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View Deepak Obhrai Profile
CPC (AB)
View Deepak Obhrai Profile
2019-06-04 11:57 [p.28476]
Mr. Speaker, I have been here for over 23 years, and I have always spoken to budget bills, whether the Conservatives were in opposition or on the government side. That is because a budget is what defines our economy; a budget is what defines where Canada's economy will move.
My colleagues on this side have highlighted, in very great detail, what is wrong with this budget bill put forward by the Liberal government. Let me start by saying certain things. I have been sitting here and listening to the Liberals when they get up. They like to attack us, calling out Mr. Harper's name all the time. The Liberal members have used Mr. Harper's name more than anybody I have ever heard. Somehow it is in their psyche that the former prime minister should be used to highlight their deficiencies.
Let me just show, using facts, why they are wrong. The international Institute for Management Development puts together a yearly world competitiveness ranking. Within one year, Canada has fallen three spots on the world competitiveness ranking, from 10th in 2018 to 13th this year. We are the lowest of the G7 countries. In 2018-19, the Liberals were in power. We fell from 10th to 13th.
Let me say this. In the same report, previously, from 2007 to 2015, Canada rose from 10th place to fifth place. That was under the Conservative government of former prime minister Harper. Let me repeat that for the Liberals who speak from their points. Under their regime we dropped in the ranking, going from 10th to 13th, the lowest of the G7 countries. During the period when we were in power under former prime minister Harper, which was 2007 to 2015, we rose from 10th place to fifth place. This is something they should take into account every time they talk about it.
When it comes to economic performance, government officials, business efficiency or infrastructure, the institute says we are not in the top five countries in this index. This is terrible management. Business investment in Canada under the Liberal government has fallen by an annualized rate of 10.9%. This is the second time it has fallen by over 10%. What a shame. This is the management record of the Liberal government.
The Liberal government seems totally oblivious to economic conditions. I come from Alberta. We have seen the devastating impact the government has had on my province. In my city of Calgary, the downtown is completely empty. Right now, businesses in the suburban area are suffering from tax hikes, because the downtown, which used to be the core economic sector in Calgary, has half its buildings empty. That is since the Liberals came into power. They had the opportunity to fix that.
The Liberals bought the Trans Mountain pipeline, but even if they started construction on it, what about Bill C-69, and what about Bill C-48, the tanker bill? Those bills are a direct attack on Alberta.
Albertans are now reeling from the disastrous management of the government. When the father of our current Prime Minister was there, that was the first time Alberta was suffering. I was there at that time. The government tried to seize the oil royalties. The finance minister was Marc Lalonde. It was a disastrous result. Since then, the Liberals have never recovered in Alberta. During the election of 2015, the current Prime Minister said that he would do business differently than his father in Alberta. Lo and behold, those sunny days are gone. This is something that, again, he has not fulfilled.
I am talking about Alberta and the energy sector. The energy sector benefits the whole country. It is not only Alberta's sector. It is British Columbia's, Quebec's, Ontario's, the Maritimes', everyone. It is one of our key sectors.
What is very important is that our companies have spent billions of dollars on clean technology. I will give one example. I was on the foreign affairs committee in the opposition. At that time, in the oil fields of Sudan, Talisman, a Canadian company, had a percentage of the operation in Sudan. All these NGOs that are based in western Canada found that it was easy to target a Canadian company, so they went after the Canadian company, accusing it of all kinds of crimes committed against the environment. The ultimate result was that Talisman sold its shares to China and to India. The next day, all the protests were over.
Has oil stopped? No, it has not. Whom will they target? They will target Canadians. Why will they target them? It is an easy way to do it for these environmentalists. All of a sudden, they disappeared. That shows that the targets of these environmentalists are where they are doing it right now.
I want to go on to another issue, which is the media outlets these guys are giving money to. I can tell members why it is going to be a problem. What about the ethnic media? There are a huge number of ethnic media in the country. Are the Liberals going to give money to the ethnic media, or are they only going to give money to the old Canadian media that are sitting here on the national scene? Are they the only ones who are going to benefit? This is a slippery slope. I will accuse them of discrimination if they do not give money to the ethnic media.
On the panel, there sits a guy who is absolutely anti-Conservative. He said the day before yesterday that he has a right to speak freely. Absolutely. We in the Conservative caucus warn their labour union that he is absolutely right that he can speak, but he is not going to sit on an independent panel and decide which media are going to get money. That goes against democracy. That goes against the principles of democracy. It puts all journalists under a cloud. These journalists had better wake up, because they are going to be under a cloud. Can we trust them when they are getting money from the government? Any time anyone else gets money, they oppose that. How can I believe that what these journalists are writing is unbiased? All indications are that the government is using the money it has to buy votes and to buy publicity. It is a slippery road. It is best not to get involved. The whole country has media, so it is easier for the Liberals not to do that.
In my conclusion, let me say clearly that this is an absolute economic disaster by the government.
View David Yurdiga Profile
CPC (AB)
View David Yurdiga Profile
2018-11-27 14:04 [p.24027]
Mr. Speaker, during the 2016 fires in Fort McMurray, over 80,000 people were forced to evacuate. Sadly, thousands lost their homes.
I regret to report that many of these people are still without their homes. Many homeowners have been scammed by home builders who have taken deposits, never to be seen again. Members of the Hillview community are particularly struggling, with condo fees having escalated from $300 to over $800 per month, in addition to special assessments that have added over $50,000 per unit. The condos are still under construction.
These families pay for their home mortgages and temporary housing, and these are all unforeseen costs. Some have lost their homes, and many are at risk of losing their homes. Many have received assistance, but many, through no fault of their own, have not. These families simply fell through the cracks in the system.
I request that the government investigate this travesty and work with the Red Cross to ensure that everyone who needs assistance gets assistance.
View Len Webber Profile
CPC (AB)
View Len Webber Profile
2018-09-27 18:03 [p.21962]
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise today to speak to Motion No. 189, which seeks to improve the organ and tissue donation system here in Canada.
This is a very timely issue for debate in the House, in a week that has seen the tabling of the health committee's report on organ donation, the second reading of my private member's bill on organ donation, and now Motion No. 189 on organ donation. It has truly been an organ donation week here in the House.
Like the hon. member for Thérèse-De Blainville, I am a long-time advocate of organ and tissue donation in Canada. I have heard many triumphant and also tragic stories related to organ and tissue donation.
As a former MLA, I had a bill pass in the Alberta legislature that resulted in the creation of the Alberta organ and tissue donation registry.
However, more work needs to be done to get Canadians on board, so I introduced another bill just this week here in the House of Commons. That bill proposes to amend the annual income tax return to ask Canadians if they wish to become organ and tissue donors. It has the potential to register millions more donors.
Over 90% of Canadians support organ and tissue donation, but just over 20% of Canadians are registered. We need to do better. We can do better.
I am honoured to have the member for Thérèse-De Blainville as an official seconder of my bill, and I certainly will be supporting his initiative here with Motion No. 189.
Also, on Tuesday of this week, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health presented an important report regarding organ and tissue donation. The report is an accumulation of the work we did together after I proposed a study at committee.
I must note that the committee did an amazing job of working together toward a common goal. I must thank all hon. committee members for allowing this study to happen. This non-partisan effort, along with the tremendous expert testimony that we received, made the report a fair and accurate representation of the study we undertook.
I would like to take a moment to highlight some of the key items from the report, as they speak directly in support of Motion No. 189.
We found that the federal government could help by first, supporting the adoption of best practices in organ donation and transplantation across all jurisdictions; second, investing in national public education and awareness campaigns to promote a conversation among family members regarding organ donation; third, creating more opportunities for Canadians to register their decisions regarding organ donation; and fourth, providing sustained funding for research and data collection to ensure that organ transplantation results in improved health outcomes for Canadians.
The health committee quickly agreed on a number of key recommendations after listening to these key stakeholders and experts.
The first recommendation from the health committee is that the Government of Canada provide the Canadian Blood Services with sustained funding to strengthen and expand upon existing interprovincial organ donation and transplantation-sharing programs; develop a sustained national multimedia public awareness campaign to promote organ donation, and promote the adoption of best practices in organ donation and transplantation across the country.
The second recommendation is that the health minister establish a working group with provincial and territorial ministers of health to examine best practices in organ donation legislation across the country, such as the adoption of mandatory referral of any potential organ donor, and to identify any barriers to the implementation of these best practices.
Our third recommendation is that the Government of Canada identify and create opportunities for Canadians to register as organ donors through access points for federal programs and services, in collaboration with provincial and territorial organ donation programs. Of course, I have to note that this particular recommendation directly supports my Bill C-316 and my efforts to amend the annual tax return so that Canadians can register as donors.
The fourth recommendation of our health committee is that the Government of Canada provide information and education to Canadians regarding organ donation as part of its efforts to promote organ donation registration through federal programs and service access points.
Our fifth recommendation is that the Government of Canada continue to provide funding for organ donation and transplantation research through its networks of centres of excellence program.
Finally, the sixth is that the Canadian Institute for Health Information and Canadian Blood Services work together to develop a national data collection system to monitor outcomes in organ donation to support research and systems improvement.
Improving the transplant system in Canada is not a political issue; it is a human issue. I believe we have a united House when it comes to dealing with this issue of organ donation, and I firmly believe that we can improve the system. We have the potential to save hundreds of lives and improve the quality of the lives of many Canadians in every community of this great country. Inaction or delays in making necessary improvements will cost lives and money. It is a known fact that life-saving transplants save us costs in our medical system because they remove the dependence of thousands of people from costly treatments and hospitalizations. This leaves more resources for other challenges to be addressed.
I recognize that in Canada, because organ and tissue donor registries are a provincial jurisdiction, we face some unique challenges in implementing change. That said, I also believe that where there is a will there is a way. I believe that Canada can move from being a country with one of the worst organ-donation rates in the world to one of the best. I believe that Canadians will register in greater numbers if we make the process easier and more convenient. I believe we need to be innovative in how we reach potential donors and how we educate and inform potential donors. I also believe that we need to do a great deal more work to make sure that families respect the wishes of their family members. The number of people who want to donate but have that decision overruled by their surviving families is shocking. One study suggests that one in five donors does not have his or her relatives respect his or her wishes to donate. We need to open up the discussion in Canada so that we do not bury perfectly good organs every day while other people in our community face death daily, waiting for a life-saving transplant.
In closing, I would again like to thank my colleagues from all parties for their support on this issue that is so close to my heart. I want to thank them for their non-partisan and collaborative support to improve the lives of so many Canadians. I believe we can achieve some great things here if we all continue to pull in the same direction. For this reason, I am proud to be a strong supporter of Motion No. 189.
View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2018-06-14 17:09 [p.20969]
Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure to rise to speak to this motion. I am going to say many things that my colleagues from Alberta should hear because it is very important for them to be reminded where this idea of a carbon tax or carbon levy came from.
I am a proud Albertan for many reasons and counted among them is the fact that my province was the first Canadian jurisdiction, in fact the first jurisdiction in North America, to impose a levy on carbon emissions. Our colleagues in the Conservative Party, minus the Progressive Conservative aspect of it, seem to want to forget about that. In fact, my guess would be that not a single one of them mentioned that fact during the debate in this place on the carbon tax. In 2007, Premier Stelmach's Progressive Conservative Government of Alberta became the first in Canada, a North America jurisdiction, to legislate greenhouse gas emissions reductions. The specified gas emitters regulation imposed a carbon levy on large industrial emitters.
This came about because of the remarkable institution in Alberta called the Clean Air Strategic Alliance. It is a mechanism that I have long recommended should be duplicated at the federal level. It is a tripartite organization shared jointly by someone senior in industry, maybe a TransAlta, Suncor, or Syncrude vice-president, and by a deputy of energy or environment, and a senior environmentalist. It also includes indigenous peoples and farmers. On behalf of the Alberta government it takes on what should be done to reduce air emissions in our province. The alliance took on the coal-fired power industry and significantly reduced those emissions. It also took on the major emitters of greenhouse gases and as a result, the government very wisely issued these regulations.
Those regulations have since been replaced and I will talk about that in a minute, but under those regulations, an industry could choose to either reduce its emissions substantially or contribute to a research fund. That research fund was headed up by the former head of Syncrude Canada. It is considered a great model for investment in cleaner technology. A lot of the money went to try to clean up the fossil fuel industry, which some people might question, but it indeed does also need to clean up. A lot of that money also went into things like geothermal energy, renewable energy, using alternative energy in the fossil fuel industry, and reducing the energy used by the fossil fuel industry. It was remarkable.
We really need to honour Alberta for that because Alberta did that first. I find it really stunning in this place that every Conservative keeps standing up and ranting about the very measure that my Government of Alberta put in place.
A decade later, along came the government of Rachel Notley who put in place a very impressive climate action portfolio. She announced a new regime that includes the carbon competitiveness incentive regulations. Those have been in place since January of this year. They apply to facilities like the oil sands, cement plants, fertilizer producers that produce more than 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2003 or thereafter. The Notley government also imposed a cap on oil sands carbon emissions and it was great news for me because I volunteered for seven years to finally deal with the emissions from the coal-fired power sector.
Again, I am very proud of Alberta because it has moved forward. The federal government is still talking about it and the federal government acts as if it has done it, but in fact, it has done nothing to change the Harper era coal-fired power regulations.
All the Harper government did was to say that by 2050 the coal-fired power industry either has to shut down or deal with carbon emissions. That was the big push for carbon capture sequestration. Guess what? It is really expensive and with the big push for that, in the end, the industry did not want to pay for it and the public is not happy about subsidizing it. At the big international conferences there are people trying to sell this, but it just did not work in Alberta.
The reason this industry was not shut down earlier in Alberta was that the government refused to look at the health impacts of that sector. I tried really hard to get the federal and provincial governments to speak to it. I eventually had to intervene on my own with a lifelong friend who is a family doctor and who had documented in the Lake Wabamun area, where most of the coal-fired power industry is, the higher rates of multiple sclerosis and other diseases related to neurological disease. As a result of his and my intervening, and our having brought in an American expert from the eastern coast, the government finally put in place the only mercury control regulations in this country for coal-fired power.
Bit by bit, the Government of Alberta was doing good work. Along came the Rachel Notley government and Dr. Joe Vipond, who is a Calgary physician. He started gathering information from the Canadian Medical Association to determine an absolutely huge number of serious illnesses and deaths related to coal-fired power in my province. As a result of that data and as a result of costing those injuries, health impacts, and deaths, a lot of the issues having to do with asthma, lung disease, and heart disease, the government decided that it would move forward the date for the shutdown of coal power in Alberta. Therefore, by 2030 the coal power industry will be gone in Alberta.
Those are great measures by the Government of Alberta, which were initially started by Premier Stelmach, a Progressive Conservative. These regulations replace the specified gas emitters regulation.
I want to share with members the voice of one of my neighbours, who is a remarkable man. He travels around the world and advises China and Bhutan; he goes everywhere. He is an environmental economist. Mark Anielski has reminded us that the health care costs associated with climate change are “in the order of $300 million per year, along with other impacts of pollution”, and it is what he dubs an “unfunded liability”. He estimates this overall liability is worth “about $13.7 billion if you value carbon at $50 a ton which is what Shell and other companies shadow price carbon at”. He added, “This is in the spirit of taxing the bads and not the goods” and “everyone requires a share of responsibility...paying for that liability. But the tax really is an incentive to change our behaviour to be more efficient.”
I heard my colleague from Calgary rant about what the gas tax will do to address and stop the floods and terrible fires that have blighted British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. That is not the point. The point is we need to reduce the burning of fossil fuels so that we do not have more catastrophic floods and fires. We have been fortunate in Canada because we are not seeing the brunt of it that the rest of the world is already seeing. We need to understand that putting in place a carbon tax is meant as a preventive measure, not an after-the-fact enforcement measure. It is meant to trigger a different behaviour.
The Alberta regime is forecasting $5.8 billion over a three-year period from the carbon levy on large industrial emitters. We need to also recognize that the regimes put in place in each province are going to be different. My province is blessed with, although some people say it is cursed with, major emitters. We have the major oil and gas sector. What that means is if we impose a tax, we are going to generate a lot of revenue. We also have been blessed with having a good number of people earning a good income that is higher than in a lot of places in the country. Therefore, we are going to garner a higher tax revenue. However, most of that tax will be from the purchase and burning of fossil fuels in our homes, in small businesses, and our vehicles.
What will happen with that revenue? Unlike what British Columbia originally did, where it simply returned that tax money, I am glad that Alberta has taken a different direction. My understanding is that under the new B.C. government, it has also shifted over what it is doing with that revenue.
Two-thirds of that revenue is going to be reinvested in the Alberta economy: $1.3 billion in green infrastructure and $300 million in phasing out coal power. The government, in its wisdom, decided to buy out some of the coal industry because, foolishly, previous governments had allowed the coal power industry to expand at a moment in time when we should have known it was going to be phasing out. It has agreed to pay out some of those operations and the power purchase agreements. There will be $600 million going to energy efficiency for homes and businesses, and $1 billion will be going to support the coal communities that have housed the workers who have worked in the coal mines and the coal-fired power plants. That is a good initiative. It will also go into renewable energy investments, and innovation and technology.
I would add here that the Rachel Notley government has also put $50 million toward the retraining of workers in the coal-fired power and mining industries, and persuaded the federal government finally to extend EI. Where is the money from the federal government to match that? We hear a lot of talk, and there is yet another advisory committee.
We hear pleas from members of the Conservative Party about what the carbon tax is going to do for them. What Canadians are looking for is what is being done to help communities and workers who feel they are suffering directly because of the shift to a clean energy economy.
One-third is going to helping households, businesses, and communities directly. Some $500 million is going to small business tax cuts. Some $1.5 billion is going to low- and middle-income households. There is $1.5 billion in assistance for indigenous communities. It would be nice if the federal government would match that. The effect will be that the average natural gas bill is to rise by approximately $5 a month, and that is before the 2018 rebates. The majority of the gas bill costs remain in delivery, administration, and fixed costs because of the Ralph Klein deregulated system, which the Notley government is also trying to deal with. Two-thirds of Albertans are to receive a rebate.
The projected costs are actually posted on the Alberta website. Any members in this place who are concerned about their constituents can go to the Alberta government website and find out what the carbon tax will be.
As long as Alberta's carbon tax remains in place, we in Alberta will not be subject to the federal tax regime. The government has been very clear on that. Of course, all provinces and territories have the option to implement their own choice of cost regime: cap and trade, carbon tax, or anything else that they can invent.
However, a tax alone will not cut it. Broader federal action is needed if we are to deliver on our Paris commitments. Who said that? Many, including the federal commissioner of the environment and sustainable development, who continues to raise concerns that we are failing to deliver on our commitments in meeting our greenhouse gas reduction targets. Deeper actions are needed, including on climate adaptation. That was in a very recent report by the commissioner. Of course, the government thanked the commissioner for the report, but where is the action?
I have great admiration for the Pembina Institute. The institute and others have said that the political will still appears to be high in the Liberal government. At least they voice support for it, but so is the greenhouse gas inventory high, and it is rising. The government cannot keep adjusting the timelines forward. Now it is saying it cannot possibly meet the 2020 target, so let us try for the 2030 target. The commissioner has spoken out loudly against that. She said that the government has to stop just moving the targets forward and it has to start taking action. Of course, we are already not going to meet the 2020 Copenhagen accord target. Apparently, we are also slated to fail to deliver on our Paris commitments for 2030. That is less than 15 years away. That means we have to be taking a lot of action right now.
Close to 50% of emissions come from two sectors: oil and gas and transportation. We should also take care in the conversion from coal to gas. Burning fossil fuels will remain a health threat. There should be clear timelines for shifting to renewables. I am deeply concerned, and most Canadians are probably not aware that the standards the government is about to impose for a coal plant shifting to gas are not as strict as they are for building a new gas-fired plant. That is unforgivable. That is unforgivable for regions like mine in the Lake Wabamun-Genesee area that is almost the entirety of the supply of electricity in my province. Switching to gas is still going to provide a lot of pollution and we will have a lot of health impacts, and therefore a lot of costs to the public coffers.
The reductions in the building sector have also remained stagnant. We need to move forward on changes to the national building code so that new housing stock is energy efficient. All federal dollars for indigenous housing, schools, and facilities should require energy efficiency standards for sustainability and major cost savings to the communities.
We absolutely need the federal government to deliver the promised dollars to get isolated northern communities off diesel. We can look at the budgets over the last three years that the Liberals have put forward, and I have memorized page 149 and 150 of the 2017-18 budget. All I saw were zeroes for moving reliance of rural and remote communities off diesel: budget 2016-17, zero dollars; 2017-18, zero dollars; and 2018-19, nearly $40 million.
We know how many first nations communities there are, and we know what the costs will be in some of those isolated communities, particularly in the high north. Come on, get with it. Let us move that spending forward.
Supposedly the nation-to-nation relationship is the most important, and we recognize that those communities are struggling. We hear story after story of first nations that are fed up with waiting for government to help them, and they are moving forward themselves with groups like Iron & Earth.
For example, Iron & Earth is partnering with first nations in a community in the Maskwacis in Alberta teaching the local indigenous people how to install solar, and then installing solar. Why are we not doing that right across our country? I do not understand what the delay is.
We talked about skills development in the New Democrats opposition day. In the pan-Canadian program, supposedly for all the jurisdictions to work together to address climate change, what is missing? It is investment in skills development. Even when we put those questions to the government the other day, the answer back is always exactly the same: “Well, we're supporting clean technology”. However, who is going to work for the clean technology firms?
There should be massive amounts of money flowing right now into every technical school in Canada. I sat down the other day in my constituency and started listing all the technical schools across this country that deliver renewable energy training. It is unbelievable. It is almost every community college. Certainly the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in my city has a fantastic program, but it is oversubscribed. Young people are dying to learn these skills. Who is dying to learn it the most? It is our boilermakers, steelworkers, and electricians. They are begging to get into this field. They are saying that they may still work in the fossil fuel industry, but they want to transition over. There is no reason why, when there is a downturn in the oil and gas sector, they could not slide over and work in the renewable sector.
Kudos to Iron & Earth, which started as a small group of men and women who worked in the oil sands. It has now spread right across the country. There is testimony after testimony. I encourage members to go to the Iron & Earth website and look at the testimonials from men and women working in those sectors, and how badly they want to get into this sector.
We heard all the promises from the Conservatives when they were in power. They were in power for 10 years, and they never issued those promised oil and gas regulations. So much for their actions on climate change. They never joined IRENA. Finally, three years later, kudos to the Liberals for finally discovering this international agency for renewable energy and joining it. However, I do not know what they can bring to it. I think they need to start investing and showing that we are actually taking action.
I will close with my former colleague, Paul Dewar, who is kick-starting an initiative next week for youth. I have been working closely with a fabulous group called the 3% Project. Two young people have travelled right across the country visiting just about every high school and every university, including in this city. Their objective of 3% is to reach one million young people in Canada. They want them to learn about the need for action on climate change and sustainability, and to take on a project. It is absolutely inspiring. I encourage everyone to look into 3% Project. That is our future, and I know that they believe we should take action and will not listen to the naysaying from this motion, which we will clearly vote against.
View Kelly McCauley Profile
CPC (AB)
View Kelly McCauley Profile
2018-04-30 17:00 [p.18934]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak on Bill C-48 again.
There is a content creator on YouTube who does these great videos called “honest trailers”. He discusses what movies should actually be talking about when they do their trailers. I would like to do the same with Liberal bills, because quite often we hear these grandiose names.
For example, for the budget, I would rename it the “Dude, where is my infrastructure budget?”, because no one seems to know where the infrastructure money went. Even the Parliamentary Budget Officer could not locate $7 billion of it. I do note that of the $7 billion, he was able to find that it was costing Canadian taxpayers $700,000 of spending for every job created.
I also called it the “Honey, I sank the kids” bill, because $100 billion in added debt is going to stick to our children and our grandchildren in the coming years. However, I stuck on a different name, the Vantablack bill. Vantablack is the darkest substance known to man, so I called it that because of the lack of transparency in the budget bill. In fact, it is so lacking in transparency that even a supernova could not bring light to it.
An issue with the budget bill was, for example, that the finance department refused to respond to either us or the Parliamentary Budget Officer about some five-year spending projections. There was vote 40, which the treasury board president has brought forward, which will allow him to spend $7 billion without any oversight from committees, Parliament, or votes once the money has been done. The government that brought us an $8 million hockey rink is going to be given $7 billion without any oversight or transparency.
With Bill C-48 there could be a lot of names, but I am going to call it the “hypocrite bill”. The name “hypocrite bill” could also be applied to a lot of other bills. For example, the government talked big on military spending, but it is not mentioned once in the budget. The Liberals also talk about helping the middle class, yet burdened it with tax hikes and hundreds of billions of dollars of added debt with no mention of how it will ever be paid back.
As well, the government brags about a gender-balanced cabinet, but they give all five junior ministries to women. No government since the Trudeau Senior government has given all five of the junior ministries to women.
The Liberals killed energy east by constantly changing the goalposts and requiring upstream and downstream emission considerations. At the same time, they have given hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies to their friends in Bombardier to pay out millions of dollars in bonuses, by the way. Apparently Bombardier jets do not emit emissions. The Liberals have given millions and millions to Ford motor companies because apparently Ford cars now run on pixie dust.
Let us look at the general hypocrisy around Bill C-48. Do not let anyone be fooled. It is not about banning tankers; it is about killing the northern gateway pipeline once and for all and killing Alberta jobs.
The Liberals like to talk a lot about human rights, but they blocked Alberta oil, the cleanest, most ethically produced oil in the world, to bring in oil from some of the worst human rights-abusing countries in the world. We bring in oil from Saudi Arabia, where there are some of the worst oppressions of women and of the LGBTQ community.
The Liberals brought in oil from Nigeria, where the government will murder a person for being gay. Think about that. We are bringing in oil from Nigeria and giving them money. Instead of creating Alberta jobs, we are getting oil from people who murder gays just for expressing who they truly are. We bring in oil from Angola, a country that Human Rights Watch highlights for its heavy government oppression. However, we buy their oil and block Alberta oil.
This is really interesting. Just last week, the Liberal government banned the famous Angolan human rights crusader Rafael Marques from Canada. We have open borders to all those fleeing the tyranny of the U.S., where one million Canadians still live. I hope they are going to flee as well. The Liberals will allow open borders for that, yet an award-winning human rights crusader from Angola is banned by the government. However, we will buy their oil.
The Liberals talk about evidence-based decision-making, so let us look at the facts on tanker safety.
We allow tankers into the Vancouver harbour to pick up oil in Burnaby from Kinder Morgan, where it currently is. We are planning, if Kinder Morgan gets built, to move that up to one freighter a day. That is perfectly fine. The Liberals approved that.
We allow what is called an Aframax tanker to move under the Second Narrows bridge in North Vancouver or Burnaby, where there is a width of 137 metres across the narrows.
The government now also says that a tanker moving through a width of 1,400 metres, through the Douglas Channel from Kitimat to the open seas, is not safe. Not only is the Douglas Channel 10 times the width of underneath the Second Narrows Bridge, but it would be escorted with three pilots for the entire passage. That is something we do not do when bringing in Venezuelan oil, Saudi Arabian oil, or Nigerian oil on the east coast. It is something we currently do not do when we bring in ships through the much narrower passage from North Vancouver to Burnaby.
The TERMPOL document for northern gateway added many other safety measures, such as radar on Gil Island, and more response gear, which we also do not offer for the tankers coming in through North Vancouver or the east coast.
Let us talk about the hypocrisy of the government's empty statement on nothing being more important than the nation-to-nation relationships. We heard in the government operations and estimates committee that no industry does better in Canada than the energy industry in working with indigenous groups, indigenous business, and providing jobs and prosperity to indigenous people of Canada. Who does the very worst on engaging them? It is the Canadian government.
This is what the first nations are saying. Elmer Ghostkeeper of the Buffalo Lake Métis said that they and other first nations are disappointed by the political decision, not the evidence-based decision, but the political decision, made without their input. Mr. Ghostkeeper said that 30 bands were looking forward to the shared prosperity that northern gateway would bring, with $2 billion in set asides.
Again, let us remember. It is Suncor, Syncrude, Enbridge. These are all the companies that were named in the government operations and estimates committee as companies that do the very best of any industry in providing prosperity, jobs and opportunities for first nations, and we are throwing it aside.
Chief Derrick of the Gitxsan first nations said that the Prime Minister did not even want to hear from supportive bands.
The government will consult with every U.S.-financed radical environmentalist group on pipelines in the industry. It will even take taxpayers' money to give to these radical environmentalist groups, saying, “Here, take some taxpayers' money from Alberta, from all across Canada, and go out and work against the Canadian interest.” It is working against what the government has said is in the national interest. Will the government listen and consult with first nations? No, of course not.
I want to talk about some of the safety issues. B.C. coast pilots are some of the very best pilots in the entire world. They have a safety standard for shipping off of B.C. that far exceeds what we do on the east coast. I want to talk about their record.
Since 2007, the very worst year for incidents has been a 99.94% success rate. There was not a single issue of an oil spill from tankers since Kinder Morgan was built 63 years ago. Not one. On regular shipping, the very worst year was 99.94%. In 2017, it was 99.97%. They have gone above and beyond, as I mentioned.
With the portable pilotage units they put on their ships in case their ships piloting or GPS goes down, they can control it as well. They spend $600,000 a year in training for the pilots. As I mentioned, they have a perfect record for moving liquid bulk vessels of over 40,000 dead weight. These are the experts.
They did a computer program when northern gateway was being considered. The experts said that moving ships down, even without pilots, would be perfectly safe. However, the plan was to include three pilots. Here we have the experts saying it is perfectly safe without all the added measures, and they have offered to put on these additional measures to make them extra safe. The government shot it down.
Bill C-48 is not about coastal safety. If it were, the government would shut down the east coast and Vancouver as well. This bill is all about killing Alberta jobs, and about killing once and for all the northern gateway pipeline.
View Randy Boissonnault Profile
Lib. (AB)
View Randy Boissonnault Profile
2018-04-24 14:51 [p.18694]
Mr. Speaker, since taking office, our government has been a strong supporter of the province of Alberta and of Albertans. This has been true on extending EI benefits, on providing fiscal stabilization, and especially on federal infrastructure investments. The evidence is clear. We have invested in more than 150 projects, including the long-awaited upgrade to the Yellowhead freeway, and we are not stopping there.
Can the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities update the House on the latest infrastructure investments our government is making in the great province of Alberta?
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
Lib. (AB)
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
2018-04-24 14:52 [p.18694]
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for Edmonton Centre for his continued advocacy on behalf of Albertans.
We were both proud to announce that our government will invest more than $3.4 billion in Alberta to build a better public transit system, build recreational and cultural facilities, provide clean drinking water to communities, and provide dedicated funding for small communities.
These, along with other investments, will continue to grow Alberta's economy and create middle-class jobs.
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
Lib. (AB)
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
2018-02-12 15:16 [p.17057]
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Lakeland for her motion on a matter of such importance, not only to our shared province of Alberta, but to British Columbia and indeed all of Canada.
As an Albertan, I am proud that our government, after extensive consultation, approved the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline. Before I go into why we approved this pipeline, let me first remind the hon. member how her party, under former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, failed to protect the interests of Alberta's resource sector. For 10 years, Harper Conservatives talked the good talk but failed to build a single pipeline to take our oil to non-U.S. markets.
I would also like to remind the hon. member that the struggles Alberta families and workers have faced in the last number of years started when her party was in power. More than 25,000 energy sector jobs were lost in the last year of the Harper government. What did it do to help those workers and families? It did absolutely nothing. It even held back infrastructure investments of nearly $1 billion that could have helped those struggling families to gain jobs. I guess that criticizing Premier Notley and the Government of Alberta was more important to the Harper government than helping struggling Alberta families.
When we took office, we immediately started looking for solutions to help Alberta workers and families. In March 2016, we provided $252 million in fiscal stabilization funding to the Government of Alberta. At the same time, we significantly extended employment insurance benefits for all Albertans who needed them. As a result, over 100,000 workers received more than $400 million for five additional weeks of EI support.
Very early in 2016, Export Development Canada provided $750 million in financing, guarantees, bonding instruments, and insurance to oil and gas companies. In July 2016, the Business Development Bank of Canada and ATB Financial partnered to provide $1 billion aimed at making more capital available for small and medium-sized businesses in Alberta. In March 2017, our government announced $30 million, which unlocked $235 million to accelerate the cleanup of orphan wells over the next three years.
My department, Infrastructure Canada, has provided support to almost 200 provincial, municipal, and indigenous infrastructure projects, leading to over $4 billion of joint investment in infrastructure over the coming years. This is on top of the $200 million that flows from the federal government to Alberta communities yearly through the federal gas tax program.
Finally, our government approved two oil and two gas pipelines, including Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain expansion, which will help get more of our resources to the markets we already have and open up new markets so we are not so reliant on our neighbour to the south to buy our oil.
We approved Kinder Morgan because it is in the interest of Canada. It is in the interest of Canada to create thousands of jobs in virtually every part of the country. It is in the interest of Canada to create a way for our resources to get to the global markets. It is in the interest of Canada to receive a fairer price for those resources. It is in the interest of Canada to partner with indigenous communities, respect and recognize their rights, and ensure that traditional knowledge is integrated into our decisions. It is in the interest of Canada to develop its resources in a way that does not compromise the environment.
The previous government generated complete uncertainty, widespread public mistrust, and a total inability to get a major energy project built. That approach did not work, as demonstrated by the Federal Court of Appeal ruling that overturned the Harper government's approval of the northern gateway pipeline because it failed to consult with indigenous peoples.
Since coming to office, our government has been guided by a simple but profound belief: that the economy and the environment must go hand in hand. In effect, the only way to have a dynamic economy is to ensure that it is done in a sustainable environment. We also know that good projects, such as the Trans Mountain expansion, will not get built unless they carry the confidence of Canadians.
That is why, in January 2016, the Minister of Natural Resources and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change introduced a set of interim principles to move forward on projects already under review. These principles reflect our priorities: maintaining certainty for investors, expanding public consultation, enhancing indigenous engagement, and including greenhouse gas emissions in our project approvals and assessments. The benefits of the interim principles were felt immediately.
However, our goal has always been a permanent fix to Canada's environmental assessments. That is why, just seven months into our mandate, we launched a comprehensive review that included modernizing the National Energy Board, protecting our fish, and preserving our waterways. We appointed expert panels, enlisted parliamentarians, released a discussion paper, and consulted Canadians every step of the way, listening more than we spoke.
Last week, our government revealed the fruits of those efforts with a new plan for reviewing major resource projects. Introduced last Thursday by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Bill C-69 has the potential to transform our natural resource sectors, providing project proponents with clearer rules and greater certainty while ensuring that local communities have more input and the rights of indigenous people are respected and recognized.
The Trans Mountain expansion decision was consistent with this approach. It was accompanied by a historic investment of $1.5 billion in the oceans protection plan, an unprecedented commitment to safeguard our coasts and partner with indigenous and coastal communities to ensure the health of our waters, shores, and marine life. That is how we have demonstrated our commitment to the environment. That is how we will ensure that economic growth comes because of, not at the expense of, protecting the environment.
I am delighted to see the hon. member supporting the TMX pipeline. Unfortunately, she has chosen to use this as an opportunity for wedge politics instead of nation building. She asks the government to take action. As the Minister of Natural Resources has pointed out, that advice, while welcome, is late.
The Prime Minister reached out to Premier Notley and Premier Horgan shortly after this issue arose. The Minister of Natural Resources and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change have been having discussions with their counterparts, and high-level officials from our government have flown out to British Columbia to seek a resolution. I have no doubt that a way forward can be found. It is in our national interest, and in the interest of the Government of Canada, to speak with some degree of moderation in encouraging a path forward to achieve the objective, which is to get this project built.
As the Minister of Natural Resources has already pointed out, our government consulted widely on the TMX. The National Energy Board conducted a thorough review and recommended approval with 157 binding conditions. The minister then extended the process and appointed a special ministerial panel to hold additional hearings, allowing even more people to participate. Our government believes in consulting with Canadians, and we are certainly not going to try to stop a provincial government from doing the same.
Let me be very clear. Any proposed regulation by the B.C. government to attempt to limit the flow of bitumen through the pipeline would be outside provincial jurisdiction. We approved the federally regulated pipeline project that will create thousands of good, well-paying jobs across Canada, and we stand by that decision.
In December, we intervened with the National Energy Board when the City of Burnaby attempted to delay the permitting process. At that time, the board created a dedicated process to resolve future permitting delays, should they arise. In that case, there was a specific action to challenge. At the moment, there is no comparable initiative by the Government of British Columbia.
This is not a time to fan the flames of division or to set parties hunkering down in one section of the Constitution Act or another. Now is the time for a measured, thoughtful, and appropriate response, one that responds to actions, not intentions. Should the Government of British Columbia attempt to impose unacceptable delays or take any other action that is not within its jurisdiction, our government will act as any other reasonable and responsible government would.
As a member of Parliament from Edmonton, Alberta, I know first-hand the importance of projects such as TMX to our communities. When our government was elected, Alberta's economy was struggling. Resource prices were down. Unemployment was up, and too many of my friends, neighbours, and fellow Albertans were suffering through a significant economic downturn. Our federal government recognized that Alberta and other resource economies needed help, and we stepped up to provide that assistance. The approval of the Kinder Morgan TMX is part of that effort to help the global economy and to create jobs for Albertans and for Canadians. That is why TMX is so important. That is why our government approved it. That is why we have criss-crossed the country supporting it, and that is why we will make sure that it is built.
View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2017-11-06 16:48 [p.15024]
Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the parliamentary secretary in his role in justice. I am deeply concerned about the lack of access to justice by Canadians. We heard a major report on CBC today about how many people are having to represent themselves in court, causing further delays in the judicial process and ending with some serious cases being dropped that should proceed.
In my province of Alberta, even though the provincial budget may be stressed for dollars, it has increased legal aid, yet in this budget, we see no increase whatsoever for legal aid so that all Canadians can have access to justice, including middle-class families.
Can the member speak to that and to why this budget update does not include additional monies for legal aid, which is a pressing need in the country?
View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2017-11-06 18:06 [p.15034]
Mr. Speaker, I am not sure I want to compare the two. I was pretty clear in my speech that it is not what I am calling for, it is what the Auditor General, OECD, and what all those countries that will be gathering in Bonn are calling for. Canada made big promises but is failing on delivery.
Frankly, I did not just speak to Alberta. I hear it day after day in my riding, and I know there are a lot of people from across this country, the Maritimes, Quebec, Ontario, and B.C., who have come to work in the oil industry in Alberta. Everyone knows there is a downturn. A lot of those young folk call me and ask what they can do to get into the renewables sector, because they know there is a lot of potential for jobs. There is a waiting list for the renewable energy program at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.
For heaven's sake, when is the Liberal government going to step up and give some of the money over to help with this just transition?
View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2017-06-05 13:25 [p.11989]
Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with my colleague, the member for Drummond.
As I said previously in my question for the Minister of Finance, completely baffling is the decision of the government to retable essentially the same motion that was tabled here last fall, which was passed with the support of our party. What is disappointing is the Liberals have come forward with the exact same motion, sadly, missing the amendments we had recommended, which was that they revise their targets to enable them to deliver on their promise in Paris, to at least hold the climate change to a maximum of 2o, let alone their further promise of 1.5o.
I think there is an understanding now, particularly since the United States has said it will pull out the agreement. As one of the members pointed out, it will take four years for that to happen and many people in the world may hope we have a different administration in the United States by then, an administration that previously committed to delivering on the Paris agreement. It is very disappointing.
We look forward to the speeches by the Minister of Environment and the Minister of Natural Resources. Daily we hear their mantra in here, which is to balance environmental protection with economic development, and that this is the path they will take to address climate change. We are looking forward to hearing the details of how they might be doing that.
Why would we be particularly interested in that? While the government has said that it is determined in every decision it makes on our energy future to balance environmental protection with economic development, it has been very good on one side of that balance by moving expeditiously to approve LNG plants, pipelines, and basically back away from a more intensive review of oil sands operations.
We recently received the report from UNESCO where it investigated the impacts of the oil sands and the Site C dam on a world heritage site in northern Alberta. UNESCO has directed that our nation will lose that world heritage site designation unless the government steps up to the plate and starts doing its job and better regulating the impact of the oil sands on the whole Peace-Athabasca Delta. It has called for a second review assessment of the Site C dam because the federal government, before giving the okay for Site C, did not consider the potential transboundary impacts into Alberta on the world heritage site. Why is that significant? Even during the review of Site C, intervenors came forward and said that building dams on this scale were massively expensive. Also, there did not appear to be the demand for that scale of a project, a demand that was realistically forecast to probably be delivered through geothermal, solar and wind. That was dispensed with.
The government is saying the right things, but we are deeply concerned that it is not necessarily moving in that direction.
Also, the government is still sticking with Stephen Harper's targets. It is a complete mystery not just to those of us in our party, but to all of those who are deeply dedicated to a transition to cleaner energy. The non-governmental organizations, the institutes, the scientists, and the people in the solar, wind, and geothermal sector are troubled. If we are to deliver on those commitments in Paris, then we have to come to the reality that we have to dig even much deeper to reduce.
That means the government has to move on another promise as well, which is to more rapidly get rid of the perverse incentives for the fossil fuel sector. We are not just saying that. The Auditor General has chastised the government for not moving more expeditiously. Now, of course, the previous Conservative government also committed to other nations that it would move expeditiously to remove those perverse incentives. It did not. This government has admitted today, through the finance minister, that it has taken one small measure. The Auditor General is saying it is not good enough.
We like the fact that the government is espousing the policy that it wants to move toward a cleaner energy economy. The Liberals agree with us that we are facing a serious challenge in the planet. We share their concern with the United States saying that it is going to pull out. However, I should not say the United States, but the President of the United States has said that. We are delighted to hear, as I am sure many in the country are, that many of the U.S. states, I think more than 80 mayors of U.S. towns, and many in major industries, including the fossil fuel industry, have said that they will continue down the path of divesting from fossil fuels and moving toward a cleaner economy. However, that means we have to step up our pace.
The government has announced again that it will have a big shindig with China and Europe here in the fall. However, what additional can Canada do to fill that gap? The United States of America, as I understand, contributes 25% of the greenhouse gases on this planet. The Canadian government has only committed to reduce part of the emissions that we emit, not even the emissions that are necessary to meet the Paris target. Therefore, one would think that the finance minister and other ministers of the government would have come forward today and told us what additional, deeper, faster initiatives the Liberals have committed to meet the promise they have made to the planet. It is concerning.
In April of this year, Environment Canada reported that the greenhouse gas emissions in the country were continuing to rise and that the government's 2030 target would not be met. In fact, if we progressed with using the initiatives the government had committed to, we would be almost 200 megatonnes over even that minimal target made by the Harper government. We are glad the government is saying the right things, but what we are disappointed in is where are the hard, concrete initiatives to move in that direction?
We are deeply troubled despite all this talk of the Liberals' deep commitment to assist families to reduce their energy use and to help Canadians get into the cleaner energy economy. Indeed, it is the booming economy in the world these days. I look at at pages 149 and 150 of their budget daily because people ask me questions about this. They want to know exactly what the government is doing to commit to move us forward expeditiously. People are stunned to see that in both columns of initiatives that have been listed by the Liberals, including the support for the pan-Canadian initiative of the provinces and territories, by and large, zero dollars actually have been committed.
As I mentioned previously, the sooner we invest the better, because it will simply become more expensive. Either the carbon tax will have to rise more expeditiously or we will have to invest more money in parallel measures. Therefore, it is deeply troubling that the government says one thing, but it is not releasing the concrete measures to move forward as expeditiously as the Liberals are pretending.
Why in heavens did the government not bring back the eco-energy retrofit program? It is completely baffling. The Liberals go on and on about the carbon tax as the most effective measure to move forward and address the rise in greenhouse gases in Canada. However, review after review, including by people who are very supportive of the direction the government is going, have said that the carbon tax alone will not do it, that the government needs to be expediting parallel measures.
One of those measures is the eco-energy retrofit. If Canadians in their homes and in small businesses are to have a carbon tax imposed on them, particularly in the jurisdictions where the Liberals say they will have to impose a federal tax, then one way to potentially sell that and get buy-in is to say they will help them reduce their energy use. It is baffling. Also, there is the national building code. We need to expedite that. Article after article about this says that we need to be fast-tracking a more modern national building code. How much of the building stock is going to be built again and then go through the process of having to retrofit? It would be welcomed if the government moved forward on these two measures.
We have heard the Minister of Environment recently go on and on about the government looking forward to collaborating with its European neighbours. I would encourage the government to look at the United Kingdom, which has established, by law, binding targets and an independent commission that audits and advises it on how well it is delivering on its targets every five years. This is the kind of measure that we tabled previously, and we would like to see the government adopt it to ensure transparency and accountability.
View Martin Shields Profile
CPC (AB)
View Martin Shields Profile
2017-06-01 22:27 [p.11913]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my colleague's oratory. He has obviously woken up the House. I am afraid I am going to put everyone back to sleep.
As I stand here with my colleagues, Canadians are paying close attention to the discussion we are having on the legalization of the distribution, sale, and possession of recreational marijuana in Canada. This subject no doubt evokes many emotions on all sides, and I know there can be some strongly held views on this issue.
I feel that the government has rushed into the bill without really stopping to consider all the consequences. The Liberals are doing it to meet a campaign commitment without considering all the repercussions and effects that this legislation scheme may have.
In April, shortly after the legislation was introduced by the Liberals, I had the opportunity to host a series of community round table meetings with municipal officials throughout my constituency. I met with mayors, reeves, councillors, MLAs, and media. One of the very major concerns that these officials had was with respect to the timeline of the bill. The Liberals have introduced this very broad legislation, setting the minimum age, the number of plants, and the potency of marijuana that can be sold. They then basically told the provinces and the territories to develop their own implementation plan for the rest. That means there could be 13 different regimes across Canada.
In the lead-up to what they knew was impending legislation from the feds, the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association asked the Province of Alberta to act. As a result, in Alberta, the provincial NDP formed a secretariat to deal with this issue. That is great. The problem is that the secretariat in Alberta is excluding the municipalities from being part of it.
The Liberals keep talking about consultations with municipalities and municipal involvement, but how can this work? When the provinces are tasked with doing most of the heavy lifting for the feds, the municipalities are in fact left out of the decision-making process at the grassroots level.
As a former mayor for many years, I have a particular concern about the impact on communities and on municipalities. Municipalities are really concerned about this rush to legalize marijuana completely. They are concerned about the fact that they are going to have to pick up the tab for a variety of new responsibilities that are essentially being dumped on them overnight.
Municipalities will likely be responsible for enforcement and zoning, as well as for creating an entire new set of by-laws surrounding this new regime. With respect to zoning and by-laws, there will be a very long process. Staff will have to develop a plan. There will be public meetings and hearings. Advertising will have to be done. City staff will devote countless hours and resources over several months. There is a time factor here, and it cannot be rushed, which calls into question the government's timeline.
Licensing is not a cash cow, despite what some on the government side would have us believe. It will not be anywhere near what is required to cover the new costs this regime will impose on municipalities.
In a previous sitting of the House, I asked the Liberals what concrete actions they would be taking to support municipalities, seeing that they had dumped such a huge burden on them with very little time for them to adapt. The answer from the government side was quite generic, and it is not something I am particularly enthusiastic about. For example, the parliamentary secretary mentioned providing equipment and training, but did not mention who would pay for it. This does not help municipal planning.
Another area that will impact municipalities is they will have to rewrite their HR policies, because now they will have the threat of people coming to work under the influence of marijuana. The last thing any municipality wants is an employee operating heavy equipment while under the influence.
Enforcement as well means a whole new set of rules and regulations, planning, and money spent by municipalities.
The Liberals have essentially washed their hands of having to do any of the local work on this file. They have told municipalities, “Here is a big new change; you have about a year to implement it. Have a nice day.”
This is unfortunate, because I am sure that municipalities in my riding would have been willing to work collaboratively with the province, but they have been exempted from that. It is unfortunate that the province would not allow this to take place.
Another area of concern that I heard in the private sector while crisscrossing my riding hosting community roundtables was the concern surrounding workplace regulations regarding health and safety. Whether these organizations are small to medium-sized enterprises like ECS Safety Services in Brooks in my riding of Bow River or large outfits like oil and gas sector companies, there are some major concerns about work-related marijuana use.
As we know very well, my home province of Alberta has a large oil and gas sector, and it requires a significant amount of labour. These sectors now struggle at times to have enough clean employees. Coming under the influence of marijuana now is another significant challenge they are going to be facing.
I understand that the federal government must respect constitutional division of powers, and it says it is consulting with municipalities. It talks about some of the 22 major cities, like Toronto. In my riding, there are none of those 22 major cities. They are not talking about where the vast majority of our rural people live, so when they are talking about consulting, they are talking about some of the 22 major cities. That is not where I am from.
However, the Liberals can absolutely consult with the provinces to make sure they are going to support the municipalities. There is a process, if they wish to do it strongly enough. The federal government could, by funding, support these new powers for enforcement. It could come through the form of equal sharing of the tax revenue generated by legalized recreational marijuana. Let us consider the federal gas tax model, for example, where we cut out the middleman, which is the province, and the money goes directly to the municipalities, mostly. If it does not, it is property taxes that would end up covering the cost of this, because municipalities will be doing the heavy lifting at the grassroots level.
There are other ways the government may be able to support this as it rushes the terms of this brand new piece of legislation. However, if it does not take the time, if it pushes it too quickly, it will be the property tax payers as the major source of revenue for municipalities. As a result, taxes will go up in the local municipalities to pay for this scheme.
Lisa Holmes, president of the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association, has said that many Alberta municipalities could theoretically be ready by 2019, one year or so later than the government's deadline. If there is any way the government could work with the provinces to provide them with some flexibility in timelines and implementation, this might work. Ms. Holmes understands that, otherwise, the only way this new regime would be paid for is by property taxes in municipalities.
Another group of those concerned are many of the provincial premiers, including Liberal premiers. The NDP Premier of Alberta, Rachel Notley, has expressed concerns about the short timeline.
There are many other issues that are arising from this legalization. For example, I found it somewhat distressing that we are going to be encouraging people, including young people, to smoke marijuana now, when for years we have been trying to get people to stop smoking. For years, I was involved in a regional health care board, and I was also an educator. We worked very hard with the resources we had to deliver public education on anti-smoking issues. We worked hard to educate youth as young as 10 years old on the hazards of tobacco smoke. The goal of these campaigns was to ensure that these youth never started smoking, period. In one case, we had more money to do this than the Liberals are spending across the country in five years. The $9 million spread out so meagrely over five years is tragic. It is simply not enough.
There is an opportunity here to mandate that federal taxes go to municipalities for health promotion and prevention. A specific percentage should be mandated by the federal government to ensure that prevention is being adequately funded, because $9 million is just blatantly wrong.
In tobacco prevention, one of the biggest at-risk groups, where prevention was least successful, was with pregnant teenagers. We already have a situation where these young pregnant girls, the mother and unborn child, are at risk. With Bill C-45, the Liberals are adding a new toxic substance that is going to put these girls and unborn children at even more risk. Here is a disturbing fact. One in seven teenagers will get addicted to smoking marijuana once they begin smoking it. In single, pregnant teens, that number is even going to be higher.
The government is facilitating this more by its outright legalization. It is facilitating it by making it easier for teenagers to get their hands on marijuana. This is the reason we need significant funding for prevention, and it is up to the federal government to take the lead. It is not enough to simply download it.
With all this in mind, I look forward to continuing debate on Bill C-45, with the hope that the government will reconsider the timeline. We really need that reconsidered.
View Randy Boissonnault Profile
Lib. (AB)
View Randy Boissonnault Profile
2017-04-06 14:47 [p.10283]
Mr. Speaker, our government recognizes that strategic investments in public infrastructure play a key role in supporting dynamic communities while creating good jobs that help grow the middle class.
Budget 2017 commits new funding for investment in public transit, water and waste water, culture and recreation, and rural infrastructure. These are all much-needed projects in Alberta.
Can the minister tell the House how our government is supporting infrastructure investments across Alberta?
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
Lib. (AB)
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
2017-04-06 14:47 [p.10283]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Edmonton Centre for his advocacy.
Working in partnership with the Government of Alberta and Alberta municipalities, we have approved 128 projects with a combined investment of $4.2 billion. These projects include a waste water line in Lacombe, a project that should have been funded in 2012, and transit projects for St. Albert, Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, and Red Deer. Some of these municipalities are receiving funding for the first time in a decade.
View Randy Boissonnault Profile
Lib. (AB)
View Randy Boissonnault Profile
2017-02-15 15:04 [p.8970]
Mr. Speaker, Jordan's principle was established in response to the death of Jordan River Anderson, a five-year-old member of Norway House First Nation in Manitoba.
This principle seeks to resolve jurisdictional disputes so that first nations children can receive the care they need, when the need it. For a renewed nation-to-nation relationship, we must ensure that there is timely access to care in my province of Alberta and across Canada.
Can the Minister of Health inform this chamber on the measures she is taking to ensure that our government fully implements Jordan's principle?
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