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View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Nick Whalen Profile
2019-06-19 15:51 [p.29399]
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 26th report of the the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, entitled “Improving Settlement Services Across Canada”.
I would like to take a moment to thank the clerk, Evelyn Lukyniuk, and analysts Julie Béchard, Isabelle Lafontaine-Émond and Madalina Chesoi for their excellent work at the end of the session to deliver our report on time.
I would also like to thank the retiring member of Parliament for Dufferin—Caledon, who was the previous chair of this committee and provided excellent advice and support during his entire tenure on the committee this session.
Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.
View Gudie Hutchings Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Gudie Hutchings Profile
2019-06-18 14:08 [p.29300]
Mr. Speaker, it has been my honour to represent my riding of Long Range Mountains in this 42nd Parliament. Our government has accomplished a great deal, however, I know that, working together, there is much more we will deliver in our next mandate.
With summer coming, I must take this opportunity to talk about the tourism industry. It is growing leaps and bounds and there is an economic boost especially in rural areas. The invitation is extended to all my colleagues, if they are looking for something to do this summer, to visit my riding. We have stunning campgrounds, cozy B and Bs, unique inns and hotels. Surrounded by majestic scenery, people can enjoy hiking, boat tours, icebergs and whales, kayaking, fishing, hunting, challenging golf, incredible theatre, museums, delicious culinary experiences and so many local shops to explore.
From our national parks and historic sites, people will see some incredible sunsets and if they are lucky, the northern lights. Visitors will always find the locals just waiting to share their stories in our unique lingo. I can promise that there is music everywhere.
I will be travelling about my riding all summer and I hope to see everyone there.
View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Nick Whalen Profile
2019-06-17 11:11 [p.29156]
Mr. Speaker, I am proud to have this opportunity today to rise and speak in favour of Motion No. 173 to create November as diabetes awareness month. People at home might be wondering why I have an opportunity to speak to this motion, given that it is close to the hearts of so many members of Parliament. I am sure they would be interested to know that my own private member's bill was preempted by work that was already being done by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage.
I have had the opportunity to share my private member's bill with a number of members in the House. The member for Surrey—Newton and I were able to work together to make sure that his Sikh Heritage Month bill made it to the Senate and was passed by both Houses in time for declaration prior to the rising of the House.
I was able to work with the member for Cumberland—Colchester, on a couple of occasions, to make sure that his private member's bill for the repatriation of indigenous artifacts was also able to get through the House and be called into law.
People might be aware that in the last few weeks, the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands was able to get Bill S-203, on preventing the captivity of whales and dolphins, through the House by my offering my slot to her on one occasion, and with one of the members from the New Democratic Party.
Therefore, when the member for Brampton South asked if I could help with providing an opportunity to get to second reading on her private member's bill, I was more than happy to help.
One of the reasons is that I have a close connection to diabetes in my family. Just over three years ago, my cousin Jimmy Grouchey passed away from complications of type 1 diabetes, alone in his home in Arizona. Both of my parents come from large post-World War II families. My mom had nine siblings growing up, and my dad had four siblings and two half siblings. The family we were closest to were the Groucheys, because we shared a summer home together. We would vacation together in the summertime, where Jimmy, Christina, David, Jennifer, Jon, Dan and I would have a really great time.
People with diabetes have to manage their disease, and certainly when they are living on their own, complications can result. Jimmy was always a go-getter, fun-loving and free-spirited. With the moratorium on the cod fishery, like many Newfoundlanders, he moved abroad to pursue his career. He had different careers, in sociology, as a patent agent, and in 2009, he became a nurse. He worked in North Carolina and then finally in Arizona.
Lack of awareness about this disease and the complications associated with it can be devastating for families. Jimmy passed away from that. He would have turned 50 on Monday of next week. I wanted an opportunity to tell Jimmy's story and share with the House that families can be affected by this. It is not just statistics; they are individuals and families like mine.
Our government recognizes the impact that diabetes has on roughly three million Canadians who live with it and the 200,000 new cases that are diagnosed each year. I would like to thank the member for Brampton South for her work in bringing this forward to the House. It is important to recognize and raise awareness about it.
By having awareness of diabetes front and centre, fewer people will succumb to the complications. Fewer people will allow themselves to get to the point where they develop type 2 diabetes. More people can have access to prevention methods. More people will have access to care. While friends may not be aware that they have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, the month itself will provide an opportunity to have that discussion, to let people know some of the symptoms of someone who might be in an insulin crisis and how to provide them with the help they need.
Our government has been supporting various measures. In 2016-17 alone, we invested $47 million in diabetes research. We recently announced a $30-million partnership with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. There are various members in the House who have helped to coordinate the multi-party caucus that led to this. It is not just those on this side of the House who are in favour of diabetes research.
When the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation comes to the Hill, members from all parties are present to listen to the stories of the ambassadors selected for their work in their cause across the country. It is great to meet those 10-year-olds, eight-year-olds, children of all ages who come from our ridings across the country to Parliament Hill to advocate for their cause. I am happy to participate with members on this side of the House, and I am sure that members from all sides of the House are happy to do so as well.
Also, in partnership with organizations in the private and non-profit sectors, as well as other levels of government, we are testing and scaling up interventions in communities across the country to prevent chronic disease, including diabetes. These interventions focus on common risk factors such as unhealthy eating and on physical activity.
Our government will continue to strongly support healthy living and diabetes prevention, including healthy eating, physical activity and smoking cessation. In thinking about my own health, I remember when the member for Brampton South had an opportunity to encourage some special medical testing on the Hill last year for members of Parliament, through the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
I had the opportunity to go to this mobile trailer, which provided heart rate monitoring, blood glucose level monitoring and a survey questionnaire, and members of Parliament who had a chance to participate had a deep dive into their health. The results of that were very interesting, and I learned a lot about what I could do to make myself healthier, but also how I could help my kids lead healthier lives as well. They are both far fitter than I am, and when we go jogging they are often about a minute a kilometre ahead of me, but they get me out. We also try to make sure we maintain an appropriate balance of carbohydrates, fats and proteins in our diet. I would like to thank the member for Brampton South for the opportunity to have that extra teaching here on the Hill.
According to the Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System, supported by the Public Health Agency of Canada, over three million Canadians, or 8.6% of the population, have diagnosed diabetes. Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when the body loses its ability to produce or to properly use insulin, a hormone that controls blood glucose levels.
Canada is famous for its role in the early work on determining that lack of insulin is the cause of diabetes, as well as treatments to provide insulin to people who are suffering with diabetes so they can have that cure. Canada is the perfect place to recognize November as diabetes awareness month. It is probably long overdue; it probably should have happened at the same time when the cure was found.
I am thankful for the work of the member for Brampton South. I encourage all members of this House to support this private member's motion. It would provide Canada an opportunity to yet again raise public awareness, encourage additional research and funding for diabetes, and remember family members like Jimmy Grouchey, a family member of mine who passed away just over three years ago and who would be turning 50 next week.
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present in the House, in both official languages, a report of the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association reflecting its participation at the 40th annual interparliamentary meeting between the European Parliament and the Parliament of Canada in Brussels, Belgium and Strasbourg, France from March 12 to 14, 2019.
View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Nick Whalen Profile
2019-06-17 15:35 [p.29192]
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour today to present, in both official languages, the 25th report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, entitled “Adapting Canada's Immigration Policies to Today's Realities”. Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.
I would also like to thank the member for Don Valley West, the parliamentary secretary, for his work chairing this committee to help develop this report; and all the members, including the vice-chairs from the Conservative Party and the NDP, who travelled to Tanzania and Uganda in order to obtain witness testimony for this comprehensive report.
View Ken McDonald Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Ken McDonald Profile
2019-06-17 15:37 [p.29192]
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the following two reports of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans.
The first is the 25th report, entitled “Aquatic Invasive Species: A National Priority”. I want to recognize the member who put this forward for study, the member for North Okanagan—Shuswap and thank him for that.
The second is the 26th report, entitled “In Hot Water—Lobster and Snow Crab in Eastern Canada”. I want to thank the members for West Nova and Egmont for putting that study forward.
Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to each of these two reports.
I will take this opportunity to thank all the members for their work over the past few months as we get ready to rise for the summer. I also want to thank the table staff, translators and everybody involved in making the committee work so efficiently.
View Ken McDonald Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Ken McDonald Profile
2019-06-17 18:12 [p.29215]
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague across the way for his commitment to getting it right. I listened to his speech quite intently, and he was talking about the continued investment in the fossil fuel industry.
Let us say that we stop production on any fossil fuels within the next year, two years or five years. What would the member say to all of the workers involved in that industry? I am not saying that it should not be looked at, but there are thousands and thousands of people across the country employed in that industry, who maybe cannot be retrained into a tech or green type of industry.
What does the member say to those tradespeople? For me in Newfoundland and Labrador, my riding is a large riding. We talk about using electric cars. I use a gas vehicle. An electric car is no good to me; I have too far to go and nowhere to plug it in.
How do you justify saying that you have to do better? End all these subsidies right away. Let us get away from fossil fuels.
View Churence Rogers Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 32nd report of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, entitled “Establishing a Canadian Transportation and Logistics Strategy: Part 2”.
Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.
I want to thank the members of the transport committee for working with the people in eastern Canada, particularly in my province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and discussing and dealing with issues in regard to trade corridors and transportation infrastructure. I want to thank the witnesses who appeared and gave good advice and recommendations to our committee to inform us in preparation of this report.
View Ken McDonald Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Ken McDonald Profile
2019-06-13 11:03 [p.29039]
Mr. Speaker, in 2012, one thing that was entrenched into the so-called changes was something called “self-assessment”, that developers and contractors could self-report any damage to fish or fish habitat.
Could the minister talk about how important it is to ensure that it is not left up to people themselves to report doing something wrong? The changes to this bill would change that. To have self-assessment is like putting a fox in charge of the henhouse.
View Yvonne Jones Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Yvonne Jones Profile
2019-06-13 13:15 [p.29050]
Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise in the House and speak in support of the third reading of Bill C-88. This bill would amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act. These changes have been long awaited by governments, both indigenous and territorial, in the Northwest Territories.
On Monday, we heard colleagues in the House speak to this bill, including the member of Parliament for the Northwest Territories, who worked very closely with indigenous governments, treaty and land claim owners and the Government of the Northwest Territories to ensure that this bill would be in the best interests of the constituents he represents and would meet the standards they have been requesting from the Government of Canada.
I want to applaud the member of Parliament for the Northwest Territories for the great work he has done on Bill C-88 and for ensuring that members in this House on both sides fully understand this bill and the need for the changes being proposed.
Bill C-88 is based on a simple but wise idea, which is that the best way to regulate development along the Mackenzie Valley and in Arctic waters is to balance the interests of industry, the rights of indigenous governments and organizations, and environmental protection. The proposed legislation before us aims to achieve this balance in three ways.
First would be by foster certainty, which is required by industry. As we know, the Northwest Territories is no stranger to industry. It has been home to some of the largest mining developments in Canada and to some substantial energy, oil and gas developments. It is a region of our country that has been very active in engaging with industry.
Second would be by reinstating a mechanism to recognize the rights of indigenous communities to meaningfully influence development decisions. This would allow indigenous communities to have full input, full insight and full decision-making in industry and resource developments that are occurring within their land claim areas. This would allow them to be part of development, to look at the impacts and benefits of development initiatives, and to be true partners in decisions and outcomes.
Third would be by ensuring that scientific evidence on the state of the environment would inform development decisions. The indigenous governments of the Northwest Territories have set up a model that allows them to look at individual projects and their impact on the environment, not just today but for generations to come, and to make decisions based on scientific information. Scientific evidence ensures that decisions are informed, not just from an economic perspective but from an environmental perspective.
As it stands today, the regulatory regime fails to strike this balance. In particular, the regime currently in place fails to provide clarity, predictability for proponents who are investing, and respect for the rights of indigenous communities in that region and in the north. In large part, that is because of the Northwest Territories Devolution Act, which was endorsed by this House in 2015, and which I, too, voted for. However, it was subsequently challenged by a court order, which led the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories to effectively suspend key provisions of the act. This ruling caused uncertainty in the regulatory regime for the Mackenzie Valley, and as many of my colleagues have already stated, that uncertainty has not been good for business.
I voted for the bill in 2015, even though it contained clauses that would eradicate the treaty rights of indigenous people in the Northwest Territories. We knew it was wrong. We fought hard to change the bill. We proposed amendment after amendment, but the Harper government would have none of it. It accepted no amendments to the bill that would ensure the rights of indigenous people.
We were left to make a choice. Do we support the devolution of the Northwest Territories, which needed to happen and was long overdue, or do we not support it because of these clauses? We supported the bill but said that when we formed government, we would reverse the negative legislation in the bill that eradicated the rights of indigenous people and did not uphold the environmental and economic responsibilities that should be upheld in any major development. We made a commitment to the people of the Northwest Territories that when we formed government, we would change the legislation to reflect what they wanted. That is what we are doing today.
Over the last couple of years, we have worked very closely with indigenous governments in the Northwest Territories, its member of Parliament and the Government of the Northwest Territories to get this legislation right and change the injustices caused by the Harper government and imposed on people in the Northwest Territories. Today we are removing them.
We would be allowing companies that want to invest in the Northwest Territories through major resource development projects to have certainty. This would ensure that there would be no unforseen impacts for them and would ensure that they would know the climate in which they are investing and the process expected of them.
We would allow indigenous governments, which have had land claims, treaty rights and self-government agreements for many decades, to take back control of their own lands and to make decisions in the best interests of their people for generations to come, and to do so in a systematic and scientific way that looks at all the impacts and benefits. This would allow these indigenous governments to not only have a choice about whether a project went forward but to have the opportunity to partner with investors and resource development companies. Everyone can benefit when they work together.
That is the kind of relationship we have promoted right across Canada with indigenous groups, territorial and provincial governments, investors, resource development agencies and others.
Today we would legislate the changes we committed to in 2015 regarding the Northwest Territories. We know that the legislation would achieve the balance we are trying to establish in three ways. I have already outlined them in my speech.
I want to take a few minutes to talk about how Bill C-88 would restore certainty in the regulatory regime, which was a key aspect of the Northwest Territories Devolution Act. The act eliminated regional boards mandated to review proposed development projects that were likely to impact the traditional lands of three particular indigenous groups: the Tlicho, the Gwich’in and the Sahtu. Their rights were eradicated, and the impact on their lands and treaty agreements forced on them, by the Harper government.
Today we would be giving the Tlicho, the Gwich’in and the Sahtu the right to make decisions about their own lands. They could look at the impact on their traditional lands, their way of life and their environmental footprint and at how their people can benefit from development projects.
It is just common sense, so why would any government want to take that away from indigenous groups in Canada? We saw only a few years ago that the former Harper government had no shame when removing rights from indigenous groups and indigenous governments. That is exactly what it did to the Tlicho, the Gwich'in and the Sahtu in the Northwest Territories. They had spent years working and negotiating with the federal government and territorial government. Generations of elders never lived to see the day they reached self-government agreements in their own lands.
When they finally did, it was an opportunity for them. That opportunity was eroded by the Harper government overnight with one piece of legislation that said that it would now tell them how they were going to regulate resource development in their traditional lands and in the Northwest Territories.
We made a commitment then that if we ever formed government, we would reverse those changes, and that is exactly what we are doing today. Each of those communities concluded comprehensive land claim agreements. Doing so in this country guaranteed them a role on land and water boards and a mandate to review and make decisions on development projects on or near traditional lands. Parliament reviewed and endorsed each one of these agreements and authorized the establishment of the regional boards.
Bill C-88 proposes to reverse the board restructuring and reintroduce the other provisions that were suspended by the Supreme Court decision. These indigenous groups in the Northwest Territories knew that their rights were violated by the Harper government. They knew that what was happening was the epitome of colonization. That is why they fought in the courts. They went to the Supreme Court to argue their case, to say that they had negotiated these rights, that they were inherent rights, that they had treaty agreements and that no government should have the right to impose upon them the way the former government did.
The Supreme Court decision outlined several things that needed to happen to restore confidence in the regime, particularly among indigenous people and proponents and investors in resource development in the Northwest Territories.
The proposed legislation would build confidence in another way. It would clarify the processes and expectations for all parties involved in the regulatory regime. I happen to live in the north, and I represent a riding that is very engaged in resource development, the mining industry and the energy sector in particular. I also know that with every one of those development projects, there are major investments and major commitments. There is nothing better in moving forward on a project than knowing what all the expectations are of all the parties involved and knowing what the process is and what is expected of companies before they put a shovel in the ground. Those things are important.
The party opposite will say that Liberals are too engaged in regulating, restricting and putting too many demands around the environmental component. However, large-scale industries that care about the people where they want to develop want to do what is right. They want to ensure that their environmental footprint is as small as it can be. They want to have the support of the indigenous people and the communities in which they are investing. They want to have strong partnerships to ensure that their development projects are not interrupted by protests or by unforeseen regulations and can move forward and are sustainable. That is why many of these companies, and many I have known personally over the years, are happy to sign impact benefit agreements.
These companies are happy to work with indigenous governments to hire indigenous workers, to ensure that benefits accrue to their communities and to ensure that environmental concerns that indigenous and non-indigenous people have with development in their areas are going to be listened to and dealt with. These companies want to address those issues up front. They do not want to plow into communities and put pressure on them to do things. They do not want to rule what is going to happen. They want to operate in partnership, too.
It is the party opposite that has the idea that these companies are not interested because they have to follow regulatory regimes or look at what the environmental implications are. Very few companies would take that approach, and I am so proud that in this country there are companies investing heavily in resource development that really care about the footprint they leave behind for the environment and the people who live there. Those are the companies that are successful and that Canadians hold up as examples of how resource development partnerships work with communities and indigenous people in Canada. We should be very proud of that. We should not be trying to change how we do that through legislation and impose regulations on people because we think they should do it this way or that way.
People should understand that in the previous legislation by the Harper government, Conservatives wanted to get rid of the regulatory boards of the Gwich'in, the Sahtu and the other groups in the Northwest Territories. They wanted one megaboard to deal with all these issues. They even hired a consultant by the name of McCrank. When Mr. McCrank testified at committee, I sat in that day. One of the questions asked of him was where he came up with the idea that we should get rid of the regulatory boards in the Northwest Territories, that indigenous groups should no longer have control over what is happening on their own lands, their own regulatory boards or negotiating their own deals, and that we would infringe upon them and implement a super regulatory board in the Northwest Territories for the Mackenzie Valley.
When he was asked where that idea came from, he did not know. He did not know where that idea came from or who suggested it to him, but he wrote it in a report as a strong recommendation, and the Harper government at the time said it would run with it, yet everyone in the Northwest Territories, including the three aboriginal groups and the territorial government, knew this was not the right approach and wanted to stop it. This is what is happening today.
We are restoring confidence to the people in the Northwest Territories. Under this act, we would also make changes to the petroleum regulatory board. A moratorium would be implemented that would allow the reissuing of licences for oil and gas development in the Northwest Territories. This moratorium would be revisited every five years. As we know, there were no new applications for licences, no investment was being made. There was no projection for oil and gas, and there was no body to manage oil and gas development in the Northwest Territories to ensure there would be benefits to that region.
It is not like Atlantic Canada, which has oil and gas agreements that pay royalties to the provinces. There are agreements in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Quebec. When the Northwest Territories asked the former government for that agreement, the answer was no. It did not want to pay royalties to the indigenous groups or the territorial government on oil and gas. We are working with them to get it right, and that is why this bill is important today.
View Yvonne Jones Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Yvonne Jones Profile
2019-06-13 13:36 [p.29053]
Madam Speaker, first of all, with the legislative agenda, we would not be here doing this today if the member opposite and her government had gotten it right in the first place.
If the Conservatives had listened to the Sahtu, the Gwich'in and other governments of the Northwest Territories at the time, we would not be here today making those amendments. That is the first point.
The Conservatives say that we voted for it in 2015. We voted for the devolution agreement of the Northwest Territories, and these other amendments were tied into the bill, which was eroding the rights of indigenous governments. We had to make a difficult choice, and our choice was to support the bill at the time, which was the devolution of land claims in the Northwest Territories, but with a commitment to the people that we would make these changes and revert the amendments the Harper government made, and that is what we are doing today.
View Yvonne Jones Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Yvonne Jones Profile
2019-06-13 13:39 [p.29053]
Madam Speaker, the member spoke about her former colleague and his representation on this issue back in 2015. I remember he was very strong on this issue and advocating for it.
With regard to Bill C-262, like many others in this House, I want to see the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples implemented in Canada. We have supported it. We strongly believe in it. We believe in the fundamental principles of UNDRIP. We believe that it is important in guiding future governments in Canada in how we deal with indigenous people. I, too, would support the member in encouraging the Senate to move forward with its amendments and bring it back to the House of Commons.
View Yvonne Jones Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Yvonne Jones Profile
2019-06-13 13:41 [p.29053]
Madam Speaker, we can only hope that one day Conservatives will see that indigenous rights are in the best interests of all people who live in this country.
For many generations, we have seen the violation of indigenous rights, of well-constituted treaties and agreements that have never been followed and implemented. As a government, we have taken a different decision. We have worked closely with indigenous governments, with provinces and territories to do what is in the best interests, in the right interests, of indigenous people in Canada.
It is unfortunate to see what is happening in Manitoba. It is unfortunate to see what is happening in Ontario, with funding being cut to indigenous groups and organizations. We sit in a Parliament today where the Harper government for 10 years did not invest in indigenous people and communities in this country. In the four years we have been here, we have invested more than $17 billion in additional revenue into indigenous governments and communities in Canada.
View Yvonne Jones Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Yvonne Jones Profile
2019-06-13 13:43 [p.29054]
Madam Speaker, I do not think there was a question there, but I would certainly like to respond to the member's comments. If he wants to talk about the colonization of indigenous people in Canada over the generations, there is enough blame to go around for everyone in this country, whether Conservative, NDP, Green or Liberal.
I really believe that reconciliation is about finding a new path forward. It is about working together to ensure that indigenous people in Canada have their proper place and the ability to have some control and say about the traditional lands which they founded and formed. As hard as it may be to swallow, it is the right thing to do. I would suggest that the Conservatives get on board and make reconciliation real in Canada for all Canadians.
View Ken McDonald Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Ken McDonald Profile
2019-06-12 14:14 [p.28985]
Mr. Speaker, our 42nd Parliament is soon coming to a close as we approach the federal election this fall. I want to take this time to thank the people of Avalon for allowing me the great honour of being their member of Parliament. I hope to once again earn their vote and the privilege to continue to represent them in October and well into the future.
None of us would be able to do our jobs as MPs without the support of our family and our wonderful staff, and I am pleased to have some of those people here today. My wife, Trudy, I am sure deserves a medal for putting up with me. Her love, support and patience has been unwavering. I thank Marg, Raquel and Shannon, who work in my constituency office, for making me look good each and every day. As for Vanessa, who works in my Ottawa office, all I will say is that any one of us should be so lucky as to have a person like Vanessa.
I thank each and every one of them. I would not be here without them.
View Gudie Hutchings Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Gudie Hutchings Profile
2019-06-12 14:24 [p.28987]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a trip down memory lane of the last three and a half years in my riding of Long Range Mountains, Newfoundland and Labrador, with our leader.
The Veterans Affairs office in Corner Brook was the first of many reopened across the country, after being closed by the Harper government.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans hired 19 new scientists in Newfoundland and Labrador alone, after the previous government cut science spending and muzzled scientists.
There are numerous communities with better drinking water, safer bridges and a more prosperous economy, with $39 million invested in infrastructure. Those projects were 10 years on the back burner under the previous government.
I also have to mention our record investments in Parks Canada. Yes, the Harper government slashed funding to Parks Canada as well.
The list goes on: our child care benefit, increases to the guaranteed income supplement, ICE support and so much more. That is much better than advertised.
View Churence Rogers Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, my constituents understand the important duty of the Canadian Coast Guard to keep our oceans and waterways healthy and safe. This year's winter was particularly harsh in Newfoundland and Labrador. We know the Canadian Coast Guard plays a crucial role in keeping our goods moving with its icebreakers. After a decade of cuts by the Harper Conservatives, our government is taking action.
Can the Prime Minister update this House on what our government has done to ensure the Canadian Coast Guard has all the tools it needs to carry out its important work?
View Yvonne Jones Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Yvonne Jones Profile
2019-06-11 14:17 [p.28916]
Mr. Speaker, today I celebrate the enormous accomplishments of Canadians and our government on reaching a total of one million jobs since November 2015. With our government's vision, responsible spending and strong commitment to Canadians, this country was able to create 27,700 full-time jobs in May alone. This is what we promised and this is what we will continue to deliver for Canadians.
Growing the middle class is important to us, and we are making it possible. Thanks to the responsible, strategic investments that we have made in Canadians over the last four years, we have been able to achieve the lowest unemployment rate on record. Because of the benefits of skills training, the Canada child benefit and tax cuts to the middle class, this is felt in the lives of people in my riding of Labrador, but all across Canada it is helping families, just as advertised.
View Ken McDonald Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Ken McDonald Profile
2019-06-11 16:03 [p.28933]
Madam Speaker, I want to thank the hon. minister for introducing this in the House today. As he said, it is time to get it done. He is right: It is time to get it done. It has been long enough.
I also want to thank the former minister as well. During the committee's review of the legislation, one thing we wanted to have enshrined in the Fisheries Act was the owner-operator policy, which I know many fishers in my province wanted to see in the Fisheries Act. As well, union representatives and organizations, such as the FFAW and FISH-NL, wanted to see that there as well.
Would the minister comment on how important it is to see that policy enshrined in the Fisheries Act?
View Yvonne Jones Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Yvonne Jones Profile
2019-06-11 22:43 [p.28972]
Mr. Speaker, I listened very attentively to my colleague across the way, and there are so many things I could say in response. I know I do not have the time to do so, but I will have the opportunity down the road.
The member talked a lot about what is in the national interest of the country. I want to remind him that the national interest is defined by Canadian legislation. Several references to that can be found in different acts within the House. When I get a chance to speak, I can certainly point them out. Once he has an opportunity to read them, I am sure he will see more clearly why the phrase is used in the context of this decision.
In addition, what the member failed to talk about this evening is how the Liberal government has gotten to where we are today with this piece of legislation. We are here because the Conservatives passed a bill in 2014 that took away the rights to ownership of indigenous land claims and treaties in the Northwest Territories. The bill would restore those values, that trust and the agreements back to indigenous governments in the Northwest Territories.
If that trust had not been broken and the treaty agreements had not been threatened under previous legislation by the Harper government, we would not be here this evening having to right the wrong that was done to indigenous governments in this country. Why did the member not want to speak to that issue this evening?
View Ken McDonald Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Ken McDonald Profile
2019-06-10 11:12 [p.28780]
Mr. Speaker, as the chair of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, I am proud to speak in support of Bill S-203, an act to amend the Criminal Code and other acts, also known as the act for ending the captivity of whales and dolphins.
I also realize that I am speaking to the bill two days after World Oceans Day. Canada has the longest coastline in the world, and this past weekend, Canadians across the country raised awareness and celebrated our magnificent oceans. I took part in two community cleanups in Conception Bay, where I live.
While our oceans are vast and full of life, we also recognize the peril many of our ocean friends and marine ecosystems face due to threats from climate change and, of course, pollution. More than ever, we must work together to ensure that our oceans are clean and healthy for the many species that call them home, and to support our communities that depend on them.
Let us imagine whales and dolphins, which are used to having the ocean as their playground or feeding ground, being put in a cage not much bigger than a large outdoor swimming pool. Let us imagine the effect this would have on their ability to survive and flourish if they ever were released again. Let us imagine ourselves being put in a room which is 10 feet by 10 feet and being told that is where we have to live out the rest of our days. It certainly would have drastic effects on anyone, or on any animal, for that matter.
The bill has been strongly supported by my constituents of Avalon, and several members of the House have also supported the bill moving forward. I would like to thank the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands, who has been strongly advocating for the bill to move forward in the House, and all the other members who have spoken on the necessity of the bill for the protection of our whales and dolphins.
As many members know, the bill comes to us from the Senate, first by retired senator Wilfred Moore, who originally brought the bill forward in 2016, and then sponsored by Senator Murray Sinclair. The work of these senators cannot go without mention. I would like to thank them for their leadership when it comes to the protection of our oceans and the species that call them home.
Whales and dolphins are part of our Canadian wildlife, and we are very lucky to have them live in our waters. In Newfoundland and Labrador, whales are a major tourist attraction. We see many visitors each year and if they are not coming to see the icebergs, they are coming to see the whales.
Canadians know how important it is to preserve our marine wildlife. That is why our government is not only supporting Bill S-203, but through Bill C-68, making amendments that also strengthen the bill.
Over the years, we have come to learn more and more about the nature of whales and dolphins and the conditions required for their livelihood. Research has told us that these animals undergo an immense amount of stress when taken into captivity, and this stress persists throughout their life. That is why Canadians and this government support the bill banning the captivity of whales and dolphins.
I want to thank the House leadership team, especially the member for Waterloo, for working so hard to get the bill through the House at this time. Again, I commend the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands, Senator Moore and Senator Sinclair for their leadership on the bill and this issue, which is important to so many Canadians. I support the bill and look forward to its passage.
View Churence Rogers Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, plastic pollution is a global challenge that requires immediate action. Plastic waste ends up in our landfills and incinerators, litters our parks and beaches, and pollutes our rivers, lakes and oceans, entangling and killing turtles, fish and marine mammals.
Right now, less than 10% of plastic used in Canada gets recycled. We have reached a defining moment, and this is a problem we simply cannot afford to ignore.
Unlike the Conservatives, who have no plan for the environment, our government knows that we need to take action on this issue to protect our oceans, wildlife and planet.
Could the parliamentary secretary please update the House on the—
View Ken McDonald Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Ken McDonald Profile
2019-06-10 18:47 [p.28846]
Mr. Speaker, being from Newfoundland and Labrador, I know first-hand how important it is when industries shut down, whether it be the mining industry in Labrador when it is in trouble or the pulp and paper industry in central Newfoundland or on the west coast of Newfoundland. In 1992, the then fisheries minister put a moratorium on the northern cod fishery, which was the biggest layoff in Canadian history at the time, and probably still is.
Could the minister please explain why it is so important to get this done now, so we can continue on with the work we have to do?
View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Nick Whalen Profile
2019-06-10 18:56 [p.28848]
Mr. Speaker, Canadians have really felt the headwinds against trade. Canada, as a trading nation, looks to opportunities to have the high standard of living and prosperity that comes with trade. At the same time, with these headwinds, we feel a lot of uncertainty. Business leaders in my province feel this uncertainty.
How would the bill bring some certainty to the issues around steel and aluminum tariffs and for this industry, so Canadians know they can move into the summer season with confidence that there will be less uncertainty in trade with these commodities?
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
moved that Bill C-88, An Act to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, be read the third time and passed.
View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Nick Whalen Profile
2019-06-10 21:37 [p.28863]
Mr. Speaker, I have been listening with some intent to the debate. We had a very interesting set of remarks from the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa and then of course some questions from the member for Northwest Territories and then perhaps slightly backhanded support from the member for South Okanagan—West Kootenay for the bill.
Many of us were elected in 2015 on the sense that people did not want a “father knows best” approach to government any longer. The top-down, unconstitutional approach is actually what was stalling our resource development and leading to so many injunctions against resource projects.
Perhaps I should not say this because they might actually do it, but until the Conservatives take a long hard look in the mirror and accept their failure on this file, they will stay on that side of the House for a long time.
Does the member for South Okanagan—West Kootenay think that this bill would allow more resource development to happen in the north, or should we go back to the Harper form?
View Ken McDonald Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Ken McDonald Profile
2019-06-06 10:04 [p.28659]
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 24th report of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, entitled “Bill S-238, An Act to amend the Fisheries Act and the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (importation and exportation of shark fins)”.
The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House without amendments.
I would like to thank all members of the committee and the staff for getting this done so quickly. I would like to recognize Senator MacDonald, who sponsored the bill in the other place, and of course the member for Port Moody—Coquitlam for his tenacity in getting this done in this House.
View Gudie Hutchings Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Gudie Hutchings Profile
2019-06-05 14:08 [p.28573]
Mr. Speaker, my hometown of Corner Brook is the largest community in the Long Range Mountains. The reason the town exists is the pulp and paper mill, which has been an economic stimulator since 1925.
I was so proud to stand alongside mill manager, Darren Pelley, to announce nearly $11 million from the strategic innovation fund for Corner Brook Pulp and Paper. The mill will use this investment to install a new system to dry and use low-quality biomass to limit the need to cut trees for fuel. It will reduce waste sent to landfills, reduce water use by 50% and allow the mill to avoid burning tens of thousands of barrels of oil each year.
This funding benefits the environment and strengthens the forestry and paper product trades in all of Newfoundland, ensuring our forest sector will continue to be a leader in my province for years to come.
Corner Brook was a mill town, is a mill town and will continue to be a mill town because of this investment.
View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Nick Whalen Profile
2019-06-05 22:26 [p.28643]
Madam Speaker, earlier in the night, I had some interesting questions for the member for Sherbrooke on the issue of different mechanisms in the budget to help homeowners with affordability.
The debt issue is obviously important, not just to people in his riding but across the country. While home values are rising and the amount of debt and leverage associated with home ownership is up, my understanding is that non-mortgage-backed debt is actually in a slight decline. As long as we are trying to support housing prices, make homes affordable for people and protect them from defaults on mortgages, if we see a decline in non-mortgage-backed loans and credit card debt, is that not a sign that the economy is doing well, and should the member not support these initiatives?
View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Nick Whalen Profile
2019-06-05 22:41 [p.28645]
Mr. Speaker, I do have the fortunate opportunity to work with the member on the citizenship and immigration committee, where we had the opportunity to study not only divisions 15 and 16 of part 4, which he spoke about, but other aspects in the estimates as they relate to budget 2019 and, of course, budget 2018.
In budget 2018, we brought in measures for biometrics to better engage with our partners, including the United States, in identifying people who come across the border. As the member knows, this will allow us to have some type of a path for the repatriation of people back to the United States who come across the border irregularly. Hopefully, it will be a mechanism that the minister will be able to negotiate with his foreign counterparts, a mechanism to have people who cross irregularly to be sent back at a regular crossing, because with thousands of kilometres of borders, it is not possible to render people back without someone to receive them on the other side. If they come irregularly at one point, there needs to be a mechanism to send them back, and I look forward to hearing what is able to be negotiated.
However, with respect to budget 2019, $1.18 billion over five years is committed for things like border security and improving the asylum process. The member has identified some problems with the asylum process, but I wonder if he is favourable to our approach on strengthening border security itself, and whether he feels that these reinvestments in border security, after previous years of cuts, are worthwhile.
View Ken McDonald Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Ken McDonald Profile
2019-06-04 13:22 [p.28487]
Mr. Speaker, something that comes to my mind when we talk about the budget and what we have done to help middle-class families is the Canada child benefit, which we changed when we came into power. We started to send it to people tax free. We stopped sending it to the wealthiest people.
Could the member expand on what that has meant for her riding and the people in it? In my riding of Avalon, each year approximately $48 million go to needy families, which is spend on their children and the necessities they need. It is tax free. Could she please comment on that?
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, I was in Grassy Narrows, because building a health facility there is a priority for us. The hope was to sign an agreement to move forward in addressing the needs of the community. It is part of a process of consensus building and negotiation in the best interest of the outcomes for that community and looking after those who are no longer in the community but need attention and care.
These conversations are ongoing. We will continue working with Chief Turtle and his council until we agree on a solution that meets the health needs of Grassy Narrows, not only now but in the long term.
View Gudie Hutchings Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Gudie Hutchings Profile
2019-06-04 14:49 [p.28501]
Mr. Speaker, our government has been working hard to advance gender equality, and our plan is working. One million jobs have been created and there are now more women working then ever before.
Women's organizations are at the forefront of gender equality, yet they often remain underfunded, undermined, despite the vital role they play.
Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Women and Gender Equality please tell the House how our government will change the way government funds women's organizations to make them more sustainable and stable for the future?
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to ending the ongoing national tragedy of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. We thank the commission for its work in identifying systemic causes of violence against indigenous women and girls and for its substantive recommendations on a path forward.
Our job now is to develop a national action plan to implement the recommendations, in partnership with first nations, Inuit and Métis governments and organizations, survivors and families. We must all work together to end this ongoing national tragedy, and Canadians should expect no less.
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, we all owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the survivors and family members who shared their painful memories and stories with the commission, often putting their own health at risk in order to do so.
In the coming weeks, we will be announcing our initial response to the final report as well as a process and further steps to formally develop a national action plan. This plan will build on the efforts that our government is already taking to address this ongoing national tragedy, including reforms to child and family services that recognizes the inherent rights of indigenous peoples, and investments in women's shelters, housing, education and safety on the Highway of Tears.
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, our detailed response to the commission's interim report involves taking immediate action to keep indigenous women safe through investments in women's shelters, housing, education, child welfare reforms and safety on the Highway of Tears.
View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Nick Whalen Profile
2019-06-03 15:29 [p.28420]
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 24th report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, entitled “Main Estimates 2019-20: Votes 1, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 and 35 under Department of Citizenship and Immigration and Votes 1 and 5 under Immigration and Refugee Board”.
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, I respect the previous speaker for his experience in local media, which I have some experience with myself.
This reminds me of several years ago, about seven or eight years ago, when we were the third party at that time, or maybe even the opposition. I remember that there was an argument over the Canadian firearms advisory committee. One of the big beefs the Conservatives had at the time was that there was no representation from firearms owners. A lot of people on our side were saying no because, they said, those people were mostly Conservatives against the gun registry and so on and so forth. I remember a bunch of us on the other side saying, “No, that's not right. They should be involved. They are firearms owners.” Then on the other side, they were saying that a lot of law enforcement should not be involved because they were more pro-Liberal or pro-NDP.
I find it kind of odd now that all a sudden there is this voluminous amount of self-righteousness coming from across the way. I will say this, without being too nasty or putting too fine a point on it, and perhaps it is too late: let us take Unifor out of this for just a moment.
Quite frankly, Unifor did not always agree with me. I had many fights with Unifor, especially as its predecessor, when it was known as the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union. However, it did a lot of work on behalf of journalist organizations.
If we take just Unifor out, and not the others, is it still a fundamentally sound program from which local media could truly benefit?
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague for his intervention and for providing the history of his family, because I think it is very pertinent to this particular debate.
The only thing I have a question about is a fundamental difference in philosophy. I would say to put aside for a moment the Unifor debate, as he and I will disagree about that. However, when he talks about picking winners and losers in this process, the process is similar to what has been going on for years. It is similar even to what his government supported in the last Parliament, such as the Canada Media Fund.
Looking back at the golden days of cable television, the CRTC picked channels on basic cable to reap in funds because of subscriptions. We could say that, too, was about winners and losers. There were fundamental choices that we made to support those particular channels. The CBC is the ultimate example; the government provides a billion dollars a year to help fund it, although not fully. It has a newsroom. It is not a state broadcaster. It is a public broadcaster, similar to what is around the globe.
Is it this particular scheme, as my colleague calls it, that bothers him, or is it the fundamental practice of picking winners and losers? I think that is probably the wrong path to go down.
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.
He said: Mr. Speaker, I would like to start by acknowledging that we are meeting on the traditional, unceded territory of the Algonquin people.
Today has been a powerful and emotional day for indigenous and non-indigenous Canadians alike. With the release of the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, we took another step in identifying the unacceptable gaps that exist between first nations, Inuit and Métis people and the rest of Canada.
Our government is working to end the ongoing national tragedy of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. The commissioners of the national inquiry did important work, and now it is up to us as the federal government and up to us individually as Canadians to develop a national action plan and to implement those recommendations in partnership with first nations, Inuit and Métis people.
The bill before us addresses an important part of the work we need to do to advance reconciliation, and that is to address gaps between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples, thereby improving the quality of life for indigenous peoples right across the country.
Protecting and promoting the well-being of indigenous children and families should be the top priority of the federal government and all governments across the country. That has obviously not always been the case. Members of the House are aware of the pain and suffering that continue to be inflicted on indigenous children and families in this country.
Separating indigenous children from their families is not just something that happened in the past. This is something that occurs every day, to this very day. In fact, it is a worsening problem. More indigenous children are in care now than at the height of the operation of residential schools.
In terms of hard numbers, more than 52% of children in foster care in Canada are indigenous, yet they represent less than 8% of the population. Studies show that the average indigenous child in foster care may live with anywhere between three and 13 different families before turning 19 years old. This is unacceptable and it has to stop.
I think we can all agree that the current system needs to change. As parliamentarians, we must act. We believe in a system where indigenous peoples are in charge of their own child and family services, something we recognize should have been the case all along. Indigenous families are currently bound by rules and systems that are not their own and do not reflect their cultures, their identities, their traditions, their communities or their ways. No wonder they have not worked. This bill sets out to change that.
First and foremost, Bill C-92 sets out principles that would apply across the country to guide the provision of child and family services involving indigenous children and families. These principles are informed by extensive engagement with indigenous people all over the country. The principles in the bill, which are the best interests of the child, substantive equality and cultural continuity, are aligned with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
If no agreement is reached within 12 months, but reasonable efforts were made to do so, the indigenous law would also have force of law as federal law. In other words, should a government not act in good faith after 12 months of negotiations of a coordination agreement, indigenous child and family services law would have precedence as a federal law. To be clear, as a federal statute, the indigenous law would stand on its own; it would not be subject to the whims of a federal or provincial government. It would be equal to, not lesser than.
To promote a smooth transition and implementation of Bill C-92, Canada will explore the creation of distinctions-based transition governance structures. The co-developed governance structures would identify tools and processes to increase the capacity of communities as they assume responsibility of child and family services. During this phase, we would continue our work with first nations, Inuit and Métis partners, as well as with the provinces and territories, to set out the details about how to support communities to exercise their jurisdiction. The bill also provides a clear affirmation of the inherent right of first nations, Inuit and Métis to exercise their own jurisdiction in relation to child and family services.
Pursuant to Bill C-92, if an indigenous group or community wishes to exercise its authority in relation to child and family services and have its own laws take precedence over federal, provincial or territorial laws, the Minister of Indigenous Services and the provincial or territorial government shall enter into trilateral discussions to develop a coordination agreement.
If a coordination agreement is reached within 12 months following the request, the laws of the indigenous group or community would have force of law as federal law and would prevail over federal, provincial and territorial child and family services laws.
Gone are the days of top-down colonial solutions. It is contrary to the spirit of reconciliation, goes against the principle of codevelopment that has guided this proposed legislation, and they just do not work.
This legislation is an accumulation of intensive engagement, including nearly 2,000 participants across 65 sessions, from elders, youth, women, grandmothers, aunties and from those with lived experience in a broken child and family services system. We heard what needed to be included in the bill to make successful the exercise of jurisdiction that is already an inherent right of first nations, Inuit and Métis people.
What we heard included values and cultural practices, lived experience and academic research, as well as recommendations of a reference group that was comprised of representatives from national indigenous organizations.
First nations, Inuit and Métis people have asked time and again for codeveloped legislation, from resolutions passed by the Assembly of First Nations in May and December 2018, to hearing that Inuit leadership wanted a distinctions-based approach, and that the Métis wanted jurisdiction over child and family services to be recognized through legislation.
Since the emergency meeting convened by my predecessor in January 2018, there have been extensive meetings and consultations across the country in an effort to get this right.
Even in weeks preceding the introduction of this legislation, we were incorporating the suggestions of indigenous groups, provincial and territorial partners. Those suggestions made the bill that I was fortunate enough to inherit much stronger.
We did not stop there. There are no closed doors to our indigenous partners or to the provinces and the territories. This legislation and the children it aims to protect are only served if we collaborate and ensure their best interests.
Many came forward and offered suggestions on how to improve the bill, and I am pleased to support the changes made by the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs. These amendments reflect what was heard from a number of witnesses, especially around funding, around balancing physical and cultural security in the best interest of an indigenous child and around ensuring implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Right of Indigenous Peoples as a purpose of the bill.
With regard to funding, we cannot presume that the funding models that have supported the current broken system will be what indigenous groups want to use while exercising their jurisdiction. Those models and levels should be discussed and designed through the coordination agreement process to ensure they reflect the unique needs of each community and are not a one-size-fits-all approach.
We pledge to work with partners to identify long-term needs and funding gaps. The amendment supported at committee guarantees that funding will be sustainable, needs-based and consistent with the principle of substantive equality, so that long-term, positive results for indigenous children, families and communities are secured.
Both the House committee and the aboriginal peoples committee in the other place heard that there needed to be a better balance between the physical well-being of a child and the preservation of cultural identity, language and connection to the community. We completely agree, and we fully support the amendment that will see primary consideration given to a child's physical, emotional and psychological safety, security and well-being, as well as to the importance of that child having an ongoing relationship with his or her family, indigenous group or community.
In committee, members of the official opposition and the NDP also presented important amendments to strengthen the bill. I thank them for their efforts. Bill C-92 establishes a legislative framework and will ensure that solid guiding principles are in place to protect the needs of indigenous children and families for generations to come.
Now is the time to follow through on our promises to indigenous children, families and communities. Our promise is that the same old broken system that needlessly separates so many children from their families, that removes them from their culture, that cuts them off from their land and their language, not be allowed to continue and that we affirm and recognize that indigenous families know what is best for indigenous children.
Ours is a historic opportunity to make a real, meaningful change to address centuries of harm and improve the lives of first nations, Inuit and Métis people. I hope everyone will join me in supporting this bill.
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
Indeed, Mr. Speaker, we are committed to working with the provinces and territories, and we have built in the notion of a coordination agreement to ensure there is a buffer between an indigenous group requesting that it be able to exercise its inherent right over this jurisdiction and the actual inheritance of that right. There are issues with capacity, and we need to ensure that capacity is built up, so we have put 12 months in place. The issue in some provinces and with some of the people I have spoken to is that 12 months is too long. They want to assume that responsibility right away.
There is a push and a pull, and we will attempt to find the compromise. However, most certainly this is not going to work unless we work with provinces and territories, and we certainly have every intention of doing so.
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this time, once again, to thank the committee for its very thoughtful work on this matter.
Most certainly, we heard them and we did make amendments, particularly, as the member mentioned, on the issue of funding. We gave assurances to all parties to make sure they knew that wording around sustainable funding and the needs-based approach were included. Most certainly, this government has proven, in its actions and with the sum total of the amounts it has considered for child and family services, that we are committed. However, we understand the need for an amendment to give assurance to all parties involved and invested that we heard them and that we understand the need for a sustainable needs-based approach.
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his kind words.
Today was a weighty day for anyone who was present for the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and the presentation made to the Government of Canada. This is an essential part of what will be our very fulsome response to that report.
I grew up in the north, next to indigenous communities. There is a principle for anyone who grows up in a small town. The people in those towns usually know what is best for those towns. When this is extrapolated to a much more substantive and real level, indigenous peoples have had this right. They have always had this right, and now we are recognizing and affirming it. We are making it a reality and allowing them the opportunity to come up with effective, local, grassroots solutions to those problems. We know that they will be more effective. They have to be more effective.
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, I would answer the question quite frankly by saying, sometimes with difficulty. I made a point of speaking to the chiefs of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs directly. This was codeveloped legislation, which is something that indigenous groups have been requesting for some time. We developed this side by side with, among others, the Assembly of First Nations, but also the ITK and the Métis. In doing so, we came to some very real conclusions.
One of them was that we had to ensure that solutions and local laws that were engineered by first nations would receive the protection under federal law that they deserved. I know that particularly the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs was worried about some very good legislation that it passed locally itself, which is the bringing our children home act. What I emphasized is that all the solutions they are talking about with BOCHA, as we call it, can not only be taken in with this legislation, but protected by this legislation. In other words, this legislation would allow the AMC and bands within it to come up with very local solutions, very grassroots-based solutions, that will then receive federal protection.
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows that we work in partnership with the Government of Nunavut and Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated to respond to the mental health needs of Inuit in the territory. We know that the national Inuit suicide prevention strategy is crucial to addressing that issue. That is why, in budget 2019, we will invest $50 million over 10 years to support it.
We will continue to work with partners, including the hon. member, to respond to the mental health needs of Inuit in the territory.
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, on many occasions throughout the past couple of months, many people have commented on the level of decorum in question period. I do not want to add to that, but I want to talk about the level of decorum during Statements by Members, which precedes the most popular spot of the day in the House of Commons.
First, I will show a level of decorum and apologize to the opposition whip if my intervention is interfering with his random yelling.
During Statements by Members, we have one minute to discuss issues that we feel are important to our riding or certain individuals within our riding. Lately, I have noticed that some members are openly talking back and forth with each other in conversations, yelling and laughing. It may not be important to other members in the House, but it is important for the member who is giving the statement and for those who are either in the gallery or at home. Even if this is not important to other members, it certainly is important to someone.
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
I just wanted to let the member know his time was coming up. He has about 10 seconds left, if he would like to finish.
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Thank you for the support. There has been no coup; I can assure members of that.
Questions and comments, the hon. member Burnaby North—Seymour.
View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Nick Whalen Profile
2019-05-30 14:09 [p.28293]
Mr. Speaker, in the glorious National Arts Centre, Labatt Breweries and Equal Voice brought MPs from all recognized parties together to compete over two causes close to all of our hearts: the first, local craft beers, and the second, more women in politics. Now, it was no surprise to me when a crisp, citrusy Hefeweizen from Newfoundland carried the day. My brewmaster, Mill Street's Jacoba Mol, made sure of that.
The surprise was the makeup of the room. The cause of gender equality needs allies. Women already get it. A more diverse table makes better decisions, and we need more women in politics. Last night was my first Equal Voice event with more men than women, so much so that I felt the need to pass the mike when the member for Elgin—Middlesex—London was the only woman MP at the table.
I thank Equal Voice for this refreshing event and for my Labatt 50 draft tap trophy, which is fitting, because 50% is our goal.
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Madam Speaker, I am wondering if my colleague has done his research about the Canadian Medical Association and if he has its opinion of it. I know he mentioned the college of physicians and surgeons and I find its response on that somewhat alarming. How does the CMA feel about that, as well as about a remedy for people who feel that they are ruled against in their profession when they feel that they have conscientiously objected to something that is important to them?
View Ken McDonald Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Ken McDonald Profile
2019-05-28 10:18 [p.28109]
Mr. Speaker, I thank the House for granting me leave to do this.
I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 23rd report of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, entitled “Striped Bass in the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence and Miramichi River: Striking a Delicate Balance”.
Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.
View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Nick Whalen Profile
2019-05-28 10:31 [p.28111]
Mr. Speaker, as the minister would be aware, a number of different interest groups have come to MPs across the country during this period. Certainly I have heard a lot from people who are advocates for deaf and hard-of-hearing people. I wonder if the minister can confirm that she believes that the Senate amendments would adequately address those who have been calling for additional protections for American sign language, langue des signes québécoise and international sign language, and, if not, if she has identified any gaps and how those might be addressed in the regulations.
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for the question on this essential matter facing our country.
Ensuring that first nations, Inuit and Métis are able to fully contribute to and share in Canada's economic success is a critical part of advancing reconciliation and self-determination. That is why budget 2019 will invest $78.9 million in the community opportunity readiness program to support more first nations and Inuit entrepreneurs, and $50 million for Métis small and medium-sized entrepreneurs.
We will continue to work with indigenous partners to share in and contribute to Canada's economy, because when indigenous people succeed, Canada succeeds.
View Ken McDonald Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Ken McDonald Profile
2019-05-16 11:54 [p.27923]
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for what seems to be a lifetime of commitment to environmental issues.
He mentioned what is happening on the B.C. coast. I live on the other side of Canada, on the Atlantic Ocean, and my entire riding borders a bay of some sort. The riding is completely surrounded by salt water. We see many changes, whether it is storm surges, the possibility of hurricanes or the icebergs coming from the north. It is a record year for icebergs. I read an article last week that said that there were 679 icebergs off the coast of Newfoundland last week. It is a phenomenal number. It brings in tourists like crazy to see them, but we take them for granted now, because we see them so often. However, we have never seen the like of that. It is phenomenal what is happening. Things are happening at a faster pace.
If we try to deal with this globally and get everyone onside before we do anything, the costs will be the burden of the provinces and municipalities because of the changes they are seeing in weather patterns and the infrastructure they need to repair constantly. We cannot wait. We have to start now. Could the member comment?
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, that is not how it reads at all. In fact, we will remain on guard and work diligently with indigenous communities as they make the transition from a diesel economy to a new economy. In the meantime, we have to remain vigilant and make sure we protect at least 24 Ontario communities that presently rely right now on that subsidy in order to power their water rehabilitation facilities and schools.
We will continue to work with first nations as they, like the rest of us, make a transition to a new energy economy.
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, enough with legislation and policy being played on here in this House without consulting with indigenous communities first.
I would ask the NDP exactly how much consultation with indigenous groups they did before they decided they wanted to end the federal energy subsidies. How much consultation have they done? I know that on this side of the House we continue to consult, because the path to reconciliation requires all of us to do so.
View Gudie Hutchings Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Gudie Hutchings Profile
2019-05-16 15:02 [p.27953]
Mr. Speaker, in 1949, my province joined Confederation as Canada's 10th province. Since then, it has been our constitutional right as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to be guaranteed a connection to Canada's mainland.
Eastern Canadian ferries are essential for tourism, for the movement of goods and services and for providing locals with an alternative source of transportation. Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport please advise my constituents and all those who rely on the ferry services how our government's plans are improving our connection to the mainland?
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, climate change is real, and we know that first nations are disproportionately impacted, but the subsidy that the NDP wants to eliminate would leave at least 24 first nations in Ontario alone in the dark, literally.
These are communities that rely on the federal electricity subsidy program to maintain critical infrastructure, like water facilities and schools. The NDP quite literally wants to turn off the lights, heat and power to the communities' schools and water facilities, leaving some 16,000 people in the dark.
While the NDP continues to put forward these policies, we will ensure thoughtful and effective climate change policies.
View Ken McDonald Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Ken McDonald Profile
2019-05-15 15:23 [p.27840]
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 22nd report of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, entitled “Main Estimates, 2019-20: Votes 1, 5, 10, 15 and 20 under Department of Fisheries and Oceans”.
View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Nick Whalen Profile
2019-05-14 10:09 [p.27723]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to table a petition presented by constituents in my riding, related to a ban on cosmetic animal testing. The petitioners note that a ban on cosmetic animal testing would not harm or impact current cosmetics products for sale in Canada, because the European Union, of course, banned it in 2013 and its market continues to grow.
The petitioners call for a harmonization of our laws with the European Union's laws, and as well for support for Bill S-214 from the Senate, regarding the ban on the sale and/or manufacture of animal-tested cosmetics in Canada.
View Churence Rogers Profile
Lib. (NL)
Madam Speaker, it is my great pleasure to take part in this debate on Motion No. 203. In fact this motion, which was tabled by the hon. member for Richmond Centre, is directly in line with our government's current priorities relating to seniors.
Like all Canadians, the federal government is committed to ensuring the health and well-being of Canadian seniors. The very fact that the Prime Minister appointed a Minister of Seniors last year is a very good example of this commitment. I would even add that it is our duty as parliamentarians and as citizens to support seniors. Rest assured that we are committed to ensuring that Canadian seniors and future retirees have greater security and a better quality of life.
In fact, the government has implemented several measures over the last three years to ensure the financial security of seniors. First, we have restored the age of eligibility for the old age security pension and the guaranteed income supplement from 67 years to 65 years. This measure alone prevented approximately 100,000 seniors from falling into poverty.
There is also the fact that we increased the guaranteed income supplement by $947 per year for low-income seniors who live alone. For some people, $947 per year does not seem like a lot, but for seniors who are living at or below the poverty line, this money can make all the difference covering the cost of their rent, groceries or any other basic needs. This increase in the guaranteed income supplement helped nearly 900,000 low-income seniors improve their financial situations.
We have also worked closely with the provinces to improve the Canada Pension Plan. To ensure seniors have a financially comfortable retirement, we have diversified and simplified our methods, particularly online, to give seniors several ways to access their benefits. For example, seniors will soon be able to submit a single application to have access to both their old age security benefits and their guaranteed income supplement.
Budget 2019 proposes to support low-income Canadian seniors who choose to stay in the labour market and to support seniors' participation and inclusion in their communities. In fact, in budget 2019 the government is proposing a series of measures that aim to improve the quality of life for Canadian seniors.
For example, the budget suggests passing new legislation that would considerably improve the guaranteed income supplement earnings exemption as of July 2020.
This legislation would extend eligibility for the earnings exemption to income from self-employed work and would give a total or partial exemption to annual employment and self-employment income of up to $15,000.
Budget 2019 also proposes legislative changes that aim to proactively register contributors to the Canada pension plan who will be 70 years of age or older in 2020 but who have not yet applied to receive their retirement benefits.
Another interesting proposal in this budget is the increase in funding for the new horizons for seniors program that addresses issues such as elder abuse, which would include financial abuse. The result would be an additional $100 million over five years and $20 million per year ongoing to support projects that improve quality of life for seniors and promote their full participation in society.
What is more, the government is committed to protecting Canadians' pensions. As a result, budget 2019 proposes legislative changes to to the Companies' Creditors Arrangements Act, the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, the Canada Business Corporations Act and the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985. These changes would help better protect pension plans offered by employers in the event that a company becomes insolvent.
We are also proposing to provide $12.5 million over 10 years to the Global Risk Institute so it can continue its work on developing new approaches in financial risk management. The budget also proposes to provide $150,000 over three years to the institute's National Pension Hub to support pension research on improving the retirement savings results for Canadians and the development of solutions to challenges related to pensions.
What is more, budget 2019 proposes to invest $35 million in 2019 and 2020 so that the assisted living program continues to meet the needs of seniors and people with disabilities who are living on a reserve.
In addition, the recent budget proposes to develop new legislation that will require the federal government to maintain a national housing strategy that prioritizes housing for the most vulnerable people, including our seniors.
Finally, in this budget we are confirming our commitment to moving forward with a bill to reduce poverty.
In conclusion, the government supports Motion No. 203, which firmly condemns fraudulent activity against seniors.
Let me be clear: Any type of violence toward seniors must be denounced and fought wherever it exists—not only physical or psychological violence, but also the insidious violence that is the financial abuse of seniors.
Of course, scammers have victims in every segment of the population, without discrimination. However, when they target seniors, especially the most vulnerable seniors, this becomes particularly despicable and completely inexcusable.
View Churence Rogers Profile
Lib. (NL)
Madam Speaker, I would like to inform you that I will be splitting my time with the member for St. Catharines.
Today we are talking about Bill C-55, a bill that would amend the Oceans Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act.
Bill C-55 is an important element of our marine conservation agenda. While the proposed amendments provide another tool for us to meet our international commitment to increase the protection of Canada's marine and coastal areas to 10% by 2020, our government's objective, first and foremost, is to protect sensitive and important marine and coastal areas for the benefit of present and future generations of Canadians.
Decades of experience in establishing marine protected areas has shown us that too many delays occur during the establishment process. Through this experience, we have learned there are circumstances where greater harm to sensitive marine areas can occur during the time it takes to establish a marine protected area, sometimes up to 10 years.
The interim protections proposed under Bill C-55 address this gap in conserving our marine biodiversity and will give us the option to establish interim protection where initial science and consultation tells us we need to afford the area extra precaution.
While I thank the other place for the attention paid to the bill, the new amendments would negatively impact the government's ability to apply the precautionary principle and could put sensitive and important ecosystems at risk.
While we are rejecting the amendment from the other place, we are proposing to replace it with an amendment that would capture the intent of the changes sought by members of the other place. Indeed, we understand the concern that was shared by various senators regarding the consultations and ensuring the communities would not be negatively impacted by interim protection orders. We agree that consultations are important. In fact, they are the cornerstone of the development of marine protected areas.
That is why we are proposing an amendment that would require the geographical location, relevant information, as well as consultations that were undertaken, to be published when an order for interim protection is made. This proposed amendment will ensure that communities get the information they need and that we undertake the comprehensive consultations that are outlined in existing legislation in the designation of interim protection. It will allow us to continue to apply the precautionary approach, which underpins the objectives of this bill.
Most of the discussions held during the Senate review of Bill C-55 focused on transparency and consultations. I would like to provide an example of how the Government of Canada is demonstrating its commitment to work with many of its valued partners in an open and collaborative manner.
This government has been working steadily to build a partnership with the Government of Nunavut and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association to advance protection of Canada's High Arctic marine environment. As well, we have been engaging directly with northern communities and conducting scientific studies to better understand this ecosystem and its linkages to food security for indigenous peoples.
This area is of particular ecological importance as it maintains a relatively constant cover of old, thick and multi-year pack ice. As the ice melts in the rest of the Arctic, this area is expected to retain its multi-year pack ice further into the future and may therefore provide a last refuge for ice-dependent species, such as polar bears, beluga whales, narwhals and seals. Sea ice also provides habitat for the algae that forms a vital part of the Arctic food web. This area is also home to the last remaining ice shelves in North America.
This ongoing collaboration has led to a memorandum of understanding with the Government of Nunavut and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, committing us to assess the feasibility and desirability of protecting the High Arctic Basin. This work will consider the social, cultural, environmental and economic benefits and impacts of establishing a conservation area in this region.
This conservation effort supports the development of a conservation economy in the Arctic and our budget 2019 affirms this commitment to protect the High Arctic Basin with our partners.
The ability to provide early interim protection to the High Arctic Basin depends on royal assent of Bill C-55 in a manner that does not contradict the fundamental spirit and intent of the bill; that is to take action quickly to protect ecologically sensitive and important marine areas following initial science and consultation.
In a recent letter, the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, which represents over 15,000 Inuit, expressed serious concerns about the amendments provided by the other place. In the letter, the president, PJ Akeeagok, states:
We are concerned that this proposed amendment risks undermining the actualization of Inuit rights by conflating the requirement to uphold the rights of Inuit with a broader engagement with the interests of stakeholders. The current version of Bill C-55, sets out the appropriate hierarchy. Interim measures allow parties the opportunity to commit to determining the final details required to establish protected areas. This important step is key to successfully ensuring all parties interests are taken into account prior to final establishment.
QIA further submits that striking a broader consultation after an interim order is appropriate and effective to assess whether formal designation of part or all of the area under an interim order should be recommended to be designated as a permanent MPA by regulation.
The Government of Canada respects the rights of indigenous peoples and we are committed to consulting, collaborating and partnering with the very governments and groups that are essential to interim protection and longer-term protection.
With the support of our Inuit and northern partners, we intend to establish an interim marine protected area for the High Arctic Basin. Following this step, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Parks Canada agencies will continue to work with the Government of Nunavut and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association and others to continue important scientific work and explore the best ways of collaboratively protecting and managing this area through permanent protection measures.
On April 25, at the Nature Champions Summit in Montreal, the government announced new protection standards for marine protected areas. While these standards apply to future federal marine protected areas that are permanent and not to interim protection, the government's commitment to high protection standards was applauded in Canada and by the international community.
Marine conservation has always been, and will always be, an all-in effort. To date, we have protected 8.27% of our ocean estate. We did not get there alone. This tremendous achievement is the result of many protected areas established by provinces, territories and the federal government. It also includes the contribution of other conservation measures, like marine refuges, which have been developed in collaboration with many parties, most notably fisheries groups.
Reaching our target has been a high priority for this government and we are committed to achieving it together with our partners. We can no longer take our rich endowment of marine biodiversity for granted. We have been drawing economic benefit from our oceans for generations, but we need to invest in protecting our oceans to ensure the ecosystem services they provide can be maintained into the future.
Healthy marine ecosystems provide a range of vital benefits. They support climate regulation, provide nutritious food and support seafood industries and many other economic sectors and provide habitat needed to support species abundance.
Bill C-55 has been reviewed by Parliament for nearly two years. With interim protection, we will be able to act quickly and collaboratively to protect our oceans from coast to coast to coast. Bill C-55 is based on a vision to protect our oceans for future generations, and its success depends on partnerships. We must act today and pass the bill as the House intended.
View Churence Rogers Profile
Lib. (NL)
Madam Speaker, I am always concerned about balancing the two. The fishery is vitally important to the long-term viability of our province, and it is going to be there for a long time into the future. Hopefully, it will be sustainable and provide lots of economic opportunities for Newfoundland. As well, I understand the importance of the oil industry.
The minister recently made some announcements regarding MPAs and suggested that both of these industries can work in balance and provide great benefits for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador if they are properly managed and sustainably managed for the future.
View Churence Rogers Profile
Lib. (NL)
Madam Speaker, the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, which represents 15,000 members, supports this particular legislation.
Obviously we are all concerned about making sure that we do the correct amount of science and consultation, which is and will continue to be ongoing once the bill is in place.
View Churence Rogers Profile
Lib. (NL)
Madam Speaker, based on the conversations I have had with some different sectors, the most recent announcement that the parliamentary secretary refers to seemed to be well received.
The fishing industry obviously and the oil and gas industry need to be monitored for a balanced approach so that we can maintain both of these industries and reap the economic benefits from both for the long term.
View Gudie Hutchings Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Gudie Hutchings Profile
2019-05-13 16:37 [p.27701]
Madam Speaker, it is always a pleasure to hear my colleague from Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa. We share a great passion for the outdoors and all the treasures it holds.
As the member knows, Newfoundland and Labrador has over 18,000 kilometres of coastline and with that, many coastal communities, of which about 200 are in my riding. He made comments about the food fishery in our province, but trust me, the MPAs that we are speaking about today will not impact the food fishery or any legitimate and sustainable fishery.
However, the question I have for the hon. member is on something I have seen in my riding many times, not only in the last four years that I have been privileged to be here but many years before, which is how climate change is really having an impact on our coastal communities and fisheries. We are seeing water temperatures change and water levels rise, which is having a huge impact.
I would love to have my hon. colleague's comments on how climate change is also having an impact on our fisheries and how, perhaps through MPAs, we can have an impact there as well.
View Gudie Hutchings Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Gudie Hutchings Profile
2019-05-13 18:29 [p.27714]
Mr. Speaker, my colleague across the way and I share some beliefs in the outdoors, and I appreciate his comments.
However, Canada has over 243,000 kilometres of coastline. Our government in the last four years has gone from protecting just under 1% to over 9%. I wonder why, in the previous years when his party formed government, the Conservatives did not see this as an area of concern.
Canada is a world leader in conservation and environment. I wonder what his comment is on why the Conservative government did nothing during the 10 years prior.
View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Nick Whalen Profile
2019-05-10 14:11 [p.27653]
Madam Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill S-203, an act to amend the Criminal Code and other acts, also known as the act for ending the captivity of whales and dolphins.
The bill proposes changes to three acts: the Criminal Code, the Fisheries Act and the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act, an act whose name did not take advantage of creative acronym design.
I want to begin by first stating that I am indeed, like Canadians across the country, in favour of the bill and I know this government supports this bill.
I actually deferred my opportunity to speak on my own private member's motion, Motion No. 196, and work with the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands in order to help advance this important legislation before the session ends. Who knows, maybe I will not get the opportunity to speak on my motion, but I know this is very important to Canadians. Seeing it so close to the finish line, it felt like it was the right move to make. I am honoured by the small role I may have been able to play in advancing the common good across party lines and between the other place and this place.
I also want to highlight the Liberal members of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, who passed the bill unamended at committee.
The bill has progressed thanks to their leadership and is now even closer to being passed after years of debate in the Senate.
There is no doubt, as we have come to learn more about the living needs of whales and other cetaceans, that keeping them in captivity is simply the wrong thing to do.
Support for a ban on keeping whales in captivity has grown and is continuing to grow, not only in Canada, but around the world.
Canadians can see some of Canada's most majestic marine animals in their natural habitat all around Newfoundland and along all our coastlines from St. John's, Newfoundland, and Vancouver Island to the Arctic and Chaleur Bay.
We know from research on these animals that living in captivity is far from being in their best interest and that is why Canadians across the country have shown continued support for the banning of whales in captivity.
I would also like to add that while the banning of whale captivity is not yet in legislation, the practice has been in place for years in Canada, and our government continues to support this.
Licences for the capture of live cetaceans are issued only by the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard for scientific research or rehabilitation.
In the past 10 years, as we have heard, only one licence has been issued for the rehabilitation of a live-stranded pseudo-orca calf.
Our government has also taken notice of the growing concern to ensure cetaceans are not being captured for the sole purpose of being kept for public display. That is why our government introduced Bill C-68, which is currently before the committee in the other place, and we hope will be reported out of the committee next week. It contains amendments that would prohibit the captivity of whales and would allow the minister to put in place regulations to ban the import and export of cetaceans.
Today, there are only two facilities in Canada that house cetaceans: Marineland in Niagara Falls, Ontario, and the Vancouver Aquarium in British Columbia.
Marineland is a commercial facility with approximately 60 cetaceans. Most are belugas with one being a killer whale.
The Vancouver Aquarium is a not-for-profit facility and has one cetacean at its facility, a 30 year-old Pacific white-sided dolphin that was rescued from the wild and has been deemed to be unfit for release back into the wild. The Vancouver Aquarium works with Fisheries and Oceans Canada to rescue and rehabilitate marine mammals in distress.
We know we must do more to keep protecting cetaceans. That is why we need to send a clear message through legislation that whales do not belong in captivity. Today we are debating the importance of keeping whales in the wild, but I also want to emphasize the importance of ensuring their marine habitats are protected.
Over the past few years, the government has made real investments to protect and conserve our marine environment. In 2016, the Prime Minister announced $1.5 billion dollars for the oceans protection plan, which has since funded 55 coastal restoration projects, helped to address threats to marine mammals from vessel noise and collisions, increased our on-scene environmental response capacity and much more.
As part of budget 2018, this government also announced $167.4 million for the whales initiative, which has further funded recovery plans for endangered species, such as the southern resident killer whale, the beluga whale and in my area of the world, the North Atlantic right whale.
Our government continues to take action to protect our environment. We recently announced new standards for marine protected areas to ensure that ecologically significant areas are not disturbed by oil and gas exploration. This measure was introduced in response to the recommendations of an independent expert advisory panel on marine protected areas. This announcement was well received in Canada and around the world.
Our move toward protecting important marine environments will help ensure a good future for a healthy ocean and the health of marine species such as whales and dolphins. However, I really cannot say enough about the oceans protection plan: infrastructure; coastal restoration; the abandoned, derelict and wrecked vessels programs; arctic marine protection; science and research and the pilotage review.
In my riding of St. John's East, there is an institute called the Marine Institute. I had the good fortune to be there in September 2011 with the minister of fisheries and oceans and the Canadian coast guard at the time, now our good friend from Beauséjour who is on leave, the former minister of veterans affairs, now the Minister of Indigenous Services, and my good friend and colleague the member for Avalon to announce important work that is being done to restore marine habitat in Avalon using expertise that comes from the university in my riding, the Marine Institute.
We announced a program to re-establish the eel beds in Placentia Bay to increase that habitat. That is where lots of species, including scallops, shrimp, cod and whales, start their lives. It is important to protect these areas to improve the health and ability of our oceans to be fully functioning in certain areas where they have become damaged due to industrial activity.
This particular project is small in comparison to the overall total. It is about $7.4 million. Although it was announced on my wedding anniversary, my wife was not too upset. We had an opportunity to celebrate later. The money is actually already being spent. Last summer, scientists were able to go into Placentia Bay, do the diving and begin that restoration work in Placentia Bay that will pay dividends for years to come.
It is wonderful to work with the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands on this. As we did a little social media earlier, a lot of people came back to me and asked some important questions on how our government can be supporting industrial activity in the oil and gas sector and at the same time support environmental protections. They felt that it was counterintuitive or perhaps even contradictory. That could not be further from the truth.
The only way the government can move forward, protect the environment and fund the transition of our economy to a clean economy is with economic growth from our traditional sectors in resource development. We must continue to work on the demand side, and this means the purchasing decisions made by consumers and how they engage in their daily lives, and at the same time allow our natural resources sectors to engage in environmentally responsible development so that we can tap into export markets.
We cannot allow countries that do not have good environmental records to capitalize on oil and gas profits from their exports and not allow our industry to thrive. That is why our government, at the same time it is doing all this great work to help whales in the wild and help prevent whale captivity, is also funding the Trans Mountain expansion and has recently approved, with many conditions, continued exploration for two projects on the northeast coast of Newfoundland and Labrador for oil exploration. ExxonMobil and Equinor now have the opportunity this summer and over the course of the next decade to drill exploratory drills in our waters, subject to conditions that protect the right whales and protect our oceans. We will use this prosperity to fund things like the oceans protection plan.
In closing, let me say that I am very pleased to be here today to join with Canadians from coast to coast to coast who have come out in favour of ending the captivity of whales. Whales have been kept in captivity for too long, and that has to change.
Whales do not belong in captivity; they belong in the wild. I encourage all members to support this legislation.
View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Nick Whalen Profile
2019-05-09 13:44 [p.27577]
Mr. Speaker, the member raised some very heartfelt and difficult language from members of her community that really points to the need for additional reconciliation and the government making legitimate attempts to meet the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
I will point to three of them, those being the Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls to action 13, 14 and 15. Each of these relates to language and culture. Indigenous groups have told us that they believe the bill reaches that divide and is a step in the right direction to meeting those three calls to action.
Although a large part of the member's speech was about issues that are economic in nature and related to jobs, which are also important, I wonder if she can confirm to us that she supports the intention and spirit of the aspects of Bill C-91 that relate to the truth and reconciliation commitments and that she intends to support the bill in the House.
View Yvonne Jones Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Yvonne Jones Profile
2019-05-09 14:09 [p.27581]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to acknowledge the positive impact of the child tax benefit that was introduced by our government and the tremendous impact that it is having on families and communities across Labrador.
As of January 2019, more than 4,700 children and their families in Labrador communities have received the child tax benefit. This has meant over $1.5 million in payments to these families.
Families in Labrador, like all families across Canada, are using this money to help pay for child care, after-school programs and improvements to housing. This money is helping them address food insecurity. Most importantly, it is lifting children in Canada out of poverty. Since 2013, child poverty in Canada has been reduced by 40%, in part due to the child tax benefit.
We know there is more to do and we have acknowledged that. We will continue to work towards—
View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Nick Whalen Profile
2019-05-09 14:12 [p.27582]
Mr. Speaker, yesterday evening MPs faced off against the pages in a soccer match. It was so nice out that neither team could use the weather as an excuse except when Matteo Le Clair and Damien Pilon scored the pages' first two goals.
Then the Conservative member for Edmonton—Wetaskiwin passed the ball to the NDP member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley, who scored a goal.
In a novel display of non-partisanship, Liberals rejoiced this co-operation by the opposition.
The MPs pressed for an equalizer, but Quinten Beelik was a wall in the net for the pages. Jonah Sider-Echenberg forced me into some difficult saves, but even our gender-balanced cabinet featuring the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and the Minister of National Defence could not save us from ourselves: two own goals by the Liberals. Sometimes sport does imitate life.
In the end, it was four to one for the pages. We have immense respect for them.
Congratulations to the pages.
View Churence Rogers Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, rural communities across Canada play an important role in our national economy and are a special part of the Canadian identity and vibrancy. As the MP for Bonavista—Burin—Trinity, a large rural riding, I see first-hand the unique sorts of issues faced by rural communities and the need for a coordinated, specific plan to address them.
Can the Minister of Rural Economic Development please give this House an update on the work being undertaken to develop a national rural economic development strategy?
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, in answer to this, the hon. member will talk about similar themes to those he just talked about, but before he does that, I would like him to address one very important thing. He has been here a while. Several years ago, as a commitment to the people of Canada, it was stated that a re-elected Conservative government led by Stephen Harper would “reduce the federal excise tax on diesel and aviation fuel by half, from four cents per litre to two cents per litre, reducing the price of transportation”.
Why did the former Conservative government not do that?
View Ken McDonald Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Ken McDonald Profile
2019-05-07 14:45 [p.27480]
Mr. Speaker, by introducing Canada's first-ever national housing strategy, this government has demonstrated an unprecedented commitment to giving more Canadians a place to call home. Since taking office in 2015, we have invested more than $7 billion in housing and have helped more than one million Canadians find safe, affordable places to call home.
Could the minister responsible for housing tell the House how the recent agreement between Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador will help more people across our province have access to affordable and dignified housing?
View Ken McDonald Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Ken McDonald Profile
2019-05-06 14:13 [p.27393]
Mr. Speaker, summer is upon us, and in my riding of Avalon, things are looking brighter than ever for young people, who, thanks to our Canada summer jobs program, will have over 480 well-paying summer positions available to them across the riding. Students in my province relish the opportunity to find jobs that not only interest them but that allow them to make a fair wage, all while learning important skills for their future.
The previous Conservative government, in true Conservative fashion, preferred balancing its books on the backs of our young people. It considered investing in students and our youth one of its lowest priorities.
This government knows that investing in our young people today means a stronger country tomorrow. This government knows that when we give students the chance to earn money for themselves, it means that mom and dad keep more money in their own pockets and that our young people find their independence. This government has been committed since day one to making positive changes to the lives of every Canadian. I know that the young people in Avalon are feeling these changes, and the future has never looked better.
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, our government is working very hard on closing the unacceptable gap that exists right now between indigenous and non-indigenous communities when it comes to quality health care.
We are in the process of closing that gap. Fifty-two new community-led wellness centres are now serving 344 communities, 218,000 requests under Jordan's principle and we are working with indigenous partners toward arrangements that will continue to support indigenous control of health care delivery.
View Yvonne Jones Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Yvonne Jones Profile
2019-05-02 14:45 [p.27301]
Mr. Speaker, health care costs are one of the things we have all been concerned about in the country. That is why, as a government, we have launched initiatives to look at pharmacare and how we make health care more affordable to Canadians, whether they live in the north or the south. In particular, we have paid careful attention to northerners.
That is why we have launched the northern strategic plan and the Arctic policy, so we can hear their concerns first-hand and act on programs and services that will benefit them.
View Ken McDonald Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Ken McDonald Profile
2019-04-30 11:05 [p.27157]
Mr. Speaker, members stand one after another and say that it is wrong to limit debate and have closure on debate on this bill, but it is the official opposition that earlier moved a motion to adjourn debate on the budget implementation act.
I wonder if the minister could speak to that and to how important it is to get this done, get it to committee, get recommendations back and get this over with for the people of Canada.
View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Nick Whalen Profile
2019-04-30 12:19 [p.27162]
Mr. Speaker, during the last election, Canadians made a clear choice between the Conservatives and the NDP, which planned to have austerity and cuts, and our plan to invest in the middle class. Canadians can see they made the right choice.
Today's economy is one of the fastest growing in the G7. Canadians have created more than 900,000 jobs, and middle-class families are significantly better off. For all the progress made, many Canadians still worry about the future and their ability to spend on what is important now while saving for the future of their families.
With budget 2019, our government is making sure that all Canadians feel the benefits of a growing economy. That means helping more Canadians find an affordable home; prepare for good, well-paying jobs; retire with confidence; and afford prescription medications. While other parties continue to focus on cuts and austerity, our government is building upon our proven plan to invest in the middle class and make an economy that works for everyone.
Most importantly, this budget will have a positive impact in my riding of St. John's East, as well as Newfoundland and Labrador as a whole, as it continues to deliver on helping the middle class and those working hard to join it. In the lead-up to the budget, I spoke to each municipality in my riding and countless stakeholders about what they wanted to see and hear from our government. They were heard.
Some of the highlights of budget 2019's investments in Newfoundland and Labrador include an extra $2.2 billion, through the federal gas tax fund, to address short-term infrastructure priorities in municipalities and first nations communities, which includes $32.9 million for Newfoundland and Labrador. In 2019-20, major transfers will total $767 million, an increase of $17.2 million from the previous year. Since 2015-16, these transfers have grown by $73.6 million for our province.
Another highlight is up to $1.7 billion over 13 years, starting in 2019-20, to establish a new national high-speed Internet program under the universal broadband fund. As well, there is additional funding of $100 million over five years and $20 million thereafter for the new horizons for seniors program, to empower seniors in their communities. This is without even getting into the details of the Atlantic Accord, which provides $2.5 billion for Newfoundland and Labrador. This demonstrates the effectiveness our government has had in working with municipalities and our provincial partners to find solutions to the issues important to Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
Moving on to broadband, bringing high-speed Internet to rural, remote and northern communities is a commitment of ours. The government has been steadfast in its commitment to bring higher-quality Internet access to every part of our country, especially those areas that are underserved, including rural, remote and 151 northern communities. In budget 2019, the government announced its commitment to set a national target, in which 95% of Canadian homes and businesses would have access to Internet speeds of at least 50/10 megabits per second by 2026, and 100% by 2030.
To achieve this objective in the quickest and most cost-effective manner, budget 2019 proposes a new, coordinated plan that would deliver between $5 billion and $6 billion in new public and private investments in rural, remote and northern communities over the next 10 years, including those in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Included in this is the commitment to the universal broadband fund. The government will look to top up the connect to innovate program and to secure advanced low-earth orbit satellite capacity to serve the most remote and rural regions of Canada. As well, the Canada Infrastructure Bank will seek to invest $1 billion over the next 10 years and leverage at least $2 billion in additional private sector investment to increase broadband access for Canadians.
Another important topic in my riding is seniors. To improve seniors' quality of life and to better promote seniors' participation and inclusion in rural communities and workplaces across the country, budget 2019 proposes to provide additional funding of $100 million over five years, with $20 million ongoing, for the new horizons for seniors program. In St. John's East, a number of interesting projects have come forward, and I have had the opportunity to make announcements in my riding. Groups such as the Elks Club, the 50+ club, the MacMorran Community Centre and SeniorsNL have all obtained benefit from this program and are advancing important projects in their communities to enhance accessibility, improve seniors' learning to code and provide seniors in our province the opportunity to engage in libraries from coast to coast to coast. It is a great program and we are glad to see that it was expanded under this budget.
Also, to help low-income working seniors keep more of what they earn, budget 2019 proposes to enhance the guaranteed income supplement earnings exemption, beginning next year, in July, for the 2020-21 benefit year. The enhancement would extend eligibility for the earnings exemption to self-employed income, and it would provide a full or partial exemption on up to $15,000 of annual employment and self-employment income for all GIS or allowance recipients as well as their spouses. This will be done by increasing the amount of the full exemption from $3,500 to $5,000 per year for all GIS or allowance recipients as well as their spouses, and by introducing a partial exemption of 50% for which recipients can apply on an additional $10,000 of annual employment and self-employment income beyond $5,000.
This would allow seniors who work part time, who take on an extra job or who get money from other sources to deal with the higher cost of living or to pay for improvements to their homes so they can enjoy a more dignified and solid retirement without worrying about whether they can find the funds. It would also provide seniors with an opportunity to engage in their communities. They can take a part-time job to work at a centre, work with youth, work with other seniors, or do home care. In doing so, they can use their experience in life to help enrich their communities without worrying about the tax implications on them and, more importantly, the implications that work might have on their entitlement to receive the GIS or their allowance.
Pharmacare is one of the biggest issues in my riding. No Canadian should have to choose between paying for prescriptions and putting food on the table. While Canadians are very proud of our health care system, many are still forced to make this impossible decision.
With budget 2019, we are laying the foundation for the implementation of a national pharmacare program while we await the final report by our advisory council on its full implementation. This includes the creation of a Canadian drug agency. Together with the provinces and territories, this agency would negotiate drug prices for all Canadians, and we expect that this would lower costs by up to $3 billion per year. We are also putting in place a national strategy for high-cost drugs for rare diseases, which would help families most in need.
It is critically important to Canadians that we get the implementation of national pharmacare right and that we do not act irresponsibly. Instead, we will lay the groundwork while our government's expert panel continues to help us chart the right path forward.
To get back to a more local issue, I note our investment in the eastern Canada ferry service. Every year, federally funded ferry services in eastern Canada help move more than 800,000 passengers and 100,000 commercial vehicles. This includes services provided by Marine Atlantic, a Crown corporation operating between Cape Breton, Port aux Basques and Argentia.
Port aux Basques is in the riding of the member for Long Range Mountains, and Argentia is in the riding of the member for Avalon. These are essential services for all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, because at least half of all goods coming into our province are delivered by the Marine Atlantic service. It is critical.
People visit our beautiful province in the summer, and when they come with their families to take advantage of our trailer parks, summer camps or national parks, they want to be able to drive in their vehicles to see the beauty that our province has to offer. They cannot do this without access through the ferry system. It is wonderful that budget 2019 includes funding for a new ferry that would help ensure that this service can be provided safely and reliably year-round throughout our province.
I have spoken about seniors, broadband and the ferry service, and now I would like to speak about housing affordability. It is something that affects not only people in Newfoundland and Labrador but people from coast to coast to coast. Everyone needs a safe and affordable place to call home. However, today too many Canadians are being priced out of the housing market. For 10 years, Conservative politicians like Stephen Harper did nothing to address housing affordability, pushing home ownership further out of reach and putting household debt on the rise.
With budget 2019, our government is making significant investments to help Canadians find an affordable place to call home. The new first-time homebuyers incentive would make home ownership more affordable for first-time buyers by allowing them to lower their monthly mortgage payments through a take-back equity mortgage with CMHC. It would be more flexible, and it would enhance the homebuyers plan that we already have with respect to RRSP contributions. In addition to this, under the homebuyers plan, young homebuyers can take $10,000 from their RRSPs.
I would love to have the opportunity to go on further to talk about the benefits for youth and benefits for people in my riding, but I will get to that in the questions and comments that follow.
View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Nick Whalen Profile
2019-04-30 12:30 [p.27164]
Mr. Speaker, the member and I sit together at the natural resources committee where we get to work productively together.
I had the opportunity to meet with PSAC members in my riding last week. They came to me with concerns about Phoenix, as the member raised, as well as certain concerns about whether pay for skilled trades within the public sector was properly compensated, whether pay agents under Phoenix were properly compensated and whether the types of maternity benefit spreading allowed under the EI program should be expanded under the current round of negotiations for the civil service. I understand as well that there is a gap of maybe the federal government offering compensation of an extra 1% and some additional steps in the compensation matrix. The public sector was asking for a 3.5% increase in pay. These are all complicated questions.
Therefore, I took it upon myself to write a letter to the President of the Treasury Board to let her know that anything we could as a government support to help the standard of workers within the federal civil service set the standard for other employers in Canada. It is something I certainly support.
With respect to overall compensation for the public sector, when all the benefits are accounted for and when we look at the increase in the value of our economy and the cost of living increases, I would like us to find an appropriate way so Canadians feel our civil servants are being appropriately compensated and are being paid fairly but not egregiously.
View Ken McDonald Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Ken McDonald Profile
2019-04-30 12:32 [p.27164]
Mr. Speaker, I know my colleague from St. John's East did not have a chance to get to all the parts of his speech that he wanted to highlight today. I want to give him an opportunity to comment on the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency or, as we call it, ACOA, which plays a vital role not just in Newfoundland and Labrador, but in all of Atlantic Canada. During the recent voting marathon in the House, every member of the Conservative Party stood and voted against funding to that organization.
Would the member for St. John's East like to highlight the importance of that organization to his riding, to our province and to Atlantic Canada?
View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Nick Whalen Profile
2019-04-30 12:33 [p.27164]
Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to have this opportunity to speak about ACOA. ACOA has offices in my riding. It touches many aspects of business life in our province and provides opportunities for new companies to gain access to lower cost financial services. It provides opportunities for business organizations to develop new programs. It also provides opportunities for places like the Genesis Centre, which incubates new companies to have access for mentoring as well as space, facilities and training programs to which they would not otherwise have access.
The proof is in the pudding. When ACOA invests in these companies, it shows real demonstrated year-over-year growth. Places like the Genesis Centre have over $150 million in revenue for the companies incubated there over the last 20 years. When a small wage subsidy might be provided for skilled workers in a company, we see that this six-month wage subsidy extends well beyond to 10 years of full time employment, on average, for employees who are hired.
There is real demonstrated value and a good bang for one's economic buck with respect to economic development, at least for ACOA. I cannot speak to the other economic development agencies.
I was certainly shocked and appalled when members of the official opposition voted against ACOA.
View Yvonne Jones Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Yvonne Jones Profile
2019-04-11 11:57 [p.26985]
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the minister for all her work on this bill. It is signature legislation in Canada. It has been asked for by indigenous governments and indigenous communities for many years.
I can understand why the opposition would like to delay this even further, because for 10 years, the Conservatives had no action on this file and on delivering for indigenous children in this country. We are now doing that, and we are doing it after very careful, very thoughtful and very respectful consultation with indigenous groups and leadership. That is the means for this bill to continue with that relationship to get it right.
I want to commend the minister, and I want to support her in what she is asking today. I agree that the committee is the place to do a lot of this work that needs to be done. I would ask the minister to speak to that.
View Churence Rogers Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to highlight Oral Health Month. This week, April 6 to 12, is National Dental Hygienists Week. This week focuses on oral health for total health and how proper care of our teeth, gums and mouth can lead to better physical and mental well-being. Recognizing the importance of good oral health is important for the health of all Canadians.
In Canada, we have nearly 30,000 dental hygienists who provide an array of services to ensure that Canadians receive proper dental care. Many Canadians, especially seniors, benefit significantly from the work of dental hygienists. Whether it is teeth cleaning and polishing, taking X-rays or assisting in the care of one's dentures, dental hygienists play a critical role.
I want to thank the nearly 30,000 dental hygienists across the country who are supporting Canadians and helping them lead healthier and happier lives.
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member had qualms with the Paris Agreement. Her party voted for it and she voted against it. I am wondering if she would like to have a chance to talk about that.
View Ken McDonald Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Ken McDonald Profile
2019-04-09 10:08 [p.26840]
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 20th report of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, entitled “Bill S-203, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and other Acts (ending the captivity of whales and dolphins)”.
The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House without amendments.
I wish to thank everybody, staff and members of the committee, for their participation. I especially want to recognize Senator Moore who originally brought this bill to the other place and, of course, the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands who sponsored it here in the House.
View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Nick Whalen Profile
2019-04-09 13:21 [p.26868]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today on the traditional territory of the Algonquin people in support of a bill that proposes to strike a more appropriate balance between environmental protection, social responsibility and economic development in Canada's north. As my hon. colleagues recognize, Canada is blessed with an abundance of natural resources, and throughout Canada's history these resources have been a cornerstone of the economy.
While the national economy grows ever more diverse thanks to the rise of other sectors, resource development remains crucial to our national prosperity. Resource development projects create jobs and export sales and stimulate technological innovation. Tempering these benefits, however, are the environmental and social impacts of resource extraction and development. These include pollution, destruction of ecosystems and changes in the fabric of communities and traditional indigenous ways.
Throughout much of our nation's history, while we relied on resource development for prosperity and growth, we often failed to appreciate and take into account its long-term environmental and social consequences. To strike a better balance between economic and environmental concerns, Canada has developed a unique regulatory regime that governs resource development projects in the north, a regime that is co-managed with indigenous partners.
The regime requires that proposed projects undergo stringent reviews of anticipated impacts. This regulatory regime helps to ensure that resource projects maximize potential economic benefits and minimize potential environmental impacts. In this way, the regime restores public confidence and creates certainty and predictability, which are so important in industry, and it sets the foundation for a sustainable and long-term natural resource industry in the north.
I am going to take the opportunity now to advise that I will be splitting my time with the parliamentary secretary, the member for Acadie—Bathurst.
To maintain an appropriate balance between these concerns, the regulatory regime evolves continually as Canada evolves and as our understanding of the environment and of resource development deepens. In the north in particular, the settlement of modern land claims has enabled the creation of unique systems of governance in co-operation with our indigenous partners.
Through the amendments proposed in Bill C-88, our government has established a clear path forward in managing land, water and natural resources in the Mackenzie Valley, one that respects indigenous inhabitants and is fair and equitable to industry. These amendments strengthen trust and provide certainty, and they provide an effective approach to natural resource co-management. They also support a modern regulatory regime that is stable, predictable, coordinated and balanced.
Bill C-88 responds to the concerns raised by indigenous governments and organizations in the Mackenzie Valley about the provisions of the 2014 Northwest Territories Devolution Act. That act devolved the administration and control of public lands and waters to the Government of the Northwest Territories and also made other amendments to the Mackenzie Valley Resources Management Act.
Those 2014 amendments to the Mackenzie Valley Resources Management Act included provisions to amalgamate the regional land and water boards in the Mackenzie Valley into a single board. While the government of the day argued that an amalgamated board structure would provide clarity and certainty to the regulatory regime in the Mackenzie Valley, the opposite occurred.
Instead of bringing certainty, the proposed amalgamated boards led to court challenges by indigenous organizations. Indigenous groups argued that their authorities in land and water management, guaranteed by their land claims and self-government agreements, were not being respected, and that their land and water boards could not be unilaterally abolished by the federal government.
A court injunction in February of 2015 halted the provisions of section 253(2) of the Northwest Territories Devolution Act, the section that included restructuring of the land and water boards. The injunction also affected important policy measures that are central to the regulatory regime, such as the use of development certificates and their enforcement scheme and inspection notice requirements on Gwich'in and Sahtu lands.
So much for bringing certainty to the regulatory regime. Stakeholders agree that the 2014 legislation has done the opposite; it creates a climate of uncertainty and discourages the responsible development of the Mackenzie Valley's natural resources.
The Government of Canada is committed to exploring ways to fix the restructuring provisions, resolve the legal proceedings and renew the government's relationship with indigenous peoples in the Northwest Territories.
Bill C-88 is the product of productive discussions with indigenous governments and organizations, the Government of the Northwest Territories, resource co-management boards, industry and other stakeholders. Input received has been carefully considered and helped shape the bill.
If passed, Bill C-88 will undo the controversial land restructuring provisions and reintroduce important regulatory improvement provisions from the Northwest Territories Devolution Act that did not come into force due to the court injunctions. Bill C-88 provides certainty to proponents, and it supports a modern-day regime that balances environmental, social and economic well-being.
My understanding is that the Government of the Northwest Territories supports the amendments proposed in Bill C-88, contrary to what the opposition has said. Indigenous governments and organizations in the Northwest Territories also want these amendments. The mining industry that conducts its business in the territory is not opposed to the board restructuring amendments, and supports anything that provides greater clarity and certainty in the regulatory process and gets us through these injunctions.
Companies with commercial interests in the north also understand the importance of protecting the unique arctic environment, while pursuing safe, responsible development, which creates jobs and economic growth right in the northern communities from whence the resources come.
Bill C-88 proposes to improve the regulatory regime in the north through a series of amendments informed by several important developments. These include the court challenges I mentioned earlier, as well as the accelerated impacts of climate change in the Arctic and the Government of Canada's commitment to foster reconciliation between indigenous peoples and the Crown.
The amendments proposed in Bill C-88 would increase predictability, consistency and timeliness of regulatory reviews in the north, while strengthening environmental protections. Northerners deserve a fully functional, modernized regulatory regime that meets their particular needs, the kind of regime that promotes growth and prosperity while at the same time safeguards the fragile northern ecosystem, the kind of regime that strikes the appropriate balance between economic and environmental concerns.
Bill C-88 would provide the clarity and certainty that the regulatory process needs in order to encourage industry investment in resource development in the Mackenzie River valley. I call upon all members of the House to support Bill C-88, which will enable us to balance the development of untapped economic potential in the north with strong partnerships and sound environmental stewardship.
One of the main issues that has arisen in my conversations with oil and gas companies around uncertainty, and I know the opposition shadow minister raised this point, actually relates to the uncertainty that arises out of the courts. The biggest fear of companies that have proposed to invest billions of dollars in resource development and extraction is that the courts will impose some type of an injunction late into their process, creating a great amount of uncertainty as to whether or not their capital can be effectively deployed. This is exactly what happened with TMX. It is exactly what happened with the previous 2014 legislation that this bill hopes to amend. It is the greatest source of risk that our government is trying to fend off.
Although some members of the House suggest that these injunctions occurred on our watch and, therefore, must be our fault, the exact opposite is the case. The injunction arose in the cases that I just mentioned from decisions that were made by the previous government and its failure to properly consult, to take indigenous concerns into account, to abide by our constitutional commitments and to abide by the duty to accommodate.
This is what so much of our focus has been on for the last four years, to get our environmental regulatory regime back in line with our constitutional and economic commitments, to help make sure indigenous communities thrive. In this particular instance, we have the right balance and we know we do because the groups that have brought forward the injunction are in favour of the changes.
View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Nick Whalen Profile
2019-04-09 13:31 [p.26870]
Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, the regulatory regime that we are living under is the regulatory regime that the Conservatives put in place. The legislation that we are trying to get through the House today, as well as Bill C-69, which is before the Senate, is our attempt to fix the regulatory system. If the member's complaint is that our regulatory system does not work, then he only has his own party to blame.
Having said that, we do not pick one month and base the entire job-number argument on it. Since we have been elected, there have been 900,000 new jobs and 825,000 people lifted out of poverty. We are looking forward to getting a number of environmental assessment processes through what we consider to be the failed 2012 process but it is the process we have, with full indigenous consultation where indigenous peoples have been funded for their participation. We are so excited that the Newfoundland offshore will have an opportunity, hopefully, to avail itself of that this summer.
Of course, we look forward to a final decision on an improved process for the NEB, which, again, if it had been done right the first time, we would have had four years of pipeline to our coast to B.C. However, we did not because of the previous government's ineptitude.
View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Nick Whalen Profile
2019-04-09 13:33 [p.26870]
Mr. Speaker, if I understood correctly, the question relates to our efforts with respect to housing for indigenous peoples.
My neighbour, the Minister of Indigenous Services, is handling the housing situation in indigenous communities. While the strategy may not have been presented by a member from Quebec, it is coming from the Minister of Indigenous Services. Budget 2019 includes a many new investments in that regard.
We are not going to simply enforce our own view of what a housing strategy for indigenous people will look like. Our indigenous services minister will work with indigenous people to make sure that the money in budget 2019 for indigenous housing is deployed in a way that helps them, as I am sure the member will appreciate and respect.
View Ken McDonald Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Ken McDonald Profile
2019-04-08 11:17 [p.26781]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for introducing this bill in the House.
When the member was giving her speech about the care by doctors, I was reminded of Dr. Kara Laing, who attended to my wife when she was sick with cancer in early 2000. Dr. Laing was special. She would always make a point of asking how I was, how our son was. To the point that the member mentioned, she showed up to the funeral home to make sure we were all okay.
Recognizing physicians is a great thing to do, but I wonder if the member could explain what we should be doing more of in order to attract physicians to the rural areas of our country.
View Yvonne Jones Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Yvonne Jones Profile
2019-04-05 11:08 [p.26734]
Madam Speaker, I am proud to rise today to congratulate the athletes, volunteers and sponsors who made the Labrador Winter Games a true success.
The games have been a premier event in Labrador since 1983, and I have fond memories of my times competing as an athlete and of being a spectator. The event continues to be the largest gathering and celebration for sports and culture in Labrador. It is often referred to as the “Olympics of the North“ and comprises both modern and traditional sporting events.
In 2019, we saw the first female Labrathon event, an event reserved only for males until now. Women competed in traditional clothing, pulled a komatik on snowshoes and competed to light a fire, saw a log, target shoot and chop a hole through the ice.
I congratulate Nikki Brown-Dyson of Cartwright, the first woman to hold this title at the games. I also acknowledge and ask my colleagues in the House today to join me in congratulating all teams and the team of Happy Valley Goose Bay, which won the cup.
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
Madam Speaker, our work has always been focused on supporting the people of Cat Lake. Housing money will go to housing. It is as simple as that. Housing money goes to housing. It is why we signed an agreement with the community and with Windigo First Nations and no one else. Reports that are coming out now of practices by consultants that other first nation leaders, but also the chief of Cat Lake, are calling parasitic and atrocious are deeply troubling to us, and we will be following through.
View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Nick Whalen Profile
2019-04-05 12:02 [p.26744]
Madam Speaker, the International Energy Agency notes that since 2000, energy efficiency in major economies has actually offset one-third of the rise of energy-intensive activities like heating buildings, industrial processes and transportation. Since most of our energy still comes from greenhouse gas sources, energy efficiency can help us meet our climate change goals while saving money, supporting competitiveness and creating jobs.
Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources please explain how budget 2019 would promote energy efficiency and help Canada meet our climate change commitments?
View Gudie Hutchings Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Gudie Hutchings Profile
2019-04-03 15:07 [p.26626]
Mr. Speaker, this past Monday marked the 70th anniversary since my province of Newfoundland and Labrador joined Confederation.
Since 1949, our province has made an invaluable contribution to the social and cultural fabric of our nation. We have seen some unprecedented economic growth and development.
Can the Prime Minister please update this House on the details of the renewed Atlantic Accord with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, and how this will benefit every single person in our province?
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, we support the needs of the people of Grassy Narrows. We remain steadfast in our commitment to build a health facility in that community. Officials are in regular contact with the community to advance plans for the design and the construction of that facility.
I look forward to meeting with Chief Turtle to determine how we continue moving on this critical path forward.
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, the people of Grassy Narrows have suffered for generations and we recognize the numerous health issues that the community faces to this day. We remain committed to building a facility that will meet the needs of community members.
As I have stated, we are in contact with the community and I am eager to meet with Chief Turtle to discuss this matter personally so we can move on this together.
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, our government is working to close the unacceptable gap in accessing quality health care that exists between indigenous and non-indigenous people.
To close that gap, I am proud to report that 52 new community-led mental wellness teams are now serving 344 communities. Over 214,000 health-related requests for first nations children have been approved under Jordan's principle.
We are working with indigenous partners in northern Saskatchewan and across the country to reach arrangements that support indigenous control of health care delivery for indigenous peoples.
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Kildonan—St. Paul for her question and for her strong advocacy on behalf of Manitoba first nations.
Last week, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous Services, also a member from Manitoba, met with the youth upon their return to Winnipeg. He also announced that our government is investing $4 million in projects in these communities.
It is tremendous to be able to support indigenous youth who are taking such a leading role in the development of solutions for issues facing their own communities. I would like to congratulate all those who were involved.
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