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Results: 1 - 15 of 1482
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to be here continuing the debate on Bill C-3, a bill that the Conservatives are cautiously optimistic about, as it would provide some degree of oversight to CBSA.
One of the pressing issues with the CBSA, and one on which I think there will be a need for a great deal of oversight, is the challenge that has grown up under the Liberal government of people crossing the border illegally. It has put a strain our system, especially as many refugees in other parts of the world have to wait a very long time.
Given that this is one of the issues raised in terms of the CBSA and oversight, I wonder if the member could give the House an update on what is actually happening in terms of that challenge.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Madam Speaker, I want to thank the member for Mississauga—Streetsville for sharing his profound passion on this topic with the House and for the work he put into preparing those detailed remarks he gave to the House on Bill C-3 today.
Further to what the member said, does he think that this oversight body might take up the issue of increased illegal border crossing, if questions come to the oversight body related to that? I did not really hear an answer from the previous member. What is the government doing about this challenge of the growing flows across our border from the United States?
View Jacques Gourde Profile
View Jacques Gourde Profile
2020-02-07 10:23 [p.1076]
Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Calgary Shepard.
I am pleased to participate in today's debate on Bill C-3, an act to amend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act and the Canada Border Services Agency Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts.
The Conservative Party of Canada will always protect the integrity of our borders and ensure that the Canada Border Services Agency has the people and equipment it needs.
A public complaints commission will improve general oversight and help the Canada Border Services Agency do its job even more effectively.
I have a few questions for this government. First of all, why did it wait so long to fulfill a 2015 election promise and amend the act? This Liberal government definitely has a habit of putting commitments off until later. If it was so important in 2015, it should be urgent now that it is 2020.
This bill is a copy of Bill C-98, which died on the Order Paper at the end of the 42nd Parliament. During its study of Bill C-98, the committee heard from just seven witnesses, including the minister and five officials who reported to him. I hope that this time, the parliamentary committee will have the freedom it needs to study this bill as thoroughly as it deserves and to hear testimony from more witnesses. We are going to make sure that all stakeholders are heard during this parliamentary committee study and that we get all time we need to do our job properly.
I want to take this opportunity to commend my friend and colleague, the member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, for his tireless dedication to the issue of public safety in Canada. I admire the way he gets things done and his attendance record in the House. Our whole caucus is very proud of him, and I tip my hat to him.
Our border services are also very important for protecting our economy and the safety of the foods we import. I would like some assurance from the Liberal government that our free trade agreements with our partners and other countries are fair and equitable.
Also, does the government complete all the necessary checks at the border to ensure that we are importing foods that meet environmental and safety standards equivalent to those enforced in Canada?
With regard to aluminum, will the government allow Chinese aluminum produced with coal-fired Chinese electricity to enter the country, rather than using aluminum produced here in Quebec with hydroelectricity? This is certainly not something we would expect from a government that claims to care about the environment. It is clear the government is not walking the talk.
I want to come back to the Liberal government's consultation process. Did the government ask the opinion of front-line RCMP and CBSA officers? If so, what were their concerns and how were they taken into account?
I also think there is a need to reassure Canadians about the independence of the commission. If the past is any indication, this government has a tendency to interfere with the work of independent commissions.
Recently, we saw the Prime Minister interfere in one of the Auditor General's files, and we have not yet gotten to the bottom of that situation. We, on this side of the House, still have questions about the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner's report in that regard. We hope to have the co-operation of all members of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics to launch a transparent study on that.
That said, I have no doubt that the debate on Bill C-3 is necessary and has merit.
However, I do think that it is more urgent to tackle the increasing number of illegal firearms in Canada, the gang shootings, the overdoses, mental health issues, legal backlogs, incidents of repeat offenders attacking Canadians, and human trafficking in this country. Why is this bill the government's top priority coming into this 43rd Parliament when there are all kinds of other pressing issues that should be handled first?
The Liberal government seems to want to address issues on which there is some form of agreement to avoid important societal debates. There is so much work to do to keep our country prosperous and safe. The government has been moving at a snail's pace since it came to power. It is playing the part of the grasshopper and doing whatever it wants, instead of taking care of the urgent issues.
Here is one important issue that should be a priority in the agenda of this spineless government, as I have already mentioned in the House in a members' statement. Canada is a country rich in natural resources, such as crude oil and natural gas in the west and Newfoundland and Labrador; hydroelectricity in Quebec, Manitoba and British Columbia; nuclear energy in Ontario and New Brunswick; and last, but not least, the shale oil and gas, coal, solar energy, wind energy and biomass energy used in various provinces and territories. Our country is so fortunate to have all of these resources. So many countries would love to have Canada's resources to help lift them out of poverty.
This prompts us to ask other important questions. How are all these energy resources transported within Canada, to serve all the provinces and territories, and how are they exported out of Canada, to the U.S. and other countries? Do we have adequate infrastructure? Are these methods of transportation safe and reliable enough to ensure an uninterrupted supply or, as was the case in the recent propane crisis in Quebec, are we relying on a single transporter? What about the environmental and economic impacts? Do we have energy security? Many questions deserve answers. That is why I would like to see the creation of a national commission on energy security. In my view, Canada's energy sector stakeholders should work together as part of a large-scale national consultation sponsored by the federal government. We must have the courage to get our heads out of the sand and talk about the energy sector. Unfortunately, this is a wedge issue in Canada right now, when it should be something that brings us all together from coast to coast to coast.
I strongly urge parliamentarians from all parties to initiate this discussion, which is crucial to the future of our country. This dialogue with every stakeholder in the energy sector will make it possible to develop a serious strategy for the future of Canada's energy sector by creating a national commission on energy security.
Our Canadian approach to energy will guide the economic destiny of future generations and how we position ourselves on the world stage. Let us take up our responsibilities as parliamentarians and legislators in the House, and ask the government to show leadership for the well-being of Canadians and for our economic prosperity.
View Jacques Gourde Profile
View Jacques Gourde Profile
2020-02-07 10:33 [p.1077]
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for that important question. I talked about that a bit in my speech. The number of food inspections at the border should be increased to ensure that what is entering Canada is indeed what is being declared. If it is goats' milk that is being declared, then the border officer must ensure that it is indeed goat's milk. If it is cows' milk, then that is another story, because of supply management. It is really important that there be regular inspections at the border to ensure that the stakeholders who do business with Canada are truly honest about the cargo they are bringing here.
View Luc Berthold Profile
View Luc Berthold Profile
2020-02-07 10:34 [p.1077]
Madam Speaker, I listened carefully to my colleague's speech. He talked about a subject that is especially important to him.
I had the opportunity to do a lot of work with him on the propane crisis in Quebec last fall. We realized at the last minute that many sectors of Quebec's economy were at risk and that many sectors in Ontario were also affected by the crisis.
He raised a very interesting point about the energy commission and I would like him to talk more about that. I believe that the House should give this option more serious consideration.
View Jacques Gourde Profile
View Jacques Gourde Profile
2020-02-07 10:35 [p.1077]
Madam Speaker, I am very pleased that my colleague asked this question and I thank him.
I believe that Canada is now at the point where we should take the time to talk about all types of energy and about energy synergy to determine how we will manage our energy supply in future. We must look into the ways that we can use all forms of Canadian energy for the well-being of Canadians for the next two or three generations. We have the opportunity to create infrastructure that will be used for the next 100 years. We must make wise choices.
In the future, there will still be a lot of oil, but there will also be a lot of electricity. I do not understand why it is so difficult for Quebec to sell electricity to Ontario. At present, it seems easier for Quebec to sell electricity to the United States, despite the fact that Ontario and Quebec are part of the same country and are not separated by a border. I understand that we must respect provincial jurisdictions. We should launch broad consultations because it is possible to create a richer Canada, especially in the long term, with a national commission on energy security.
View Luc Berthold Profile
View Luc Berthold Profile
2020-02-07 10:36 [p.1078]
Madam Speaker, I am very impressed by my colleague's comment about energy synergy. What a fascinating line of thinking. Instead of bickering over the issue of energy in Canada, we should be leveraging the strengths of each region and the capacities of our natural resources, such as hydroelectricity in Quebec, oil in the west and nuclear power in certain regions. That is a very intriguing debate. We should stop squabbling and focus on energy synergies. I think the member has illuminated a clear path to national unity.
Could he give us some details about energy synergy?
View Jacques Gourde Profile
View Jacques Gourde Profile
2020-02-07 10:37 [p.1078]
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
This is a pivotal moment. Right now, in 2020, all parliamentarians need to set the course for this country's next 20, 40, 50 and 100 years. It is our duty to do so. Since we are fortunate enough to be in the House, we need to seize this opportunity to steer the Canadian economy in the right direction and ensure a prosperous future for our children, our grandchildren and, if we are lucky, our great-grandchildren.
Canada is lucky to have tremendous energy resources. We are the envy of the whole world. We need to take our job to heart and work together to put Canada on the path to globally unrivalled prosperity.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2020-02-07 10:38 [p.1078]
Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague from Lévis—Lotbinière for sharing his time with me so I could add my comments on the bill.
I want to also thank my constituents for sending me here for a second term and for the trust they placed in me in the past election.
Bill C-3 was in the last Parliament. I was a member of Parliament at that time and I remember the debates on the subject. Much of the content of the legislation being proposed before us is similar. The fact that this happens to be one of the government's earliest bills, when we have so many urgent, more critical issues to deal with, just calls into question the judgment of the government in pushing this forward at this time.
I support the contents of the bill. I support making a complaints body. I support greater oversight over the civil service and in other situations as well. I spent the better part of the last Parliament on two different committees, foreign affairs and finance, calling exactly for that greater oversight. Our role as parliamentarians is to ensure the oversight of the Government of Canada's spending, but also the oversight over the civil service and what it does.
I know, Madam Speaker, that you sat on a committee in the previous Parliament, the OGGO as we call it, operations and government estimates.
Again, there are so many other things with which we could be dealing.
I often have heard members say, for example ,this is a good, or, for example, this legislation has this concept or, for example, these are the types of problems this legislation will solve.
This will bring me to my Yiddish proverb, one that says, “for example” is not the same as proof, proof of why we should be pursuing this legislation at this time with this expediency. There are so many other issues.
I will use, for example, there are other issues we should have brought forward and dealt with immediately. These issues are of number one concern to people in Alberta, people in my constituency and people all across Canada.
I will mention, for example, the first time homebuyers incentive program. Just last week, the Government of Canada, to a question I asked on the Order Paper, gave us an answer on the $1.25 billion of spending on a program that had helped fewer than 3,000 people. I called it an election gimmick many months ago when the program came out.
I chased down the Department of Finance officials. I chased down Evan Siddall, the CEO of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the minister and many others at different committees to get answers before the House. Now we see from the results that the program has failed. It would be much more interesting for the House to do a deep dive into this program more closely.
The Government of Canada has said that 2,700 approvals happened, but as my colleague from Calgary Rocky Ridge mentioned to me, industry standards say that only about 50% of the people actually went through with it.
We have put aside $1.25 billion, and probably have helped 1,300 people achieve their dream of home ownership, which is an abysmal failure for a government program, a program pushed forward by the Minister of Finance and the minister for families and social development. The program was highly defended by Department of Finance officials and CMHC officials who did not like my chasing down answers on behalf of constituents. People in my riding are very worried about that.
That is a bill we could be reviewing right now, a piece of legislation to review the program and maybe eliminate it. It would save some money, time and look into why we failed as an oversight body to stop this election gimmick. That is my first example.
Originally the Government of Canada said that 100,000 people would be helped by the program. After 99 days, in the data provided in the House, we know that only about 32,000 people would be helped over a four-year time span. When I originally asked the question at committee about where the government got the number of 100,000 people, the Department of Finance officials told me that CMHC gave them the numbers and CMHC officials told me that the Department of Finance gave them the numbers. I am sure, Madam Speaker, that has been your experience in the past on different parliamentary committees, where department officials disagree about who gave whom what numbers. That would be a worthy enterprise for the House, to look into why this program so massively failed.
I know that in this next budget, potentially we could be expanding the reach of the program to $789,000 homes. I am very worried that the expansion of this program would not meet any of its goals.
We could, for example, have looked at the approval of Teck Frontier and the legislation governing it. The Teck Frontier project is a $20.6 billion investment in northern Alberta: 10,000 jobs, 7,500 construction and 2,500 operating jobs annually for four years. It is wholly within the territory of Alberta. It is wholly within the jurisdiction of Alberta. We control our natural resources.
As an Albertan, I do not want a handout. The people of my constituency do not want a handout. We do not want a just transition directed from Ottawa to the people of Alberta. We simply want to be given the respect and dignity to continue creating wealth. We are fine if a portion of the equalization and transfer payments are redistributed to our friends in rest of Canada.
However, Teck Frontier would be an important issue to be debated before the House. It must be approved.
As I asked yesterday in the House, I am wondering if the Government of Canada is afraid to say “yes” to prime minister Jason Kenney—Premier Jason Kenney. I was thinking in French. It would be an interesting one to look at that.
Albertans will say that if this project is not approved, they will know they are not respected within the Confederation. That is a drastic change to how the Confederation is supposed to work. I want the Confederation of 1867, the way the Fathers of Confederation intended it to be, truly autonomous provinces, able to develop their resources, able to do the best things for the people of their province. Provincial governments are elected to do that.
I know the people of Quebec understand this and have fought for this for decades now, just like all provincial residents should do. They should be looking to the provincial governments. It would be worthy, for example, of the House to look at, to ensure the Government of Canada is making the right decisions on behalf of Canadians and on behalf of Albertans.
We could be looking at the Trans Mountain pipeline, its construction and the series of missteps, dithering and failures of the Government of Canada that led to point where a business, Kinder Morgan, opted out. Northern gateway was cancelled, energy east was cancelled, TMX was expropriated.
As my colleague, the member for Carleton likes to say, “All our exes are in Texas.” All those companies moved their money to Texas, and are now building thousands of kilometres of pipeline in Texas for product that will compete at the Oklahoma hub with Alberta product. That situation is an absolutely travesty. For example, that would be something we could have considered instead of doing Bill C-3 immediately.
Bill C-3 could have been cobbled with other matters before the House.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2020-02-07 10:46 [p.1079]
Madam Speaker, as I was just saying, going back to Bill C-3 and the oversight propositions in the bill, and back to the Yiddish proverb, “for example” is not proof that this legislation needs to be before us at this very moment. It could have been cobbled and combined with other matters that the Government of Canada considered needed to be done to the Canada Border Services Agency.
Again, we have seen a predilection of the government to institute and include all types of things in omnibus budget bills that do not belong there. I should remind the House that in the last Parliament, the Speaker decided to exclude certain portions of previous omnibus budget bills.
When I talk to my constituents, when I ask them what is critical to their day to day, what are the most important issues to them and what touches their daily life, none of them have told me it is Bill C-3. None of them have told me it is the oversight of the CBSA. It is their jobs, their livelihoods and the prosperity of Alberta families.
View Kelly McCauley Profile
View Kelly McCauley Profile
2020-02-07 10:48 [p.1079]
Madam Speaker, my colleague ended his speech with a comment about no one in his constituency having asked about Bill C-3.
One of the problems we have with the bill is that no one in the government has asked the workers in CBSA about Bill C-3. Maybe what they should have asked is a follow-up on the employee survey, where 63%, almost two out of every three workers in CBSA, said senior management was not to be trusted. They could not bring issues of ethics or concerns forward to senior management without fear of reprisal.
We have seen the Liberal government go after any whistle-blower, whether it is the former justice minister or whether it is a lady complaining about the Prime Minister's blackface. They fired her, and threatened to send anyone similar to re-education camps.
Would my colleague care to comment on the fact that 63% of CBSA staff do not trust the government, do not trust their managers for any issue without fear of reprisal? Maybe that should be looked at before Liberals jam Bill C-3 through.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2020-02-07 10:49 [p.1080]
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Edmonton West for bringing to the attention of the House the fact that so many rank and file members of CBSA do not feel comfortable going to their managers.
This is something I have consistently seen, going into my second Parliament. Often, departmental plans are ignored by the ministers responsible. They are an absolute wealth of information when it comes to the priorities that should be found in bills like this: technical pieces of legislation that are looking after oversight bodies.
Often, there are departmental plans where we find a failure of government administration and oversight to both provide services to Canadians and also provide a work environment for employees that is the expected standard.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Madam Speaker, my colleague said prime minister Jason Kenney. This leadership race just keeps changing every day, and I hope the member for Calgary Shepard will consider his own future in that context after such an excellent speech in defence of things that are all so important to us.
I want to ask the member to share what he is hearing from people in Alberta. I know, for my constituents, Teck frontier and building pipelines are things that are top of mind. The government discussion we are seeing in the media today is talking about a rescue package. Liberals are talking about giving money to people outside of the context of being able to develop our natural resources.
What I hear from Albertans is that they do not want to become an equalization-receiving province. They want to be a building, contributing province, but the government has to get out of the way in order to allow them to develop our natural resources.
Our desire for every part of the country is that every region, every group of people within this country is able to seize the opportunities that are provided by natural resources instead of being forced into dependency on the federal government by anti-development policies. I would like to hear my colleague's comments on that.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2020-02-07 10:51 [p.1080]
Madam Speaker, I will begin by saying I am officially not running for the leadership of my party. I am open to caucus chair.
I could repeat that in French if necessary, but I will not.
The member brings up the crux of the issue. When I was door-knocking in the past election the most important matter for my constituents, consistently on every street, was equalization. It did not matter if they were seniors, young people, people who were employed or unemployed. They were bringing up the issue of equalization as an issue of fairness.
Alberta has not collected equalization in any way since 1965. We have been a net contributor of over $600 billion, and Albertans are tired of the situation where we are told we are not allowed to create the wealth that then is expected to be shared. We do not have a problem with sharing, but do not stand in the way of our ability to create the wealth in the first place.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2020-02-07 10:53 [p.1080]
Madam Speaker, I would be happy to see this bill sent to committee once all members are satisfied that they have represented their constituents in the House on the matter.
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