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Results: 1 - 30 of 334
View Ryan Leef Profile
CPC (YT)
View Ryan Leef Profile
2015-06-17 16:38 [p.15222]
moved for leave to introduce Bill S-224, An Act respecting National Seal Products Day.
He said: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to introduce this piece of legislation recognizing that humans have depended on ocean resources, including seals and other marine animals, for nourishment for thousands of years and that Canada's aboriginal peoples and coastal communities have developed traditional knowledge of how to use these resources. Of course, the traditional, cultural, and heritage practices of Canada's aboriginal people and coastal communities respect these ocean resources, and they should be preserved and recognized. Therefore, this legislation seeks to establish that the 20th day of May every year be known as national seal products day.
View Ryan Leef Profile
CPC (YT)
View Ryan Leef Profile
2015-06-11 10:10 [p.14926]
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to present petitions on behalf of some 30,000-plus Canadians who call on the government to repeal item 2 of part 2 of the schedule to the Regulations Prescribing Certain Firearms and other Weapons, Components and Parts of Weapons, Accessories, Cartridge Magazines, Ammunition and Projectiles as Prohibited or Restricted.
I also have a petition calling on the government to repeal item 3 of part 4 of the schedule to the Regulations Prescribing Certain Firearms and other Weapons, Components and Parts of Weapons, Accessories, Cartridge Magazines, Ammunition and Projectiles as Prohibited or Restricted.
View Ryan Leef Profile
CPC (YT)
View Ryan Leef Profile
2015-06-10 19:57 [p.14915]
Mr. Chair, on a point of order, I would first like to thank you for your judicious oversight of all these important and interesting speeches. I was just wondering if you could confirm the allocation of time that the House has tonight to continue to hear all of these amazing tributes and references by our outgoing members.
View Ryan Leef Profile
CPC (YT)
View Ryan Leef Profile
2015-06-04 14:03 [p.14598]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to congratulate and thank all the volunteers, participants and organizers who supported the CF walks in Watson Lake and in Whitehorse this past weekend and to highlight the great work done by Jen Roberts to support multiple sclerosis and to the participants, organizers and volunteers of that walk.
Also, I congratulate Cole Byers, a fundraising superstar. This young man has raised over $100,000 for juvenile diabetes research. I congratulate the participants and organizers of the Walk for a Cure. That was wonderful. I thank them and Cole as well.
Finally, I would like to wish my sister Beck Ashley and my brother-in-law Andy a happy 10th anniversary. I hope Jared and Logan have made them breakfast in bed.
View Ryan Leef Profile
CPC (YT)
View Ryan Leef Profile
2015-06-04 15:21 [p.14612]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her intervention. Of course, she speaks about paying attention to northerners. I am a northerner, and I have travelled right across the Canadian north and Canadian Arctic with our Prime Minister announcing investments outside of nutrition north. These investments engage a suite of food security initiatives, like the northern greenhouse initiative, the Growing Forward 2 program, and cold climate innovation, which are enhancing different technologies in the Canadian high Arctic to bring food security solutions to the north.
I have witnessed those things working in communities like Pond Inlet, Hay River, Yellowknife, and Old Crow in the Yukon. In fact, just a couple of weeks ago I was in Old Crow, one of the nutrition program locations, announcing $1.2 million to help stores grow there.
However, the member continues to vote against those. Why would that be?
View Ryan Leef Profile
CPC (YT)
View Ryan Leef Profile
2015-06-04 15:27 [p.14613]
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to speak to this motion. Before I commence, I will just mention that I will be splitting my time with the member for Macleod.
As we have heard in earlier interventions today, a lot of Canadians are concerned. They are supportive of the initiatives that need to take place in the north to enhance food security solutions, and not just under the nutrition north program but through an entire suite of programs that our government is delivering.
I can think of constituents in Canada, like Logan Ashley, who would be very interested in learning about the initiatives that our federal government is undertaking.
I am a northerner, and I have seen our government's investments in the north and in the Canadian arctic. I have travelled with the Prime Minister and the respective ministers, and not, as the opposition would coin it, for fancy photo ops but rather for on-the-ground, community-based, real solutions that have been generated by the community. The communities are very much interested in showing these solutions to the ministers, the Prime Minister and those members of Parliament from our side who take the time to go there and meet with mayors and councillors, chiefs and councils, and community members. We listen to what their needs are, and then observe the beginning, in progress and end of initiatives that they have undertaken with federal government resources and federal government investments.
Let me highlight a couple of those. The Growing Forward 2 program and the northern greenhouse initiatives were announced by the Prime Minister last year when I was with him in Hay River. I was joined by the Minister of the Environment, who is also the north regional minister. We were looking at the great work that communities are undertaking with the Growing Forward 2 program to provide real community-based solutions. It is not just about food security solutions. It is about skills development and employment opportunities, making sure that nutritious and affordable food is available. It is about a broad range of skill sets that are undertaken to deliver quality food and multi-year crops in a challenging northern environment.
This is a Canadian success story. This is about Canadians in the north and in the high arctic finding ways to deliver fresh and available foods right there in their own communities.
We are providing the funding for them to do that. We are supporting the technology and innovation for them to be able to do that. At the same time, we are supporting that skill set and that natural connectability to working opportunities and career opportunities. At the same time, we are helping those communities define and meet their food security needs.
In my home, in the community of Old Crow, just a couple of weeks ago, I was proud to be there to open the Co-op store. It was a first nation development corp. community-invested grocery store. It is going to provide co-operative investment for that community. When people shop there, there is going to be a direct dividend return to that community. That store is also going to provide employment and training opportunities for people living in that community. That store is providing access to more affordable foods and more nutritious foods.
What I saw was a store full of fresh fruits and vegetables, a store that had products in it that were far cheaper than in the past. I saw a program and service delivery that our government is investing in that is working. The community was there to celebrate. They see the real results of programs that are working, not one in a vacuum, like the nutrition north program, but a whole suite of programs, like the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, which was created by our government to improve and enhance the working and economic development opportunities for people of the north. Those included food security solutions, like this one, that the development corp. has put forward in Old Crow.
They have been strong advocates of investing in their own community solutions, and we have done that with and for them. We have been strong and proud participants, and supporters of that program.
We hear somewhat of an incoherent thought from the opposition. On the one hand, they stand in this House today and criticize the nutrition north program, but then urge the government to add 50 more communities to it. I am not sure that is a coherent argument, chastising a program while asking that more Canadian communities be added to it. It is a bizarre track of thinking.
Let me talk about a couple of the communities that the opposition has put down on a napkin. One of the communities added is already a full beneficiary of the nutrition north program.
Governing is a responsibility that we take seriously, and it is not something that one can do by just drafting a list of communities, putting that on the back of a napkin, dropping it in Parliament and then asking Parliament to simply add those communities without thought. It is irresponsible.
When we look at some of the communities they have put in place, some already on this list, some of those communities in the design of this program have road accessibility so it is already far more affordable for them to truck supplies into those communities than some of the communities we are talking about in the Canadian high Arctic. Those are the ones that rely on shipping crates and containers to come in, those that rely on seasonal accessibility to their communities, such as the one in the Yukon that is a fly-in only community.
We have members from the opposition, from Toronto, standing up to speak about these things. We appreciate their support and their concern and their attention to the north, but they clearly do not understand the realities of these communities because they have not been there. However, they are willing to stand in this House and chastise our government for having been there. I have been there. I have been there with the Prime Minister and with several respective ministers.
Every single year, the Prime Minister of this country has been across the north. Ten times he has visited since 2006. That is more than any other prime minister in the history of this country. There is more attention and more investment for the people of the north than by any other prime minister before. This is a prime minister who works in and with the communities and who dispatches his ministers on a regular basis to go to the north. He dispatches his members of Parliament to go to the north and work with the members of those communities. There are two members on this side of the House who live in northern Arctic communities and can speak about the very real challenges, and we are seized with those.
We understood the Auditor General's comments. The minister embraced those quickly and, in fact, almost by the date of the tabling of that report had already actioned many of the recommendations and had already moved to significantly improve the recommendations that were made. We have not stopped there because we understand fundamentally that nutrition north is one part of a suite of programs that our government has deployed since 2006 to improve the working and living conditions of aboriginal people. Those include things like our family tax cut so that we are able to leave more money in the pockets of hard-working Canadians. That is more money in the pockets of moms and dads so that they can spend their money on the needs that they define are important for them. The opposition wants to take that away. The opposition votes against that.
Here is another real example. Just a couple of weeks ago, I was joined in my territory by the Minister of Health. We announced $13 million for chronic health management in our territory. As we all know, across the north certain rates of diseases like diabetes are higher than the national average, in some cases four times higher. That boils down to the need to invest in chronic disease management, nutrition, and dietary supports and programs. It boils down to the suite of programs that we are delivering to ensure we can effectively manage chronic disease, which is a challenge in the north. I personally spent time one summer running from the northern part of the Yukon to the southern part of the Yukon to raise awareness and funds for diabetes, and to ensure that people were aware that our government was prepared to continue to invest in that.
We are doing these things step in and step out: policy investments, legislative adaptations, direct or indirect contributions and services from our government, and into the territorial governments for them to outlay their local priorities under their local governance structures. Everything we have done in this massive suite of programs, the opposition stands up and votes against.
It is disingenuous for the opposition members to stand in this House and say the government should do things, and then every time we table bills, policies or investments, they vote against it. I say this. The opposition should get on board and start supporting what we are doing in real terms for the great people of the north.
View Ryan Leef Profile
CPC (YT)
View Ryan Leef Profile
2015-06-04 15:38 [p.14614]
What is shameful, Mr. Speaker, is the opposition failing to support all of the very real measures that I indicated.
I can tell hon. members clearly what the reaction is in the northern communities when the Prime Minister and those ministers travel and visit. How can I say that? It is because I have been there with them.
From Yukon to the Northwest Territories to Nunavut, I have been there and I have watched the programs and services that we have delivered. I have watched the community work with our ministers. I have watched the community partners engage in these activities with direct federal spending, and I have watched the pride and the sense of accomplishment and the very real support that they feel when our government is there with them and meeting directly with them.
This government, the Prime Minister, and our ministers will never apologize for actually being in those communities to hear directly from Canadians and to attempt to live the same lifestyle that they do, unlike the opposition.
View Ryan Leef Profile
CPC (YT)
View Ryan Leef Profile
2015-06-04 15:40 [p.14615]
Mr. Speaker, I think you highlighted it perfectly. There absolutely is a country food element in this program. Northern Canadians tell us over and over again that country and traditional foods are very critical and very important to their dietary needs.
I am proud to be joined by the chair of the hunting and angling caucus, who is here with me, because we both know and understand the importance of traditional ways of life for the dietary needs of northern Canadians. We will proudly stand up and support them.
I cannot believe the opposition continues to vote against those measures and speaks out against them. It is absolutely not reflective of the needs of Yukoners, the needs of people from the Northwest Territories, and the needs of people from Nunavut, who can count on this government to continue to support them in their traditional ways of life, and we are proud to do that.
View Ryan Leef Profile
CPC (YT)
View Ryan Leef Profile
2015-06-04 15:42 [p.14615]
Mr. Speaker, that is why I said we are proud to invest in a whole suite of programs and services, from cold climate innovation to the northern greenhouse initiative out of the Growing Forward 2 program. These are all things we can do to help sustainable communities develop their own food security and make community-based solutions. We are proud to do that.
I am always surprised, of course, when the opposition votes against those measures that we put in place.
With respect to the hunting and angling piece in the prelude to his question, I am only reflecting back on the comments that were made by the members themselves when they effectively chastised our government for studying and supporting the hunting and angling heritage in our country. Those are not my words. Those are the words of the opposition.
View Ryan Leef Profile
CPC (YT)
View Ryan Leef Profile
2015-06-04 16:24 [p.14620]
Mr. Speaker, I am certainly proud that our ministers have embraced the Auditor General's report and have almost instantly engaged in dealing with some of the recommendations that were made.
Earlier in my comments I made note of the fact that there really is not a comprehensive position from the opposition members. The member for Churchill said that there is no question that nutrition north does reduce the price, but then the member for Timmins—James Bay said that the program is not lowering the costs. They have criticized the program but then said that 50 communities should be added to it. It is not a coherent position. Is the program lowering the costs, as the member for Churchill said, or is it not, as the member for Timmins—James Bay said? Is it a good program that we should add 50 communities to or is it not? They do not have a coherent position. Therefore, I am wondering if the member opposite can offer a coherent position from the NDP side once and for all.
View Ryan Leef Profile
CPC (YT)
View Ryan Leef Profile
2015-06-04 16:50 [p.14623]
Mr. Speaker, the member talked about one thing that I would agree with, which is that this file requires leadership. This side of the House has demonstrated leadership, but it is not leadership that the opposition is prepared to follow.
He talked about a suite of measures that need to be put in place to ensure food security and nutritional choices for northern families. We have done that through the Growing Forward 2 program, the northern greenhouse initiative and direct investments through the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, not only to provide economic opportunities but to provide those nutritional opportunities for communities. They are community-based solutions for community-based challenges. Some of those vary from different regions of the country, from Nunavut to Yukon.
Interestingly enough, however, every time we put forward either a legislative amendment, an operational consideration or a policy direction, the NDP and the Liberals find a convenient way to vote against those measures. That includes significant, record levels of transfer payments to the provinces and territories. The member mentioned the necessary partnerships with those provincial leaders, but every time, yet again, the opposition votes against record levels of transfer payments. The Liberals are voting against those sorts of things.
I am not sure how they expect us to deliver those kinds of investments with their support if they just stand up every time that we provide those kinds of measures and vote against them. It is disingenuous. Canadians know that.
View Ryan Leef Profile
CPC (YT)
View Ryan Leef Profile
2015-06-03 16:10 [p.14539]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to clear up just a bit of revisionist history coming from the other side of the House right now. We hear the members feign interest and concern for northern Canadians, but of course, we all know that I had a study before the fisheries committee to go north to study important cultural, social, and ceremonial impacts on northern fisheries. It was obstructed by the NDP.
I had an important bill on fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. We wanted to travel to the north to hear directly from Yukoners and northerners on that important piece. It was obstructed by the NDP.
Of course, the Liberals will sit in this House of Commons and talk about whether their amendments were supported in committee. They did not put any forward, so it is interesting how we revisit that piece.
Let me just read something into the record from the NDP in the Yukon:
once a mine is in operation...the actual procurement of everything from, I would say, toilet paper to lettuce to whatever comes in on big trucks, on pallets, from Outside, and nothing is sourced locally.
That was the Leader of the Opposition and of the NDP in the Yukon. Of course, he completely forgot that $78 million was spent—
View Ryan Leef Profile
CPC (YT)
View Ryan Leef Profile
2015-06-03 16:12 [p.14540]
Mr. Speaker, my point is that this is important to move forward for Yukon. It is important to move forward for the people of Yukon. In the sense of having to allocate the time, the examples I gave were really in regard to the fact that those members have had no problem obstructing things in the past. We need to move this forward, and their history has set the course for the actions we need to take in terms of moving all bills, including this one, forward.
I wonder if the minister could comment on the benefits to the north this bill could bring to all Yukoners and indeed to Yukon first nations.
View Ryan Leef Profile
CPC (YT)
View Ryan Leef Profile
2015-06-03 17:15 [p.14544]
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to stand in the House today and speak to the motions put forward to the House on Bill S-6. I am going to get to the contents of the bill shortly and in direct respect to the motions that have been tabled here in the House.
Before I do that, I want to quickly express my thanks to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs. I was present in the House today listening to many of the speeches and the questions and answers that followed. It was appreciated that he recognized that our government has tremendous commitment to continued trilateral partnerships with both our public governments in the Yukon and with our first nations leadership in our territory.
From that point of view, I am optimistic and confident that the piece of legislation that we have before us, subject of course to continued dialogue and discussion, will be one that will indeed be in the best interests of all Yukoners.
I want to point out a couple of things before I get to the direct pieces of this legislation that are clearly worth highlighting. Some of that came in discussion today, some of it has been in prolonged discussion over the course of the bill, but it is absolutely worthwhile for us drilling right down to these very key pieces so that we can boil away some of the political rhetoric that has been generated by the opposition side.
I do take some offence to the opposition's positions where members have clearly feigned concern for the wants, needs and expectations of the Yukon people broadly and specifically for the Yukon first nations community. I say that, not tongue in cheek, with clear-cut examples that I will give now.
I put forward a study at the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans some time ago where we would travel north and see what was going on with the challenging state of Yukon River salmon in a transboundary relationship with Alaska and those waters. There are some issues that we really needed to seize as parliamentarians in undertaking that study.
However, guess who blocked travel for that study? Guess who voted that it was not important? The NDP. This is a social, ceremonial and traditional way of life for Yukon first nations, with Yukon River salmon of critical importance, and the NDP would not support that travel.
Then I had a study and a bill before the House for fetal alcohol spectrum disorder which is a topic seized by all Yukoners, an important issue to Yukon people and northern Canadians in particular and we wanted to travel for that. Guess who blocked that? The NDP. The members are continuing to block all these things, yet at the same time, they say they have care and concern for Yukon people and northern people. Their record is clear. They really do not.
In this case, I was proud to ensure that as we undertook the study for Bill S-6, I made it clear that we needed to bring the committee to the Yukon to hear directly from Yukon people to allow a balanced story, a balanced perspective and a balanced input, so we could seize ourselves with the concerns of Yukoners, understand them and hear that directly from them in testimony in our territory.
Of course, the NDP members agreed to travel for that, but only for the fact that they thought they might have some political advantage on this. It is a shameful use of Yukon people and northern people for their own political purposes. There is not true care and concern and that point needs to be made crystal clear.
I witnessed that before noon on the first day of committee study on Bill S-6, a member from the Liberal Party and a member from the NDP had clearly chosen a side and it is on record when we were interviewed by the CBC. They said their minds were made up and this was done at noon, before we had even heard from half of the people prepared to testify. Before we had heard a full and balanced perspective from Yukoners on this topic, the NDP members had their minds made up about the direction they were going to go. They said as much on CBC.
The Liberals had their minds made up long before. They say they came to hear from all the Yukoners, but their minds were made up before they arrived in my territory and they tried to drive their political agenda. It is important to me to communicate that very effectively here today; everything to this point from their side of the House has been nothing but politics. There has been no care and concern for the people of the north.
We are trying to bring balance and parity in our territory so that Yukoners have equal opportunities for jobs, growth, and economic prosperity like the rest of Canada, so they have equal opportunities like those shared in the Northwest Territories under its devolution agreements and resource development agreements, which, interestingly enough, the member for Northwest Territories was standing behind. However, when it comes to bringing parity to the Yukon, somehow he is objecting to that.
As we tasked ourselves with the bill and understood the evolution and the process, it has been clear that there are concerns, and our government has seized itself with those concerns. We have heard them clearly, and today we heard the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs say clearly that he fully understands that a trilateral relationship is important with the federal government in the Yukon, the Yukon territorial government, and Yukon first nation peoples. I applaud him and thank him for that, because that will ensure effective implementation of the bill. It will ensure that we honour the spirit and intention of the modern treaties that we have in our territory, those modern treaties that we are very proud of and that will continue to bring prosperity to our territory, prosperity that New Democrats really know nothing about.
People are going to ask if I can prove that statement. Sure I can. On the record, in the Yukon legislature, the leader of the territorial opposition had this to say about mining development in the Yukon:
...once the mine is in operation—has been for some time—but the actual procurement of everything from, I would say, toilet paper to lettuce to whatever comes in on big trucks, on pallets, from Outside, and nothing is sourced locally.
That is what was said by Liz Hanson, the leader of the NDP in the Yukon. She was specifically referencing one mine. That mine spent $78.1 million in the Yukon Territory in 2013 and $58.2 million in 2014 on goods and services, and that was before wages were paid out to Yukon first nation people and non-Yukon first nation people. Then those employees in turn spent that money in their communities, their homes, on goods and services, so the dollars continued to rotate around that community to the benefit and prosperity of all Yukoners.
My point is that if one starts with a fundamental misunderstanding of how mining and resource development actually contribute to our economy, then I guess it makes perfect sense that one would not want development to carry forward. However, the facts are clear. One mine alone contributed $78.1 million in one year to Yukon's GDP, to Yukon's economy, to the socio-economic fabric of our territory.
It was done so, I might add, in an environmentally responsible manner to protect and preserve the environmental heritage of our territory. Why is that? It is because these companies participate in environmental reviews. They have care and concern about reclamation and development. They engage with their first nation communities, and they do not always do that out of a legislative requirement. They do it because they form a social relationship and an important working relationship through IBAs, through direct community engagement and participation in the Yukon with first nation communities, who do indeed invite them in.
The NDP, the no development party, has no fundamental understanding at all of the direct value that resource development brings to our territory, to the north, and to our country, so from that point of view it makes sense that it would want to obstruct these things.
We have heard the concerns of Yukon first nations. Our minister is committed to continuing to work with them in a trilateral relationship to make sure we engage in productive and co-operative implementation to honour the spirit and intention of those modern treaties. The motions I see being put forward would actually do the reverse to many of the things that Yukon first nations, the Yukon government, and Canada have already agreed to in the five-year review of YESSA.
I look forward to any questions and I look forward to the passage of the Bill S-6 and our continued relationship-building with all partners in the Yukon on a very important message and bill.
View Ryan Leef Profile
CPC (YT)
View Ryan Leef Profile
2015-06-03 17:26 [p.14545]
Mr. Speaker, indeed I was, and I was very proud of all of the Yukoners who participated in that hearing, from our first nations right through to our industry. Indeed, it was my intervention that ensured that Yukon first nations were strong participants in that committee.
If the member for Northwest Territories wants to talk about whether I was there to hear them, indeed I was, and I did. I acknowledged that in my speech. I heard their concerns.
However, guess who did not hear them. Guess who was not prepared to hear them. It was the member for Northwest Territories, who by noon that day had said publicly on CBC that his mind was made up. He said that he knew what he was going to do. He knew where his decisions lay, and that was before he had heard from even half of the people invited to testify.
Yes, I was there to hear them, but clearly the member for Northwest Territories was not. That is stamped on the record of that interview on CBC's noon show. He can stand by that deplorable record when it comes to standing up and listening to the Yukon people and the people of the north.
View Ryan Leef Profile
CPC (YT)
View Ryan Leef Profile
2015-06-03 17:28 [p.14546]
Mr. Speaker, while I would have loved to be there, I am not going to apologize for being in Washington, DC, to represent my constituents when it comes to important issues like the Arctic Council.
The previous member was talking about hearing and listening. Interestingly enough, I acknowledged in my speech the four areas of concern that Yukon first nations have. We heard those loud and clear. I acknowledged that the minister is committed to working in a trilateral relationship with them to ensure that the implementation meets their needs and meets the spirit and intention of their agreements, and this government is very much committed to that. I look forward to that continued dialogue.
However, it is interesting that of the four points of concern, at report stage the Liberal member did not address two of the most significant ones at all. She did not even put those amendments forward. She either did not hear or did not listen. It must be one of the two, but why did she not do that?
Furthermore, it was the Liberal senators who passed this bill out of the Senate and into the House of Commons absolutely unamended and with unanimous consent. She is going to have to square that circle, quit playing politics with this issue, and start listening to northern Canadians.
View Ryan Leef Profile
CPC (YT)
View Ryan Leef Profile
2015-06-03 17:40 [p.14547]
Mr. Speaker, I would ask my colleague if she heard the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development indicate that he understood a trilateral process, a trilateral relationship between public governments and Yukon first nations, was very much the centrepiece of his understanding and his intentions with this legislation, and indeed all legislation. I wonder if she would set aside all the rhetoric again about who is absent and where. It is pretty clear that I was in Washington, D.C., and would have loved to participate but I had other important business on behalf of my constituents to conduct.
Nonetheless, my question is fairly simple. Would she not at least be encouraged by the minister's comments earlier today where committed to the trilateral relationship, which he knows is so important to honour the spirit and the intention of the modern treaties we have in the Yukon? That was clearly said today. I am encouraged by it and I am supportive of it. I thanked him for that earlier in my address. Would the member acknowledge that and understand that he is committed to do more, not just on this legislation but on all our relationship-building with first nations?
View Ryan Leef Profile
CPC (YT)
View Ryan Leef Profile
2015-05-26 18:30 [p.14203]
Mr. Speaker, I certainly appreciate that while that might not have been a point of order, it was certainly a point worth raising.
I am pleased to stand to speak today about Motion No. 589. I would like to begin by commending the member for Prince George—Peace River for all of his work, particularly in support of the firearms community. I have had a lot of opportunity to work with him. Those of us on this side of the House who support the firearms community through the hunting and angling caucus and other direct initiatives all know that the member has a keen interest in outdoor pursuits, the shooting way of life. He is supportive of the firearms community and has done a lot of great work. It is certainly great to have him as a member of the caucus.
This important motion highlights the Conservative government's common sense firearms regime. The member for Prince George—Peace River is introducing the motion to ensure that no unnecessary steps are implemented. I have heard the Liberals and NDP today engage in a drive-by smear of outdoor enthusiasts by saying that those who want to obey clear rules are part of some sort of American-style gun lobby. In fact, I heard a member from the NDP question the Conservative government's obsession with firearms legislation.
It is interesting that while New Democrats refer to it as an obsession, I would refer to it as representation of the millions of Canadians who are lawful, legal, and ethical firearms owners. New Democrats can call that an obsession. I call it good parliamentary representation of the millions of Canadians across the country who engage in athletic hunting and trapping pursuits and firearms as a day-to-day tool, as a way of protecting and preserving a way of life.
They will not confuse this as any kind of bizarre obsession by the Conservative government. In fact, it is clear, unapologetic, and resounding support for a lawful, ethical, and indeed healthy way of life, exercised for a long period of time in the tradition and history of Canada.
Of course, these kinds of comments by both the NDP and the Liberal Party are ridiculous and offensive to the millions of Canadians who own firearms. This large group of Canadians pays attention to what goes on in this place, and I know they pay far closer attention than the members of the opposition realize or may think. I hope they keep that in mind when this important motion comes forward for a vote.
I would like to talk about something that I spoke a bit on yesterday in my speech on Bill C-42. There are a lot of linkages between our entire firearms policy and agenda to support these millions of Canadians. I will talk about a representative of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, Greg Farrant, who said:
Firearms owners in Canada are judges, lawyers, farmers, electricians, mechanics, plumbers, accountants, even federal politicians...who live in and represent urban ridings. They are not criminals. They are not gang members. Rather, they are lawful firearms owners who obey the law.
Indeed, they are mothers, daughters, aunts, uncles, and children, including my son.
Judging by the comments we have heard today, it seems that the NDP and the Liberals in opposition continue to believe that only backwoods, unrefined, rural folk engage in these activities. Again, that is a complete abandonment of the facts in our country, and an insult to Canadians who pursue a way of life, whether it be in sport shooting, collecting, athletics, or hunting and trapping, which is a long-standing heritage, as I have mentioned.
This motion is as much about our outdoor culture and preservation and protection of a way of life as it is about anything else. We have consistently been clear that we will do everything we can to ensure that red tape and unnecessary measures are not put in place to create a burden for the lawful, ethical, and law-abiding firearms owners, manufacturers, or ammunition producers in this country. I think that the member for Prince George—Peace River outlined clearly the reputation that our country already has and the laws that are already in place.
Opposition members say that they are already doing this, that it is lawful and why would we not just go along to get along again. The fact is, why would we put measures in place that duplicate the things we are already doing so well?
We have a regime that is Canadian made. We have a regime that meets the needs of Canada, a vast nation that spans from Newfoundland and Labrador all the way to the Yukon territory, some 7,000 kilometres from coast to coast to coast. It is the largest archipelago in the world, with remote rural Canadian locations, huge distribution networks, a vast array of needs and purposes for firearms ownership, firearms manufacturing and firearms shipment.
We need a Canadian made solution, and that is what we have in our country. Do we need the imposition of an international body and an international governance structure telling Canada how to go about administering our laws, our rules and our policies, given the very unique nature of the Canadian geography and the Canadian people?
We have heard examples from across the floor that the EU does this so why would we not do it. The EU is not Canada, not in this context. There are times when we look to other nations to model the things they do well and best practices. However, in this case, the submission from the member in his motion is that we cannot model that system now in our country under the conditions I have outlined, under the unique geographic differences, the differences of the Canadian people, the different needs for firearms in the Canadian context, the different utilizations, history and culture. Canada in that respect is different.
Nonetheless, we have a strong regime of which we can be proud. In fact, I would submit that the member in his motion would confer that Canada has a model that other countries could sufficiently replicate to maintain public safety, control, tracking and order.
I have spoken directly with manufacturers and shippers in our country and they tell me that the programs, the regulations and the inventory accountability they need to maintain is second to none. In fact, if members in the House were wanting to endeavour to really get the facts on that, all they would need to do is go to a shipping location in our country and ask how it accounts for the ammunition in its facilities and how it accounts for the shipping and movement of that ammunition in and out of its facility. They would find an incredible, intricate, regulated network of rules that absolutely guarantee preservation and protection of society, accountability, security and all the necessary measures that a reasonable Canadian would expect to be in place. I know that because I have been there. I have seen that. I have worked with and talked about these issues with the manufacturers.
Members in the opposition can pontificate about whether this would cause onerous measurements or standards or whether this would be a big deal or not. The simple fact is that they have not gone out and asked. They have not been there to find out.
I can say with absolute certainty that the kind of measures that are being proposed are not good in the Canadian context. They are not fitting in with that need and we do not need to import an international boondoggle. We need Canadian solutions, developed by and for Canadians. We need to be able to stand proud. We have heard that across both sides of the House. We need to be able to stand proud and defend the system that we have in place. Again, here would be clear and ample submission in the House of Commons that we can defend what we have in Canada in terms of our firearms licensing regime, policies, sale and distribution legislation, criminal sanctions and the measures that complete a well rounded policy.
Every time, whether it is this motion, the common sense firearms licensing act, Bill C-637, introduced by my friend and colleague from Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette, chair of the hunting and angling caucus, or the elimination of the long gun registry, we continue to hear examples like “I register my dog. I register my cat. I register my car. Why is it a big deal?” However, those at the time were the seven myths of the opposition that they continue to talk about. They completely misunderstood the differences between those things.
They continued then and they continue today to use fearmongering tactics in an attempt to fundraise and in an attempt to scare Canadians. The Liberal Party has done it recently, showing pictures of scary guns that will now be available at shopping malls and easily stolen. They hope to scare Canadians into thinking that somehow any of the laws we are putting in place would make that easier. That is clearly not the case.
I will conclude by saying that I invite all members to explore this issue and consider their next steps as they move forward on this motion.
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CPC (YT)
View Ryan Leef Profile
2015-05-25 18:02 [p.14092]
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today in support of Bill C-42. Also, I am very happy to be joined by my colleague and friend from Wetaskiwin.
We have a number of members in the House of Commons on this side of the House who join me on the hunting and angling caucus. They do a lot of great work to promote and preserve Canada's rich and proud heritage of hunting, trapping, and sport shooting, and of course, the farmers who use in firearms in Canada as a day-to-day tool. They support a traditional and positive way of life and, indeed, a healthy way of life.
I will spend a bit of time talking about the value of firearms and what role they play in the country and then specifically about Bill C-42.
I was pleased to substitute on the public safety committee when we were reviewing the bill and the committee was undertaking the study. We heard a lot of things from witnesses, and one of the things that stood out for me was some testimony from Greg Farrant, who represents the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters. Mr. Farrant is tuned in, clearly, to a lot of the debate that has gone on with the bill. He understood what was going on and in fact provided testimony as the government was introducing legislation to get rid of the long gun registry.
The one point he made that really stood out was his reflection on the size of the community that engages in hunting and trapping activities in the province of Ontario and right across Canada. He said that we always get branded, and I say “we”, because I come from a long, proud tradition and history of hunting. I grew up in the Yukon territory doing that as a wonderful way of life as well and will well into my future. I say “we” in that sense. We get branded by the opposition as being part of the gun lobby, as though that is said in some sort of pejorative sense. That is what Greg Farrant said. He said that we are always branded as a gun lobby, as though that is a bad thing.
Let us talk about what the gun lobby is. We say it with pride, and we say it with the understanding, on this side of the House, of what exactly the gun lobby represents in Canada. It is not the negative, pejorative term that anyone should hide their head from and be ashamed of. What does that gun lobby do? That gun lobby participates in hunting heritage activities. It contributes millions of dollars to conservation in this country. In fact, a recent study from the United States indicates that the group four times more likely than any other group to put their sweat equity and their cash into conservation is the hunting group. That is right. Hunters are four times more likely than any other group to put their money, their time, and their effort into the valuable principles of conservation. That is something they should be applauded for.
Instead, in return, what the opposition does is call them the gun lobby, as though that is some sort of evil moniker they should hide from and have a shadow over them for.
I say that they need to stand and be proud of that one simple fact. They are the ones out there on the land. They are the ones who first recognized the need for the protection and preservation of our environmental heritage. They are the ones who recognize the depletion or the need for conservation practices and principles in a particular area or a particular region for a particular species. It is not only the species they hunt. It is the species, the streams, the habitats, the lakes, and the forests that contribute to the life processes of the wildlife populations in our country. Those people are the ones who are responsible for the abundance, the protection, and the preservation of the wildlife, lakes, land, and water in our nation.
There is no accidental abundance of wildlife in Canada. There is no accidental protection and preservation of the wilderness. There is no accidental protection and preservation of the lakes, rivers, and streams in this country.
How does that happen? Where does that come from? It is from the gun lobby: the hunters, the anglers, the trappers, the sport shooters, and the athletes, the people who own guns and carry guns and spend time in the wilderness.
Where do we get our safety laws from? We did not create them here in the House of Commons, did we? No. Anyone who owns a gun in this country knows, as ethical, safe, law-abiding people in Canada, that they were the first to promote and teach safe ways of handling firearms. They were the ones who developed the 10 rules of firearms safety that those on the other side of the House could not list three of but that probably 90% of the members on this side of the House know inside and out, as though they are a bible to us. They were created by the hunting community and not by politicians.
We can thank the gun lobby. We can thank the conservationists. We can thank the hunters, the trappers, the sport shooters, and the athletes in the country who use firearms in a safe, responsible, and ethical way every single day in this country for the fundamental rules we now call laws.
Is it not ironic that we are here standing up to defend, change, or alter the very laws that this community itself generated? That is because it understands that firearms come with responsibilities. They are a tool to protect and preserve an important way of life, but they do come with responsibilities. It was those groups, not the House of Commons and not the provincial legislatures, that first created those laws.
I am proud to talk about the measures we are taking in Bill C-42 to ensure that those people who created those laws and do so much for the conservation, preservation, and protection of a great way of life in this country are not burdened by red tape that is unnecessary, are not considered criminals at first blush, and are not considered criminals because of paperwork errors.
Bill C-42 will merge the possession and POL licences to give people more opportunities to own firearms, to simplify things, and to reduce some of the red tape. It will merge some of the ATT conditions in just one licence so that there is a condition for that licence instead of a whole bunch of other papers of authorization, which can inadvertently trip people up and in fact make it more difficult for law enforcement to determine whether a person is in legal possession of a restricted firearm when he or she is going to and from a range. The bill contains sensible measures so that people can transport firearms to shooting ranges, gun shops, a police station, or a point of entry, all things they could do in the past but that can now all be on one licence instead of multiple licences.
Bill C-42 will also take another step to balance responsible firearm ownership and public safety. It will introduce stricter penalties for people convicted of domestic violence and stricter conditions for people involved in violent behaviour and violent activity. Who asked for that? It is the gun lobby, the firearms community, those responsible gun owners. They are every bit as offended, if not more offended, by the illegal and unlawful use of firearms as anyone in this House could possibly be, because it affects that community greatly when someone steps out of line or uses a firearm in an illegal and inappropriate manner. That is not what they taught long before we put laws in place, and it is not what they teach in the present day. Of course they are supportive of the stricter public safety measures we are putting in place. At the same time, they do not want to be treated as criminals for simple paperwork errors.
The bill will reduce red tape and formalize some of the provisions that did not have clear guidelines before, such as the rules and regulations around the determination of what the CFOs can do. Arbitrary decisions were being made from one province to the next that left everyone in a state of confusion, because they were not clear-cut. This legislation will make clear what CFOs can do and what terms and conditions they can and cannot put in place so that firearms owners, the general public, and the law enforcement community have certainty and we do not see decisions like the one made by a CFO in Ontario, who arbitrarily decided that any firearms owner wanting to go to a range with a restricted weapon needed an invitation from another range. That was not spelled out in any piece of legislation at all. It was an invention of a CFO. Clearly, firearms owners need to know what is a reasonable restriction and a reasonable condition on their licence that cannot be made up. This bill will provide that.
I will leave members with this thought. One in every five Canadians participates in hunting, trapping, and sport shooting activities in this country. They contribute $15.5 billion to the Canadian economy. This side of the House, this party, and this government will stand up for law-abiding firearms owners every single day. While I would like to encourage the members of the opposition to get on board and help support these measures in Bill C-42, it was clear from their testimony at committee that they have no intention of doing that, which is all the better for us. We will be the party that stands up for law-abiding firearms owners.
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CPC (YT)
View Ryan Leef Profile
2015-05-25 18:13 [p.14094]
Mr. Speaker, that clearly illustrates for all Canadians how out of touch the opposition members are when it comes to this.
The reason there are three shells allowed in a shotgun for the purpose of migratory bird hunting, and that alone, is so that when ducks get out of range, people are not firing a fourth and fifth shot at a duck and wounding it. That is a condition put in place because of the ethics and values of the hunting community. It is a responsibility the hunting community wanted put into law.
I have never seen a shotgun in my life that holds 40 rounds. That is just so absurd I do not know whether to laugh or cry at that question.
If they want to talk about extended mags, which I think the member was trying to drive at, clearly he does not know that there is trapshooting in the Olympic Games, which athletes use shotguns with more rounds than that for. There is trapshooting at ranges, where they can use more than three rounds. There are many purposes for shotguns that are not illegal.
There is this conspiracy theory being generated. It is unbelievably bizarre to hear that any member in this House of Commons would think there is a shotgun on the market today that holds 40 rounds. I would love to see it, but it does not exist.
This is clearly what we are up against.
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CPC (YT)
View Ryan Leef Profile
2015-05-25 18:16 [p.14094]
Mr. Speaker, we have very clear safe-storage laws in this country. None of that would change under Bill C-42.
What the member is forgetting is that when someone steals a gun, that is criminal intent and criminal purpose with those guns, and we have laws to deal with that. I encourage the member to support all the initiatives we have put in place to deal with that criminal kind of behaviour.
Let me quickly educate that member about this one fact. There are half a million hunters in the province of Ontario, and if he thinks none of them live in Toronto, he is out of his mind. Perhaps he is suggesting that we should have some firearms repository outside of the city of Toronto where people could store their firearms.
The member is clearly ignoring the thousands and thousands of lawful firearms owners who live in the city of Toronto and who engage in hunting activities right across the province of Ontario and right across Canada each and every day. We will stand up for them, while he ignores them.
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CPC (YT)
View Ryan Leef Profile
2015-05-13 16:34 [p.13854]
Mr. Speaker, if my colleague's intervention is not informative it certainly is entertaining. I did like the point he made about imitation being the finest point of flattery. That might explain why he has adopted my hairstyle. He does recall that he did also say in his own words that the imitation is not as good as the original. Therefore, I will claim to be the original bald guy here right now.
The member talked about the budget measures we are putting in place benefiting largely people with Maseratis and Lamborghinis, but nobody in my riding owns a Maserati or a Lamborghini. I have never even seen one.
This budget increases transfer payments to my home territory to record levels, in fact, 63% higher than previous Liberal government investments. It has record health care transfers. It is allowing local governments to determine their own priorities and needs at a local level. There are excellent measures in here to let local jurisdictions decide what their priorities are and then deliver them for the people of the north.
I am just wondering if the member opposite could explain this to us. If all these measures are so bad, why is it that the member for Ottawa Centre has been communicating in his riding about all of the measures that we are putting in place and why would he promote those measures if the New Democrats are so against them?
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CPC (YT)
View Ryan Leef Profile
2015-05-07 13:20 [p.13601]
Mr. Speaker, I am certainly pleased, today, to stand in this House to add my comments about Bill S-3, an act to amend the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act.
We have heard today from many members of this House on the merits of these amendments. I will be using my time to reiterate the need for these amendments and highlight a few of the key points that have been discussed.
As we have heard, the purpose of the bill is to enable Canada to ratify the international agreement on port state measures to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
As a former conservation officer myself and ex officio fisheries officer, I understand that a strong, sustainable fishing industry supports jobs and economic growth in rural communities and, indeed, in all communities in this country. In Canada, the seafood industry is a major economic driver. Canadian fishermen work hard and play by the rules. Our country has a rigorous fisheries management system and measures in place to ensure that our fisheries are sustainable and will be present for future generations.
Unfortunately, not all of the world's oceans are so well protected. While Canada's current Coastal Fisheries Protection Act and extensive catch monitoring programs already deter illegal fishing vessels from entering our ports, the bill would further expand our powers to prevent illegal fish from entering the Canadian marketplace and support the global effort to stop illegal fishing.
I cannot stress enough that globally illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is an issue of grave concern. The port state measures agreement would deal with the worldwide problem of illegal fishing, which has serious economic and environmental consequences to Canadians. Fish are a highly valued commodity and, as such, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing has rapidly become a new global challenge. Illegal fishing operators gain economic advantage over legitimate fish harvesters through lower costs of operation, by circumventing national laws and regulations.
They also undermine conservation and management measures of regional fishery management organizations and other international standards, often including those for labour and safety conditions for the crew, the men and women who work aboard those vessels.
Illegal fish in the global market can depress prices for fish products from legitimate fish harvesters. Canadian fishermen feel the impacts of illegal fishing, including unfair competition and price fluctuations created by illegal producers flooding the international markets. Canadian seafood exports are worth $4 billion annually and 85% of all of our fish harvested is exported.
Therefore, Canada has a major economic stake in ensuring that illegal fish are kept off the global market.
We need to continue to be leaders in the international fight against threats to our fishing industry, in order to maintain a fair and stable market environment for our high quality fish and seafood exports.
Canada has a well-regulated fisheries. We are not the problem when it comes to illegal fishing. However, we can be part of the global situation and global solution. By strengthening the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act, we would protect this vital resource and support the international fight against this global scourge.
On this side of the House, we stand by our commitments. Canada signed the port state measures act agreement in 2010 and, as demonstrated by this bill being brought forward today, we will follow through on this commitment.
The amendments to the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act would also expand our capacity to deal with illegally caught fish from other jurisdictions. If a vessel is fishing outside of the controls required by a regional fish management organization or international norms, then fish caught by that vessel would be subject to intervention under this act.
We would now have the ability to deal with illegal fish product imports in an efficient way that would support the intent of the port state measures agreement.
We are proud of the already strong port access regime for foreign fishing vessels. Among other measures, Canada does not allow entry to vessels that are on the illegal, unreported and unregulated lists of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization or the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas.
These lists are a key tool for combatting illegal fishing globally. Included on these lists are fishing vessels and any craft that helps fishing vessels engage in illegal acts. For example, crafts providing fuel, transshipping products or packing materials would be covered and included in the list.
With these proposed amendments, we would be building on the already strong legislation to protect fishermen and fisherwomen and our national economy. Arrangements have already been undertaken among several regional fisheries management organizations to share such lists so that members can take the necessary action to deny port entry or services to these listed vessels. This would make illegal fishing more difficult and expensive for criminals.
The proposed changes to the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act set out tough prohibitions against the importation of illegally caught fish and other living marine organisms. Contravention of these provisions would be an offence under the amended Coastal Fisheries Protection Act, with strict penalties specified under the act. Together, these measures would help to dry up the profits from illegal fishing activities.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada, in close collaboration with the Canada Border Services Agency, would carry out enforcement with a view to protect legitimate cross-border trade of fish and seafood products. Preventing illegally taken fish and seafood products from entering Canadian markets is also a priority for Canada's trading partners, such as the United States and the European Union. Controls at the border for illegal fish harvests would bolster Canada's reputation as a responsible nation and a responsible trading partner.
I am a member of the fisheries committee. During our study of the bill, additional technical amendments were introduced to further strengthen this bill. The first new amendment introduced would enable Canada to make regulations that could specifically document requirements for the imports of fish and seafood products from fisheries management organizations, to which Canada is not party. This is a practical measure, as these amendments would address the situation of illegally harvested seafood from parts of the world where Canada does not fish, but from which it imports. Should a regional fisheries management organization in another region implement certification measures, we would have the authority to also require this documentation. This is a common sense measure and a common sense amendment, which we heard in committee, and we are pleased to put that forward. It would also ensure consistency and improve the sustainability of fisheries throughout the world while we are protecting legitimate trade.
The second amendment is a technical, common sense amendment to ensure that vessels or goods that have been seized are not returned to the offender upon conviction.
The bill, along with the additional amendments presented in the committee report to the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act that are before the House, would strengthen and clarify Canada's domestic rules and reinforce its leadership in the global fight against harmful fishing. This bill demonstrates Canada's commitment to addressing the global challenge of combatting illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing by ensuring a modern legislative framework.
I am proud to be part of a government that is taking action against this global problem, which impacts our fishermen and fisherwomen here at home. We cannot tolerate the illegal exploitation of the world's great resources.
View Ryan Leef Profile
CPC (YT)
View Ryan Leef Profile
2015-05-07 13:31 [p.13602]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for both his intervention here and his contributions to our fisheries committee. I look forward to his remarks later in the day. As we move this forward, members heard in my intervention how critical unreported, unregulated fisheries are, not just in Canada but globally. We have a number of key partners involved in this, some 25 states signing onto this agreement, 11 of which have completed and are signatories to this now.
It is important that we get this right. It is important that we take the time, which we did at the fisheries committee where we engaged in a pretty detailed review of this. We were able to ask for technical advice and get the proper input to make sure that we had the right piece of legislation going forward.
We can preserve and protect the integrity of Canada's fishing industry, both our imports and our exports. That is not something that should be taken lightly or rushed through. The House, the Senate and our committee have given it due consideration as reflected by the amendments that are now being put forward here today. We have done a good job. I think the committee has done a good job and Canada can be proud of this. Our industry can be confident that this piece of legislation is going to leave Canada at the forefront of tackling this very serious issue.
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CPC (YT)
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2015-05-07 13:33 [p.13603]
Mr. Speaker, my colleague's question is important and he raises a great point about Canada and the geography. There are 25 member states that are required to sign this FAO agreement and 11 have done so, so we are not quite at the halfway point yet. Canada is such a massive nation and the member pointed out that our coastline is so significant. When we look at what our primary law enforcement agencies and others are doing to deter, detect, prevent and enforce regulations on such a broad coastline, I think they should be commended.
As we look at signing these agreements, we need to make sure that we have the legislation right, and that the tools are appropriate and proper, not just for those agencies, but in the context of the geography in which they have to work. Canada has to do land-based patrols, aerial surveillance patrols, sea patrols, dockside monitoring, electric monitoring, all kinds of things from coast to coast to coast. It is not an easy task, but Canadians are doing a great job. Canada is showing significant leadership on this file simply because of the operating conditions that we work in.
We are in a vastly different pool of regulatory regimes here in Canada and we are doing a wonderful job. Other nations can look to Canada and see how we are able to deter, prevent and detect unregulated, unreported fishing with such big boundaries to protect. The men and women who are doing that job are doing a fantastic job.
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CPC (YT)
View Ryan Leef Profile
2015-05-07 13:55 [p.13605]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his intervention. He started with this and he ended with it: how disappointed he has been that this process has taken so long.
I ask my hon. colleague now to join me in calling on all members to remain seated. We can let the debate collapse and move to a voice vote, because the only thing that is delaying this from going forward now, it would appear to me—if the member is so concerned about getting the bill passed and done so quickly—is the continued debate on it. If we all agreed to sit down, this would go to a voice vote and we would be done. No more complaints about—
View Ryan Leef Profile
CPC (YT)
View Ryan Leef Profile
2015-05-06 17:13 [p.13557]
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to join the debate on Bill C-46. I would like to thank my hon. colleague, who spoke just before me, for being so generous in splitting her time with me today.
I am obviously pleased to be here because this speaks directly to our government's priorities: energy, security, economic growth and environmental protection. The pipeline safety act would deliver all three. It recognizes the importance of pipelines to transport the energy we need and use every single day in this vast country. Whether it is to fuel our cars, power our businesses or factories, or heat our homes, like the homes in Yukon, my home riding, pipelines play an essential role in moving our necessary energy around this country. It supports a significant role the oil and gas sectors play in our national economy.
We have heard the numbers many times in the House, but they are worth repeating. The energy sector, led by our abundant oil and gas resources, directly contributed almost 10% of Canada's economy in 2013. It also generated an average of $25 billion a year in federal and provincial revenues between 2008 and 2012. When we think about those numbers and the programs and services that the federal and provincial governments are able to deliver to their respective jurisdictions, be they social support, education, health, environmental initiatives or economic priorities, those numbers contribute greatly to allow each provincial and federal government to deliver for the priorities of Canadians.
Finally, the pipeline safety act reflects the importance we have placed on making pipelines safer. Under our government, energy security and economic growth will never come at the expense of environmental safety. That is why our comprehensive plan for responsible resource development makes clear that no resource development will be permitted unless projects are deemed to be safe, safe for Canadians and safe for the environment. Indeed, our government has proven that time and time again.
The pipeline safety act is a key component of this plan for responsibly developing our natural resources. As we know, Bill C-46 is based on three key pillars: incident prevention, preparedness and response, and liability and compensation.
There is widespread agreement that this legislation hits the mark on all three pieces. Indeed, a cross-section of witnesses offered expert testimony on the bill to the Standing Committee on Natural Resources, of which I am a member. There was general consensus that the legislation is needed and, indeed, a positive step.
After taking a closer look at some of the key provisions in the legislation, I hope Canadians will have a better understanding of how Bill C-46 would contribute to achieving all three priorities. We will continue to create and protect jobs and opportunities for Canadians from coast to coast to coast by encouraging our country's energy independence.
We will do so while maintaining and strengthening one of the most stringent and effective pipeline safety regimes in the world. In fact, each and every day Canadians drive, sleep and work over top of hundreds of thousands of kilometres of pipelines in our country.
As we heard in other debates and interventions from members in the House, Canada's pipeline safety record is tremendous, a 99.99% safety record. That is something we can certainly boast about. It is something that Canadians should have a great deal of pride in and it certainly warrants the measure of Canada having a world-class safety regime. What does that mean in respect of how other countries operate in the world, in terms of their safety and our legislative competence with this? Let me touch on a couple of those pieces.
The spill rate in Canada in comparison to other countries was 57% lower than in Europe and 60% lower than in the United States over an 11-year period. That is a pretty exceptional record. While the United States and the United Kingdom have similar legislation in place, the $1 billion minimum financial capacity, an absolute limited liability, is unique to this Canadian legislation.
Canada will also be unique in having a cost recovered financial backstop model that provides complete coverage for cleanup and damages.
I think everyone in the House would agree that prevention of any kind of accident or any kind of spill is the most important piece of our environmental protection regime. If something were to occur, with the $1 billion limited liability backstop and with penalties under the act, Canadians could be assured that breaches of any provision in this legislation would be taken seriously and that taxpayers would not be on the hook for the cleanup.
Exactly what kind of penalties would pipeline companies be subject to if they were to break the law? If we exceeded our ambition and our goals of prevention being the first and most important step and an accident were to occur, pipeline operators would be subject to the same laws that govern all industry activities in Canada, which means they would be liable without limit for incidents when they are at fault or negligent.
Second, under the National Energy Board, companies are subject to fines and imprisonment depending on the severity of the offence. Third, responsible resource development gave the NEB additional powers to implement administrative monetary penalties which enable the NEB to fine companies for contraventions of any regulations and orders. This is a new tool that would ensure smaller offences are punished.
The measures proposed today would enhance and further clarify all of these provisions. What are companies going to do to update any of the old pipelines? I know this question was posed to the previous speaker, but there are three principles that need to be recalled when this is taken under consideration.
We want to define our world-class safety systems. Prevention, of course, is integral to that piece of the plan. The legislation requires the use of best available technologies as well as the integration of aboriginal communities and businesses in pipeline safety, pipeline monitoring and operations.
All federally regulated pipelines would be impacted by these proposed measures regardless of whether they are operating, planned or under construction. Old, new or proposed plans would be subject to this new pipeline regime.
We have some questions that will mostly come around on what we are wanting to do to ensure why we are not requiring companies to create a pooled fund in advance of a spill. We are concerned about the worst case scenario. There is that old adage, hope for the best, prepare for the worst.
With our safety record in place of 99.99%, we still do have to be realistic in terms of what we can expect to see and reflect back on some past incidents to guide us in that direction. At the same time we must ensure that while we are balancing out the necessary protection for the environment and the communities in which these pipelines operate, we are realistic about allowing these companies to move ahead with moving Canada's much needed energy around this country.
From that point we can assure Canadians that any backstop, if it is assessed, will be fully recovered from industry to ensure that the taxpayers are protected. That is a fundamental piece. While Canadians expect, want and demand the strictest and safest pipeline regime, they also want to know that if there are any accidents, they as taxpayers are not responsible for cleaning it up.
We hold that firm and we have in many other pieces of legislation that we put forward. This is no exception. The polluter pay principle stands. The polluter pay principle is something Canadians want. The polluter pay principle is something Canadians expect and the polluter pay principle is something that this government is going to deliver as we move forward with our responsible resource development regime.
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CPC (YT)
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2015-05-06 17:23 [p.13558]
Mr. Speaker, I do not disagree that social licence is an important part of what we do in our responsible resource development regime.
It is important to understand that part of this legislation imbeds some of those very fundamental pieces. The polluter pays principle is very much based on what the public has told us they want, expect and demand, as I said in my intervention.
We have also imbedded in this legislation the requirements and the commitment to work with aboriginal and first nations communities, not only in proposed projects but also in terms of developing and utilizing best technologies as we move forward to ensure the continued integrity of a world-class safety regime.
That, of course, comes not just from subject-matter experts that deal with this but from community subject-matter experts who live, work and play in regions where pipelines operate safely every single day in this country.
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CPC (YT)
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2015-05-06 17:26 [p.13559]
Mr. Speaker, I guess I am bit perplexed about why the member opposite would assume that the Navigable Waters Protection Act did anything but deal with navigation on waters, and where anybody assessing that piece of legislation, or who is tasked with the inspection, enforcement and regulation of the Navigable Waters Protection Act, would be in a position to deal with pipelines.
There is no more suitable board in this country than the National Energy Board to deal with national energy issues. It seems to be the case, though, every time, that the opposition, when we make streamlined, efficient and effective decisions around people who are designed and should be governing particular things, looks to other pieces of legislation to find excuses as to where, how and why these changes should not be made.
I imagine the member opposite would probably propose that if we made changes to the stuffed animals and toys protection act that that somehow would jeopardize the environment.
This does not. It only strengthens the environmental regime. We will continue on that track and Canadians know that.
View Ryan Leef Profile
CPC (YT)
View Ryan Leef Profile
2015-05-06 17:28 [p.13559]
Mr. Speaker, as we maintain public confidence in this through the polluter pay principle, which is clearly important to all Canadian citizens, we are also introducing concrete measures to enhance pipeline safety under the pillars of prevention, preparedness and response, and liability and compensation.
Canadians can be assured that with those pillars in place in this legislation, our government will commit to doing everything we can to achieve those strong pillars in order to ensure we adhere to everything we have set out in responsible resource development.
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