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Results: 1 - 93 of 93
View Leona Alleslev Profile
Madam Speaker, there is a very important conversation that we need to have today regarding the amendments to Bill C-77, which seeks to amend the National Defence Act.
The most important thing we have to talk about is why we have a National Defence Act and why people in uniform have a separate judicial system than those in the civilian world. The reason for that is very important. It is that people in uniform are the only people who are entrusted with the right to take a life in aggression, not in self-defence. They are entrusted with the responsibility and sacred reliability of taking a life.
Therefore, as elected officials in a liberal democracy, we must ensure that would never happen without the authority of the citizens, who have entrusted the people in uniform with that responsibility. That is why we have a National Defence Act that separates them from regular citizens, because they have a responsibility and authority that the average citizen does not have.
When we talk about amending the National Defence Act, we have to understand why we have it in the first place. A military is foreign policy by other means. Therefore, when, where, how and for what purpose would we use people in uniform to fight acts of aggression and take lives on behalf of the country? Our alliance in NATO and the Washington treaty, signed on April 4, 1949, after the Second World War, clearly outlines exactly why. It says:
The Parties to this Treaty reaffirm their faith in the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and their desire to live in peace with all peoples and all governments.
They are determined to safeguard the freedom, common heritage and civilisation of their peoples, founded on the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law.
Therefore, why do we have a military? We have a military to ensure we can safeguard the freedom, common heritage and civilization of our peoples, founded on the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law. That is incredibly important to remember, particularly in light of the conversations that have gone on over the last couple of months and the testimony of the former attorney general yesterday.
Our foundation of democracy is based on the separation of the executive branch, the legislative branch, the judicial branch and the military under the National Defence Act. Those pillars are the checks and balances to ensure that individuals are not in a position to undermine the value of these institutions.
Individuals take responsibilities in each of those institutions, just like I did when I swore an oath to serve in the Canadian Forces. The oath I swore was not to a person but to the position of Queen and country. I swore an oath to serve and defend the values of the nation for which it stands. The Prime Minister, members of Parliament and cabinet ministers are also not individuals but people who have also been entrusted with the roles and responsibilities associated with their positions. If and when we forget that these are positions, not individuals, and that the role is bigger than the individuals themselves, the very nature of our democracy is under threat, because, as we can see, those individuals think they have the authority to wield the system in their favour.
We heard from the former attorney general that the Prime Minister had an unrelenting and coordinated attempt at influencing her decision as the Attorney General, the top prosecutor in the land, to do something that was actually illegal so that he could achieve political gain.
View Leona Alleslev Profile
Madam Speaker, the relevance is that we have a military to defend the very nature of our institutions, both at home and abroad, because we send them to save the world for democracy. If we do not understand what that democracy is and what they are defending, we risk undermining the nature and value of democracy. We certainly cannot be in a position to amend the National Defence Act if we do not uphold the values and the principles the National Defence Act was put in place to defend.
Let us go to the chief of the defence staff. We have also heard in papers that the chief of the defence staff went directly to unelected officials to discuss an ongoing court case when Vice-Admiral Norman was actually undergoing a trial. For those who do not know, the chief of the defence staff does not report to unelected officials. The chief of the defence staff reports to the Minister of National Defence, under the National Defence Act, and through the minister, to the Governor General and the Queen. That is how we ensure that our ability to use the military is only exercised within its sovereign ranks. Therefore, we need to understand exactly what the chief of the defence staff was doing, potentially breaching the chain of command, going to dinner with unelected officials to discuss things that are within the purview of his responsibilities as chief of the defence staff.
Furthermore, we need to look at whether there was political interference in Admiral Norman's ability to get a fair trial, because Admiral Norman was conducting military operations when he allegedly committed whatever offence he is being charged with, yet the Minister of National Defence has decided not to indemnify him. That means that he does not have the ability to have the military pay for his trial and his defence to ensure that he gets a fair trial. One could argue that this in itself is political interference, because trials can cost a significant amount of money, and this could potentially prevent him from getting that fair trial. Is that a good use of exercising the defence budget, and, under the National Defence Act, access to justice? Those are significant, serious concerns.
Now we are talking about amending the National Defence Act, yet these amendments do not remotely address the effectiveness of the act. We found, through evidence, that we have issues with timeliness. People cannot get charges, courts martial and summary hearings in a timely manner. Because we are finding that charges are not being laid, it is undermining the confidence of the military in the justice system.
We have judges in the military system who are not getting effective training or experience and who no longer have the extensive qualifications they need to execute on the National Defence Act.
We are talking about fairness. We actually have people within the military justice system who have been charged and found guilty and have been given a punishment. However, other people have been given a different punishment within the military justice system for that same crime. There is no balance and equity among members within the military justice system or compared to their civilian counterparts or even compared to our allies and their militaries.
All those things undermine the code of service discipline and the military justice system we are attempting to put in place, yet none of the amendments to the National Defence Act being put forward today address any of those things.
Even more disconcerting, we have a justice system that is not delivering and executing on that justice, as we have seen in the fact that we can have members of the military who are not being held accountable when they have perhaps breached the chain of command or have acted in a partisan and political way.
Defence is not a luxury. Defence is the foundation of our society. It allows us to have the principles of democracy, individual liberties and the rule of law. We cannot have anything that undermines any of those clear checks and balances and the structures of our democracy, as we heard from the former attorney general, who was also the former associate minister of national defence. Thank goodness she recognized that she had two hats: one as the attorney general and one as the minister of justice. She could understand the rules and responsibilities that came with each of those hats. She knew that she was the last line of defence, the check and balance, that upheld the very structure and nature of our system. She did what needed to be done. She stood up and was counted.
We need a military justice system that reinforces the ability to maintain our democracy and the principles for which it stands, and that is at risk right now.
Defence is not a luxury. Defence allows us to have the freedoms and liberties we have. The more the Liberal government undermines its commitment to defence by not funding it, by giving the military terrible equipment, by not ensuring that the CDS is accountable to the Minister of National Defence and by politically interfering in the trial of a senior admiral, possibly preventing him from getting a fair trial, the more it calls into question not only the individuals and their roles but the very nature of what we are asking people to put on a uniform, swear an oath, serve and defend and give their lives for.
Members of Parliament, cabinet ministers and the Prime Minister are more than just individuals. As we say in the military, I was an officer first, I was air force logistics second, and I was an individual far after that. The same is true of the people who sit in this place.
There are partisan issues we are going to talk about. We are going to disagree on perhaps how and what and when we should prioritize, but at no time should any of us ever disagree or risk the actual structure and sanctity of the institutions and everything they stand for. If we do, we are no better than all those countries we are so quick to criticize that are not as fortunate as Canada in having democracy.
It is a slippery slope. We have seen over the last 20 or 30 years the lack of independence and separation between the legislative branch and the executive branch. Now we are seeing the slippery slope moving into the judicial branch. With the lack of material in the National Defence Act and the inability of the justice system to execute military justice, it is also slipping there.
It is very disconcerting. We have now come to a point when Canadians are giving up. They are looking at government, not only the individuals in government but government as an institution, and saying that we do not know what we are doing, that we cannot be trusted and that we are all the same. If we do not have our democracy, what do we have?
We owe a great deal to the former attorney general for having the courage and fortitude to stand and be counted and stand for democracy. She can recognize that she has a responsibility and has been entrusted with something that is bigger than she is, as the former attorney general and the former minister of justice. While they may be the same person, they are two separate roles and responsibilities.
Members of Parliament, cabinet ministers, the Prime Minister, the Clerk of the Privy Council and all of us also need to remember our roles and responsibilities and the separation of the executive branch, the judicial branch and the legislative branch. Our system does not work when those things are intermingled.
There is still much work to be done to amend the National Defence Act to ensure that we have a vibrant, modern military justice system that compares with our allies' justice systems. At the same time, we can never forget that defence provides the safeguards for our freedom, our individual liberty and the preservation of the rule of law. The minute we start to erode that, we have absolutely nothing left. It is very worrying, because we have arrived at a place in our history where I am concerned that our country is at stake.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anthony Rota Profile
2018-06-14 14:06 [p.20941]
Mr. Speaker, yesterday my hometown of North Bay, Ontario, hosted the eighth annual Armed Forces Day. It is an opportunity to celebrate the important relationship between the city's military and civilian communities. It is one of the largest celebrations of its kind in Canada, with air demonstrations and ground displays.
I am proud to say that 22 Wing North Bay is the centre of Canada's North American Aerospace Defense Command operations, better known as NORAD, the important binational organization that monitors and defends North America.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of NORAD, making this year's event even more significant. It is an opportunity for us to honour our past, protect our present, and secure our future.
Canadian and American NORAD personnel, along with civilian personnel, work side by side on this important mission.
On behalf of our city and our country, I would like to salute the men and women who ensure our safety, and thank them for keeping North America strong and free.
View James Bezan Profile
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Today, during question, I referred to the defence spending shortfall by the government. This information comes from the document, “Strong, Secure, Engaged So Far” by David Perry of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute. I am going to ask for consent to table this.
The document states:
...the capital allocations to date are falling well short of the projections contained in SSE. The DND's capital allocation for 2017/2018 as of Supplementary Estimates C for 2017/2018 was $4 billion (the green dot in Figure 6). This final year-end allocation represents the maximum DND can spend on capital in 2017/2018. This is well short of the $6.3 billion in capital spending projected for 2017/2018 in SSE...
I ask for unanimous consent to table this report so Canadians can get all the information they need, as well as inform the government of all its own shortfalls.
View Bruce Stanton Profile
View Bruce Stanton Profile
2018-06-06 15:27 [p.20358]
Does the hon. member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman have the unanimous consent of the House to table this document?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Some hon. members: No.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2018-05-31 13:53 [p.19977]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate your giving me this time so I can speak on behalf of my constituents of Calgary Shepard, as well as the warning that I unfortunately have only five minutes before we begin question period.
I am thinking about what to say about the third budget bill I have had a chance to debate in the House. I sit on the finance committee that was taken with this matter earlier in the month when it considered the contents of the legislation, as well as its implications for the Canadian economy and jobs in Canada. At the end of the day, the great hope is that every single budget will build on a plan or some type of goal or end journey that the government wants to get to in order to improve the situation of Canadian families, and of job-seekers as well. I just do not see that in this budget. I did not see this in the last budget and I did not see it in the budget before that. What I have seen is a series of failures to have a coherent plan on what they are trying to achieve. A lot of the time I think the government is simply making it up as it goes along.
One thing I will point out is that in this particular budget there was no chapter on defence spending. That was a big portion of the announced spending in the past two and a half years, but that is all it has really been. There was a bunch of news releases, a bunch of tweets, and maybe some Facebook posts, but there is nothing inside the budget that specifically talks about procurement. Over the next five to 10 years, procurement is expected to be one of the largest expenditures in our budget. We are seeing a continuous increase in the budgeted numbers for defence spending, with the same amount of equipment coming back to us, or actually less equipment, so the per-unit value of our spending is actually going down. Spending on defence is an important component, but we are always expecting to get something in return: equipment that the Canadian Forces can use to replace the equipment it now has, which is sometimes antiquated and other times has served out its proper life cycle.
They say that money is round and it rolls away. It is a Yiddish proverb. The chamber knows that I love Yiddish proverbs, and it is true in this case as well. In three consecutive budgets, we have seen deficits completely out of control, and the government is simply letting these roll away. It is money out the door and interest payments on debt that keeps going up. We have an $18.1 billion deficit expected this year. The government and its caucus members will say, “Everything is going so great: Look how we have juiced up the economy, look how good the GDP growth numbers are.”
However, what we have seen in the first quarter of this year, as is being reported in the media now, is that the economy has taken a serious hit. The housing market has drastically slowed down because of a successive series of changes, almost 20, to mortgage rules, including the latest one on January 1. The B20 mortgage rule changes have had a severe impact on new entrants in the market, those who want to buy a townhouse, a house, or who want to move up on the property ladder and expand because they need a bigger place to live, and those who want to downsize because they are coming to the end of their working lives and they want something simpler to live in and to have an easier means of taking care of their homes. All of those have been hit because, at mortgage-renewal time, they will now be facing a stress test. We know that the housing market in Canada and the different real estate markets in our small communities as well as our large metropolitan centres drive the economy. If we remove real estate growth and the construction of homes from our GDP numbers, we find that we do not have any growth. It is so critical. This mortgage stress test is expected to have an impact on job losses and reduce mortgage demand and housing by about 15%. Fifteen per cent translates into about 100,000 to 150,000 jobs that could disappear. These are well-paying jobs, not just brokers and real estate agents, but a lot of tradespeople who are in the business of building new homes, new condominiums, and new townhouses for Canadians to purchase, and for permanent residents to purchase as well. These people will be impacted by the successive series of mortgage rule changes. It is going to have an impact in the budget, something the budget has not planned for. The budget does not address this in any way. As I said, money is round and it is rolling away.
The government simply has no plan. This budget does not build on any type of long-term vision for the future. The Liberals have not set us up for success anywhere past 2019. It is as if the government is only thinking about the period between now and the next election. Planning from election to election is a bad way to set fiscal policy and public budgetary policy. Therefore, in the budget we will have accumulated, by the expected time frames in the forecast, nearly $100 billion in new debt.
I see the signal to stop now, but I look forward to continuing my intervention after question period.
View Sven Spengemann Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Sven Spengemann Profile
2018-05-11 11:47 [p.19381]
Mr. Speaker, I rise to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, better known as NORAD, on May 12.
It is with great pride that I rise to salute the work of the Canadian Armed Forces and U.S. armed forces that created and supported this cornerstone of our North American defence relationship.
NORAD is critically important to the defence of our continent.
Can the Minister of National Defence tell the House how our government is supporting this now 60-year-old collaborative effort?
View Harjit S. Sajjan Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Harjit S. Sajjan Profile
2018-05-11 11:48 [p.19381]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague, the member for Mississauga—Lakeshore, for his important work on the national defence committee.
Canada and the U.S. stand shoulder to shoulder in defence of peace and security. NORAD is a cornerstone of our defence relationship in North America. That is why NORAD's importance is highlighted in Canada's new defence policy.
I invite all members of the House to recognize the 60th anniversary of NORAD and the contributions made by Canadian and U.S. armed forces members who defend our shared continent.
View Kevin Sorenson Profile
Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure to present, in both official languages, the 46th report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts entitled “Report 6, Royal Military College of Canada—National Defence, of the Fall 2017 Reports of the Auditor General of Canada”.
Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.
View Geoff Regan Profile
Lib. (NS)

Question No. 1270--
Mr. Alexander Nuttall:
With regard to meetings or communication between the Office of the Prime Minister and David Livingston, Laura Miller, Patricia Sorbara and Gerry Lougheed, since November 4, 2015: what are the details of any meetings or communication, including for each the (i) date, (ii) type of communication (i.e. meeting, phone call, email, etc.), (iii) location, (iv) purpose or summary of communication?
Mr. Peter Schiefke (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Youth), Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, the Office of the Prime Minister engages with provincial and territorial governments on a regular basis in the interest of federal-provincial-territorial relations. While the Office of the Prime Minister does not track the details that the question asks for, there were interactions with one of these individuals in their capacity as a staff member of a provincial premier.

Question No. 1272--
Mr. James Bezan:
With regard to the Income Tax Folio S2-F3-C2, Benefits and Allowances Received from Employment: (a) when did the Office of the Minister of National Revenue become aware of the final version; (b) when did the work on this Folio begin; (c) who initiated the work on this Folio; (d) why is this Folio not available to the public online; (e) has the government done any analysis regarding the economic impacts of the Folio and, if so, what are the results of the analysis; (f) how many departments were tasked to work on the Folio; (g) how many government employees have signed to date any type of non-disclosure agreements or read-in process documents in relation to the Folio; and (h) for each non-disclosure agreement and read-in process document in (g), (i) when was it signed, (ii) what is the duration?
Hon. Diane Lebouthillier (Minister of National Revenue, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to part (a), Income Tax Folios are technical publications that present the CRA’s interpretation of the law, and that summarize tax court decisions and technical positions adopted by the CRA up to the date of a folio’s publication. As a result, Income Tax Folios are not subject to ministerial approval.
With regard to part (b), the work on Income Tax Folio S2-F3-C2 began in November 2012.
With regard to part (c), the CRA undertook the Income Tax Folios project in an effort to improve the way in which complex tax matters were explained to taxpayers and their representatives, i.e., accountants, lawyers, and other tax preparers, in order to improve their ability to comply with their tax obligations.
With regard to part (d), Income Tax Folio S2-F3-C2 was available to the public online on the CRA webpages, on the canada.ca website, from July 7, 2016, until October 11, 2017. On October 10, 2017, the Minister of National Revenue instructed CRA officials to clarify the wording of discounts on merchandise in the folio. As a result, the CRA removed the folio from its website and is reviewing the folio’s wording with respect to discounts on merchandise.
With regard to part (e), as folios are technical publications that present the CRA’s interpretation of the law and summarize tax court decisions and technical positions previously adopted by the CRA, no economic impact study is completed when folios are published.
With regard to part (f), Income Tax Folio S2-F3-C2 was developed by CRA officials. The draft folio was shared for consultation with officials from the Department of Finance and the Department of Justice as part of the folio publication process.
With regard to parts (g) to (h), no such agreements were signed.

Question No. 1277--
Mr. David Sweet:
With regard to access to the National Holocaust Monument: (a) during what time periods will there be (i) access restrictions for pedestrians, (ii) closures for maintenance purposes, (iii) closures for non-maintenance purposes; (b) for each closure in (a)(ii), what are the details of the maintenance performed; and (c) for each closure in (a)(iii), what is the purpose?
Mr. Sean Casey (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a)(i), the National Holocaust Monument is currently open to the public from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. However, public access is restricted overnight to manage and ensure appropriate and respectful use of the site.
Part of the main level of the monument will be cleared this winter, to provide residents and visitors year-round access to the interpretation panels and views of the murals.
Lighting above snow level will continue to operate through the winter. The second level of the monument will not be accessible for safety reasons, and the Flame of Remembrance and the elevator will be turned off during the winter months.
The National Capital Commission will evaluate the impact of the snow removal operations on the structure and integrity of the monument throughout the season. The National Capital Commission will also consult the Department of Canadian Heritage and stakeholders in the community regarding winter usage of the site.
With regard to (a)(ii) and (b), there are no planned closures for maintenance purposes, unless required by exceptional circumstances.
With regard to (a)(iii) and (c), there are no planned closures, aside from those described in response to part (a)(i).

Question No. 1278--
Mrs. Cathay Wagantall:
With regard to the comments made by the Minister of National Revenue in the House of Commons on October 19, 2017, that “we are on track to recuperate close to $25 billion” in relation to offshore accounts used by Canadians in order to avoid paying taxes: (a) what are the details of the recuperation including (i) country in which the account was located, (ii) amount recovered, (iii) date of recovery, (iv) date on which the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) first learned of the account’s existence; (b) how did the CRA learn of the account’s existence; and (c) how will the recuperated money appear in the Public Accounts of Canada?
Hon. Diane Lebouthillier (Minister of National Revenue, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, the figure included in the question, excerpted from Hansard, refers to the following: Over the past two fiscal years, April 1, 2015 through March 31, 2017, the CRA identified $25 billion in fiscal impact. More specifically, the CRA’s fiscal impact from audit activities was $12.7 billion in 2015-16 and was $12.5 billion in 2016-17.
Fiscal impact is the traditional measure used for the CRA’s departmental performance report to report on the audit assessment and examination results from compliance activities.
Fiscal impact consists of federal and provincial taxes assessed, tax refunds reduced, interest and penalties, and the present value of future federal tax assessable arising from compliance actions. It excludes the impact of appeals reversals and uncollectable amounts.
With regard to parts (a) (i) to (iv) and (b), given the above-noted context, the CRA is unable to respond as it does not track such information in the manner requested.
With regard to part (c), fiscal impact of audit activities is noted in the Public Accounts of Canada. Amounts assessed by the CRA are reflected in the Public Accounts of Canada, and include assessments generated by audit activities.
The CRA cannot provide the information in the manner requested, as a taxpayer’s CRA account includes outstanding debts and refund offsets from several different CRA programs and revenue lines. The CRA system reflects the on-going outstanding balance and does not link the balances or payments to any specific debt, such as from audit assessment.

Question No. 1279--
Mrs. Cathay Wagantall:
With regard to expenditures on the cover for the Fall Economic Statement delivered by the Minister of Finance on October 24, 2017: (a) what is the total of all expenditures; (b) what is the breakdown of expenditures by (i) photography, (ii) printing, (iii) other costs; and (c) what are the details of all expenditures related to the cover, including (i) vendor, (ii) amount, (iii) description of good or service provided, (iv) file number, (v) was the contract sole sourced?
Mr. Joël Lightbound (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to part (a), the total of all expenditures was $13,591.64.
With regard to part (b)(i), there was no cost for the photography of the fall economic statement’s cover; (b)(ii) the cost to print 575 English and 375 French copies was $13,591.64; and (b)(iii), there were no other costs associated with the cover of the fall economic statement.
With regard to part (c)(i), the vendor was Lowe-Martin; (c)(ii), the cost to print 575 English and 375 French copies was $13,591.64; (c)(iii), 575 English and 375 French copies of the fall economic statement were printed; (c)(iv), the file number was 4001370; and (c)(v), yes, the contract was sole sourced.

Question No. 1282--
Mr. Glen Motz:
With regard to the commitment on page 12 of the Liberal Party election platform which states “our investment plan will return Canada to a balanced budget in 2019”: (a) does the government plan on keeping this promise and; (b) if the anser in (a) is negative, in what year will Canada return to a balanced budget?
Mr. Joël Lightbound (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to part (a), the government’s most recent fiscal outlook, contained in the fall economic statement 2017, was published on October 25, 2017, and is available at the following link: http://www.budget.gc.ca/fes-eea/2017/docs/statement-enonce/toc-tdm-en.html.
In the fall economic statement 2017, both the budgetary balance and the federal debt to GDP ratio are projected to decline over the forecast horizon. The government will maintain this downward deficit and debt track, preserving Canada’s low-debt advantage for future generations.
With regard to part (b), it is not applicable.

Question No. 1285--
Mr. Pat Kelly:
With regard to applications for the Disability Tax credit by persons with type one or type two diabetes respectively: (a) for each month since October 2012, what was the percentage of approvals, disapprovals, and incomplete applications returned to applicants respectively; (b) with respect to rejections of applications in (a), what percentage of rejected applicants appealed the rejection decision; (c) with respect to rejections of applications in (a), what percentage of appeals were granted or declined respectively; (d) with respect to rejections of applications in (a), has any part of the Government withdrawn or withheld funds, bonds, and grants from the Registered Disability Savings Plans of any applicants; (e) with respect to withdrawals or withholdings in (d), how many applicants who were previously approved for the Disability Tax Credit have had withdrawals or withholdings made from their Registered Disability Savings Plan accounts since May 2017; and (f) with respect to withdrawals or withholdings in (d), what is the total value of funds withdrawn or withheld from Registered Disability Savings Plan accounts since May 2017?
Hon. Diane Lebouthillier (Minister of National Revenue, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, with respect to parts (a) to (f), to be eligible for the disability tax credit, an individual must have a severe and prolonged impairment in physical or mental functions, as defined in the Income Tax Act and as certified by a medical practitioner. Eligibility is not based on a diagnosis, but rather on the effects of the impairment on their ability to perform the basic activities of daily living. Eligibility determinations are not made, or tracked, based on diagnoses. Therefore, the CRA is unable to respond in the manner requested as the data is not available.

Question No. 1289--
Mr. Kevin Waugh:
With regard to Defence Construction Canada’s Annual Report 2016-2017, Section “Operating and Administrative Expenses” under 2016-17 fiscal year, what are the amounts for: (a) “Travel”, broken down by (i) accommodation, (ii) travel, (iii) per diems, (iv) incidentals; (b) “Relocation”, broken down by (i) FTEs, (ii) location; (c) “IT hardware”; (d) “IT software”; and (e)“Hospitality”?
Mr. Steven MacKinnon (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to Defence Construction Canada, DCC, and part (a), “travel” was broken down by (i) accommodation, $149,000.00; (ii) travel, $286,000.00; (iii) per diems, or meal allowances, $72,000.00; and (iv) incidentals, $22,000.00.
With regard to part (b), “relocation” was broken down by (i) FTEs, 12; and (ii) location, including 1, Kingston to Ottawa; 2, Ottawa to Valcartier; 3, Trenton to Kingston; 4, Montreal to Ottawa; 5, Toronto to Kingston; 6, Ottawa to Victoria; 7, Calgary to Victoria; 8, Ottawa to Borden; 9, Montreal to Edmonton; 10, Comox to Victoria; 11, Calgary to Cold Lake; and 12, London to Toronto.
With regard to (c), “IT hardware”, the cost was $130,000; (d), “IT software”, $55,000.00; and (e), “hospitality”, $31,000.00.
View Matt DeCourcey Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Matt DeCourcey Profile
2017-11-08 16:56 [p.15156]
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour and a privilege to speak, on behalf of the people of Fredericton, the riding I have the pleasure to represent, to Bill C-63, the budget implementation act No. 2, which will help us conclude our budgetary measures for 2017.
This bill contains some of the important measures from our government's second budget. These measures are in line with our plan to continue to create jobs, stimulate the economy, and offer Canadians more opportunities to succeed.
In just two short years our government has accomplished a great deal. I hear from people in Fredericton, Oromocto, Maryland, and the Grand Lake region that they like what we are doing. They like the tax cut for the middle class. They like that we have enhanced the Canada child benefit, lowered the eligibility age for the old age pension to 65 from 67, and expanded old age security for low income seniors.
As a result of this government's efforts to ease the burden on our middle class, nine million Canadians are now paying less tax. This tax cut provides about $3.4 billion in annual tax relief to the middle class. Single individuals, who benefit, will see an average tax reduction of $330 every year. Couples, who benefit, will see an average tax reduction of $540. To help pay for this middle-class tax cut, we raised taxes on the wealthiest 1% of Canadians.
We also decreased small business taxes from 11% to 10.5%, and it will drop even further, down to 10% on January 1, and then down again to 9% by 2019.
In the fall economic update, the government announced another enhancement to the Canada child benefit. As a result of this change, an average Canadian family with two children will see about $200 more in the Canada child benefit payments next year and about $500 more in 2019. In New Brunswick, this amounts to 71,000 recipients, with a total investment of $499 million.
The Canada-New Brunswick early learning and child care agreement signed in August will see the federal government invest close to $30 million in improving early learning and child care for pre-school-aged children. By the end of the three year agreement this funding will build a high quality early learning and child care system that New Brunswick families can rely on.
While I am on the subject of supporting families, let me remind the House that Fredericton welcomed more than 500 Syrian refugees, more per capita than any city in Canada.
With an aging population, one-third of which is expected to be over the age of 65 by the 2030s, support for New Brunswick seniors is essential.
During our first year in government, we restored the eligibility age for old age security and the guaranteed income supplement back to 65. We increased the GIS top-up benefit for single seniors by up to $947 per year. We enhanced the Canada pension plan as well.
Budget 2017 further ensures that seniors continue to receive the support they deserve by committing $125.1 million to improve home care for seniors in New Brunswick.
Over the next 11 years, we will invest $3.2 billion to support affordable housing priorities, including initiatives to support safe and independent living for seniors.
Over these 11 years, we will invest an additional $5 billion to establish a national housing fund to help seniors and the most vulnerable.
New Brunswick is the ideal place to rollout bold and transformative approaches that will enable healthy aging. The federal government's $16.6 million investment in the University of New Brunswick's Centre for Healthy Living is an excellent example.
AGE-WELL, Canada's technology and aging network, recently partnered with the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation and Fredericton's York Care Centre to open a new national innovation hub in Fredericton.
AGE-WELL is a network of federally funded centres of excellence that advance innovation in the field of technology and aging in the interest of all Canadians.
The federal government's first health care deal will enable seniors to live longer, healthier lives in their own homes, and reduce financial and administrative burdens on our already over-stretched health care system
As chair of the Atlantic growth strategy subcommittee on innovation, I can assure the House that the federal government is committed to empowering Atlantic Canadian entrepreneurs through innovation. Under the Atlantic growth strategy, the government is taking bold action to create more middle-class jobs, strengthen local communities, and grow the economy. The AGS will enhance and enrich Atlantic Canada's innovation ecosystem.
Recently designated community of the year for startups in Canada, Fredericton has built a well-earned reputation as an entrepreneurial hub and a centre of innovation.
Thanks in part to the University of New Brunswick's essential role, the innovation ecosystem of this city is attracting a larger number of creative entrepreneurs.
In our 150th year of Confederation, as we prepare to once again take on a more active and dynamic role in the world, we are committed to the vision of Canada's new defence policy. To meet this commitment, the federal government is investing in an agile, multi-purpose, combat ready military, operated by highly trained and well-equipped women and men.
Over the next 10 years, defence spending will increase by more than 70%, which means that 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown, Canada's second-largest military base and home of Canada's army, will take on an even bigger role as an economic generator in our local economy.
Earlier this year, I took part in a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new tactical armed patrol vehicle facility, a $26 million investment by this federal government. When we add this $26 million investment to the $38 million investment in critical infrastructure upgrades at Base Gagetown last year, we get a clear picture of just how big an economic generator Base Gagetown is to the Fredericton region and to all of New Brunswick.
This investment in infrastructure is certainly important, but the federal government's investment in the Canadian Armed Forces is even more important.
For example, since January 1, all troops deployed on international operations have been exempt from federal income tax on their CAF salary up to a pay level of lieutenant colonel. This is in addition to existing allowances that compensate for hardship and risk. Other investments include $198.2 million over the next 10 years to implement a new total health and wellness strategy, providing a greater range of health and wellness services and programs.
There is also an increase of $6 million per year to modernize family support programs, such as military family resource centres, and a new 1,200-person Canadian Armed Forces transition group that would help CAF members and their families transition back into CAF following illness or injury, or into civilian life at the conclusion of their military service.
Budget 2017 would continue to improve the lives of veterans by focusing on three important themes: ensuring the financial security for ill and injured veterans, investing in education and career development to help veterans transition into post-military life, and supporting families.
In the 150th anniversary of Canada's Confederation and with Remembrance Day just a few days away, I want to underscore the sacrifices that our women and men in uniform have made in service to our country. We are here because of them, and we will remember them.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)

Question No. 1149--
Mr. David Sweet:
With regard to the call for proposals for government funding through Natural Resource Canada's Energy Innovation Program allocated for Clean Energy Innovation that closed October 31, 2016: (a) what criteria were used to select approved projects; (b) what projects received funding, broken down by the (i) name of the recipient, (ii) type of project, (iii) date on which the funding was received, (iv) amount received; (c) what projects have been selected to receive funding in the future, broken down by the (i) name of the recipient, (ii) type of project, (iii) date on which the funding was received, (iv) amount received; and (d) for each project identified in (b) and (c), was a press release issued to announce it and, if so, what is the (i) date, (ii) headline, (iii) file number of the press release?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1150--
Mr. Kevin Sorenson:
With regard to the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority: (a) what was the total airport screening budget for the following fiscal years (i) 2014-15, (ii) 2015-16, (iii) 2016-17; and (b) what is the projected total airport screening budget for the following fiscal years (i) 2017-18, (ii) 2018-19, (iii) 2019-20?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1151--
Mr. Kevin Sorenson:
With regard to contracts signed by the government with Sparks Advocacy since November 4, 2015, and for each contract: (a) what is the (i) value, (ii) description of the service provided, (iii) date and duration of the contract, (iv) internal tracking or file number; and (b) was the contract sole sourced?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1152--
Mr. Kevin Sorenson:
With regard to ministerial regional offices, as of September 19, 2017: (a) what is the location of each office; (b) what is the overall annual budget for each office; (c) how many government employees or full-time equivalents are assigned to each location; and (d) how many ministerial exempt staff or full-time equivalents are assigned to each location?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1154--
Mr. Peter Van Loan:
With regard to the threat of a missile strike from North Korea on Canadian soil: (a) what specific measures has the government put in place to prevent a North Korean missile from striking Canadian soil; (b) what is the official government response to the recent missile tests conducted by the North Korean military; and (c) has the government developed any plans or procedures to be enacted in the event of a missile strike and, if so, what are the details?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1155--
Mr. Tood Doherty:
With regard to government expenditures in relation to the wildfires in British Columbia in the summer of 2017: what are the details of each expenditure, including for each the (i) vendor providing service or recipient of funding, (ii) date, (iii) amount, (iv) description of goods or reason for expenditure, (v) file number of contract?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1156--
Mr. Dean Allison:
With regard to contracts signed by the government with Treetop Strategy since November 4, 2015, and for each contract: (a) what is the (i) value, (ii) description of the service provided, (iii) date and duration of the contract, (iv) internal tracking or file number; and (b) was the contract sole sourced?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1158--
Mr. Dean Allison:
With regard to official “advisory councils” or “advisory boards” set up by the government since November 5, 2015, and broken down by department, agency, crown corporation or other government entity: (a) what is the complete list of councils and boards; (b) who are the members of each council or board; (c) what are the details of each meeting, including (i) date, (ii) location, (iii) topic; (d) how much is each member financially compensated for their participation on a board or council, broken down by board or council and individual; (e) who is the chair of each board or council; (f) how much is each chair financially compensated for their participation in the board or council; and (g) which minister is responsible for selecting the members and chair of each board or council?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1161--
Mr. Steven Blaney:
With regard to statistics regarding homelessness maintained by the government: (a) what was the number of homeless veterans, or estimated number of homeless veterans as of (i) January 1, 2015, (ii) January 1, 2016, (iii) January 1, 2017, (iv) September 19, 2017; and (b) what is the breakdown of all statistics in (a), by province?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1163--
Mrs. Karen Vecchio:
With regard to the January 1, 2017, policy clarification to the interpretation to eligibility criteria for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) Involuntary Separation Provision: (a) did the government perform a Gender-Based-Analysis Plus (GBA+) when the policy clarification for GIS involuntary separation was being considered, and if not, why not; (b) if the answer to (a) is affirmative, what was included in the GBA+ of the decision and was a policy consideration checklist done as a mandatory component of the Memorandum to Cabinet development as part of the Government’s Action Plan on Gender-based Analysis (2016-20) and, if so, what was included on that checklist; (c) if the answer to (a) is affirmative, what was the conclusion of the GBA+ concerning how the policy clarification will impact men, women, and those with other intersecting identities (including but not limited to race, ethnicity, geography, physical or mental disabilities, sexual orientation, education, religion); (d) if the answer to (a) is affirmative, did the GBA+ analysis conclude that the January 1, 2017, policy clarification for the involuntary separation provision for GIS will equally impact men and women and those with other intersecting identities; and (e) if the answer to (d) is negative, inconclusive, or unavailable, why was the policy clarification issued despite being in contravention of the government’s commitment to make GBA+ a key competency in support of the development of effective programs and policies for Canadians?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1164--
Mrs. Karen Vecchio:
Regarding the proposed tax changes referred to in the Finance Minister’s July 18, 2017 discussion paper: (a) did the government of Canada perform a Gender-Based-Analysis Plus (GBA+) before proceeding with these tax changes; (b) if the answer to (a) is negative, why was such an analysis not performed; (c) if the answer to (a) is affirmative, what was included in the GBA+ of these changes, and was a policy consideration checklist required as a mandatory component of the Memorandum to Cabinet development as constituted in the Government’s Action Plan on Gender-based Analysis (2016-20) and, if so, what was included on that checklist; (d) if the answer to (a) is affirmative, what was the conclusion of the GBA+ concerning how the tax changes will impact men, women and those with other intersecting identities (including but not limited to race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, education, geography, mental or physical disabilities, and religion); (e) if the answer to (a) is affirmative, did the GBA+ conclude that the tax changes will equally impact men and women and those with intersecting identities; (f) if the answer to (e) is negative, inconclusive, or unavailable, what is the rationale for having the tax changes issued despite being in contravention of the government’s commitment to make GBA+ a key competency in support of the development of effective programs and policies for Canadians?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1165--
Mrs.Carol Hughes:
With regard to disability benefits for veterans: in each of the last ten years, how many veterans have (i) applied for disability benefits for ulcerative colitis, (ii) been approved for disability benefits for ulcerative colitis?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1166--
Mr. Pierre Poilievre:
With regard to the calculations that produced chart eight in the Minister of Finance’s consultation document titled “Tax Planning Using Private Corporations”: in each scenario mentioned (savings after income-tax dollars and savings after-small-business-tax dollars), what would be the total taxes paid including on the final distributions to the individual?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1167--
Mr. Bob Saroya:
With regard to expenditures at the Canada 2020-Global Progress Conference held in Montreal in September 2017, and broken down by department, agency, crown corporation, or other government entity: (a) what are all expenditures related to the conference, including cost of tickets and travel costs; (b) what is the detailed, itemized breakdown of all expenditures referred to in (a) including for each the (i) date, (ii) amount, (iii) description, (iv) vendor; (c) which employees, ministerial exempt staff members, or ministers attended the conference; and (d) for which individuals referred to in (c) did the government pay the conference registration fee?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1169--
Mr. Tom Lukiwski:
With regard to the comments in the House of Commons by the Minister of Canadian Heritage on September 18, 2017 that “we invested $1.9 billion in arts and culture”: what is the itemized breakdown of this investment, including for each investment the (i) recipient, (ii) project description, (iii) amount, (iv) location, (v) date amount was paid to recipient?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1170--
Mr. Tom Lukiwski:
With regard to government expenditures on detainee meals by Canada Border Services Agency at Vancouver International Airport and at Pearson Airport in Toronto, since December 1, 2015: what are the details of each expenditure including (i) vendor, (ii) date, (iii) amount, (iv) location, (v) file number?
(Return tabled)
8555-421-1149 Call for proposals for gov ...8555-421-1150 Canadian Air Transport Sec ...8555-421-1151 Contracts with Spark Advocacy8555-421-1152 Ministerial regional offices8555-421-1154 Threat of a North Korean m ...8555-421-1155 Expenditures on wildfires ...8555-421-1156 Contracts with Treetop Strategy8555-421-1158 Government advisory counci ...8555-421-1161 Homeless veterans8555-421-1163 Gender-Based-Analysis Plus ...8555-421-1164 Gender-Based-Analysis Plus ... ...Show all topics
View James Bezan Profile
Mr. Speaker, I am proud to be here as the last speaker at the adjournment proceedings tonight.
I am rising on a question I put to the minister back on May 15 about the defence policy review. At that time, we were waiting and waiting for the defence policy review, which was supposed to be out before Christmas. It finally showed up early in the summer. The interesting thing is that everyone got to see it before parliamentarians. The minister took it down to Washington and showed it to President Trump, and he never actually let us see it. That speaks to the transparency of the Liberal government.
Do members remember sunny ways and that the government was going to be open and transparent and would allow us to see everything? When we requested a briefing on what was going to be in the defence policy report, “Strong, Secure, Engaged”, when it came out, we thought we would get some notice and a couple of hours' briefing to tell us what was in there and how it would be announced to Canadians.
Opposition critics from the Conservatives, the NDP, and the Bloc were told to show up at National Defence for our briefing. We were put in a secure room and had all our devices taken away, of course, which we thought would be fine, because we were going to be presented with the documents and told what was in them. However, we were presented with the documents and given one hour to read through the defence policy, the backgrounders, the press releases, and all the statements by the government ministers involved. We had one hour, and then we were supposed to go out and be able to deal with the media.
To me, that was a failure of being transparent and of working with good will with other parliamentarians and other parties to ensure that we were in a position to actually talk about the defence policy.
After the defence policy was announced, it proved the fact that Canadians do not trust the Liberal government. We have already lived through the decade of darkness. We have already seen the Liberal government take $12 billion in funding away from our troops in two consecutive budgets. It had thrown a lot of procurement into disarray. We saw it pull our CF-18s out of the fight against ISIS. The Liberals did not want to have a combat mission, unfortunately, in Operation Impact. It took forever, dragging its feet, in renewing our Operation Unifier mission in Ukraine.
In the defence policy review the government did, it did not talk extensively about the threats Canada is facing, along with our allies, and because of that, it failed to look at North Korea. It failed to even consider what is happening there today and why we need to be part of a ballistic missile defence program under NORAD.
I am sure the parliamentary secretary is going to get up and say, “Canada is back”. However, if members read the news today, it showed that while the government said it was going to bring in 600 peacekeepers and 150 police officers to go on peacekeeping missions, today we have the smallest UN peacekeeping mission in the history of this country. We have only 88 peacekeepers assigned to UN peacekeeping missions.
That is a failure of the government in not being able to deliver on any of its promises when it comes to our military. The military is not getting the kit it needs on time. All the spending the government has announced has been punted down the road for over two years, until after the next election. That will only happen if there is a budget there to actually do it.
The political will of the government is in question. Canadians and our troops do not trust the Liberals.
View Jean Rioux Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Jean Rioux Profile
2017-10-23 18:42 [p.14429]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for giving me an opportunity to talk about a policy that has been warmly welcomed by Canadian Armed Forces members.
On June 7, the minister announced the government's new defence policy, “Strong, Secure, Engaged”. Our new policy offers a new vision and a new approach to defence. It is based on an in-depth analysis of the broadest public consultations of the past 20 years about Canada's defence policy.
Throughout the consultation period, Canadians from all walks of life submitted over 20,000 proposals through the online consultation portal. Departmental officials and parliamentarians held round tables and meetings with defence experts, industry representatives, academics, and first nations leaders. Over 50 parliamentarians organized consultations in their communities. We even consulted beyond our borders to include many of our allies and partners.
The minister and other Department of National Defence officials met with their counterparts from around the world. The minister also engaged in discussions in multilateral forums such as NATO and during the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore in 2016.
Given that several of our allies had recently completed reviews of their own defence policies, it was crucial for us to connect with them to discuss our insights and lessons learned. Their knowledge, observations, and ideas were carefully considered, and our new policy is the culmination of everything we heard.
I would like to take a moment to thank all of those who held consultations in their ridings and regions to support the defence policy review. I would also like to acknowledge the members of the House and Senate committees for the work they did in studying defence issues.
The depth and breadth of the defence policy review, combined with such a high degree of consultation, undeniably enhanced the results and the credibility of the process. We are proud of the defence policy, which is entitled “Strong, Secure, Engaged”. In a nutshell, this policy seeks to balance priorities in an ever-changing reality, invest in our military, and make sure our soldiers and their families are well supported. It offers clear direction on Canadian defence priorities over a 20-year horizon and comes with the resources required to effectively deliver upon them.
Canada needs an agile and flexible military force that can act decisively and get results across the full spectrum of operations. To that end, the new defence policy entitled, “Strong, Secure, Engaged”, establishes eight key missions for the Canadian Armed Forces from assisting civilian authorities in disasters and emergencies, to deterring and defending against military threats.
The Canadian Armed Forces will also work with our allies and partners, including the United Nations, NATO and NORAD, to contribute to global stability. In order to follow through on our commitments, annual military spending will increase over the next 10 years, going from $18.9 billion to $32.7 billion annually. The size of the regular force will grow by 3,500 members, and the reserve force will be increased by 1,500.
We will also invest to grow, maintain, and upgrade Canadian Armed Forces capabilities. We will continue to engage Canadians and parliamentarians as we follow through on our commitments.
View James Bezan Profile
Mr. Speaker, I am glad that the parliamentary secretary talked about consultations. We held consultations right across this country. Hundreds of submissions came in from concerned citizens. One thing that we do have in common is that our troops need to be front and centre in defence policy, and that is what we heard and what the minister definitely heard as well in Canada's defence policy, strong, secure, and engaged.
Do we trust the Liberals? That is what it comes down to. They are talking $32 billion and we know that is with creative accounting. They are playing a shell game over there. They will take the money from Foreign Affairs, the Coast Guard, and even Veterans Affairs, and are pushing it into National Defence.
When the Liberals were in power before it was a decade of darkness. They sent our troops into Afghanistan wearing green camouflage in the desert. Since the Liberals have been government, they have taken danger pay from our troops that were in the fight against ISIS in Operation Impact. They had to return that money after being embarrassed by the opposition here in Parliament.
Our government proved itself. We bought new aircraft for our air force, new tanks, new LAVs for our army, and started the national shipbuilding program, which is now in disarray under the Liberals.
We will continue to stand up for our troops. I just wish the Liberals would do it as well.
View Jean Rioux Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Jean Rioux Profile
2017-10-23 18:48 [p.14430]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased that our colleague shares our interest in this policy.
During our consultations, Canadians told us one thing, and that is that they want us to look after our men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces and their families. That concern is at the core of this policy. We are looking after them, we are ensuring their well-being, we are helping with the transition to civilian life, we are providing training, and we are ensuring that they have the equipment needed to guarantee the safety and security of Canada and North America and meet our international commitments. That is why we will give them the equipment they need.
We announced the procurement of fighter jets and frigates as part of that policy. All those procurement items were included in the budget and confirmed by five consulting firms, which told us that those commitments will be guaranteed. That is why the people of the Canadian Armed Forces and their chief of staff are so excited about this defence policy.
View Brian Masse Profile
View Brian Masse Profile
2017-09-19 18:40 [p.13264]
Madam Speaker, I rise again in the House to talk about the sale of Norsat, a Canadian-owned company, to Hytera, a Chinese company. This sale has created not only many concerns related to foreign control and ownership but also sensitivities on national security and with Canadian investments, those being tax credits and other types of investments to grow Canadian technological industries. It is important to note that these subsidies should be bearing fruit as jobs and innovation in Canada. For that to be plucked by a Chinese firm is an issue in itself, but more importantly, two former directors of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Richard Fadden and Ward Elcock, have said that the transactions should have been subjected to a full-scale security review, which the government did not do. It is very disconcerting.
It is important to note what this Canadian company does. Norsat provides communications solutions and provision of services for government organizations, military, transportation, resources, marine industry companies, news organizations, public safety, search and rescue operators, and others. Basically, it has two main segments, Sinclair Technologies and satellite communications. This is important, because it was purchased by Hytera, a Chinese state company, which now has control over these advancements and technologies.
The U.S. has expressed concern with regard to this takeover. I would add that what has happened in the meantime is that we can only see the challenges faced by the use of this technology and these services, and then there is the lack of leverage we now have with regard to issues of international developments. It is quite obvious that the United States is concerned with regard to China's relationship with North Korea. We have those concerns as well, and we do know now that Canadian technology has again gone to a state-owned enterprise, with the Chinese government having connections with its companies. Being a Communist nation, it certainly has control over some of the industrial development there.
It is important to note that this subject has been raised before. Interestingly enough, I raised these concerns and worked hard for a number of years to get a security review of these kinds of transactions through a national security lens. The government failed to do so in this case, although it had been suggested by many people within the industry itself and experts in the field. This issue was opened up when we launched a campaign in the past when Chinese investors and other non-democratic governments were purchasing Canadian companies.
The sale of Norsat to Hytera was interesting in the sense that while it was going on, the Conservatives rejected it, but the Liberals opened the doors for it. Also, with Motorola in the United States, there were hearings about a number of different patent infringements that took place.
Therefore, my question for the government is this: why would we want to allow Canadian companies to basically be usurped in this way without full security reviews?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
View David Lametti Profile
2017-09-19 18:44 [p.13265]
Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his question and his work with the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, where we work well together. I am pleased to respond to the member for Windsor West's remarks about how the Investment Canada Act and national security intersect.
I would like to begin by emphasizing that foreign direct investment plays a major positive role in the Canadian economy by contributing to research development, boosting productivity, and creating better-paying jobs for Canadians. Foreign direct investment and trade go hand in hand and link Canada into global value chains. Canada is and must continue to be open to foreign investment that helps create long-term jobs for Canadians.
However, we will not jeopardize national security for any investment. The Investment Canada Act plays an important role in protecting Canadians from threats to national security. The act allows the government to examine investments made in Canada by foreign investors to limit the potential harm to national security.
This government's practice is clear and coherent. Last year, we published guidelines to ensure transparency in how we enforce the act. All foreign investments, regardless of value and investor, are subject to review in order to identify any possible concerns related to national security. This rigorous review involves several steps and is conducted by, and in consultation with, the government's national security agencies, including Public Safety Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, or RCMP, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, as well as the Communications Security Establishment of Canada.
I can assure all Canadians that this government is taking its mandate very seriously, which is to protect national security. The hon. member for Windsor West raised the issue of a recent review of national security that received media coverage. The act limits the level of detail that can be disclosed on specific issues, and these limits are important to prevent causing commercial harm to Canadian companies and unduly compromising national security.
However, I can address this generally. Let's make something clear: this government has not cancelled a previous cabinet order. After more than a year of pending litigation challenging the legality of the previous order which, had it been overturned by the court, would have left no measures in place to protect national security, this government has consented to a court order allowing it to conduct another review in accordance with the act. The new review was conducted in collaboration with security agencies…
View Brian Masse Profile
View Brian Masse Profile
2017-09-19 18:48 [p.13265]
Madam Speaker, the parliamentary secretary is battling a cold, so I appreciate him spending time here this evening for this debate, which is very important.
I would like to highlight a couple of important points. It seems odd, in a country like ours, that we are concerned about the court system looking at national security protection for Canadians and jobs against a non-democratic government. It is important that we look through that lens. The concerns I raised were part of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, which raised this in Washington. As well, at the time, security officials recommended against the takeover, saying the technology transfer would give China access to advanced military laser technology and would diminish Canadian allied military advantages.
My concern is that once it is out the door with China, its relationship with other countries like North Korea is something we cannot control. That technology should be under control.
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
View David Lametti Profile
2017-09-19 18:49 [p.13266]
Madam Speaker, as I already mentioned, because of the confidentiality provisions of the Investment Canada Act, I cannot comment in detail on specific cases. However, Canadians can rest assured that, under the act, foreign investments are subject to a rigorous national security due diligence process. The multi-step process for national security reviews is clearly set out in the law, and the government follows the law in all cases. This government welcomes foreign investment for the benefits it brings to the Canadian economy, including the opportunities it provides for Canadian businesses to compete in world markets.
View James Bezan Profile
Madam Speaker, I rise today to join with my colleagues, the Conservatives, especially the foreign affairs critic, the member for Thornhill, who clearly articulated why this motion is unrealistic.
I know that New Democrats have a utopian view of the world. They would like to get to a peace-loving and homogeneous situation where everyone gets along. It is very unlikely that we will ever get to that state. We know that there are many bad players out there today. We have worked for a long time to try to reduce nuclear weapons, but an all-out ban, which the conference in the motion the NDP has brought forward is calling for, is unattainable.
The Conservative government worked hard over its 10 years to reduce the number of nuclear weapons in the possession of foreign governments and other international actors. It worked to prevent not just nuclear weapons but chemical weapons and biological weapons because of the traumatic effect they have on the lives of the innocent.
There have not been nuclear weapons on Canadian soil since 1984, and that goes back to the work done by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and the Conservative government of the day to make sure that nuclear weapons were no longer stored on Canadian soil. Since then, government after government, Conservative and Liberal, have signed treaties and international agreements at the UN and with a number of organizations, including NATO, the G8, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the Conference on Disarmament, to reduce the number of nuclear weapons available in the world.
We definitely need to work on stopping proliferation, but that is not happening. We need to work at reduction. That worked for a while between Russia and the United States, but now we are seeing the number of nuclear weapons increase.
Of course, we all want their eventual elimination, but this is not Shangri-La. We have to continue to drive ahead to try to reduce nuclear proliferation and to make sure that fissionable materials are not there for rogue states and terrorist organizations to get their hands on to produce nuclear warheads. The reality is that we cannot do it through an all-out ban. That is why the agreement the NDP is asking the government to support is unrealistic. Our NATO allies, western democracies, and the major UN nations that possess nuclear warheads are not participating in these talks. What is the purpose of it, then?
I am a member of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, an organization that represents more than 800 parliamentarians from 80 countries. It is something I am proud to belong to. However, it is about stopping proliferation, and that is not happening.
As I mentioned, the threat environment is still there. Not only is North Korea continuing to test its ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads but Iran still desires to produce its own nuclear warheads, and of course, aim them at the state of Israel, the United States, and other western allies. We know that the Iranian regime has the ability to ramp up its nuclear production, nuclear testing, and ballistic missile development in a very short period of time. The P5+1 agreement that was signed, which released all the cash held in escrow by the international community against the Iranian regime, did not take away Iran's ability to produce nuclear warheads. All it did was pause it, and Iran mothballed 85% to 95% of its production capacity. It can very quickly ramp up its testing, development, and ultimately, the use of a nuclear warhead.
I also have to point out what is happening in terrorist organizations. All we have to do is look not just at the proliferation of nuclear warheads but the proliferation of cruise missiles. In the conflict we see today in Yemen, the Houthi rebels are fighting the Yemen government that is supported by Saudi Arabia. They came into possession of cruise missiles. We are talking ballistic cruise missiles that have the capability of carrying nuclear warheads. They fired a cruise missile at a U.S. destroyer, not once but twice, and the U.S. navy was able to take out the truck from which they launched it.
People need to realize that we need the ability to defend ourselves. When our major partners, the United States, France, Great Britain, and Israel, possess these nuclear warheads and the ability to shoot them down, then we have to be aligned with them. As was pointed out by the member for Thornhill, other members of NATO also hold the same position.
We also have to look at the threat environment because of President Vladimir Putin from Russia. The Russian state continues to rattle its nuclear sabre. Putin has been bragging about having the most nuclear warheads in the world. He has also said that he wants to move nuclear warheads into areas where he wants to protect the Russian population. In 2016, he said, “We need to strengthen the strategic nuclear forces”. He wants to put them in Crimea. He wants to put them in the Baltic states in the Russian oblast of Kaliningrad, which is nestled right in there with Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia. We are putting our troops into Latvia as part of our NATO mission. He said that he would do it, that he had talked with colleagues and told them that it was their historic territory, that Russian people lived there, they were in danger, and they could not leave them. He is going to put in nuclear warheads to do that.
That is one of the most telling factors of why we need to have deterrence measures, not just by putting troops in Latvia, not just by providing air policing, not just by having more NATO members spend more money on national defence and our collective security. It means that some members of the NATO alliance need their own nuclear weapons so it does not become a one-sided fight.
If the western democracy and NATO allies took away all of our nuclear weapons, as the member for Thornhill said, “You don't take a knife to a gun fight”, it is more like what we would call surrender. We need like power and the ability to defend and deter, first and foremost. That is what nuclear weapons were used for in the Cold War and in the recent past.
There was success under the Reagan administration to reduce the number of nuclear weapons. Ukraine of course gave up all of its nuclear warheads. Unfortunately, Russia today, under Vladimir Putin and his oligarchs and his kleptocrats, continues to move forward with investments in developing more nuclear warheads.
As has already been pointed out, nuclear powers like the United States, France, the U.K., South Korea, Turkey, Russia, China, and almost 40 other countries have boycotted the negotiations for such a treaty because it is naive and it is unattainable. It is also at a time when North Korea continues to try to launch its own ballistic missiles with the capability of carrying nuclear material.
Ballistic missile defence has matured. The technology is great. It is effective to deal with North Korea, or Iran, or a non-state actor firing up a ballistic missile. However, it cannot deal with a bombardment of nuclear weapons from China or Russia. For anyone who thinks there is a shield out there that can protect North America from incoming nuclear weapons from Russia or China, I am sorry to say that it is not possible. There are not enough interceptors in the U.S. arsenal or in the arsenals any of our allies to shoot down that many warheads. It becomes a situation where we need the deterrents and our own potential of threat by our allies to possess these nuclear warheads.
I will close with this quote from the U.S. ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, who said this about these talks:
We would love to have a ban on nuclear weapons, but in this day and time we can't honestly say we can protect our people by allowing bad actors to have them and those of us that are good trying to keep peace and safety not to have them.
It is just about balance. We need to continue to have that to reduce the risk.
View Pierre-Luc Dusseault Profile
View Pierre-Luc Dusseault Profile
2017-06-08 11:54 [p.12288]
Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today in the House to speak to the important issue of nuclear disarmament and the nuclear issue in general. This issue is important to all members no matter what they have said about it. There seems to be consensus for a world free of nuclear weapons. However, there seems to be a divergence of opinions among Conservatives and Liberals on how to achieve that.
This is a fine example of how we can work constructively as members in the House. I was elected to do constructive work.
I am pleased to take part in this debate and support the motion moved by my colleague from Laurier—Sainte-Marie. The hon. member for Edmonton Strathcona and my colleague worked hard to move this motion today. I thank them because this is a good example of constructive work by the opposition; we are proposing something instead of always opposing things. This is a good example of the good work that the NDP does to advance ideas and propose tangible measures, in this case on the nuclear issue.
In my opinion, this is one of the most important issues for humanity. This is about the survival of our species and that of every other species on earth. This is a sensitive topic for me given all the many victims nuclear weapons have claimed around the world in the past—a not so distant past, at that. One victim would have been too many, but tens of thousands of people were affected and continue to be affected. The fallout from these weapons can still be felt years, generations after they were deployed.
I cannot begin to fathom why states and governments continue to fund nuclear weapon development, on top of defending the notion that this is a question of self-defence and, as such, countries should be able to keep stockpiling these weapons and fighting fire with fire. Amassing even more nuclear weapons is not really the way we want to go.
The current narrative seems to almost encourage nuclear proliferation. Countries produce nuclear weapons in the hopes of protecting themselves, fearing one will be used against them. That does not make sense to me. Continuing in that direction is much too dangerous. I am not an expert on the topic, but I assume that states with these weapons have adequate means of protecting them.
There is nonetheless a risk that these weapons could fall into the wrong hands. Some could decide to use them in the near future. Knowing that those weapons could fall into the hands of very ill-intentioned people is a major concern for our country, for the entire world, and for me.
Clearly, one has to be of ill intent to use nuclear weapons. There is no way to use such weapons for good, but some might use them anyway. These weapons falling into the wrong hands would certainly put humanity in jeopardy. The danger is real, as we have seen other types of weapons fall into the hands of terrorist groups. That is why the possibility of nuclear weapons falling into such hands is so worrisome.
I am also very surprised today to see the Liberals using the same argument the Conservatives used regarding international agreements to fight climate change. They claimed that these agreements would be of little to no value without the participation of major powers like China and the United States. That was the argument used by the Conservatives on climate change. That was also the reason we withdrew from the Kyoto protocol. They claimed it would be ineffective without the major players.
Today, the Liberals are using the same argument. They say some people like to sit around the table to discuss important topics and dream, but that, in the end, it changes nothing. If we had had the same attitude about climate change, we would never have had an agreement like the Kyoto protocol, much less the Paris accord.
We will never make any progress by constantly saying that we will wait for someone else to start the work before joining in. That is a very disappointing attitude from the Liberals. They wait for others to do the work and for the biggest players to sit at the table and, in the meantime, they leave the real power in the hands of the other powers.
As a country, we can work constructively on negotiations. That is why we propose that Canada return to the table to do constructive work that will finally show results. That is what we did with climate change, and we are all happy that this worked and led to the Paris accord.
We must have the same vision and work together, as we did on climate change. We were able to bring almost all powers to the table, and that actually gave results.
I would also like to point out that there are other types of treaties, such as those on chemical weapons. The Conservatives and Liberals say that an agreement on nuclear disarmament would never work, while the chemical weapons treaty shows that the work was quite effective. We can therefore draw on the work done in that negotiating forum to ban the use of chemical weapons and punish those who use them.
I humbly propose that the House examine this issue and draw inspiration from what has been done on that file. We were able to bring the major powers to the table and they agreed to ban chemical weapons. That is certainly something that the members can draw on.
The Minister of Foreign affairs said that Canada wanted to engage anew in multilateral and international forums, naming almost all of them, and go against the approach of the Conservatives, who primarily favoured bilateral relations. Well, today, she has the opportunity to engage in multilateral negotiations on nuclear disarmament.
Now we are told that it is not necessary and that it will not work, when two days ago the Minister announced that she wanted to engage anew in multilateral forums. There is therefore a contradiction. I hope that the Liberals will act on that new engagement by the Minister and support this motion to engage in negotiations.
I would be pleased to answer questions from my colleagues.
View Sheri Benson Profile
View Sheri Benson Profile
2017-06-08 12:29 [p.12292]
Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Nanaimo—Ladysmith.
I would like to dedicate my remarks today to the late Dr. John Bury and his wife Betsy Bury, both local constituents of mine who have been working for peace for the past 60 years. Their efforts, a lifetime of dedication to peace and particularly nuclear disarmament, were recognized and honoured in our city when the couple were awarded the 2014 Joanna Miller Peace Prize.
The Joanna Miller Peace Prize in Saskatoon was established in 2013 to honour the late Joanna Miller for her years of activism, for peace, both within the Saskatoon community and globally as well. She was the president of UNICEF Canada, an active member of Project Ploughshares, and of particular note, because of the conversation we are having today, a special adviser on disarmament to the Canadian delegation to the United Nations.
Both John and Betsy were veterans of World War II. Because of this shared experience, they realized we must work for peaceful resolutions to world conflicts. They were longtime active members of the Saskatoon branch of Veterans against Nuclear Arms.
Betsy no longer has John by her side. John died at the age of 92 this past Christmas. The Saskatoon community will miss John and his thoughtful, well-researched letters to the editor in the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. I know Betsy and many others in my community will continue to work for peace and disarmament in his honour. Therefore, it is a privilege for me to rise today to have an opportunity to speak to the opposition day motion and of course support it wholeheartedly.
I am sure my colleagues in this House have noticed that all around us, frantic preparations are under way for the big Canada Day party that will be held on Parliament Hill in a couple of weeks. As Canadians celebrate our nationhood and the country we call home, it behooves us to also reflect on our role on the world stage, past, present and future. It is a matter of immense pride to Canadians that we have worked for peace, an end to apartheid, and disarmament, no matter the party in power.
It is true that Canada has lost some stature over the last decade or so. With the election of the Liberals in 2015, we heard the claims that Canada was back. Sadly, it does sound like another piece of empty rhetoric. Canada cannot be back if we continue to boycott the talks for a nuclear ban treaty.
In the much-anticipated “reveal” of Canada's new foreign policy direction, the Minister of Foreign Affairs stood in the House and trumpeted that Canada would chart its own course, no longer in lock-step with the United States, and in defiance of President Trump's wishes if it went against the best interests of Canada.
The Minister mentioned the United Nations last after mentioning nine other multilateral forums the Liberals would support. There was absolutely nothing about the threat of nuclear weapons in her entire speech. Is this really how the government intends to win on the UN Security Council?
If Canada is to get a seat on the UN Security Council, we need a campaign that is bold, global and pertinent. Leading a global effort on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament should be a cornerstone of that campaign. Instead, there has been a deafening silence and a refusal to attend negotiations for a nuclear ban treaty.
The need to act on nuclear disarmament is clear. Nuclear weapons threaten our collective existence, especially in the hands of non-state actors, such as Daesh, also known as ISIS or ISIL, and belligerent countries, such as North Korea. The financial cost to build, maintain and refurbish nuclear weapons is totally unsustainable. The proliferation of nuclear weapons also raises the risk of false alarms that could lead to inadvertent use.
In the late 1980s and 1990s, incredible global progress was made in the reduction of nuclear weapons, leading to a period of peace and prosperity, then the momentum was lost in the early 2000s following 9/11.
In 2007, there was a resurgence of optimism with a surprisingly idealistic op-ed by George Shultz, William Perry, Henry A. Kissinger, and Sam Nunn. Titled “A World Free of Nuclear Weapons”, this bipartisan offering pleaded with the world to get serious about nuclear disarmament. This was followed in April 2009, by President Obama's historic speech in Prague that echoed President Reagan's vision, and then UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon's five-point plan on the subject in August of that same year. Sadly, since that time we have seen very little, if any, progress.
The world needs leadership and action on nuclear disarmament and Canada more than any other country is well positioned to move things forward. It is important to remember the political and historical capital we have to make a significant impact on nuclear disarmament. As a country that has never developed nuclear weapon, we have some credibility. As a G7 nation and a member of NATO, the Commonwealth, and the Francophonie, we have global connectivity. We have some of the best experts in diplomacy, science, and verification of nuclear weapons. No other country can make these claims.
In the face of this challenge are we ready to put forward serious ideas that will allow Canada to take its place at the UN Security Council and contribute to a more stable world? I hope and think the answer must be yes.
Yesterday, I was honoured to listen to a survivor of Hiroshima, Setsuko Thurlow, speak and advocate for a world without nuclear weapons. We all know the powerful and destructive impact these weapons have. Every high school student studies the end of the Second World War, and every August, we remember the victims and events that led to the use of these devastating weapons.
We live in a world where nuclear arsenals are multiplying. Ninety-five per cent of nuclear weapons are held between the United States and Russia. Furthermore, other nations strive to obtain these weapons as a measure of strength. Nine nations, including our allies, hold over, as has been mentioned but it is worth mentioning again, 15,000 nuclear warheads. A single one can kill millions of people and destroy the surrounding environment for decades.
We lived through the fear that permeated the Cold War and now live in fear of non-state actors acquiring these weapons. Unregulated, uncontrolled, and unmonitored nuclear development leaves Canadians, leaves our world, vulnerable.
In 2010, Parliament unanimously passed a motion to seek a way to negotiate an end to nuclear weapons. The majority of countries in the world are really fed up with the foot dragging on disarmament and they are orchestrating an end run around the nine nuclear states. The UN negotiations are a long-sought breakthrough for the disarmament community and the countries that feel held hostage by weapons they do not possess.
Former parliamentarian Douglas Roche, like many in the Canadian disarmament community, said that there was only one thing wrong with the UN talks, “Canada isn’t taking part. “I see this exercise in very positive terms, and it’s shocking that Canada is not going to participate.”
The two greatest security threats in our world today are cyberwarfare and terrorism. The proliferation of nuclear weapons makes it all the more likely that somewhere, eventually, a country's system will be without the cyber-defence measures needed to protect it from attack. All the more likely is that a nuclear weapon will be lost or stolen and end up in hands that would choose to use it.
I am looking for the government to lead again in the world community towards peace and nuclear disarmament. If ever there were a time and a place for Canadian leadership, it is now, at the UN, at the table, negotiating a ban on nuclear weapons.
I implore all Canadians, the majority of whom believe in a ban, to contact their MPs and talk to the government so we can once again take a seat at that important table.
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
2017-06-08 13:00 [p.12296]
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the very hon. member for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell.
It is an honour to rise in this venerable House to speak on a topic of great importance, not only to the residents of my riding of Davenport, but to Canada, and indeed the world. Before I give my prepared speech, I want to say that on the surface, by the government not supporting this NDP motion, it seems that the government is saying we do not support nuclear disarmament, that this is not an issue of great importance to the government. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The federal government, which I am proud to be a part of, is strongly supportive of taking concrete action toward nuclear disarmament. We are taking a leadership role and meaningful steps toward achieving a world that is free of nuclear weapons. The bottom line of why we are not supporting the motion is that we think the current discussions on this convention are premature. I will give more context over the course of the next nine minutes about why we are on the current path we are on today, and why engaging this draft convention is not the right step at this moment.
In 2008, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon outlined his signature five-point plan addressing the topic of security in a world that is free of nuclear weapons. I am going to outline those five points in his proposal, because we are largely following it. We believe it is the right step-by-step approach toward a nuclear arms free world.
The first point he outlined is that all parties to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, especially the nuclear weapons states, should fulfill their obligation to enter into negotiations on effective measures leading to nuclear disarmament. He suggested the negotiation of a comprehensive nuclear weapons convention. He circulated and updated a document called the “Model Nuclear Weapons Convention” to UN member states earlier that year. This model convention was 80 pages long, with 20 articles, and five separate indexes. It was quite extensive, and it outlined the use, possession, development, testing, deployment, and transfer of nuclear weapons. Most importantly perhaps, it would mandate the internationally verifiable dismantlement of nuclear arsenals.
In contrast, the draft convention on the prohibition of nuclear weapons, which is currently what we are talking about, and currently under negotiation at the United Nations, is a mere eight pages long. Unlike the comprehensive convention that I just mentioned, the proposed convention concentrates primarily on legal prohibitions. It contains no provisions to eliminate even a single nuclear weapon, or any verification measures. Moreover, as mentioned, no nuclear weapon states are participating in these negotiations, because they do not take into account the current international security context of Russian military expansionism, or North America's testing of nuclear devices and ballistic missiles, designed to threaten the whole Asia-Pacific region, including North America. Sadly, this convention is premature and will be ineffective in advancing tangible nuclear disarmament.
Let me be clear: Canada strongly favours the negotiation of a nuclear weapons convention or ban, but as the final step in a progressive step-by-step approach to nuclear disarmament. We believe that there needs to be three other steps first: the universalization of a nuclear non-proliferation treaty, entry into force of the comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty, and the negotiation of a fissile material cut-off treaty. We believe these are mutually enforcing steps and mutually enforcing instruments. This approach aims to halt the spread of nuclear weapons and nuclear explosive testing, reduce existing nuclear weapons and fissile material stockpiles, and build the trust and confidence to verifiably and irreversibly eliminate nuclear weapons.
This is why Canada, last year, led a very successful UN General Assembly resolution to establish a high-level expert participatory group, to clear the path for the eventual negotiation of a fissile material cut-off treaty, or FMCT, to ban the production of the explosive materials used in nuclear weapons. By pursuing the important technical work of a FMCT in the 25-member UN preparatory group that we chair, Canada hopes to be able to present the conference on disarmament with draft treaty provisions that will enable this body to commence negotiations on this important agreement.
The Secretary-General also identified the need for more investment by governments in disarmament verification research and development. I am pleased to let Canadians know that the Government of Canada has actively responded to this call by providing expert input to the International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification.
Officials and experts from Global Affairs Canada, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, and the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories are making important contributions to addressing the technical challenges of nuclear disarmament verification. This important work is aimed at building global nuclear disarmament verification capabilities. It is essential for the successful implementation of a comprehensive nuclear weapons convention and is a key element of our pragmatic step-by-step approach to disarmament.
I am also pleased to announce that Canada, through Global Affairs weapons of mass destruction threat reduction program, has just provided a financial contribution to help support the work of the international partnership over the next year. Not only are we saying that we are getting engaged, not only are we actively involved in it, but we are actually funding this commitment.
The second point of the Secretary-General's five-point proposal was his call for the nuclear weapons states to assure non-nuclear weapons states that they will not be the subject of the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.
These assurances are also known as negative security assurances, NSAs. Canada has been a proponent of such guarantees. We are the leading participant in the 12-member non-proliferation and disarmament initiative, NPDI. We have worked closely with our partners to develop ideas in the form of papers, and to promote these assurances in the international arena, most recently in the 2017 preparatory committee for the 2020 nuclear non-proliferation treaty review conference meeting in Vienna in May.
The third point in the Secretary-General's plan is a very important one. It calls for existing nuclear arrangements and agreements, like the comprehensive nuclear test-ban treaty, CTBT, which prohibits the testing of nuclear weapons, for instance, nuclear weapons free zones, and strengthened safeguards, which need to be accepted by states and brought into force.
In support of this approach, the former minister of foreign affairs joined the ministerial meeting of the friends of the comprehensive nuclear test-ban treaty at the UN General Assembly in pointedly calling for the remaining eight states to ratify the agreement immediately to bring it into force.
For our part, we have passed legislation to implement the CTBT when it enters into force, and we have completed the installation of 16 monitoring stations as part of this agreement.
The fourth point that the Secretary-General made is on his call for nuclear powers to expand the amount of information they publish about the size of their arsenals, stocks of fissile materials, and specific disarmament achievements. Members will be pleased to hear that Canada has taken a leading role in promoting greater transparency by the nuclear weapon states in their reporting of their nuclear weapons stocks. Within the non-proliferation and disarmament initiative, Canada has developed a standard reporting form, which we are asking nuclear weapon states to use for their regular reports on the implementation of their nuclear disarmament obligations under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.
We firmly believe that reporting is an effective instrument for increasing transparency on nuclear disarmament activities and for greater accountability. More needs to be done, of course, and Canada and our partners in the NDPI are committed to working with the nuclear powers to improve their reporting through concerted follow-up efforts.
The Secretary-General's final point is that in addition to nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament efforts, complementary measures are also needed. Such measures include the elimination of other types of weapons of mass destruction, for example, chemical and biological weapons. New efforts need to be undertaken to prevent weapons of mass destruction terrorism; limit conventional arms; and ban new types of weapons, including missiles and space weapons.
Canada is a leader in pursuing these types of efforts. The government is making good on its commitment to accede to the Arms Trade Treaty, and investing $13 million to allow Canada to implement the treaty and further strengthen its export control regime.
Canada is firmly committed to achieving a nuclear weapons free world. In conformity with the UN Secretary-General's five-point plan, we are pursuing a pragmatic step-by-step approach aimed at building the necessary confidence and trust needed for nuclear weapons to no longer be considered necessary for security.
I am proud to be able to say today that Canada is continuing its long tradition of leadership on disarmament issues, including strongly supporting this five-point plan.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Mr. Speaker, I certainly enjoy working with my colleague on human rights issues. There are cases when we agree, but I do not think this is one of them, unfortunately. In principle, Conservatives would reject the idea of unilateral disarmament. We certainly favour the idea of seeking disarmament on a multilateral basis, but when certain nations that are more likely to respect international law unilaterally disarm, that potentially puts them at risk relative to other nations.
I will read a quote from Margaret Thatcher and ask him to reflect on it. I am sure he is a big fan, by the way, as she was a strong female prime minister. She said:
A world without nuclear weapons may be a dream but you cannot base a sure defence on dreams. Without far greater trust and confidence between East and West than exists at present, a world without nuclear weapons would be less stable and more dangerous for all of us.
She said this in 1987. Is she not right that we create greater risks for ourselves through unilateral disarmament if we then give a strategic and military advantage to countries that do not share our values and do not have any regard for international law?
View Randall Garrison Profile
Mr. Speaker, I enjoy working with the hon. member, but he should know me well enough not to cite Margaret Thatcher to a gay man or expect me to agree with her on almost anything. I will say that she was absolutely wrong on most things, and I would include her quote on this as one of the things on which she was wrong.
When the member asks what the point is, he is sounding an awful lot like the Liberals, and it is one of the things I am getting used to in the chamber, these two parties sounding very much alike, even though one claims to have brought change. In response to his question, that is not the way diplomacy works. I would say that, even if I am naive and even if New Democrats are well meaning in their attitude to other countries, if the result of the negotiations was that one country gave up nuclear weapons, we would be one step closer to a safer world.
View Christine Moore Profile
Madam Speaker, one of the problems with having a minister from Ontario oversee the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec is that he does not understand the dynamics of Quebec and how it is the only province where we cannot negotiate directly with municipalities. Agreements need to be reached with the Government of Quebec. As a result of the minister's lack of understanding on this, Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec programs are not going so well.
The bill proposes simply to abolish the position. First the government appoints a minister from Ontario and then it insults Quebeckers by telling them that not only is a minister from Ontario going to take care of their province's economic development, but after that the position will simply cease to exist.
This does not make sense to me. I believe that we absolutely must go back to the arrangement where the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec was the responsibility of a Quebec minister or a minister representing this region. I believe that we must absolutely go back to that.
One thing is for sure: this provision alone is reason enough for me to oppose the bill. Not only does this make absolutely no sense, but ministers of state will now be paid the same as ministers, even if they do not have the same duties, responsibilities or officials to manage.
Why are they doing this? In truth, it is not out of fairness, but simply to correct the mistake that the Prime Minister made when he unveiled his original cabinet. It is all well and good to say that a gender parity in cabinet has been achieved because there are as many women as there are men; nonetheless there is still the issue of the responsibilities given to the women. That was problematic from the very beginning.
The six most important positions in cabinet, apart from the Prime Minister, are the following: the Minister of Public Safety, a man; the Minister of Foreign Affairs, a man, Stéphane Dion, when the Prime Minister formed his cabinet in 2015; the President of the Treasury Board, a man; the Minister of Finance, a man; the Minister of National Defence, a man; and the Minister of Justice, a woman. Of the six most important positions in the Government of Canada, there was originally only one woman. A cabinet shuffle rectified this. Now, the Minister of Foreign Affairs is a woman, because they decided to send Mr. Dion abroad. There is that at least, but there is still no gender balance when it comes to the six most important positions.
There are three House officer positions. When the cabinet was formed after the election, in 2015, the chief whip was a man, the member for Orléans; the Leader of the Government in the House was a man, big surprise, the name of his riding escapes me, but he is the current Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard. Lastly, there is obviously the leader, a man; the caucus chair, although chosen by the caucus, not the Prime Minister, is also a man. Originally, the House officers were men.
The Prime Minister made a mistake. For him, gender balance is as easy as putting 15 people on one side and 15 people on the other. However, we must never forget about the responsibilities that are given to women.
Madam Speaker, your title is the assistant deputy speaker. I do not believe that you would expect to have the same salary as the Speaker of the House, because you do not have the same duties or responsibilities. However, we recognize your role and importance. The House held an election. We have to stop thinking that, for true fairness to come about, all it takes is to give everyone the same pay. Equality must also involve the responsibilities given to people. That is the problem we have at the moment.
The government did not decide to create departments and expand job descriptions so that ministers of state would be ministers in their own right who deserved the same salary. No one can tell me that the Minister of Sport and the Minister of National Defence deserve the same salary because their responsibilities, at least as they stand now, are completely different. Just think about their budgets and how many public servants they have working for them. It is obvious that they are not the same at all.
Let us also remember that there are many qualified women that the Prime Minister could have appointed. He could have made different choices. For example, the member for Vancouver Centre has been here since 1993. She has been in the House longer than any other female MP. However, the Prime Minister chose to appoint other people. Those are his personal choices. The member for Kanata—Carleton has a great deal of experience as a member of the military. The Prime Minister could have appointed her to be the defence minister instead of the member for Vancouver South, but he did not.
Now the Prime Minister needs to take responsibility for his decisions. He is the one who appointed his cabinet as he saw fit and created the inequality in the duties and responsibilities entrusted to women. The solution is simple, and it is not a bill to change people's salaries, but rather a cabinet shuffle.
If the Prime Minister would like, we could name some ministers who were so-so, such as the Minister of National Defence who decided to take credit for the success of an operation. The Prime Minister could put a woman in that position. Only once in the history of Canada have we had a woman defence minister, namely, Kim Campbell, who was appointed to the position following the massacre in Rwanda because it looked better to have a woman managing such a file.
After thinking things through over the summer, the Prime Minister could decide to appoint a woman defence minister. In fact, if he were to do so, it would bring some balance to the six top posts in the Government of Canada. There would be three women and three men, so that would be an improvement. However, he could do even better and be even more ground-breaking by appointing a woman finance minister. That has never been done before. He could decide to do that.
Rather than trying to have its bill adopted by force, by using time allocation motions, he should simply use the good old method of a cabinet shuffle, reflect on the ways he wants to distribute additional tasks, and ensure that women have real leadership roles in the Canadian government, instead of trying to raise their salaries and minimize the mistake he made when he put together a cabinet that has equal representation solely in terms of numbers, and not in terms of responsibilities.
I hope that the Prime Minister will seriously consider my question, ask that Bill C-24 be withdrawn, and do what everyone would do: shuffle the cabinet to rebalance the distribution of responsibilities between the men and women in his cabinet.
View Chrystia Freeland Profile
Lib. (ON)
That the House (a) recognize that the government is committed to a foreign policy that supports multilateralism and rules-based international systems, human rights, gender equality, the fight against climate change, and economic benefits being shared by all; (b) recognize that further leadership on the part of Canada is both desirable and required; and (c) support the government’s decision to use the foregoing principles to guide Canadian foreign policy.
She said: Mr. Speaker, here is a question. Is Canada an essential country at this time in the life of our planet? Most of us here would agree that it is, but if we assert this, we are called to explain why and we are called to consider the specifics of what we must do as a consequence.
International relationships that had seemed immutable for 70 years are being called into question. From Europe to Asia, to our own North American home, long-standing pacts that have formed the bedrock of our security and prosperity for generations are being tested. New shared human imperatives, the fight against climate change first among them, call for renewed, uncommon resolve.
Turning aside from our responsibilities is not an option. Instead, we must think carefully and deeply about what is happening and find a way forward. By definition, the path we choose must be one that serves the interests of all Canadians and upholds our broadly held national values. It must be one that preserves and nurtures Canadian prosperity and security, and that contributes to our collective goal of a better, safer, more just, prosperous, and sustainable world, one we can pass on to our children and grandchildren with a sense of having done the right thing in our time.
This is no small order. It is what I would like to spend a few minutes talking about today.
Since before the end of the Second World War, beginning with the international conference at Bretton Woods in 1944, Canada has been deeply engaged in, and greatly enjoyed the benefits of, a global order. These were principles and standards that were applied, perhaps not perfectly at all times by all states, but certainly by the vast majority of democratic states, most of the time.
The system had at its heart the core notions of territorial integrity, human rights, democracy, respect for the rule of law, and an aspiration to free and friendly trade. The common volition toward this order arose from a fervent determination not to repeat the mistakes of the immediate past. Humankind had learned through the direct experience of horror and hardship that the narrow pursuit of national self-interest, the law of the jungle, led to nothing but carnage and poverty.
Two global conflicts and the Great Depression, all in the span of less than half a century, taught our parents and grandparents that national borders must be inviolate; that international trading relationships created not only prosperity but also peace; and that a true world community, one based on shared aspirations and standards, was not only desirable but essential to our very survival.
That deep yearning toward lasting peace led to the creation of international institutions that endure to this day with the nations of western Europe, together with their transatlantic allies, the United States and Canada, at their foundation.
In each of these evolutions in how we humans organize ourselves, Canadians played pivotal roles. There was Bretton Woods itself, where the Canadian delegation was instrumental in drafting provisions of the fledgling International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. A few years later, in 1947, a Canadian, Dana Wilgress, played a leading role at the meetings in Geneva that led to the development of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the precursor to the WTO.
It is a Canadian, John Humphrey, who is generally credited as the principal author of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948. That was the first of what became a series of declarations to set international standards in this vital area.
Let us not neglect the great Canadian, perhaps best known for advancing the cause of humanitarian intervention, Lester B. Pearson. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for his leadership during the Suez crisis in 1956, for the creation of modern peacekeeping.
These institutions may seem commonplace today. We may take them for granted. We should not. Seventy years ago, they were revolutionary, and they set the stage for the longest period of peace and prosperity in our history. It was the same appreciation of the common interests of the human family in caring for our common home that led us to the acid rain treaty of the Mulroney era. It was what led us to the Montreal protocol of 1987 to phase out CFCs and preserve the ozone layer. It is what led us, ultimately, to Paris with 194 signatories at our side. That is global co-operation.
It is important to note that when sacrifice was required to support and strengthen the global order, military power in defence of our principles and alliances, Canada was there. In Suez, in Korea, in the Congo, in Cypress, in the first Gulf War, in the Balkans, in Afghanistan, up to and including today in Iraq, among many other places, Canada has been there. As the Prime Minister has often said, that is what Canadians do. We step up.
Today, it is worth reminding ourselves why we step up, why we devote time and resources to foreign policy, defence, and development, and why we have sent Canadian soldiers, sailors, aviators, diplomats, aid workers, intelligence officers, doctors, nurses, medics, and engineers into situations of danger, disaster, and chaos overseas, even at times when Canadian territory was not directly at risk.
Why do we spend billions on defence, if we are not immediately threatened? For some countries, Israel and Latvia come to mind, the answer is self-evident. Countries that face a clear and immediate existential challenge know they need to spend on military and foreign policy, and they know why.
For a few lucky countries, like Canada and the United States, that feel protected by geography and good neighbours, the answer is less obvious. Indeed, we could easily imagine a Canadian few who say that we are safe on our continent and we have things to do at home, so let us turn inward, let us say, “Canada first”.
Here is why that would be wrong.
First, though no foreign adversary is poised to invade us, we do face clear challenges. Climate change is a shared menace, affecting every single person on this planet. Civil war, poverty, drought, and natural disasters anywhere in the world threaten us as well, not least because these catastrophes spawn globally destabilizing mass migrations.
The dictatorship in North Korea, crimes against humanity in Syria, the monstrous extremists of Daesh, and Russian military adventurism and expansionism also all pose clear strategic threats to the liberal democratic world, including Canada. Our ability to act against such threats alone is limited. It requires co-operation with like-minded countries.
On the military front, Canada's geography has meant that we have always been able to count on American self-interest to provide a protective umbrella beneath which we have found indirect shelter. Some think, some even say, we should therefore free-ride on U.S. military power. Why invest billions to maintain a capable, professional, well-funded, and well-equipped Canadian military? The answer is obvious.
To rely solely on the U.S. security umbrella would make us a client state. Although we have an incredibly good relationship with our American friends and neighbours, such dependence would not be in Canada's interest. That is why doing our fair share is clearly necessary. It is why our commitment to NORAD and our strategic relationship with the United States is so critical. It is by pulling our weight in this partnership, and in all our international partnerships, that we, in fact, have weight.
To put it plainly, Canadian diplomacy and development sometimes require the backing of hard power. Force is, of course, always a last resort, but the principled use of force, together with our allies and governed by international law, is part of our history, and it must be a part of our future. To have that capacity requires substantial investment, which this government is committed to making. The Minister of National Defence will elaborate fully on that tomorrow. I know he will make Canadians justly proud.
Whatever their politics, Canadians understand that as a middle power living next to the world's only superpower, Canada has a huge interest in an international order based on rules, one in which might is not always right, one in which more powerful countries are constrained in their treatment of smaller ones by standards that are internationally respected, enforced, and upheld. The single most important pillar of this, which emerged following the carnage of the First and Second World Wars is the sanctity of borders, and that principle today is under siege. That is why the democratic world has united behind Ukraine.
The illegal seizure of Ukrainian territory by Russia is the first time since the end of the Second World War that a European power has annexed, by force, the territory of another European country. This is not something we can accept or ignore.
The atrocities of Daesh directly challenge both the sanctity of borders and the liberal international order itself. They create chaos, not only because of the carnage they perpetrate on their innocent victims but because of the humanitarian crises and migratory explosions that follow. This is why the world has united against this scourge. Violent extremism challenges our very way of life. We will always oppose it.
Another key benefit for Canada from an international system based on rules is, of course, free trade. In this sphere as well, beggar-thy-neighbour policies hit middle powers soonest and hardest. That is the implacable lesson of the 1930s and the Great Depression. Rising trade barriers hurt the people they are intended to help. They curb growth, stifle innovation, and kill employment. This is a lesson we should learn from history. We should not need to teach it to ourselves again through painful experience.
The international order an earlier generation built faces two big challenges, both unprecedented. The first is the rapid emergence of the global south and Asia, most prominently China, and the need to integrate these countries into the world’s economic and political system in a way that is additive, that preserves the best of the old order that preceded their rise, and that addresses the existential threat of climate change.
This is a problem that simply cannot be solved by nations working alone. We must work together.
I have focused these remarks on the development of the postwar international order, a process that was led primarily by the Atlantic powers of North America and western Europe, but we recognize that the global balance of power has changed greatly since then and will continue to evolve as more nations prosper.
The G20, in whose creation Canada was instrumental, was an early acknowledgement of this emerging reality. The countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia are ascendent, delivering ever-increasing living standards to fast-growing populations bursting with innovation, creativity, and enterprise.
This is not a trend any of us should fear. It is one we should embrace. Let us recognize that the peace and prosperity we in the west have enjoyed these past 70 years are desired by all and are increasingly within reach of all. As Canadians, let us be agents of that change. Let us seize the great opportunity we have now to help the people of the world's fastest-growing countries join the global middle class and the multilateral system that supports it. Peace and prosperity are every person's birthright.
The second great challenge is an exhaustion in the west of the belief among working people, the middle class, that the global system can help them better their lives. This is an enormous crisis of confidence. It has the potential, if we let it, to undermine global prosperity itself. At the root of this anxiety around the world is a pervasive sense that too many people have been left behind, betrayed by a system they were promised would make them better off but has not.
Here is the key. It is true that the system is flawed. However, international trade is the wrong target. The real culprit is domestic policies that fail to appreciate that continued growth and political stability depend on domestic measures that share the wealth.
Admittedly, this is a complicated problem. If there were easy solutions, everybody would be applying them. However, let us be clear on this point: it is wrong to view the woes of our middle class as the result of fiendish behaviour by foreigners. The truth is that the nature of work has changed because of profound, and generally benign, global economic innovation. This transformation, driven primarily by automation and the digital revolution, is broadly positive.
Managed fairly, it has the potential to increase prosperity for all, not just the global one percent. That means supporting families, supporting pensioners, and supporting education and retraining, as the Minister of Finance did in his recent budget.
By better supporting the middle class and those working hard to join it, Canada is defining an approach to globalization that can be a model. At the same time, we strongly support the global 2030 goals for sustainable development. The world abroad and the world at home are not two solitudes. They are connected. Likewise, by embracing multiculturalism and diversity, Canadians are embodying a way of life that works. We can say this in all humility, but also without any false self-effacement: Canadians know about living side by side with people of diverse origins and beliefs, whose ancestors hail from the far corners of the globe, in harmony and peace. We are good at it.
We say this in the full knowledge that we also have problems of our own to overcome, most egregiously the injustices suffered by indigenous people in Canada. We must never flinch from acknowledging this great failure, even as we do the hard work of seeking restoration and reconciliation.
It is clearly not our role to impose our values around the world. No one appointed us the world's policemen. However, it is our role to stand firmly for these rights, both in Canada and abroad. It is our role to provide refuge to the persecuted and downtrodden to the extent we are able, as we are so proud to have done for more than 40,000 Syrian refugees.
It is our role to set a standard for how states should treat women, gays and lesbians, transgendered people, racial, ethnic, cultural, linguistic, and religious minorities, and of course, indigenous people.
We can and must play an active role in the preservation and strengthening of the global order from which we have benefited so greatly. Doing so is in our interest, because our own open society is most secure in a world of open societies, and it is under threat in a world where open societies are under threat.
In short, Canadian liberalism is a precious idea. It would not survive long in a world dominated by the clash of great powers and their vassals struggling for supremacy, or at best, an uneasy détente. Canada can work for better. We must work for better.
Let me pause here and address the United States directly. As the Prime Minister said last week, Canada is deeply disappointed by the U.S. federal government's decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement on climate change.
That said, we will continue to seek opportunities for constructive progress on the environment, wherever we can find them, with our counterparts in Washington and across the great United States, at all levels of government and with partners in business, labour, and civil society.
As I have said, we Canadians can rightly be proud of the role we played in building the postwar order, and the unprecedented peace and prosperity that followed.
Even as we celebrate our own part in that project, it is only fair for us to acknowledge the larger contribution of the United States, for in blood, in treasure, in strategic vision, in leadership, America has paid the lion's share. The United States has truly been the indispensable nation. For their unique seven-decades-long contribution to our shared peace and prosperity, and on behalf of all Canadians, I would like to profoundly thank our American friends.
As I have argued, Canada believes strongly that this stable, predictable international order has been deeply in our national interest, and we believe it has helped foster peace and prosperity for our southern neighbours too, yet it would be naive or hypocritical to claim before the House that all Americans today agree. Indeed, many of the voters in last year's presidential election cast their ballots animated, in part, by a desire to shrug off the burden of world leadership. To say this is not controversial; it is simply a fact.
Canada is grateful and will always be grateful to our neighbour for the outsized role it has played in the world. We seek and shall continue to seek to persuade our friends that their continued international leadership is very much in their national interest, as well as that of the rest of the free world. We also recognize that this is ultimately not our decision to make. It is a choice Americans must make for themselves.
The fact that our friend and ally has come to question the very worth of its mantle of global leadership puts into sharper focus the need for the rest of us to set our own clear and sovereign course. For Canada, that course must be the renewal, indeed the strengthening, of the post-war multilateral order.
We will follow this path with open hands and open hearts extended to our American friends, seeking to make common cause, as we have so often in the past, and indeed, as we continue to do now on many fronts, from border security, to the defence of North America through NORAD, to the fight against Daesh, to our efforts within NATO, to nurturing and improving our trading relationship, which is the strongest in the world. At the same time, we will work with other like-minded people and countries that share our aims.
To put this in sharper focus, those aims are as follows.
First, we will robustly support the rules-based international order and all its institutions, and seek ways to strengthen and improve them. We will strongly support the multilateral forums where such discussions are held, including the G7, the G20, the OAS, APEC, the WTO, the Commonwealth, La Francophonie, the Arctic Council, and of course NATO and the UN.
A cornerstone of our multilateral agenda is our steadfast commitment to the transatlantic alliance. Our bond is manifest in CETA, our historic trade agreement with the European Union, which we believe in and warmly support, and in our military deployment this summer to Latvia.
There can be no clearer sign that NATO and article 5 are at the heart of Canada’s national security policy.
We will strive for leadership in all these multilateral forums. We are honoured to be hosting the G7 next year, and we are energetically pursuing a two-year term on the UN Security Council. We seek this UN seat because we wish to be heard, and we are safer and more prosperous when more of the world shares Canadian values.
Those values include feminism and the promotion of the rights of women and girls. It is important, and historic, that we have a Prime Minister and a government who are proud to proclaim themselves feminists. Women’s rights are human rights. That includes sexual reproductive rights.
That includes the right to safe and accessible abortions.
These rights are at the core of our foreign policy. To that end, in the coming days, my colleague the Minister of International Development and La Francophonie will unveil Canada’s first feminist international assistance policy, which will target the rights of women and girls as well as gender equality.
We will put Canada at the forefront of this global effort. This is a matter of basic justice and also basic economics. We know that empowering women overseas and here at home makes families and countries more prosperous. Canada’s values are informed by our historical duality of French and English; by our co-operative brand of federalism; by our multicultural, multi-ethnic, and multilingual citizenry; and by our geography, since our country bridges the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic.
Our values are informed by the traditions and aspirations of the indigenous people in Canada, and our values include an unshakeable commitment to pluralism, human rights, and the rule of law.
Second, we will make the necessary investments in our military, not only redress years of neglect and underfunding but also to place the Canadian Armed Forces on a new footing with the equipment, training, resources, and consistent, predictable financing they need to do their difficult, dangerous, and important work. We owe this to our women and men in uniform. We will not let them down.
Canada’s broader interest in investing in a capable, professional, and robust military is very clear. If middle powers do not implicate themselves in the furtherance of peace and stability around the world, that will be left to the great powers to settle among themselves. This would not be in Canada’s interest.
Third, we are a trading nation. Far from seeing trade as a zero-sum game, we believe in trading relationships that benefit all parties. We look forward to working with our continental partners to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement and to making a great partnership even better.
We will intensify our efforts to diversify Canadian trade worldwide. We will actively seek new trade agreements that further Canadian economic interests and that reflect our values, with the Canada-EU trade agreement as our template.
As I said, we are proud of the role Canada has played in creating a rules-based international trading order. We believe in the WTO and will continue our work to make it stronger and more responsive to the needs of ordinary people in Canada and around the world. We believe in progressive trade that works for working people. That is why we are very proud that this month, Canada will ratify the last of the fundamental conventions of the International Labour Organization.
In summary, we will be tireless in pursing our national interest, tireless in upholding progressive Canadian values, tireless in working to create a rules-based international order for the 21st century. Seventy years ago Canada played a pivotal role in forming the postwar international order. By virtue of our unique experience, expertise, geography, diversity, and values, we are now called to do this again for a new century.
These are ambitious objectives. There is no guarantee of success. We set them, not in the assumption that success will come easily but in the certain knowledge that it will not. We will venture in noble and good causes. We will risk, we will enjoy victories, and we will suffer defeats, but we will keep working toward a better world because that is what Canadians do.
Let me conclude on a personal note.
A popular criticism today of the arguments I am making here is that all such ideas are abstract, perhaps of interest to the so-called Laurentian elite, or the media or the Ottawa bubble, but not at all relevant to real Canadians. That line of reasoning is the ultimate elite condescension; it is nonsense.
In reply, I offer the example of my grandfather, John Wilbur Freeland. He was born in Peace River, Alberta, the son of a pioneer family. Wilbur was 24 in 1940, and making a bit of a living as a cowboy and boxer. His nickname was “Pretty Boy” Freeland. My grandpa was the opposite of an Upper Canada elite, but in the darkest days of the Second World War, Wilbur enlisted to serve. Two brothers, Carleton and Warren, joined up too. Wilbur and Carleton came home; Warren did not. My grandfather told me they signed up partly for the excitement. Europe, even at war, was an exotic destination for the young men of the Peace Country.
There was more to it than a young man’s thirst for adventure, though. My grandfather was one of a generation of Canadians who intuitively understood the connection between their lives and those of people they had never met, whose speech they could not comprehend, who lived on a continent so far away as to constitute, back then, another world.
That generation of Canadians, the greatest generation we call them with good reason, had survived the Great Depression. They were born in the aftermath of the First World War. They appreciated viscerally that a world without fixed borders or rules for the global economy was a world of strife and poverty. They sought to prevent that from ever happening again.
That is why they risked and gave their lives to fight in a European war. That is why, when they came home, they cheerfully contributed to the great project of rebuilding Europe and creating a postwar world order. That is why they counted themselves lucky to be able to do so.
They were our parents, our grandparents, and our great grandparents. The challenge we face today is significant, to be sure, but it pales next to the task they faced and met. Our job today is to preserve their achievement and to build on it, to use the multilateral structures they created as the foundation for global accords and institutions fit for the new realities of our century. They rose to their generation's great challenge, so can we.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Mr. Speaker, it would of course be unparliamentary for me to comment on the presence or absence of many members in the House during my remarks, but I am not surprised that members of the government backbench do not want to hear what I have to say. In fact, I know that many members of the government backbench are genuinely embarrassed about the policies of their own government with respect to these issues. I commend them for their shame when they listen to the words of the foreign affairs minister, who is clearly not willing to do basic things when it comes to international human rights. All the same, I invite them to look their own failings in the eye and participate and listen to this discussion, because it is only through honest confrontation of their failures that they can hopefully turn the corner.
I say all that with the best of regard, because we all have a stake in Canada turning a corner and returning to a principled foreign policy, one that actually measures up to the words spoken by the minister, but we are certainly not there now.
I was in the process of discussing the issue of defence spending and reminding members who are in the House now that it was the last president, President Barrack Obama, who spoke about the need for Canada to contribute more to our national defence and to our collective security. I am under no illusion that we can get to that 2% of GDP overnight, but we need to have a realistic plan to get there, because if Canada and other NATO partners are not realistically engaged in ensuring that we are meeting our obligations under NATO, then at some point, taxpayers in the United States are going to become frustrated, and it is going to add pressure and create some real problems for us.
This discussion was ongoing throughout the last number of months and years. I think many members of the government thought that finally, in budget 2017, we would see a substantial new investment in national defence. Actually, I did a panel with one member of the government, who, it seemed, was trying to send the signal, “Do not worry, we are going to make these investments. We recognize now the need for Canada to do more.” These were supposedly coming.
However, what did we see in budget 2017? Actually, in the budget, the Liberals cut $8.48 billion that had been earmarked for military equipment purchases. That, combined with last year's cut, actually brought us to a $12-billion shortfall. We had substantial cuts. This is what the Liberals telegraphed earlier, in their original throne speech, when they talked about having a leaner military. It was quite a contortion of language to do their best to make it sound as if it was a great thing having a leaner military.
When the government talks about cutting back the resources it gives our men and women in uniform, the defence is, “Our men and women in uniform do a great job, and we pull more than our weight, because our troops are so skilled at what they do.” Let me say clearly that on this side of the House, we agree with that phrase about Canada's armed forces. They do an excellent job, but I do not think anyone in the armed forces would tell us that they do not really need the resources and are doing more with less. The right way to acknowledge and recognize the great work done by our men and women in uniform is to give them the proper resources that allow them to do their job.
I do not think the minister mentioned NATO in her talk about international issues. NATO is obviously a critical multilateral institution that serves our interests. If we are not meeting our commitment sunder NATO to at least work toward that 2%, then we are putting the security of that alliance at great risk. The government is not moving toward 2%. It would have been unrealistic to expect that budget 2017 would bring us to 2%, but it is not moving us toward 2%. It is actually moving us away from 2%.
The minister talks about the importance of collective security, about the importance of our being engaged internationally on all of these issues, about the importance of responding to groups like Daesh and being part of NATO, and about the importance of defending Canada's interests in eastern Europe, the importance of defending Latvia and being present in Poland and other places. There are many different hot spots and threats around the world, places where Canada can be present, as well of course as at the discussion of prospective peacekeeping operations in Africa.
The minister talks about all of these things and yet the Minister of National Defence is cutting back on expenditures in our military. There is pretty clear dissonance here.
The person who wrote the minister's speech that was given today clearly did not reflect enough on the government's record. In a way, the government's approach is condemned through the very words of the minister. The minister said that nations that do not properly invest in their own defence risk becoming client states of other nations, and yet she is choosing—or perhaps I should blame her colleague or the government as a whole—to pull back its spending on the military. Again, there is an area of clear dissonance between the reality of the government's record and the flowing words we heard in the speech.
Let me talk about Sir Lanka. During the election, the government made very specific commitments about supporting justice and reconciliation in Sri Lanka. When I raised these issues during committee of the whole, the Minister of Foreign Affairs said she wanted to assure the committee and the House that she was very concerned about the situation and that she had, and I am paraphrasing here, good feelings and feelings of solidarity towards the people in that situation.
Expressing goodwill inside the Canadian House of Commons is not enough for the people on the ground who are suffering as a result of human rights abuses, especially when the government made specific commitments to be involved in supporting the advancement of justice and human rights on the ground. Again there is clear dissonance.
I have mentioned Saudi Arabia in my questions. The Liberal government's approach to Saudi Arabia really is quite striking. Saudi Arabia does not give basic citizenship rights or basic human rights to women, but that does not mean we cannot have a strategic partnership on certain kinds of issues.
It is important for us to engage with countries with whom we disagree, and confront issues of fundamental disagreement while working together on areas of strategic interest. Our relationship with Saudi Arabia is quite important in terms of how we collaborate and in terms of how we counter the influence of Iran in the region. I want to be clear that it is not a situation where we should have no engagement with Saudi Arabia.
If we are going to have engagement with countries with whom we disagree, we have to be clear and unapologetic about stating what our values are. If we are having a relationship with a country and that country is doing things that violate fundamental human rights, it is not difficult but in fact necessary for us to be specific and identify those issues.
If we have an interest in working with other countries and other countries have an interest in working with us, that collaboration is still going to happen, and it is going to happen very clearly with Saudi Arabia. There are opportunities to collaborate on things that are important for Saudi interests. which are not going to be lost, not going to disappear. If the minister were to have the courage to simply say that it is a bad thing for Saudi Arabia to be on the UN women's rights commission, that would not change Saudi Arabia's interests with respect to its relationship with Canada.
If the Prime Minister were to speak more clearly, or if he were to speak at all, about human rights in China, it would not change the fact that China still has an interest in accessing Canadian energy. It would not change the basic logic of the economic relationship. What do we have to lose by being true to who we are? The minister asked if Canada was an essential country. I say yes, but we have to be true to who we are.
With respect to the minister's speech, we had a lot of discussion on the issue of the environment, greenhouse gas emissions, and the government's response. I find what the government has said and done really interesting. Of course, we know that under the last Liberal government there was a dramatic increase in overall greenhouse gas emissions. The approach of the Chrétien government was to put all of the emphasis on this idea of signing a big international agreement. It signed the Kyoto protocol and launched major promotional advertising to let Canadians know that it had signed on to being part of this response to global greenhouse gas emissions. Basically, it did nothing else. Global emissions went up. Canadian emissions went up.
Then we had that glorious day, January 23, 2006, when Stephen Harper won the election. Under the Harper Conservative government, greenhouse gas emissions went down. Every time I say this, people scoff and shake their heads. Look at the numbers. Greenhouse gas emissions went down under Stephen Harper, whether anyone likes it or not.
The responses that typically came from the current government and others were to say, “Well, that was only because of the bold action of the Kathleen Wynne government.” Now the current government is not as keen to associate itself with Kathleen Wynne as perhaps it once was, yet it says that the only reason that emissions went down was because of the bold steps that were taken by the Kathleen Wynne government.
The other thing the Liberals said was that emissions only went down because of the global economic recession. The only time that they remember we even had a global economic recession was when they are talking about the environment. They completely ignore it when they talk about economic history, but on the environment they say that greenhouse gases only went down because of it. Here is the reality. If we look at the numbers province by province, not just the overall numbers for greenhouse gas emissions, we will find that if we compare the period of the Chrétien government to the period of the Harper government, in every single province emissions either went down or went up by less than they had under the previous Liberal government. Therefore, when it comes to real, achievable results on greenhouse gas emissions, progress was achieved under the Harper government in every single province across this country. That completely blows out the “Kathleen Wynne is so great” argument that I am sure many members of the Liberal caucus from Ontario would perhaps have been more reluctant to make in the past than they are now.
The other counter-argument is that the Liberals would say that greenhouse gas emissions only went down because of the global economic recession. If we look at the numbers, we see that global emissions went up during a period when they went down in Canada, yet Canada was one of the countries that was least affected by the global economic recession. Therefore, the world over, the economy was more negatively impacted by the recession, yet emissions were going up; Canada was less affected by the recession, yet was able to achieve reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. We were able to see overall economic growth at a time when our emissions were going down. I think that very clearly blows this counter-argument out of the water. Canada was able to achieve real results.
At the same time, we recognized the reality of the Kyoto protocol, which was that the Kyoto protocol would have asked Canada to spend Canadian tax dollars to buy emissions credits from other countries without actually reducing our emissions or theirs. It had a built-in system that facilitated a transfer of wealth between different countries based on where specific targets were set. We quite rightly said that the money is better invested in actually achieving environmental improvements here at home. Canada is a country that is leading on environmental innovation. It can continue to lead, it can continue to reduce emissions, and it can share its technology, but we have to do that in a way that does not cripple our economy.
What is the approach of this new Liberal government? Aside from of course failing to recognize the reality of the successes of the Harper government on these issues, it is to try to use the environment as an excuse to try to raise more revenue for government. The Liberals said their carbon tax plan would be revenue neutral, but in fact now we know that they will be collecting GST/HST—for the federal government, it is GST—on the carbon tax, so it is a tax on tax, a big increase in federal government revenue.
That is quite striking, is it not? The Liberals are talking about the environment and yet they have a plan aimed solely at raising revenue, which completely ignores the experience of the Harper government, which showed that we could achieve real reductions in emissions with binding sector-by-sector regulatory targets. The approach we took was to ensure that, through our binding sector-by-sector regulatory targets, we were not reducing the capacity of the economy to grow. We were making it possible for companies in Canada to continue to invest and grow. We were not creating a kind of environment where companies just had to go out of business because they could not possibly meet with the new regulatory burden. We were very careful to do that, because we recognized that reducing our emissions was what we wanted to do, not chase jobs out of the country. If, with punitive regulatory structures, we chased jobs to other countries, we would not help the environment, especially if we were chasing jobs to countries that actually have far less stringent environmental regulations than we do.
I am very concerned that the government's approach when it comes to the carbon tax, far from actually achieving advances when it comes to the well-being of the global environment, will actually just force job creators out of Canada. They will make those investments in the United States where there are completely different environmental standards, especially now, and that is going to lead to worse outcomes when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions and significantly worse outcomes when it comes to the Canadian economy.
How does that make any sense? It does not make sense for greenhouse gas emissions at all. I do not really like this term because I am generally a fan of virtue ethics as a philosophy, but this is what has come to be known colloquially as virtue signalling. The government wants to send the signal about its alleged commitment to some principle without actually doing anything about it.
That is the issue of greenhouse gas emissions. This came up during questions and comments, and the minister may have mentioned it in her speech as well: the rights of gays and lesbians around the world. This is an important issue and an issue that is perhaps not one of the best known successes of the last government, but this is an example where the Harper government really led with respect to standing up for fundamental human rights.
The then prime minister directly raised these issues internationally with world leaders, but also the former minister of immigration, Jason Kenney, set up a specific program to help gays and lesbians escaping from Iran. It was a way of facilitating and prioritizing gay and lesbian refugees coming out of Iran. This was cancelled by the Liberal government. This was a program.
The minister said that there are things going on with Chechnya that she cannot tell us about. On some level, we can recognize that when it comes to foreign affairs, there may be certain things that the minister is less inclined to talk about publicly, but we do not really have any strong indications of the government's commitment when it comes to doing concrete things to stand up for the fundamental human rights of people in this situation, because of the fact that the government chose to get rid of this program that was helping gays and lesbians who were escaping the severe persecution they face in Iran. At least we could be raising these issues with Iran.
Instead, speaking of Iran, the government is eager to seek a closer relationship with Iran, and this flies in the face of our strategic interests, of international law, and of our fundamental regard for human rights: the rights of religious minorities in Iran, the significant issues facing the Baha'i community, the rights of gays and lesbians, and really, actually the rights of all people, even those who are members of majority communities but still face severe repression as a result of the terrible things being done by the regime in Iran.
What else did the minister speak about in her speech? She spoke about free trade, about how we could support development and be agents of change around the world. The government has completely failed when it comes to the trade file. It has carried on the inertia with respect to things that were started under the previous Harper government. It did its best, frankly, to completely screw up CETA negotiations, but nonetheless there was enough inertia in place from the work done by the Harper government for that agreement to get over the finish line.
The government has failed to stand up for the trans-Pacific partnership. The minister spoke about the rise of Asia. It is not something she is ignorant of, yet she does not seem to appreciate, or at least the government does not seem to appreciate, the importance the trans-Pacific partnership in setting the terms of trade in the Asia-Pacific area in a way that reflects our values.
The trans-Pacific partnership would have been an opportunity for us to work with like-minded countries and set terms of trade that would favour respect for intellectual property, fundamental human rights, the environment, and workers' rights. Those things were established and could have been protected through the framework that was established by the trans-Pacific partnership.
It would have been difficult to see that proceed in its current form, in light of the disposition of the new American administration toward it. It absolutely would have helped if the Canadian government had actually been willing to lead, though, on the issue of the trans-Pacific partnership, if the Government of Canada was actually willing to stand and speak about these issues in a concrete and specific way.
Now, in light of the situation that we are in, this would be a good time for Canada to lead in defence of a free economy and to seek the kinds of relationships and partnerships in the Asia-Pacific that would allow us to ensure the dominance of the democratic and free rule of law idea in that region. We should seek deeper trading and other partnerships, with countries like Japan, New Zealand, and Australia. India was not part of the original the TPP, neither was Taiwan, but deepening our partnerships there, commercially and in other areas, would be very important for advancing our values and protecting the security of our values in the region.
The minister talks about trade, yet we do not see action in that vital area. We merely see the continuation of things that were already begun and undertaken under the previous government.
The minister's final point was about the idea of there being a crisis of confidence in the global system in the west and this being a threat politically insofar as people within the middle class no longer had confidence in the global system. I do not actually see that being a major problem in Canada.
We are not really seeing at all the rise of the kind of isolationist, anti-establishment, populism in the negative sense we have seen in some other countries. We have a political consensus around, broadly speaking, the idea of an open society, and that is important. However, it also speaks to the success of the last government in putting the economic mechanisms in place, cutting taxes, for instance, on those on the low end, economically, to ensure that there would be an effective sharing of prosperity, not through the expansion of government programs but through policies that would encourage employment and that would allow industry to develop.
We were able to cut business taxes, cut the small business tax rate and establish a hiring credit for small business. These kinds of policies stimulated the economy in a way that benefited everyone, especially those who were looking for jobs.
The government risks creating new problems with its policies, which expand government and involve big, new subsidies for companies like Bombardier. It is a tax-and-spend approach. Also, if we look at those tax changes that actually matter for those who are looking for work, the Liberals have raised the payroll taxes through the CPP expansion. They have eliminated the hiring credit for small business. They have reversed themselves on a promise they made with respect to the small business tax rate. They had promised to lower it down to 9%. Actually every major party in this place had promised to lower the small business tax down to 9%, yet the Liberals decided to renege on that promise.
The tax changes that the Liberals have made do not just affect small businesses; they affect those who are looking for jobs and contribute to rising unemployment. Alberta has an employment crisis. The government's response was to give $30 million to the Government of Alberta. That is less than the amount paid out to Bombardier executives in bonuses.
When the government talks about how a crisis in confidence in governments contributes to problems in our global system, it needs to look in the mirror and ask why it does not stop taxing Canadians to death. It needs to start looking at our history and employing the measures successfully undertaken by the previous government. Why does it not proceed in that direction? Maybe that would address some of the issues about which it is concerned.
The other thing is, having been in the United States during the U.S. election, that there is a reality that America spends a great deal of money on its national defence. Some people say that maybe we should not be spending so much on the defence of other countries and other countries should step up and spend more. American leadership is important when it comes to supporting collective security, but it is part of why it is so important for Canada to actually invest in collective security and national defence.
I spoke earlier about the major cuts that the government had made, and is making, when it comes to national defence. It absolutely sends the completely wrong message when, in the midst of a time of increasing global insecurity and real and growing threats, the government cuts back on spending in national defence.
Having directly responded to many of the points that were made, I would like to talk a bit about the legislative context of this motion.
Before I do that, I believe we do not have quorum in the House.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
View John McKay Profile
2017-05-29 19:43 [p.11586]
Thank you, Mr. Chair, for this opportunity to share a few thoughts this evening. I am going to focus on the importance of sovereignty projection and sovereignty protection.
Yesterday Chancellor Angela Merkel was quoted as saying, “The times in which we can fully count on others are somewhat over.... [W]e Europeans must really take our destiny into our own hands.”
Historically, Germany has always looked after its own sovereignty. After World War II, it permitted itself to have a military only for defensive purposes and resolutely stayed out of conflicts that were extraterritorial. Lately, however, it is being drawn in another direction, away from relying on others and proactively being invited to assert itself.
Outsourcing one's sovereignty to another nation can be a dangerous business. Canada has a long history of doing just that. As part of the British Empire, we outsourced our sovereignty to England. For a long while, that worked as a bulwark against American expansion. It was a refuge for United Empire Loyalists, slaves, and others looking for an alternative to the American way. Mostly it worked. However, the quid pro quo was that we were dragged into British wars, some say adventurism, such as the War of 1812, South Africa, World War I, et cetera. If the empire was at war, we were at war, whether we liked it or not. If Great Britain was going to be the guarantor of our sovereignty, then we were expected to contribute to the defence of the empire.
Many asked what British wars had to do with us. We were geographically and economically separated from those historical grievances and should not have been expected to contribute. However, those who objected forgot that Britain made sure that Canada was not American.
British interests have not always lined up with Canada's. For instance, does anyone wonder how we lost the Alaska panhandle? How is it that boundary drawing always seemed to work against Canada's best interests? The simple answer is that British interests always trumped Canadian interests. That is what happens when a nation outsources its sovereignty protection to someone else.
Britain was exhausted after World War I and could no longer protect Canada. The state of the Canadian military was alarming. General McNaughton presented a report to Prime Minister Mackenzie King outlining the serious deficiencies in our defensive structure. As you will recall, Mr. Chair, General McNaughton is the grandfather of the member for Orléans.
As James Eayrs described it, King had inherited from a Conservative prime minister “armed forces without arms.” The Americans knew it. The British knew it, and if the Canadians did not know it, they were wilfully blind.
In 1936, President Roosevelt came to Canada on a state visit and advised Prime Minister King that if Canada was not prepared to look after its sovereignty, someone else would have do it for them. At that time, the Americans were particularly concerned that the Japanese would take advantage of the largely undefended B.C. coastline to gain access to North America. They wanted a highway through Canadian territory to foreclose access. The concerns of the Americans were well founded.
Directly or indirectly, we transitioned our sovereignty to the Americans, and by the end of World War II, there was absolutely no doubt that our defence policy could be summed up in one pithy phrase: “Don't get too far ahead of the Americans, and don't get too far behind the Americans.”
The architecture of our defence institutions was created at that time as well. The best known, for our purposes, is NORAD. Equally well known, or possibly better known, is NATO, which is an American-dominated treaty alliance that has served us well over many years. Less well known, possibly, is the Permanent Joint Board on Defence, a formal informal meeting of senior, civilian, and military personnel who jointly manage defence issues as they arise. The next meeting is here in Ottawa next week.
There are, of course, other arrangements, both formal and informal, that allow us to be more efficient and effective when dividing up tasks. Needless to say, the Americans are the senior partner. However, there is a genuine respect and collaboration between the respective forces.
However, there is also a growing expectation on the part of our senior partner that Canada will pick up a larger share of the load. That is perfectly understandable. Defence is not cheap. Defence of our sovereignty is not cheap.
When President Obama stood in this very chamber, he was quite explicit:
As your ally and as your friend, let me say that we will be more secure when every NATO member, including Canada, contributes its full share to our common security, because the Canadian Armed Forces are really good and if I can borrow a phrase, the world needs more Canada. NATO needs more Canada. We need you.
That was just about a year ago.
The irony is that we are very good. Our military is very good, and therefore we are in demand, yet we have been somewhat reluctant to be more forthcoming. At times we seem almost coquettish. Just as Britain expected us to contribute to the defence of the empire, so also the Americans expect serious contributions from Canada. This expectation preceded President Trump by many decades, and for a while, post-World War II, during the Cold War, Canada did contribute 2% of GDP to defence. However, as time has gone on, we have been in a steady decline, and for the last 20 years, we have bumped along at around 1% of GDP. For all the Conservatives' harrumphing about their love of all things military, they started out at slightly more than 1% in 2006, plateaued at 1.38% at the peak of the Afghan conflict, and then steadily rode it down to less than 1% by 2015. Friends like these do not require enemies.
I have heard all the arguments about the quality of the Canadian military and the willingness to actually take on dangerous missions, all of which are true, but as the minister has been arguing for the last few months, in fact for his entire mandate, to anyone who will listen, Canadians need to get serious about funding our military needs so it can do what we ask it to do.
The most important task is the protection of our sovereignty. Does anyone think that outsourcing our sovereignty to President Trump is a good idea? That is the effect of reduced resources; we necessarily over-rely on our American cousins for our own protection. It is a great idea as long as it works. We get to act superior to the cousins while getting them to pay the bill. It is a neat trick, as long as it lasts.
However, the times they are a-changing. Russia is militarizing the Arctic. It is the only nation that has icebreakers worthy of the name. It is opening up new military bases. It conducts significant military exercises there annually.
China launched its first aircraft carrier recently. China routinely transits the Arctic Ocean and is keen to exploit the mineral wealth under it. The U.S. and Canada do not always agree on our sovereignty claims, particularly off the Alaska coast. Denmark and Canada have agreed to disagree on Hans Island. It is not likely that we are going to war anytime soon with the U.S. or Denmark, but if we do not have a robust military, we may as well wave the white flag of compromised sovereignty and move on.
I have had the great honour of seeing our military up close and personal. Without exception, we are represented by some of the finest people I have ever had the honour of meeting. It embarrasses me when we do not stand behind our people with the right resources. Lord knows, this minister has been really trying to appropriately make the resources available to our excellent military.
Canadians live on an island of self-contentment, oblivious to the seas of trouble at all our borders. We are indeed a blessed nation and have for decades been able to count on the longest undefended border on earth, a frozen Arctic Ocean, a weakened China, two large oceans, and a Russia incapable of projecting a serious military threat. All of those assumptions are more and more open to challenge.
A more able and robust military is not the only answer to those assumptions, but surely it is one of the most important ones. A more capable military protecting and projecting our sovereignty is a sine qua non of an independent nation and a foreign policy worthy of the name. Chancellor Merkel is right. “The times in which we can fully count on others are somewhat over.” We ignore her at our peril.
Now, if I may, I have a few questions for the minister. The argument I am making is that the military is not a luxury. It is a core responsibility of government to protect and project our sovereignty. Would you be so kind as to outline, over the last 18 months, how you, through your mandate letter and your actions, have enhanced the projection and protection of our sovereignty?
View Harjit S. Sajjan Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Harjit S. Sajjan Profile
2017-05-29 19:54 [p.11587]
Mr. Chair, when it comes to protecting Canadians and our Canadian sovereignty, it is the most important aspect of our Canadian Armed Forces' work.
In the last 18 months, we have been focusing on making sure that our men and women have the necessary training, making sure that we are able to respond up north with Operation Nanook, making sure that we are able to respond to Canadians during national disasters, as we are doing now, and making sure that we move ahead with the procurement of equipment.
We cannot be an island of stability in an ocean of turmoil. Our navy needs new ships. Currently we have no joint support ships. We have an interim ship that is being worked on right now. We were talking about capability gaps. If we do not invest in our military, a capability gap will eventually turn into a capability loss. That is exactly what happened with our joint support ships. We are working very hard to move the process forward as quickly as possible so that we can project our power and support ourselves.
At the same time, we believe that we can work with our allies. We focused, as part of our defence policy review, on our sovereignty, looking at the north, looking at the Arctic. How do we complement what the military does? We are working with other departments, like the Coast Guard.
We are really focusing on this. I look forward to talking more about this in the coming weeks.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
View John McKay Profile
2017-05-29 19:56 [p.11587]
Mr. Chair, in my association with this minister, I was always amazed by his incredible energy and his willingness to travel literally around the world, sometimes two or three times over, for meetings.
One of the most important alliances we have, of course, is NATO. He has been present for the ministerial meetings. I would be interested, as would this House, in his reflections on those meetings, and particularly on his reflections with respect to this possible change in the German posture.
View Harjit S. Sajjan Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Harjit S. Sajjan Profile
2017-05-29 19:57 [p.11588]
Mr. Chair, it was an absolute privilege to represent Canada at NATO at my first defence ministerial meeting.
The feedback I received, with our re-engagement in NATO, was on the importance of Canadian leadership that was felt in the past and how we are doing it now by continuing the presence of our frigate in the Mediterranean and the air policing we have increased.
We are taking that leadership role. Only four framework nations have taken up that role: the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Germany. More importantly, the demonstration that we are making is that this is a battle group, a multinational battle group of many European countries coming together. It is because of the great experience we have in our Canadian Armed Forces that we are able to put this together, show great leadership, and show that message of deterrence. It is one thing to put things together but another to actually demonstrate that message of deterrence to Russia to complement some of the other work we are doing in the Ukraine as well.
There is a lot more work that needs to be done. When we conducted our defence policy review, my advisory panel went to NATO and discussed these things with them. We had that input into NATO defence policy.
View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
Mr. Chair, the minister spoke about NATO. The former parliamentary secretary to the minister of national defence spoke about Barack Obama, who came to see us in 2016 and who said that the world needs more Canada.
Since we are talking about finances, I would like an explanation of why our contribution to NATO has decreased. In 2016, it was $92.4 million whereas this year's budget is $77.9 million.
View Harjit S. Sajjan Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Harjit S. Sajjan Profile
2017-05-29 20:13 [p.11590]
Mr. Chair, I was speaking with the Canadian ambassador to NATO, Kerry Buck. We are the sixth-largest financial contributor to NATO, in addition to the contributions that we make.
As I stated, we have taken a leadership role at NATO. We have a lot to be proud of in the work and the leadership role that we have taken. We will make sure that we have the right investments for our troops so that we can be incredible partners.
I would like to tell the member to stay tuned for June 7 as well.
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
2017-05-29 20:59 [p.11597]
Mr. Chair, this evening I would first like to focus on some issues around the ombudsman's office.
He has been put forward a case for a permanent and independent ombudsman's office and a recommendation that the Minister of National Defence support the enactment of legislation aimed at giving the office of the defence ombudsman organizational permanence and independence from the Department of National Defence with respect to all functional authorities. Could the minister please respond as to whether or not he is in favour of this recommendation?
View Harjit S. Sajjan Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Harjit S. Sajjan Profile
2017-05-29 21:00 [p.11597]
Mr. Chair, I would like to thank the ombudsman for his work. I am committed to maintaining a positive and productive working relationship with the ombudsman, and I have encouraged him to come to me should he face any issues carrying out his mandate.
The administrative arrangement between the ombudsman and the department mirrors similar offices across government and meets the test of proper stewardship of resources. This arrangement also respects the findings of the Auditor General in 2015, who recognized the need for better oversight by the department. It does not affect the ombudsman's ability to conduct independent investigations that benefit the defence team.
View Sven Spengemann Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Sven Spengemann Profile
2017-05-29 21:14 [p.11600]
Mr. Chair, I have some thoughts to offer on the issue of expeditionary operations, and then some questions for the minister or the parliamentary secretary.
It is my distinct pleasure to be here today to speak to my fellow members about the main estimates for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces. This is an opportunity that I welcome, because I believe it is crucial for all of us to understand what our troops are doing to keep Canadians safe and to promote and maintain international peace and stability.
Members of the Canadian Armed Forces are a crucial asset in helping to advance our government's foreign policy. They are representatives of Canada, projecting our values in every corner of the globe. They help to solidify our reputation as a country that values freedom, democracy, human rights, justice, and the rule of law, and our reputation as a country that is ready to defend those values.
When the Government of Canada calls upon our military to engage on the global stage, it does so to defend the interests of all Canadians. Canada may be geographically removed from most of the turmoil and violence that plagues many areas of the globe, but it is not immune to its effects. In today's security environment, threats can take many forms, and what affects one area of the planet has the potential to affect all, because with increased globalization, countries are more interconnected than ever. The individual and collective prosperity of all nations is first and foremost dependent on a stable security environment.
The new defence policy, which will be released next week, will set out the government's ambition for the Canadian Armed Forces. The expectation is clear that we will remain a solid ally and partner and will continue to contribute to operations around the world.
Collective defence is a concept Canadians strongly believed in when we helped found NATO in 1949 and established NORAD with the United States in 1958. It is a concept that is just as important today, if not more so. With this collective benefit, however, comes responsibility and the obligation to do our part, both in the context of the NATO alliance and more broadly.
Recognizing this fact, last year Canada announced its intention to renew its engagement to UN peace operations. Canada is also demonstrating leadership by hosting the fourth UN peacekeeping ministerial, which, as the Minister of National Defence confirmed last week, will take place on November 14 and 15, 2017, in Vancouver.
This forum will examine several key issues such as the integration of gender perspectives into peacekeeping, and innovation in training and capacity building. These concepts may help make future peace support operations more effective.
As the members of this House are aware, we are also analyzing how best to employ the up to 600 troops we have pledged to support UN peace missions.
As we continue planning for future deployments, we must remember that, today, there are 1,662 Canadian Armed Forces members now deployed on 18 international operations. These men and women in uniform are making a positive contribution in all corners of the globe, and we recognize the great sacrifices they are making on behalf of all Canadians.
On May 18, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of National Defence announced that the government would ensure all armed forces members and police officers receive income tax relief on all named international operations. This measure, retroactive to January 1, 2017, will obviously apply to those deployed to Iraq and Kuwait.
To set the conditions for long-term success, our armed forces members are providing training, advice, and assistance to Iraqi security forces, and working in Jordan and Lebanon to help these partner nations build their capacity to address challenges created by regional conflict and instability.
Our military has also assumed a leadership role with the coalition ministerial liaison team, which is helping the senior Iraqi leadership to build institutional capacity, and with the coalition role 2 medical hospital facility in northern Iraq, where members provide medical and surgical care to coalition forces. Our troops are making major contributions in the fight against Daesh, contributions that, as was announced in March, have been extended until the end of June.
Turning our eyes to Europe, we also find members of the Canadian Armed Forces engaged in supporting our allies and actively contributing to NATO's strengthened deterrence and defence posture.
As part of Operation Reassurance, we are demonstrating our commitment, our solidarity, and our engagement to NATO and its allies through the protection of allied territories and populations, by reinforcing NATO's collective defence, and preserving stability in the face of a resurgent Russia.
The Canadian Armed Forces is also taking a leadership role in Europe. In June, Canada will be one of four nations commanding a battle group in Latvia, and will deploy up to 455 personnel as part of NATO's enhanced forward presence, making this the largest sustained Canadian military presence in Europe in more than a decade. In addition to these capabilities, more than $140 million of the funding in the main estimates will be devoted to the NATO contribution program, helping fund key alliance activities.
Under Operation Unifier, which was recently renewed, approximately 200 troops are contributing to our government's overall efforts in Ukraine to help that country remain sovereign, secure, and stable. Since 2015, Canada has trained more than 4,300 Ukrainian soldiers, helping them build military capacity.
Our military contributions in Iraq and Europe may be the most sizable, but on any given day, Canadian military members can be found in just about any part of the globe. This includes the Sinai Peninsula where Canada has kept a presence as part of the multinational force and observers since 1985, or in the Caribbean Sea and Eastern Pacific, where for the past 11 years the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force have been working with partner nations to fight illicit drug trafficking and narco-terrorism as well as deter criminal activity. During that time, Canadian ships have helped to seize and disrupt more than 66 tonnes of cocaine and four tonnes of marijuana.
These are just a few examples of the contributions that members of the Canadian Armed Forces are making on the world stage day in and day out. Wherever they go, our military personnel are respected for their professionalism, their leadership, and for their ability to work with other nations.
They are making a difference, and Canadians have every reason to be proud of them. The defence policy review undertaken last year carefully looked at how our military contributes to international operations. I know all members of this House, and indeed all Canadians, are eager to see the results of this review when the new defence policy is released in just over a week.
However, going forward we can expect that the government will continue to call upon the Canadian Armed Forces to engage in the global security environment and to promote Canadian values and interests.
The operational costs in the main estimates provide a glimpse into the investments required for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces to continue their contributions to security and stability around the globe. I think that all members will agree that these are essential investments, as they will provide our women and men in uniform with the resources necessary for them to accomplish the demanding tasks that we ask of them.
Mr. Chair, with your indulgence, I will turn to some questions that I have.
My first question is about Operation Impact. We have all read the headlines about the threat posed by Daesh. The horrible and tragic events at Manchester just last week are a testament to that. This organization advocates a radical interpretation of Islam and claims religious authority over all Muslims. Since 2014, Canada has participated in the U.S.-led global coalition to defeat Daesh.
I would like to ask the parliamentary secretary how the Canadian Armed Forces are contributing to coalition operations in Iraq.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-05-29 22:15 [p.11609]
Mr. Chair, there is an excellent table in the report by the Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defence. It shows that, beginning in 2005, when the Conservatives came to power, the percentage of GDP allocated to the armed forces started to go up. During the economic crisis, it started going down, unfortunately. If only the economic crisis had not happened. However, in 2015-16 and 2016-17, it kept going down: 0.92% and 0.88%.
Will the percentage of GDP allocated to military spending start going back up in 2017-18?
View Harjit S. Sajjan Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Harjit S. Sajjan Profile
2017-05-29 22:15 [p.11609]
Mr. Chair, as I have stated publicly, successive governments had not been investing in the Canadian Armed Forces. Since the member brought up the GDP, the defence spending per GDP when the Conservatives came into government had decreased by the time they left.
However, this is not about putting blame; this is about our taking ownership of the current state. We are going to make sure that the defence policy review addresses these challenges. All parliamentarians want to make sure that the Canadian Armed Forces is looked at, and I want to be able to work with the members to achieve this.
View Jean Rioux Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Jean Rioux Profile
2017-05-29 22:29 [p.11611]
Mr. Chair, one of the key missions of the Canadian Armed Forces is to defend North America in collaboration with the armed forces of the United States. This strong partnership has existed for many years, notably through the North American Aerospace Defence Command.
Can the minister inform the House about how we are working with our U.S. partners through the North American Aerospace Defence Command?
View Harjit S. Sajjan Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Harjit S. Sajjan Profile
2017-05-29 22:29 [p.11611]
Mr. Chair, Canada and the United States share the world's only binational military command, which is NORAD. It is a testament to the deep multi-faceted defence relationship between our two countries and enables us to work seamlessly to monitor our shared maritime approaches and defend North American airspace.
As we all understand, the threats to continental North America are ever evolving. New technologies, an increasingly accessible Arctic, and global power dynamics mean that NORAD must be able to adopt to any changing circumstances. In particular, Canada and the United States will work together to renew the north warning system, which is a vital NORAD capability that provides early warning against aerospace threats to our northern approaches.
View Carol Hughes Profile

Question No. 952--
Mr. Robert Aubin:
With regard to developing a scientific standard for concrete aggregates: (a) on what date did the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development or any other department begin the process for developing a scientific standard; (b) has a timeline been set by the department to finalize the process for developing a scientific standard; (c) what section of the department is responsible for developing the scientific standard; (d) what amount is the department investing in the development process for the scientific standard; (e) what is the total number of employees assigned by the department to work on developing the scientific standard; (f) has the department hired external consultants to work on the scientific standard development process; (g) how many external consultants have been hired as part of this process; (h) who are the external consultants that have been hired as part of this process; (i) what amount has the department allocated to hire these external consultants; and (j) what are the documents, scientific standards and guidelines on which this process is based?
Hon. Navdeep Bains (Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), the National Research Council of Canada, NRC, provides scientific, administrative, and financial support to the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes, or CCBFC, an independent committee established by the NRC. This commission is responsible for developing and updating Canada’s various national model codes, including the National Building Code, the National Fire Code, the Energy Code, and the Plumbing Code, in which over 600 standards are currently referenced, including the Canadian Standards Association A23.1 technical standard, “Concrete Materials and Methods of Concrete Construction”. This standard was first developed in 1980, with an update schedule of every five years. This technical standard was developed by the CSA, which is an independent not-for-profit organization. The CSA is accredited by the Standards Council of Canada, or SCC, a crown corporation of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada that provides the requirements and guidance for all accredited standards organizations to develop standards for the Canada market.
With regard to (b), as noted above, the technical standard is not maintained by NRC or the Canadian Commission of Building and Fire Codes but rather by the CSA. The CSA continues to update their standards on a five-year cycle, with the next edition of this standard due out in 2019. The Standards Council of Canada provides the requirements and guidance for all accredited standards organizations, such as the CSA, for which a link is provided.
With regard to (c), the technical standard is developed by the CSA, which is an independent not-for-profit organization. The National Building Code, or NBC, which is developed by NRC, references this standard, and the NBC is maintained by the commission, which is made up of voluntary members. Their support is provided through Codes Canada under the construction portfolio at NRC.
With regard to (d), there has been no financial support from NRC committed, as the development is carried out at the CSA. The National Building Code section that references this standard falls under the mandate of one technical committee reporting to the commission, and is supported by one technical adviser at Codes Canada.
With regard to (e), no employees were assigned to work on developing the scientific standards.
With regard to (f), no external consultants were hired to work on the scientific standard development process.
With regard to (f) and (g), no external consultants have been hired as part of this process.
With regard to (h) and (i), these items are not applicable.
With regard to (j), the SCC provides the requirements and guidance that the SCC-accredited standards development organizations, or SDOs, follow to develop or adopt standards for the Canadian market. The requirements and guidance documents for accredited SDOs can be found at https://www.scc.ca/en/ news-events/news/2017/ scc-improves-canadian-standards- development-system.

Question No. 953--
Mr. Phil McColeman:
With regard to at-risk and bonus payments to employees of the federal public service, broken down by year from 2013 to 2016 and by department or agency: (a) how many federal public servants received at-risk payments; (b) how many federal public servants received bonus payments; (c) what amount was allocated in each department’s budget for at-risk payments; (d) what amount was allocated in each department’s budget for bonus payments; (e) what was the cumulative amount of at-risk payments paid out in each department; (f) what was the cumulative amount of bonus payments paid out in each department; (g) how many public servants were eligible for at-risk pay but did not receive it; (h) what were the reasons given for each public servant who received an at-risk payment; (i) what were the reasons given for each public servant who received a bonus payment; and (j) what were the reasons given for each public servant who was eligible for an at-risk payment but did not receive it?
Ms. Joyce Murray (Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), (b), (e), (f), and (g), data for the years 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 are available on the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat’s website at https://www.canada.ca/en/ treasury-board-secretariat/services/ performance-talent-management /performance-management-program- executives.html.
The data for 2015-2016 will be published once they are finalized.
With regard to (c) and (d), the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat sets departmental spending limits for executive performance pay, calculated as a percentage of departmental executive payroll at March 31. Each department then has the flexibility to spend this budget, as long as individual payments do not exceed the following percentages established by the Treasury Board: up to 12% of base salary for at-risk pay and up to 3% of base salary for bonus pay for each eligible executive at the EX-01, EX-02, or EX-03 levels, and up to 20% of base salary for at-risk pay and up to 6% of base salary for bonus pay for each eligible executive at the EX-04 or EX-05 level.
With regard to (h), the directives on executive compensation and on the performance management program for executives set out the requirements related to eligibility for performance pay. All executives are assessed at the end of the performance management cycle on the extent to which they have achieved the objectives set out in their performance agreement and their demonstration of their key leadership competencies. Based on this assessment, each executive is given a rating on a 5-point scale, where 1 is “Did not meet” and 5 is “Surpassed”. Executives who obtain a rating of 2 or higher are eligible for performance pay. Ratings recommended by the manager of each executive are reviewed by the departmental review committee and approved by the deputy head. All performance pay decisions must be approved by the deputy head.
With regard to (i), only individuals who get a rating of “Surpassed”, meaning their performance was outstanding, and who receive the maximum percentage of at-risk pay are eligible for the bonus.
With regard to (j), executives whose performance rating is “Did not meet” are not eligible for performance pay.

Question No. 957--
Mr. Ben Lobb:
With regard to the government’s approval of the takeover of ITF Technologies by O-Net Technology Group: (a) did the government impose any condition on the takeover aimed at preventing the Chinese government from having access to weapon technology; (b) if the answer to (a) is affirmative, what were the conditions; (c) if the answer to (a) is negative, what was the rationale for not imposing any condition; and (d) did the government receive any communication from the Chinese government encouraging the Canadian government to approve the takeover and, if so, what are the details including the (i) date, (ii) sender, (iii) recipient?
Hon. Navdeep Bains (Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to an order from the Federal Court, a national security review of the takeover of ITF Technologies by O-Net Technology Group was conducted under the Investment Canada Act. Following this thorough review, an order containing measures to protect national security was issued. The government acted on the full record of the evidence and on the advice of Canada’s security and intelligence experts.
The act contains strict confidentiality provisions in regard to information obtained through its administration. Section 36 of the act states that,
…all information obtained in respect to a Canadian, a non-Canadian, a business or an entity referred to in paragraph 25.1(c) by the Minister or an officer or employee of Her Majesty in the course of the administration or enforcement of this Act is privileged and no one shall knowingly communicate or allow to be communicated any such information or allow anyone to inspect or to have access to any such information.
As a result of section 36, and given that this is a national security matter, we are unable to disclose any additional information.
View Andrew Leslie Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Andrew Leslie Profile
2017-05-17 22:48 [p.11373]
Madam Chair, I will be using 10 minutes for my speech, followed by five minutes for questions.
As we have said on numerous occasions, the Canada-U.S. economic relationship is balanced and mutually beneficial. Our economic ties to the U.S. are key to middle-class jobs and growth on both sides of the border.
Our partnership is also critical to Americans. Canada is the number one customer for U.S. exports and we are America's biggest market. Thirty-two states count Canada as their largest international export destination, with nine million U.S. jobs directly linked to trade with Canada. We do over $2.4 billion in trade a day, every single day.
We strongly believe that a whole-of-government and non-partisan approach is the best way to have an impact on American decision-makers and opinion leaders. That is what has happened in this Parliament, and we are all delighted. I will now speak about our key priorities.
At their first meeting in Washington, the Prime Minister and President Trump issued a joint statement that gave a clear indication of Canada's priorities in our relationship with the United States. The statement is a road map to upcoming co-operative projects between our two nations and it focuses on five key areas.
First, the growth of our economy, which includes such initiatives as co-operation on regulation. The Treasury Board Secretariat is leading an ongoing dialogue with American officials to move ahead with co-operation on getting rid of regulations that impede the flow of business. Another initiative is the Gordie Howe International Bridge. The Windsor-Detroit border crossing project is halfway through the bidding stage, and a private sector partner is expected to be selected next spring.
The second is promoting energy security and the environment. This focused area includes and identifies pipelines, and air and water quality. For pipelines, Keystone XL is now approved. The economy and the environment have to go hand in hand. There are several other projects like pipelines or electricity transmission lines that are at different stages for review.
When it comes to air and water quality, Environment and Climate Change Canada is working very closely with the U.S. and broad co-operation continues in some specific problem areas.
The third is keeping our border secure, of course. Entry-exit or, more specifically, Bill C-21, An Act to amend the Customs Act will allow for full implementation of the entry-exit initiative whereby Canada and the U.S. will exchange information on all travellers crossing the land border. We expect implementation by 2018. There will be a thinning of the border with a thickening of the outer perimeter of security.
There was also discussion of pre-clearance, namely Bill C-23, An Act respecting the preclearance of persons and goods in Canada and the United States. Once the bill is passed, both countries will be in a position to ratify the agreement, which will provide a framework for expansion of pre- clearance to cargo. In other words, it will get stuff moving faster.
The fourth area of focus was working together as allies in the world's hot spots, which includes co-operation on NORAD, which of course is essential to our Arctic sovereignty, as well as dominance over our own air space, our military alliance with the U.S., not only through NORAD but also NATO. The steps for modernization are in the government's defence policy review. More news will be announced on that by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of National Defence shortly.
There is also the coalition to counter Daesh, wherein Canada is a key member of this 68-member coalition. The minister attended the ministerial meeting in Washington, DC, hosted by Secretary Tillerson on March 22, where the future strategy to defeat Daesh was clearly laid out.
We have also made some specific proposals and taken action to counter the activities, the heinous crimes of Daesh, not the least of which is supporting, through military efforts, but also $804 million in humanitarian aid, to assist the most vulnerable.
The fifth and last area of focus in this thematic scheme is empowering women entrepreneurs and business leaders. We oversaw the creation of the Canada-United States Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders. The council is committed to removing barriers to women's participation in the business community, and supporting women by promoting the growth of women-owned enterprises.
We are committed to gender equality, the empowerment of women and girls, and the promotion and protection of their human rights. We see women as powerful agents of change, an experience I, myself, have seen in the war-torn lands of Afghanistan. These individuals have the right to be full participants, and influencers in peace and security operations. Achieving gender equality requires changing unequal power relations, and challenging social norms and gender stereotypes. We can lead by example in that regard.
The next issue is with regard to the terms of the engagement strategy.
Since January 20, the Government of Canada and the provinces and territories have been undertaking an ambitious pan-Canadian strategy to get the United States involved. This includes not only the Prime Minister's official visit to Washington in February—I had the pleasure of going with him—but also visits, meetings, and other discussions between the ministers, parliamentarians, and provincial and territorial leaders and their American counterparts, as well as political leaders at the national and state level.
The ministers have undertaken an action-centred program that targets 11 key states whose main export destination is Canada and that maintain vital economic links with Canada or have a significant impact on American policy and Canadian interests.
We have already made over 100 visits as part of this effort. Twelve parliamentary committees are planning or preparing to go on visits to the United States in the near future, and I thank them for that. Through these visits, calls, and meetings initiated by Canada's network in the United States, we have obtained the support of over 215 political leaders in the United States.
Top of mind, of course, is NAFTA, something we have already talked about tonight. I know it has been said before, and we are going to say it again. We are ready to come to the negotiating table with our American friends at any time. It has been modified 11 times since its inception. It is natural that trade agreements evolve as the economy evolves. Canada is open to discussing improvements that would benefit all three NAFTA parties.
Should negotiations take place, and we all expect they will, Canada will be, and is, prepared to discuss at the appropriate time specific strategies, but we are not going to expose our cards right now. Quite frankly, we want a good deal, not just any deal.
When it comes to softwood lumber, on April 24, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced it would impose preliminary countervailing duties on certain softwood lumber products from Canada. We disagree strongly with the U.S. Department of Commerce's decision to impose an unfair and punitive duty. The accusations are baseless and unfounded. We continue to believe that it is in both our countries' best interests to have a negotiated agreement as soon as possible with a deal that is fair for both countries.
We have been in constant conversation with our American counterparts. The Prime Minister raises this every time he interacts with President Trump, as does the minister with her counterparts. As a matter of fact, the last time she raised it with her counterparts was yesterday. That is literally hot off the press.
While Canada is committed to negotiating an agreement, once again, we are not going to accept just any deal. We need an agreement that is in the best interests of our industry. We want a win-win.
In conclusion, while we only touched on a couple of the highlights of our engagement on this very broad, complex, and deep relationship, it is clear that the partnership between Canada and the United States has been essential to our shared prosperity. Our trade with the United States is balanced and mutually beneficial. We are its largest customer. We invest more in the U.S. than the U.S. invests in us. We are the Americans' biggest client.
We will also continue to work with all parliamentarians to ensure that we maintain a united front in our engagement with the United States in a non-partisan fashion. The growth of our economy and working well with the United States is not a partisan issue. All members of Parliament are thanked, essentially, for their “all hands on deck” approach.
Canada's relationship with the United States is extensive, highly integrated, and prosperous. Thirty-two states count Canada as their largest international export destination. Nine million U.S. jobs are linked to trade with Canada, and we do over $2.4 billion in trade a day. That is why from the very beginning, our government looked for ways to reach out to the new American administration to advance issues of mutual interest.
It is also important to realize that it has been really a non-partisan approach. I would like to single out, as the minister has done, the interim Leader of the Opposition, the member for Sturgeon River—Parkland, for her fantastic work in Washington. I literally saw her in action now on two different occasions, once at the inauguration and once at another event involving the governors. She was on television. She was able to leverage her Rolodex of very impressive leaders in Washington itself. She was organizing her teams to actually get out there and interact with us. She dispatched a whole bunch of her members of Parliament down to pair off with their Liberal and NDP colleagues. Quite frankly, it was sterling leadership by example.
I would also like to single out the hon. member for Prince Albert, my opposite number, the critic. We have travelled to the United States many times. I find him knowledgeable, experienced, and once again a true Canadian at heart. It has been a pleasure to work alongside him.
I wonder if the minister would please outline her activities and elaborate on our engagement strategy with the United States at all levels and across all sectors.
View Rona Ambrose Profile
Mr. Speaker, the Liberals' plan to overhaul Canada's defence policy is behind schedule and is creating uncertainty for our national security and our military.
We have just learned that the Trump administration will see Canada's new defence policy before Canadians do or, even worse, before the military.
Why is the Prime Minister going to discuss plans for our armed forces with President Trump before discussing them with Canada's military?
View Harjit S. Sajjan Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Harjit S. Sajjan Profile
2017-05-15 14:18 [p.11186]
Mr. Speaker, defence policy was done by and for Canadians. We consulted them extensively, and that is why we want to release our new defence policy to them first. All along, in our defence policy review, we had a range of discussions with our allies, including the U.S. We learned a lot from them, particularly from those who engaged in the same review process in the most recent years. Our defence policy will be costed and fully funded.
View Rona Ambrose Profile
Mr. Speaker, I have a hard time believing that this defence minister actually designed and devised this defence policy himself. I know the chamber has not seen it, members of Parliament have not seen it, and the military has not seen it. Now the Prime Minister is meeting in secret with the Americans to get their okay. They know our defence plans before Canadians know them.
Why do Washington insiders get privileged access to Canadian defence policies before the Canadian public does and before the Canadian military does?
View Harjit S. Sajjan Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Harjit S. Sajjan Profile
2017-05-15 14:19 [p.11186]
Mr. Speaker, Canadians across Canada as well as members of Parliament were involved with the consultations. We have spoken with our allies, we have spoken with experts on this, and we have done a thorough process that is fully costed and fully funded.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
View John McKay Profile
2017-05-15 14:46 [p.11191]
Mr. Speaker, as a former parliamentary secretary to the minister of defence, I was privileged to chair a policy round table on behalf of the minister to engage experts, stakeholders, and interested Canadians from coast to coast to coast. Discussions were lively, interesting, and thoughtful, a highlight of my time working with an incredible team at National Defence.
Would the minister give this House an update on the progress being made toward the launch of the defence policy for Canada?
View Harjit S. Sajjan Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Harjit S. Sajjan Profile
2017-05-15 14:46 [p.11191]
Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his considerable contributions to the defence policy review.
Our work on Canada's new defence policy is done. The next step is to share it with Canadians. First, my colleague the Minister of Foreign Affairs will be saying more about Canada's foreign policy foundation, and then, on June 7, I will have the honour of releasing the new defence policy on behalf of Canada.
View James Bezan Profile
Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that he is waiting until June 7, because the Liberals continue to dither and delay on releasing their defence policy review, which is already six months behind schedule.
Instead of rolling out his beleaguered defence policy here, the Minister of National Defence went to Washington and showed it to the U.S. administration first.
What was the point of delaying this announcement after the Liberals' so-called consultations with Canadians, if in the end the Americans have a veto over our defence policy?
Why are the Liberals showing the defence policy review to President Trump first, before they show it to Canadians?
View Harjit S. Sajjan Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Harjit S. Sajjan Profile
2017-05-15 14:47 [p.11191]
Mr. Speaker, in our defence policy consultations, we consulted Canadians. We had approximately 5,000 contributors online, over 20,000 submissions, 18,000 social media submissions, and seven full-day round table discussions with over 95 experts from academia, industry, and the military, as well as indigenous leaders.
Of course, we consulted our allies to listen to their viewpoints, because multilateralism is really important to Canada. On June 7, I will be very proud to announce the defence policy on behalf of the Government of Canada.
View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
Mr. Speaker, the defence policy review was supposed to be delivered in December. The government used significant resources for this review, hiring a firm and a group of consultants to hold consultations across the country.
Apparently President Trump will have the last word on our defence policy and the Minister of National Defence and the Minister of Foreign Affairs are going to Washington, likely after question period, to get our defence policy plan approved.
Why do the Americans get to have the first look at this policy?
View Harjit S. Sajjan Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Harjit S. Sajjan Profile
2017-05-15 14:48 [p.11191]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the thousands of Canadians, our allies and partners around the world, and members of this House and the Senate who contributed to the defence policy review.
I look forward to announcing this on June 7 to all Canadians on behalf of the Government of Canada.
View Rachel Blaney Profile
Mr. Speaker, hidden in plain sight in this year's budget was a big lump of coal for our military. By consistently deflecting to the upcoming defence policy review, the Minister of National Defence is creating an expectation that more money will come later.
Our women and men in uniform, our veterans, and all Canadians deserve to know whether the minister will continue to starve our military. Will the minister confirm that the much needed resources are coming when the defence policy review is released?
View Harjit S. Sajjan Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Harjit S. Sajjan Profile
2017-04-07 11:51 [p.10326]
Mr. Speaker, I could not agree with the member more in terms of making sure that we have the right support for our men and women in uniform, but when we look at creating a thorough plan that is going to look out into the future, we have to make sure we have a thorough analysis. That is why the Prime Minister mandated me to do a very thorough defence policy review. We have done that, and I look forward to announcing the results of the review and making sure that our men and women have all the right resources going into the future.
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
2017-04-05 17:10 [p.10216]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to rise and address the government's budget. It is a budget that the hon. member for Outremont and leader of the NDP rightly called the “we'll get around to it” budget. In part he called it that because if we look at the budget, the columns for this year for various initiatives are filled with zeros. The government is clearly not doing it now, so presumably it will get around to it. We will see about that. That is from the present.
However, he was also making a historical comment about the typical behaviour of Liberal governments. He cited the example of the Chrétien-Martin era. A lot of promises were made in the red book in 1993, for instance, around a national pharmacare plan and doing something with respect to child care. Come the time the Liberals were ultimately defeated in 2006, they were still saying, “just one more election and we're going to get to it” and “It's coming.” They had the audacity, frankly, to be indignant about the fact that they were defeated after 13 years of government and some pretty unsavoury stories coming out of the Gomery commission saying that there were things that Canadians needed, that they really wanted the opportunity to do them, and shame on other parties for having observed they were not getting around to it and maybe it was time to replace them.
Therefore, given that historical context, one has every reason to look at that behaviour, and at this budget, and worry that this government is not serious about getting around to the things that need to be done.
A good example is the housing file. If we look down the column, it is filled with zeros for this year. Of course, there are promises of big money, that it is coming but we have to hang on. In 2023 things will be really great, we will have spent multiple billions of dollars, and that by 2027 that will have doubled. I submit to the House that this is not really a good way of making policy. It certainly is not a good way of doing politics. It is sort of starting an arms race of who can announce money further into the future.
What we are concerned about, and I think Canadians and people in Elmwood—Transcona are concerned about as well, is having the government allocate resources and funds to its priorities now, not 10 or 20 years from now. If we make a habit of getting into announcing money further into the future just to have bigger, more impressive numbers, there is no reason why we should not be talking about $40 billion by 2039 or $50 billion by 2047. If we wanted to get really polemic, we might announce a trillion dollars by the year 2100.
This game of simply announcing money further into the future to make it look as though the Liberals are taking action on priorities today is not the right way of doing politics. It is not a good way of doing policy for that matter. That is not to say that we cannot have long-term deals, but those deals have to include some action today. There is no guarantee that one, or two or three elections from now the government of the day will honour those deals. Therefore, if the government wants to show its sincerity with respect to taking action on the priorities of Canadians, it is important it spends some money today. That certainly was promised by the Liberals in the last election, but it is not delivering that with this budget.
Child care is a great example. The Liberals talk big numbers on child care. If we look at the amount of aid that will got to working Canadian families that need child care so they can report to work and have confidence that their kids are in a safe place with well-trained staff, the number is zero. That is a strange way for the Liberals to treat their priorities.
Incidentally, I have noticed this is a feature of the government. A number of things have happened, for instance, undermining the lawsuit of Air Canada maintenance workers who wanted to keep their jobs in Canada. That was not mentioned as a priority of the government, but it certainly got done. There have been other examples of things that were done in the House that were not talked about in the election. The things that are not being done are the things that were promised. Therefore, the lesson here is, God forbid we become a priority of the Liberal government because we would wither on the vine.
The things that corporate CEOs bring to the government, which the Liberals did not talk about during the election, are going to get the priority. That is the list people want to be on, if they are rich enough to get on it. That lesson is evident in this budget.
Canadian workers who have been laid off in the economic slowdown might be one of the six out of 10 Canadians who cannot access the EI fund. There is nothing in the budget that talks about changing the eligibility rules to allow more workers who have been laid off to access that money to make their mortgage payments, to put food on the table, and to keep a roof over their head while they look for new employment.
Canadians are owed that, particularly when we consider that successive Liberal and Conservative governments stole money out of the EI fund. Workers paid into that fund in case they needed it in these circumstances. It is shameful to see, once again, that ordinary working Canadians are being asked to wait, being told by the Liberals that they will get around to it, maybe if they are elected two, three, or four more times, 15 to 16 years sounds about right.
The corporate lobby bandwagon might have slowed down by then and then the Liberals will get around to the priorities of Canadians. We have seen this with the veterans. There is nothing in the budget about restoring lifetime pensions for veterans, which was a promise of the Liberals during the campaign. They are being asked to wait.
On defence spending, the Liberals are taking money that was allocated for defence spending and back-ending it. It was not enough to just back-end the new money. The Liberals looked at the budget and noted that there was old money that was not back-ended. They could correct that by taking it out of the budget and back-ending it. Never mind the fact that the Canadian military needs new equipment now to do its job properly and safely.
The Liberals have not been content with just back-ending new money. They want to back-end the old money as well. They are doing this in the context where through Bill C-27, and a couple of other examples I would mention if I had time, they are mounting an attack on the pensions of Canadian workers. We saw it a bit with the CPP not including the dropout provisions for women and people with disabilities. Incidentally, if people take advantage of their extended parental leave, which is just extra time with no extra money, the same amount of money they would have had over the course of a year stretched over 18 months, they are then penalized on the next tier of CPP that the Liberals were so proud to have brought in because they did not include the dropout provisions for women and people with disabilities.
Even when the Liberals are trying to do something right, they just cannot seem to help themselves. They have to do something to throw a monkey wrench into it, particularly when it comes to pensions. If people need any evidence at all, Bill C-27, sitting on the Order Paper, is all the evidence they need to know that the government is not committed to real pensions for Canadian workers. Shame on it for that.
How do the Liberals do all this? How do they go to seniors and say, “sorry, there is nothing in the budget for you”, even though a national pharmacare plan would actually save money for Canadian taxpayers, but they cannot be bothered to do it? They tell seniors that they do not have the money to do it. Meanwhile, a Liberal priority in the election, and as I said earlier, God forbid we become a Liberal priority, was to close the CEO stock option loophole, something worth over $750 million of revenue to the government each year. It was a priority during the election, so it is not getting done.
Then the Liberals have the nerve to turn around to Canadian workers and tell them that there is no money for them when it comes to pharmacare, expanding EI, investing in child care. They just say that they do not have the money, because Bay Street showed up and said that it did not like the idea of being taxed fairly so the Liberals backed right off.
When it comes to sweetheart tax haven deals with Barbados and other countries that allow corporate CEOs to hide their money offshore, the Liberals are not taking any action. It is easier to go to Canadian workers who do not have the same power and the same say as CEOs and tell them to wait, to tighten their belts. That is what is shameful about this budget.
When we hear about the CRA giving amnesty to Canada's richest and worst tax cheats, when that revenue could be used to invest in those services that working Canadians actually need, it is easier for the Liberals to tell those working Canadians to wait.
Shame on the Liberals for having so little for Canadian workers, because they are not willing to stand up to those who should be paying their fair share. It is not enough to tell Canadian workers to tighten their belt when the money is out there.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2017-04-04 11:18 [p.10111]
Madam Speaker, the Liberal government has cut $8.5 billion from the National Defence budget this year. That is now $12 billion if we take into consideration what was cut last year.
Last summer our caucus held coast-to-coast round table discussions with many communities. From these discussions, people told us very clearly that they wanted to see the military spending increased, and our military itself increased and modernized.
Could the member please tell me how we can do this when the government has cut military funding in the last two years by $12 billion?
View Ken McDonald Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Ken McDonald Profile
2017-04-04 11:18 [p.10112]
Madam Speaker, it is hard to figure out the opposition. One day members are telling us we are spending too fast and too much. The next minute they condemn us for not spending enough, so I do not know which way they want it. They cannot have both sides of the cake at one time.
We are making strategic investments in the Canadian Armed Forces. We are making strategic investments in our veterans, and we will continue to do that for the men and women who wear the uniform.
View Peter Kent Profile
View Peter Kent Profile
2017-04-03 14:34 [p.10054]
Mr. Speaker, the Liberals have approved China's acquisition of a Montreal high-tech company. The company's fibre laser technology has several applications, including military development of directed energy weapons. Our previous Conservative government had blocked the deal on the national security advice of National Defence and CSIS. Now the Liberals claim they have attached unexplained conditions to the sale, but do the Liberals realize that in their rush to please China, they are putting the security of Canada and our allies at risk?
View Navdeep Bains Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Navdeep Bains Profile
2017-04-03 14:34 [p.10054]
Mr. Speaker, let me be clear. We never have and we never will compromise on national security.
I also want to take this opportunity to highlight that we did not overturn a cabinet order. The previous government managed the process so poorly that it ended up in court. We followed a rigorous process. We examined all the facts from our national security agencies, and the law was followed.
We acted on the full record and advice given to us by our national security experts. Like I said, we never have and we never will compromise on national security.
View Peter Kent Profile
View Peter Kent Profile
2017-04-03 14:35 [p.10055]
Mr. Speaker, for years, federal government departments have been hacked by a network of Chinese hackers.
Recently released documents reveal that China's hack of the National Research Council in 2014 alone cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Now the Liberals have approved the sale of this Montreal company and its sensitive defence-related technology.
Why are the Liberals spending many millions of dollars to protect our secrets from the Chinese, and at the same time they are selling our secrets to the Chinese?
View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
View Ralph Goodale Profile
2017-04-03 14:35 [p.10055]
Mr. Speaker, at the beginning of our government, the Prime Minister asked me and a number of other ministers to fully re-examine Canada's cybersecurity capacity.
That review has been ongoing now for a number of months and is leading to a much more vigorous and robust posture on the part of Canada, in collaboration with our allies, in dealing with all cybersecurity issues.
Might I just repeat, with respect to the transaction that has been referred to in the question, that all national security advice has been followed?
View Brian Masse Profile
View Brian Masse Profile
2017-04-03 14:52 [p.10058]
Mr. Speaker, the Liberals have failed to conduct crucial national security reviews of two sensitive takeovers by foreign companies. Now the Liberals have approved a Chinese takeover of a Montreal firm specializing in sensitive laser technology that is used to produce weaponry.
The Conservatives blocked this same deal in 2015 after being warned that it jeopardized national security. Why would the Liberals refuse the previous government's decision and allow this dubious idea to take over and to proceed? What has changed, and how can they explain that to the Canadian public right now?
View Navdeep Bains Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Navdeep Bains Profile
2017-04-03 14:53 [p.10058]
Mr. Speaker, as I have said before, we have never compromised and never will compromise on national security. Let me be clear. We did not overturn a cabinet order. The previous government mismanaged the process, which is the reason why it ended up in court. We pursued a rigorous process. We did our due diligence. We did our homework and we examined all the facts by our national security agencies.
Again, I would like to remind the member opposite that we made a decision that was in our national interests and we stand by our decision.
View Randall Garrison Profile
Mr. Speaker, Canada must be a force for stability in this increasingly dangerous world by acting as a counterweight to the erratic and disruptive foreign policy of President Trump. Canada has already recommitted to NATO as an alliance that guarantees the defence of all its members, by offering to lead the NATO mission in Latvia, thus blunting Trump's assertion that the Baltic States are not defensible.
Canada should oppose Trump's cavalier remarks about proliferation of nuclear weapons and other advanced weapons systems by refusing to participate in the U.S. ballistic missile defence program. Our joining would risk setting off an arms race in advanced offensive missile capability as a response.
The New Democrats believe our troops should have the support, training, and equipment they need to do the difficult and dangerous work we ask them to do every day. We hope the Liberals will keep their promise of an increase in defence spending in the upcoming budget, and of allocating enough capital spending to sustain the national shipbuilding strategy.
Only with a well-trained and well-equipped military can Canada continue to play an independent role in the world in promoting peace and security.
View Chrystia Freeland Profile
Lib. (ON)
moved that Bill C-31, an act to implement the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and Ukraine, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
She said: Mr. Speaker, I hope today you will permit me to say:
[Member spoke in Ukrainian]
I am absolutely delighted to rise in the House today in support of legislation to implement the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement. This is a historic agreement for Canadians and Ukrainians alike. I know that many hon. members, including those across the aisle, have worked hard on this agreement.
Two weeks ago, I had the distinct honour of speaking at an all-party Holodomor memorial service here in our House of Commons. It was a moving reminder for me of the broad all-party support in Canada for the people of Ukraine.
The people of Ukraine have always had very close ties to Canada. Many families, like my own, trace their ancestry to Ukraine. In fact, our countries have enjoyed a close relationship dating back more than 125 years.
It is particularly appropriate to be talking about the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement this year, because this is the 125th anniversary of the first immigration of Ukrainians to Canada. I must say that as the weather has been turning colder this year, I have thought a lot about what those Ukrainian pioneers endured in their first winter on our Prairies. I think this agreement is a very powerful way, among many other things, to honour the tremendous work they did and the tremendous sacrifices they made, particularly in settling our prairie provinces. Today there are more than 1.2 million Canadians with Ukrainian heritage, and many have been integral to Canadian progress and history.
Multiculturalism is a core Canadian value. It is one to which Ukrainian Canadians are very proud to have contributed. They have contributed to its development as an idea and live it in their lives as Ukrainian Canadians. That multiculturalism is increasingly a value that Canada and Ukraine, as countries, share. I think the Canadian experience is very valuable for Ukraine as it develops as an independent state.
Another value that Canada and Ukraine share is our belief that government's role is to work hard for the prosperity of our people, for the middle class, and for jobs for our middle class. Both of our countries understand how essential trade is to delivering that prosperity and those jobs to our people.
That is why my mandate letter specifically instructs me to complete our free trade agreement with Ukraine, a significant milestone in the relationship between our two countries.
This free trade agreement is rooted in the connections between our people. I am so proud that this agreement will contribute to economic growth and will create more jobs, both in Canada and in Ukraine.
Despite its highly publicized and very real economic problems, Ukraine is a promising emerging market with many similarities to the largest European economies. The country has rich farmland, a well-developed industrial base, a highly skilled labour force, and an educated population. Ukraine also has abundant mineral resources, including iron ore and nickel.
The country also has dynamic agricultural and aerospace sectors and has long been known for its technological achievements thanks to its well-developed science and education capacities. Ukraine offers investment and trade partnership opportunities in these and many other sectors.
The Ukrainian economy is once again growing, and the International Monetary Fund projects that its gross domestic product will increase by 1.5% this year and 2.5% next year. That is a remarkable achievement for the peoples of Ukraine in a time of war.
Ukraine's trade climate is improving, as is the ease of doing business there. While much remains to be done, things are getting better.
This country offers many opportunities for Canadian businesses in areas such as aerospace, agricultural equipment, mining equipment, information and communication technologies, agriculture and agrifood, and fish and seafood. Canada has the necessary experience and expertise in all of these sectors, leaving it perfectly positioned to become a leading partner for Ukraine.
Our economy has a great deal to offer Ukrainian businesses. Indeed, Canada survived the global economic crisis very well. The future looks bright for Canada thanks to impressive prospects for growth, a low corporate tax rate, and a talented, educated, and multicultural workforce, including Ukrainian Canadians who have an advantage with respect to Canada–Ukraine trade.
In light of this vast potential and the many opportunities our two countries offer one another, of course we must work closely to strengthen our partnership. The Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement will help Canadian businesses take better advantage of a deeper relationship between the two countries and the opportunities afforded by this relationship.
By eliminating tariffs on virtually all goods currently traded between Canada and Ukraine and dealing with other types of barriers to trade, this agreement will open new doors and make Canadian goods more competitive on Ukrainian markets.
The rules of the agreement are drafted in such a way as to address non-tariff barriers, contribute to facilitating trade, make trade more predictable, and help reduce some of the administrative costs currently imposed on businesses.
Whether we are talking about seafood products from Atlantic Canada, maple products and goods manufactured in central Canada, or even pulses, pork, and wine from western Canada, this agreement could benefit a wide range of sectors in every region of Canada.
With good trade relations come good job opportunities and with one in six Canadian jobs directly tied to exports, our government is determined to expand Canada's access to foreign markets and help grow our economy for all Canadians.
The government is also working hard to promote the agreement and ensure that Canadian businesses can reap the full benefit of it. The government is currently developing communications products in order to ensure that the private sector is aware of the opportunities that are available in the free trade agreements, as well as the various support programs.
Canada's talented team of trade commissioners, of which I am very proud, will also receive training and the tools it needs to identify business opportunities created by the free trade agreement on the ground and communicate those to its clients. We are also determined to ensure that trade is inclusive and that the benefits are distributed better. Our progressive approach to trade seeks to ensure that trade growth helps strengthen the middle class, but not at the expense of the environment, labour rights, or the rights of governments to make regulations in the public interest.
Like our free trade agreement with the European Union, our agreement with Ukraine reflects strong Canadian values.
Today's world is full of challenges and immense possibilities due to the opening of new markets, the growth of developing countries, the emergence of new technologies, and progress in attaining the United Nations' sustainable development goals.
That is one of the reasons why our government opted for a progressive trade approach. It is also the reason why the Prime Minister has made the implementation of the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement one of the priorities of my mandate as the Minister of International Trade.
Canada is deeply committed to working with the people of Ukraine to help Ukraine rebuild its economy in these very difficult political circumstances and to deepen the economic ties between our two countries in the years ahead.
Canada stands firmly beside Ukraine in defending its borders and its sovereignty against illegal and unwarranted acts of aggression. Canada has led other G7 countries in condemning Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea, and we will continue to take action to help the people of Ukraine rebuild their economy and country.
This free trade agreement is a very important part of Canada's solidarity with Ukraine. I would like the people of Ukraine, who I hope are listening to us today, to know that Canada stands today squarely alongside Ukraine. Canada has long supported the establishment of Ukraine as a stable, prosperous, and democratic country. Since Ukraine's independence in 1991, Canada has committed more than $1.2 billion in technical and financial assistance to Ukraine. In fact, Canada was the first western country to recognize independent Ukraine at that time.
When I met with the Canadian and Ukrainian business community last June at the Canada-Ukraine business forum in Toronto, I heard optimism and hope from both Canadian and Ukrainian business leaders that this agreement would strengthen the ties between our two countries and create new opportunities for our businesses and our people to work together. Also, it is a strategic agreement as well as an economic one.
On July 11, 2016, I had the very great and very personal honour of signing this agreement alongside my Ukrainian counterpart, the minister of economic development and trade, Stepan Kubiv, in Kiev during our Prime Minister's first official visit to Ukraine. Our Prime Minister, together with President Poroshenko, were there to witness that signature.
Both of our countries understand how essential trade is to delivering prosperity and jobs to our people. By improving market access and creating more predictable conditions for trade, the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement will generate new opportunities for Ukrainians. Canadians want to do more business in and, crucially, with Ukraine in the years ahead.
A free trade agreement between our countries is an important way to help make that happen. The agreement would provide improved access for goods and services and address non-tariff barriers to trade. It has the potential to facilitate stronger economic relations by making it easier to do business together. I strongly believe that the agreement will help the people of Ukraine in their very difficult work toward reforming their economy and asserting their independence.
Ukrainians see Canada as a partner in Ukraine's economic reforms, and this agreement, by facilitating trade between our countries and by helping Ukrainians to raise their standards in areas like labour, the environment, and trade facilitation, will be a very important tool and support for Ukraine.
The Ukrainian people have always had a friend in Canada, and our government, and I very much personally, are determined to help the people of Ukraine prosper and succeed in a sovereign, democratic, and free Ukraine. Our free trade agreement is a very concrete measure that reinforces this support and that has built on work done by members of all parties in the House.
I therefore urge all hon. members to support the legislative amendments contained in Bill C-31 and to enable us to do our part in bringing the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement into force.
I realize that trade agreements may be controversial in some quarters today, but I really hope that this particular agreement with a country that has such strong historic and human ties to Canada and that so needs our support today could enjoy the support of all members of the House.
[Member spoke in Ukrainian]
View Randall Garrison Profile
Mr. Speaker, I am hoping that members will grant me a bit of indulgence at the beginning of my speech as we approach the end of our fall sitting to say thanks to all of our families whose support makes it possible for us to do our work here today. I want to give particular thanks to my partner, Teddy Pardede, who keeps things running on the home front while keeping his own life running, which enables me to do my work here in Ottawa.
I also want to give my thanks to my Ottawa staff, Sarah Manns and Michael Wiseman, and my constituency staff, Bruce Fogg, Martha Juillerat, and Elise Cote, without whom I could not do this job as a member of Parliament.
I also want to give my thanks to friends who pitch in and help make it possible for us to do our jobs, especially those of us who have difficult travel to get here. I would give an example from the beginning of this session when my partner had to fly home to Indonesia for a family emergency the day before the session was to begin. My friend of 33 years, Allyson McKay, stepped in to house and dog sit with no notice in order for me to be able to get here and do my work in the House of Commons. My Friend Chris Shewchuk also stepped in to help with the dog walking for the first days of those sessions.
These are all things that we sometimes forget about, our families, friends, and staff who support us in doing this work. Therefore, in the spirit of the season, I want to thank all of them and wish them happy holidays.
Now I will come to the topic of this debate today, the CETA.
The first thing I would say, as all New Democrats I think are saying in this debate, is “Europe, yes”. If there is any country we can trade with, it ought to be Europe, if we treat Europe as a country with its common standards. Why is that true?
Human rights standards are generally high within the European Union, and the European Convention on Human Rights means that many of the concerns that I have expressed in other trade agreements, in particular the trade agreement with Honduras, which has one of the worst human rights records in the world, are not a concern for me when we are talking about CETA.
The second reason for “Europe, yes” would be on the question of labour rights and labour standards. I have no doubt that workers in the European Union are able to organize unions, and those unions are able to represent their members' interests when it comes to things like labour standards. Therefore, if we are going to talk about free trade, of course, I prefer to think of it as fair trade, so that companies cannot win competitions based on who can exploit their workers the best, but they would have to do it on their ability to innovate and be efficient. Again, on labour rights and labour standards, obviously, “Europe, yes”.
On environmental protection, I think I can safely say the same kinds of things. In fact, in many cases, European standards and environmental protection exceed Canadian standards. Once again, we do not really want the competition in trade to be about who can burn through our resources and our environment the fastest and therefore win the trade war.
To start with, the question I have is not why a free trade agreement with Europe but why are we obsessed with one-by-one free trade agreements? What is it that drives us to this position, where Canada will end up with something like 100 free trade agreements if we keep going? Why are we abandoning working through multilateral international forums, like the World Trade Organization, or through conventions at the United Nations, which would lead to trade liberalization? There would be some really big advantages in going at trade in this manner.
We could, for instance, make sure that the poorest countries are not left out of these discussions. When we are discussing free trade, we are quite often talking about the privileged expanding their privileges around the world. It would also mean that underprivileged groups within countries might get more attention on the world stage, in particular, of course, with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which might get its rightful place when it comes to discussing trade agreements if we moved to multilateral international agreements.
We might also get to talk more about food security, and I will talk a little bit more about it in the context of this agreement. However, food security around the world is an important question when we have nearly one billion people, including far too many in Canada, who do not have secure access to food at an affordable price and do not have secure access to nutritious food. If we were talking about this on the world level, then some of the poorest of the poor, both within our own country and within countries around the world, would have their interests much better represented.
In talking about things like water security, we all know that water security is becoming an increasingly important issue around the world, yet it tends to be neglected in our discussions of these trade agreements. Many if not most of the products we produce have water as some aspect of the production process, and water is also needed to grow food and sustain human life.
Finally, if we were talking in more general terms we might then talk about greenhouse gas implications of long-distance shipping of goods all around the world. Is this really what is best for all of us, and are the costs of the long-distance shipping that goes on under these trade agreements really being accounted for at an international level?
I am still one of those who believe that trade liberalization is, yes, a good idea but it probably needs to take place in multilateral fora rather than these one-by-one free trade agreements. The one-by-one process also makes it difficult for those who have an interest in the agreements but maybe not as big a voice as the corporations to get their voices heard. We find that Canadians who are concerned with natural resources, food security, or local procurement have to make their case again and again as each of these agreements comes forward, and burn up precious resources in their organizations in trying to deal with each of these agreements. I think particularly of the environmental movement in this country, which has to examine literally thousands of pages of free trade agreements to try to make sure that our environment is not being damaged by these agreements. I would like to say that again if we were back to a multilateral focus we might have agreements that actually had environmental protection as one of the focuses of the agreements. I do not see that in any of these one-off agreements that we are doing.
When it comes to this specific agreement, are there some good things in it? One of those, I will say yes to as the NDP defence critic. It does have a fairly broad exemption for defence industries so that we can make sure that defence industries can be sustained in Canada. If we were to allow a free trade agreement to mean that our defence industries and our shipbuilding died out, we would be in dire straits in any conflict in being unable to supply our defence industries locally. As I read it, and I think as most people read it, there is a fair degree of protection there for our defence industries. I know that the previous speaker, the member for Nanaimo—Ladysmith, has been a very firm advocate of making sure that we have vital shipbuilding industries around the country.
I have a bit more of a question about maintenance under this agreement. This is something I have raised in the defence committee and I will raise again in the House today. There is an increasing tendency to open up contracts for maintenance of our defence facilities to bidders from outside the country. We know that the British got into a great deal of trouble, in fact, when some of their maintenance and supply contracts had critical materials coming from other European countries. When Britain got involved in the war in Afghanistan, countries that did not like that used their ability to control the end use of defence products to shut off supply under those contracts to the British. I have some questions still about this question of maintenance and supply under the CETA.
I have some other more serious concerns and I am not going to have time to talk about all of them today. The biggest of those is investor-state provisions. I cannot understand why we are entering into trade agreements where there is some substitute for the Canadian courts system being created and where businesses get privileged access to this system of arbitrators, and they can only use that system if they have millions of dollars to put up front to pay for these kinds of cases. As previous speakers have noted, Canada is already one of the most-sued countries in the world under investor-state provisions. How can we ensure that Canadian local, provincial, and even national governments are going to be able to protect our resources, protect our environment, protect state enterprises, protect our public health care, and protect the lower price of pharmaceuticals and not end up being sued under these investor-state provisions? Prescription drug costs are one of my biggest concerns because the agreement, if we sign it, would clearly increase drug costs by something like $1 billion a year in this country.
In drawing this to a close what I really want to emphasize is, yes to Europe. Obviously if we are going to trade with anyone, this would be the one. I am still concerned about this agreement and its impacts on our ability in terms of our democracy to continue to represent Canadians' best interests in the way that elected officials see possible, and not end up being sued and prevented from doing the right thing by the agreement's investor-state provisions.
View Sylvie Boucher Profile
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his excellent speech.
Clearly the Liberals think they are qualified to take over where the good Lord leaves off, but that is not how it works in real life. We understand things too, but our understanding is not the same as theirs. I will not allow anyone to insult my colleagues because they see things differently.
I would like to ask my colleague a question. My daughter is no manager, but last weekend, she figured out that the cost per child is $44,000 right now. In 10 years, that will add up to nearly $100 billion. I am talking about the regions.
What about the army? Will they be giving the army any money?
View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
Mr. Speaker, I thank my esteemed colleague for her question.
Our children will owe an extra $1,000. The fifth grandson of a colleague of mine was born yesterday, and his debt went up by $1,000 the moment he entered this world. What a thoughtful gift from the current Liberal government.
Here is what I have to say about defence. In the first budget, which was presented in the spring, $3.8 billion of the defence budget was set aside. Once again, they manipulated the figures. They said the money would be available if needed, but money seems to disappear in the administrative twists and turns of each budget. What about that $6 billion yesterday? They said it was a cushion, a reserve. Since a $31.1-billion deficit makes the government look bad, it moved that $6 billion over, and now the deficit is just $25 billion. That is not so bad, is it? We all see what happened. Canadians will not fall for it.
There is no news on national defence, but we know that defence needs major cash because it is important. I hope the government will take a good look at what is going on with defence in Canada.
View James Bezan Profile
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise and address the question that I brought up a while ago about the Liberals slashing $3.7 billion from the defence budget.
As the House knows, this is reminiscent of the time the Liberals were in power in the 1990s, the decade of darkness, when they slashed considerable money from the Canadian military. The Canadian Armed Forces had a tough time during that rule of the former Liberal government under Jean Chrétien. Interestingly, that decade of darkness followed a defence policy review that was initiated in 1993 and 1994.
During that decade of darkness we saw significant money cut from the defence budget. As the parliamentary budget officer said in his fall 2015 report:
The most significant...cuts under program review occurred from 1995 to 2004.... The cumulative...expenditure over that period of time was roughly $13.4 billion below what our modelling showed was required to maintain the existing force structure.
In the budget we know we need to invest in ships. We know we need to make investments to replace our fighter aircraft. We know our army needs to replace a number of its vehicles, including trucks. All of that has now been put on hold by the Liberals until after the next election. They have kicked military investments down the road, to the tune of $3.7 billion, until after the next election.
That is going to impact 16 military projects that are currently under way. It includes things like Arctic offshore patrol vessels; $173 million is being withheld on a program that already is being cut. On the future fighter aircraft replacements for our CF-18s, the government has withheld $109 million. If the Liberals want to talk about replacing our CF-18s, they need to make sure we have money in place so we can select the proper aircraft.
The government has withheld $90 million from the Cyclone maritime helicopters. We just took possession of the first eight, and another 17 are on their way. The Liberals are withholding dollars for that. With respect to the modernization of our Halifax-class frigates and their life extension, the government has withheld $71.1 million. With respect to the integrated soldier system project, the government has withheld $39.4 million. This is just the tip of the iceberg of the $3.7 million that the Liberals have slashed from the budget. We are going to hear from the parliamentary secretary that it was re-profiled, but re-profiled is just another word for cut, and we know that any dollars that are moved down the road are apt to be sacrificed by the Liberal government.
Analyses are done by a lot of experts and military analysts. I love this quote from David Perry, who said, “This budget reminds me of that episode of Oprah where everybody in the audience got a car. Everyone got a car here except the Department of Defence...”.
The budget shrank military spending by $3.7 billion. We have seen a spending increase in almost every other department but for our men and women in uniform who are tasked with some very difficult jobs by the government. I would ask the parliamentary secretary and the Liberal government to put that money back in the budget and support our armed forces.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, after a while one has to wonder how many times one has to repeat oneself.
The minister was in the committee of the whole about a month ago. He answered 130 questions over the course of four hours. No matter how many times he said that this $3.7 billion was reprofiled for future use in order to try and match the procurement cycle and the fiscal cycle, no matter how many times he said the same thing, the Conservatives insisted on calling it a cut. It speaks to why the Conservatives still do not get the difference between postponing money and cutting money.
This is not a cut. This was asked for by the Minister of National Defence, because the projects that the Conservatives left behind were not ready for the spending. Apparently, the view of the Conservative Party is that we should spend the money before we actually have the project ready on which to spend the money.
The hon. member mentioned a number of projects.
Yesterday, I was in Halifax to see the Arctic/offshore patrol ships, and they are cutting steel. The midsection of one of the ships is well on its way. However, one does not write a cheque to the contractor before the terms of the contract have been fulfilled.
On the future fighter aircraft requirements, the previous minister of defence said in a Senate hearing yesterday, or last week, that actually they did not get the job done. The F-35, which was the Conservatives' choice, lacked capabilities and the costing was not right, and so they backed off and lost five years.
When we do not spend $109 million, it is because the project is not ready to have money spent on it. I do not know what could be simpler. Do we go around spending money on projects that are not ready? Is that the position of the hon. member?
On the Maritime helicopter project, same thing. We have received eight, and two have been sent back because we have to upgrade the systems. What does the member want us to do, go and spend money, and give the money to the contractor for not doing the job? Is that the process that the hon. member wishes us to engage in?
Maybe, just maybe, we should try and work at matching the fiscal cycles and the procurement cycles. Maybe if the previous Conservative government had not left behind such a mess, we would not have had to reprofile this $3.7 billion.
On the frigate modernization, the frigates are almost done; however, we are not going to write a cheque until they are done.
I still do not understand the hon. member's position: spend money before the project is complete and in effect give the contractor a bonus. This is crazy financing, but for the last 10 years, that has kind of been the way business was done around here.
View James Bezan Profile
Mr. Speaker, we are not going to take any lessons from the Liberal Party or that member.
We know that during the decade of darkness the budget was frozen at around $10 billion for 10 years. It slipped below 1% of GDP on spending. We know that during the Liberals' tenure, there was about $13.4 billion that should have been spent that was never spent. We already see in this first budget the reprofiling, as the parliamentary secretary likes to call it, of $3.7 billion. That is more reprofiling than we did in our nine years of government.
This is really a challenge to the government. It is really a reflection on the many Canadians, especially those who serve or have served in the Canadian Armed Forces, who do not trust the government.
Case in point is that just this past week we found out that the Liberals never took the $400 billion that was budgeted for the life extension of our CF-18s and instead are creating a capability gap that should not exist. They are endangering the lives of our pilots of our CF-18s, and are not standing up for the Canadian Armed Forces and the proud men and women who serve in it.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, the previous government took lapsing to an art form. Over the Conservatives' decade of deception, they pretended to spend money on projects when in fact they did not spend money on projects. As a consequence, over the last four years the military has suffered collectively a $3.3-billion cut.
As for the F-18 program, it is a good idea to get the life extension program going. It is $450 million. It is a good idea. We like that idea, except that they only have 20 of the airplanes done. The rest are in “options analysis”. We cannot exactly argue options analysis and deal with our NATO commitments, our NORAD commitments, our expeditionary commitments, and the variety of other things that are required to defend Canada and North America.
Options analysis is not a response. The minister has rightly said we have a capability gap and it needs to be addressed. It should have been addressed five years ago, but we are going to do it.
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
2016-06-10 10:50 [p.4323]
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time today with the member for Edmonton Riverbend.
It is said that if one wants to bring constructive criticism, one should make a sandwich; say something positive, then bring the criticism, then finish off with something else positive. That is what I will try to do today. I will make a budget 2016 sandwich.
As the science critic, I will begin by pointing out an extremely positive aspect of the budget. The Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and I met earlier in the session and, together, we decided that it would be a good idea to develop a Canadian science strategy that both sides of the House could support. That is what we did.
As members can see in this budget, we kept the granting council, which supports quality applied research in co-operation with universities, industries, and governments. Increased funding was granted in order to enhance Canada's innovation skills.
Built upon the strong supports of our previous government, budget 2016 would now provide the granting council program for NSERC, CIHR, and SSHRC for research investment with an additional $141 million in annual resources.
I am also very pleased that our previous Conservative government's knowledge infrastructure fund has been retained as the post-secondary investment fund. Targeted investments aimed at our post-secondary institutions will promote Canadian research and discoveries for generations to come.
Similarly, we restored targeted basic research methods. As a result, Canada has made considerable gains in genomics and particle physics, several areas of medical research, and big data.
In other areas, at the global level, we are working on maintaining our international ventures. We also recognize that we need to support the commercialization of Canadian technologies to create more jobs in Canada. Therefore, $100 million was included in the budget to that end. That is very positive.
However, not everything in the budget is positive. The Liberal government has promised deficits nearing $30 billion this year, and more than $100 billion over the next four years. On top of this, the Liberal government seems to have no clear plan on how to pay it back or to balance its budgets in the future. This will cause Canadians to have a deficit of $10 billion annually just to pay back the interest on the money borrowed by the Liberal government. No family would put in place a budget that would put it into debt forever. It is just not wise.
I am also not pleased about the fact that tax cuts to the Canadian middle class will cost the country more than $1.7 billion every year. It was supposed to be cost neutral. Can the government not do basic math?
The same goes for small businesses. Budget 2016 would stop the previous government's lowering of taxes on small businesses. The Liberals promised to cut the tax rate to 9%, but they have broken this promise, which would now cost these same small businesses upward of $2 billion in extra taxes annually.
Next, we will look at infrastructure funding, which was supposed to keep the recession at bay while creating jobs. However, less money is available this year than was promised.
My riding of Sarnia—Lambton has a project for the creation of an oversized load corridor. In discussions with the Minister of Infrastructure and his team, I was assured there would be a fund for trade corridors that this project would fit very well into. For $12 million, this project would create up to 3,000 well-paying jobs in southern Ontario. However, no funding was made available in the budget and therefore no jobs were created for the project. In fact, overall in the budget, the government predicts it will only change the unemployment rate by 0.3% over four years. Seriously? This, for $113 billion?
I would now like to speak about the climate change direction in the budget.
The reality today is that Canada makes up less than 2% of the world's carbon footprint. We could totally eliminate our footprint in Canada, and it would have no fact and evidence based temperature result on the planet. Therefore, our approach should be to leverage our carbon emissions reduction technologies to the substantive contributors like China, the U.S., and India, which make up 40% of the footprint. This budget, with an attempt to layer on additional carbon tax, would drive jobs out of Canada to other regions, but would not help the planet. It would just move the carbon footprint somewhere else.
An example of this from my riding is a project currently being considered, worth billions of dollars and thousands of jobs. With two levels of carbon tax, this project is uncompetitive here and will go to the U.S. gulf coast. The carbon footprint is the same for the planet, but we lose thousands of jobs. This is what will happen across the fossil-fuel business without a better plan. While we lose job opportunities like this one, $2.65 billion is being spent in a foreign fund to benefit other nations like China and India, which are substantive contributors to the global carbon footprint and which are still building coal facilities. This is not an approach that would help the planet, help Canadians, or help Canada.
I am also concerned about how much money we give to other countries, in light of the fact that there are people in need in Canada.
At present, more than $5 billion of taxpayers' money is sent abroad for various programs. At the same time, we have homeless veterans and seniors who cannot make ends meet after having worked all their lives. Fort McMurray is still burning and hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost.
We need to help Canadians and realize that we cannot be as generous as we once were given our current financial situation.
Let us move past these issues into another area of concern for the Canadian public: national security and defence. One of the most important jobs for any government is to protect its citizenry. Now more than ever we need more defence, not less defence. Cutting $3.7 billion from the defence budget is absolutely reckless, as I heard at the town hall meeting I held on this issue in my riding, where I consulted broadly with people. Much-needed ships for the navy as well as equipment for the air force have been put on hold with no explanation or expectation given for future timelines of availability. We need to ensure the men and women who protect our country are well-equipped, and we need to ensure our borders remain secure.
Now, I come to the final part of the budget 2016 sandwich.
Having just spoken about defence, I do appreciate any increase in benefits for veterans. There is much more to be done, and we need to ensure veterans are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.
I also would like to speak about seniors. My riding has an aging demographic, so I am pleased to see an increase in the guaranteed income supplement. It may only be $18 a week, but seniors on a fixed income need all the help they can get. I still think we need to do more. I am glad that the income splitting for pensioners was retained, but I would like to have seen the tax-free savings account limit expanded. Many seniors use this to preserve their savings and increase their flexibility in retirement.
Finally, with an ever-growing number of individuals of all ages experiencing chronic and terminal conditions across Canada, and in light of the assisted-dying legislation, I was happy to hear the Minister of Health say that there were $3 billion in this budget for home and palliative care. That said, I could not find the actual words palliative care in the budget. However, I trust that since this has been repeated by the minister in the House on numerous occasions, and the Liberal Party recently made a resolution on palliative care, I believe there is support for this on all sides of the House.
That is why I have introduced my private member's bill, Bill C-277, on palliative care. Good palliative care covers a wide range of services such as acute hospital care, hospice care, home care, crisis care, and spiritual and psychological counselling. Those who have access to good palliative care choose to live as well as they can for as long as they can. Now is the time to get this in place for the 70% of Canadians who do not have access to this service. I am pleased with this commitment. It is a good start.
I am happy to see more summer jobs for youth as well.
To summarize the budget sandwich, thumbs up on science, thumbs down on fiscal responsibility; thumbs down on the approach to infrastructure, climate change and defence; and thumbs up for moving in the direction of good for seniors, veterans, palliative care, and youth.
View Randall Garrison Profile
Madam Chair, when the defence committee was in discussions with NATO commander Admiral Gortney, who was the commander until last Friday, he took a lot of us by surprise by suggesting that NORAD was working on a proposal that would see folding sea, maritime, and land defence into the NATO command and establishing a joint command for the defence of North America.
I asked him very clearly if this was unclassified, if I was able to make this public, and he said yes. He said that the proposal will come forward to the Permanent Joint Board on Defence at its next meeting.
Given that one of the options in that proposal being considered is to turn over the defence of Canada to a U.S. command, will the minister assure us now that he will not take part in any such plan to turn over Canada's sovereignty and its defence to an American general?
View Harjit S. Sajjan Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Harjit S. Sajjan Profile
2016-05-16 19:51 [p.3415]
Madam Chair, Canada will always maintain its sovereignty. Within our context with NORAD, this is a unique relationship that we have. It is the only one of its kind in the world. It is a binational command. We should be proud of the fact that we do have this.
I was fortunate to attend the change of command ceremony when the first female combat commander took command, General Lori Robinson.
Canadians can be extremely proud of our relationship in NORAD, because it is a unique relationship and one that is not replicated anywhere else in the world.
View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
Madam Chair, earlier, we spoke about threats to Canada. During our visit to NORAD, my NDP colleague had a different perspective than I and my Liberal colleagues did.
I would like the minister to tell us how Canada can protect itself against a direct or indirect missile attack, since we are in the path between North Korea, Russia, and the United States.
How will Canada protect itself against a potential cruise or antiballistic missile?
View Harjit S. Sajjan Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Harjit S. Sajjan Profile
2016-05-16 20:23 [p.3420]
Madam Chair, that is a question I would rather have in private because of the classified nature of the answer. I think the member would understand that.
View James Bezan Profile
Mr. Speaker, the sun is shining and the sky is bright blue today in Manitoba after electing a strong, stable Conservative majority government last night.
Unfortunately, here in Ottawa, our military is entering another era of darkness. The Liberals' $3.7-billion defence cut from the defence budget are not only for future procurements, but they are also cutting the budget for current projects like the Arctic offshore patrol ships and the Halifax-class frigate upgrades.
Why will the Prime Minister not get the equipment for our troops now?
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, it is passingly strange to get a question from the Conservatives about the fiscal mess left behind. There was a perpetual mismatch between the procurement cycle and the fiscal cycle, and the Minister of National Defence is now trying to rectify that. Accordingly, there are no funds that will be not applied to projects as they are needed.
View Cheryl Gallant Profile
Mr. Speaker, the Liberal procurement process is failing our military. The decision to withhold funding for the Cyclone search and rescue helicopter reminds Canadians of the horrible Chrétien decision of the 1990s to cancel the EH 101 helicopters.
Why is the Prime Minister so willing to put the women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces at risk by cutting military funding?
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, that is from a member of Parliament who was part of a government that made lapsing military funding an art form in order to get to a bogus balanced budget.
There are no monies being cut from projects. Had the members opposite spent more time getting the fiscal and procurement cycles in order instead of climbing in and out of fake airplanes, and did the hard work that is needed to match those cycles, then just possibly, the men and women in uniform would be getting their—
View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
Mr. Speaker, the Liberals have already sunk the Department of National Defence into darkness. They have put off some crucial procurements until after the next election, but that is not the worst of it, as reported in the Ottawa Citizen. The Liberals are putting on hold procurement projects that are already under way, such as offshore patrol ships, Cyclone helicopters, and the CF-18 replacements.
Will the minister show us what kind of weight he has in this government? Will he step up and ensure that these projects continue to move forward?
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, once again, had the former government, the party opposite, actually done its work, then the procurement cycle would have matched the fiscal cycle and accordingly, we possibly would have had some procurements met. The mess left behind on the procurement cycle by the party opposite means that we are having to realign all of our fiscal priorities. Accordingly, we are now funding matters as they become due.
View John Brassard Profile
View John Brassard Profile
2016-04-11 17:04 [p.2021]
Madam Speaker, I wish to advise the House that I will be splitting my time with the member for Perth—Wellington.
With the cameras rolling on the campaign trail, the Liberals promised they would provide revenue-neutral tax relief for the middle class by asking wealthy Canadians to pay more. We now know that this is not the case as taxpayers will have to dish out an additional $8.9 billion over the next six years, and hard-working middle-class Canadians will ultimately have to shoulder this massive burden.
The Liberals promised Canadians they would not run deficits of more than $10 billion a year, but now we see that they are borrowing almost $30 billion in 2016 and upwards of $120 billion over the next five years.
The Liberals promised to spend $10 billion per year on infrastructure, but if we add it up, infrastructure spending in this budget is far less than what they told Canadians in order to get elected.
The Liberals promised small business they would honour graduated tax relief previously passed in Parliament, but that promise has also been thrown out the window.
With no plan to return to balance, this budget simply increases the cost of government, does nothing to create jobs, and it is on track to make the employment insurance system the largest employer in Canada.
This is not what Canadians were told when they were being asked for their vote last October. Instead, Canadians were sold a bill of goods and, simply put, this budget was not as advertised. However, do not take my word for it. Many prominent Canadians in the know who are echoing these sentiments are also echoing their disappointment.
Kevin Page, the former parliamentary budget officer whom many members across the aisle quoted in the House on almost a daily basis when they sat in opposition, said, “Budgets are fiscal plans. A fiscal plan without a strategy to get back to balance and without sustainability analysis is not responsible or prudent. We are passing higher debt onto future generations”, he concluded.
A Globe and Mail editorial noted:
The Liberal Party’s electoral pitch was that Ottawa would run deficits to pay for infrastructure. But that’s mostly not what’s happening in Budget 2016. The vast majority of the planned new spending is not investment. It’s not building roads or bridges or public transit. It’s ongoing program spending, locked-in and permanent.
Canadian Federation of Independent Business president, Dan Kelly, said “In its platform, in a written letter to CFIB members, and in campaign stops across the country, the new government promised to reduce the small business corporate tax rate to nine per cent by 2019. That promise was broken today as it announced the rate will remain at 10.5 per cent after 2016. This decision will cost small firms over $900 million more per year as of 2019.”
Sadly, respected journalist Andrew Coyne who, for the record, publicly endorsed the Liberals led by Michael Ignatieff in 2011, probably put it best when he wrote that this budget “is one from the 1970s, to address problems of 1980s”.
This budget would hurt small business, offers nothing for Barrie manufacturers, and