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Results: 1 - 12 of 12
View Sonia Sidhu Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Sonia Sidhu Profile
2019-06-04 13:08 [p.28485]
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in the House today to speak to the 2019 budget. This budget is called “Investing in the Middle Class”. Improving life for middle-class Canadians has been our number one priority since we were elected.
Four years ago, the people of Brampton South elected me to represent them. Since 2015, I have been working in Ottawa to deliver on the promises I made throughout my campaign. Everyone in this House has made a commitment to serve Canadians. This is partly done by investing in initiatives that will boost the quality of life for all Canadians. The budget this year is an example of the opportunities that Canada can provide to Canadians.
Our government's commitment to serve Canadians through investment can be seen in Brampton. In 2016-17, Brampton was given almost $60 million through the gas tax fund, and in 2017-18 we introduced a one-time top-up to the gas tax fund for infrastructure investments. For the 2018-19 fiscal year, Brampton was given over $33 million.
Since November 2015, we have had millions of dollars in federal funding for infrastructure projects that will benefit the city of Brampton. In addition, Brampton will benefit from a federal investment in the GO Transit Metrolinx regional express rail. From the $1.9-billion investment, over $750 million will be invested in the Kitchener corridor to improve commute times for residents of Brampton, Peel, Toronto and Wellington.
People in the middle class deserve a government that recognizes their potential and encourages their growth. I believe that the budget represents our belief in them as it looks toward our promising future. Canadians have put their faith in our government to present new ideas and deliver results. The 2019 budget reflects the needs of families, employees, students and seniors. It is a solid plan to give them a better future.
A better future starts with investing in young people and their education. Students are often kept from pursuing their education because of financial obstacles. The 2019 budget would lower interest rates for students and give them a six-month period to pursue their future plans before gathering interest on loans. The budget also seeks to support students who are parents or have disabilities. It also promotes programs that encourage the enrolment of indigenous students in post-secondary education.
These are just some of the ways in which we advocate for the success of the next generation. Budget 2018 strengthened our economy and ensured a low unemployment rate.
This is also the time to address the climate emergency. Budget 2019 has a strong plan to create eco-friendly solutions while maintaining an affordable lifestyle for Canadians. The budget intends to make zero-emission cars $5,000 cheaper, as well as encouraging their building. The creation of a home retrofit program will lower electricity and energy bills for Canadians.
We have been fighting climate impact since 2015. We have invested $1.5 million in Brampton under Public Safety Canada's national disaster mitigation program for the riverwalk study. We committed $175,000 for an environmental assessment strategic plan and sustainability framework for it as well. We have also committed $10 million for 10 water projects in Brampton and $22 million in funding for erosion protection initiatives in the Toronto, Peel and York regions.
Thinking of the future generations also includes supporting new families. An issue we see come up again and again is the struggle for young families to invest in long-term housing. The 2019 budget introduced the first-time homebuyer incentive, which would encourage home ownership by making housing cheaper. The incentive would help thousands of first-time homebuyers over the next three years. Budget 2019 also makes plans to build 42,000 new rental housing units, as well as to provide $300 million to begin the housing supply challenge. Through these changes, we are promoting happy homes without unnecessary costs.
Access to affordable housing is essential to promote the security and well-being of all Canadians. When Canadians are provided with a comfortable home life, it is easier for them to do well in the workplace. So far, we have been successful.
However, because our workforce and economy are continuously growing, employees can be left without access to training that improves their professional skills in their present and future jobs. The 2019 budget introduced the Canada training benefit program, which would give working Canadians better and more consistent skills training, financial aid to pay for the training, employment insurance support and job security. This is the next phase in our plan to strengthen the middle class.
While the middle class flourishes, there is still a percentage that has been left behind. Without quality health care, Canadians face some of the highest drug prices, leaving them unable to afford the prescriptions they need. No one should have to choose between buying the medicine they need or putting food on their table.
I am proud to be a member of the health committee, where I helped study the development of a national pharmacare program. We then made 18 recommendations to the government through the report “Pharmacare Now: Prescription Medicine Coverage for All Canadians”. I am proud to see the government acting on the report.
Budget 2019 aims to make prescriptions more affordable by announcing plans for the Canadian drug agency, which will work to lower prescription costs. The Canadian drug agency will connect all provinces and territories, giving them access to prescriptions. Through this plan, Canadians will save $3 billion each year.
With less time spent worrying about their health, housing and job security, Canadians will have more time to focus on the things they care about. For many, this involves becoming more involved in their communities.
Infrastructure funding is necessary to get ahead with local and municipal governments, which is why we are investing an additional $2.2 billion into infrastructure funding, especially under the circumstances where certain provincial governments have not been doing their part. Budget 2019 recognizes that advances in public transit, housing and community facilities make all the difference.
Local projects and community services are at the heart of Canadian society. Included in these services are locally based projects that encourage seniors to be active members of the community. Seniors have made significant contributions in these areas and are now more than ever capable and interested in participating.
Budget 2019 aims to maintain the guaranteed income supplement to ensure seniors get the most out of their retirement. It also takes direct action to protect their pensions by automatically registering seniors who are 70 or older but have not applied yet to receive their retirement benefits with the Canada pension plan. This will help tens of thousands of seniors across Canada.
Our budget also supports pay transparency, something our government has pushed for relentlessly. These measures will make it easier for our government to look at wage gaps and begin to solve them. This will help improve the status of women further. We know that when women make only 87¢ on the $1 compared to men, something is wrong.
Several countries, including the United Kingdom and Germany, have pay transparency measures. Canada needs to join these countries in making wages available for public view. When we can inspire employers to act on unfair wage gaps, we will improve the status of women all over Canada. This is not only the responsible thing to do, but it is morally right.
Budget 2019 is not just a list of numbers, names and affected demographics. It is a detailed plan of action, which can lead Canada into a better and brighter future. By investing in the middle class, we invest in all Canadians. This budget represents what our nation's focus should be. Informed, careful and planned budgeting is what will lead to Canada's prosperity.
I urge my fellow members to support the budget.
View Todd Doherty Profile
CPC (BC)
View Todd Doherty Profile
2019-06-04 13:23 [p.28487]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to address some of the failings of the Liberal government over the last four years and reflect upon just how disastrous it has been.
The heckling continues over there. The Liberals never miss an opportunity to get some good heckling in. Our colleagues across the way are chirping loud and doing all they can to throw us off. However, it will not work. I have been chirped at by the best and they definitely are not the best.
I rise today to talk to Bill C-97, the budget implementation act. Essentially, it is an extension of the government's attempt to cover up what could be actually the biggest affront to our democracy in our country's history. It has attempted to cover up potentially the biggest corruption at the highest levels of our government, and that is the SNC-Lavalin case. That is what we are seeing here today. I bring us back to that again because I feel I have to. The gallery is packed. I know Canadians from coast to coast to coast knew this speaker was coming up.
I would be remiss if I did not remind Canadians from all across our country that it was day 10 of the 2015 election when the then member of Papineau committed to Canadians that under his government, he would let the debate reign. He said that he would not resort to parliamentary tricks such as omnibus bills or closure of debate. He also told Canadians around that same time that he would balance the budget in 2019. Those are three giant “oops”, perhaps disingenuous comments. I do not think he has lived up to any of them at this point.
As of today, the government has invoked closure over 70 times. Why? Because the government does not like what it is hearing. If the Liberals do not like what the opposition is saying and they do not want Canadians to hear the truth, they invoke closure. This means we cannot debate really important legislation. They limit the amount of time for debate on that legislation. The BIA, Bill C-97, is just one of them. Does that sound like letting the debate reign? It does not.
It is interesting that whenever things go sideways for the Prime Minister, a couple of things happen. We see him even less in the House or something always happens to change the channel. That is what we have today.
Bill C-97 is really just a cover-up budget. We have talked about that. It just goes in line with more and more of the government's kinds of wacky ways, where it says it will spend money and perhaps it doles it out. However, the money is not really going to things that Canadians need the most.
We see $600 million in an election year being given to the media, a media that is supposed to be impartial. That is a $600 million bailout.
We also know that in the previous budget, approximately $500 million was given to the Asian Infrastructure Bank. That $500 million is not being spent in Canada for one piece of an infrastructure.
I rose to talk about a few things. One of the things that is really disappointing for me is this. When the Liberals came to power in 2015, a lot of promises were made, and this one hits home for us. I have brought this up time and again in the House. The Liberals said that they would put an end to the softwood lumber dispute.
I think it was in 2016 that the Prime Minister stood in the House and told Canadians that he was going to have a deal done within 100 days. He had a new BFF, the Minister of International Trade Diversification said. Both were just giddy. They were going to get this deal done and put an end to the softwood lumber irritant once and for all, yet last week, we found out from the Senate Liberal leader that the Prime Minister had other priorities ahead of softwood lumber.
Over 140 communities and over 140,000 jobs are tied to forestry in my province of British Columbia. Forestry is a cornerstone industry in my province, yet it was not a priority for the Prime Minister in renegotiating his NAFTA deal.
What we are seeing with the Liberal government is that rural Canadians are just not its focus.
Last week I also met with some real estate folks and some Canadian homebuilder folks. They told me that the Liberal government's B-20 stress test and the shared equity program, which is geared toward trying to get Canadians into homes, is actually hurting that industry. The real estate industry is saying that the B-20 stress test, which was geared more for Toronto and Vancouver markets but is all across the country, impacts rural Canadians negatively .
Almost $15 billion has been kept out of that industry, meaning that it is harder for Canadians to get into the home ownership they strive for. It is a step into the middle class. People put money toward something they own rather than putting it into something that someone else owns. The government's failed B-20 policy and the shared equity program is hurting Canadians. It is another example of how Canadians are worse off with the Liberal government.
I will bring us to a couple of years ago. The Prime Minister, the Minister of Veterans Affairs and the Minister of National Defence all have it down pat. They can put their hands on their hearts and say that they really care, yet it is the same Prime Minister who told veterans that they were asking for too much.
Yesterday was a very important day, because we saw the closure of the missing and murdered indigenous women and girls commission and we saw its report. The government knew that this day was coming, but did it put any money in the 2019 budget for that? There is nothing.
The Liberals like to say that Canadians are better off than they were under our previous Conservative administration, but it is actually the opposite. Canadians are worse off since the Liberal government took over. Eighty-one per cent of middle-income Canadians are seeing higher taxes since the Liberal government came to power. The average income increase for middle income families is $840. The government's higher pension plan premiums could eventually cost Canadians up to $2,200 per household. The Liberals cancelled the family tax cut of up to $2,000 per household. They cancelled the arts and fitness tax credit of up to $225 per child. They cancelled the education and textbook tax credits of up to $560 per student. The government's higher employment insurance premiums are up $85 per worker. The Liberal carbon tax could cost up to $1,000 per household and be as high as $5,000 in the future.
The Prime Minister called small businesses tax cheats. The government's intrusive tax measures for small businesses will raise taxes on thousands of family businesses across Canada.
The list goes on and on. Bill C-97 is just the capping of a scandal-ridden administration, and to that, I say, good riddance.
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 Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-06-04 20:27 [p.28544]
Mr. Speaker, I want to go over some things in this budget that would benefit Yukon, in particular, and then some general things that would help the Yukon, as well as all Canadians.
First, as I said earlier tonight, Canada is the only Arctic country in the world, of the eight Arctic nations, that does not have a university north of 60. This budget is historic for Canada because of the $26 million going to Yukon College to build a science building, one of the key items that are needed. Next year, Yukon College will become Yukon university and Canada will be in line with the rest of the nations. The first course, which is not offered anywhere else and is also historic, will be a bachelor of indigenous governance. Because there are over 600 first nations in Canada, and Inuit, there will be a huge take-up on that particular course alone.
The territorial government has to deliver on education, health care, all of the things that provinces have to deliver, and there are great increases: $47.2 million for territorial financing, $2.3 million for health transfer and $0.6 million for social transfer, for a total of $50 million. Just to put that in perspective, Yukon is 1/1000th of the population, so if that were the same across the country, that would be $50 billion. It shows strong support for the territorial government. From what I remember, the other two territories will receive even more than that.
Before I go any further, I meant to start with something unrelated to the north. I am also the chair of the Northern and Prairie Caucus, and I want to mention another very innovative thing in the budget, the money for a water institution or program in the Prairies, which is hugely forward-thinking because it affects so much. The PFRA, one of the most popular institutions in Canada, was closed a number of years ago. The Liberal member from Saskatchewan brought this idea forward, and the Minister of Finance is financing a study to look at water, which is so important in the Prairies, including flooding, drought, the glaciers being reduced, water supply, irrigation, all of those things. This is a very forward-thinking item in the budget, and I thank the member from Saskatchewan.
I also have an ask for a women's centre in Watson Lake. I know those members are in Ottawa today.
In the north, the equivalent of western diversification or the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency is called CanNor. Once again, it is receiving a great increase. We lobbied hard for this. It will receive $75 million over five years for a diversification program. There was an increase for tourism in the north of $5.1 million over two years. Tourism is Yukon's biggest private sector employer. The two biggest industries are tourism and mining. I treat tourism like a lost sector in Ottawa. It is much bigger than many other sectors, but over the decades, it has not nearly gotten the attention or support that it should have. We have a tremendous tourism minister now, with a new tourism strategy and great funding. I will mention more later in my speech.
I will talk about the northern trade corridors. I talked about how big $50 million was, but the north has been assigned $400 million in the trade corridors program, which is a massive amount. It is far more than in other parts of Canada. I apologize to other MPs here, but, as everyone in the House knows, that infrastructure is needed in the north for a small population that is spread out over more than third of Canada.
There is another huge win in the budget for the north. As I said, the biggest sector for Yukon's GDP is mining, and the mineral exploration tax credit was increased for the first time ever for five years, which everyone in rural Canada will appreciate. It has always been yearly, which made it hard for exploration companies to plan. This is so instrumental in their programs because the vast majority of them need this tax credit to do their work, as there is no good reason to invest otherwise.
Another huge item that affects us more in the north than others, but also affects a number of areas in Canada, is loan repayments for the negotiations of first nations self-government and land claim agreements for modern treaties. The way it used to work in the Yukon was they took 30 years to negotiate. The first nations that were negotiating did not have the money to hire lawyers and negotiators so we loaned them the money. By the time they got their land claims, they already owed a good percentage back because we had loaned them the money for the negotiators. Therefore, this budget has made a historic move of committing to reimburse the first nations that have already paid the money or pay that money for the first nations that have not yet done so. Hopefully, that will encourage more first nations in Canada to become the success stories of the modern treaties. There are a number of them across Canada, but the biggest number is in the Yukon, in my riding.
There is one other thing with respect to the north, which I do not think anyone in this House would know. In fact, very few people in my riding would know this, only scientists, but it shows the finance minister's attention to value. There is no political gain in this. Very few people know about it, but it is very important. It is called the polar continental shelf program. When people research in the north, like other university researchers, they can get the money to do the research. However, to get to the north, it costs a huge amount of money. I remember going a small distance, approximately the distance most members would travel to get here to Ottawa, which would perhaps take a couple of hours, and it cost $5,000. Therefore, these researchers need the money to get to their location and cover what other scientists do. That is what the polar continental shelf program does. I give big kudos to the minister for that because very few people know about it.
The general items that would help Yukoners the way they help everyone else are as follows.
The first is more money for homes and businesses to be more energy efficient. A lot of people have suggested that. It would be done through the FCM program.
Another is the increase for seniors. We have seniors projects right across Yukon and in the rural communities in Whitehorse, and we have press conferences that are so moving. The seniors benefit so much and have so much fun. It keeps them healthy and reduces the costs to government.
I said I was going to get back to tourism. For years, there has not been nearly enough money for tourism in Canada in the lost sectors. There is an increase of $60 million this year in this budget for tourism marketing, added to the increases in previous years. That is great for me because, other than P.E.I., which is a little ahead of us, the biggest private sector proportion of our economy in the north is tourism. Therefore, that helps us more than everywhere else, but of course everywhere else in the country would benefit.
Another item a lot of people might not know about is that we can make Canada bigger. Most people think we are set at where we are at. However, we can expand the area of the continental shelf we are responsible for, but we have to do a lot of geological explorations and discovery, as well as scientific work, to determine that, which costs money. Canada, Denmark and Russia are all doing this in the same area, so we will have competition. If we did not have the science, we would not be able to compete or increase the area we have responsibility over.
In closing, because I am running out of time, there is a big increase in indigenous languages. In 2017, I think it was somewhere around $5 million and it has been increasing every year. By 2023 or 2024, it will be up to $116 million. Therefore, the increase from $5 million to $116 million really shows our commitment to how important that is to the life, strength and foundation of the culture of first nations people.
I am sorry I could not get to the environment and the 50 programs we have there, but I will leave that for the next speech.
View Jenny Kwan Profile
NDP (BC)
View Jenny Kwan Profile
2019-06-04 20:42 [p.28546]
Mr. Speaker, people in Vancouver East expect their government to make life affordable, sustainable and fair for all Canadians. They expect their government to be on their side.
In Vancouver East, I have heard from my constituents time and time again that we need real measures to make life affordable for Canadians, that we need immediate and urgent actions to protect our climate and environment. On behalf of the constituents of Vancouver East, I have been strongly advocating for measures such as affordable housing, public universal pharmacare, environmental protections, climate action and tax fairness. Instead, we now have a country faced with many crises.
We have a climate crisis, where if we do not take immediate action our planet will not be inhabitable for our future generations. We have a housing crisis, where people are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless and getting priced out of their own communities. We have a criminal crisis, where billions of dollars in profits from criminal acts were laundered last year in Canada. We have an opioid crisis, where Canadians are dying every day.
We have a humanitarian crisis, where so many indigenous women and girls have gone missing and are murdered. The impact of colonialism is so deep and so rooted in systemic racism and failures that the national inquiry on the missing and murdered indigenous women and girls has declared that is a genocide.
It was deeply disappointing to see how budget 2019 failed to meaningfully address our many crises, never mind the many other challenges faced by Canadians.
For many constituents of Vancouver East, the number one issue facing our generation is our climate and environmental emergency. To meet our goals under the Paris Agreement, Canada has to lower its emissions to 325 million tonnes by 2030. According to the government's own performance report, we will only get down to 500 million tonnes, which means we are not even close.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report stated last year that we have 12 years to avert climate disaster through a drastic overhaul of all our current economic systems. We now have only 11 years left to achieve this. As the clock ticks, people have been demonstrating persistently for immediate action for climate protection and the preservation of natural resources from our leaders, especially our youth, who will be most affected by the consequences of our inaction. The government has a responsibility to create the systems and frameworks to protect our environment and our future generations.
Many scientists have stated that the technology already exists that can maintain quality of life without further impacting our climate and environment. We simply need the political will and courage to change. And yet here we are, buying leaky pipelines and adopting the previous Conservative government's weak carbon emissions target, as if we do not have a climate crisis at our door.
On another critical issue, we are still waiting on government action to address our housing affordability crisis.
Housing has long been declared a basic right by the United Nations, and Canada has signed and ratified a number of international human rights treaties that identify the right to adequate housing as a fundamental human right.
In our national housing strategy, most of the funding in that new strategy had been announced years earlier and most of that funding, a full 90% of what was announced in budget 2017, has been off-loaded for spending after the next election. Even at that, the vast majority of that funding will not flow until 2024. It is a cynical communications strategy that plays politics with people's real struggles.
The government, in an attempt to inflate the result of its limited housing programs, has even resorted to double-counting the results for “rhetorical advantage”. Instead of playing numbers games, what we need is for the government to make real investments now. To that end, the NDP is calling for a commitment of 500,000 units of affordable housing across Canada.
In addition, despite decades of promising a national pharmacare program, after being lobbied by big pharma 680 times, the government has once again let big pharma win the day.
I recently met an individual who told me that she is taking her daily medication every other day in an effort to save money. This is wrong. No more excuses. Canadians need and deserve comprehensive public universal pharmacare coverage now.
On a related matter, we also need accountability for the opioid crisis. While the U.S. has successfully taken on big pharma for misbranding OxyContin with the intent of defrauding and misleading, here in Canada, the government is refusing to take action. Instead, budget 2019 continues with the blanket tax break for the richest corporations.
Tax havens are still in place and will continue to take over $16 billion every year from much needed programs for all Canadians, and of course, big oil continues to receive subsidies. In fact, the “2019 Spring Reports of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development” was highly critical of the government's accounting of tax and non-tax subsidies for the fossil fuel industry.
As we now know, 47 billion dollars' worth of profits from criminal acts was laundered last year in Canada. It is extremely disturbing that money laundering has so extensively permeated the country. Equally disturbing is the fact that the report by Dr. Peter German, in B.C., revealed that no federal resources are being used to tackle money laundering. Literally, in the federal money laundering unit, no one is working on the issue of money laundering. This explains why there are so few prosecutions and convictions in money laundering cases.
During last year's statutory review by the finance committee of the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act, numerous expert witnesses agreed that to combat tax evasion and money laundering, the federal government needed to work with the provinces to establish a central public registry that would provide the identity of the beneficial owners of corporations and trusts. The Honourable David Eby, Attorney General of B.C., argued that this kind of registry is needed, in part by citing a study from Transparency International Canada. The study showed that it is impossible to determine the true owners of more than half the real estate properties for sale.
Denis Howlett, of Canadians for Tax Fairness, emphasized that the registry must be “in an open, searchable format”. Barrister and solicitor Mora Johnson added that a transparent public register would enable those searching the database to track the most common methods taxpayers use to avoid paying their fair share of taxes and to find individuals involved in money laundering. However, when all was said and done, the Liberals and Conservatives chose to join forces and ignore the recommendation of the majority of witnesses that a public register be established.
I also strongly believe that we need to increase oversight of home sales to ensure that sellers are not falsely reporting their secondary investment properties as primary residences, as this rule-skirting allows people to avoid paying capital tax gains.
I raised this issue when I was still the MLA for Vancouver-Mt. Pleasant. One way to address this is to ensure that proof of residency through income tax filing is provided at the completion of the sale transaction. With increased oversight and crackdowns on this behaviour, the increased tax revenue could be set aside in an earmarked fund dedicated to increasing the affordable housing stock in Canada.
Canada needs to put significant resources and effort into law enforcement, prosecution and adjudication to effectively tackle this problem. We can do this. We need to do this.
I have gone on also about the immigration issues that call for the government to not jam through the refugee determination process in this budget omnibus budget bill. The Liberals refuse to listen and are going ahead with it. Experts have already called on the government to stop this now. It would put people at risk, and most particularly, it would put women and girls at risk. For a feminist government, this is not acceptable. It still has a chance to do that. I hope that the government will listen to the experts.
View Judy A. Sgro Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to stand and add my voice in support of Bill C-83, a piece of legislation that would make a number of changes to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. I am pleased to lend my support, as my colleagues have also done.
Bill C-83 proposes a number of important things. It creates the concept of patient advocates, as recommended by the inquest into the tragic death of Ashley Smith. Many of us in the House are very aware of the inquest and what happened to Ms. Smith, and the difficulties. We are very hopeful that Bill C-83 is going to help remedy some of those problems and prevent that from happening to some other young person.
The bill is meant to support inmates who need medical care, and ensure that they and their families can understand and exercise their rights. It would enshrine in law the principle that health care professionals working in the corrections system are autonomous and make decisions based on their medical judgment, without undue influence from correctional authorities.
It would enshrine in law the requirement that systemic and background factors be considered in all decisions involving indigenous people in custody, and it would expand the section of the law requiring the correctional service to be guided by respect for the diversity of the inmate population.
It would allow victims who attend parole hearings to access audio recordings of the proceedings.
It would create the legislative authority necessary for the Correctional Service of Canada to use body scanners to interdict drugs and other contraband, something that has been a problem for many years. There are people who have had to endure strip searches and so on. Having the body scanners would make it better for both the correctional service folks as well as for inmates. This technology is both less invasive than methods such as strip searches and less prone to false positives than the ion scanners CSC currently relies on.
It would also replace the current system of administrative segregation with structured intervention units, or SIUs, as they are referred to. This new system would ensure that when inmates need to be separated from the rest of the prison population for safety reasons, they would retain access to rehabilitative programming, mental health care and other interventions, something that was not happening before.
The bill deals with serious and challenging issues, and it is to be expected that Canadians and members of Parliament will have differences of opinion about them. So far, however, the Conservative contributions to this debate have been incredibly disappointing. At times, the Conservatives have blatantly contradicted themselves. For instance, in his speech, the member for Yellowhead complained that the changes made by the bill to administrative segregation are insignificant and superficial. However, in the very same speech, the very same member said that those very same changes would endanger inmates and staff. Which is it? Do the Conservatives think the bill is insignificant, or do they think it is catastrophic? It cannot be both.
At other times, the Conservatives have simply chosen to ignore the facts. They have been complaining over and over again that the government has not allocated resources to implement the bill, when they know that is not the case. On page 103 of the fall economic statement, issued by the finance minister last November, there is $448 million allocated to support amendments to transform federal corrections, including the introduction of a new correctional interventions model to eliminate segregation.
Also in November, the government sent the public safety committee a written response that went into more detail about the funding.
That response says that if Bill C-83 is adopted, the government will invest $297 million over six years and $71 million ongoing to implement the structured intervention units. The funding will be dedicated to providing focused interventions, programs and social supports and will include access to resources such as program officers, aboriginal liaison officers, elders, chaplains and others. That is in a document that all members of the public safety committee have had for over three months.
The document goes on to say that the remaining amount from the fall economic statement, $150.3 million over six years and $74.3 million ongoing, is for mental health care. That includes assessment and early diagnosis of inmates at intake and throughout incarceration, enhancements to primary and acute mental health care, and support for patient advocacy and 24/7 health care at designated institutions.
Again, this is all from a document that the Conservatives also have had since the fall, so when they complain about a lack of resources, they are either being disingenuous or they just have not had time to read the report.
The Conservatives' contributions to this debate have also been characterized by an unfortunate amount of self-righteousness. They position themselves as champions of victims, but it was legislation passed by the Harper government in 2015 that prohibited victims who attend a parole hearing from accessing an audio recording of that same hearing. Their bill said that victims who want recordings have to stay away from the hearing itself.
Parole hearings are often difficult experiences for many victims of crime, full of emotion, and the law should not expect them to retain every word of the proceedings at a time when they are immensely frightened and nervous and in an unfamiliar environment. The legislation before us today would finally let all victims access those recordings, whether they attend in person or not.
The Conservatives also position themselves as champions of correctional employees. Let me remind the House what the national president of the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers said in 2014. Kevin Grabowsky was head of the union at that time, and he said, “We have to actively work to rid the Conservatives from power.” He said the Harper government was endangering correctional officers with changes to the labour code, cuts to rehabilitative programming and policies that resulted in overcrowding in federal prisons.
The main question raised at committee by both correctional officers and the Union of Safety and Justice Employees, which represents other CSC staff such as parole officers, was whether Bill C-83 would be accompanied by sufficient resources to implement it safely and effectively. As I have already made clear, the answer to that is a resounding yes.
Finally, the Conservatives' interventions in this debate have been reminiscent of the very worst of the Harper approach to the legislative process. They have been actually attacking the government for listening to stakeholder feedback and accepting some of those amendments. Under the Harper government, that kind of openness was unheard of, but I am proud to support a government that lets legislators legislate.
I thank all members who have engaged in a serious study of the bill and proposed thoughtful amendments, which is exactly what Canadians sent all of us here to do.
We have before us legislation that would make correctional institutions more effective and humane, accompanied by the resources needed to implement it safely. It is important that we move forward and pass the bill at this time.
View Ruth Ellen Brosseau Profile
NDP (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to take part in the debate on Bill C-86, a second act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures.
The bill has made it to report stage. This is a mammoth bill that is more than 851 pages long. It is truly a massive omnibus bill.
If we combine this bill with the 2008 budget, that makes more than 1,400 pages of legislative changes that all members of the House have to study.
We have said many times that bills like Bill C-86 should be split so that all members of the House have enough time to debate and study them. When bills are this big, it is easy to hide things in them.
In 2015, the Liberals promised to do things differently. When the Conservatives were in power, they had a habit of introducing mammoth omnibus bills. During the election campaign, the Liberals said they would be different and everyone could trust them. However, right after they were elected, back in 2015, they started introducing omnibus bills.
When a government drafts a budget, it makes choices and sets priorities. We are really very disappointed with Bill C-86. More and more, people are hoping the government will enact measures to change their lives for the better. As the NDP sees it, the Liberals have missed that opportunity.
As everyone knows, Canada is a rich country. The gap between Canada's richest people and the rest of the population has never been wider. We believe that that is utterly unacceptable in 2018. Two Canadian billionaires own as much as 11 million Canadians.
Oxfam released a report revealing that the eight richest men own the same wealth as half of humanity.
About 4 million Canadians, including 1.15 million children, live in homes that struggle to put food on the table. Last week, following our weekly caucus meeting, I was able to go back to my riding of Berthier—Maskinongé to attend a Noël du pauvre fundraising dinner in Yamachiche. Volunteers work throughout the year to raise money so that families and children get Christmas hampers.
I would like to recognize the work of organizing committee chair Pierrette Plante and honorary chair Father Julio César Duran. A total of 550 people attended this dinner, which raised nearly $16,000 to help local residents in need.
We are pleased to see that Bill C-86 contains poverty reduction targets. Unfortunately, those targets are not accompanied by appropriate measures or funding so that they can be met.
The Liberals have ideas and targets, but they are not making any new investments to meet those targets. There is a poverty crisis in Canada. People are living in hardship and misery. There are still people struggling to make ends meet at the end of the month.
The important thing in this bill is pay equity. Women have been waiting for pay equity for over 42 years. It is a promise that was made by the Liberals. However, once again, we are waiting. The Liberals like to consult, but what it really boils down to is that they are buying time. They are still consulting about pay equity, when we really need it today.
Another thing we were hoping to find in the bill was a federal measure to tax web giants, but the bill contains no such measure. We are also calling on the government to put an end to pension theft and to give Canada a national child care strategy.
I had my son when I was a teenager, and at the time, it cost me $55 a day to send him to daycare. I had to take out additional loans so I could continue my studies and send my son to daycare. We need a Canada-wide child care system to help families, especially single parents.
Furthermore, we want stronger action to address tax havens, and we also want EI sickness benefits to be extended from 15 weeks to 50. There is a good public awareness campaign on that topic. I will come back to that. We also want a universal pharmacare system.
In addition, we want the needs of indigenous communities to be met, particularly with regard to access to safe drinking water and funding for educational institutions in their communities, which receive less funding than other institutions in the country. Lastly, we want assistance for rural regions.
Regarding the duration of EI sickness benefits, which we want to be extended from 15 weeks to 50, it is important to highlight the work of Marie-Hélène Dubé, who launched a petition called “15 weeks to heal is not enough!”. Half a million Canadians signed that petition calling on the federal government to take action, but we have heard nothing but radio silence so far in response. It is very frustrating.
In 2016, the Prime Minister himself and the Minister of Social Development promised to take action and extend the benefit period. In 2014, the Prime Minister even voted in favour of Bill C-291, which would have extended EI sickness benefits from 15 weeks to 50.
The government needs to walk the talk. Sick people need time to take care of themselves. They do not have time to fight. That is why we continue to pressure the federal government to extend EI sickness benefits.
I represent the riding of Berthier—Maskinongé, which includes the RCMs of Maskinongé and Berthier, as well as three municipalities in the RCM of Matawinie. I travel quite a bit across my riding, and people stop me to talk about the importance of having a national connectivity strategy, which is something we do not currently have at the federal level.
Access to high-speed broadband Internet is vital to strengthening Canada's social and economic fabric. Some businesses really struggle with connectivity issues. I know a business owner in Maskinongé who pays two ISPs and never knows which of the two will work when he needs it. When one does not work, he tries the other.
We have long called for a national connectivity strategy. Although the government offers programs and money from time to time, this is not enough. We need a Canada-wide strategy to connect Canada and Quebec to the Internet.
I should point out that a cell network strategy is needed as well. In my riding of Berthier—Maskinongé, people from Saint-Mathieu-du-Parc to Saint-Édouard-de-Maskinongé tell me how important cell coverage is. The mayor of Saint-Édouard-de-Maskinongé, Réal Normandin, has spoken to me about this, because people in his village have a hard time getting cell reception. The community of Saint-Élie-de-Caxton, the hometown of Fred Pellerin, is in the same boat.
At a coffee meeting last week in Lavaltrie, Sylvie Legault and Gilles Auclair collected signatures for a petition about the 34 homes on the Point-du-Jour concession that have no Internet access and limited cell network access. Lavaltrie is not far from Montreal. These people are calling for a national Internet access and cell network strategy.
We had hoped to find all kinds of good things in Bill C-89, but the NDP will have to oppose this bill, since it does not do enough to address pay equality. Women have been fighting for far too long for the right to equal pay for equal work.
This bill also does not do enough to help rural areas get access to the Internet and the cell network. We also need to improve the pharmacare system. In short, there are many reasons why we will be voting against Bill C-86.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2018-11-26 16:36 [p.23934]
Mr. Speaker, basically, it looks like we are in agreement in a lot of areas.
The member mentioned that there were a lot of poor people in the country. As I mentioned in my speech in detail, we have contributed to virtually all of those groups. First, for the working poor, we have helped over two million people. We have increased the amount of money for low-income students. We have increased the GIS for low-income seniors, bringing thousands of them out of poverty. There is the new Canada child benefit, which brings thousands of children out of poverty.
I am delighted the member raised the boiled water advisories. I do not have the exact figures, but a record number have been dealt with, I think 60 out of 120. We are well on schedule to eliminate them all. It is very important, and I am glad it is important for the NDP.
Finally, on Internet for rural areas, there is a special program. As an example, in my area, the federal government is investing millions to put a line up the Dempster Highway to Inuvik. Therefore, we will have redundancy with our line from the south from Alberta as it goes down whenever someone breaks a line from Alberta. I am very appreciative of that. I appreciate the fact that the member supports those types of initiatives.
View Ruth Ellen Brosseau Profile
NDP (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I could have talked more than 10 minutes, because there are a lot of issues I would have liked to have brought forward on the floor of the House.
I mentioned the importance to act on ensuring we equalized and had better transfer payments to first nations schools. We hear stories, quite often brought up in caucus and in question period, of devastating circumstances, such as how the schools are filled with mould and people are getting sick. The government is not investing enough in building schools so kids feel safe and comfortable. It is completely ridiculous to think that in the 2018 there is such as injustice in the way kids are treated across Canada.
For the boiled water advisories, some people do not have running water. Parents are afraid to wash their kids because they might get sick. We have not seen a concrete plan and obviously the government has not invested enough.
These are human rights violations. These are important issues that the government talks a lot about, but when it comes to concrete action and money to back it up, it is far too little.
View Dan Ruimy Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Dan Ruimy Profile
2018-05-30 23:30 [p.19948]
Madam Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I rise in this House today to discuss Bill C-74, Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1.
It is no secret that with our 2018 budget, our government has committed to putting people first and ensuring equal opportunity and fairness for all Canadians. Part of that commitment means taking steps forward to advancing equality, especially for women. This is not only the right thing to do but also the smart thing to do, because we know that equality between Canadian women and men will lead to greater prosperity for all Canadians.
We are doing this through a number of initiatives, including introducing a new employment insurance parental sharing benefit to support more equal parenting roles, as well as other initiatives to support greater participation of women in the workforce. We will also be putting forward proactive pay equity legislation to ensure that women and men in the federally regulated public and private sectors receive equal pay for work of equal value. These are just some of the budget 2018 measures aimed at promoting greater gender equality in Canada.
It should also be noted that in the spirit of putting people first, we are also taking steps to improve how our government delivers its services to all Canadians. We understand that Canadians expect services to be high quality, accessible, secure, and digitally enabled.
When it comes to the services provided by Employment and Social Development Canada, more commonly known as ESDC, we strive to meet and exceed those expectations. Since taking office, our government has listened to Canadians and worked hard to ensure that they get the best services possible. These efforts are reflected in the investments made in each of our budgets, and this budget is no different.
Budget 2018 will enable ESDC to explore modern approaches to service delivery, beginning with employment insurance. This budget committed to providing stable and predictable funding of up to $90 million over three years, starting in 2018-19, for employment insurance claims processing and service delivery for all Canadians.
Building on earlier investments, we have proposed an additional $127.7 million over three years to sustain service capacity and improve accessibility to call centre agents so that Canadians can receive timely and accurate information and assistance with their El benefits. These services and channels are vital to Canadians, and it is of the utmost importance that we support a modern service delivery system that functions smoothly and works for all.
In budget 2018, we promised to make significant new investments to bolster federal government operations. We made this promise because want to ensure that all Canadians receive the services they need and deserve, especially people from more vulnerable populations. This includes doing more to better serve indigenous peoples in Canada. That is why we committed to providing funding to help more indigenous peoples access the full range of federal social benefits, including the Canada child benefit, the Canada pension plan, and old age security. We will be accomplish this by expanding outreach efforts to indigenous communities, and by conducting pilot outreach activities for urban indigenous communities.
We also know that Canadians rely on a broad range of supports in their communities. To make sure that people get the help they need, the Government of Canada provides funding to organizations across the country that deliver social services to Canadians. We are talking about services provided to vulnerable populations such as indigenous peoples, low-income Canadians, LGBTQ2 Canadians, newcomers, seniors, and persons with disabilities.
As announced in our latest budget, we will reallocate $7.8 million over five years to increase awareness and understanding of available funding, and help organizations that serve vulnerable populations build much needed capacity.
With Bill C-74, we are also making important amendments to the Department of Employment and Social Development Act that will improve how Service Canada serves Canadians. Each year, ESDC spends more than $122 billion on programs and services for Canadians. That includes employment insurance payments, the Canada pension plan, old age security, the guaranteed income supplement, and an additional $1.9 billion dollars in grants and contributions.
Service Canada is an important partner in this work. Currently, the Department of Employment and Social Development Act provides Service Canada with the authority to deliver only ESDC programs and services. It does not provide for Service Canada to deliver other federal government programs and services or for delivery partnerships. Simply put, it just does not make sense.
We want to make sure that Canadians can benefit from a service delivery model that is better integrated so that they can more easily access the full range of federal services available to them. We can accomplish this by allowing other departments to use the Service Canada network.
Right now, for this to happen, the government must provide authority on a case-by-case basis. This approach hinders ESDC's ability to carry out its current service delivery responsibilities and to respond to evolving partnership opportunities. The changes we are proposing in Bill C-74 will fix this. The bill proposes to give Service Canada the authority to provide services to the public on behalf of partners, including federal government institutions and other levels of government. Specifically, Bill C-74 proposes to clarify accountability between ESDC and service partners related to the management of Canadians' personal information.
The bill would also allow ESDC and service partners to recognize and use the Canada Revenue Agency's business number to manage business identity and allow ESDC to recover costs from and spend revenues on behalf of service delivery partners. For Canadians and Canadian businesses, this will mean better and more convenient access to the services they need.
The proposed amendments we are seeking through Bill C-74 would broaden the minister's mandate to provide service delivery for partners and help deliver better services to Canadians, including online services. With these changes, ESDC will be able to partner with federal institutions, provinces, territories, municipalities, and specified indigenous organizations without holding up the services that Canadians need and deserve.
I encourage all members of the House to support Bill C-74 and the much-needed amendments to the Department of Employment and Social Development Act. Let us continue to ensure that Canadians receive the kind of services they deserve: high-quality, accessible, secure, and digitally enabled.
View Kelly McCauley Profile
CPC (AB)
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 William Amos Profile
Lib. (QC)
View William Amos Profile
2017-11-21 17:31 [p.15399]
Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to speak on Bill C-45, because so many Canadians are talking about it right now. If one goes to a school in the Pontiac, and I have visited several, or to a municipal council to talk about what the federal government is doing that is new, much of the same thing is heard, which is that Canadians are interested and concerned. More than anything, they are open-minded about finding the right path on this issue of marijuana and cannabis legalization. Why? Simply put, it is because they know that what has been done in the past has not worked. At the end of the day, Canadians expect the government to not simply stick its head in the sand but to react to evidence and the problems of everyday communities, where we see rates of the consumption of cannabis by our youth that really concerns them.
It is very important that we are taking this opportunity today to debate this bill and to consider what our communities are saying. I would like to report a bit on what I have heard and speak about why I am hearing support from my constituents in the Pontiac for this bill.
Number one, there is an appreciation that a public health approach is being brought on this matter. At the end of the day, slapping criminal sanctions on individual Canadians for engaging in the consumption of cannabis is an approach that has not worked. It has landed a lot of people in jail, and in particular, it has landed a lot of indigenous Canadians in jail. That is a major concern for constituents in the riding of Pontiac.
It has allowed criminals, organized crime, to take advantage of a market and sell products in an uncontrolled fashion to the most vulnerable in our community. That is simply not acceptable. We need to do better.
I was playing ping pong the other day in a high school in Fort-Coulonge, and I was thinking about how great it was that we were able to play a sport in a school and have fun. I knew that just down hall, at some other point in the day, there would be an opportunity for a kid to buy marijuana. Why? It is because the market is uncontrolled. The market is unregulated, and it is being run by criminals. We can no longer hide, and we can no longer fail Canadians on this important issue.
Our youth deserve protection. It should not be easier to buy marijuana than it is to buy a pack of cigarettes or a six-pack of beer. It should not be that way.
I am proud of our government for acting and for all the consultation it has done. It has consulted with law enforcement, with health experts, and with safety experts, road safety experts in particular. There was a Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation, and pursuant to its advice, this legislation was developed. This was not done in a hurry. It was done after careful consideration.
I am so pleased that caucus members, in particular the parliamentary secretary to the minister of health at the time, came to visit the Pontiac to discuss the concerns of our community. If we are going to get to a place where we legalize but strictly regulate and restrict access to cannabis, we need to do so in a manner that has the full confidence of Canadians.
I appreciate that it is the opposition's job to oppose and to raise issues it is hearing from constituents as well, and that is a good thing. However, this issue of cannabis legalization and strict regulation and control has to be done with a view to the public interest.
I do believe there is a strong consensus emerging in Canada that we can get there by learning from the mistakes and successes internationally, and that we can create a new framework that will ultimately protect our kids, clean up our streets, and get us to a healthier country because, at the end of the day, that is what we all want. We want safer communities, healthier Canadians, and protected kids. It is comforting to many of my Pontiac constituents.
I will admit quite frankly that many seniors in my riding have expressed concerns about whether this will just open the floodgates. The response is no, not at all. In fact, this bill, complete with the investments our government is making, which I will speak to in a moment, is the single best way to tighten the societal measures that will restrict access. When I tell constituents that this bill would make it a specific criminal offence to sell cannabis to a minor and establish significant penalties for those who engage young Canadians in cannabis-related activities, whether consumption or distribution, etc., they understand that this is not a free-for-all. It is absolutely not about that. It is about protecting our communities in a smarter and better way.
I would like to take a moment to talk about investments in public education and law enforcement. This is not just a law that our government is presenting; it is a whole investment program that will ensure that these protections and regulations are put in place. For example, our government promised to invest $46 million over five years in public education, awareness, and surveillance. These additional resources would allow the government to undertake a robust public awareness campaign so that Canadians, especially our children, are well informed about the dangers of driving under the influence of cannabis and other drugs.
The people in our ridings are well aware that, for a long time, young people across Canada have been making the poor decision to smoke, rather than drink, before getting behind the wheel because they think that it is somehow more acceptable or that they will not be caught. We all know that this is not true, but we need an awareness campaign, and our law enforcement officers need to be given the resources they need. We are making sure that happens. We have committed up to $161 million to train front-line officers to recognize the signs and symptoms of drug-impaired driving, build law enforcement capacity across the country, provide access to drug-screening devices, develop policy, bolster research, and raise public awareness of the dangers of drug-impaired driving.
This is a serious set of legislative measures and investments. What we are really doing is investing in the future of a smarter Canada, which does not stick its head in the sand, does not say there is no health issue, and does not ignore the fact that youth consumption of cannabis products is at unacceptable rates, but does accept that we can do better if we look at the evidence, go into it with our eyes open, and tell ourselves yes, we can do better.
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