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Results: 1 - 30 of 38
View Fayçal El-Khoury Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Fayçal El-Khoury Profile
2020-08-12 12:06 [p.2745]
Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties, and I believe you will find unanimous consent for the following motion.
I move, seconded by the member for Edmonton Manning:
That the House: (a) mourn the loss of life following the tragic explosion in Beirut on August 4, 2020; (b) stand in solidarity with the Lebanese people, particularly the families of the more than 150 people who have died, the more than 6,000 hospitalized, and the estimated 300,000 who been rendered homeless by the explosion; and (c) commit to helping and accompanying the Lebanese people in their desire for reform and to sustainably rebuild and continue to stand with the Lebanese community both in Lebanon and here in Canada at this most difficult time.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Usually when there is a request for unanimous consent, the Chair asks members to respond in the affirmative to determine whether there is agreement.
This being a hybrid sitting of the House, were the Chair to proceed in this fashion, if there were any dissenting voices, particularly for members participating via teleconference or video conference, they may not be audible. Therefore, for the sake of clarity, I will only ask for those who are opposed to the request to express their disagreement. In this way, the Chair will hear clearly if there are any dissenting voices and I will accordingly be able to declare whether or not there is unanimous consent to proceed.
All those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion will please say nay.
The House has heard the terms of the motion. All those opposed to the motion will please say nay.
There being no dissenting voice, I declare the motion carried.
View Karina Gould Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Karina Gould Profile
2020-08-12 12:12 [p.2746]
Mr. Speaker, last week, a devastating explosion rocked Beirut's port and city centre, killing at least 158 people, injuring 6,000 others and leaving over 300,000 people homeless. According to estimates, 90,000 homes and buildings, including hospitals and other health care facilities were damaged or destroyed.
Lebanon was already dealing with multiple crises before this incident occurred. The country is facing an unprecedented economic and financial crisis that has already left nearly half of the population in poverty, all in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Canadians across the country are deeply saddened by the devastating effects of this tragedy and the situation that Lebanon is facing.
I know many Lebanese Canadians are deeply touched by this tragedy. I think I can speak for all parliamentarians in extending our sincere condolences to all those who have lost loved ones.
The Lebanese-Canadian community is vibrant and dynamic right across the country, and it is a community that is bearing a heavy weight and feeling a huge loss. It is also a community that has rolled up its sleeves and sprung into action to help and to mobilize support, and its efforts have been exceptional.
The Government of Canada has also been seized with the disaster. Within 24 hours, Canada announced an immediate initial contribution of $5 million in humanitarian assistance, including $1.5 million for the Lebanese Red Cross, in the first 24 hours following the explosion. On Saturday we launched the Lebanese matching fund for donations collected directly from Canadians. Every dollar donated by individual Canadians between August 4 and August 24 will be matched by the Government of Canada, doubling the impact of each contribution. In recognition of Canadians' incredible generosity to date, we have increased the match from $2 million to $5 million.
The fund will be implemented through the Humanitarian Coalition, a group of experienced Canadian organizations present on the ground in Lebanon and delivering critical assistance. I want to assure Canadians that all Canadian assistance is provided through trusted NGO and multilateral partners.
On Monday, the Prime Minister announced that Canada would increase its support by an additional $25 million to support our trusted partners in responding to immediate needs and supporting early recovery efforts in the aftermath of the crisis, bringing our total response to $30 million, which is in addition to the existing humanitarian and development support we already provide to the people of Lebanon.
I thank all Canadians who have opened their hearts to the Lebanese people and so generously contributed to the relief effort. I encourage Canadians to donate to the Lebanon matching fund to help save lives and meet the urgent needs of the affected population.
Canada has a long and deep partnership with the Lebanese people. We have a strong Lebanese-Canadian community, and Canada will be there every step of the way, from immediate response to long-term recovery. Canada stands together with Lebanon.
Canada stands with the people of Lebanon.
View Marc Garneau Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties and if you seek it, I hope you will find there is unanimous support for the following motion:
WHEREAS Ukrainian International Airlines Flight PS752 was unlawfully shot down on January 8th, 2020 near Tehran, taking the innocent lives of all 176 people on board, including 55 Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents, as well as others from Iran, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Afghanistan;
WHEREAS the government of Iran has publicly acknowledged that its military forces fired the missiles that caused these deaths, that it is legally obligated to conduct appropriate and transparent safety and criminal investigations to bring those responsible to justice and to safeguard civil aviation, and that it is obliged to make reparations to the affected States, including in the form of compensation to the families of all the victims, in accordance with international law;
Whereas the flight recorders from PS752 have been recovered by Iran, but have not yet been downloaded to allow their data to be analyzed, which should have been done “without delay”, according to international standards, immediately following January 8th (long before any limitations imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic); and
Whereas the families of the victims — in Canada, in Iran and in other countries around the world — continue to grieve the tragic and senseless loss of their loved-ones and are anxious to learn the whole truth about what happened to PS752, who was responsible, and how they are being held to account, in addition to seeking honourable treatment with respect to compensation from both the airline and Iran, and in matters related to their ongoing safety and peace of mind;
NOW BE IT RESOLVED THAT THIS HOUSE:
1. Express its deep condolences to the families of the victims who lost their lives in the horrific downing of PS725, condemn the perpetrators, and stand in solidarity with the families in the pursuit of transparency, accountability and justice for those families;
2. Support steps taken thus far, including the implementation of a whole-of-government approach to addressing the needs of the families, the provision of consular services, immigration and travel supports, the identification and repatriation of remains, financial support (directly from the government in the form of emergency financial assistance and by matching private donations to the Canada Strong Campaign), mental health and counselling services, a regular ongoing flow of information and replies to inquiries, investigative work, the formation of a Canada-led International Coordination and Response Group, the launch of the “Safer Skies” initiative at the Munich Security Conference, and Canada's representations to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO);
3. Call upon all relevant departments and agencies of the Government of Canada to exercise all necessary diligence, persistence and determination to grapple effectively with the complexities inherent in international disasters of this magnitude, as well as the additional impediments created by the COVID-19 pandemic, so the families can ultimately know the truth about what happened, notwithstanding the time and effort such pursuit of justice may require;
4. Call upon the Government of Canada in the meantime:
(a) to pursue, with the other affected States of the Coordination Group, negotiations on reparations with Iran to obtain appropriate compensation for the families of the victims from the state of Iran, in addition to the obligations of the airline industry;
(b) to resolve outstanding immigration issues in a fair, equitable and compassionate manner;
(c) to implement appropriate means of honouring and commemorating the precious lives lost; and
(d) to help protect families from foreign interference, intimidation, harassment and cyber threats.
5. Support the work of the Government of Canada, in partnership with the international community through the CG and ICAO, and otherwise, to expose as much as possible the sequence of events and the decision-making chain that resulted in deadly missiles being launched against this civilian aircraft contrary to international law, and to determine how and why civilian aircraft were allowed to be in that airspace over a dangerous conflict zone, all in an effort to avoid repetitions of this disastrous set of circumstances.
View Andrew Scheer Profile
CPC (SK)
Mr. Speaker, our intelligence partners continue to raise serious concerns about the accuracy of information coming out of China. The advice and direction from the WHO depend on the honesty and transparency of its member countries.
The government has ignored Canadian experts who were calling for swift and decisive action much sooner. The government chose to continue air travel between China and Canada and waited weeks to impose travel restrictions, yet the Prime Minister and his health minister continue to vouch for the Government of China.
Going forward, will the government continue to trust information coming from the Communist government of China?
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Justin Trudeau Profile
2020-04-20 14:22 [p.2187]
Mr. Speaker, from the very beginning we followed the best public health advice. We engaged early to keep Canadians safe and prevent the spread of the virus.
On January 2, the Public Health Agency of Canada alerted all provincial health authorities. On January 14, Dr. Theresa Tam and the Public Health Agency of Canada convened a meeting of the Canadian Council of Chief Medical Officers of Health. We convened the incident response group in January. We enhanced airport screening measures in January and increased them as the situation evolved.
We will continue to respond to the situation as it evolves, and we will continue to base our decisions on the best available facts and evidence.
View Andrew Scheer Profile
CPC (SK)
Mr. Speaker, there are reports that three Canadian planes that left for China to pick up medical equipment from China returned to Canada empty. The planes were supposed to return last night.
Can the government confirm whether or not those planes were in fact scheduled, whether or not they arrived and whether or not they were able to obtain the medical equipment that they were sent to obtain?
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Justin Trudeau Profile
2020-04-20 14:23 [p.2187]
Mr. Speaker, over the past weeks we have been engaged in unprecedented efforts, collaborating with partners and friends around the world to ensure that we can get the PPE and medical equipment so necessary for Canadians on the front lines in hospitals across the country. That is what we continue to do.
We have teams on the ground in China and elsewhere to coordinate the departure and arrival of shipments. We have had challenges with those shipments, as the global competition for these items is fierce.
We will continue to work as best we can to ensure that we continue to deliver all the necessary equipment to our heroes working on the front lines.
View Michael Cooper Profile
CPC (AB)
View Michael Cooper Profile
2020-04-20 14:56 [p.2193]
Mr. Speaker, the Chinese Communist regime repeatedly destroyed and falsified information about the spread of COVID-19, all the while imprisoning whistle-blowers. As a result, a regional health problem became a global catastrophe.
What measures is the government prepared to undertake to hold the Chinese Communist regime accountable?
View Chrystia Freeland Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, this is a global pandemic. That is why international co-operation and information sharing are absolutely essential. We can all help each other and save lives by gathering and sharing the most accurate information possible. Having said that, decisions about Canada are made by Canadians based on the advice of Canada's world-renowned experts.
Finally, I think everyone in this House appreciates that democracies are transparent in a way authoritarian regimes can never be.
View Andrew Scheer Profile
CPC (SK)
Madam Chair, this afternoon I asked the Prime Minister whether or not he could confirm that three planes that were sent to China to pick up medical equipment were forced to return empty last night. He seemed to indicate that was the case.
I would like to find out if he could explicitly confirm that, and if he could inform the House as to whether the reason the planes were forced to return to Canada empty was because of the actions of the Chinese government, or if he could provide the House with any other explanation as to why Canada was not able to procure the equipment that the planes were sent to obtain.
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Justin Trudeau Profile
2020-04-20 16:34 [p.2207]
Madam Chair, over the past many weeks there have been significant challenges with disrupted supply chains around the world. We remember the 3M issue with the United States. There have been other issues in procuring the necessary equipment from China, such as delays and shipments that got detoured. We know that there are going to continue to be challenges. At the same time, we have been able to procure enough PPE for the provinces up until this time, and we are now seeing Canadian companies go online.
Yes, there have been disruptions in the supply chain because of global competition, because of actions of different people and countries. At the same time, we are ensuring that we are doing everything we can to get the necessary equipment to our front-line workers, and so far we have been able to manage it.
View Michael Cooper Profile
CPC (AB)
View Michael Cooper Profile
2020-04-20 17:04 [p.2212]
Madam Chair, yesterday the Government of Australia joined with the United States in calling for an independent international investigation into China's handling of COVID-19.
Does the government support such an investigation, and if not, why not?
View Chrystia Freeland Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Chair, let me start by pointing out that the coronavirus is a global pandemic which knows no ideology and in order to best fight that pandemic and best protect Canadians, it is essential to work with and share information with all countries where that pandemic exists. Having said that, it is also very important for all of us as members of the international community to share as much information, and information which is as accurate as possible, in order to protect our own people and also in order to protect the rest of the world.
I hope that all members of this House would agree with my next statement. I believe very firmly that it is in the DNA of democracies to be far more transparent than any authoritarian regime can ever be. That is one of the reasons I believe so strongly in democracy, and I think that is why we are here in this House this afternoon.
View Chris Lewis Profile
CPC (ON)
View Chris Lewis Profile
2020-04-20 18:20 [p.2224]
Madam Chair, the Liberals shipped 16 tonnes of PPE to China in February. Did the government verify if Canada indeed had enough PPE for our own needs before sending it off to China?
View Patty Hajdu Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Chair, I will remind the member opposite that the national emergency stockpile was never designed to have PPE for all health workers in the case of a global pandemic. In fact, it supplies primarily antivirals for the experience of pandemic influenza, with the capacity to support provinces and territories for particular surges.
Having said that, yes, in fact, our contribution of nearly expired equipment to China, in particular to go to the city of Wuhan, was part of a global effort to try to contain the virus in China and provide protection for those health care workers. It is based on the principle that countries come together to support a country that is experiencing outbreaks, so that it has the best chance of success at containing that outbreak. Unfortunately, as the world knows now, that was not the case, and we now have a pandemic here in Canada. However, we have been able to complete all 33 of the current requests from provinces and territories for equipment from the national emergency stockpile.
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
2020-02-27 14:04 [p.1681]
Mr. Speaker, last week, I was part of the Canadian delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Brussels. NATO is a multilateral organization committed to global peace and freedom and to meeting the security challenges of terrorism and cyber-attacks.
Canada has participated in nearly every NATO mission since its founding in 1949 and is currently leading the following key initiatives: Forward Presence battlegroup in Latvia, led by Colonel Eric Laforest; NATO Defense College, led by Lieutenant-General Christine Whitecross; Standing NATO Maritime Group Two, until recently led by Commodore Josée Kurtz; and the NATO training mission in Iraq, led by Major-General Jennie Carignan. We are proud of Canada's excellent leadership and note that until the end of December 2019, three of our four operations were led by women.
I saw first-hand how vital an organization NATO is to ensuring peace and stability in the world. We can never waver in our commitment to NATO and to supporting the amazing women and men who step up every day to defend our values, our liberty and our democracy.
View Peter Kent Profile
CPC (ON)
View Peter Kent Profile
2020-02-26 15:08 [p.1611]
Mr. Speaker, does the Prime Minister yet realize that Iran's foreign minister, to whom he smilingly offered a handshake, a buddy hug and a bow, is not only the deceitful chief propagandist for Iran's democracy-crushing, terror-sponsoring regime, but is linked to recent gross human rights abuse in the deadly crackdown on civilian protests against the theocratic regime, not to mention his direct participation in the 1988 massacre of political rivals and dissidents?
Will the Prime Minister apologize to Canada's Persian community?
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Justin Trudeau Profile
2020-02-26 15:09 [p.1611]
Mr. Speaker, I made a promise to Canada's Iranian community to do everything we could to find answers to the questions they had about how their loved ones were taken from them and how they will be ensured to get compensation for it.
That is exactly what I expressed to the Iranian foreign minister. We need to be part of an international investigation that is credible and serious. We will continue to stand up for Canadians' rights. Whether they be Iranian Canadians or otherwise, we will continue to defend them and stand with them through this difficult time. We will not play petty politics the way the members opposite choose to.
View Arnold Viersen Profile
CPC (AB)
View Arnold Viersen Profile
2020-02-24 19:14 [p.1469]
Madam Speaker, last month I asked the Minister of Public Safety an important question. I asked if he would support bringing Canada into full alignment with the Palermo protocol. I was a bit alarmed by his response. He did not seem to know what the Palermo protocol was.
I am sure that the parliamentary secretary has been well prepared for this discussion and is aware that the Palermo protocol is an international protocol to prevent, suppress and punish human trafficking.
The parliamentary secretary will know that Canada signed the protocol in 2000 and it was ratified in 2002. The protocol defines three elements of human trafficking.
The first is the act, meaning what is done, including the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons.
Second is the means, meaning how it is done, including by use of threat or force or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability, or the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person.
Third is the purpose, meaning why it is done, including for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.
The challenge is that when Canada added the offences of human trafficking to the Criminal Code in 2005, we added another element that departed from the international standard in the Palermo protocol. Canada's Criminal Code defines exploitation in human trafficking offences as follows:
a person exploits another person if they cause them to provide, or offer to provide, labour or a service by engaging in conduct that, in all the circumstances, could reasonably be expected to cause the other person to believe that their safety or the safety of a person known to them would be threatened if they failed to provide, or offer to provide, the labour or service.
This extra burden of proof has become a real challenge in securing human trafficking convictions across Canada. Proving exploitation requires evidence that a reasonable person standing in the shoes of the survivor would be afraid or fearful. The problem with that is that in many cases of human trafficking, there may not be fear of any kind.
For example, the Palermo protocol lists fraud, deception and abuse of power as examples of how traffickers might exploit someone. In cases of trafficking involving these examples, fear is quite unlikely to be present.
We know that in Canada the most common types of human trafficking cases involve the Romeo pimp, or boyfriend pimp, where a young girl or woman is exploited by a person she believes to be her lover or boyfriend. Police see this over and over again.
In these cases, police know the girl is being trafficked but she has no fear of her trafficker. She is in love with him, and in many cases the hands of the police are tied, even when she becomes fearful. It could take months before the trafficker becomes violent or the first time she disobeys him or tries to leave, but she is being trafficked the whole time.
I suspect that the parliamentary secretary has prepared a response about how Canada is fully in alignment with the Palermo protocol, and will talk about the national hotline and the strategy they finally released last September, three years after it expired.
I am proud to say that the alignment of the offences with the Palermo protocol is part of the Conservative Party's platform and would like to see this as a priority for the government.
View Chris Bittle Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Chris Bittle Profile
2020-02-24 19:22 [p.1469]
Madam Speaker, human trafficking is a heinous crime and a human rights offence. Our government is committed to strengthening its efforts to combat human trafficking and better protect its victims, who are among our society's most vulnerable.
We are proud to be one of the first countries to ratify, in 2002, the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. This is one of the three protocols under the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, also known as the Palermo convention. The protocol articulates the most widely accepted international framework to address human trafficking.
It is important to bear in mind that the Criminal Code's human trafficking offences go beyond the minimum legal requirements imposed by the Palermo protocol. For instance, the Criminal Code criminalizes broader human trafficking-related conduct than what is required by the protocol, and imposes penalties up to life imprisonment for certain circumstances. Furthermore, the main trafficking offence does not require proof that the recruitment, transportation or harbouring was effected through illicit means.
Human trafficking is not only difficult to find; it is an incredibly complex crime to prove, with arms reaching into the financial sector, organized crime, law enforcement and beyond. However, its under-the-radar nature makes it more important that we are not complacent. We are aware that 95% of human trafficking victims in Canada were female, 70% were under the age of 25 and one-quarter were under the age of 18.
The Government of Canada is taking action to combat this crime both domestically and abroad. We recently announced the new national strategy to combat human trafficking, a whole-of-government approach that brings together federal initiatives under one strategic framework. The framework aligns with the internationally recognized pillars of prevention, protection, prosecution and partnership. The comprehensive national strategy is supported by an investment of $57 million over five years and $10 million ongoing.
It is important to note that the national strategy builds on existing federal anti-human trafficking initiatives, which have continued since the national action plan to combat human trafficking came to an end in 2016. We are proud that the new national strategy includes a new pillar of empowerment to ensure that there is a greater focus on enhancing support services to victims and survivors affected by this crime.
Under the new empowerment pillar, the Government of Canada will soon launch a survivor-led advisory committee. This committee will provide a formal platform to hear views and experiences of victims and survivors to help inform our efforts in combatting this crime. Through the prevention pillar, the government will seek to increase public awareness of human trafficking and build capacity in strategic areas to prevent human trafficking from occurring in Canada and internationally.
Canada will also continue to protect victims and potential victims from this crime, including through supporting organizations that provide critical services to victims and survivors. We will coordinate with law enforcement outreach operations to proactively identify potential victims in human trafficking. We will also enhance compliance under the temporary foreign workers program.
New initiatives under the national strategy will focus on a victim-centric criminal justice system, while building on the efforts to prosecute offenders. The national strategy will strengthen partnerships to ensure a collaborative and coordinated national response to human trafficking.
View Arnold Viersen Profile
CPC (AB)
View Arnold Viersen Profile
2020-02-24 19:22 [p.1470]
Madam Speaker, the problem with requiring fear in trafficking cases is that the burden is placed on the victims. A 2013 review of our human trafficking offences highlights that this “standard focuses scrutiny and inquiry on the inner workings of a victim’s mind rather than on a trafficker’s actions and, hence, makes the victim’s testimony crucially important to the case.” It further notes, “Given this complexity in proving exploitation, one can understand why prosecutors have shied away from human trafficking charges or allowed the charge to be dropped in the plea bargain process.” Our laws need to be written in a way that can help the police and prosecutors bring justice to human traffickers instead of being an obstacle.
In the last Parliament, the member for Oshawa tabled a bill that would bring our human trafficking offences in line with the Palermo protocol. Having spoken to law enforcement and NGOs across Canada, I can attest that this is their desire as well.
Would the parliamentary secretary be willing to consider the bill when it comes back to the House, or, even better, would the government bring it forward itself when it brings forward other legislation? From the parliamentary secretary's response, I am not convinced that the government understands the issue.
View Chris Bittle Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Chris Bittle Profile
2020-02-24 19:23 [p.1470]
Madam Speaker, I appreciate the passion from the hon. member and that he wants to make it easier to convict people of this heinous crime. There is, however, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the burden of proof, which is “beyond a reasonable doubt”.
Even though we would all like to see the bad people go to jail, we have to ensure that laws are crafted in a way that respects the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. That is why I am proud of the government's actions with regard to this heinous crime and the work that is being done.
I would be happy to see recommendations, but they would have to be in line with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Speaker, Canadians were horrified to see the Prime Minister grinning, hugging and bowing during his interaction with the Iranian foreign minister, providing the regime a major propaganda victory and revictimizing families whose loved ones it killed.
Could the Prime Minister update the House as to whether this servile display led to any concrete progress on compensation for flight 752 victims' families or on a proper independent investigation?
View Robert Oliphant Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Robert Oliphant Profile
2020-02-18 14:41 [p.1158]
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister was very clear and very firm with the Iranian foreign minister. He made a promise to families in Canada that we will do everything we can to make sure that they get full disclosure, accountability, transparency and justice.
Equally, in Munich the Minister of Foreign Affairs and our allies sent a strong message that Iran—
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
View Robert Oliphant Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Robert Oliphant Profile
2020-02-18 14:41 [p.1158]
Mr. Speaker, our Prime Minister has taken every opportunity and was extremely clear and always firm with Iranian officials, the Iranian prime minister and the foreign minister. He made a promise to families in Canada that we will do everything in our power to make sure they get closure, accountability, transparency and justice.
View James Bezan Profile
CPC (MB)
Mr. Speaker, when former prime minister Stephen Harper met with Vladimir Putin, he said, “get out of Ukraine.” Now that is real leadership. The Iranian community and the families of the victims of flight 752 deserve that kind of leadership. Instead they had the insulting spectacle of the Prime Minister glad-handing, back-slapping and of course bowing to the Iranian foreign minister and chief propagandist.
Will the Prime Minister apologize to the families and the Iranian community for this blatant disrespect? Will he say sorry for once again embarrassing Canada on the world stage?
View Robert Oliphant Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Robert Oliphant Profile
2020-02-18 14:42 [p.1159]
Mr. Speaker, now more than ever as families grieve, as families try to make sense of this situation, it is important for us to be united in the House and in Canada and for Canadians to stand in the wake of this terrible tragedy.
I would ask my colleagues on all sides of the House to avoid trying to score political points on this very important and deeply personal issue to many Canadians. We have brought together Canadians and international partners to hold Iran to account. We will do that and we expect members to help us with it.
View Lloyd Longfield Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Lloyd Longfield Profile
2020-01-31 10:19 [p.751]
Madam Speaker, before I start my first speech in the House, I would like to thank my wife Barbara; my kids Shauna, Carolyn, Christina; their partners, their kids, the whole team that helped to get me here, including my campaign manager Brent McArthur, and the voters of Guelph.
It is such an honour to rise in this place today in support of Bill C-4 regarding the implementation legislation for the Canada-United States-Mexico agreement. This agreement encompasses Canada's most ambitious environment chapter to date, and it is also complemented by the environmental co-operation agreement.
It is a priority for the Government of Canada to ensure that all of Canada's trade agreements not only advance our commercial interests, but also bring concrete benefits to all stakeholders. By including environmental provisions with our free trade agreements, we support Canadian businesses and ensure that trading partners do not gain an unfair trading advantage by not enforcing their environmental laws.
The North American Free Trade Agreement, which came into effect in 1994, was the first free trade agreement to link the environment and trade through a historic parallel agreement on environmental co-operation, the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation.
The parties committed at that time to maintain robust environmental provisions established on our trinational institution for environmental co-operation, the Commission for Environmental Cooperation.
The Canada-United States-Mexico agreement integrates comprehensive and ambitious environmental provisions directly into an environment chapter within the agreement, which is subject to the chapter on dispute settlements.
The agreement also retains the core obligations on environmental governance found in the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation. This includes commitments to pursue high levels of environmental protection to effectively enforce environmental laws and to promote transparency, accountability and public participation. This reflects the importance that we place on ensuring that trade liberalization, environmental protection and conservation are mutually supportive.
The agreement also includes commitments that go beyond the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation. This includes prohibiting a party from moving away from environmental law to attract trade or investment and ensuring that environmental impact assessment processes are in place for projects having potential adverse effects on the environment.
The new NAFTA creates substantive commitments and many of these are in line with the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership on a wide range of global environmental issues, which shows the interconnection of our trade agreements within major markets within the globe.
These protections include illegal wildlife trade and illegal logging; fisheries management; protection of the marine environment and the ozone layer; sustainable forestry; and conservation of species at risk and biological diversity, which also includes consultations with indigenous peoples. New commitments aiming to strengthen the relationship between trade and the environment include the promotion of trade in environmental goods and services, corporate social responsibility and the voluntary mechanisms to enhance environmental performance.
For the first time in a free trade agreement, the new NAFTA includes new articles on air quality and marine litter, as well as a binding commitment that prohibits the practice of shark finning. This is a first for Canada. It also recognizes the important role of indigenous peoples in the long-term conservation of the environment, sustainable fisheries and forestry management and biodiversity conservation to make sure that their voices are also at the table as we move forward.
The agreement provides for an environmental consultation mechanism. Should parties fail to resolve an environmental matter arising under the agreement in a co-operative manner through various levels of consultation right up to the ministerial level, the complaining party may seek recourse through broader formal Canada-United States-Mexico agreement dispute settlement procedures. To help ensure compliance with the environmental obligations, trade sanctions may be imposed by an independent review panel.
While the core obligations on environmental governance apply only to federal legislation, commitments in other areas of the agreement, such as conservation and fisheries, apply to the federal government as well as to Canada's provinces and territories. Provinces and territories were consulted thoroughly throughout the negotiation process.
The agreement maintains and incorporates the submissions on the enforcement matters process established under the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation, which is a key mechanism to promote transparency and public participation on the enforcement of environmental laws in North America. Under this process, citizens of the three countries may file a submission alleging that one of the three parties is not enforcing its environmental laws. The Commission for Environmental Cooperation secretariat evaluates the submissions and requests from the implicated party to provide information and clarification regarding the enforcement of the environmental law at issue within its jurisdiction.
In December 2019, Canada, the United States and Mexico also agreed to update certain elements of CUSMA, including to strengthen environmental obligations under the agreement. This includes a commitment from parties to implement their respective obligations under specific multilateral environmental agreements, MEAs, that are ratified domestically, as well as the new provision to clarify the relationship between CUSMA and MEAs.
New language has also been added confirming that failure to comply with one's obligations in the environment chapter that affect trade or investment is now presumed to be “in a manner affecting trade or investment between the parties”, unless the defending party can demonstrate otherwise. The environmental provisions are written right into the law of the agreement.
In addition, Canada, the United States and Mexico have negotiated a parallel environmental co-operation agreement that ensures trilateral environmental co-operation continues, supported by ministerial-level dialogue and public engagement as we move forward to improve our targets under the co-op agreement and other international agreements.
The environmental co-operation agreement ensures that unique institutions for trilateral environmental co-operation are created under the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation and maintained and modernized going forward. This includes the continued operation of the Commission on Environmental Cooperation, including the secretariat, based in Montreal; a ministerial council, which will continue to meet on an annual basis; and a joint public advisory committee.
The environmental co-operation agreement allows the three countries to establish a work program in which they can develop co-operative activities on a broad range of issues related to strengthening environmental governance, reducing pollution and supporting strong low emissions and resilient economies, conserving and protecting biodiversity and habitats, supporting green growth and sustainable development and promoting the sustainable management and use of natural resources.
In addition, through the joint public advisory committee, representatives from each country will continue to ensure active public participation and transparency in the actions of the commission. Membership of this committee will be from a diverse pool of candidates, including with respect to gender balance, and will include representatives from all segments of society, including non-governmental organizations, academia, the private sector, indigenous peoples, private citizens and youth.
The environmental co-operation agreement complements the ambitious environmental chapter of the Canada-United States-Mexico agreement. The environmental co-operation agreement will contribute to the maintenance of robust environmental governance and the modernization of the existing institutions for trilateral environmental co-operation.
The Government of Canada is committed to bringing Canadian goods and services to international markets while maintaining our high standards of environmental protection and conservation. We know it is possible, and we have a responsibility to do both. Under this agreement and the new parallel co-operation agreement, we will be moving forward together to ensure we are protecting our shared environment now and for future generations.
View Arnold Viersen Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Speaker, my question is a simple and straightforward one for the Minister of Public Safety. Will he bring Canada into full alignment with the Palermo protocol, yes or no?
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