Interventions in the House of Commons
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View Alexandre Boulerice Profile
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
He probably already knows that the NDP will be supporting Bill C-88, which fixes some of the mistakes made by the previous government.
We agree on the broad principles and the fact that the people of the Northwest Territories should have the right to manage their own affairs and govern themselves when it comes to assessments and respect for the environment.
I do, however, have one simple question. My colleague, and all other members of the Liberal government, voted to support the bill that states that we must respect and include the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in every piece of Canadian legislation. Unfortunately, it has not been included in Bill C-88. I would like to know why.
View Guy Caron Profile
Mr. Speaker, we are indeed talking about Bill C-15, which this bill seeks to replace. I was in Parliament when Bill C-15 was passed under the Conservative government. It sought to replace the regional councils in the Northwest Territories with one large pan-territorial council.
The problem is that those regional councils were created as a result of land claim and self-government agreements with indigenous governments. The regional councils were created through nation-to-nation agreements. The Conservatives unilaterally overruled those decisions without consulting the indigenous peoples involved.
I would like to know why the member wants to go backward. Why he does not want to have this conversation and work on this nation-to-nation relationship that was undermined and ignored by the Conservatives?
View Alexandre Boulerice Profile
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
I think that he already knows that the NDP will support Bill C-88, which will fix some of the mistakes made by the previous government. This bill is a step in the right direction.
Unfortunately, I do not really understand the lack of consistency. The Liberals voted in favour of the bill to include in federal legislation the principles of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, but unfortunately those principles are nowhere to be found in Bill C-88.
I would like my colleague to explain that inconsistency to me.
View Marc Miller Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I know our friends to the south consider us to be the north, but it is a real pleasure today to speak about the actual north. That said, We, the North.
I am thankful for this opportunity to speak once again before the House on Bill C-88.
To begin, I want to acknowledge that we meet here today on the traditional territory of the Algonquin people.
I am appearing before this House on behalf of my hon. colleague, the Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade. Our thoughts and well wishes are with him during this difficult time. I know we all wish him a speedy recovery and look forward to having him back in the role that he did so well, advocating for northerners and northern issues.
Bill C-88 proposes to amend both the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act.
In terms of the MVRMA, the bill was focused on repealing the previous government's decision, through Bill C-15, to arbitrarily merge four land and water boards in the Mackenzie Valley into one superboard. This decision violated constitutionally protected indigenous land claim and self-government agreements. The bill also seeks to reintroduce a number of positive changes introduced by the previous government through Bill C-15, which have not been implemented because of a court-imposed injunction focused on stopping the imposition of this so-called superboard.
The MVRMA includes four land and water boards in the Mackenzie Valley, which are central to comprehensive land claim and self-government agreements of several local indigenous governments and organizations. It creates an integrated co-management regime for lands and waters in the Mackenzie Valley and provides legal certainty for resource development investors in the area.
As this House will recall, Bill C-15 was passed by the previous government in 2014. Among other changes, it merged the Mackenzie Valley land and water boards into one single entity. The legislation was immediately challenged in court, alleging among other things that it violated indigenous land claim and self-government agreements.
In early 2015, the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories granted an injunction that suspended the proposed board restructuring, along with other positive regulatory amendments included in Bill C-15. Rather than improving the regulatory process for the Mackenzie Valley and enhancing legal certainty for proponents and investors, among others, the previous government's approach landed these MVRMA regulatory reforms in Bill C-15 into court.
Our government believes that a sustainably developed resource sector is essential to the success of the Canadian economy and, if we get it right, will serve as an important foundation and example for future economic and job growth. Unlocking this economic potential must be contingent on environmental sustainability and on impacted indigenous communities being engaged as equal partners. The current situation is untenable as it creates legal uncertainty, and the positive regulatory changes are now tied up in court.
In November 2015, discussions with indigenous organizations and governments in the Northwest Territories began about the government moving forward with legislative amendments to resolve this matter. Bill C-88 has been developed through consultation with indigenous governments and organizations, most notably the Government of the Northwest Territories, industry and resource co-management boards. This bill will resolve the litigation regarding the restructuring of the boards and reintroduces the positive policy elements of Bill C-15 that are currently prevented from coming into force by the said injunction. It will re-establish trust with indigenous partners in the Northwest Territories, respect their constitutionally protected land claim and self-government agreements and restore legal certainty for responsible resource development.
As David Wright, legal council for the Gwich'in Tribal Council, stated before the indigenous and northern affairs committee:
[T]he consultation process on Bill C-88 has actually helped restore some of the trust between Canada and the [Gwich'in Tribal Council]. That trust would be eroded by any further delay, or at worst, failure to pass this bill in a timely manner.
The Tlicho government and the Government of the Northwest Territories have also clearly expressed their support for the passage of this bill, stating that the negative implications of the status quo are significant.
In terms of the CPRA, Bill C-88 proposes to provide new criteria for the Governor in Council to prohibit existing exploration licence-holders and significant discovery licence-holders from carrying out any oil and gas activities in the case of the national interest. It would also freeze the terms of the existing licences in the Arctic offshore for the duration of any such prohibition. This is exceedingly important for industry.
The term “national interest” refers to a country's national goals and ambitions, whether economic, military or cultural, and it is not a new legislative concept. There are numerous references to the national interest in Canadian legislation and specifically in this case in northern legislation. For example, the term appears in section 51 of the Yukon Act and in section 57 of the Northwest Territories Act. The decision to move forward with a moratorium on new Arctic offshore oil and gas licences in federal waters was a risk-based decision in light of the potential devastating effects of a spill and limited current science about drilling in that area.
It is important to remember that at that time there was no active drilling occurring in the Beaufort Sea and no realistic plans to initiate drilling in the short or medium term. It was announced in conjunction with a five-year science-based review as well as a consultation on the details of that review. Territories, indigenous and northern communities, our partners in the science-based review process and others, including industry, are being actively consulted. The outcome of the review process will inform next steps in the Arctic offshore.
Freezing the terms of the impacted existing licences in the Arctic offshore was a key priority expressed by industry. We heard that in our discussions regarding the implementation of the moratorium. The proposed amendments to both the MVRMA and the CPRA are essential to ensuring the responsible, sustainable and fair development regime in the Northwest Territories and the Arctic. That is why I urge this House to pass Bill C-88. I look forward to questions from the members.
View Marc Miller Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, it is no small irony that the Conservative Party is now the champion of consultations. However, I understand the good faith of the question being posed.
What we need to understand and what Canadians, particularly northerners, appreciate is that the area is exceedingly fragile. People knew it, and we needed to take swift and prompt action. We know this on the west coast as well, where we have heard from proponents that there need to be bans. There are shenanigans in the Senate looking to overturn a number of laws that are key to our environmental legislation. I will leave that aside for now, but it is important for this House to note it, since the members who are blocking it are members of the Conservative caucus.
We have consulted. Northerners, particularly indigenous groups, are overwhelmingly supportive of this new process, which includes moving forward on more regional boards that were consulted on development and which impact our review and our feedback. We will listen to them. Some of the reports we heard previously were manufactured by the previous government, and it torqued its own conclusions.
We aim to do meaningful—
View Marc Miller Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I appreciate the support of the member opposite for moving this forward in a timely fashion. We did take the time to consult and get the important review that made it such that the prior bill that was introduced in the House by the previous government was messed up. The superboards were a disaster and caused court cases and injunctions that prevented some positive aspects of it to move forward.
Yes, the business of this House does take time, particularly when it touches indigenous issues where we need to do that consultation prior to putting the bill in place. That is what we have done. We have done it in a conscientious and timely fashion. Again, as I mentioned in closing proposals to this House, I do urge this House to move quickly on it.
View Marc Miller Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I will make this a quick answer because, hopefully, the member for the Northwest Territories will also ask a question. He has been indispensable in ensuring this is moved forward in a timely fashion.
We do these things in the national interest to protect not only an essential part of Canada but indeed the entire world. We do so in consultation with the people who are up there, whether it is the Government of the Northwest Territories, industry or indigenous partners, but we need to take the time to listen to them. Once we listen to them, get their expertise and implement that into a package of laws that make sense, even ones that were proposed by the previous government, then these are things that allow industry to have what they expect, which is predictability in the process, a process where they will make an application knowing that an injunction will not come forward because it is constitutional. That is just a very, very simple example of it.
However, this predictability with all the partners involved allows these great projects, if and when they are put forward, to do so in a timely fashion where the government is actually, once it has done its job, out of the way and allowing people to get such good jobs.
View Marc Miller Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, quite clearly, if they are willing to mail in the next three weeks, we are not prepared to do so. The next three weeks are very important. There are plenty of bills—
An hon. member: You have mailed in the last four years.
View Marc Miller Profile
Lib. (QC)
Perhaps the member has been mailing it in for the last four years, but we have not. We have been trying to push forward the business of government despite fierce opposition. That is the opposition's job; we get it. Any bill presented before Parliament at this stage should be given serious consideration. This is an important stage, and members are free to debate it all they want. Simply put, we will give it the consideration it is due. If they care about the north, they will support the bill.
View Marc Miller Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for his fierce advocacy for indigenous peoples, and particularly the swift adoption of his colleague's private member's bill on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. I am dismayed and disgusted that it is stuck in the other House in what amounts to bad faith from certain members on the other side. They are members of the Conservative caucus. It is incumbent upon members of the caucus in the House of Commons to push their colleagues to make sure that the bill goes through in a swift and timely manner. Indigenous peoples across Canada are waiting for this to come through, and it is an essential act of reconciliation.
This bill incorporates a number of elements, including the consultation review that indigenous people have been looking for. Many of the commentators on the bill have specifically underlined how it does in fact conform with the relevant provisions of UNDRIP.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
View Pierre Nantel Profile
2019-06-06 11:06 [p.28668]
Mr. Speaker, I will share my time with the member for Courtenay—Alberni.
This is probably my last chance to express my opinion about this government.
I listened to my colleague from Malpeque, and I know his heart is in the right place. He talked about the new horizons for seniors program, which is a very good program in many of our ridings. It is indeed a success.
However, I listened to my other colleague who spoke before him about the government's social housing initiatives, and I had to work hard to keep from shouting. The truth is that places like Longueuil—Saint-Hubert need social housing. We do not spend enough time talking about that. Sadly, the poverty rate in the City of Longueuil and its two suburbs is incredibly high. Over a third of the children belong to families living below the poverty line. I know for a fact that we need social housing. The Longueuil housing office's waiting list now has over 2,000 names on it. We need this kind of initiative, but the Liberal government has never done more than talk about it.
Once again, we are seeing their obsession with always calculating the very best time to announce some big carrot they want to dangle in front of people right before the election. That is what they did. Even though that was two years ago, they told us they were investing $10 billion in social housing. What they have put on the table so far is really just peanuts. What will we get later? It will be a nice gift. We will see if Canadians are smart, if they have realized that they have to trust the blue bloods in the Liberal Party of Canada. Now we will get small carrots here and there; we will get what is to be expected. It is appalling.
The media industry is now in crisis. How are the Liberals going to support the media? They are offering more carrots. No changes were made to the legislation.
Getting back to the people of Longueuil, what did the government do right away? It eliminated the tax credit for public transit passes. That is fantastic. It is almost as good as pipelines. Let us encourage people to take the bus. Congratulations, that is fantastic. I will not even mention the subway, since we obviously still do not have our subway extension.
Quebec has a lot of needs and a lot of ambition, and we can be proud of that. People in Montreal and the rest of Quebec really want to use public transit. Are we going to get some support from higher up? I sure hope so. I would love to see some big announcements before the election. They had better be good, and the Liberals would do well to keep their word and not lose the election. I hope members on that side can really understand how things are for the people of Longueuil.
Longueuil has had the same metro station since 1967. It is 52 years old. Nothing has been built since. God knows we need more. The bridges in my riding, especially the Jacques Cartier Bridge, are constantly congested. When people need to get to Montreal, they do not even consider taking public transit because it takes two tickets to cross the river and the return trip costs $13, so they drive their cars.
In fact, that is why I am so passionate about electric cars and the electrification of transportation. The people in my community were early adopters because it seemed like we were always stuck in traffic. Many drivers ended up going electric. Again, we got peanuts for the electrification of transportation. The Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development at least had the vision to support a few good projects, but the Department of Transport has not offered up a penny, for Pete's sake. How pathetic. Electric cars are nothing new. Tesla reinvented the car years ago, but Ottawa is asleep at the wheel.
Being here among the 338 MPs who represent the people of Canada is an incredible opportunity. It is time to wake up. We see a lot of apathy, especially on the other side of the aisle. I have said over and over how ashamed I am that this Parliament cannot stand up and make sure e-commerce is properly taxed, at least at the same rate as our own businesses. Peter Simons has opened a store here on Rideau Street, and what a store it is. It was not that guy from Amazon who did it; it was Peter Simons. He got people involved by investing his own money and hiring employees.
Taxes are to be expected, since they fund our services. Paying a tax is not a shame. Roads and hospitals do not pay for themselves, nor do the boats that keep us safe on the water.
The government is letting web giants into the country. Does Amazon, a competitor to Simons, for example, pay taxes? I am not so sure. People are always surprised to hear that someone who ordered a product on Amazon did not pay tax. This cannot work. We are not in a little village in 1812. This is 2019 in a G7 country. I am trying to refrain from swearing.
This is shameful. Why is the media in a crisis right now? The government thinks it is complicated and that it is a new paradigm. I remember I had an eBay account about 20 years ago. This is not a new paradigm, and that is not an excuse.
It is a fact that the Conservatives ignored this for 10 years. The Liberals are even worse. They have been calling this situation appalling for four years, but they are not doing anything. The truth is that the media sector is in one hell of a mess right now and has lost 16,800 jobs since 2008, and the Liberals are partly at fault, since they had four years to do something.
We do indeed need to amend legislation, but the government should have done it sooner. When the Liberals were elected in 2015, they said that they were going to change this because it is important. They said that they would consult, but they did not manage to get everyone together. A government is meant to be able to unite people. Did this government do so? Absolutely not. I do not want to sound alarmist, but that is the truth. Anyone in the culture industry would tell you that.
Currently, we are talking a lot about the 75th anniversary of the brave heroes who defended our democracy in the Second World War. That is what we call patriotism, correct? The person who made a documentary on the Second World War—I forget the name of the production company, but no matter—sold one million copies of his DVD. Three years later, or around four years ago, they made another documentary, this time on the First World War. I can see how people could have found it a little dated and would not have been as interested, but that is not the point. They sold 100,000 copies of this documentary.
The band Alfa Rococo received $16,000 in public performance royalties for one of their radio hits, which makes sense, given that the radio was playing their song. During the same period, they only got $11 from Spotify. Clearly, this is the kind of thing that influences the decision of whether to go into music or not. That said, we are all happy to have music.
The government is well aware of all the problems. This morning I was asked in an interview whether the Minister of Canadian Heritage is incompetent. I said that I believe he is not incompetent so much as powerless. He is powerless before the will of the Prime Minister and he is powerless before the intellectual dishonesty of the Minister of Finance, who, when asked why the GST is not applied to Netflix subscriptions or ads on Google and Facebook, always says that this is very complicated and it should be taken up with the G7 and the G20.
Most of the U.S. states apply a sales tax on accounts like that. Everyone is asked to pay sales tax. For example, when we go to a small-time garage to buy some washer fluid and the employee says it will cost $4 in cash but he will have to add the tax if we pay by credit card, we raise a disapproving eyebrow, but that is what we are allowing to happen.
I did the math. GST would cost Netflix roughly 75 cents a month per subscription. That is roughly $10 a year per subscription. Ten dollars times roughly ten million subscriptions is $100 million.
Do the Liberals not want that money? Canadians do. We need it. The Liberals have to wake up.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
View Pierre Nantel Profile
2019-06-06 11:18 [p.28669]
Mr. Speaker, in my response, I will consider the fact that my colleague is a former journalist and has the utmost respect for that profession, which is very important in our country.
The distribution of government support to the media, electronic or print, must be carried out in the most impartial way. We made several recommendations, such as supporting journalists independently of the platform they use. Naturally, the report was shelved because the Liberals are in the majority and are in charge at committees. I have been an MP for eight years and, unfortunately, most of the time, reports are shelved. That is disgraceful. The report had not even been tabled yet and the Prime Minister dismissed it, as did the Minister of Canadian Heritage.
Several suggestions were made, in particular in Mr. Greenspon's report, which was not acted upon. What did the Liberals do? Just before the election, they realized that they needed to do something. They asked themselves who might be involved. They made a choice knowing that that would work to defeat the Conservatives, and told themselves it was not a problem, it would do the trick.
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