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Results: 1 - 15 of 32
View Churence Rogers Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 32nd report of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, entitled “Establishing a Canadian Transportation and Logistics Strategy: Part 2”.
Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.
I want to thank the members of the transport committee for working with the people in eastern Canada, particularly in my province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and discussing and dealing with issues in regard to trade corridors and transportation infrastructure. I want to thank the witnesses who appeared and gave good advice and recommendations to our committee to inform us in preparation of this report.
View Churence Rogers Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, my constituents understand the important duty of the Canadian Coast Guard to keep our oceans and waterways healthy and safe. This year's winter was particularly harsh in Newfoundland and Labrador. We know the Canadian Coast Guard plays a crucial role in keeping our goods moving with its icebreakers. After a decade of cuts by the Harper Conservatives, our government is taking action.
Can the Prime Minister update this House on what our government has done to ensure the Canadian Coast Guard has all the tools it needs to carry out its important work?
View Churence Rogers Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, plastic pollution is a global challenge that requires immediate action. Plastic waste ends up in our landfills and incinerators, litters our parks and beaches, and pollutes our rivers, lakes and oceans, entangling and killing turtles, fish and marine mammals.
Right now, less than 10% of plastic used in Canada gets recycled. We have reached a defining moment, and this is a problem we simply cannot afford to ignore.
Unlike the Conservatives, who have no plan for the environment, our government knows that we need to take action on this issue to protect our oceans, wildlife and planet.
Could the parliamentary secretary please update the House on the—
View Churence Rogers Profile
Lib. (NL)
Madam Speaker, it is my great pleasure to take part in this debate on Motion No. 203. In fact this motion, which was tabled by the hon. member for Richmond Centre, is directly in line with our government's current priorities relating to seniors.
Like all Canadians, the federal government is committed to ensuring the health and well-being of Canadian seniors. The very fact that the Prime Minister appointed a Minister of Seniors last year is a very good example of this commitment. I would even add that it is our duty as parliamentarians and as citizens to support seniors. Rest assured that we are committed to ensuring that Canadian seniors and future retirees have greater security and a better quality of life.
In fact, the government has implemented several measures over the last three years to ensure the financial security of seniors. First, we have restored the age of eligibility for the old age security pension and the guaranteed income supplement from 67 years to 65 years. This measure alone prevented approximately 100,000 seniors from falling into poverty.
There is also the fact that we increased the guaranteed income supplement by $947 per year for low-income seniors who live alone. For some people, $947 per year does not seem like a lot, but for seniors who are living at or below the poverty line, this money can make all the difference covering the cost of their rent, groceries or any other basic needs. This increase in the guaranteed income supplement helped nearly 900,000 low-income seniors improve their financial situations.
We have also worked closely with the provinces to improve the Canada Pension Plan. To ensure seniors have a financially comfortable retirement, we have diversified and simplified our methods, particularly online, to give seniors several ways to access their benefits. For example, seniors will soon be able to submit a single application to have access to both their old age security benefits and their guaranteed income supplement.
Budget 2019 proposes to support low-income Canadian seniors who choose to stay in the labour market and to support seniors' participation and inclusion in their communities. In fact, in budget 2019 the government is proposing a series of measures that aim to improve the quality of life for Canadian seniors.
For example, the budget suggests passing new legislation that would considerably improve the guaranteed income supplement earnings exemption as of July 2020.
This legislation would extend eligibility for the earnings exemption to income from self-employed work and would give a total or partial exemption to annual employment and self-employment income of up to $15,000.
Budget 2019 also proposes legislative changes that aim to proactively register contributors to the Canada pension plan who will be 70 years of age or older in 2020 but who have not yet applied to receive their retirement benefits.
Another interesting proposal in this budget is the increase in funding for the new horizons for seniors program that addresses issues such as elder abuse, which would include financial abuse. The result would be an additional $100 million over five years and $20 million per year ongoing to support projects that improve quality of life for seniors and promote their full participation in society.
What is more, the government is committed to protecting Canadians' pensions. As a result, budget 2019 proposes legislative changes to to the Companies' Creditors Arrangements Act, the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, the Canada Business Corporations Act and the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985. These changes would help better protect pension plans offered by employers in the event that a company becomes insolvent.
We are also proposing to provide $12.5 million over 10 years to the Global Risk Institute so it can continue its work on developing new approaches in financial risk management. The budget also proposes to provide $150,000 over three years to the institute's National Pension Hub to support pension research on improving the retirement savings results for Canadians and the development of solutions to challenges related to pensions.
What is more, budget 2019 proposes to invest $35 million in 2019 and 2020 so that the assisted living program continues to meet the needs of seniors and people with disabilities who are living on a reserve.
In addition, the recent budget proposes to develop new legislation that will require the federal government to maintain a national housing strategy that prioritizes housing for the most vulnerable people, including our seniors.
Finally, in this budget we are confirming our commitment to moving forward with a bill to reduce poverty.
In conclusion, the government supports Motion No. 203, which firmly condemns fraudulent activity against seniors.
Let me be clear: Any type of violence toward seniors must be denounced and fought wherever it exists—not only physical or psychological violence, but also the insidious violence that is the financial abuse of seniors.
Of course, scammers have victims in every segment of the population, without discrimination. However, when they target seniors, especially the most vulnerable seniors, this becomes particularly despicable and completely inexcusable.
View Churence Rogers Profile
Lib. (NL)
Madam Speaker, I would like to inform you that I will be splitting my time with the member for St. Catharines.
Today we are talking about Bill C-55, a bill that would amend the Oceans Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act.
Bill C-55 is an important element of our marine conservation agenda. While the proposed amendments provide another tool for us to meet our international commitment to increase the protection of Canada's marine and coastal areas to 10% by 2020, our government's objective, first and foremost, is to protect sensitive and important marine and coastal areas for the benefit of present and future generations of Canadians.
Decades of experience in establishing marine protected areas has shown us that too many delays occur during the establishment process. Through this experience, we have learned there are circumstances where greater harm to sensitive marine areas can occur during the time it takes to establish a marine protected area, sometimes up to 10 years.
The interim protections proposed under Bill C-55 address this gap in conserving our marine biodiversity and will give us the option to establish interim protection where initial science and consultation tells us we need to afford the area extra precaution.
While I thank the other place for the attention paid to the bill, the new amendments would negatively impact the government's ability to apply the precautionary principle and could put sensitive and important ecosystems at risk.
While we are rejecting the amendment from the other place, we are proposing to replace it with an amendment that would capture the intent of the changes sought by members of the other place. Indeed, we understand the concern that was shared by various senators regarding the consultations and ensuring the communities would not be negatively impacted by interim protection orders. We agree that consultations are important. In fact, they are the cornerstone of the development of marine protected areas.
That is why we are proposing an amendment that would require the geographical location, relevant information, as well as consultations that were undertaken, to be published when an order for interim protection is made. This proposed amendment will ensure that communities get the information they need and that we undertake the comprehensive consultations that are outlined in existing legislation in the designation of interim protection. It will allow us to continue to apply the precautionary approach, which underpins the objectives of this bill.
Most of the discussions held during the Senate review of Bill C-55 focused on transparency and consultations. I would like to provide an example of how the Government of Canada is demonstrating its commitment to work with many of its valued partners in an open and collaborative manner.
This government has been working steadily to build a partnership with the Government of Nunavut and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association to advance protection of Canada's High Arctic marine environment. As well, we have been engaging directly with northern communities and conducting scientific studies to better understand this ecosystem and its linkages to food security for indigenous peoples.
This area is of particular ecological importance as it maintains a relatively constant cover of old, thick and multi-year pack ice. As the ice melts in the rest of the Arctic, this area is expected to retain its multi-year pack ice further into the future and may therefore provide a last refuge for ice-dependent species, such as polar bears, beluga whales, narwhals and seals. Sea ice also provides habitat for the algae that forms a vital part of the Arctic food web. This area is also home to the last remaining ice shelves in North America.
This ongoing collaboration has led to a memorandum of understanding with the Government of Nunavut and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, committing us to assess the feasibility and desirability of protecting the High Arctic Basin. This work will consider the social, cultural, environmental and economic benefits and impacts of establishing a conservation area in this region.
This conservation effort supports the development of a conservation economy in the Arctic and our budget 2019 affirms this commitment to protect the High Arctic Basin with our partners.
The ability to provide early interim protection to the High Arctic Basin depends on royal assent of Bill C-55 in a manner that does not contradict the fundamental spirit and intent of the bill; that is to take action quickly to protect ecologically sensitive and important marine areas following initial science and consultation.
In a recent letter, the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, which represents over 15,000 Inuit, expressed serious concerns about the amendments provided by the other place. In the letter, the president, PJ Akeeagok, states:
We are concerned that this proposed amendment risks undermining the actualization of Inuit rights by conflating the requirement to uphold the rights of Inuit with a broader engagement with the interests of stakeholders. The current version of Bill C-55, sets out the appropriate hierarchy. Interim measures allow parties the opportunity to commit to determining the final details required to establish protected areas. This important step is key to successfully ensuring all parties interests are taken into account prior to final establishment.
QIA further submits that striking a broader consultation after an interim order is appropriate and effective to assess whether formal designation of part or all of the area under an interim order should be recommended to be designated as a permanent MPA by regulation.
The Government of Canada respects the rights of indigenous peoples and we are committed to consulting, collaborating and partnering with the very governments and groups that are essential to interim protection and longer-term protection.
With the support of our Inuit and northern partners, we intend to establish an interim marine protected area for the High Arctic Basin. Following this step, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Parks Canada agencies will continue to work with the Government of Nunavut and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association and others to continue important scientific work and explore the best ways of collaboratively protecting and managing this area through permanent protection measures.
On April 25, at the Nature Champions Summit in Montreal, the government announced new protection standards for marine protected areas. While these standards apply to future federal marine protected areas that are permanent and not to interim protection, the government's commitment to high protection standards was applauded in Canada and by the international community.
Marine conservation has always been, and will always be, an all-in effort. To date, we have protected 8.27% of our ocean estate. We did not get there alone. This tremendous achievement is the result of many protected areas established by provinces, territories and the federal government. It also includes the contribution of other conservation measures, like marine refuges, which have been developed in collaboration with many parties, most notably fisheries groups.
Reaching our target has been a high priority for this government and we are committed to achieving it together with our partners. We can no longer take our rich endowment of marine biodiversity for granted. We have been drawing economic benefit from our oceans for generations, but we need to invest in protecting our oceans to ensure the ecosystem services they provide can be maintained into the future.
Healthy marine ecosystems provide a range of vital benefits. They support climate regulation, provide nutritious food and support seafood industries and many other economic sectors and provide habitat needed to support species abundance.
Bill C-55 has been reviewed by Parliament for nearly two years. With interim protection, we will be able to act quickly and collaboratively to protect our oceans from coast to coast to coast. Bill C-55 is based on a vision to protect our oceans for future generations, and its success depends on partnerships. We must act today and pass the bill as the House intended.
View Churence Rogers Profile
Lib. (NL)
Madam Speaker, I am always concerned about balancing the two. The fishery is vitally important to the long-term viability of our province, and it is going to be there for a long time into the future. Hopefully, it will be sustainable and provide lots of economic opportunities for Newfoundland. As well, I understand the importance of the oil industry.
The minister recently made some announcements regarding MPAs and suggested that both of these industries can work in balance and provide great benefits for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador if they are properly managed and sustainably managed for the future.
View Churence Rogers Profile
Lib. (NL)
Madam Speaker, the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, which represents 15,000 members, supports this particular legislation.
Obviously we are all concerned about making sure that we do the correct amount of science and consultation, which is and will continue to be ongoing once the bill is in place.
View Churence Rogers Profile
Lib. (NL)
Madam Speaker, based on the conversations I have had with some different sectors, the most recent announcement that the parliamentary secretary refers to seemed to be well received.
The fishing industry obviously and the oil and gas industry need to be monitored for a balanced approach so that we can maintain both of these industries and reap the economic benefits from both for the long term.
View Churence Rogers Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, rural communities across Canada play an important role in our national economy and are a special part of the Canadian identity and vibrancy. As the MP for Bonavista—Burin—Trinity, a large rural riding, I see first-hand the unique sorts of issues faced by rural communities and the need for a coordinated, specific plan to address them.
Can the Minister of Rural Economic Development please give this House an update on the work being undertaken to develop a national rural economic development strategy?
View Churence Rogers Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to highlight Oral Health Month. This week, April 6 to 12, is National Dental Hygienists Week. This week focuses on oral health for total health and how proper care of our teeth, gums and mouth can lead to better physical and mental well-being. Recognizing the importance of good oral health is important for the health of all Canadians.
In Canada, we have nearly 30,000 dental hygienists who provide an array of services to ensure that Canadians receive proper dental care. Many Canadians, especially seniors, benefit significantly from the work of dental hygienists. Whether it is teeth cleaning and polishing, taking X-rays or assisting in the care of one's dentures, dental hygienists play a critical role.
I want to thank the nearly 30,000 dental hygienists across the country who are supporting Canadians and helping them lead healthier and happier lives.
View Churence Rogers Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, I rise today with great pride to honour the life and legacy of Ray Walsh. Mr. Walsh was a long-time musician known for his significant contribution to music in Newfoundland and Labrador. Sadly, Ray passed away on January 27 at the age of 75.
Hailing from Bay de Verde, Ray moved to Marystown to teach and joined the Marystown Band in 1961 before becoming a star on CBC's Saturday Night Jamboree and All Around the Circle from 1964 until 1975.
Famous for his work on the piano accordion and a schoolteacher by trade, he was awarded the lifetime achievement award from the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival in 2013 for his contributions to the cultural fabric of our province through his talent and passion for music.
On behalf of all the residents of Bonavista—Burin—Trinity and the entire province, I offer my sincere condolences to his family and friends. I thank him for the music. May he rest in peace.
View Churence Rogers Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize and congratulate the athletes from my riding, many from very small communities, who will be competing in the Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, Alberta, from February 15 to March 3: from Bonavista, Sara Diamond; from Clarenville, Deidre Patey, Jillian Coates, Rachel Dean, Tyler Green and Susan Dean; from Glovertown, Heidi Simpson; from Musgrave Harbour, Roger Head; from New Harbour, Jennifer Pollett; from Northern Bay, Nancy Oliver; from Port Union, Garry Blackmore; and from Red Harbour, Kathy Senior.
They will be competing, coaching and managing our athletes in hockey, cross-country skiing, figure skating, table tennis, badminton, wheelchair basketball and biathlon. I want to express the immense pride of all of our communities. We cannot wait for them to bring home the gold.
On behalf of all of the residents of Bonavista—Burin—Trinity and my entire province, I offer best wishes to Team Newfoundland and Labrador in Red Deer, Alberta.
View Churence Rogers Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak to Bill C-278, an act to amend the Lobbying Act.
Our government is committed to the continuous improvement of the Lobbying Act and welcomes this debate on the subject. Lobbying has been part of getting things done in the country politically from its earliest days. Apparently, even the grants, monopolies and concessions that made possible the early voyages of Cartier, Frobisher, Hudson and others were obtained through lobbying at court.
Today, lobbying refers generally to an effort to communicate with legislators or other public officials against or in favour of a specific cause when carried out for compensation. It is the normal way organizations and interest groups inform and influence the policy-making process. It is vital to the healthy functioning of a government that is open and responsible to the will of the people.
At the same time, lobbying is subject to checks and balances that provide disclosure about who is working to shape government policy. Transparency as a curb on potential corruption of public officials is every bit as important as influencing and ensuring the system works. The purpose of the bill before us is to increase the amount of information lobbyists are required to disclose under the Lobbying Act.
I think we can all agree on the importance of both free and open access to government as well as the need for Canadians to know who is lobbying their government. Both are in the public interest and must be carefully balanced. In fact, the recent history of lobbying legislation in the country is the story of trying to get the balance right.
Until July 2008, lobbying at the federal level in Canada was governed by the Lobbyists Registration Act, which came into force in 1989. The act established a registration system intended to foster the public's right to know and to be informed about who is trying to influence government policy.
View Churence Rogers Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honour Mr. Hedley Lake, a resident of Fortune in my riding. Mr. Lake is a decorated Second World War veteran, who celebrated his 100th birthday on August 12.
Mr. Lake was in active military service for five years, from 1940 to 1945. After two years of service in the Mediterranean Sea, he went home for leave. On his journey home, Mr. Lake was aboard the SS Caribou when it was attacked by a German U-boat on October 14, 1942, and sank in the Cabot Strait. Mr. Lake went on to serve in the invasions of Sicily, Salerno, Anzio and Normandy, and at the end of the war in Europe, he volunteered to go to the Pacific, but his request was not granted and he was told, “We think you've had enough.”
On behalf of all the residents of Bonavista—Burin—Trinity and, indeed, all Canadians, I want to thank Mr. Hedley Lake for his service and wish him all the best in his 100th year.
View Churence Rogers Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, how does the new defence policy of our government inform Bill C-77? How does this bill help victims in the military justice system? Could the parliamentary secretary elaborate on that?
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