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Results: 1 - 100 of 175
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2019-06-19 18:33 [p.29426]
Mr. Speaker, I am very alarmed that here we go again with the Liberal government, through an omnibus bill, Bill C-75, watering down criminal penalties for serious crimes. What really irks me terribly is that impaired driving causes bodily harm.
Statistics in Canada today state that impaired driving offences are going up. Impaired driving is a leading cause of death in Canada, whether from consuming alcohol or drugs, and here is that government trying to include a softening of the sentences for it through Bill C-75.
I wonder if the government could answer this. What is it really trying to do here? Statistics are going up and penalties are going to be reduced. How is that going to help make Canada safer for people driving on the roads?
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2019-06-19 22:41 [p.29451]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to join my partner from Battle River—Crowfoot in speaking to Bill C-83. I have stood in the House a number of times to speak to it, and I was on the committee that studied Bill C-83, an act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and another act.
This has been a bad bill right from the beginning. The Liberals did not listen to very many people. They wrote the bill, brought it before committee and forced it upon it, as they are doing today, forcing us in the second-to-last day Parliament is sitting to speak to the amendments that have been brought in by the Senate. The Liberals do not like the amendments, but they want to push this through.
From the beginning, when we started studying Bill C-83 at committee, a number of witnesses came forward. The John Howard Society said it was bad. The Elizabeth Fry Society said it was bad. We had a 19-year prisoner who admitted to being a pretty bad guy, and he said parts of the bill were bad. He was the type of person who needed to be put into a segregation unit to protect the guards and other prisoners, and even himself. The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association said it was a bad bill. The Native Women's Association said it was a bad bill. There were a number of organizations.
Now we have it brought before us, as I said, on the second-to-last day before the House rises for the summer.
My friend from Battle River—Crowfoot just mentioned the corrections union and that his union was not spoken to. Very much like the institution in his riding at Drumheller, which is medium-security, I have a medium-security facility in the town of Grande Cache, in the great riding of Yellowhead. It is probably one of the most beautiful jail settings in North America. It is on top of a mountain overlooking the Rocky Mountains. There are a large number of aboriginal prisoners there.
I know some of the guards there very well; some of them went to school with my daughter years ago. They are very concerned that they were not consulted properly and that Bill C-83, if enacted the way it is, will make it dangerous for the guards. That is totally unacceptable.
The change would make prisoners more dangerous for the guards, as they will have to deal with the worst of the worst and the most volatile being out and about from their cells for four hours a day.
I totally agree that things need to change and we need to be civil and human in how we treat prisoners. Many years ago, I had the privilege to be on what the RCMP called provost duty. I escorted prisoners throughout British Columbia and western Canada back and forth from remand centres and detachments to prisons, etc. I came to know many of these individuals on a personal basis and many times I travelled 200 or 300 miles with three prisoners by myself.
One could be a real dick and those guys would hate it by the time they got to the destination, or one could be a decent individual, have a conversation with them, treat them decently, with respect and dignity, and have a 200- or 300-mile drive with three prisoners.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2019-06-19 22:46 [p.29452]
Mr. Speaker, it is my last speech, and I do apologize. It was just the terminology that slipped out.
Years ago we learned that we had to give respect to the prisoners. They had to be treated properly. That is no different today. I realize that Bill C-83 is trying to do that in a number of areas. As our colleagues in the Senate have said, there are some things that need to be corrected. I hate to say it, but the Liberals are not listening again.
My primary purpose in getting up today is to say that the women and men who work in our institutions do a great job for our country. They are a fantastic group of people. In many cases, maybe even more than police officers who are out on the street or our military who might be defending some country somewhere, these guys are right on the front lines.
A lot of our prisoners are everyday common people. We do not need to worry too much about them. They are civil. We can have great conversations with them. We can joke around with them. However, we do have some real bad apples there. Some have mental health problems. Some are just downright mean. Some can be rehabilitated. Some, and I am going back to 50 years of experience, cannot be rehabilitated or do not want to be rehabilitated, and that is where the problem comes with segregation.
I know that the Supreme Court has ruled that we need to change our policies. We need to give prisoners more rights, but that will come at a cost to the country. I guess we will have to accept that, because that is what it has ruled.
However, the primary thing is that I want my friends and my constituents who work at Grande Cache Institution to be safe. I want the average prisoner who is there, who maybe was picked up for impaired driving or maybe something minor, who is not really a bad person, to be very safe in our institutions. That is my primary concern.
My colleagues across have been given a number of recommendations from the Senate that I think need to be addressed and cannot be ignored. I did not pick up on all of them, and I am not going to deal with all of them. However there is one I thought I would spend a little time talking about.
The Senate said that the authority should be left with the institutions as to the movement of a prisoner to a provincial institution. That is only rational, good, common sense. I am not knocking professional health people. They do a great job for us, but we have some great con artists in our jails who could sweet talk the Speaker into letting them sit up there while the Speaker took their place. That is how good they are. I know that the Speaker would never be conned. However, that is where my fear comes in. The institution staff know these people. They are dealing with them 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They know how slick the prisoners can be.
A medical professional coming in, maybe for an hour or two or maybe three hours a week, could be baffled. That is why I think it was a very wise decision that came back from the Senate. It was a common-sense correction, yet it is being ignored.
I appreciate being given the time to stand up here to defend the institutional guards at Grande Cache and others across the country. They are doing a great job for us.
Get rid of the needles. I am not going any further with that. It is the biggest mistake we ever made.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2019-06-19 22:53 [p.29453]
Mr. Speaker, I hate to rush anything unless it is correct. The Senate has studied this bill, as has the committee, and we have heard from many witnesses. If we just bring it forward because we are threatened by the possibility that the courts might take action, we should have thought of that right off the bat and got at it a little more quickly than we did. We are here on the last day.
Again, the issue goes back to the safety of the people. Yes, I agree with a psychiatric review when a person comes in, but if we bring these measures forward, is that going to make it very difficult to correct them afterward, and is it going to put a guard's safety in jeopardy in the next month or two before we come back to help correct it in the fall?
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2019-06-19 22:55 [p.29453]
Mr. Speaker, the member is absolutely correct. None of the witnesses really agreed with this bill. We were given this bill as written by the senior management of Canada's institutional system, but with no consultation with the unions or stakeholders. The committee was to get it through as fast as possible and get it passed. The Senate saw the mistakes. We could see the mistakes. The witnesses could see the mistakes.
We are going to make a bigger mistake if we go and vote for it with the errors or with the Senate submissions being omitted.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2019-06-06 15:39 [p.28710]
Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to speak once more to Bill C-93, an act to provide no-cost, expedited record suspensions for simple possession of cannabis.
I will be splitting my time with the member for Elgin—Middlesex—London.
As I said last week, this is a terrible bill. It reminds me of the NAFTA bill. However, sometimes a bill is better than no bill.
As I have said many times in the House, I was never in favour of the legalization of marijuana, Bill C-45, which was another typically ill-conceived bill brought in by the Liberal government.
I will support the Bill C-93 because there is a common-sense element to it.
Although I did not support legalization, I am not naive enough to say that it was not right to look at the whole cannabis strategy in Canada. Let us face it, we are not the only ones. Many other countries have legalized or decriminalized marijuana. We only have to look at our closest and best trading partners, the good old U.S.A.
The use of marijuana has been legalized and decriminalized in Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, the District of Columbia, Mariana Islands and Guam. Many of these jurisdictions are looking at or have commenced programs to get rid of the old cannabis-related charges for simple possession. There are several different programs being looked at. Some are similar to this bill, Bill C-93. Some are similar to what the NDP has been pushing, which is expungement.
We have heard from many of my colleagues in the House about the injustices that have taken place with respect to Canadians who have records for simple possession of marijuana. Stories have been told about people being turned back at the U.S. border. However, in my research, I have found the same things are happening in the United States. I will provide two cases. We have heard this before with respect to our people, just not south of the border. I will not to give their names to protect their identity.
A 70-year-old retired carpenter in the United States, who once ran for the Senate, was convicted back in 1968 for simple possession. His conviction caused him to be refused entry into Canada and he is unable to purchase a firearm in the United States.
Another gentleman, a professional lighting technician, worked for Willy Nelson for a time. Because of a misdemeanour drug charge as a youth, he was unable to accompany the band on tour to Canada.
Therefore, I strongly believe we need to remove the records for Canadians who were charged with simple possession of marijuana. Clearing people's records can remove barriers to employment and housing.
Many groups in Canada have become victims because of the area they live in and the environment around them. Many are good people who made the wrong choice at the wrong time. That is why I support Bill C-93, although I feel the bill did not go far enough. It should have, and could have, looked at many minor Criminal Code offences, such as public mischief and wilful damage, offences we call misdemeanours in the Criminal Code. There is always room to fix things. Maybe sometime in the future Bill C-93 coanbe fixed.
I spoke about this last week. In California, Code for America has brought out a program called “Clear My Record”. It is a computerized program that allows for the expedient removal of simple criminal code records, such as the simple possession of marijuana.
From the list of states I mentioned previously, nearly every one has passed laws that allow people to clear or change their criminal records. Those states recognize the impact on the economy and on the lives of families when millions are shut out of the workforce or unable to fully reintegrate into their communities because of criminal records from their past. I was shocked to learn, in my research on Bill C-93, that one in three people had a criminal record in the United States.
I also discovered that those states that had a cumbersome, overly complicated system of removing one's record failed in their goals. Only a small fraction of the tens of millions of eligible Americans benefited from these laws, which was directly related to being over-complicated, costly and took too much time to do.
“Code for America”, a computerized system that was adopted by California, is a modern 21st century technology that is quick, efficient and benefits the recipients. “Clear my Record” is a free online tool that assists people in California to navigate the complicate process of clearing their records. People can fill out a short, easy to understand application online that typically takes 10 minutes to get connected to a legal authority.
Jazmyn Latimer and Ben Golder, who co-developed the program, realized there was a problem when they looked into how many people were taking advantage of getting their records expunged. They found that less than 8% of the people who qualified accomplished it, simply because the system was opaque, hard to understand and navigate and costly, both for the people with the records and for the government. Does this sound like Bill C-93? It very much does.
I made recommendations to Bill C-93 during committee that the Canadian Parole Board look at electronic means of modernizing the way we do business. We are still following 20th century technology, trying to do too much by hand. Why? I could not get an answer for that.
The state of California, which has implemented the electronic process, has plans to try to clear over 250,000 cannabis-related convictions by 2020. That is probably as many as we have in Canada, and if not, a lot more. I hope it succeeds.
As well, I hope our Parole Board looks at an electronic process for Canadians with all possession charges and to expand in the future to look at other minor Criminal Code offences. We owe it to Canadians to make this system simple and free so they can get rid of their records, live better lives and be less of a burden on society.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2019-06-06 15:50 [p.28711]
Madam Speaker, the Conservatives' stand was that we were trying to run an efficient government, with a balanced budget. Sometimes, governments must take hard measures, realizing that certain expenses may have to be passed down to the public. It is obvious that not many people are receiving the benefits of our parole program and pardon system.
We would be naive if we did not look at ways of modernizing it. Bill C-93 tries to do that. It should have gone further. It should have been more forceful in looking at electronic means to make it simpler, less costly and more efficient for the government.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2019-06-06 15:53 [p.28712]
Madam Speaker, I have mixed emotions. Expungement would be a quick and simple way of doing it. However, I was a police officer for 35 years. Many times when I charged an individual with possession for the purpose of trafficking, that charge got reduced. There may have been other charges. When that person went to court, the Crown and the defence lawyer would decide to plea bargain and, a lot of times, it went down to the simple possession charge. Therefore, I have a hard time with that.
We need to have a way to clarify if the is the only thing relating to the charge of simple possession. I personally have dealt with hundreds of cases over the years, where I may have made the charge simple possession but it may have been a lot more serious. If the guy was polite and co-operative, I would give him the benefit of the doubt. The chiefs of police have brought that concern forward.
I know that technically we could do it with the press of a button, but I do not know if that would be right. We need to really look in-depth at that aspect. We need some way of clarifying it. It is not as easy as a simple possession. In many cases, there are a lot of other things relating to that charge.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2019-02-21 11:00 [p.25601]
Mr. Speaker, we can come up with all the regulations we want as an individual country. Parts of Bill S-6 and Bill C-82 are about that. However, he talked about the importance of working with other governments from other countries.
Could he perhaps exemplify what he meant when he said that it was important that we work with other countries?
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2019-02-21 15:58 [p.25644]
Mr. Speaker, as a member of the public safety committee, I was quite surprised by the number of problems we had with this bill initially. Witnesses appearing at committee regarding the bill said that they had not been consulted. Even the correctional investigator of Canada told the public safety committee that all the consultations seemed to have been done internally. To his knowledge, there had been no consultation with external stakeholders. He said, “I think that's why you end up with something that is perhaps not fully thought out.” If members were to look at all the amendments put forward, they would understand what he said.
For the Liberal Party, which purported to put consultation on a pedestal, this seems very strange. The Liberals did not consult with the unions, the victims, the prisoners or the prisoner advocates. Could the member opposite tell me exactly who they consulted?
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2019-02-21 16:16 [p.25646]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for his speech and his work with us at committee.
Could the member tell us his concerns for the safety of correctional officers and other inmates because of the removal of disciplinary segregation and the introduction of a needle exchange program in many institutions?
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2019-02-21 16:33 [p.25648]
Mr. Speaker, I am here today to speak to Bill C-83, an act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and another act.
A lot of people do not realize that on any given day in Canada we have roughly 40,000 plus prisoners in custody. They are in eight maximum-security facilities, 19 medium-security facilities, 15 minimum and 10 multidisciplinary type facilities. We have 18,000 Canadian government employees looking after these prisoners, of which 10,000 are on the front line. They are either correctional officers, parole officers or health care workers.
I want to personally thank them here today for the service they do in our correctional services from coast to coast to coast. I have a facility in my community, as does the gentleman beside me. We know the problems they go through on a day-to-day basis and the great service they give our country.
This was and is a bad bill. Even worse, this is ill-thought-out legislation. It is a lot worse than the cannabis bill. Simply, Bill C-83 was a knee-jerk reaction to two Supreme Court rulings in February of 2018, regarding the clarity on indefinite solitary confinement. Bill C-83 does not correct this; it just rewords it and disguises it in flowery words.
No longer is it called solitary confinement. It has been renamed “structural intervention unit”. It sounds nice. The heads of the institutions will be allowed to designate any area of a jail to be that. Why do we need that? Structural intervention units are needed for unmanageable prisoners and those who are dangerous to staff, inmates or themselves. Perhaps they are being held for an investigation. Perhaps it is an attempted murder within the facility and he or she has to be segregated. There is a need, and there are reasons why people are held in these types of lock-ups in these facilities.
A 19-year prisoner appeared before the public safety committee. He was pretty intimidating when he first came in there, but the man talked with a lot of sense. He was originally sentenced for 14 years, but he was so bad he got an additional five years, of which a lot was in solitary confinement. He said that they were a must, that we should not get rid of them. Many more witnesses came before the public safety committee, even the Minister of Public Safety.
Again, I am going to say this is a bad bill. Every group of witnesses or individuals who appeared said that it was a bad bill. These are not my words. It was the witnesses who said that, except for the minister and his ministerial staff who said that it was such a great bill. How many amendments were read by the Speaker today?
The Elizabeth Fry Society said it was a bad bill. It said that structural intervention units were not needed, that it failed to focus on the programs and that there was lack of oversight. It is concerned about section 81, due to the workings of indigenous governing bodies.
The John Howard Society calls it a bad bill. It wanted to know what was the difference between solitary confinement and structural intervention. It said there was no difference, that the bill changed the words, but it did little to change anything.
Those are their words, not mine.
Increasing two hours outside the prison cells to four hours does little to help the prisons. There is a lack of infrastructure, physical and human resources. The bill does not address the need.
I will go back to the 19-year prisoner. He admitted to being a bad boy. He spent a very long time in solitary confinement. He said that he needed to be there, as he was dangerous. He felt these units were needed to protect guards, prisoners and even people like himself. However, he stated that prisoners must be helped with programs, counselling, etc., and that this was not happening within the institution. What he really stressed was that there was no one looking after the prisoners once they were released. They are just dumped out into society. He said that continued help needed to be there to rehabilitate the prisoners.
The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association says that it is a bad bill and it cannot support it. It said the bill lacks external oversight, lacks programs that are needed to assist prisoners to reform, and lacks sufficient resources and manpower for social and educational needs, health professionals, etc.
The Native Women's Association of Canada says it is a bad bill. The association was not consulted. It says the bill does not address traditions, protocol, or cultural practices, and does not clarify indigenous communities.
The Union of Canadian Correctional Officers also says it is a bad bill, that it is not feasible and leaves prisoners and guards vulnerable. That is where my concern is, with prisoners and guards, especially the guards, being vulnerable.
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association says it is a bad bill. It says it is not a meaningful reform and should be repealed. It said there was no consultation, and we have heard that many times here.
Aboriginal Legal Services says it is a bad bill, and that there is a big gap between the rhetoric and reality.
When we were gathering evidence on some of the costs related to prisoners, the member for Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, who is also on committee with me, was told by a witness that the cost of keeping a female prisoner in a structured living condition was $533,000 a year. He was shocked. Then he was told that the cost for males in structured living conditions was between $300,000 and $600,000 a year.
When he heard that, he asked me for an aspirin. I did not have one; I just told him he would have to cope.
I am just about done. The Parliamentary Budget Officer said in the 2016-17 report that the cost of an average prisoner is $314 a day or $115,000 a year. If a prisoner is segregated, the average cost is $463,000 plus per year. That is $1,260 a day to keep a person in segregation.
Bill C-83 will cost way more than the Liberals are talking about. When the member for Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner asked the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness what the cost would be to implement this bill, the minister replied that he had no idea. He said he had no clue, but we should trust the Liberals because they would work it out. He wanted us to just pass the bill as it was.
I have heard from a number of speakers opposite today that $400-some million is being thrown at this program to make structural modifications at our prisons and to improve the health care facilities, but I have not heard anyone from across this great room say there was any money going to hire additional staff, or to improve staff resources or staff training. Nothing. There was nothing that came from the parliamentary secretary; nothing came from anybody.
We heard the Liberals were going to fix the buildings, but I have talked to a number of the prisons around Alberta, and they have not even been asked about what needs to be done. The guards and unions have not been spoken to.
We are supposed to trust the Liberals. I think they said they are putting $448 million into this, but what about increasing staff? We know it is going to cost more to do it. We know it is going to cost more in manpower to operate these new units, especially if we are going to move them around to different spots in the prisons.
There is nothing in the Liberal plan or budget to account for that.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2019-02-21 16:43 [p.25650]
Mr. Speaker, it all boils down to consultation. Every witness other than the minister and his staff said there was no external consultation. We cannot be expected to know what it is going to cost to renovate the institution in my area unless we talk to people on the ground.
We can even look at this building. I do not know if it is the same on the other side of the House, but on this side there is a closet where I can hang my coat. On either side of that closet, there are three feet in which I cannot put anything because I cannot get to it.
Consulting and working with people on the ground makes a big difference. I still have not heard anything mentioned by anyone on the other side about any money going for labour resources or training or education, which is what they are asking for. They are begging for that.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2019-02-21 16:45 [p.25650]
Mr. Speaker, the member is absolutely right. Is segregation going to help them? No. We need to look at this medically. We need to look at training our staff members to understand what the inmates are going through. They need to know. To put an inmate into a locked cell and let the guy walk an eight-by-eleven foot cell all day long does not help his mentality. He needs to be taken to a medical facility, or we need to have fully trained medical people on site. We do not have that at the present time.
No, it will not help them. We need to address their concerns.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2019-02-21 16:47 [p.25650]
Mr. Speaker, based on my conversations with prison guards who work in my area and in other parts of Alberta, they were not consulted. They are frustrated, because they want to have the tools to provide a great service for this country and for the prisoners they are looking after.
The guards are concerned about their own safety and about the safety of the prisoners. They are concerned about their health care, but they are not getting enough training. I talked to a young guard who said he was there two weeks and was put on the segregation unit because it was short-staffed. He said he was very uncomfortable, and I think he was right to be.
We need resources to help train these people if we are going to add a whole new set of burdens to the prison reform system.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2019-02-21 17:16 [p.25654]
Mr. Speaker, I have heard from prison guards who work at the Grande Cache Institution in my area about the lack of training and the need for more training, especially in health care and dealing with people with mental health situations. I wonder if the member would like to comment on that need.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2019-02-21 17:27 [p.25656]
Madam Speaker, the member has a prison facility in his area. He mentioned during his speech that he has toured the facility, has seen the good and bad parts of it and has talked to the guards and the prisoners, just as I did with the institution in Grande Cache. That institution is quite a beautiful one. It is located on top of a mountain. It has about 350 employees and 300 prisoners.
However, these are older facilities and I do not believe the government of the day has taken into consideration that some of the changes that will be required regarding health care, scanning facilities and the like just cannot be done with some of the older buildings. It was tried with that one and it required a lot of modification. I do not believe the Liberals have put enough money into the budget. Does the member care to provide his thoughts on that?
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2019-02-07 15:41 [p.25412]
Madam Speaker, in 2016, the Prime Minister stood up and said that we were going to have an official languages act to deal with aboriginal peoples. Here we are, three years later, and we do not have it. Parliament will shut down for the summer soon.
Why does the member think it took the government so long? Why did it just start this yesterday?
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2019-02-07 16:07 [p.25415]
Madam Speaker, Bill C-91 will be a historic move toward healing and rebuilding of our indigenous identities and pride across Canada. We as a nation made a mistake in our actions on residential schools and the forcing of young aboriginal youth to speak only English. We now can make right what we made wrong.
There are 13 weeks left in this session. Do you commit to working co-operatively with the opposition parties to get this done?
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2019-02-07 17:09 [p.25423]
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today in the House and speak for the first time in our new chamber. It is an honour to get up and speak to such an important bill, one that will probably have historic meaning as we go through it.
I do not totally support the bill the way it is written. I have concerns with some of the language. However, I very much appreciate the need to bring it before the heritage committee and study it as soon as possible. Indigenous languages are so important to our first nations people. They must be recognized, respected, revitalized and retained. With over 70 dialects, this makes this portion of the bill so important.
I am speaking to this bill today because I feel so strongly about the need to protect our heritages. This bill would create an independent commissioner for indigenous rights, confirm the government's belief that indigenous language is part of section 35 of the charter, and allow the translation of federal services into indigenous languages. What a wonderful thing it is. It has been too long.
Over two years ago, the Liberals promised an indigenous language act. With just 60 days left in this parliamentary session, it is quite unlikely this legislation will become law before the upcoming fall election, unless we all work together in earnest. This is another failed promise by the Liberal government.
This is just another portion of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's findings that the government failed. The Liberals promised much, but failed to deliver. They promised language legislation in December 2016, and we are still not there. They promised child welfare legislation by the end of January. Where is it? It would be difficult for any of the Liberals' indigenous-related legislation priorities to receive royal assent before the next election.
They have botched consultation. There are legislative flaws in Bill S-3, and they have botched consultation on the Trans Mountain expansion project. They cancelled the Enbridge northern gateway project without consulting the bands who had equity agreements. They brought in the tanker ban without consulting the pro-energy first nations groups on the west coast.
The missing and murdered indigenous women and girls inquiry is stuck in bureaucratic red tape. They extended its time, commissioners resigned, and nearly 30 staffers left or quit. There have been three non-compliance orders regarding Human Rights Tribunal rulings on first nations child welfare since the Liberals have been in government. One of the most important issues is studying the First Nations Financial Transparency Act.
That is as far as I am going with my partisan attack against the government. Right now, I want to focus on the tradition and heritage of the aboriginal people.
I was fortunate through my working career to spend my service in aboriginal policing. I got to understand and appreciate the differences in the different groups, such as the Shuswap nations, the Dakelh nations, the Nuu-chah-nulth first nations, the Dene, the Cree and the Slavey. I made many friends over the years and spent a lot of my off time, when I was not working as a police officer, socializing with my aboriginal friends and associates.
My wife Nancy and I loved going to aboriginal gatherings such as at Taylor on the Peace River, the Petitot River gathering in the Northwest Territories and the Paul First Nation in my riding of Yellowhead. In these surroundings, we really get to know and understand the importance of the heritage of our aboriginal people.
I remember when I used to travel Highway 77 from north of Fort Nelson, B.C. into the Northwest Territories, back in the 1980s. It was part of my patrol area. I was the commander of the Fort Nelson detachment at the time. I used to go over there quite often.
I used to stop at what we called traditional native camps along the highway, where the Dene people of the Liard River band would move from their homes on the reserve and move their families onto the land. They would set up temporary shelters and live in their old traditional ways. It was their way of teaching the young ones how it was and how important their heritage was.
Probably the only time they would speak English while they stayed there for the full summer was when I arrived. I have a grasp of the languages but not enough to have a good conversation. They would tell me why they were there. It was so good to see those young children learning about their history, learning how to live off the land and keeping their heritage alive. They focused on speaking their native tongues. It was so good to hear these kids speaking that way. They would not speak English when I was there, unless they were talking to me directly.
I am of Ukrainian descent. Both my grandfathers came over from Ukraine in the late 1800s. They settled as farmers in northeastern Alberta. Both raised large families, who in turn raised families of their own. I am a third-generation descendant. When they came here, one of my grandfathers could speak English, and the other could only speak Ukrainian. Both of my grandmothers could only speak Ukrainian.
Over the years they learned how to speak English. My parents' generation, the second generation, grew up speaking more and more English in school. In fact, like in the residential schools, they were forbidden to speak Ukrainian while in school. They were punished. They would get the yardstick or maybe the strap. They were encouraged to learn the English language. Sadly, our language slowly got lost as people began to speak more English. This is what we are talking about today in Bill C-91, the loss of indigenous languages.
We have 11 major dialogues in 70-some different forms. That is why this legislation is so important. It is important that we work together to get it passed. We do not have much time. We need to protect those languages, because the people who know how to speak them are getting older. As someone said earlier, the live dictionaries are getting older.
I wish I could speak my native tongue, because like so many people I want to go back and research my heritage. I want to go back to the Ukraine to see where my grandfathers came from, in order to get a better understanding of why I am here today.
I mentioned I spent a lot of time during my working life meeting some very special aboriginal people. We have become friends and acquaintances.
We only have 60 days left, and that is not enough time for me to sit here and tell members about the great aboriginal people I have met over the years, the interesting stories I have about them, and the things they have done that I would like to tell the House about. We just do not have enough time, and 60 days would not be enough. However, I am going to talk about two of them, one of whom I have known for many years, and the other who I just met yesterday.
The first one is a constituent of mine. He was a friend of mine for many years before he was ever a constituent. His name is Harry Rusk. I first met him in the Fort Nelson area of British Columbia during the late 1980s.
Harry was born in 1937 in a little hamlet called Kahntah, a Slavey first nations community located in the northeast corner of British Columbia. Many of us have spoken about having remote Indian communities in our ridings, and this one is remote. Even to this day, there are no roads or railroad tracks into this community. One can fly in or take a canoe or boat and go up the Kahntah River. It is about an hour by air from the community of Fort Nelson. Fortunately, or maybe unfortunately, as our country progressed, an oil company doing exploration put in an airstrip about two miles from the Kahntah reserve. Therefore, we can be flown in now.
Unlike a lot of people we have talked about many times in this chamber who went to residential schools, Harry was not that unlucky, but he was not lucky either. He contracted tuberculosis in this remote little community that lay in the northeast corner of British Columbia. As a young man, he was sent to the Camsell Hospital in Edmonton for treatment. He probably thought that he would never return, because in those days tuberculosis was a very deadly disease, especially for our aboriginal people.
Harry stayed there from 1949 to 1953, and miraculously recovered. However, he watched his brother, mother and father succumb to the disease. The whole family was wiped out, except for Harry.
While at the Camsell Hospital in 1952, something happened to Harry. Harry met Hank Snow, a country and western singer. Hank had come to Edmonton to perform, and someone asked if he would come over and talk to some of the kids and people at the Camsell Hospital. Hank agreed. There were a lot of kids there, about 300, I understand, but Harry was one of the lucky ones and Hank came over and talked to him. They took a liking to each other. As Harry says today, Hank inspired him with some simple words. He said, “Always look up,” referring to God and getting religion.
This changed Harry's life. He began to play guitar while in the hospital, and after leaving, as a young man, he joined the Canadian Armed Forces. As he was in the armed forces, he was eventually transferred to Vancouver. While there, he formed several bands and continued to play and learn his music. He had a love for gospel music and the old songs, and eventually went on to play for many years in the Grand Ole Opry. He is in the Country Music Hall of Fame. He received many awards over the years and became an ordained minister, which he is today.
Why am I talking about Harry? In the late 1980s, when I met Harry, I used to do a little moonlighting and flew for a small bush pilot operation. Harry asked me to fly him into Kahntah, which I did. He wanted to visit his roots.
As we went to the Kahntah village, which is very small, with only two or three buildings, Harry spoke to me about how important his heritage was to him. He spoke of the importance of his father, Edward, and his mother, Mary. He wanted to know where he came from and what it was all about. He spoke of the importance of the language he was losing and how he wanted to keep it alive.
That is what is so important about this bill: keeping the aboriginal language alive in Canada.
Yesterday I met Bill Adsit, an original member of the Tahltan Nation, who came from the northwest corner of B.C., the opposite side from where Harry came from. He was moved into a residential school at approximately the age of six, and never really had contact with his family after that. Bill spoke to a group of us yesterday about his harrowing experiences in the residential schools and his rebellious nature as a young man.
He turned his life around. I should say that before he changed his life around, he was put in jail on an outstanding warrant. While he was there, he did some soul-searching. He changed his life around. He joined the Canadian military and then went on to spend over 30 years working for the federal Government of Canada in many different government roles. He went on to get a university degree, and today Bill is part of the reconciliation team working on the Trans Mountain pipeline.
Bill's speech yesterday at the Château was very heartwarming, and he left us with a powerful message of determination to do well. He also spoke so deeply about his heritage.
The message I want to pass on to everyone here today is the determination to do well. We need to get this bill passed to save the aboriginal languages, and we need to pass it as soon as possible. This brings me back to the study.
We need to protect the languages of Canada's aboriginal people. As I travelled throughout most of British Columbia in my working career as a police officer, I visited first nations communities from one end of the province to the other. First nations reconciliation is not new, and respecting their traditions and retaining their language is not a new idea. They have been promoting, recognizing, respecting, revitalizing, and retaining their culture for years. They have been working. In the 70s, I remember different groups working to promote their culture in the neighbouring white communities, but in such a way as to make sure their youth understood the history of these great people.
Many years ago I was stationed in Gold River. The Malahat First Nation was in Gold River. I remember the first time I walked into the band office. There was a group of native ladies working there. They asked if I wanted to share in a birthday cake. I blurted out, without even thinking, “What colour is it? I only eat white cake.” I realized what I had said and I turned red. They looked at me with a little shock, and then they all started laughing. Over the years I was stationed there, I spent more and more time in that band office, getting to know those ladies and learning about the Malahat culture.
When I left that community some four years later, they invited me there for a party. During the party, they had a cake. The cake was covered in red icing, the inside was white, and on the top of it was a garlic sausage. We mixed our cultures. We learned cultures together over the years that I was stationed there.
In many communities across Canada, we have places called friendship centres, where the aboriginal people living in urban centres gather and encourage the community to come to visit with them and learn their ways and culture. It is so very important that we recognize that. If members have a friendship centre in their area, they should visit it. The work they do in the urban centres of Canada is amazing.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2019-02-07 17:29 [p.25425]
Mr. Speaker, I asked the parliamentary secretary earlier if she was willing to co-operate and work with the opposition parties. After listening to the conversations of my colleagues in the NDP and members across the aisle, I think we are all ready to get going on this. Let us throw partisanship aside and get something done that is very important to aboriginal communities in this country. We have 60 days. We can do it, but let us do it together.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2019-02-01 10:46 [p.25143]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak a bit about the speech that my colleague from Yorkton—Melville brought up.
I am extremely happy that she brought up the ocean war graves issue. It is something that I am very passionately concerned with myself. I want to bring to her attention, and to the attention of the members in the House, that I spent many years in northern British Columbia along the Alaska Highway, where I constantly heard and overheard stories of people robbing our historic World War II crash sites. In fact, I know of an incident, which I followed up on, of a person taking artifacts, including a dead body, from an aircraft.
I want to stress that it is extremely important that we strengthen laws to protect these historic sites and ocean war graves. I am glad the member brought it up.
I wonder if she could talk about the importance of protecting these people who served our great country to protect us and give us the freedoms that we have today. We need to look further and support them in their resting places.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2019-02-01 12:50 [p.25165]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my friend from Durham for his advocacy in protecting our military sea graves.
We have so many historical events that happened in our country during World War II, whether on the east or west coasts, with the lost sailors and airmen, the Alaska Highway route where we supplied military aircraft from the United States to Alaska and then on to Russia during the war. We have so many of these sites and so many are forgotten.
Could he elaborate on the need for us to now start to recognize these historically significant spots in Canada where things happened, tragedies happened, during World War II, on our east or west costs or in the Arctic?
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2018-12-10 12:21 [p.24600]
Madam Speaker, I was appalled when I heard that the Liberal government was trying to remove section 176 of the Criminal Code. This is the only section of the Criminal Code that can directly protect the rights of individuals to freely practise their religion, whatever that religion might be. It was recently used in a case on June 9, 2017 here in Ottawa.
Why did the Liberals back down on removing section 176? Was it due to public backlash and they did not properly investigate this? Why are they not trying to hybridize this under Bill C-75?
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2018-12-07 12:40 [p.24575]
Madam Speaker, I have a question for the member about subclause 93(1) of the bill. He lives in a border community, with the U.S. border not that far from where he lives. There is freedom of travel within Canada and the United States, whether by canoe crossing some of the lakes that overlap the border, or vehicles travelling in rural country, or aircraft traversing from Canada to the United States. Under subclause 93(1), there is a requirement that in the case of travel from a point in Canada to one outside Canada, the person in charge of that conveyance must report at the border the names of everyone in that mode of transportation.
Do you feel that is an infringement of the rights of the people in these craft, or is it a strong asset to the security of Canada?
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2018-12-07 12:44 [p.24575]
Madam Speaker, I know the member is fully aware of Bill C-83. I am comparing it with Bill C-21. At committee, we listened to many witnesses talk about Bill C-83, and everyone said it was a bad bill. In fact, no witnesses who came forward said that Bill C-83 was a good bill, except for the minister and his entourage. Bill C-83 is a very important bill in that it is supposed to protect our jail system, the guards and the prisoners, but it is a bad bill. No one agreed that it was a bill that should go ahead, yet we were going to deal with it earlier this morning.
Here we have Bill C-21, which is necessary. It would assist Canadians and Americans travelling back and forth. It would help the security of our country. I wonder if the member would comment further on Bill C-21.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2018-12-07 13:06 [p.24579]
Madam Speaker, the member was concerned with U.S. officials being in Canada, as is set out in our joint border agreements. That has been in place for a considerable length of time in Vancouver International Airport and I believe in some of our other international airports, and it seems to be working quite well.
I travelled through United States to Mexico last year. I had to go through one of those facilities. It was very efficient, very friendly and was not intrusive at all. Would the member comment on that? It already is in place.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2018-12-03 15:32 [p.24329]
Madam Speaker, here we are again with another anti-energy policy from the current Liberal government that is driving energy investment out of Canada, costing Canadian workers their jobs and significantly increasing poverty in certain regions, especially in the north.
I am speaking to Bill C-88, because I am concerned that the changes it would make would politicize oil and gas extraction by expanding the powers of this Liberal government to block economic development. It would take local control and environmental stewardship away from the aboriginal people of the region and would inhibit local, territorial governments from doing what is best for the people of the area. I am speaking of the Mackenzie Delta.
I see that my friend across the way is smiling, because he is very proud of the region he has grown up in.
Bill C-88 is not just another Liberal anti-energy bill, like Bill C-48, Bill C-69 and Bill C-86. These bills could block all future pipelines, giving the government the authority to unilaterally shut down natural resource development. It is now systematically going after the Northwest Territories, as it has done with our western provinces.
Only a few people get to visit the Mackenzie Delta or travel the pristine waters of the Mackenzie River. Those who do find it breathtaking, due to its vast biological and ecological formations.
When Sir Alexander Mackenzie travelled the Mackenzie River in 1789, he was astonished by its sparse population and the pristine beauty of the region. As members may know, the river was named after him. That is for a few of my Liberal colleagues across the way, except for the member for the Northwest Territories.
I count myself fortunate, no, I should say I count myself blessed and lucky, to have been able to travel from the start of the Peace and Athabasca rivers, which are the headwaters of the Mackenzie River, and I have followed it as it flows, leading to the Beaufort Sea in the north. This pristine area, rich in ecological wealth, covers an area of just under two million square kilometres, and its drainage basin encompasses one-fifth of Canada. This is the second-largest river in North America, next to the Mississippi River.
Oil and gas have been part of this region since 1921. There are also mines of uranium, gold, diamond, lead and zinc in the area. During World War II, a pipeline was built from Norman Wells to Whitehorse, in Yukon. It carried crucial petroleum products needed during World War II and helped Canada and the United States build the Alaska Highway, which significantly helped Canada during the war. It is called the Canol Pipeline, and it still exists today.
At a very young age, I personally met and was inspired by one of Canada's great leaders. That was Mr. John Diefenbaker, whose statue sits at the rear of this building. He was a leader of great wisdom and vision who led our country to where it is today. I remember he once said, “I see a new Canada—a Canada of the North.” This is what he thought of and envisioned. He spoke of giving the people of northern Canada the right to develop their resources, protect their environment and maintain and develop strong economies in the region. Diefenbaker saw the need for the people of the north to do this, not the Government of Canada.
One of Canada's leading novelists of the same era, Hugh MacLennan, a Liberal visionary, noted at the time that by 2061, the Mackenzie Delta would have three million people living along the banks and shores of the river and that people's pockets would be full of money from the wealth of the region. He said there would be at least two universities built in the Mackenzie Delta area.
That Liberal's prediction was wrong, and the actions of my Liberal friends across the way from me are also wrong.
There are roughly 10,000 people living along the Mackenzie River Delta, in places like Wrigley, Tulita, Norman Wells, Fort Good Hope, Fort McPherson, Inuvik, Aklavik and Tuktoyaktuk. I have been to those communities and I know the people.
There are 68 aboriginal groups that also live in this region. I have had the pleasure and honour of gathering and socializing with them to discuss their issues. We used to gather at the Petitot River. I have been there a number of times. To me, they are the real stewards of the land, not organizations like CPAWS, the David Suzuki Foundation or others that have the ear of the environment minister. The aboriginal groups are the real Canadian environmentalists and the real stewards of the land.
Recently, Merven Gruben, the mayor of Tuktoyaktuk, testified at the committee on indigenous and northern affairs. He said that the Liberal government should be helping northern communities. Instead, it shut down the offshore gasification and put a moratorium right across the whole Arctic without even consulting communities. He also said that people in his town like to work for a living and are not used to getting social assistance. Now, all they are getting are the few tourists coming up the new highway. That makes for small change compared to when they worked in the oil and gas sector.
They are the people of the Mackenzie River Delta. Our Conservative government gave them the power to manage their resources in a true, healthy and respectful manner that only the people of the region can do. This was done through Bill C-15, which created the Northwest Territories Devolution Act of 2014.
Our former Conservative government viewed the north as a key driver of economic activity for decades to come, but this Liberal government is arbitrarily creating huge swaths of protected land with little or no consultation with aboriginal communities, while other Arctic nations are exploring possibilities within their respective areas.
Bill C-88 reveals a full rejection of calls from elected territorial leaders for the increased control of their natural resources. It consists of two parts. Part A would amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act of 1998. Part B would amend the Canada Petroleum Resources Act to allow the Governor in Council to issue orders. That scares me.
What about the provisions that were introduced by the former Conservative government within Bill C-15's Northwest Territories Devolution Act? Bill C-88 would reverse these changes, even though Liberal MPs voted in favour of Bill C-15 when it was debated in Parliament, including the Prime Minister.
Now the Liberals want to reverse the former government's proposal to consolidate the four land and water boards in the Mackenzie Valley into one. I believe this is so that they can take control. The creation of a single board was a key recommendation that would address “complexity and capacity issues by making more efficient use of expenditures and administrative resources” and would allow for administrative practices to be “understandable and consistent”. When Bill C-15 was debated in the House of Commons in 2013 and 2014, the restructured board was included in the final version of the modern land claim agreements.
The Liberals would further politicize the regulatory and environmental processes for resource extraction in Canada's north by giving cabinet sweeping powers to stop projects on the basis of “national interest”. This reveals a rejection of calls from northerners for increased control of their national resources.
The Liberal government should leave the people of northern Canada with their resources and let them be their own environmentalists and stewards of the land. They know it the best.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2018-12-03 15:44 [p.24331]
Madam Speaker, the hon. member and I have had many discussions. I do not think we are too far off on our feelings of the north. I have a fondness for the people of the north and I do not believe that we should be plundering any part of northern Canada for its wealth. It should be left to the people of the north to look after themselves and be the stewards of the land
I object to this bill because its overtones are so similar to Bill C-48, Bill C-86 and others. As well, it takes the control away from the people. That is where my concerns come in. It takes the control away from the people and local government officials like the hon. member's brother who is a very well-known and respected person in the Northwest Territories. I feel they are a bit concerned about this bill, as I am.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2018-12-03 15:46 [p.24331]
Madam Speaker, I believe the hon. member is on a different page from me.
When I talked about politicizing, it was with reference to what the government is doing by changing the regulations to make it more advantageous for the federal government to have the final say over the people of the land, who should have the final say. The government of the land, the provinces, should have the final say and the people of the provinces should have a stronger say than the federal government.
That is what I am referring to when I talk about politicizing.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2018-12-03 15:47 [p.24331]
Madam Speaker, workers in Alberta are frustrated. The government is totally ignoring what is happening in Alberta. Hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost over the last few years.
However, it is not only Albertans. We are upset because many of those people who were working in Alberta were from Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia or Newfoundland, people who have lost their jobs and have had to go back to their provinces, maybe where the economy was not doing as well.
We are upset because we have a government that is not listening to the members of Parliament from Alberta or the Premier of Alberta who was here last Wednesday. The government is not listening to the people and trying to help our province get through this situation, so that all Canadians across this country, from coast to coast to coast, which includes the north, benefit.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2018-11-30 13:16 [p.24284]
Mr. Speaker, I was just doing a little research, and I see the Netherlands has probably the lowest rate of poverty among seniors of anywhere in the world. In Canada, back in 1976 about 36% of seniors were on the poverty role, and now that has dropped considerably down to the level where we are today. Noting that, the only way the Netherlands can keep its numbers down is by supporting its seniors by way of pensions. Everyone gets a pension.
I wonder why the Liberal government, in its Bill C-87, did not address the issue of pensions for seniors who have lived in Canada for at least 55 or 65 years of their life.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2018-11-20 12:37 [p.23598]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-75, an act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other acts and to make consequential amendments to other acts. This omnibus bill is over 200 pages. It includes major reforms to our criminal justice system.
With a concerning level of rural crime in my riding, the safety of my constituents is a high priority for me. The safety of Canadians should be the number one priority of any government.
While there are some aspects of the bill that I agree will help to reduce delays in the court system, there are several problems associated with it with which I have concerns.
First, I want to talk about the bill itself. As I mentioned, this is a 204-page omnibus bill. I want to remind the Liberals that during the election, they promised they would never table omnibus bills, but here it is. However, 80 other promises have either been broken or have not even started.
This is still on the Liberal web page, which I looked it up the other day. It states that omnibus bills “prevent Parliament from properly reviewing and debating [the government's] proposals. We will change the House of Commons Standing Orders to bring an end to this undemocratic practice.” Yet here we are today discussing an omnibus bill.
It is a mixed bag that amends a total of 13 different acts in various ways. The bill needs to be split into more manageable portions so we can properly study it. What is more is that the government also has thrown in three bills that have already been tabled, Bill C-28, victim surcharge; Bill C-38, consecutive sentencing for human traffickers; and Bill C-39, repealing unconstitutional provisions. Perhaps if the government could manage its legislative agenda more effectively, it would not need to re-table its bills, push through omnibus bills or repeatedly force time allocation and limit debates.
The Liberals are failing to take criminal justice issues seriously. In March they tabled this bill the day before a two-week break period in our sitting schedule. Then they waited a half a year. Now they have returned it when there are only a few weeks left before our six-week break period. This does not give the image that justice is a high priority for the Liberal government.
The government's lack of judicial appointments has resulted in violent criminals walking away without a trial. As of November 2, 54 federal judicial vacancies remained. Appointing judges is an effective solution that is much faster than forcing an omnibus bill through Parliament. I remember in April when the minister talked about 54 more federal judges, yet here we are, almost the end of the year, and still no action.
I also want to talk about what is actually in the bill. Again, some parts of the bill I can support. For example, I agree with efforts to modernize and clarify interim release provisions and provide more onerous interim release requirements for offences involving violence against an intimate partner.
Modernizing and simplifying interim release provisions is an important step that will assist many rural communities across the country that do not have the resources to navigate lengthy procedures and paperwork. For that reason, I support this.
However, I wish the stricter release requirements were not limited to offences involving domestic abuse. With an alarming rate of rural crime in my riding and across Canada, which is often carried out by repeat offenders, we need to make it more difficult for all violent criminals to be released. Otherwise, we have a revolving door where they commit a crime, get arrested, get released and start all over again.
I was at a rural crime seminar in the city of Red Deer last Friday. A former police officer from Calgary city police told us about one of the cases he had worked on recently. An Alberta offender was charged with 130 offences, ranging from break and enter to car theft, equipment theft and possession of stolen property.
At the last sitting in Alberta the judge released him. Out the door he went. Where did he go? He took off to B.C. Now we understand they are looking for him in British Columbia, which has 100 similar outstanding charges against him in a very short period of time. This person should not have been released.
These criminals prey on farmers and elderly people. They know that RCMP resources are lacking in these areas and take full advantage of that. What the government needs to do is to provide our law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to stop the revolving door of criminals in and out of the courts. That is happening constantly.
Victims should be the central focus of the Canadian criminal justice system rather than special treatment for criminals, which is why our party introduced the Victims Bill of Rights. The government, unfortunately, does not agree since Bill C-75 would repeal our changes to the victim surcharge and reduce its overall use and effectiveness.
I believe in protecting victims of crime, which is why I introduced my own private member's bill, Bill C-206, that would ensure that criminals who take advantage of vulnerable people, specifically adults who depend on others for their care, are subject to harder, sure punishment.
Last month, a gentleman from my riding of Yellowhead was a witness before our public safety and national security committee. He shared with us his first-hand experience. It was a terrible story. This gentleman, whom I consider a friend, is aged 83. He heard his truck start up one day when he was having lunch with his wife. He walked outside to see his truck being driven out of his yard. He lives about 70 kilometres from the town of Edson where the local police office is located. He picked up his phone and was about to call when his vehicle returned to his yard. Two youths, one aged 18 and one aged 17, got out, knocked him to the ground, repeatedly kicked him in the face, the chest, the ribs, attempted to slash his throat, and then drove off again. This gentleman is 83. This is still being dealt with in the courts despite the fact it happened a year ago. This gentleman has had to attend court 10 times so far and the matter is still not over.
We on this side of the House will always work to strengthen the Criminal Code of Canada and make it harder for criminals to get out.
I am concerned that portions of Bill C-75 would weaken our justice system. Through the bill, the Liberals would reduce penalties for the following crimes: participating in criminal organizations, various acts of corruption, prison breach, impaired driving, abduction, human trafficking, forced marriage, and arson, just to name a few of many in the bill. Participation in terrorist activities and advocating genocide were deleted from this list only because a Conservative amendment was accepted at committee. Those are just a few examples of more than a hundred serious crimes that could be prosecuted by summary conviction and result in lighter sentencing, or even fines.
The government is failing to take criminal justice issues seriously. Reducing penalties for serious crimes sends the wrong message to victims, law-abiding Canadians and to criminals.
I am also concerned about the wording used in the section that would increase maximum sentences for repeat offences involving intimate partner violence. I support increasing these sentences but I do not support replacing the language of “spouse” with “intimate partner”. I believe both should be included. I understand that not all domestic abuse is within a spousal relationship, so there is a need to have "intimate partner" included. However, it should not replace "spouse". Rather, both terms should be included.
Another problem I have with Bill C-75 is the reversal of protections for religious officials.
When Bill C-51 was referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in January, two amendments were moved by my Conservative colleagues. The first amendment proposed keeping section 176 in the Criminal Code of Canada, while the second aimed to modernize the language of that section. The Liberals agreed to them and that was good, but they need to listen more.
Imagine my disappointment when I read in Bill C-75 that section 176 in the Criminal Code was once again under attack. Assault of officiants during a religious service is very serious and should remain an indictable offence.
Thank you for the opportunity to present my views.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2018-11-20 12:48 [p.23600]
Mr. Speaker, increasing that penalty is definitely one of the ways to go, but if we are changing the legislation, we must also ensure that our prosecutors and court systems abide by the new regulations and follow through on them. There is no use changing these regulations if the prosecutors and courts will not follow them. If they do not, we will again have a revolving-door system, as it is today. The change would not matter much.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2018-11-20 12:50 [p.23600]
Mr. Speaker, that question is very appropriate. Surcharges should be raised.
We had a witness, a farmer from Saskatchewan, appear at the justice committee two weeks ago. He said he really did not care if a guy goes to jail for two months or six months for stealing his combine, but if the guy causes $100,000 damage to the combine from driving it around the field and running it through ditches, he the farmer should be able to sue that person, or the court should be able to place a penalty on that criminal to repay that amount. If it takes that criminal the rest of his life to pay back that $100,000 in damage to the farmer's combine, that would be justice.
Victims in Canada are the ones who are suffering; the criminals are not suffering. We must make the criminals responsible for their actions. That is one way we could it.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2018-11-20 12:52 [p.23601]
Mr. Speaker, as I stated earlier, this was brought to us early in the year, a day before we were to go on a two-day break.
Two previous bills, Bill C-38 and Bill C-39, have been thrown into this bill. Why were they not dealt with? If it is so important that this get done, why did the government wait so long to do it?
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2018-10-29 17:25 [p.22956]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the minister for getting set to renew the agreement.
For 20 years, we have seen the growth of our two nations expand to about $1.7 billion last year. We needed a new agreement. It has been four years in the making. This agreement is important to the economics of Canada and to small businesses.
I wonder if the minister could explain to me if he thinks that we will be as competitive with our neighbours and Israel with the carbon tax placed on Canadian businesses? Does he think that will harm our competitive edge with companies and corporations in Israel?
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2018-10-29 17:33 [p.22957]
Madam Speaker, the minister just spoke about the significant potential and offers of diverse commercial opportunities for Canadian businesses, but we need to communicate with businesses. We need to ensure small and large businesses in Canada understand what CIFTA is all about.
I wonder if the minister could explain to me what program is in place or is anticipated to be put in place to educate and inform small businesses across Canada.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2018-10-19 10:31 [p.22607]
Mr. Speaker, I am speaking to Bill C-83 because I am concerned that the changes it would make may put in jeopardy the safety of our institutional staff and that of the inmates who are under our care and control.
I was confused when the government introduced the bill.
In February of this year, the government appealed a ruling by the B.C. Supreme Court that struck down Canada's law on indefinite solitary confinement, arguing that it needed clarity on the decision. Therefore, why is the government introducing legislation before receiving that clarity? Why are the Liberals fighting the court decision to strike down solitary confinement, while at the same time introducing legislation to do just that? Are they just changing the words and calling it a structural intervention unit?
I have a federal prison in my riding of Yellowhead, the Grande Cache Institution. It is a medium-security institution with approximately 300 employees and 240 offenders. I have a lot of respect for my constituents who work there. Working for Correctional Service Canada often means working with violent offenders. Proposed section 36 of the new act will deal with the obligations of service and the rights of prisoners in structural intervention areas. It states:
...The Service shall provide an inmate in a structured intervention unit
(a) an opportunity to spend a minimum of four hours a day outside the inmate’s cell; and
(b) an opportunity to interact, for a minimum of two hours a day, with others, through activities including, but not limited to,
(i) programs, interventions and services...
(ii) leisure time.
Proposed section 37 of the new act states that proposed section 36 does not apply if the inmate refuses or the inmate “does not comply with...instructions to ensure their safety or that of any other person or the security of the penitentiary.”
As part of their job, employees are responsible for providing a safe, secure and positive environment for offenders, which is an essential element in helping offenders reintegrate into society. However, is the government fostering a safe and secure environment for our prison guards to work within these institutions?
Solitary confinement is a common safety measure many western countries take to protect guards from dangerous and volatile prisoners. I wonder if any of our front-line workers have been consulted on taking this tool away from them. Are we properly training our guards who deal with the most dangerous of offenders, offenders with possible mental conditions and psychological problems? Are these guards being given the necessary tools and knowledge to recognize, work with, protect and, for their own safety, help reintegrate these prisoners?
I am concerned that the bill does not mention new training programs to assist prison guards in these changes or in the current programs. It is paramount that the guards dealing with the most dangerous of our offenders have the knowledge and expertise to deal with them. This is for everyone's protection and safety.
I have heard concerns from prison staff members that more training should be given to them when they are dealing with high-risk offenders, such as murderers, compared to someone serving six months for theft. We need to ensure they feel prepared and comfortable, instead of taking away the tools they use to manage inmates.
Instead of solitary confinement, the government would create structural intervention units, SIUs. Let us be fair: This is just white-washing with some finely tuned words.
Under the new SIU model, inmates who misbehave and cannot be safely managed in the mainstream population will get personal programs tailored to their own needs. Are we forgetting the protection and safety of other inmates and prison staff in order to meet the new guidelines as outlined under the SIU? The segregation of certain prisoners in some cases has been done to protect those persons from internal conflicts with other inmates because of their character or mental disposition. In other cases, it is done for legal reasons that could cause interference with an investigation that could lead to criminal charges or a charge relating to serious disciplinary offences within the institution.
Under the new act, prisoners segregated for their own safety may spend up to four hours outside their cells each day. This is where I am concerned. This will require more resources and will create longer periods for the chance of an incident to occur. The replacement of solitary confinement strips the ability of guards to use segregation for disciplinary purposes. This change will make prisons more dangerous for the guards as they deal with the worst and most volatile prisoners.
Because the guards are dealing with the most violent criminals and those who do not care to follow the prison rules, when an incident does occur, it is going to be a lot more serious and require more force. Why are we putting our front line workers at risk?
I am also concerned that these prisoners who are segregated for their own safety may demand equal opportunities under the new act. This may open up an opportunity for their safety to be jeopardized and also put the safety of our guards in question.
This is just another example of the Liberals going soft on criminals and showing indifference to everyone else. Once again, the Liberals are prioritizing the rights of Canada's most violent and dangerous criminals.
Let me remind everyone of Bill C-75, which proposes sweeping changes to the Criminal Code and reduces the penalties of crimes to fines. Through Bill C-75, the Liberals are reducing penalties for terrorism, gang members, prison breaches, human trafficking, and the list goes on and on. It is not a surprise to me that the Liberal government is now prioritizing the rights of convicted and violent criminals inside our prison system.
Another aspect of the bill that I find deeply concerning is the new provision that would allow the commissioner to sub-designate parts of institutions to be a different level of security. It reads:
The Commissioner may assign the security classification of “minimum security”, “medium security”, “maximum security” or “multi-level security”, or any other prescribed security classification, to each penitentiary or to any area in a penitentiary.
Theoretically, could the commissioner authorize that a room, say in a healing lodge, to be designated as maximum or medium security by adding an extra lock on the door? There needs to be clarification on whether this is to be used as a temporary measure or if this is a declaration that can be made indefinitely of an area. If so, what is the security protocol that would be put in place to change an “area” to a higher designation than the rest of the facility? Under what circumstances would it be used?
This provision will lead to more cases where higher security prisoners are allowed into lower security spaces, all based on technicalities. Why are we allowing prisoners who should be in maximum or medium-security facilities into lower designated facilities?
I agree with one part of the bill, and that is body scanners. Already in use in the provinces of British Columbia and Ontario, body scanners should be used to scan prisoners in federal institutions. The more effective we can be in our searches, the better. That means fewer drugs, weapons and other contraband entering our prison systems.
I wonder why the government decided to stop there, though. Why only scan prisoners? In 2014, the CBC broadcast an article on the statistics of contraband entering prisons. The data obtained by CBC showed that corrections seized almost 9,000 unauthorized and contraband items, up almost 2,000 from a few years earlier. That was an increase of 20%. The article noted:
CSC spokesman Jonathan Schofield said the spike is due to enhanced security measures brought in to stem the flow of drugs and other contraband into institutions, including increased searches, random urine tests, and tools such as metal detectors, X-rays, drug-detecting ion scanners and dogs.
Howard Sapers, the former correctional investigator of Canada, said that likely sources of contraband included other people coming in to the prison and sometimes even trusted personnel.
Maybe we should be using body scanners to scan everyone, not just the prisoners, entering our institutions. This will help ensure that everyone inside the institution, prisoners, staff and visitors, all have a safe and secure environment in which to live and work. There are different types of body scanners, some detect drugs, others detect metal. We use them in our airports, and there is no reason we cannot use the most sophisticated equipment in our jail system.
I am not in favour of the recently announced needle exchange program and a good scanning system would eliminate the need for such a program.
We must remember that any legislation brought in that changes how we manage our prisons must take into consideration the safety of our government employees and the safety of other inmates within our institutions. This to me is paramount over catering to the needs of convicted criminals. We must remember they are there because they have committed crimes and are being punished for those crimes. Yes, they have rights to a certain extent, but our institutions are not summer camps or recreational retreats.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2018-10-19 10:42 [p.22608]
Mr. Speaker, I never said I disagreed with providing mental health supports. I said that we need to spend more time and more resources training our personnel at the jails. I clearly stated this a number of times in my comments. Jail guards are concerned that they are not receiving the proper training to deal with people with different mental situations, different stress situations and different violent tendencies. We need to ensure that our guards have the best training so that they understand the situations they are being put into so they can keep themselves and the prisoners safe.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2018-10-19 10:43 [p.22609]
Mr. Speaker, I do not see anything in the bill about extra training or education for either the prisoners or the guards. My concern at the present time is the safety of the guards and prisoners in our institutions. The member can talk about programs for them, and those are good. We need to interact with and get prisoners back into civilization as law-abiding citizens, but it is the safety of our guards that I am concerned about and their proper training. There is no mention of that in Bill C-83.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2018-10-19 10:44 [p.22609]
Mr. Speaker, the member is absolutely correct that we need to go further. We need to scan all people coming into and out of our jail institutions to protect the guards and the inmates. We know that contraband is increasingly entering our prisons. We know it is being brought in by people and we have indications that it is being brought in by some guards. It is not going to hurt to scan all individuals coming into our institutions, as many high security institutions already do.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2018-10-04 11:09 [p.22203]
Mr. Speaker, I noticed that the government has also allotted, under this bill, approximately $77.2 million to be utilized in a program to help in situations like this. Often I get people calling my office, either one spouse or the other, who are in financial hardship, especially over these last three years of things happening in Alberta, and they do not have the funds to sit down and negotiate with a lawyer because of the cost.
I wonder if my friend from St. Albert—Edmonton could comment again on this alternate resolution process that might be started as a result of this program and whether it would be of benefit to couples and save them a lot of money. We used to have an old saying in Alberta that if people end up going through divorce, they take their estate and half goes to the legal firms, and they might end up with a quarter each if they end up going through a dispute.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2018-10-04 11:18 [p.22204]
Mr. Speaker, in one of his answers just a few minutes ago, the member mentioned Bill C-75. I am still concerned about Bill C-75. It would reduce sentences for very serious crimes, including the abduction of a child under the age of 14, participating in activities of criminal organizations, forced marriages, marriages under the age of 16 and concealing the body of a child. These policies are very alarming to me. Would he like to comment on them?
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2018-10-04 11:31 [p.22206]
Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the hon. member would be able to clarify something under clause 54, the increased term of services binding by Her Majesty for five years to 12 years. Could he explain to me why it was raised?
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2018-10-04 11:48 [p.22208]
Mr. Speaker, I do not think there is anybody here in this House who can deny that Bill C-78 is well overdue and is needed.
I listened in depth to the conversation about separation, families relocating, the court sitting down and evaluating a mechanism to look at both sides, and that body deciding if it is appropriate for the parties to move from one location to another.
I was reading through the bill and I am wondering if there is a mechanism of repeal if the court were to say that one party could not move. Is there an appeal mechanism built into this bill that would allow people to appeal that decision?
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2018-06-13 17:27 [p.20851]
Madam Speaker, last year I stayed in Ottawa on July 1 for Canada Day celebrations. It was kind of a disappointing day because it rained really hard, and then I found a lot of the music had nothing to do with Canada's heritage or history. Anyways, we will leave that aside.
What I did notice last year being here on Canada Day was that Wellington was pretty well plugged with people waiting to get in here, thousands and thousands of people trying to go through security to get on Ottawa's main grounds up here.
I wonder if the member could just use his imagination and imagine all of them having a little bit of smoke, or a little toke, whatever we want to call it. We have Ribfest coming next week, and we know how this town smells so great during Ribfest. Imagine what Wellington would smell like with 10,000 people smoking marijuana. I wonder if the member could imagine that.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2018-06-04 23:04 [p.20204]
Mr. Speaker, every summer in my riding of Yellowhead, we have a shooting competition called Got Your Six. First responders and military personnel from across Canada participate. I am talking about ambulance drivers, police officers, firemen, and retired and current military personnel. They come to our community of Edson because we have one of the longest ranges in western Canada. It is a mile range. I go there every year during their competitions and meet with the guys.
Bill C-71 would directly affect these people. These are hard-working Canadians who are first responders. Why do they go to Got Your Six and what is it? It is an organization that looks after people in the military, police, fire department, and ambulance who have post-traumatic stress. They raise funds through their combat shoots. It is a way of bringing some of those comrades suffering from post-traumatic stress out to the range and to help them. It is a form of medication, yet Bill C-71 would directly affect these people.
Money could be more wisely spent on seriously combatting the criminal element out there than going after the law-abiding Canadians. I wonder if my hon. friend from Calgary Shepard would like to comment on that, especially since they have a problem in Calgary with organized gangs.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2018-06-04 23:28 [p.20207]
Mr. Speaker, I was looking at some statistical data from early 2010, just prior to our making some changes to the firearms regulations. At that time, 92% of the police officers across Canada said that the long-gun registry was no good. A survey done by a police officer out of Edmonton showed that 2,410 police officers out of 2,631 said that it was a waste of time and it did not work. What is very interesting is that the RCMP, which was in charge of it, did a survey that said 81% were in favour. I wonder if the member would just comment on the numbers, because there was a lot of that in the last day or two.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2018-05-31 20:25 [p.20037]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for being part of our rural task force dealing with rural crime. We have had many round tables, as the member mentioned.
While we were doing that, the Alberta government reacted. The NDP government reacted by putting more policemen on the road and putting more money towards combatting rural crime, yet, we have a Liberal government across the aisle that is doing just the opposite in reducing crime.
I wonder if he could speak briefly about where he sees the big difference between an NDP provincial government and the federal Liberal government.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2018-05-24 13:42 [p.19586]
Mr. Speaker, it is great to be here this afternoon speaking to Bill C-57, an act to amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act. I last spoke in the House at length on this bill in October 2017. I am thankful for the opportunity to have served on the environment committee for a while and have wrapped myself around this topic quite well.
What does it mean, and what is its purpose? I am going to refer to a specific section:
The purpose of this Act is to provide the legal framework for developing and implementing a Federal Sustainable Development Strategy that makes decision making related to sustainable development more transparent and subject to accountability to Parliament, promotes coordinated action across the Government of Canada to advance sustainable development and respects Canada’s domestic and international obligations relating to sustainable development, with a view to improving the quality of life of Canadians.
There is another factor in that section I want to read:
the principle that sustainable development is based on an efficient use of natural, social and economic resources and the need for the Government of Canada to integrate environmental, economic and social factors in the making of all of its decisions;
I bring that up, because I am going to dwell on that later in my speech.
Our Conservative Party recognizes that sustainability needs to be included in every decision to ensure that there is a balance between social, economic, and environmental factors. We have always believed in that. The record will show that we are the only government in the last decade and a half that has a record of improving greenhouse gas emissions.
This type of policy-making ensures not only that today's generation will have a healthy and prosperous lifestyle but that we can pass health and prosperity on to future generations to come: my grandchildren, my great-grandchildren, your great-grandchildren, Mr. Speaker, and everyone else's.
The importance of sustainable development is something on which all parties agree. I do not think anyone disagrees that we have to protect the environment or that the environment can survive on its own but industry cannot. It needs to protect the environment, and I believe we all believe this and will fight for it very hard. This is proven by the fact that the report from the environment committee was unanimous. Sustainable development is so important to the future of Canada and to our grandchildren that not only should environmental factors be considered, but we need to also consider the social and economic pillars that surround them.
If we go back almost 10 years, then minister John Baird, under the Conservative government, supported a Liberal member's private member's bill regarding the federal sustainability act. The bill was passed, and we followed the guidelines. We had positive results, better than I can say from the current government. The act declares that all government decision-making be reviewed through an environmental, economic, and social lens. I want to stress the social lens and the appropriate balance. That is a bit of a rub.
I had a great working career in the RCMP. I have lived near the energy sector in Alberta and British Columbia since around 1986. I also had the opportunity, nearly 20 years ago, to work directly in the oil and gas sector as a regulator, as an enforcer, for the Province of British Columbia after I retired. I have a pretty good understanding of what goes on in relation to oil and gas exploration in Canada and the way we protect the environment.
Part of my job was to make sure that companies out there were doing their job to protect the environment. I will stand in this House all day long and wave the fact that I think Canada—the provinces of B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, and even a little has been done in Ontario and Quebec—has the greatest, strongest environmental standards in the world, and we produce the cleanest energy, regardless of what it is, whether it is coal, oil, or gas. We have such strong, stringent regulations that we should be proud of that fact.
Twenty years ago, the B.C. government realized that industry was hampered, government was hampered, the public was hampered, and aboriginal communities were hampered by overregulation. Too many departments, having separate control, were all fighting and vying to do their part to protect the environment and the government and to regulate industry. What did the B.C. government do? Twenty years ago, it realized that it needed to hire one person to oversee it and one person to try to bring it back together, and it did.
If my numbers are correct, we got rid of one-third of the regulations. Industry prospered. We developed a really good working relationship with aboriginal communities. They could understand what was going on and could work with the government and industry because of the way the regulations were modernized and improved.
If we look at this bill, I believe it says that it would require more departments and more agencies to contribute to the federal sustainable development strategy. It would bring the total to more than 90, from the current 26. My God, look back at history, folks. It does not work. We have to modernize it and make it efficient, effective, and understandable so that everyone can work together. If we make it too big, the government cannot control it. If we make it too complicated, industry and the people involved, whether it is on private or aboriginal land, cannot understand it. Here we are with a new bill trying to increase it by over three times. Let us get this thing back to reality.
I am sorry that I am a little scattered. I was told about this about 20 minutes ago, so I came in here and wrote some notes down from what I remembered.
As I said earlier, the environment committee did a fantastic job, and it had a unanimous report on this. Conservative members on the environment and sustainable development committee supported the changes to the FSDS. They wanted to ensure, as did the Liberal and NDP members, that economic, social, and environmental considerations were accounted for by the Government of Canada. They wanted to make sure that happened. They wanted to ensure that the act included measurable targets and enforceability.
Measurable targets and enforceability are so important. We can throw out a handful of rules, but if we cannot enforce them and cannot ever make that number, why put them out there? Make it reasonable for all the people participating, whether it is the aboriginal community, people living in the area, industry, or government. If we all work together and can understand what we are all doing together, we can accomplish a lot together.
My friend from the Northwest Territories understands what I am talking about when I talk about finding an appropriate balance between the environment, the economy, and their lives. We can get everything to work together, but we must make it balanced.
I am thankful for the opportunity to speak. I have more to say. I could probably have gone on another 10 minutes.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2018-05-24 13:53 [p.19588]
Mr. Speaker, I agree, but Canada is protected. We have a good set of rules and regulations in place. I hate to tell you, but we had fires shortly after earth developed. We had natural fires. We are going to continue to have fires. We can do everything you want to stop fires, but fires will start. We have lightning, caused by the weather. We have weather trends. Things dry out some years. Some years they are so wet, we cannot even get into the forest. These things are natural. Can we control them with this? No, we cannot. These are natural things that have been happening over decades, and hundreds and hundreds of years. Fires have always existed. The problem is that man wants to stop the fires. The fires controlled a lot of the environmental problems we have today, such as the pine beetle.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2018-05-24 13:55 [p.19588]
Mr. Speaker, I am going to say no. However, the member brings up a very good point. I would like to explain one aspect of what she is talking about. Let us talk about floods. In so many areas in Canada, from coast to coast to coast, governments, whether municipal, provincial, or federal, allow people to build properties, whether residential, industrial, or commercial, on flat plains by rivers. If they had taken the time to perhaps talk to an early pioneer in that area, he probably would have told them that the plain flooded in 1901, in 1896, and in 1932. However, do we listen to him? No we do not. We sit around a table with a bunch of scientists reading a book and coming up with a good, reasoned fact. We should take a common sense approach in the bill, and use people within society, people from the communities, who understand.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2018-05-24 13:57 [p.19588]
Mr. Speaker, people's minds change. Given a longer time to look at it, we see where the errors and mistakes are, and so we stand up to try to correct those errors and mistakes.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2018-05-03 12:54 [p.19059]
Mr. Speaker, the member talked about the importance of transportation in this country, whether it be airline joint ventures, air passenger rights, railway and rail shippers relationships, or voice and video recording on railways.
I would like to thank all of the members today, especially those who belong to the transportation committee. I know they worked very hard and had some good discussions. There were 18 amendments. The opposition parties disagreed with the Liberal Party on about 18 different positions. The bill went to the Senate, and the Senate came back with almost exactly the same 18 amendments.
If the member is really concerned with safety in Canada, why does he think the 18 amendments supported in principle by the Senate should not be included as the motion was put forward today? He is talking about the safety of the whole transportation system.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2018-04-25 17:23 [p.18750]
Madam Speaker, it is good to rise today and speak to Bill C-55, even though our time is going to be limited because of the actions of the Liberal government. I have been here four other times trying to get this conversation going, and I will try to get it done today.
I rise in the House to speak to Bill C-55, an act that would empower the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to designate, without consultation, marine protected areas and prohibit activities in those areas for up to five years. After five years, the minister would be able to permanently designate that area as a marine protected area, or an MPA. The bill would also give the Governor in Council the authority to prohibit fishing, as well as oil and gas activity in MPAs. For a government that constantly praises itself for listening to Canadians and for public consultation, I was surprised when I read Bill C-55. I was surprised because the legislation completely ignores any kind of consultation.
I sat on the environment committee and was part of the study “Taking Action Today: Establishing Protected Areas for Canada's Future”. I want to mention a comment by one of the witnesses, Paul Crowley. He said:
I think the most important thing is to do this transparently. What are the economic benefits? What is the baseline management that can be handed over to communities? Have that up front right away and across the board, being fair and not renegotiating from one space to the next, from one community to the next, or from one land claim to the next. Start at the highest level right off the bat, and get to “yes” very quickly.
He said that, but he was saying that we need to negotiate, and here we have a government that says it is going to enact this quickly and study it afterwards. Once again, the Liberal government is putting environmental activists ahead of our economy, and the local people whom these decisions would impact the most will suffer. According to fishermen in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and British Columbia, they have not been consulted about the impacts of Bill C-55 at all. Why should we expect that they would be consulted, when the Liberals want to turn their regions into protected areas as quickly as possible to reach a personal mandate by that party?
The Cape Breton Fish Harvesters Association representative said, “I think we are more upset by the process. It was not done the way it should have been done. It should have been done more respectfully.”
The director of Gulf Nova Scotia Fleet Planning Board, a fishermen's group, said that “the consultation process was not well planned, organized, or transparent”, and that it was disorganized even within the fisheries department.
The Chief of the Pictou Landing First Nation said that they have received very little information about the consideration of their region as an MPA. She also said that her community depends heavily on the revenues from snow crab and the lobster fishery. That is a $70-million lobster and snow crab fishery that has supported their small coastal region in Cape Breton for many generations, and it could be at risk because of Bill C-55.
Mr. Gordon MacDonald, a Fourchu fisherman in Nova Scotia, put it best when he said, “It’s more likely to be damaging than beneficial but it satisfies a need to be seen as doing good, as being a world leader in protection and conservation....”
Some of the locations being proposed are not in danger. They are being fished in a sustainable manner. That is exactly why our government enforces quotas: to protect these areas. Bill C-55 would require that when deciding to establish an MPA, the minister apply a precautionary approach: when in doubt, add it to the list, without any consultation.
First, if the government consulted with the people on the ground, it could avoid a lot of uncertainty. Second, if the government imposes an MPA that is unnecessary, even for five years, it would destroy the local economy, with little gain for the marine environment. However, as Mr. MacDonald said, the Liberals would look good on the international stage.
The Liberal government ran a campaign on transparency, yet there are serious questions about the transparency with the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, both in this legislation and in decisions he has made in the past. Let us go back a few months. The minister awarded one quarter of the Arctic surf clam quota to a partnership between Premium Seafoods and the Five Nations Clam Company. However, neither the Liberals nor the Five Nations Clam Company would say which indigenous groups were involved, until weeks after the decision was made.
Apparently, at the time of the application, not even the applicants knew who was involved, but they got the contract. There were only reserved spots in their proposal for indigenous groups, and it was not until after the quota was awarded that they filled those spots. It smells a little fishy, not to mention that the president of Premium Seafoods, which won the contract, is the brother of a current Liberal member and has contributed thousands of dollars to the Liberal Party. The president of one of the Five Nations partners is also a former Liberal member.
The minister needs to stop playing politics with our fisheries and come up with a real plan that would support high-quality, well-paying jobs in our coastal communities. This bill would not only impact commercial fisheries, but also hurt people who fish for sustenance, as well as negatively impact tourism in these areas. For example, when the International Pacific Halibut Commission met this year to determine the catch limits for the year for Canada and the U.S., it could not come to an agreement and determined to keep the 2017 restrictions in place.
When the recreational fishing industry in British Columbia reached its quota early in the year, it had to close for the season, with just 36 hours' notice from the government. This meant that fishing charters were either out of business for the rest of the year or forced to lease quotas from the commercial fishery. Either way, this cost the fish tourism business a lot of money.
What would happen when the government suddenly decides to make a region a designated area, without consultation, and enforces a five-year ban on fishing in the area? The companies that rely on sport fishing and tourism would be completely out of business, never mind closing early or having to lease quotas. They would not even be able to leave the docks for five years.
Where is the compensation for the lost income? It is not in this bill. The livelihood of Mr. MacDonald's family depends on the region's bounty of lobster, crab, and other species. He calls the proposed MPAs a “human exclusion zone”. He said, “They’re trying to eliminate humans as if that’s a form of conservation.... True ocean health, within the part that humans have control, will involve greater human time and investment, not absence.”
The Liberals' plan to protect 10% of marine and coastal areas by 2020 would undoubtedly result in inadequate consultation and large areas from coast to coast to coast being closed to commercial and recreational activities.
I am not opposed to the creation of MPAs. In fact, the Conservative Party has championed conservation and marine protected areas in the past. Our previous government focused on building on existing international markets and introducing new ones, while making significant investments in areas like marine research, harbour infrastructure, lobster sustainability, aquaculture innovation, and indigenous participation.
Rather than consulting the communities that would be most impacted by the Liberal government's plan on MPAs, the minister has chosen to fast-track this process in order to meet these self-imposed political targets.
A balance between the protection of marine habitats and the protection of local economies that depend on commercial and recreational fishing must be struck. This cannot be achieved without extensive consultation and a concerted effort to prioritize the needs of local communities.
I challenge the government to answer why it is abandoning consultation and transparency. This bill has the potential to do a lot of damage to local fisheries, and it is not an example of the economy and the environment going hand in hand.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2018-04-25 17:34 [p.18751]
Madam Speaker, I believe what the Liberal government is attempting to accomplish is to follow up on taking action today and establishing protected areas for Canada's future.
This is a report done by the environment and sustainable development committee. CPAWS appeared before the committee and talked about designating 50% of Canada's land mass protected space and increasing the coastal protected areas. If we look at the chart, it pretty well surrounds all of our coastal waters. I believe what we are seeing is a government that is trying to make the 10% limit within the next year, as it promised the public. However, it is not doing it with proper and respectful consultations.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2018-04-25 17:36 [p.18752]
Madam Speaker, proper consultation with the indigenous peoples of the area and local ranchers who are dealing with agriculture leases for range land, and stuff like, has to be done. We need to work with the local ranchers. We need to work with the local counties and local indigenous groups and plan ahead.
I am going to refer back to my favourite report, “Taking Action Today: Establishing Protected Areas for Canada's Future”, because I sat on that committee. We had the environmental groups come and tell us that they wanted to protect all this land. Then we had the natives from northern Canada, the Northwest Territories, and the Inuit come in and say, “Slow down. We want to be involved in the consultations. We want to talk about what's best for the land we live on. We want to know how we are going to protect the economy for our future but also protect the environment.” That is what it is about. Bill C-55 is fast-tracking to put these protected areas in immediately. They will do the consulting or negotiating after.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2018-02-02 10:34 [p.16685]
Mr. Speaker, it was the cash-for-access events that resulted in the Ethics Commissioner and the Lobbying Commissioner's launch of an investigation into the Liberals. Is the only reason Bill C-50 is before us today is because the Liberals were caught breaking those rules?
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2018-02-01 11:07 [p.16616]
Mr. Speaker, the member mentioned the fact that on three occasions we were approached to look at bringing Phoenix in, and we realized there were mistakes. Still, the same number of people were there. The Liberals said that because so many people were missing, they had to go ahead, or they could not get the information.
Could the member explain that those numbers did not change within that short period of time, that the staff that messed up was the same when they took over government.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2018-01-29 16:15 [p.16466]
Mr. Speaker, a number of people mentioned today the need for proper training, not only for management but for people who are working within government, or in any agency. One segment the member did mention briefly in his statement was the fact that there is so much information, on computers and places like that, that lead people in the wrong direction. Perhaps he could explain that or simplify it a little more.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2018-01-29 17:59 [p.16479]
Madam Speaker, the member mentioned that he was concerned about overlapping jurisdiction and rules. I have been involved in the government since 1968. I did not want to go back that far, but that is when I first started. We have had study sessions on these matters starting in the mid-seventies through the eighties, nineties, and two-thousands. I have taken a number of different courses.
Bill C-65 has to be pulled together to make it work as one unified bill. I wonder if the member would like to speak to how we can pull it all together so there is one bill respecting different agencies within the government and within industry.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2018-01-29 18:16 [p.16481]
Madam Speaker, does my hon. colleague feel we should be moving beyond just Bill C-65, looking at the big picture of what is happening in Canada, and why people are moving in this way?
We have had harassment policies in the civil service since the seventies, yet it still seems to continue. Does the member feel we should be looking at a broader picture to see why this is happening?
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2017-11-22 17:25 [p.15450]
Mr. Speaker, the member spoke about giving law enforcement the tools with which to work. He also spoke about impaired driving. I would like to give the member a little statistical data.
The Minister of Justice spoke earlier about using scientific data. I wonder if anyone from the Liberal Party decided to phone the state police in Colorado or Washington, because Washington has 33,000 cases of drug driving evidence that it is trying to analyze. They cannot analyze it. It costs $175 per analysis, which is $6 million U.S. The U.S. sheriffs are telling their deputies not to lay charges, because they cannot afford it.
Did the Liberals talk to any law enforcement agencies in some of the states that have legalized marijuana?
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2017-11-20 13:10 [p.15276]
Madam Speaker, I have read in detail Bill C-59. As the last speaker mentioned, there are over 140 pages in the bill. There are some good parts in this legislation, but there are parts I have a lot of concern about. One is the limits the bill would place on the ability of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to reduce terrorist threats in Canada. It bothers me that we would start pulling some of its authority and some of its ability to effectively make Canada safer for the public. The bill would limit the ability of government departments to share data among themselves to protect Canada's national security.
The hon. member talked about ISIS fighters coming back to Canada and the fact that we have a government that is not going to take a strong stand on this. It should be taking a strong stand.
I wonder if my colleague could comment on the ability of our government agencies to share information about the people coming back. Do we just want them to filter into our communities?
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2017-11-20 17:37 [p.15320]
Mr. Speaker, when the Conservative government brought in Bill C-51, it was designed to assist law enforcement and security agencies to prevent attacks on Canada's soil.
Does the hon. member feel that Bill C-59 would distract from that?
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2017-11-20 17:56 [p.15323]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House to speak to Bill C-59, an act respecting national security matters. This is a very large bill that seeks to make some major changes to our national security. It affects Bill C-51 that was brought in by our previous government. It replaces the Security Intelligence Review Committee and the commissioner of the Communications Security Establishment with a new national security and intelligence review agency. It creates the position of an intelligence commissioner to provide day-to-day oversight of national security activities. It limits the Canadian Security Intelligence Service's ability to reduce terrorist threats. It limits the ability of government departments to share data among themselves to protect national security. It removes the offence of advocating and promoting terrorist offences in general. It raises the threshold for obtaining a terrorism peace bond and recognizance with conditions.
Obviously, there is a lot in this bill, and I will not have time to speak to all of it. Therefore, I will focus on a few key areas that I have concerns with.
As most people know, extremist travellers are those who have left Canada or other countries to join terrorist groups abroad. As ISIS continues to lose ground in Syria and Iraq, supporters of this militant group and other terrorist organizations have returned to their home countries, Canada included, with almost 60 of them now returned.
According to a recent report that was released in October from the Soufan Center, a U.S.-based non-profit organization, 33 countries have reported the arrival of at least 5,600 extremist travellers. That is 5,600 of them now returning home. The report states that those returns represent, “a huge challenge for security and law enforcement entities.”
Now is not the time to relax the laws that protect our national security. Canadians are at risk. Canada is not immune to the threats of terrorism. We have seen an attack on Parliament Hill, the terrorist attack that killed Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, and the recent attack of a police officer and members of the public in the city of Edmonton, just next to my riding. We need strong legislation in place to protect our national security and our citizens. This is why our Conservative government introduced Bill C-51, which has been used to disrupt terrorist activities nearly two dozen times that we know of. This includes when law enforcement and intelligence officers intervened last year to stop ISIS supporter Aaron Driver, who had planned to commit a terror attack in Canada. These attacks, and attempted attacks, demonstrate that Canada needs strong security and intelligence legislation that enables public safety agencies to do their job.
Prior to our previous Conservative government's Bill C-51, the mandate of CSIS prevented it from engaging in any disruption activities. It could not approach the parents of a radicalized youth and encourage them to dissuade their child from travelling to a war zone or conducting attacks here in Canada. After Bill C-51, CSIS was able to engage in threat disruption. Warrants were not required for activities that were not contrary to Canadian law, such as approaching the parents of a radicalized youth. This was very reasonable, in my opinion. However, Bill C-59 will now limit the threat disruption activities of CSIS to very specific actions. It will require a warrant for simple and necessary activities, such as impersonating a local citizen to give a suspect the wrong directions in order to disrupt a threat. This bill unnecessarily limits and restricts the ability of CSIS to disrupt threats to national security. Bill C-59 also makes it more difficult to obtain a peace bond for terrorism cases. We should be going forward. We should be strengthening the laws in Canada, not reducing them in favour of terrorism.
Under Bill C-51, a peace bond can be issued if there are reasonable grounds to fear that a person may commit a terrorism offence and a peace bond is likely to prevent terrorism activities. That is the same as a peace bond under the Criminal Code of Canada, which I applied for on a number of occasions over the years as a police officer. When I knew someone might pose a threat to an individual, I went to a judge and had a peace warrant issued to protect the possible victim.
Bill C-59 would increase the threshold from “is likely” to “is necessary” to prevent a terrorist activity. If we have evidence that someone is planning an attack and we cannot act on good sound information, it is going to be a sad day for this country. This means that the amount of evidence that would go into proving the peace bond is necessary is nearly the same as the evidence one would need to lay a criminal charge. If we look at those set of circumstances, why would one go for a peace bond? One might as well lay the criminal charge. It is a little late.
The point of peace bonds is that there is not enough evidence to arrest and charge that suspect, but there are reasonable grounds to believe that a person is involved in terrorist activities. That is reasonable. It is reasonable under the Criminal Code to believe that if somebody threatens numerous times to kill a person, that maybe a peace bond should be issued for that person to stay away from the possible victim.
If the government raises the threshold to obtain a peace bond, people who are a risk to national security will slip through the cracks. We now have 60 of them in this country. How are our police forces supposed to keep us safe if they cannot request that special safety conditions be put on someone who is likely to engage in an attack?
I also find this legislation problematic in addressing the issue of advocating and recruiting for terrorist groups. General and broad threats against Canada or all infidels is not a crime under the Criminal Code. Hate speech and threats need to be directed at an identifiable group. Bill C-51's definition of advocating or promoting terrorism enabled law officers to more effectively pursue those distributing radicalizing propaganda and advocating violence, and it should. However, the bill before us today would delete this offence. Without the ability to target the advocacy and/or promotion of terrorism, law enforcement will be handicapped from effectively addressing the various ways that individuals are radicalized. This includes removing terrorist propaganda from the Internet.
Another concerning change is in part 8 of the bill, which would amend the Youth Criminal Justice Act. If we afford more protections to young offenders who are guilty of terrorism offences, youth will become a target for radical recruiters. Instead of cracking down on radicalization, the Liberals are creating loopholes that those who seek to radicalize youth can exploit.
One last problematic area that I want to highlight is in part 5 of the bill. This section would amend the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act, which was established by Bill C-51. The changes proposed in today's bill would make it more difficult for government departments to share information with each other. As a former police officer, I know how necessary it is to be able to share intelligence when conducting a large investigation. It can make or break a case. We have problems when it is easier for our own agencies to share information internationally than with each other. While our Five Eyes allies are all taking measures to strengthen national security, this legislation would remove the ability of our intelligence services to reduce terrorist threats.
In the last year, horrendous attacks in the United States, Europe, and our own country, have shown that no country is immune from the risks associated with terrorism and radicalization. The Anti-terrorism Act, brought forward by our previous government, struck a careful balance between protecting the civil liberties of Canadians while adequately providing law enforcement with the necessary tools to keep Canadians safe. It is the responsibility of the government to ensure that all of Canada's security and intelligence services have the tools they need to do their jobs.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2017-11-20 18:07 [p.15324]
Mr. Speaker, the cost of keeping track of 180 individuals would be astronomical for the government. The money we are looking at to protect our soldiers who return with injuries would be just a small portion of what it would cost for the government to keep track of 60, 100, or 180 people.
We need to keep track of these individuals. They are now mentally prepared as terrorists, and they are coming back into this country. Do members think they can switch off like that? It is impossible. They are going to react and will follow through on what they have been trained to do in the last three or four years, or however many years they have been fighting with ISIS. It is no different than taking a police officer who worked undercover with a motorcycle gang. He cannot just switch back; it takes deprogramming. It sometimes takes two to three years. This is exactly what we need to be concerned about: the safety of Canadians.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2017-11-20 18:10 [p.15324]
Mr. Speaker, the member is absolutely correct. Bill C-59 is full of flaws. As the Liberals stated earlier today in one of their statements, it the result of an election promise by them. I do not think there is any room or place in Canada's security to be worrying about an election promise versus the security of Canadians. I believe the bill should have gone back for a lot more debate. The bill should never have been presented in the format it has been. It is wrong in many cases, and it is hurting a very good bill, Bill C-51, which may have had possible flaws, but not very many, and things could be reviewed and corrected.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2017-11-03 13:24 [p.14961]
Mr. Speaker, I enjoyed the hon. member's speech. I noticed that e-cigarettes put doses of nicotine into the system through the use of an aerosol. With respect to aerosols, if we buy a can of spray paint, the label tells us not to inhale the stuff directly, and we know that it can cause long-term health effects. I wonder if the member would like to comment on that, because we are going to have young kids using an aerosol to directly inhale vapour into their mouths when the medical evidence out there tells us that it is dangerous to one's health.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2017-11-01 16:35 [p.14820]
Mr. Speaker, the member for Scarborough Southwest said he did not want to mislead people, but then he did mislead people.
If we have an apartment building, with maybe 100 units, that could mean 400 plants. Under the Criminal Code, and under law in Canada, one's dwelling is one's dwelling. The member said that the municipality or the province could change that rule. That is not correct.
Would the member like to comment on that?
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2017-10-26 16:05 [p.14592]
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member from Kamloops was talking about the closure of a weather station in the north, because the government could not find anyone, or maybe it was that it did not look hard enough.
I remember living in northern British Columbia, and we had a weather station locally. When the government opened that weather station, there was nobody in the community who was trained, but people came in, and it did not take long to train several people to work that weather station, including some aboriginal people at the time. I wonder if the member could clarify whether she thinks the government could not find someone or did not look that well.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2017-10-26 16:38 [p.14596]
Mr. Speaker, while the member flies on a jet across the Northwest Territories, he must learn a lot of drama. It is obvious from his display here.
The member said that he believed in the bill. I believe we need to work with our aboriginal communities. Let us look at how well the government worked with our aboriginal communities on the northern pipelines through British Columbia. The aboriginal communities wanted to see those go through. They were very excited about the economic development they would see through a segment of BC that has been relatively dead for years. I know that because I lived there for over 30 years. The government decided to disregard even the environmental review that was done, which was agreed to by the aboriginal communities.
What does the member have to say about that?
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2017-10-25 17:05 [p.14525]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House again to speak on Bill C-49, the transportation modernization act. As we know, this omnibus bill would substantially amend 13 different acts and have consequential impacts on three modes of transportation: rail, air, and water. It should have been broken up, yet the Liberals across voted against the member for Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek when she made recommendations in committee to break this up and study each one in greater detail in order to cover some of the problems we have in Canada.
This bill is in response to the Canada Transportation Act review, which was tabled in 2016 by the Liberals, but was initiated by previous Conservative minister Emerson in 2014. The review Emerson did was looking ahead 20 years to 30 years to identify priorities and potential actions in transportation that would support Canada's long-term economic well-being. We recognized that transportation and the economy were changing, and had to make sure the legislation was up to date. The Emerson report was submitted to the minister almost 18 months ago, and provided the government with 60 recommendations to address a range of changing conditions and challenges across Canada's transportation sector. Unfortunately, the Liberals decided to launch another consultation process and are only just tabling the legislation this year.
I am not going to say there are no good parts to this bill. There are good parts and there are bad parts. They missed the mark in a few areas, and I would like to address some of those. I am going to address the good ones too.
I will deal first with railroad. In going through Bill C-49, the creation on new long-haul interswitching regulation has a lot of good facts. That followed suit from the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act that was brought in by the Conservative government. I am not going to go into too much detail, but there are good parts of it and there are some bad parts. I know it has been debated a lot in committee, and I think they worked pretty well on that.
One area I would like to comment on, which I think was positive, is that the Canadian Transportation Agency would gain the power to order a railroad to compensate any shipper that would be adversely affected for a railway's failure to fulfill the service level obligations under the new definition. It would also allow the Canadian Transportation Agency to try to inform these settled disputes between railways and shippers, and would mandate 90-day rulings by the CTA.
I was very glad to see this. CN runs through my riding of Yellowhead, and is a major east-west corridor for it. Over the last three or four years, I have received many complaints from major companies in forestry, coal mining, gravel hauling, fracking sand hauling, grain hauling, etc. about the railroad company committing to have a train at a specific location or facility at a certain time. These companies would have a crew of 10 people ready to load that train, yet no train would show up, and sometimes would not show up for a day or two. They are paying these crews, have shipment orders that might be going to the west coast or need to connect with a ship to get to an overseas port, and yet the railway did not consider that in good faith. This portion of the act is excellent to see, and hopefully it will resolve those types of issues.
Another concern I have that was not addressed in this omnibus bill is the length of trains that are now running in Canada and the lack of proper crews on those trains. Trains are running that are probably two to three times larger today than they were 10 or 15 years ago. It puts a lot of stress on the train crews and on communities. I am going to give an example, but before I do, I want to read a section of the Grade Crossing Regulations. Section 97(2) states:
It is prohibited for railway equipment to be left standing on a crossing surface, or for switching operations to be conducted, in a manner that obstructs a public grade crossing—including by the activation of the gate of a warning system—for more than five minutes when vehicular or pedestrian traffic is waiting to cross it.
It went on to say in section 98 that if there is a repeated issue with trains blocking a crossing, it should be resolved through collaboration between the rail company, local road authorities, etc. If that does not work, the local authority can send a letter to the minister to request a resolution.
Rail crossings have been brought up a number of times and the government and the committee failed to address those concerns. I am going to give an example.
The town I live in is Edson, located in the centre of Yellowhead riding. Our town is divided by the railroad tracks. We have two-mile trains that come in and stop, whether it is for crew changes, whether it is for checking brakes, or whatever. I could stack on my desk the number of complaints that the train is stopped for 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour. When it does that, people from the other side of that track cannot get into town. We have had ambulances stranded and emergency situations. We keep bringing this up with CN, but we do not see changes.
CN is monitoring the crossings, but we still continue to see blockages. This is a problem. CN says if we phone it in, that CN will break a train. Try to break a train two miles long at a crossing. It is virtually impossible. If a person has a heart attack on the other side of that train and needs an ambulance, that person's life can be in jeopardy. That is the situation we are facing in our community and other communities throughout our riding.
CN says people can talk to the railroad company, then go to the minister and look for results. I did that as the member of Parliament. I called a meeting of CN and Transport Canada. The Transport Canada officials said, “We have really long trains. Disregard the five minutes, it is not a big problem. Ten or 15 minutes, so what?” We have big trains and Transport Canada is not interested in looking after it. That is a failing in the new regulations. It should have been addressed.
Creation of air passenger rights regime is right. We all know that over the last few years we have seen a lot of bad things happening in airlines and we see a lot of bad things happening in Canada: delays, lots of times the airlines say they do not have a crew, people cannot go to a smaller community, or the flight is cancelled.
One thing that was not addressed and is very important to Canadians is the cost of air travel. As an example, I go back and forth to my riding almost every weekend. It costs me four times as much to go to my riding than to go from New York to Los Angeles, which is 1,000 kilometres shorter. We need to look at the costs incurred by Canadian air travellers.
We are looking at parts of the new air regulations allowing CATSA to be increased at certain airports to improve the flow of people going through and security measures. I do not disagree with that. I spend a lot of time going through Ottawa and Edmonton airports, but that cost should not be deferred to the air traveller. I believe it should be incurred by the Government of Canada, which is requiring the security recommendations.
I want to quickly deal with marine ports and the ability for them to borrow money from the new infrastructure bank. I believe that is totally wrong. The infrastructure bank would say it would lend $100 million or more, but what about the small communities like Edson, the city of Fort St. John, small cities across this country that are looking for infrastructure money to assist them in their infrastructure needs? We are going to take that money and squander it in the large centres and large seaports, which is not the right way to do it.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2017-10-25 17:16 [p.14527]
Mr. Speaker, I am not talking just about rural communities, I am talking about small cities as well. Looking back in my riding, what I have had in the last two years is probably a quarter of what I had in the two years that we were in government. I am not saying that there is a difference there. However, it is hard for the smaller communities to go after infrastructure funding. If large amounts of money go to seaports and major infrastructure in bigger cities, the smaller communities will be left out.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2017-10-25 17:18 [p.14527]
Mr. Speaker, no, it is not clear.
I will just step off the subject for a minute to look at the regulations pertaining to the railway, and the little black boxes inside the engines. It is not clear exactly what the government is doing. It came up with this idea to put them in for safety. I agree for safety it is probably there, commercially. I know about the black boxes in larger aircrafts and the need for that facility.
Let us go to public air transportation. Are they looking after the public? No. Yes, they put in some regulations. However, it should be affordable to travel in your own country. I lived in northern British Columbia and it used to cost me more to go from Fort St. John to Vancouver than it would cost me, once I was in Vancouver, to go to Europe. People in this country should have the opportunity to travel with a reasonable amount of funds from one part of this country to the other part of this country.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2017-10-25 17:20 [p.14527]
Mr. Speaker, it is being consistently rammed down the throats of people without proper consultation.
When we look back again to voice and video recorders on locomotives, there are concerns. I do not believe that there were proper consultations done with the employees of the railroad, the railroads, and the communities. They just decided to do it because they wanted to do it. If they had had better consultations, I do not think that there would be as much mistrust by the railroad employees. They do not know what will happen and how it will affect them. If they had better consultations with the little guy, not with the big guy up there all the time, and remembered the little guy, and talked to that little guy, it would probably solve a lot of these problems.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2017-10-24 13:01 [p.14455]
Mr. Speaker, recent statistics done by the State of Colorado, in looking at its marijuana sales through its vendor agencies, show approximately $14 million in sales in January 2015 alone. However, by January 2016, one year later, in the same month, for the same period of time, it was $37 million in marijuana sales. As lawmakers, we should be trying to encourage a decrease in impaired driving. I would like to ask if my hon. friend thinks that doubling the amount of marijuana use in one year is going to lower the number of impaired drivers.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2017-10-24 13:18 [p.14457]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak again today on Bill C-46, an act to amend the Criminal Code regarding offences relating to conveyances. Shortening the title, we are dealing with impaired driving and a review and updating of the old sections of the Criminal Code. It is impaired driving by alcohol or drugs.
I was a policeman for 35 years and held Breathalyzer operator certificates since 1970. I took part in probably well over 1,000 impaired cases involving alcohol and drugs. My first year, there were about 100, as a rookie. In those days, I could arrest a guy for impaired driving, bring him into the office, do up all the paperwork, and get back on the road within an hour or an hour and a half, except once. This is how bad impaired drivers can be.
I remember a case when I arrested a guy for impaired driving and brought him back to the office. At the time, the policy of the attorney general and the province was not to hold or detain, or remove vehicles from the road. I brought the man in and he blew .26. We had to release him, so I released him. Fifteen minutes later, I saw him driving down the road. I picked him up, brought him back to the office, processed him, and gave him an appearance notice because I could not hold him, and let him go. Twenty minutes later, lo and behold, he drove by me again. This time, I brought him in and arrested him. Impaired driving has always been a very serious part of our society.
Is impaired driving going down, whether it is due to drugs or alcohol? That is debatable. We have to thank groups like MADD for their work, but I do not believe it is going down, and I will provide two specific reasons. One is that the time to process a simple impaired driving case takes anywhere from three to four hours, and closer to four hours. Therefore, the police officer is off the road for four hours in order to do the paperwork. Why does it take that long? It is because of all the different wording in all of the legislation. He has to cross all of his t's and dot all of his i's to get a conviction. All we are doing right now is bringing in more legislation, more work for lawyers, and it is going to complicate it that much more.
The second reason is deterrence. I had the good fortune to find a court book from 1950 for Vancouver Island and impaired drivers were being fined anywhere between $100 and $300 in 1950. The average salary in 1950 was about $1,700. In 1970, the fines were still $100 to $300, but people were earning about $5,700. Today, the minimum fine is $1,000 and people are earning an average of $50,000, though I think it is a bit higher than that. Therefore, there is no deterrent to cause people to think about drinking and driving.
I will comment on what my hon. friend from St. Albert—Edmonton said. He brought up in committee that we need to strengthen some of the legislation. An example was to have a five-year mandatory sentence for someone who drives a vehicle while impaired and kills a person, and the Liberal government said no and voted against it. Right now, the minimum fine under summary conviction is $1,000. If we go to the more serious offence of causing injury or death, it is $500 more. That is ridiculous. It was more effective many years ago than it is today.
I will provide some simple statistics for those in the room. One shot of whisky is equal to 12 ounces of beer or a glass of wine. An average 140-pound woman who has three ounces in an hour would probably have a reading of .11, which would put her at .03 over the limit. Here is one place where I can say men might be just a little better than women. A 140-pound man having three ounces in an hour would have a .09 reading. That is because our dissipation system seems to be a bit better, and I will leave it at that.
Science gives us the ability to calculate the effects of alcohol. I could sit down with any person in this room, and if he or she told me what he or she had to drink I could probably break it down and tell him or her what the reading would be.
Proposed section 254.01 of the Criminal Code, the new one that we are talking about, states:
The Attorney General of Canada may...approve
(a) a device that is designed to ascertain the presence of alcohol in a person’s blood;
(b) equipment that is designed to ascertain the presence of a drug in a person’s body;
(c) an instrument that is designed to receive and make an analysis of a sample of a person’s breath to determine their blood alcohol concentration
Paragraphs (a) and (c) have been in existence since the 1960s. With respect to paragraph (b), we are told that some countries have some form of testing that they believe is correct. We are looking at that and testing it right now. However, it is not definite, for sure. I do not believe we have enough scientific evidence out there. However, we will be going ahead with this law to make marijuana legal.
Impaired driving, under proposed section 254 of the bill refers to any conveyance. Therefore, we will be able to go after anybody riding an electric bike, an electric wheelchair, an ATV, a lawnmower, all the way up to a transport truck. All these people will be subject to the new rules and regulations that we are imposing. Some of them will be able to use legalized marijuana for medical purposes, and others will use legalized marijuana for recreational use.
We all know that marijuana goes through the lungs into the bloodstream, then into the body, and gets stored in the fat cells. The sad part about it, which is different than alcohol, is that alcohol dissipates at about one ounce per hour for an average person. Therefore, it is gone. If one has three drinks in an hour, probably three to four hours later one's body is clear of that alcohol. That is not the case with marijuana. It stays in one's brain tissue and fat cells and can come up anytime one agitates one's body or gets excited. What does marijuana do? It knocks the heck out of our senses: sense of time, moods, movements, thinking, the ability to problem-solve, and memory. If we overindulge in the use of marijuana, then we can go into hallucinations, delusions, and psychosis. However, most people will just experience the former part, which is a form of impairment.
Duke University in New Zealand did a number of tests in the last few years with young people. I am saying this because it has proven that kids using marijuana on a regular basis had an IQ that was eight points less than their counterparts who did not use it. That is already a form of impairment right there.
According to Colorado State University, the tests it has done over the last few years show that the THC level of marijuana has increased over 30% in the past 20 years. It is much stronger than it used to be, which is another form of impairment.
My concern is that marijuana stays in one's body for three to 10 days immediately, and it takes up to three months for it to completely dissipate.
The shocking fact is that Colorado sold $14.6 million worth of marijuana in January of 2015. In the month of January 2016, it sold $36.4 million. That is more than double. To me, if the amount has doubled, so has the amount of impaired driving, which means we need to double the amount of money that we are going to spend on education. The current government has told us that it is going to spend a certain amount. We know that as soon as it becomes legal, the use of marijuana is going to at least double.
The legislation in Bill C-46 has some good intentions, and I do not disagree with it, but it needs to be reviewed with more scrutiny. It needs to be looked at. We need to get rid of a lot of the ambiguous parts that are written in there because it is going to tie up police officers on the road and make it very difficult for us to enforce impaired driving, especially with respect to drugs.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2017-10-24 13:29 [p.14458]
Mr. Speaker, it has been stated in this House that there are certain tests being done and certain countries have accepted them and that we have been doing some tests in Canada with certain police officers, but yet we stand here and we have a government that wants to put legislation forth. We are getting close, with seven months to go, and yet we do not have an approved test in this country, that is approved scientifically, that is going to guarantee us that the results given on a roadside screening test are right. We need to have that done prior to putting the legislation out there and prior to setting up people in Canada for criminal convictions.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2017-10-24 13:32 [p.14458]
Mr. Speaker, when Mr. Harper was prime minister our government was not wasting its time on a ridiculous legislation of making marijuana legal. We were more involved in making crimes more serious so offenders paid for the crimes they did. We were looking at the most serious crimes in Canada.
I am not saying that there is no test for marijuana for impaired driving because I charged a person back in 1970 for using marijuana and I used the simple old-fashioned way of looking at his eyes, physical symptoms, etc. In Canada, we have approximately 600 police officers who are trained to recognize impairment by drugs. We have 65,000 police across Canada so we have roughly 60,000 police officers who are not trained properly to stand up in a courtroom and say that a person was impaired. We have about 600 trained officers, and yet we are bringing in legislation in seven months down the road. How are we going to train enough officers to be able to detect people when they have marijuana with the device that the Attorney General may approve? It is not “approve”; “may approve” is written right in there.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2017-10-20 13:28 [p.14355]
Mr. Speaker, we have been hearing from members across that having a fixed penalty for impaired driving causing death is not a deterrent.
I will put this in simple terms so that maybe my hon. friends across the way can understand. I hate to make this analogy, because impaired driving causing death is very serious, but imagine if a speeding ticket was worth $10. Would people stop speeding? However, if it was worth $250, $300, or $400, which is where it is in some areas, I think people would think about it. If we take that analogy and apply it to impaired driving, if people know there is a consequence, will it be a deterrent?
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2017-10-18 16:34 [p.14229]
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House to speak to Bill C-57, an act to amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act.
I had the pleasure of serving as vice-chair of the environment committee when we studied the Federal Sustainable Development Act, a study that has resulted in some of the amendments before us today.
As had been noted before, the original act was an opposition private member's bill that was passed in 2008 under our previous Conservative government. Our Conservative Party recognized that sustainability needs to be included in every decision to ensure a balance between social, economic, and environmental factors. This type of policy-making ensures not only that today's generation will have a healthy and prosperous lifestyle but that we can pass health and prosperity on to future generations to come. I have 11 grandchildren and a great-grandchild. I am very proud of them. I want them to have a good life, as I have had. I want them to enjoy what I have enjoyed travelling throughout this great country of ours. I want them to appreciate the beauty of this land.
The importance of sustainable development is something on which all parties agree. This is proven by the fact that the report by the environmental committee was unanimous. While we are on that, a number of the aboriginal witnesses who came, from coast to coast to coast, to give evidence at committee also agreed that it was very important for them to be involved and that sustainable development was part of the agreement made between Canada and the aboriginal community.
Sustainable development is important to the future of Canada and our grandchildren. Not only should environmental factors be considered but social and economical pillars should be considered. For example, the National Energy Board's mandate is to promote safety and security, environmental protection, and economic efficiency in Canada's public interest and the regulation of pipelines, energy development, and trade. This ensures that Canada's pipelines are built to protect our environment while they create jobs and get our oil to foreign markets. This is one of the reasons the National Energy Board gives compliance conditions to companies, with literally hundreds of conditions on the list.
Given the board's commitment, as well as the commitment of companies, to build safe pipelines in Canada, it baffles me why the Liberal government has found it so hard to make progress on pipelines, such as the now dead energy east pipeline and the gridlocked northern gateway pipeline.
Our party is committed to sustainable development, because it is about protecting our kids and grandchildren. However, it seems that the current government is having a hard time implementing any of its policies.
In a recent report titled “Departmental progress in implementing sustainable development strategies”, tabled by the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, the minister and her government were given failing grades in applying a cabinet directive. The directive requires federal departments and agencies to consider environmental concerns early in the planning of policy and program proposals before making irreversible decisions. The commissioner concluded that the directive has not been applied to almost 80% of the proposals, which is a clear failure by the Liberals. If the Liberals were in school, they would not have received a passing mark and probably would not have gone on to the next grade because of such a failure. The same thing applies in 2019. This is a one-term government. It has failed Canadians and the environment.
In another report, titled “Progress on Reducing Greenhouse Gases”, the commissioner concluded that the minister's department did not make progress toward meeting Canada's commitment to reducing greenhouse gases. Just before me, the hon. member for York—Simcoe talked about the Lake Simcoe project and Ladies of the Lake. He asked that we judge the Liberals on what they have done and not on the talk they are giving. The Liberals are all about talk and no action.
I find it hard to believe when the Liberal government says it is championing sustainable development and protecting the environment. According to the last surveys, the Liberals are not doing that. They are not doing any of that, nor are they protecting Canadian jobs in the process. With all this considered, it concerns me how the government is planning to protect future generations, not to mention the mountains of debt that the government is piling on our grandchildren, or the massive new taxes being proposed. Liberals really need to rethink their policy.
Liberals always say they have a plan, but we never see any action on that plan. It makes sense that economic, social, and environmental priorities be advanced through an integrated whole-of-government approach. We cannot advance one of these priorities while ignoring the others. This brings me to a point where I have a lot of concern. During the past break week, Parks Canada announced a hunt in Jasper Park. It was allowing aboriginals from B.C. to go into the park and hunt deer, elk, and sheep. No one was told about this until it slipped out that they were allowed to go into a designated area to shoot. Many of my hunting and fishing constituents are very upset about us taking animals from our national parks.
We cannot advance one of these priorities while ignoring the others, yet this is exactly what the Liberal government did in allowing a hunt in our national parks. It did not take everything into consideration. Canadians expect that their government will consider all three priorities when designing policy and legislation. I do not believe that last week the Liberals took all those priorities into consideration. They were trying to please a small group of Canadians and ignored the interests, economic viability, and the environment in doing so.
The Liberals seem to forget about the economic aspect. If we are going to allow hunting in our parks, one of the largest attractions in our national parks are the animals. When I travel through the national park going to Jasper, which is in my riding, I love to stop on the side of the road and look at the elk and deer. In fact, I feed approximately 15 deer in my yard every winter. I love watching them in front of the house, and they stay there during the day. It costs me a little money, but I believe I am helping the environment and I am helping the deer.
We have a government that is allowing people to go into our national parks and to hunt there just to meet some of the Liberals' ideas. They think they are doing the right thing. However, they are not consulting with all the groups that should be consulted. I know that many people working within the parks were very upset when this was brought to their attention only days before the hunt started.
Instead of considering the economic component, the government has completely neglected our economy and the importance of small businesses across Canada. As Conservatives, we have confidence in the private sector and small and large businesses. They all contribute to the prosperity of this country, and they should be encouraged rather than punished for the risk they take. The government's approach to sustainable development and its policies seems very lopsided from the economic factors.
I was extremely disappointed this summer when I learned what the government proposed to do with the tax changes for corporations. I was very sad to hear two weeks ago about the cancellation of the energy east pipeline. Why? It is over-regulated. Liberals changed the regulations midstream, making it economically not viable for the company to proceed.The government is throwing in rules and regulations to make it not economically viable to retrieve natural resources from this country that help our economy, help develop jobs, and so on.
I have heard from small business owners, farmers, nurses, doctors, and accountants from all over my riding of Yellowhead, who tell me that the tax changes would endanger their businesses and family farms. In my riding of Yellowhead, which is in Alberta, the effective tax rate on investment income could be well over 70%, and new capital gains rules would make it more expensive to pass down a family farm then to sell it to a third party.
I was serving at a farmers appreciation breakfast on Saturday in the community of Wildwood. A couple of people came to me who were very concerned about their children taking over the family farm. They are third generation, and their fourth generation wants to take over the farm, but they are terrified by this tax. They are not sure which way to go, whether they should sell it to an outside concern or see their children struggle to try to buy it due to the unfair tax system that the Liberal government is planning.
A just and fair tax system should reward success and reasonable risk-taking. Most small business people take a tremendous amount of risk.
My son-in-law is a small businessman. He has a small oil company in the town of Edson. He has been successful. His company has grown. He employs over 100 people during the winter months. He is taking a large financial risk to employ these 100 people and to increase the economy of the town of Edson, the riding of Yellowhead, the province of Alberta, and the economy of Canada. He takes the risk, yet the government across from us wants to punish him for taking that risk. If he makes a little extra money and puts it aside, the government wants to punish him and take it. The government wants to tax it, up to 73%. Is that fair?
Going forward, I hope the government will honestly consider sustainable development throughout its departments when drafting new proposals. Again I go back to the commissioner's report, which said that the government failed. There are 80% of departments that did not comply with what they were asked to do. That is alarming. It is a total failure.
One of the amendments to Bill C-57 would require more departments and agencies to contribute to the federal sustainable development strategy, bringing the total to 90 departments and agencies. That is a lot of departments. Currently, only 26 departments are affected.
The bill would also require them to prepare strategies and to table progress reports on their implementation. If we go by today's figures, a failure rate of 80%, only about 18 departments out of 90 would possibly do what they are supposed to do. That would be if we follow what has been happening over the last two years with the government. That is sad statistical data.
We cannot continue to be so short-sighted in policy-making that we rack up billions of dollars in debt, and yet the Liberal government is doing exactly that. When the Liberals were elected, they said they would have a small deficit of about $10 billion, but that grew to well over $30 billion in the first year and the second year. We will probably be shocked at what it will be in the third year, but we have to wait and see.
I have four children, and we taught them when they got their first credit cards that they should not accumulate long-term debt in exchange for short-term unnecessary spending. We taught them not to spree and buy things they cannot really afford, that it might be nice to have a credit card, but if they cannot pay for them, not to buy. The current Liberal government is not setting a good example for my grandchildren; your grandchildren, Madam Speaker; the grandchildren of the secretary of state across there; and the hon. member directly across from me whose son is in the RCMP and is going to have to pay. We need to be cognizant of the money that the government is spending.
However, let us remember one thing. Sustainable development is a requirement in this country. This is an energy-producing country, and whether mining companies, oil companies, or gas companies, if a sitting government puts numerous hurdles in front of them that make it impossible for the companies to do economic research and development, where is the money going to come from to pay the bills of the government? Right now, the Liberals are blocking that. The oil and gas sector was one of the largest contributors to Canada's economy, and the Liberals have made it virtually impossible to take the natural products from the earth, the oil and gas in the provinces of B.C., Alberta, and Saskatchewan, and get them to an international market. The government members across think it is all right that we can just ship it down to the United States and we should be happy with that. That is one market. It is a big brother that controls us pretty hard. Will we get fair world prices on our oil and gas products? The country of Canada would be much better off if we could get our products, especially the oil and gas, to our coastal ports. Whether it be the east coast or the west coast, or even into the James Bay area, it would make it very reasonable.
We heard discussions yesterday about the ban on oil tankers on the west coast of British Columbia. We heard people standing up across from us, over to our left, talking about how unsafe it was to have oil tankers on the west coast of British Columbia. Under the pressure of the current sitting Prime Minister, they want to put a ban on oil tankers on the west coast. It is so bad, but it is okay on the east coast. Yesterday, one of the Liberal members was talking about how bad it was. I explained that when they go up the inlet into Stewart, which is about 130 or 140 miles, the line goes up the centre, so on one side of the inlet they can have a tanker, and on the other half they cannot. The Liberals are trying to tell us, logistically, that it is unsafe on one half of the inlet but it is okay on the other half. This is the logic that the current government is passing on. When we go back to the commissioner, and I brought her up a few times, it is obvious that same logic is being passed down hill to our bureaucrats, because we failed.
The Liberals have not reduced greenhouse gases one bit since they have been in government. I can stand here and say that when the Conservatives were in government, we did decrease carbon gases, in transportation and in coal-fired energy. They cannot say that. It is a failing mark. It is easy to talk, but when we walk the talk, it is much more difficult. Our former Conservative governments walked the talk. The current government just talks the talk, and there is no form of action.
Therefore, I am looking forward to this bill moving to the committee stage, so that it can be studied more and have more input and more evidence received.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2017-10-18 16:55 [p.14231]
Madam Speaker, using aboriginal communities to cull herds in specific protected spaces is nothing new. I grew up in a community called Chipman, Alberta. It is about 35 miles east of Edmonton. Elk Island National Park is there. It is famous for its buffalo herd. We moved there in about 1959. In 1960, my dad worked for Parks Canada. It had a culling program going on at that time. Some of the aboriginal communities were invited as were local farmers. They kept the herd down to a manageable size. There was only so much land, and as we know, buffalo take a large amount of land to roam, as do caribou and elk. Therefore, we need to look at conservation in these areas.
I have no problem in some of the northern parts of our country where aboriginal people are hunting to keep the herds culled to a manageable number to sustain the growth of the herds, etc. However, in the case I brought up, it was a traditional hunt, because their forefathers hunted in the park. It has nothing to do with culling the herd or anything like that. However, 12 different aboriginal groups claim rights to Jasper National Park and Banff National Park. If all 12 groups want to hunt, that becomes very serious. If we open the door, we have to be prepared for the flood.
Yes, I feed deer. Do I call it sustainability? Yes, because the mother keeps coming back with twins every year and the twins are starting to come back with young ones. I call that sustainability. The herd is growing.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2017-10-18 16:59 [p.14232]
Madam Speaker, it is very important that government invests in sustainability. I encouraged that our committee report put a special fund aside to pick up land that may be very crucial for the sustainability of maybe the animals in the area, or maybe for industry that might be affected. We have a lot of concerns about the cariboo situation in a number of areas. However, cariboo, which is an endangered species in some areas, could be affected by industry. The government could work with industry, maybe to buy out the land it might have rights to. It is very important there is a fund to pick up more protected lands in Canada.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2017-10-18 17:02 [p.14232]
Madam Speaker, I cannot disagree with what the member said. Northern gateway was approved, with 230 stipulations, which I believe industry was prepared to follow suit and comply with. The aboriginal communities along the northern gateway pipeline through the central part of British Columbia were looking forward to that economic development and the sustainability it would have given to the communities along the Yellowhead route going to Prince Rupert. However, it is not built and it will not to be. A multi-billion dollar port facility is not going to be built. Why? Because of the policies set by the government.
Energy east was the most recent pipeline to be stopped. Why did it stop? It is pretty hard for a Canadian resource company to tell government or be responsible for a product that it may sell to a third world country, or to China, or Russia, wherever the market is, if we delivered it to the ports. The Liberals want the company to be responsible, yet they are not responsible when we buy it from third world countries such as Venezuela, with its decrepit practices of getting oil from the ground.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2017-10-06 13:11 [p.14053]
Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government enacted the Federal Sustainable Development Act in 2008 as the result of a Liberal member's private bill, and we invested in clean technology. The Conservative government reduced greenhouse gases in transportation and coal-fired electricity. These were meaningful, realistic reductions to protect the environment and work with the economy.
This week, the Auditor General reported that the Liberal government has failed dismally. How does the member think Bill C-57 would improve the Liberal government's dismal record to date?
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2017-09-28 16:23 [p.13715]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to join my hon. colleague from North Okanagan—Shuswap in talking about amendments to the Oceans Act and the Canadian Petroleum Resources Act. The title somewhat bothers me, but I will speak about that a bit later.
My hon. friend from North Okanagan—Shuswap is compassionate about fishing in the interior and coastal waters of British Columbia. I have talked to him many times. I believe he is quite an expert on that, much more so than I am. However, both my interests and my heart lie in some of the points in Bill C-55 that deal with consultations with the aboriginal community, communities, businesses, and stakeholders.
I sat on the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development. Last year, our committee presented a report entitled “Taking Action Today: Establishing Protected Areas for Canada's Future”. I believe it was an excellent report that all parties on the committee worked well on together. I have to commend our chair, the hon. member for King—Vaughan, who led us to prepare that unanimous report, which was sent to the government. I see the government has jumped on parts of that report and has included them in Bill C-55.
When we were preparing that report, we heard from people from coast to coast to coast. We heard from a large number of aboriginal communities on the west coast, from the Inuit in the Arctic, from the aboriginals in the interior of Canada, and from aboriginal communities on the east coast in the James Bay area. There was one specific message they sent to us: consultation. I see that has been somewhat missed in Bill C-55.
I note the Prime Minister's mandate letter instructs the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard to:
Work with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to increase the proportion of Canada’s marine and coastal areas that are protected--to five percent by 2017, and ten percent by 2020--supported by new investments in community consultation and science.
Let us look at those numbers. The government is hoping to reach 5% three months from now. As of June of this year, Canada was at less than 1% for coastal areas and protected spaces, and only at 11% for land and inland water protected spaces. Now we want to go from 1% to 5%.
Let us look back at the history of this. These numbers came from the Aichi targets that came out of the convention on biological diversity that was held back in 2010. Our Conservative government attended that conference. We agreed with many other nations around the world to establish protected spaces, both inland and on our coastal waters.
We agreed on 10% of coastal waters to be protected by 2020, and 70% of inland waters and lakes to be protected by 2017. However, as a government, we looked at those as aspirational targets. Could we reach them? No, not without proper consultations with our aboriginal communities, municipalities, provinces, and industry stakeholders. It would take a great amount of time and a lot of work.
However, we looked at those targets and agreed to those targets. We thought they could be reached. There is a large segment of environmentalists out there who think we should go much higher. In fact, during our committee's work, there were people who made presentations who thought 50% of Canada's coastal waters should be protected, and 50% of the inland should be protected. Those were unrealistic amounts.
I noticed it also stated in that mandate letter that since the designation of the marine protected areas, MPAs, would take several years, the Liberal government is introducing, through Bill C-55, an interim designation of significant or sensitive areas identified by scientists, through consultation with indigenous people, local communities, and other interested groups.
I would like to read part of the report that was submitted by our committee which was unanimous. It states:
Federal protected areas account for about half--45% terrestrial and 83% marine--of Canada’s total protected areas.
That is where we are at, but that is not the 17% or the 10%. The report continues:
Accordingly, collaborative action by all levels of government including Indigenous governments, landowners, industrial stakeholders and civil society is required to resolve issues of competing uses for land and water in order to achieve and exceed our targets. Protecting areas in the Arctic marine and boreal regions are of particular importance.
That is what the committee had proposed and sent to the government. However, the government, in its usual format of consultation said it was only going to listen to identified scientists. It was going to pick the areas because it was going to do this really quick. We have three months to do it, all of a sudden. The government is going to pick out 5% of our coastal waterways, and it is going to protect it, because the scientists are going to pick it.
Throughout the report, I thought we really talked about working with indigenous people, talking with indigenous people, talking with stakeholders, and talking with municipalities. That is not being done. The Liberals are not saying, they are dictating. They are dictating this. The scientists are going to tell them what land they are taking, and people are going to listen, and then they will have some consultations so they can say they had consultations. That is after the fact. After the fact is not what the report stated. It stated to have active consultation with all stakeholders.
I want to read another part of the report:
The federal government has a variety of roles to play to meet our targets. It must provide the leadership needed to ensure coherent and coordinated plans are developed to reach the targets. It must partner with Indigenous peoples to establish and recognize new types of protected areas in Indigenous territories while providing new opportunities for Indigenous economic development and advancing reconciliation. The federal government must also put its own house in order by coordinating its efforts, accelerating the establishment of federal protected areas and demonstrating political will, including through the provision of funding.
The Liberals do say that, somewhat, in Bill C-55 and, yes, we did recommend in Bill C-55 that we speed things up. However, to move to 5% in three months, by dictating the areas first and then start consultations after, is not what the standing committee reported to the government to do after listening to a number of witnesses across this country.
Again, a broken promise. The government does not even want to listen to its own members on the committee. It just wants to do as it sees fit, and expects people to follow suit.
I would like to go to another area of this report. One of the recommendations, in fact the first recommendation by the committee that studied this only a year ago was:
That a national stakeholder advisory group to advise the conservation body be established representing, among others, municipal governments, civil society, private landowners, conservation specialists, industry, academics and Indigenous groups; and that a process be put in place through which individuals, in particular Indigenous peoples, or organizations may suggest priority areas for protection.
Let us go back to what the Liberals are stating in Bill C-55. They state that by introducing Bill C-55, the legislation would allow for an interim designation of significant or sensitive areas identified by scientists.
Where in there does it say scientists? It says academics. It says aboriginal groups. It says stakeholders. It does not say scientists. I am not mocking scientists. Science is needed to establish these areas. However, the Liberals have gone completely, totally, against a standing committee that made very strong recommendations. Those recommendations were made on the information received from aboriginal people and stakeholders from coast to coast to coast.
However, it is not in the interests of the Liberals to follow the recommendations that were presented by the committee. They are just going to do as they see fit.
As I mentioned earlier, it bothered me to have the Canada Petroleum Resources Act thrown in with Bill C-55. Why focus on oil and gas? It appears, over the last little while, that the Liberals are attempting, any which way they can, to stop future oil and gas development in Canada.
I want to read recommendation no. 1 again. It says:
The federal government has a variety of roles to play to meet our targets.
It is not one specific target; namely, to get rid of the oil and gas sector in Canada. All we have to see, if we go from the last three or four months, or the last year, is that the Liberals want to probably change the strongest regulatory controls in the world held by the National Energy Board, the Alberta Energy Regulator, and the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission. We have much scientific evidence that shows that these are the best anywhere. However, it is not good enough for the government. It is going to come up with new forms of stopping the oil and gas industry.
I want to read recommendation no. 22 from this report, entitled “Taking Action Today: Establishing Protected Areas for Canada's Future.”
The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada place a priority on collaborating with indigenous peoples, northern governments, and stakeholders to protect highest ecological value arctic waters for traditional uses and future generations.
Is this being done? No, it is not. They are putting scientific evidence in there. They are telling them what areas they are going to pick. They are then going to consult with them, and basically tell them that this is what they will end up with.
On page 2 of the report, the recommendations refer to accelerating the establishment of national parks, national marine conservation areas, migratory bird sanctuaries, national wildlife areas, marine protected areas, and other federally protected areas, by establishing multiple protected areas concurrently; ensuring that no federal policy or legislation such as the mineral and energy resource assessment and the Canadian Petroleum Resources Act slows the process of establishing protected areas.
The committee did not say to get rid of that act, but Bill C-55 is saying that. Why did they just pick on the Canadian Petroleum Resources Act and not talk about the energy resource assessments or any of those others? They are just going after the oil and gas sector.
The report further talks about helping to coordinate the establishment of networks to protected areas: creating a federal protected areas system plan that incorporates not just national parks but all federal protected areas, terrestrial and marine, creating a mechanism for federal, provincial, municipal, and indigenous co-operation and encouraging public participation in the establishment of protected areas; and leading science-based assessments toward identifying protected areas, and so on.
They are using science to help, after we go through the consultation periods, meet with industry, the stakeholders, the indigenous groups, and we work together, united, Canadians, to come up with the areas that should be protected spaces.
I want to read a quote from a witness who appeared before the fisheries and oceans committee recently. Sean Cox is a professor at Simon Fraser University, and quite a leading expert in marine life. He said:
Looking at some of the previous testimony, there was a claim that there was overwhelming scientific proof that MPAs are beneficial and widely successful. I think that was misrepresentation of the actual science.
He went on to say:
Just enforcing MPAs would be hugely expensive. Again, if you're looking at it from a fisheries management point of view, it's far more cost effective to do other things that don't cost that much....
MPAs aren't likely to be effective scientific tools, either. They're not easily replicated. When you put in an MPA, it's subject to a high degree of what we call “location and time” effects. You can't just create a nice experiment where you have three of the same type of MPA in one place and then three control areas in another place. You just can't do that. They're wide open to outside perturbations, environmental changes that are not within our control.
If we want to build on a process of trust and goodwill, we cannot then ignore what our stakeholders have to say and consult only a minority of the protected areas that are being recommended.
This is what is happening with Bill C-55. They are going to tell the aboriginal communities. They are going to tell the stakeholders, “These are the areas we picked. Now we can sit down and talk about that.” Is that proper consultation? No, it is not. It is a completely opposite direction from what our report asked them to do.
He goes on to say that, as soon as we do that, we no longer have a network of protected areas, so it begs the question why we went to such elaborate lengths to put together these design criteria, if in the end all we were going to do was cherry-pick a few sites.
That is what is happening with Bill C-55: they are cherry-picking a few sites.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2017-09-28 16:46 [p.13718]
Mr. Speaker, I totally agree that we need to work with the aboriginal communities. We need to fund aboriginal communities, wherever they be, whether it is the west coast, the east coast, or the Arctic. They are the true keepers of the land. Through traditional history, they know what has taken place and what may take place, and they are better equipped than any government body or organization to do such a thing.
We heard from many groups from the west coast when we toured there last summer, and we met and talked about expanding these protected areas. They very much want to be part of that. Our committee recommended that very strongly in our report. In fact, we recommended money be put forward and that it be ensured that they are part of these protected spaces.
I do not see that in Bill C-55. In Bill C-55, I see that the government wants to dictate and it wants to consult. I do not know how it is going to consult with everybody in three months. We need to take the time and effort, and we need to meet with our indigenous neighbours. When we make these new protected areas and they are picked, they should be picked in consultation with them, not with some scientists telling them. We should then work together to come up with a plan on how they can manage them for the government.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2017-09-28 16:49 [p.13718]
Mr. Speaker, I agree that science will play a very important role and we cannot ignore science in the selection of protected marine spaces or protected inland spaces, but we need to use science in conjunction with strong consultation with our aboriginal communities.
I think I am wasting my time; the member is not even listening. He is having a better side conversation. If he wants an answer, I would like to give him an answer.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2017-09-28 16:51 [p.13718]
Mr. Speaker, again I will go back to the consultation with our aboriginal neighbours. They understand our coastal waters probably better than anyone. They have been there longer than anyone. They have fished those waters longer than anyone. They have seen the trends of mother nature changing. They have seen the temperature changes. They have seen the fish move from one area to another and maybe come back. We see that inland with such things as the caribou moving.
The aboriginal people understand this best, so we need to work with them when we come up with these areas. They have to be a very important part. Science has to be a very important part, but I do not know if we can put strict boundaries and say this is where it starts and this is where it ends, because it is going to be difficult for the government to know what the boundaries are. It is going to be very difficult for people to know whether they are in a protected zone or not. We need to be very realistic in the way we go about doing that.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2017-09-28 16:53 [p.13719]
Mr. Speaker, I think our government did do a lot. Maybe we did not accomplish what my hon. friend wanted, but let us get to some of the stuff we did. Additional measures included the protection of MPAs under the Oceans Act. The Musquash Estuary in New Brunswick, the Bowie Seamount off the coast of British Columbia, and Tarium Niryutait off the Beaufort Sea are just some of the areas that went into the protected spaces. We were busy, but it takes time.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2017-09-28 17:18 [p.13722]
Mr. Speaker, the Liberals cannot meet their deadline of 5% by 2017, especially if they do not get engaged in consultation. That is another broken promise on the pile that is almost as large as our current deficit. The Liberals came up with a workaround, in the form of Bill C-55, that would allow them to meet their political timelines.
Do you see that this may impact our sport fishing recreational activities and our commercial fishery from coast to coast to coast, without having proper consultation?
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2017-09-21 16:05 [p.13362]
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-47, an act to amend the Export and Import Permits Act and the Criminal Code. The bill would officially bring Canada into line with the UN Arms Trade Treaty, also known as the ATT.
In a news release issued on April 13, after the bill was tabled, the government stated, “The ATT is about protecting people from arms.”
We have been hearing all day today from our friends across the way about people being harmed. It makes me wonder who the government wants to protect.
Law-abiding firearms owners and merchants are not a threat. In my experience as an RCMP officer, most weapons-related crimes in Canada are committed with firearms that are obtained illegally or usually stolen.
The history of firearms in Canada goes back as far as the country itself. Let us be fair. The Dominion of Canada Rifle Association was founded in 1868, and I do not think there is a province in Canada today that does not have a branch of that association. We have hunters who rely on firearms to provide food for their families as their forefathers did, as the earliest settlers in Canada did. We have farmers who rely on firearms to protect their livestock, as the early settlers did. We have sport shooters who rely on firearms to compete in competitions in the same way as a competitive tennis player relies on his or her tennis racket. We have firearms collectors who seek guns in the same way stamp collectors search for stamps.
The firearms community is a large and diverse group in Canada. These are law-abiding and responsible Canadians, yet the current government seems to think it needs to protect people from firearms. There is a lot of fearmongering today about all the deaths. Somebody before me just quoted that 80 women were raped because it was done at gunpoint and that two thousand people were dying each day because of guns. Let us truly look at where we are on this. Those members fail to realize that firearms have been part of many Canadians' livelihoods for decades.
As the previous speaker stated, we need to look at international gun control and we need to prevent the flow of illegal firearms. However, most important, we must listen to and hear from Canadians. One thing the Liberal government has failed to do is listen to Canadians.
When law-abiding firearms owners or Canadian companies purchase a weapon outside of Canada and wish to import it across the border, they must declare it to Canada Border Services Agency. A great deal of documentation is required and all this bill would do is add unnecessary layers of bureaucracy, red tape, and more cost.
It has been mentioned in the House many times today that Canada is probably one of the leading countries in the world with gun control. In fact, we have met 26 of the 28 standards in the ATT. We are probably much more regulated and have better gun control, quality control, export control, and import control than ATT will ever have.
Our previous Conservative government dealt with the UN Arms Trade Treaty when it came into force in December 2014. Its purpose, as we all have heard, is to regulate the international trade of arms so they are not used to support terrorism or international organized crime. I do not think there is anybody in this room who does not support that. I do not know about them, but I do not think farmer Joe in northern Saskatchewan is supporting international organized crime when he imports a rifle, whether he intends to use it for hunting, protecting his livestock, or sport shooting. We are going a bit overboard with the bill. That is why so many of us have stood on this side of the House and have spoken about our concerns. We are speaking for the average Canadian. They want to be heard, and that side does not want to hear them. We have to speak for them.
Our former Prime Minister Harper requested that civilian firearms be removed from this treaty in 2014, yet the UN ignored the request to respect the interests of Canadians and refused to remove civilians from the language of the treaty
What did our previous government do? We did not sign it. We stood up for Canadians. That is what the Liberal government is failing to do. We refused to sign the treaty at that time. The Liberal government is ready to sign a document that is not good for firearm owners. It does nothing to improve the safety of Canadians. This is my opinion. My colleagues across from me may disagree, but let me remind them of something.
The former foreign affairs minister, Stéphane Dion, even admitted this in his own press release issued in June 2016. To paraphrase, it stated that Canada already met the vast majority of its obligations. The treaty was designed to bring other countries up to the high standards that Canada already applied to its export control regime. Therefore, why are we going this way?
During the summer, I attended the Edson rod and gun club range. It is located in a remote part of my riding. The reason it is way out at the end of my riding is because it is one of the longest ranges in Canada. I went there because there was going to be a group called Got Your Six at the range that weekend. Its members were there last year, as was I. This is a group of current and retired military police, firemen, first responders, and civilians. It is a great organization. Members may not have heard of it. It is a charity shooting competition group that raises funds and creates awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Last year, it gathered for its first competitive shooting tournament. It was a popular event. It was amazing to watch the military and civilian marksmen hit a target a mile away time after time. More astounding to see was the camaraderie between the men and women, which is like a brotherhood, by shooting weapons in a competition. They were also gathered there to talk about and help others with post-traumatic stress disorder. That is only a small group of the thousands of Canadians who either sport shoot, hunt, or collect firearms.
This year the same shooting competition quadrupled in attendance. Men and women came from across Canada, some for the competitiveness, many for the camaraderie and fellowship they share as the current and former guardians of our country and the world. These people are not a threat, even though there were all types of weapons there. These people are just a small representation of the thousands who enjoy shooting at local ranges, hunting, or collecting firearms. This bill would not help them in any way. Rather, it would only complicates things for them.
Before we spend a fortune in tax dollars limiting more rights and freedoms, is there a pressing and urgent need for Canada to join the UN Arms Trade Treaty? No.
From my experience, this treaty places undue hardship on law-abiding gun owners and merchants. Canada already implements and complies with the vast majority of the treaty's obligations. We are a safe and law-abiding country, so why this unnecessary change? Why are we punishing responsible firearms owners with this legislation if Canada already meets the vast majority of its obligations?
I can agree with the overall goal of the treaty that aims to prevent illegal transfers of arms that fuel conflict, encourage terrorism, and support organized crime. However, I am concerned that the Liberals have not consulted lawful gun owners. It is not a big surprise, or maybe it is a big surprise considering the number of consultations they have held on almost every other issue, or so they claim. Because of this lack of consultation, they are moving forward with an arms treaty that does not respect the legitimate trade or use of hunting and sporting firearms in this country.
I was alarmed at a statement of the parliamentary secretary in his opening remarks regarding the bill. He talked about how we must lead by example, which our country has done. His other remarks with respect to even more robust legislation to come scare me.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2017-09-21 16:17 [p.13364]
Madam Speaker, I am quite willing to give the member my answer, which is no. It is not because I do not believe that we should participate, it is because the Liberal government did not consult with lawful gun owners. It is ramming it through, and shoving it down the throats of Canadians without proper consultation. That I cannot stand for. I will stand up for the lawful gun owners in my riding and across Canada who are law-abiding citizens.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2017-09-21 16:17 [p.13364]
Madam Speaker, I believe that Canada has a very robust system in place to ensure that we negotiate trade agreements and deals with other countries. We have shown due diligence in the past in how we deal with other countries regarding trade relations, and will do so in the future.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2017-09-21 16:20 [p.13364]
Madam Speaker, I probably intermingled with 200 to 300 people at the Got Your 6 event, people who have risked their lives to protect people around the world, including Canadians. Is the member saying that what those people want to do for recreation, and the concerns many of them have with respect to this act are bogus? They are law-abiding Canadians. That is why I am standing up to defend their actions. We should respect their concerns, and stand up for them.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2017-09-19 13:41 [p.13224]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak on Bill S-2, the strengthening motor vehicle safety for Canadians act, which would amend the Motor Vehicle Safety Act to give the minister of transport new vehicle recall powers. This is good for Canada.
According to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, there are five major auto manufacturers in Canada, and they operate approximately 11 different manufacturing facilities across this country. In addition to that, there are approximately 3,200 car dealerships across Canada, and in my riding alone, there are 15 different car dealerships. My point in saying this is that we are talking about a massive industry, an industry that employs hundreds of thousands of people and is a very strong contributor to the Canadian economy.
I will go back 50 years or so. Back in 1965, there was a guy who was not very well known at that time, by the name of Ralph Nader. He wrote a book called Unsafe at Any Speed. That is one of the best-written books or articles of the 20th century. He took on GM. He challenged GM on a vehicle it was producing at the time, the Corvair. He mentioned not only the Corvair but other cars, such as the Falcon and a lot of new American-produced subcompacts, as being unsafe. Nader later went on to form Nader's Raiders, a group of young, brilliant lawyers from across the United States. They challenged the U.S. government and industry to improve the standards of building new vehicles in the United States. They went after international manufacturers to improve the standards of building new vehicles in the United States. What they did spun off to help protect Canadians.
Their work directly led to the development of the Center for Auto Safety in the United States. Today we are talking about Bill S-2, and this is because of what Ralph Nader and his group started. The proposed legislation includes amendments that would give the minister of transport the power to order companies to issue recall notices and make manufacturers and importers repair recalled vehicles at no cost to consumer. It would give the minister of transport the power to order manufacturers and importers to repair new vehicles before they are sold. This is very important, and I will get back to it later.
It would allow the department to use monetary penalties or fines to increase the safety compliance and leverage the monetary penalties to require manufacturers to take additional safety actions. It would provide the department with the flexibility to address ever-evolving vehicle safety technology. It would also require companies to provide additional safety data and conduct additional testing to address safety concerns and increase our vehicle inspection capabilities. This is good for Canada and good for the safety of Canadians.
As members may have noticed, this bill is similar to Bill C-62, which was introduced by the previous Conservative government in 2015. Bill S-2 has provisions that did not appear in Bill C-62. It differs by adding consent agreements relating to safety improvements and non-compliant companies. It would also enable the minister to make public the nature of any violations and other related details, and why should they not be public?
Currently, under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, only manufacturers can order vehicles recalled in Canada. Transport Canada does not presently have any authority to recall vehicles. This needs to change. This act would make that happen.
The department merely lists active recalls on its website and issues press releases if it believes that there is an issue with vehicle models. As I said earlier, the Nader's Raiders led us to where we are today. If we look back to the turn of the century, Henry Ford had no rules. He built cars as he saw fit. He designed them, and people took what he made. If they did not like it, that was too bad. The automotive industry had a pretty good run at manufacturing cars for the first 50 years of the 20th century, without a lot of rules. Thank God that today we have strict, global automobile manufacturing rules and laws. The bill before us is part of that strategy.
The current act does not allow Transport Canada to issue monetary penalties to manufacturers. The only way to ensure compliance with the act is through a time-consuming and costly criminal prosecution. A change would come about because of this bill.
A few members of the House might own 2014 or 2015 Volkswagen, but there was an issue. I will not dwell on it, because I am sure most people here in this room know what the issue was, but it had far-reaching effects on the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who purchased these German-made vehicles. It took from the time it all started to this spring for the claims to finally be resolved. There was a standard in which to justify the claims, and there are still some claims outstanding. This shows that, even today, major world-class manufacturers can make mistakes, and I will leave it at that with a few question marks. Government must be a watchdog. It is our duty to keep Canadians safe.
In Canada, over a five-year period, 2010 to 2015, the number of safety-related recalls increased by 74%, which is a large number, rising from 133 recalls in 2010 to 232 recalls in 2015. While this is a large jump, I note that between 2010 and 2016, our automobile manufacturers in Canada issued at least 318 recalls for which Transport Canada had not received any complaints. They did this on a voluntary basis. I have to thank the automotive industry, because that had a big cost to it, without any force by government. However, we know from what I just spoke of a few moments ago that we still need to be watchdogs. Transport Canada only influenced about 9% of the recalls during this time. Clearly, Canadian manufacturers are looking out for the safety of our consumers, which is an increasing challenge as the vehicles become more and more complex.
In 2015, five million passenger vehicles were recalled in Canada. This was a consequence of increased caution by automakers and increasing vehicle complexity. As I said earlier, this was done on a voluntary basis, for which we have to give thanks, but I think they also realized that internationally, whether in the United States, Canada, Europe, or France, we have regulations in place and we are the watchdogs. Therefore, most of this is probably because there are watchdogs out there, and we need to be there. This bill is needed.
Looking back, quite a few years ago, to 1958, some members may not have been here. The Speaker was here. He might have been a young whippersnapper then. I was here. I look back. I have been a car buff since about the time I learned to read. I grew up with Tom McCahill and Mechanix Illustrated. I loved every article he wrote. I think I read them for as many years as he wrote articles.
I think back to 1958, when the Ford Motor Company, one of the largest manufacturers in the world, developed a beautiful car called the Edsel. What a flop. It was ahead of its time. The company came up with the bright idea to make a push-button automatic transmission on the steering column. Only about 50% of them worked, about 50% of the time. Ford, in its wisdom, pulled that car after about a two-year run. Actually, it did slide into 1960 by customizing a Ford car to look like an Edsel, but it got rid of the vehicle. That was probably very wise.
We can look back over the years. GM trucks, from 1974 to mid-1986, were plagued by exploding fuel tanks. GM, in its wisdom, designed what I personally think is one of the greatest trucks out there, the C10 and C15 GM Chevy trucks, but it put the fuel tanks on the outside of the frame rails, because customers wanted 40 gallons; GM could not get the tank on one side, so it put 20 gallon tanks on each side of the frame rail.
What happened when they got hit was they exploded. I believe it was something like 600 Americans who were killed by explosions. There are ongoing lawsuits today.
Was the Corvair a bad car? Some people say it was; others loved them. They were built from 1960 to 1969. I will guarantee that for the first three years they handled terribly. The back wheels tucked under on a hard corner, and they could roll.
The Pinto had exploding fuel tanks.
A lot of these vehicles, including the GM truck, are still on the road today. The defects have never been corrected. This is why we need a strong act, like the one we are dealing with today, to protect Canadians.
As I said earlier, more than 600 people have been killed because of inadequacies by manufacturers to follow through on defects on their vehicles. There are still lawsuits ongoing about vehicles manufactured in the 1970s.
Today, vehicles are complex. They need to have their defects identified as quickly as possible and be corrected as quickly as possible.
I am sure everyone is aware of those self-driving cars that are just beginning to hit the road. Some members here might also have one of those cars that parallel park themselves. With the rise of smart technology, vehicles are quickly evolving and becoming much more highly integrated.
In order to facilitate industry competitiveness, Canada's regulatory regime needs to be more responsive to new, emerging technologies and fuel and safety advances. I do not even want to dwell on self-driving cars. I do not want to go there right now. This bill would allow the department to require manufacturers to provide more safety information and do testing when needed, as well as to increase their flexibility to address ever-changing safety technologies.
Last fall I bought a new Buick Enclave SUV. I drive about 40,000 kilometres a year in my riding. It has all the bells and whistles, even a backup alert. There is a nice big camera on the dash to see things when backing the vehicle up. The second day I owned the car I backed into my house, and there was $1,000 damage. It was a big hit. I could not even claim it. My wife was mad. I felt stupid. I admit I was inadequate and not inclined to understand the technology of the new vehicle. Now I know how it works.
While it is important for Bill S-2 to protect the safety of consumers, it is also important to understand the implications of the bill on small businesses and local dealerships and ensure that they are not negatively impacted by these changes.
I have to thank the Senate for changing the bill to protect dealerships across Canada, small- and medium-sized business dealers who were being stuck with cars that had recalls and could not sell them. Dealers in my riding were stuck with vehicles for over two years, waiting for repair parts so that they could put that vehicle back on the lot and sell it. They were paying the interest on those loans. That is unfair and it is wrong. The bill protects those dealers and puts the authority back on the manufacturer and importer of that vehicle to take care of that and to compensate dealers throughout Canada from coast to coast to coast. That is a big factor, and I thank the Senate for bringing that amendment in.
This amendment would make the manufacturer entirely responsible for all costs for recalling or repairing vehicles. It would be a counterbalance to ensure the auto dealers are treated fairly as small business consumers of the manufacturer.
As usual, there are more improvements that could be made. For example, manufacturers are concerned with some powers that could be seen as being too sweeping, such as the minister's ability to order tests. I make one recommendation: that we add the word “reasonable” in the bill, so that the minister can ask for tests to be done if there are reasonable grounds for testing. That is only fair.
I have a couple of minutes left and I want to stress one point. I have had a number of calls in my riding, as I imagine a lot of other people have. I am a motorcycle fan. I have a motorcycle and I ride every day when I get the opportunity, although this summer was not very good. Motorcycles, like automobiles, are manufactured to Canadian motor vehicle safety standards, United States motor vehicle safety standards, and European motor vehicle safety standards, yet constantly, in Canada and the U.S. dealers take the bikes before they leave the showroom, modify them with loud exhausts and so on, and then sell them to the unsuspecting public. Who suffers? The people living in residential areas, recreational areas, when guys go by with extremely loud exhausts. That is one area that we can address.
In closing, I believe that this proposed legislation will strengthen oversight on the recall process. It will be a big win for consumers and for the overall safety of Canadians.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2017-09-19 15:12 [p.13239]
Mr. Speaker, part of my speech dealt with some of the early history and safety of motor vehicle regulations. I want to go back to Ralph Nader.
Ralph Nader did a lot for North America, and for a lot of Americans and Canadians, in forcing the government of the United States to strengthen the way it set rules and regulations in the manufacturing of vehicles in North America. Because of that and because of our bilateral trade agreements, we buy the same vehicles that the United States build. We build a lot of the components that are used in the vehicles that are sold in the United States and vice versa.
Ralph Nader and the Nader's Raiders forced government back in the sixties to do what we are doing today, strengthening the motor vehicle safety acts across North America and across our country to make the vehicles we purchase as consumers in Canada, whether they are made here or in the United States, or made in European countries, much safer and that they protect Canadians. That is very important. I have to thank Ralph Nader and the Nader's Raiders. They led the way. The government and the people of Canada must lead the way as well and ensure Bill S-2 is good and it protects Canadians when they purchase motor vehicles.
Toward the end of my speech, when you were not here, Mr. Speaker, I talked about the motorcycle industry and how the dealers of motorcycles would modify motorcycles that were built to Canadian safety standards before they sold them. The bill needs to look at this and enforce it. I hope that as the bill goes through, that Parliament follows Bill S-2, and we continually change it to meet the changing times and needs of new technology in the industry.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2017-09-19 15:16 [p.13239]
Mr. Speaker, Bill S-2 will definitely strengthen the ability of the Canadian government to deal with corporations, such as the 2015 fiasco with Volkswagen.
Now, is it strong enough? No, we could have been stronger in some of the legislation. That is why I said, in the last couple of moments of my speech, that we needed to continually upgrade Bill S-2, and whatever we were going to call it after that, so we would stay up to date with the current change in technologies. People who defraud the public in their vehicles should be dealt with severely, quickly, and it should hurt them in their pockets.
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