Interventions in the House of Commons
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View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-06-11 22:51 [p.28973]
Mr. Speaker, I am surprised that the hon. member for Saskatoon—Grasswood, in describing this bill, which is about the restoration of indigenous treaty rights around rejecting the idea of superboards, among other details, has raised the issue of oil and gas, the need for development, and demonstrations in Calgary in favour of oil and gas.
We have a lot of discussion in this place about the need to recognize a climate emergency. I wonder if my hon. colleague has any particular notion of when we should stop expanding oil and gas, and how quickly we need to phase out oil and gas in order to avoid catastrophic impacts from the climate crisis.
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-06-10 11:46 [p.28785]
Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour to speak today during the final hour of debate after several years of work on a bill that is important to the world's whales.
I am particularly honoured to rise this morning because we are at the point that most members in this place appear ready to see this legislation pass. The legislation was first brought forward in the last few days of the Senate sitting of 2015. It has been, to put it mildly, a long haul.
The hon. member just raised concerns, and I think all concerns by my colleagues in this place are legitimate. However, it is important for anyone watching this debate to recognize that the bill is based on science.
Many scientists testified as to why it is critical that we stop keeping cetaceans in captivity. We understand why. They are obviously not akin to livestock, for instance. Cetaceans require the ocean. They require the space. They require acoustic communication over long distances. The scientists who testified before the committee who made the case so strongly made it based on science.
Yes, Canadians care. Yes, the school children who wrote to us in the thousands were not moved by the science; they were moved because they see movies and nature films and they understand that whales, dolphins and porpoises are of a different character than other animals.
I would reassure my friend that we could not just substitute the name for another species. Bill S-203 is firmly tied to the Fisheries Act. I do not think we would find any horses in the wild in the ocean. We have tied it down legislatively in such a way that others should not worry that there will be a creeping effect.
In the time remaining, I want to say how grateful I am for the non-partisan spirit. It has been my entire honour to be the sponsor of this legislation in the House. I am enormously grateful to my colleagues.
I mentioned the scientists. Let me thank Dr. Visser, who testified at committee, coming in by Skype from New Zealand in the days right after the Christchurch killings. It was an emotional time for everyone. I would also like to thank Dr. Naomi Rose, and from Dalhousie University, Dr. Hal Whitehead. Phil Demers, a former whale trainer at Marineland, offered excellent real-life testimony as to the cruelty of keeping whales in captivity.
Certainly Senator Wilfred Moore and Senator Murray Sinclair have done an enormous amount to help. So too has the government representative in the Senate, Senator Harder.
I also want to thank the Minister of Fisheries and his predecessor for taking companion elements in Bill S-203 and embedding them in Bill C-68. Bill C-68, the reform of the Fisheries Act, remains before the Senate.
I want to take a moment to urge all colleagues in the other place to move Bill C-68 through. I also urge everyone here, if there are amendments, to move Bill C-68 through, because the Fisheries Act is critically important on many scores, as well as being companion legislation to Bill S-203.
Again, in a non-partisan spirit, I want to thank the hon. member for Port Moody—Coquitlam, who we will miss in this place, and the hon. member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley. I also want to mention his constituent, Ben Korving, who put forward the legislation regarding zero-waste packaging. I pledge, as leader of the Green Party, to take on Ben Korving's motion and make sure that it does not die in this place, because those members made a sacrifice to allow Bill S-203 to pass before we rise at the end of June.
I also want to thank the hon. member for Beaches—East York, a Liberal, and my friend from Courtenay—Alberni, who was gracious in his praise earlier.
Everyone pulled together on this. The member for Charlottetown, the parliamentary secretary, helped enormously.
I would once again like to thank my Bloc Québécois colleague, the member for Repentigny.
I know that there were Conservative colleagues who did what they could.
I cannot tell members how important this legislation is. I will close with a few words that we have not heard in this place before. They are from the book of Job. They are found in chapter 41, verse 1.
Behold, Behemoth,which I made as I made you;...He is the first of the works of God;...Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhookor press down his tongue with a cord?Can you put a rope in his noseor pierce his jaw with a hook?...Will traders bargain over him?Will they divide him up among the merchants?...On earth there is not his like,...He sees everything that is high;he is king over all the sons of pride.
To everyone in this place, let us think for a moment. We behold Leviathan. He belongs in the wild. He will never again be placed in a swimming pool in this country.
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-06-06 10:30 [p.28664]
Mr. Speaker, I am enormously grateful that my friend from Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan chose to put some focus on the media bailout, because I was not able to get in on the debate when that was before the House squarely.
I voted against the Conservative motion last night. My vote might be considered to be support for the approach of the government in its entirety. Unfortunately, the Conservative motion included deleting tax treatment for energy efficient vehicles, probably inadvertently, in a series of amendments that were about the media bailout.
I am concerned about the media bailout. The media does need support. We need independent journalism. I would have been more impressed with a commitment that zero government dollars would go to advertising in digital platforms and would concentrate government advertising in the newspapers that were struggling.
I would also be more impressed if the group that was deciding who got the money did not include recipients of the funding. One reason I could not vote for the Conservative motion on its own was it singled out Unifor. Sun Media is sitting on it. The point, as made as journalist, Andrew Potter, is this. Why would the recipients of the funding form the group to decide who gets the funding?
Those are my concerns. The are not full-on opposition to the government's approach, but I would like to see it tweaked.
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-06-04 21:37 [p.28552]
Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of concerns about the pardons and the way they are structured in the bill. One thing I tried to do at committee, which was based on advice from a number of witnesses, is this. There is a condition that a pardon cannot proceed until the sentence has been fulfilled or the fine has been paid. The people who are the most marginalized would be those very people who cannot afford to pay the fine so the pardon becomes out of reach. I do not know if we can pursue this at this stage. I tried to at committee.
However, I would like the hon. parliamentary secretary's thoughts on whether we can deal with this so that the people who are in the greatest need of having the pardon applied are able to get a job to pay the fine to have this limitation removed.
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-06-03 20:50 [p.28464]
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo and all members in this place for speeding up the passage of Bill C-92. I would have had a chance to make a speech tonight, and I stopped myself, because it is more important that we get this bill through.
I have some of the same misgivings as my friend. I put forward 28 amendments in clause by clause in an attempt to take up some of the recommendations of Dr. Cindy Blackstock and the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society, the Carrier Sekani Family Services and others who testified at committee, but it is important that we pass it.
I was present this morning for the very moving presentation of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Tina Fontaine's grandmother was there. I am sure that my friend from Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo recalls that Perry Bellegarde, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, said that she could feel that her granddaughter's spirit was with us. One of the key recommendations from the inquiry is that safe shelter for indigenous young people must be available 24 hours a day, because Tina sought help, and the doors were closed.
I know it is a 1,200-page report. We cannot have read all of it. I know I have not, but I hope everyone in this place, in Tina's memory, will commit at least that no first nation child, no child in this country, should go without protection, regardless of the time of night.
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-05-14 11:07 [p.27733]
Madam Speaker, I certainly agree that there is a lot of misinformation. Unfortunately, as much as I am very fond of the member for Calgary Shepard, much of what was in his speech was alarmingly not about the Canada-Madagascar treaty. However, I will indulge that lapse in relevance to point out that the fact that gas prices in B.C. today are high has nothing to do with the carbon tax, as any analyst will tell us. It has to do with refinery capacity.
We used to have four refineries in Burnaby. We are now down to one. It was Chevron. It is now Parkland. It closed down for repairs last year. It is now back up to 92% production. The reality is that even if the government built the Kinder Morgan expansion, it would undermine access to the fuel the refinery needs. That refinery cannot process solid bitumen. The expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline is for 100% solid bitumen for export. It is diluted to get it through the pipeline. It is called dilbit. Dilbit cannot be used in our refinery. Therefore, it is a refinery-capacity issue. It has nothing to do with pipelines. We would do better if we processed more Alberta product in Canada for use by Canadians instead of pretending that there is a market in other countries.
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-05-14 12:36 [p.27743]
Mr. Speaker, I was so pleased to hear my colleague from Battle River—Crowfoot citing the very last report from our late and much-missed Auditor General, Mr. Ferguson, which took aim at the preferential treatment CRA gives. On a basis of empirical data, studying everything the CRA does, the Auditor General audited and found that when an average Canadian owes CRA a little money, CRA goes after that person and goes after that person for interest. However, CRA gives fat cats with offshore tax accounts extra time, saying it is a complicated, offshore situation.
In fact, as the hon. member pointed out, only for the wealthiest do CRA officials voluntarily offer to have interest charges waived on money owed. My daughter, who is a university student, was audited last year on her income tax to verify the textbooks she bought and to provide receipts again. It is a very disturbing reality that CRA officials would prefer to go after people who cannot afford to hire lawyers than to tackle the tax avoidance displayed in the Panama papers. We are the only country that has not gone after the offshore accounts revealed by the Panama papers.
My dear friend from Battle River—Crowfoot and I do not always agree on things. We do love each other, but we do not always agree on things. On this occasion, I celebrate his speech.
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-05-14 15:37 [p.27770]
Mr. Speaker, to my dear friend, the member of Parliament for Sydney—Victoria, as a Caper myself from Margaree, I remember his first political action as the hon. member for Sydney—Victoria, which was very green. It was fighting the Point Aconi coal-fired power plant that was going to suck the water out of the farms on Boularderie Island, which it did. However, that was when I first came across the hon. member for Sydney—Victoria. As members have heard, his actions as a member of Parliament have continued to be green.
We worked on the Sydney tar ponds issue. I well remember, as some members would, that in the spring of 2001, right around this time of year, which was before 9/11 and so protesters were allowed to sit right by the members' entrance, I was there on a hunger strike. I thought two or three days and Allan Rock would crack. I never thought I would have to be on a hunger strike for 17 days to get the commitment to clean up the Sydney tar ponds. However, the hon. member for Sydney—Victoria, who had been a member of Parliament for something like six months, came outside and talked to me. He said, “Geez, this place. I don't know if I'm ever going to figure out how to make this place work so I can get things done. I knew how to work when I was home on the farm.”
I do not know if the hon. member remembers those conversations, but he certainly did figure out how to get things done. From that early first time of being elected, I think in the fall of 2000, until today, he has gotten a lot done. We did not always agree on the way we should clean up the Sydney tar ponds, but we sure did make a big improvement.
My hon. colleague for Cape Breton—Canso is a cousin to my sister-in-law. It is all very cozy at home. I want to put it on the record, as leader of the Green Party, to certify and satisfy some of the earlier questions. This may not be in Hansard, but in the annals of Hinterland Who's Who members will find the hon. members for Cape Breton—Canso and Sydney—Victoria for their daring midnight rescue of the beaver in the middle of Wellington Street and getting it down to the water.
The hon. member for Sydney—Victoria first flashed across our TV screens in Cape Breton many years ago, as this handsome young farmer speaking on behalf of chicken farmers everywhere and, with a great big smile, saying, “Get cracking”. It was a good ad, and here he is all these years later.
The hon. member for Sydney—Victoria has accomplished a great deal, and I will really miss him around here, assuming I can get re-elected. He is a dear friend, a solid citizen and a wonderful family man. In the language of Gaelic in Cape Breton, go raibh maith agat; in the language of the Mi’kmaq, wela'lin; and a good dose of Dutch, dank u wel.
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-05-10 13:32 [p.27648]
seconded by the member for Windsor—Tecumseh, moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.
She said: Madam Speaker, I thank those members who are applauding this historic day. I speak for myself and for many Canadians from coast to coast to coast when I say we are very grateful for the assistance of the hon. Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the assistance of the hon. Minister of Environment and Climate Change and the assistance of their parliamentary secretaries in assisting this bill to get through this place after its long, long, long gestation in the Senate. We are extremely grateful for that support to expedite the passage of this bill so that it can receive royal assent before this House adjourns for the summer and the election.
I am only going to canvass briefly the elements of the bill; I think we are all very familiar with it.
It was started in the Senate, where it was sponsored by an absolutely terrific Canadian who would make the case that we should change mandatory retirement at age 75 for members of the Senate.
Senator Wilfred Moore of Nova Scotia brought this bill forward in 2015. On his retirement, it was taken up by another magnificent and inspiring leader within this country, former jurist Senator Murray Sinclair. All of their work and all of the witnesses in the long hearings before the Senate made the same point over and over again: In the 21st century, we simply know better than to think cetaceans belong in captivity. We can no longer pretend that the entertainment value of these magnificent, sentient creatures in swimming pools anywhere in Canada is acceptable.
Parallel to our efforts on Bill S-203 is a very good bill, Bill C-68, from the former minister of fisheries, the hon. member for Beauséjour. It is is currently before the Senate, and we certainly hope will pass soon. To him, I once again want to underline my deep thanks for all of his work as minister of fisheries.
Bill C-68, would make it illegal to take a cetacean into captivity in Canadian waters. Bill S-203, finishes that piece and makes it comprehensive by adding that we will not breed cetaceans in captivity, nor will we buy cetaceans from other countries and keep them in captivity.
We are listening to the science and taking the appropriate actions.
I want to thank other people who have played a significant role in seeing this largely non-partisan effort, supported by thousands and thousands of Canadians, come to this point.
I want to thank the hon. members for Courtenay—Alberni, New Westminster—Burnaby, Beaches—East York and Pontiac; the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard; the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard; the members for West Nova, Avalon, and Charlottetown, and the member for Repentigny from the Bloc Québécois. There was help from members on all sides of the House, including the party that did not support the bill; there are individual members of that party who were very helpful.
The NGO community has been very helpful in assisting the process by networking with good scientists and also making sure the community of Canadians concerned with cetaceans received assistance. That community includes Animal Justice and its spectacular lawyer, Camille Labchuk; the Humane Society of Canada; Humane Society International; Ontario Captive Animal Watch; Animal Alliance of Canada; World Animal Protection; and The Whale Sanctuary Project. Assistance also came from scientists Dr. Lori Marino; Dr. Ingrid Visser, who testified by video link all the way from New Zealand; Dr. Naomi Rose; Dr. Hal Whitehead, of Dalhousie University; and Phil Demers.
All of these scientists, NGOs, individual elected Canadians and those from the unelected other place worked diligently and did their homework with one aim only: to end a practice that we all know is wrong.
It is a great honour for me to have overseen this private members' bill. It is a great honour.
I am surprised by the tremendous support that this bill has received across Canada. At this time, I would like to say just one thing: thank you.
I thank everyone involved and am in their debt, as are our wonderful free whales. Although it was certainly an accident of fate and Parliament that the bill was brought forward by Senator Wilfred Moore, I will say once more “Free Willy”.
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-05-10 13:39 [p.27649]
Madam Speaker, having had a chance to look at my list, I am mortified that I had not said the correct riding of someone who played a huge role, and that is the hon. member for Port Moody—Coquitlam. I want to ensure that is on the record.
The science increasingly tells us that it constitutes cruelty to animals to take these cetaceans and keep them in confined spaces. They communicate as families. They communicate as communities. They use language. The communication requires space and range. They are creatures that travel enormous distances. Part of the health of the animal requires being able to function in community.
We saw it in the wild this summer when one of the members of our southern resident killer whale population gave birth to a calf that died almost immediately. The mother of that whale pushed her calf through the water on her nose, keeping it above the water, although dead, for an astonishing 17-day period of mourning.
It is certainly not possible to imagine that these creatures could live in swimming pools. The science is clear.
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-05-10 13:42 [p.27649]
Madam Speaker, it is a difficult thing. When this bill came forward, two facilities in Canada held cetaceans in captivity. Vancouver Aquarium quite rightly made a decision voluntarily, which was very controversial within decisions made by the Vancouver city council, that it would no longer hold cetaceans in captivity. However, Marineland has taken a different approach, which is to fight the bill tooth and nail.
I hope Marineland can adjust its business model. It is a fantastic tourist attraction. It is in a perfect location. I am not a marketer, but if I were, I would suggest it talk to the people at Cirque du Soleil. I would suggest it convert that swimming pool for whales, which is a cruel living condition, to brilliant acrobats dressed as mermaids, cavorting on trapezes up and down, and attracting crowds like they have never seen before. Then we can all say with big smiles on our faces: “Everyone loves Marineland”.
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-05-10 13:43 [p.27649]
Madam Speaker, to my dear friend from Niagara Falls, I would say that Bill C-68 is a terrific piece of legislation. It does ban the taking of whales from Canadian waters, but it does not speak to the pith, substance and core of this bill, which is that people cannot continue to hold them in captivity, cannot breed them for captivity and cannot keep whales in captivity.
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-05-09 10:39 [p.27553]
Mr. Speaker, in the interest of brevity, I will only say that I agree with most of what the hon. member just said. As a footnote, New Zealand has very strong policies in place for preserving the Maori language. It has reserved places in the House of Commons for Maori representatives, and thanks to proportional representation, it now has an equivalent number of Maori representatives in its Parliament to the proportion of Maori in the general population.
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-05-09 11:03 [p.27556]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciated the as-ever thoughtful approach of my friend from Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan on this issue. We may disagree around some of the aspects of his speech, but he is clearly very thoughtful about issues of reconciliation.
However, when the member's leader was before the Assembly of First Nations and was asked what the Conservative platform is going to look like and what his party thinks about reconciliation, as I recall, the answer was, “You'll have to wait. We haven't finished figuring that out yet.”
I wonder if my hon. colleague can shed any light on how the Conservative Party thinks we can advance the essential quest for justice and reconciliation.
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