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Results: 1 - 15 of 889
View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2020-02-21 10:14 [p.1368]
Mr. Speaker, my question is relevant to the bill that is being discussed here today in the House of Commons.
The CBSA is the only major law enforcement agency in Canada without an independent review mechanism for the bulk for its activity and this is a major gap. It has not been addressed despite our calls dating back to the Harper government. It provides an accountability system that will increase public trust at the border and a review system that can provide CBSA officers with more clarity and confidence over policy questions when they are asked something about what they are supposed to be doing.
We are heartened to see this legislation come forward. We are disappointed that the Liberals tabled it with just weeks to go in the last Parliament. This clearly was not a priority of theirs, so we are happy to see this here today.
Will the Conservatives be supporting this legislation and allow better oversight of our public safety institutions and increased public confidence at our borders?
View Richard Cannings Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Speaker, my riding has five border crossings. It is probably one of the most border crossing rich ridings in the country.
Constituents come to my office occasionally with concerns about how they have been treated at the border, both leaving and coming back. What are the member's thoughts on the fact that the bill retains the provision that ex-RCMP members cannot sit on the commission so there is no conflict of interest, but it does not do the same for CBSA members? Could he comment on that concern?
View Tako Van Popta Profile
CPC (BC)
View Tako Van Popta Profile
2020-02-21 10:47 [p.1373]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to join the debate on Bill C-3, an act to amend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act and the Canada Border Services Agency Act.
The legislation before us would rename the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP to the public complaints and review commission which, as an oversight committee, would also have responsibility to review civilian complaints against the Canada Border Services Agency.
Canada has a very long, unprotected border with our neighbour to the south. The United States of America is our biggest trading partner, and that means we need to have an effective border services agency. Every year, the agency processes 100 million people into Canada at our border crossings and at airports, rail crossings and sea ports. It processes 20 million commercial shipments every year and 46 million courier shipments. Every day there is about $2 billion in trade between these two great trading partners. Along with national security and safety, the CBSA is also charged with providing priority to efficiency in trade and commerce.
My constituency of Langley—Aldergrove has one of four B.C. Lower Mainland border crossings. It is a critical tool for our citizens and businesses. The citizens of my riding are looking for efficiency at this and other border crossings to expedite business and relationships. They are also looking for security and safety.
Many people in my riding are gun enthusiasts, and are rightly concerned by proposed further restrictions on already stringent firearms possession and acquisition rules. They are genuinely concerned that these further restrictions will have the effect of only pointing the finger at them, law-abiding citizens who acquired the firearms lawfully and who diligently follow all the rules about safe storage, transport and use.
They ask why the government is not looking at where the real problem is, namely at people who obtain guns illegally, largely by cross-border smuggling. We need border security officers who have both the tools and the resources to do their job effectively.
Our border services officers have extraordinary powers. For example, they may detain people for questioning, search vehicles and packages, and arrest people without a warrant. I would argue that these are necessary powers if we want our CBSA officers to do the work that we expect them to do. However, as a corollary to these exceptional and extraordinary powers, our border services officers must also be subject to oversight.
Currently, there is oversight by courts, commissions and tribunals, but we need stronger arm's-length civilian monitoring, which is what Bill C-3 would do. A civilian review commission would improve oversight and help the CBSA be an even more effective agency in performing its duties and functions. However, to be a truly effective agency for Canada, as Canada strives to uphold the integrity and security of its borders, the CBSA must also be properly resourced in both manpower and equipment, which is our party's position.
Given the need for balancing border security and market efficiency, something I am sure the government also agrees with, we are left bewildered as to why the government is not acting decisively on unwelcome threats to our markets and security.
Why is the government ignoring the needs of Canadians, including the needs of my constituency of Langley—Aldergrove? Our border with the U.S.A. is very important to businesses in Langley. This border crossing, the Aldergrove-Lynden border crossing, is open for business from 8 a.m. until midnight every day, and those limited opening hours slow cross-border traffic down, to the detriment of businesses in my riding. The businesses and people in this riding would benefit greatly from a 24-7 opening of this crucial link with the United States, our prime trading partner.
The president of the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce was quoted recently in one of our local newspapers as saying our “local prosperity depends on our ability to export our goods and services across the country and around the globe.” He also pointed out the obvious: that companies prioritize shipping times based on when and where they are best able to move goods.
The Langley area, because of its proximity to both the United States and metro Vancouver, has two strategically located industrial parks zoned for manufacturing and logistics. These zones are tied to highways and rail crossings with the United States.
The president of the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce said, “We need to be able to move goods, whether out of a port or land border, at reduced times.”
B.C. is an export-driven economy. The president added that its prosperity “hinges on its ability to trade openly in the global and Canadian markets.”
Along with security at our border crossings and effective oversight of the work the CBSA does, the government also needs to invest in better and more accessible international trade at our border crossings, and in the instance of my riding, to finance longer opening hours.
My constituents are looking to the federal government to work co-operatively with its U.S. counterparts and finally make this a reality. I can guarantee that such an initiative would have the support of the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce and its 1, 025 businesses, and I am certain it would also have the support of the chamber of commerce, businesses and citizens of Whatcom County in Washington state.
The businesses in my community are deeply concerned about the significant negative impacts the recent rail blockages are having on trade and commerce, and what they are doing to our reputation among our trading partners.
A letter, written by chambers of commerce across the country and by various business leaders to the Prime Minister three days ago, states:
In addition to disrupting domestic and global supply chains, the blockades undermine Canada’s reputation as a dependable partner in international trade. They also threaten public safety by preventing the distribution of essential products like chlorine for water treatment and propane for heating homes, seniors' facilities and farms.
The damage inflicted on the Canadian economy and on the welfare of all our citizens mounts with each hour that these illegal disruptions are allowed to continue. Each additional day that rail lines are disrupted requires three to four days for supply chains to recover. This is why it is imperative that the Government act now to get the Canadian economy moving again.
A letter written last week by the Canadian Global Cities Council, addressed to the Minister of Transport and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, states:
As the Canadian Global Cities Council (CGCC), we represent over 50 per cent of Canada's gross domestic product and population. Given the events of the past few days, [rail blockages,] we are deeply concerned by the ongoing disruptions to Canada's trade and exports. The impact is also being felt beyond Canada's borders and is harming the country's reputation as a stable and viable supply chain partner. While many of Canada's good destined for the world are currently unable to reach global markets, we are concerned with reports of international shippers diverting traffic away from Canadian ports.
While Bill C-3 is to be applauded for what it would do to support the Canada Border Services Agency, urgent attention needs to be paid to the current crisis that threatens trade and commerce at these border crossings.
View Todd Doherty Profile
CPC (BC)
View Todd Doherty Profile
2020-02-21 10:56 [p.1374]
Mr. Speaker, one of the things we have seen time and again in the previous session, and again in this session so far, with the government is that it likes to talk about consultation. It likes to say that it has consulted with Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
Does our hon. colleague know if indeed the RCMP and CBSA front-line officers were consulted with respect to Bill C-3?
View Tako Van Popta Profile
CPC (BC)
View Tako Van Popta Profile
2020-02-21 10:57 [p.1374]
Mr. Speaker, while this party supports Bill C-3, we are disappointed that there has been a lack of consultation with key stakeholders and leaders, with the RCMP, the CBSA and the unions representing the people who work for those great organizations. It is a disappointment.
That said, the bill will be effective in enhancing the work these organizations are doing, but the lack of consultation has been, and continues to be, problematic.
View Tako Van Popta Profile
CPC (BC)
View Tako Van Popta Profile
2020-02-21 10:58 [p.1375]
Mr. Speaker, my advice is that what was said is misleading, and that the public accounts do not support that allegation.
I will take the opportunity to reiterate how important it would be to my riding to have that border open 24-7. It would have the support of not only Langley—Aldergrove, but surrounding regions as well, and it would certainly have the support of businesses in the chamber of commerce in Whatcom County. I think it is time that we moved ahead with that.
There are other border crossings that are 24-7, but recently there was flooding at the Sumas border crossing, so a lot of traffic was then redirected to the Langley—Aldergrove border crossing, which is only open for 20 hours a day. There were long lineups, which I was personally subjected to.
View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
Mr. Speaker, a very exciting thing is happening next week in my riding, and more precisely in the community of Merritt. What is so exciting? The dinosaurs are coming. More accurately, next week Jurassic World 3 will be filming in the area.
We should never overlook the importance of the B.C. film industry and the significant contributions that film productions create for local economies. In the 2018-19 fiscal year, Creative BC reported that 384 productions contributed $3.2 billion to British Columbia's economy alone. This is great news for British Columbia, and in the case of Jurassic World 3, it is terrific news for Merritt.
I should also mention that the production also had a casting call for local citizens. According to the casting call, they are looking for people to play dinosaur food.
Please join me in recognizing the community of Merritt for being the perfect place to feed dinosaurs.
View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2020-02-21 11:13 [p.1378]
Mr. Speaker, last September I was invited by Tseshaht First Nation to witness a solemn ceremony on the site of the former Alberni Indian Residential School. More than 450 people from 88 first nations gathered to reclaim the lost souls of the many indigenous children who died while attending this school over the 92 years it was open.
The ceremony was a first step in creating a cultural way for the spirits of these children to be reclaimed. Many of the participants at the reclaiming lost souls ceremony were returning to the site of the school for the first time since it closed in 1973.
As a witness, I bring this message from those who are doing this important work. There is still much intergenerational healing needed from the trauma experienced by many generations of children attending residential schools. The federal government needs to invest more funding and resources into tearing down these schools and supporting healing initiatives across Canada.
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Speaker, less than three years ago the Prime Minister said, “No relationship is more important to Canada than the relationship with Indigenous Peoples.”
The Prime Minister has fallen a long way since then. Weeks ago, when we asked the Prime Minister to step up to de-escalate the situation in the Wet'suwet'en territories, he said it was not his problem.
It was then. It is now. When will he meet with the hereditary chiefs?
View Tracy Gray Profile
CPC (BC)
View Tracy Gray Profile
2020-02-21 11:37 [p.1383]
Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday, 34 Canadian organizations, representing multiple sectors from across the country employing millions of Canadians, wrote the Prime Minister. They expressed how the activist blockades were creating serious problems for interprovincial trade, public service, businesses, workers and families. They said that for every day the rail lines were down, it would take at least four days to just catch up.
Will the Prime Minister create plan for our economy to catch up if these blockades are ever dismantled?
View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2020-02-21 11:41 [p.1383]
Mr. Speaker, in my riding, 11 years after the Supreme Court reaffirmed the rights of five Nuu-chah-nulth nations to catch and sell fish in their territory, the government has still not negotiated an agreement. Instead, it has spent over $19 million fighting these nations and their rights in court.
We can look across the country today and it is clear the Prime Minister's words of nation-to-nation relationships fall flat. That is why the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs are asking for a face-to-face meeting. When will the Prime Minister answer their call?
View Tamara Jansen Profile
CPC (BC)
View Tamara Jansen Profile
2020-02-21 11:52 [p.1386]
Mr. Speaker, last week, I visited Bimbo Canada's bakery in my riding. It produces an impressive 9,000 loaves of bread an hour at its plant. It is very proud of the fact that it uses only the highest quality Canadian prairie wheat flour for its products.
As Phil showed us around, he spoke about the rail blockades impeding shipments of that key ingredient to the bakeries across Canada. Without flour, production stops.
What does the Prime Minister plan to say to Canadians when the bread runs out: Let them eat cake?
View Marc Dalton Profile
CPC (BC)
View Marc Dalton Profile
2020-02-21 11:58 [p.1387]
Mr. Speaker, Canada has grounded to a halt because of a weak Prime Minister. The Liberals are kowtowing to a few radical protesters. They are paralyzed. They are legitimizing these illegal blockades that are costing us hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of jobs. In Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge, commuters worry that the West Coast Express will be shut down again, stranding them.
When will the Liberals wake up, stop sleeping at the wheel and take the barricades down?
View Richard Cannings Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Speaker, when the Liberal government bought the Trans Mountain pipeline, it told Canadians it would cost $7.4 billion. A recent report that explains why the cost has risen to $13 billion is being hidden from Canadians.
Economist Robyn Allan has shown that this new cost means that there will be no added benefits for the Canadian treasury from this pipeline and the $500 million that the government claims will be available annually for climate action is pure fiction.
From the start, the government has been loose with the facts about this project. When will it release the report and come clean with Canadians?
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2020-02-21 12:02 [p.1388]
Mr. Speaker, post-secondary students in Canada graduate burdened with debt from high tuition fees and the high cost of living. The interest rate they pay on their student loans is almost double the rate paid on the average home mortgage. By comparison, in northern European countries, university is tuition-free and students receive financial support. These economies have seen the benefits. Students in Canada need debt relief now.
Will the government, at the very least eliminate, the interest on federal student loans and give our students a break?
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