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View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
View Garnett Genuis Profile
2020-02-21 10:03 [p.1367]
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Mr. Speaker, I know the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons was hoping this was an unlimited time slot. I want to share with him that the House can do whatever it wants by unanimous consent, so he can reflect on that opportunity. I want him to know that I am always prepared if he wants to hear more of what I have to say on an important subject. However, as I get into it, I wonder if he may be less interested in hearing what I have to say, quite frankly, but it is still important for him.
We are talking about Bill C-3 that deals with the work, in part, of the Canada Border Services Agency. This is timely because, especially today, many people are talking and thinking about the challenges in import and export and the transportation of goods. This is an area where the opportunity for public complaints and review is very important. Indeed, I hear many public complaints already out there about problems with regard to our ability to transport goods.
We are in the middle of a national crisis, where various protesters, a relatively small number, are openly trying to shut down Canada. They are blocking access to a border point and standing in the middle of train tracks. This is causing massive problems, and those problems are only going to continue. During discussions about this national crisis, members are raising fears about escalation and talking about the need for de-escalation.
All of us would like to ensure the situation does not get any worse, but inaction by the government is creating escalation, with more and more people thinking that they can ignore the law and protest illegally, and growing fears of Canadians that these blockades will result in long-term economic damage and the inability of people to access essential goods. I have been hearing from colleagues in the Maritimes and other parts of the country concerned about propane shortages and the impact it will have on people's ability to heat their homes and provide for their basic needs.
This bill speaks to accountability of our Canada Border Services Agency and the RCMP. It is ironic that the government is putting forward measures aimed at making other agencies more accountable when it is failing to be accountable itself for the real problems in our economy as a result of decisions it has made to not act or show leadership in the midst of this national crisis. It is important to underline why we are facing this national crisis. There is a very small number, a minority, of hereditary chiefs, not the elected representatives, who oppose a particular development project on Wet'suwet'en territory, but all of the affected band councils are in favour of this. Overwhelmingly, the people are in favour of this and a majority of hereditary chiefs are in favour of this.
I draw the attention of members of the House to this issue in this context. If every single time a development project happens for which there is a small amount of opposition with the result of shutting down national infrastructure, then it is going to be very difficult for us to ever move goods in this country in the future because there are always going to be controversial projects. Those of us on this side of the House have been raising the warning that this really is a warm-up act for larger, more controversial projects in the future.
If the government, instead of dialoguing with the elected leadership of communities, feels that it can negotiate with other people who are not connected to those communities in the resolution of these issues, then we are going to have a problem where the government is always negotiating with the wrong people and people not connected to these projects can claim the right to speak on behalf of communities. It is going to be very difficult for us to ever find agreement on moving forward on projects.
That is the context in which we find ourselves. That is the national crisis that our country is facing. I think all of our constituents would want us to speak about these issues, highlight them and call on the government to finally show leadership and allow us to move forward by supporting the rule of law and, at the very least, verbalizing the importance of enforcing the law and respecting the will of the elected representatives of indigenous people.
Now I will move to the specific provisions in Bill C-3. This is a bill that “amends the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act to, among other things, rename the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as the Public Complaints and Review Commission.”
We know how seriously the government takes naming things. Sometimes it does not always know what those names mean. Sometimes it likes to rename things as a way of claiming credit for a policy.
Under the Conservatives we had something called the universal child care benefit, and the Liberals renamed it the Canada child benefit. Then they declared it to have been a great social policy innovation, a brand new idea, without remembering that the Liberals actually ran against the Canada child care benefit in 2006. It was a Liberal strategist who said that parents would just use this child benefit money for beer and popcorn. The Liberals evolved, and it was progress. They evolved from opposing support for parents to saying that they were going to rename the benefit and claim it. Maybe when Conservatives come back to government, we will rename it again. It was all our idea after all. We brought in the Canada child care benefit in 2006.
This legislation has some element of renaming, but it is a little more substantive than that. “It also amends the Canada Border Services Agency Act to, among other things, grant to that Commission powers, duties and functions in relation to the Canada Border Services Agency.”
Essentially what this bill does, under what had previously been a review commission just for the RCMP, is bring the CBSA under that civilian review mechanism.
As my colleagues have said, this is a principle that we are supportive of. Conservatives will be supporting the movement of this legislation through to committee where, no doubt, it will be further analyzed and studied by our excellent public safety team.
There is some progress in this legislation. It is not, as we have seen in some other cases, purely a name without meaning. Unlike the Minister of Middle Class Prosperity, we actually know what the words mean to a greater extent, in the case of this piece of legislation.
I will just say, again, the irony here is the government is bringing in greater accountability for our border services agencies and yet we have seen a lack of willingness by the government to account for its own actions. We have seen so many instances of weak leadership.
Another area of a lack of accountability we have seen from the government is that it is already signalling, through things that private members have been putting out, that it is not supportive of the Teck project in Alberta. This is a critical project for the interests of Alberta, for the interests of our national economy. The government needs to approve it, and yet we are already seeing backbench members of the government putting out petitions encouraging people not to support it. That is fuelling further frustration in my province.
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View Adam van Koeverden Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Adam van Koeverden Profile
2020-02-21 10:12 [p.1368]
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Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments from my colleague opposite, because I love standing up to talk about the Canada child benefit.
As everybody in the House knows, the origins go way back to the baby bonus in the 1940s, following the Second World War. Again, the Progressive Conservative government in 1992 modernized that, but it was in 2015, when we got elected, that we changed it, made it non-taxable and made it available for more people. We reduced child poverty in Canada by an unbelievable margin.
Prior to that, the Harper government increased poverty and increased child poverty. Poverty was at an untenable rate in 2014. With this measure, my riding in particular has received over $97 million, back into the pockets of families to help their kids. That money is not earmarked for any one thing, like sports or the arts. It is for absolutely whatever families need. It is a fantastic program that people in my riding are incredibly appreciative of.
I thank the member for bringing up, because it is a fantastically successful program for everybody in Canada.
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View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
View Garnett Genuis Profile
2020-02-21 10:13 [p.1368]
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Mr. Speaker, that member has a lot of talent at floating delicately on the water when he is trying to make a point, but I think he is going to sink on this one.
The reality is this is a program, and of course there were other iterations of similar types of program, but the universal child care benefit was brought in by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. It was opposed by Liberals who said, “No, no. We should just give money to provinces and bureaucrats, and it should be a one-size-fits-all approach to child care.” Conservatives said, “No, we should give parents choice in child care. We should give them resources and let them decide.”
Then, it took a conversion on that topic before the Liberals could ever make it back to power. They realized that they would have to sell out to this Conservative principle that they did not really believe in to get back into power. They decided to rename it and take credit for it. They were going to tinker with some details, make it available to fewer people—
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View Bruce Stanton Profile
CPC (ON)
View Bruce Stanton Profile
2020-02-21 10:14 [p.1368]
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We have time for a few more questions.
The hon. member for Courtenay—Alberni.
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View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2020-02-21 10:14 [p.1368]
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Mr. Speaker, my question is relevant to the bill that is being discussed here today in the House of Commons.
The CBSA is the only major law enforcement agency in Canada without an independent review mechanism for the bulk for its activity and this is a major gap. It has not been addressed despite our calls dating back to the Harper government. It provides an accountability system that will increase public trust at the border and a review system that can provide CBSA officers with more clarity and confidence over policy questions when they are asked something about what they are supposed to be doing.
We are heartened to see this legislation come forward. We are disappointed that the Liberals tabled it with just weeks to go in the last Parliament. This clearly was not a priority of theirs, so we are happy to see this here today.
Will the Conservatives be supporting this legislation and allow better oversight of our public safety institutions and increased public confidence at our borders?
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View Darrell Samson Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Darrell Samson Profile
2020-02-21 10:15 [p.1369]
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Mr. Speaker, in my colleague's eight-minute speech, he covered a lot of ground with not too much focus on the actual conversation on the table. He said the Conservative Party is supporting the border crossing and I would like him to expand why he thinks it is important for his party to support this new legislation.
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View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
View Garnett Genuis Profile
2020-02-21 10:15 [p.1369]
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Mr. Speaker, a larger proportion of my speech was on topic than the previous question from the Liberal member, so we are a little ahead there.
It is important to note the things that Canadians are talking about today with respect to the CBSA. I know the member would want us to reflect the priorities and concerns of Canadians.
I believe in the principle of civilian oversight for our security agencies. It is interesting that, in the context of the blockades, the government seems to be criticizing the principle of civilian oversight and civilian policy direction when it comes to the police. That is an interesting sidebar. In principle, we support this legislation. We want to see it go to committee and we look forward to the study that will happen there.
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View Steven Blaney Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege for me to rise today, as we face this national crisis. This crisis is the result of the Canadian government's lax approach in two of its most important roles: ensuring the security and integrity of our borders, and ensuring respect for law and order. Unfortunately, as we are seeing right now, the government has failed miserably on both accounts. That is why we are calling for immediate action.
One major role our police forces play is ensuring respect for law and order. The Canada Border Services Agency, or CBSA, meanwhile, must ensure respect for and the integrity of our borders. It is important to remember that the CBSA is an organization with nearly 14,000 border services officers and other staff working at over 1,200 ports of entry in 39 countries. Over the years, this agency has become an important part of our system for keeping Canadians safe. Obviously, given the volume of claims processed by the CBSA, there may be times when people who use its services or have dealings with the agency are less than satisfied with their interactions. That is why there was a complaints system in place, one that was to some degree overseen by the agency.
The purpose of this bill is to establish a new independent body, the public complaints and review commission, tasked with reviewing public complaints regarding the agency. This will also build on the efforts made since the agency was created in 2003 to make it a law enforcement agency and give dissatisfied people the option to file a complaint.
Were there complaints in the past? Indeed, there were. In 2018, 100 complaints were deemed to be founded by the CBSA's complaints review department. This work will now be done by an independent entity. The number of complaints may seem high, but it is important to remember that 95 million travellers deal with the Canada Border Services Agency, and five million of those interactions involve commercial vehicles. The number of complainants is therefore quite small relative to the huge flow of people who deal with the CBSA. Nevertheless, these complaints must be properly addressed and that is why we are in favour of creating this complaints commission.
That is where we are. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the remarkable work of our border services officers and decry the fact that the current government ended the televised series Border Security: Canada's Front Line, which allowed Canadians to learn more about the work of these officers. The series did not cost the government anything and it helped showcase the remarkable work done by border services officers.
As my NDP colleague mentioned, we have to wonder why the government waited until the end of the last session of Parliament to propose creating the public complaints and review commission, even though it made that commitment in 2015. It is about time that the government moved forward, but we have to wonder why the Liberals were so complacent with respect to the implementation of this measure.
Moreover, the national president of the Customs and Immigration Union, Jean-Pierre Fortin, has said that he was not consulted. The Liberals should have consulted him because he stated that he was in favour of this measure. The Liberals missed yet another opportunity to demonstrate that this is a worthwhile project that has the approval of the public and to showcase the excellent work of border services officers.
This raises an important point, and that is the government's responsibility to ensure the integrity of the border and the enforcement of law and order. As I mentioned, the government has failed miserably on both fronts.
Before this government and the misguided tweets of the Prime Minister, the integrity of our border was assured. The Prime Minister's tweet undermined our border system. I am obviously referring to the situation at Roxham Road, which is a threat to our territorial security, since people are illegally entering the country. We should remember that entering by Roxham Road is illegal. We are tolerating a shortcut that allows individuals to bypass our immigration system.
Unfortunately, in recent weeks, we have been focusing mainly on the blockades, which is quite understandable. However, we have seen an upsurge in illegal entries at Roxham Road. That is due to the government's lack of leadership with respect to its responsibility to ensure the integrity of our borders.
With regard to law and order, a lack of leadership creates situations like the one my colleague mentioned, where the government, to some extent, is interfering in the RCMP's operations by stipulating that it cannot intervene or use force to resolve the conflict. The problem is that this interference undermines the moral authority of our police, just as the Prime Minister's tweet undermined the Canada Border Services Agency's authority in ensuring respect for our borders. The Liberals restricted the police's and the border authorities' ability to intervene, with disastrous results.
Our businesses are currently in a critical situation. I was talking about that earlier with my colleague from Beauce. This morning, I met with a business owner from my riding whose American competitors are quite happy about the fact that his merchandise is stuck in our trains. What are his clients doing? They are turning to American suppliers. He told me that he is losing close to $65,000 in sales and, on top of that, he is going to have to pay an additional $7,500 to redirect his containers. That is a loss of $72,500 for just one business owner. This is one of dozens of examples in my riding and hundreds across the country. Our businesses and our workers are being affected by the government's lack of leadership and moral authority.
We can provide support, but we expect the government to refrain from interfering in the operations of the Canada Border Services Agency and police forces. What we are currently seeing is that, by insisting on a peaceful resolution, the Liberals are violating the moral authority of police forces, to a certain extent. Law enforcement then cannot establish a balance of power and are unable to intervene and enforce law and order.
The consequences here are many. First, this undermines the moral authority of our police forces and the Canada Border Services Agency. This crisis has caused gridlock across the country, and we are seeing financial losses, enormous costs and repercussions. As my colleague mentioned, the long-term damage here is that this situation is normalizing non-compliance, disrupting order and disregarding the integrity of our borders.
For this reason, we are calling on the government to not only advance this bill, but also to restore moral authority for our police forces and border services. It must not interfere with their operations by insisting on using political solutions to address law-and-order problems.
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View Francis Drouin Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Francis Drouin Profile
2020-02-21 10:26 [p.1370]
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Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his speech.
Given that my colleague once served as public safety minister, I should think he would be better informed than other MPs, myself included.
I wonder if he still believes in what he said on May 13, 2015:
“I have full confidence in the judgment of the RCMP. While respecting the operational independence of the RCMP...”
Does he still believe in those words today, as the current Minister of Public Safety does now?
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View Steven Blaney Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for that great question. I will tell him exactly what I said in 2015, which is that I have full and total confidence in the RCMP.
However, I would never, ever do what the Minister of Public Safety and Prime Minister are doing now. They are hindering and restricting the RCMP's operational response capability by directing it to resolve the conflict a certain way. They are undeniably preventing the RCMP from using the tools at its disposal to resolve the conflict. The current Prime Minister is stripping the police of their deterrence capacity by taking away their coercive tool, namely their ability to intervene.
I urge the government to follow the example I set in 2015 and let the RCMP do its job. The government needs to stop tying the RCMP's hands and telling it not to act.
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View Richard Cannings Profile
NDP (BC)
View Richard Cannings Profile
2020-02-21 10:28 [p.1370]
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Mr. Speaker, my riding has five border crossings. It is probably one of the most border crossing rich ridings in the country.
Constituents come to my office occasionally with concerns about how they have been treated at the border, both leaving and coming back. What are the member's thoughts on the fact that the bill retains the provision that ex-RCMP members cannot sit on the commission so there is no conflict of interest, but it does not do the same for CBSA members? Could he comment on that concern?
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View Steven Blaney Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Speaker, my answer is yes. We need a third party to look into the complaints and address the disservice. The application of the law should apply equally to the RCMP and the CBSA.
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View Ziad Aboultaif Profile
CPC (AB)
View Ziad Aboultaif Profile
2020-02-21 10:29 [p.1370]
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Mr. Speaker, the government has said that it will not intervene with police forces or other forces to end the blockade. In the meantime, it is sending signals that are preventing police forces from doing their jobs. It is like winter and summer under the same roof. That is what the government is practising now.
Does my colleague on this side agree with that statement?
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View Steven Blaney Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Alberta for the question. It allows me to remind hon. members that at the heart of this rail crisis is a first nation whose band council supported the project. The majority of hereditary chiefs are in favour of the project. Some of the protesters who are flouting the law tried to get democratically elected and were defeated. That does not work. Their approach does not take.
Eighty-five per cent of the members of the Wet'suwet'en community want the project. How can individuals use democratic means and then turn everything upside down when they do not get their way? That is unacceptable. That is no way to run the country.
It is important to remember that the National Energy Board determined this project to be good and that every indigenous community living along the route of this pipeline supports the project. We have the democratic tools, a Parliament for debate, we were founded on a long British parliamentary tradition of democracy and the rule of law. When all of that is turned on its ear, it undermines the credibility of our institutions. That is why we are calling on the government to stick to its executive role and allow our police forces to do their job.
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View Michael Barrett Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to the government bill, Bill C-3, an act to amend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act and the Canada Border Services Agency Act. The bill would rename the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP to the public complaints and review commission. It would also amend the Canada Border Services Agency Act to:
grant to that Commission powers, duties and functions in relation to the Canada Border Services Agency, including the power to conduct a review of the activities of that Agency and to investigate complaints concerning the conduct of any of that Agency’s officers or employees.
The bill is a copy of Bill C-98, which died on the Order Paper at the end of the 42nd Parliament. During the study of Bill C-98, the committee heard from just seven witnesses, including the minister and five officials who reported to him. I hope this time, in our minority Parliament, the parliamentary committee will have the ability to study the bill as thoroughly as it deserves and hear testimony from more witnesses, contrary to the study of Bill C-98, when the Liberals failed to consult customs and immigration in the creation of it.
One would think that when creating legislation regarding the security of Canadians, all stakeholders would be consulted and such legislation would be presented in a substantive and timely way. We now have the chance to ensure that all stakeholders are heard at committee and members are given the time needed to undertake this.
That being said, the bill seems straightforward in its objective that Canada's law enforcement agencies ought to have an oversight body. This is especially helpful at the border, where a civilian review commission would improve oversight and help CBSA be an even more effective agency in its duties and functions.
There is a Liberal crusade against law-abiding firearms owners, highlighted by Bill C-71, passed in the previous Parliament, and the apparent upcoming blanket firearms bans are likely to come before both the RCMP and CBSA oversight bodies. This is problematic because of the extra and quite unnecessary amount of work it would create for both agencies.
The Liberal government likes to paint law-abiding firearms owners with one brush, that they are dangerous and cannot be trusted with the responsibility of firearms ownership or are outdated, backward and likely criminals. On this side of the House, we know that to be false.
We know that law-abiding firearms owners are among the most vetted citizens in the country. It is illegal to possess, store or transport a firearm without first possessing a licence, the PAL or the RPAL, through a program that is run by the RCMP. It includes extremely stringent requirements, including background and reference checks and classroom instruction and testing.
People who are deemed fit to be given the restricted firearms licence must then register all of these restricted firearms with the government and receive authorization to transport them to and from the range. These responsible law-abiding firearms owners are run through police databases regularly, if not daily. The Liberals' portrayal of them is wrong and insulting.
The government is also trying to spin the firearms legislation as the right move, that it would enhance safety for Canadians. However, the legislation does nothing to address the safety of Canadians and seeks to punish law-abiding Canadians instead of criminals.
Given the spirit of Bill C-3, with its oversight bodies that are meant to reduce harm and combat overreach, would it not make sense for all of the government's safety and security legislation to be in the same spirit and have the same goal?
The Liberals are seeking to ban certain firearms and are moving to reclassify some rifles as prohibited, which means over 10,000 legally purchased and owned rifles would be reclassified for no reason in particular. They have not advanced a logical argument for the banning of these firearms, and I cannot think of one either. These firearms function in a similar method to a technology first introduced in 1885, so it cannot be that they are unsafe when used properly. Also, they adhere to the same regulations regarding capacity as other non-restricted firearms.
How does the government's plan to classify legally bought and owned rifles as prohibited combat gang violence? It does not, not one bit. In fact, it has the potential to criminalize the owners of these rifles if they do not comply with the new ownership requirements of the prohibited firearm.
Retroactively applying this law means that a person could be jailed for up to 10 years for something that was perfectly legal when it was done. Let us imagine this. A government that is giving pardons for actions that were crimes when committed but are now legal is criminalizing something that was perfectly legal when it was done. This totally rejects the premise of Bill C-3, because the changes to firearms laws certainly overreach and mistreat law-abiding Canadians.
The attacks on law-abiding firearms owners by the government neglects to combat crime. It punishes lawful firearms owners in other ways as well, especially those who live in rural areas like the residents of Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes.
Because of the Liberal government's disdain for firearms owners and rural Canadians writ large, it is working to revoke authorization to transport firearms except from store to home and between home and target range. Gun shows, gunsmiths, border crossings and airports would require special permission each and every time. If people want to pick up their firearms from the gunsmith on their way to a shooting match, they would need an ATT. If they are dropping off their firearm at the gunsmith after a day at the range, they would need an ATT. If they want to take a firearm from the store where they bought it to the gunsmith, they would need an authorization to transport, or an ATT. Besides disregarding the realities of travel in rural areas, this would create a constant need for bureaucratic paperwork and would increase costs to Canadian taxpayers, with absolutely no benefit or increase to public safety and security.
When it comes to the safety and security of Canadians, the government's short-sighted legislative record on firearms decreases the safety and security of law-abiding firearms owners through its creation of a backdoor firearms registry. It would force firearm retailers to keep detailed transaction records of every firearm buyer and purchase spanning a period of 20 years. When people walk into their favourite retailer and purchase a rifle and ammunition, the retailer would be forced to record their personal information and register it with the registrar. This is not just in stores that specialize in retail firearms. This is also in big box stores, even for simply purchasing ammunition. These lists would become highly prized targets for hackers and thieves, and citizens on the registries would be put at great risk of being robbed, or worse.
Since we are talking about the role of oversight bodies and Canada's law enforcement agencies, I will note that the government's attack on law-abiding firearms owners would create an environment where there is a greater risk of overreach. It would give law enforcement greater leeway to arbitrarily prohibit firearms by removing the government's ability to easily un-prohibit firearms, fuelling concern of more bans and more overreach. We are seeing this now, as the minister has indicated his intention to subvert democracy and undertake a blanket ban on certain firearms. If that does not spell overreach from the highest levels, I do not know what does.
Canadians expect effective oversight of federal law enforcement agencies. The bill looks as if it would be effective in doing so, but the Liberals made a promise to do this in 2015 and they let the bill die on the Order Paper in the last Parliament. It is disappointing that they failed to consult the union representing Canada's border officers and that they have a culture of lazy legislation when it comes to the safety and security of Canadians.
Canadians expect the House to give thorough review to all legislation put before it. They expect that the legislators here will speak to witnesses and the relevant stakeholders. Even though that was not permitted to happen under majority rule in the previous Parliament, in this Parliament we hope to undertake a full study.
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View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Adam Vaughan Profile
2020-02-21 10:41 [p.1372]
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Mr. Speaker, I will address the comments made by the member opposite that seemed to focus more on a piece of legislation that is not in front of us yet, rather than on the one that is.
On the issue of border security, in the last term of Parliament the Conservatives introduced a motion that I think was called the “oops motion”. It meant that if individuals stuffed a car full of handguns, got to the border and failed to declare them, they could say, “Oops, I forgot” and be let off the hook and allowed to drive on with or without the proper licensing. The goal here was to advise border security agencies that if somebody came across the border with a gun and failed to declare it, it would not be a crime to fail to declare it. A person could simply say, “Oops, I forgot” and be on his or her merry way.
Is that the standard the member opposite wants us to achieve with border security as it relates to the smuggling of guns, the act of bringing weapons into this country? If it is, how is that going to make anybody in this country safer, other than people who smuggle guns?
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View Michael Barrett Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Speaker, my daughter Ama is here with me today. She is spending the day with her dad in Parliament. While she and my other children, Luke, Michaela and James, enjoy a good fairy tale, I am not sure they would understand or appreciate the fairy tale that the parliamentary secretary just presented to the House.
The Conservative Party is the party of law and order. We are the party of common sense. The parliamentary secretary referenced legislation about firearms that is not yet before the House. However, it will not come before the House; it will be done by an order in council. The Liberals are going to subvert democracy in their efforts to criminalize law-abiding firearms owners.
We do not need more fairy tales from the government. We need concrete action that will keep Canadians safe.
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View Philip Lawrence Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a separate matter. If you seek it, I hope you will find unanimous consent of the House to adopt the following motion: That, given the unanimous declaration of the House on February 22, 2007, to condemn all forms of human trafficking and slavery this House: (a) encourage Canadians to raise awareness of the magnitude of modern day slavery in Canada and abroad and to take steps to combat human trafficking; and (b) recognize the 22nd day of February as National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.
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View Bruce Stanton Profile
CPC (ON)
View Bruce Stanton Profile
2020-02-21 10:44 [p.1373]
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Does the hon. member have unanimous consent of the House to propose the motion?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Some hon. members: No.
Questions and comments, the hon. member for Peace River—Westlock.
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View Arnold Viersen Profile
CPC (AB)
View Arnold Viersen Profile
2020-02-21 10:44 [p.1373]
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Mr. Speaker, I am sorry to hear that the motion did not pass. However, I am sure we will get to it again soon.
My hon. colleague gave a great speech about border security. If the officials who represent Canada are unable to do their jobs appropriately, the confidence in our law enforcement is diminished. Could the member continue to talk about that?
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View Michael Barrett Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Speaker, it is really important that Canadians have confidence in anyone who is responsible for discharging duties on behalf of the government. The bill would give an opportunity for that.
It is also important that ministers of the Crown and the House hold individuals accountable when they fail in their duties. As we saw recently in a tragic case, there was a failure of Parole Board members to properly and responsibly execute their responsibilities. Speedy action would reassure Canadians that they can have confidence in those who are responsible for discharging duties on behalf of Canadians.
When an incident occurs, it is incumbent on ministers of the Crown, particularly the minister of public safety, to take the necessary steps to fire a member of the Parole Board, even if he or she was a Liberal appointee who had been dutifully run through Liberal lists and approved by those in the PMO who make decisions. They still have to do the right thing for Canadians, restore confidence and fire people who fail to execute their duties responsibly.
The bill would give more opportunities for oversight as well.
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View Tako Van Popta Profile
CPC (BC)
View Tako Van Popta Profile
2020-02-21 10:47 [p.1373]
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Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to join the debate on Bill C-3, an act to amend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act and the Canada Border Services Agency Act.
The legislation before us would rename the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP to the public complaints and review commission which, as an oversight committee, would also have responsibility to review civilian complaints against the Canada Border Services Agency.
Canada has a very long, unprotected border with our neighbour to the south. The United States of America is our biggest trading partner, and that means we need to have an effective border services agency. Every year, the agency processes 100 million people into Canada at our border crossings and at airports, rail crossings and sea ports. It processes 20 million commercial shipments every year and 46 million courier shipments. Every day there is about $2 billion in trade between these two great trading partners. Along with national security and safety, the CBSA is also charged with providing priority to efficiency in trade and commerce.
My constituency of Langley—Aldergrove has one of four B.C. Lower Mainland border crossings. It is a critical tool for our citizens and businesses. The citizens of my riding are looking for efficiency at this and other border crossings to expedite business and relationships. They are also looking for security and safety.
Many people in my riding are gun enthusiasts, and are rightly concerned by proposed further restrictions on already stringent firearms possession and acquisition rules. They are genuinely concerned that these further restrictions will have the effect of only pointing the finger at them, law-abiding citizens who acquired the firearms lawfully and who diligently follow all the rules about safe storage, transport and use.
They ask why the government is not looking at where the real problem is, namely at people who obtain guns illegally, largely by cross-border smuggling. We need border security officers who have both the tools and the resources to do their job effectively.
Our border services officers have extraordinary powers. For example, they may detain people for questioning, search vehicles and packages, and arrest people without a warrant. I would argue that these are necessary powers if we want our CBSA officers to do the work that we expect them to do. However, as a corollary to these exceptional and extraordinary powers, our border services officers must also be subject to oversight.
Currently, there is oversight by courts, commissions and tribunals, but we need stronger arm's-length civilian monitoring, which is what Bill C-3 would do. A civilian review commission would improve oversight and help the CBSA be an even more effective agency in performing its duties and functions. However, to be a truly effective agency for Canada, as Canada strives to uphold the integrity and security of its borders, the CBSA must also be properly resourced in both manpower and equipment, which is our party's position.
Given the need for balancing border security and market efficiency, something I am sure the government also agrees with, we are left bewildered as to why the government is not acting decisively on unwelcome threats to our markets and security.
Why is the government ignoring the needs of Canadians, including the needs of my constituency of Langley—Aldergrove? Our border with the U.S.A. is very important to businesses in Langley. This border crossing, the Aldergrove-Lynden border crossing, is open for business from 8 a.m. until midnight every day, and those limited opening hours slow cross-border traffic down, to the detriment of businesses in my riding. The businesses and people in this riding would benefit greatly from a 24-7 opening of this crucial link with the United States, our prime trading partner.
The president of the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce was quoted recently in one of our local newspapers as saying our “local prosperity depends on our ability to export our goods and services across the country and around the globe.” He also pointed out the obvious: that companies prioritize shipping times based on when and where they are best able to move goods.
The Langley area, because of its proximity to both the United States and metro Vancouver, has two strategically located industrial parks zoned for manufacturing and logistics. These zones are tied to highways and rail crossings with the United States.
The president of the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce said, “We need to be able to move goods, whether out of a port or land border, at reduced times.”
B.C. is an export-driven economy. The president added that its prosperity “hinges on its ability to trade openly in the global and Canadian markets.”
Along with security at our border crossings and effective oversight of the work the CBSA does, the government also needs to invest in better and more accessible international trade at our border crossings, and in the instance of my riding, to finance longer opening hours.
My constituents are looking to the federal government to work co-operatively with its U.S. counterparts and finally make this a reality. I can guarantee that such an initiative would have the support of the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce and its 1, 025 businesses, and I am certain it would also have the support of the chamber of commerce, businesses and citizens of Whatcom County in Washington state.
The businesses in my community are deeply concerned about the significant negative impacts the recent rail blockages are having on trade and commerce, and what they are doing to our reputation among our trading partners.
A letter, written by chambers of commerce across the country and by various business leaders to the Prime Minister three days ago, states:
In addition to disrupting domestic and global supply chains, the blockades undermine Canada’s reputation as a dependable partner in international trade. They also threaten public safety by preventing the distribution of essential products like chlorine for water treatment and propane for heating homes, seniors' facilities and farms.
The damage inflicted on the Canadian economy and on the welfare of all our citizens mounts with each hour that these illegal disruptions are allowed to continue. Each additional day that rail lines are disrupted requires three to four days for supply chains to recover. This is why it is imperative that the Government act now to get the Canadian economy moving again.
A letter written last week by the Canadian Global Cities Council, addressed to the Minister of Transport and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, states:
As the Canadian Global Cities Council (CGCC), we represent over 50 per cent of Canada's gross domestic product and population. Given the events of the past few days, [rail blockages,] we are deeply concerned by the ongoing disruptions to Canada's trade and exports. The impact is also being felt beyond Canada's borders and is harming the country's reputation as a stable and viable supply chain partner. While many of Canada's good destined for the world are currently unable to reach global markets, we are concerned with reports of international shippers diverting traffic away from Canadian ports.
While Bill C-3 is to be applauded for what it would do to support the Canada Border Services Agency, urgent attention needs to be paid to the current crisis that threatens trade and commerce at these border crossings.
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View Todd Doherty Profile
CPC (BC)
View Todd Doherty Profile
2020-02-21 10:56 [p.1374]
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Mr. Speaker, one of the things we have seen time and again in the previous session, and again in this session so far, with the government is that it likes to talk about consultation. It likes to say that it has consulted with Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
Does our hon. colleague know if indeed the RCMP and CBSA front-line officers were consulted with respect to Bill C-3?
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View Tako Van Popta Profile
CPC (BC)
View Tako Van Popta Profile
2020-02-21 10:57 [p.1374]
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Mr. Speaker, while this party supports Bill C-3, we are disappointed that there has been a lack of consultation with key stakeholders and leaders, with the RCMP, the CBSA and the unions representing the people who work for those great organizations. It is a disappointment.
That said, the bill will be effective in enhancing the work these organizations are doing, but the lack of consultation has been, and continues to be, problematic.
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View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Adam Vaughan Profile
2020-02-21 10:57 [p.1375]
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Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest as the member opposite talked about trying to extend border-crossing hours in his riding. It is something I think any riding that has a border-crossing boundary is interested in.
The previous Harper government cut border investments by $390 million. I was wondering if the member opposite could reflect upon whether a budget cut of $390 million would extend hours, or not only curtail hours but also curtail security at the border, and whether cutting money from the budget for border crossing is a way to realize his goal or whether his goal would require an investment.
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View Tako Van Popta Profile
CPC (BC)
View Tako Van Popta Profile
2020-02-21 10:58 [p.1375]
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Mr. Speaker, my advice is that what was said is misleading, and that the public accounts do not support that allegation.
I will take the opportunity to reiterate how important it would be to my riding to have that border open 24-7. It would have the support of not only Langley—Aldergrove, but surrounding regions as well, and it would certainly have the support of businesses in the chamber of commerce in Whatcom County. I think it is time that we moved ahead with that.
There are other border crossings that are 24-7, but recently there was flooding at the Sumas border crossing, so a lot of traffic was then redirected to the Langley—Aldergrove border crossing, which is only open for 20 hours a day. There were long lineups, which I was personally subjected to.
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View Darrell Samson Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Darrell Samson Profile
2020-02-21 10:59 [p.1375]
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Mr. Speaker, as you know, February is Black History Month.
It is time to look back at the monumental role that African Canadian communities have played in Canadian history. No African-Canadian community has had such a long and rich history as the African Nova Scotian community. This community has given birth to some incredible historic figures, such as civil rights activist Viola Desmond, world-renowned singer Portia White and Victoria Cross recipient William Hall.
This community was the first African-Canadian community to touch Canada and is the oldest generational community of African descent in our nation. Many members of the African Nova Scotian community reside in North Preston, East Preston, Loon Lake, Cherry Brook and surrounding areas, and I am very proud to be their member of Parliament.
I encourage everyone in the House and this country to learn more about the important contributions of African Canadians.
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View Chris Lewis Profile
CPC (ON)
View Chris Lewis Profile
2020-02-21 11:00 [p.1375]
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Mr. Speaker, I rise today to salute navigator Edward McCloskey, native son of Maidstone, missing in action in France during World War II, and I give credit to Essex Free Press reporter Sylene Argent and thanks to Mark McGuire, also of Maidstone, for his account.
While living in France in 1989, Mark learned through a new-found friend that in July 1944, the friend and his mother saw a low-flying plane with RCAF insignia, followed by an exchange of gunfire and a large explosion. Learning that the crew was buried at the Commonwealth cemetery nearby, Mark paid his respects. He paused at one of the tombstones. lt read “E.J. McCloskey, Navigator”.
Thirty years later, Navigator McCloskey's niece, Marilyn Scratch, approached Mark to ask if he was the one who had found “Uncle Ed”. He was able to provide photos of the headstone and valuable closure to the family.
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View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Adam Vaughan Profile
2020-02-21 11:01 [p.1375]
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Mr. Speaker, every morning thousands of kids across Canada jump into swimming pools with dreams of Olympic glory. The drive to make a personal best, to perfect a turn or a start or to ultimately reach the podium is the product of incredible individual will and might, but it is never done alone. Each morning, these athletes dive into the water to train. There are coaches across Canada literally on deck, walking alongside these young athletes as they drive forward. Great coaches do not just create champions; they help create leaders. They build strong futures for these kids and help them grow as they compete.
This week, Swimming Canada lost one of its best coaches, and the families whose kids swim for the North York Aquatic Club lost a friend and a mentor, someone who helped propel a generation of Canadians toward Olympic glory and well beyond. Murray Drudge's sudden passing has broken hearts and shocked the swim community, but the dreams he has given shape to, the dreams of Olympic gold and the scholarship opportunities that live on through the young athletes he trained are his legacy.
These dreams are Murray's legacy. They are his personal best.
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View Jack Harris Profile
NDP (NL)
View Jack Harris Profile
2020-02-21 11:02 [p.1376]
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Mr. Speaker, the number of temporary workers in Canada is increasing. They are becoming a large part of the workforce, with short-term, temporary and contract work, and it is a disturbing trend. They earn 20% less than those with permanent jobs, have fewer or no benefits and little security. No wonder it has been called precarious work. It affects a lot of young people.
Over two million Canadians are in temporary jobs, more than 13% of those employed. In Atlantic Canada, it is worse: It is 21% in P.E.I., and in Newfoundland and Labrador it is 26%.
Workers at Canada Post in St. John's are fed up. One plant has 90 temporary workers out of a workforce of 200, nearly half, and some have been with Canada Post for five to 10 years. The corporation seems determined to rely more and more on temporary workers by replacing retiring or transferred employees with temps.
The Liberal government and the minister should do what it takes to reverse that trend at Canada Post to ensure permanent full-time employment where possible. Canada Post should be setting an example by providing quality jobs along with quality service.
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View Marwan Tabbara Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Marwan Tabbara Profile
2020-02-21 11:03 [p.1376]
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Mr. Speaker, I rise today to draw attention to the many Lebanese who are out on the streets, protesting inequality and lack of opportunity in the dire economic crisis. Lebanon is the third-highest-indebted country in the world. In 2016, payments consumed 48% of the government's revenues, limiting its ability to make much-needed investments in infrastructure and public services.
The top 1% of Lebanese receive approximately 25% of Lebanon's national income, while the bottom 50% of the population are left with 10%, making Lebanon one of the countries with the worst income inequality in the world.
Protesters are demanding equality and a brighter future for themselves, their families and all Lebanese citizens. Khalil Gibran, a famous Lebanese poet, once wrote, “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls”.
I stand with the strong and bold Lebanese who are protesting for a brighter future for all of Lebanon.
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View Richard Lehoux Profile
CPC (QC)
View Richard Lehoux Profile
2020-02-21 11:05 [p.1376]
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Mr. Speaker, one of the most precious gifts in life is to have a child. Unfortunately, some families face the daily challenge of raising a child with a limitation.
I would like to recognize the contribution of an organization in my riding that provides support and respite to many families who are dealing with that challenge, the Association d'entraide communautaire La Fontaine. Established in 1996, the association's mission is to provide services to the families of people with autism spectrum disorder or intellectual or physical limitations in our community. It provides critical support to parents by giving them time to recharge their batteries and devote time to other family members.
I would like to commend the dedicated and committed members of the Association d'entraide communautaire La Fontaine team for continuing to offer support to families, despite the challenges they faced just before the holidays.
I wish this organization continued success so that our children remain the most precious gift in the world.
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View Paul Lefebvre Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Paul Lefebvre Profile
2020-02-21 11:05 [p.1376]
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Mr. Speaker, Sudburians recently joined more than a dozen police officers for an informal one-on-one Friday afternoon chat at a South End coffee shop. Once things got brewing, no topic was off limits.
Maintaining community trust can be a challenge for police.
Fortunately, in Sudbury, our police are part of our community. They work, live and play here.
I commend the efforts of Constable Mickey Teed of the Greater Sudbury Police Service. He helped launch Coffee with a Cop in order to give members of the public an opportunity to talk with police, share some stories and ask some questions that they would normally not get a chance to ask.
As the local MP, I am happy to report that more Coffee with a Cop get-togethers are planned for other parts of Sudbury. Together, let us continue building bridges between cops and community.
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View Geoff Regan Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Geoff Regan Profile
2020-02-21 11:06 [p.1377]
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Mr. Speaker, on February 8, the Africa Festival of Arts and Culture hosted a Black History Month dinner at Mount Saint Vincent University. Everyone there got to experience the magnificent tastes and sounds of Africa.
This event commemorated the contributions of African Canadians to war efforts, including the contributions of William Hall, the first Nova Scotian to be awarded the Victoria Cross, of the members of the No. 2 Construction Battalion, who served with distinction during the First World War, and of those who served during the Second World War and other conflicts, often making the ultimate sacrifice.
One of our great shames is that so little credit was given to these heroes for so long, and rarely during their lifetimes. The tremendous contributions made by black Canadians to our country deserve our respect and admiration. We can do better.
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View Philip Lawrence Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak on behalf of the working men and women across this great country. They are the individuals who make sure our homes are warm, our transportation moves and our children are fed. Over the past five years, working people of our country have found it more and more difficult and, unfortunately the government is putting prosperity out of the hands of way too many.
Self-inflicted wounds, like the carbon tax and the blockade, are creating conditions for a devastating made-in-Canada recession. The working people of our country see right through the rhetoric and platitudes, and they demand action. They demand a Prime Minister who will stand up for the working people of our country.
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View Karen McCrimmon Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Karen McCrimmon Profile
2020-02-21 11:08 [p.1377]
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Mr. Speaker, I have stood here before and spoken of the amazing technology advancements that are taking place in Kanata, Canada's largest high-technology park. The future of technology in Kanata and Canada has never been brighter. Merge Robotics and the Earl of March Lions are just two of the local robotics clubs made up of young students mentored by dedicated engineers, scientists, business leaders and talented university students.
Two exciting events will be taking place soon.
The first is the 2020 Robot Reveal and Open House to be held February 26 between 6:30 and 8:30 at the Beaverbrook public library in Kanata. The Merge Robotics students will be on hand to show off their new robot.
Also, for the first time, Ottawa will be hosting a robotics competition at Carleton University, from March 13 to March 15. Many local teams are participating. This event is free to the public.
I encourage everyone to come out and encourage these young people. The future is bright.
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View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
View Dan Albas Profile
2020-02-21 11:09 [p.1377]
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Mr. Speaker, a very exciting thing is happening next week in my riding, and more precisely in the community of Merritt. What is so exciting? The dinosaurs are coming. More accurately, next week Jurassic World 3 will be filming in the area.
We should never overlook the importance of the B.C. film industry and the significant contributions that film productions create for local economies. In the 2018-19 fiscal year, Creative BC reported that 384 productions contributed $3.2 billion to British Columbia's economy alone. This is great news for British Columbia, and in the case of Jurassic World 3, it is terrific news for Merritt.
I should also mention that the production also had a casting call for local citizens. According to the casting call, they are looking for people to play dinosaur food.
Please join me in recognizing the community of Merritt for being the perfect place to feed dinosaurs.
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View Michael Barrett Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Speaker, retired Senator Bob Runciman had a political career spanning 45 years at the local, provincial and federal levels. He was a senior cabinet minister in Ontario and twice the interim leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.
None of it would have been possible without the loving support of his wife Jeannette. Tragically, Jeanette passed away last week. Her sense of humour, sound political instincts and common sense made her the senator's greatest adviser. Jeanette was authentic and humble. She was an environmentalist before it was trendy and a great lover and defender of animals her whole life.
She was a loving mother, wife, grandmother and aunt. Her family meant everything to her. Her daughters, Robin and Sue, have lost not just a mother, but also their best friend.
The Runcimans would have celebrated 56 years of marriage next month. It is a great love story ended by a terrible tragedy. I thank Jeanette for her commitment to our community. She will be dearly missed.
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View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2020-02-21 11:13 [p.1378]
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Mr. Speaker, last September I was invited by Tseshaht First Nation to witness a solemn ceremony on the site of the former Alberni Indian Residential School. More than 450 people from 88 first nations gathered to reclaim the lost souls of the many indigenous children who died while attending this school over the 92 years it was open.
The ceremony was a first step in creating a cultural way for the spirits of these children to be reclaimed. Many of the participants at the reclaiming lost souls ceremony were returning to the site of the school for the first time since it closed in 1973.
As a witness, I bring this message from those who are doing this important work. There is still much intergenerational healing needed from the trauma experienced by many generations of children attending residential schools. The federal government needs to invest more funding and resources into tearing down these schools and supporting healing initiatives across Canada.
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View Marilène Gill Profile
BQ (QC)
View Marilène Gill Profile
2020-02-21 11:13 [p.1378]
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Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Sonia Poirier, an extraordinary constituent of mine who embodies the courage, resilience and strength of the people of the North Shore. In 2018, Ms. Poirier saved the lives of her daughter and her daughter's best friend when their boat capsized and her husband and brother-in-law disappeared into the lake's icy waters. She had to swim for hours and make it through a cold night to save the lives of the two girls as they waited and hoped for rescue.
Ms. Poirier is an active member of her community and a worthy member of the great Rotary family, as was her late husband, Bruno. She has written an account of this pivotal moment in her life to show that, no matter what tragedies we may encounter, we can and must choose to live. In my meetings with Ms. Poirier, she proved to be a loving, brilliant, courageous and radiant woman who is focused on chasing her dreams as she cherishes the precious memories of the loved ones she lost.
Sonia, your heroism has inspired me, the people of the North Shore and everyone all across Quebec.
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View John Barlow Profile
CPC (AB)
View John Barlow Profile
2020-02-21 11:14 [p.1378]
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Mr. Speaker, Canada's economic future must be in our own hands. The Liberal government cannot listen to a few out-of-touch elites who are intent on shutting down Canada's energy sector.
A group of Noble Prize winners has written to the Prime Minister asking the Liberals to deny the Teck Frontier mine in Alberta. Have they visited northern Alberta and spoken to the 14 first nations that support this project because of the jobs and the prosperity it will create?
Have they met with Canada's own joint advisory panel that reviewed the science and the evidence and deemed this project to be in the best interests of the country? Did they actually read the panel's report which outlines how the Teck Frontier mine will actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions by displacing dirty coal with clean Canadian natural gas?
Have they met with Teck who has actually committed to have zero net emissions by 2050, which is in line with the government's own targets?
This is a $20-billion project that is good for Alberta and is good for Canada. Albertans support it. First nations support it. Canadians support it. These elites should get out of the way and let Canada do what we do best, which is working to develop sustainable clean energy.
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View Shaun Chen Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Shaun Chen Profile
2020-02-21 11:15 [p.1378]
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Mr. Speaker, I rise today to acknowledge the tireless efforts of community organizations in combatting racism and xenophobia stemming from the coronavirus outbreak.
In Scarborough North open forums were recently held at the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto and at Woodside Square with the Chinese Canadian National Council. Public health officials were on hand to hear concerns from residents, help clear misconceptions and handle questions with facts.
While there continues to be ignorance and incidents of discrimination towards the Chinese community, we must unite to overcome fear. Fear is what threatens to undermine our core values, destroy businesses and damage community relations.
Let us tackle fear by supporting one another, our neighbours, restaurants, grocery stores and local shops. As Canadians across the country raise funds and send supplies to China, let us stand together with the front-line medical personnel currently working around the clock to save lives. Let us continue to demonstrate our care and compassion as Canadians.
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View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
View Candice Bergen Profile
2020-02-21 11:16 [p.1378]
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Mr. Speaker, the Coastal GasLink project has been given consent by the majority of the Wet'suwet'en people, but their voices are being ignored by the Liberals.
Rita George, one of their matriarchs, said, “The world thinks the matriarchs are behind all the protests going on and that's not true. None of the matriarchs were contacted.” She further said, “I want the world to know what's been happening to us. We are being bullied, it's so shameful, so hurtful. We are being humiliated.”
Why are the Liberals ignoring the majority of Wet'suwet'en people and instead empowering bullies and lawbreakers?
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View Gary Anandasangaree Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Gary Anandasangaree Profile
2020-02-21 11:17 [p.1379]
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Mr. Speaker, our government is seized with this issue and we believe that dialogue is the best and most preferred way to deal with these matters.
Our minister was in Victoria on Monday. We have had a series of conversations with the hereditary chiefs of the Wet'suwet'en and the minister spoke to several chiefs on Tuesday. The minister reiterated our government's commitment to a joint meeting with the hereditary leadership of the Wet'suwet'en people and the Province of British Columbia. This was also echoed in a joint letter with our counterpart from B.C. We are open and available to meet in person at the earliest opportunity.
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View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
View Candice Bergen Profile
2020-02-21 11:18 [p.1379]
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Mr. Speaker, thousands of Canadians are being laid off and their families do not know when they are going to see a paycheque again. Billions of dollars of essential goods cannot get to their destination and the economic impact is dire.
In fact, Atlantic Container Line says it will no longer ship goods to Halifax while these blockades continue. There are worries about propane shortages and higher food prices as a result of the Prime Minister's weak leadership.
How much worse does it have to get before the Prime Minister steps up and stops these illegal blockades?
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View Chris Bittle Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Chris Bittle Profile
2020-02-21 11:18 [p.1379]
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Mr. Speaker, the government fully understands and is deeply concerned by the impact the blockades are having on small businesses, farmers who rely on freight rail, rail employees, as well as the towns and communities that need rail service to get essential products such as chlorine to treat their drinking water.
We are working with all levels of government to find a swift resolution to these blockades. The Prime Minister convened a call with his provincial counterparts yesterday. We are encouraged by the progress on the blockade in New Hazelton, British Columbia. We are actively working for a similar resolution on all remaining blockades.
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View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
View Candice Bergen Profile
2020-02-21 11:19 [p.1379]
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Mr. Speaker, by empowering and emboldening lawbreakers and bullies, the government is setting the stage for more disruption and anarchy in this country.
Our economy is being shut down. Jobs are being lost and the voices of first nations people are being ignored. The best interests of Canadians are being ignored. The Liberal inaction on this is disgraceful.
When will the Liberal government stand up for law and order, stand up for first nations rights, stand up for jobs and end these illegal blockades?
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View Joël Lightbound Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Joël Lightbound Profile
2020-02-21 11:19 [p.1379]
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Mr. Speaker, we recognize that this situation is very troubling for the Canadian economy, for the movement of goods and people, and we want to see it resolved. That is in fact the consensus that emerged from the meeting with the provincial premiers.
We want to keep the discussions going in search of a peaceful solution, as quickly as possible. It is time for the blockades to end.
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View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2020-02-21 11:20 [p.1379]
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Mr. Speaker, that is precisely the problem: The blockades are still in place because of the government's appalling inaction for over two weeks now. That is the reality.
Meanwhile, there has been a growing number of victims. Today we learned that the Société du chemin de fer de la Gaspésie must lay off half of its employees. That means 15 breadwinners who no longer have a job today and are not receiving a salary.
What is the government doing? What does the government have to say to those people?
My question is very simple. It is for the Minister of National Revenue, the member for Gaspésie—Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine.
What does she have to say to those breadwinners in the Gaspé who today have no job, apart from asking them to be patient?
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View Joël Lightbound Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Joël Lightbound Profile
2020-02-21 11:20 [p.1379]
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Mr. Speaker, this is a situation we are taking very seriously. The entire government and all of cabinet are working on this issue. They are hard at work, every hour and every minute of the day, seeking a solution, a peaceful solution, to this conflict.
That means pursuing dialogue. However, we have been very clear that dialogue has its limits.
Now it surprises me to hear the member for Louis-Saint-Laurent offering Canadians such simple, or rather, such simplistic solutions to such a complex problem. He should be more cautious.
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View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2020-02-21 11:21 [p.1379]
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Mr. Speaker, the people of Gaspé have just seen that, sadly, their two-term duly elected MP is being muzzled by her government, which will not let her speak when she is asked a direct question that concerns Gaspé residents. The government will have to live with its choices.
Because of the choices that the government has made over the past two weeks, things are getting worse for farmers with every passing day. Marcel Groleau, the president of the UPA, wrote the Prime Minister a letter telling him that “it does not seem like the government intends to act quickly”.
Could the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, who is an MP from Quebec, tell Mr. Groleau what the government is going to do, instead of telling him to be patient?
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View Joël Lightbound Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Joël Lightbound Profile
2020-02-21 11:22 [p.1380]
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Mr. Speaker, I would be happy to answer my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent in my capacity as chair of the Quebec caucus. We are deeply concerned about this situation. We want this conflict to be resolved quickly yet peacefully. The provincial premiers agree that the path forward is through dialogue. However, dialogue has its limits. That is our position. We are in the process of weighing all our options so we can defuse this crisis as quickly as possible.
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View Marilène Gill Profile
BQ (QC)
View Marilène Gill Profile
2020-02-21 11:22 [p.1380]
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Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister must take real action to resolve the rail crisis today. No one wants to see another photo of him sitting in a chair and chatting with his colleagues. We want to see him on the ground, outdoors, talking to indigenous chiefs. We want him to confirm that there are no longer any RCMP officers on the Wet'suwet'en territory and that the pipeline project at the heart of the controversy will be put on hold while discussions take place.
Will the government finally take action?
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View Gary Anandasangaree Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Gary Anandasangaree Profile
2020-02-21 11:23 [p.1380]
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Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has a cabinet that is seized with the situation and is working around the clock on an ongoing basis.
We all want peace. We all want to get rail traffic going across the country. Our Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and our Minister of Indigenous Services have stated that they are ready and willing to meet with the hereditary leadership at the earliest opportunity. With the B.C. RCMP's outreach to the chiefs yesterday, we hope this creates the ability to advance a peaceful resolution.
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View Louise Chabot Profile
BQ (QC)
View Louise Chabot Profile
2020-02-21 11:23 [p.1380]
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Mr. Speaker, thousands of VIA Rail and CN workers have already received layoff notices because of the rail blockade.
Throughout Quebec, companies of all sizes, including Resolute Forest Products, are telling us that they too will have to lay off employees. The government must take action. Dialogue does not consist of sending letters; it should be carried out face-to-face by the Prime Minister and the chiefs, nation to nation.
What real action will the government take so that on Monday morning the crisis is behind us?
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View Chris Bittle Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Chris Bittle Profile
2020-02-21 11:24 [p.1380]
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Mr. Speaker, we are fully aware of and deeply concerned about the impacts of the decision CN was forced to take and its consequent impact on VIA Rail, as well as the people who rely on freight rail and rail employees.
The department has been in constant communication with CN and CP. Furthermore, the Prime Minister has convened the incident response group with members of our team to discuss the situation and assess our path forward. All parties must engage in open and respectful dialogue to ensure the situation is resolved peacefully. We strongly urge the parties to do so.
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View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
2020-02-21 11:25 [p.1380]
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Mr. Speaker, less than three years ago the Prime Minister said, “No relationship is more important to Canada than the relationship with Indigenous Peoples.”
The Prime Minister has fallen a long way since then. Weeks ago, when we asked the Prime Minister to step up to de-escalate the situation in the Wet'suwet'en territories, he said it was not his problem.
It was then. It is now. When will he meet with the hereditary chiefs?
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View Gary Anandasangaree Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Gary Anandasangaree Profile
2020-02-21 11:25 [p.1380]
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Mr. Speaker, our government is seized with this matter. The Prime Minister has a cabinet that is working on the situation around the clock. We all want peace and we want to get rail traffic going across the country.
The Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and the Minister of Indigenous Services have stated that they are ready and willing to meet with the hereditary leadership at the earliest opportunity. With the B.C. RCMP's outreach to the chiefs yesterday, we hope this creates the ability to advance a peaceful resolution.
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View Leah Gazan Profile
NDP (MB)
View Leah Gazan Profile
2020-02-21 11:26 [p.1380]
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Mr. Speaker, with all due respect, that was a lot of talking points from the member opposite, but not an answer to our question.
We will ask again. When will the Prime Minister meet with the hereditary chiefs?
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