Interventions in the House of Commons
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View Linda Duncan Profile
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-06-13 13:37 [p.29053]
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member. I am a great admirer. She clearly stands up for the rights of the people of Labrador, and definitely the indigenous people of Labrador.
I, too, am deeply concerned that it has taken the government so long to bring forward this bill. It was a reprehensible move by the Conservatives in the last Parliament. Indeed, all parties were forced for vote for it, because the Conservatives tied it to the devolution vote. It was reprehensible. My former colleague Dennis Bevington, then the member for Northwest Territories, spoke strongly against this move. It was clearly unconstitutional.
I had the privilege of being the assistant deputy minister for renewable resources in the Yukon, and I played a part in the negotiation of first nations final agreements and self-governance agreements. I was well aware of what was being done to the Tlicho, the Gwich'in and the Dehcho, who finally had final agreements.
If the hon. member and her party are so dedicated to respecting the rights of indigenous people, will she speak up, speak to the senators and tell them to finally bring forward Bill C-262 and finally put in place, as Liberals had promised, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples? Will they finally—
View Pat Kelly Profile
View Pat Kelly Profile
2019-06-11 22:20 [p.28969]
Mr. Speaker, I have travelled with the member to his territory a couple of times, and I know how important it is to him that the residents of his riding have access to employment opportunities. I know that is important to him and to the people of the Northwest Territories.
In his remarks and in general in the debate on this, there has been heavy criticism of Bill C-15 from the previous Parliament. Neither of us was in the previous Parliament. Is the member aware that his party voted for Bill C-15, the bill that the Liberals are now describing as this terrible, poor bill that needed to be undone by the government?
View Arnold Viersen Profile
View Arnold Viersen Profile
2019-06-11 23:03 [p.28974]
Mr. Speaker, one of the things that my hon. colleague did not bring up was the fact that the government has imposed a drilling moratorium on the North Sea and that this moratorium was put in place without any consultation with the Northwest Territories. The government gave the premier a phone call 20 minutes before making the announcement in the United States to a foreign audience. So much for consultation.
Will this member agree that there was no consultation on the northern drilling ban?
View Kelly McCauley Profile
View Kelly McCauley Profile
2019-06-11 23:49 [p.28980]
Mr. Speaker, my colleague talked about how important the bill is in relation to the 85 other important bills that the Liberals passed. I have to question him on that.
A couple of years ago, we got stuck debating, day after day, Bill C-24. The only purpose of Bill C-24 was to change the way that eight former ministers of state were paid, moving it out of the department operation fund into the consolidated fund. Therefore, I have to ask the member, why was that bill more important than the bill before us?
View Arnold Viersen Profile
View Arnold Viersen Profile
2019-06-11 23:58 [p.28981]
Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege to speak to this bill.
I do not know if members have ever seen a hostage situation where the hostage makes a statement by video conference. We hear that statement and it is interesting because we know the person and that person would never make that statement otherwise. We kind of have that going on here.
We have heard the same statement read over and over again tonight. People say they support the bill. They say that there is a part of the bill that everybody in the Northwest Territories supports and there is a part of the bill that people do not. However, when they say they support it, the good outweighs the bad and therefore they support it.
One of part of the bill that does not fit with the rest is the fact that it would allow for a moratorium to be imposed from on high, from Ottawa, on the north. The moratorium was imposed without any consultation in the north whatsoever. What we have here is the Government of the Northwest Territories in this hostage situation where it either takes the bill or not. The Liberals ran around and got statements of support for the bill, despite there being a poison pill in it that people actually did not like.
When it comes to consultation, the Liberals, if it is to hold something back, if it is to ensure development does not happen, are entirely in favour of consultation. However, if it comes in a place where they are trying to hold something back unilaterally, then they do not have to do the consultation. In the case of putting in more regulations or preventing a pipeline from happening, then they need to have more consultation. However, if they are just going to unilaterally do something that is in that same vein, like a drilling moratorium, then they do not have to consult whatsoever.
It seems to me that the bill is entirely in keeping with the anti-energy agenda of the Liberal government. If it comes to getting a pipeline built, consult and consult. If it comes to imposing a drilling moratorium, or a tanker ban or a shipping ban, do not consult at all, just impose it from on high.
The government's anti-energy agenda is being portrayed loud and clear in Bill C-88. I find it completely disingenuous for the member for Yukon to say that the bill will help attract resource development in the territory. It will not do that whatsoever. He is correct when he says that it brings in regulatory certainty. It does bring in regulatory certainty. It will ensure that companies know that developing in the north sea is not allowed.
View Blaine Calkins Profile
View Blaine Calkins Profile
2019-06-10 11:35 [p.28783]
Mr. Speaker, it is interesting that I rise today to speak to Bill S-203, which on its surface seems to be popular and appeals to the emotional drives behind it. Like many Canadians, I have seen cetaceans in captivity at places like SeaWorld and the Vancouver Aquarium; and at places like Marineland, where personally I have never been. I just want to put this in context.
This bill is designed to shut down one business in Canada. There is only one business in Canada actively pursuing or using cetaceans right now for the purpose of entertainment. That is what I want to talk about in this bill.
I am not against the notion that, if Canadians are by and large against having cetaceans in captivity, we can have that conversation. Of course we can have that conversation. It is the approach that this piece of legislation is taking that concerns me. It concerns me because I am a hunter and an angler. I am a guy who grew up on a farm and used animals every day at every stage and walk in my life. I am a guy who represents two areas of my constituency. One area hosts the Ponoka Stampede and one area hosts the Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer.
I am also a conservationist. I have a zoology degree. I am pretty sure the guys who are laughing at me right now probably do not. I am going to ask that they just sit and think about this for one second. Many scientists appeared before the committee in the Senate and the committee in the House of Commons. They were people with not just bachelor of science degrees in zoology but with Ph.D.s. They were very concerned by the precedent that this piece of legislation would set. I asked the question in the committee whether we could end cetacean captivity in Canada in a simpler way, such as by just ending the permits of this particular business. We could do that by making a small change to the Fisheries Act and to the plant and animal transfer act.
However, this bill would change three things. It would change the Criminal Code of Canada and would do some interesting things. The bill is not about how humans handle animals or about the welfare or treatment of animals in people's care. The bill would, for the first time ever, make it a criminal act in Canada to keep an animal in captivity. That is the first time in our legislation anywhere that having an animal in captivity would be considered an illegal act. It would be illegal in the Criminal Code of Canada to breed animals, and these particular cetaceans—
An hon. member: Oh, oh!
View Blaine Calkins Profile
View Blaine Calkins Profile
2019-06-10 11:38 [p.28784]
Mr. Speaker, all I am asking for is the same respect I granted the speakers from other political parties while I sat and listened to them.
The problem, as I and the people I represent see it, is with the Criminal Code amendments as well as the follow-through and execution of this piece of legislation, which creates a framework and structure whereby anybody can add onto that by simply adding a comma into the legislation and saying that horses can no longer be kept or used for breeding or for purposes of entertainment. I am not saying that is going to happen, but the structure is actually there in the legislation to do it. One has to ask the question why this would need to be done. Why do we need this sledgehammer in legislation to effect the change we are looking for?
We are known by the company we keep. If we look at the organizations that are publicly and vocally expressing support for this bill, we see they call for the end of things like rodeos, fishing, eating animals and raising animals on a farm. These organizations, like Animal Justice and some SPCAs, call for these kinds of things. This is the company that this piece of legislation is keeping.
As I said, I am actually okay with it. I understand the science behind cetaceans and that not all cetaceans do well in captivity, but we also have to be logical. We have to think with our heads too about whether this is the right way to go. I will give an example. Dr. Laura Graham, who has a Ph.D., testified at committee and said there is no actual definition of cruel anywhere in this bill. As I said, it would create new definitions. For the very first time, it would make it illegal and criminalize the breeding of animals. This is something that is a very dangerous precedent for anybody involved in animal husbandry or any of these industries.
Dr. Laura Graham says that the definition of cruel is not anywhere in this bill, and as a scientist, she finds the lack of objective assessment troubling. She has also observed that the people pushing this bill are dismissing the importance of zoos and aquariums in educating the public and eliciting a concern for conservation and saving the planet.
As a matter of fact, she highlighted a very specific case about Vaquita dolphins down in the Gulf of Mexico, of which there are about 10 left; that is all that is left. If we were to use the facilities in Vancouver, Marineland and various SeaWorld installations as something other than entertainment, but rather as a conservation tool, through captive breeding programs we could potentially some day get to the point where we could release a viable population of Vaquita dolphins back into the wild.
I will get back to Dr. Graham in a second. When I was talking to Senator Sinclair at committee, I asked him about this notion of going to a national park, for example. Where I live in Alberta, there is a park called Elk Island National Park, which is not the typical national park that people think of when they go to national parks in their neighbourhoods. Elk Island National Park is a completely fenced-in enclosure. It is a captive facility for the purpose of breeding and population enhancement. People buy a park pass and go in there for the purpose of seeing that wildlife. They may have other purposes, but make no doubt about it, they go there to see the elk and the bison. There has just been a relatively successful, depending on the standards one wants to measure it by, reintroduction of bison into Yukon. There has been reintroduction of bison into Banff National Park, which would not have happened without the captive facility and the breeding program that went with it to re-establish this population.
The whole argument behind getting rid of cetacean captivity is an emotional one. I get it. Look, I have those same convictions when I look at animals in captivity as well. As a guy who goes hunting and fishing and sees all kinds of things in the wild, I get those same heartstring tugs that everybody else gets. I am not some cold and cruel individual. I get the arguments. However, as a conservationist, I also know that we need to make use of every tool available to us in order to help reintroduce wildlife lost through bad practices or mismanagement. Not everybody in the world does things as well as Canada, and we do not do some things all that well either.
However, we have an opportunity to ask ourselves if this bill is actually going to do more harm than good in the long run. It is the same emotional tug that wants us to end the captivity of whales and dolphins that never would have created these facilities in the first place. The City of Vancouver made the choice to end cetacean captivity for the purposes of entertainment without needing this big piece of legislation to do it, yet that facility is still used for rescue and rehabilitation of cetaceans.
It could just as easily use that facility to save a population of belugas, such as the population of belugas in the St. Lawrence Seaway. We know from the experience at Marineland that belugas are actually breeding quite well there. This legislation would be for the express purpose of making that breeding impossible or illegal, actually to the point that someone could go to jail for it. What is that going to do? It is going to split up that family pod at Marineland. It is going to separate the males from the females, and it is going to create the exact same issue that others are arguing captivity is causing in the first place. It is going to create divisiveness and stress in those families.
We know that belugas in captivity are quite successful at breeding. They have a very high success rate. They have a very high birth rate and a very high survival rate. We have populations of belugas right now in the world that are in trouble. If we do not get the environmental conditions right in nature, in the wild, before those populations are actually gone for good, we would have an opportunity to save those genetics. We could actually use the revenue from letting people come and watch them to help the science and research and help that captive breeding program do more good than harm in this particular case.
That is what I am asking my friends in the House to consider. Yes, it is going to be very popular to vote in favour of this bill. We have Free Willy and Blackfish and others movies that create the desire to do what we think is right.
Dr. Laura Graham talked about Dr. Jane Goodall. She had the same feeling about keeping chimpanzees in captivity, and then she changed her mind. As the habitat was encroaching on the natural range of these chimpanzees, as she saw how zoos and other captive facilities were treating these animals and as research and knowledge expanded, she changed her mind. I am simply asking my colleagues to at least consider that before passing this flawed legislation.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Mr. Speaker, the points that are being made by our Conservative colleagues in the context of this debate are very important. They are that Canadians want to get ahead. Maybe they are getting by, but they are struggling to get ahead.
Under the current government, that struggle is made more difficult by the piling on of new taxes and the clear promise that the direction that the Liberals are taking this country with uncontrolled spending, if it is not controlled in the near future, is going to lead to tax increases. We have to act now to replace this government with a government that will be committed to living within its means and to managed, prudent spending.
We have to act so that we do not go down the path that the Kathleen Wynne Liberals and the Rachel Notley New Democrats took their provinces, which then required a strong correction after the fact. Rather, the alternative is for us to replace the government now with a government that will make sure the wasteful spending stops and will cut taxes and provide tax relief in so many different areas.
I spoke as well about the issues around the media bailout. We have a government here that is giving hundreds of millions of dollars to media organizations. The Liberals say this is in defence of independent media, but in fact they are delivering those funds and setting definitions around who is and who is not media through a board that includes someone who is explicitly partisan and is planning on campaigning for the Liberals in the next election.
We hear from journalist after journalist, from leading commentators in Canadian politics, about how this policy and approach create a threat to the independence of the media. Those who believe in independent media, including those within the media, are strongly opposing this policy. Some of the corporate barons who own media companies are happy about this policy, but individual journalists who are responsible for covering our politics on a daily basis, the voices that Canadians read and trust, are overwhelmingly critical of this policy.
Let us oppose this budget and replace this government with a government that has a new fiscal approach that allows Canadians to get ahead, that cuts our taxes, that genuinely protects the independence of the media and that moves us forward in so many other domains.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Mr. Speaker, I sure hope I did not misspeak in the midst of the post-Raptors game euphoria late last night. What I intended to say, and what I think I actually did say, if we check the record, is that in response to every challenge that exists, the government proposes a program as a solution. I would never say it has been effective in its proposition of solutions to problems. Rather, the government's response to every challenge the country faces is for it to say bigger government, more spending, more interference of people's lives is the solution. We do not believe that on this side of the House. We believe that empowering individuals by cutting their taxes and allowing them to keep more of their own resources is often the best way to move our country forward.
The member spoke about our opposition day motion, and I was very proud to speak in favour of it. The Conservatives were prudent and realistic about our chances of succeeding in that vote, given the current configuration of this Parliament. However, I take the member's point that we need to do all we can to change the configuration of Parliament to ensure that in the future, we can pass common sense motions like that.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Mr. Speaker, surely the member cannot be as unaware of the arguments that people have been making, including in the media, about the reality of the effects of this, at least as unaware as he may have been about the process that Bill C-81 followed in the House.
Eligible media organizations are precisely the hinge point in this issue. It is the government, through this panel, that will determine who should be considered eligible to access this funding and who should not. Yes, we are talking about something that involves a cost to government of $600 million.
Therefore, there is a cost, and it only applies to eligible media organizations. The member knows that who fits into that box and who does not will be decided by a panel that includes Unifor. I did not just make that up. It was not an invention of the opposition. Anybody who reads the papers or consults the independent media about which he speaks will know that the government has created this panel, it does in fact include Unifor and that many of the leading journalistic voices in the country have criticized it.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Mr. Speaker, I guess we agree that it should be tweaked, but we might disagree about the degree of the tweaking.
The member makes an interesting point about looking at other members of the panel. In the context of our motion, our observation would be that the Unifor case is particularly egregious. Nobody else, in the context of that panel, has publicly tried to define itself as “the resistance” to not only a particular party, but to a particular individual who leads one of those parties. Obviously it is the tone and the rhetoric in explicit support of one party and in explicit opposition to another party.
It would be obviously inappropriate that anybody else in a government-appointed administrative role that was supposed to make these kinds of determinations would show such favouritism, such partisanship.
The member may have other points about other individuals on the panel, but it is quite clear that the case of Jerry Dias is particularly egregious in this context.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Mr. Speaker, as a matter of order, I would question the discussion about the presence or absence of members. I would be happy to engage in that conversation. Of course I would not comment the relatively small number of government members who are in the House now or, for example, the fact that we had successful quorum calls during this budget debate. A quorum for the House of Commons is only 20 members, and in debating the government's own budget, somehow we fell below quorum. Again, does the member want to go down this road?
Some of our members were busy campaigning in Winnipeg North at the time of that vote. I know the government always has to have enough members here to ensure they win the votes, and we do not win very many votes in the opposition. However, the Conservatives are also very successfully engaged in beautiful ridings, like Winnipeg North, talking to voters there.
I look forward to seeing the fruits of both the arguments we make in the House on the issues and of our many visits to ridings like that of the member.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-06 10:45 [p.28665]
Mr. Speaker, the member mentioned housing, which is one of my favourite subjects right now, especially in the budget, with the 100,000 so-called first-time homebuyers who will be helped. However, neither CMHC nor the Department of Finance could point me to the document where the numbers actually came from. They each said that the other one knew how they got to the number. It is interesting that the member thinks that it would help that many people, because there are no details about the program available.
Perhaps the member could tell me if there would be a special fee assigned with the government purchasing equity in a person's home, because the government would then own a share of the home. Will the homeowner be able to buy out the government's share early, before selling the house? Will there be any other terms and conditions associated with the shared equity mortgage? Does the member know that the Mortgage Brokers Association said that it would take eight to 10 months to set up the IT system to enable the rollout of this program? Is the member aware that the chartered banks have similarly said that it would take much more than two months to do so? Will there be a special premium on the shared equity mortgages?
I would like to hear from the member on this matter.
View Ziad Aboultaif Profile
View Ziad Aboultaif Profile
2019-06-06 11:01 [p.28667]
Mr. Speaker, I had the pleasure of travelling with the hon. member on one or two occasions while serving on the finance committee.
He talked about improving the manufacturing sector in general based on this budget. The debate has always been about the productivity level in Canada. I am sure the hon. member is aware that we are way behind compared to other nations, such as Germany and the United States.
How can we claim we are working on enhancing the manufacturing sector, when productivity should be an important element in making sure we are competitive enough in international markets? How can we make that claim when the government has been raising payroll and other taxes to the disadvantage of our businesses? How can the manufacturing sector compete in the conditions that the government has been creating since day one?
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