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View Rhéal Fortin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
2018-06-20 14:05 [p.21329]
Mr. Speaker, Quebeckers are no strangers to tense political debate, but we are lovers, not fighters. We debate because we each have our own vision of how Quebec should be, and we all feel our own way is the best.
We debate because we are inspired by our constituents, by people who are proud of who they are and what they do, proud of their families, and proud of the place they call home. They are creative people. They write songs, build airplanes, and jazz up shepherd's pie. They stand by each other. They built themselves a society that gives anyone who wants to work hard a chance. When they decide to do something, they give it their all, knowing that they have just one life to live. That is what we will be celebrating this weekend.
I hope everyone will have a chance to celebrate with good people, I hope the weather will co-operate, and I hope everyone has a great time. Happy national holiday to all Quebeckers.
View Monique Pauzé Profile
BQ (QC)
View Monique Pauzé Profile
2018-06-19 13:58 [p.21262]
Mr. Speaker, the little-known live-in caregiver program fails to protect female foreign workers who come here to work as domestic help. They come here in the hope of making a bit of money and getting permanent resident status after two years. We do not see them in public, as they generally stay in their employer's home. They do not necessarily know their rights, they do not always know our language, but they are prepared to do anything to help their family. They rely on the goodwill of a single employer, without whom they can be deported from the country. Hon. members will agree that the employer therefore has excessive power over these women. These conditions create countless cases of abuse, violence, unpaid work, intimidation, and harassment. I am therefore honoured to sponsor a petition launched by the Centre international de solidarité ouvrière calling on the federal government to take action to guarantee better working conditions for these women. I urge everyone to sign the petition immediately and to be the voice of these women, who far too often do not have a voice.
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
2018-06-19 15:06 [p.21274]
Mr. Speaker, the Liberals' record for this session shows only one priority: cannabis. When Quebec asks for more time to do things properly, Ottawa does not care. When the Quebec National Assembly states its opposition to the limit of four pot plants per family, the Prime Minister makes fun of Quebec's elected officials. When Quebec wants to go at its own pace, Ottawa tells us to take a hike.
Will the Prime Minister finally understand that cannabis is not a priority for anybody but him and his friends, the big Liberal cannabis producers?
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
2018-06-19 15:07 [p.21275]
Mr. Speaker, if cannabis was the main priority for the Prime Minister, here is a list of things that were definitely not priorities for the Liberals: cracking down against tax havens, managing the migrant crisis, tackling climate change, setting appropriate health transfers, securing contracts for the Davie shipyard, and allowing a single tax return.
When will the Prime Minister start paying attention to Quebeckers' real priorities?
View Monique Pauzé Profile
BQ (QC)
View Monique Pauzé Profile
2018-06-19 17:30 [p.21293]
moved that Bill C-392, An Act to amend the Aeronautics Act, the Fishing and Recreational Harbours Act and other Acts (application of provincial law), be read the second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.
She said: Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to rise in the House today. Being able to introduce a bill and debate it is a significant moment for a legislator. Bill C-392 will give me a sense of accomplishment, and members will soon see why.
This bill will ensure that no one will be above our laws. It will help ensure better protection for our environment and farmlands, and it will allow for much more harmonious land use and development. Bill C-392 amends eight federal acts to impose constraints on the ministers responsible for enforcing these acts. This bill deals with legislation regulating pipelines, harbours, docks, airports, telecommunications infrastructure, and all property that enjoys federal immunity, including land managed by the National Capital Commission.
Once this bill is passed, the federal government will no longer be able to authorize an activity or infrastructure project that would violate provincial laws or municipal bylaws on environmental protection and land development. In theory, Quebec belongs to Quebeckers. For the most part, the protection of our territory and environment is governed by Quebec law.
Moreover, Quebec is a pioneer in this area. It has had environmental legislation on the books for almost half a century. It may not be perfect, but it is the best in North America. The same applies to land development. There is a series of laws and regulations to ensure that it is as harmonious as possible at both the provincial and municipal levels.
To ensure Quebeckers’ needs are taken into account, there is a series of consultation mechanisms, for example the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement, and municipal referendums. In short, we have adopted a series of laws and mechanisms to protect our environment, ensure harmonious land development and guarantee that projects have social licence. The same is true of every province.
However, when it comes to projects under federal jurisdiction, none of this applies. For all intents and purposes, the federal government is above provincial law. Quebec laws and municipal by-laws continue to apply, but only insofar as they do not affect activities under federal jurisdiction.
Consider a hypothetical pipeline project. We might demand that the pipe be painted green, blue, black or yellow. That does not cost much or bother anyone. However, we could not impose major constraints or demand costly detours, much less refuse to give our consent for the project. Only the federal government can make these decisions, despite our laws and regardless of the will of my people.
Since I was elected about two years ago, there have been too many federal projects that have caused discontent because we have no say in their implementation. It is as if we were no longer at home at home.
Here are some examples: consider the Act Respecting the Preservation of Agricultural Land and Agricultural Activities, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. We tend to forget, because Quebec has a huge territory, but our farmland is extremely valuable. Only 2% of Quebec’s total land mass is made up of good farmland. When it is contaminated and paved over, it is lost forever. It is lost to posterity.
For 40 years now, developers in Quebec have been prevented from destroying our farmland. They must appear before the Commission de protection du territoire agricole and obtain authorization before building anything in a green zone.
However, in 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that the act did not apply to the construction of aerodromes on protected farmland. Since aeronautics is under federal jurisdiction, these contractors are above provincial law. As a result, since the last election, an airport was built in an agricultural area in Saint-Cuthbert, in the riding of Berthier—Maskinongé. There is another one in Neuville, an aerodrome built smack dab in the middle of a cornfield in the riding of Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier. In both cases, the construction violated provincial law, the Union des producteurs agricoles protested, the municipalities protested, and the Quebec government and the National Assembly protested. No one wanted them, but the federal government gave the go-ahead anyway.
The same thing happened in Mascouche, in my esteemed colleague’s riding of Montcalm. In the case of Mascouche, the bill breaches three laws; not one or two laws, but three laws. It breaches agricultural zoning provisions, municipal zoning provisions and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, because it is in a protected wooded area. My colleague from Montcalm spoke many times in the House on the issue, but that did not matter to the government. It blindly authorized the construction, and the whole thing is now before the courts.
Let us look at other examples. In the case of land development, municipalities are on the front lines. Developing a territory home to thousands of people and sharing it harmoniously in order to avoid conflict is a delicate affair. That is what city planning and zoning regulations are for. Land use planning can only be done at the local level by people who live in the territory in question. After all, it is their territory, their home. Of course, the federal government does not care. It grants businesses under its jurisdiction the same immunity it enjoys from our laws.
I am convinced that every member in the House could tell stories about problems with cell towers being built wherever telecommunications companies please. These companies are above provincial law, above the will of the people, and they certainly are not afraid to take advantage of it. Some cities have tried to pass by-laws to try to straighten things out, but the courts have struck them down one after the other. That is what happened in Terrebonne, Châteauguay and Gatineau. Montreal withdrew its own by-law because, during public consultations, the companies even threatened to sue the city. Industry Canada sent a brief to tell the city to back down.
I could mention the Port of Quebec. IMTT set up shop there, polluting the Limoilou and Saint-Roch neighbourhoods, in the ridings of Beauport—Limoilou and Québec. Residents began mobilizing because of the red dust that settled on their balconies, window sills and outdoor play areas. Among other things, the dust contained nickel, iron, copper and zinc. Did the federal government listen to them? Not at all, because Ottawa is far removed from the real world. At the end of the day, the Quebec government intervened, but it was met with arrogance from the federal government and the businesses it protects under the mantle of its power.
When inspectors from the Quebec ministry for sustainable development, the environment, and the fight against climate change wanted to visit the facilities, the port authorities told them that they had no business there, because the port is under federal jurisdiction. When the Quebec government served a statement of offence under its Environment Quality Act, the company sent it packing. The worst part is that the Quebec Superior Court ruled in favour of the company. The company can flout our laws and poison our urban neighbourhoods as much as it wants. It is above the law.
I have not even mentioned the energy east pipeline, that would have crossed 800 waterways in Quebec without our being able to do a thing about it. These 800 waterways are a source of drinking water for five million Quebeckers. TransCanada consistently refused to apply for a Quebec certificate of authorization, submit to BAPE hearings or comply with Quebec law. If the project had not been abandoned by the company, we would have seen monster protests, and I guarantee that I would have been among the protestors. There would also have been an endless legal battle between the Government of Quebec and the federal government, which systematically sides with companies against Canadians. The government should not be imposing projects on Canadians without their consent.
That is what is happening now in British Columbia, a taste of what will happen if the government tries to revive the energy east pipeline project. We need to settle this now, before it leads to a social and political crisis, which is precisely what will happen if the energy east pipeline project is revived.
I could talk about the federal government’s properties. Cities develop plans, rule on the maximum height of buildings and make an effort to preserve green areas so that the city can breathe. That is what land development is all about.
However, Ottawa can barge in and build anything anywhere, with no regard for local residents or the bylaws adopted by local elected officials. For example, the City of Gatineau has often ended up at daggers drawn with the National Capital Commission. Recently, someone was telling me about the fact that the government constantly nibbles away at Ottawa's Greenbelt whenever it builds new federal offices. That is how things go with projects under federal jurisdiction. There is no shortage of problems, from disregard for locals and legal uncertainty to court battles and unenforceable municipal bylaws.
This bill will fix all of that by introducing legal certainty into areas under perpetual litigation. Since there will be an act of Parliament to explain why proponents' projects were turned down, they will no longer be able to challenge the applicability of our laws. True, the bill will take discretionary powers away from the government, but only to give them back to the people. Furthermore, this would fulfill one of the Liberals' campaign promises that they seem to have forgotten once they got a taste of power. I would just like to remind them that they said the following:
While governments grant permits for resource development, only communities can grant permission.
Indeed, before the election, the Liberals promised that they would not issue permits for projects that were not approved by the province or municipality. That is precisely what the bill will force them to do. Given that projects will have to concurrently comply with federal laws, provincial laws, and municipal by-laws, the highest standard will apply. It is important to have fairly high standards for the environment.
We live in a democracy. Our laws, our regulations, and our consultation mechanisms reflect a certain social consensus. In principle, Quebec agrees with this bill. The Government of Quebec believes that its environmental and land use planning laws must apply at all times. The National Assembly has stated this unanimously several times.
Municipalities are very unhappy that Ottawa constantly circumvents them. The Union des producteurs agricoles wants Ottawa to comply with the law that protects Quebec land. Environmental groups want the highest standards to apply.
While the government insists on exercising its authority on all matters, we want to return control of the land to those who live there. That way we could to a greater extent be masters in our own house, as Jean Lesage used to say. That is Bill C-392 in a nutshell, and that is why I am very proud to introduce it today.
In closing, I would be remiss if I did not thank legislative counsel of the House, especially Nathalie Caron and Isabelle D'Souza, because preparing an omnibus bill that amends several laws and has almost constitutional impacts on a very tight deadline was quite the challenge and they rose to the occasion brilliantly. Hats off to them.
View Monique Pauzé Profile
BQ (QC)
View Monique Pauzé Profile
2018-06-19 17:45 [p.21295]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her question.
Yes, I tried to propose the same type of amendments that would have ensured compliance with provincial laws and municipal by-laws. Unfortunately, the entire Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development voted them down.
View Monique Pauzé Profile
BQ (QC)
View Monique Pauzé Profile
2018-06-19 17:47 [p.21296]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her question, as it is an opportunity for me to tell her that the bill covers the country from coast to coast. Moreover, my colleague from Saanich—Gulf Islands supports it. We did a press briefing together.
Also, what is the national interest? In my opinion, the national interest is making sure that people have drinking water. Our bodies are apparently made up of 60% water. In my opinion, drinking water is an essential service, and that is what we need to protect. The national interest is protecting public health.
In Limoilou, people are breathing in dust containing nickel, copper, iron, zinc and God knows what else. In my opinion, that is not in the national interest. If Canada’s national interest means pipelines and oil and if that is more important than anything else, we are obviously not living in the same nation.
View Monique Pauzé Profile
BQ (QC)
View Monique Pauzé Profile
2018-06-19 17:49 [p.21296]
Mr. Speaker, yes, the bill affects eight laws, but the same amendment applies to all of them. There are already laws in Canada that take provincial laws into account, such as the Canada National Parks Act. Bill C-392 takes elements from the Canada National Parks Act and applies them to all projects.
View Luc Thériault Profile
BQ (QC)
View Luc Thériault Profile
2018-06-18 15:02 [p.21149]
Mr. Speaker, from January to May, over 12,000 asylum seekers entered Quebec. If this keeps up, that number will exceed 25,000 by the end of the year. The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship and his assistant, the Minister of Transport, made all kinds of promises to the Government of Quebec, but they have been all talk and no action so far.
When will the ministers do something to take the pressure off Quebec on the immigration file once and for all?
View Luc Thériault Profile
BQ (QC)
View Luc Thériault Profile
2018-06-18 15:04 [p.21149]
Mr. Speaker, excuses and promises, promises and excuses.
The government promised that a triage plan would be in place by April. At the end of May, they said it would happen after the Ontario election. That was two weeks ago, and there is still no plan. Summer and the end of the parliamentary session are approaching, as is the Quebec election, but I do not expect the government to come up with anything other than excuses.
When exactly will the government implement a working triage plan?
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
2018-06-14 15:04 [p.20952]
Mr. Speaker, with respect to allowing home cultivation of cannabis, yesterday, the Prime Minister tried to justify his power trip by claiming that the move was meant to fight organized crime. He is ignoring what the provinces, the Senate, the opposition, cities and police forces are telling him.
Is that his plan to fight organized crime? To allow people to grow three or four pot plants at home?
Could this government be serious for once and let those who tackle the real problems, on the ground, make the decisions that are theirs to make?
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
2018-06-14 15:05 [p.20952]
Mr. Speaker, I think we have the wrong record.
Legalizing cannabis is one thing, but making a pot plant as common as a tomato plant is another. The Quebec government has chosen to prohibit growing pot in gardens: it does not believe that this helps prevent young people from accessing marijuana. That is its legitimate choice, and it is consistent with this government’s goal of preventing young people from accessing cannabis.
Why, then, is it disrespecting Quebec’s choices within its jurisdiction?
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
2018-06-14 15:26 [p.20955]
Mr. Speaker, I have known the member for Outremont for many years. It has been quite a while since we were putting docks in the water, my goodness, but I have always appreciated this passionate and brilliant man. I am also grateful to him. Along with Gilles Duceppe, he was undoubtedly the politician who was the most help securing my victory in 2015, though perhaps somewhat unwittingly. I do not think that this was part of his plan.
Now that the Prime Minister has decided to buy a pipeline, the member for Outremont could surely tell him that a pipeline is expensive. It cost him the prime ministership.
The member for Outremont is politics' most faithful embodiment of the people of Quebec. Sometimes Liberal, sometimes Conservative, sometimes NDP, he is a Quebecker. I honestly believe that, with his departure today, Quebeckers are losing one of their greatest and most effective defenders in the House. Obviously, I mean from a federalist party.
Elected as an NDP member in 2007, he preceded the orange wave that swept through Quebec in 2011, a great win by his friend Jack Layton. He set himself apart as soon as he was elected. He appeared in every forum speaking intelligently on all kinds of topics, cracking jokes at the right times, expressing outrage for the right reasons, making insightful comments, and coming up with the killer line that would take out his opponent. He was the goon, the NDP’s own Claude Lemieux. None of the other teams can stand him, but everyone wants to have him on theirs.
I honestly and sincerely believe that the NDP is losing its best and most formidable debater today. He would have made his illustrious and legendary forefather Honoré Mercier proud. Formidable, incisive and hard-hitting, frankly, the man we salute today has been a stand-up Quebecker throughout his career, and we thank him for his contribution.
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