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Results: 1 - 30 of 93
View Leona Alleslev Profile
CPC (ON)
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
CPC (ON)
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
CPC (MB)
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
CPC (ON)
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
CPC (AB)
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
CPC (AB)
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?
Response
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?
Response
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?
Response
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?
Response
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?
Response
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?
Response
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?
Response
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”?
Response
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?
Response
(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?
Response
(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?
Response
(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?
Response
(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?
Response
(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?
Response
(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?
Response
(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?
Response
(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?
Response
(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?
Response
(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?
Response
(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?
Response
(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?
Response
(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?
Response
(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?
Response
(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?
Response
(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
CPC (MB)
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
CPC (MB)
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
NDP (ON)
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
NDP (ON)
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
CPC (MB)
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
NDP (QC)
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
NDP (SK)
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
CPC (AB)
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
NDP (BC)
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
NDP (QC)
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)
moved:
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
CPC (AB)
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?
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