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Results: 1 - 15 of 127
View Mel Arnold Profile
CPC (BC)
View Mel Arnold Profile
2019-06-18 22:02 [p.29364]
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Davenport for her valiant attempt to defend something that is indefensible. She talked for 20 minutes trying to extol the virtues of this agreement, yet in that 20 minutes she never once mentioned the softwood lumber agreement.
In March 2016, her Prime Minister and her trade minister promised to have a deal framework within 100 days. We are now years past that 100 days and nothing has ever been done by the government on the softwood lumber agreement between Canada and the U.S.
Currently, in my home province, British Columbia, and in my riding of North Okanagan—Shuswap, we have mills shutting down because of the difficulties in the market, because there is no certainty created for them out of this trade deal whatsoever. The Liberals have completely abandoned the softwood lumber agreement and left those mills in limbo.
Could the member explain why she did not even mention that in her 20-minute intervention?
View Mel Arnold Profile
CPC (BC)
View Mel Arnold Profile
2019-06-17 12:27 [p.29166]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to pose a couple of questions to the minister on this time allocation motion.
He has stated numerous times in the last few minutes of debate that there will be another five hours of debate.
I would like to ask the minister this. Has he confirmed with his government House leader that there will be no closure declared on that debate, similar to what the government did on Bill C-69 last week? It closed off debate on that. It closed off discussion on Bill C-69 at the committee stage when there were hundreds of amendments, hundreds even from their own Liberal Party on their own poorly drafted bill. The government closed off debate. It does it time and time again, because it simply does not want to hear the truth.
Will the minister confirm again that there will be no closure and there will be five hours of debate on this bill?
View Mel Arnold Profile
CPC (BC)
View Mel Arnold Profile
2019-06-17 13:42 [p.29173]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the parliamentary secretary why his government has chosen to cause a division across the country. The bill does not ban the transit of tankers, as the government would like the headlines to read. It really just bans the loading and unloading of those tankers in Canadian waters, which limits our western oil producers from getting their product to market. It is basically regional discrimination against one region of the country over another. Why would his government choose to divide the country in the way it has?
View Mel Arnold Profile
CPC (BC)
View Mel Arnold Profile
2019-06-14 10:25 [p.29111]
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Cariboo—Prince George for his speech on this topic, the Senate amendments to Bill C-68. We have sat together on the fisheries committee for years now. We have seen a government that has totally ignored the restoration of fish stocks across the country. Time and again, recommendations from our committee have called on the current government to take action. It failed to do so.
I also want to speak briefly on comments I got from a fisheries officer, who said that the changes we made in 2012 made it much easier for fisheries officers to do their job. Rather than having to gather incredible amounts of evidence, convince Crown prosecutors and then take cases to court, which would take years to prosecute, with the changes made in 2012 fisheries officers are able to immediately demand restoration where damage has been done. There has been no indication that habitat has been lost or damaged in any of the evidence ever produced by the government or in testimony at committee.
I would like the member to comment further on why the government fails to do anything to restore fish stocks, whether Atlantic salmon or salmon on the west coast, and why it continues to push this ill-conceived bill through the House.
View Mel Arnold Profile
CPC (BC)
View Mel Arnold Profile
2019-06-14 10:43 [p.29114]
Mr. Speaker, I will forgive the member for falling off topic here. What we are debating today are the Senate amendments to Bill C-68, and he did not touch on those, not that I can pick out, at any point during his intervention. Therefore, I would like to bring him back to that. I forgive the member for it, because he has only been part-time on this committee over the past three and a half, four years.
Why would the Liberal government reject sensible amendments from a Senate committee that would actually see a net gain in fish habitat and fish habitat values, from the third party habitat banking? The Liberal government seems to refuse to do anything that would increase or improve fish habitat. That is the amendments that the government is kicking aside.
The member for Courtenay—Alberni seems to have ignored all of that in his intervention. Why?
View Mel Arnold Profile
CPC (BC)
View Mel Arnold Profile
2019-06-14 12:44 [p.29138]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments from the hon. member.
I would like to ask the member how he feels about the recommendations that have come from the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, known as FOPO within these walls. There have been continuous recommendations from that committee on how we could have already started to rebuild Canada's fish stocks. We did studies early on in this parliamentary session on the northern Atlantic cod, on the Atlantic salmon. There were many recommendations, unanimous recommendations that were agreed to by every member on that committee, no matter which political party members came from.
However, the Liberal Party, his minister and the department have absolutely refused to take steps on any of those measures to restore the endangered or declining fish stocks.
View Mel Arnold Profile
CPC (BC)
View Mel Arnold Profile
2019-06-14 12:48 [p.29139]
Mr. Speaker, when I questioned him earlier, the member talked about our needing to undertake new measures to restore our fish stocks. New measures are proposed in these amendments from the Senate through this third party habitat banking that could immediately be put to use to restore fish stocks, which is badly needed across the country from coast to coast to coast.
Why is his government refusing to adopt these amendments from the Senate that could be the new tools that we need?
View Mel Arnold Profile
CPC (BC)
View Mel Arnold Profile
2019-06-14 12:49 [p.29139]
Mr. Speaker, we all want to see healthy fish stocks, prosperous fisheries and a thriving economy, and I believe all those are possible at the same time. We can achieve that by using Canadian technology, Canadian ingenuity and Canadian investment. We can do all that and rebuild our declining fish stocks.
We have national conservation organizations, like Ducks Unlimited, the Canadian Wildlife Federation, local fishing game clubs and stream keeper organizations ready to create and improve fish habitat. Using Canadian technology, Canadian ingenuity and Canadian investment in proactive ways that would actually see fish habitat increased and improved in advance of projects would ensure prosperous fisheries and a thriving economy. This could all be made possible under the third-party habitat banking amendments being put forward by the Senate.
Before the Senate had even voted on sending these amendments to Bill C-68 back to this House of Parliament, the fisheries minister basically gave a directive to the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, FOPO, to do a study on third party habitat banking. Imagine that. I say it was a directive, because although the parliamentary committees are supposed to be free to set their own agenda, that committee has a majority of Liberal members who would dare not deny a request from their own minister.
Therefore, on June 10, as a directive from the fisheries minister, we began a study of third party habitat banking. Also on June 10, we finished a study on third party habitat banking. We started and finished in one day, in two hours. It was an abomination of a study, with no mention of a report back to the minister and no report to the House of Commons. It was of almost of no use at all other than perhaps being able to say “we consulted”, part of the fake consultation I have seen with the government time and again over the past three and a half years.
However, I say almost nothing out of that study, except what we heard from witnesses that day. They spoke about third party habitat banking, saying that it would be a good thing to incorporate, that the difficult details around third party habitat banking could be worked out through the regulations and orders in council. The regulations need not be fully ironed out in order for Bill C-68 to be amended and passed. We also heard testimony from multiple witnesses that third party habitat banking could create net gains to habitat. Imagine, conservation organizations and local angling clubs being able to work proactively to create an enhanced fish habitat.
It should be the dream and goal of any fisheries minister to increase and improve fisheries habitat. However, as we have seen so many times over the past three and a half years, Liberal fisheries ministers fail to do what is right and instead give deals to their buddies and relatives, getting caught up in scandal. They fail to deliver and fund restoring fish stocks.
We also heard in testimony during that short “but we can say we consulted” meeting on June 10, that during the Senate study of Bill C-68, the only witnesses who spoke against third party habitat banking were the minister and DFO staff, undoubtedly under the direction of the fisheries minister.
Why would every other witness support third party habitat banking and the minister's department oppose it? Why would a minister not want to see net gains to fish habitat? Why would a minister ignore and cast aside testimony, ideas and proposals that would be good for fish, fisheries and the economy?
I can only surmise that it is because the fisheries minister, like his Liberal predecessors, are out of touch with Canadian fisheries and the Canadian way.
I also want to point out the fake and disingenuous consultations by the former fisheries minister from Beauséjour undertaken during his tenure. I do wish to send best wishes to the former fisheries minister regarding his health.
While he was minister, the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, FOPO, undertook a study on changes to the Fisheries Act. While that study was on the book, three different news releases went out on the consultation process, three conflicting news releases under that minister's watch.
The first one, on October 16, 2016, stated that all briefs received during the consultations would be provided to the committee for its study. The next one, on November 16, 2016, again stated the feedback heard would be shared with the committee for its study. However, that feedback never reached the committee in time.
After multiple requests from indigenous groups and committee members to extend the timeline of the study, the Liberal members refused to extend that time so we could incorporate the briefs solicited and paid for with taxpayer dollars.
In the end, over $2 million was spent for indigenous groups to provide briefs to the committee for study. Over $1.2 million of those briefs for consultation and input for the review were not received before the Liberals closed off the study. Those taxpayer dollars were not received by the committee in time for the study. Imagine what $1.2 million could have done for fish habitat in the hands of conservation groups and organizations.
I can imagine that because my background is in conservation. My first interest in this was with fish and game clubs, putting boots on and getting in the streams creating spawning habitat. What our clubs could have done with $1.2 million, which the Liberal government wasted because it could not get that information to the committee on time.
Now here we are up against time. The government has called time allocation on debate on these Senate amendments after minimum time back in the House. It has taken the government three and a half years to get the bill this far and it is still not right.
Dozens of amendments came from the Senate on Bill C-68, most of them tossed aside by the Liberal government, amendments that really could make a difference in the streams, creating more fish habitat, creating more fish, creating more opportunities for fishermen and creating a strong and vibrant economy.
It is really disappointing to have debate cut short. Ten minutes for me to speak to this is really less than half the time I would have liked in a full speaking time of 20 minutes.
I have talked about how the FOPO study was denied extensions. We have talked about briefs being received after the report deadline. We have heard testimony many times that there was no proof of any harm to fish habitat from the 2012 changes to the Fisheries Act.
One of the first things I did in this parliamentary session was to put in an Order Paper question asking for any proof of harm or loss of habitat as a result of the 2012 changes to the Fisheries Act. More than three years later, not one piece of evidence has been provided. Therefore, the fisheries minister and the current government are being deceitful, if I can use that word, to the Canadian public and this Parliament. I have lost respect for them because of that.
I thank the House for the time to be able to discuss these amendments, and I will welcome questions.
View Mel Arnold Profile
CPC (BC)
View Mel Arnold Profile
2019-06-14 13:01 [p.29140]
Mr. Speaker, as I stated, my background is in conservation. I see what conservation organizations can do with a few dollars provided and the many hours of volunteer time that they put in at the streams to create fish habitat and to improve hatcheries to make sure we have fish in the streams. A lot of the time, it is not for their own benefit. They do not get to fish for those fish. They do not get to catch anything or reap any harvest from it. They simply are doing it because it is the right thing to do.
That is what these amendments from the Senate were aimed to do. It was to increase the ability of non-profit organizations, including fish and game clubs and conservation organizations, to get into the streams and do some work proactively and create and improve fish habitat. Here we have a government that is scrapping these amendments from the Senate and blocking the possibility for that to happen.
View Mel Arnold Profile
CPC (BC)
View Mel Arnold Profile
2019-06-14 13:04 [p.29141]
Mr. Speaker, not being part of the previous government, I will not comment on that. However, I will comment on the government that I have been in opposition to since I arrived here in this House.
What I have seen is a government that claims to be doing everything for the science and the fisheries, and yet it continues to ignore that science. When we take a look at what is happening on the west coast with our west coast salmon fisheries, we see it is shutting down the recreational fisheries, blocking or destroying the jobs of hundreds of west coast fishermen, fish guides and angling tackle shops with no regard to what the science really says.
We know there are bigger issues out there, but the government refuses to look at the science and where it could make the biggest difference in increasing the number of chinook stocks on the west coast. Rather, it is punishing the fishermen who make the smallest impact.
View Mel Arnold Profile
CPC (BC)
View Mel Arnold Profile
2019-06-13 10:55 [p.29038]
Mr. Speaker, I sat in on all of the debates in the House and at committee on the House side. Time and time again, there were requests from first nations and from our side for extended consultations and study time, yet the government members at committee shut them down. It is just like the fake consultation they are doing here.
I hope the minister will set aside his talking points and actually speak about what we heard, especially yesterday at committee when we studied the Senate amendments to Bill C-68. We heard that the only people opposed to third party habitat banking were DFO staff, as directed by the fisheries minister.
Why is it that the fisheries minister and his staff are the only ones opposed to the third party habitat banking amendments? Why can the minister not accept that we could create net habitat gains through third party habitat banking? Here he is, trying to shut down debate on it.
View Mel Arnold Profile
CPC (BC)
View Mel Arnold Profile
2019-06-13 11:01 [p.29039]
Mr. Speaker, I would ask the minister to step away from his talking points. He talked about 39 days. Many of those days the committee was studying the bill for only a few hours. We heard time and again from first nations that they wanted to provide briefs. Over $2 million were provided for first nations to provide briefs to the committee on the study of the Fisheries Act back in 2016. However, $1.2 million were paid out for a compilation of the briefs received by the committee after the study date and the committee had made recommendations on the bill, because Liberal members on that committee would not extend the study.
Why is the minister again shutting down debate on an important bill?
View Mel Arnold Profile
CPC (BC)
View Mel Arnold Profile
2019-06-13 11:13 [p.29041]
Mr. Speaker, again, the minister is misleading the House and misleading Canadians. He claims 39 days, but those days were not full days by any means. Many times, even the debate at the committee stage and even though it was only partial hours, those debates were interrupted by votes in the House, similar to this, where the minister is shutting down debate again.
We have asked the minister multiple times to provide any proof of any harm, alteration or destruction of fish habitat resulting from the 2012 changes to the act, and the government has provided absolutely none. Again, the minister is misleading the House and misleading Canadians by claiming the loss of protection. Those claims are absolutely false. I would ask the minister to apologize, not just to the House but to Canadians, for misleading them with such false information.
View Mel Arnold Profile
CPC (BC)
View Mel Arnold Profile
2019-06-13 18:58 [p.29099]
Mr. Speaker, it is really disappointing to be here tonight. I happened to sit in on the committee when Bill C-69 was being studied clause by clause. I sat in that night until the late hours of the evening and watched the government decide to lump all of the amendments together and vote on them as an entire group, with no discussion on each amendment, clause by clause. It was absolutely disgusting. There were over 600 amendments proposed at that stage. Over 300 of them came from the government's own Liberal Party. It is truly a bill that was so poorly drafted it should have been thrown out at that time.
Now we see 229 amendments from the Senate. Most of them have been thrown out by the Liberal government. We have six premiers, representing over 60% of Canadians, who are opposed to this bill saying it should be thrown out. How can the minister stand there and say that the government has truly consulted with Canadians and actually listened to them when 60% are saying it should be thrown out?
View Mel Arnold Profile
CPC (BC)
View Mel Arnold Profile
2019-06-11 15:59 [p.28932]
Madam Speaker, I would like to waylay some of the comments made by the hon. minister.
Early in this parliamentary session, I could see that the Fisheries Act was going to be up for possible review and debate, so I put in an Order Paper question, No. 626. I asked the government for any proof of harm or habitat destruction, any loss that might have been created through the 2012 changes in the the Fisheries Act. The answer we received back on that Order Paper question was basically zero: no proof of harm whatsoever.
How can the minister mislead the Canadian public by saying there was a loss of protection when the government cannot prove it when asked to do so in an Order Paper question? It is an absolute farce, and he should correct his statement.
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