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Results: 1 - 30 of 93
View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2019-06-19 16:20 [p.29404]
Madam Speaker, the fifth petition is in support of my motion, Motion No. 151, to combat plastic pollution in aquatic environments.
View John Aldag Profile
Lib. (BC)
View John Aldag Profile
2019-06-18 10:08 [p.29264]
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 21st report of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, entitled “The Last Straw: Turning the Tide on Plastic Pollution in Canada”.
Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests the government table a comprehensive response to this report.
I would like to thank all of our support staff for the excellent work they did during this term.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-06-17 18:44 [p.29220]
That is correct up to a point, Madam Speaker. My hon. friend from Sarnia will find our policies both in “Vision Green”, which is on our website in deep detail, and “Mission: Possible”, which is intended to be that ambitious rally call for Canadians to go off fossil fuels. Any fossil fuel infrastructure expansion is inconsistent with our own planetary survival and continuation of human civilization.
We are not against the use of all plastics. That is the one place where I would disagree with my colleague. We think that bitumen production can be changed from fossil fuel production to feedstock for petrochemicals, particularly for durable plastics, not single-use plastics.
View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2019-06-11 14:38 [p.28919]
Mr. Speaker, after months of the NDP calling for a ban on single-use plastics, the Liberal government has finally announced a proposal that still does not name which plastics will be banned. Canadians are finding the Liberals' commitment to ban plastics hard to believe, when just last year, they handed a $35-million grant to a company to expand plastics production.
When Liberals keep subsidizing the plastics industry, how can Canadians know that this is not just another empty promise?
View Rachel Blaney Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to speak to this important issue today.
I want to thank the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands for bringing Bill S-203 to the House. The bill looks at the reality of phasing out the captivity of dolphins, whales and porpoises.
The riding that I represent, North Island—Powell River, is along the ocean, and these are beings that we live with. That interaction is very important to us. I think of the times I have spent watching this wildlife engage with us in their free natural state. It is important that we are talking about this issue here today.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank my caucus colleague, the member for Port Moody—Coquitlam, for his dedication to the country's oceans, rivers and streams. His commitment to protecting the wildlife that lives within them has resonated with people across Canada. He will not be sitting in the House with us much longer, so it is important to acknowledge the work he has done on files like this one.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley. The member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley has always had a special place in my heart because he represents the area where I grew up. I really respect his connection with the communities in that largest of ridings in British Columbia.
A couple of weeks ago, the member came to my riding to talk about his private member's bill on zero-waste packaging. That issue is a huge concern in my riding. Packaging made of plastic takes so long to deteriorate and we know the impact it is having on our oceans.
Without that member's work we would not be standing here today debating Bill S-203. I understand that he is working with the minister right now to push forward his important piece of legislation around zero-waste packaging. It deals with an important issue to make sure we do not fill our landfills with plastics anymore.
If it were not for the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley accepting a letter from me, the member for Courtenay—Alberni, the member for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, the member for Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, our colleague from Victoria and Laurel Collins asking him to give up his spot on today's private members' hour, we would not be debating this bill today. I want to acknowledge that and thank him for continuing to work so hard on his zero waste packaging legislation. He will not give up, which is something that I appreciate deeply about the member.
Bill S-203 proposes to phase out the captivity of whales, dolphins and porpoises in Canada, except in situations like rehabilitation or rescue.
New Democrats will always support the ethical and useful research of these beings in the water, but the research can take place in the wild. Scientists in the wild environment can get a realistic view of the natural behaviours of these animals without causing a lifetime of pain and suffering, which we know is the reality when they are held in captivity.
What we have heard from scientists is that these beings suffer in confinement. They suffer a sense of isolation, serious health problems, reduced lifespans, high infant mortality rates, sensory deprivation, as well as trauma from the transfer to other parks and calf separation.
This bill speaks to an important issue where we can get it right and do the right thing. Given the evidence, captive facilities cannot provide for these beings' social or biological needs.
Keeping them in captivity is cruel. They are intelligent social animals. They are acoustically sensitive marine beings that spend their time in the vast oceans. They dive deep down to places many of us will never see.
When we look at their freedom in the wild, to swim freely, to dive deeply, when we think about their confinement, it is so much less. We have heard it is less than 1% of the range that they are used to. Can members imagine that? None of us in this place can imagine being in our environment, doing the things that we do, and suddenly being put into a small box and told that we have to be successful and perform for other people. We cannot ask these beings to do that.
It reminds me of what Maya Angelou said, “When you know better, do better.” This is an opportunity in this House to move forward because we now know better, so it is time for us to do better.
Unlike many issues, this really is not a partisan issue. It is a moral issue. It is a bill that is supported by science. We know that whales, porpoises and dolphins in captivity suffer in a way that cannot be justifiable. We know that this bill, Bill S-203, is a reasonable one. It is a balanced piece of legislation. It grandfathers the process and it gives zoos and aquariums time to phase out this practice. This is the right thing to do and I hope everyone in this House takes the opportunity to support this.
When we think about the grandfathering process out of captivity that Bill S-203 proposes, we know it will do important things. It will ban live captures under the Fisheries Act, except for rescues when some being out there needs help. Currently, captures are legal if they are licensed. We all need to pause and take a moment to think about what that means. We know that the last capture that happened was belugas near Churchill in 1992, so it is a practice that is not being implemented. However, the fact that it is still there is very concerning, and this bill would remove it.
Bill S-203 also bans imports and exports, except if licensed for scientific research. This is a hard one, but we want to see an open water sanctuary. We want to see the process happen in a way that is best for the whale, the dolphin or the porpoise. We want to make sure it is under the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act. These are important factors that this bill can bring forward.
Finally, this bill would ban breeding under the animal cruelty provisions of the Criminal Code. This is also very important.
Right now there is a bill before the Senate, Bill C-68, that would prohibit the captures but it would not restrict imports or exports by law nor would it ban breeding. This is why we need this bill. This is why I will be supporting it. This is the action that needs to be taken to complete what is happening already.
Twenty marine mammal biologists from around the world released a letter supporting Bill S-203. They said, “At a minimum, the maintenance of odontocetes [toothed whales, dolphins and porpoises] in commercial captive display facilities for entertainment purposes is no longer supported or justified by the growing body of science on their biological needs.”
We know it is the right thing to do and it is time to make sure that people have the opportunity to see these beautiful animals in the wild, to respect what they need and to create a new relationship. Keeping them enclosed is not the right way to go.
When we look at the wild, we know that dolphins, whales and porpoises travel up to 100 miles daily feeding and socializing with other members of their pods. The pods can contain hundreds of individuals with complex social bonds and hierarchies. That is their natural state. In captivity they are in small enclosures and unable to swim in a straight line for any distance. They do not have the ability to dive deep. Sometimes they are housed alone or housed with other animals they are not naturally used to being with. When we look at that isolation with this concern in mind, we know this is the right thing to do.
I look forward to seeing support from all members in this House. We can do the right thing. Today is the day and I look forward to seeing a positive vote.
View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2019-06-10 11:26 [p.28782]
Mr. Speaker, it is a huge honour to speak today in the House of Commons. With this bill and with the support of my hon. colleagues, Canada is on the cusp of making history and ending cetacean captivity and making sure it is a thing of the past. Not only is this important to me, but it is important to the people of my riding, to people right across this country from coast to coast to coast, to countless environmental stewards who have fought hard on this issue, and certainly to the Nuu-chah-nulth people and indigenous people across this country.
I have heard from many of them. Many Nuu-chah-nulth people see the orca, in their language the kakaw’in, as a spirit animal and as an animal that is a reflection of their ancestors. To think of their ancestors being held in captivity is certainly something they do not want to see happen again.
If we pass this bill, it would do a couple of things. First, it would give us credibility and legitimacy to take it even further, to push for a global ban on having cetaceans held in captivity. We know that cetaceans held in captivity suffer in a way that is not justifiable. Bill S-203 is a reasonable, balanced piece of legislation.
Let us look at the life of a captive whale, dolphin or porpoise. In captivity, conditions are spartan and prison-like. Cetaceans suffer confinement, isolation, health problems, reduced lifespans, high infant mortality rates, sensory deprivation and trauma from transfer to other parks and calf separation. Given the evidence, captive facilities cannot provide for their social or biological needs. They need to roam widely and dive deep in order to thrive. The range of captive orcas is only 1/10,000th of 1% the size of their natural home range, and 80% of their time is spent at the surface, looking for food and attention from their trainers, who make the choices for them when they are held in captivity. Captive-born animals are often forcibly weaned and shipped to other facilities, away from their mothers and the only companions they have ever known. It creates unnecessary trauma. It is cruel.
Let us compare that to wild cetaceans. They spend approximately 80% to 90% of their time under the water. They have the freedom to make their own choices, sometimes travelling up to 100 miles per day, following food and the members of their family. Many of these species, like the orcas, live in complex societies with their own cultures and dialects, maintaining close ties with family and friends. Some remain in family groups for life. For wild orcas, their pod is critical to their survival.
I want to add that I am excited that we just had a baby orca in the pod off Tofino, witnessed by my good friends Jennifer Steven and John Forde. It is another reminder of the importance of our orcas being able to roam freely in the wild and knowing that a baby orca will not be taken and put into captivity. It is a relief to all of us.
We know that keeping cetaceans is cruel, given the scientific evidence about their nature and behaviour. They are intelligent, social and acoustically sensitive marine animals.
New Democrats believe in the power of research, and we know that the continued study of cetaceans can be done ethically in the wild. There, scientists can get a realistic view of their natural behaviours without causing a lifetime of pain and suffering.
Our party also understands the need for legislation to be measured, and Bill S-203 does balance a fair transition for the two remaining facilities that hold captive cetaceans. It grandfathers in existing animals and gives the zoo and aquarium community a long phase-out period. It is not asking these facilities to close overnight. Certainly we will not be supporting the movement of cetaceans or sale of cetaceans anywhere from those facilities.
There are a few people we need to thank today. First of all, we need to thank the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who brought their voice to all elected officials, whether in the House of Commons or in the Senate, calling for this legislation to be passed; the environmental groups and animal rights organizations for mobilizing people; and indigenous communities for raising their concerns, which led to the bill and today's debate.
Also, there are people in the House whom we need to thank, for coming together and showing this is not a partisan issue; it is a moral issue. First, I want to thank my colleague from Skeena—Bulkley Valley. He had a very important piece of legislation to end zero-waste packaging, with which we hope the government will move forward. It made some announcements today in response to my motion, Motion No. 151, around phasing out single-use plastics. I would like to congratulate the government on that first step, and I look forward to seeing more momentum and movement, especially around industrial-use plastics, and rethinking how we use plastics.
I thank my colleague from Skeena—Bulkley Valley because his bill was supposed to be in the House today, and he gave up his spot so we could move forward with this piece of legislation, knowing the only way we could save it was for it to be in the House today. I also want to thank Terrace's Ben Korving. He is the one who helped my colleague from Skeena—Bulkley Valley bring the bill forward on zero-waste packaging through a contest held in his riding to ensure Canadians' voices were heard in the House. We have not lost sight of Ben's work. We have ensured the government heard the proposal that Ben brought forward. I want to thank them both.
In that same spirit, I want to thank my colleague and friend from Saanich—Gulf Islands for the considerable work she has done on this issue and the stewardship she has shown by taking on this bill, working with us to find a path forward and showing a non-partisan approach when it comes to ensuring we do the right thing for cetaceans, which do not have a voice. We are their voice and this is an opportunity to demonstrate what we are going to do to look out for them.
I want to thank my colleague and friend from Port Moody—Coquitlam, the former vice-chair of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, who helped move this bill through committee and worked very hard on it. I also want to thank my friend and colleague, the chair of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, the member for Avalon, who has done some great work to help ensure the passage of this bill. I really mean that, because without his help, working with all of us in the House, we would not have got this done. I commend him for his work on that.
This bill would not have made it this far without the courageous and bold efforts of Senator Wilfred Moore. We sometimes raise concerns about the Senate, and I certainly have my doubts right now on a number of pieces of legislation, so I will take it away from the Senate and give it to a human being who is a huge champion, and that is retired senator Wilfred Moore. He has been a champion of this bill. He tabled this bill in the Senate and stayed on this bill even beyond his retirement, showing his dedication and commitment, and we owe him a round of applause. I thank him for being completely committed and devoted to seeing this through.
I thank Senator Murray Sinclair for taking on and championing this bill in the Senate, bringing the really important wealth of indigenous knowledge and his connections across this country and ensuring those voices were also heard in the Senate.
In closing, I hope this bill passes very quickly. I thank the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who have been the voice of cetaceans, which do not have a voice, and look forward to Canada having legitimacy and credibility on the international stage when it comes to fighting for cetaceans and ending the captivity of whales internationally. I hope that is the next step for our country.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
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 Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2019-06-06 10:13 [p.28660]
Mr. Speaker, the second petition is signed by hundreds and hundreds of constituents from my riding of Courtenay—Alberni. They are from Courtenay, Parksville, Qualicum, Port Alberni, Tofino, Ucluelet and the other 31 communities in my riding. The petition calls on the government to follow through with its commitment after the unanimous support of the House for Motion No. 151 to develop a comprehensive plan to combat plastic pollution.
The petitioners are excited about the government's rolling it out this month, and hopefully all of the provisions that are outlined in this petition will be adopted.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2019-06-05 17:07 [p.28598]
Mr. Speaker, it my honour to present two petitions.
The first petition is an electronic petition with 9,676 signatures. The petitioners are calling for a national plastic strategy, which includes an education and public awareness campaign highlighting the scope and impact of global plastic pollution; a ban on the manufacturing, distribution and use of all plastics that cannot be recycled; a ban on all single-use plastics that are hard to recycle and most often end up in landfills and waterways; a commitment to encourage a circular plastics economy by keeping recyclable plastics out of landfills and instead reusing them in a closed-loop system, effectively saving billions in manufacturing costs while producing less water waste; a commitment to invest in the infrastructure on a municipal, provincial and federal level to collect, sort, process, recycle and reuse all plastic packaging; and a zero plastic waste Canada by 2030 by ensuring all plastic packaging is 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable.
View Ed Fast Profile
CPC (BC)
View Ed Fast Profile
2019-05-16 11:35 [p.27920]
Mr. Speaker, this is the kind of issue on which we could probably make common cause. The member knows, I believe, that the government plans to release a plastics pollution strategy before the end of June. At the same time, at the environment committee, we have been undertaking a comprehensive study on plastics pollution.
Will I tell him what our plans for plastics are going forward? He will have to wait until we roll out our environment plan prior to the end of June. However, I can assure him that we are cognizant of the fact that plastics pollution is a challenge in Canada, but it is an even greater elsewhere around the world when we think of places like southeast Asia, south Asia and China. On oceans plastic pollution, we have a significant challenge. As parliamentarians, we should be working together on that.
View Randall Garrison Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Salaberry—Suroît.
I am very pleased today to rise to debate a motion calling for a climate emergency declaration by Canada. It is very important to declare a climate emergency. That is a call for all of us to work together with urgency to meet the biggest challenge this country has faced since World War II and perhaps the biggest challenge in human history. I will be supporting the government motion and I will try not to engage in a polemic about who was first.
An NDP motion was followed quickly by the government motion. That is a good idea. Unfortunately, the new Green member has chosen to engage in a polemic before he has even come to the House, somehow taking credit for what is going on here. I welcome him to join us and I welcome a similar motion from the Green Party. We have to work together in the country to meet the challenges of climate change.
Since the Conservatives just moved an amendment, I want to address that amendment very quickly.
The member for Abbotsford says that we should wait for the Conservatives' plan, I am a little worried about their plan, given their amendment today. Let me point out three things their amendment would do.
First, it would eliminate climate emergency from the motion. It would take away the most important thing about the debate going on in the House now, which is the recognition that we have very few years left to act before climate change becomes irreversible and its impacts make this planet uninhabitable.
Second, it says that human action has an impact on climate. Here we are, back to the Conservatives denying the source of climate change. We know it is human activity. We know we are causing the rise in temperatures and the great variations in our climate. Therefore, because we are causing it, we can do something about it.
The third thing the proposed Conservative amendment does is blame everybody else. Its emphasis is on global action. Yes, of course, global action is required. Action by all of us is required to meet those challenges. However, the Conservative amendment places all of the emphasis on other people and what other people are doing.
I hope the whole world will react as one in the attack on climate change. That does not excuse us from ensuring we meet our responsibilities in the House and through our government.
A lot of things have been thrown around about who was first, who has the longest record and who has the strongest record. I want to put on the record that I know there are members in at least two of the parties here, three if we count unofficial parties, who have long and strong records on the environment. There have been some false things said lately in my riding about my environment record, so I want to talk just for a minute about this.
As a student, on the first Earth Day in 1970, I joined with my fellow students to block traffic during rush hour, and I learned a very powerful lesson that day. We made a lot of people angry and we made no change. I learned at that time that it is much better to build the coalitions we need to bring about the required changes.
The second time I got involved in climate change was when I got a job working for an organization called Pacific Peoples' Partnership. It is an indigenous-led organization that builds links between indigenous people in Canada and the Pacific Islands. I became the executive director in 1989. Pacific Islanders brought two issues to our attention in 1989, 30 years ago. One was the great Pacific garbage patch, the plastic patch in the Pacific Ocean. At that time, it was, horrifyingly, as big as Vancouver Island, and I will come back to that in a minute.
The second issue it wanted us to raise in Canada was global warming, as it was called then, as a threat to the habitability of the Pacific Islands, not requiring them to get swimming lessons, as it is often trivialized, but threats to the coral reefs, which protect the ecosystems of those islands. We are now seeing a huge die-off of coral reefs around the world, and increased storm surges. All of the Pacific Islands depend on a lens of fresh water that sits underneath the islands. With the storm surges, they were fearing increasing invasion of those lenses by salt water, which would make the islands uninhabitable.
That was, as I said, 30 years ago when I started working on the issue of climate change. We organized a tour of high schools and I published a series of articles, warning about the impacts of what we were then calling global warming.
I was elected to Esquimalt council in 2010. When we had the first emergency measures meeting, I asked what we had for oil spills, because we have long and beautiful coast in Esquimalt, and the answer was “nothing”. I was the first elected official in the country to move a motion against what was then the Kinder Morgan pipeline.
The second thing I was able to do on council was get Esquimalt to become one of the first municipalities in the entire country to adopt science-based greenhouse gas reduction targets. People asked at the time what that meant. It meant to me, and it still means in Esquimalt's policy, that we have to adjust those targets to what is necessary to keep the warming to 1.5°C or below. It was not simply saying that this is what we have to do; it was saying that we have to do this much and keep our eye on the ball and maybe do more as time goes on.
When I was doing a tour of high schools 30 years ago, I did not really imagine that, first, I would ever become an MP, but more important, that I would be standing here in this chamber when the great Pacific garbage patch was now not just bigger than Vancouver Island but bigger than B.C. and Alberta combined. I did not imagine that I would be standing here, when climate change is now clearly a threat to our very survival, and we would still be so far from any effective action to meet these challenges.
That is where I am disappointed with the government motion. As I said, I am happy to support it, because anything that brings us together to fight climate change is a good idea. However, I could not have imagined that this is what I would be standing here talking about, when reports show that we will soon have more plastic in the oceans than fish and when reports show that Canada will not meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets set in Paris, a reduction of 25% below 2005 levels by 2030, and that it will not meet those targets for 200 years with the current policies that are in place.
I am going to be supporting the government motion, despite what I would call omissions. One of the first of those, to me, is that there is no mention of reconciliation. On a side note, I have heard Liberals talking about our motion and saying that eliminating fossil fuel subsidies means cutting off power in remote indigenous communities. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have said that a climate change plan has to prioritize reconciliation, and that means dealing with those first nation communities that are the most affected by climate change: in the attack on traditional activities; in the flooding we have seen taking place; and in their dependence on diesel fuel, which makes life very unaffordable.
We have the example in my own riding of the T'Sou-ke Nation, which has become energy self-sufficient using solar power and now sells power back to the grid. That is what it means to prioritize reconciliation in a climate change plan to help first nations become self-sufficient on a renewable-energy basis that creates good jobs in their communities.
There is no mention of workers or jobs in the government's motion. I firmly believe that we cannot get the collective action we need on climate change if we have policies that leave certain parts of Canada, certain communities and certain kinds of workers behind. We know that the technology now exists for a transition to a net zero-carbon energy economy very quickly, and that will create good, family-supporting jobs in every community in this country.
We in the NDP have put forward some of our planks. One of those is an energy retrofit program to retrofit the entire building and housing stock in this country. That would create good jobs in every community and jobs that would use some of those same skills that people who work in the oil-based energy industry already have. A good example is geothermal. Geothermal energy uses almost the same skills, in terms of engineering, welding and all those other kinds of things, that are already used in the oil patch.
I want to conclude by saying once again that I believe that it is important to declare a climate emergency, because we are simply running out of time to change. It is no longer a question of the distant future. We have seen the massive forest fires around the country. We have seen the massive flooding. We are already in the midst of what is called the second great extinction. We are about to lose one million species of plants and animals. That will destroy the web of life that our very existence depends upon.
Many Canadians have already taken individual action to reduce their carbon footprints, but personal action alone will not meet these challenges. We must come together in urgent and major collective action to address the threat of climate change. We need a declaration of a climate emergency and plans to attack that emergency very, very quickly.
View Nathan Cullen Profile
NDP (BC)
View Nathan Cullen Profile
2019-05-03 11:53 [p.27341]
Mr. Speaker, the world is facing a plastic waste crisis that is filling up our oceans and clogging our landfills. There is over one tonne of plastic waste for every person on the planet. In our lifetime, there will be more plastic than fish by volume in our oceans. Canada's recycling program is not doing the job.
Over 90% of what we put in our blue boxes actually ends up in landfills. However, we have a solution. A citizen-inspired bill, the zero waste packaging act, would require all plastic packaging to be recyclable or compostable. If Liberals are truly serious about dealing with the plastic waste crisis, will they support our bill?
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
NDP (BC)
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
2019-04-08 14:28 [p.26808]
Mr. Speaker, according to a new survey, the majority of Canadians are concerned about the impact of plastic waste on the environment and think that the Liberals need to do more.
The NDP has already announced that it will ban single-use plastics by 2022. Other countries are already taking action.
When will the Liberals take real action to combat plastic pollution?
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
NDP (BC)
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
2019-04-08 14:29 [p.26809]
Mr. Speaker, we need to ban single-use plastics, as 1.6 billion plastic coffee cups sit in Canadian landfills. Nearly eight million plastic bags are thrown away daily. The science is clear that plastic pollution is threatening our ecosystem, our food supply and the very health of Canadians, yet the Liberals refuse to stand up to plastic producers. It seems the Liberals cannot even stand up to any powerful corporation.
Will the Prime Minister stand with us and ban single-use plastics by 2022?
View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2019-04-05 11:54 [p.26743]
Madam Speaker, the government is failing to protect our waterways. According to a new survey released today, nine out of 10 people are worried about the impact of plastic waste on the environment, and 82% believe that the Liberals should be doing more to tackle it. New Democrats passed a unanimous motion on ocean plastics and we announced that we would ban single-use plastics by 2021. While the Liberals are still talking about a national strategy, the EU and India are already taking action to ban single-use plastics.
When are the Liberals going to take plastic pollution seriously and take real action?
View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2019-02-22 12:12 [p.25690]
Madam Speaker, it is an honour to once again table a petition on behalf of coastal British Columbians who are calling on the Government of Canada to create a national strategy to combat plastic from our waterways and aquifers. As we know, there is a garbage truck of plastics entering our water every minute globally. We have the largest coastline in the world.
These coastal people would like the government to follow through with its unanimous support of Motion No. 151, and create a national strategy as soon as possible so that we can take urgent action to combat this huge global crisis around plastic pollution in our waterways.
View Don Davies Profile
NDP (BC)
View Don Davies Profile
2019-02-05 10:04 [p.25241]
Mr. Speaker, I have three petitions to introduce today, signed by many residents of Vancouver Kingsway and the Lower Mainland of British Columbia.
The first is a petition to establish a national strategy to combat plastic pollution. Many residents point out their concern that plastics are making their way into various bodies of water via storm drains and are interfering with our global ocean currents, and this is causing massive problems for species and bodies of water around the world. They call on the government to adopt a national strategy to combat this immediately.
View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2019-02-01 12:15 [p.25160]
Mr. Speaker, I am presenting two petitions today.
The first petition is on behalf of coastal British Columbians who are very happy to see the House unanimously pass my motion, Motion No. 151, to call on the Government of Canada for a national strategy to combat plastic pollution. With a garbage truck of plastic entering our waterways every minute, they are calling on the government to immediately act on Motion No. 151 to combat plastic pollution and develop a national strategy as soon as possible to mitigate and eliminate the amount of plastic entering our ecosystem.
View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2019-01-28 15:32 [p.24888]
Mr. Speaker, it comes as no surprise that the first petition I am tabling in the House, on behalf of Vancouver Islanders, is calling on the government to immediately create a national strategy to combat plastics in our oceans. My motion was passed in the House unanimously. These petitioners are calling on the government to develop this strategy in time for the budget and in light of the recent announcements in the EU and India to ban single-use plastics. They are calling on the government to implement a strategy, similar to the ones in those countries, immediately.
View Rachel Blaney Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to be speaking to Motion No. 151, which addresses an important issue for the people in my riding of North Island—Powell River, and that is plastics and the impact they have on the waters that sustain our communities across Canada and across the world.
I am also very pleased to be speaking to this motion because the member for Courtenay—Alberni also happens to be my neighbour. I am very proud of the work he has done in this place. I am very proud that he brought forward this very important initiative. It is basic to the people we serve in both our ridings.
Mr. Speaker, I hope you will indulge me. On December 1, it was my grandson's birthday. I would like to take this opportunity to wish him a very happy birthday. As all members in the House know, we do not get to be with our family members nearly as much as we would like, so I just want to make sure he knows that his grandmother is thinking of him at this important time for him.
When I think about plastics and the impact they are having on all the waterways across the world, I cannot help but think of all our grandchildren and the impacts plastics will have on them in the future if we do not address this in a meaningful way.
The statistics are distressing. This is something I hope everyone in the House is taking time to learn about and understand. Twenty million tonnes of debris enter the world's oceans every year. On average, in every square kilometre of ocean globally, there are 18,000 pieces of plastic. Eighty per cent of all plastics in the ocean come from land-based sources. Ninety per cent of the plastics found in the ocean are microplastics. Ninety-five per cent of single-use plastics are used only once and discarded. In fact, if we do not take some serious action by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish if this trend continues. That is something I think every Canadian, and I hope every person on the planet, will seriously start to look at and address in a meaningful way.
We know that every year plastic litter kills more than one million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals, and there are so many more realities that face communities across the world.
The people of North Island—Powell River are working as hard as they can every day to address these issues. I can tell stories about doing my own beach walks with my family, carting tires off the beach and finding very small bits of plastic and trying to find as much space in our pockets to carry all that debris off the beach. However, what is really amazing is the amount of work people in my riding are doing every single year to combat this. I will mention a few. I want to be respectful. I do not know what everyone is doing. I have a huge riding. However, I want to acknowledge those I do know.
We have dive clubs that do marine cleanups. They dive right into the water and clean out debris. They include Top Island Econauts and the Campbell River Tide Rippers. The OrcaLab and Parks Canada partner every year to do a cleanup around Robson Bight (Michael Bigg) Ecological Reserve, which is an orca rubbing beach. There are several of them.
Surfrider Vancouver Island does cleanups in remote locations in our region. The great Canadian shoreline cleanup is an event during which many community organizations and schools get out and clean beaches across the riding.
The Living Oceans society does many cleanups in its region. In 2017 I spent a week on a remote beach in my riding, Grant Bay, and added to the collection, the big pile on the beach, that Living Oceans Society cleans up every year. It is amazing to see huge pieces of styrofoam, tires and plastic. It is just heartbreaking to see this on the beach, but everyone who comes to those beaches collects it and piles it all up, and then it is removed.
The Sierra Club has hosted several beach cleanups I have had the privilege of participating in. The Tyee Club does a big cleanup in the Campbell River estuary. Project Watershed does estuary stewardship in the Comox Valley. The community cleanup in Port Hardy collects garbage from everywhere across the community.
I happened to attend the beach cleanup this past October by the Saratoga and Miracle Beach Residents' Association. I was very impressed by the young people, the students from Miracle Beach Elementary School, who showed up and helped clean up the beach.
I want to be clear. With a lot of these beach cleanups, not only are people out there cleaning up the beach and picking up every piece of plastic they can find but they are calculating it. I have been out there in the rain with a plastic bag over my piece of paper. We are picking up things, and then we are marking, “cigarette butts”, “small pieces of plastic”, “rope”, “tires”, “cups” and so forth, just so we have a better understanding of the beach and what is happening. It is disheartening sometimes to see how much people just toss out and how much work it takes for people to come behind and clean up.
I want to also acknowledge that many people clean up the beaches in their own personal time. I heard a story of one woman who, for the past 15 years, has been cleaning up the beach in her area almost every single day. This is important work. It is something the people of North Island—Powell River really believe in, because we live on the ocean. We live close to our waterways, our lakes, our streams and our rivers in our communities, and we know that they produce so much for us. They feed our communities. They also bring a lot of tourism revenue and important work into our area. We just want them to be healthy, because the healthiness of our waterways is the healthiness of our people.
When I look at the work I have done in those communities with those community organizations, I appreciate the work they continue to do. They take the time to go out. They calculate and give statistics back to us so that we know what is happening on our beaches and what is getting into our water.
If we look at the text of this motion, it is asking for meaningful action. So many people in my riding and across Canada are saying that they want to see meaningful action. They do not want to hear more sound bites. They want to see things moving forward.
This motion asks the government to “work with provinces, municipalities and indigenous communities to develop a national strategy to combat plastic pollution in and around aquatic environments”. It is about a collaborative approach and working with all levels of government so that we can provide the support that is needed and make sure that there are resources for these organizations that work so hard.
I remember one time being on Quadra Island doing a beach cleanup, and there was one of those huge boxes for garbage. It was almost completely full of styrofoam. It was debris from a lot of different industries and different things that are happening in the ocean. When they were in big chunks, that was fabulous. However, when we went through the actual sand on the beach, we were finding small pieces. These small, broken-down pieces getting into the water is something we should all be concerned about. We want to see a reduction.
This motion also asks for regulations with respect to a reduction in use to make sure that we are doing less harm. We want to make sure that there is a reduction in the consumer and industrial use of single-use plastics, including, but not limited to, things we see on the beach, including plastic bags, bottles, straws, tableware, foam, cigarette filters and beverage containers. I now carry around with me a stainless steel straw so I do not have to use any plastic straws when I go out. I try to be attentive and make sure that I do not use those things that are for a one-time use, because the potential impact on our environment is just too strong.
The last thing I feel people need to know about this motion is that it asks for community-led projects to clean up plastics and debris on shores, banks, beaches and other aquatic areas. It also asks for education and outreach campaigns on the root causes and negative environmental effects of plastic pollution in and around bodies of water.
In the communities I represent, the work is being done, but largely by volunteers. I think that is fantastic. I think it shows the commitment of the community. However, we need to educate people more. We need to let them know the potential harm when they toss away a cigarette butt or a plastic lid from a cup or when they do not take the time to put their litter and recycling where it should be.
I appreciate that the current government has moved forward with the ocean plastics charter with the G7. I think that was a great step forward. However, what I hear again and again in my riding is that people want to see action, not just words. This motion speaks to having a plan, to working collaboratively and to making sure that things happen. Therefore, I hope we take the next step. I hope everyone in this House supports this very meaningful motion and that we start to take action to make sure that our beaches and waterways are as clean as they possible can be in this changing world we live in.
View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2018-12-03 11:55 [p.24294]
Mr. Speaker, we have heard, time and time again, that a garbage truck of plastic is entering our oceans and our waterways every minute, globally. In fact, here in Canada, we produce more garbage per person than any other country in the developed world.
Today, a CBC article on my motion said:
Scientists with the Vancouver Aquarium say the average Canadian uses up to four times their body weight in throw away plastics every year. Enough of it is ending up in oceans, lakes and rivers that plastic is being found in shellfish and even drinking water.
Every year, 10,000 metric tons of plastic end up in the Great Lakes alone. Single-use plastics affect us all, and we now have an opportunity to act. These are alarming statistics, and I know that members on all sides of the aisle are hearing from their constituents that we need to act.
On the weekend the member from Victoria introduced me to 16-year-old Anastasia Castro of Saanich, an amazing young environmental activist, who along with friends has launched "Kids for a plastic free Canada.” She is part of the new generation of environmental stewards who are taking on the serious issue of marine debris and plastics entering our aquifers and our oceans.
Due to the hard work of incredibly dedicated Canadians like Anastasia, the crisis of marine plastic pollution has reached the national stage. Unfortunately, action on the issue has been slow-moving.
This is only the second piece of legislation around plastic, the first being from the member for Windsor West and Megan Leslie, the former member for Halifax, who introduced their motion on banning microbeads in 2015.
When I first rose in this House, following the Hanjin container spill off the coast of my riding on Vancouver Island, we only heard platitudes from the government in response to calls for action to support the hundreds of volunteers who had taken to the beaches to recover tonnes of styrofoam and marine debris. I congratulate the government for its statements of good intentions, and for its pledges and promises along with those of other G7 nations. I want to recognize the limited actions that have been taken in recent months by the government.
Having said that, we need to go further and faster. When we tried to find support for communities struggling to respond to the crisis on our coastline, senior officials told us that there is a legislative and regulatory void and they were sorry, but no help was forthcoming.
This motion seeks to fill that void through the seven steps set out by the University of Victoria's Environmental Law Centre. The proposed regulatory action is aimed at reducing plastic debris discharge from stormwater outfalls, industrial use of microplastics, and consumer and industrial use of single-use plastics. The programmatic proposals include the provision of permanent, dedicated and annual funding for the cleanup of derelict fishing gear; community-led projects to clean up plastics and debris on shores, banks, beaches and other aquatic peripheries; and education and outreach campaigns on the root causes and negative environmental effects of plastic pollution in and around all bodies of water.
This motion is the product of hard work by dozens of environmental organizations, educational institutions, churches, businesses and corporations. In particular, I want to thank Surfrider Pacific Rim and Clayoquot Clean Up, Communities Protecting our Coast, the Association of Denman Island Marine Stewards, Ocean Legacy, the T. Buck Suzuki Foundation, Vancouver lsland coastal communities, the Union of British Columbia coastal municipalities, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, and community champions who monitor and clean our beaches and coastlines without any support from our federal government. I want to thank Margaret Atwood, who supported my motion.
I want to thank the tens of thousands of everyday Canadians who have signed petitions, knocked on doors and, in other various forms, have supported this motion. I want to thank all members of this House from all political parties who have chosen to stand in support of our precious marine environment, committing to supporting this motion, and especially the government today for finally coming forward to support this motion.
I have talked to people from across this country, and because of this campaign, we have given people hope, people who were feeling hopeless. By demonstrating our commitment to cleaning our oceans and waterways by voting for this motion, we as parliamentarians are bolstering this renewed optimism.
I am reminded of Tommy Douglas. I am also reminded of Jack Layton, who famously said, “Don't let them tell you it can't be done.” Coastal people and Canadians have been listening to these words, and we have the opportunity, the love, hope and courage that Jack Layton spoke of and embodied, to tackle this issue, and leave a better Canada for future generations.
View Sheila Malcolmson Profile
NDP (BC)
View Sheila Malcolmson Profile
2018-12-03 15:10 [p.24324]
Mr. Speaker, I present a petition in which constituents from Nanaimo—Ladysmith call on this House to adopt a national strategy to end the terrible problem of marine plastics. They urge this House to support the Motion No. 151 by the member for Courtenay—Alberni's, which will be voted on this Wednesday, to ban single-use plastics, to develop regulations to get at the root of the marine plastics problem, and to fund, in a permanent way, dealing with some of the ongoing problems like ghost fishnets that move across the sea and continue to kill marine mammals and fish. They urge the consideration of their petition.
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I have multiple pages here signed by constituents who recognize that plastics in our oceans, lakes, rivers and other bodies of water are posing a dire threat to sensitive ecosystems. They want the government to work with the provinces, municipalities and indigenous communities to develop a national strategy to combat plastic pollution so we can reduce the industrial use of microplastics, single-use plastics, and have a strategy for cleaning up derelict fishing gear.
Furthermore, they call upon the government to support Motion No. 151, to bring in a national strategy to combat plastic pollution, supported by my good friend and colleague, the member for Courtenay—Alberni.
View Sheila Malcolmson Profile
NDP (BC)
View Sheila Malcolmson Profile
2018-11-29 10:13 [p.24174]
Mr. Speaker, the calamity of marine plastic pollution is evident all over the world.
Plastics are making their way into our oceans and lakes via storm drains and global ocean currents, and consumer disposal and industrial waste, and making their way into salmon on the west coast.
I have so many petitions from citizens in Nanaimo, Lantzville and Ladysmith urging the government to adopt a national strategy. This would deal with single-use plastics but also make sure that we have funding in a permanent way to deal with some of the big problems, like ghost nets, fishing nets that move across our oceans, across the globe and continue to capture and drown animals.
View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2018-11-28 15:49 [p.24103]
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to table a petition on behalf of residents of coastal British Columbia. They are calling on the government to work with the provinces, municipalities and indigenous communities to develop a national strategy to combat plastic pollution in and around aquatic environments. They would like regulations aimed at reducing plastic debris discharged from stormwater outfalls, the industrial use of microplastics and the consumer and industrial use of single-use plastics. They would also like permanent, dedicated annual funding for the cleanup of derelict fishing gear, community-led projects to clean up plastic and debris on our shores and education and outreach campaigns.
Further, they are calling on the government to adopt my motion, Motion No. 151, which Parliament will be voting on next week, to establish a national strategy to combat plastic pollution. With the amount of plastic arriving on our shores, they are calling on the government to make this an urgent priority.
View Sheila Malcolmson Profile
NDP (BC)
View Sheila Malcolmson Profile
2018-11-08 10:15 [p.23425]
Mr. Speaker, marine plastics are spreading all over B.C.'s coasts, entering salmon and littering beaches. A lot of it is coming from British Columbia but some is also coming from overseas. Petitioners from Nanaimo, Parksville and Lantzville have asked me to convey to the House their strong call for the government to develop a national strategy to combat marine plastic pollution, which would particularly involve regulations on the single use of plastics to prevent plastics from entering the marine environment in the first place and also to fund in a permanent ongoing way some of the pieces we have been unable to tackle like ghost nets, which move across the ocean capturing fish, dolphins and so on. It is a terrible emergency. We call on the government to act.
View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2018-11-06 19:34 [p.23371]
Madam Speaker, it is an honour to rise again today to talk about a very important issue for people of Courtenay—Alberni, and certainly across Canada.
As we know, plastic is entering our oceans and our aquatic environments at a rapid pace. Over a garbage truck of plastic is entering the environment of our waters every minute.
My Motion No. 151 has spelled out seven different reforms, based on a very solid report, “Seven Reforms to Address Marine Plastic Pollution”, developed by the University of Victoria Environmental Law Centre. This is a very important report. It was the member for Victoria who introduced me to Calvin Sandborn and the T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation; they helped develop the report. It is a 100-page report that outlines different ways we can combat plastic pollution.
We know that single-use plastic is an important issue when it comes to plastic and how we can reduce the amount of plastic entering our waterways. Therefore, I was proud to rise in this House to bring forward a question on behalf of coastal people and people who live near waterways across our country. Most people live near a lake or a river or the ocean. We have the longest coastline in the world, and we have 60% of the world's lakes and 20% of the world's supply of fresh water, so that would make us stewards of a very important resource that we need to protect, and it requires some leadership.
One thing I want to touch on tonight is the issue of ghost fishing gear and derelict fishing gear because it very important to the people in my riding. There are a couple of groups that are working on cleaning it up. One is Ocean Legacy, led by Chloé Dubois and James Middleton. They take fishing gear, recycle it and repurpose it for companies like Lush that use it in their cosmetics. They make sure that we remove plastic from our environment and use it for purposes. There is another group called Emerald Sea Protection Society. It is a group of divers who go down and seek out this gear and remove it.
We know that Washington State, Oregon and California have taken great leadership on this and have removed thousands of tonnes of ghost and derelict fishing gear, so I do not understand why Canada has not used a model that is so close, especially for me. I live near the Salish Sea. We share the same sea. We share the Strait of Juan de Fuca. We could use their expertise, their knowledge and their legislation and apply it in Canada and take action that is important.
As members know, ghost fishing gear is dangerous to the mammals and species in the ocean. A lot of birds, seals, crab and even our fish get entangled in ghost fishing gear. It is very important that we explore ways to get it out. It is costly for the economy. Washington State says it costs it about $700,000 U.S. just in lost crab to crab pots that have been left at the bottom of the sea, that have escaped. The UN Environment Programme estimates about 640,000 tonnes of gear is in the ocean right now.
This is a great opportunity for us to spotlight a very important issue for all of us.
View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2018-11-06 19:41 [p.23373]
Madam Speaker, it is great to see the parliamentary secretary so active on this file.
What we need is regulation. We need traceability, tracking and accountability when it comes to plastics in the ocean, especially when it comes to industry. We can look at salmon farming and oyster and shellfish farming. We want to support the shellfish industry, but at the same time we want to ensure there is traceability when it comes to the plastics they are using in their environment. We need legislation and regulation.
With respect to polystyrene and styrofoam, we need to stop using it in a place where it can escape and end up on our shores, breaking apart and impacting our sensitive ecosystems.
I hope the member will look forward to bringing forward solutions so we can mitigate this. I want to commend the Liberals for signing on to the Global Ghost Gear Initiative. It is a great initiative and it is a good start.
View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2018-11-05 18:16 [p.23299]
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise tonight to reflect on a question of mine for the Prime Minister about World Oceans Day, namely, the use of single-use plastics and the lack of regulations to protect Canadians and our oceans, and to combat plastic pollution.
We know that over a garbage truck of plastic is entering our waterways every minute. Just two years ago, the people of Courtenay—Alberni really stepped up on this very important issue as a result of a November 2016 spill from the Hanjin Seattle off the Pacific Rim National Park, on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Over 35 shipping containers spilled, littering our coast with metal and thick styrofoam, which spread up and down our coast.
People like Captain Josh Temple, Misty Lawson, and the people of Clayoquot Action mobilized, got on the ground and started to clean up this huge marine debris spill, one of the largest on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Michelle Hall at Surfrider and hundreds of volunteers hit the beaches with staff from Pacific Rim National Park and Barb Schramm of the Wild Pacific Trail from Ucluelet. These people from Tofino, Ucluelet, Ahousat, Clayoquot, and Tla-o-qui-aht all came out in the spirit of making sure that we protect our beaches and mitigate the impact of what is happening to our environment when it comes to marine debris. We had a very difficult time.
We were asking questions of the government in the House as to who was responsible for marine debris, and we could not get a straight answer. We were asking the question of the transport minister. He said this would be the full responsibility of the shipping company under the Canada Shipping Act. However, what we found out was that Pacific Rim National Park had petitioned the bankruptcy court dealing with the shipping company, which of course had gone bankrupt after the spill, to get funds to help remediate the problem on the coast. The court awarded $72,000 to Pacific Rim National Park. That money came to Ottawa. However, only $15,000 of that money came to the coast in May 2017. We are still unsure what happened to the rest of the money.
What we do know is that local people pulled money out of their own pockets and contributed to cleaning up this mess. Small business people donated money. We had to hire specialized contractors to go out and clean this up on our own accord. There was no help from the federal Government. Even though it could have called back the people who were helping deal with the tsunami debris cleanup after the Japanese earthquake that had brought marine debris to our coasts, it did not. Those people worked so diligently and hard to mastermind cleanups on our coast, cleanups that could be applied on a regular basis. Instead, the federal government chose to sit back and left us high and dry. Therefore, we have no confidence in any future oil spill cleanups. The government failed to build trust and relationships with volunteers and community citizens who were out there protecting our environment. It had a great opportunity.
People are still wondering where that money is. They want to know there is a plan in place should this happen again. We know there is not. The world oceans charter that the government has developed does not talk about marine debris. There is no funding at all allocated for cleaning up marine debris. We know there are Canadians from coast to coast to coast who are cleaning up marine debris every day, people like John Burchette of Tofino to Mark over on Lasqueti Island and all over Vancouver Island who are dedicated to cleaning up our oceans. However, they do require some support. I hope the current government will come up with a plan and provide the necessary resources.
View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2018-11-05 18:23 [p.23300]
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the parliamentary secretary for commenting on some action the government is taking and undertaking.
I talked about marine debris and the lack of legislation and the regulatory void that is in place. We also learned that is the same with single-use plastics in our country. I will applaud the government for committing to getting rid of single-use plastics in federal facilities. We would like to see the federal government follow the lead of the European Union, which is going to phase out most single-use plastics by 2021. If the federal government really wants to take action on this issue, it would follow that, but also support my motion.
My motion, Motion No. 151, was designed by the University of Victoria. It includes seven reforms to address plastic pollution. It gives the government the framework to take concrete steps to help prevent plastic from entering our waterways and aquifers.
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