run from Bruderheim in Lakeland to northern B.C., carrying oil for export. After five years of work, this $16-billion project has been called the biggest indigenous-owned endeavour in the world. Thirty-five first nations, every single one along the route, support it. The Prime Minister ordered the tanker ban less than a month after the last election, with no consultation or comprehensive economic, environmental, or safety analysis and no consultation with indigenous communities impacted by it. Just like the northern gateway pipeline, 31 first nations supported it, and indigenous partners had equity worth $2 billion. The Prime Minister could have ordered added scope and time for more consultation, but he vetoed it entirely, so both dozens of indigenous agreements and the only already-approved, new, stand-alone pipeline to export Canadian oil to the Asia-Pacific are gone.
The Prime Minister did the same thing to the Northwest Territories when he unilaterally imposed a five-year offshore drilling ban, with no notice to the territorial government, despite intergovernmental discussions. Northwest Territories Premier Bob McLeod said, “I think for a lot of people, the prime minister took away hope from ever being able to make a long-term healthy living in the North”. This bill is part of the Liberals' pattern of enabling themselves to make political decisions about energy development in Canada.
This bill is bad for investor confidence in Canada, it is bad for the energy sector, it is bad for the economy, and it is bad for the country as a whole. On top of ideologically driven political decisions, it would not establish timelines for certainty either, despite Liberal claims. There are multiple ways either ministers or the commissioner could stop and extend the process as long as they wanted, as many times as they wanted.
This bill would not harm only Canadian oil and gas. The Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada said, “the Canadian mineral industry faces fierce global competition for investment. In fact, Canada is starting to fall behind its competitors in a number of areas, indicating its decline in attractiveness as a destination for mineral investment.”
That is a major problem for Canada too, as Australia and South Africa compete directly as destinations of choice for mineral investment, exploration, and mining. Like oil and gas, Canadian mining is a world leader on all measures. The sector is the biggest employer of indigenous people. It is often the only opportunity for jobs in remote and northern regions. Any additional hurdles or costs will tip the scale in favour of other countries.
The Liberals' decisions have provoked even former Liberal MP and premier of Quebec Jean Charest to say, “Canada is a country that can't get its big projects done. That's the impression that is out there in the world right now.”
Although the Liberals should put Canada first, they jeopardize Canada's ability to compete, forcing Canada into a position where natural resources development, the main driver of middle-class jobs and Canada's high standard of living, is at serious risk.
The Liberals should champion Canada's expertise, innovation, and regulatory know-how. They should be proud of Canada's track record instead of constantly attacking Canada's regulatory reputation and imposing policies and laws like Bill C-69, which would damage the future of Canada's responsible natural resources development and put very real limits on Canada's whole economy and opportunities for future generations.
View Linda Duncan Profile
View Linda Duncan Profile
2018-05-24 11:06 [p.19565]
I am sorry, Madam Speaker, but to appoint indigenous representatives to an advisory council to ensure delivery of a bill, when the government refuses to incorporate and entrench its obligations under the UNDRIP, is a vacuous measure.
Of course, it is terrific that we are adding indigenous members to advise the government. This should be happening across the board, but the government is refusing in this legislation, and refusing in its omnibus environment bill, to specifically make the UNDRIP binding on the government. Indigenous members will be there, but they will not have a law to hold the government accountable.
View Arnold Viersen Profile
View Arnold Viersen Profile
2018-05-24 12:28 [p.19576]
Mr. Speaker, I thank you for your indulgence, and I appreciate the audience that has returned. There they go again. However, I know for sure that my biggest fan is here today, so I will be pleased to speak to her if nobody else is available to listen to my speech today.
My speech has three points I want to discuss: sustainable development, transparency, and accountability. One of the parts of this bill I am incredibly pleased about is increasing the number of indigenous voices on the advisory councils. That is an important part. Indigenous people bring something I am very pleased about, which is the whole concept of the Creator. Whenever they are talking about the environment or working in this space, they always bring in the Creator. Whenever we are in the presence of first nations people, we see that they like to start events with a prayer, and they always recognize the Creator. When it comes to talking about sustainable development, an important aspect is this interplay between people and creation, and how that works in terms of public policy.
It would be a good addition to have these voices there, which understand that creation is not ours but granted to us by a higher being. That would temper and allow us to see ourselves as managers. I think that this would be a good voice at these tables. We are to manage the creation because it has been endowed to us by the Creator. I am really excited to see how these new bodies will work this all out.
Sustainable development is sometimes a bit of a loaded term, so I would like to talk about that as well. In my mind, sustainable development means that whatever we develop can go on in perpetuity. That would be what it means to be sustainable. Now, when we talk about it in environmental terms, we are often asking if the environment can handle it. In many cases, there is not just one lens through which to look at any particular issue. It is not just the environment that can be looked at. The idea first nations bring is that there is a Creator who will then look at it. That is a better way to look at particular issues, rather than through just one lens, the environment. It is good to look at sustainability in terms of how it impacts people, children, the vulnerable, and finances. Something is not sustainable if it goes broke. That is another part of sustainable development that we need to undertake.
In the House, I think we all agree about sustainable development, but we often have very different ideas about what the term “sustainable development” even means.
I have four minutes left. Well, that is unfortunate, but if four minutes is all I have left, I will have to work with that.
I do not think the Liberals really understand sustainable development, particularly when we see their own budgets. If we want this country to develop sustainably, we would not run massive deficits into the never-ending future. With the current rate of spending by the government, I would be a very old man by the time we get to balancing the budget, if we continue on this path. All this does is place an increased burden on our children and grandchildren.
I am happy to support this particular bill, but I would call on the Liberal government to get an understanding of what “sustainable” actually means.
That brings us to the whole idea of transparency. Once again, this is a great concept. I think all of us in this place want transparency in government. That is something that is very important. Once again, we see that the government talks a good game when it comes to transparency. The Liberal platform in the last election said great things about transparency. The Liberals were going to open up a whole new level of transparency, as the Prime Minister said.
However, when it comes to the carbon tax, the entire thing was blacked out when we asked what the cost of the new carbon tax imposed by the Liberals would be to the average Canadian family. The Liberals are not being transparent.
Once again, I am happy that we are all supportive of this particular bill. I am happy that it is improving transparency, and yet, as is often the case, every party in this place uses the word “transparency” to mean different things. In the case of the Liberals, they just say words and expect that everybody will believe them, just as they say that the pipeline will be built. We have to see if that is actually going to happen.
I am happy to support transparency. I am happy to support this bill. However, once again, I call on the Liberal government to reflect on the fact that while it says it supports transparency, its actions speak louder than words.
I get the impression that my time is coming to a close.
Finally, we have the word “accountable”. Whenever the government talks about accountability, it does so with its hand on its heart, and yet it is always frustrating to see that the government is not necessarily always accountable. The Liberals see the word “accountable” and think about their bank accounts and how they can put more money in their bank accounts, rather than being accountable.
We have seen it over and over again with the ethics scandals that have been going on, and also pay-to-play. The Liberals then say, “Oh well, we have been caught, and now we will fix the problem. Sorry, we did not understand.”
Accountability is a great thing to be supporting. Once again, I call on the Liberal government to reflect upon what it means when it says “accountable”. When it says that it wants to be an accountable government, it should actually do the things that it takes to be accountable.
With that, I would like to close my speech. I am happy to support this bill and its efforts toward sustainable development, transparency, and accountability. I hope that the Liberal government of the day reflects on those three items, reforms its ways, and comes to some sort of semblance of sustainable development, transparency, and accountability.
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
2018-04-30 13:06 [p.18896]
Madam Speaker, today I will address the oil tanker moratorium act, and in particular, its impacts on indigenous peoples and communities that support responsible resource development.
Bill C-48 is not really about the protection of coastlines or marine ecology. It is actually only a ban on Canadian oil development and exports, on the oil sands, and on pipelines. It is an attack on the hundreds of thousands of energy workers across the country, on one industry, and on one product.
Bill C-48 specifically and only prohibits the on- and off-loading of tankers carrying more than 12,500 metric tonnes of crude and persistent oils at ports or marine installations along B.C.'s north coast. It does not target any other vessels of comparable capacity carrying any other product, or vessels of any size, which have similar volumes of fuel on board to operate. It does not even enforce the 100-kilometre voluntary exclusion zone, in the region since 1985.
It only applies to one coast, not to any other Canadian coasts or ports where tankers of all products and from all countries travel regularly. Its intent is clearly to permanently prevent vital energy infrastructure in the region, denying any potential for oil exports to the Asia-Pacific from there, which could expand market access for Canada and reduce Canada's near complete dependence on the United States as a customer for Canadian oil.
Diversifying Canada's exports is crucial now, as the U.S. ramps up production to secure its own domestic supply and rapidly escalates its own crude oil exports after removing the 40-year ban. It is estimated that the U.S. will supply 80% of the world's growing global demand for oil in the next five years, while the Liberals force Canada's oil to remain mostly landlocked.
Bill C-48 is also all about politics. It was a predetermined and foregone conclusion for partisan purposes entirely. The Prime Minister instructed its imposition in mandate letters to ministers only 24 days after the 2015 election. Despite all the Liberal rhetoric about consultation, science, and evidence-based, objective decision-making founding policy and legislation, that is not enough time to undertake comprehensive community or indigenous consultations. That is not enough time for thorough safety and environmental assessments, with an analysis of best practices, gaps, and opportunities for improvement; comparison, contrast, and benchmarking against other countries; or local, regional, provincial, and national economic impact assessments and the consideration of consequences. That is because the motivation was actually a political calculation to hold NDP, Green, and left-wing votes for the Liberals in B.C, which helped them win in 2015.
However, Bill C-48, while confined to one geographical area, will have profound negative impacts for all of Canada, on confidence in Canadian energy investment and development overall, and on Canada's ability to be a global leader and contributor in energy regulation, production, technology, service, supply, expertise, and exports to the world.
Reaching tidewater in all directions for Canada's oil and gas should be a top priority for the Liberals, but their track record so far has been to eliminate the only two opportunities for stand-alone pipelines to tidewater in recent history in Canada.
One was the energy east pipeline, which was abandoned after a billion dollars invested and years of review before it could even make it out of the regulatory mess the Liberals created because they changed the rules and added a last-minute, double standard condition for downstream emissions that does not apply to foreign oil or to any other infrastructure in any other sector.
The other was the northern gateway pipeline, which was initiated in 2002 and had actually been approved, with 209 conditions, under the previous Conservative government, in 2014. After a Supreme Court ruling that there was insufficient indigenous consultation by the crown, the Liberals could have ordered additional months and scope for expanded consultation, just as they did with the Trans Mountain expansion application, which started in 2013 and was under way when they announced a complete overhaul for major Canadian energy projects in 2016. However, that option was not offered for northern gateway. Instead, the Prime Minister outright vetoed it, even though it was reviewed under the exact same process, with the exact same evidence, as the other projects the Liberals announced were approved the same day, including Trans Mountain and the Line 3 replacement.
The Liberal government's decision to kill the northern gateway was a massive blow for expanded market access for Canadian oil. It was obviously a loss for energy producers in northern Alberta, for workers in the industrial heartland and Bruderheim, which is where the northern gateway would have started, inside the western boundary of Lakeland, as well as for workers who would have constructed and then maintained the pipeline through operations across Alberta and B.C. It was a loss for potential oil terminal, refinery, and deep water port workers near Kitimat, never mind of billions of dollars in investment and revenue for all levels of government.
However, there is another aspect of that veto of the northern gateway that is just as devastating. Thirty-one first nations and Métis communities were partners with mutual benefit agreements, worth more than $2 billion, in northern gateway, including skills and labour development opportunities.
In Lakeland and around Alberta, indigenous peoples are very active in oil and gas across the value chain: in upstream exploration and production; in service, supply, and technology contracting; and in pipeline operations. They support pipelines because that infrastructure is as crucial to the lifeblood of their communities, for jobs, education, and social benefits, as anywhere else.
Elmer Ghostkeeper of the Buffalo Lake Métis Settlement in Lakeland said, “Equity was offered to aboriginal communities, and with the change in government that was all taken away.... We are very disappointed.” Ghostkeeper pointed out that 71% of the communities along the proposed right of way looked forward to taking part in construction and in the long-term benefits. All that was destroyed by the Prime Minister. They were not consulted about it.
Bill C-48 would put a nail in the coffin of the $7.9-billion northern gateway pipeline and all its employment and economic and social benefits for indigenous and all Canadians, now and in the future.
However, it gets even worse. The $16-billion Eagle Spirit pipeline project could be one of the biggest private infrastructure investments in Canadian history, with meaningful revenue generation, business, employment, education, training, capacity-building opportunities, and long-term economic self-sufficiency for indigenous communities. From Bruderheim to Grassy Point, the Eagle Spirit pipeline project is supported by 35 indigenous communities, every single one along the corridor. Its proponents have been working for six years to secure that support, even from communities that opposed northern gateway, and to exceed regulatory requirements, including exceptional environmental protection, land and marine management, and spill prevention and response.
In 2015, community leaders said what the project meant to them. On behalf of elders, Jack White said, “We like the fact that the Eagle Spirit project put the environment first. Many of our elders are in need and we want our legacy to our children to offer something more that gives them opportunities.”
Youth representative Corey Wesley said, “There are no opportunities for young people in our community. We want a better way of life with real jobs and business prospects so we too can offer our future kids more hope.”
Deputy mayor of the Lax Kw'alaams band and matriarch Helen Johnson said, “Eagle Spirit has widespread support in our community because it shows a real way forward for our members.”
Eagle Spirit's Chiefs Council says the tanker ban is a government action that would “harm our communities and deny our leaders the opportunity to create hope and a brighter future for their members“, which all Canadians take for granted. The Premier of Northwest Territories said almost the exact same thing about the impact on the people he represents of the Liberals' five-year ban on northern offshore oil and gas drilling.
The Prime Minister often says that the relationship with Canada's indigenous people is the most important to him. He says he wants “an opportunity to deliver true, meaningful and lasting reconciliation between Canada and First Nations, the Métis Nation, and Inuit peoples”. However, for the second time, on a pipeline to tidewater, he is actively denying opportunities for dozens of indigenous communities. They say he did not consult them before he ordered the tanker ban.
The Eagle Spirit Chiefs Council says that the tanker ban and the creation of the concept of the Great Bear Rainforest were “promoted largely through the lobbying of foreign-financed ENGOs”. The Eagle Spirit chairman says, “they know nothing about our area, they know nothing about our regions. And they're telling us what we've got to do because it's in their financial interest to do so.” It is “without the consultation and consent of First Nations,” which are “opposed to government policy being made by foreigners when it impacts their ability to help out their own people.”
He says, “We don't need trust fund babies coming into our community...creating parks in our backyard when our people are literally starving”, with 90% unemployment.
I suggest that actual reconciliation involves employment and business opportunities, social welfare, and benefits through economic prosperity, like what is offered by Eagle Spirit, which would ensure environmental protection and benefits for all of Canada.
Eagle Spirit's chairman says, “This is an important issue for Canadians. If you look at what's happening with the oil industry, Canadians are losing $50 million a day. It's about $40 a barrel over four years in margin to the refineries in the U.S. What other country in the world would give away the value of these resources like that? It makes no sense, and it's harming people in northern Alberta and northern B.C. and the chiefs are going to do something about it.”
He is echoed by B.C. MLA and former Haisla chief councillor Ellis Ross, who says, “The more sickening thing for me is that these people who oppose development in Canada truly believe they win when they defeat a project.... Actually, you don't win. It's just that the United States buys the Canadian product at a discount and sells it on the international market.”
The tanker ban is a deliberate and dangerous roadblock to Canadian oil exports. It is detrimental to the livelihoods of Canadians everywhere. It would put very real limits on Canada's future and standard of living, with disproportionately harmful outcomes for certain communities and regions. The Liberals should withdraw it.
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
2018-04-30 13:19 [p.18898]
We should be discussing the legislation that is actually at hand. I am going to read a statement by the nine tribes of Lax Kw'alaams, which oppose the tanker ban. They say:
We have unextinguished Aboriginal rights and title from time immemorial and continuing into the present within the land and ocean of our traditional territories...;
We have protected the environment as first-stewards of our traditional territories for over 13,000 years;
We have and will always, put the protection of the environment first, but this must be holistically balanced with community, social, employment, business and other priorities;
We absolutely do not support big American environmental NGO’s (who make their money from opposing natural resource projects) dictating government policy and resource developments within our traditional territories;
When such projects are environmentally acceptable and essential to meeting our non-environmental needs (such as the Eagle Spirit Energy Pipeline project) such foreign interference serves only to perpetuate the rampant poverty and dysfunction encouraged by previous colonial policies;
We should listen to these indigenous people, who have been in that area, who support environmental protection, and who have managed their land, ocean, and habitat responsibly. They oppose the tanker ban, and they want the Eagle Spirit pipeline.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2018-04-30 13:37 [p.18901]
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to be joining the debate on this, but I think the bill has the wrong name. It is called the “oil tanker moratorium act” when it should basically be called the “pipeline moratorium act”. That is really what it is all about. It is not about cancelling the ability of tankers to move through a certain region of northern British Columbia. In fact, they will be able to move 100 kilometres off the coast, as they have been doing all along. It has put the last and final nail into the northern gateway project, and every single other potential pipeline project that might go through northern British Columbia.
There are a few points I will raise to add to this debate, including a letter I have from Prasad Panda, a member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, who is also the member for the provincial riding of Calgary-Foothills. In it, he notes a couple of discrepancies. He notes that Bill C-48 is a flawed piece of legislation, mainly because it contradicts the government's own free trade agreement that it signed.
There are two points that he makes in the letter. He writes that in that free trade agreement, article 301 states, “A Province shall not adopt or maintain any measure that restricts or prevents the movement of goods across provincial or territorial boundaries.” This is what the B.C. NDP is doing to try to kill off Kinder Morgan by harassing it through legal and regulatory means to try to put an end to that project. They are trying to end that and the hundreds of thousands of jobs in the energy sector, both in my hometown of Calgary, which depends on it, and also across Edmonton and a whole bunch of smaller communities across Alberta and Saskatchewan.
With regard to my second point, he writes, “The Government of Canada shall not adopt or maintain any measure that unduly restricts or prevents the movement of goods across provincial or territorial boundaries.” I think we can make a fine argument here that restricting tanker traffic off a coast like the northern British Columbia coast is that type of restriction on the movement through a territory that the British Columbia government claims as its own. It has a certain amount of environmental regulations that it can or it seems to want to apply. It is interesting that it only wants to apply it in the north, not in the south, when 95% of all tanker traffic happens to be in the southern part of British Columbia.
This particular member of the legislative assembly, a fine gentleman, wrote quite a long letter to the chair of the committee that reviewed this piece of legislation. He also brought to the attention of that committee that this ban, this supposed oil tanker moratorium on pipelines, would be like “banning ships from moving through the Welland Canal or using the port at Trois-Rivières”. It would be like “denying rail and truck access to the Michelin Tire factory in Pictou County”, like “detouring all the traffic on the Trans-Canada Highway and driving it down 92 Avenue in Port Kells”, like “taking traffic on Highway 400 and running [it] all down Weston Road in Toronto”, and like “stopping OC Transpo service to Kanata or GO service to Streetsville.” It would be the same principle. It is not science based, not evidence based; it is the random cutting off of the transportation of goods, people, and natural resources for political purposes.
There is absolutely no reason for it. As far as I know, there have been no spills in British Columbia. Members may want to correct me on that, but I do not know of any spills that have happened off the coast of British Columbia that would make it necessary for us to pass this particular piece of legislation.
I also note that in this legislation, the government is giving itself an exemption under clause 6 that basically states,
for the purpose of community or industry resupply or is otherwise in the public interest.
Therefore, if for any reason whatsoever the government believes it should provide an exemption for the import and movement of tanker traffic, it has a complete exemption. There is no real reporting standard there. All it would have to do is make a publication requirement that states,
the Minister must make it accessible to the public on the Internet or by any other means that he or she considers appropriate
I wonder what the minister will think is appropriate when the government provides the exemption. We can imagine how hard the advocates for communities, companies, and tanker companies will push the minister to provide them with particular exemptions and how sought after those will be.
I like Yiddish proverbs, and I have one. It states, “Heaven and hell can both be had in this world.” They can also be had through government policy and legislation. The principle is to protect the environment. That is the window dressing that the Liberals have put on this anti-pipeline bill. However, what they are actually doing when they repeat “the environment, energy, and natural resources”, two sides of the same coin, is only focusing on one part of this. That is their single focus on this point. It is is supposedly the environment, when we know, because of the details of this bill, it will do no such thing. Tanker traffic will simply be moved further to the west. It is not achieving any goals that the government has set for itself. There is no similar ban on any oil tanker traffic anywhere along Canada's other coasts.
Do those environments matter less? Do the beaches in Prince Edward Island matter less than those in northern British Columbia? Do the coasts matter less in Quebec? Do the coasts matter less in Ontario? I do not think that is the case, but I do not see tanker bans being imposed. I do not see pipeline bans being imposed. That is what leads me to say that this particular piece of legislation is all about northern gateway. It is to kill it off, and that is what the government intends to do through this particular piece of legislation.
The tankers that go through the southern part of British Columbia right now are in the 80,000 to 120,000 dead weight tonnage. If this were truly about tanker traffic, and there were worries about how many of these tankers are moving through a particular geographic region, then the regulatory process would be simplified to ensure the maximum size tankers could actually come through different channels as safely as possible.
If the government wanted to do it that way, it would ensure that ultra-large crude carriers, ULCCs, were able to navigate certain regions, doing so safely, with the necessary tugboats to pull them out in case they have security problems. It would not impose a random ban on geographic areas, pushing tankers further out into the ocean. That does not achieve any environmental goal I could easily name. It would also kill off economic jobs that northern gateway and other pipeline projects could provide in the future.
What it actually would do is sterilize an entire region of northern British Columbia from any type of development in the future. It would basically ensure that no company would ever propose a new pipeline project running through any of those communities, regardless of how many indigenous communities support it, regardless of how many of them are onside.
As the member for Lakeland has said, there are many indigenous communities that would depend on these energy and natural resource jobs of the future. Over 500 communities all across Canada depend either on energy or natural resources jobs.
When oil, natural gas, coal, or any type of mineral is extracted, it has to be moved to a market. It does no good to sit on a large pile here at home. It has to be moved to the buyer. That is done through a port, through the rail system, and through tankers. Those are the requirements of ensuring that the economy is looked after, and that is what the government is failing to do with Bill C-48.
This bill would kill off any future pipeline projects. It sends another chilling signal to the business community in Canada that we are not open for business. We have had the largest flight of capital from the natural resources sector over the past two and a half years. We are at the lowest level since 2010, and it just continues.
Energy east was killed off by the government. Northern gateway was killed off by the government. The government neglected Pacific Northwest LNG. It has neglected Alberta's energy sector. It has done everything possible to ensure that every single new piece of red tape would strangle the industry, and it has done a great job at it. This is one thing the government has been quite exceptional at, strangling the industry and putting tens of thousands of Alberta energy workers out of work permanently, with no reasonable expectation to return to work in the field of their speciality, in the field where they have spent years obtaining their education and working professionally.
Back home in Alberta, we have spent a generation trying to convince people to move to Alberta in the first place. British Columbia is beautiful, but we just wanted people to stop in Alberta and have a professional career with us. We spent a generation convincing people to move there, but we also spent a generation convincing young Albertans, men and women, that it was worth getting into the energy sector because there would be jobs well into the future and they could work anywhere internationally. They are not going to have that.
Bill C-48 is a nail in the coffin of every single future pipeline project. Every company that is even thinking about running a pipeline through northern British Columbia, or anywhere in fact, will think twice. All of their money could be lost, or there could be a random moratorium, a ban, or a cancellation of their project.
I cannot support this bill. It is another chilling signal to the business community and to energy workers in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia that the government is not on their side.
View Kelly McCauley Profile
View Kelly McCauley Profile
2018-04-30 17:00 [p.18934]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak on Bill C-48 again.
There is a content creator on YouTube who does these great videos called “honest trailers”. He discusses what movies should actually be talking about when they do their trailers. I would like to do the same with Liberal bills, because quite often we hear these grandiose names.
For example, for the budget, I would rename it the “Dude, where is my infrastructure budget?”, because no one seems to know where the infrastructure money went. Even the Parliamentary Budget Officer could not locate $7 billion of it. I do note that of the $7 billion, he was able to find that it was costing Canadian taxpayers $700,000 of spending for every job created.
I also called it the “Honey, I sank the kids” bill, because $100 billion in added debt is going to stick to our children and our grandchildren in the coming years. However, I stuck on a different name, the Vantablack bill. Vantablack is the darkest substance known to man, so I called it that because of the lack of transparency in the budget bill. In fact, it is so lacking in transparency that even a supernova could not bring light to it.
An issue with the budget bill was, for example, that the finance department refused to respond to either us or the Parliamentary Budget Officer about some five-year spending projections. There was vote 40, which the treasury board president has brought forward, which will allow him to spend $7 billion without any oversight from committees, Parliament, or votes once the money has been done. The government that brought us an $8 million hockey rink is going to be given $7 billion without any oversight or transparency.
With Bill C-48 there could be a lot of names, but I am going to call it the “hypocrite bill”. The name “hypocrite bill” could also be applied to a lot of other bills. For example, the government talked big on military spending, but it is not mentioned once in the budget. The Liberals also talk about helping the middle class, yet burdened it with tax hikes and hundreds of billions of dollars of added debt with no mention of how it will ever be paid back.
As well, the government brags about a gender-balanced cabinet, but they give all five junior ministries to women. No government since the Trudeau Senior government has given all five of the junior ministries to women.
The Liberals killed energy east by constantly changing the goalposts and requiring upstream and downstream emission considerations. At the same time, they have given hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies to their friends in Bombardier to pay out millions of dollars in bonuses, by the way. Apparently Bombardier jets do not emit emissions. The Liberals have given millions and millions to Ford motor companies because apparently Ford cars now run on pixie dust.
Let us look at the general hypocrisy around Bill C-48. Do not let anyone be fooled. It is not about banning tankers; it is about killing the northern gateway pipeline once and for all and killing Alberta jobs.
The Liberals like to talk a lot about human rights, but they blocked Alberta oil, the cleanest, most ethically produced oil in the world, to bring in oil from some of the worst human rights-abusing countries in the world. We bring in oil from Saudi Arabia, where there are some of the worst oppressions of women and of the LGBTQ community.
The Liberals brought in oil from Nigeria, where the government will murder a person for being gay. Think about that. We are bringing in oil from Nigeria and giving them money. Instead of creating Alberta jobs, we are getting oil from people who murder gays just for expressing who they truly are. We bring in oil from Angola, a country that Human Rights Watch highlights for its heavy government oppression. However, we buy their oil and block Alberta oil.
This is really interesting. Just last week, the Liberal government banned the famous Angolan human rights crusader Rafael Marques from Canada. We have open borders to all those fleeing the tyranny of the U.S., where one million Canadians still live. I hope they are going to flee as well. The Liberals will allow open borders for that, yet an award-winning human rights crusader from Angola is banned by the government. However, we will buy their oil.
The Liberals talk about evidence-based decision-making, so let us look at the facts on tanker safety.
We allow tankers into the Vancouver harbour to pick up oil in Burnaby from Kinder Morgan, where it currently is. We are planning, if Kinder Morgan gets built, to move that up to one freighter a day. That is perfectly fine. The Liberals approved that.
We allow what is called an Aframax tanker to move under the Second Narrows bridge in North Vancouver or Burnaby, where there is a width of 137 metres across the narrows.
The government now also says that a tanker moving through a width of 1,400 metres, through the Douglas Channel from Kitimat to the open seas, is not safe. Not only is the Douglas Channel 10 times the width of underneath the Second Narrows Bridge, but it would be escorted with three pilots for the entire passage. That is something we do not do when bringing in Venezuelan oil, Saudi Arabian oil, or Nigerian oil on the east coast. It is something we currently do not do when we bring in ships through the much narrower passage from North Vancouver to Burnaby.
The TERMPOL document for northern gateway added many other safety measures, such as radar on Gil Island, and more response gear, which we also do not offer for the tankers coming in through North Vancouver or the east coast.
Let us talk about the hypocrisy of the government's empty statement on nothing being more important than the nation-to-nation relationships. We heard in the government operations and estimates committee that no industry does better in Canada than the energy industry in working with indigenous groups, indigenous business, and providing jobs and prosperity to indigenous people of Canada. Who does the very worst on engaging them? It is the Canadian government.
This is what the first nations are saying. Elmer Ghostkeeper of the Buffalo Lake Métis said that they and other first nations are disappointed by the political decision, not the evidence-based decision, but the political decision, made without their input. Mr. Ghostkeeper said that 30 bands were looking forward to the shared prosperity that northern gateway would bring, with $2 billion in set asides.
Again, let us remember. It is Suncor, Syncrude, Enbridge. These are all the companies that were named in the government operations and estimates committee as companies that do the very best of any industry in providing prosperity, jobs and opportunities for first nations, and we are throwing it aside.
Chief Derrick of the Gitxsan first nations said that the Prime Minister did not even want to hear from supportive bands.
The government will consult with every U.S.-financed radical environmentalist group on pipelines in the industry. It will even take taxpayers' money to give to these radical environmentalist groups, saying, “Here, take some taxpayers' money from Alberta, from all across Canada, and go out and work against the Canadian interest.” It is working against what the government has said is in the national interest. Will the government listen and consult with first nations? No, of course not.
I want to talk about some of the safety issues. B.C. coast pilots are some of the very best pilots in the entire world. They have a safety standard for shipping off of B.C. that far exceeds what we do on the east coast. I want to talk about their record.
Since 2007, the very worst year for incidents has been a 99.94% success rate. There was not a single issue of an oil spill from tankers since Kinder Morgan was built 63 years ago. Not one. On regular shipping, the very worst year was 99.94%. In 2017, it was 99.97%. They have gone above and beyond, as I mentioned.
With the portable pilotage units they put on their ships in case their ships piloting or GPS goes down, they can control it as well. They spend $600,000 a year in training for the pilots. As I mentioned, they have a perfect record for moving liquid bulk vessels of over 40,000 dead weight. These are the experts.
They did a computer program when northern gateway was being considered. The experts said that moving ships down, even without pilots, would be perfectly safe. However, the plan was to include three pilots. Here we have the experts saying it is perfectly safe without all the added measures, and they have offered to put on these additional measures to make them extra safe. The government shot it down.
Bill C-48 is not about coastal safety. If it were, the government would shut down the east coast and Vancouver as well. This bill is all about killing Alberta jobs, and about killing once and for all the northern gateway pipeline.
View Dane Lloyd Profile
View Dane Lloyd Profile
2018-04-30 17:31 [p.18938]
Mr. Speaker, before I begin my remarks, I would be remiss if I did not mention a great man who has been mentioned many times today in this House, former prime minister Stephen Harper, who is enjoying his 59th birthday today, so I wish Prime Minister Harper a happy birthday.
I rise today to speak to Bill C-48, which aims to ban oil tanker traffic on the northern coastline of British Columbia. This legislation is yet another blatant attack on Canada's energy sector, along with all the high-paying and high-quality jobs that go with it.
The current government can talk about balancing the environment and the economy, but this proposed legislation is not balanced, and it is a direct threat to the viability of Canada's energy sector. This bill not only threatens jobs and the prosperity of Canada but also the solvency of our governments. Furthermore, it fails to respect our commitment to first nations, because the Liberals failed to consult and are discriminating against first nations who support energy development.
This legislation sends a clear message that our country is closing up for business, and industry leaders are listening. Energy giants are already beginning to move their operations to Texas, taking jobs with them. Where will the wealth creation and tax revenues that are needed to finance our transition go? They will go straight south of the border, leaving Canada in a vulnerable position, with few resources, as we seek to embrace change and innovation.
The failure of our energy industry is simply not an option. Although oil prices have doubled over the last two years, governments in Edmonton and Ottawa continue to run substantial deficits. I would like to see the government start trimming these deficits. However, the Liberals cannot seem to kick the habit of spending more than they take in, even with significant tax hikes on small businesses. How is the government ever going to balance the budget while it campaigns actively to phase out the very industry responsible for those revenues? This does not square. Budgets simply do not balance themselves. The government must either raise taxes, cut spending, or, as we propose on this side of the House, grow the economy, not as the Prime Minister suggests, “from the heart outwards”, but by embracing the real opportunities in the energy sector.
The Minister of the Environment recently said in an interview, “Hard things are hard”, and they certainly are. However, the government has made things harder on the families that rely on the energy sector because of its ideological approach to energy development. Take, for example, that the current Liberal Prime Minister ran in the election on a promise to cancel the northern gateway pipeline. He did not run on a promise to review the science or to act in the national interest. No. He made a promise because it was politically expedient to do so. That is the easy thing to do. The problem with taking the easy way out is that someday one has to pay the price, and today, as we watch the dying throes of Canada's last, best hope of getting energy to tidewater, we have only the Liberals to blame. They are now doubling down on their mistakes. They are not content to just cancel northern gateway; they are legislating for future generations to ensure that no pipeline will even be considered for the northwest coast.
Actions have consequences, and those consequences are hard. The families of my constituents know that all too well. The reason for their hardship is that the current Liberal government made rash promises not founded on reason or science but on political calculation. Rather than recognizing that fact, the Liberals are closing their minds and hearts to the hardships of Canadians.
The bill before us today is an attempt to dig up the corpse of northern gateway and put it on trial. It is a declaration to the world that never again will a pipeline be considered to our north. This moratorium is not based on science. It is not even based on the national interest of Canada. It is a political exercise to try to appease those who oppose the Trans Mountain pipeline and who will oppose any energy infrastructure the Liberals' foreign masters will pay them to oppose. When will these Liberals show some backbone, stop caving in to foreign interests and radical activists, and instead stand up for science and stand up for Canadians?
If the Liberal government were to extrapolate its logic and apply it consistently across the country, it would severely hurt our economy. Oil tankers enter Canada daily through the Port of Vancouver, on the east coast, and through the St. Lawrence River without incident. The sad thing is that for the most part, these vessels have circumnavigated the globe to bring Canada energy from other countries, energy that we have ample reserves of ourselves. In ports like Saint John, New Brunswick, millions of tonnes of energy products have been shipped and provide jobs necessary for the prosperity of our eastern provinces. If Bill C-48 passes, the government will be setting a precedent for our entire coastline that will reverberate across our country, killing jobs and opportunities for Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
Let me talk about the hypocrisy of the Liberal government, a government that stands every day in the House to malign the reputation of former Prime Minister Harper, a man they accuse of not consulting with first nations on energy development. Let us talk about the Lax Kw' alaams first nation and the nine tribes whose traditional territory lies within the zone that this moratorium would apply to. Did the government consult with the Lax Kw' alaams, or does it only negotiate with first nations who oppose energy development?
The nine tribes on the west coast have issued a legal challenge to this moratorium and this legislation. I wonder whether the Liberal government will respect aboriginal sovereignty, and will it fulfill its duty to consult? Evidently, it has not. The Lax Kw' alaams are fighting them in court. They are fighting for their economic future, the future of their children, and the Liberal government is disrespecting them and discriminating against them with this legislation. It is shameful, not only because it is the wrong thing to do, but because it flies in the face of everything the Liberal government claims to believe in.
For those who are reasonably concerned about environmental impact of oil tankers on our coast, let us look at some facts. In 2011, the Conservative government undertook the development and implementation of a world-class tanker safety system. This included modernization of navigation systems, enhanced area response planning, and ensuring that polluters pay for the spills and damages caused by accidents in their operations. As a result of this legislation, on top of Canada's sterling record of environmental safety, there has never been a major oil spill on our west coast.
Now the Liberals are pouring more resources into ocean protection, but for what purpose if they are not allowing development to proceed? Why are we spending taxpayer dollars to the tune of $1.5 billion, if they are going to ban the tankers in the first place? It is another example of the government's absolute incompetence when it comes to responsible development and environmental protection.
In the best-case scenario, even if this legislation only leads to preventing tankers from operating on the northwest coast, it would be an act of supreme unfairness for those communities on the coast. If there is a lack of infrastructure to protect from or mitigate a possible spill, then perhaps some of the Liberal money should be going toward that solution. Surely if this legislation is their solution, then it should be sufficient to protect our northwest coast. If oil tankers are as big a threat as the Liberals claim, why have they not invested in better ocean protection on every coast? Why are they not speaking in Halifax, St. John's, or other Atlantic city on the importance of protecting against oil spills with new funding?
The fact is that they are not. They know full well that there is no clear threat of a catastrophic oil spill. They are merely trying to score political points by shutting down an entire coast from any development, hurting communities like the Lax Kw' alaams in the process. It is a shameful state of affairs when a government chooses to put its own political self-interest ahead of the interests of all Canadians.
View Dane Lloyd Profile
View Dane Lloyd Profile
2018-04-30 17:40 [p.18940]
Mr. Speaker, on March 22, 2018, the Lax Kw' alaams asked for an injunction against this legislation because they do not agree with the government. At Grassy Point, they have a deep water port. It is a safe area for a marine port, and the government has unilaterally chosen to shut it down. It does not make any sense. Why are the Liberals doing a one-size-fits-all solution that harms the Lax Kw' alaams first nation? They can talk about consulting all these other first nations, but frankly if they are not giving an exception or supporting the Lax Kw' alaams, then they have failed to do their duty.
View Martin Shields Profile
View Martin Shields Profile
2018-04-30 18:01 [p.18942]
Mr. Speaker, today we have heard many intelligent comments about Bill C-48 from many people with an extreme amount of knowledge on this topic, and there have been many questions of those people. Maybe that leaves me with rhetoric. I do not know what is left to say, but I will try.
Trade has always been a pivotal component of life in Canada. Long ago, before European settlement, indigenous peoples traded prolifically. On the British Columbia coast, much of that trade was conducted by water. For example, the Haida Nation made use of large commercial canoes to achieve great prosperity along the Pacific coast. It is quite remarkable that this legislation makes such a radical departure from Canadian history. In Canada we have some of the most lucrative trading goods in the history of humanity at our disposal, namely oil and gas, but we cannot trade them, because we cannot access the market to do it. It seems a betrayal of Canada's historical legacy as a trading nation.
Unfortunately, this oil tanker moratorium appears to be just another stage of the government's plan to phase out Canada's energy sector. We desperately need to diversify Canada's export markets for oil and gas, yet Bill C-48 would take further steps to limit access to tidewater for Canadian oil. It is not just a tanker moratorium; it is a pipeline moratorium. The government has increasingly demonstrated that its agenda is dictated by radical activists and the foreign donors who support them. These people want Canada to be nothing more than a giant nature preserve.
Of course, we do have vast areas of pristine wilderness that I think all Canadians are proud of. I have been on the coast of Newfoundland all the way down to New Brunswick. It is a beautiful coastline. I was probably on the Pacific Rim, which is now the Pacific Rim National Park, before many people in the House were born. I have been on the tide pools and the coast and the beautiful Pacific part of Vancouver Island. Some members are older, which the minister might be, but some of us are a little older than he is.
I know that the Prime Minister was just in Europe, in France and Paris, and he apologized about being so slow to phase out the energy sector. It might have shocked his audience to find that Canada is not just one large nature preserve. People live here in Canada and people across the country work in the Canadian energy industry, and those people are being hurt by the government's disregard of the Canadian energy sector. In my riding of Bow River, the job losses have been catastrophic. People need pipelines with oil going to foreign markets. These people are highly skilled and highly trained. They may have found other jobs in other sectors, but they are much lower paying and are not using their highly trained skills.
Those foreign markets need oil. Global demand is growing. It is projected to keep growing at least for the next 30 years, especially in the Asia-Pacific region that we need to reach from the west coast. Let us get our economy back on track and meet this global demand.
As it stands, we are selling our oil at a huge discount to the United States. The U.S. sells it back to us to refine in New Brunswick refineries at the full market price. It is like building a car in Canada for $30,000 but having only one market, which offers us $15,000, and we take it, and then they sell it back to us for $30,000, because we have no choice.
By some estimates, the losses amount to at least a large school a day and a major hospital a week being built in the United States instead of in Canada. Hundreds of millions of dollars are lost because we cannot diversify our energy exports. It is a ridiculous situation. It is embarrassing to our country on the international stage when we look at countries that trade. Despite this totally unacceptable situation, we have learned that the government is funding anti-pipeline activists through the Canada summer jobs program, yet in my constituency, summer camps cannot get any money for summer jobs.
One constituent told me today that if people are convicted of obstructing justice, they should immediately be put on a no-fly list. They could not fly if they were convicted of obstructing justice while protesting. That is an interesting concept.
The government can dismiss the reality with its favourite talking points all it wants, but the issue is a lot more complicated than a talking point. Oil products are already shipped safely in and out of ports across Atlantic Canada and B.C. If we have to distill it down to a sound bite in the way the government likes to, let us put it like this: Venezuelan oil is shipped up the St. Lawrence to Montreal. If both those coasts were travelled on both sides of the St. Lawrence, one would find some of the most natural beauty in our country. It is very different on one side and the other, yet we are shipping large oil tankers all the way up the St. Lawrence to Montreal.
We are shipping Saudi Arabian oil to the east coast through the many islands to get to the refineries in St. John. If one has travelled on those islands and seen the beautiful coast, one knows we have skilled pilots on the west coast. It is tricky to get through to St. John's as well, but we are allowed to do that. Canadian oil is okay for Vancouver but not northern B.C. It does not make much sense when one puts it like that, but that is exactly what this legislation would implement.
This bill is yet another signal to investors that Canada's energy sector should be avoided. That is a travesty, especially since our former Conservative government already implemented responsible tanker safety regulations and established a world-class tanker safety system in 2014. That legislation modernized Canada's navigation system. It enhanced area response planning. However, we have had colleagues say we could do more. Well, we could do more. It built marine safety capacity in aboriginal communities and ensured polluters pay for spills and damages.
What we should be doing is building upon that successful safety record. Let us build more. We should be harnessing Canadian ingenuity and the great skills that our pilots have on the west coast. We should be collaborating with regional and indigenous stakeholders to develop even safer mechanisms for our coasts. We could maybe export that to the rest of the world. That is the logical next step, not a moratorium that would prevent any possibility of progress. Furthermore, a voluntary exclusion zone of 100 kilometres for oil tankers travelling from Alaska has already been in place since 1985 just beside this area.
Look at the current investment climate. Why pass legislation that does nothing more than remind investors of the government's attitude toward oil and gas? I guess what Maslow said was right. He said that when someone only has a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail. This legislation is nothing more than a nail in the coffin of investor confidence in Canada.
Some $80 billion in investment has now been driven out of Canada. I hear about this in my constituency. That is a huge number, but the devastating impact of the government's attitude toward oil and gas is not limited to investors. The indigenous nations mentioned earlier have sued the federal and provincial government over this tanker ban. They argue that it is an unjustified infringement on their aboriginal rights and title. In fact, 30 first nations started an online campaign to raise money against this ban. It does not seem that the government was able to convince them in the consultation process that it was a good idea.
I have had the opportunity to meet with several first nations elders. Their views on energy development are not as uniform as the government would have us believe. Many I spoke with did not want to be told what they could and could not develop. They want the autonomy to make their own decisions in the best interest of their people. They view this as a lack of consultation and a form of colonialism, as they mentioned to me. Many first nations leaders want the right to develop their resources in the way they choose.
Even if this legislation receives royal assent, U.S. tankers travelling from Alaska to Washington would continue to travel up and down the B.C. coast. This is not about the tankers; it is about tying the hands of future governments and preventing pipeline construction. It is a pipeline moratorium under a different name. It is the opposite action to what the government should be taking. It needs to send positive signals to international and Canadian energy investors. It needs to actively champion the diversification of energy exports. This bill would not do that, and I cannot support it.
View David Yurdiga Profile
View David Yurdiga Profile
2017-06-20 17:23 [p.13017]
Madam Speaker, I have been a member of the House since 2014. In that time as MP, I have seen two different governments and served on three different committees. In all that time, I have never seen a bill studied and pre-studied as many times as Bill S-3. I am not sure how the government will handle phase two, considering how Bill S-3 is turning out.
Many Canadians believe the Indian Act is a good document, meant to help the indigenous people of our country. What they do not realize is how destructive, toxic, and racist this document truly is.
The Indian Act is present in the everyday lives of most indigenous Canadians, often governing their education, health care, and every service that really matters to average Canadians. With this power, the government could do a lot of good across our nation for most vulnerable people in our society. Despite the potential and outstanding recommendations of indigenous communities across the country, I have rarely heard anything good about Bill S-3 without the amendments.
When I joined the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs, I was joined by many new members of Parliament. Many of these members came from backgrounds and regions where indigenous knowledge was not as common. To fill the gap, the committee heard from experts across the country.
The Indian Act controls all aspects of aboriginal lives, with limitations on social, traditional, and economic activities. I can say with confidence that the majority of indigenous people across the country want either major revisions to the Indian Act or want it scrapped entirely so we can build a new solution from the ground up, with thorough consultations along the way.
When I joined the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs, it was my hope that I would have the ability to right some of the wrongs the Indian Act created. Bill S-3 seemed like an opportunity to do that when our committee began studying the issues almost a year ago.
When the committee began studying Bill S-3, it was clear that the government was in a rush. It had to meet a looming February 3 deadline, imposed by the Superior Court of Quebec after the government lost the Descheneaux v. Canada case. The case revolved around Indian Act discrimination against women.
What many people do not know is that the Indian Act does not categorize all aboriginals the same way. The government registry differentiates between status Indians, by categorizing them as either 6(1) or 6(2). Before 1985, people could lose their status when they married, depending on gender. Even with the changes, there were outstanding issues. This creates a situation where some cousins would have status while others did not, even though each person had one status parent and one non-status parent.
Descheneaux v. Canada arose because even with the changes in 1985, the Indian Act still robbed people of status due to sex discrimination before 1985. In the Stéphane Descheneaux case, his grandmother had lost her status by marrying a non-indigenous man in 1935 and because his mother was not status, he was not a status Indian either. If we replaced his grandmother with a grandfather, Mr. Descheneaux would be a status Indian today.
Descheneaux v. Canada also brought up the case of Susan and Tammy Yantha, which the Calgary law blog outlined as an issue created by “The version of the Indian Act in force in 1954 held that illegitimate daughters of Status Indian men and non-Status Indian women would not have Status, while illegitimate sons would have 6(1) Status.”
It was clear to the Superior Court of Quebec that changing the sex of someone in both these stories to male would mean they would have a very different relationship with Indigenous and Northern Affairs because they would be status Indian and fully entitled to the benefits that had been withheld from them.
Therefore, this was a violation of section 15 of the charter, which states:
Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.
The Indian Act is still enforcing discrimination based on sex, which is unconstitutional. Imagine if this rule were applied to being a Canadian citizen. I can assure that this would be resolved quickly. We would not need pre-study after pre-study. We would get it done immediately.
When the committee met first with Indigenous and Northern Affairs officials, the officials described the case and what the bill addressed: differential treatment of first cousins whose grandmother lost status due to marriage to a non-Indian when the marriage occurred before April 17, 1985; differential treatment of women who were born out of wedlock of Indian fathers between September 4, 1951, and April 17,1985; and differential treatment of minor children compared to their adult or married siblings who were born of Indian parents or of an Indian mother but lost entitlement to Indian status because their mother married a non-Indian after their birth between September 4, 1951, and April 17, 1985.
The assistant deputy minister of the resolution and individual affairs sector, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, said that this was just one part of a two-phase process that would take up to 18 months to complete. She also said that the court deadline did “not allow for sufficient time to conduct meaningful consultations”. Even though the department had not entered into meaningful consultations, the deputy minister, when asked if the bill actually did what it claimed to do—eliminate sex-based inequities in registration—said that she was confident.
The next witness was Stéphane Descheneaux, the plaintiff in the case. Right off the bat, he made it clear that he had first heard of the bill only two weeks before appearing at committee. In that short amount of time, he and others had already identified apparent flaws in the legislation.
I have heard the government lecture about consulting for hours. The Prime Minister has shaken many hands and signed a variety of documents with indigenous people across the country. He often followed up these events by repeating that he is focused on a nation-to-nation relationship and consulting. Bill S-3, to me, is an example of a bill that indigenous people should have been part of during its drafting. If the government had spent—
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to join this important debate on the government's budgetary policy. I will be focusing my remarks on certain areas that I have not had a chance to discuss yet in previous speeches on the government's budgetary policy.
There is an evidence sense of unreality to the discussion coming from government members on this. We hear a lot about what the budget aims to do. The budget aims to do this and it aims to do that. Our complaint is not with the intentions of the budget. Our complaint is with the provisions in the budget. There are many cases in which there is this obvious dissonance between high-minded claims about what the budget aims to do and the substance of the provision. We just heard a good example of that. A member talked about small business in his riding and the important work it did, but then supported a budget that would raise taxes on small business and eliminate the hiring credit for small business. There is this evident dissonance here.
I had an opportunity to question the finance minister in committee of the whole last week. I asked three times, consecutively, if he believed that the government should eventually balance the budget at some point in the future. We did not get an answer to that question.
When the finance minister, who should know better, cannot even answer a direct question about whether it is important for a country to balance its budget at some point in the future, then we have a real problem with the seriousness of the plan. It is not a problem with intentions necessarily, but it is a problem with the seriousness of this so-called fiscal plan.
I want to talk about three specific things today. I want to talk about where economic growth really comes from. I want to talk about the impact of the budget on families. I want to speak about the impact of the budget on indigenous Canadians, specifically in the context of indigenous education.
We hear a lot about economic growth, and this comes back to the good intentions here. We hear the word “growth” used over and over again. Like so many of the words the government uses, especially in the context of budgetary policy, we have not ever heard it clearly defined. We do not hear the Liberals explain what they mean by growth and what exactly they plan to achieving in growth.
Economic growth is produced when there is an increase in the ability of society to provide for itself, when society grows in its economic means to provide for itself in terms of its wants and its need. Therefore, it is very closely linked to the concept of economic productivity, productivity being the rate of output given the input.
We often talk for example about labour productivity. As labour productivity increases, the amount of output that can be produced in a given hour of labour increases. That is really what creates economic growth. Economic growth is about finding ways of more productively using our time and our resources to produce more things that we can use to satisfy our wants and our needs. Fundamentally, foundationally it is about growth in productivity.
When the government thinks about trying to encourage economic growth, it should focus on productivity. The current government talks as if all that is required to increase growth is more government spending. Looking around the world, it is easy to see how there is no linear relationship at all between government spending and economic growth. Some countries do much better than others that have much lower levels of public spending. That is not to say the government does not have a role in identifying areas where productivity growth can occur, but it certainly is not in any sense linear.
From my perspective, there are a number of different things that facilitate increases in productivity, which is important for economic growth. One would be a more educated workforce, specifically though a workforce equipped with job-ready skills, and a marketplace that is well-equipped to commercialize knowledge that is produced.
That was why in 2007 our government came forward with a science and technology strategy that looked at ways of more effectively encouraging commercialization of knowledge. It was why we put an emphasis on encouraging the trades as well, because of the needed to have a workforce that was equipped with job-ready skills. That was important for productivity and economic growth.
Efficient transportation infrastructure is obviously an important part of that as well, both in education and infrastructure. These are areas where government spending can play a positive role. What is disappointing about the budget is the total abuse of the word “infrastructure”. The government redefines infrastructure to mean almost everything.
The minister confirmed in our discussion in committee of the whole that he believed child care was a form of infrastructure. Well, it is certainly not in the sense that economists traditionally define it. Transportation infrastructure obviously has a positive impact on productivity when it is well placed, well designed, and when it helps people get to and from work more quickly.
Productivity growth requires an economic system that provides significant returns on business innovation. Business innovation creates improvements in productivity, and therefore we need a system that creates incentives for that business innovation, things like relatively low business tax rates and benefits accruing to companies that choose to hire more people. That is why this budget would negatively impact productivity by effectively increasing the tax on small business by eliminating the hiring credit. These types of measures are not good for economic growth.
Economic growth requires a stable and predictable economic environment as well. People will invest in an economy that they have a reasonable expectation will do well over the long term. When we have extended periods of large budget deficits and we have the government going into deficit with no plan to get out of it when we are not in the midst of a recession, that clearly damages confidence and reduces the reason for investments in things that produce productivity growth.
We hear a lot about growth from the government, but we do not actually hear any discussion of those foundational constituent parts of growth, things like how we increase the productivity of our economy and how we increase the productivity of labour. These are things that the government should be thinking about in a more serious way, but the Liberals repeat this mantra that more government spending is somehow, absent of any clear connection or specificity in investment, going to lead to economic growth. That is a major concern I have with the plan of the Liberals.
I want to speak as well about the impact of the budget on families.
I believe in a simple principle with regard to family taxation. If two families are earning the same amount of money, then they should pay the same amount of tax. It would seem arbitrary and unreasonable, and therefore unfair, that we would have two families each earning the same family income but happen to pay different amounts of tax, simply by virtue of which people in the family are earning the income. That is why we brought in income splitting. It was an important tax cut, but it was also a measure to ensure tax fairness.
However, the government does not seem to agree with this principle of tax fairness. The Liberals would eliminate income splitting, having the effect of raising taxes on many families, but also now ensuring a system of unequal taxation where we have families that are earning the same income, yet paying different amounts of taxes, simply because of how they decide to divide child care responsibilities. Our view has always been that it should be up to families to make their own child care choices, and families should not face some kind of direct or indirect fiscal penalty because of the financial choices they make.
Of course, the Liberal changes would also remove universality of child care benefits. We think that is a problem. We think a universal taxable benefit made good sense. Of course, a taxable benefit is inherently more progressive because the more money one makes, the more tax one pays on it. It had that built-in progressivity to it, but it was still designed to ensure that everyone had something to benefit from.
I want to speak briefly about the impact of the budget on indigenous Canadians. This budget would spend a significant amount of new money, but it does not come with the kinds of measures that are necessary to ensure the success of those investments, especially as it pertains to education.
We have a core problem when it comes to education in aboriginal communities. Unlike in every province across the country, on-reserve first nations education does not have legislated educational standards and a legislated mandate for core curriculum. It does not require that schools award a recognized provincial diploma. That is a problem. It is a problem when we do not have those structures in place to ensure that there can be a seamless transition between a school on a reserve and a school off a reserve. These are the kinds of measures, the kind of collaborative structuring of the system, improvements to accountability, that would make a real concrete different. We think those kinds of changes should, and could, be accompanied by increased investment. However, the government has put in new money but does not actually have an effective plan to improve the system at all.
Those are a number of reasons, and there are many more I could list, why I am very concerned about this budget, and I will be opposing it.
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