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Results: 1921 - 1935 of 1935
View James Bezan Profile
CPC (MB)
Mr. Chair, we know that 190 troops have been deployed, helping with medical and security screening. We know that there are upwards of 6,000 to 7,000 refugees that could potentially be housed on bases across Canada, predominantly in Ontario and Quebec. There are costs to having refugees on these bases. Is this going to come out of operational budgets, and will this distract from the training, readiness, and capabilities of the Canadian Armed Forces on base?
View James Bezan Profile
CPC (MB)
Mr. Chair, we already know they are making accommodations for up to 6,000 to 7,000 refugees on base. There were orders to leave quarters given to members of the Canadian Armed Forces, many of them cadets in training. These are people who are trying to advance their careers, who are actually trying to move up the rank system. There has been disruption to those career paths for those professionals in the Canadian Armed Forces.
More importantly, we know that there have been tenders. I do not know if they followed Treasury Board guidelines or not, but there have been contracts issued to allow the winterization of cadet barracks. These are summer barracks that are used in places like CFB Borden and down in Trenton. Therefore, we need to know where those dollars are coming from. It is my understanding that they are coming out of the operational budgets of each individual base. These monies are very scarce and well used for the overall operational activities of the Canadian Armed Forces. Why does the government not have those dollars in these estimates?
View James Bezan Profile
CPC (MB)
Mr. Chair, we know there were orders given to all bases to be ready. Orders were handed out, and in some bases upwards of 400 people were forced to leave quarters. Now the member is saying that they may not be able to use all that space, that it might not be needed at all, according to the Minister of Immigration.
Again, is there a plan? What exactly is going on here? Did it change?
View James Bezan Profile
CPC (MB)
Mr. Chair, I guess there are changes we are dealing with. When we look back to during the election, the Liberals were talking about 25,000 by December 31. Here we are in the first part of December and we still have not seen the plane loads arrive.
How many Syrian refugees arrived between November 4 and today? How many more are expected from here on in? Is that why the plan has changed? How is that impacting the readiness of the Canadian Armed Forces bases?
View James Bezan Profile
CPC (MB)
Mr. Chair, the question is how many of those applications and those refugees who are arriving right now were actually processed before October 19? Also, let us ensure we do this right so we do not need to use any of the CF bases unless it absolutely is a last resort.
View James Bezan Profile
CPC (MB)
Mr. Chair, I would like to ask the minister to commit to using Canadian Forces bases for housing only as a last resort when there is no option available in communities. We all know about the security needs, and the needs of our own troops.
When refugees are being housed on base, who is paying for their lodging, transportation, food, and accommodation? Where will they be getting their medical attention? Will it be from CF base doctors? I am including those suffering from PTSD.
View Robert Sopuck Profile
CPC (MB)
Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the illustrious member for Langley—Aldergrove.
I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak to the Liberal government's first Speech from the Throne. This is my first time rising in this new Parliament as the member for the newly configured riding of Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa. I am also the official opposition critic for wildlife conservation and Parks Canada.
First, I would like to thank the voters of Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa for placing their trust in me yet again, and to take a moment to congratulate my fellow members of Parliament, both new and re-elected, on their victories in the last federal election.
As the official opposition, Canadians expect us to hold the government to account and ensure that we present an alternative vision to the Liberals' agenda. That is why much of what I heard in Friday's throne speech concerned me greatly.
First, there was no mention about how to create a climate for investment and economic growth. I expected this, since the Liberals and their fellow travellers on the left, the NDP, focus on spending as much money as they can while never advancing or promoting policies that will actually create wealth.
I would remind them that a focus on creating wealth is a necessary prerequisite to spending. However, I hold little hope in this regard. Deficits will balloon under the government, while investment will wither on the vine as businesses and wealth creators are increasingly punished for creating jobs. The new payroll tax, in the guise of a changed CPP, is a perfect example.
Second, as a member of Parliament for a large agricultural and natural resources-based constituency, I was amazed and very disappointed by the complete lack of any reference in the throne speech to agriculture and rural Canada. Agriculture generates over $100 billion for the Canadian economy, and Canada's natural resources industries, largely based in rural Canada, are the backbone of the Canadian economy. Well, that is until the Liberals finish off the natural resources sector with punitive taxation and a regulatory regime designed to endlessly delay any new natural resource development anywhere in Canada.
In fact, rural communities appear to have been largely forgotten. The Liberals have made specific promises regarding public transit, for example. Of course, public transit is important in large urban centres, but it is largely non-existent in my riding.
How do the Liberals plan on compensating our communities? We do not have public transit where I live and where I represent, but we do have infrastructure needs. Will the Liberals match the investments in urban transit with rural infrastructure projects?
The Canadian natural resources sector is suffering, as are those natural resource-dependent communities in rural Canada. Crude oil is below $40. With the proposed carbon tax and onerous regulatory regime layered on top of low prices, it is clear that the Liberals and their fellow travellers in the NDP have basically declared war on Canada's energy sector and our natural resources industries.
I find this appalling because when it comes right down to it, the energy business is basically a people business. Let me explain. Canada's natural resources sector employs over $1.8 million Canadians, and the energy sector supports about 300,000 jobs alone. In the winter of 2009-10, like many of my constituents, I worked in the Alberta oil sands conducting environmental monitoring. In that capacity, I met Canadians from every province who were supporting themselves and their families by working in the oil sands. I met senior couples saving for a dignified retirement, young people saving for their first home, and moms and dads putting away money for their children's education.
Apart from the fact that Canada's oil sands operate under a strict regime of environmental compliance and real excellence, it is the people and employees, supported by the oil sands, who are the real driving force behind this vital industry. It is Canadians from all across Canada who will be affected by the Liberals deliberate strategy to shrink the oil sands.
How much of the expected $570 billion that was earmarked for new investments will now not be spent? How many manufacturers in Ontario and Quebec will not get equipment orders? How many vehicles will not be purchased by energy workers? How many homes will stay unsold? How many people from high unemployment areas who formerly commuted to the oil sands will now be forced to stay home collecting employment insurance? How many vital public services will now be starved for funds?
I had the honour in the last Parliament to be a member of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, and the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans. Both fit well with my experience as a fisheries biologist and my careers in natural resources and conservation. In those capacities, I have developed a singular focus on the delivery of real and measurable environmental results for every public dollar spent.
That was the policy of our government, and I am very proud of our record in delivering real and measurable environmental results from our programs.
Under our watch, most measurable environmental indicators showed marked improvements. Sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions declined. On our watch, the UN, in 2010, declared that Canada ranked number two in terms of the quality of our water when compared with other industrialized nations.
Our government set aside an area for national parks that is twice the size of the province of New Brunswick. We cleaned up hundreds of contaminated sites, introduced major fisheries habitat conservation programs, improved wetland conservation, and initiated major work to improve water quality in Lake Winnipeg and the Great Lakes.
I would point out to the House that within their first month in office, the Liberals have made eight funding announcements, costing Canadians almost $2.85 billion. None of that money is going to be spent in Canada, and none of those funds were approved by Parliament or even announced when Parliament was sitting. Most will be spent on international climate change projects.
The question I keep asking, both with this $2.85 billion as well as with other points in my speech, is what do Canadians get for these funds? Government spending is all about priorities, and pressing environmental investments need to be made right here in Canada. For example, Lake Erie is being seriously affected by nutrient inputs, primarily from the United States. In fact, all of the Great Lakes, where 40% of Canadians live by the way, are experiencing eutrophication from an ever-increasing number of non-point sources.
These are the kinds of environmental issues that Canadians expect governments to work on, yet the Liberal government's priority is to send almost 400 delegates to Paris, more than the U.S., Britain, and Australia combined. Generating real and measurable environmental results is what Canadians expect but will certainly not get from the Liberal government.
By the way, it was truly astonishing that the first act by our new Minister of Environment and Climate Change was to allow Montreal to dump eight billion litres of raw sewage into the St. Lawrence, one of Canada's most iconic waterways. This was in direct violation of section 36 of the Fisheries Act. So much for the Liberals' vaunted concern for the environment.
In the throne speech, the Liberal government promised to introduce a carbon tax, thus increasing cost to industry, further depressing energy investments, and increasing direct energy costs to Canadians. There are two groups of Canadians who will be directly affected by this carbon tax, namely low-income and rural Canadians, the kind of people I represent. If it were not so serious, I would find it laughable that the Liberals claim to care so much about low-income Canadians. They are doing their best to put at risk the incomes of poor people and those who live in remote rural regions.
I would note that both low-income people and rural people spend a higher proportion of their incomes on energy than other Canadians. It is my expectation that any carbon pricing be revenue neutral and have a mechanism to offset the negative impacts of such a tax on low-income and rural people.
Furthermore, it is obvious that the federal Liberal government wants to take us down the same energy path as its friends in Ontario. How is that working out? Ontario's Auditor General, Bonnie Lysyk, recently valuated the Ontario Liberal's vaunted green energy strategy. She noted that Ontario electricity ratepayers have had to pay billions for these decisions. Between 2006 and 2014, this cost consumers an additional $37 billion in Ontario, and will cost ratepayers another $133 billion by 2032.
In the Toronto Star recently, of all places, there was an article by Thomas Walkom entitled “Ontario's green energy botch-up a lesson for those fighting climate change”. This article talked about Ontario's approach of massively subsidizing the production of electricity from solar and wind and biomass, resulting in a massive overproduction of power from Ontario that has to literally pay other jurisdictions to take its power. Interestingly, Ontario's annual average energy surplus between 2009 and 2014 was equal to the total power generation of my province of Manitoba, one of the major hydro producers in this country.
Furthermore, by dumping excess power on the market, Ontario has depressed energy prices for all producers. As Walkom notes, “Canadians are willing to pay a price now to save the future. But these same Canadians will rebel if they believe the governments inducing them to pay carbon taxes are incompetent, venal or both”. What we see in Ontario is the likely outcome of the energy policies of the federal government.
I would like a quick word on the firearm's issue. I was chair of the Conservative hunting and angling caucus, and my critic portfolio includes protecting the rights of law-abiding firearms owners. The Liberals have declared their intention to attack law-abiding firearms owners once again. The Liberals are soft on crime and tough on law-abiding firearms owners. Talk about reverting to type. Again, we see them wanting to repeal Bill C-42, the Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act, which ensured public safety was protected while at the same time protecting the rights of law-abiding firearms owners.
In conclusion, I have stressed just a few of the questions that Canadians have been raising in regard to the Liberal agenda.
View Robert Sopuck Profile
CPC (MB)
Mr. Speaker, I read the throne speech word for word, which was not difficult to do because, basically, there was nothing in it.
What is critical is to create a climate for investment. To want to give gumdrops to everyone is fine. That is a nice aspirational goal, and that is the kind of goal that is in the throne speech.
We need real and concrete policy, programs, and outcomes that will create a climate for investment in this country so that entrepreneurs, business people, and those people with good ideas can continue to grow the economy and help our middle class out.
What I heard from the Liberals was nothing but fluff. Their programs will do nothing to grow the economy and create the wealth this country needs to provide vital public services.
View Robert Sopuck Profile
CPC (MB)
Mr. Speaker, I served on the fisheries committee with my hon. colleague from time to time. I certainly enjoyed our interactions and his intelligent questions.
Too often, when people talk about the environment, no one mentions any numbers. Environment should be less about emotion and more about math. On our watch, greenhouse gas emissions declined, ambient levels of sulphur dioxide declined on average by 4.8% per year, and nitrogen dioxide levels declined by 2.9% per year.
As well, in terms of the Fisheries Act, the changes we made were common-sense changes to protect rural communities and at the same time protect fish stocks. I would make the point that, up to 2009, the end of the period on which the Cohen commission based its report, there was definitely a crisis in sockeye salmon stocks. However, on our watch, the 2010 sockeye salmon run was a record in history, and the 2014 sockeye salmon run was even larger. The changes we made to the Fisheries Act actually worked, and the proof is in the pudding—by and large, fish stocks in this country are doing extremely well.
View Ted Falk Profile
CPC (MB)
View Ted Falk Profile
2015-12-08 15:41 [p.136]
Madam Speaker, I, too, congratulate you on your new position. I can hardly believe that you are old enough to have grandchildren.
I would like to advise you that I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable.
I would like to begin by saying that it is an honour to stand in the House today to speak on behalf of the people of Provencher. I want to thank my constituents for their renewed faith in me and for voting me in to serve their interests here in Ottawa for a second term. I look forward to working with my colleagues in an environment of collaboration, in sunnier ways, while at the same time holding the government to account as the opposition. As the official opposition, it is clear that we have a lot of work to do, and I am confident that we are going to live up to that challenge.
I would like to take this time to also thank my wife, Irene, who was with me on the campaign trail. She tirelessly knocked on many doors with me and was at my side for the entire time during the campaign. I thank her for that, as well as the rest of my family.
I also want to take this time to address the many promises made to Canadians this past Friday during the Speech from the Throne. The Liberal Speech from the Throne was long on platitudes and very short on details. I am troubled by the long list of spending commitments that the Liberals have indicated that Canadians can soon expect, while simultaneously neglecting to describe how these promises will be paid for.
We know that it is easy to make commitments. What is the cost? Who is going to pay? These are all lofty promises.
I fear that when we choose to run large deficits, far too often the costs fall onto future generations. The costs fall on the backs of our children and grandchildren. I, along with many of the constituents I have spoken to, am not comfortable with the promises that come with that kind of price. I want Canadians to have resources, programs, and benefits that we can collectively afford, and I want to set future generations, my seven grandchildren, their children, and their grandchildren up for success.
The government has the capacity to provide great programs and benefits to Canadians, but it involves careful, long-term planning, sound budgeting, and fiscal responsibility. I cannot say that I am very surprised that one promise that the Liberals will not even be close to keeping is the $10 billion annual cap on deficits. They are introducing a tax cut that actually costs people money. The deficit is now up to $14 billion and counting. This is taxpayers' money that has been committed by the Prime Minister in just over a month in his position. It includes large sums of taxpayers' money and funding to many international projects, without any parliamentary debate or review.
If that is what we can expect in one month, I do not even want to imagine where Canada will be in four years. It is truly unsettling to watch years of careful financial planning, which brought our Canada into a sound and secure financial place during challenging economic times, including a global economic downturn, being unravelled in so little time.
With the Liberals' sights set on spending, they also do damage by not addressing as priorities in the throne speech the prominent pillars of our economy. Again, the Liberals are long on platitudes and short on details.
Coming from a large rural riding with a strong and vibrant agriculture community, I can say that rural Canadians were left with questions following Friday's throne speech. In fact, farmers were left out in the cold and, apparently, not even deserving of a platitude. Not once were our farmers or agriculture sector mentioned. It is a sector that accounts for more than $100 billion in economic activity each and every year and employs more than two million Canadians.
The Prime Minister has stated to the world that Canada is back. What are we back to? Are we back to thinking that the issues and interests of rural and western Canada can be ignored? I hope not.
Farmers are the backbone of this country. Farmers work long days in physically demanding environments so that Canadians can eat and remain nourished. This cannot be emphasized enough. While it seems as though Canada's farming and agriculture sectors were passed over as a priority for the Liberal government, I can assure the House that the Conservative Party will be here to work for and represent the interests of Canadian farmers.
Farmers were not the only ones left out of the government's priorities. There was no mention of Canada's private sector or of its industries. Conservatives have long looked at ways to bolster this part of the economy, knowing full well that it is essential for job creation and a thriving economy.
Is Canada back, back to the old way of thinking that big government knows what is best when it comes to creating jobs and prosperity? It concerns me when a government speaks of growing the economy but neglects to acknowledge or make plans for its key supporters and sectors.
Where was the mention of Canada's small businesses and entrepreneurs? They are critical to the health of the Canadian economy. Small businesses represent 99% of all business in the country and employ half of all Canadians in the private sector, and yet they were not even brought up. The government needs to keep taxes low for these businesses, enable access to finance, ensure entrepreneurs have the tools and the resources that they need. Small businesses are vital to Canada's economy, and the Liberal government needs to invest in policies that help them to grow and succeed.
It is easy to promise job creation and a robust economy, but without a plan or consideration of key players, they are empty words and broken promises.
I am also concerned about a government that continually repeats its commitment to families but is seemingly unconcerned with the rights of families to decide what is best for them. Cancelling income splitting for couples, as promised by the Liberals, will hurt the middle class. It will punish the many families that I know have made a decision to have a full-time stay-at-home parent, and it will hurt families that have a low-income earner.
Is Canada back, back to believing that government is better at raising a family than mom and dad? I hope not. It wants to take away the universal child care benefit and introduce a middle-class tax cut. This cut will cost Canadians money.
Conservatives know that families are better off when families make their own decisions about what is best for their household. Cancelling income splitting for families will limit options for households that need it the most. Conservatives will continue to stand by families and advocate for fairness and choice.
I am not the first person nor will I be the last to rise in this House with concerns about the acts of terrorism occurring around the world. These violent and horrendous acts appear to be occurring more frequently. The Prime Minister, in the wake of the terrorist attacks in France, offered all of Canada's support, again simply more platitudes.
While our allies come together to address these real threats straight on, the Liberals are offering real change and Canada is simultaneously working to withdraw its fighter jets. Sadly Canada is back, way back when it comes to supporting our allies, when it comes to doing the right thing. My default, my preference would be to negotiate a peaceful solution. However, when this is not possible, we must do the right thing. We must stand with our allies. The fight against ISIS continues. The threat of terrorism is very real, and yet it seems the government would rather turn a blind eye. There was no mention of this in Friday's throne speech. I find it disconcerting that the government is more focused on the legalization and regulation of marijuana than it is with the growing threat of terrorism around the globe.
To conclude, I believe there are occasions when it is necessary to run deficits, but I am not convinced this is one of those times. After years of careful financial planning, Conservatives promised and successfully delivered a surplus. The Liberals, on the other hand, made lofty promises when they campaigned to curry favour with voters and are now willing to put the economy into jeopardy to immediately put forward those plans.
These commitments, as evidenced in the Speech from the Throne, lack important details, key players, and long-term vision. I want to remind Canadians that all these promises come at a cost. Deficits put additional burdens on future generations. Our Prime Minister continues to tell us he plans to increase the tax on the top 1% of Canadians. This will only begin to offset the cost of expensive promises already made.
How do the Liberals intend to pay for their spending spree? Is Canada back, back to tackling huge deficits by slashing health care and social transfers to the provinces?
Conservatives are a party for the Canadian taxpayer not a party of platitudes. We will continue on behalf of all Canadians to push the Liberals for details as to how they plan to finance all their lofty promises.
View Ted Falk Profile
CPC (MB)
View Ted Falk Profile
2015-12-08 15:52 [p.138]
Madam Speaker, I too want to offer my congratulations to the member on his election to this honourable House. I am looking forward to the contribution he will make to his constituents, and of course all Canadians.
In answer to his question, the Conservative government had the longest and largest infrastructure spending in Canadian history. During the Conservatives' tenure, we also increased transfer payments to the provinces every single year. We invested heavily in infrastructure that is critical for small businesses. We also invested in trade, and in training the workforce to adequately meet the demands of a growing economy. The Conservative government focused on the things that are important to small business, that are important to keeping our economy moving, and on infrastructure.
View Ted Falk Profile
CPC (MB)
View Ted Falk Profile
2015-12-08 15:55 [p.138]
Madam Speaker, I want to congratulate the member from Vancouver on her election to the House as well. I wish her well as she serves her constituents.
The Conservative government was the only government in Canadian history to actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It has a very strong record when it comes to looking after the economy. The climate talks in Paris will come up with new and interesting ideas. I hope the representatives from the Liberal government are very careful as to the commitments they make there. The Conservative government was always very careful to make sure it balanced concerns about the environment with the economy, and Conservatives will continue to advocate for those kinds of results.
View Ted Falk Profile
CPC (MB)
View Ted Falk Profile
2015-12-08 15:56 [p.138]
Madam Speaker, that is an excellent question from my colleague, which requires a lengthy answer.
My guess is that with the legalization of marijuana, the new government is going to hope that everybody is living in such euphoria here that nobody will notice the extra burden.
View James Bezan Profile
CPC (MB)
Mr. Speaker, in the Speech from the Throne the Liberal government told Canadians it wants a leaner military, and we all know leaner is just a code word for cuts.
Last spring the parliamentary budget officer acknowledged in his report on national defence spending “the most significant...cuts...occurred from 1995 to 2004”. That was under the previous Liberal government. Are we going back to the future?
Could the Minister of National Defence tell us what he is going to be cutting to make—
View James Bezan Profile
CPC (MB)
Mr. Speaker, the throne speech was 1,700 words and not one of those words was “ISIS”. In the past few days, we have watched the leaders of France, the United Kingdom, and the United States announce that they are stepping up in the fight against ISIS. Back here, the Liberal government is stepping back. Canada is back all right, way back behind our allies in the fight against ISIS.
Why will the Prime Minister not stand shoulder to shoulder with our allies in the fight against ISIS?
Results: 1921 - 1935 of 1935 | Page: 129 of 129

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