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Results: 1 - 15 of 632
View Michael Kram Profile
View Michael Kram Profile
2021-04-16 11:47 [p.5747]
Madam Speaker, the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline transports Saskatchewan and Alberta oil to eastern Canada. It supplies half of Ontario and Quebec's gasoline, diesel, home heating fuel and jet fuel. However, next month, the governor of Michigan is going to shut down that pipeline, jeopardizing tens of thousands of jobs across Canada.
Why has the Prime Minister not yet engaged directly with President Biden on enforcing the transit pipeline treaty between our two countries?
View Jeremy Patzer Profile
Madam Speaker, Canada is behind with vaccines; that is a fact. It is now an embarrassing story reported on CNN.
The lower supply of vaccines is getting rationed with off-label usage. Instead of three weeks, doses can be delayed by four months. We are the only country with a four-month interval. The Liberals make excuses and say they are following facts and science, but Canada's chief science adviser has called the dosing delay a “population-level experiment”.
Does the Prime Minister agree with his advisers in saying that his failures are the reason for this unusual dosing regimen?
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
2021-04-16 12:25 [p.5754]
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to present two petitions today.
First, I want to thank Sukhwinder Singh, the national director for United Sikhs Canada, for bringing this one to my attention. It is an e-petition and I am very pleased to sponsor it in the House.
The petitioners call on the House of Commons in Parliament assembled to pass a Criminal Code prohibition of sex-selective abortion. They indicate that sex-selective abortion is legal in Canada because we have no laws, that it is antithetical to our commitment to equality between men and women, that 84% of Canadians believe it should be illegal to have an abortion if the family does not want the child to be a certain sex and that Canada's health care professionals recognize that sex selection is a problem in Canada.
I am please to present this today on behalf of 10,197 Canadians.
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
2021-04-16 12:27 [p.5754]
Madam Speaker, I also want to present a petition brought to my attention in regard to Bill C-6. I will not read through all of the concerns, but I will highlight specifically two of today.
The petitioners say that Bill C-6 expressly allows counselling, medical and surgical efforts to change a child's gender, but prohibits support for a child seeking to detransition to his or her cisgender. The bill could restrict the choices of LGBTQ2 Canadians concerning sexuality and gender by prohibiting access to any professional or spiritual support freely chosen to limit sexual behaviour or detransition. Their is also a concern about the definition of conversion therapy. We all agree that conversion therapy is wrong, but the bill fails to outline it properly so people are not caught in the crossfire, specifically in this case of those who choose to transgender and then detransition. There is also the concern around a child seeking to detransition.
View Gary Vidal Profile
Mr. Speaker, the minister referred to the pre-study at INAN and all the work that has supposedly been done on this legislation already.
I do not want to let the facts get in the way of talking points, but at the pre-study at the INAN committee, we had numerous requests from individual leaders of first nations, groups of people representing first nations, and indigenous business groups that had not had the opportunity to have their say and give their input on this important piece of legislation, because the minister's party limited the amount of debate we could even have at the pre-study at INAN. I understand it has also been forced to have a pre-study in the Senate.
My Bloc colleague pointed out, very clearly, that at this point we have had one hour of debate on this bill. As a new member of Parliament, I am not privy to all of the history and all of the stuff that has happened in prior Parliaments. I have the opportunity and the responsibility as a member of Parliament to speak to this legislation, and to speak on behalf of the many stakeholders who have reached out to my office and who have concerns about this legislation.
For the government to now invoke closure after one hour of debate, before we even get into the second hour of debate, is unconscionable in my opinion. Could the minister explain why he does not want to hear the voices of indigenous leaders who are asking to speak on this piece of legislation?
View Gary Vidal Profile
Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time today with the member for Calgary Centre.
I am honoured today to speak to Bill C-15, as the relationship with indigenous people in this country is a lived experience for me growing up and living in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan. I must admit there is some trepidation on my part as we embark on this journey. The impacts of this bill would be both long-term and far-reaching, requiring more than the seeking of short-term political gains and talking points. The historical relationship between the federal government and indigenous people in this country is filled with distrust that has put in jeopardy the true potential our great country has to offer all of us.
A couple of months ago, in the announcement that the government would not fulfill its promise to end boil water advisories in first nations communities, it was pointed out that the scope of the problem was not fully understood at the time the election promise was made by the Prime Minister in 2015. This is another reminder to all of us that making promises one cannot keep is not an ideal way to develop trust in a relationship that badly needs more of it.
In a Globe and Mail article published recently, it was pointed out that Public Services and Procurement Canada for the past three years “has said a key indicator of the government's economic and social-policy goals was an increase in the participation of [indigenous-led business] in procurement.” Unfortunately, it was revealed in the departmental plans in the last three years that the targets have remained as TBD, to be determined. That is three years that we have seen no change in the ministry's plans to set targets or measure results.
Even worse, to this day, there is not even a mechanism in place to track which bids are coming from indigenous businesses. If the government's goal really was to increase procurement for indigenous businesses, one would think that, at the very least, creating an instrument in its data management system could have been developed in three years. At best, this is an astounding lack of competence.
Further evidence of lowering the bar was in the minister's 2021 mandate letter, where there was not even a mention of the 5% indigenous procurement promise that had been made to indigenous businesses in the past. Instead of doing the hard work and fixing the department's failures, they just removed the targets. It is not exactly an example that one would find in a leadership manual.
These examples illustrate a troubling trend with the government's actions when it comes to delivering results for indigenous people and their communities. It starts with making election promises and getting photographs at press conferences, and it continues by using phrases in ministerial letters, on websites and in announcements like “strongly encourages” and “the most important relationship to this government”. It then ends with walking back the original promise, changing the targets or, in the case of the procurement example, eliminating them altogether. The government tends to act only when it has its back to the wall, after spending too much time walking backwards while making little progress on its promises. We see this again today in the fact that it has to invoke closure on a bill that has seen one hour of debate in this House.
This brings me to Bill C-15. After Bill C-262, the government had ample opportunity and time to develop a national action plan that could have created the certainty and clarity that stakeholders have been consistently asking for. Putting together an action plan before tabling the bill would have allowed for many of the concerns of people across the spectrum to be addressed. The worry that government is putting the cart before the horse is justified, as history has proven that to be the case all too often. Why would we not ensure, on such an important piece of legislation, that we remove as many rocks off the road as possible before we proceed? That approach would alleviate a lot of the judicial quagmire that is sure to follow the passing of Bill C-15 without this transparent road map.
With no certainty, the very real worry is that there will be many court battles over the next few decades because of political short-sightedness. As we have seen this past year with the Nova Scotia lobster fishery issue, that is a path not worth taking. In this relationship, we cannot afford more failures. We have to be honest: Governments have a terrible track record on delivering expectations for indigenous people.
Let me use some numbers that the Indigenous Resource Network shared recently, to show who has not fallen short in delivering for indigenous people and communities in this country.
The private sector has led the way in spending on indigenous businesses. Suncor has spent over $6 billion on indigenous procurement since 1999, including $800 million, or 8% of its total spending, in 2019 alone. Sunova has spent $2.9 billion since 2009, including $139 million in 2019. Imperial has invested $2.6 billion in indigenous businesses since 2009.
Diamond mines in the Northwest Territories spent $5.9 billion on indigenous spending between 1996 and 2017. Agnico Eagle in Nunavut spent $408 million on Inuit businesses in 2019 alone. Teck Resources spent $225 million on indigenous procurement in 2019. Coastal GasLink has spent $720 million on indigenous and local contracts. TMX, when it is completed, will have generated over $1 billion on indigenous-based contracts. Finally, from its own published data, Cameco, a uranium company, has procured $3.85 billion since 2004 from local suppliers in my riding in northern Saskatchewan.
These numbers represent more than just dollars. They represent real outcomes and direct impacts on the daily lives of indigenous people. They allow for investments into communities that have far too long been left out of the opportunities the rest of Canada has enjoyed.
It is often implied that any discussion around economic opportunity and job creation for indigenous people is somehow insensitive to the social issues they face. I believe the opposite is actually true. Advocating for jobs, own-source revenue streams, equity ownership and financial independence is in fact the pathway to self-determination and the solution to many of the social challenges.
The culture of poverty has for too long defined the culture of the people. A culture with such rich history deserves so much better. The private sector has done the heavy lifting in the building of trust with indigenous people and their communities, and it has been doing it for years. It should be recognized and applauded for the advancement of reconciliation and the role it has played in it. Part of that recognition should be reflected in its voice being heard in the areas of this bill it is simply seeking clarity on.
Since Bill C-15 was tabled, I have had the opportunity and pleasure to meet virtually with many indigenous stakeholders. The common theme in our discussions always came back to the lack of certainty in Bill C-15's plan to implement UNDRIP. That is why it is so important that this bill clarify the following issues.
Number one, in the three years the government has given itself to develop an action plan on the implementation of the declaration, what is the approach going to be to collaborating and consulting with indigenous communities, the indigenous business community and the numerous regional and national organizations across Canada so all their views will be considered?
Number two, how will the application of the declaration be applied when there is conflicting support and opposition from the indigenous communities on projects that are both large and vertical in scope? Does the federal government retain the final authority in the decision-making process?
Number three, will not allowing time and space for indigenous communities to find an answer to the question of who has the authority to provide or withhold consent undermine the process? With the current lack of consensus, what does this mean in the years ahead?
Bringing clarity on these issues is the right thing to do. There is a responsibility in the consideration of Bill C-15 that requires us to not only listen to the concerns around the lack of certainty, but to respond by advocating for indigenous people, communities and leaders who are asking for answers to the important questions they are bringing forward.
We have a long way to go in building the lost trust in the relationship with indigenous people in this country. Divisions within Parliament have often led to legislation that is based more on politics than on real solutions. That is why it is obvious that seeking clarity and certainty on Bill C-15 is not only a fair and valid request, but it is the very essence of what the aspirations of UNDRIP require us to do.
View Gary Vidal Profile
Madam Speaker, let us just be clear in the question the member is asking. This legislation is already at committee; it has been at committee for weeks already, as we were required to do a prestudy of this legislation at the INAN committee. Maybe we should actually let some facts do the talking.
As I said in my comments, I have had the opportunity to speak to many indigenous stakeholders, and what I have heard and what I understand is that many of them have not had the opportunity to have their input into this legislation. They have asked to come to committee; they have sent letters asking to be at committee, but the member's government limited the amount of time and the number of meetings where we could listen to the evidence at committee, so for him to talk about the Conservatives obstructing the process is literally quite a folly. It is actually the Liberals who have obstructed the process for us to hear from the voices at committee.
View Gary Vidal Profile
Madam Speaker, in all fairness, I could not agree more with the member. As I said in my comments, not allowing time and space for the indigenous communities to find an answer to the question of who has the authority to provide or withhold consent undermines the process.
What I have heard from the stakeholders, many of them indigenous organizations representing opportunity for indigenous people whose mandate is to end poverty in first nations, is their concern about the uncertainty and the lack of clarity on this particular piece of legislation and how it may hinder their opportunity to fulfill their mandate of serving their people in first nations across this country.
View Gary Vidal Profile
Madam Speaker, I would simply point out to the member opposite that the slogan of my campaign and in my riding has been “Building Authentic Relationships” with the people I serve, in a riding that is 70% indigenous people. I believe that authenticity, being real, having good conversation and listening to the concerns of the people is the answer to repairing the relationship. We have to get out there. We have to be part of their lives. We have to listen to their concerns. We have to consider them valid. It is about building relationships that are real and authentic.
View Andrew Scheer Profile
Mr. Speaker, remember when the Prime Minister gave Loblaws $12 million for fridges? How about the $50 million he gave to Mastercard? Oops, he did it again. On Tuesday, the government cut a cheque for $655 million to a company owned by Fortis Inc. for the Lake Erie corridor project. This is a company worth billions.
The Liberals are now giving tax dollars to a for-profit company to sell electricity to the United States. Could the minister tell us why?
View Andrew Scheer Profile
Mr. Speaker, if the project is so good, why can this multi-billion dollar company not pay for it itself? It can. In fact, it was already going to. Fortis Inc. was already committed to the Lake Erie Connector project.
The Infrastructure Bank was supposed to leverage private sector money to get new public infrastructure built. Instead, it is using tax dollars to build projects for billionaire private companies, which were already going to build the projects in the first place.
Simple question: Who will own the Lake Erie Connector project once it is completed?
View Andrew Scheer Profile
Mr. Speaker, the member can try to change the channel from his own corporate welfare scandal, but the fact remains that the Lake Erie Connector is a project owned by a subsidiary of Fortis Inc., which according to its own website, had revenues of $8.9 billion in 2020. Fortis is a massive energy company that makes huge profits. Last year, it paid out over $800 million in dividends to its shareholders. Why did the government not just tell Fortis that if it needed $600 million, it could pay for it itself?
Every day we hear from small business owners who are losing their entire life's work. Why does the government think that it is the billionaires who need a bailout?
View Gary Vidal Profile
Mr. Speaker, once again the Liberals followed up an election promise to indigenous people without results. The minister of PSPC failed to set targets or even put in place a mechanism to measure the actual results for indigenous procurement. In the minister’s 2021 mandate letter, there was no mention of the 5% indigenous procurement promise to indigenous businesses that was made in previous years.
Can the minister explain to the indigenous business community why, rather than fix the failures, the Liberals have decided to just lower the bar for her department?
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
2021-04-15 16:18 [p.5694]
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Peace River—Westlock.
I am really pleased to be working and building relationships with the people of the Cote, Keeseekoose, The Key, Fishing Lake and Yellow Quill First Nations and the Métis Nation Saskatchewan in the riding of Yorkton—Melville on Treaty No. 4 and Treaty No. 5 lands.
I am also very pleased to speak today on Bill C-15, an act respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
It goes without saying that the consideration of this legislation today is a significant moment for Canada, not only because members on all sides of the House, and therefore all Canadians, want to achieve meaningful reconciliation with Canada’s indigenous people but because the Liberal government has made a critical misstep toward this goal through the introduction of the bill in its current form. It is my fear that the impact of the bill will result in the opposite of its desired effect.
The bill aims to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, or UNDRIP. Subclause 4(a), for instance, states that “The purpose of this Act is to (a) affirm the Declaration as a universal international human rights instrument with application in Canadian law”. Further, clause 5 charges the Government of Canada with working “in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous peoples, take all measures necessary to ensure that the laws of Canada are consistent with the Declaration.”
The House will remember calls to action 43 and 44 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, urging the federal government to “to fully adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the framework for reconciliation” and “to develop a national action plan, strategies, and other concrete measures to achieve the goals of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. ”It was in fact the previous Conservative government that adopted UNDRIP in 2010 as an aspirational document.
Then and now, the Conservatives support the goals and aspirations of this declaration. We support treaty rights and the process of reconciliation with the indigenous people of Canada. However, we remain concerned about the Liberal government’s unwillingness to put forward legislation that clearly outlines the effect and interpretation of key terms within the declaration, such as “free, prior and informed consent”. When it comes to understanding what exactly this term means in a practical sense, the lack of consensus between the federal and provincial governments, among members of the legal community and within indigenous communities themselves is worthy of concern.
The previous Conservative government, at the time of its inception, opposed UNDRIP, because free, prior and informed consent did not align with Canadian constitutional law. That is why, a few years later, the same government adopted UNDRIP as an aspirational document, not binding law. This was a move in line with three of our Five Eyes partners: the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. It was a decision made with good reason. The wide-ranging provisions within UNDRIP, like FPIC, were found to be inconsistent with Canadian constitutional law.
Over a decade later, the Liberal government is forging ahead with infusing UNDRIP into the law of the land. However, it has failed to do its due diligence in presenting a bill that can be clearly understood by government and stakeholders. There is a lack of consultation on what purports to be a transformative piece of legislation that will have untold ramifications on our country, indigenous communities and, indeed, all Canadians.
NTC president Judith Sayers says that the consultative process for this bill lacked mutual agreement and was rushed. AFN chiefs have expressed their concern that no extensive consultations were held. The government is good at partial consultations, but the word “extensive” is mentioned here.
Late last year, six provincial premiers wrote to the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations to object to the six-week window provided for input on the draft bill. They stressed the need for “appropriate engagement with provinces, territories, and Indigenous partners on the draft bill” that could “fundamentally change Confederation.” I do not believe that has taken place and any that has is not clearly outlined to the House. The premiers pleaded for time for Canada to fully and meaningfully consider and address the legitimate, significant concerns that we have already raised about the draft bill in its current form.
It is unacceptable for the government to claim that the time for consultation has been satisfied. I have heard that a great deal today. Concerns expressed at the time of the previous UNDRIP bill, Bill C-262, still exist now. How can the government claim credit for a new era of trust and reconciliation with indigenous communities with such a heavy-handed and sloppy approach to this legislation?
As I mentioned earlier, the effect of free, prior and informed consent has been a long-standing concern that has not retreated from the national discourse. It generates more questions than it provides answers.
Take, for instance, the direct input of indigenous communities. The National Coalition of Chiefs and the Indigenous Resource Network have expressed its concern about ramifications, such as who would have the authority to grant it and the impact it would have on future resource projects. If grant expectations under this model are not met, how will it undermine trust between the Crown and indigenous people for generations to come? Will it deter investment, good jobs and secure incomes from reaching our shores? Indeed, the interpretation of this may lead to consequences beyond Canada's resource development.
Professor Dwight Newman of the University of Saskatchewan's Faculty of Law, speaking before the Senate aboriginal affairs committee on a previous iteration of the bill stated, “the Court’s interpretation of FPIC is nonetheless subject to uncertainties that have enormous implications for Canada”. Professor Newman's input has merit.
Again, let us focus on how indigenous communities may be impacted. Clearly, the pursuit of reconciliation and tangible progress for indigenous communities could be stagnated by opaque language like FPIC. Even considering the current constitutional model, one that outlines a duty to consult and accommodate, tangible results can be hard to come by depending on the degree of intrusion proposed. With the implementation of this model, many serious questions are raised, including who might provide their consent in any given circumstance or who speaks for any community.
Members will recall a sensitive period for our country not too long ago when the decisions of 20 band councils concerning the Coastal GasLink pipeline came into direct conflict with opposition from Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs. Opposing groups within the Wet'suwet'en could not come to an agreement about who spoke on their behalf. Speaking before a parliamentary committee, Theresa Tait-Day, a founder of the Wet'suwet'en Matrilineal Coalition, said that the project had been hijacked, despite 80% of the band wanting the project to proceed.
It has been argued that the passage of Bill 41 in British Columbia, in many ways a mirror of the legislation before us, led directly to the disconnect between the elected band council, hereditary chiefs and government. Many indigenous stakeholders interpreted Bill 41 as the vehicle through which UNDRIP was adopted and therefore established a right to veto construction on the line. Indigenous communities deserve better than the ambiguity that B.C.'s Bill 41 and Bill C-15 provide.
Other questions remain, such as, how will this apply in situations where indigenous rights include title or the right to occupy lands and use resources? In situations involving unresolved or overlapping land claim disputes, whose consent is required? What form will this consent take in Canadian law? There is a real concern that the government is taking steps to enshrine UNDRIP into Canadian law without a clear picture of how concepts like FPIC will be interpreted in that law.
As justice minister in 2016, the member for Vancouver Granville said, “simplistic approaches, such as adopting the UNDRIP as being Canadian law are unworkable.” She went on to say, “it's important to appreciate why Canada cannot simply incorporate the declaration "word for word" into law.”
The Conservatives have been clear and consistent. We believe that UNDRIP is an aspirational document whose goals we support. However, to adopt it wholesale without consideration for lasting consequences is irresponsible. We need a made-in-Canada approach to achieve the type of reconciliation UNDRIP outlines. Indigenous communities do not need a further barrier to achieving the best for their communities.
Dale Swampy, president of the National Coalition of Chiefs, has spent his professional life in first nations administration as well as the oil and gas industry. In a special note to the Financial Post he wrote that he “know[s] first-hand what happens when federal bureaucracy gets in the way of responsible resource development.” It is his belief that symbolic gestures of reconciliation should not come at the expense of food on the table for indigenous people.
Reconciliation with Canada's indigenous people means recognizing and affirming their dreams and aspirations to not just be stakeholders but, as I have been told, shareholders. In this case, it is the private sector that has led the way in spending on indigenous businesses.
One example of nine is Cameco, the uranium company that procured $3.8 billion since 2004 from local suppliers in the riding of Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River in northern Saskatchewan, whose member of Parliament is so passionately committed to seeing reconciliation truly succeed. His words I now repeat, “Advocating for jobs, owned-source revenue streams, equity ownership and financial independence is in fact the pathway to self-determination and the solution to many of the social challenges.”
The Liberals have been failing to keep their promises, such as ending long-term boil water advisories, and failing to stand up for the future of the natural resource projects that benefit indigenous communities and that they want to be part of. As it stands, this bill has the potential to sow further seeds of division across our country. If it is the government's intention to enshrine an international—
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
2021-04-15 16:29 [p.5696]
Mr. Speaker, the point that I am making is that there has not been due diligence done. My comments are not coming from me. They are coming from the indigenous communities around us that are saying this is not clear enough. The government seems to want to take the approach that it takes on so many things: It makes big announcements, it makes big decisions, it implements them, but then all things break loose.
We need to take the best approach we possibly can to make sure that our indigenous people, our first nations and Métis have the opportunities to truly excel in the ways they choose. I appreciate the comment. They do not want to be stakeholders. They have every right to be shareholders in the economic successes of Canada and they are more than capable of doing so. They want proper due diligence done in defining this situation.
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