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View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-03-25 5:32 [p.2089]
Mr. Speaker, my first question was about guaranteed liveable income or a universal basic income, so I thank the member for responding to that. I am happy to see support in the House, and perhaps we could have further discussions about what that could look like in Canada moving forward.
I have a question about equality across regions and provinces in accessing materials and supplies for dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. There are concerns in New Brunswick that we do not have the public purse to acquire supplies directly at some of the high costs for things we are going to need moving forward.
Can the member comment on reassurances for some of the smaller provinces that are dealing with this issue as well?
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-03-25 5:34 [p.2089]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleagues for giving me the opportunity to speak here today on this important issue.
We certainly are in unprecedented times. It is remarkable for me to be here today representing my own riding while also carrying the weight of those living in the ridings of my Green Party colleagues, the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands and Nanaimo—Ladysmith. I have also been asked to share these comments on behalf of the independent member for Vancouver Granville.
I would first like to acknowledge that we are on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe people. It is essential that we remember the historical and ongoing implications of those words and the responsibilities we bear toward indigenous communities across the nation, especially as we face this unprecedented crisis.
I know I am not alone in having made this bizarre trek to Ottawa to be present here for these proceedings. I made the 10-hour trip by car with my husband and two boys.
We stopped only to get gas and take a break. We followed all the recommended hygiene measures.
Of course, we did our best to entertain a toddler and a seven-year-old for 10 hours in the car. I think of the many families and households across the nation who are answering difficult questions from their children and trying to keep them entertained. I feel that too. I want to let the children of Canada know we love them and we are here for them too. We know this is a difficult time.
I would like to take this opportunity to also humbly thank many, many people: the front-line workers staffing our hospitals, stocking our grocery stores and keeping our communities safe; the businesses and educational institutions that are answering the call and mobilizing in a warlike effort to provide and manufacture and supplies that we need; Dr. Tam and her team for coordinating our public health response, as well as Dr. Bonnie Henry of B.C. for her incredible work; the tireless efforts of our cabinet ministers and their staff to coordinate a response to COVID-19 across government departments; and my colleagues here in this House and those practising social distancing at home for proving that in the face of a national crisis, we can and will work together for the people of this country.
We gather in these extraordinary times to pass extraordinary legislation. It will allow the federal government to reach out and help Canadians directly with their personal finances. It will allow help to reach the self-employed, small and medium-sized businesses and large corporations. I am very relieved that a compromise was found that allows us to pass this legislation today, albeit a bit later than we had hoped.
It is a fundamental principle of Westminster parliamentary democracy that Parliament controls the public purse. We cannot, even in a public health emergency, convey unprecedented powers without any oversight and without any criteria limiting those powers to any government, no matter how well-intentioned.
This is a defining moment for our country. I am prouder than ever before to be Canadian and to see the expedited response to this crisis. I am also so proud to be from New Brunswick. I commend Premier Higgs and chief medical officer Jennifer Russell for declaring a state of emergency. To the decision-makers of the neighbouring Atlantic provinces of Nova Scotia, P.E.I. and Newfoundland, I commend them all for making the difficult decision to close provincial borders to further protect citizens. I thank them for their leadership.
We have now seen more than a week of social distancing, of closures and restrictions. It is now the time for all Canadians to comply and do our part to get us through this together. Effective suppression would mean fewer cases of coronavirus, a fighting chance for our health care system and the humans who run it, a reduction in the number of total fatalities and a reduction in collateral damage. As well, it would give us the time for infected, isolated and quarantined health care workers to get better and return to work.
Canada has been quick to respond so far. Inevitably there are lessons to be learned to ensure that we are better prepared for this type of disaster in the future.
I am here to work collaboratively with my colleagues in government, but I must also point out the ways we need to improve so that we can get this right for Canadians.
I am sure we are all in the same boat when it comes to the level of correspondence with our constituents over the past few weeks. We have been hearing a lot of concern. One thing the situation has made clear is the inequalities within our society. COVID-19 has amplified the challenges people are already facing.
I am thinking of the Canadians who are living in poverty, especially those who are homeless.
Working Canadians have been laid off or are facing reduced work hours, particularly at a time when they feel financially insecure. Older Canadians living on a fixed income are worried about their pensions and investments. Indigenous peoples are facing heightened challenges in their communities.
It is not easy for Canadians living in rural areas to access health care services.
Permanent residents and other newcomers worrying about family abroad are trying to get home amidst travel cancellations. Our charities and not-for-profit organizations are losing their donor base right now and really need our support. We must also stay vigilant against those who want to profit from this crisis, and they are out there.
We are facing this giant together, but from very different vantage points. Almost a million people have applied for employment insurance. Our Green Party has been proposing a guaranteed livable income for Canadians for years, and if we had a GLI in place now, we would easily be able to ramp up payments to people facing layoffs and reduced hours without clogging the phone lines of Service Canada and scaring people who are afraid in their unique situations, leaving them without support. The government measures announced are now taking time to roll out because we lack the infrastructure to quickly disseminate direct payments to Canadians. We need to have a closer look at this issue.
It is also clear to me that if we had already made much-needed improvements to our health care system in areas that have been advocated by professionals, such as improved infrastructure, preventive health care and pharmacare, we would be much better situated to address the needs of Canadians in this COVID-19 crisis.
Best estimates of what lies ahead vary widely. We can all agree that the more we are able to maintain social distancing among those who are asymptomatic and maintain isolation for those who have symptoms, the greater our chances are of getting through COVID-19 without overwhelming the system. The extent to which individual Canadians and businesses can follow the advice provided depends on the extent of their financial ability to do so. People have to be in a financially secure position in order to take the public health advice.
When we talk about the economic impacts, it seems we have left some things out.
We have discussed a few of them here today. Renters, both residential and commercial, need measures to protect them from landlords who are not passing along the goodwill of the banks or who do not have the goodwill of their bank. New Brunswick and a few other provinces have made it illegal to evict tenants for nonpayment of rent. These measures are good, but they need to be standardized across the country.
We must do more for the small and medium-sized businesses that keep our economy moving.
As Dan Kelly, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, says of the wage subsidies, “It's the right measure, but it's the wrong amount.”
Our assistance measures for businesses are being dwarfed by steps taken or being contemplated elsewhere. For example, in Denmark the government is offering up to 75% of wages, with the maximum payout per employee 10 times higher than the current offering in Canada. As well, there seems to be nothing for unincorporated businesses that have employees. This is a big concern.
New Brunswick is allowing small businesses to defer WorkSafe New Brunswick premiums for three months. The federal government could do the same for EI, CPP and HST.
These are trying times, but we do see examples of hope all across the country. I have seen jingle-dress dancers standing out in their yards dancing for all of our collective healing. I know that we have seen churches, synagogues, mosques and other places of worship adapting to a new reality and being steadfast in their support of spirituality and faith, which we need now more than ever.
These are emotional times for citizens as well, and we also must consider their mental health. We should get outside if we can, but we must maintain our social distancing. We can go for the online museum tours. Online zoo tours are happening. I have seen people making badminton nets out of tape. We can play Hide the Potato.
I have also seen people making Portugese-style or Quebec-style tortillas.
We are finding really creative examples to deal with this crisis. Let us keep it up. I urge us all to call neighbours, check in, do FaceTime with grandparents. We all have a responsibility here. Let us stay connected. Isolation can be a really difficult thing for each of us to face.
Many of us are setting an example by operating from home as well, and we can continue to play a leadership role here by exploring digital options for the work we do here in the House. Let us continue to have that conversation.
Today means passing this motion to ensure Canadians have the financial resources they need to make ends meet while we rigorously follow the advice of public health experts. We will get through this if we stick together, even if that means standing apart.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-03-25 5:44 [p.2091]
Mr. Speaker, I come from rural New Brunswick, where we have faced issues with high-speed Internet access for quite some time. I know that people are trying to work from home or trying to do Zoom conferencing and find ways to communicate in this new reality that we are facing, and it is creating difficulties. We have not been able to communicate through phone calls with our staff members or other colleagues in Parliament. We need to look at what these services can provide to our rural communities as well as all of Canada with this new reality that we face.
The bandwidth just cannot handle what we are currently seeing. There is a surge of people binge-watching Netflix or whatever for entertainment purposes, and then there is certainly our work at home that we will need to be doing for who knows how long. We also need to ensure that everyone has access to those crucial connections to the people they love. I hope that we will continue to have these conversations in the House.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-03-25 5:46 [p.2091]
Mr. Speaker, as a mom of a seven-year-old, I have seen that the seven-year-old understands more than the two-year-old about what is happening. He chats with his friends on his headset when he is playing video games to entertain himself during this time, and I have heard him ask his friends if they are worried about the coronavirus and if they are scared. I wait to hear what the response is and how he might handle that question, and I hear him reassuring his friends and saying that it is okay, that we are going to get through this and that there are people trying to help.
That would be my message. It is that even the kids know how hard everyone is working toward this common goal of fighting COVID-19 as a nation. That is what it is going to take to really get us over that peak: staying together, understanding how important it is to heed the warnings of public health and ensuring that we do stay connected.
My other message would be to change the narrative a bit about the social distancing. Let us focus on the physical distancing with social connection, because that is so crucial right now. We really need to protect that.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-03-25 5:48 [p.2092]
Mr. Speaker, that is an excellent question.
I have been asked by the media and some of my constituents about some of the comments that are floating around about perhaps bailing out the oil and gas industry or other corporations that are involved in different sectors.
My response is that we should first look after the individual Canadians, the workers. They certainly do need jobs to go back to. We just need to be really careful about the future that we are planning.
My hon. colleague from the Bloc mentioned that an economic crisis sets the stage for what is to come, so this is the time for us to make really bold changes to what we want to see in our future here in Canada. I think those bold changes include looking at expanding other sectors.
Of course, I am very supportive of things like renewable energy and other ways that we can maximize our energy output and still have Canadians feel that we have a great role to play on the global stage, but I feel we need to be careful about where we place our investments, understand how the markets are fluctuating and understand what that looks like moving forward in response to COVID-19.
We need to be cautious, but we need to focus first and foremost on the workers and the individual Canadians who need money in their pockets now.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-03-13 10:14 [p.2062]
Madam Speaker, I am seeking the unanimous consent of the House to speak.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-03-13 10:14 [p.2063]
Madam Speaker, I will not take long, but as this is a unanimous consent motion, I want to put on the record that the Green Party caucus consents. These are not normal times.
We are thinking of our friends in the House who are now at risk from the virus. We are thinking of our country. We are thinking of Ms. Grégoire Trudeau and we wish her a speedy recovery. This epidemic affects everyone, all of our loved ones, friends and constituents.
We cannot tell moment to moment what lies ahead with the spread of COVID-19. I want to express thanks to the Canadian public health authorities at every level and in my own province, particularly B.C. public health officer Bonnie Henry, who has been handling what was quite clearly spreading, and the British Columbia minister of health Adrian Dix and others who have taken strong precautionary action.
I have confidence in our health authorities. I have confidence in Canadians. We gather in groups, and goodness knows, as members of Parliament, we gather in groups and travel on airplanes. It is incumbent upon us to accept that we have to stop our work in this place. Hopefully it is only for five weeks, so we again can take on the business of the nation. I think it is fair to say that as much as we travel on airplanes, we do not want to find, when history looks at what happened with COVID-19 in Canada, that members of Parliament were vectors of disease. We need to take on board our responsibilities.
Therefore, I join with all colleagues in thanking our health authorities for their diligence and the Minister of Health. We are blessed to live in a country with responsible government that does not try to make up the science as it goes along.
The Green Party consents to the adjournment and looks forward to seeing everyone again in this place, and in good health.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-03-12 10:27 [p.1979]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleagues for the privilege of speaking today. I would like to thank the minister for her words and powerful statement and my colleagues for their words.
Ladies, life-givers, we make miracles and we are miracles. Today we celebrate sisterhood, the matriarchs, the clan mothers. We all have our own journeys. For me, I felt the most connected to my womanhood when I became a mother. I am a mom of two little boys, who see their mom working hard for Canada and giving a lot of time and attention to our citizens.
From the moment I announced my candidacy to taking my seat here in the House of Commons, the number one question I was asked is how I do it. What is it like balancing the demands of parliamentary life with the responsibilities of motherhood? The answer, as one might expect, is that it is difficult.
I know that seeing strong women in important positions makes them stronger, more balanced individuals with respect for all people of all genders. Even in saying this, I know it will not be that easy for us to set an example every day to be consistent and innovative in our approach to supporting women and creating opportunities for them all over the world.
While we celebrate women who are in decision-making positions and we acknowledge that a lot of progress has been made in reducing the wage gap, the fact remains that there is still a lot of work to be done.
Despite women's increased participation in the workforce, they continue to spend much of their time doing unpaid labour. On average, women continue to be the predominant providers of care to children and to family members with mental or physical limitations related to age or chronic health conditions. This mostly invisible unpaid labour means that working Canadian women spend an additional 3.9 hours per day performing household chores and caring for children, among other things.
While women are fighting against inequality in the workplace, they are also dealing with social expectations surrounding gender.
On top of it all, feeling like imperfect mothers and imperfect workers, women blame themselves for not being able to manage it all. Mom guilt is real. However, we sitting in the House know that good public policy and structural supports play an important role in shaping the experience of working mothers. We in the House need to pay particular attention to how achieving this balance becomes all the more difficult for low-income women, trans women, women struggling with mental illness, women with disabilities and women of colour.
When we invest in social services like long-term care, health care, pharmacare, mental health care, universal affordable child care and in protecting reproductive rights, we also invest in women. We normalize women's issues and interests, we level the playing field and we bring women closer to gender parity. I see the women of Canada, and they are spectacular.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-03-12 12:40 [p.1999]
I heard him say split time. I am sure about that.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-03-12 13:15 [p.2004]
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to hear the parliamentary secretary's speech, but I would be more pleased if it were clear that Liberal members will be voting in favour of the opposition motion in the business of supply today. It is very clear that the majority of members of Parliament have been sent to this place by constituents who want a national pharmacare plan. Constituents want it to conform to the report by Dr. Hoskins, which was commissioned in the last Parliament. They do not want to risk delay. We want to get it passed while this minority Parliament is in session.
Could the hon. parliamentary secretary inform the House whether the Liberals will support this motion so we get a pharmacare plan in place as quickly as possible?
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-03-12 15:08 [p.2024]
Mr. Speaker, experts testified last month at the Veterans Affairs committee that treatments for family members of a former soldier were cut off or not approved and that there is a backlog of 18,330 cases.
The average wait time for applications is 32 weeks.
They also testified that there is a longer than average turnaround time for women and francophones.
The Minister of Veterans Affairs was tasked to ensure that the government lives up to its sacred obligation to our veterans and their families. I want to know when and how the government will start acting concretely on that commitment.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-03-12 15:34 [p.2027]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague and neighbour for her excellent speech.
I completely agree that we need a national pharmacare plan right now. I want to ask another question that is in line with the one asked by my friend from Vancouver Kingsway.
Does the member know if the Liberal caucus plans to vote in favour of the motion, or is it just her intention as a member to vote in favour of the motion?
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-03-12 16:47 [p.2039]
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to have an opportunity to discuss pharmacare today. To me it is clear the majority of members in this place are on side to see this motion pass. I certainly hope that is the case. It is the tone of the debate.
I want to ask my colleague this. As we go forward, we know that a national pharmacare plan and the bulk buying of drugs will bring down the price of these drugs for every Canadian. I wonder if we can also think about assuring that the drugs we register will do more good than harm.
I think the motion suggests it. I am very taken by the work of the UBC therapeutics initiative. It assesses the drug data package to make sure that we are resistant to big pharma deciding we need drugs that might have significant and dangerous side effects, to make sure we register the drugs and make them accessible to all Canadians, and to make sure they are the drugs that we need and will do more good than harm.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-03-12 17:12 [p.2043]
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. With all due deference to my friend, I am sure at some point he will discuss pharmacare, but his discussion seems a little off topic so far.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2020-03-12 17:33 [p.2046]
Madam Speaker, the Green Party supports this motion. It is a very good time to be moving toward universal pharmacare in our country. We know this will save our health care system money. We are the only country with a universal health care system that does not include universal pharmacare.
People who have chronic diseases and cannot afford their medicine end up with catastrophic medical issues. They end up in the hospital, which costs much more than if they had been able to get medicine provided to them through a universal single-payer pharmacare system.
We know that half the visits to emergency departments by seniors are related to them not taking the medication they need. Per capita, my riding has the largest population of people over the age of 75. Hospital officials will tell us that people need their medicines.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-03-12 17:38 [p.2047]
Madam Speaker, I wish to thank my NDP colleagues for giving me the opportunity to speak. I will be splitting my time with the member for Edmonton Strathcona.
One third of working Canadians do not have employer-funded drug coverage. One in five households reported a family member who had not taken a prescribed medicine in the past year due to its cost.
Every year, nearly three million Canadians say they cannot afford to fill one or more of their prescriptions.
In the 2019 election, I heard these statistics echoed at doors and across party lines. I am excited by the idea of national pharmacare and the support I know we have from members of the House to improve the lives of Canadians. I am also excited by how much work has already been done to understand what our national pharmacare plan needs to look like.
Last June, the well-known published final report of the advisory council on implementation of national pharmacare, also known as the Hoskins report, advised that it had received questionnaires from more than 15,000 people and organizations, received more 14,000 petitions or letters, reviewed more than 150 written submissions, investigated global best practices and hosted town halls and round tables. It uncovered significant gaps in drug coverage.
Of the nearly three million Canadians who said they were not able to afford their prescriptions, 38% had access to private insurance coverage and 21% had public coverage. However, with co-pays and exemptions, they still did not have the resources to afford their medications. Almost one million Canadians were forced to cut back on food or home heating to pay for their medication.
Nearly one million Canadians have had to borrow money to pay for their prescription drugs.
This highlights the crushing poverty weighing on Canadians. It has many causes but with pharmacare, we can take one worry away. We can alleviate some of the stress and uncertainty in their lives.
In the Hoskins report, the advisory council laid out several recommendations to address these gaps, and I will reiterate them.
Its first and foremost recommendation was that the federal government work with provincial and territorial governments to establish a universal, single-payer, public system of prescription drug coverage in Canada. A two-tiered system would create further inequity, leaving low-income and unemployed Canadians at risk. The administration of such a program would be cost-ineffective. A privately administered system would create profit incentives where public interest must be the first priority.
The council also recommended that national pharmacare benefits be portable across provinces and territories. This reinforces the need for federal leadership to come alongside provincial health departments to ensure the system is truly national in scope.
Another recommendation was to make everyone in Canada eligible for a pharmacare program to ensure that everyone can get the drugs they need to maintain their physical and mental health.
It also recommended a national formulary be developed to list which prescription drugs and related products should be covered to ensure all Canadians would have access equally to the medicines they needed to maintain or improve their health, no matter where they were living in Canada.
Clearly this is a big job. We are going to need leadership from our Prime Minister and his cabinet, and we are going to need significant financial investment from the federal government to make this happen.
It is remarkable that Canada is the only developed country that has a universal health care program that does not include universal coverage for prescription medication, especially when we know there are real costs associated with people who need to skip doses or avoid filling prescriptions because they cannot afford to buy them. These decisions put strain on our health care system.
People are struggling to stay healthy their whole lives, which leads to complications and chronic illnesses later in life.
Individuals end up in urgent health care situations, needing to return to hospital emergency rooms and taking up hospital beds, because they can not afford to properly manage their conditions and illnesses at home.
The Parliamentary Budget Officer has already indicated that this will save federal, provincial and territorial governments billions of dollars, and that does not even consider the quality of life for Canadians who require prescription medicines.
A recent study by St. Michael's Hospital's MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions found that providing free medicine resulted in a 44% increase in people taking their essential medications and led to a 160% increase in the likelihood of participants being able to make ends meet.
Ensuring people have access to the medications they need throughout their life will have real, positive impacts, such as poverty reduction, as people become able to direct their money toward food, rent, home heating or child care. When a chronic condition is well managed with medications, individuals can better access the workforce and participate in their communities.
People with rare diseases should not have to go bankrupt because of their diagnosis.
Those living on fixed incomes, such as seniors, are not stuck with increasing pharmaceutical costs. For people in immediate mental health crisis, the extra financial anxiety of a new medication does not have to weigh on them.
I am struck as well by the consensus that exists around this issue.
The majority of MPs in the House are members of parties that made this issue a priority in the last election.
Polls show that 90% of Canadians support equal access to prescription drugs, regardless of income. When I saw national pharmacare reference in the mandate letters of four ministers, I was hopeful that we would actually see this happen in the 43rd Parliament, but I am a little concerned that nothing seems to be moving on this front yet, and I am so thankful for this motion from my NDP colleagues.
Maybe we will be pleasantly surprised when the budget is tabled, but I fear that the government may be losing its courage, perhaps because of the lobbying that is being carried out by pharmaceutical and insurance companies. I hope the government is being vigilant against letting entities with deep pockets and full-time Ottawa-based lobbyists buy influence on our policy development process.
I have spent time with representatives from community organizations and health care professionals and their unions. They said that we need universal public pharmacare. These groups include the Heart and Stroke Foundation, National Nurses United, the Canadian Diabetes Association, the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association, the Canadian Health Coalition, the Canadian Labour Congress, and I could go on. These organizations represent average Canadians, workers in the health field and those who are living with, or caring for, people with chronic or acute disease. These are the people we work for.
The Canadian Medical Association shared stories of doctors fighting for national pharmacare. Dr. Nav Persaud had this to say: "Why did I spend all those years training to become a doctor if at the end of it, when I give someone a diagnosis, they don't fully benefit because they can't afford the treatment?"
The advisory council on the implementation of national pharmacare left us with the way forward: "It will take time, significant federal investment and close collaboration among all health system partners to turn Canada's patchwork of prescription drug insurance plans into a national public pharmacare program.”
But it is possible. Thanks to the work of the council, the path forward is clear. The data are incontestable, Canadians are on board and parliamentarians in the House are mostly on board. We are here to represent the people, and this is what the people want.
My final reflection is this: What are we waiting for?
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-03-12 17:47 [p.2049]
Madam Speaker, I think back to the election process and knocking on countless doors, visiting every long-term care facility and senior care facilities in my riding to discuss these issues of health care and high costs. I have a very high demographic of seniors in my riding as well, and this was something that they acknowledged would help them.
They talked about the times they had to make the decision between heating or food and medication. We have heard that line so many times, but it is because it needs to be repeated. That should not be happening in Canada. There were nurses and doctors as well. We had so many meetings with these organizations over the past few months, and it was unanimous. It seemed to be a no-brainer, and I really hope that we can make this happen for them.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-03-12 17:49 [p.2049]
Madam Speaker, I am happy to be here as well, instead of my predecessor. I also want to thank the hon. member for his advocacy for rare diseases. We also care deeply about that issue. We know we need to work harder.
To address the issue, maybe we should deal with the regulatory system as it is first, but I do not think we have time to wait. I think we can do these alongside of one another. It certainly should be part of the considerations for national pharmacare, but I do not think it has to mean we are leaving those patients behind.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-03-12 17:51 [p.2049]
Madam Speaker, that is a challenge. It is going to take all provinces on board for this to be cost-effective and so it is really important that we have these debates in the House, that it goes to committee and we make sure that the interests of Quebec are looked after.
I look at all the statistics, the support and organizations, and I have a hard time understanding why someone would not want that program. We have also advocated for increases in health transfers. It seems like it would be the best thing for Quebec, as well as Canada. I would like to know more about why.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2020-03-12 18:05 [p.2051]
Madam Speaker, discussing universal pharmacare is a really important thing. It is something this Parliament should do. We have talked about the cost savings and how much money we can save our health care system by providing prescription medicine to people who cannot afford it.
I wonder if the hon. member could expand on the cost savings to our system and how this is going to help Canadians and our health care system.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2020-03-11 15:18 [p.1938]
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to present a petition today that follows up on International Women's Day.
The petitioners call upon the House to enact legislation and policies that will promote pay equity and pay equality so that women in Canada get the equal treatment they deserve.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2020-03-11 15:19 [p.1939]
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to present a second petition from members in my riding of Nanaimo—Ladysmith.
The petitioners ask that the government commit to uphold the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada by immediately halting all existing and planned construction of the Coastal GasLink project on Wet'suwet'en territory; ordering the RCMP to dismantle its exclusion zone and stand down; schedule nation-to-nation talks between the Wet'suwet'en nation and federal and provincial governments, which I am glad to see has happened; and prioritize the real implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-03-11 15:22 [p.1939]
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in this place to present an e-petition that was started by one of my constituents from Galiano Island. I want send a shout-out to Christina Kovacevic for starting the petition, which has accumulated more than 15,000 signatures.
It calls on the government, as other petitioners today have mentioned, to observe and respect the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, particularly in relation to the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs and land claims; to halt all existing and planned construction of the Coastal GasLink project on their territory; to ask the RCMP to dismantle its exclusion zone; to have nation-to-nation talks, which, we note with real gratitude to the ministers involved, have happened, and there is an agreement currently under consideration with the Wet'suwet'en; and to make sure that it continues toward real implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-03-11 15:26 [p.1940]
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to present a petition that calls upon the House of Commons to adopt a notional poverty elimination strategy, thereby assuring Canadians of a suitable quality of life and opportunity to succeed.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-03-11 15:26 [p.1940]
Mr. Speaker, I have a second petition. It is similar to other petitions presented today. It calls on the government to uphold the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action by immediately halting existing and planned construction of the Coastal GasLink project on Wet'suwet'en territory; asking the RCMP to dismantle its exclusion zone and stand down; scheduling nation-to-nation talks with the Wet'suwet'en, which has happened; and prioritizing the real implementation of UNDRIP.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-03-11 15:32 [p.1942]
Madam Speaker, my thanks to the hon. parliamentary secretary for finishing his speech and remembering to acknowledge territory, as he does whenever he stands to speak. It is much appreciated.
I will say that I am voting in favour of the ratification. I think this is a much better version of NAFTA than the original NAFTA that we have been under all these years.
Now that we have trumpeted the accomplishment of removing the investor-state provisions of chapter 11 of NAFTA in the new version of CUSMA, can the parliamentary secretary tell me whether the government is prepared to examine the other investor-state provisions in other agreements?
Particularly egregious is the secret deal done by the Harper administration with the People's Republic of China, which binds Canada for three decades to secret lawsuits from state-owned enterprises in the People's Republic of China.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2020-03-11 15:53 [p.1945]
Madam Speaker, I would like to recognize we are on the traditional territory of the Algonquin people, and I thank my Liberal colleagues for sharing this speaking time with me.
The Green Party will support the new CUSMA. We believe in fair and equitable trade that improves health, safety, labour and environmental standards. I would like to congratulate the Canadian negotiating team for getting this deal done with the Trump administration in the White House. Things could have turned out much worse.
CUSMA is not a perfect agreement. It is still a corporate model of trade. There are deficiencies. Climate change is not mentioned. The softwood lumber agreement has not been fixed. The good regulatory practices chapter could be very problematic. The extension of copyrights was not necessary. Indigenous rights and title are a particular area of concern in both Canada and Mexico. Aluminum was not properly covered in the rules of origin. The dairy industry faces increased imports and constraints on its exports. The negotiating process could still be a lot more transparent and consultative.
However, there are significant wins. The proportionality clause for energy exports has been removed. Labour standards have been improved in Mexico. The rules of origin have been improved. Supply management has been protected. The environmental rules have been strengthened. The cultural industries remain protected.
In my view, removing investor-state dispute settlement provisions, or ISDS, is the biggest win. We need to remove ISDS from all our trade and investment agreements. ISDS gives foreign corporations extraordinary powers to bypass national court systems and challenge domestic laws in a private tribunal system. It gives foreign corporations rights that domestic corporations do not have. Foreign corporations can demand millions and even billions of dollars in compensation from governments for the loss of potential profit when domestic laws and regulations get in the way of their profits.
These secretive tribunals take place behind closed doors, with no public scrutiny or participation from some of the affected parties. Under some treaties, such as the Canada-China FIPA, the public may never know that a tribunal took place or that a Chinese state-owned corporation received financial compensation from Canadian taxpayers.
These are not real courts. Trade tribunals are made up of three corporate lawyers who work for major private law firms and earn $1,000 per hour or more. These lawyers switch roles in different arbitration cases. Sometimes they work for the corporation, sometimes they defend government and other times they act as the deciding judge.
I know the Conservatives are big supporters of investor-state dispute settlements, so I would like to correct some of what I have heard from them on this subject.
No Canadian corporation has ever been successful in bringing an arbitration case against the United States. ISDS has not been a helpful tool for Canadian corporations under NAFTA. Canada's laws and policies have been challenged by NAFTA investor-state rules 48 times, and we have lost eight of the 17 cases that were completed. Canadian taxpayers have paid out hundreds of millions of dollars to foreign companies for the loss of potential profits, not for real expropriation.
For example, Canada banned imports of gasoline carrying MMT, a known neurotoxin, to protect the health of Canadians. The U.S. company that makes MMT, Ethyl Corporation, went to a NAFTA tribunal and received $13 million in compensation from Canadian taxpayers.
Bilcon v. Canada is another egregious case. The Nova Scotia government told Bilcon it was open for business. Bilcon wanted to build a quarry and a shipping terminal and blast rock for 50 years in the vicinity of the calving grounds of the North Atlantic right whale. Bilcon failed the environmental assessment. It then bypassed Canadian courts and received $7 million in compensation from a NAFTA tribunal. It should have received nothing.
The U.S. government has not paid a penny for an arbitration case because it has not lost a single case under NAFTA. It won all of the 21 claims against it. We need to remove investor-state dispute settlements from all trade and investment agreements.
One of the most problematic of those agreements is the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement, or FIPA. This is an ISDS agreement that will be impossible to change.
NAFTA had a six-month notice clause for abrogation or renegotiation. The Canada-China FIPA is locked in for 15 years, and then there is a one-year notice period, after which corporations that invested get a further 15 years of investor-state. It is 31 years in total. The Canada-China FIPA locks in the discriminatory practices that China had in place at the time of signing. The Canada-China FIPA was negotiated in secret, and signed and ratified without a vote in the House. It was ratified by an order in council by the Harper Conservative government while there was an ongoing court challenge by the Hupacasath First Nation. Let us imagine that. It is complete disrespect of our judicial system and of first nations.
The Canada-China FIPA does not have a national security carve-out or exemption, so if Canada blocks Huawei based on national security grounds, then Canadian taxpayers could be on the hook for billions of dollars for the loss of potential profits that Huawei claims, and we may never know that there was an arbitration case or payout, because both parties would have to agree to make that information public. That is another egregious part of the Canada-China FIPA: secrecy.
Canada has FIPA agreements with the A to Z of small-market and developing countries, from Armenia to Zambia. This is where Canadian companies are using ISDS successfully. Canadian companies have won $2 billion in compensation from developing countries, and there is another $10 billion being sought through ISDS, predominantly from extractive companies. For example, the Canadian mining company Gabriel Resources is seeking $4 billion after the Romanian government, under massive public pressure, blocked a project that would have levelled four mountains, destroyed three villages and turned a valley into a toxic, cyanide-laced tailings pond. This is under the Canada-Romania FIPA.
Imagine if that happened in Banff. Imagine a state-owned mining company taking up Alberta on its open-for-business approach and putting in a proposal to level four mountains, relocate Banff and turn Lake Louise into a toxic tailings pond. Then imagine paying that corporation billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded compensation for the loss of potential profit when Albertans reject the project. Imagine that arbitration case and payout being kept secret.
The legal firms that specialize in ISDS shop these arbitration suits around to hedge funds and finance companies that also reap massive profits from these cases. The Wall Street hedge fund Tenor Capital invested $35 million in the Crystallex v. Venezuela case and got a whopping 1,000% return on its investment when the Canadian mining company was awarded $1.2 billion in compensation. The Crystallex case also came under a FIPA agreement. Indigenous people in Venezuela objected to the mine because it was destroying their community and territory. In this era of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, we are going to see more challenges to destructive extractive projects not just here in Canada but around the world.
Canada has signed trade and investment agreements with some countries that have terrible human rights records. The Harper government negotiated and signed the Canada-Honduras Free Trade Agreement after a coup toppled the democratically elected government.
Is that how we reward anti-democratic behaviour? Should trade not lift all boats? Should the improvement of judicial systems, the rule of law and democratization not be part of these agreements? Should trade agreements not improve the health, safety, consumer, labour and environmental standards of all concerned? The Green Party believes so.
Investor-state dispute settlement, by its very nature, is anti-democratic and should be removed from all of our trade and investment agreements. I would like to applaud the Canadian negotiating team for getting rid of ISDS in CUSMA. Our work is cut out for us: one down, many more to go.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2020-03-11 16:04 [p.1947]
Madam Speaker, it is really important to get rid of investor-state, so the sooner we get this ratified the better. People who know me would be surprised that I am supporting a trade agreement that still follows this kind of corporate neo-liberal model, but I think the wins in this agreement are significant, especially with respect to investor-state.
As I outlined, it is an egregious part of the trade and investment agreements that have been signed by Canada and other countries around the world. There are some 3,000 of these investor-state agreements around the world. It is really a system of corporate capture that is fundamentally anti-democratic and blocks governments from doing things that are in the best interests of their citizens. I applaud the negotiating team and the government for getting rid of investor-state in this agreement.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2020-03-11 16:07 [p.1948]
Madam Speaker, investor-state is a huge problem for dealing with climate change. Given the number of investor-state dispute settlement agreements around the planet that are going to impede climate action, we are going to have to deal with this through article 20 of the WTO to try to solidify something that overrides the investor-state dispute settlements that have been signed in multilateral and bilateral agreements.
In terms of the Hupacasath and their challenge, as the previous speaker said, article 19 of UNDRIP should have been taken into consideration and there should have been proper consultation with first nations about this. In the case of the Canada-China FIPA, to have it ratified in the middle of a federal court case is egregious.
I would agree that we have a lot of things to work on. We have a lot of fights ahead of us to deal with the spiderweb of investor-state that surrounds this planet and deal with the climate crisis to make sure we are able to fight it clearly, without corporate influence and blockage.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-03-11 16:21 [p.1950]
Madam Speaker, it is always difficult to look back. I know people tend to forget what happened in the 41st Parliament.
The passage of the Canada-China investment treaty is one on which we really need to focus. People forget that it exists. I have heard so many members speak to the issues we have in CUSMA, now that we have gotten rid of chapter 11, the investor-state dispute settlement provisions, that allowed the U.S. government to sue us in secret.
However, it was under Stephen Harper that we are now obligated, for decades, to secret tribunals, where the People's Republic of China state-owned enterprises have the right to lean on the Canadian government in secret, first for six months, and then bring secret arbitration cases, if we do anything that hurts the expectation of profits of corporations from the People's Republic of China.
Would the member be willing to look into the implications of that, which was passed in secret, in cabinet, without a vote in Parliament?
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-03-11 18:30 [p.1968]
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to stand in the House today as a follow-up to my question on funding for a national framework for mental health. I would like to start today by sharing how mental health has impacted my journey here.
I began my career as an educator. One day, a 14-year-old student got into some trouble in class and was sent down to see me. As we talked, it became clear there was a lot going on. I was aware of some social struggles in the friend group and I knew a bit of family history.
Suddenly and unforgettably, this student for whom I cared deeply, said the words, “I do not want to live anymore.” The student had the means and the motivation to escape this painful experience. The weight of the suffering hung thick in the air. I did what any human would do under the circumstances. I did my best to stumble through the rest of the conversation with empathy, but I recognized very acutely that my colleagues and I were not equipped to navigate the complexities of these conversations with the youth who trusted us the most. I would spend many hours and resources finding the tools to tackle this crisis, and I wish many other Canadians would also have that opportunity.
I am acutely aware of the pain of suicide, as many of us are. We have all lost someone. a cousin, the child of a teammate, a co-worker, a friend, a grandmother. Research shows that approximately 90% of people who die by suicide suffer from mental illness or addiction. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth ages 15 to 24. Rates of suicide are three times higher for members of first nations communities than they are for non-indigenous people. Risk factors are directly linked to socio-economic characteristics, including household income, employment status, level of education and family support.
I have shared a story. I have shared the data. I would now like to look to the solution.
Canadian provinces and territories need financial support from the federal government to ensure they can address the mental health crisis impacting families and communities across the nation.
We need to invest in training for professionals across sectors, educators and everyday Canadians to access resources and learning opportunities to support those suffering from mental illness.
We need to invest in a timely diagnosis process. Service providers and families need access to early diagnosis to ensure early intervention.
We need to invest in a national pharmacare system. Canadians should never have the financial anxiety of needing to choose between buying groceries or life-saving medications.
We need to invest in support for sexual assault survivors. This is a massive missing link in this conversation.
We need to invest in support for elders, like intergenerational housing, to avoid isolation and loneliness.
That is why on February 26, I asked the Minister of Finance if the budget would include funding for a national framework on mental health so the provinces and territories could work together to find solutions to address this crisis. I look forward to hearing the response from the hon. member as to how we might come together to restore hope for Canadians across the country.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-03-11 18:37 [p.1970]
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for that really wonderful response. There are lots of great initiatives taking place in Canada. I feel we have come a very long way.
I do want to highlight that there are still some missing pieces. Mental health has long been recognized as a fundamental aspect of one's health; however, under our current health regime, the majority of mental health services do not meet the eligibility requirement of “medically necessary”.
I feel we need to have another look at this, and that is why I am asking for a national legislation framework. There is a patchwork of provincial and regional initiatives, but I feel we need a more unified approach. I am thinking of a story of a constituent who is searching for their son across provincial lines and is having a lot of difficulty because there is not a lot of collaboration and communication that occurs.
I am asking for a national strategy to be looked at and funded by the government.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2020-03-11 18:39 [p.1970]
Madam Speaker, Retirement Concepts runs 23 long-term care facilities for seniors in Canada. Nineteen are in B.C. and seven are on Vancouver Island. Retirement Concepts provides independent living, assisted living and complex care for seniors.
In 2017, the government approved the sale of Retirement Concepts to the Chinese corporation Anbang Insurance. The following year, Anbang's CEO was convicted of corruption, and the company was taken over by the Chinese state.
The conditions at Retirement Concepts' Nanaimo Seniors Village in my riding were atrocious. The home was understaffed and provided substandard care. Seniors went for weeks without receiving a bath. They were left in soiled clothes and soiled beds. Bedsores and other related health consequences of neglect were common.
After numerous complaints by residents and their families, the Vancouver Island Health Authority took over Nanaimo Seniors Village and two other Retirement Concepts care facilities on Vancouver Island. Last month, another facility, in Summerland, had to be taken over as well.
Under the Investment Canada Act, Anbang had an obligation to maintain staffing levels. The federal government made assurances to the provinces that patient care would be protected. The B.C. Seniors Advocate has stated that she did not understand how the federal government could make such an assurance. The reporting and transparency required to make that promise do not exist. The federal government should not be permitting foreign ownership of businesses that provide taxpayer-funded health care services. When seniors are hospitalized as a result of neglect and substandard care, we all carry the cost. Our seniors deserve better than for-profit care run by foreign corporations that lack accountability.
Recent analysis by the B.C. Office of the Seniors Advocate found that the not-for-profit sector spends 59% of its revenue on direct care. That is 24% more per resident per year than the for-profit sector. The for-profit sector failed to deliver 207,000 hours of funded care. The not-for-profit sector provided 80,000 more hours of direct care than it was paid to deliver. Wages for care workers in the for-profit sector were 28% less than the industry standard. Nanaimo Seniors Village had a hard time attracting workers, with an average wage of $18 per hour, rather than the industry standard of $24 an hour.
There is a waiting list for every government-funded care bed. There is no competition to provide these services, no free market. These beds will be filled, whether or not a facility is properly staffed and delivering appropriate care. That revenue stream is guaranteed.
The abuses that have resulted from this situation are horrifying. We have failed to protect our seniors. We must remove the financial incentive to provide substandard seniors care. Corporations cannot be permitted to squeeze profit out of the health care system through vague accounting, paying below-average wages and neglecting vulnerable seniors. That is unacceptable.
The operation of seniors long-term care facilities is under the jurisdiction of the provinces, but the government must be actively involved in creating a solution to these problems. The government needs to mandate national standards to ensure the safety and dignity of Canadian seniors. Going forward, the government should not permit foreign ownership of businesses that provide taxpayer-funded health care services.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2020-03-11 18:46 [p.1971]
Madam Speaker, now that the Chinese state has created a new corporate entity called Dajia, which owns Retirement Concepts, it is time for the federal government to review the original purchase and rescind the agreement.
The Canadian seniors of today are the workers and business owners of yesterday. They worked hard, paid their taxes and contributed to building what they believed to be retirement security. They are also our parents and grandparents. We owe them dignity and care in their final years. No one in a care facility in Canada should be left in a soiled bed for hours until he or she gets a septic wound. No one in a care facility in Canada should be left without a bath for weeks on end.
We should not have allowed this critical health care service to be sold to the highest foreign bidder. This crisis must be fixed.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2020-03-10 10:07 [p.1843]
Mr. Speaker, I am presenting a petition today from constituents in Nanaimo—Ladysmith who are concerned about the opioid crisis and the number of deaths that have been caused by overdoses of contaminated products.
Petitioners are calling on the government to declare a public health emergency due to overdose deaths in Canada; reframe the overdose crisis in Canada as a health issue rather than a criminal issue; take a comprehensive, multi-faceted approach to the overdose crisis by addressing issues of addiction, poverty, housing, health care, racial discrimination, economic inequality and instability; listen to and act on recommendations made by social workers, front-line workers, nurses, doctors, drug users and individuals directly involved in the drug-using community; and decriminalize drugs in Canada.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2020-03-10 10:34 [p.1847]
Madam Speaker, in general, the Green Party supports this new agreement.
However, I received an email from the National Farmers Union related to a press release it put out saying the amendments to the Canada Grain Act go beyond what is required for CUSMA, so there are a couple of changes in this legislation that are not required by CUSMA that are detrimental to Canadian farmers.
If Standing Order 76 had not been changed at the committee level with a motion, I would be able to put forward an amendment right now to change the legislation, but I am not able to do that. Unfortunately, farmers, grain farmers in particular, are upset about part of this agreement. I am wondering what we can do in order to deal with their concerns.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2020-03-10 13:59 [p.1878]
Mr. Speaker, a year ago today, tragedy struck when an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 373 Max 8 crashed shortly after takeoff.
Eighteen Canadians were among the 157 passengers and crew who died that day. Micah Messent was one of them.
Micah was a recent graduate from Vancouver Island University in my riding of Nanaimo—Ladysmith. He had been selected as a delegate to the UN Environment Assembly in Kenya. He was excited for the opportunity to connect with other young people seeking solutions to their generation's biggest challenges.
Micah Messent was Métis and he supported the Moose Hide Campaign to end violence against women and children. Now his mother sews hearts onto moosehide pins in his memory.
The 737 Max is a structurally flawed aircraft that Boeing tried to fix with software. Micah's family does not want to see these planes ever cleared to fly again.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2020-03-10 15:07 [p.1891]
Mr. Speaker, a recent report revealed that the claim that natural gas will displace coal and reduce greenhouse gas emissions came from an industry insider.
He admits he neglected to include end-to-end life-cycle emissions of fracked gas. In fact, fracked gas has the same greenhouse gas impact as burning coal. Fracking also contaminates air and water, and causes earthquakes.
Jurisdictions around the world have banned fracking. Will the government do the right thing and ban fracking in Canada?
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2020-03-09 15:05 [p.1807]
Mr. Speaker, one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of viruses like COVID-19 is if people stay home and self-isolate when they are sick, but for many low-wage workers and contractors, missing work is simply not an option. The loss of just a few hundred dollars could mean not feeding their families or potential homelessness.
Will the government extend financial support to all workers who must self-isolate for public safety reasons and will that commitment include workers who do not pay into EI or are not EI eligible?
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2020-03-09 15:10 [p.1807]
Mr. Speaker, the first petition I have is about the opioid overdose crisis and the number of deaths. People are very concerned about this.
The petitioners call upon Parliament to declare a public health emergency due to overdose deaths in Canada, to reframe the overdose crisis in Canada as a health issue rather than a criminal issue and to take a comprehensive multifaceted approach to overdose and the overdose crisis. They ask that Parliament address issues of addiction, poverty, housing, health care, racial discrimination, economic inequality and instability, that Parliament listen to and act on recommendations made by social workers, front-line workers, nurses, doctors, drug users and individuals directly involved in the drug-using community, and decriminalize drugs in Canada.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2020-03-09 15:12 [p.1807]
Mr. Speaker, the second petition I have is from residents in my riding who are concerned about an outdoor cannabis growing operation that has been put into their neighbourhood. They are calling on the government to amend the cannabis licensing regulations to require local community input, as well as to require local municipalities to have significant involvement in decision-making for licences, particularly as to the location of properties that are allocated licences for the outdoor production and processing of cannabis.
They are also asking for a one-year moratorium on licences for outdoor cultivated cannabis to allow municipalities sufficient time to develop appropriate bylaws in conjunction with their enhanced involvement in the decision-making process.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2020-03-09 15:39 [p.1811]
Mr. Speaker, we live in a free market, so determining what we might gain from royalties from certain industries is kind of a bet on the system. We are seeing right now in the free market that the price of oil has been collapsing. When Teck Resources was putting forward its proposal, the price for a barrel of oil was $99.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2020-03-09 15:39 [p.1811]
Mr. Speaker, now it is under $50.
The stats I was looking at from the oil industry show it was up to $99.
How many oil sands projects have been approved that are not going forward because investors have backed out, based on the price per barrel of producing in Alberta?
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-02-28 12:07 [p.1749]
Madam Speaker, I rise today to raise the urgent matter of the climate emergency. Under the terms of the Paris Agreement, 2020 is the year in which Canada must improve its climate target. We agreed to do so in 2015. We are now delinquent, in that the COP decision in Paris called for the new targets to be tabled by February 9 of this year. We need to table our new target. It needs to meet the IPCC imperative.
Can the minister update the House on progress to deliver a climate accountability act and a new target?
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-02-28 12:18 [p.1751]
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition today that has been brought forward by a number of concerned Canadians. Unfortunately, with the new formatting, it is not possible to see in what ridings these petitioners reside.
The petitioners call for the Government of Canada to pay attention to the experience in other countries, particularly Portugal, where incarceration of people suffering from drug and addiction problems has been ended. Instead, effective rehabilitation programs are in place to ensure that people suffering from drug dependency are able to again participate in a meaningful way in society.
The petitioners ask for the end of incarceration and a commitment to treatment programs.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-02-27 10:14 [p.1648]
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to present a petition from thousands of Canadians who are concerned that six years since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission we have not fulfilled the 94 calls to action. The petitioners call on the House of Commons to immediately undertake to encourage provinces to reform their jury selection systems and other judicial reforms and enact their own reforms, particularly as it relates to the calls to action numbers 25 to 42, to ensure justice for indigenous peoples.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2020-02-27 10:15 [p.1648]
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to put forward two petitions today.
The first petition is from many of my constituents in Nanaimo—Ladysmith. This is a petition that was signed at the The Body Shop at Woodgrove Mall.
The petitioners call upon the House of Commons to ban the sale and manufacturing of animal-tested cosmetics and their ingredients in Canada. This is to get us up to the European Union standards.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2020-02-27 10:16 [p.1648]
Mr. Speaker, the second petition has been signed by residents up and down Vancouver Island.
The petitioners call upon the House of Commons to establish a permanent ban on crude oil tankers on the west coast of Canada to protect B.C. fisheries, tourism, coastal communities and natural ecosystems forever.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-02-27 10:47 [p.1654]
Mr. Speaker, it would appear to me that the very concept of medical assistance in dying is the concept to which my friend from Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan objects. The courts have ruled that it is a violation of our charter rights as Canadians not to have access to medical assistance in dying. I know it is a very difficult and fraught topic.
I would ask the member this quite directly, not to a hypothetical. Thinking of Audrey Parker of Nova Scotia, who knew she was terminally ill and who choose to end her life earlier because she was denied an advanced directive, would he agree that these sets of amendments to the Criminal Code are fair and within the context of what the courts have directed us to do?
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-02-27 11:10 [p.1658]
Mr. Speaker, this topic has come up quite often in the round of questions to the hon. minister. The legislation before us includes, where appropriate, ensuring that a patient has been informed of other means of alleviating suffering, including mental health services, counselling services and palliative care.
I wish to ask the minister again for some specifics. We clearly are nowhere near making any of these areas adequate. It is fine for the legislation to say that patients may be advised of access to these things, but access is inadequate.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-02-27 15:09 [p.1693]
Mr. Speaker, one in five Canadians suffer from a mental health problem or illness in any given year. Mental illness-related costs in Canada are over $50 billion annually.
Social costs are high. People with serious mental illness are at greater risk of living in poverty.
The Minister of Finance has been tasked with setting national standards for access to mental health services.
Could the minister confirm that the upcoming budget will include funding for a national framework that will allow Canadians to access a variety of mental health professionals, including counsellors, and will empower provinces and territories to work together for action on this important issue?
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2020-02-27 15:23 [p.1696]
Mr. Speaker, listening to the debate today, one of the things we need to do as a Parliament is to make sure we have national standards for palliative care and a national mental health strategy that ties the provinces to the Canada Health Act and makes sure provinces spend money in these areas, so that those are not concerns going forward with this act.
My question is about the final consent waiver, proposed subsection (3.2). It seems that it is tied directly to entering an agreement in writing with a medical practitioner or a nurse practitioner. That medical practitioner or nurse practitioner would administer a substance to cause the patient's death on a specific date. I am just wondering whether it is actually tied to that practitioner or whether it could be transferred to another practitioner, in the case where that medical practitioner with whom the patient made the agreement is unable to go forward with those wishes at that time, when the patient needs medical assistance in dying.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-02-27 17:10 [p.1712]
Mr. Speaker, I am afraid I disagree with the general tone of the approach taken by the hon. member. These changes are much-needed to respond to not only court decisions, but analyses of our charter rights to ensure that Canadians are not taking their own lives or finding the opportunity for medical assistance in dying prematurely, out of fear that they will be unable to give consent under the strictures of our current legislation.
I ask the hon. member, as well as those in the Conservative benches who think this is being rushed, how he suggests we deal with the fact that the courts in Quebec have ruled in Truchon that the law, as it currently exists, will be suspended March 11.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-02-27 17:23 [p.1714]
Madam Speaker, in studying the bill, and I certainly plan supporting it and considering amendments when it gets to committee, one of the things I am wondering about is this. When people make that consent, and it is an advance consent, and there are safeguards, do the personal practitioners who have accepted that consent have to be the ones who administer the procedure later? What if something happens to those individuals and they are not available or they themselves have died.
How would we handle the loss of those who are present at the advance consent at the moment when the medical assistance in dying procedure is determined to be appropriate?
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-02-27 17:42 [p.1716]
Madam Speaker, it is an honour to speak today to Bill C-7 regarding medical assistance in dying. This is the second time, the first being in the last Parliament, that I have had the opportunity to take part in the debate on this absolutely essential legislation on such a difficult subject.
This bill represents a major improvement and reflects some of the amendments that I made but that failed in the House, in the 42nd Parliament. Some of those amendments, in fact, were picked up and approved by the Senate.
I want to stop and reflect on the trajectory of this issue in Canada.
As identified when I rose in my place, I am a member of Parliament for Saanich—Gulf Islands and I believe that Saanich—Gulf Islands may have more constituents concerned with and calling for medical assistance in dying than perhaps any other riding in Canada. There are two active death-with-dignity groups within my community, one on Salt Spring Island and one on the Saanich Peninsula, and I think it is for a very simple reason.
Feelings run high, and honestly, my constituents persuaded me in 2011 and 2012 that I had to stand up for ensuring that there was access to medical assistance in dying and stand up for removing the Criminal Code punishments for people who, motivated by compassion and basic human dignity, assisted someone who was dealing with unbearable suffering in their last days and weeks.
The reason that my community is so very implicated in this issue is that Sue Rodriguez was a resident of North Saanich. She was unable to take her own life due to the effects of ALS, but she was able to find a doctor, who remains anonymous to this day, who assisted her in ending her own life.
It is clear that many people in my riding support the measures in Bill C-7, as they did supported Bill C-14 in the previous Parliament.
This is about helping to alleviate suffering through medical assistance in dying. This difficult and very serious situation is unfair to anyone.
Sue Rodriguez went to court, so it is also a trajectory of court cases. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 1993 against Sue Rodriguez. She was suffering from ALS. ALS runs as a thread through what I want to talk about today. Sue was losing ability and had lost ability to speak, to swallow and to walk. We know the trajectory of ALS. She asked the court to change the law and she was unsuccessful. That was in 1993. By the way, it was a very close decision. It was five to four, a very close decision. She died a year later, on February 12, 1994.
Then we take it to 22 years later. That is how slowly the laws evolve. It takes a while. The Supreme Court of Canada and the laws of Canada evolve to meet the changing circumstances. I think part of the reason is that we also realize now, unlike 20, 30, 40, 50 years ago, that we can prolong lives and sufferings through miracle advancements in medical science, but before we passed this law in the 42nd Parliament, we were denying people death with dignity and the ability to control their own decision-making about the timing of their own death.
Along came the Carter decision, finally, in 2015. Twenty-two years after the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Rodriguez, we had the decision in Carter. I felt very strongly when we debated the bill for medical assistance in dying in this place in the last Parliament, the 42nd Parliament, that our legislative efforts fell far short of what the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in Carter.
I felt quite sure, and said many times in this place, that the legislation we were passing, while an improvement, would not stand up to legal scrutiny and would be ruled unconstitutional by the courts. Now we have the decision that came out last September in the Truchon case, and again a court has given us a deadline to come up with an improvement. It is being called Audrey's amendment. Certainly a lot of people have identified with that situation, and their hearts have been broken by knowing that medical assistance in dying was out of the reach of people who were suffering gravely but feared they would not be able to form the required consent on the day of the procedure.
I think the bill before us is a substantial improvement, and it really reflects on how courts grapple with this issue and how society grapples with it.
I have to say that in the 42nd Parliament, I found the debate remarkably respectful. Across all parties, we recognized that these are serious matters of life and death, not to be trifled with and not to be turned into partisan debate. The reality is that in this legislation we do make amends for some mistakes in the previous bill.
I always find it rather odd that we have to find that a person's natural death is “reasonably foreseeable”. I do not think any of us in this place fancy ourselves immortal. All of our deaths are entirely foreseeable; we just do not know exactly the time and place in which they will occur.
Doctors of those who are suffering from a terminal illness are not even able to say the reasonably foreseeable date. What does it mean to be reasonably foreseeable? We put people in a stricture where even if they knew they had a terminal illness, such as ALS, they could not necessarily get aid from this legislation and they could not necessarily give advance consent to a doctor to indicate that they did not want to go through what they knew lay ahead of them.
One of my best friends emailed earlier today to ask me to stand up and fight this bill, because she is dying with ALS and she did not think the bill would cover her. I spoke to the Minister of Justice to confirm that I was reading the bill correctly and that, yes, they were thinking specifically of people with ALS.
Our friend who used to sit in that chair, Mauril Bélanger, was lost to us so quickly through ALS. My friend, who is losing the ability of speech, is in a chair and has tubes in her stomach that cause enormous pain. She knows that her lungs will give out, so she is emailing me while we are having this debate. I was really relieved to talk to the Minister of Justice and realize that I am reading the bill correctly, that my friend can get the help that is needed to be assessed and be able to say that she wants consent in advance.
However, I do think that there are some areas for amendments that should be made here, and I wish we had more time. I hope the court will give us the additional four months, but we do not know that.
Some of the bogeymen that have been raised here today I think are considered in the bill. We do have the requisite safeguards to keep vulnerable people safe. No one can give permission for medical assistance in dying other than the patients themselves. They still have to meet very tight criteria. They have to have a sworn witness. They have to have a doctor. The bill also provides that on the day of the procedure, if a person indicates that they have changed their mind, they are completely allowed and of course have the right to indicate that they have changed their mind through all sorts of gestures and words, but not through any involuntary gestures. I think the bill is drafted as well as it can be, but we will continue to consider it in the amendments at clause-by-clause consideration.
The bill does continue to ensure that the death is reasonably foreseeable, and there may be some complications there in the language. I note concerns from Dr. Jocelyn Downie at Dalhousie University, who is one of Canada's leading experts in this field, and I want to hear her evidence. I hope that she will be a witness, and I am sure she will be, as well as Dr. Stefanie Green, the president of the Canadian Association of MAID Assessors and Providers. We want to make sure we get the language right.
I will close by thanking the Minister of Justice and the government for following through and hearing the cries of Audrey, from Halifax, that her death be not in vain.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-02-27 17:53 [p.1718]
Madam Speaker, I do not think we are getting ahead of the law. I think the advance consent, the Audrey Parker amendment, within this legislation is exactly within the four corners of the decision in Carter. The question of when one's rights as a human being, under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, are impinged was directly related, in Carter, to having to foreshorten one's own life because one knew one might not be able to consent later.
I would say we may be slightly ahead of a court decision striking the current law down, but we are not getting ahead of the law. We are finally meeting it.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-02-27 17:54 [p.1718]
Madam Speaker, to the hon. member for Cloverdale—Langley City, not only am I not willing to admit it, I think the assertion is absurd. I think the assertion is offensive. Nobody in this place, regardless of party, would place euthanasia as a desired outcome over a full range of choices.
It does not require admitting anything. I asked the Minister of Health earlier in this place whether she would agree that services are not adequate for the provision of counselling, mental health services and, of course, assistance in having access to the facilities that make palliative care so much desired and so much preferred for patients and families across Canada.
I would urge the hon. member to rethink this. One cannot allege that the lack of services in palliative care is due to anyone's desire to push death over adequate care. I think the very notion is outrageous.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-02-27 17:56 [p.1718]
Madam Speaker, I hope my answer will be brief. I thank my colleague from Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie.
These are such complex issues that I would prefer to wait for the review that is scheduled to take place soon, five years after the current act came into force. My own father died of Alzheimer's, and I am not sure what he would have done if he had this option. I want to take the time to think about it.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-02-26 15:18 [p.1613]
Mr. Speaker, I also rise on a point of order. I do not need to remind the Speaker that I know that a prop is not acceptable in Parliament, but there is an exception when the piece of paper one is holding up has to do with the point one is making.
I want to remind members that they may have seen this book, the Standing Orders—
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-02-26 15:19 [p.1613]
Mr. Speaker, my intent, of course, is to open it and read from it. I thought it might be helpful for members to know that we have our Standing Orders and within them a chapter heading of “Order and Decorum”. Since there are educators in the room, I am going to attempt briefly to be an educator and state clearly that two different standing orders were repeatedly violated—
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-02-26 15:20 [p.1613]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate a second chance.
I have raised this point of order repeatedly, and that is why members groaned when I rose. The point is that Standing Order 16 and Standing Order 18 make it clear that interrupting members when they are speaking in this place or speaking disrespectfully of another member violates our rules. I know the Conservative Party believes in observing the rules and I would really urge that we not embarrass ourselves in front of the nation's educators.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-02-26 15:57 [p.1618]
Madam Speaker, the petitioners call on the House of Commons to recognize that violence against women remains a critical problem in Canada and disproportionately impacts indigenous women. They also note that striving for pay equity and equal participation for women in leadership roles must be political priorities for all members of Parliament and that shifting cultural attitudes toward women and gender minorities in our society requires structural changes to education and socialization.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2020-02-26 15:57 [p.1618]
Madam Speaker, this petition calls upon the Minister of Veterans Affairs to remove any statutory limits on back pay eligibility for the disability allowance and to work with individual veterans to achieve just and due compensation for disability allowance in a timely manner.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2020-02-26 18:47 [p.1643]
Mr. Speaker, on February 6, the day that the RCMP began raids on the Wet'suwet'en people asserting sovereignty over their lands, I asked why the government had abandoned its duty and allowed the constitutional and legal rights of the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs to be violated.
Since early January, the hereditary chiefs have been asking for meetings with the federal and provincial governments to help them deal with the issues they were facing with the Coastal GasLink project.
I travelled to Wet'suwet'en territory on January 19 and met with a hereditary chief. I travelled through the territory and learned about the Wet'suwet'en law. I met with the RCMP detachment commander in Smithers and at the community-industry safety office, 25 kilometres off the highway, out in the bush. The RCMP told me that as long as there was dialogue, it would not act on the Coastal GasLink injunction.
The Wet'suwet'en had proposed alternate routes for the pipeline six years ago. Instead of compromising and using an existing pipeline route, Coastal GasLink pushed its project through a pristine and culturally sensitive area.
Coastal GasLink is running its pipeline down the historic Kweese trail, which is thousands of years old. This area contains archeological sites and burial grounds. The area is used for cultural training of the Wet'suwet'en youth. It is an area used for hunting, gathering, trapping and other cultural practices. The Unis’tot’en camp was established in the area 10 years ago to assert sovereignty, and now includes a well-established healing centre.
I have a map on my desk of the alternative routes, a description of these routes provided by Pacific Trails Pipeline, another pipeline company working in the area. I have the documents outlining Coastal GasLink's refusals to consider these alternative routes because of the cost. I have a petition to the Supreme Court of B.C. by the Office of the Wet'suwet'en, outlining a long list of non-compliance by Coastal GasLink of the terms and conditions set out by the environmental assessment office in B.C., including the damage done to archeological sites without a proper assessment of those sites.
A week before the raids, I gave the Prime Minister a letter in person and asked him to take time to meet with the hereditary chiefs. The Prime Minister's response was that this was a provincial issue, not a federal issue. I told him that it was a federal issue. The federal government is responsible for the Indian Act, the reserve system and the nation-to-nation relationship with first nations.
Let us review the constitutional and legal rights of the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs.
The Royal Proclamation of 1763 states that indigenous title to indigenous lands must first be reconciled before settlement can take place and only the Crown can reconcile indigenous title.
Section 35(1) of the Constitution Act of 1982 recognizes and affirms aboriginal and treaty rights.
The Supreme Court in Delgamuukw affirmed that the Royal Proclamation of 1763 applied and confirmed that aboriginal title was not extinguished by the Wet'suwet'en. It was the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs who were the plaintiffs in the Delgamuukw case. They were recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada.
The Supreme Court's Tsilhqot’in decision confirmed that land rights were collective and intergenerational, and it was the collective that spoke for the ancestral territory. The hereditary system represents that collective.
The government has had 23 years to work with the Wet'suwet'en First Nation to implement the directives outlined by the Supreme Court in the Delgamuukw decision. The lack of free, prior and informed consent and the RCMP raids are violations of the government's commitment to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The federal government has failed in its responsibility to the Wet'suwet'en people by not negotiating with the hereditary chiefs before the RCMP raids.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2020-02-26 18:54 [p.1644]
Mr. Speaker, the results of not negotiating with the Wet'suwet'en chiefs led to the RCMP enforcing the injunction and it has led to a reaction across Canada. Nobody should be surprised. Indigenous people across Canada have said that they would stand together when a first nation is attacked. The results are hundreds of protests, blockades and occupations across this country.
Now the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs are demanding that the RCMP completely withdraw from their traditional territory, including the removal of all the expensive infrastructure related to the community-industry safety detachment at kilometre 29 on the Morice West Forest Service Road, and that Coastal GasLink cease all operations in the territory.
The Liberal government must stop failing in its duty to the Wet'suwet'en people. It is time to apologize, meet these demands and meet with the hereditary chiefs.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2020-02-25 10:26 [p.1474]
Mr. Speaker, this petition calls upon the government to immediately commit to upholding the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada by halting all existing and planned construction of the Coastal GasLink project on Wet'suwet'en territory, ordering the RCMP to dismantle its exclusion zone and stand down, scheduling nation-to-nation talks between the Wet'suwet'en nation and the federal and provincial governments and prioritizing the real implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-02-25 12:42 [p.1494]
Madam Speaker, it is the first time a member of Parliament from the Green Party has taken the floor today on this opposition motion, so I am happy to inform the New Democratic Party that we welcome the motion and plan to vote in favour. I hope others will as well to get this motion passed in a minority Parliament. It would be about time.
I will share my own experience. As a single mother, I did not have much income, being the executive director of Sierra Club Canada through my daughter's whole childhood. The peak of my pay was $50,000 a year. I chose to ensure my daughter had dental care. As a result, I needed to have a whole bunch of teeth pulled. I had to spend a fortune, $4,000, to get ready for the 2011 leader's debate.
In 2008, I had these flipper things that were the cheap fix for the holes in my mouth, and I could not speak to save my soul. I could not say vérificatrice générale. There were certain words I just could not say with a cheap flipper thing in my mouth. I had to spend the money, because I needed to be okay in the leader's debate.
The reality is that a lot of people out there are making choices and ending up being in this situation. The member for St. John's East mentioned some people and said that very few of them were actually in a position to hope to become prime minister, while dealing with a mouth that had not seen a dentist for a proper amount of time or with the proper amount of money.
It is about time we deal with this. I certainly know what it is like and I know a lot of Canadians who are in a very difficult position because of a lack of dental care.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2020-02-25 12:56 [p.1495]
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for his speech and the NDP for putting this motion forward.
This is clearly a good idea. There are a lot of low-income people in my own riding who face problems not just with dental care, but with meeting the basic cost of living. A tax cut for people with lower incomes is a good idea.
My understanding from what I have heard is that the tax cut would not apply to people who earn more than $90,000. It is not completely clear in the motion. I would just like some clarity on that, but I support the idea of ensuring that the funds go toward helping the lowest-income people in our communities.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-02-25 14:00 [p.1504]
Madam Speaker, in light of the recent tensions in this House, I wish to call attention to a bright patch in the Canadian record, something we can all be proud of. Today, I want to honour and congratulate the Translation Bureau.
The Translation Bureau's staff support the Government of Canada in its efforts to serve Canadians by communicating in both official languages, but their efforts go far above and beyond that mandate. I was touched to learn how incredibly inclusive, respectful and committed their work is.
A fine example of their efforts is the new gender and sexual diversity glossary, a free glossary that lists the English and French equivalents of 193 concepts on gender and sexual diversity.
The Bureau also offers translation for international languages, sign language and five indigenous languages and counting, including recent work to include Wolastoqey latuwewakon, a language with only a few hundred speakers in my home riding.
[Member spoke in Wolastoqey and provided the following text:]
Wolasuweltomuwakon, Nuhkomossok naka nmuhsumsok, Woliwon ciw latuwewakon, Kisi monuwehkiyeq ‘ciw nilun, nilun oc tokec nuleyutomonen, ciw weckuwapasihtit. Nit leyic.
[Member provided the following translation:]
Maliseet language honour code, grandmothers and grandfathers, thank you for our language that you have saved for us. It is now our turn to save it for the ones who are not born yet, may that be the truth.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2020-02-25 15:05 [p.1517]
Mr. Speaker, the waters around the southern Gulf Islands are being used as a free anchorage for freighters waiting to enter the port of Vancouver. The environmental damage, pollution, bright lights and noise from these freighters are impacting Island communities and wildlife. Some of these vessels are waiting to load U.S. thermal coal for export, because Pacific U.S. states refuse to export thermal coal from their ports.
Will the government mandate improvements and efficiencies at the port of Vancouver and ban the export of U.S. thermal coal through Canadian ports?
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2020-02-25 16:14 [p.1527]
Mr. Speaker, dental care is extremely important to people on low incomes. We know that with proper dental care, a filling that costs $80 could save thousands and thousands of dollars in other health issues, like heart disease. A filling that is not done properly can cause blood poisoning and that person may end up needing much greater interventions by the health care system.
We support this motion. Has the member done the research and looked at how much money will be saved in the health care system by providing basic dental care to people on low incomes? How much money are we going to save by doing this and helping people?
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-02-25 17:57 [p.1543]
Madam Speaker, I think this is the first time that I have had occasion to direct a question to the hon. member for London—Fanshawe. Knowing both her mother and her father, I would welcome her to the House and say that if I were your mom, I would be busting my buttons.
Sorry: not your mother, Madam Speaker, but the hon. member's mother.
I certainly intend to vote for this motion, as does the Green Party. However, I find some imprecision in the way the motion is worded, and I just would love clarity around it. It says “on such things as dental care”. What are the other things? What would be the actual amount of money that could be set aside by this change in the tax regime?
I would ask the hon. member to enlighten us. Can we really do more than dental care? Why is it “such things as” dental care, just to understand the motion more fully?
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-02-25 21:29 [p.1576]
Madam Speaker, before my hon. friend for Lethbridge begins her address, and I would not want to interrupt her, but the degree of heckling has become very difficult. We are in a late sitting in an emergency debate, and the voices carry even more somehow.
The heckling and the interruptions violate our rules, and so as a point of order, I wish to remind members that during the debates, standing orders 18, 14 and particularly rule 16 point out how members should conduct themselves. We are not allowed, during debate, to interrupt other members, particularly in a debate as important as this. To have heckling against the member for Courtenay—Alberni, for instance, and to keep heckling, “How did you get here?”, is insulting and unhelpful in an important debate.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-02-25 21:32 [p.1576]
Madam Speaker, I would like to be helpful to my friend from Lethbridge. I would guess that the words “ignorant” and “selfish” certainly were not parliamentary.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-02-25 22:01 [p.1580]
Madam Speaker, I have a question for my esteemed colleague, the hon. member for Louis—Saint-Laurent. It has to do with the question asked by the hon. member for Kitchener South—Hespeler.
Obviously the issue of price and the viability of this project is a real concern. It is a great mystery to me.
In The Globe and Mail, on January 29, CEO Don Lindsay confirmed that “Teck has yet to launch a full feasibility study on the Frontier mine that would help establish whether the project could be profitable.” Mr. Lindsay said, “We need a partner. We need a price.”
I would love to ask Mr. Lindsay, who was without a feasibility study on January 29, how he could tell us less than a month later that this is commercially viable. The price of oil has not changed.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-02-25 22:30 [p.1585]
Madam Speaker, the word “transition” is one of those things that papers over urgency. This is an urgent matter. Parliament passed a motion that we are in a climate emergency when Scott Brison was the hon. member for Kings—Hants. The hon. member's predecessor voted for that motion that we are in a climate emergency.
I agree that there will be fossil fuels used for some time to come, but new investments in fossil fuels are clearly not compatible with reaching our Paris objectives. I wonder if the member would comment on that.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-02-25 23:02 [p.1589]
Mr. Speaker, I thank the whip's office from the Liberal Party for allowing me a speaking slot in tonight's emergency debate. I always appreciate a chance to speak. This is a very important debate and even at this late hour, I do want to discuss the emergency.
It is true. This is both a national and worldwide emergency.
Of course, I do not speak of this non-emergency that is the focus of tonight's debate. The private sector company has seen the writing on the wall and has decided to pull a project that it would probably never have built even if it had pushed through to try to get a permit. The writing was on the wall.
I speak of the real emergency. This House on June 17 of last year passed a motion which said the following:
Canada is in a national climate emergency which requires, as a response, that Canada commit to meeting its national emissions target under the Paris Agreement and to making deeper reductions in line with the Agreement's objective of holding global warming below two degrees Celsius and pursuing efforts to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Now, this is an emergency. It is one that threatens not just our economy, but it certainly does threaten our economy. It does not just threaten Saanich—Gulf Islands or Alberta, and it does not just threaten Canada. It threatens the world.
Members in this place should please take the time to read the special report on what 1.5°C looks like versus 2°C. This is a special report prepared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change at the request of all governments that negotiated the Paris Agreement in 2015, a request that was highly specific that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change provide this specific information in time for the 2018 negotiations.
That emergency report should have sent shockwaves through every caucus in this place and right around the world, and certainly it did in many countries around the world, because it told us very clearly that holding to 1.5°C is not a political target. It is the only way we can ensure that our children will have a livable world. This is not future hypothetical children and future generations, but the children we know, our children, and for them to have a liveable world requires of us that we hold to no more warming than 1.5°C.
It is a hard concept, average global temperature, in a country like Canada that goes from -30°C in the winter to +30°C in the summer, and so 1.5°C does not sound so very significant, but do not dismiss it. Understand that on this planet between today and 10,000 years ago when where we stand was under thousands of kilometres of ice, the difference in global average temperature was 5°C.
What the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change told us in October 2018 was that holding to 1.5°C was not an ambitious target that we might do if we could get around to it. It told us very clearly that if we want our own children to have a livable planet in a hospitable biosphere, we must hold to 1.5°C. It further told us that it would be possible to do so, but it would require a global slashing of emissions by 45% all around the world by 2030.
Now that the Liberals have given us this notion that we are going to get to net zero by 2050, it is clear that the current target which was left behind by a former minister of the environment, Leona Aglukkaq, in the administration of Stephen Harper, is the target we are talking about. The Liberals still have no plan to get to that target, and that target is approximately half of what we must do as a country.
Yes, we are in an emergency, because if we miss slashing by 50% the global emissions, and actually the IPCC advice is 45% against 2005 levels globally of carbon dioxide, then there are no do-overs. There are no second chances. We condemn future generations to an unlivable world in which human civilization may not make it to the end of the century.
It is very clear that globally people were paying attention to this Teck Frontier decision, because Canada has a role to play in the world, and it should be one of leadership, but we remain laggards. Earlier tonight in debate, some hon. members were mentioning what the United States is doing. At this point, the United States, yes even under the Trump administration, is doing better at reducing greenhouse gases than Canada is. That is due to the actions of sub-national governments, states like California, New York and Texas. It is due to the actions of cities. Canada's record in this regard remains shameful, but we have a chance to redeem ourselves.
I have never before seen anything like the letter from over 40 Nobel laureates sent to our Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister to beg them not to approve the Teck Frontier mine. Most of them are Nobel laureates in chemistry, although there is one who won it in economics, a few in medicine and some in literature, including Alice Munro.
In that letter, they said:
Projects that enable fossil-fuel growth are an affront to our state of climate emergency, and the mere fact that they warrant debate in Canada should be seen as a disgrace. They are wholly incompatible with your government’s recent commitment to net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050....
The response to the climate crisis will define and destroy legacies in the coming years, and the qualifications for being on the right side of history are clear: an immediate end to fossil-fuel financing and expansion along with an ambitious and just transition away from oil and gas production towards zero carbon well before mid-century.
As recipients of the Nobel Prize, we call on you and your cabinet to act with the moral clarity required by the state of this crisis and reject the proposed Teck Frontier mine proposal.
I invite members to ponder that. There are 40 Nobel laureates specifically begging the Canadian government to act as if we understand we are in a climate emergency.
It has been said by Bill McKibben, who is one of the planet's leading climate activists and a brilliant author, that the first rule of holes is this: stop digging. Canada is in a very deep hole. We are far from our climate target, and that target itself needs to be doubled. What we cannot do here is add new greenhouse gas production. This project would have been enormous. If this project had gone ahead, it would have been twice the size of the city of Vancouver, at over 24,000 hectares. It would have, as the environmental assessment report found, done irreparable damage to the environment. It would have removed the forest, removed the muskeg, damaged wildlife and been damaging in many ways.
There has never been, by the way, any environmental assessment process in this country that has ever said no to a project. Clearing these very rigorous environmental reviews that we keep hearing about in this place cannot be that hard, because no one has ever been turned down. No pipeline has ever been turned down by any environmental assessment process in this country. No oil sands mine has ever been turned down by any environmental assessment process in this country, no matter which government drafted the law.
In this case, it is a project where even after all the environmental damage was catalogued, the panel found that the economic benefits of the project outweighed all the downsides. However, as we have heard in this House, the economics were kind of wobbly, because what Teck Frontier put forward as the precondition to this project being viable was that oil was selling at $95 a barrel. That is what they put in the report. That is what they relied upon. As we also commented in this place, there were not a lot of investors lining up.
I think the Prime Minister of this country may have remarkable talents, and the reach of his powers may prove to be supernatural, but I have not seen it yet, so I really do not think the Prime Minister can be held responsible, as the Conservatives in this House would like us to hold him responsible, for the price of a barrel of oil globally. That is beyond the reach of his powers.
The reality is that investors are moving away from fossil fuels all around the world. Just listing the companies and investors that have vacated the oil sands is edifying. These companies have left because they are concerned about something identified by the former governor of the Bank of Canada, Mark Carney. He refers to them as “stranded assets”. Investors are left with “unburnable carbon”.
If the fossil fuel business has something of a future ahead of it, it resembles a game we played as children, musical chairs. People start falling on the ground because the chairs are gone. Nobody wants to be left trying find the chair that is in the oil sands, one of the first places investors vacate because it is unburnable carbon and its stranded assets are very expensive.
Sweden's central bank left the oil sands and their investments in the oil sands, specifically stating that this province is the “highest in terms of carbon dioxide emissions”. Royal Dutch Shell has left the oil sands, stating specifically that it did not want stranded assets. ConocoPhillips, Marathon, Total and even the coke industries have vacated the oil sands and the investments there.
Earlier, some of the speakers in this place referred to people concerned about climate change as fringe groups and eco-radicals, people without a really good grip on the finance sector. Perhaps members could imagine which eco-radical said the following on January 14: “We cannot rule out catastrophic outcomes where human life as we know it is threatened.”
That is a suggestion that we are on the path to human extinction. That quote did not come from Greenpeace or the Green Party. It came in a leaked document prepared by economists working for J.P. Morgan.
J.P. Morgan will be held forever on the wrong side of history for being responsible for having spent $75 billion investing in fossil fuels in recent years, but now recognizes that we cannot rule out catastrophic outcomes. In fact, it now announces that it will not invest anymore in new coal or drilling in the Arctic, but that is not really good enough.
Goldman Sachs is the first big U.S. bank to rule out future financing of some forms of fossil fuels. It are not alone. BlackRock is one of the biggest investment companies in the world. Its CEO has said that climate is “almost invariably the top issue that clients around the world raise.” Climate is the number one issue its clients raise. It is moving toward divestment.
My favourite quote on this subject comes from Wall Street watcher Jim Cramer, who has a TV show that I have seen from time to time. It is called Mad Money and it is an investment program on CNBC. He says, “Big pension funds are saying listen, we're not going to own them anymore” and “I'm done with fossil fuels. They're done.”
Obviously Jim Cramer has been heavily influenced by the Prime Minister's brainwaves across the border to the United States. No, this whole notion that the Prime Minister is in any way at fault for Teck Frontier cancelling is absurd. The problem is that the Prime Minister cannot take any credit either, because the Government of Canada is still on the laggard side. We are still on the wrong side of history.
We could do what is required. In the Liberal platform, we have a very promising commitment to a climate accountability act. Where is it? When will we see it? This Parliament will not sit that long. It is a minority Parliament. Let us work on the things we can work on together. The majority of MPs in this House want a climate accountability act with five-year increments, not these targets that no one ever has to meet.
On that note, 2020 is the year that Stephen Harper's climate promise falls due. It is this year. It was negotiated by the late and quite wonderful Hon. Jim Prentice. It was approved by a cabinet that includes Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. Also, 2020 is the year the Copenhagen target falls due, so by this year we should be emitting no more than roughly 600 megatonnes of greenhouse gases. The last figure we have is that we are at 716 or 717 megatonnes of greenhouse gases.
Let us imagine we could magically get to Stephen Harper's target. Politicians in this country choose targets knowing that the due date will exceed the best before date and somebody else will note that we have missed the target once again. That is why we need a climate accountability act that measures this in five-year increments, with an independent auditing function, so we know whether we are meeting our targets.
The surest thing we can say is that Teck, as a company, had a lot of issues. It has had troubles with its mine in Chile. It had a lot of financial issues swirling around this. The business pages of this country were full of those stories, not of the Nobel laureates who warned us that to approve Teck Frontier would be an act close to criminality, when one considers the cost to our children, future generations and the peoples of the world if we continue as a country to boost our greenhouse gases rather than slash them. The business pages were full of speculation about the CEO of Teck, Don Lindsay, whose name has been raised in the House tonight more often than probably any CEO in Canadian history. He was clear: Teck had not done a feasibility study and was not sure it could go ahead. However, even a month ago he was saying we should give Teck the permit and he would see if it could raise the capital, if the price changed.
This project was never going to go ahead, but the Liberals have lost their chance for moral courage. They lost the chance to say they would never have approved this. This was, in the words of some Liberal MPs, an easy no. For God's sake, the Liberals need to stand for something while they have time in this place. They need to stand for future generations and put in place a climate target well before we get to Glasgow in November so that Canada can once again be in the lead. Canada as a climate leader is still possible to imagine.
I listened to the embarrassing response from the Liberals that it really was not their fault that Teck Frontier did not go ahead. They should stand up and say that they would never have approved it. Then we can believe the Prime Minister might have a notion of being a climate leader.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-02-25 23:22 [p.1592]
Mr. Speaker, it is essential, and it is noted in the preamble of the Paris Agreement, that we embrace social justice, climate justice and a just transition. I want to credit the Canadian labour unions that were in the Paris Agreement negotiations, because they played quite a prominent role in making sure that the protection of jobs for workers in the fossil fuel sector remained critical.
Another promise from the Liberal platform is a just transition act. We need to ensure that no workers in the fossil fuel sector feel insecure about their ability to pay their mortgage and take care of their kids. This is not about hurting fossil fuel workers. Those of us who want climate action want to ensure their transition is not abrupt, like what happened in Newfoundland when the cod fishery moratorium took place and 30,000 people lost their jobs overnight. We must plan for this and not allow people to go through personal misery.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-02-25 23:24 [p.1592]
Mr. Speaker, I absolutely agree with my friend from Calgary Centre. The billionaire owners and the billionaire lobby on behalf of fossil fuels is why over the last 28 years we have not made progress but have gone backwards. The fossil fuel lobby, big oil, is responsible for criminal actions such as lying about the science and keeping governments from taking action when it is required.
Right now, we know that these investors are moving away from fossil fuels because it does not make economic sense for them. However, governments have to do much more. We have to use our collective will to ensure that we are protecting our societies and planning this transition away from fossil fuels in an orderly fashion.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-02-25 23:25 [p.1592]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Jonquière for his question.
I completely agree with him. It is clear that there is a climate emergency. It is urgent that we transition to renewable energy and to a sustainable, clean-growth economy.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-02-25 23:27 [p.1593]
Mr. Speaker, there are a handful of people in the House who I know have actually read and understood the IPCC 1.5°C report and I know that, as a scientist, he is one of them. If anybody else wants to learn more, I recommend my friend.
The stranded assets issue of unburnable carbon is huge. The world of climate finance is gaining ground, with people like Mark Carney, who has now been named by the UN Secretary-General as a special envoy on climate finance around the world.
Another source, again not someone one associates with eco-action, is Jeff Rubin, former chief economist with CIBC World Markets. He has said the same thing as Jeremy Rifkin from the U.S. Jeff Rubin said that when the stranded assets start emerging, when we have to see slashing of fossil fuel dependency, one of the first sectors and one of the first regions of fossil fuel production to close down and be left with bankruptcies is going to be the oil sands.
Therefore, we need to protect fossil fuel workers from our investing in a non-future for them. We have to invest in a real future for them, for their jobs, for their kids, and again, for a hospitable climate to support us all through to the end of this century. It is still a gamble whether we can pull it off, but if we pretend to be grief-stricken by a sensible decision to stop Teck Frontier, we have a long way to go to get to real climate action.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-02-25 23:31 [p.1593]
Mr. Speaker, first, what can we do in this place?
I have proposed in previous Parliaments to change our sitting hours. I have proposed what I call the Fort Mac work schedule. We would come here for three weeks at a time and work for five and a half days. This would cut down on the requirements of our job to travel back and forth to our riding. Three weeks here; three weeks in the constituency. That would dramatically reduce the cost of flights that are paid for by the people of Canada. Taxpayers cover our flights to work.
On a personal basis, I have not taken a vacation that involved flying in the last 14 years. Where it is discretionary, I do whatever I can to avoid flying. The reality is that our society is hardwired to fossil fuels.
Climate shaming and guilting people is not productive. We need to move with positive solutions that allow us to transition off our dependency on fossil fuels.
The second question related to Canada's meagre role in the world. I do not really understand. For someone who aspired to be Prime Minister, I know the Leader of the Opposition thought it was a selling point to argue that Canada was too meaningless to matter. I will never take that position.
Canada led on fighting to protect the ozone layer. We were a very small contributor to damaging the ozone layer, but we led the way to protect it. That is what Canada needs to do.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-02-24 15:24 [p.1439]
Mr. Speaker, the petitioners are raising Canada's commitments in the Paris Agreement within the United Nations framework on climate change. They point out that the text of the agreement specifically references the appointment of just transitions, the principle that ensures that, in phasing out our dependency on fossil fuels, workers in those sectors receive assurance and protection of meaningful employment.
The petitioners call for the House of Commons, along with oil and gas workers, to create a plan for a just transition and include within it the recommendations that have been put forward by the Task Force: Just Transition for Canadian Coal Power Workers and Communities. They cite that report as a cutting-edge document of key principles for just transition.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2020-02-24 15:25 [p.1439]
Mr. Speaker, it is pleasure to rise today to present two petitions.
One was gathered by the Body Shop in Woodgrove mall in Nanaimo, with residents up and down the island. It calls on the Government of Canada to bring our standards up to the EU standards in relation to cosmetics and ban the sale and/or manufacture of animal-tested cosmetics and their ingredients in Canada.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2020-02-24 15:26 [p.1439]
Mr. Speaker, the second is in regard to the Trans Mountain pipeline.
The people who signed this petition were opposed to the purchase of the pipeline and now do not want to see this project expanded. We have seen the cost of this pipeline rise from $5.6 billion to $12 billion, and they do not think it is a good use of taxpayers' money and will end up being a stranded asset.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-02-24 16:13 [p.1446]
Madam Speaker, I feel like we are missing the mark a bit. We are missing the idea about sovereignty and self-determination. What we are really discussing is advancing the rights of indigenous peoples in the country.
I heard many times in the member's statement the words “our indigenous communities”. We do not own these communities. They are sovereign in their own right. I ask the member whether he thinks it is a bit pandering itself, a bit token, and a bit patronizing to use that kind of terminology?
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-02-24 17:44 [p.1458]
Madam Speaker, it is an honour to rise in this House to speak and to represent the people of Fredericton.
Today we debate Bill C-6, a bill to amend the citizenship oath. I wish to provide context for my words today with some of my background. Before being elected in this House, I was a teacher and an advocate for indigenous youth in our public schools. I worked to remove barriers in the New Brunswick education system for indigenous children. I worked to educate the broader population on the true history of Canada and the implications for ignoring it. I remember learning about residential schools on my own time and not as part of my formal education. It took two years to comb through testimonials, letters, documents and photo evidence. It was a roller coaster of emotions as I confronted my identity as a non-indigenous person, and my role and responsibility in repairing the damage that had been done. Understanding that responsibility led to my passion for teaching and it led me into this House where I stand today.
The 94 calls to action that came out of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada were designed to be a road map to reconciliation, covering a variety of aspects of life, including business, education, health, youth, women, justice and more. Canadians might be asking where this road has gotten us, and how many calls to action have been completed. In the Prime Minister's words, he made a commitment, in partnership with indigenous communities, the provinces, territories and other vital partners, to fully implement the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, starting with the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. That was in 2015.
CBC's Ian Mosby has been tracking the TRC's progress. He commented, “One thing that the calls to action that have been completed have in common, is that they are very simple to complete, or they are calls for things that were already happening to continue.”
Dr. Cindy Blackstock said, “In 2020, it is time to stop feeding the government’s insatiable appetite to be thanked for its inadequate measures and to demand a complete end to the inequality”.
Particularly poignant are the observations of the Yellowhead Institute on assessing progress. It writes:
We have also operated from the assumption that completing any particular Call to Action cannot be solely determined by gestures of process, budgetary promises, or otherwise “recognition of concerns” on the part of Crown-Indigenous Relations (CIR). Rather, we have judged their status based on whether or not specific actions have been taken that are capable of producing the kinds of clear, meaningful, structural changes necessary to improve the lives of Indigenous peoples throughout Canada.
Let us review the scorecard. Out of the 52 broader reconciliation recommendations, seven have been completed; under justice, one out of 18; language and culture, one out of five; health, zero; education, zero; child welfare, zero. Five were completed in the first year, and just four since 2016. At the current rate, it will take approximately 38 more years before all of the calls to action are implemented. We will see reconciliation in the year 2057, just in time for zero emissions.
In the 2019 mandate letters, the Prime Minister reiterated, “No relationship is more important to Canada than the relationship with Indigenous People”. I think it is time to call in the marriage counsellor. Take, for example, Canada's ongoing legal challenges to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal's September 2019 ruling that “the Federal government was wilfully and recklessly discriminating against First Nation children in ways that contributed to child deaths and a multitude of unnecessary family separations.” For a government so concerned with appearances, this does not look good.
With no reminder needed, let us look to the current and ongoing Wet'suwet'en crisis in Canada, testing the Prime Minister and his government's commitment to this mandate of reconciliation, as well as the public interest. This could have been a slam dunk, setting the tone for positive, peaceful relationships for years to come. However, due to what I believe to be a catastrophic mishandling of the situation, we are seeing effects like the explicit, overt racism breeding in online comment sections and spilling into the streets and schoolyards.
This is the true barrier to the calls to action, to reconciliation and to the hope of a better tomorrow for indigenous peoples in Canada. We have heard a lot of rhetoric over the last couple of weeks. We had the opposition leader attempt to educate us on privilege. Mind you, he is a white, affluent man who was standing in front of the grand doors of the House of Commons. He should know privilege well, yet somehow he missed the mark.
We have heard a lot of platitudes, punch lines and patriarchy. We have heard promises made and, three days later, promises broken as well as a gross overstating of the role of dialogue.
The exhaustive TRC, the previous Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, the missing and murdered indigenous women and girls inquiry were the hard work of dialogue and set a course of action for Canada to take. Dialogue is a conversation among parties, but Canada does not seem to be listening.
In closing, I will change my tone. I will of course support this effort to fulfill one of the 94 recommendations, but I wish to note the timing of this effort as well as question the actual impact in today's Canadian political climate.
Things have changed. We have failed in the bridge building, in the healing that is required of this work, which is embedded in each of the 94 recommendations. Today we address one call to action, the 94th, with 84 incomplete before it. We will potentially move this request to committee stage and in time perhaps we will see our newcomers repeat an oath that acknowledges something the majority of settler Canadians have not.
Having said all this, this change will have a positive impact on the immigration experience in Canada, despite falling flat as a call to action for indigenous peoples so long after it was originally recorded.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-02-24 17:52 [p.1460]
Madam Speaker, yes, we are supportive of the bill before us. Again, it puts forward one of the 94 recommendations. If we are looking at prioritizing or placing importance on these recommendations, it is rather symbolic, if we are going to talk about symbolism, and it is the 94th call to action. It would seem that the hard-working individuals who were involved in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission would have rather seen some of the others addressed long before we got to this one.
Again, while it is one step that is necessary to take, 93 others steps should probably have been taken before this one.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-02-24 17:53 [p.1460]
Madam Speaker, the simple answer is yes. With our limited time here, we have to address things with a certain level of urgency and prioritize them in a very important way. However, this is the bill before us, and I support it.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-02-24 17:54 [p.1460]
Madam Speaker, I am very frustrated. I sat very patiently and listened to the midnight debate without a speaking slot, so I took this time to really address those concerns.
My children are indigenous. What I see from all this, as I mentioned, is some of the racism that is really pours out of the comment sections and in society. I am very concerned. Therefore, I would like to see a strong focus placed on anti-racism.
With that, comes all the rest of the recommendations as well. They are very much imbedded in that spirit. We need to understand how to better relate to one another, but we have to tear down the walls we have seen. The power of racism in our society is there and I worry for my children, my students and Canada. We need to address this right away.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2020-02-21 12:02 [p.1388]
Mr. Speaker, post-secondary students in Canada graduate burdened with debt from high tuition fees and the high cost of living. The interest rate they pay on their student loans is almost double the rate paid on the average home mortgage. By comparison, in northern European countries, university is tuition-free and students receive financial support. These economies have seen the benefits. Students in Canada need debt relief now.
Will the government, at the very least eliminate, the interest on federal student loans and give our students a break?
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-02-20 10:09 [p.1288]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition to defend wild Pacific salmon. It is a key issue for my constituents in Saanich—Gulf Islands. Indeed, they are clamouring for the House of Commons to act using the precautionary principle.
They have waited quite a long time for action based on the report that was originally commissioned by previous prime minister Stephen Harper: the commission of inquiry into the collapse of Fraser River sockeye in 2009.
There were 75 recommendations that stemmed from Mr. Justice Bruce Cohen's inquiry. They remain to be implemented. The petitioners ask for the recommendations of the Cohen commission to protect wild salmon to be implemented urgently.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-02-20 11:09 [p.1296]
Madam Speaker, I recognize that the hon. minister has had extensive dealings with the Wet'suwet'en peoples and with the nation-to-nation relationship that applies to band councils and hereditary chiefs. I wonder if she could comment on claims made in the opposition motion, which I find to be factually incorrect, making claims about a majority of this and a majority of that. Personally, I do not think anyone in this place can make those claims. I wonder if the hon. minister knows differently.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2020-02-20 12:07 [p.1305]
Madam Speaker, the hon. member made an excellent speech and it covered a lot of really good points.
The Conservative motion states that every elected band council on the Coastal GasLink route supports this. Only five of the six Wet'suwet'en first nations actually signed on to the benefits agreement. The media give the idea that the majority of the hereditary chiefs are behind this, but that is not the case. They say that the vast majority of Wet'suwet'en people support this project, as well. I am looking at media links. I am looking at information. There are a lot of unknowns in this situation.
What does the hon. member think of this motion as it stands? Where are the facts? Where did the Conservatives get these numbers? Even in the media reporting, nobody is completely sure how many people in Wet'suwet'en territory support this project or oppose it.
There is a lot of information about the elected chiefs being torn about this and that they signed on to this agreement because of the cash, even though they do not really support it.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-02-20 12:42 [p.1310]
Madam Speaker, my hon. colleague from West Nova has offended deeply a sense of democracy and allyship that exists across the country. I respect the member enormously, but I have to make it clear that young people, people my age, seniors who stand in solidarity with indigenous peoples are no different, having no big connection. All the Canadians who stood up against apartheid, what was their connection? Whites walked with Martin Luther King. Did they have no connection? Did they have no right to be moved? Did they have no right to speak up against injustice when the groups that faced injustice were almost entirely, and usually vulnerable, and the minority?
Those who stand in allyship should not be condemned, as they have been by the motion today by the Conservatives. I ask my friend from West Nova to think again.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-02-20 13:17 [p.1314]
Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The language that was just used was unparliamentary and incendiary. I just double-checked the meaning of “insurrection”. It means “a violent uprising.” Everything taking place is non-violent. It may be illegal, depending on perspective, but I ask the hon. member to withdraw that word.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2020-02-20 14:01 [p.1320]
Mr. Speaker, the 2019 pacific salmon season was a disaster.
Pacific salmon are facing an unprecedented crisis. British Columbia is in real danger of losing its most iconic fish. Countless runs are endangered, including the Nanaimo River runs. I have heard from first nations leaders, commercial fishermen, sports fishermen and advocacy groups on this issue.
The government needs to take urgent action and restore an adequate budget for salmon stock assessments, commit more resources to the DFO's salmon enhancement program, increase the salmon conservation stamp fee on fishing licences, legislate the move to closed-containment salmon farms immediately and provide emergency relief packages for commercial fishers and first nations.
There is still time to save the Pacific salmon, but we must act now before it is too late.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-02-20 15:11 [p.1333]
Mr. Speaker, that is a hard act to follow.
Underpinning all the propaganda from Coastal GasLink and other LNG boosters is the claim that shipping our LNG overseas will be good for the climate crisis and will reduce greenhouse gases overall. Unfortunately, that claim is not true.
I would ask the minister if he is aware of recent studies that show a dangerous spike in greenhouse gas methane emissions as a result of fracking and that fracked gas has the same carbon footprint as coal.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-02-20 15:16 [p.1334]
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. If you seek it, I hope you will find unanimous consent of the House to adopt the following motion: That given the unanimous declaration of the House on February 22, 2007, to condemn all forms of human trafficking and slavery, this House: (a) encourage Canadians to raise awareness of the magnitude of modern-day slavery in Canada and abroad and to take steps to combat human trafficking; and (b) to recognize February 22 as national human trafficking awareness day.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-02-19 15:41 [p.1259]
Madam Speaker, it is an honour to rise today with a petition. It is an e-petition, which strangely now omits the addresses of the people. I would love to know where the petitioners were from, but I am proud to present their petition.
It calls on the government to name the overdose crisis what it is in this country, a public health emergency, and to take the kinds of steps that are required based on evidence. The petitioners are concerned that we take a comprehensive, multi-faceted approach; recognize that the opioid crisis is primarily a health issue, not a criminal issue; and that we should listen to experts and front-line workers and decriminalize drugs in Canada.
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