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View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-03-12 10:27 [p.1979]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleagues for the privilege of speaking today. I would like to thank the minister for her words and powerful statement and my colleagues for their words.
Ladies, life-givers, we make miracles and we are miracles. Today we celebrate sisterhood, the matriarchs, the clan mothers. We all have our own journeys. For me, I felt the most connected to my womanhood when I became a mother. I am a mom of two little boys, who see their mom working hard for Canada and giving a lot of time and attention to our citizens.
From the moment I announced my candidacy to taking my seat here in the House of Commons, the number one question I was asked is how I do it. What is it like balancing the demands of parliamentary life with the responsibilities of motherhood? The answer, as one might expect, is that it is difficult.
I know that seeing strong women in important positions makes them stronger, more balanced individuals with respect for all people of all genders. Even in saying this, I know it will not be that easy for us to set an example every day to be consistent and innovative in our approach to supporting women and creating opportunities for them all over the world.
While we celebrate women who are in decision-making positions and we acknowledge that a lot of progress has been made in reducing the wage gap, the fact remains that there is still a lot of work to be done.
Despite women's increased participation in the workforce, they continue to spend much of their time doing unpaid labour. On average, women continue to be the predominant providers of care to children and to family members with mental or physical limitations related to age or chronic health conditions. This mostly invisible unpaid labour means that working Canadian women spend an additional 3.9 hours per day performing household chores and caring for children, among other things.
While women are fighting against inequality in the workplace, they are also dealing with social expectations surrounding gender.
On top of it all, feeling like imperfect mothers and imperfect workers, women blame themselves for not being able to manage it all. Mom guilt is real. However, we sitting in the House know that good public policy and structural supports play an important role in shaping the experience of working mothers. We in the House need to pay particular attention to how achieving this balance becomes all the more difficult for low-income women, trans women, women struggling with mental illness, women with disabilities and women of colour.
When we invest in social services like long-term care, health care, pharmacare, mental health care, universal affordable child care and in protecting reproductive rights, we also invest in women. We normalize women's issues and interests, we level the playing field and we bring women closer to gender parity. I see the women of Canada, and they are spectacular.
View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
View Rob Moore Profile
2020-03-12 15:03 [p.2023]
Mr. Speaker, a Montreal man found guilty of sexually assaulting a four-year-old in 2015 was charged recently with making and distributing child pornography during the period he was having court-ordered supervised visits with the child he abused. This man was sentenced to a mere 22 months in prison for abusing this child.
The minister has stated that he will look to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences to give even more discretion in sentencing. Does the minister really think that justice is being served in a case like this?
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-03-12 15:08 [p.2024]
Mr. Speaker, experts testified last month at the Veterans Affairs committee that treatments for family members of a former soldier were cut off or not approved and that there is a backlog of 18,330 cases.
The average wait time for applications is 32 weeks.
They also testified that there is a longer than average turnaround time for women and francophones.
The Minister of Veterans Affairs was tasked to ensure that the government lives up to its sacred obligation to our veterans and their families. I want to know when and how the government will start acting concretely on that commitment.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-03-12 17:38 [p.2047]
Madam Speaker, I wish to thank my NDP colleagues for giving me the opportunity to speak. I will be splitting my time with the member for Edmonton Strathcona.
One third of working Canadians do not have employer-funded drug coverage. One in five households reported a family member who had not taken a prescribed medicine in the past year due to its cost.
Every year, nearly three million Canadians say they cannot afford to fill one or more of their prescriptions.
In the 2019 election, I heard these statistics echoed at doors and across party lines. I am excited by the idea of national pharmacare and the support I know we have from members of the House to improve the lives of Canadians. I am also excited by how much work has already been done to understand what our national pharmacare plan needs to look like.
Last June, the well-known published final report of the advisory council on implementation of national pharmacare, also known as the Hoskins report, advised that it had received questionnaires from more than 15,000 people and organizations, received more 14,000 petitions or letters, reviewed more than 150 written submissions, investigated global best practices and hosted town halls and round tables. It uncovered significant gaps in drug coverage.
Of the nearly three million Canadians who said they were not able to afford their prescriptions, 38% had access to private insurance coverage and 21% had public coverage. However, with co-pays and exemptions, they still did not have the resources to afford their medications. Almost one million Canadians were forced to cut back on food or home heating to pay for their medication.
Nearly one million Canadians have had to borrow money to pay for their prescription drugs.
This highlights the crushing poverty weighing on Canadians. It has many causes but with pharmacare, we can take one worry away. We can alleviate some of the stress and uncertainty in their lives.
In the Hoskins report, the advisory council laid out several recommendations to address these gaps, and I will reiterate them.
Its first and foremost recommendation was that the federal government work with provincial and territorial governments to establish a universal, single-payer, public system of prescription drug coverage in Canada. A two-tiered system would create further inequity, leaving low-income and unemployed Canadians at risk. The administration of such a program would be cost-ineffective. A privately administered system would create profit incentives where public interest must be the first priority.
The council also recommended that national pharmacare benefits be portable across provinces and territories. This reinforces the need for federal leadership to come alongside provincial health departments to ensure the system is truly national in scope.
Another recommendation was to make everyone in Canada eligible for a pharmacare program to ensure that everyone can get the drugs they need to maintain their physical and mental health.
It also recommended a national formulary be developed to list which prescription drugs and related products should be covered to ensure all Canadians would have access equally to the medicines they needed to maintain or improve their health, no matter where they were living in Canada.
Clearly this is a big job. We are going to need leadership from our Prime Minister and his cabinet, and we are going to need significant financial investment from the federal government to make this happen.
It is remarkable that Canada is the only developed country that has a universal health care program that does not include universal coverage for prescription medication, especially when we know there are real costs associated with people who need to skip doses or avoid filling prescriptions because they cannot afford to buy them. These decisions put strain on our health care system.
People are struggling to stay healthy their whole lives, which leads to complications and chronic illnesses later in life.
Individuals end up in urgent health care situations, needing to return to hospital emergency rooms and taking up hospital beds, because they can not afford to properly manage their conditions and illnesses at home.
The Parliamentary Budget Officer has already indicated that this will save federal, provincial and territorial governments billions of dollars, and that does not even consider the quality of life for Canadians who require prescription medicines.
A recent study by St. Michael's Hospital's MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions found that providing free medicine resulted in a 44% increase in people taking their essential medications and led to a 160% increase in the likelihood of participants being able to make ends meet.
Ensuring people have access to the medications they need throughout their life will have real, positive impacts, such as poverty reduction, as people become able to direct their money toward food, rent, home heating or child care. When a chronic condition is well managed with medications, individuals can better access the workforce and participate in their communities.
People with rare diseases should not have to go bankrupt because of their diagnosis.
Those living on fixed incomes, such as seniors, are not stuck with increasing pharmaceutical costs. For people in immediate mental health crisis, the extra financial anxiety of a new medication does not have to weigh on them.
I am struck as well by the consensus that exists around this issue.
The majority of MPs in the House are members of parties that made this issue a priority in the last election.
Polls show that 90% of Canadians support equal access to prescription drugs, regardless of income. When I saw national pharmacare reference in the mandate letters of four ministers, I was hopeful that we would actually see this happen in the 43rd Parliament, but I am a little concerned that nothing seems to be moving on this front yet, and I am so thankful for this motion from my NDP colleagues.
Maybe we will be pleasantly surprised when the budget is tabled, but I fear that the government may be losing its courage, perhaps because of the lobbying that is being carried out by pharmaceutical and insurance companies. I hope the government is being vigilant against letting entities with deep pockets and full-time Ottawa-based lobbyists buy influence on our policy development process.
I have spent time with representatives from community organizations and health care professionals and their unions. They said that we need universal public pharmacare. These groups include the Heart and Stroke Foundation, National Nurses United, the Canadian Diabetes Association, the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association, the Canadian Health Coalition, the Canadian Labour Congress, and I could go on. These organizations represent average Canadians, workers in the health field and those who are living with, or caring for, people with chronic or acute disease. These are the people we work for.
The Canadian Medical Association shared stories of doctors fighting for national pharmacare. Dr. Nav Persaud had this to say: "Why did I spend all those years training to become a doctor if at the end of it, when I give someone a diagnosis, they don't fully benefit because they can't afford the treatment?"
The advisory council on the implementation of national pharmacare left us with the way forward: "It will take time, significant federal investment and close collaboration among all health system partners to turn Canada's patchwork of prescription drug insurance plans into a national public pharmacare program.”
But it is possible. Thanks to the work of the council, the path forward is clear. The data are incontestable, Canadians are on board and parliamentarians in the House are mostly on board. We are here to represent the people, and this is what the people want.
My final reflection is this: What are we waiting for?
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-03-12 17:47 [p.2049]
Madam Speaker, I think back to the election process and knocking on countless doors, visiting every long-term care facility and senior care facilities in my riding to discuss these issues of health care and high costs. I have a very high demographic of seniors in my riding as well, and this was something that they acknowledged would help them.
They talked about the times they had to make the decision between heating or food and medication. We have heard that line so many times, but it is because it needs to be repeated. That should not be happening in Canada. There were nurses and doctors as well. We had so many meetings with these organizations over the past few months, and it was unanimous. It seemed to be a no-brainer, and I really hope that we can make this happen for them.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-03-12 17:49 [p.2049]
Madam Speaker, I am happy to be here as well, instead of my predecessor. I also want to thank the hon. member for his advocacy for rare diseases. We also care deeply about that issue. We know we need to work harder.
To address the issue, maybe we should deal with the regulatory system as it is first, but I do not think we have time to wait. I think we can do these alongside of one another. It certainly should be part of the considerations for national pharmacare, but I do not think it has to mean we are leaving those patients behind.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-03-12 17:51 [p.2049]
Madam Speaker, that is a challenge. It is going to take all provinces on board for this to be cost-effective and so it is really important that we have these debates in the House, that it goes to committee and we make sure that the interests of Quebec are looked after.
I look at all the statistics, the support and organizations, and I have a hard time understanding why someone would not want that program. We have also advocated for increases in health transfers. It seems like it would be the best thing for Quebec, as well as Canada. I would like to know more about why.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-03-11 15:26 [p.1940]
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to present a petition that calls upon the House of Commons to adopt a notional poverty elimination strategy, thereby assuring Canadians of a suitable quality of life and opportunity to succeed.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-03-11 15:26 [p.1940]
Mr. Speaker, I have a second petition. It is similar to other petitions presented today. It calls on the government to uphold the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action by immediately halting existing and planned construction of the Coastal GasLink project on Wet'suwet'en territory; asking the RCMP to dismantle its exclusion zone and stand down; scheduling nation-to-nation talks with the Wet'suwet'en, which has happened; and prioritizing the real implementation of UNDRIP.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-03-11 18:30 [p.1968]
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to stand in the House today as a follow-up to my question on funding for a national framework for mental health. I would like to start today by sharing how mental health has impacted my journey here.
I began my career as an educator. One day, a 14-year-old student got into some trouble in class and was sent down to see me. As we talked, it became clear there was a lot going on. I was aware of some social struggles in the friend group and I knew a bit of family history.
Suddenly and unforgettably, this student for whom I cared deeply, said the words, “I do not want to live anymore.” The student had the means and the motivation to escape this painful experience. The weight of the suffering hung thick in the air. I did what any human would do under the circumstances. I did my best to stumble through the rest of the conversation with empathy, but I recognized very acutely that my colleagues and I were not equipped to navigate the complexities of these conversations with the youth who trusted us the most. I would spend many hours and resources finding the tools to tackle this crisis, and I wish many other Canadians would also have that opportunity.
I am acutely aware of the pain of suicide, as many of us are. We have all lost someone. a cousin, the child of a teammate, a co-worker, a friend, a grandmother. Research shows that approximately 90% of people who die by suicide suffer from mental illness or addiction. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth ages 15 to 24. Rates of suicide are three times higher for members of first nations communities than they are for non-indigenous people. Risk factors are directly linked to socio-economic characteristics, including household income, employment status, level of education and family support.
I have shared a story. I have shared the data. I would now like to look to the solution.
Canadian provinces and territories need financial support from the federal government to ensure they can address the mental health crisis impacting families and communities across the nation.
We need to invest in training for professionals across sectors, educators and everyday Canadians to access resources and learning opportunities to support those suffering from mental illness.
We need to invest in a timely diagnosis process. Service providers and families need access to early diagnosis to ensure early intervention.
We need to invest in a national pharmacare system. Canadians should never have the financial anxiety of needing to choose between buying groceries or life-saving medications.
We need to invest in support for sexual assault survivors. This is a massive missing link in this conversation.
We need to invest in support for elders, like intergenerational housing, to avoid isolation and loneliness.
That is why on February 26, I asked the Minister of Finance if the budget would include funding for a national framework on mental health so the provinces and territories could work together to find solutions to address this crisis. I look forward to hearing the response from the hon. member as to how we might come together to restore hope for Canadians across the country.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-03-11 18:37 [p.1970]
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for that really wonderful response. There are lots of great initiatives taking place in Canada. I feel we have come a very long way.
I do want to highlight that there are still some missing pieces. Mental health has long been recognized as a fundamental aspect of one's health; however, under our current health regime, the majority of mental health services do not meet the eligibility requirement of “medically necessary”.
I feel we need to have another look at this, and that is why I am asking for a national legislation framework. There is a patchwork of provincial and regional initiatives, but I feel we need a more unified approach. I am thinking of a story of a constituent who is searching for their son across provincial lines and is having a lot of difficulty because there is not a lot of collaboration and communication that occurs.
I am asking for a national strategy to be looked at and funded by the government.
View Ginette Petitpas Taylor Profile
Lib. (NB)
Mr. Speaker, as the member for Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, I have had the privilege of interacting with many members of the LGBTQ2 community, yet nothing, and I stress nothing, has been more shocking to me than hearing accounts of anyone trying to change the core being of another person so that they cannot be their true self.
The evidence is clear: Conversion therapy is harmful and disruptive.
Could the Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth tell the House what we are doing to finally ban conversion therapy?
View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
View Rob Moore Profile
2020-03-10 15:19 [p.1892]
moved:
That the matter of the premature disclosure of the contents of Bill C-7, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying) be referred to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.
He said: Mr. Speaker, thank you for your finding that a breach of our privileges did exist in this case in the leaking of the contents of Bill C-7 to the media before members of the House could see the bill.
There is a reason why we have rules in this place to protect the rights and the privileges of members of Parliament in this place on all sides of the House, so that we are able to do the job that we were elected to do, which is to represent our constituents, to pass legislation and to debate. Those are the things that we have been given the ability to do by our constituents. When we have government departments, government members that do not abide by the rules of the House, it undermines not just those members in the opposition, it undermines all of us.
It is well-established practice in the House that when a bill is on notice for introduction, the House has the first right to the contents of the bill. Everyone in the House knows this. We know that the House is paramount when it comes to the introduction of the legislation, but if there is any one department in the whole of government that we would expect would know the rules around the laws and procedures in the House, that department would be the justice department, the department tasked with making laws that impact the lives of all Canadians. That department knows better. That is a department filled with hundreds if not thousands of lawyers and legal minds that know better.
Let us say they did not know better. Just like with any one of our children, sometimes if they make a mistake we correct them. Maybe if they make a second mistake, we will correct them again. By the third time around, we expect that they know the rules.
This is the fourth time there has been found a breach of our privileges in the House that was made by the Department of Justice. In fact, the last ruling on this matter was also on the previous legislation around medical assistance in dying. It was even the same legislation.
The article that was put forward within The Canadian Press had very detailed and specific information contained in the bill. That is why this breach of privilege has been found.
The reporters and those who were leaking know that contempt has occurred by revealing later in the article that, "The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to reveal details of the bill prior to its tabling in the House of Commons this afternoon."
There is no doubt in anyone's mind that those who were leaking this information from the Department of Justice or some other arm of government knew exactly what they were doing when they did it. What they thought about this place is not much, because we have rules, and they thumbed their nose at the rules that we have.
After the sources indicated to the reporter that they were aware of their guilty actions, they boldly and defiantly continued their affront to Parliament by providing even more detail of the bill. Quoting again from that article, “Sources say today's bill will not deal with broader issues that were excluded in the new law and that must be considered as part of a parliamentary review of the law that is to begin this summer.” Again, bang on with what was in the bill.
We saw the news articles and we thought we knew what had happened, another leak from the Department of Justice, another affront to this Parliament, another breach of all of our collective privileges, but again we had to read the bill to find out whether in fact that was the case.
We carefully reviewed the contents of Bill C-7 following its introduction in the House. When I and other members of Parliament got to see the bill for the first time, others in the media had seen the bill in its entirety for hours before.
The details reported by The Canadian Press hours earlier were indeed contained in Bill C-7. Ironically, over and over, the first precedent that I had quoted earlier was from the last Parliament, brought to the Speaker's attention on April 14, 2016, and in regard to Bill C-14, an act to amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other acts (medical assistance in dying).
The department in question is being absolutely recidivist. It is not taking seriously the consequences and the rulings of Speakers. The Speaker in 2016 found that there was, in fact, a prima facie case of privilege regarding Bill C-14 and said:
As honourable members know, one of my most important responsibilities as Speaker is to safeguard the rights and privileges of members, individually and collectively. Central to the matter before us today is the fact that, due to its pre-eminent role in the legislative process, the House cannot allow precise legislative information to be distributed to others before it has been made accessible to all members. Previous Speakers have regularly upheld not only this fundamental right, but also expectation, of the House.
The Speaker's concluding remarks in 2016 were as follows:
In this instance, the chair must conclude that the House's right of first access to legislative information was not respected. The chair appreciates the chief government whip's assertion that no one in the government was authorized to publicly release the specific details of the bill before its introduction. Still, it did happen, and these kinds of incidents cause grave concern among hon. members. I believe it is a good reason why extra care should be taken to ensure that matters that ought properly to be brought to the House first do not in any way get out in the public domain prematurely.
On October 4, 2010, on page 4711 of the House of Commons Debates, Speaker Milliken noted:
It is indisputable that it is a well-established practice and accepted convention that this House has the right of first access to the text of bills that it will consider.
This all goes back to my point about the Department of Justice not taking seriously the rules of this House. The one department that ought to know best about the rules of this House is now a four-time offender, with breaches of privileges found by successive Speakers over the last several years, sometimes over the same bill subject matters. The House, and the rules of the House, are being completely ignored.
The Speaker found another case of contempt on October 15, 2001, after, and members are not going to believe this, the Department of Justice briefed the media on the contents of a bill prior to the legislation being introduced in the House.
Maybe, in this minority House, members can finally take this department and this Minister of Justice's office to account and to task for their continuous disrespect of the privileges and the rights of this place, and the rights of all Canadians who send us as members of Parliament to do good work on their behalf.
View Ginette Petitpas Taylor Profile
Lib. (NB)
Madam Speaker, by giving the opposition more government time to debate their motions, this will negatively affect the government's legislative agenda.
Let me remind the House that this motion will delay several important bills, such as Bill C-4, the bill to implement the historic trade agreement between our great country, the United States and Mexico. Let us remember that the United States, Mexico and all premiers want this bill to be passed, and passed quickly.
Will the member comment on how this will delay very important legislation before the House at this time?
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Madam Speaker, the national revenue minister brought in changes to the disability tax credit in 2017. The government said this was to improve accessibility.
Three years later, constituents from my riding with lifelong mental disabilities are still waiting for access. They are still denied eligibility even after providing legitimate medical documentation. One family was even forced to go to tax court before the government conceded that mental health issues are eligible.
When will the government stop discriminating against Canadians with mental health disabilities so they can receive this tax credit?
View Ginette Petitpas Taylor Profile
Lib. (NB)
Madam Speaker, when our government was elected in 2015, we committed to one of the boldest and most ambitious federal initiatives in the history of Canada: reducing poverty among Canadians by 50%. I am very proud of the progress made to date.
Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development in charge of housing give the House an update on the various initiatives in New Brunswick and across Canada?
View Ginette Petitpas Taylor Profile
Lib. (NB)
Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for her comments.
I think Canadians sent us a very strong message in 2019 when they elected us to lead a minority government. They want all parties to work closely together to make life easier for Canadians.
As I am sure my colleague knows, the parliamentary calendar provides enough time for all parties to be able to debate their priorities. The priorities people talk to me about in my home region are things like NAFTA and job creation. I doubt that today's motion is the most important issue of the day for her constituents.
Once again, does my colleague not think we should be debating legislation that would improve the lives of Canadians?
View Serge Cormier Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Serge Cormier Profile
2020-02-27 14:49 [p.1689]
Mr. Speaker, fishers in my riding will soon be heading out to sea for the snow crab and lobster season. We hope their season is safe and successful for them and for everyone involved in this industry.
Can the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard update this House on what our government is doing to ensure our harvesters have access to markets while also continuing to protect the North Atlantic right whale?
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-02-27 15:09 [p.1693]
Mr. Speaker, one in five Canadians suffer from a mental health problem or illness in any given year. Mental illness-related costs in Canada are over $50 billion annually.
Social costs are high. People with serious mental illness are at greater risk of living in poverty.
The Minister of Finance has been tasked with setting national standards for access to mental health services.
Could the minister confirm that the upcoming budget will include funding for a national framework that will allow Canadians to access a variety of mental health professionals, including counsellors, and will empower provinces and territories to work together for action on this important issue?
View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
View Rob Moore Profile
2020-02-27 16:54 [p.1709]
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member mentioned that he did not want to waste the time of the House, yet he went on, when we are debating medical assistance in dying, on a question of privilege about a private member's bill. I would point him back to earlier this week when the entire contents of Bill C-7, medical assistance in dying, was in a CP story the morning before the bill was introduced. This is just for his reference.
View Richard Bragdon Profile
CPC (NB)
View Richard Bragdon Profile
2020-02-26 15:37 [p.1615]
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-228, an act to establish a federal framework to reduce recidivism.
He said: Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today on behalf of the people and organizations I have deliberated with to introduce a bill that would improve the lives of thousands of Canadians. The bill would aim to shut the revolving door that plagues our prison system.
Thousands of lives and hundreds of communities across Canada are negatively impacted by the revolving door within the prison system. Nearly one in four people leaving the prison system will reoffend and find themselves back in prison within two years. That number is higher for indigenous and black Canadians.
An act to establish a federal framework is about calling on the Minister of Public Safety to establish effective partnerships across multiple sectors to develop a through-the-gate support structure. I believe that the establishment of effective partnerships with provinces, indigenous groups and NGOs as well as non-profit, faith-based and community organizations, is the crucible and centre for lasting societal change. This approach has been successful in reducing recidivism in other countries such as the U.K., the United States and other jurisdictions.
As the former lieutenant governor, the first of indigenous Maliseet descent, and as a retired provincial court judge, the hon. Graydon Nicholas has said that this bill is a step toward helping the walking wounded in our society. It is time for a creative initiative to tackle the devastating and persistent harms that are both the cause and the effect of recidivism.
I hope the members from all parties recognize the importance of this bill and that we will begin working together to ensure people leaving the prison system become contributing members of our society.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-02-26 15:57 [p.1618]
Madam Speaker, the petitioners call on the House of Commons to recognize that violence against women remains a critical problem in Canada and disproportionately impacts indigenous women. They also note that striving for pay equity and equal participation for women in leadership roles must be political priorities for all members of Parliament and that shifting cultural attitudes toward women and gender minorities in our society requires structural changes to education and socialization.
View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
View Rob Moore Profile
2020-02-26 16:29 [p.1623]
Madam Speaker, I would like to seek unanimous consent to split my time with the hon. member for Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon.
View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
View Rob Moore Profile
2020-02-26 16:29 [p.1623]
Madam Speaker, it is a great pleasure today to rise as the shadow minister of justice for the official opposition to speak to the government's Bill C-7. As I rise to speak on this bill, I do so with concern over some of the contents within it and even over the way it was presented to the House this week when, unfortunately, many of us read about the contents of the bill in the media, rather than seeing it first in this House.
The bill was intended to be a response to the Quebec Superior Court decision that was made on September 11, 2019. The decision stated that the law as it stood was too restrictive around the requirement for death to be reasonably foreseeable. The official opposition called on the government at the time to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada in order for Parliament to receive clarity about the parameters in which we would legislate, but the bill was introduced without that clarity.
Not only was the bill introduced without that clarity, but it goes far beyond what was required to meet the Quebec Superior Court's decision. I believe that is an affront to this Parliament, because when the previous bill, Bill C-14, was passed in the 42nd Parliament, the wisdom of this Parliament required that there be a statutory review of our assisted dying regime in Canada. That statutory review was and is to take place in June of this year.
It is in that review period that parliamentarians would be able to go more into depth on how the government's legislation has worked over the past several years and on how best to proceed. Rather than wait for that review, as it should have done, the government has decided to start making amendments to the legislation now, avoiding the in-depth review that is to take place shortly.
The reality is that when we are talking about this legislation, we are literally talking about the matter of life and death. This is an incredibly sensitive issue. Members on all sides of the house have diverse opinions on it, and it is because of this diversity of opinions and because of the sensitivity of this issue that the Quebec Superior Court decision should have been appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada for further clarity. However, as the government has now opened this legislation up, it is upon us as legislators to now highlight other matters that should be addressed and included.
My office has heard plenty from concerned Canadians about the lack of protection for conscience rights for health care professionals. This is particularly important now that the government is broadening medical assistance in dying to include individuals whose death is not reasonably foreseeable. Expanding medical assistance in dying to more patients could in fact diminish the number of medical professionals willing to take part in the process. The fact is that this expanded access could result in a heavy emotional burden on those health care providers.
None of us here can fully appreciate the burden put on those health care providers currently working in the system and providing medical assistance in dying. The fact is that there is nothing about ensuring proper support to health care professionals who provide this service and there continue to be no penalties for pressuring a medical professional into providing medical assistance in dying, nor are there penalties for punishing or penalizing a medical professional who does not participate in medical assistance in dying. This means there continues to be no real protection for conscience rights for health care professionals.
The issue of advance directives, now rebranded as a “waiver of final consent” by this government, is a complex one that poses questions of ethics and safety and issues with oversight. The fact that the legislation legalizing this is half a page of a bill shows a lack of care given to this issue. This issue rightly should have been discussed as part of the parliamentary review to take place this summer.
The process for the creation and execution of this agreement remains ambiguous. Further, there is a lack of clarity on the process for proceeding with an advance directive agreement upon the date selected. The process will only be stopped if a patient expresses a form of resistance, but we do not know what that looks like. What if they are simply confused or groggy at the time? Under the legislation, unless they resist, the process will still proceed.
The bill also removes the 10-day waiting requirement when a person's death is reasonably foreseeable. When I read in media reports before the bill was tabled that this would be included, I, like many of many of my colleagues and parliamentarians, questioned as to what prompted its removal. I still remain incredibly concerned as to why this was included. This is particularly true because there was already the ability to remove the 10-day waiting period if a person's death or loss of capacity to consent was imminent, so why proceed with the removal of a safeguard that Parliament saw fit to include in the previous legislation?
It is also confusing that Bill C-7 requires a 90-day waiting period when a patient's death is not reasonably foreseeable. Why add an extended wait period for one, but remove the wait period entirely for the other?
On the issue of whether a death is reasonably foreseeable or not reasonably foreseeable, there is no clarification or guidance for health care professionals. As a result, it is not up to them to make the determination as to what category to put a patient under. That determination will decide whether a patient can access medical assistance in dying immediately or if they will require a 90-day waiting period. This is an extraordinary amount of pressure that the government is putting on health care professionals across this country.
The changing of witness requirements under this legislation has also been mentioned. The law requires only one independent witness, which is down from two.
All of these changes lead to an expansion of the law in Canada far beyond what was addressed in the Quebec court decision, an expansion that should have required deeper reflection through the study that is to take place this summer.
For a moment, let us speak to a point that seems to be lost in this conversation: palliative care services in this country.
The reality is if the choice is between a lack of quality palliative care and medically assisted dying, that really is no choice at all. Unfortunately, over the past number of years there have been instances of patients feeling they were forced to choose death because of a lack of palliative care.
The story of Archie Rolland comes to mind. Archie was a Montreal landscape architect who chose to end his life rather than continue suffering at a long-term care facility that was failing to provide him adequate care.
He had ALS and had his life upended when he was forced to move from a Montreal hospital that specialized in treating patients with severe respiratory ailments to a long-term care facility for geriatric patients. Mr. Rolland did not want to go, but he was transferred against his wishes. He called the system “inhuman”. He felt he was not getting adequate care, so he chose death.
I do not think that this is any real choice at all. We must have the discussion in this country about palliative care because people must not feel forced into a decision on medically assisted death. Mr. Rolland's story makes it clear that there was a failure of the system to provide him with adequate care. We risk medically assisted death being seen as some sort of bureaucratic solution for people who require an extra level of care. In a country like Canada, that is simply not acceptable. The government risks expanding a culture of not valuing life, and we should all agree in this place that we must place value on human life.
In closing, the bill disrespects Parliament and the parliamentary process. With Bill C-14, parliamentarians did a significant amount of work in the House and committee in an attempt to build consensus. The work was challenged by the Quebec Superior Court, but rather than defending the will of elected representatives in court, the Liberals immediately backed down.
Now the Liberals are responding not just to that decision but are also undoing the work of the joint committee on Bill C-14 by adding new measures.
Many of these issues should be dealt with in the summer when we have our scheduled parliamentary review. This is a complex matter that requires proper scrutiny and debate.
View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
View Rob Moore Profile
2020-02-26 16:40 [p.1625]
Madam Speaker, I thank the parliamentary secretary for his question. He covered a lot of ground.
If the government agreed with the decision, and that is the basis for not appealing it, then why was that not in the original legislation to begin with?
All too often we see on the other side of the House a willingness to let the courts do the work that is rightly the work of Parliament, and we are seeing that again here. One court decision is made in one province, and then the government will hide behind that decision rather than appeal it to the Supreme Court of Canada as it should.
Now the government has brought in legislation that goes far beyond what this court was dealing with, which is reasonable foreseeability of death. That again should have been dealt with in the review that is coming up this summer, when all parliamentarians can get input from their constituents and from experts on this issue.
View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
View Rob Moore Profile
2020-02-26 16:42 [p.1625]
Madam Speaker, in Bill C-14 from the previous Parliament, the decision was made not to include advance directives, meaning that someone would have to give consent at the time of medically assisted death. That is why, in the previous legislation, someone would have to consent and then give a further consent at the time of medically assisted death.
The bill before us would change that. This is a major expansion of Canada's laws on assisted dying. It was done under the premise of a response to an unrelated court decision in Quebec.
There is a reason parliamentarians and the House put in place a statutory review of this regime: so that we can consider new measures and look at what is working and see what is not working. This is why the whole discussion on this aspect of consent should have been done in the course of the statutory review.
View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
View Rob Moore Profile
2020-02-26 18:11 [p.1637]
Mr. Speaker, specifically on the 10-day cooling off period, does the parliamentary secretary acknowledge that under the current legislation, if necessary, those 10 days could be waived? That was a safeguard put in place by this Parliament and has been taken out in haste.
I would like the parliamentary secretary to comment on a couple of facts that deal with this Parliament. First, a two-week online consultation is not a parliamentary review. Bill C-14 called for a parliamentary review that was to take place this summer before we expand our regime in Canada around medically assisted dying. The Liberal government has jumped ahead with a vast expansion of the legislation without the benefit of that review.
Does the parliamentary secretary see a two-week online consultation having some equivalency with a parliamentary review?
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Pat Finnigan Profile
2020-02-26 18:30 [p.1640]
Mr. Speaker, I have had many calls regarding MAID, and many of my constituents are in favour of it. Some are concerned that this could be risky for people who might be vulnerable in their hours of pain. What safeguards would the member say we have in place that guarantee, whether for religious beliefs or other reasons, people are not coerced or pushed into making a decision they may not be in the right state to make?
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-02-25 14:00 [p.1504]
Madam Speaker, in light of the recent tensions in this House, I wish to call attention to a bright patch in the Canadian record, something we can all be proud of. Today, I want to honour and congratulate the Translation Bureau.
The Translation Bureau's staff support the Government of Canada in its efforts to serve Canadians by communicating in both official languages, but their efforts go far above and beyond that mandate. I was touched to learn how incredibly inclusive, respectful and committed their work is.
A fine example of their efforts is the new gender and sexual diversity glossary, a free glossary that lists the English and French equivalents of 193 concepts on gender and sexual diversity.
The Bureau also offers translation for international languages, sign language and five indigenous languages and counting, including recent work to include Wolastoqey latuwewakon, a language with only a few hundred speakers in my home riding.
[Member spoke in Wolastoqey and provided the following text:]
Wolasuweltomuwakon, Nuhkomossok naka nmuhsumsok, Woliwon ciw latuwewakon, Kisi monuwehkiyeq ‘ciw nilun, nilun oc tokec nuleyutomonen, ciw weckuwapasihtit. Nit leyic.
[Member provided the following translation:]
Maliseet language honour code, grandmothers and grandfathers, thank you for our language that you have saved for us. It is now our turn to save it for the ones who are not born yet, may that be the truth.
View Richard Bragdon Profile
CPC (NB)
View Richard Bragdon Profile
2020-02-25 14:11 [p.1507]
Mr. Speaker, today I rise to recognize the immense contribution of black Canadians as part of our month-long celebration of Black History Month.
The great riding of Tobique—Mactaquac is home to the northernmost route of the underground railway. Brave men and women fleeing slavery found their way to Fort Fairfield, Maine, where they were given refuge in places such as Friends Church.
Once they were able to make their final journey to freedom, they would set out through the woods until they reached Tomlinson Lake in Carlingford, New Brunswick. Once there, they knew they were safe and began their new lives in Canada as free people. They overcame many challenges and contributed immensely to a better Canada.
Passionate and tireless volunteers have worked to preserve these stories and valuable parts of our history. They hold an annual hike in the fall where families can walk the trails and learn the stories. I would encourage all members to learn more about this part of Canadian history at tomlinsonlakehiketofreedom.ca.
Although freedom was reached at Tomlinson Lake, the journey to true equality and recognition continues.
View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
View Rob Moore Profile
2020-02-25 15:10 [p.1518]
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege today concerning the premature disclosure of the contents of Bill C-7, an act to amend the Criminal Code regarding medical assistance in dying, introduced yesterday.
As you know, it is a well-established practice in the House that, when a bill is on notice for introduction, the House has the first right to the contents of that legislation.
In a report circulated prior to question period, and hours before Bill C-7 was read a first time in the House, the Canadian Press published an article that detailed specific information contained in Bill C-7.
In the article it states:
The bill [would] scrap a provision in the law that allows only those already near death to receive medical assistance in dying—as ordered by a Quebec court last fall....
Sources say it will drop the requirement that a person must wait 10 days after being approved for an assisted death before receiving the procedure. And it will drop the requirement that a person must be able to give consent a second time immediately prior to receiving the procedure.
The reporter gives credence to the fact that contempt has occurred by revealing later in the article:
The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to reveal details of the bill prior to its tabling in the House of Commons this afternoon.
After the sources indicated to the reporter that they were aware of their guilty actions, they boldly and defiantly continued their affront to Parliament by providing even more detail of the bill.
I quote again from the article, which states:
Sources say today's bill will not deal with broader issues that were excluded in the new law and that must be considered as part of a parliamentary review of the law that is to begin this summer.
Those issues include whether mature minors and those suffering only from mental [illness] should be eligible and whether people who fear losing mental capacity due to conditions like dementia should be able to make advance requests for medical assistance in dying.
It will, however, propose a measure intended to deal with a situation in which a person is given consent and who has been approved for an assisted death loses the mental capacity to give consent a second time immediately prior to receiving the procedure.
After carefully reviewing the contents of Bill C-7 following its introduction in the House, when I and other members of Parliament got to see the bill for the very first time, the details reported by the Canadian Press hours earlier were indeed contained in Bill C-7.
Ironically, my first precedent to present to you is from the last Parliament, brought to the Speaker's attention on April 14, 2016. It was with respect to Bill C-14, an act to amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other acts regarding medical assistance in dying.
It would appear that the Liberal justice team just has not learned any lessons as it was pointed out on April 14, 2016, as I am pointing out today on Bill C-7, that specific and detailed information contained in Bill C-14 was reported in a newspaper article and elsewhere in the media before the bill had been introduced in the House.
On April 19, 2016, the Speaker found that there was in fact a prima facie case of privilege regarding Bill C-14. He stated:
As honourable members know, one of my most important responsibilities as Speaker is to safeguard the rights and privileges of members, individually and collectively. Central to the matter before us today is the fact that, due to its pre-eminent role in the legislative process, the House cannot allow precise legislative information to be distributed to others before it has been made accessible to all members. Previous Speakers have regularly upheld not only this fundamental right, but also expectation, of the House.
The Speaker's concluding remark on April 19, 2016, was as follows:
In this instance, the chair must conclude that the House's right of first access to legislative information was not respected. The chair appreciates the chief government whip's assertion that no one in the government was authorized to publicly release the specific details of the bill before its introduction. Still, it did happen, and these kinds of incidents cause grave concern among hon. members. I believe it is a good reason why extra care should be taken to ensure that matters that ought properly to be brought to the House first do not in any way get out in the public domain prematurely.
On October 4, 2010, on page 4711 of the House of Commons Debates, Speaker Milliken noted:
It is indisputable that it is a well-established practice and accepted convention that this House has the right of first access to the text of bills that it will consider.
Getting back to my point about the Liberal justice team not learning any lessons, there was a similar case from March 19, 2001, regarding the Department of Justice briefing the media on a bill before members of Parliament. In that reading, Speaker Milliken said, at page 1840 of the House of Commons Debates:
In preparing legislation, the government may wish to hold extensive consultations and such consultations may be held entirely at the government's discretion. However, with respect to material to be placed before parliament, the House must take precedence. Once a bill has been placed on notice, whether it has been presented in a different form to a different session of parliament has no bearing and the bill is considered a new matter. The convention of the confidentiality of bills on notice is necessary, not only so that members themselves [will] be well informed, but also because of the pre-eminent [role] which the House plays and must play in the legislative affairs of the nation.
The Speaker found another case of contempt on October 15, 2001, after the Department of Justice again briefed the media on the contents of a bill prior to the legislation being introduced in the House.
Maybe, in this minority House, members can finally take these characters in the Minister of Justice's office to task for their continuous disrespect of this Parliament. Given the facts presented and the clear precedents on this matter, I believe, Mr. Speaker, you should have no trouble in finding a prima facie case of privilege. In that event, I am prepared to move the appropriate motion.
View Ginette Petitpas Taylor Profile
Lib. (NB)
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour for his very thoughtful comments today and also for his tremendous work as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health.
My colleague comes from Atlantic Canada. When knocking on doors last summer, one of the number one items I heard at the door, and I am assuming he did as well, was access to health care services in Atlantic Canada and how we can improve health care services within our region and all across the country.
I wonder if my colleague could elaborate on the importance of the investment of $11 billion that we have made when it comes to home care and mental health services, and how that has really benefited Canadians across the country.
View Ginette Petitpas Taylor Profile
Lib. (NB)
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for her questions. I always appreciate her comments.
I do not agree with one of the statements that she has made, indicating that our government has punted pharmacare down the road. If I look back over the past four years, our government has done extensive work to move this file forward. We have taken steps, including making changes to the pan-Canadian pharmaceutical review board. We have also joined provinces and territories to make sure that we can bulk-purchase medications together. Furthermore, in budget 2019, we invested $35 million for the creation of the Canadian drug agency. Work is under way.
I have a specific question for my colleague. Does she agree that putting together a national pharmacare program, and also a dental care program, is going to require the collaboration of the provinces and territories? If we want to move forward with this, we absolutely have to work with all levels of government. I would like to hear the member's comments about that.
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Madam Speaker, earlier tonight we heard a Liberal member of Parliament tell this chamber that the government's goal in Canada is to produce the cleanest oil in the world. However, this is not true. We know what the Prime Minister told Canadians some years ago: The goal is actually to “phase out” the industry.
I can say this with some certainty because Canada is already an environmental leader when it comes to refining and producing its petroleum products. It is one of the cleanest producers in the world. If that is the goal, the government could say it is mission accomplished. It could get on with creating jobs and opportunity in Canada and exporting this technology and our clean ethical products around the world.
We know the decision that came down from Teck is a result of a market failure, which is produced by policy uncertainty. The result is fewer jobs, higher energy prices and less of Canada's ethical oil being consumed at home and around the world.
Teck's decision is a blow to Canada. It is devastating to Alberta's economy. It is also problematic and hurtful and is raising questions in Alberta about its place in Confederation in Canada. Jobs have been lost, opportunities have left, tax dollars are evaporating, and we now hear voices in western Canada wondering what Alberta's place is in the federation. This is a realistic question we hear, as people who look to Ottawa see a government trying to turn off this industry.
This is not the first time we have seen these actions from a federal government that is focused elsewhere. In my home province, energy east was killed. The government tried to say this too was a market decision, but energy east was following all the rules that were laid out by the Government of Canada. Those rules were changed midstream, something we never see. The company engaged in good faith in the Canadian regulatory process. It spent $1 billion trying to go through that process. Then the government changed the rules. The Prime Minister was not willing to spend a nickel of his political capital in Quebec, so the company walked away. It was another lost opportunity for Canada, an opportunity to bring the real eastern Canada, Atlantic Canada, into this nation building.
We look west and to central Canada and see jobs, growth and opportunity. We say in New Brunswick that we would like a piece of that. Instead of sending our best and brightest to work in this industry, this vital Canadian industry, we would like to see a piece of that in Atlantic Canada. However, the Prime Minister and the Liberal Party have other ideas. They want to shut it down. They wanted to shut it down in the east and now want to shut it down in western Canada.
Tonight I had the good fortune of hosting Preston Manning here on the Hill. Mr. Manning was in town promoting his new book about political involvement and engagement, entitled Do Something! I have known Preston Manning for 25 years now. When he sat in the House, his mantra was “the west wants in”. Thirty years ago he was championing western Canadians to come to Ottawa, roll up their sleeves and work with fellow Canadians.
Teck abandoned its project, not because of the market but because of policy failure and policy uncertainty, just like TransCanada did on energy east, just like Kinder Morgan did by bailing out of the Trans Mountain pipeline, which was purchased by the federal government, because things were falling apart so quickly, because of policy and regulatory uncertainty. Today what do we hear in western Canada? Not that the west wants in, but maybe, just maybe, that the west wants out. This is deeply concerning and should raise alarm bells at the highest level of the federal government. We do not want to see this happening.
Our country is strong because of western Canada. It is strong because of all parts of this country. If we have a region or province that feels shut out of the corridors of power and feels its concerns are being ignored, this is a problem, almost a crisis. I hope the government will reconsider its position.
Some say this decision by Teck was made because of a downturn in prices or they say that Teck is just hitting the pause button and will return. Some are even saying that in a way Alberta deserves this because it is not saving enough of its resource. However, there is no downturn in the industry. It is a made-in-Canada problem, a made-in-Canada downturn.
One only needs to look at the United States of America. It is booming. It is being called a blue-collar jobs boom. Jobs are being created, wealth is being created and opportunities are being created. At the same time, America last year, under President Donald Trump, believe or not, was the world's largest net CO2 reducer in the world. America has figured out that one can be prosperous, can cut CO2 and can create jobs.
To the idea that Teck will return, Teck is not going to return as long as the current government is in office under these policies. In fact, dare I say this is probably the last large-scale project we are going to see come to our shores. Why would a company come here? Project after project after project has been either cancelled, abandoned or killed by the government.
As for the notion that Alberta deserves this because it is just not saving enough compared to some European countries, those countries are not part of grand federations. Alberta has shared its wealth. It has shared the wealth with this federal government and it shares its wealth every single year with provinces across this country.
My province of New Brunswick receives a third of its budget every year from transfers from the federal government, generous transfers I know Albertans and other western Canadians are proud to pitch in to help. In the past, they have been allowed to do what they do best, which is to create jobs and opportunity and to share that wealth. They have grown mightily and we have seen a population boom in western Canada.
To my western friends, when the Liberals come to them and say not to worry and they will help with more transfers and EI, I say to run to the hills. We have that in Atlantic Canada. Life is pretty good, but that is not how one creates a growing economy that is going to see families grow, people move in and economies prosper. We are fortunate and thankful to have those transfers, but that is not the road a country follows to grow itself.
Today Canada is poorer because of this decision that is a direct result of the federal government. Indigenous communities that had agreed to it and were looking to participate are poorer. The provinces are going to be poorer over the long run as well. The government is destroying reliable energy, affordable energy and Canada's ethical energy industry. For that I say shame, because increasingly we are finding energy is cheaper outside of this country than good old made-in-Canada energy, and I decry that.
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Madam Speaker, we heard the same arguments when the the energy east pipeline was cancelled. We were told it was a market-related decision. Clearly, the federal government is responsible for this decision in Alberta, just as it was responsible for the energy east decision. The Liberals did nothing. They created obstacles and then said it was not their fault. It is their fault.
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Madam Speaker, I decry where we find ourselves. I am worried about it because I think it is going to be the issue we will be dealing with between now and the next federal election.
We do not have to make things up or be mischievous to realize that Albertans might soon realize the only way they can move forward to get these projects done or to ship their product outside the country is not with a federal government like the one we have. The conclusions they draw after that will be difficult ones.
I have spent part of my career looking at politics in this country. Albertans are not stupid. They will see where this problem originates from and try to find solutions. I hope and trust they will do so within the country. I understand how the winds of change might blow and people will propose dramatic actions that I do not agree with, that this side of the House does not agree with, but that are being fuelled by the Government of Canada unfortunately.
View Serge Cormier Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Serge Cormier Profile
2020-02-24 14:02 [p.1424]
Madam Speaker, Rufin Gionet was a well-known and very respected constituent of mine. On January 17, 2020, at the age of 99 years and seven months, he passed away peacefully surrounded by his family.
Mr. Gionet was one of the last surviving veterans of World War II. After his military service, Mr. Gionet made a name for himself throughout New Brunswick with his passion for the shipbuilding industry. He was a co-founder of the Bas-Caraquet shipyard, Fundy Shipbuilding and Caraquet Marine Ltée.
He also owned a small business and sat on many boards of directors, such as the boards of Caraquet Hospital and of Caisses populaires acadiennes.
Mr. Gionet was also a Bas-Caraquet municipal councillor and founding member of our only French-language newspaper, the Acadie Nouvelle.
We will be forever grateful for his service to Canada and our community. In our riding, he will be remembered as a modern and courageous man.
I would like to extend my condolences to his children, René and Huguette, and to his family and friends.
Rest in peace Mr. Gionet.
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Pat Finnigan Profile
2020-02-24 14:04 [p.1424]
Madam Speaker, I rise in the House today with a heavy heart to pay my respects to the late Charles Hubbard, who passed away on February 12. He was a friend and colleague to many of us here in this House.
Charlie was the member of Parliament for Miramichi from 1993 to 2008 and served the people of the riding with great pride. He was the parliamentary secretary to the minister of Indian affairs and northern development, and parliamentary secretary to the minister of transport during the government of Paul Martin.
Before entering politics, Charlie served in the Canadian Armed Forces, and in 1963 began his illustrious teaching career. He later went on to become the first principal of Miramichi Valley High School and was also deeply involved with many community organizations over the years.
Charlie had a love for the outdoors that included farming and fishing.
I would like to extend my condolences to his wife Pat, their children and grandchildren. Charlie was a good friend and mentor to me, and a true champion of the Miramichi region. He will be missed.
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. During today's question period, the member for Lakeland asked a question. She was reprimanded by you for charged language. It is not clear, on this side at least, why she was. Was it for using the word “crock”? Was it for saying that Alberta is bleeding? Was it for highlighting the dramatic spike in suicides?
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-02-24 16:13 [p.1446]
Madam Speaker, I feel like we are missing the mark a bit. We are missing the idea about sovereignty and self-determination. What we are really discussing is advancing the rights of indigenous peoples in the country.
I heard many times in the member's statement the words “our indigenous communities”. We do not own these communities. They are sovereign in their own right. I ask the member whether he thinks it is a bit pandering itself, a bit token, and a bit patronizing to use that kind of terminology?
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-02-24 17:44 [p.1458]
Madam Speaker, it is an honour to rise in this House to speak and to represent the people of Fredericton.
Today we debate Bill C-6, a bill to amend the citizenship oath. I wish to provide context for my words today with some of my background. Before being elected in this House, I was a teacher and an advocate for indigenous youth in our public schools. I worked to remove barriers in the New Brunswick education system for indigenous children. I worked to educate the broader population on the true history of Canada and the implications for ignoring it. I remember learning about residential schools on my own time and not as part of my formal education. It took two years to comb through testimonials, letters, documents and photo evidence. It was a roller coaster of emotions as I confronted my identity as a non-indigenous person, and my role and responsibility in repairing the damage that had been done. Understanding that responsibility led to my passion for teaching and it led me into this House where I stand today.
The 94 calls to action that came out of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada were designed to be a road map to reconciliation, covering a variety of aspects of life, including business, education, health, youth, women, justice and more. Canadians might be asking where this road has gotten us, and how many calls to action have been completed. In the Prime Minister's words, he made a commitment, in partnership with indigenous communities, the provinces, territories and other vital partners, to fully implement the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, starting with the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. That was in 2015.
CBC's Ian Mosby has been tracking the TRC's progress. He commented, “One thing that the calls to action that have been completed have in common, is that they are very simple to complete, or they are calls for things that were already happening to continue.”
Dr. Cindy Blackstock said, “In 2020, it is time to stop feeding the government’s insatiable appetite to be thanked for its inadequate measures and to demand a complete end to the inequality”.
Particularly poignant are the observations of the Yellowhead Institute on assessing progress. It writes:
We have also operated from the assumption that completing any particular Call to Action cannot be solely determined by gestures of process, budgetary promises, or otherwise “recognition of concerns” on the part of Crown-Indigenous Relations (CIR). Rather, we have judged their status based on whether or not specific actions have been taken that are capable of producing the kinds of clear, meaningful, structural changes necessary to improve the lives of Indigenous peoples throughout Canada.
Let us review the scorecard. Out of the 52 broader reconciliation recommendations, seven have been completed; under justice, one out of 18; language and culture, one out of five; health, zero; education, zero; child welfare, zero. Five were completed in the first year, and just four since 2016. At the current rate, it will take approximately 38 more years before all of the calls to action are implemented. We will see reconciliation in the year 2057, just in time for zero emissions.
In the 2019 mandate letters, the Prime Minister reiterated, “No relationship is more important to Canada than the relationship with Indigenous People”. I think it is time to call in the marriage counsellor. Take, for example, Canada's ongoing legal challenges to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal's September 2019 ruling that “the Federal government was wilfully and recklessly discriminating against First Nation children in ways that contributed to child deaths and a multitude of unnecessary family separations.” For a government so concerned with appearances, this does not look good.
With no reminder needed, let us look to the current and ongoing Wet'suwet'en crisis in Canada, testing the Prime Minister and his government's commitment to this mandate of reconciliation, as well as the public interest. This could have been a slam dunk, setting the tone for positive, peaceful relationships for years to come. However, due to what I believe to be a catastrophic mishandling of the situation, we are seeing effects like the explicit, overt racism breeding in online comment sections and spilling into the streets and schoolyards.
This is the true barrier to the calls to action, to reconciliation and to the hope of a better tomorrow for indigenous peoples in Canada. We have heard a lot of rhetoric over the last couple of weeks. We had the opposition leader attempt to educate us on privilege. Mind you, he is a white, affluent man who was standing in front of the grand doors of the House of Commons. He should know privilege well, yet somehow he missed the mark.
We have heard a lot of platitudes, punch lines and patriarchy. We have heard promises made and, three days later, promises broken as well as a gross overstating of the role of dialogue.
The exhaustive TRC, the previous Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, the missing and murdered indigenous women and girls inquiry were the hard work of dialogue and set a course of action for Canada to take. Dialogue is a conversation among parties, but Canada does not seem to be listening.
In closing, I will change my tone. I will of course support this effort to fulfill one of the 94 recommendations, but I wish to note the timing of this effort as well as question the actual impact in today's Canadian political climate.
Things have changed. We have failed in the bridge building, in the healing that is required of this work, which is embedded in each of the 94 recommendations. Today we address one call to action, the 94th, with 84 incomplete before it. We will potentially move this request to committee stage and in time perhaps we will see our newcomers repeat an oath that acknowledges something the majority of settler Canadians have not.
Having said all this, this change will have a positive impact on the immigration experience in Canada, despite falling flat as a call to action for indigenous peoples so long after it was originally recorded.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-02-24 17:52 [p.1460]
Madam Speaker, yes, we are supportive of the bill before us. Again, it puts forward one of the 94 recommendations. If we are looking at prioritizing or placing importance on these recommendations, it is rather symbolic, if we are going to talk about symbolism, and it is the 94th call to action. It would seem that the hard-working individuals who were involved in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission would have rather seen some of the others addressed long before we got to this one.
Again, while it is one step that is necessary to take, 93 others steps should probably have been taken before this one.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-02-24 17:53 [p.1460]
Madam Speaker, the simple answer is yes. With our limited time here, we have to address things with a certain level of urgency and prioritize them in a very important way. However, this is the bill before us, and I support it.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-02-24 17:54 [p.1460]
Madam Speaker, I am very frustrated. I sat very patiently and listened to the midnight debate without a speaking slot, so I took this time to really address those concerns.
My children are indigenous. What I see from all this, as I mentioned, is some of the racism that is really pours out of the comment sections and in society. I am very concerned. Therefore, I would like to see a strong focus placed on anti-racism.
With that, comes all the rest of the recommendations as well. They are very much imbedded in that spirit. We need to understand how to better relate to one another, but we have to tear down the walls we have seen. The power of racism in our society is there and I worry for my children, my students and Canada. We need to address this right away.
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of Transport told the House that VIA Rail service was now operating between Ottawa and Montreal. The minister also said that he was a frequent VIA Rail traveller, which is very convenient for him and fellow Montreal area MPs.
I was surprised to learn that VIA Rail is not operating to Atlantic Canada. In fact, VIA is not running any services between Montreal and Halifax.
These illegal blockades are located in western and central Canada, not down east. Therefore, why is VIA Rail not running in Atlantic Canada?
View Richard Bragdon Profile
CPC (NB)
View Richard Bragdon Profile
2020-02-21 11:56 [p.1386]
Mr. Speaker, 24,000 people in New Brunswick rely on the forestry sector for their livelihoods. The Prime Minister has already hurt the industry through poorly negotiated trade deals and his inaction on blockades is hurting them again. I am hearing from Forest NB that thousands of jobs and contracts are in jeopardy if this current disruption of rail and port services continues even one more week.
When will the Prime Minister move beyond the politics of endless dialogue, dither and delay, and take action so that I can tell the forestry workers of New Brunswick that the blockades are coming down?
View René Arseneault Profile
Lib. (NB)
Madam Speaker, I have been listening with great interest to the comments made by my esteemed colleague from Montarville.
It is odd that the Bloc Québécois, whose main talking point is that the federal government must avoid interfering in Quebec's affairs as much as possible, is now asking why the federal government will not intervene regarding the blockades in the interest of public safety in the province of Quebec.
Like my esteemed colleague, I am old enough to remember what happened at Oka in 1990. The Sûreté du Québec was dispatched to the barricades. Then the federal government was asked to intervene, and the conflict went on for 78 days, or two and a half months.
First of all, I would like to ask my esteemed colleague what he remembers about Oka and how it relates to today's situation, which affects the entire country, not just a small area of Quebec. What does he remember about those notorious 78 days, for that is how long it took to reach a resolution?
Second, what he calls procrastination on the government's part is actually an effort to enter into dialogue with key stakeholders that is happening as we speak.
View Wayne Long Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Wayne Long Profile
2020-02-20 14:02 [p.1320]
Mr. Speaker, during the last election campaign, I pledged to stand up for democratic reform in this place if re-elected. Now I am back.
I rise to begin fulfilling this pledge by addressing my many fellow members about the historic opportunity to improve the democratic character of this place that lies before us in this minority Parliament.
By amending our Standing Orders to ensure that all members of the House are fully empowered to advocate for their constituents on Parliament hill, whether it be by creating a parallel chamber or tackling party discipline, we can ensure that the voices of voters are not drowned out by acrimonious partisan rhetoric and voting patterns in the people's House.
On election day, our names come first and our parties come second on the ballots cast by our constituents. Let us all put our constituents first in this Parliament. Let us seize this historic opportunity to work across party lines to implement the democratic reform this place needs.
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Mr. Speaker, job losses from these illegal blockades are growing by the hour. Last night, CN Rail announced 450 workers will be laid off. Today, VIA Rail announced another 1,000. When Canadian workers and families have their livelihoods and safety put at risk, the Prime Minister offers nothing but platitudes.
If these illegal rail blockades continue, Atlantic Canada will run out of propane, airports will run out of the de-icing fluids that keep us moving in the winter and water treatment facilities will soon lack chemical supplies that keep our drinking water safe.
When will the government finally stand up for Atlantic Canada?
View Ginette Petitpas Taylor Profile
Lib. (NB)
Madam Speaker, during the statement that my colleague made today, she made reference to the gender-based violence strategy.
In 2017, our government launched its first-ever gender-based violence strategy and we backed it up with over $100 million in funding over five years.
Would my colleague elaborate on how Bill C-5 would fit within that strategy?
View Ginette Petitpas Taylor Profile
Lib. (NB)
Madam Speaker, it is an absolute pleasure for me to rise in the House today to speak to this important legislation, Bill C-5, an act to amend the Judges Act and also the Criminal Code of Canada.
I feel very passionate about this piece of legislation, because I have seen first-hand many barriers that women and Canadians face when they are victims of sexual violence.
Prior to entering politics, as I have mentioned a few times in this House, I was a front-line social worker. I served over 23 years with the Codiac regional RCMP as the victim services coordinator. During that time, I had the privilege of accompanying many survivors of sexual violence through some very difficult times.
Within the RCMP, a part of my job was assisting police officers in conducting these types of investigations and also helping victims navigate through a very a complex system, preparing them for court and often times accompanying them to court. I have personally had the privilege of accompanying probably thousands of victims who faced these very difficult situations. I wish I could stand here today and say that I have never heard any inappropriate comments made by judiciaries, but that is not the case. I have seen first-hand some of the treatment that women and individuals have gone through, which is why I feel so passionate that this bill move forward. I am pleased to see that all members of this House are supporting the bill.
If passed, this bill will ensure that superior court judges who hear sexual assault cases get proper training so they will not be influenced by harmful myths and stereotypes that persist in our society. It will also lead to a better understanding of the social context surrounding this type of crime in our country. This training will also assure the public that judges are applying the law in a way that respects survivors' dignity and reality. This training will give judges the right tools to make fair, impartial decisions.
The bill will also require judges to explain their final decisions in sexual assault proceedings in writing, which will make the process more open and transparent.
Sexual assault is a form of gender-based violence and one of the most under-reported crimes in Canada. When I was a front-line worker, we would often say that fewer than 6% of survivors came forward, and today we have heard in the House the statistic of 5%, and so we know that this crime is truly under-reported. Unfortunately, gender-based violence is one of the most pervasive and deeply rooted human rights violation of our time, and we have to remember that it is 100% preventable.
I would like to talk about the Government of Canada's co-ordinated efforts to prevent and address gender-based violence, because Bill C-5 is another important piece of a larger suite of initiatives designed to better support survivors and their families, as well as to promote a responsive legal justice system.
First, let me explain what gender-based violence is.
Gender-based violence is violence directed towards another person based on their gender identity, gender expression or perceived gender. Gender-based violence is linked to gender inequities, unequal power dynamics and harmful gender norms and behaviours. It is made worse by other forms of discrimination.
Women and girls, racialized women, lesbian, gay and bisexual people, indigenous people and people with disabilities are at an increased risk of experiencing gender-based violence. Transgender, two-spirit and gender-diverse people in Canada also experience higher rates of violence.
In Canada, gender-based violence continues to happen at an extremely alarming rate. According to data collected by Statistics Canada, between 2008 and 2018, over 700 women were killed by their intimate partner in this country. In 2018, one in every three women experienced unwanted sexual behaviour in public. While these numbers are terrifying, the reality for indigenous women and girls is even worse. In 2018, the rate of homicide was nearly seven times higher for indigenous women and girls than that of their non-indigenous counterparts.
Faced with such a bleak picture, the government took action.
In 2017, the Government of Canada took action, launching the very first federal strategy to prevent and address gender-based violence entitled “Canada's Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence”.
The strategy includes over $200 million for federal initiatives to prevent gender-based violence, support survivors and their families, and promote responsive legal and justice systems.
The gender-based violence strategy is the first-ever federal strategy of its kind because it takes a whole-of-government approach and is informed by grassroots activism and feminist action.
We listened to survivors and women's and equality-seeking organizations in communities across the country that are working tirelessly to address gender-based violence within their communities. Let me give some examples of the initiatives under the strategy that were informed by their voices.
As a part of the strategy, the Public Health Agency of Canada, also known as PHAC, is investing more than $40 million over five years and more than $9 million per year ongoing. This includes investing in initiatives that prevent child maltreatment and teen and youth dating violence, and equip health professionals to respond to gender-based violence.
For example, the Public Health Agency of Canada is funding projects through which young Canadians learn how to develop and maintain healthy relationships that are free from violence and abuse. Educators are also provided with new tools to increase their capacity to deliver this type of guidance to young Canadians.
Teaching teenagers across Canada about what a healthy relationship looks like also helps foster positive relationships, changes attitudes and promotes gender equality. It helps foster a greater understanding, ultimately resulting in a safer community for young Canadians anywhere in Canada from coast to coast to coast.
In addition, the Public Health Agency of Canada is investing more than $6 million per year to support the health of survivors of family violence. Improving physical and mental health outcomes for youth and children, helping mothers experiencing family violence learn the impact of violence on their parenting and their children's development, while building mothers' self-esteem and improving their positive parenting and healthy relationship skills, and building resilience and life skills in young women are just some examples of what the funded projects aim to accomplish.
Just as Bill C-5 proposes to train judges, under the strategy we are training RCMP front-line officers so that they can better understand the social context surrounding gender-based violence. The goal is for survivors to feel more confident in moving forward to denounce their aggressors and for officers to be more understanding of the survivors' situation.
These are just a few examples that demonstrate the ongoing progress of the strategy.
As part of the strategy, we are working in close co-operation with every level of government, including the provincial and territorial governments, as well as several departments and organizations. We are pooling our resources to strengthen our ability to support those affected by gender-based violence in communities across Canada.
We are working on establishing a national plan that would ensure that anyone facing gender-based violence is protected and has reliable and timely access to services, no matter where they live.
In closing, I could continue discussing our accomplishments and the continuous efforts we are making. The point is that Canada's strategy to prevent gender-based violence is moving forward because we know there is still more work that needs to be done.
We need to give Bill C-5 our full support. We are counting on all members of Parliament to help us continue this crucial work to end gender-based violence within our communities.
View Ginette Petitpas Taylor Profile
Lib. (NB)
Madam Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my colleague from Guelph for his tremendous work in his riding when it comes to mental health and support services. I thank him for all the work he continues to do.
When it comes to providing the appropriate sensitivity training, it is a must for all professions, and judges are not excluded from that. It is truly important. When I look at the work Ms. Ambrose did in putting the bill together, she has to be commended for a job very well done. This is probably an area that perhaps was not addressed in years gone by, but we certainly recognize that if we want to have an effective judicial system to meet the needs of all survivors of sexual violence or all types of victims, we have to ensure the appropriate training is in place.
Again, I commend all members of the House for wanting to support the bill and hopefully getting it to the other House in a timely fashion.
View Ginette Petitpas Taylor Profile
Lib. (NB)
Madam Speaker, I also appreciate working with the member opposite on the PROC committee. I always appreciate her interventions.
When it comes to providing the training that is needed, we certainly have to recognize that we have many vulnerable groups within our society. We recognize the groups the member has listed are also victims of sexual violence at a higher proportion than many others. Therefore, we have to ensure the training is appropriate.
I would also like to highlight, however, that when it comes to gender-based violence strategies, I am extremely proud that our government has consulted with many of those vulnerable groups mentioned by my colleague. We wanted to ensure that we had the strategy right and to get it right we had to meet with people with lived experience, and living experience, and also people who worked with these clients as well.
As a result, we have come up with a wonderful strategy, the first of its kind in Canada. Not only are we looking at the judicial system within the strategy, but also at all social services that affect survivors of sexual violence and other forms of gender-based violence.
View Serge Cormier Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Serge Cormier Profile
2020-02-18 14:02 [p.1151]
Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to honour the memory of a great man.
Guy Cormier was a fisher and mayor of the village of Saint‑Léolin, in my riding. Sadly, he died suddenly on January 11. Mr. Cormier had two dreams: to become mayor and to find a new purpose for the former school in his village. In 2014, he was elected to municipal council and became mayor in 2018. Thanks to him, the former school became a hydroponic greenhouse that is enjoying great success.
Guy, or Ti-Guy as he was known, was a friend to many. He gave countless hours of his time to various causes and was valued as a volunteer. Guy always had a smile and a good story to tell. He was a man who loved politics and never hesitated to give advice to elected members to help them understand the issues of our region.
His death is a major loss for the entire community. I offer my deepest condolences to his wife, Edwige, his daughter, Nancy, as well as his family and friends.
Ti-Guy, you will be sorely missed. Thank you for your incredible contribution to the riding of Acadie—Bathurst.
View Ginette Petitpas Taylor Profile
Lib. (NB)
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his comments.
I want to take this opportunity to thank my colleague for the tremendous work he did on his private member's bill. I remember very well the work he did on it.
Listening to the hon. member's comments today, I think we would all agree that in the previous and current Parliament, our government has taken some steps to improve our EI system. Could my colleague elaborate on the changes we have made to the caregiver benefit and how that change alone has helped many Canadian families?
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-02-18 23:36
Mr. Speaker, I agree, I want the blockades to end. I feel action is delayed and unnecessarily so. I feel there is a lot that goes into this very nuanced conversation.
I hear the member about the farmers. I am just curious as to what the member thinks about the National Farmers Union issuing a press release that is in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people. It is the first thing on their website.
View Ginette Petitpas Taylor Profile
Lib. (NB)
Madam Speaker, I am extremely pleased that all members of the House, I believe, are supporting Bill C-3.
All of us in the House recognize that it is extremely important to have in place an independent review and complaint process, as we certainly want to make sure that all of our constituents are protected. That is, again, why we are extremely pleased.
The RCMP and other government departments have these types of independent review processes in place. That is why we are moving forward to put resources and the necessary investments in place to make sure that when such complaints come forward, our constituents will be afforded an opportunity to make a complaint that will be investigated by an independent body.
View Ginette Petitpas Taylor Profile
Lib. (NB)
Madam Speaker, perhaps many in the House are not aware that prior to entering politics, I worked within the Codiac RCMP regional office in Moncton, New Brunswick. During that time, I saw the value of having an independent body that was able to conduct investigations when people felt they did not receive the proper service.
With respect to having in place an independent body, we want to make sure that all of our constituents are treated with the utmost respect and that they have the confidence to move forward and make a complaint when it is necessary. That is why we are very pleased to be moving forward with the bill in a timely fashion.
However, not only are we moving forward with the bill, but in budget 2019 more than $24 million has been set aside to make sure that the appropriate resources are in place.
View Ginette Petitpas Taylor Profile
Lib. (NB)
Madam Speaker, first and foremost, I want to thank my colleague for his support of the bill.
Once again, our priority is to make sure we have an independent review complaints process for the Canada Border Services Agency, as that is where we have jurisdiction. We want to make sure that our constituents have access to an independent body to which they will be able to make a complaint if necessary. I also want to highlight that we recognize that the large majority of interventions at the CBSA are very positive. However, for some extreme circumstances, we want to make sure that is available to them.
View Ginette Petitpas Taylor Profile
Lib. (NB)
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my friend, my colleague and my neighbour in the Confederation Building for his comments.
Before entering politics, I worked for the RCMP for almost 24 years. The RCMP has an independent investigative process. When my colleagues had to file a complaint, the majority of them had confidence in this system.
Can my colleague tell us how important such a system is in terms of properly serving our fellow citizens?
View Ginette Petitpas Taylor Profile
Lib. (NB)
Madam Speaker, I am very pleased that all members of the House, I believe, approve of this legislation and recognize that it is very important.
As my hon. colleague mentioned, we know that all members who work for the CBSA, almost 14,000 of them, provide a tremendous service to protect our borders and protect us as Canadians on a regular basis. We recognize that the work we are doing to put this review in place is not for the majority of them, but for the exceptions to the rule.
Could my colleague elaborate on the importance of putting together this independent review process and how he feels it would benefit his constituents and all constituents?
View Richard Bragdon Profile
CPC (NB)
View Richard Bragdon Profile
2020-02-06 14:48 [p.1036]
Mr. Speaker, following the closure of the smelter in Belledune, New Brunswick, the province is hoping that a $1-billion iron ore processing facility will fill the void. It is expected to create 1,300 short-term jobs and more than 200 permanent jobs.
The Liberals claim that the environment and the economy go hand in hand, but they constantly throw up roadblocks that hurt Atlantic provinces. It is continuously “no” with the government, and New Brunswick deserves a “yes”.
Will the Liberals work with the Province of New Brunswick and support the Maritime Iron project, and the hundreds of jobs it will create?
View Ginette Petitpas Taylor Profile
Lib. (NB)
Mr. Speaker, having worked for the RCMP in Moncton, New Brunswick, for close to 24 years, I have personally seen the value of having an independent review and complaints process. Many of my constituents felt very comfortable knowing there was a process in place when they had to make a complaint. I wonder if my colleague could elaborate on the benefits of having such a process in place for the CBSA.
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Pat Finnigan Profile
2020-02-06 17:18 [p.1059]
Madam Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague if there are any concerns that have already been raised about the security or speed with which people and goods will be able to cross our borders when the provisions of the bill are implemented. Is he aware of any concerns that have been raised in that regard?
View Ginette Petitpas Taylor Profile
Lib. (NB)
Madam Speaker, this is the first time I have had an opportunity to speak during this 43rd Parliament, so I want to take a moment to thank my constituents from the beautiful riding of Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe.
Members certainly would not be in this place without the hard work of many people, and I am very blessed to have had a tremendous team of volunteers that supported me during the summer and fall of 2019. I want to thank each and every one of them. I want to thank my constituents, the volunteers, the donors and riding associations because they worked with me hand in hand to make this a reality. It has truly been the honour of my life to represent the great folks of Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe.
I rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-3, an act that would create a public review and complaints commission, which would provide Canadians with added accountability measures.
Before I proceed, I want to take a moment to acknowledge the work currently performed by front-line officers at our airports, who work tirelessly to protect us from the coronavirus. Though the risk to Canadians remains low, we do not often take the time to commend those who dedicate their time and effort to keeping us safe, day in and day out.
Looking at the months and weeks to follow, there will be long weekends and March breaks. Many of my constituents will visit another province or territory to see family, cross the border for weekend shopping or leave the continent altogether to go on a well-earned vacation. However, if they do decide to travel I, like other members in the House, want my constituents to have a hassle-free and stress-free experience.
I know that during the course of the debate on policies and legislation, there are often partisan disagreements and arguments. However, when it comes to this bill, I am pleased to say that so far we have seen non-partisan support which, to me, is very encouraging. I thank all members for helping to make this bill as strong as possible as we move forward.
Thus far, we have come to agreement on a few items. First is the tremendous quality of the work undertaken by our border officers and the CBSA. Second is the necessity of ensuring that any negative, or otherwise unprofessional, experiences can be independently heard and reviewed.
We have heard from other members that the CBSA processes millions of travellers and shipments every year at multiple points across Canada and abroad. When looking at 2018 and 2019 statistics, this included 96 million travellers. That is an astonishing number. They also looked at 27.3 million cars, 34.5 million air passengers and 21.4 million commercial releases. Every day, at 13 international airports, 117 land border crossings, 27 rail sites and beyond, CBSA officers provide consistent and fair treatment to travellers and traders.
Our border officers are the first point of contact in Canada for visitors and for Canadians who are returning home. What is more, these officers are responsible for maintaining the integrity of Canada's borders. This means that their work is essential to our country's well-being. In this day and age, border security management is a key concern for the government and for Canadians.
Other public safety organizations in Canada, such as the RCMP and Correctional Service of Canada, are already subject to independent review. Globally, border agencies in a number of countries, including the U.K., Australia, New Zealand and France, are subject to external review. Addressing the accountability gaps through Bill C-3 would improve the CBSA and strengthen public confidence in the agency.
I should indicate that I will be sharing my time with the member for Mississauga—Streetsville.
The legislation would ensure that the public could continue to expect consistent, fair and equal treatment by CBSA employees, and that funding would include support to modernize some of our land, ports of entry and border operations with the goal of both ensuring efficiency and enhancing security.
Under Bill C-3, complaints would be handled by a new arm's-length public complaint and review commission. The PCRC would be able to receive and investigate complaints from the public regarding the conduct of CBSA officials as well as the service provided by the CBSA. Now, if any of my constituents have a particular unprofessional experience, they can be assured that an independent review can occur.
This bill is very similar to Bill C-98 from the last Parliament, and it received all-party support at third reading. Whereas concerns were expressed about the timing of introduction, we were proud to make introducing Bill C-3 one of the first pieces of legislation during this Parliament.
We also incorporated feedback that we received, such as ensuring that a chairperson-initiated review would have access to the same information that the CBSA review has.
On a question from the opposition in the last Parliament, the CBSA union has been contacted already and there will be, at some point, the ability to compel oral or written evidence on oath or solemn affirmation.
Under Bill C-3, the PCRC would publish an annual report covering each of its business lines, the CBSA and the RCMP and resources devoted to each.
This bill aligns with other commitments to improve accountability and transparency. The creation of the PCRC is long overdue. Independent review legislation was proposed in the previous two Parliaments, both in the other place and in this House. Amnesty International Canada's 2018 report card noted that the CBSA remained the most notable agency with law enforcement and detention powers in the country that was not subject to independent review and oversight.
The professional men and women at borders would be well served by an independent review function for the CBSA. My constituents and the constituents of the other 337 members of Parliament deserve it as well.
That is why I encourage all members to join me in supporting this bill, Bill C-3, at second reading today.
View Ginette Petitpas Taylor Profile
Lib. (NB)
Madam Speaker, if we want to put together this type of procedure, we have to ensure the proper resources are put in place.
In budget 2019, I was extremely pleased that $24 million were put in place for the border enforcement strategy, which will cover the cost of exactly this initiative. Also, each year going forward, an additional $6 million per year will be funded for the ongoing funding and continuation of this program.
View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
View Rob Moore Profile
2020-02-05 14:54 [p.954]
Mr. Speaker, last year, the House passed a bill by the member for St. Albert—Edmonton that would help jurors seek medical or psychiatric counselling for the horrific images and testimony that they deal with at a trial. The bill passed the House will all-party support. Since then, some provinces and territories have moved forward with their own measures to support jurors. Meanwhile, the government has failed to act.
When will the Prime Minister take action and address his responsibility to Canadians fulfilling their civic duty as jurors?
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-02-05 15:39 [p.961]
Madam Speaker, I have the honour to present a petition about the climate crisis.
The petitioners call on the Government of Canada to support Motion No. 1, a made in Canada green new deal, the first initiative before the House of Commons, which calls on Canada to take bold and rapid action to adopt socially equitable climate action to tackle the climate emergency and address worsening socio-economic and racial inequalities while at the same time ending fossil fuel subsidies, closing offshore tax havens and supporting workers impacted by the transition and creating well-paying unionized jobs in the shift to a clean and renewable energy economy.
View Dominic LeBlanc Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Dominic LeBlanc Profile
2020-02-04 15:04 [p.912]
Mr. Speaker, let me begin, the first time I take my seat and the floor in this House, by congratulating you, Mr. Speaker, and thanking my former University of Toronto classmate for his question.
Our government is committed to an open and transparent democratic system.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
Hon. Dominic LeBlanc: Mr. Speaker, our colleagues in front are laughing. They are probably confusing the former Harper government's plan with what our government has done to make elections fairer and more accessible. We are proud of the work done by my predecessor, the minister of democratic institutions. It made elections fairer for every Canadian.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-02-04 15:08 [p.913]
Mr. Speaker, I welcome comments from the environment minister that his government expects provinces to take responsibility for their emissions.
Last week, during oral question period, the Prime Minister stated that the government's decisions are based on facts and science.
Knowing that science is conclusive to the effect that we need to drastically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions without further delay, can the minister confirm to the House that Canada supports an international emissions credit regime based on real, verifiable emissions reductions, and that hypothetical proposals, such as those proposed by New Brunswick regarding Maritime Iron, would never be allowed?
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Pat Finnigan Profile
2020-02-03 14:10 [p.821]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honour Sergeant John Forbes, a Second World War veteran who passed away last December.
John joined the army at age 16 and was sent to England in 1940. He landed in Normandy shortly after D-Day and was wounded by a landmine during the advance from Holland to Germany in 1945. Following five months in hospital, he was released and returned to civilian life.
John continued his service by becoming a reserve soldier and helping other veterans in need. He was a strong advocate in schools and the community, and at the age of 96, John was still helping others and promoting commemorations.
He has been recognized many times for his dedicated and long-term service, including with the French Legion of Honour. John will receive the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation posthumously.
Let us never forget that the freedom we are enjoying today in Canada is because of the sacrifice made by people like John Forbes.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-02-03 15:15 [p.833]
Mr. Speaker, this petition is around reproductive justice and ensuring that the Government of New Brunswick repeal paragraph (a.1) in schedule 2 of Regulation 84-20 under the Medical Services Payment Act, creating a billing code that adequately reflects the provision of services by the provider and facility, thereby meeting the Canada Health Act's requirements of accessibility for residents of New Brunswick to publicly funded abortion services in medically and regionally appropriate settings.
View Wayne Long Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Wayne Long Profile
2020-02-03 18:08 [p.857]
Madam Speaker, as it is my first time rising in the House in debate, I would be remiss if I did not thank the wonderful constituents of the riding of Saint John—Rothesay for re-electing me and sending me back to this beautiful House and this beautiful city to represent them. It was a hard-fought campaign.
I want to thank and congratulate other candidates like Rodney Weston, Armand Cormier and Ann McAlllister for offering spirited debate and great dialogue throughout the campaign. Again, it is an honour to be back here.
I was looking at some records the other day, and I have been in Ottawa almost 600 nights over the last four and a half years. Everybody recognizes the large commitment we all make and the time that we take away from our families. I want to recognize my beautiful wife Denise and my sons Khristian and Konnor for supporting me, putting up with me and standing with me over the last four and a half years.
I want to thank my wonderful campaign team: my co-campaign managers Kevin Collins and Nora Robinson; and last but not least, Jeannette Arsenault and my wonderful office staff for doing great things for the riding, representing my constituents.
It is an honour to rise tonight to speak to Bill C-4, an act to implement the agreement between Canada, the United States and the United Mexican States.
I would like to begin by thanking the hon. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs for her outstanding work in negotiating the new North American Free Trade Agreement, known as the Canada-United States-Mexico agreement, or CUSMA, with the United States and Mexico. It is thanks to her hard work, leadership, vision and perseverance that we now have a modernized and improved free trade agreement with our North American partners.
As the member of Parliament for Saint John—Rothesay, I represent a riding with an economy dependent on international trade and, as a result, thousands of workers in my riding depend on their elected representatives to ensure Canada's trading agreements protect their jobs, rights and environment. This is why I am proud to stand here today to speak in support of legislation that intends to implement a modernized NAFTA, which contains unprecedented measures to protect the well-paying jobs of workers in my riding, whose jobs depend on trade with the United States and Mexico, ensure labour standards are upheld and protect the environment.
Before my previous life in hockey, I was involved for 15 years in international trade and business with an aquaculture company. I travelled the world and extensively throughout the United States. If anybody knows the value of a trade agreement, of lowering barriers, lowering and eliminating tariffs and creating an environment of free and open trade, I certainly do. It produces thousands of jobs in my riding and hundreds of thousands of jobs right across the country.
Saint John is a key node in Canada's global trade network. The port of Saint John is Canada's third-busiest seaport and eastern Canada's largest port by volume. It serves Canada's largest oil refinery, the Irving Oil refinery, and handles a diverse cargo base. It handles an average of 28 million metric tons of cargo annually, including dry and liquid bulks, break bulk and containers originating from and destined to ports all over the world.
My riding is also home to a second world headquarters, Cooke Aquaculture Inc., an international aquaculture firm that employs thousands of people, has sales in the billions of the dollars and was started by the Cooke family. Glenn, Mike and their father Gifford live literally 35 minutes from my office. It is a success story that is an example of leadership.
Our port is also in the midst of a historic expansion. It is currently undertaking a $205-million modernization of its west-side cargo terminal. This transformational trade infrastructure project was made possible by the $68.3-million investment by our federal government. In addition, CP Rail announced in November that it will begin serving the port of Saint John as it has purchased close to 800 kilometres of track which runs from Saint John deep into the state of Maine. This means that the port of Saint John will soon be connected to both of Canada's class I railways.
The new NAFTA, which our government is seeking to implement with the bill before us, would ensure that the port of Saint John is able to fully leverage its expansion and the incredible opportunity by preserving our tariff-free access to the American market and ensuring that the other North American ports it competes with comply with the same rigorous environmental standards as it does when it comes to preventing marine pollution through its enforceable environmental chapter.
I am thrilled to tell members that New Brunswick is on the cusp of becoming an international leader in manufacturing and export of small modular nuclear reactors. In 2018, ARC Nuclear Canada and Moltex Energy established offices in Saint John when the provincial government announced its nuclear innovation cluster funding for which they were both chosen as participants. With this announcement, the province of New Brunswick instantly became a climate change policy leader for Canada with the development of SMRs. Since that time, ARC and Moltex have proceeded with purpose to develop their technologies with the goal of eventually establishing a manufacturing export hub for their technologies in our province by leveraging the port of Saint John.
SMRs can employ thousands of people across New Brunswick. Also, if members want to talk about reducing a carbon footprint, SMRs could be used across the country in every province. The new NAFTA would ensure that our province is able to fully leverage this incredible opportunity to grow our economy and tackle climate change by ensuring that we continue with tariff-free access to the American and Mexican markets. As well, it would ensure that our SMR technology companies do not have to compete against companies in other North American jurisdictions that do not have to comply with rigorous environmental standards for air and marine pollution through its enforceable environmental chapter.
This agreement also includes an unprecedented enforcement provision when it comes to labour standards to address, in a timely manner, labour violations relative to collective bargaining and freedom of association. The agreement also includes innovation mechanisms for rapid response between Canada and Mexico and between the United States and Mexico.
To close, as I mentioned previously, I was in international trade for 15 years and I know what it means to have an agreement that reduces tariffs and barriers and promotes free trade. It is crucial to the success of business. It is crucial to the growth of business. It is crucial to the development of business.
I am proud to stand behind this bill. I am proud to support it. I know first-hand that Canadians appreciate what we have done. I can certainly speak for the world leaders, constituents, unions and businesses in my riding who stand with me in support of this new bill.
View Wayne Long Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Wayne Long Profile
2020-02-03 18:19 [p.859]
Madam Speaker, my friend opposite is obviously referring to energy east and the history behind energy east. I do not think it is any secret that I stood in this House and in my constituency and supported energy east. That being said, the only way that project was ever going to happen was to have consultation and buy-in across the country.
The Leader of the Opposition at that time, on his own website, said that he was listening to Quebeckers and that he was going to stand in support of Quebec's jurisdiction and rights. I asked him how he squared what he said there with what he said in other parts of the country. Of course I did not get an answer.
I fully respect the fact that our port needs to export, and I stand behind that.
View Wayne Long Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Wayne Long Profile
2020-02-03 18:21 [p.859]
Madam Speaker, I lived it. My constituents of Saint John—Rothesay absolutely agree with what I was saying because they sent me back here to represent them. That project was going nowhere under the previous government of members opposite. Everyone knew it, they knew it; the project was stalled. The Conservatives had gutted the environmental process. There was no credibility left with anything.
We tried our best to reboot. It was not in the cards. My riding has moved on. My riding is looking forward, industry in my riding is looking forward, and we are ready to turn the page.
View Wayne Long Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Wayne Long Profile
2020-02-03 18:22 [p.859]
Madam Speaker, my riding of Saint John—Rothesay is 30 minutes from the town of Sussex, which has a diverse, growing, innovative and vibrant dairy industry. That industry was consulted. That industry was in the loop. We have worked with that industry to make sure that it will be protected with any changes in the agreement. That industry is satisfied with where we are. In fact, I am meeting with members from that industry this week in my office here in Ottawa, and we will continue to consult. We will continue to work with that industry and grow that industry vital to New Brunswick.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-01-31 12:06 [p.770]
Madam Speaker, I welcome comments from the Minister of Economic Development on ensuring the delivery of strategic regional investments and a focus on rural economic development. I agree with the government on the importance of cybersecurity in Canada. I also agree with the official opposition that funding a multinational, billion-dollar corporation like Mastercard should not have happened.
Can I expect the government to also invest in local Canadian projects in the Maritime region like CyberNB, designed specifically to be the hub for Canadian cybersecurity, already in the construction phase and at a cheaper price for Canadian taxpayers?
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-01-29 15:56 [p.642]
Madam Speaker, this petition is about ending animal cruelty in Canada. The petitioners are acknowledging that animals are sentient beings capable of feeling pain, that they are not property. They are requesting additional protections for wild and stray animals. They state that it is imperative that those who abuse animals face conviction and significant penalty, and that loopholes in existing legislation too often allow those who have abused animals to escape penalty.
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Pat Finnigan Profile
2020-01-28 14:06 [p.576]
Mr. Speaker, in my hometown of Rogersville, we have a program called “Femmes Fortes”.
Two years ago, a comment made by a recently widowed woman really bothered a municipal employee. She had mentioned that since her husband's passing, she felt powerless and useless, and she realized how much she had depended on her husband to take on traditionally male tasks, such as car repairs, carpentry and the like.
That employee, Angèle McCaie, then proposed her “Femmes Fortes” project to the municipal council. In response to suggestions made during a meeting, more than 30 workshops were organized, including workshops on self-defence, woodworking, car repairs, menopause, anxiety, physical fitness and gardening.
Mr. Speaker, just know that if you ever drop by my community of Rogersville, you are sure to meet some “Femmes Fortes”, some strong women.
View Wayne Long Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Wayne Long Profile
2020-01-28 14:15 [p.578]
Mr. Speaker, I am thrilled to rise for the first time in the 43rd Parliament to thank the wonderful people of Saint John—Rothesay and my incredible campaign volunteers for giving me a second mandate to stand up for them in this place.
Since being re-elected, I have hit the ground running. I have worked to deliver nearly $8 million in new federal funding for our riding. Last week, this began paying off.
I was thrilled to announce our federal government's investment of $750,000 through ACOA to help UNB Saint John relocate its MBA program to Saint John's uptown core. This significant federal investment in our riding will allow our community to fully leverage its entrepreneurial hub and its world-class university in order to unlock its full economic potential.
This is only the beginning. I am excited to continue delivering the unprecedented federal investments our riding needs by always putting it first in Ottawa.
View René Arseneault Profile
Lib. (NB)
Mr. Speaker, I was listening to what my two colleagues were saying, and I completely disagree, especially with the comments made by my colleague from Mégantic—L'Érable who claims to have been a mayor. All of the mayors in my riding and all of the mayors listening this evening would say the exact opposite of what he said. All he needs to do is ask them.
Bilateral agreements were signed with the provinces. Our province, like all of the others, submits its priorities to the federal government, which has not happened. The municipalities are well aware of how infrastructure spending works. More specifically, what is happening is that some provinces do not submit any projects. That is the problem. All of the municipalities in my riding know this, contrary to what my colleagues claim.
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Madam Speaker, during tonight's adjournment debate, I will be speaking about the privacy rights of my constituents. I know for all members of the House privacy rights are important, and of course they are guaranteed by the Charter. They are paramount to our identity as Canadians.
Unfortunately, the government has missed the boat on protecting privacy rights in southern New Brunswick. Some members may recall my question last year about Canada Post mail delivery to a beautiful part of my riding called Campobello Island. U.S. Customs and Border Protection continues to open and review Canada Post mail going to Campobello. That is because Campobello is Canadian territory but is only accessible year-round by driving through the state of Maine for an hour.
The government responded to my question by stating, “We will be looking at this matter and will have further things to say on it in the future”. I was expecting that, in this minority Parliament where the government is trying to work across the aisle, when a serious issue is brought to its attention, an issue that impacts the privacy rights of Canadians, it would act. Sadly, I was wrong.
My office has received a letter from Canada Post, which I will table after the adjournment proceedings. Quite frankly, the response from this government-owned crown agency, Canada Post, is tone deaf. Canada Post says that the United States has a right to open the mail and that Canada Post understands “this has caused you concern”.
Second, it says that the delivery route through Maine is “the only available option beyond seasonal ferry service”. From what I understand, Canada Post has not requested use of that seasonal ferry service. It has not contacted the ferry operator whose craft is in the water and available for private or public charter.
Third, the letter says that Canada Post is working on resolving the matter with United States government officials and hopes to see “fewer delays in the coming weeks”. Nearly two months have come and gone.
Here is the problem. The letter closes by saying, “to provide timely service, we ask that you refrain from ordering or sending items that cannot be sent by mail or that could be seized by a customs agent as they may delay passage of all mail through the border”. Therefore, Canada Post is asking for Canadians living on Campobello to use the mail less or not use it at all.
I have contacted Canada Post. I have brought this issue to the minister's attention and Canada Post has contacted my office. However, once again, its explanation does not solve the problem. According to Canada Post, this whole problem is because cannabis is mailable within Canada. It is just a fluke of geography that necessitates the crossing of borders to reach Campobello that causes some challenges here.
However, a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian. Also, geography cuts both ways. That is because there is a place called Point Roberts in British Columbia that is U.S. territory and is only accessible by passing through Canadian territory. The U.S. mail that is going to Point Roberts is not being opened by CBSA officials. Perhaps it is time that we did so.
I have some questions for my colleagues in the government this evening. Why has the issue of U.S. border official agents searching Canada Post mail still not been resolved? What will the Liberals do today, not in the future, to protect the privacy rights of Canadian residents living on Campobello?
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Madam Speaker, I appreciate the response from the hon. member. It is clear that he is familiar with this corner of my riding, New Brunswick Southwest, Charlotte County.
I would point out that it is not up to the citizens living in Campobello to solve this problem. The hon. member suggested they have come up with innovative solutions in the past. That is because the people in Campobello have had no choice to do so. They feel, rightly, the government has let them down. I appreciate the member's opening of the door to providing help on, perhaps, a year-round ferry in Campobello from the Higgs government, should it come to the federal government seeking infrastructure dollars to build and operate such a ferry service.
However, as the member knows, ferry services are not built overnight and we need a solution to this matter right away. I will point out again, for the record, that these Canada Post mail trucks are bonded. They should not be inspected by U.S. customs agencies and doing so is an infringement on our rights as Canadians.
View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
View Rob Moore Profile
2020-01-27 14:43 [p.461]
Mr. Speaker, the Liberals carelessly rushed through changes to Canada's criminal justice system in Bill C-75. Conservatives raised concerns over the impacts of the bill and how it would impact and harm victims of crime. Legal experts warned the Prime Minister that his poorly drafted legislation would result in guilty verdicts being nullified. Now in Ontario we see that is indeed the case.
What is the Prime Minister planning to do now that criminals are being set free and victims will have to go through painful retrials due to the government's incompetence?
View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
View Rob Moore Profile
2020-01-27 14:45 [p.461]
Mr. Speaker, that is not good enough.
The Liberal government's poorly drafted Bill C-75 means criminals are now facing retrial and victims of crime will have to relive the horrific situations yet again in court. This is a significant failure of the Liberal government to protect victims. We already know that the sloppy implementation of the bill will lead to retrials in Ontario.
When will the Prime Minister act before more criminals go free?
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-01-27 16:07 [p.507]
Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure to stand today in the House to address not only my fellow members but the many Canadians across this country who are tuning in to hear what their representatives on this floor have to say on their behalf.
I want to recognize that today is the international day of remembrance for the Holocaust. We are also on the cusp of Black History Month, which begins this weekend. In 2020 it is crucial to recognize the lessons history have taught us, the progress we have made on human rights and all the work that remains to be done. I also want to recognize the victims and the families of flight PS752.
Many of us have had the privilege of spending almost two months in our home communities connecting with constituents.
Over the past few weeks, I have had the pleasure of meeting hundreds of people during public events and my first round of community gatherings.
The people of Fredericton, Oromocto, Marysville, Maugerville and surrounding communities are engaged, and I am so proud to represent such a dynamic riding.
Fredericton is the capital of Canada's only officially bilingual province.
Indigenous leadership in the arts is putting New Brunswick on the map. We are also a riding where consistent, devastating floods are making climate change real to people, and where parents are standing up to demand more support for their children struggling with mental illness. I am proud to stand with and beside them as their MP.
I want to address the Speech from the Throne. I was, in all honesty, very pleased to see where our priorities have landed: addressing climate change, healing regional divides and acknowledging the need to further advance forward relationships with indigenous peoples. I was ready to support the speech. I thought if there was ever a Speech from the Throne to support, this would be it.
However, then I was reminded of the last four years. I was reminded of the reason I decided to run in the past election and the promises I made to my constituents to hold the government accountable and challenge pretty words and superficial statements. As a wife and a mother to two indigenous sons, I must stand in the House to protect their future, to protect their inherent collective rights and be firm in my affirmation that their rights are non-negotiable.
I want to speak for a moment on the proposed legislative and policy framework, the Prime Minister's two-track approach to a pan-indigenous policy. It is being called the “two-track termination plan” by many indigenous scholars and traditional leaders. It is reminiscent of the white paper on Indian policy from 1969. People have real, valid issues with what is being proposed, indigenous people, those directly impacted by this legislation. We owe it to them to listen.
The Government of Canada has been consistent in its top-down approach. The patriarchal relationship remains: Canada like a father to its children. Indigenous communities are not Canada's children. Their roots run the deepest on this land and they have the right to self-determination. We have convoluted, confused and complicated our end of the bargain, and that has gotten us where we are today: a deadlock over the land, the land we agreed to share. Canada's definition of sharing is not something I would feel comfortable teaching my children.
Reconciliation means giving back where we took too much. It is achieving an equilibrium. I have heard critics say that we are all Canadian, that we should all be treated equally and that there should be no special treatment. That only works if we are in fact equal.
I am not going to rattle off statistics to describe the disparity that exists. We know what they are. What they mean is that we have to do better. We need real action, real negotiations that find parity in the voices represented.
In Canada, the right to consultation is closely tied to free, prior and informed consent. That means issues must be considered at the individual level and that consultations must involve participants who truly reflect the views of indigenous peoples. The idea is certainly not that powerful and influential organizations and corporations at the top should have a greater say.
When Canada continues to ignore the voices of grassroots community members, traditional and hereditary chiefs, we have outrage and activism in the streets.
The delays on certain energy projects like Coastal GasLink or fracking in New Brunswick are not to be blamed on the demonstrators. It was the wilful ignorance of the players involved from the beginning who made indigenous voices an afterthought. To see that indigenous considerations have been prioritized is very encouraging, but forgive me if I remain suspicious.
I was pleased to hear the mandate for UNDRIP in the throne speech.
I hoped those words signalled that real change was coming soon.
However, in the past few weeks we see the way the government has behaved in the unceded territory of the Wet'suwet'en peoples. It bears a striking resemblance to the behaviour of a previous government in my backyard in 2014, when traditional elders of the Mi'kmaq nation and Elsipogtog built a camp to protect the land and water from the encroachment of a fracking company. At that time, it was only the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands, on behalf of the Green Party of Canada, and David Coon, on behalf of the Green Party of New Brunswick, who stood with the Mi'kmaq hereditary and traditional chiefs.
The RCMP's deplorable colonial practices in dismantling a peaceful demonstration made headlines across the country.
I have a personal connection to this history, as I had to see a family member, a traditional chief, handcuffed with zip ties and arrested as he was conducting a pipe ceremony.
A lot has changed since 2014. We have come through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's report of findings. Canada has reversed its opposition to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Persons and has been working on legislation to see it enshrined in Canadian law.
The inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women and girls has published its final report, including the testimony of 2,380 survivors and family members of those lost.
I am proud to be a member of a party that understands what this really means and does not shirk its responsibility for the need to work tirelessly on reconciliation across Canada.
Unfortunately, Canada seems queued up to repeat the same mistakes it has been making for generations, the same mistakes it made in 2014.
Despite my support for some of the words in the Speech from the Throne, I have little confidence in the Liberal government to understand its responsibilities or to implement the changes we need.
I strongly believe that when we establish a real nation-to-nation relationship with the Indigenous peoples, our relationship with mother earth will be much better.
Our relationship with indigenous peoples is a step forward for climate action.
Earlier today my fellow Green Party members both spoke about the urgency of climate change. Ridings across New Brunswick have been hit in each of the last two years by historic flooding. The river systems at home are jammed. The snow is piling up in our forests. Our wetlands and buffer zones are compromised. We are seeing an increase in precipitation. All signs point to another bad flood season this spring.
Action is required. The Prime Minister and his government know that. I want them to know I am committed to working with them to make progress on adapting to climate change and that I am committed to helping facilitate the rapid transition that our economy must also undertake.
I want to talk for a minute about that.
I am so excited by the opportunities that lay before us in the new economy. We know we have to end our dependency on fossil fuels and I am convinced we can do it, while looking out for workers who will need new careers. We have always been and will continue to be a resource-driven economy. |Just look at the bounty of the resources we have to offer toward renewable energy: our long sunny summer days; powerful river systems across the country; beautiful forests; and right at home in New Brunswick, the highest tides in the world.
This new economy brings with it the promise of new jobs for electricians, mechanics, manufacturers, truck operators and the list goes on.
In New Brunswick, renewable energy companies are already accomplishing amazing things, showing leadership, sharing expertise and building capacity. One solar company in Fredericton has already trained 200 people in solar panel installation work, half of which has come from the Alberta oil sands.
This is an opportunity that will help reunite New Brunswick families. At the same time, this will allow workers to participate in the economy of the future.
The people of my riding are ready and willing to be part of the new economy and they are eager to reduce their own carbon pollution. It is up to the government to give them the way forward.
What is the plan to expand public transit and increase electric vehicle uptake? Where is the plan to help everyday Canadians make their homes most efficient to—
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-01-27 16:19 [p.509]
Madam Speaker, we have been criticized by some, saying that we cannot turn the taps off now as there has to be that transition. We understand that. We are not turning the taps off. We know that we need to get some of what we have in the ground to market. I do not think that building the pipeline is the way to do that. We have existing infrastructure that can continue to fuel our current energy demands. As we ramp up renewables, we can decrease that dependency. I do not see the need for that pipeline.
I also do not agree that connecting those resources would necessarily mean that we are off our foreign oil resources. That will continue. It is more that I want to see the concrete steps toward this future plan we hear about. I need to see the actual steps forward.
I continue to support the member's province and what is happening there, but not by building new pipeline infrastructure.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-01-27 16:21 [p.509]
Madam Speaker, I thought that this is the Canada of which I want to be a part. This is the government I would like to support. However, holding the government accountable for its actions over the last four years is certainly a part of this process. I cannot just take the Liberals' words for it anymore.
My colleague from Saanich—Gulf Islands read some pieces from the 2015 Speech from the Throne. We cannot be kind of duped into believing that this is the time to believe.
As much as I want to be supportive, as much as I think the speech was great and well-intentioned and believe that even steps forward on reconciliation and on climate change are well-intentioned, the government is still missing the mark. I need the government to start hitting that mark because time is of essence. I have two little children who need a future they can live in, breathe clean air and have clean water.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-01-27 16:23 [p.509]
Madam Speaker, that turbine remains at the bottom of the ocean on our coastline. We were prepared with the technology to harness that amazing power we would have with tidal. I would like to see our technology catch up.
There are also great opportunities for offshore wind, but we need our provinces and some regulations to change as well. We need a willingness on the part of government to support some of these changes. There are so many exciting things that are so possible and are ready to be deployed. However, we continue to invest in old, outdated infrastructure that holds us back as Canadians.
View Richard Bragdon Profile
CPC (NB)
View Richard Bragdon Profile
2019-12-12 14:06 [p.341]
Mr. Speaker, today I rise to thank the good people of Tobique—Mactaquac who elected me to be their voice here in Ottawa. I also want to thank my family, especially my beautiful wife Crystal and our three children, Vada, Walker and Mariah, for being there to support me.
During the campaign, my father's lunch bucket became a very important symbol to me. My father is 68 years old and still works at the pulp mill in Nackawic. It is because of people like my father and mother who work in our factories and wait on our tables, the farmers who grow our food, those who develop our natural resources and those who truck and ship our goods that I am here today. They are the ones who are so often overlooked, ignored and increasingly looked down upon.
On this side of the House, those who have been forgotten and feel disconnected from the decisions being made here will always have a voice. They will be heard. They will have their rights and livelihoods defended until we make it onto that side of the House and bring about the changes they are desperately longing for.
On this side of the House and in this seat, we will remember those who carry the buckets.
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Mr. Speaker, today is the first time outside of question period that I rise to speak in this session. I would like to congratulate you on your elevation to the Speaker's chair as our deputy. The mantle carries a heavy burden to be fair-minded and I am sure you will again guide our House to the best of your ability. For that, we all congratulate you.
I have had the privilege of serving in this great House in a previous Parliament. Given that I represent a constituency in Atlantic Canada as a Conservative, members know that there is a gap in my political employment history. It is a rare honour to be elected to Parliament. It is an honour to serve and be sent here by constituents to represent them. For this, I thank the voters of New Brunswick Southwest for sending me back. The one promise I made during the election was to work hard every day to represent the voice of my constituents. It is a task I intend to take seriously and one I will work on every single day.
|I must also thank my amazing wife, Kelly Williamson. Many of us know all too well that our spouses make the biggest sacrifice for us to be here. Kelly has been with me through good times and bad. She continues to be my closest confidante and my best friend. My thanks to Kelly. “Je t'aime.”
I would also be negligent today if I did not include in my address my mentor, the Hon. Greg Thompson. Greg was elected to Parliament six times. He served with distinction as minister of veterans affairs under the previous Conservative government. Greg passed away on the day before the election was called. It was a difficult moment for many of us at the start of that election campaign.
For those of us who have had the privilege of sitting on either side of the House with him, and for those who might know Greg only through Hansard, I can say this. Everything that was said about Greg is true. Greg did not do anything in half measures. Greg was never afraid to stand up, never afraid to speak out for his constituents. He truly represented the very best of us. My commitment is to follow Greg Thompson's high standard. Perhaps I will not always hit it, but I know at least I will always be on the right path.
In considering today's news, I wish to also acknowledge our Conservative leader. He is a friend, he is a good man and, importantly, he understands Canada.
In the last Parliament, when the federal government failed to appoint a minister for our region's economic development portfolio, when we nearly lost our seat on the Supreme Court, and when 32 Liberal MPs sat quietly, it was the federal Conservative leader and it was all Conservatives who defended those important priorities for Atlantic Canada. As well, it was Conservatives from outside the region who fought for the energy east pipeline, more so than New Brunswick Liberal MPs did in the last Parliament.
Failing to stand up for home is why the Liberals lost 40% of their seats in New Brunswick and they nearly lost the majority of them. We will win them next time.
I turn now to the matter at hand, the Speech from the Throne.
In several places, the Speech from the Throne talks about a mandate, yet this is very much a hung Parliament. Canadians gave no party a mandate, except a mandate to try to work together. The Liberals won the most seats, but won fewer votes than the Conservatives. The debate will continue, and a wise government will look to work collaboratively with other parties. Let me begin in a spirit of harmony or agreement.
I support the idea of cutting income taxes for Canadians. It is important to make home ownership more affordable for Canadians. It is important that governments' help families get ahead. The idea of providing clean water to indigenous communities is also important. We need to do more to tackle opioid abuse and as well, do more to help people battling mental health issues.
The government also needs to reduce red tape. We also need to work together on the NAFTA file, the free trade file, although on this one the government is getting off on the wrong foot already.
Those are the areas of the throne speech where I think we can find common cause.
Notably, the throne speech was silent on aquaculture and the traditional fisheries. This was a good thing, given the reckless promises made by the Prime Minister during the heat of the recent election.
Unfortunately, there are also a whole host of areas where we are on the wrong path. The ACOA minister continues to be a member from outside of our region. When it comes to scientific research dollars, innovation and R and D funding, the lion's share of that money ends up in areas outside of Atlantic Canada, which has a harmful economic impact on Atlantic Canada and areas outside of central Canada.
On rural Internet, the government is simply moving too slowly and is too focused on the big telecoms for solutions.
The government continues to target law-abiding, responsible firearm owners, not illegal guns and gangs.
Additionally, it has been equally silent on the forestry industry and on its inability to get an agreement with the United States in this regard. This is important for Canada as well as New Brunswick.
On deficits and rising taxes, all too often the Liberals' focus is elsewhere, and they have not made deficit elimination a priority, which they have promised to do time and time again.
I will discuss the two most pressing areas where we are going to have a challenge.
The first is the carbon tax. Workers at Flakeboard in my riding lost their jobs because of policies brought in by the government which raised energy prices. Marwood, another company, is a builder of wood products, with sales at home in Canada and in New England. It, too, is deeply concerned about the impact of ever-rising energy prices.
As well, the economy is sluggish. We have heard that 71,000 jobs were lost in November, and we are falling behind our international competitors. Last year, real gross domestic product expanded by 1.4% and population grew by 1.5%, which means on a per capita basis, things are shrinking. They are getting worse for Canadians and the economy. As a result, wages for working Canadians are not keeping up with the prices on just about everything. I will have more to say on this in the coming weeks and months in my role as the opposition labour critic.
Over these four years, we have seen one constant thing from the government. It has no discipline, and this has led to a decline for the entire country. This is true on the economy, it is true with our international standing, it is true with our institutions and now it is true on national unity. The Liberals are not a serious government. Canadians gave the government a humbling return in this Parliament. Unfortunately, I do not think it is enough to change its direction, so Conservatives will continue to offer a better course for Canada and a way forward.
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Mr. Speaker, I am here today to speak for myself. I can tell members the concerns from my constituents. The technology the hon. member is proposing is unproven. It will drive up the price to produce farmed fish. It will drive up the price that families pay to put food on their table. It will kill Canadian jobs.
If we do not produce farmed fish in the east coast aquaculture, our international competitors will. Investment dollars will go elsewhere, whether it is to Scotland, to Chile or to other parts around this world. This is a growing industry, and it is a way to feed the world with safe and affordable farmed seafood.
That is the perspective from Atlantic Canada. We have this technology. It creates many good-paying jobs, not only on the water but also as white-collar jobs in the office in rural Canada.
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Mr. Speaker, again, I will speak for myself here. I will have to look at the tax cuts. Too often with the Liberals, they will propose one thing and then deliver something else.
I have been talking about raising the basic personal exemption since I was head of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, when the Liberals were fighting that idea and refusing to lower taxes on working Canadians. Our side will give any legislation from the government a fair reading. If, in fact, taxes are to be cut, we will likely applaud that. We are going to read the fine print first. One has to read the fine print on any promise when it comes from the Liberals on spending and taxes.
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Mr. Speaker, I will just repeat that the solution is not to go after Canadians who are following the rules when they buy and use firearms. What we need to do is go after the people who use firearms illegally and do not obey current laws.
View Serge Cormier Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Serge Cormier Profile
2019-12-11 14:07 [p.263]
Mr. Speaker, I want to start by thanking the voters of Acadie—Bathurst for giving me the privilege of serving them for a second term.
I rise today, however, to share some very unfortunate news. The Brunswick smelter in the village of Belledune in my riding has decided to close its doors. I am very disappointed in this decision, as the smelter is the largest employer in our region and this closure will result in the loss of 280 jobs and hundreds more indirect jobs. This will have a major impact on the economy of the region.
I am proud of the unprecedented investments our Liberal government has made in Acadie—Bathurst since 2015. We have shown that northern New Brunswick is an ideal home for big industry, but let us not forget that small businesses have always been some of our most important job creators. Their work is an essential contributor to the economic success of the region.
I want to reassure everyone who is affected by the closure of the smelter that they have my support and the support of the government. We are going to do everything in our power to help them.
View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
View Rob Moore Profile
2019-12-11 15:09 [p.274]
Mr. Speaker, the current government's new jury selection rules have already been found to be unconstitutional in Ontario. Further, courts have been split on whether to apply the changes on a go-forward basis or retroactively. This confusion, created solely by very poorly drafted Liberal legislation, could have the impact of nullifying more than 30 guilty verdicts, including in a murder trial.
How will the Prime Minister fix his mistake to ensure that murderers do not walk free?
View Richard Bragdon Profile
CPC (NB)
View Richard Bragdon Profile
2019-12-10 15:03 [p.220]
Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to rise in the House today for the first time. I am grateful to the good people of Tobique—Mactaquac for electing me as their member of Parliament.
New Brunswick has presented a credible and effective environment plan to the government for review. Unlike the federal carbon tax, New Brunswick's plan is made in New Brunswick and protects consumers and local businesses.
The provincial government is still waiting for a reply. When will New Brunswick receive its answer?
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Pat Finnigan Profile
2019-12-10 15:04 [p.220]
Mr. Speaker, over the past month, I have heard from many constituents from my riding of Miramichi—Grand Lake who have loved ones struggling with an addiction to crystal meth. Crystal meth devastates lives and communities, and it is both accessible and very cheap.
Often, the stigma is also an obstacle for those who want to get help.
Can the Minister of Health tell the House what the government is doing to help Canadians struggling with substance abuse problems?
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