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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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?
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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—
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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?
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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.
View Ryan Leef Profile
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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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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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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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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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.
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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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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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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—
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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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View Ryan Leef Profile
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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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.
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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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2015-05-05 15:00
Mr. Speaker, the opposition parties sadly oppose our tax cuts for northern families and, instead, propose tax hikes on the middle class.
They even support a carbon tax, which would make life far more difficult for northern families.
When the Liberals were in government, they failed to meet the obligations to the people in Nunavut and—
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
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2015-05-05 15:43
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to engage in this debate. Before I do, I will let the House know that I will be splitting my time with the hard-working member for Edmonton Centre.
I have before me the bill. One of the important pieces of Bill C-51 comes in the preamble of the bill. It says:
Whereas activities that undermine the security of Canada are often carried out in a clandestine, deceptive or hostile manner, are increasingly global, complex and sophisticated, and often emerge and evolve rapidly...
We have an obligation in Parliament to ensure that when we ask our law enforcement agencies and our security intelligence services to deal with these ever-evolving, complex and changing threats, we provide them the mechanisms to do so. To ask them to keep up with the evolution of these threats and the sophistication of them with one hand tied behind their backs is irresponsible as a government, unfair to them and unfair to all Canadians.
To assure everyone, and the Canadians participating by watching this debate, in the preamble itself and embedded throughout the 63 pages of Bill C-51, all of which I have read, studied and gone over multiple times, it states that information that is relevant to “the security of Canada is to be shared in a manner that is consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the protection of privacy”. That is embedded in the very beginning of the legislation and it is consistent throughout the bill in a number of the sections. I am sure I will have time to go over those with some of the questions members may pose for me.
Canadians want strong action to deal with the jihadi terrorists who exist today globally and who are affecting our country. That is exactly what we would do with the anti-terrorism act, 2015 and why I am proud to support it.
The bill would do four concrete things. It would create a mechanism for internal government information sharing for the purpose of protecting national security. It would modernize the passenger protect program that is colloquially known as the “no fly list”. It would criminalize the production and dissemination of jihadist propaganda. It would also give CSIS some new tools to stop terrorist threats before they end in tragedy.
The fact is that the international jihadist movement has declared war on Canada and her allies. Canadians are being targeted by terrorists simply because they hate our society and the values it represents. Jihadi terrorism is not a human right; it is an act of war.
It is why our government has put forward measures to protect Canadians against jihadi terrorists who seek to destroy the very principles that make Canada the best country in the world in which to live. That is also why Canada is no longer sitting on the sidelines. Some of us would prefer that we do that instead of joining our allies in supporting the coalition in the fight against ISIL. Our government believes it is not right to sit on the sidelines, that we have an obligation and a duty to act, and we will.
Our government has increased resources available to our police by one-third and we have allocated more resources to CSIS, the RCMP and CBSA by almost $300 million to bolster our front-line services in our efforts to counter terrorism. Our government will continue to ensure that our police forces have the resources they need to keep Canadians safe.
I would like to focus my remarks on the new powers for CSIS to disrupt threats before they happen. As I mentioned in my opening remarks, some of these changes are very much common sense.
Oftentimes CSIS agents are positioned to intervene at an early stage because they primarily operate in the pre-criminal space when the terrorist attack is being planned. However, shockingly, in current day agents are prohibited from taking any action to disrupt those plots. They can only collect information.
I will read a quote from Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, the president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. He said in committee, “It's amazing to me that disrupting is currently prohibited. Remember, disrupting doesn't mean you're arresting these individuals. You're not violating their personal property rights. You're just taking them out of commission. You're actually disrupting a plot”.
I think to all Canadians, it would seem common sense, that when our security intelligence services have information that they have reasonable grounds to believe there is a terrorist plot in the making, they would then have the ability to somehow disrupt that plot.
Sometimes that kind of action boils down to things as simple as approaching parents and speaking with them about a family member or a child who CSIS believes is becoming radicalized. Imagine, present day, when our security intelligence services knows this information, there is no provision in law for them to go into the home, engage in discussion and then engage in a plan to deal with that information and stop the radicalization to prevent it from manifesting itself further. I think Canadians would be alarmed to know that information could not allow our security intelligence services to take a simple step of talking with families or people in our country to prevent a terrorist threat.
We might hear instances where they currently do that, but that is in the context of their present mandate of intelligence gathering rather than actual threat disruption. These are examples of threat disruption that do not require a warrant and are currently legal for anyone to do. It would not make sense for CSIS officers to require warrants in order to ask parents to speak to their children or engage in conversations in online chat rooms, which are becoming more and more the mode of communication in our present day technological world.
As clearly outlined in the bill, CSIS would need a judicially-approved warrant for anything that would infringe on the rights of an individual or any activity that could be contrary to law. Furthermore, the judge would need to be convinced that such powers were reasonable and proportional to the threat. In fact, in those sections there are more than four stages of approach that officers have to go through prior to those warrants being authorized. Those stages are far more onerous and detailed than any other provision in criminal law that a regular law enforcement officer needs to go through. How do I know that? I have done those myself as a law enforcement officer.
The provisions contained in the bill in terms of the Canadian Security Intelligence Agency first even reaching the approval stage to take that matter before a judge is one full stage. The officers then have to demonstrate to a judge that all of the conditions would be met for a warrant to be authorized. There are no less than eight conditions for that step to take place. The judge then has the opportunity to accept or deny that request or ask for greater information and modify it. If a warrant is authorized by the judge, CSIS officers who have sought the warrant then have to ensure, under legislation, that the conditions for which the warrant was granted still exist prior to taking any action. Therefore, there are four different levels with multiple conditions under each level to ensure effective and proper oversight of the granting of any action.
I know the opposition wants to fearmonger and suppose that now CSIS can all of a sudden get warrants to interrupt and access the information of Canadians or stomp all over their rights. This is a four-stage process, including final judicial review, that puts onerous and legislative conditions on CSIS officers.
I know I have limited time left, but I know Bill C-51 would ensure the right balance between the protection and preservation of the freedom of Canadians, while at the same time ensure that our law enforcement and security service agencies have the tools they need in a modern context so they can stop these threats that, as I mentioned in the preamble of this bill, are ever-evolving, global in nature and changing daily. It is our obligation as a responsible government to ensure they have the tools to do their job to keep Canadians safe, while preserving everybody's collective freedom.
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2015-05-05 15:54
Mr. Speaker, our government recognizes the need to continually invest in the front-line law enforcement service, but, as the member rightfully pointed out, in every aspect and on every occasion, the RCMP does not have all the tools it needs to combat terrorism. One of the tools we are able to provide it is greater legislation. That is part of it. It is not all about money. It is not all about financial resources. Sometimes it is about policies and legislation, and Bill C-51 reflects that.
Bill C-51 also has an essential element, which is to build critical partnerships between law enforcement and security service agencies. If we were to ask the RCMP to do this on its own, it is already behind the game. However, the bill would allow information sharing between departments so all departments in the Canadian government could ensure they were partnered in this to identify and help protect and prevent these threats.
That is why we have allowed additional authority for CSIS, so one agency is not on its own trying to deal with a threat that is global in nature, sophisticated and rapidly evolving. It is not responsible for us to expect one agency in the Government of Canada to do it on its own and the bill would ensure that all agencies could work together effectively. That is what Canadians expect, and that is what we are delivering.
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2015-05-05 15:56
Mr. Speaker, in layman's terms, it would allow different agencies, such as CSIS, on one hand, to identify propaganda information that tries to recruit or promote terrorism activity that is being disseminated online or being utilized in blogs for a direct or generalized targeting of Canadians for the purpose of terrorism growth, enhancement and recruitment. Where law enforcement agencies did not have the ability in the past to intercept or act on them, whether it is CSIS or the RCMP, this legislation would allow those agencies to identify them. There is a portal now, and a hope and a reason, for Canadians to report the online dissemination, promotion or recruitment of Canadians using these new technologies.
As the bill states, the ever-evolving threat is coming more and more in the form of this broad-based dissemination in the technological world, in any form of social media, whether it is Facebook, the Internet, Twitter, whatever it happens to be. This would give our law enforcement agencies the tools to identify and interrupt that when they arrive.
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2015-04-24 11:58 [p.12996]
Mr. Speaker, Omar Ahmed Khadr is a convicted murderer. Under the direction of jihadist terrorists, he killed army medic Sergeant Christopher Speer. He left Tabitha Speer without a husband. He left Taryn and Tanner Speer without a father.
The media is reporting that this terrorist will now receive bail and will be out on our streets. Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness please update the House on our government's position on this outcome?
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2015-04-23 13:21 [p.12934]
Mr. Speaker, it is always wonderful to listen to the Liberal members opposite talk about their plans and then say, “We have great plan, we're going to do all this, but you're just going to have to wait and see.” On this side of the House, we are not actually all that worried or waiting with bated breath to see any plan that the Liberals produce because it really does not matter, However, I am curious just for interest's sake because our plan of course includes record levels of transfer payments.
Let us talk a bit about that plan, which would include $923 million to my home territory in the Yukon, which is record level and would be 73% higher than previous Liberal governments. However, the Liberals back then balanced the budgets by cutting and slashing those transfer payments to the provinces and territories, affecting health care, affecting education, affection social outcomes, affecting economic outcomes, affecting the territories' and provinces' local abilities to set local priorities and local initiatives.
I wonder if the hon. member's plan, which nobody has ever seen and probably nobody ever will see, would include slashing those transfer payments to the provinces and territories again? Does it include slashing the important family tax cut that we have put in place in this? Does it include increasing taxes? How on Earth will the Liberals ever reconcile their history with what they anticipate their future to be?
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2015-04-23 13:37 [p.12936]
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for her intervention today. I do applaud her for her passion and commitment to violence prevention programs against women. Of course, I think that is important to all members in this House. It is certainly important to me as a member of Parliament for the Yukon, with some of the long-term investments and personal contributions I have made to that very topic long before I got into politics.
I wonder if the member would help me understand. We have moved through a whole suite of legislative programs that are designed to prevent violence against women. They are also designed to afford people in our communities a greater opportunity in life, be that through work, shelters, a homeless partnering strategy, or the $252 million for the action plan against violence. All of these things formulate a suite of programs and services that help reduce risky lifestyles and outcomes for Canadians. However, time and time again, the Liberal members vote against that. I understand their position on missing and murdered aboriginal women, but that is not the only source of action. They speak about that as though it is the solution and the only solution.
I am curious why the member would vote against all of those other measures that are indeed improving the lives of Canadians day to day, in which we are investing, and stand up solely for a national inquiry, and not help on all the other fronts. I find it a little disingenuous, but I would like to give her the opportunity to respond to those very pieces against which she has voted.
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2015-04-23 14:04 [p.12940]
Mr. Speaker, last night, when I was working late, I was interrupted by cheers and honks. I thought it had to do with the Ottawa Senators beating the Montreal Canadiens 1-0 to push themselves into game 5 of that series. Actually, it was just thousands of Canadians still celebrating the balanced budget that we tabled this week.
That balanced budget includes $923 million for the Yukon territory, increased transfer payments, record levels, constant dollar increases year after year under the leadership of this Conservative government. Contrast that with previous Liberal governments that balanced the budgets on the backs of provinces and territories by slashing transfer payments to my home territory.
These important transfers allow local governments to determine local priorities for their health care, their education, their social responsibilities, their environmental concerns and their economic opportunity
I am proud to say that I am part of a government that is ensuring local determination by local governments. We will continue on that track. We will resist any opportunity that the Liberals want to do to raise taxes.
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2015-04-21 15:00 [p.12839]
Mr. Speaker, unlike the previous Liberal governments that balanced their budgets by slashing transfer payments to our territories and cutting programs and services, our government is making record levels of investments in the north.
We are giving Northerners the opportunities and the tools they need to shape their own future.
Could the Minister of the Environment update the House on what our government is doing and how we are investing in the great people of Canada's north?
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2015-04-20 16:17 [p.12770]
Mr. Speaker, I have a quote here and would not mind hearing some comments on it. It is from the assistant commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard, Western Region Canada, who said, “Kitsilano, should it have been in place, would not have been called upon for environmental response in this scenario”.
The members opposite continue to reference Kitsilano as though its closure would have had some impact on the Coast Guard response. We have a direct quote from the assistant commissioner. Is my colleague opposite in effect saying that the assistant commissioner is wrong?
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2015-04-20 16:36 [p.12773]
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today in the House and speak to this important motion.
Of course, our government is committed to protecting both the safety of Canadians and our maritime environment. We have made that abundantly clear through our continued and unprecedented investments in the Canadian Coast Guard fleet.
A key responsibility of the Canadian Coast Guard is to protect our waters through coordinating responses to emergency pollution incidents. To do so, Canadians rely on Canada's marine safety system, a robust, multi-layered regime built on strong partnerships across industry, all levels of government and stakeholders.
The environmental response regime of this system is what I will be using my time to discuss today. While my speech will focus mainly on the Coast Guard response, I would like to take a moment to highlight the other partners that protect the marine environment. For example, this system is founded on a comprehensive framework that is led by Transport Canada. Transport Canada has a key role in inspecting vessels to ensure that they are compliant with Canada's rigorous safety standards. If pollution ends up in the water, it investigates and when necessary, Transport Canada will prosecute the polluters. Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans also play an important role in supporting this system by ensuring that we have the best scientific information available to support our decision-making.
When it comes to the role of the Canadian Coast Guard, its top priorities are to ensure the safety of mariners and the protection of the marine environment. When a response to pollution on the water is required, it is the Coast Guard that ensures the cleanup happens and that it is done right. This is not an uncommon job at all for the Coast Guard. In fact, each year the Coast Guard addresses and investigates approximately 1,300 maritime pollution incidents.
Depending on the situation, the Coast Guard can have a different response and take on different responsibilities during the cleanup effort. In Canada it is the shipowner's responsibility to ensure they clean up any pollution they have caused. If this is the case, the Coast Guard monitors the situation and ensures that the owner follows through appropriately. When the polluter is unknown, unwilling or unable to step up to the task, as we have witnessed in the early hours of the MV Marathassa operation, the Coast Guard then looks after the interests of Canadians and the environment by taking the lead and ensuring pollution is contained and removed.
I want Canadians to understand that they are not on the hook for the costs to clean up marine pollution. In Canada, polluters pay. Let me reiterate that the response is not on the taxpayer's dime but squarely on the polluter's.
A key component of the polluter pay regime is the requirement that vessels of a certain size have an arrangement with a Transport Canada certified response organization to clean up any pollution they may cause. Those organizations charge a fee to ships by the tonne to fund Canada's robust response capacity. Those response organizations in turn are required to maintain response plans and equipment. The legal requirement is that the certified response organizations maintain a capacity to respond to a 10,000 tonne event, which places Canada at the forefront in terms of spill response. In the case of the Marathassa, it was this kind of response organization with extensive capacity and expertise that undertook the cleanup work under the supervision of the Canadian Coast Guard.
I would like to reiterate the statements made by my colleagues earlier today and address the motion before us.
The commissioner of the Coast Guard has been crystal clear. The Kitsilano station was not an environmental response station and has never provided the kind of environmental response that the Marathassa operation required.
As we have seen, the Canadian Coast Guard has the capacity to manage major ship-source pollution. It plans for these events. It trains its employees and practices the operations with partners to ensure everyone is prepared should such an incident occur. The Canadian Coast Guard has the ability to take these measures and the measures it believes are necessary to minimize or prevent pollution damage to the environment.
In addition to the certified environmental response organizations, the Coast Guard has its own environmental response assets and equipment strategically located across the country.
The Canadian Coast Guard follows a solid and effective response protocol in responding to the thousand-plus reports of pollution it receives each year. When one of those reports comes in, the first thing the Coast Guard does is investigate it. Coast Guard officials want to know where it is coming from, what it is, and what measures should be taken to protect our waters. Once the determination of the right course is made, they activate the response. They inform the polluters of their responsibilities or take over the response if the polluters are not known or are not able or willing to respond effectively.
The number one goal in a response is to protect the marine environment. I cannot stress enough how important that is to the Canadian Coast Guard, and any decision made during an operation is made with this goal in mind.
As I have mentioned, Canada has one of the strongest marine safety regimes in the world. That being said, we cannot rest on our past or on our successes, and our government is committed to continuing to make our response system even safer. The increase in trade and shipping in Canadian waters is an important consideration for our evolving system, and we are taking action to enhance an already robust marine safety system through the implementation of world-class measures.
Being fully prepared to respond to pollution is only part of the equation. The key to protecting the environment is preventing pollution from happening in the first place. The Canadian Coast Guard is implementing several new prevention measures that will reduce the risk of pollution in Canadian waters. The measures will increase the safety of marine navigation. These include improving the information available to mariners on waterways on potential hazards in real time, ensuring that the Canadian Coast Guard officers have the leading-edge tools, equipment, and technology to provide safer navigation services. This of course includes the Coast Guard's modernization of its Marine Communications and Traffic Services centres, which will provide state-of-the-art technology to officers to improve services to all mariners.
Our government has taken and will continue to take action to strengthen our already rigorous and robust environmental protection and response system. The Canadian Coast Guard has been a tireless pillar in the safety of our waters and the protection of the marine environment. We thank it for its work and continued support on that front.
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2015-04-20 16:45 [p.12774]
Mr. Speaker, as I stressed in my remarks, what is most important to Canadians is that prevention is the first response of the Government of Canada. We are initiating steps to make sure that accidents do not happen in the first place. The polluter pay principle in fact kicks in only once there has been pollution or when there has been an event. Our preference, and the preference of all members in this House, would be that we take measures and we make investments, and the Government of Canada is doing so, to make sure that an event does not occur in the first place. However, when it does, it is important for Canadians to know that they are not on the hook for the cleanup.
The cleanup, at times, can be very costly. The polluter pay principle in this case is one that directs and dictates that the owners and operators of these vessels need to make sure that they have a system in place ahead of time. It is not something they engage in after the fact but ahead of time to make sure that cleanups can be dealt with in an effective, expeditious, and cost-sensible measure that does not impact the Canadian public.
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2015-04-20 16:47 [p.12774]
Mr. Speaker, I will quickly touch on the Auditor General's comments from several years ago. How I can explain that is that it was certainly because of the Liberals' legacy we inherited and their deficits, and I can say that since 2005--
An hon. member: Oh, oh!
Mr. Ryan Leef: Mr. Speaker, it is interesting that I gave the hon. member the due respect of listening to his question, but he is not prepared to get the answer.
I know he does not like it, but since 2005, our government has increased investments in the Canadian Coast Guard by 27% over what the Liberal government left behind. All the improvements in Coast Guard infrastructure, all the improvements in Coast Guard support and capacity are a direct result of the deficit left behind by the Liberal government. That explains that piece of it.
Is there anyone outside of the Conservative caucus who thinks the response was appropriate? Let me say this. This individual is not a member of the Conservative caucus and is a valued public servant. The Liberal opposition third party seems to have no problem chastising and throwing under the bus the great people in the public service who do good work for us. Michael Lowry, of Western Canada Marine Response, says there was no delay in its response. The time between when it was officially activated by the Coast Guard and when the first boat arrived was an hour and 19 minutes, which is an incredible response time. The assistant commissioner made remarks about the response time.
While the third party feels comfortable chastising the great people in the Coast Guard of Canada, we will stand behind them and continue to support them with investments.
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2015-03-27 10:27 [p.12458]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the parliamentary secretary how important it is to have this kind of legislation as a deterrent in Canada. She anecdotally talked about the people closest to the perpetrators not being able to recognize that. From a prevention standpoint, it makes it very difficult if the closest people cannot recognize the illness and criminality of the individuals perpetrating these kinds of offences. This kind of legislation will serve as a deterrent and will ensure that reoffending will be a lot more difficult further down the road.
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2015-03-27 10:39 [p.12460]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my hon. colleague to follow up on the tenor of the speeches we heard from the opposition side in respect of the absolute need for prevention first.
Obviously when we present these kinds of bills, they are not done in a vacuum. We have a suite of investments, programs, and services that exist beyond a single piece of legislation on the prevention end. Of course, prevention also includes deterrence, the ability for the Canadian court system to deploy reasonable sentences on people to ensure their ability to reoffend is completely diminished. It also sends a signal to the victims in our country of how seriously this government and our nation takes crimes of this nature.
I am wondering if the hon. member can comment generally on that viewpoint.
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2015-03-23 15:15 [p.12172]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to table a petition on behalf of members in my community calling upon the Government of Canada to secure a 10-year visa deal with China.
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2015-03-13 10:27 [p.12096]
Mr. Speaker, we talked a little bit about barriers in getting programs like this off the ground and having community confidence. Some of that is a lack of legislative direction. What we would provide here is that legislative direction, which has that criteria.
One of the pieces of criteria that I was most interested in hearing about, and I wonder if the hon. member could expand on it a little, is the criteria around ensuring that plans includes treatment plans to go along with the safe injection sites. Communities can understand and invest in that. Could my hon. colleague expand a little bit on that piece in plainer English terms?
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2015-03-13 11:16 [p.12104]
Mr. Speaker, the retirement income security benefit announced on Monday will provide financial stability for veterans who are moderately to seriously injured as well as to their families.
However, our Conservative government is not stopping there. Earlier today the Minister of Veterans Affairs announced strengthened benefits for Canada's part-time reserve force veterans to ensure they have the support they deserve. These improvements will ensure the earnings loss benefit is calculated in the same way for reserve force veterans as it is for regular force veterans.
We place the highest priority on making sure veterans and their families have the support and services they need when they need them. Today's action is more evidence of our Conservative government's commitment to ensuring that veterans and their families are treated with care, compassion, and respect.
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2015-03-13 12:36 [p.12120]
Mr. Speaker, most Canadians understand the challenges of addiction, and most communities and the people who reside within them understand the value that some of these sites and services provide. However, they also understand that there is a need for criminal record checks, community consultation and a treatment service plan so that it is not just a place where people can safely do drugs but a place where they can effectively move toward getting off them. These parameters and the criteria that are outlined not only provide for the safety, health and security of the people who are going there for support and their health, but also provide safety and assurances to the community. That only emboldens and strengthens the integrity of sites like this and community support for sites like this.
It is not members of Parliament who are against these sites. They generate some level of anxiety concerning communities. We are responding to that with solid criteria that will only serve to strengthen the ability of these sites across the country and the confidence of Canadians with respect to their integrity wherever they exist in those communities. In cases where that integrity cannot be met, where that work is not done or where the quality of care is not there, those sites should not be made available because it is not ultimately good for the people who could use them.
Can the member not understand that integrity in these systems is critical for the benefit of the people who will use them?
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2015-03-12 18:49 [p.12087]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to participate in the debate on Bill C-641, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples act. It is a bill that calls on the government to ensure that the laws of Canada are consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
I am the member of Parliament for Yukon, and nearly 25% of my constituents are first nations people. Members can be assured that I understand how important it is that our government upholds aboriginal rights.
In my speech today, I will be outlining several of the key ways that our government is already setting the standard when it comes to honouring these rights.
To begin with, we take great assurance from the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees the rights and freedoms of all individuals, including aboriginals. Moreover, section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, specifically recognizes and affirms existing aboriginal and treaty rights of first nations, Inuit, and Métis in Canada.
As encouraging as this may be, our Conservative government has not been content to leave aboriginal rights and protections here. It has done much more.
I remind my hon. colleagues that it was this government that finally rectified a long-standing injustice related to the Canadian Human Rights Act, a law dating back to 1977. Our government repealed section 67 of the act, a section that effectively exempted the Indian Act from its scrutiny. In doing so, it has given first nations people affected by the Indian Act full access to Canadian human rights law. Indeed, at no time in Canadian history have aboriginal rights been as strong as they are now, and that is largely thanks to this Conservative government.
This is not the only example of how our government's efforts have been maintained to protect and promote the rights of aboriginal people. For instance, in collaboration with first nations people and communities, we developed legislation to address an unacceptable and discriminatory practice. Of course I am referring to the legislative gap regarding matrimonial real property rights on reserves. The Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act guarantees that individuals on reserves, especially women, have rights and protections comparable to other Canadians when it comes to matrimonial real property.
This is real, tangible work that not only protects aboriginal rights but also protects aboriginal people. This legislation remedied a gap in our country's legislative framework that led to many women on reserves being denied ownership of, and even access to, their homes when their conjugal relationships broke down. To assist first nations communities, we have established the arm's-length Centre of Excellence for Matrimonial Real Property.
At the request of first nations, our government also passed the First Nations Elections Act. The legislation provides, for the first time, a strong, open, and transparent first nations electoral system that is comparable to Canada's federal election system. Aside from upholding voters' rights to free and fair elections, the act supports the political stability necessary for first nations governments to make solid business investments, carry out long-term planning, and build relationships.
The First Nations Financial Transparency Act has further strengthened first nations residents' rights and freedoms. This legislation, which also came about at the request of first nations, is increasing transparency and accountability among first nations leaders, empowering community members, and making their governments more effective. Unsurprisingly, this bill, one that provides basic financial transparency on reserve, was opposed by both the NDP and the Liberal Party.
We have also initiated innovative processes to advance treaty negotiations and reconciliation. It is now possible to negotiate incremental treaty agreements, and there is a clear procedure for resolving disputes that stem from conflicts in treaty claims.
Of course, respectful negotiation is not anything new for our government. We have consistently negotiated with first nations to fulfill the fundamental rights of these communities over their traditional lands and waters and over resources on those lands and waters. Since 2007, more than 100 specific claims have been resolved through negotiated agreements. I know that the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development is particularly proud of this accomplishment. That is because much of the progress that we have made in resolving these claims was done to eliminate a backlog left behind by the previous Liberal governments.
As well, this government appointed a ministerial special representative to work with aboriginal groups, provinces, territories and key stakeholders to renew and reform the comprehensive land claims policy.
Our government has also taken steps to expedite the negotiation of treaties by making important changes to Canada's own source revenue policy, resuming treaty fisheries negotiations in British Columbia and employing an additional approach to achieving certainty that was developed in partnership with negotiation partners.
Since 2006, six comprehensive land claims agreements and one stand-alone self-government agreement have been signed between the Government of Canada and first nation and other aboriginal governments and groups.
Clearly, more than simply aspiring to realize the goals of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, we are clearly advancing this agenda. We are making progress on multiple fronts, from human rights and matrimonial property rights, to free and fair elections, to increased financial accountability for first nation officials, to treaty and land claim negotiations.
Despite all of the work that has already been accomplished to advance aboriginal rights, I would be remiss if I did not join my colleague from Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, in discussing the potential danger of adopting the bill.
As he mentioned in his speech, the danger stems largely from article 19 of the UNDRIP. The threshold that the bill sets for aboriginal consultation to seek the free, prior and informed consent of aboriginal people is too high. Even the Supreme Court of Canada agrees. It has been clear that while there certainly exists a duty to consult and, where appropriate, accommodate, there is no duty for the government to secure consent before advancing legislation.
More shocking is that article 19 would give first nations an effective veto over any legislation that our government or any government at all would bring forward.
Our government has been working since we were elected to uphold aboriginal rights, but unlike the opposition parties, we believe in responsible government and understand that these rights have to be balanced against the rights and interests of all Canadians.
For these reasons, I urge all members of the House to support our government in defeating the bill.
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View Ryan Leef Profile
2015-03-09 14:09 [p.11843]
Mr. Speaker, unlike the NDP and the Liberal Party, our government is focused on what matters most to all Canadians: jobs, economic growth, and long-term prosperity, including for northerners and first nations.
That is why I am pleased to report that on February 23, the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development and James Wilson, President of the Gwich'in Tribal Council, signed a memorandum of understanding announcing the launch of an innovative new training and development pilot project, the Gwich'in internship pilot project.
This pilot project will provide Gwich'in participants year-long full-time internship positions within Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada and the Gwich'in Tribal Council.
The paid internships will prepare Gwich'in participants for jobs in the public service and provide them with professional work experience in a variety of government functions. Our government will continue to get results for Yukoners time and time again.
View Ryan Leef Profile
View Ryan Leef Profile
2015-02-23 12:45 [p.11508]
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise today to speak in support of Bill C-51, anti-terrorism act, 2015.
First and foremost, my support for the bill is driven by one single overarching principle, that the international jihadist movement has declared war on Canada.
In the bill, the preamble sets out something that is important to note. I will read directly from Bill C-51, which states:
Whereas activities that undermine the security of Canada are often carried out in a clandestine, deceptive or hostile manner, are increasingly global, complex and sophisticated, and often emerge and evolve rapidly;
That is important because as we ask Canadian security intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies across our country to detect, assess, and prevent threats in an ever-evolving global terrorism climate without themselves evolving, it is both unfair to Canadians, unrealistic to the agencies we task with this role, and irresponsible as a government.
Information sharing can provide critical and otherwise unrecognizable links to exclude or include certain individuals, activities, or groups that could pose a threat to the security of Canada. It is not unusual for Canadian security intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies to share information to determine inculpatory or exculpatory evidence that would help them focus their investigations, to prevent or exclude the possibility of a particular activity, group, or individual from participating in those threats.
We have put forward measures to protect Canadians against the jihadist terrorists, as I have said, who have clearly waged a war on Canada. They have done so because they target our society and they hate the values that we represent.
The legislation effectively breaks down silos that exist between government agencies. These silos put Canadians' lives at risk. I think any constituent, mine in particular, would expect that if one branch of government knows information that would be a threat to our security, then naturally that information could be shared with other branches of government.
Currently, it is not a clear case. This legislation seeks to achieve that. Of course, we on this side of the House reject the fundamental argument that is always put forward by the opposition, that every time we talk about security somehow our freedoms are threatened.
We understand that freedom and security go hand in hand and that Canadians expect us, as parliamentarians, to protect both. As I read through the entirety of this bill, all 63 pages of it, there are many checks and balances that I am sure I will be able to talk about as this debate continues. They ensure both the protection and preservation of Canadians' freedoms while at the same time ensuring that security intelligence agencies, our law enforcement agencies, and the multiple departments within the Canadian government that are tasked with Canadians day-to-day security are able to do the job that we expect them to do.
Sometimes I believe that those on the other side of the House forget all of this, but the fundamental fact is that our police and our national security agencies are working to protect our rights and freedoms. That is what jihadist terrorists want to endanger. They want to take that away from us. In essence, the provisions of this bill are designed to do specifically what the opposition is proposing that this legislation is threatening
That being said, of course, it is important that there be a robust accountability structure. In my view, the Canadian model of third party, non-partisan, and independent oversight of our national security agencies is superior to the political intervention in the process that is being suggested by the opposition.
Further, we also know that well-ingrained in this bill are key elements of new legislative authorities that require judicial review and judicial authorization. In other words, in plain language, before any action can be taken, each of the agencies tasked with the responsibilities require show cause. They require warrant authorization, and those warrants require in-depth explanation as to the reasonable and probable grounds that exist to ask for warrants, to ask for intervention, to ask for the mechanisms to disrupt, interrupt, or proceed with investigations to deal with the threats that they face.
Therefore, any characterization by the opposition that this would impede Canadians' rights, when certain sections specifically express the legal requirements to respect that, in my opinion, is the opposition challenging the ability of our courts to exercise their judicial oversight when it comes to assessing the merits, need, and expeditious requirements of anything that law enforcement or security intelligence agencies come to them with. Obviously, I have full confidence that our courts and judiciary can determine, based on the merits, evidence, and information provided by law enforcement agencies on their own, without Parliament trying to intervene.
Additionally, we have heard comments that there are not enough resources to combat terrorist threats in Canada. We have increased the resources that are available to our national security agencies by a third. The Liberals and the NDP have voted against those increases each step of the way. Despite their votes against these increases, of course, our government will continue to ensure that the national security agencies have the resources they need to keep Canada safe, and that includes the legislative resources they require.
There can be no liberty without security, and I will tell members what Canadians feel about this.
Four in five Canadians surveyed by the Angus Reid Institute say that they support this legislation, with 91% in favour of making it illegal to promote terrorism. There are 89% who favour blocking websites that promote terrorism, and 87% support making it easier for law enforcement agencies to add a terror suspect's name to an airline's no-fly list. There are 80% who favour extending the length of time that a terrorist suspect can be detained without charges to seven days from three days; and 81% support giving government departments the authority to share private information, such as passport applications or commercial data, with law enforcement agencies.
It is fairly clear that Canadians understand this legislation. Canadians understand the threats that we face. Canadians understand the roles of law enforcement agencies and security intelligence information. Canadians understand the gaps that currently exist. Canadians also understand the measures we are taking to fill those gaps, to allow Canadians, those agencies, and those groups and organizations that work with those agencies, with an opportunity to engage in this battle without one hand being tied behind their backs.
As I said in my introductory remarks, it is both unfair, unreasonable, and irresponsible for us to expect law enforcement agencies and security intelligence agencies in this country to fight an evolving global terrorism threat without themselves evolving. That makes no sense. We are effectively asking them not to utilize all of the tools and resources that the terrorists are able to utilize in terms of access to information. We are asking them to operate two steps behind in a world that is continually and rapidly changing, effectively, efficiently and harmfully, not only to our nation but to other nations.
It is incumbent upon us to make sure that we are providing our security intelligence and law enforcement agencies with these tools. As I have said, and as is it contained within the bill, there are the necessary protections and preservation of Canadians' freedoms, respect for the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, judicial oversight and review, as well as three and four stages of checks and balances.
I think this piece of legislation has struck the right balance between allowing our law enforcement and security agencies to do the job we expect them to do while at the same time ensuring the privacy and protection of the freedoms we enjoy and deeply respect in this country.
View Ryan Leef Profile
View Ryan Leef Profile
2015-02-23 12:57 [p.11510]
Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned in my introductory remarks, our government has increased investments in the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. We continue to invest. That is one piece of it. We can also talk about front-line law enforcement agencies. It was our government that brought in things like the police officer recruitment fund and doubled and tripled the number of RCMP officers. I recall, in 1998, when the Liberal government actually cut the funds, and I was in depot when they closed it down. There were no front-line police officers coming out at the time. It has been our government that brought forward police officer recruitment, put more law enforcement officers on the front line, and more in our communities. Guess who voted against that? The opposition voted against it.
It is not just financial resources that would allow law enforcement officers to do the job they need to do. They need the legislative tools. They also need to know, and Canadians need to know, that there are consequences to actions that people take. Coincidentally, not only are we giving law enforcement agencies the tools to do their jobs, we are providing consequences for the judiciary to consider when people are convicted.
However, guess what? Once again, the opposition voted against that. Members think that having law enforcement running around this community in great numbers, not enforcing any laws with any tools, or not having any consequences for actions, is public safety. It is not at all. It is a total package, and it is a package that opposition members never support.
View Ryan Leef Profile
View Ryan Leef Profile
2015-02-23 12:59 [p.11510]
Mr. Speaker, most of what is embedded in the legislation is around law enforcement agencies and security intelligence agencies discovering, on reasonable and probable grounds, either an offence or an activity that would cause them concern. Clearly, members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Transport Canada, Canada Border Services Agency, or the Canadian Security Intelligence Service are not going to take the information they have and provide that to members of Parliament so we can all vote on whether or not they get a warrant to act. They have to show cause in front of a justice. That is the natural course of law enforcement investigative procedures. The justice needs to consider that.
There are parameters clearly detailed in this legislation around what the law enforcement and security intelligence agencies have to present in a show cause. There are considerations that are deeply embedded in this legislation that tell the justices what they have to consider, including the nature, extent, and quality of the information in context to the current environmental conditions. Then they can apply that to granting of a warrant or granting of an activity for law enforcement agencies. That is something we cannot debate in the House of Commons. There are protective measures that are required because of national security, individual security, witness security. It only stands to reason that it happen in the courts, and not on the floor of the House of Commons.
View Ryan Leef Profile
View Ryan Leef Profile
2015-02-23 13:58 [p.11518]
Mr. Speaker, we heard the opposition members talking about resources. In my intervention, I mentioned that our government has already increased the resources available for national security by one-third. Of course, the New Democrats voted against that increase.
Would the member comment on this? It is not only about resources but about the fact that this legislation would also allow for tools that would enable us to do more with the resources we have so that we would not be asking our law enforcement agencies and security intelligence services to deal with this threat with one hand tied behind their backs.
View Ryan Leef Profile
View Ryan Leef Profile
2015-02-23 17:10 [p.11548]
Mr. Speaker, my colleague mentioned in her speech the need for oversight. I am wondering if the member would comment on clause 42 of the bill, which clearly spells out that CSIS shall not undertake any measures to reduce the threat to the security of Canada that can contravene the rights guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
If CSIS is going to take any action, a warrant is required. When a warrant application is made, eight conditions have to be put forward to satisfy a justice. The judge then needs to agree that those conditions exist. The judge then needs to authorize that warrant and authorize a number of conditions around that warrant to intervene in any activity that could jeopardize the security of Canada.
Furthermore, the bill expressly states that even after a warrant is authorized, the Security Intelligence Service would have to deem the conditions to still exist before the warrant could be executed. Regardless of whether the warrant is issued by a judge, before the warrant could be executed, the security service would still have to assess whether or not those conditions still prevail. If they do not, CSIS is accountable under this legislation.
Does the member not see that stringent condition as reasonable oversight, and that judges can properly determine the validity of an application made by CSIS?
View Ryan Leef Profile
View Ryan Leef Profile
2015-02-16 13:35 [p.11208]
Mr. Speaker, I know my hon. colleague touched on this a bit but I think it is important to assure Canadians and the great people at the rail company about the following.
Would this legislation propose imposing a settlement; in other words, would it finalize all of the terms of any grievances that exist and force the parties into an actual settlement, or is it just back-to-work legislation to keep the services to Canadians and our economy strong?
View Ryan Leef Profile
View Ryan Leef Profile
2015-02-16 14:09 [p.11212]
Mr. Speaker, our economy is still on the road to recovery. Bringing in higher taxes and higher debt is not the path on which we believe Canadians want to be.
Unfortunately, for the Liberal leader, not all members of his party support his carbon tax scheme. Last week, Yukon Liberal leader, Sandy Silver, said Yukon Liberals did not support a carbon tax for the territory. It is no surprise that northerners have been clear that they cannot afford higher taxes.
The Liberal leader has been clear, though, that he would bring back a carbon tax which would lead to higher taxes for Canadian families and raise the price of everything from heating bills to gas and groceries.
Unlike the Liberals, we will stand with the people of Yukon and the north. We believe that bringing in a job killing carbon tax is reckless. Unlike the leader of the Liberal Party, we will never punish Canadians with higher taxes and job killing schemes like a carbon tax.
View Ryan Leef Profile
View Ryan Leef Profile
2015-02-16 14:56 [p.11221]
Mr. Speaker, the Liberal leader does not understand the north or the needs of northerners. First, he went on what he called a “northern tour”, but he forgot to go to Yukon. He also said that Yukon does not have party politics even though it has had politics like that for decades. He must have been shocked then to hear that the Yukon Liberal leader actually exists and that he opposes the federal Liberal Party's carbon tax because it would be harmful to Yukoners.
Could the Minister of the Environment please tell the House what work our government is doing to help northerners keep more of their hard-earned dollars in their pockets?
View Ryan Leef Profile
View Ryan Leef Profile
2015-02-16 19:44 [p.11254]
Mr. Speaker, my colleague from the Northwest Territories spoke about how important it was that the security services here understand the nature of the business that we do and at times know us personally. In fact, in my intervention I spoke to how remarkable it is that they know each one of us and how important the client service delivery they are able to provide us is to security systems.
However, the member for Northwest Territories implied that it was an impossibility for the RCMP to learn that. I am new to this place. I have been here four years now. I did not know the rules and procedures, but as time went by I learned them. There are training mechanisms in place, and those things are quite possible.
I have a direct question for the member outside of that. Does he recognize that the parliamentary precinct encompasses areas that are in different security zones, such as inside this place, in other buildings on the Hill, on the front property, and in Ottawa proper? We travel on green buses between different buildings, as an example. How does he propose we integrate a security system without the lead of the RCMP? It is the only organization right now that has authority in each one of those places as well as on the streets going toward the Valour Building or the Victoria Building or the Wellington Building. It controls all of the access to the front lawns, both in and out, and not just for the House of Commons.
I wonder if the member for Northwest Territories could highlight exactly how we would integrate that security with any lead other than the RCMP, given those realities of jurisdiction and authority on those properties outside of this physical building.
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