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View Jamie Schmale Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Speaker, the Liberals' secret deal with a handful of hereditary chiefs has split the Wet'suwet'en community. The situation has become so dire, indigenous leaders are now calling for the resignation of the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations.
Knowing full well that the Wet'suwet'en had not been properly consulted, knowing there were governance challenges within the community, and hearing the call of elected chiefs to delay, not cancel, the announcement, why did the minister circumvent the Wet'suwet'en people and abandon her duty to consult?
View Marc Miller Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, as the member well knows, the memorandum of understanding establishes a path forward for subsequent discussions toward final agreements describing future governance and implementation of the Wet'suwet'en rights and titles. This is not an agreement on the implementation and crystallization of those rights, but a shared commitment to begin that work.
Once reached, any such agreement would be taken back to all Wet'suwet'en people for approval through a process that must clearly demonstrate the consent of the members of that nation.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2020-03-11 15:19 [p.1939]
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to present a second petition from members in my riding of Nanaimo—Ladysmith.
The petitioners ask that the government commit to uphold the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada by immediately halting all existing and planned construction of the Coastal GasLink project on Wet'suwet'en territory; ordering the RCMP to dismantle its exclusion zone and stand down; schedule nation-to-nation talks between the Wet'suwet'en nation and federal and provincial governments, which I am glad to see has happened; and prioritize the real implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-03-11 15:22 [p.1939]
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in this place to present an e-petition that was started by one of my constituents from Galiano Island. I want send a shout-out to Christina Kovacevic for starting the petition, which has accumulated more than 15,000 signatures.
It calls on the government, as other petitioners today have mentioned, to observe and respect the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, particularly in relation to the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs and land claims; to halt all existing and planned construction of the Coastal GasLink project on their territory; to ask the RCMP to dismantle its exclusion zone; to have nation-to-nation talks, which, we note with real gratitude to the ministers involved, have happened, and there is an agreement currently under consideration with the Wet'suwet'en; and to make sure that it continues toward real implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
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 Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2020-03-09 11:36 [p.1773]
Madam Speaker, as always it is a pleasure to rise in the chamber and, in this instance, to contribute to the debate that largely revolves around the fiscal and economic health of our nation in uncertain and challenging times globally.
The sponsor of the motion went to great lengths to talk down the Canadian economy in an effort to score political points. I disagree with the vast majority of the points that he raised during his debate, so it is somewhat ironic that I plan on supporting the motion because the documents that may exist are not documents that we have any interest in keeping from the opposition nor the Canadian public.
Over the course of my remarks there are a few key themes that I hope to touch on, in order to provide an overview of the current economic and fiscal context in which we find ourselves; to highlight some of the emerging challenges that face the Canadian economy; and to introduce some of the measures that we have put forward in the past few years, which have yielded results far beyond what I thought possible when I was a candidate in the 2015 federal election campaign.
By way of background, it would be helpful to describe the context within which we find ourselves.
Canada is in a very healthy fiscal position compared to other developed economies in the global community. We are well positioned to respond to the kinds of challenges that are now making themselves present.
The narrative that somehow overspending has put us in a position where we cannot afford to deal with the challenges we are now facing is based on false pretenses. I honestly believe that it is designed purely to score political points based on misinformation, rather than making substantive points that contribute to the health of our democratic discourse in Canada.
The fundamentals of our economy are strong. We have seen extraordinary job growth in the past few years. We have seen, as importantly, that growth translate into benefits for middle-class and low-income Canadians. We have seen certain measures improve the competitiveness of our nation's economy and we have seen an overall improvement to the fiscal health of our economy.
Responsible management of the economy is at the forefront of our government. The mandate letter to the finance minister from the Prime Minister specifically mandates him to continue to see our national debt shrink as a function of our economy and to ensure that we preserve enough economic firepower to respond, in the event that an economic downturn does come to pass.
We have been planning to invest in Canadians to create growth but also making sure that we have enough fiscal room to operate, should the circumstances demand any kind of a change in course. Sometimes, the fiscally prudent thing to do is to take advantage of opportunities to invest that may exist.
If I look at the status of Canada's economy right now, what I see is a debt-to-GDP ratio that has actually been shrinking and is projected to continue to go down. What I see is the healthiest debt-to-GDP ratio of any G7 economy. Canada is one of only two countries within the G7 to have a AAA credit rating, the highest possible rating with all of the major credit agencies. Canada is one of only about 10 countries on the planet today that have a credit rating of this strength.
In addition, in our federal budgets that we table, we prepare for contingencies to deal with events that we may not have been able to foresee at the time of their crafting, specifically to deal with challenges that may present themselves that may not be apparent on the day a budget is tabled. Having that contingency in place is precisely the kind of thing we do to deal with emerging challenges, and I will deal with a few of them now.
Of course, the spread of COVID-19, or as most Canadian households would refer to it, coronavirus, in recent weeks may not have been something that could have been apparent months ago. When we became aware that this was an issue that needed to be dealt with, we responded professionally every step of the way.
When it comes to something like the coronavirus, I want to make clear that while it is also an economic issue, our number one priority is protecting the health of Canadians. I have been blown away by the leadership of the Public Health Agency of Canada and the level of co-operation with our international partners, whether it is the G7 or IMF on the economic side, or the World Health Organization on the public health side. I have also been blown away with the level of coordination between federal departments through the government operations centre, which was triggered by public safety in recent weeks, as well as the Public Health Agency's coordination of the efforts between the provinces and territories with federal measures that have been put in place.
To those front-line workers who are diligently protecting the health of Canadians, so that my family and I can sleep soundly knowing that we are in good hands, I want to thank them for their professionalism and excellence throughout.
I want to recognize that despite the fact that it is primarily a public health issue, there are also economic challenges that obviously arise when we see threats of this nature. We do not have to have a crystal ball to see that there is an impact on commodity prices when a particular region of the world has such a dramatic drop in demand that it suddenly has an impact on the countries that produce those commodities. This is having a particular impact on the metals and oil and gas sectors that Canada's economy has depended on for a very long time.
We also see that the travel and tourism sectors can be significantly impacted whenever there are affected regions of the world that have travel advisories. It also can have an economic impact at home. My home province of Nova Scotia was set to host the international women's hockey championship in the coming months. Unfortunately, out of concern of public health and safety, that event had to be cancelled. That will have an unfortunate economic impact on the communities that were so looking forward to hosting that tournament.
There is also an economic impact on global supply chains. Canadian businesses that may not be able to secure the products they rely on for the manufacturing process, for example, may not be able to provide their products to their typical end customers or they may have to pay a higher price. It is not lost on us that the events that are global in nature can have a very serious impact on us at home and they can also impact the general business and consumer sentiments. They can cause them to change course in the spending decisions they otherwise would have made.
One of the things we are doing to monitor the economic impact of this outbreak is to make sure that we have the resources in place so that Canada can maintain a world-class public health response. We also want to continue to monitor the impact on businesses and workers and ensure the measures that we are putting in place are going to serve the interests of keeping the Canadian economy operating at capacity.
We have a plan to increase our risk adjustment in the upcoming federal budget to make sure that we are planning for the potential impact that this illness could have on our nation's economy. We can look recently at the blockades that were canvassed in a number of debates in the House in response to the protests tied to the land rights issue in the Wet'suwet'en territory in western Canada.
We have also taken measures to address the economic impacts of the rail blockades. If there is a lesson to be learned from the past few weeks, it is that there is no straight path to reconciliation with indigenous peoples. Reconciliation requires dedication and hard work, and we have to recognize that there is still a lot of work to be done. This is a healing process that will involve good days and not-so-good days. We need to continue to show our determination.
Canada is a trading nation and we ship a lot of our goods to world markets by rail. Although it is too early to know the full impact of the blockades, we know that they were extremely challenging and frustrating for businesses and individuals. We have to keep in mind that many Canadians rely on rail transit networks to obtain basic necessities like food, to commute to and from work every day and to earn a living.
Thousands of workers were laid off, and many are still having problems. The situation is having real and immediate effects. Our government is working 24 hours a day to mitigate the economic risks of the rail blockades and to find a lasting solution.
From day one, we knew that we could not take shortcuts and that, no matter how difficult, dialogue was the best approach. Many people have criticized our approach, but it is working. For the most part, trains are running again. The people who were laid off are being rehired. Most of the blockades have been dismantled. In my opinion, the Prime Minister took the right approach even though other politicians proposed simple solutions to a very complex problem.
There is another emerging challenge for the Canadian economy. I do not know if I can even call it that, we have known about it for so long. I would be remiss if I did not raise the threat posed by climate change not only to our environment, but to our nation's economy.
The fact that we still have debates over whether human industrial activity is the primary driver of climate change is beyond me, and the fact that in the Canadian political context we still have debates on whether Canada can play a meaningful role in the fight against climate change is something that, as a representative who cares about this, I simply cannot accept. We cannot address challenges to our economy if we do not deal with the threats posed by climate change.
Canadians are feeling the effects today. We have seen storm surges in Nova Scotia, floods in New Brunswick, heat waves in Quebec and Ontario, droughts in the prairies, forest fires in the west and a glacial melt in the north. They are having a real impact on the traditional way of life of Canadians and on our economies.
Of course, there is also a direct economic impact. When representatives of the Insurance Bureau of Canada testified before the finance committee as part of our pre-budget consultations, they highlighted that in 1990, the losses associated with severe weather events was in the ballpark of $100 million. That number last year was in the ballpark of $2 billion, a twentyfold increase. I do not doubt that their motivations are pure, but I think they are motivated not only by the desire to do social good for our planet and environment, but also, as they represent the insurance industry, by the bottom line. If we follow the money, we can see that it costs more because life on planet earth has changed. We can address these challenges. They also testified that for every dollar in insured losses, three dollars in uninsured losses were being picked up by taxpayers today, whether municipal, provincial or federal. It is the same group of people who are now out of pocket far too much to deal with climate inaction over decades.
It is not just the cost of mitigating disasters or responding to floods that we need to deal with. There are also missed economic opportunities. When we look a the forest fires out west, we see that the impact they had on production, even in the energy sector, was immense.
Something that I am deeply concerned about, as I represent Nova Scotia, is what happened to the lobster fishery in Maine a few years ago because of high ocean temperatures. I fear that a similar kind of consequence will befall the lobster harvesters in Nova Scotia if we do not take action soon. I hope it is not already too late.
We also need to turn our mind to other things, not just the challenge facing our economy when we are dealing with climate change. There is a massive economic opportunity, according to Marc Carney, who is the former governor of the Bank of Canada and current governor of the Bank of England. He said there is a $26-trillion global opportunity.
The world is changing and we have to decide whether we want to change with it. If we choose to change and be a part of this transition, we will be at the front of a wave of economic growth that we perhaps cannot contemplate now.
In fact, we are seeing it already today. In my own community, the Trinity group of companies is helping with energy efficiency initiatives. It grew from a shop of about two people to dozens and dozens of employees. It helps homeowners reduce their power bills and emissions at the same time.
We are seeing investments in green infrastructure that are able to create jobs, put people to work and prevent the worst consequences of climate change for future generations. We are also seeing investments in research at St. Francis Xavier University, a university in my own backyard, to the Flux Lab, where Dr. David Risk has helped to discover a new gas leak detection technology that is helping energy companies reduce their emissions. It has put people to work not just in his lab, but at some of Canada's largest energy producers, which have now adopted this technology.
We have put forward the first national climate action plan, and we have introduced more than 50 measures. We expect to see growth in the green economy as a result.
However, while it is one thing to experience economic growth, it is another thing to make sure that it actually benefits everyday, ordinary Canadians. To grow the economy, we have made investments in infrastructure, which put people to work and strengthen communities, and in innovation through our universities, as I just cited. We have also triggered private sector investment.
We have changed rules around immigration to ensure that employers are not missing out on growth opportunities because they cannot find people in their communities to do the work. We have invested in trade to help grow the economy and are now the only G7 economy with free trade access to every other G7 economy.
We have cut the small business tax rate from 11% to 9%, making it the lowest rate of small business tax in the G7. We have also put new rules forward to accelerate the capital cost allowance right now for companies that are investing in ways to increase their production and put more people to work.
What is the result of these investments? There are more than 1.2 million new jobs in our nation's economy, including more than 30,000 last month. We are seeing record low unemployment, with more Canadians working now than at more or less any other point in our nation's history since we started keeping track of those statistics. However, it is cold comfort for someone living in poverty or who cannot afford the cost of raising a family to hear that there are a number of new jobs across Canada or that our GDP has, in fact, gone up.
That is why we have introduced policies like the Canada child benefit, which ended the practice of sending child care cheques to millionaires and puts more money directly into the pockets of nine out of 10 Canadian families. It is why the first thing we did when we came here after 2015 was advance a tax cut for nine million middle-class Canadians and raise taxes on the wealthiest 1% of income earners. It is why the first thing we did when we got here in 2019 was put forward a measure to reduce taxes for 20 million Canadians and eliminate federal income tax altogether for more than one million low-income Canadians. It is why we have advanced OAS benefits, reducing the age of eligibility for old age security from 67 to 65. It is why we have increased the guaranteed income supplement by 10% for low-income single seniors. It is why we made enhancements to the Canada pension plan, which I am learning the Conservative party now opposes, to ensure our seniors can have a more dignified and secure retirement. It is why we are tackling the cost of education by improving the Canada student grants program, changing the timeline under which students have to repay debt they may have built up while studying, and why we doubled the Canada summer jobs program to put more young people to work.
What we are actually seeing, despite the clever use of statistics by some of the members opposite, is that the typical Canadian household, when we consider the totality of our body of work, is about $2,000 better off today than it was before we took office. More importantly, as we have seen recently, is that more than one million Canadians have been lifted out of poverty in the past few years. We have achieved the single greatest reduction in poverty over a three-year period in the history of Canada. About 334,000 of the people no longer living in poverty, who were living in poverty just four and a half years ago, are Canadian children. This is the kind of policy development that we should be shouting from the rooftops and sharing with the world to demonstrate how to successfully manage the benefits of economic growth to support Canadians.
The Conservatives' attack on the Canadian economy is not, in and of itself, an economic plan. What we have, when we look at the facts, is a rate of job growth that most would not have thought possible when the Liberals were coming into power at the end of 2015. More importantly, we have seen that Canadians writ large are sharing in the benefit of that growth, rather than it being concentrated among the wealthiest 1% of income earners. We have also seen more Canadians lifted out of poverty than almost any member of the House could have imagined four and a half years ago.
All of this has taken place while we have maintained a healthy fiscal framework that allows us to respond to the changing dynamics of the global economy. If members do not want to accept my word on this, I would invite them to read the report of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, who confirmed this to be the case just a few short weeks ago.
Yes, the world is changing and yes, there are challenges. However, Canada is up to them now and will be as long as the we remain in government.
View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
View Alain Therrien Profile
2020-03-09 14:03 [p.1795]
Mr. Speaker, after 29 days, the rail blockade in Kahnawake has finally been removed.
I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the extraordinary resilience of the people of La Prairie, Saint-Philippe, Saint-Mathieu, Candiac, Delson, Saint-Constant and Sainte-Catherine. Over 3,000 people were deprived of access to their means of transportation every day.
I would also like to commend the Régie intermunicipale de police Roussillon, under the direction of Marc Rodier, for its outstanding co-operation, as well as the mayors of my riding.
I would be remiss if I failed to mention the great work accomplished by Exo, a company that provides commuter train services. Thanks to its creative emergency measures, the Exo team was able to provide daily bus transportation, despite the many challenges.
I hope that the Prime Minister will now recognize the true value of Exo's efforts and compensate the company for the additional $1.2 million it had to spend to keep services running during this unfortunate crisis for which he is primarily responsible.
View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
View Alain Therrien Profile
2020-03-09 14:25 [p.1799]
Mr. Speaker, a month later, the blockade at Kahnawake has finally been lifted, but that does not mean that the rail crisis is over.
Today, the government must take responsibility for its lack of leadership on this file. For example, in my riding, Exo spent more than $1 million to try to replace commuter trains. Manufacturers and exporters in Quebec lost between $20,000 and $50,000 a day. This was quite costly to our businesses.
Will the government present a compensation plan to the victims of the collateral damage of its inaction on the rail crisis?
View Chrystia Freeland Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, we know that the blockades had some very real consequences for Canadians, including Quebeckers.
We needed to find a peaceful and lasting resolution. I want to point out that by engaging in dialogue, we have reached a tentative agreement with the Wet'suwet'en. This is a good thing for all Canadians. All blockades have been removed and rail service has resumed. This is also a good thing.
View Kristina Michaud Profile
BQ (QC)
Mr. Speaker, the rail crisis has had a huge impact on the economy in eastern Quebec. The Société du chemin de fer de la Gaspésie is still taking stock, but we already know that losses exceed half a million dollars.
The Baie-des-Chaleurs chamber of commerce has sounded the alarm and is worried that it will take months for the economy to recover. The chamber asked the federal government for assistance last Thursday. The lack of federal leadership is what caused the rail crisis to drag on.
Will the government compensate companies for their losses?
View Marc Garneau Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, in this government, we believe it is important to follow a process for reconciliation. That is what we have done. The rail blockades were unfortunate, but we worked very hard, around the clock, to resolve the crisis. I am pleased to see that trains are moving again on rail lines across the country.
View Philip Lawrence Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the hon. member on his excellent comments and his bid at comedy.
I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Kootenay—Columbia.
In all seriousness, we are facing an economic crisis. The TSX dropped over 1,600 points today. It is serious. What is more, the TSX dropped 31% more than the Dow. Across the border to the south, their economy has been roaring. The Dow has been outperforming the TSX. They are a natural comparison in the United States. Our stock exchange, the TSX dropped 30% more. Why is that?
I ask every member, in all seriousness, to consider that. Why is our stock market bleeding a third more than the market to the south?
To carve through the demagoguery and clarify the economic reality that the other side is desperately trying to obscure and obfuscate against, including the finance minister, who will not comment on whether we are heading into a recession or on the finances of our country, is a problem.
In order to go there, I think we have to start at the beginning. Any capitalist economy is cyclical, it is true. It goes through a series of expansions and contractions. There are various economic theories. There is the Keynesian theory that says when times are good, we should save more money, we should raise taxes and decrease spending. In bad times, we should spend more and cut taxes to give stimulus to the economy. However, there is a more free market, laissez-faire theory that says to keep spending low, keep taxes low and the private sector will overcome and come to equilibrium.
The last five years have not borne a resemblance to any economic theory known. It has just been spend, spend, tax more and spend in the good times. The Liberal government's attack on businesses, the institution of the carbon tax, its weak leadership, failure to address Canada's productivity gap and reckless spending have left our country without many of the resources that are required to counteract the effects of a recession.
Small business is the very heart of our country. Nearly 70% of private sector employees come from small business. These individuals have had to deal with increasing regulations, increasing taxation, and, worst of all in my opinion, the finance minister had the chutzpah to call these individuals, who are some of the most honourable, hard-working people I have ever met, tax cheats. In my mind, that is utterly reprehensible.
In my local riding, we have seen the impact of the Liberal government's policy of taxation, which has meant the closure of the Weston bakery and of Saputo in the riding next door to me. It is costing us real jobs, and it is having a real impact on the people in my riding.
Another detrimental impact, a self-inflicted wound, is the carbon tax. The carbon tax has been an unmitigated economic disaster. It has increased the cost of inputs into our businesses, making our businesses less competitive. Many of our foreign competitors do not have to pay a carbon tax, so they have a competitive advantage, most notably those in the United States. I repeat, the TSX dropped 30% more than the Dow.
Could the carbon tax have something to do with it? I think so. The carbon tax has a negative, insidious multiplier effect. We have more and more carbon tax, which makes our products more and more expensive, and our economy less competitive.
In my riding of Northumberland—Peterborough South, which I think is the greatest riding in Canada, the agricultural sector is incredibly important. In the agricultural sector, we have seen farmers lose 12% of their net income because of the carbon tax. Once again, the TSX is down 30% more. Why is that?
It is self-evident that a more productive economy is a more stable economy, so we need to pursue an economy that is more competitive and more productive.
As we have seen over the last five years, businesses have invested 20% less. We have seen Warren Buffett pull out of Canada. Teck Frontier has decided not to go ahead with its tar sands expansion. Over and over again, we see less capital being invested in Canada. Could that have something to do with why the Dow Jones is ahead of the TSX by 30% today?
At the heart of many of our economic problems is a serious structural competitive issue. In Canada, we measure productivity globally by the amount each worker contributes to GDP per hour. In Canada it is a low $50; in the United States it is $60; in Switzerland it is $65; and in Ireland it is $84. Why does productivity matter? Is this just the Conservatives talking about numbers? No. This has a real impact on human beings. It is for the people of Canada that productivity matters. The average wage earner in Canada earns $19 an hour. The average wage earner in the United States earns $23. In Switzerland, the average wage earner earns $33. Are these related? I think so.
When we look at the impact of government on the economy, the productivity gap, the loss in our stock markets today and the broader picture, we see that Canada is falling behind. Could that also be related to the fact that the average Canadian now spends more on taxes than on food, clothing and shelter combined? The idea is to save for a rainy day, but the government has not done that itself and has also made it impossible for Canadians. The average Canadian is $200 away from insolvency every month, 50% of them.
The other major issue is the weak leadership we have seen from the Prime Minister. Our weak economy is a direct result of the Prime Minister's weak leadership. His dithering and dialogue failed to effectively lead our country through the blockades and trade disputes. The economic impact of the blockades has yet to be determined, but it will no doubt be in the millions of dollars.
In my riding, I have had a lot of conversations with business owners and individuals alike who have struggled with the impact of the blockades. They cannot get their goods to make other goods and they cannot ship their goods. This is impacting all Canadians, and the folks in my riding are hurting. Some of the businesses will not be able to make payroll this month because of the blockades. If the Prime Minister had stood up 19 days before with the vast majority of the Wet'suwet'en people and the vast majority of hard-working Canadians and shut the blockades down, all of this hardship would have been avoided.
When we look at the overall picture, there is no question that today is a bad day for the global economy. We are looking straight down the barrel of a downturn. The government did not act with the due diligence that it should have.
As a key device, according to Keynesian economics, a government can counteract an economic downturn with deficit spending. However, when we spend the cupboard bare, there is nothing else to grab from there.
The Prime Minister talked repeatedly, during his 2015 campaign, about the importance of maintaining a balanced budget. He was on record saying that we needed to have a balanced budget. Indeed, as he famously said, “the budget will balance itself.” Of course, budgets do not balance themselves and we are left with a $30-billion structural deficit, in addition to over $100 billion of deficit spending.
My friends across the aisle like to say that Stephen Harper had billions of dollars in deficit. We were going through the worst global recession in the last 50 years and he balanced the budget so we could outperform the rest of the G7. The Conservatives took the necessary steps. I stand by Prime Minister Harper's record. Now we see the opposite. When times are good globally and economically, what do we do? We sing, dance, spend and tax, over and over again, leaving our cupboard bare.
I feel as though we are watching the economy go over the edge and the Conservative Party is yelling for us to stop, hit the brakes and change direction, but you refuse. We will go over the cliff. For goodness' sake, we need to change direction. We need to go forward with a more productive and efficient economy, and not slide into a further—
View Robert Kitchen Profile
CPC (SK)
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from La Prairie for his comments about the disaster the government is creating. He mentioned how the Liberals promised they would only run a $10-billion deficit in 2015 and that by 2019 they would balance the budget and yet they have not. That continues to skyrocket.
Another thing the member talked about very briefly was the rail blockades. In Quebec, people have had big challenges with the rail blockades. There is a reduced amount of propane that has been able to get to farmers to help them in drying their grain. That is having a big impact on Quebec farmers. I would be interested to hear how the member sees that piling up for further and further deficits.
View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
View Alain Therrien Profile
2020-03-09 18:06 [p.1833]
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his comments and his question.
He is right. It is unbelievable that some members on the other side boasted about how the rail crisis was managed. They found a way to brag about it.
People will say that they were patient. They were not patient. They let the issue drag on. That is not the same thing. It took them 20 days to wake up. During the first 10 days, the Prime Minister was on vacation and did not want to be bothered. During the following 10 days they did not really know what to do, so they passed it off to the provinces. In the last 10 days, they realized that the Bloc Québécois's proposals actually made sense and decided to try those solutions 20 days too late.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
2020-02-28 11:21 [p.1740]
Madam Speaker, I reiterate that these terrible numbers are from before the new illegal blockades took effect.
This quarter we are going to experience the repercussions of illegal protestors blocking the full functioning of our economy, something that the Prime Minister encouraged when he stood in the House of Commons and celebrated them as great defenders of human rights.
The reality is that this illegal blockade of our economy represents a war on working people. When will the government stand up and fight back?
View Joël Lightbound Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Joël Lightbound Profile
2020-02-28 11:21 [p.1740]
Madam Speaker, our government is working on a peaceful resolution to the conflict. There has been progress in the past week. There is now one blockade remaining on a Canadian railway near Montreal. We are working very hard. The Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations is currently in British Columbia, where she met with the hereditary chiefs to discuss a peaceful resolution to the conflict. Trains are once again running in the Belleville area on a line that is crucial to the Canadian economy. We have made progress.
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2020-02-28 11:23 [p.1740]
Madam Speaker, this is week four of the rail crisis in Canada, a crisis that was entirely created by the inaction of this government, which has shown mediocre leadership these past few months. Unfortunately, this is harming the economy in Canada and Quebec. Yesterday, Quebec's natural resources minister said that we are days away from a major propane crisis. Propane is very important to the economy. We know that Quebec already went through a propane crisis in November.
What does the government plan to do to respond to this very worrisome problem for Quebec's economy?
View Joël Lightbound Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Joël Lightbound Profile
2020-02-28 11:23 [p.1741]
Madam Speaker, I share the public's concern and impatience for finding a peaceful resolution to this conflict. That has been our goal from the start. Our priority is dialogue, which is what the provincial premiers also asked for when they met the Prime Minister last week.
There is now just one remaining rail blockade in Canada. Two days ago, rail traffic resumed on the Belleville rail line, which is critical to Canada's economy and the shipping of propane to Quebec and eastern Canada.
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2020-02-28 11:24 [p.1741]
Madam Speaker, during all this time, containers piled up, ports were blocked and the trains that were not running were lined up one after the other.
Perhaps the Minister of Transport meant to reassure Canadians yesterday, but he did exactly the opposite. He said it was going to take months for the Canadian economy to get back to normal for the movement of goods in Canada.
Is there anyone in this government who can set the record straight for Canadians and tell them when the economy might finally get back to normal after three weeks of government inaction?
View Chris Bittle Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Chris Bittle Profile
2020-02-28 11:24 [p.1741]
Madam Speaker, the government fully understands the impacts that these blockades are having across the country. I would like to remind the hon. member that the Minister of Transport and his department helped facilitate an agreement between CN and CP to get rail traffic going and that up to 70% of CN's goods were flowing down the tracks.
Exaggerating the shortages does not benefit Canadians. There is some backup. We hope to get everything back moving and we are moving in the right direction.
View Marilène Gill Profile
BQ (QC)
View Marilène Gill Profile
2020-02-28 11:25 [p.1741]
Madam Speaker, the Bloc Québécois has been saying from day one that the Prime Minister needs to do something about the rail crisis. For over two weeks now, since February 13 to be exact, the Bloc has been proposing mediation. For 10 days now, we have been saying that the RCMP must withdraw from the Wet'suwet'en territory and the work must be halted. The government finally woke up in the past 48 hours. The government has completely mismanaged this crisis, despite our proposals.
Now will someone at least manage the aftermath of the crisis?
View Gary Anandasangaree Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question.
Our government has been working around the clock to resolve this issue in a peaceful and lasting way. Our Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations is currently in British Columbia along with her B.C. counterpart in Smithers, to have continued discussions with the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs. We are encouraged that all parties have worked together to create the necessary conditions to meet.
I want to quote the hereditary chiefs who made it clear to their supporters yesterday that they now “need time to have discussions...in an atmosphere of” respect. We look forward to those discussions.
View Marilène Gill Profile
BQ (QC)
View Marilène Gill Profile
2020-02-28 11:26 [p.1741]
Madam Speaker, that was not what I was asking. I was talking about the aftermath of the crisis, even if it is not quite over. It is difficult to assess the cost of the rail crisis because it has not been resolved yet. Even the Minister of Transport believes that it could take months for rail transportation to return to normal.
At this point, we may well be talking about billions of dollars in losses for our businesses, not to mention what the families of laid-off workers have lost. Quebec even made a commitment to provide emergency assistance to businesses.
Will the government provide financial support to the businesses and workers affected?
View Chris Bittle Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Chris Bittle Profile
2020-02-28 11:27 [p.1741]
Madam Speaker, as I have said, the government understands the significant impacts that these blockades have had across the country. I know we are working hard to resolve the issues that are outstanding and focusing on negotiation as the best way to solve this in a lasting and meaningful way. We will continue to do that. We hope to hear progress from the meetings with the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and look forward to hearing from her from British Columbia.
View Jacques Gourde Profile
CPC (QC)
View Jacques Gourde Profile
2020-02-28 11:33 [p.1743]
Madam Speaker, our country's economy is chugging along at the same speed as freight trains. After more than 23 days, the rail blockades are causing huge losses for our economy. These losses will be felt for a very long time.
Unlike the Prime Minister, Canadians are running out of patience and tolerance. There are limits. Enough is enough.
Will the Prime Minister show some backbone and get Canada's locomotive back on track?
View Chris Bittle Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Chris Bittle Profile
2020-02-28 11:34 [p.1743]
Madam Speaker, we understand the impacts that these blockades are having across the country, but it is important we proceed with a negotiated settlement of these disputes because we want a lasting settlement. We do not want to see these blockades happening again.
The government is engaged in those negotiations and we are doing what we can to ensure a lasting settlement going forward.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
View John Brassard Profile
2020-02-28 11:36 [p.1743]
Madam Speaker, also this week, we found who is really in charge of Canada. As Global News showed us, the Prime Minister is taking his cues from the granola-crunching, Castro-loving, VW bus-driving, anti-resource, anti-government, anti-everything professional protesters with absolutely no connections to first nations groups.
Across the country this week, including in Union Station in Toronto, illegal blockades affected not just commuters, but also communities.
Why are the Liberals supporting wealth-funded eco-radicals more than hard-working Canadians and the businesses that employ them?
View Chris Bittle Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Chris Bittle Profile
2020-02-28 11:36 [p.1743]
Madam Speaker, I understand, representing residents who use GO rail to get to work in Toronto, the impacts this is having and that rail blockades in the past have had across the country over the last few weeks.
We are working hard toward a negotiated peace and settlement. The tone by the Conservatives to exaggerate the impact is not appropriate. The tone to call in the army and to order the police is inappropriate and is not helping anything. He is only exacerbating the situation.
View Laurel Collins Profile
NDP (BC)
View Laurel Collins Profile
2020-02-28 11:44 [p.1745]
Madam Speaker, the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs have been asking for weeks for a meeting with the Prime Minister, but he just cannot seem to find the time. When wealthy and powerful corporations like Enbridge and Suncor ask for a meeting, he does not hesitate.
Canadians are waiting on the Prime Minister to show some leadership and take real action to de-escalate this situation. Why does the Prime Minister have time for big oil and gas but not for indigenous leaders?
View Gary Anandasangaree Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, I want to start by rejecting the premise of that question.
I want to reiterate that, as we speak right now, our Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations is in British Columbia, along with her B.C. counterpart, in meetings with the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs. We are encouraged by the recent developments, and we are encouraged that all parties have come together to create the necessary conditions for this meeting.
It is a positive first step and discussions will continue. As the hereditary chiefs made clear to their supporters yesterday, they now “need time to have discussions...in an atmosphere of” respect.
View Alexandre Boulerice Profile
NDP (QC)
Madam Speaker, this morning on the radio, our friend Romeo Saganash reminded us that every crisis is an opportunity to achieve great things. Right now, there are two convergent battles being waged: the fight for indigenous rights and the fight against climate change. However, the Prime Minister seems incapable of seizing this opportunity. What is worse, he does not even seem to care. He is sending his ministers to try to resolve the problem, while he keeps a comfortable distance.
Does he realize that he is the Prime Minister and that he is the one responsible, or does he really not want to be Prime Minister anymore because things are getting complicated?
View Gary Anandasangaree Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, I want to start by acknowledging the tremendous work of our Prime Minister and the leadership he has shown over the past five weeks in extreme resolve to ensure that we move forward in a manner that respects reconciliation. I know that as I speak right now, our Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations is in British Columbia with her B.C. counterpart, meeting with the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs.
We will continue to engage in a manner that respects indigenous rights and ensures that we move forward on the very important work of reconciliation that involves each and every Canadian.
View Colin Carrie Profile
CPC (ON)
View Colin Carrie Profile
2020-02-28 12:01 [p.1748]
Madam Speaker, manufacturers in southern Ontario are losing millions of dollars because of the Prime Minister's weak leadership.
Montreal Gateway Terminals will be charging fees to manufacturers who cannot move their product from ship to rail. Businesses in the GTA that rely on rail to deliver raw materials are having to pay huge fees for a problem the Prime Minister created.
Will the Prime Minister compensate businesses that are being held hostage, instead of appeasing radical protesters trying to derail cargo trains?
View Chris Bittle Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Chris Bittle Profile
2020-02-28 12:01 [p.1748]
Madam Speaker, as an MP representing a manufacturing area like Oshawa, I understand the concerns his constituents are facing. We understand the impacts these blockades are having across the country on small businesses, manufacturers and farmers.
As the Prime Minister stated last week, it is time for the remaining blockades to come down. We are hopeful for a swift resolution on all remaining blockades to ensure that Canadians affected by these blockades can return to work.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alain Rayes Profile
2020-02-27 14:23 [p.1685]
Mr. Speaker, every time Canada has gone through a difficult situation in the past five years, our Prime Minister has shown no leadership. Look at his trip to the Aga Khan's island, his trip to India, SNC-Lavalin, the coronavirus, the CN strike, the energy projects in western Canada and now the rail blockades.
Running a country when things are going well is easy, but when there is adversity, it is much harder.
When will the Prime Minister show leadership and deal with the rail blockades once and for all?
View Chrystia Freeland Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister showed leadership last week when he clearly said that the injunction must be obeyed, the law must be upheld and the barricades must come down.
I want to congratulate the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, who is in British Columbia today to work with her provincial counterpart and with Wet'suwet'en representatives.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alain Rayes Profile
2020-02-27 14:24 [p.1685]
Mr. Speaker, this is week four of the rail blockades, and no progress has been made. One day, the Prime Minister blames the Conservatives. The next, he blames Stephen Harper. It is the UN's fault, the provinces' fault, everyone's fault except the Prime Minister's. However, he has been in power for five years. The reality is that Canadians are fed up. They want a Prime Minister who shows leadership.
When will he be able to give us a date when all the railways will reopen?
View Chrystia Freeland Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I want to point out that the Prime Minister demonstrated leadership last Friday when he said that the barricades must come down. I also want to point out the leadership being shown today in British Columbia by my dear colleague, our Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations. People can talk, but we are the ones doing the work now.
View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
View Alain Therrien Profile
2020-02-27 14:25 [p.1685]
Mr. Speaker, it took 22 days for the government to finally meet with the Wet'suwet'en chiefs. This is the only way to remove the blockade in Kahnawake, and I hope that the Prime Minister realizes that, because I was worried yesterday. I heard him say that they have great faith in the Sûreté du Québec and in the community to respond to their own crisis. I could not even make that up. This crisis was not caused by the Government of Quebec or by the Sûreté du Québec. This crisis was caused by a lack of leadership on the part of the Canadian government and the Prime Minister. Everyone knows that.
Will the government deal with the crisis at its source, in British Columbia?
View Chrystia Freeland Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to respond to the Bloc Québécois' question by pointing out that we are all working together to address an issue that is very important to the Canadian economy, and that issue is NAFTA. I want to thank all the Bloc Québécois members for their willingness to work with our government on the new NAFTA. The Bloc has proposed better control over aluminum, and we have had some productive conversations.
View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
View Alain Therrien Profile
2020-02-27 14:26 [p.1686]
Mr. Speaker, I really appreciate the Deputy Prime Minister's comments. I would like her to repeat them more often in front of the media.
In order to resolve this crisis, the Bloc Québécois proposed that the RCMP leave the Wet'suwet'en territory and that the work stop. Strangely enough, the work has just stopped. This means that if you had listened to the Bloc Québécois from the outset, as you did with aluminum, perhaps things would be better off today. That is not what happened. Now at the 22nd day, the narrative is still that the problem might get resolved.
When will you understand that the solution to the Kahnawake problem is in British Columbia?
View Chrystia Freeland Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out to my colleague across the way that the answers given in the House are also the answers given to the media. I think all hon. members understand that.
With respect to the blockades, I want to point out that our Prime Minister demonstrated tremendous leadership last week. I also want to highlight the very important work that my colleague, our Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, is doing today in British Columbia.
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
NDP (BC)
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
2020-02-27 14:28 [p.1686]
Mr. Speaker, the hereditary chiefs have been asking for a meeting with the Prime Minister since January 10, over a month ago, and the Prime Minister refuses to act. We are in a national crisis.
The question is simple: When will the Prime Minister meet with the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs?
View Chrystia Freeland Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, the NDP leader is also a B.C. MP, so I am sure he will be glad to know that we are working on this issue in very close collaboration with Premier Horgan, with whom I spoke at length last night. No premier has worked harder on reconciliation, and we should all acknowledge that. We should also all support the Province of B.C.'s efforts to get important natural resource projects built in Canada.
When it comes to meeting with the Wet'suwet'en leadership, that is what my colleague is doing today.
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
NDP (BC)
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
2020-02-27 14:29 [p.1686]
Mr. Speaker, on January 29, 2020, the Prime Minister met with Suncor Energy; on December 11, 2019, Novartis Pharmaceuticals; on November 14, Enbridge. In the past couple of months, when wealthy and powerful corporations came knocking, the Prime Minister found the time to be with them. However, when indigenous people ask to meet the Prime Minister, he ignores their requests.
If the Prime Minister can find the time to meet with powerful corporations during a national crisis, why can he not find the time to meet with the hereditary chiefs of Wet'suwet'en?
View Chrystia Freeland Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear and say something that is incontrovertible. Our Prime Minister has worked harder, and more sincerely, toward reconciliation than any Prime Minister in Canada's history. When it comes to a meeting with the Wet'suwet'en hereditary leadership my colleague, the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, is in B.C. with her B.C. counterpart doing exactly that.
View Bernard Généreux Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Speaker, according to Manufacturiers et Exportateurs du Québec, the economic impact of the rail blockades is estimated at $100 million a day, and that is just in Quebec. The budget envelope for Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions is $300 million annually. In just three days, the blockades have undone everything the federal agency and the government hoped to accomplish in an entire year. We have already heard the platitudes repeated by the Prime Minister, the Minister of Transport and the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.
What does the Minister of Economic Development have to say about this to the exporters, entrepreneurs and farmers in our regions?
View Marc Garneau Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, the answer is that we are working around the clock to solve this problem as quickly as possible. That is why we initiated an important dialogue that will begin today. At the same time, we have sent a clear message that the barricades must come down and the rail system must get back up to full speed. That is what is happening right now. We are well aware that we must continue in this direction so that our economy can get back to normal.
View Brad Redekopp Profile
CPC (SK)
View Brad Redekopp Profile
2020-02-27 14:51 [p.1690]
Mr. Speaker, the ongoing blockades by activists continue to hurt ordinary Canadians. Last week the Prime Minister said he hoped we will see positive developments. The public safety minister was hopeful the police would help restore rail shipments. The Liberals repeatedly speak of their hope that the protests will be resolved peacefully, yet we see protesters starting fires in front of moving trains.
Hope is a wonderful sentiment, but hope is not a management tool. When will the blockades finally come down and stay down?
View Bill Blair Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Blair Profile
2020-02-27 14:52 [p.1690]
Mr. Speaker, I understand the members opposite are hopeless, but let me assure members that we are working tirelessly, both to re-engage—
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
View Bill Blair Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Blair Profile
2020-02-27 14:53 [p.1690]
Mr. Speaker, let me assure the members opposite that our government remains committed to doing the hard work of going to the table and engaging in the negotiations to resolve the outstanding issues and to get that project built.
At the same time, we have real confidence in law enforcement across this country to do the job of restoring order and taking those barricades down.
View Mel Arnold Profile
CPC (BC)
View Mel Arnold Profile
2020-02-27 14:53 [p.1690]
Mr. Speaker, 300,000 chickens: That is how many birds will go hungry on one farm in Salmon Arm in a few days. This family farm's existence is being threatened by the rail blockades. The farmers have the trucks ready to pick up the grain from the railcars, but they cannot get the railcars moved.
The livestock and the livelihoods of farmers are at risk. When will the Prime Minister remove these blockades?
View Bill Blair Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Blair Profile
2020-02-27 14:54 [p.1690]
Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear. The Prime Minister and our government have been crystal clear. These barricades are having an unacceptable impact on Canadians across the country, and they must come down.
At the same time, we have confidence in law enforcement's ability to do their job and to uphold the law while we engage in the important work of negotiations to reconcile the issues giving rise to these barricades.
View Rachael Harder Profile
CPC (AB)
View Rachael Harder Profile
2020-02-27 14:54 [p.1690]
Mr. Speaker, Canada is in a crisis. Roads, railways and ports have been shut down. Thousands of Canadians are unable to get to work and small businesses and farmers cannot get their products to market. Workers are being laid off. A few radical activists and those who break the law, who hate energy progress, are literally being allowed to hold our country hostage.
When will the Prime Minister do his job, take leadership and put an end to this lawlessness?
View Marc Garneau Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, it is very hard to resolve the problem. I should point out that trains are beginning to move again, not only moving freight across this country but also moving passengers, so the situation is improving. It is not where we want it to be, and we are going to continue to work very hard.
We are extremely happy with the dialogue that is going to start today with the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs. We are working with a very sensible approach to solve this problem.
View Andrew Scheer Profile
CPC (SK)
Mr. Speaker, that simply cannot be true because people are pulling investments out of Canada because he does not have a plan for either the environment or the economy.
In terms of inventing things, that was a direct quote from his Minister of Natural Resources, so he might want to check with him on that.
For three weeks, we witnessed the Prime Minister's weak leadership in response to the rail blockades. They sprang up across the country, blocking streets, ports and railways. They are negatively impacting workers who want to get to work.
Does he realize that his own weakness is the reason this situation is “out of control”?
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Justin Trudeau Profile
2020-02-26 14:27 [p.1603]
Mr. Speaker, we need a solution that is quick, peaceful, and, most importantly, lasting. As a country, we need to proceed with the reconciliation process but also create prosperity and jobs across the country.
The Conservative Party's aggressive, simplistic solutions will not help anyone in this country. They will not help indigenous peoples or workers who rely on rail transportation. We will continue down the right path together.
View Andrew Scheer Profile
CPC (SK)
Mr. Speaker, he is continuing to elevate radical protestors with no connections to indigenous issues. That is shameful.
These are not people who are reflecting the will of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation. If they did, they would be standing in solidarity and fighting to get this project built. These are radical groups, like Extinction Rebellion, an organization that has been listed as a terrorist organization in the United Kingdom.
Is the Prime Minister not embarrassed that he has shown less leadership and less of a backbone than radical protestors who just want to shut down our economy?
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Justin Trudeau Profile
2020-02-26 14:29 [p.1603]
Mr. Speaker, it really concerns me that I might have heard the Leader of the Opposition refer to Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs as radical protestors, just because he disagrees with them. That is exactly what he just said, and that is unacceptable.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Justin Trudeau Profile
2020-02-26 14:29 [p.1603]
Mr. Speaker, I recommend the members opposite check the blues, check Hansard for what the Leader of the Opposition just said, because he made that equivalency. That is unacceptable. I may disagree with the leaders, the hereditary chiefs—
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Justin Trudeau Profile
2020-02-26 14:30 [p.1604]
Mr. Speaker, I salute all school teachers, current and former, for the hard work they do to improve the lives of all Canadians. Thank you for meeting with them.
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
NDP (BC)
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
2020-02-26 14:33 [p.1604]
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has shown a lack of leadership throughout this crisis. The hereditary chiefs asked for a meeting with the Prime Minister for a over month, but he declined. We asked the Prime Minister the same question and he said that it was not his responsibility. This whole situation could have been avoided if the Prime Minister had just met with the hereditary chiefs.
Will the Prime Minister commit today in this House to meet with the hereditary chiefs?
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Justin Trudeau Profile
2020-02-26 14:34 [p.1604]
Mr. Speaker, it is very easy for the opposition parties, both the Conservatives and the New Democrats, to propose simplistic solutions.
We have been working on finding complex solutions to complex problems for weeks, or even years, now. We have been working with the hereditary chiefs for several years to address child protection issues, and British Columbia has been working with the hereditary chiefs on matters of rights and land. We will continue our work, and I want to point out that the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations is prepared to meet with the hereditary chiefs at any time.
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
NDP (BC)
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
2020-02-26 14:34 [p.1604]
Mr. Speaker, when there is a national crisis and the hereditary chiefs have asked the Prime Minister to meet with them, yes, the Prime Minister should meet with those chiefs. It is pretty simple.
Indigenous leaders and business leaders have all asked the Prime Minister to meet with the hereditary chiefs. For some reason, the Prime Minister does not get it.
This whole crisis could have been avoided if, over a month ago, the Prime Minister just met with the hereditary chiefs when they asked for it.
Again, will the Prime Minister commit today in the House to meet with the hereditary chiefs?
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Justin Trudeau Profile
2020-02-26 14:35 [p.1604]
Mr. Speaker, a few days ago, when I had the opportunity to talk with the leaders of the opposition about this situation, the member opposite brought up that exact question. I explained that there were many voices within the Wet'suwet'en community: some hereditary chiefs, some elected chiefs and some leaders within the community as well.
The work they need to do, without outside interference, to determine their path forward would be interfered with by a prime minister sitting down with one group too quickly. I am of course open to engaging constructively, but in the right way.
View Leona Alleslev Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Speaker, illegal blockades continue to hold the country hostage, with no end in sight. By failing to lead, the Prime Minister has shown eco-radicals exactly how to delay, disrupt and ultimately defeat major energy projects.
Canadians are suffering. Over 1,500 people have lost their jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in damage has been done to the economy.
Are the unelected, unaccountable radicals at the blockades in charge of the country or is the Prime Minister?
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Justin Trudeau Profile
2020-02-26 14:36 [p.1605]
Mr. Speaker, once again, the Conservatives are pitting Canadians against one another with their divisive language and their dangerous rhetoric. They are ignoring the complexities of the situation and exploiting divisions within the Wet'suwet'en community for their own narrow political gain.
It is a party that had 10 years to act, but failed, and now the Conservatives are doubling down on those failed approaches.
Our work has always focused on finding peaceful and lasting resolution in a way that builds trust and respect among all parties involved. The injunctions must be respected. The blockades must come down peacefully, and stay down.
View Ed Fast Profile
CPC (BC)
View Ed Fast Profile
2020-02-26 14:37 [p.1605]
Mr. Speaker, on Monday, protesters erected a rail blockade in my riding of Abbotsford.
For weeks, anti-energy activists have been grinding the Canadian economy to a halt. They have even defied court orders and flouted the rule of law.
However, we know what their real agenda is. At Monday's blockade, protesters erected a sign that said, “Shut down Canada.” Why? Because the Prime Minister's feckless leadership has emboldened these radical activists.
When will the Prime Minister finally stand up and uphold the rule of law?
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Justin Trudeau Profile
2020-02-26 14:38 [p.1605]
Mr. Speaker, Canadians are suffering and the best way to stop that is to bring a solution that is quick, lasting and peaceful. That is where all our work has been focused.
The Minister of Indigenous Services has been in close and regular contact with indigenous leadership, as has the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations. We have engaged with party leaders and premiers.
The policing decisions are being made by police services independently, as is due course for the law, and injunctions must be obeyed. We have been clear that our hand is extended to meet at any time.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alain Rayes Profile
2020-02-26 14:38 [p.1605]
Mr. Speaker, we are on day 21 of this crisis. Canadians are fed up with the Prime Minister's lofty rhetoric.
Managing a country is serious business. It means making tough decisions. Our economy is being held hostage, and we have not seen any plans to get us out of this crisis. Business owners across the country are worried. Billions of dollars have been lost, and many workers have been laid off.
How long do we have to wait before the Prime Minister assumes his responsibilities and shows the slightest bit of leadership?
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Justin Trudeau Profile
2020-02-26 14:39 [p.1605]
Mr. Speaker, indeed, Canadians are suffering. That is why we need a quick, peaceful and, above all, lasting resolution.
Unfortunately, the Conservatives continue to play petty politics by pitting Canadians against one another, ignoring the complexity of the situation and exploiting the divisions within the Wet'suwet'en community. That is not the way to move forward as a country.
We will continue doing the difficult but necessary work to ensure a profitable, positive future for all Canadians.
View Bernard Généreux Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Speaker, to say the Prime Minister's leadership in response to the rail blockades has been weak is putting it mildly.
Like so many others, Jean-Luc Laplante, a dairy producer in my riding, is impatiently awaiting a shipment of soy meal, a protein essential to his herd's survival. The situation is catastrophic. The trains are not running, trucks are full, and trucking is much more expensive.
At what point will the Prime Minister enforce the law and resolve this issue once and for all?
When will he do that?
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Justin Trudeau Profile
2020-02-26 14:40 [p.1605]
Mr. Speaker, once again, the Conservatives are proposing aggressive, simplistic solutions that do not work. Their solutions will not result in a lasting peace.
We are working to overcome this challenge peacefully. At the same time, we are making sure the essentials can get through so the shortages so many people are worried about do not occur.
We are working to help Canadians and find peaceful, lasting resolution.
View Yves-François Blanchet Profile
BQ (QC)
Mr. Speaker, as an opposition party, we may be less royal, but we are more disciplined.
This government has to focus on dismantling the blockades and getting the economy back on track and not make firearms the priority. The Premier of Quebec expressed concern about the presence of automatic weapons at some of the blockades, which is a rather dramatic development.
Does the Prime Minister still think that police intervention was the solution?
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Justin Trudeau Profile
2020-02-26 14:45 [p.1606]
Mr. Speaker, I have tremendous respect for the professionalism of our police forces and their ability to do their job. It is not for politicians to order the police to go anywhere or do anything.
Our responsibility is to continue working on a peaceful and lasting solution to this troubling situation. That is exactly what we are doing while securing different ways of keeping essential commodities moving on our railway to help Canadians across the country.
View Yves-François Blanchet Profile
BQ (QC)
Mr. Speaker, on one hand, the knee-jerk reaction of politicians should not be to pawn their responsibilities off on other institutions.
On the other, it is possible to meet with indigenous leaders. I met with some this morning. I am also meeting with some this afternoon. It is possible.
Will the Prime Minister take another look at the three things that should be done, namely, asking the police to refrain from intervening for a minimum of 24 hours; flying to British Columbia to meet with indigenous leaders from the Wet'suwet'en nation, as the NDP leader also suggested a little earlier; and appointing a mediator?
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Justin Trudeau Profile
2020-02-26 14:46 [p.1606]
Mr. Speaker, for nearly two weeks now, our ministers have had regular meetings with various indigenous leaders. I myself have had many conversations with indigenous leaders to try to resolve the situation and find a peaceful solution to this problem. We will continue to be engaged on this issue, that is for sure.
Meanwhile, we will respect the professional work of our police forces. Politicians should never order the police to do anything. We have confidence in their system and we sincerely believe in the separation of powers that is part of our democracy.
View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
View Alain Therrien Profile
2020-02-26 15:01 [p.1609]
Mr. Speaker, CP obtained an injunction against those responsible for the rail blockade in Kahnawake. The Peacekeepers are responsible for enforcing it, but they said no. As usual, the Prime Minister did nothing and made it Quebec's problem. However, the Sûreté du Québec cannot go to Kahnawake. That is obvious.
What happens now?
The people of Kahnawake have set up a blockade to protest against a problem in British Columbia. The solution is therefore in British Columbia, and the Government of Quebec cannot do anything in British Columbia.
Will the Prime Minister finally address the problem in British Columbia?
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Justin Trudeau Profile
2020-02-26 15:02 [p.1610]
Mr. Speaker, as members know very well, we have been working for a week and a half to fix this crisis with the people of British Columbia, Mohawk community members and people across the country.
We are negotiating to find a peaceful solution. In the meantime, we acknowledge that these blockades must be removed and that injunctions must be obeyed.
View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
View Alain Therrien Profile
2020-02-26 15:02 [p.1610]
Mr. Speaker, what has happened since the police dismantled the blockade in Belleville? Other blockades have gone up, in Kanesatake, in Lennoxville, in Gaspé and on the North Shore. In Kahnawake, in my region, the blockade is still up. The number of protesters has increased, and the blockade is bigger than ever.
We need to address the source of this problem. Unfortunately, only the Prime Minister of Canada can do so. I always thought that he had his head in the clouds, but now I see that it is firmly buried in the sand.
On behalf of Quebeckers and the people of La Prairie, my question for the Prime Minister is this: Will he finally stand up, respond, take action and fix this problem?
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Justin Trudeau Profile
2020-02-26 15:03 [p.1610]
Mr. Speaker, we on this side of the House respect provincial jurisdictions. We respect the authority and the responsibilities of British Columbia in this challenge. However, we are happy to provide support and assistance.
I do not think the member opposite is asking the federal government to assume the responsibilities of the provinces. That would be completely illogical.
We will always be there to provide support and assistance and work closely with our partners to come up with a peaceful, lasting solution.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2020-02-26 18:47 [p.1643]
Mr. Speaker, on February 6, the day that the RCMP began raids on the Wet'suwet'en people asserting sovereignty over their lands, I asked why the government had abandoned its duty and allowed the constitutional and legal rights of the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs to be violated.
Since early January, the hereditary chiefs have been asking for meetings with the federal and provincial governments to help them deal with the issues they were facing with the Coastal GasLink project.
I travelled to Wet'suwet'en territory on January 19 and met with a hereditary chief. I travelled through the territory and learned about the Wet'suwet'en law. I met with the RCMP detachment commander in Smithers and at the community-industry safety office, 25 kilometres off the highway, out in the bush. The RCMP told me that as long as there was dialogue, it would not act on the Coastal GasLink injunction.
The Wet'suwet'en had proposed alternate routes for the pipeline six years ago. Instead of compromising and using an existing pipeline route, Coastal GasLink pushed its project through a pristine and culturally sensitive area.
Coastal GasLink is running its pipeline down the historic Kweese trail, which is thousands of years old. This area contains archeological sites and burial grounds. The area is used for cultural training of the Wet'suwet'en youth. It is an area used for hunting, gathering, trapping and other cultural practices. The Unis’tot’en camp was established in the area 10 years ago to assert sovereignty, and now includes a well-established healing centre.
I have a map on my desk of the alternative routes, a description of these routes provided by Pacific Trails Pipeline, another pipeline company working in the area. I have the documents outlining Coastal GasLink's refusals to consider these alternative routes because of the cost. I have a petition to the Supreme Court of B.C. by the Office of the Wet'suwet'en, outlining a long list of non-compliance by Coastal GasLink of the terms and conditions set out by the environmental assessment office in B.C., including the damage done to archeological sites without a proper assessment of those sites.
A week before the raids, I gave the Prime Minister a letter in person and asked him to take time to meet with the hereditary chiefs. The Prime Minister's response was that this was a provincial issue, not a federal issue. I told him that it was a federal issue. The federal government is responsible for the Indian Act, the reserve system and the nation-to-nation relationship with first nations.
Let us review the constitutional and legal rights of the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs.
The Royal Proclamation of 1763 states that indigenous title to indigenous lands must first be reconciled before settlement can take place and only the Crown can reconcile indigenous title.
Section 35(1) of the Constitution Act of 1982 recognizes and affirms aboriginal and treaty rights.
The Supreme Court in Delgamuukw affirmed that the Royal Proclamation of 1763 applied and confirmed that aboriginal title was not extinguished by the Wet'suwet'en. It was the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs who were the plaintiffs in the Delgamuukw case. They were recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada.
The Supreme Court's Tsilhqot’in decision confirmed that land rights were collective and intergenerational, and it was the collective that spoke for the ancestral territory. The hereditary system represents that collective.
The government has had 23 years to work with the Wet'suwet'en First Nation to implement the directives outlined by the Supreme Court in the Delgamuukw decision. The lack of free, prior and informed consent and the RCMP raids are violations of the government's commitment to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The federal government has failed in its responsibility to the Wet'suwet'en people by not negotiating with the hereditary chiefs before the RCMP raids.
View Gary Anandasangaree Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I want to begin by acknowledging that we are all gathered here on the unceded territory of the Algonquin.
This is a trying time for all Canadians, indigenous and non-indigenous alike. We all want a peaceful and rapid resolution that brings down the blockades and advances dialogue with the Wet'suwet'en.
Our government has been working around the clock to resolve this issue in a peaceful and lasting way. That is why the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations has been in regular communication with the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs throughout the past week. It is time to move forward together to get our economy moving and to continue advancing reconciliation with indigenous people.
The government's commitment from 2015 has not changed. There remains no more important relationship to the government, and to Canada, than the one with indigenous peoples. Our resolve to pursue the reconciliation agenda with indigenous peoples is as strong as ever. Canada is ready for this. Canadians want this.
We have significantly stepped up rights-based discussions with indigenous peoples. Today, active discussions are under way with partners from every province and territory: more than 150 processes, more than 500 indigenous communities and almost 900 indigenous peoples.
This government has also moved to strengthen relationships with national indigenous organizations to ensure they have the stable, predictable and reasonable funding needed to carry out their work.
To ensure key issues are regularly discussed at the highest levels, the Government of Canada established permanent bilateral mechanisms with first nations, Inuit and Métis leaders to identify each community's priorities.
We continue to make progress on implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has said the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples charts a path for reconciliation to flourish in the 21st century in Canada. We are committed to working collaboratively with indigenous partners to develop legislation to deliver on our commitment to introduce legislation on the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the end of 2020.
We were disappointed when the Conservative leader blocked Bill C-262 in the other House during the last Parliament and we will ensure that our government legislation fully respects the intent of the declaration and establishes Bill C-262 as the floor and not the ceiling.
There are many hopeful signs, but there is also much work that remains to be done.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2020-02-26 18:54 [p.1644]
Mr. Speaker, the results of not negotiating with the Wet'suwet'en chiefs led to the RCMP enforcing the injunction and it has led to a reaction across Canada. Nobody should be surprised. Indigenous people across Canada have said that they would stand together when a first nation is attacked. The results are hundreds of protests, blockades and occupations across this country.
Now the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs are demanding that the RCMP completely withdraw from their traditional territory, including the removal of all the expensive infrastructure related to the community-industry safety detachment at kilometre 29 on the Morice West Forest Service Road, and that Coastal GasLink cease all operations in the territory.
The Liberal government must stop failing in its duty to the Wet'suwet'en people. It is time to apologize, meet these demands and meet with the hereditary chiefs.
View Gary Anandasangaree Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, we need to work in true partnership. Together we can find a path towards a better future and reconciliation with indigenous peoples. We have already started down this path, and we will keep walking together inspired by and joined by our youth, who are leaders not only of tomorrow but already of today.
We have all seen what happens when we do not come together to keep the conversations going. It results in mistrust and confusion that can be the root of conflict. It is a barrier to moving forward together.
Yes, these are challenges. The hard work ahead is worth the effort. All of us will benefit in striving for a better present and future for indigenous peoples and all Canadians.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2020-02-25 10:26 [p.1474]
Mr. Speaker, this petition calls upon the government to immediately commit to upholding the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada by halting all existing and planned construction of the Coastal GasLink project on Wet'suwet'en territory, ordering the RCMP to dismantle its exclusion zone and stand down, scheduling nation-to-nation talks between the Wet'suwet'en nation and the federal and provincial governments and prioritizing the real implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
View Andrew Scheer Profile
CPC (SK)
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister was a teacher before he got elected, and he has taught protesters a valuable lesson. They can hold illegal blockades—
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
View Andrew Scheer Profile
CPC (SK)
Mr. Speaker, we know he is a teacher, because we have all seen his picture in the yearbook.
We know that he has taught protesters a valuable lesson. They can bring our economy to its knees and they can hold illegal blockades, holding up our rail traffic leading to layoffs, and he will do absolutely nothing.
Does the Prime Minister realize that his weakness has caused the situation to spiral out of control?
View Bill Blair Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Blair Profile
2020-02-25 14:19 [p.1508]
Mr. Speaker, it is certainly not weakness to demonstrate a strong commitment to dialogue and reconciliation.
Last Friday, the Prime Minister could not have been clearer. He acknowledged and recognized the impact that these blockades are having and he said unequivocally that the barricades must come down and the law must be obeyed.
As members know, we do not instruct our police officers in their operations, but we trust the police to do the job that they are currently doing for us. We urge all Canadians to obey the law, to allow the trains to start moving again and to come back to the table to resume that important dialogue.
View Yves-François Blanchet Profile
BQ (QC)
Mr. Speaker, yesterday you mentioned a wonderful expression from back home that means “cruising for a bruising”. The other side of the House seems well versed in that.
Is it not time to admit that the management of the rail crisis has been a failure? I cannot call it the indigenous crisis, because it is not just their fault. I cannot call it the government's crisis, because it has all kinds of crises on its hands. Yesterday the Minister of Indigenous Services said that he worried the situation could escalate.
Will the government admit failure? The Prime Minister has been invited to meet the Wet'suwet'en people in British Columbia, so will he go?
View Marc Miller Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, the answer is no. We have always been focused on finding a peaceful, lasting resolution and on establishing trust and respect among everyone involved.
View Yves-François Blanchet Profile
BQ (QC)
Mr. Speaker, in Kahnawake, Lennoxville, Restigouche, Kanesatake and, a few days ago, Saint-Lambert, among other places in Canada, will the government try something else that does not end in failure? Can the government call for a temporary suspension of police intervention? Will the Prime Minister get his ministerial tushie on a plane, take his ministers to British Columbia and negotiate a resolution, please?
View Bill Blair Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Blair Profile
2020-02-25 14:26 [p.1510]
Mr. Speaker, we have engaged and will continue to engage in dialogue on this issue. It is also very important to acknowledge and recognize the impact that these rail disruptions are having on Canadians right across the country: access to chemicals to keep their water clean, getting products to factories so people can continue to work.
We urge the people at those barricades to lift the barricades to allow the rail services to resume and to obey the law, and in those circumstances where it is not, we trust law enforcement across this country, who are properly instructed and properly led, to uphold and enforce the law.
View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Speaker, for 20 days, there have been blockades across Canada, and things are only getting worse. Freight trains are blocked and paralyzed. Tensions are rising.
Pierre Dolbec, the president of Corporation des parcs industriels du Québec, said in an interview that this situation is totally ridiculous and that if it goes on, more vulnerable companies may not make it through the crisis.
The prime minister's lack of leadership is seriously harming companies in every region of Quebec, and there is no end in sight.
When will he take action?
View Marc Garneau Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, we fully understand the impact on the economy and on those who have been laid off. We are very aware of the situation.
The Prime Minister has been taking action from the start. We are working very hard to end the blockades. They are, of course, a provincial responsibility in the three provinces affected. We are working to have the blockades removed as quickly as possible.
View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Speaker, contrary to what the Minister of Transport said, the Prime Minister is not doing anything to resolve the crisis.
Meanwhile, Resolute Forest Products is planning to halt production at some 20 sawmills in Quebec and Ontario. Two Resolute sawmills are located in Haute-Mauricie. Up to 5,000 workers could be affected.
The Prime Minister wants to lecture other countries, but when there is a crisis here at home, he does nothing.
Is there anyone across the way who can step up and do his job?
View Marc Garneau Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, we are here to resolve the problem. As my colleague said, we are aware of the impact this is having on many industries, including the forestry industry, the lumber industry and the agricultural industry. We are very aware of the situation.
That is why we have started to make progress. For example, part of the track was reopened yesterday, and the first CN train was able to travel between Toronto and Montreal. We hope that all of the trains will soon be running again all over the country.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
View Mark Strahl Profile
2020-02-25 14:34 [p.1511]
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's weakness has emboldened those who continue to illegally blockade our ports, roads and railways. The Prime Minister is also blocking investments in this country by cancelling approved projects and creating insurmountable political uncertainty for others. Hundreds of billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of jobs right across the country have been lost as a direct result of his weak leadership.
When will the Prime Minister finally stand up to the anti-energy activists in his own caucus, stand up to those blockading our economy and stand up for Canadian jobs?
View Paul Lefebvre Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Paul Lefebvre Profile
2020-02-25 14:35 [p.1511]
Mr. Speaker, our government has been steadfast in its support for the hard-working men and women in our oil and gas sector. It is why we approved the Line 3 replacement project and why we always supported Keystone XL, where construction will soon begin in the U.S.
Let us remember that there were thousands of good, well-paying jobs that we created in Alberta and B.C. because we did the hard work to get TMX right. We believe in the workers, the sector, the families, and we have their backs.
View Sylvie Bérubé Profile
BQ (QC)
Mr. Speaker, since this government abdicated its leadership responsibilities on the rail crisis, the situation has deteriorated. More blockades are going up in Quebec and elsewhere. When the Prime Minister decided to hide from this dispute last Friday, he said that he wanted to engage in dialogue, but that it takes two to have a dialogue.
My question is simple. What are the two indigenous affairs ministers doing here right now? Why are they not on site having a dialogue to resolve this crisis?
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