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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-06-20 10:18 [p.29465]
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Mr. Speaker, this will be my last opportunity to table a petition on behalf of my constituents.
It is my honour to table yet another petition from my constituents calling on the government to enact a Canadian environmental bill of rights. The petitioners state that Canadians share a deep concern about the environment and recognize its inherent value; that it is important to safeguard the right of present and future generations to a healthy and ecologically balanced environment; and that it is the federal government's duty, a public trust duty, to protect the environment.
Therefore, citizens should be given the tools to hold the government accountable to protect their environment.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-06-13 13:37 [p.29053]
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Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member. I am a great admirer. She clearly stands up for the rights of the people of Labrador, and definitely the indigenous people of Labrador.
I, too, am deeply concerned that it has taken the government so long to bring forward this bill. It was a reprehensible move by the Conservatives in the last Parliament. Indeed, all parties were forced for vote for it, because the Conservatives tied it to the devolution vote. It was reprehensible. My former colleague Dennis Bevington, then the member for Northwest Territories, spoke strongly against this move. It was clearly unconstitutional.
I had the privilege of being the assistant deputy minister for renewable resources in the Yukon, and I played a part in the negotiation of first nations final agreements and self-governance agreements. I was well aware of what was being done to the Tlicho, the Gwich'in and the Dehcho, who finally had final agreements.
If the hon. member and her party are so dedicated to respecting the rights of indigenous people, will she speak up, speak to the senators and tell them to finally bring forward Bill C-262 and finally put in place, as Liberals had promised, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples? Will they finally—
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-06-12 15:33 [p.28999]
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Mr. Speaker, I have three petitions to present to the House today.
The first petition is e-petition 2172. It contains the signatures of 1,836 Albertans. The petitioners call on the government to enact my bill, Bill C-438, which proposes to establish a Canadian environmental bill of rights, which would extend to all Canadians the right to a clean, healthy and ecologically balanced environment.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-06-12 15:34 [p.28999]
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Mr. Speaker, the next two petitions are from more than 100 Albertans, who are calling on the government to immediately implement a universal prescription drug plan that would cover everyone, regardless of income, age or where one lives.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-06-06 17:12 [p.28722]
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moved that Bill C-438, An Act to enact the Canadian Environmental Bill of Rights and to make related amendments to other Acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
She said: Madam Speaker, there are many in this place who know that I have long awaited the opportunity to debate this bill again. It is Bill C-438, an act to enact the Canadian Environmental Bill of Rights and to make related amendments to other acts, because that includes an amendment to the bill of rights.
This is the fourth time that I have tabled this bill in 11 years in this place over three Parliaments. I believe the first time I tabled it was as soon as I was elected, somewhere between 2008 and 2009. That bill was debated and went through committee, and I will get into that in a minute. Today, in the brief time I am allotted, I hope to say what an environmental bill of rights is, what its origin is, why it is needed, and who has endorsed the need for an environmental bill of rights.
The environmental bill of rights legally extends the right to a healthy, ecologically balanced environment to Canadians. It confirms the duty of the Government of Canada to uphold its public trust duty to protect the environment. It amends the Canadian Bill of Rights to add environmental rights. It extends a bundle of rights and tools to Canadians, including having a voice in decisions impacting their health and environment, having standing before courts and tribunals, and having the power to hold the government accountable on effective environmental enforcement and on the review of law and policies. It extends protections for government whistle-blowers who release to Canadians information that is relevant to health and environmental impacts.
As I mentioned, I have tabled this bill four times over 11 years in three successive governments. My bill actually survived a challenge and gained a speaker's ruling in my favour when the Conservatives tried to crush it in 2009. It did proceed to second reading and on to committee. Sadly, it was essentially shredded at committee. It then died on the Order Paper when the early election was called.
I retabled it again, as I mentioned, in 2011 and 2015 and again in a revised, updated form in 2019.
Why is an environmental bill of rights needed? Community voices, the voices of non-governmental organizations and indigenous voices are absolutely critical triggers for action to protect health and the environment. Federal law and policy is made all the stronger with public engagement, and public rights are absolutely critical to government accountability. That has been my direct experience over the almost 50 years that I have been an environmental lawyer and advocate.
I want to now give a couple of examples of what happens when the public is engaged and their rights are upheld, and what happens when they are not.
One strong example is an engagement that I had, along with a small community organization in Alberta. We were dealing with how to improve air emissions from coal-fired power. Coal-fired power is still the major source of electricity in Alberta and Saskatchewan, and it is huge in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
Mercury from coal-fired power is the largest source of industrial mercury in North America, and mercury is a neurotoxin. It was the first substance listed by the federal government under the former Environmental Contaminants Act and was incorporated into the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, yet to this day, the federal government has never regulated mercury from coal-fired power.
I intervened as a volunteer in the review of the standards. It is a consensus process. I dug in my heels. If industry wanted to get their emissions standards for NOx, sulfur dioxide particulate, they had to agree to my recommendation that mercury had to be captured by that sector, and there had to be a law in place. To the credit of the Alberta government, they enacted that law.
That is a clear example showing that had my community not intervened, neither the federal nor the provincial government would have stepped forward, after 40 years of burning coal in Alberta, to actually stop the flow of mercury into our lakes.
Another example that we have been talking about over the last couple of months in this place is the issue of mercury at Grassy Narrows, and there is a different example. If the indigenous community at Grassy Narrows had been directly engaged in decisions on how those industrial operations were going to operate in their community and along the river and had been engaged on the issue of whether or not it was safe to put effluent that had high levels of mercury contamination into the river, and if they had been given the information on the potential health and environmental impacts and a seat at the table to have a say in how that plan should operate, I do not believe that we would be facing the health impacts and the expense of cleaning up that area now.
Those are the two differences in what happens when we have some environmental rights, the opportunity to be at the table and access to information. The other, Grassy Narrows, is an example of where we did not do that and there is a high cost, both health-wise and financially.
A number of times in this place I have raised concern with the impact of emissions on the indigenous community next to the Sarnia industrial complex and the failure of both levels of government to combat those and do proper health studies and control. That community has struggled just in trying to get basic information on what the emissions are, whether controls are in place and whether it is impacting their health.
Ongoing frustration was felt by indigenous communities in northern Alberta when they attempted to finally have a health impact study delivered in their communities on the impact of oil sands emissions on their health, despite the fact that there was a release quite some years ago about the high rate of rare cancers. A lot of work was also done by scientists, showing a buildup of contaminants in the Athabasca River, in the air and on the land.
Just this week, three chiefs in that area published an article in The Hill Times. They said the oil sands is the only activity in their area for employment and economic development. They invest in the oil sands. They demand to have a seat at the table on decisions as to whether or not they are going to allow the draining of the contaminated water in those tar ponds into the Athabasca River. It is going to contaminate the Athabasca River on to Lake Athabasca and on into the Northwest Territories. This has been going on for many years and the government, behind closed doors, has been making these decisions.
This is a perfect example of the need for an environmental bill of rights. If we had an environmental bill of rights, those communities would have the right to all that information, the right to the process that is going on, and the right to have a seat at the table in determining whether or not that is a wise decision.
The Mikisew Cree eventually had to go to UNESCO to demand that there be action on the impact of the Site C dam, the Bennett dam and the oil sands operations on the Peace-Athabasca Delta and the world heritage site. They issued directives, and we are still waiting for the government to act on those directives.
Two other final examples are pipelines. If the former Conservative government had actually listened to its advisers, if it had listened to first nations and if it had listened to the environmental community, it would have known it could not proceed with the northern gateway pipeline until it respected first nations' rights and interests. It was the same issue on the TMX pipeline, but as the court held, there was no consideration under the government obligations with regard to endangered species. Therefore, those projects have been stalled or cancelled.
If we had an environmental bill of rights, it would clarify the right to participate, the right to access to information and the right to access to experts and to legal counsel, so that one could come to the table in a constructive and informed way.
Who has endorsed this concept? Some provinces and territories have enacted an array of environmental rights, and some of those limited rights have been enacted in federal laws. Sadly, a good number of those laws were downgraded by the Harper government. That government downgraded the federal impact assessment process, thereby limiting the opportunities for people to participate and the kinds of projects that would be reviewed, including the expansion of oil sands projects and in situ operations.
The Liberals promised in the 2015 campaign that they would immediately strengthen federal environmental laws. Four years into it there is still no action on the report of my committee on reforming CEPA, which would have expanded environmental rights, and we do not know what the fate of Bill C-69 is. We are waiting with bated breath to know what will happen to all of those regressive amendments proposed in the Senate.
The North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation was a side agreement to NAFTA. It was enforced by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, where I had the privilege of working for four years as the head of law and enforcement. Under that agreement, Canada, along with Mexico and the United States, committed to public participation in conserving, protecting and enhancing the environment. It also committed to giving people the opportunity to comment on proposed environmental measures and the right to seek a report on effective environmental enforcement, stand before administrative, quasi-judicial and judicial proceedings, and have access to remedies. Those are exactly the provisions that are in the bill before us today.
Canada already committed years ago to move forward and uphold these rights. Therefore, I have tabled this proposal over and over again to try to encourage the government to respond to the current trade law. In a minute, I will speak about what the government could have done and was asked to do.
There is a side agreement to the proposed new trade law. However, I am sad to say it has been downgraded from the existing one. All of the trade deals that have been signed and sealed since NAFTA have downgraded the environmental rights enshrined in the side agreements.
The United Nations Human Rights Council special rapporteur was asked to look into human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a clean, safe, healthy and sustainable environment. He travelled the world for four years. On behalf of the Human Rights Council, he issued an environmental bill of rights framework for all nations to adopt. Guess what. It is exactly the framework in my bill.
Over 90 nations have extended these rights through constitutions, laws, court rulings, international treaties or declarations. Canada is far behind.
In 2009, the Aarhus convention was signed by many countries of the world, and in large part by European and Scandinavian nations. It committed the signatories to provide access to information, public participation decision-making and access to justice and environmental matters. Canada said it did not have to sign it because it was already extending those rights. In fact, it has not done that yet.
Recently, to the credit of many in this place, many members of Parliament signed the environmental rights pledge issued by the David Suzuki Foundation through the Blue Dot campaign. We had a big celebration on Monday night, celebrating the fact that so many parliamentarians were committed to enacting environmental rights.
This is something interesting. In 2018, the Liberals held a federal convention and passed a resolution. That resolution reminded the Liberals that in June 2010, all Liberals members of Parliament present in the House of Commons voted in favour of Bill C-469, which was my environmental bill of rights. The convention reminded the members that the United Nations recognized environmental rights as a basic human right. They then passed a resolution, saying that the Liberal Party of Canada urged the Government of Canada to enact legislation establishing a Canadian environmental bill of rights.
I have said all along, since the first day I was elected in 2008, that I would welcome the government of the day taking my bill and enacting a full-fledged bill. Here we are with a couple of weeks left in this place and nothing has occurred. That is why I am delighted I can debate the bill, and I look forward to the response of some of my colleagues.
To date, over 3,000 Canadians have signed petitions, both e-petitions and hard-copy petitions, saying that they support the enactment of this environmental bill of rights. Ecojustice, the David Suzuki Foundation and, most recently, the Social Justice Cooperative Newfoundland and Labrador have endorsed this bill and called for action by the government to enact this law.
I look forward to hearing the comments from other parties in the House. It has been my absolute pleasure to work with other members of Parliament on environmental matters. I know there are strong promoters of environmental rights here, and I hope to hear from them this evening.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-06-06 17:27 [p.28725]
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Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague. I thought we had been working since 1979, or I have been. She is a johnny-come-lately. We had a lot of fun working on many campaigns together.
The one thing I forgot to mention is that an endorsement of an environmental bill of rights is already in our party's platform. I am delighted to hear the representative for the Green Party say that she wants to put it forward in her platform. I am looking forward to it being in everybody's platform.
However, what I really want is for it not just to be in people's platforms. Whoever becomes government, if it is a minority and other parties are holding it accountable, let us hold it accountable to actually enact an environmental bill of rights.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-06-06 17:29 [p.28725]
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Madam Speaker, I thank the member for his kind comments. It was a delight to work with him on the committee. He is one member who I will miss.
My bill was never intended to be the full environmental bill of rights. That is a job for the government. The Ontario environmental bill of rights is much deeper than mine and gives all the detail of the proceedings.
The framework of my bill would fully allow for the development of the mechanism of which the member is speaking. Many mechanisms exist at the provincial level that have not been carried forward to the federal level. It would be well worthwhile to have an open dialogue and consultation across the country about how best to set up this law when a government becomes elected and moves forward to enact it. I would hope it would move expeditiously.
I should mention that other provinces have put some of these measures into their specific laws. Quebec specifically has an environmental bill of rights, but it is not terribly detailed. I believe that in both Yukon and Northwest Territories laws there is a form of an environmental bill of rights. Therefore, we have examples we can turn to in building a federal one. We do not have to start at zero.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-06-05 17:04 [p.28598]
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Mr. Speaker, I have three petitions to table.
The first is e-petition 1984 on the protection of the environment. This petition was established by a retired physician and member of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, Raquel Feroe. It represents 1,000 signatures in support of enacting an environmental bill of rights for Canada to impose public trust duty on the federal government to protect the environment and give a bundle of rights to citizens.
I am pleased to say that today e-petition 2172 was closed. I look forward to tabling that. It will be another 1,800 signatures, calling for an environmental bill of rights.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-06-05 17:05 [p.28598]
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Mr. Speaker, the second petition is signed by over 1,000 Albertans from across the province, calling on the government to take action to establish a universal prescription drug plan for pharmacare.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-06-05 17:05 [p.28598]
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Mr. Speaker, the third petition has been signed by Franco-Albertans who say that, every minute, 31 people are forced to flee their homes. The majority of them live in the poorest countries on the planet under extremely difficult conditions: armed conflict, climate change, massive development projects and persecution. The causes of forced migration are multiple, complex and interwoven.
The petitioners are calling on the House of Commons to support grassroots organizations working for peace, democracy and human rights and to invest more in diplomatic and peaceful solutions to armed conflicts.
Nobody should be forced to flee their home.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-06-05 20:25 [p.28626]
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Mr. Speaker, I hope I am not getting all this applause because my colleagues are glad to see the backside of me. I will have a few jokes about that later.
It has been a very interesting evening. It is fabulous hearing from all the members. I am really touched by the speeches of my colleagues. I thought I would start on a lighter note.
I was impressed by my former colleague, Libby Davies, who actually recounted in detail her first day as an elected member of Parliament on the Hill. I wondered how she remembered that, and then I remembered my first moment stepping onto the polished marble floors of Centre Block and almost doing the splits. My sage advice for all the new female MPs who will come in the next election is to make sure that they have rubber soles on their shoes.
I am so happy I could serve in Centre Block. I miss those stained glass windows.
I first want to thank my brother and my niece for being there for me, keeping me fed and my spirits high. The whole world deserves a brother like mine. I am equally indebted to my wonderful friend Carol, who never thinks about politics. It is a delight to come home and talk to her, because we talk about everything else: the tulips being up or a beautiful walk in the forest. That is the kind of friend a politician needs. I thank Carol, who has kept my house and garden whole.
I thank my dear friends Donna and Hans, Frances, Cheryl, Darlene and Stephen for endless friendship and support, my friends from across Canada.
I extend my deep gratitude to my amazing campaign manager, Erica Bullwinkle, and my wonderful campaign teams for all four elections. I notice that not many people have talked about their campaigns, but that is a big part of who we are. We would not be here if we did not campaign. They donated incomparable amounts of time and energy to send me to Ottawa, and what fun we had in those campaigns. It is so much fun canvassing with youth. For those who have never canvassed with young kids, they should try it out. It will change their lives.
Among my fondest memories of an election win was dancing in a pub with the visiting Mexican soccer team, excited that a socialist had been elected for Alberta. As with my colleagues, I was the first NDP and the first woman elected in my riding, but I was also the first NDP elected in Alberta in 25 years, and then re-elected and re-elected again.
I continue to thank people who say they worked on my campaign, and far too often I have to say thanks, because I did not have a chance to thank them before, because Erica kept me out canvassing 24 hours a day.
Absolute, profound accolades are sent to the dedicated Edmonton Strathcona federal constituency association, which, for 11 years, helped at every constituency event, serving refreshments, flipping burgers or sweeping hall floors. These volunteers are the source of democracy in Canada. They are the unsung heroes. They never get volunteer awards, because they are “partisan”. We need to change that.
Too often, the unsung heroes of MPs' offices are their staff. I have been blessed with the most amazing group of dedicated people in my Hill office and in my constituency. There are too many, over the 11 years, to list in my Hill office, but I thank Lorena and Michelle. It is so great to finally have an Albertan working with me on the Hill. We need more Albertans here. There were many staff before that. Angela was my first fabulous legislative assistant, and I still consider her a dear friend.
Currently holding the fort in the riding are Lisa, Melissa and Nigel. Those who have moved on are Erica, Daniel, Niki, Helen and Adi, who is now with Amnesty International. I have had so many incredible staff. I kept saying, “Why are you wasting your time here, Adi? Get out and get a law degree." He graduated from the University of Ottawa law school, organized all the rallies at the American embassy and is now articling with Amnesty International.
I thank my leaders: Jack Layton; Tom Mulcair; Nicole Turmel; and now the member of Parliament for Burnaby South. Where would we be without our leaders inspiring us?
I thank Rob, Christian, the incorrigible Anthony and Theresa, now at city hall. I know we drove her crazy, but she is in our hearts.
To my marvellous caucus colleagues, and I know they are laughing because they cannot believe I am saying this about them, but it has been my challenge to try to get them all to think like Albertans.
I like to think that I am also leaving behind a few friends from other parties.
I thank all the parliamentary officers and staff. I extend a heartfelt thanks to the parliamentary security officers, who, during the 2014 attack on the Hill, put their lives at serious risk to keep us safe. My deepest thanks to all of them.
Few Canadians fully comprehend the dual role of members of Parliament or the limitations on our capacity to tackle every need or concern constituents bring to us, despite our desire to remedy every frustration with a failed service or policy.
I must attest to the heavy hearts of my staff for our failure to resolve every immigrant or refugee claim and every request for better services or better policies that actually help people. However, we have so celebrated those moments of pure joy when our efforts helped a constituent gain long-awaited citizenship, obtain a federal grant or veterans benefit or win a dispute with CRA.
I remain surprised and grateful still when a constituent approaches me in the street, in airports, in the grocery store or when I am travelling overseas. Those Edmonton—Strathcona constituents are everywhere. They approach me to thank me for my service, and it is always unexpected and equally appreciated. It keeps me going, and I most certainly believe that is the same for all members of Parliament.
My 11 years serving as a member of Parliament were diverse and often had unexpected turns.
It has been a privilege serving on the executive of the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Friendship Group, supporting Ukraine through election monitoring and hosting fabulous young Ukrainian interns.
It has been my honour to represent the extraordinary Francophone community in my riding.
I was privileged as a lawyer to benefit from the support of University of Ottawa law school interns, who were invaluable in helping me craft my bills and motions. I encourage every university and every legislature to introduce the same kind of program.
I participated in many of the climate COPs, inspired greatly by the interventions of NGOs and indigenous peoples.
I had the honour of meeting with the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile during the commemoration of their 60 years in exile, and look forward to seeing the president again tomorrow here in Ottawa. I am blessed with a wonderful Tibetan Canadian intern.
I travelled to west Africa with the Governor General and to east Africa to meet with parliamentarians.
I held a remarkable array of critic portfolios: environment; indigenous affairs; western economic diversification; public works; natural resources; and international development. I do not know if I am missing any. I had a lot of them.
I advocated in the House and at the UN for a nuclear disarmament treaty and for enforceable measures for sustainability.
No surprise to those who know me well, I infused an environmental angle into every one of those portfolios. I issued a report on the impact of oil sands on water. I proposed strengthened public and indigenous rights in federal laws on toxins, impact assessments, energy regulation, navigable waters, sustainable development and trade deals.
In public works, I proposed investments in energy efficiency for federal buildings to save taxpayer dollars.
In transport, I proposed stronger measures to regulate dangerous rail cargo and engaged communities directly. That came because of my personal experience with a major CN derailment into Wabamun Lake. The government still has not taken action on that.
I have four times tabled an environmental bill of rights, and I will be debating that bill tomorrow for the last time.
I wish to thank all the environmental community and indigenous leadership who allowed me to be one of their voices for change. It has been an honour representing my constituents and having the privilege of fighting for environmental protection from the inside.
My retirement agenda is to get a rescue dog. My brother says it is my turn.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-06-04 11:01 [p.28473]
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Mr. Speaker, I cannot but stand when the government denies it has tabled omnibus bills. What about the 800-clause Bill C-69? This bill was so huge that it should have gone to three committees: the environment and sustainable development committee, the transport committee and the natural resources committee.
Instead, our committee, the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, had to deal with the 800-clause bill. The Liberals cut off the number of witnesses we could hear. I could choose only three of the 600 first nations to testify. The bill would impact almost every one of them.
Then, when the committee went through clause by clause, we had to end the review half way through because there was not enough time to review it as it was so urgent to pass it.
The world will be watching what the government does with Bill C-69, which the Senate has shredded.
I cannot believe that a member on that side would say the government has never tabled an omnibus bill.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-06-04 14:05 [p.28493]
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Mr. Speaker, last week we sadly lost a truly remarkable Canadian. Dr. Margaret-Ann Armour persevered to excel in chemistry, a traditionally male-dominated field. She was recognized globally for her critical research and teaching in hazardous chemical waste handling and disposal.
Later in her career at the University of Alberta, she was appointed associate dean of science for diversity, channelling her unstoppable energy to advocate for women pursuing STEM careers. She co-created Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science and Technology, or WISEST, and the WinSETT Centre. Among my favourite events were the annual presentations by high school students during WISEST summer internships.
Among her many accolades, she was awarded a Governor General's Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case, a Canada 150 ambassadorship and multiple honorary degrees. Perhaps the most fitting for this scholar, who lived her life by doing science as if people matter, was the naming of an elementary school after her.
Her effervescence and warm hugs will long be remembered by the many women in STEM careers.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-05-31 11:44 [p.28350]
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Mr. Speaker, this spring, I met with traumatized Tibetan youth recently escaped from Tibet where they had faced suppression of their Tibetan language, increased mass surveillance, intimidation, arbitrary arrest and torture. While China has committed to the UN to better protect religious freedom and to respect rights, there is no evidence of change. Tibetans continue to protest and self-immolate. The U.S. ambassador visited Tibet, raised concerns about religious freedom and called on China to recommence the dialogue on a middle way agreement.
Will the government follow suit and encourage China to pursue the dialogue with the envoys of the Dalai Lama?
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-05-30 15:56 [p.28310]
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Madam Speaker, my colleague always speaks so eloquently and pragmatically in this place. It is admirable.
I am told that indigenous people in Regina are nine times more likely to have a record for cannabis possession than non-indigenous people. In Vancouver, they are seven times more likely than non-indigenous people. My colleague, the member for Victoria, has called that constructive discrimination.
When we in this place, as members of Parliament, seek an apartment, we have to sign on the dotted line as to whether we have a criminal conviction. Imagine what some of our interns must face. There are tens of thousands of Canadians who have criminal records for possession of small amounts of marijuana.
The government's argument is that it is against the Canadian Human Rights Act to discriminate against people who have a pardon. That is balderdash. It is bad enough that the government is requiring everyone to apply for a pardon. People will then have to hire a lawyer if they are denied being able to volunteer for the Boys and Girls Club, cross the border or even get an apartment, because they would have to honestly say, even though they had a record suspension, that they had a criminal conviction but had received a pardon.
I wonder if my colleague could speak to that. Here we are, late in the day, a year after this has become law, and the government is going to make people apply for a pardon, which is close to valueless.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-05-15 16:27 [p.27853]
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Mr. Speaker, there are some falsehoods in the parliamentary secretary's speech. An example of one of the falsehoods is the member likes to allege that nobody in this House except for the members on that side actually takes the time to find out what kind of measures exist that, if they were taken, would reduce greenhouse gases.
Let us not take my word for it, but take the word of the commissioner of the environment and sustainable development, the word of the Auditor General and the word of the OECD.
The commissioner, in her report of just this spring, was highly critical of failed action by the current government and its slow action on climate change. She said it was disturbing that for decades successive federal governments had failed to reach their targets for reducing greenhouse gases. Of course, the current government is simply sticking with the Harper targets. There is a dichotomy here, because the Liberals promised in Paris not only to keep it at 2°C; they promised 1.5°C, yet their target already far exceeds that.
The Auditor General said that this government, both the finance department and the environment and climate change minister, had abjectly failed to address “perverse” subsidies. The government promised in 2015 and again in 2016 that it would immediately take action on perverse subsidies, yet the Auditor General was saying that the finance minister had not even looked into what those were, and neither had the environment minister, including looking at regulatory measures and looking at the subsidies to the fossil fuel industry.
The OECD is saying we need to “review and adjust tax, royalty and subsidy regimes” to deliver on what we promised to the G20.
What does the member have to say about that?
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-05-15 17:08 [p.27858]
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Mr. Speaker, I probably have a sum total of about seven minutes. I know that my colleague who has fought with me for many decades on environmental and climate issues would be deeply disappointed that I will not have more time to speak and that she will not have an opportunity to speak.
I am appalled at the dialogue that has gone on here today, particularly from the Liberals. I am sick and tired of the line “We are all in this together”, and then the Liberals stand to speak and they do nothing but insult us. I am sorry, but there are a good number of people in this place who have spent more than just the past four years, more than this afternoon, more than four decades fighting for stronger federal, provincial, territorial and municipal environmental protection and climate change laws and programs.
I am hoping that the next Parliament will actually believe in “Let us work together.” I do not have much time, but I want to share what those of us in this place should know and wake up to. The youth of this country and this planet are fed up. They do not believe that the previous Conservative government or the current Liberal government is doing enough to address the crisis of climate change. They are leaving their schools and taking to the streets. They want action, and they want it now.
A number of speakers here today made fun of us because we are calling for an end to fossil fuel subsidies now. Gosh darn it, back in 2008, the Conservatives promised to move on it right now. Now we are 10 years later and the Liberals twice promised it. They say we are demanding action now. How about an action plan that says that 10 years from now they have to have removed their perverse subsidies? Yes, we do need action now, a compliance plan.
I would like to share the words of one of the most incredible spokespeople on this planet today for action on climate, and that is Greta Thunberg, the 15-year-old from Sweden. These are her words: “Our house is on fire. I am here to say, our house is on fire.... I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if our house is on fire. Because it is.”
She also said:
[H]ardly anyone speaks about the fact that we are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction [backed up by the UN report just issued].... Nor does hardly anyone ever speak about the aspect of equity or climate justice, clearly stated everywhere in the Paris Agreement, which is absolutely necessary to make it work on a global scale.... What we do or don’t do right now, me and my generation can’t undo in the future.... We already have all the facts and solutions. All we have to do is to wake up and change.... Everything needs to change—and it has to start today.
That is our mission today in this motion. We have to have action today. That does not mean we do not give time to comply, but for heaven's sake, the government is coming up with policies written on the back of a napkin. At one point in time someone in the United States said to reduce methane by 40%, so we said we would reduce methane by 40%.
The Liberals criticize those of us on this side for not bothering to get the facts. I attended the detailed technical briefing on what is possible with existing technology to reduce methane and make a profit. I call on the government to step up and actually apply the technology. Yes, we need more investment in better technology, but where is the regulatory agenda?
I brought forward a motion calling on the government to enact a law modelled on the United Kingdom law. The Liberals have been briefed on that, just as I have. That law puts binding targets, which are required to be updated every five years, and there is an independent commission that gives advice, audits and reports publicly. Why are we not getting real measures like that? They talk about accountability; it is in all the mandate letters. Let us see some real accountability. Let us see real measures set in stone, in law.
I do not have the time to list all the measures that are possible. The technologies are there. What we need are the regulatory measures and the removal of the perverse subsidies so that we can have a level playing field, so that the clean energy future can happen now.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-05-15 17:14 [p.27859]
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Mr. Speaker, let me talk about leaders who break their promises. How many times during the last election did the Prime Minister say that no energy project would ever be approved under the Liberal government until he enacted strengthened environmental assessment laws and environmental protection laws? I think he said that a thousand times, but it depended if he was in Alberta speaking to oil field workers or if he was in British Columbia talking to environmentalists.
My leader is reaching out and talking to people in British Columbia about whether we can move ahead. Gas may be cleaner than coal, but if we are processing gas and are going to give perverse subsidies, we have to give it a second look. We have promised as a country to get rid of perverse subsidies and so it has to happen.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-05-13 13:39 [p.27673]
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Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the minister for moving forward and imposing some stricter measures to protect marine protected areas.
I note that the new standards would apply to marine protected areas but not to refuges. I also note that the minister, as I understand, has recently announced that there will be longer boundary distances set where ships and so forth cannot come near threatened species, such as the orca. Where threatened species are flowing through areas that are not marine protected areas, what kind of new measures and expenditures is the minister going to put in place, for example through the Coast Guard, to ensure that in fact those species are not impacted, not just by drilling but also by shipping?
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-05-13 15:53 [p.27694]
Expand
Madam Speaker, I too enjoyed serving on environment and sustainable development committee with the hon. member.
I and my colleagues are going to support this legislation and the change to the Senate amendment. We think it is much more supportive with respect to protecting marine areas and the species that may be at risk.
There used to be a fantastic program called the Arctic environmental protection strategy. When I was assistant deputy of resources in Yukon, I participated on that body. It did a lot of co-operative work in relation to the necessary science in the North, but my understanding is that under the Conservatives and then under the Liberals, the Polaris project, which was fantastic in supporting Canadian researchers in the Arctic, has not been continued. It is absolutely critical that we co-operate with other countries, including through the Arctic Council.
Does the member not think that in addition to designating these marine protected areas, we should also be investing more heavily in science and not just in gauging the shelf to determine where the oil and gas is that we could claim?
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-05-13 17:57 [p.27710]
Expand
Mr. Speaker, one of the things that concern me is the nature of this place. We deal with one bill at a time. When we are dealing with something like the oceans and potential environmental impacts or conflicts between different resource sectors—the fisheries, offshore oil development, the transport of oil or the hazardous waste through the oceans—we are not taking everything into consideration. I have heard over and over from the Liberals here that it is a first step. We hear that about every bill that they bring forward.
My question to the member is this. Right now off the coast of Newfoundland, there is consideration for experimental deepwater drilling that other countries have not been willing to pursue. Is the member confident that this legislation that we are bringing forward will also ensure that whatever other activity the government is reviewing is not going to impact on these marine protected areas that we set aside?
There was a lot of consternation, in the review of Bill C-69, that the offshore boards had a conflict of interest. One interest is to extract and gain revenue from the offshore resources, and the other is to consider the impacts. Can the member speak to that issue of whether he thinks it is important for us also to look at all of these pieces of legislation together, to make sure that one is not impacting the other?
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-05-09 10:31 [p.27551]
Expand
Mr. Speaker, I would like to commend both members for speaking indigenous languages. I hope that one day very soon, on my retirement from this place, I too can pursue those languages in my homeland. It is a great privilege to learn those languages.
Does the member support, and is he willing to speak to his fellows on that side of the House about supporting, amendments that have been brought forward by a number of members in this place on behalf of witnesses who appeared before committee and indigenous people who wrote to the government? They include requiring that the indigenous languages commissioner be indigenous, enshrining the United Nations declaration as a legally binding provision in the bill, adding specific reference to the sixties scoop and taking specific measures to respect the language rights of the Inuit.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-05-09 11:42 [p.27561]
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Mr. Speaker, at the start I would like to acknowledge that this House rests on the ancestral lands of the Algonquin people.
It just occurred to me, in listening to the discussion here, that we do not only have the tragedy of the disappearing of our languages. My ancestors came to Newfoundland around 1610 and had friendly relations with the Beothuk. Not only have we lost the languages of the Beothuk, but the Beothuk are gone.
As a nation, we have to get serious about this and we have to make sure, going forward, in laws that this place is enacting, that we actually deliver on the United Nations declaration and deliver on the calls to action by the TRC. We have to make sure that we are really getting it because we have directly consulted with the indigenous peoples of Canada.
It is a great honour to speak to Bill C-91. Not only is it an act respecting indigenous languages, but it should be more precisely put, the language rights of first nations, Métis and Inuit peoples, although the Inuit are expressing concerns that it does not quite get it from their perspective.
As some renowned scholars in indigenous matters have said, we should not even talk about “indigenous languages”; we should be naming all the languages and all the peoples, because they, themselves, are distinct.
The preamble to this bill specifies that “the recognition and implementation of rights related to Indigenous languages are at the core of reconciliation.”
Reference is made to the calls to action by the TRC on language and culture, as well as the adoption and implementation of UNDRIP. If we go to these calls to action, we see that they are actually titled “Language and culture.” It is not “language”; it is “language and culture”.
The TRC calls on the federal government “to acknowledge that Aboriginal rights include Aboriginal language rights”. Then it goes on to say this about the legislation that is to be enacted, this bill we are speaking to right now:
i. Aboriginal languages are a fundamental and valued element of Canadian culture and society, and there is an urgency to preserve them.
ii. Aboriginal language rights are reinforced by the Treaties.
iii. The federal government has a responsibility to provide sufficient funds....
iv. The preservation, revitalization, and strengthening of Aboriginal languages and cultures are best managed by Aboriginal people and communities.
v. Funding for Aboriginal language initiatives must reflect the diversity of Aboriginal languages.
It is right there in the calls to action. The TRC then calls upon the federal government to appoint a commissioner of aboriginal languages, which the bill does. It is to be noted that the calls to action also specifically call for the government to fully adopt and implement UNDRIP and to implement “a national action plan, strategies, and other concrete measures”.
In reading the actual call, we have to recognize that it is about language and culture. They are tied together. It is important to recognize that the calls to action on language and culture must be considered in the context of the bundle of rights in the TRC report and in UNDRIP, and there cannot be a handpicking of one or the other.
I would add that I have repeatedly tried to get the government to actually make UNDRIP binding in bills that come forward, in particular in decisions by the government that impact the lands and resources of indigenous peoples. Sadly, that was always rejected.
Why was the call to revitalize aboriginal languages issued? As shared so clearly in the TRC report, the very intent of the residential school program was to “take the Indian out of the Indian”. This was done by wrenching wee children from their families, communities and traditions, and forbidding their languages and cultural practices. As Commissioner Sinclair has said so clearly, it amounted to “cultural genocide”.
Far too many indigenous peoples today have lost not only their language, but the connection to their cultures and their traditional communities.
As my colleague, the member for Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, has shared:
The vast majority of indigenous languages in this country are endangered, and there is a critical need to address that challenge. There is an urgent need at this moment, as we speak, to address that challenge. Our languages are important. If the legislation fails to reflect the intent of the bill, we are not doing our indigenous brothers and sisters in this country any favours.
To the credit of indigenous peoples and other supportive groups, great efforts continue to be made to revitalize their languages and cultures. One example of an indigenous community investing in this objective is the Cayuga and Mohawk immersion initiative at Six Nations.
I had the honour a number of years ago to visit that community and to visit that school. It is absolutely inspiring to see what is done there, without government support, even though it is desperately needed.
The sad thing is that this particular school, which is working on teaching people the Gayogoho:no language, has to hold classes above the curling rink. It cannot even get the support of the government to build a proper school so that it can teach the children these languages. As I was leaving that facility, the children came out of the classrooms, and they went into a round house and sang traditional songs. I witnessed first-hand the tears of the elders, that once again their community is learning to speak their language and to understand the culture. It was phenomenal.
There are examples of non-indigenous entities supporting the development, preservation and revitalization of indigenous languages. One such entity is the Canadian Indigenous Languages and Literacy Development Institute, or CILLDI, at my alma mater, the University of Alberta. The institute brings together indigenous Canadians from across the country to work on learning their languages and how they can promote and revitalize the languages. They get university credit for this. The government actually invests in advanced education. This is an area where we should be providing similar programs right across this country.
Some members have commented on the irony that while this place is debating about indigenous languages, some of the members of this place who are indigenous were not accorded the opportunity to speak in their language. One of my colleagues, the member for Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, was not able to speak in Dene because she had to give a 48-hour notice. I am looking forward to the time in this place when we have the interpreters available. As the government moves forward and keeps changing what bills come forward, it is not necessarily possible to give advance notice about speaking in one's language. I have attended Dene gatherings in the Northwest Territories where there were 10 or 12 interpreters available. It is not that we do not have those skills in this country. We have to get serious about providing them in this place at the federal level.
We have witnessed a number of members speaking in this place. The priority has to be to ensure the opportunity for those who are indigenous to speak. Of course, it is great to hear those of us who are non-indigenous trying to speak those languages, and that is admirable.
I want to thank the member for Nunavut for raising the concerns raised by the Inuit at committee. The Inuit are deeply troubled by this bill, and it is very concerning that the government is not considering that and did not properly consult on this.
We called for a number of amendments, which it is my understanding everyone rejected. Those that are critical include the requirement that the indigenous language commissioner be indigenous, which I think is pretty obvious; to enshrine UNDRIP as a legally binding provision of this bill; to add specific reference to the discriminatory policy of the sixties scoop that led to the erosion of indigenous languages; and, finally, to include specific measures to respect the language rights of the Inuit.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-05-09 11:52 [p.27563]
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Mr. Speaker, I understand from the hon. member that this is the reason why the government does not want to specify that in the bill. Somebody may decide to come forward and challenge that, but this is a bill specifically about honouring, developing and preserving indigenous languages. To me, it would be absurd that somebody would come forward and challenge that the person who is leading that program must be indigenous.
If this is supposed to be a nation-to-nation relationship, it is a perfectly reasonable request brought forward by first nations and indigenous peoples that this person should be an indigenous person. In law after law, the government is changing the legislation to actually specify that a lot of advisory bodies also include indigenous people, so why not specify here?
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-05-09 11:53 [p.27563]
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Mr. Speaker, it is always a pleasure to hear the hon. member for Nunavut speak in this place.
I do not know if the member for Sarnia—Lambton was asking about all the amendments. I do not think it is appropriate for me to speak specifically to the call for amendments by the head of the ITK or by the member for Nunavut. I think they have expressed that need specifically very well themselves.
My understanding is that the deep concern is that the Inuit, the people of Nunavut and the Government of Nunavut felt that they were not sufficiently consulted in advance in the development of this bill. Surely that should be one of the most important aspects as we move forward under the UNDRIP and under the calls for action by the TRC, that every piece of legislation that comes forward in this place that may impact the rights and interests of indigenous people be developed hand in glove with those people.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-05-09 11:54 [p.27563]
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Mr. Speaker, my colleague and I have worked together on many bills where almost all, hundreds, of our amendments have been rejected, even though the government has said that it is open to amendments.
My colleague has been very clear. We will oppose this bill. I am doing that out of respect for my two indigenous colleagues, who made very reasonable proposals for amendments, which were rejected.
As I mentioned earlier, the TRC itself was very specific. It called on the government to provide the funds. There must be at least some kind of provision in this legislation. We see this time after time in bills that come forward to begin to recognize the rights and interests of indigenous peoples; there is no commitment to funding. Another clear example is the safe drinking water legislation the Conservatives put in place in which they simply transferred liability to the first nations.
Therefore, no, with regret, I do not think, for something as significant as this, which is supposed to be implementing this country's commitment to the UNDRIP and to the truth and reconciliation calls for action, that a step forward is enough. How soon are we going to get a bill before this place again to actually correct the parts of this bill that should have been there to begin with?
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-05-09 12:24 [p.27567]
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Mr. Speaker, I would like to follow up on a question my colleague put to the hon. member. He raised the fact the TRC in a call to action specified that the government must finance the revitalization and protection of indigenous languages. The member responded that the law required that funding. However, the only place in the bill where there is anything about a provision of adequate sustainable funding is in the purposes.
A purposes provision is not a duty or an obligation. Therefore, the only part of the bill that provides anything of any substance is the establishment of the commissioner. That is the only place where I can see there is an entity created and there are certain duties of the commissioner. However, what about a duty to directly provide support to indigenous peoples themselves for the revitalization of, establishment of and ability to speak their languages?
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-05-09 12:48 [p.27570]
Expand
Mr. Speaker, of course the hon. member had the privilege, as a former minister with several portfolios, to travel to those communities. It is indeed a great privilege to go into those communities, hear those languages spoken and see the support for their children. Of course, they have to have go-betweens because there are whole generations that were robbed of their language and culture because of residential schools and the sixties scoop.
The member mentioned that she is going to support the bill, yet she has problems with it. My concern about that is whether there has been genuine consultation and accommodation for first nations if we say that it was all very interesting but we are going to pass the bill anyway and maybe, someday, somebody might table a new bill.
For several of the bills that have come through this place, I and some of my colleagues have taken time allotted out of our own budgets to translate them. I find it stunning that we are bringing forward an indigenous languages bill, yet the government of the day did not take the time to make that bill available in at least some of the indigenous languages. I wonder if the member agrees with me that we need to do more than from time to time have somebody stand up in this House and speak in an indigenous language because they happen to be indigenous or to be learning an indigenous language.
Is there more that this place needs to do to genuinely act on truth and reconciliation and the UNDRIP on languages and culture?
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-05-07 11:25 [p.27447]
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Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague, who is very clear and definitive on this point. What really troubles me is the change in language by the Liberals. It is no longer “put a price on carbon”; it is “put a price on pollution”. Guess what. Two years ago, the environment committee finished a study on the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. That is the act that regulates toxins. The Liberals have done absolutely nothing with that report.
One of the reasons Alberta shut down those coal plants sooner was because of the health impacts. There are lots of reasons we need to reduce the use of fossil fuels and the production of electricity with fossil fuels, one of which is that they have major health impacts.
I wonder if the member would like to speak to that.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-05-07 11:56 [p.27452]
Expand
Madam Speaker, almost four years later, all Canadians are waiting with bated breath for the Conservatives' climate plan. We are wondering if it is going to be exactly the same as the Harper carbon control plan, which was through the use of regulation. However, can we guess which sector they never got around to dealing with? It was the oil and gas sector. Can we guess which is the greatest source of greenhouse gases and pollution, including benzene, mercury et al.? It is the oil and gas sector.
I wonder if the member could speak to this aspect. The Conservatives are fine with speaking against the carbon tax, but today we have not heard them speak to the matter my colleague spoke to, the escalating price of fuel for our cars, which has nothing to do with the price of carbon, even in Alberta. Whatever happened to that proposal to regulate the emissions from the oil and gas sector?
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-04-30 19:14 [p.27221]
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Madam Speaker, last December I once again raised concerns regarding a commitment made by the minister following the 2017 climate COP in Bonn, Germany. It was made in response to concerted pressure by labour and environmental delegates. There was a call to invest in a just transition for fossil fuel workers and their communities, yet few dollars have been distributed, despite budget allocations, one of which was made in March of last year. This was despite action by the previous New Democrat government of Alberta, which committed $50 million to a just transition for coal-fired power workers in my province.
By April of last year, the government finally committed some money toward a just transition, but it was limited to coal-fired power workers. Added to this was a commitment of additional monies, but not until after the next election. This tends to be a propensity of the government. It commits additional dollars to provide jobs for the communities that have coal-fired power, but only in 2020-21.
Despite the dollars budgeted to support transitioning coal-fired power workers, no long-term plan exists to address the longer-term transition of the majority of fossil fuel workers, including those in coal-fired power. To date, much to my surprise and to the chagrin of coal-fired power workers, less than $300,000 of the $35 million has actually been delivered. We are moving into an election this fall, and that will be a lot of lapsed money that could have gone toward retraining coal-fired power workers and supporting their communities.
I appeared as a delegate in many of the climate COPs. At meeting after meeting, international delegates called for their governments to invest in a just transition for fossil fuel workers. Finally, after a lot of pressure, the minister committed to creating a task force. That task force included the Alberta Federation of Labour, which played a huge role in the transition plan for Alberta.
The task force report issued by the minister offered few surprises. It builds on and reinforces decades of advocacy by labour unions and other progressive voices. The report reiterates calls for support of affected workers and their communities, and that they should be at the heart of any transition plans.
These were restated by the International Labour Organization, the Canadian Labour Congress, the United Nations and the CCPA. They noted that there should be income support, skills retraining, pension bridging, re-employment support and other services for affected workers, and support for their communities.
However, what is puzzling is that the task group was given a very narrow mandate, focused only on coal-fired power, even though, according to the report given to the government, only between 3,000 and 4,000 people, spread over 50 Canadian communities, actually work in that sector. That accounts for a fraction of a percentage point of this country's GDP and less than 20% of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions.
The outstanding issue is, where is the transition plan for all the other fossil fuel workers in this country? Of course, we know that more than 100,000 workers are out of work in my province of Alberta. Where was the transition plan? The government has agreed with Alberta to shut down these plants earlier, by 2030. That is only 10 years away.
Everyone calling for this knows that a lot of advanced planning is needed. Where is the plan for the additional 50 communities across Canada? Where is the plan for all the fossil fuel communities and workers in this country?
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-04-30 19:22 [p.27222]
Expand
Madam Speaker, regrettably the parliamentary secretary avoided the most important part of my question, which was the fact that the Liberals' own department was now reporting that the Liberals were nowhere close to meeting the meagre targets they had imposed. They also have not taken genuine measures to enable a transition of fossil fuel workers, including coal fire power, coal mining and all the fossil fuel sectors across Canada.
In order to ultimately meet those emission standards, as well as the fact we are being told by the International Energy Agency that into the future there is not going to be a demand for our fossil fuels, we need to be working now on a transition plan to ensure our communities are supported, as well as the workers and their families.
When are we finally going to get a genuine transition plan addressing these issues, including our indigenous communities?
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-04-11 10:38 [p.26978]
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Mr. Speaker, I am a little stunned to hear the hon. member, who is a former senior police officer in this country, arguing that a pardon is the same as expungement.
If anyone would know, it is he who would know that expungement means that when people go to the border or volunteer for a soccer group or boys and girls club, they can honestly declare they do not have criminal records, whereas with a pardon, people have to declare at the border they have criminal records. Remarkably, I read in the news this week that one of the Liberal MPs said that if people with pardons have a problem at the border, there is a number they can call and they will get help. It was the most extraordinary thing I have ever heard.
I would like to hear from the member how he can argue that a pardon is the same as expungement, which is exactly what the member for Victoria is calling for.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-04-11 11:46 [p.26984]
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Mr. Speaker, I have been sitting here since the House began and we were supposed to be debating the budget. We have spent two hours wasting time instead of allowing members to debate matters. I find it, frankly, appalling that the minister is making the suggestion that it is irrelevant for the elected representatives of the people to share what those who elected us are telling us they would like to see in the bill and that the only important one is at committee. We know what happens at committee. The majority Liberals decide who is appropriate to bring in and then what to recommend.
If the government is so committed to assisting indigenous communities to better look after their children, and surely we all agree with that, why has it been ignoring the directives of the Canadian Human Rights Commission for three years and getting complaint after complaint, contempt after contempt ruled against it? The bill is missing one major thing, which is that it commits no money. That is the main concern that indigenous communities are raising. I do not see any money in the budget, which we would like to be debating, to go to these communities.
I am deeply troubled that we have to waste half an hour debating whether we should be allowed to speak and then wasting another half hour waiting to vote when we could be debating important bills.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-04-11 13:00 [p.26989]
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Madam Speaker, I spent three happy years in Nova Scotia. It is a beautiful province.
As I recall, the member mentioned that health care is a big priority for his constituents. Given that it is also a top priority not only in my constituency but across my province, I wonder if he could speak to the fact that his government chose not to introduce a national pharmacare program, despite the fact that over many decades, every commission has recommended to move now on pharmacare and that an all-party committee unanimously recommended introducing pharmacare now.
Why was that? It was because the Parliamentary Budget Officer has done an analysis showing that it is the most cost-effective way to proceed in making sure that affordable pharmaceuticals are available to everyone.
I wonder if the member could speak to that fact. Is he not disappointed and will his constituents not be disappointed that his government chose not to introduce pharmacare, which would have made those medicines available to all of his constituents at an affordable rate?
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-04-10 14:19 [p.26924]
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Mr. Speaker, today in a show of support for anti-bullying day I have joined many who are wearing pink, but I wish to respectfully suggest wearing pink is just not enough. As elected representatives, we can and must do more.
Yesterday, I was informed of hateful social media posts intended to demean and bully many of the young Edmontonians who participated in the recent Daughters of the Vote program. I now learn many more delegates are suffering similar levels of harassment.
Appallingly, some posts criticized the spending of tax dollars to send Muslim, indigenous and black delegates to Ottawa. These posts were, frankly, vicious and racist. Some were attacked simply because they dared to call for greater action to address Islamophobia and racism. It was suggested these young women could simply delete their pictures and bios from their Facebook pages to make themselves less visible. This is wrong.
We must demand deeper action against this much wider group spewing abuse through social media. We should all congratulate these young Canadians who continue to bravely speak truth to power.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-04-09 10:27 [p.26843]
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Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table a petition calling on action now by the federal government on the housing crisis. It is signed by residents of Edmonton, and I am pleased to say two of those include youth residing in the Youth Empowerment shelter in my riding. The petitioners state that over half of the 49,000 Edmonton households in need of housing that spend more than half of their gross income on housing are at risk of losing their housing.
The current government campaigned to build more affordable housing. A growing number of Canadians are only a paycheque away from not being able to make ends meet, and petitioners call on the government to address the housing crisis by delivering the funds now for affordable housing, including for co-ops and non-profit housing, and immediately issue a subsidy for renters and waive the GST and PST on new affordable housing.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-04-09 10:47 [p.26849]
Expand
Madam Speaker, we keep seeing this happening with the Liberals, who shut down debate and then speak to the content of the bill we would all like to be debating here.
What is the whole point of this bill we are supposed to be debating, except that the Liberals would rather shut down debate? It is about giving a voice to people What is the purpose of shutting down the debate? It is to take away the voice of people.
I regret the day my former colleague Dennis Bevington was not re-elected. Why? It is because we never hear a voice for the north in this place anymore. All the representatives of the north are either Liberals or, now, an independent. It is very sad. In the previous term I was in office, we spoke regularly in this place about the north and the need for the protection of the resources and the protection of the environment and particularly about giving a voice to the people of the north. Contrary to what is being expressed by the Conservatives, that is exactly what they did in their bill. They shut down those local voices.
I would prefer that we spend the time in the House talking about the need to give a voice to northerners instead of debating another shutdown of voices for democracy.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-04-09 12:13 [p.26858]
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Mr. Speaker, one of the important aspects of Bill C-88 is that it would restore the four water and land co-management boards, which were established by a negotiated agreement between the federal and territorial governments and the first nations of the north, but the Tlicho and Sahtu people went to court and had that bill struck down.
What is important and significant is that the land claim and self-government agreements are now modern treaties entrenched in the Constitution.
Could the member tell us how his party rationalizes arguing against the Constitution of Canada in saying that the boards should not be restored?
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-04-09 12:47 [p.26863]
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Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to the words of the hon. member on the other side about the need for new measures to show that the government is sincere about reconciliation and about honouring the rights and interests of indigenous peoples.
Surely, then, the member would support the amendment we are calling for, to actually entrench the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the bill. Of course that would deliver on the Prime Minister's promise, from quite some time ago, that he would in fact take action on all 93 of the calls to action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. One of those calls to action is exactly that. It is to move forward and entrench those rights in the UN declaration in all federal laws going forward.
Is the member willing to accept that amendment and entrench the United Nations declaration in Bill C-88?
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-04-09 15:33 [p.26890]
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Madam Speaker, I wish to focus my comments on the first part of Bill C-88, the amendments to the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act. However, I cannot resist adding that contrary to the remarks the hon. member just made, it was the Harper government that took the power away from the National Energy Board to make the final decision of nay or yea for a pipeline and gave it to the cabinet, so the statement lacks a certain level of credibility.
Forty-five years ago, the federal government commissioned Judge Thomas Berger to lead an inquiry to investigate the social, environmental and economic impacts of a proposed gas pipeline that would run through the Yukon and the Mackenzie River Valley of the Northwest Territories. The Berger inquiry set the bar for proper consultation with communities, in particular with indigenous communities, on proposed major energy projects.
Justice Berger heard testimony from diverse groups with an interest in the pipeline. The inquiry was notable for the voice it gave to aboriginal people, whose traditional territory the pipeline was intended to traverse.
Berger travelled extensively in the north in preparation for and during the hearings, visiting all 35 communities along the Mackenzie River Valley, as well as other cities across Canada, to gauge public reaction. In his travels, he met with Dene, Inuit, Métis and non-aboriginal residents. He heard from experts. He held community meetings across the Northwest Territories and Yukon. This played an important role in shaping his views.
Sadly, despite my request, no similar community-level process was agreed to by the parliamentary committee on review of Bill C-69.
For the first time, intervenor funding was provided to aboriginal communities to ensure their voices would be heard. This inspired many of us to pursue similar rights and open processes for energy reviews in my province of Alberta and before the NEB. My Canadian environmental bill of rights, Bill C-438, is premised on these same basic rights and principles.
The commission recommended that no pipeline be built through northern Yukon and that a pipeline through the Mackenzie Valley should be delayed for 10 years.
His report's first volume, entitled “Northern Frontier, Northern Homeland”, highlighted the fact that while the Mackenzie Valley could be the site of the biggest project in the history of free enterprise, it was also home to many people whose lives would be immeasurably changed by the pipeline.
Berger was quoted as saying this:
The North is a frontier, but it is a homeland too, the homeland of the Dene, Inuit and Métis, as it is also the home of the white people who live there. And it is a heritage, a unique environment that we are called upon to preserve for all Canadians.
The commission found no significant economic benefit to northerners from the pipeline. The report was prescient in concluding that large-sale projects based on non-renewable energy sources rarely provide long-term employment and that those locals who did find work during construction could only find low-skill, low-wage positions.
In addition, Berger feared that the pipeline development would undermine local economies, which relied on hunting, fishing and trapping, possibly even increasing economic hardship. Berger ultimately found that the economy of the region would not be harmed by not building the pipeline.
The commission believed that the pipeline process had not taken native culture seriously and that any development needed to conform to the wishes of those who lived there.
Berger predicted that the social consequences of the pipeline would not only be serious; they would be devastating. The commission was particularly concerned about the role of indigenous peoples in development plans. At the time the report was released, there were several ongoing negotiations over native land claims in the area. Berger suggested that the pipeline construction be delayed until those claims were settled.
The commission found that the local population would not accept development activity without some control. In addition, land claims were part of a broader native rights issue that needed to be settled between the government and the first nations.
In Berger's view, rapid development in the north would preclude settlement of these important issues due to the influx of non-native populations and growing business interests.
The north today bears little resemblance to the north of Berger's time. The land is the same and the resources are still there, but the people of the north have changed. Most land claims have been settled. For many, the traditional ways of life have waned, and indigenous peoples are seizing control of their own destinies. Many who fought so fiercely against the Mackenzie Valley pipeline now favour building one, or building other developments, including a highway, but on their own terms, which include making sure the benefits flow to their communities over the long term.
In the previous Parliament, the Conservatives tacked on to a devolution bill regressive measures that directly contradicted any of the lessons of the Berger inquiry. Those measures also undermined rights within the constitutionally entrenched land claims and self-government agreements or modern treaties. These first nation final agreements provide that those communities most impacted by developments must have a direct voice.
The Conservatives' Bill C-15, contrary to the wish of northerners, eliminated four regional land and water co-management boards created under carefully negotiated first nation final agreements. Lawsuits successfully filed by the Tlicho and Sahtu First Nations succeeded in stopping these measures.
The bill before us, Bill C-88, restores the co-management boards, providing more effective voices for first nations in the development reviews and approvals. However, as my colleague, the MP for South Okanagan—West Kootenay, has pointed out, Bill C-88 could fully recognize and strengthen indigenous rights by entrenching the UNDRIP in this proposed law.
A few years back, I had the honour of attending a Dene gathering in Fort Providence with my former colleague, Dennis Bevington, the then Northwest Territories member of Parliament. I heard first-hand concerns from northerners about an oil spill that was discovered on the land by indigenous hunters and their struggle to receive the necessary assistance to monitor the cleanup of the disaster, so the struggle continues to have a true voice.
However, I also experienced the joy of seeing the mighty Mackenzie River running along the shores of Fort Providence, a magnificent transboundary river basin relied upon by many communities that have long deserved a greater voice in decision-making.
I look forward to supporting the bill before us.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-04-09 15:40 [p.26892]
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Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for the question, and also for allowing me to go before him so that I could go to my meeting. It is very gracious of him.
Indeed, it is very important that this measure has come forward. It is regrettable that it has taken this long, but finally we are moving forward with this legislation.
The hon. member represents the Yukon, and I had the pleasure of living and working there for three years. Everything one does in Yukon touches on first nation land claims and final governance agreements.
Nothing could be more important than reversing the changes made by the Harper government. Those land claims and self-government agreements were constitutionally entrenched, and the move the Conservatives made in their bill to erase them was reprehensible.
I look forward to the opportunity to finally have third reading on the bill before us, and I also look forward to the Liberal members at committee accepting that the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, UNDRIP, must be added into the bill.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-04-09 15:42 [p.26892]
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Madam Speaker, my understanding is that the concerns raised by the Conservative members goes to the second part of the bill, which is not a part that I have analyzed in depth. I quickly looked at the bill, and I think there are concerns that the federal government would be given unilateral power over the petroleum resources, and it will be important that the indigenous people of the north, particularly the first nations under their first nations final agreements, be given the opportunity to voice their views.
However, I have a slightly different view. Yes, development should proceed in partnership, but there is a higher level of responsibility: It is to make sure that the voices of those people who are going to be most impacted by the development will rule. They are the ones who will have to deal with the impact of the developments. That is exactly why those water and land boards were created to begin with, and to some extent negotiated, many years ago.
Perhaps we need provisions in law to further protect those rights and ensure that development in the north ends up being for the benefit of the people of the north.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-04-09 15:44 [p.26892]
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Madam Speaker, I am not sure that was a question. These matters obviously will be deliberated at committee, and I am hoping that the Liberal majority will be open to amendments. I know that will be an unusual situation, but we remain hopeful.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-04-05 10:41 [p.26730]
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Madam Speaker, most of this discussion is about a particular case of a member of our armed forces. There are allegations that they are being treated inappropriately and that information is not being disclosed. However, there is a bigger issue here. It is naval ships. I have been in this place for 11 years, and we still have not provided any ships.
The Conservatives had promised that they would build ships, naval ships, but I am deeply concerned about the lack of Coast Guard ships, which would be used to protect our fisheries and marine mammals, particularly in the Arctic, given the threats that will come from climate change.
I wonder if the hon. member could speak to this issue. My initial understanding was that the recommendation was for three ships for the navy. Why is it that all of a sudden it is being reduced to two ships? What, if anything, does this have to do with the fact that we continue to face delays in providing the proper equipment to our armed forces?
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-04-05 12:12 [p.26746]
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moved for leave to introduce Bill C-438, An Act to enact the Canadian Environmental Bill of Rights and to make related amendments to other Acts.
She said: Madam Speaker, I rise today to re-table the Canadian environmental bill of rights. While similar measures have been enacted by some of the provinces and territories, no such law has been enacted at the federal level. The bill would enact into federal domestic law international commitments made decades ago by Canada and measures recommended by the special rapporteur to the UN Human Rights Council.
First, my bill would enshrine the right of Canadians to a healthy, ecologically balanced environment.
Second, it would enshrine the Government of Canada's public trust duty to protect the environment, including legislating and enforcing environmental protection laws.
Third, it would extend to all Canadians the right to hold their government accountable through access to environmental information, participation in decisions impacting their environment and standing to seek judicial intervention where those rights would be denied.
Enactment of this bill has become all the more critical as environmental rights and protections have been eroded and promised reforms have not been forthcoming.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-03-21 16:06 [p.26387]
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Mr. Speaker, it may not be an issue of the rules, but it certainly is an issue of the integrity of this place. It has been my understanding during the 11 years I have been in this place that as a matter of integrity, those members who know that they were not here when you started to read will voluntarily stand up later and say that their vote should not be counted.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-03-19 12:59 [p.26131]
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Mr. Speaker, for anybody watching this debate, I am sure it is not with great amusement.
The Liberals object to opposition members not talking about the Champlain Bridge, but they are definitely not talking about the Champlain Bridge when they stand to speak on this matter. They are talking about everything from Islamophobia to who knows what. The incredible thing is that the government has asserted its powers over and over again at committee and in this place to cut off debate. Liberals have the power to move a motion to adjourn the debate and go to the orders of the day. In this particular instance, they claim their priority is to talk about Bill C-92, yet they have sat there for how many hours now, choosing not to assert those powers for what they claim is a top priority: the rights and interests of indigenous children in Canada.
The big question I would put to my colleague is this. Why do the Liberals not want to talk about the Champlain Bridge and if they do not want to talk about the Champlain Bridge, why are they not asserting their powers in this instance instead of asserting their powers to shut down discussion about SNC-Lavalin at committee?
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-03-19 13:41 [p.26137]
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Mr. Speaker, it is good that we finally get to debate the bill, although there is great concern that we have the budget coming down this afternoon and we presume there will not be any new monies because we do not have this enacted yet.
More an a year and a half ago, the former attorney general undertook that going forward all federal legislation would incorporate the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, yet here we again have a bill directly impacting indigenous Canadians and it simply stops at the preamble that is non-binding.
Why does the government still refuse to make the United Nations declaration binding in Canadian law?
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-03-18 14:14 [p.26058]
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Mr. Speaker, when Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 crashed last week, Yusuf Abdullahi lost his sister, Amina Ibrahim Odowa, and her five-year-old daughter, Sofia Abdulkadir, both Edmontonians.
Yesterday, Abdullahi attended a candlelight vigil alongside dozens of Edmontonians to honour his family and the other 155 passengers aboard the Ethiopian Airlines flight. The same vigil commemorated the victims of Friday's mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand. Fifty people were killed in the attacks and dozens more were injured.
Mr. Abdullahi remarked that “Every family is going through pain. The families of those people who were killed in the mosque, they are going through the same pain I went through, my family went through.”
Also lost in the crash was former Edmonton resident, Darcy Belanger, and other Canadians headed to the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, to aid projects or to go to family reunions.
On behalf of the NDP, I offer our deepest condolences to all those who have lost family, friends and loved ones as a result of this tragedy.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-03-18 19:01 [p.26092]
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Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition from Canadians who are concerned about the lack of action on eye health and vision care.
The petitioners are calling on the government to commit to acknowledging eye health and vision care as a growing public health issue, particularly with Canada's vulnerable populations of children, seniors, diabetics and indigenous people, through a national framework for action to promote eye health and vision care.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-03-01 10:45 [p.26008]
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Mr. Speaker, I would appreciate if the member would correct the slight he made to my colleague.
The Hon. Kim Pate, senator and former long-standing head of the Elizabeth Fry Society and who received the Order of Canada for her work against segregation in prisons, said two days ago that Bill C-83 could have been made meaningful. Instead of just changing the name, the government could have made significant changes by including provisions that would allow for the transfer of those who had mental problems to mental health facilities. I wonder if the member could speak to that.
Would the legislation really resolve the problem we face where so many have been put in segregation and suffer severe mental problems? There are other solutions? I have worked with many people in the criminal law field. I have been to those facilities of incarceration. The Hon. Kim Pate is a person whose advice should be considered.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-03-01 11:12 [p.26013]
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Mr. Speaker, the World Heritage Committee, after an investigation requested by the Mikisew Cree, found the government failing to address significant threats to Wood Buffalo National Park, a world heritage site. In response, the government allocated a pathetic $27.5 million over five years, a sum its own officials deemed inadequate. Put in perspective, the government paid 200% more just to pave a road in the park.
For decades, federal governments have failed to provide leadership in preventing or addressing mounting damage caused by dams and oil sands projects to the Peace-Athabasca Delta, the life source of this treasured heritage site. The iconic woodland caribou, bison and whooping cranes are at risk.
The government announced, and wait for this, a fund so communities can bring people together to protect species at risk.
How many more court cases will it take to get the government to comply with the law? Do the Liberals really want this world heritage site de-listed under its watch? So much for honouring the treaties. So much for a commitment to preserving natural heritage.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-03-01 11:42 [p.26018]
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Mr. Speaker, Edmonton's mayor, Don Iveson, is asking for $1.2 billion over five years for 5,000 new affordable housing units to begin to fill the need.
Our city's non-profit housing provider working group says over 48,000 households are in need. More than 22,000 of those spend more than half of their gross income on housing, putting them at risk of paying for their home or their essentials. Many of these projects are shovel ready, with land secured and buildings designed. All that is missing is for the government to release the federal dollars now. Will it?
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-02-28 17:58 [p.25953]
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Mr. Speaker, it is my absolute honour to rise today in support of Bill C-369.
It is also my honour to recognize that we are gathering today on the unceded territories of the Algonquin peoples.
This bill has been tabled by my colleague, the member of Parliament for Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River. I wish to share here that I witnessed how powerful it was for her to finally deliver her first speech on another bill in her Dene language, a language shared by many in her riding and across our northern communities. Having travelled with her in her northern Saskatchewan riding last summer, I can attest to how important it is that she can now finally speak in this place in one of the indigenous languages spoken by her constituents back home. What a joy it was to experience her in her community with her fellow community members, speaking their indigenous languages.
The intention of this bill is to create a statutory holiday on September 30 each year, starting this year. This delivers on call to action 80, issued by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The title of the report, “Honouring the truth, reconciling for the future”, conveys the depth of the tragedy and the need for action.
It may be noted that the Prime Minister, early in his mandate, publicly committed to deliver on all 94 calls to action. Therefore, we need to be grateful that my colleague has brought forward the opportunity to deliver on at least one of them.
I want to read call to action 80. It states:
We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.
It is my understanding and my hope that there is now multiple-party support by members in this place for this bill. I noted that my colleague, in speaking to her bill yesterday, reminded us that we are all responsible for becoming actively engaged in reconciliation.
The intent of the bill is therefore twofold: first, to recognize the continuing need for support for healing for survivors of the residential school system in recognition of the continued impacts down through generations, and to recognize it as a cultural genocide; and second, to directly inform and engage Canadians in knowledge of the residential school system and the harm it caused.
I wish to honour the dedication of the commissioners, Justice Murray Sinclair, Chief Wilton Littlechild and Dr. Marie Wilson, in undertaking the momentous process of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It is important to honour the many residential school survivors and their families who came forward to share their experiences.
The report conveys the principle that reconciliation is a relationship. I would like to share what the report says. It states:
For many Survivors and their families, this commitment is foremost about healing themselves, their communities, and nations, in ways that revitalize individuals as well as Indigenous cultures, languages, spirituality, laws, and governance systems. For governments, building a respectful relationship involves dismantling a centuries-old political and bureaucratic culture in which, all too often, policies and programs are still based on failed notions of assimilation.
My hon. colleague spoke to this when she spoke to this bill previously, and we were very close to the place where the residential school was unfortunately created.
It also states:
Schools must teach history in ways that foster mutual respect, empathy, and engagement. All Canadian children and youth deserve to know Canada’s honest history, including what happened in the residential schools, and to appreciate the rich history and knowledge of Indigenous nations who continue to make such a strong contribution to Canada, including our very name and collective identity as a country. For Canadians from all walks of life, reconciliation offers a new way of living together.
Canada already celebrates our first nations, Métis and Inuit cultures and languages every year on June 21, National Indigenous Peoples Day, which is during the summer solstice. My understanding is that initially, my colleague proposed that it be that day. However, she has very graciously agreed to change her bill, so we are going to have a day of celebration in June during the solstice, and then we would have a day of recognition and learning at the end of September each year.
I have had the delight of attending many of the events on June 21 in my riding, joining in the round dances and attempting a jig. Who can resist another bannock burger? It is wonderful to see all the schoolchildren joining in those activities.
The day proposed by Bill C-369 would be a more solemn day, however, to learn about the sufferings of those who were torn from their families, forced to travel far from their families and stripped of their language, beliefs and cultures. For far too many, this was for their entire childhood.
As was pointed out by my colleague, it will be necessary that the government commit well in advance of September 20 this year the necessary funds to ensure that the intents are achieved and that there are clear plans for the day. It is absolutely important that this be in direct consultation with the first nation, Métis and Inuit peoples, in particular in the communities where the activities would occur, which I hope will be every community across this country. The intention is to honour the suffering and provide opportunities for teaching.
My colleague has asked that this day also be recognized as a time for reconciliation for those children torn from their language and culture during the sixties scoop and those from the day schools and boarding schools not yet recognized.
I have been inspired by the initiative of many indigenous people to engage us in the process of reconciliation. My dear friends Hunter and Jacquelyn Cardinal, children of my friend Lewis Cardinal, have founded the Edmonton company Naheyawin, which is reaching out through theatre, through the arts and through round tables to teach people about the treaties. It is a very important action that has not been done across this country. It is so important to my province, where we are the land of the historic treaties and there have been constant calls by first nations leaders for recognition of those treaties.
As Jacquelyn has shared, she wants people to move past feelings of guilt from past wrongs and focus on a better future. She wants people to get past the guilt many feel for the past and look forward to making things better. She hopes the round tables will be based on the Cree word tatawaw, which means, “There is room for you. Welcome.”
I am also very grateful that the famous Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival last year featured and honoured indigenous culture and incorporated many ceremonies to honour first nations, Métis and Inuit throughout the festival.
I am very grateful to my colleague, and I wish to thank her.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-02-28 18:59 [p.25960]
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Madam Speaker, I am participating in a committee review of how Canada can better share with the world, how it can deliver democracy, rule of law and human rights in a better way. Right now, we are listed among the top countries in upholding those. We are about to put a shadow over our reputation. I wonder if the hon. member could speak to that.
I have heard him share my view. As a woman who has legal training, who has been one of the most senior enforcement officers in the federal government, it was a privilege to hear such a clear testimony on the role of the attorney general and the responsibilities for upholding the rule of law. It was painful to hear the former attorney general's repeated attempts to try to explain that to the Prime Minister, to the Clerk of the Privy Council and to all their officials.
Surely there are only two things that could have occurred. Either the government of the day does not understand the role and mandate of the Attorney General and the discretion of prosecution or it is blatantly disregarding it.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-02-25 13:38 [p.25726]
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Mr. Speaker, what is puzzling me and why it merits an open review not just before the committee but likely an inquiry, is the confusion apparently held by the Liberals that there is no difference between having a discussion with the Minister of Justice and having a discussion with the Attorney General. Very clearly, they are distinct roles.
When the Minister of Justice was proposing changing the criminal law to introduce these DPA provisions to allow for deferred prosecution agreements or when the government was considering a foreign public officials act, ratified 1999, was the time to talk to the justice minister about whether it should specifically exclude consideration to economic matters, which those laws do.
I wonder if my colleague could speak to that matter. We are in a situation here in which a number of parties, including the Prime Minister, the Clerk of the Privy Council and members of the PMO continued to approach the former attorney general to speak about an ongoing prosecution, when a decision had already been made to bring forward a prosecution under the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act, 1999, which forbids consideration of economic matters. All that has been revealed to us thus far, until they testify, is their concern about the impact on the economy.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-02-25 15:12 [p.25742]
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Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table a petition from residents from across Ontario. They are saying to this place that despite being victimized many times over in imposed conflict strategies of war, women bear a lot of the impacts and yet they have great potential for providing support in building peace and security.
Canada's feminist international assistance policy recognizes the critical role of grassroots women. Canada's national action plan includes the role of women. Only 5% of international funds right now are dedicated to peace and security or allocated to equality between men and women.
The petitioners therefore call on the Government of Canada to fund and implement its feminist international assistance policy, focusing support on grassroots organizations through diverse, predictable responsive funding mechanisms to allow the long-term role in civil society, in particular of women, and to increase the financial aid to other countries to 0.7% GNI.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-02-20 14:54 [p.25556]
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Mr. Speaker, speaking of the rule of law, a new report reveals the government has abjectly failed to consult indigenous peoples on recovery strategies for threatened species.
Chief Byron Louis has shared, “The extinction of a species actually has the potential” to extinguish indigenous rights.
Frustrated with government inaction, the Mikisew Cree sought intervention by UNESCO, and has joined the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation court challenge to have their rights upheld.
When will the Prime Minister stop with the platitudes and actually deliver on his legal responsibilities to first nations?
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-02-20 19:58 [p.25589]
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Mr. Speaker, I do not very often do late shows but this matter is of such great significance that I decided it was important to raise the matter again in this place.
On November 2 of last year, I raised a question with the government about the rapidly escalating costs for the cleanup of abandoned wells and mine sites. As the federal government regulates bankruptcy, I called on the government to act on demands made by the Government of Alberta and others to amend the federal bankruptcy and creditor laws to give higher priority to environmental cleanup and put an end to the downloading of these costs to Canadians.
The Alberta regulator had argued in the case of Redwater that the trustee was obligated to remediate disclaimed wells in Alberta before distributing any funds to creditors. The number of abandoned wells in my province of Alberta alone and the liability for cleanup has escalated to an estimated 80,000 wells and tens of billions in liability. The estimated cost to reclaim oil sands mine tailings is somewhere between $47 billion and $100 billion. If an oil sands company went bankrupt, a significant cost of the cleanup would fall to taxpayers.
The then parliamentary secretary for natural resources responded by saying Canadian resources must be developed in a sustainable way so that economic growth and environmental protection go hand in hand. How often we hear that.
He then, as has become the government's common refrain, passed the buck to the provinces, saying they are the ones responsible for managing their own environmental liabilities and the federal role is simply to share best practices. An amazing response considering bankruptcy law is federal. He shared that his government did commit $30 million in budget 2017, when the cost, according to some people, is $260 billion, in support of Alberta's efforts to advance the reclamation of orphan wells.
In January of this year, the Supreme Court of Canada issued its decision on the Redwater case. That case involved a dispute over who under bankruptcy law should be given priority of claim for an abandoned oil or gas well. Should priority be given to banks to recover their investment or should a higher priority in claim go to the provinces who have issued orders for cleanup? The Alberta courts sided with the creditors, in other words, the banks.
However, the Supreme Court of Canada overturned this decision and held that Alberta's environmental regulatory regime can coexist alongside the scheme of distribution under bankruptcy law. The court stated that bankruptcy is not a licence to ignore rules and the company has remedial obligations that are not claims provable in bankruptcy. It held that a trustee does not have the power to walk away from environmental liabilities.
Of equal concern is the government's response to questions posed by my colleagues to the effect that the government says it plans to assess potential impacts of the court ruling on Canada's marketplace framework and the Canadian economy. There was no mention of ensuring bankruptcy laws put environmental protection first.
My further questions this evening include the following: What actions has the government taken to assess any potential federal environmental liabilities for the following activities, and as a result of this court ruling, has it initiated any review of the potential issues or any gaps in federal laws regarding abandoned mines, wells or other operations on federal lands or on lands subject to a transfer agreement, including in the Northwest Territories and Yukon, or on Indian reserves or traditional lands? Is the government reviewing abandoned offshore wells where there is joint federal-provincial regulatory authorities? Finally, has the federal government established orphan well funds similar to the provinces for these facilities?
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-02-20 20:05 [p.25591]
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Mr. Speaker, from the response I received, it appears that the government of the day supports the position taken by the courts of Alberta and two of the Supreme Court justices, who seem to continue to decide that the banks should take priority over members of the public who have to take on the cost when facilities are abandoned.
I note that the hon. member speaks of abandoned pipelines. Into the future, that is of course going to be a concern because at some point in time we are going to have a lot of abandoned pipelines. However, that is not the question I raised.
The particular concern I raised is that as a result of this case, talking about the liability for facilities generally regulated at the provincial level, what is the federal government doing to look into facilities that are owned or regulated by the federal government? What is it doing to look into offshore wells? What is it doing to look into activities on federal lands or on Indian lands?
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-02-19 15:06 [p.25519]
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Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to speak to this matter, which I consider it to be very important, both as a member of Parliament and also because of my background as an environmental enforcer.
I take very seriously that when we are dealing with the enforcement of a federal or provincial law, whether it is the Criminal Code or regulatory statute, we have clear procedures that are open and transparent in how we apply those statutes. Many across the country are deeply disturbed right now that there is no clarity on what is going on with this new unique provision.
I am pleased to stand in support of the motion by my colleague from Victoria, calling on the Prime Minister to waive the solicitor-client privilege for the former attorney general with respect to the allegations of interference in the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin and to urge the government to launch a public inquiry under the Inquiries Act.
Very serious questions are being raised by Canadians about recent decisions and actions by the government. Any intervention by any elected member of this place or the Prime Minister's Office is a serious matter involving a matter before a prosecutor. They are concerned about the amendments to the Criminal Code to create alternative processes to respond to white collar crimes with the result of avoiding a criminal prosecution and the direct result to take away the bar to further federal contracts. They are concerned about the tabling of these measures within an omnibus budget bill.
Canadians are also concerned about the limited review only to the finance committee and not to the justice committee. They are concerned about possible interference in the exercise of discretion by the Attorney General in the decision to prosecute or utilize the new deferred prosecution agreement. They are concerned about whether that interference resulted in the resignation of a cabinet minister, the former minister of justice and attorney general.
Finally, they are concerned about the denial by Liberal members of Parliament to allow thorough consideration of these matters before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.
Through yet another omnibus budget bill, the government chose to amend the Criminal Code of Canada. As many have said in this place, this is despite its stated position while in opposition to oppose omnibus budget bills and changes to law and policy unrelated to economic measures made through budget bills. These Criminal Code amendments, these significant reforms, were made through an omnibus budget bill tabled by the finance minister, not the justice minister.
I wish to concentrate my remarks on the second aspect of the motion, which is the call for a public inquiry.
The process of the application of a deferred prosecution agreement mechanism in the case of criminal charges brought against the company SNC-Lavalin and any involvement of government parties outside of the Attorney General and the public prosecutor merit open and transparent review.
The government's defence of the use of the budget bill to reform criminal law procedures is a pretty clear indicator of the fact it was of the belief that economic advantage could be gained and prevail over rule of law and justice. In the case currently at hand, the charges are brought under a law that actually prohibits any consideration of economic benefits. Some elected officials, particularly at the provincial level, and others are saying that we should not be convicting this company because there may be a loss of jobs, yet the law itself forbids that to be considered at all in the decision by the Attorney General or public prosecutor.
The intended effect of this provision is to enable justice officials to treat a specified list of economic crimes, such as obstructing justice, money laundering, tax evasion, forgery, bribery of officers, fraud, including frauds on the government, through an alternative legal process that avoids criminal charges or convictions. As well, it is on condition of admission of a violation of the law and specified undertakings being given by the person potentially charged to take remediation measures and self-reporting by the parties at fault. It has been suggested in the media that these are exactly the circumstances that have not occurred in this case. Therefore, questions are being raised as to why consideration is being given to this deferred prosecution agreement, when the criteria have not even met the criteria the government has chosen to put in law.
These DPAs have been used in the United Kingdom and the United States, but in quite different ways.
As mentioned earlier, while the law establishing the DPAs prescribes conditions, it does not include a number of matters that were actually recommended by Canadians during the consultation period before the matter came before the House. A condition that has not been included, as recommended by some, was that the decision be in the interest of justice as opposed to the public interest. This is an issue being raised in environmental impact assessments of major projects in that no matter what the criteria are, in the end, the government can just say that it is a matter of national significance or a matter of public interest, so therefore it is going to do it. The suggestion was that the decision be in the interest of justice, as we are dealing with the Criminal Code.
A question raised was whether it should be a condition that would actually serve as a deterrent, yet that is not in the conditions in the DPA. Another condition suggested was whether it would genuinely promote compliance, but this was not an included condition. I find this very odd, as a former law enforcer. Those are the obvious mechanisms we look to in framing prohibitions and framing our enforcement compliance process.
It is noteworthy that the law specifically prohibits consideration of national economic interests when the offence comes under the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act, yet in this case, that is precisely the statute the company is being prosecuted under.
I found it very interesting, and we found the same thing with Bill C-69, that the government entertained a period of consultation, in particular with business but also with some judicial officials and some NGOs, before it tabled the bill in the House to enact this provision on enforcement, yet when the bill came up for debate in the House, the government, in its wisdom, chose to add this significant amendment to our main criminal justice statute, the Criminal Code of Canada, at the tail end of an omnibus budget bill.
The Liberal government said that it would not follow what the Conservatives did before. Never would it include provisions that were not economically related. Of course, the bill was tabled by the finance minister, not by the former justice minister.
I want to share with the House what the finance minister said in the House in defence of the mechanism to opt out of being prosecuted:
Mr. Chair, we have put forward a budget, and of course in the budget there are things about how we can make our economy work well. That is the function of this budget. What we have said is that we believe that our approach to deferred prosecution agreements will enable us to pursue an approach that is functioning and doing well in other economies, one that will result in more effective continuation of business success by companies once they have paid their dues to society.
In one case, and the case before us now, one federal statute actually prohibits consideration of the economic impact on the Canadian economy or the economy of a foreign national, yet that is exactly the rationale the finance minister gave for bringing forward this provision. Apparently that was the rationale given, allegedly, to the former attorney general and the public prosecutor. It is very interesting.
The Liberal government, in its wisdom, even though it has brought forward a lot of amendments to the Criminal Code, and in one case actually in an omnibus Criminal Code amendment bill, chose not to bring this significant measure to ensure compliance under the Criminal Code. It decided to do it in a budget bill.
When the matter was referred to committee for review, that aspect of this omnibus budget bill was put before the finance committee. When we look at the proceedings of the finance committee, we see that many members raised concerns that it was not the place for the consideration of an amendment to the Criminal Code. It was the justice committee. The finance committee was not used to reviewing these laws and members said that the bill should be referred to the justice committee. Eventually, the justice committee did call for aspects to be looked at, but then the full review was cut back, because certain Liberal members did not want to consider it.
Why the government chose to bring forward this mechanism the way it did is completely puzzling. It is important for the public to find out exactly how the government is planning to apply this mechanism. We have heard concern after concern about the way this mechanism is opting out of the need for a prosecution and conviction for a serious criminal offence.
Why did the government go this way, and how is it actually applying it in practice? I think it is very important that we have an open and public inquiry so that there is openness and transparency in how the government of the day is intending to apply this mechanism under the Criminal Code.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-02-19 15:18 [p.25521]
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Mr. Speaker, I can assure the House that I do not intend to give a doctoral thesis in response to what was supposedly a question. I want to give a brief response so that other people can ask me questions.
What I will speak to is the deeply troubling response that the government allowed for the review of this major and significant reform to the Criminal Code of Canada and that there was ample opportunity for the review of that provision at the finance committee and during debate on this omnibus budget bill. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Absolutely, this is the way the government operates. It likes to go out and consult, and in particular, even in proceedings, it says that it mostly consulted with business. The idea of the DPA came from business to begin with. That is why the government initiated it.
Why did the government not allow adequate time in this place for the elected officials to actually discuss this matter, and why was it not tabled as an amendment to the Criminal Code rather than being in the budget bill?
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-02-19 15:20 [p.25521]
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Mr. Speaker, at the heart of this is a concern about whether there was an obstruction of justice. As we all should know, it is an obstruction of justice if any elected person in this place tries to become engaged in or involved in a decision to prosecute or not prosecute an offence. In this case, we have a whole new mechanism, where the attorney general has the authority to say yea or nay.
In my mind, as a lawyer and as a person who worked in the field of enforcement, it sounds to me like the matters that have been proceeding are completely inappropriate. That is why we need the air cleared. The Liberals do not appear to want to bring the proper witnesses before the committee, and that is why there is this call for an independent judicial inquiry at this stage. I think it is important.
In our committee right now, we are studying how Canada can better help the world in becoming more observant of democracy and human rights, yet here we are in this place talking about significant harm, potentially, to the rule of law in our own country. We need the air cleared on this matter.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-01-31 10:45 [p.25063]
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Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague, the member for Hochelaga, for her long-standing work on resolving the housing crisis in Canada. She mentioned the issue of co-operatives.
I am fortunate in my riding to have a huge number of co-operative units available to my constituents. During the 1970s and 1980s, the federal government provided a lot of support to the creation of co-operatives, which now provide very important housing, affordable housing for seniors, for immigrants and families.
The Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada, on behalf of the 900 housing co-operatives in Canada, has made specific requests to the government. One of those is to provide $7.5 million in funding per year to re-enrol housing co-operatives. We know that the co-operatives are old and they need to be retrofitted, and they want to become energy retrofitted. However, there is a possibility of municipal land in all of our cities, certainly in my city, where we could build co-operative housing now if the government would commit long-term funding.
Could the member speak to those asks?
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-01-31 13:24 [p.25086]
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Madam Speaker, I have a question for the member. I have a very interesting riding. There is a wide variety of housing available, from shelters to middle-income and high-income housing. There is also a very large modular home park, and those who are living in this modular home park are running into a crisis for a number of reasons.
First, I am told that a mortgage on a modular home is treated as a chattel mortgage and that people have a better chance of getting a chattel mortgage on a used car than on a modular home. They are treated badly by banks. They are considered high risk. However, the modular community in my riding is a high-quality, beautiful community, with mature trees, a community centre and an active community league.
Second, the problem is that the lands are owned by private people. In this case, they are people who do not even reside in my province. There are complaints that they are not maintaining basic water and sewer services, and the residents are running into serious problems.
I wonder if the member could speak about the action the federal government is considering to assist people. There is a lot of interest in modular housing. I think it is incumbent on the federal government to have a clear strategy on how we can enable that. Perhaps it could make federal lands available or persuade municipalities and provinces to make land available so that this is possible as affordable housing.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-01-29 10:31 [p.24936]
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Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to present e-petition 1825 from more than 600 Canadians.
The petitioners state that the Canadian government has publicly committed itself to the defence of human rights and that the federal law, the Magnitsky Act, has been passed, whereby the government has the power to take action against foreign nationals responsible for gross violations of internationally recognized human rights. They are concerned that the government has not taken action on Oleh Sentsov, Oleksandr Shumko and Volodymyr Balukh.
The petitioners therefore call on the government to take action to protect the 60 Ukrainians who were imprisoned in Russia and against those Russian entities.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-01-29 12:44 [p.24955]
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Mr. Speaker, I appreciated hearing the speech about how everything is just hunky-dory and everybody is doing great.
Unfortunately, from what we are seeing, big city mayors are not in agreement with what the Prime Minister reported to us yesterday. In fact, they are very dissatisfied. The big city mayors caucus chair, Mayor Don Iveson is from my city. He advised the Prime Minister of a number of things.
One of the things the municipalities want is delivery of money now to deal with housing and homelessness. They are not happy with the delivery of the monies on housing. They want permanent funding for public transit, because it is an ongoing issue. The Liberals promised they were going to resolve climate change by investment in public transit, but where is the long-term commitment? They want more money for municipalities, because they are dealing with the major impacts of climate change, and they want a new intergovernmental forum that would give them a voice in federal decision-making.
I am wondering if the member could respond to what the big city mayors actually asked for.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-01-29 13:47 [p.24963]
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Mr. Speaker, the member likes to go on and on about the things that Conservatives cut, but what he has failed to mention is that the Liberal government severely cut back the environmental measures in its new trade deal with Mexico and the United States. Why do I know that? I worked for the secretariat under the former trade deal. It was a very strong entity that gave citizens the right to file petitions alleging failed enforcement. Liberals took all of that way.
So much for Liberals saying they work hard to make sure they balance economic development and environmental protection. They do the absolute opposite when they get to the bargaining table.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-01-28 17:17 [p.24918]
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Madam Speaker, when the Conservatives were in power, much to their credit, they brought back the eco-energy retrofit program, which was a great program that actually gave money to families or small businesses to retrofit their buildings so they could save on their energy bills. In fact, when I was on the public works committee, I actually brought forward the idea of looking at how much taxpayer money could be saved if the federal government invested in a major way in energy efficiency. In the end, we had a fabulous report, by the way, from a majority Conservative committee.
The Conservatives brought in this plan. It was over-subscribed. People loved it, and the Conservatives killed it. Why did they kill it? They wanted to bring down their deficit before the election.
Does the member not believe that a good initiative for sustainable development is to support Canadian families so they can do their part too and reduce their energy costs through a home energy retrofit program?
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-01-28 18:17 [p.24926]
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Mr. Speaker, I have been following this debate and the level of hypocrisy is over the top. I recall all those trade deals that the Conservatives signed. What did they erase? All of the environmental provisions. I worked for the original environment commission in Montreal. I will note that in the new trade deal with the U.S., the Liberals undermined the environment in that deal too. There is a lot of hypocrisy here about genuinely acting on the words.
I would actually like to speak to Bill C-57. I know it might come as a surprise, as everybody is doing his or her electioneering here. What is important is that it is one thing to bring forward a bill and it is another thing to enact it. However, it is another thing to actually deliver the mandate and responsibilities under that bill.
The previous Liberal government and the previous Conservative government, as well as the present Liberal government, have all abjectly failed to deliver on the responsibilities of sustainable development. It is not me saying this. It is the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, who is appointed and retained in that position by the current Liberal government to review how well the government is delivering on its responsibilities.
It is also important to point out that in addition to the Sustainable Development Act, there is a second law. I would remind this place that a cabinet directive is binding law. We proved that with the Friends of the Oldman decision which involved a directive by cabinet on environmental assessment before we had the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. We proved in the Supreme Court that cabinet directives were legally binding.
There has been a cabinet directive in place on environmental assessment of policy, plan and programs for decades. However, successive Conservative and Liberal governments have abjectly failed to deliver on that as well. That comes in the reports from the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development.
The Liberals, of course, signed on, yet again. They love to go to these international meetings. They signed on to the sustainable development agenda 2030, with 17 goals. They signed onto that in September 2015. Maybe it was the Conservatives who did that. They committed to 169 targets and 230 indicators.
There were a lot of goals in that international agreement. We need to note here that despite an amendment that I tabled at committee, the government refused to incorporate any reference to the UN commitment in the bill we are discussing today, the sustainable development 2030 agenda. So much for the commitment.
I had wanted to raise this with a number of the speakers who stood, the Conservatives criticizing the Liberals, the Liberals criticizing the Conservatives. Since 2015, and I am only starting at 2015, the commissioner has delivered failing grades in her audits of government commitments to actually deliver on the responsibilities, both under the Sustainable Development Act and the cabinet directive.
In the fall of 2015, she found abject failure by four departments audited to even apply the cabinet directive, zero assessments delivered for 488 proposals to the fisheries minister and only one out of over a 1,000 proposals to the minister of agriculture. In 2016, she found only 23% of proposals audited had submitted the required strategic environmental assessment. In 2017, she found a mere 20% compliance by federal departments.
Last year, in 2018, the commissioner's latest report found that the Government of Canada, the Liberal government, had failed to even develop a formal approach to implementing the 2030 agenda and the goals, including a very narrow interpretation of sustainable development. We heard that today in the debate, a pretty narrow discussion of what was actually in there. There is no federal government structure, and we are not going to see it in the bill either.
Interestingly, the bill continues to give responsibility to the Minister of Environment and yet it is another minister who goes off to the UN to speak to the bill as if it is his responsibility. There is a lot of confusion out there among Canadians about who in the government is actually responsible for delivering on the responsibilities for sustainable development.
The commissioner found there was very limited national consultation and engagement, no national implementation plan, few national targets and no system in place to measure, monitor or report on national targets for sustainable development.
We have heard a lot of blathering in here today from the Liberals about how important the environment and the economy are. However, where is the commitment to actually deliver on those responsibilities?
Eventually we are going to have a debate on the bill. Interestingly, a good number of the amendments that are coming forward from the Senate to this place are exactly the same amendments that I put forward, which the Liberals rejected. So much for “we're all in this together” in committee.
I would note one amendment that is most interesting. The Senate presented to this place a series of three amendments, two of which were accepted. The third one the Green Party and I actually tabled as an amendment to the bill because the government, in its wisdom, talks about being environmentally thoughtful in its spending, in procurement, but it would remove the requirement that is in law right now that the government actually consider sustainable development when it is procuring.
Let us think about that. It was almost $5 billion to buy a pipeline. We might think that the government thought about whether it was a wise investment economically and environmentally. Where is the strategic environmental assessment for that purchase? How about the many infrastructure banks the government is setting up for private enterprise here and in other countries? Did it do a strategic environmental assessment as per the cabinet directive? No.
The question here is this: Where is the real commitment by the government of the day to generally deliver on these big promises it made to Canadians and the big promises it makes when going to UN meetings?
I attended the consultation at the UN, the big summit last summer. The government sent a big delegation. At the last second, it invited youth but there was only a handful who could afford to come. Therefore, we had a call for better consultation and engagement across Canada so that everybody can participate in this discussion. However, when we look at the goals, we are not just talking about the economy or the environment. When we look at those 17 goals, they cover everything. They cover indigenous rights, women's rights, agriculture and water. I am not hearing any debate in the House about the breadth of what we have committed to in the 2030 goals. The Liberals refused to reference those in the bill before us.
There is a second matter the Liberals refused to reference, despite the amendments I tabled at committee. They have refused to incorporate into the bill the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which is one of the goals under the 2030 sustainable development goals. They abjectly refused to specifically reference that international commitment, despite the fact that the former justice minister and attorney general actually committed before the Assembly of First Nations that, going forward, her Liberal government would ensure that the United Nations declaration would be incorporated into every federal law. Therefore, they have broken that promise too.
It is all very nice that we have some amendments coming from the Senate, but they are basically pro forma. They are simply saying that we need to update the bill so that it is the same as the current Auditor General Act. However, when it comes to substantive measures, like being required to actually consider sustainable development when we are making major procurement decisions and when making major recommendations to cabinet, then no, they are abjectly failing. I would have liked to hear anybody in the government of the day stand up and say that, going forward, they were going to finally deliver on their responsibilities. However, I did not hear that once today.
To conclude, it was my honour to speak to the bill again. I remain committed to actually having a government in Canada that is sincere about delivering on its international commitments.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2018-12-13 14:42 [p.24836]
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Mr. Speaker, auditors general and the United Nations have expressed concern that Canada is in danger of missing its 2030 Paris target by a wide margin. Canada is in no position to be asking others to act. Given weak greenhouse gas reduction targets and a growing number of provinces reneging on their measures, it has become evident that the much-touted pan-Canadian framework is just a legal fiction.
Instead of calling on other nations to act, will the government take concrete measures now to ensure Canada does its part?
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2018-12-12 14:38 [p.24767]
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Mr. Speaker, Canadians are growing increasingly fearful of reports that impacts of climate change are worsening even beyond what scientists predicted. Pressure is mounting for this government to institute measures to make them more transparent and accountable for their decisions on climate action. The United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Finland have long ago instituted effective measures to make this happen. Merely appointing yet another hand-picked advisory body just does not cut it.
Will the Prime Minister support my Motion No. 204 to legally enact binding greenhouse gas targets, a duty to act, and measures to ensure improved accountability and transparency for federal action on climate change?
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2018-12-11 10:45 [p.24695]
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Madam Speaker, I find it interesting that time allocation is being put in place to try to reduce the amount of time we can debate the pros and cons of the value of this legislation, yet the Liberals themselves are just trying to stifle debate on the bill. They are not speaking to whether they have overused their power to impose time allocation.
If we added up all the time taken up in this place, since the Liberals took power, on reducing the opportunity for debate in the House, it would probably far exceed the opportunity to actually debate bills. Many of us, including me, wish to participate in substantive debate on a lot of bills, which change every day, if not by the hour, which makes it difficult for us to prepare for a constructive debate.
I truly wish the government would reconsider its use of the very undemocratic measures it has been using to end debate in this place.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2018-12-10 19:32 [p.24656]
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Mr. Chair, the minister mentioned that she has put in place some measures at the borders. I have worked in the area of training border guards and I know how many federal pieces of legislation they are responsible for checking. Could the minister tell us how many additional resources have been put to train and assist our border officials, particularly on the west coast or anywhere where shipments may be coming in from China, to inspect very carefully for fentanyl and carfentanil to make sure that we are catching every single shipment of these drugs coming into our country?
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2018-12-10 21:23 [p.24673]
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Madam Chair, I appreciate the concerns that my colleague from Alberta is raising but he seems to be missing the point. That person who is waiting for a treatment bed, even if there are a lot more treatment beds, is still using. Would we not prefer that the person had a safe drug and a safe needle wherever he or she is using the drug?
I would also remind members about “Moms Stop the Harm”. Hundreds of mothers across this country are calling for decriminalization because the majority of their children have gone through treatment and guess what? It is like alcoholism. A person is an alcoholic for life. With opioids, people may go through treatment but they always revert. Therefore, people need access to a safe drug that they can take in a safe place.
I wonder if the member could speak to that.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2018-12-10 21:25 [p.24673]
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Madam Chair, I am rising on a point of privilege. I am deeply troubled that my colleague across the way would suggest that I think this is a laughing matter. No one heard one laugh from me on this serious matter.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2018-12-10 22:45 [p.24684]
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Mr. Chair, I want to turn this discussion tonight in a slightly different direction. I will not call it a debate. Regretfully, it began as a debate, and it started to become hostile. I do not think that was the original intent of the evening. A number of members put forward very heartfelt, well-founded, evidence-based additional solutions. There is a lot of frustration. Those on this side of the House are getting frustrating that the government does not appear to be open, whatsoever, to any new ideas or any new investments.
I became involved in caring about this issue because of one of my constituents, a dear friend, Petra Schulz. I talked to Petra Schultz last evening, in preparing to come to this debate. I told her I probably would not have much chance to speak, but I wanted to share some of her experience. Many members have probably become familiar with Petra, because she has been covered very widely in the national media.
Petra lost her youngest child, Danny, at the age of 25 to an accidental fentanyl dose in 2014. It is important to recognize that Danny, like many of those with opioid addictions, had attended treatment. Many, or at least some, of addicted often revert to opioids again, because it is an addiction, as much as they do not want to.
It is also very important to understand that Petra is one of hundreds of mothers across this country who have come together to call on the government to take deeper action. The kinds of action they are calling for are exactly the recommendations that have been made tonight in this debate. Where do those recommendations for action come from? They come from the health and legal experts in our country.
These mothers are not just coming up with these ideas off the top of their head. They work very hard. They do not want any more children lost in this country. Petra, along with the other mothers, have participated in everything they can. They go out and talk at schools. They meet with government and so forth.
They have come forward, through www.momsstoptheharm.com/ to ask for specific actions. They have asked for the government to take a public health approach to drugs based on evidence and human rights. Harm reduction is a key component of a comprehensive response to drugs to prevent drug-related harm and death. They have called for the decriminalization of the possession of drugs for personal use as an essential to a public health approach.
Petra says that it is fundamental to remove the stigma. That is what removing the stigma means. Many do not seek the treatment because they are drug users, and our society does not look fondly on drug users.
I mentioned that these moms have taken action together. They all wrote to the Prime Minister and to the federal Minister of Health, and not a single one of those mothers has received a response. Not a single one of those mothers who has lost a child to addiction to opioids has received a response to their letter to the Prime Minister or to the Minister of Health. I would recommend tonight that doing so might be a start, if the government really cares about the trauma of suffering, of losing someone to opioid addiction.
I could quote, if I had more time, which I do not, Leslie McBain, who also lost her son. She is one of the co-founders of this organization. She is calling, in desperation, on the government to decriminalize the drug. As she says, “jail has never cured addiction. For every dollar spent in harm reduction, $7 is saved in medical care, enforcement and the criminal justice system.”
On behalf of all of these mothers who have lost their children to this addiction because they could not receive the support they deserved, I beg the government to consider acting expeditiously on the recommendations that have been made this evening by all members on all sides of this place.
We cannot wait any longer: 10,000 Canadians have been lost to opioid addictions, to fentanyl which kills, to carfentanil which kills. We took action on SARS.
The federal government has the spending power. It transfers money for mental health. Surely to heavens, if we accept that opioid addiction is a mental health problem, why can it not transfer additional funds? We are not telling the government to set up these centres. We are simply saying provinces, municipalities, towns and first nations are begging the federal government to step in and give more assistance.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2018-12-10 22:52 [p.24685]
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Mr. Chair, I would like to thank my colleague from Essex. I would like to thank all of my colleagues in this place who have spoken tonight.
As a lawyer, I want to reiterate what my colleague said earlier. The law defines a national emergency as “an urgent and critical situation of a temporary nature that (a) seriously endangers the lives, health or safety of Canadians and is of such proportions or nature as to exceed the capacity or authority of a province....”
We have not heard any rational response from the government this evening as to why it does not see this crisis of 10,000 Canadians who have been killed by an opioid overdose, or why it does not think that this is a situation where we should be calling for a national health emergency and triggering every conceivable mechanism available at all levels of government.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2018-12-10 22:54 [p.24685]
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I am not sure there was a question there, Mr. Chair.
We have been very clear. We have called for decriminalization for personal use with regulation. We have been very clear, with regulation, and that would mean there would be a regulated supply in safe regulated places for access to this drug. It would be a perfect solution.
I am not sure what the rational is for refusing to take that additional small step forward on behalf of Canadians whose lives we could save.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2018-12-07 12:10 [p.24570]
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Madam Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition signed by 2,657 Canadians regarding more sustainable fishing practices in British Columbia.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2018-12-06 15:27 [p.24522]
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Mr. Speaker, I wish I could be so positive about the success of the application of sustainable development legislation. In 2015, 2016 and 2017, the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development gave an absolute abject failing grade to all the agencies that were reviewed. A lot of her recommendations for greater accountability were rejected by the government. The other place made an attempt to change the bill.
One of the main amendments the commissioner had called for was specific reference in the Sustainable Development Act of the cabinet directive on sustainable development. The reason for that is that this directive would require every department and agency to do an assessment of policy program spending that is submitted to cabinet. One subset of this is the provision the government is refusing to accept from the other place, which was also recommended by our committee.
Bill C-57 is in fact not based on the review by the committee on which I used to sit. It is based on what the minister decided she would do to keep a reduced function of the bill in holding the government accountable for delivering on the sustainable development 2030 goals that our country signed on to.
Could the member speak to why the Liberals are not accepting these broader provisions to hold the government, the departments and agencies accountable for spending and assessing what the impact might be on the broad sustainable development goals?
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2018-12-03 14:39 [p.24318]
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Mr. Speaker, in Paris, the Liberals committed to greenhouse gas reductions that would hold the temperature increase to 1.5°C. Back home, they have stuck to Stephen Harper's targets. In Marrakesh, they called for respect for the rights of indigenous peoples. Back home, they approved major energy projects impacting those rights. In Bonn, at the 11th hour, they committed to a just transition for fossil fuel sector workers, and yet a year later there is nothing budgeted to support Alberta's initiative.
This week, at COP24 in Poland, will the government simply make more promises it has no intention of keeping?
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2018-11-29 11:47 [p.24188]
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Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his attempts to amend this bill. The government has repeatedly said that we are all in this together, yet when it comes to tabling bills, it rejects every sensible amendment.
Last night, there was an emergency debate in the House on the energy situation particularly being suffered in the province of Alberta. Almost a year ago exactly, in Bonn, Germany, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change committed that she would finally invest some dollars and have a strategy on an energy transition strategy for workers. Here we are about to go to the next COP on climate and nothing has been invested by the Liberal government.
Could the member speak to what the government could have done to invest in helping our workers, including our oil field workers like those of Iron & Earth, who are proud to be oil field workers but would also like to be trained as well so they can move into the energy efficiency and renewable energy sectors. Why has the federal government put nothing in this budget?
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2018-11-29 12:55 [p.24197]
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Mr. Speaker, if ever I heard filler in a speech, that was it. I congratulate the member for Yukon.
Omnibus budget bills were brought forward by the former Harper government and now this. There are a number of issues. It is not just whether the matters may relate to finance or the budget. The Liberals promised in their election campaign three years ago that they would not repeat the omnibus budget bills that Mr. Harper brought forward. Yes, a carbon tax bill may be a financial matter, but it was a massive legislative undertaking that merited review unto itself instead of being thrown into the middle of other financial matters that folks in the finance committee might have wanted to discuss. Rationalizing that this is what omnibus bills are just does not address the problem we have with the sitting government.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2018-11-29 16:38 [p.24231]
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Mr. Speaker, I have had the honour of visiting Skeena—Bulkley Valley, and I know what strong indigenous communities there are there.
I want to share two powerful experiences I have had with indigenous communities. This past summer, I had the honour of travelling with my colleague, who represents northern Saskatchewan, to a very indigenous community, both Métis and Cree I believe. In that gathering and in between, it was not English that was being spoken. I could hear my colleague speaking her language, Dene. It was a beautiful moment, because we are most powerful when we speak our language.
I also want to share that when I went to a gathering of the Dene people in Fort Providence, a small community in Northwest Territories, I lost count of how many interpreters were there. Indigenous communities are used to having interpretation, even among themselves.
I wonder if my colleague can speak further to the absurdity of the suggestion that there would be difficulty in finding interpreters of these beautiful indigenous languages that Canada is grateful to have.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2018-11-28 18:58 [p.24129]
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Mr. Speaker, at the outset, I would like to thank the members of both of the committees, in 2016 and 2018, which did incredible work in reviewing what needed to be done to help the Yazidis. Then again, this year did we go far enough, and what additional work needs to be done? I hope to concentrate on the work of those two committees.
To reiterate, in August 2014, four years ago, Daesh launched attacks on the Yazidi people in Sinjar, in northern Iraq, removing and murdering the men, forcing the women and girls into sexual slavery, and forcing the young boys into child soldier roles with Daesh fighting groups. This was a targeted group, in particular, as I recall, for religious persecution purposes. They were intent on essentially creating genocide.
To the credit of this place, some years back it clearly recognized that this was a genocide of the Yazidi people. As my colleague and others have mentioned, in 2016, the House of Commons passed a motion brought forward by a Conservative member to provide asylum to women and girls considered the most vulnerable victims of these attacks.
I think it is important for us to know what that motion said, because there was recognition way back then of the significance of the problems being faced by this particular group of people. That motion said:
That the House (a) recognize that ISIS is committing genocide against the Yazidi people; (b) acknowledge that many Yazidi women and girls are still being held captive by ISIS as sexual slaves; (c) recognize that the government has neglected to provide this House with an appropriate plan and the corresponding action required to respond to this crisis; (d) support recommendations found in the…report issued by United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Syria entitled, “They came to destroy: ISIS Crimes Against the Yazidis”; and, (e) call on the government to (i) take immediate action upon all the recommendations found in section 210, 212, and 213 of the said report, (ii) use its full authority to provide asylum to Yazidi women and girls within 30 days.
Following the passage in this place of that motion, the member for Vancouver East brought forward a motion to the immigration committee. That motion said:
Pursuant to Standing 108(2) and in light of the House of Commons unanimously voting in favour of the motion for the Canadian government to use its full authority to provide asylum to Yazidi women and girls who are escaping genocide within 120 days, the Committee undertake a study....
I will not go into the details of the study, but the committee then set about looking at all the details of what these women and children were facing and what actions Canada could possibly take. Passing that motion, with the committee agreeing to review, eventually spurred the government to actually host Yazidi women and children. I think it is important to recognize that there were Yazidi women in Canada who worked with the members in this place, and that is what really spurred action. It was a very emotional reaction.
In response to the emotion of the crisis Yazidi women and children were facing, Parliament responded. The government then moved to host and eventually bring some Yazidi women and children to Canada. My understanding is that a thousand Yazidi have since resettled in Canada, and half of those are children.
In October 2017, the Standing Committee on Citizenship and lmmigration requested an update from the government on what was happening with the Yazidi in Canada and how well they were resettling here and what the situation was overseas for the Yazidi who had not yet come. The committee was well briefed by the government, settlement agencies, refugee sponsors and newly arrived Yazidi women and children.
As a result of that review, the committee as a whole made a good number of recommendations. I think it is important to recognize that, yes, good action was taken to support Yazidi women and children, but the committee, all parties on the committee, made some very strong recommendations to the government to go further. Most of that went to giving greater support for two things. First was to ensure that we provide fulsome support for the resettlement of the Yazidi families in Canada, and second was to take action to enable more Yazidis to seek refuge in Canada.
One of the recommendations was to increase Canada's refugee settlement targets generally. Within that, we would also give greater support to the Yazidi families.
Another recommendation was to work with stakeholders to facilitate private sponsorship. As my colleague mentioned tonight, there are many in my riding as well who desperately want the government to let them step forward and sponsor more refugees. Most want to support more Syrian families. However, there certainly are families that have stepped forward and said they are willing to also help Yazidi women and children. The call from the committee was to facilitate more private sponsorship beyond the sponsorship agreement holder allocations from the government.
Third was to work with multilateral partners to help internally displaced Yazidis return to their region, should they choose and if it is deemed safe for them to go back. Normally speaking, refugees come from an area of strife. That is where they would like to return, but obviously, we do not want to help them return if we do not think they can return safely.
Other recommendations included offering greater information and support to new arrivals, offering greater support to settlement services and ensuring access to affordable housing and services. Two of my colleagues spoke to that earlier. We have a crisis with the cost of housing, particularly in British Columbia and Toronto. If a lot of the Yazidis are moving there, we have double the crisis. We have to figure out a way to put these families in places that are affordable and safe.
The committee also recommended providing mental health supports, providing professional interpretation services and language training to Yazidi families, and supporting family reunification for survivors by extending indefinitely the one-year window of opportunity.
My colleague, the member for Vancouver East, who is a member of the committee, went a little further at committee and added supplemental recommendations. Those recommendations included that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada lift the cap on privately sponsored refugees. That has been a bone of contention for those trying to support bringing in Yazidi families. We need to be letting families who want to step forward support them.
The second recommendation was that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada expand the definition of “family”, under the family reunification program and the one-year window of opportunity sponsorship program for refugee claimants, to include siblings, cousins, uncles, aunts, nieces and nephews. I have faced this in my own riding. There is a wonderful Congolese man who has settled in Canada, and he had nieces stranded in one of the refugee camps out of the Congo. However, he was having trouble sponsoring those children, because they were not his own children. When we look at the situation in a place of war and strife and genocide, we need to be rethinking the category of persons we should let people sponsor. The third recommendation was that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada engage in a follow-up measure to resettle 5,000 Yazidi refugees in Canada.
Other recommendations included increased humanitarian aid levels targeted toward populations of internally displaced people; that the government work with the provinces and territories to ensure that interpretation is available to those with language barriers in accessing public services; and that the government provide greater funding through resettlement services to provide conversational English-French programs to ensure that vulnerable refugees, especially women, do not experience isolation, language training for children, and child care services.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2018-11-28 19:09 [p.24131]
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I am not sure if that was a question, Mr. Speaker.
I fully believe that the member is very committed, but I can only look to the committee, which included a majority of Liberal members. It was a unanimous report. I find it hard to believe that since that report was tabled, all of the requests contained in it have been met.
We have been generous to refugees, but there are millions of refugees around the world. We accepted 35,000. That does not mean that we cannot do more.
I understand there are more Yazidi women and children that could be rescued. If there are families that are willing to sponsor them, I do not understand why the government would want to stand in the way of that. It would not cost the public treasury. It simply means that the government would have to lift the cap and let Canadians be generous, which they enjoy being.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2018-11-28 19:11 [p.24131]
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Mr. Speaker, in my speech I was simply speaking to the committee's report, of which the Liberals were the majority.
The committee heard testimony from people like Omar Khoudeida, an activist in the Yazidi community in London. He was of the opinion that special measures for additional resettlement of Yazidi women and children to Canada were necessary given how many are still in refugee camps.
The case that is being made by many, which we are supporting, is in the case of genocide. Surely, there has to be some kind of special consideration. If we made that special consideration in the case of the 1,500, why all of a sudden are we saying we have done our bit^
We have been hearing at the foreign affairs committee about the Congo. Women are being raped and murdered and children taken away as child soldiers. There may be special circumstances in which there are Canadians here who are willing to sponsor extended family. Maybe we should be reconsidering that in some circumstances.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2018-11-28 21:25 [p.24149]
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Madam Speaker, I cannot believe what I am hearing from the Liberal side. Everybody in Canada remembers the major aspect of the Liberals' platform, that they would immediately restore the project environmental review process and the environmental laws that were eviscerated by the Harper government.
What year are we in of the Liberal government? The third year. The Liberals' one bill, Bill C-69, is still in the Senate. All those projects that have gone before them, which they have been approving, have been approved under Harper's eviscerated environmental laws and review process.
Perhaps the member can guess why so many Canadians have been opposed to major energy projects. Is it because they have lost confidence in the federal review process?
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2018-11-28 21:50 [p.24153]
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Madam Speaker, indeed, Alberta, our country and the planet are facing an emergency. It is called climate change. I have not noticed the members who prompted this debate mention that at all, though it is part of the struggle that Alberta has in producing a profitable product. As much as they like to malign the current premier of Alberta, she has taken great measures to address that emergency at the same time as trying to develop a resource economy in Alberta. That is something the previous Conservative government did not, so there is a lot of catching up to do.
One of the arguments given for holding the emergency debate on crisis being faced in Alberta is the widening price differential. The Conservatives would like us to believe that the failure to build pipelines to tidewater is the only reason for the decline in the financial return for Alberta bitumen. They fail to mention that the additional barriers producers face include the lengthy and costly process involved in extracting and processing bitumen. In fact, the bitumen must first be upgraded and then refined before it can be used as gasoline or jet fuel, and that accounts for a good part of the discount.
Other suppliers, such as those of fracked oil in the United States, do not face these hurdles. The obvious question then is, as my colleague asked, why are we not upgrading and refining more of the bitumen in Canada? As the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands has reminded us, companies that have invested in upgrading and refining bitumen continue to make profits.
We also have to remember that one of the greatest barriers to getting public and indigenous support for these pipelines is that in order to send the bitumen by pipeline, we have to add dilbit, a carcinogenic product that many are concerned will pose great risk to the waters along these pipelines' routes.
To her credit, Premier Notley has helped to finance the building of a new refinery in Alberta. What could the federal government do? It could help finance refineries as a start. We have not heard anything in any of the budgets since the Liberals came to power about the possibility of helping the refining and upgrading of the product in Canada, which would help the government and Albertans gain more money for their coffers.
Another way is via the federal government's approval of exports. I often raised this question, which seems obvious to me. What would happen if the National Energy Board—one day soon, maybe, to become the Canadian energy regulator—imposed a requirement that a certain percentage of the raw product must be upgraded or refined as a condition of export approval? It has those powers. It can impose conditions. It imposes conditions on projects all the time. It is a puzzle. If the companies are not willing to step forward and make that investment, perhaps that is something the federal government could start doing through its new Canadian energy regulator. That would create jobs in Canada, as many have said tonight, and higher returns for Albertan owners of the upgraded product.
Second, the United States has been producing massive amounts from fracking. There is just not the same demand for Canadian product, and there is oversupply from many producers as well.
Then there is the question of the business case to build a pipeline and to pay to ship the product. Pipeline builders prefer to get contracts for at least 50% of the capacity for 15 to 20 years, but some potential buyers, like China, prefer shorter-term commitments. As one venture capital analyst has said: “Energy is a commodity business where cost is king”. Now that Canadians own a pipeline, it appears reasonable that some are asking to see those contracts. Certainly the people of Alberta and Canada deserve transparency, and what about the workers?
Why have recent export pipelines not been supported or approved? As my very informed colleague has said, Stephen Harper's government eviscerated the pipeline review process. I find it remarkable that every day in the House the Conservative members castigate the Liberals for not having approved the Trans Mountain pipeline when in fact they, the Conservatives, completely eviscerated it. The Conservatives got so frustrated that they could not get these projects built, there are some rumours about some potential buyers of the product asking why it takes so long to approve a pipeline.
Almost overnight, or over several years as a result of budget bills with very limited opportunity for consultation and discussion, the Conservatives completely eviscerated the federal review process and environmental legislation. It is really rather incredible that the Conservatives would sit here and say that they had nothing to do with that, that they could have fast-tracked all of the pipelines.
What happened when the Conservatives did that? As my colleague said, that is where the demonstrations against all pipelines came from. It was because they excluded the right of concerned communities and concerned indigenous governments to genuinely participate in the revenue.
When the gateway pipeline was turned down, former prime minister Stephen Harper turned to a consultant, Mr. Douglas Eyford. He asked what had to be done to get these projects built. Mr. Eyford met with all of the first nations and carefully examined the issues and asked how to get the western energy projects built.
He recommended four things: sustained engagement with aboriginal communities to build effective relationships; recognition that aboriginal communities view natural resource development as linked to a broader reconciliation agenda; recognition that support would only come for natural resource development if that development were undertaken in environmentally sustainable ways; and ensuring that those projects would help to improve the socio-economic conditions of aboriginal communities. In his words, “progress requires leadership, commitment, and action by governments, Aboriginal communities, and industry”.
What did the Harper government do? As I mentioned, instead of trying to settle the land claims and having genuine consultation and accommodation, it eviscerated via two budget bills all of the environmental laws, excluding the right not only of the indigenous communities but also anyone concerned to participate effectively in the reviews.
Then, the Conservatives promised that they would impose greenhouse gas conditions on all sectors. Guess what sector they never got around to regulating? Oil and gas. This, as I mentioned, resulted in widespread opposition to every federally regulated pipeline, energy east, the northern gateway, and Trans Mountain. No pipelines were approved.
Then along came the Liberals. During the election they promised exactly what my party promised, that they would immediately undo what the Stephen Harper government did to environmental law in Canada and to the environmental review process. They promised to restore all of those environmental laws expeditiously.
As has been mentioned, three years into their term, all of those laws still exist. Equally horrifying, we learned at committee when reviewing Bill C-69 that not only will those projects go through the old, eviscerated NEB process, but any other project that is already before the review body.
Even if the Liberals finally pass their Bill C-69, all of these projects will still be reviewed by Stephen Harper's eviscerated process. Bill C-69, by the way, does not give any specific rights to participate, to table evidence and to cross examine. It is a vacuous bill, although some parts of it may be an improvement.
If the Liberals had listened to us or had done what they promised, they could have had a pipeline or two approved by now, because they would have actually shown the necessary respect for first nations, met the proper constitutional requirements for consultation and accommodation, and looked at the impacts under the Species at Risk Act, but now they have to start at zero again.
Is rail the answer? Please, no. I know that the premier of Alberta is desperate and is looking for every possible solution. I tabled a bill in the House that would amend the federal assessment law to ensure that we review the rail shipping of bitumen, just as a pipeline has to be reviewed.
It is an absolutely reprehensible to propose the use of rail. Everyone in this place knows that it is more dangerous and risky.
And where is the federal money for a just transition?
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2018-11-28 22:02 [p.24155]
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Madam Speaker, the ones who have denied the workers are the former Conservatives and the current Liberals. They are the ones who have caused the pipelines not to be built. They are the ones who have not stood up to ask why corporations are not upgrading and refining this product in Canada, which would create a lot of jobs for super added value. Where were they when people were calling for jobs in refineries? They were doing absolutely nothing. Where were they and where are the Liberals today in putting the investment in for a just transition? Do they never talk to the oil field workers? Workers want to be trained in both fields, yet the government invested nothing in that just transition.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2018-11-28 22:04 [p.24155]
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Madam Speaker, I thought I was quite clear about that. The federal government has a lot of potential power to save the industry. Liberals are taking a resource that is owned by the people of Alberta and choosing not to refine or upgrade it, which would create a lot more employment for the people of Canada. What are the Liberals going to do? Buy every pipeline, buy every upgrader, buy the bitumen mines? Liberals can use their regulatory power, assert some authority and create some jobs for value added in Canada.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2018-11-28 22:05 [p.24155]
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Madam Speaker, the hon. member is 100% right. If the Conservative government had not downgraded that process, it probably could have proceeded through a process that was generally considered to be a credible, useful process right around the world. Instead, Conservatives eviscerated the process and they caused all the downturn in the economy.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2018-11-20 14:44 [p.23618]
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Mr. Speaker, Doug Ford is not the only one abandoning French-language universities. This government has turned its back on Campus Saint-Jean, the French-language university in Edmonton, even though Alberta's francophone population is on the rise and the number of students there has doubled. Funding needs are not being met, and the Liberals refuse to provide funding. At least the Alberta NDP has stepped up.
Why do the Liberals not support Campus Saint-Jean?
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2018-11-19 12:29 [p.23510]
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Madam Speaker, my thanks to the hon. member, who spoke with great emotion. Everybody agrees that we need to make sure that we do not leave future generations with a debt to pay. Of course, the debt is rising. However, there is another big question with respect to why the Liberals are putting off until the future high priorities, like getting first nations off safe drinking water boil advisories or giving them access to equivalent education and taking action on climate mitigation measures in municipalities, as the FCM calls for.
My question to the hon. member is this. What would his party do to balance the budget, how quickly would they do that, and what would he cut?
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2018-11-19 15:17 [p.23537]
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Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present two petitions from citizens from Edmonton, Sherwood Park, Beaumont, Fort McMurray, Beaver County, Bonnyville, Frog Lake, Oyen, Hanna, Cereal, Provost, Camrose, Chinook, Consort, Veteran, Cold Lake and Acadia Valley, all calling on the government to introduce and bring forward a national framework for action to promote eye health and vision care. In the next 20 years, it is expected that vision loss will double, particularly for indigenous, seniors and children.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2018-11-08 10:14 [p.23424]
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Mr. Speaker, I have the privilege today of presenting a petition from more than 150 Edmontonians. Those petitioners remind us that the Canadian government has publicly committed itself to the defence of human rights internationally and that the Magnitsky act was passed a year ago, allowing for restrictive measures to be taken against foreign nationals responsible for gross violations of internationally recognized human rights. They remind us that today the Canadian government has taken no action against Russian authorities responsible for the unlawful imprisonment and brutal ill treatment of three Ukrainian hunger strikers, Oleg Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Volodymyr Balukh, and approximately 60 other Ukrainian political prisoners. The Magnitsky act has not been invoked against Russian officials responsible for these violations. The petitioners call on the House of Commons to demand the release of those political prisoners and the dozens of others illegally detained by the Russian government and to employ all possible sanctions, including measures under the Magnitsky act.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2018-11-08 10:37 [p.23429]
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Madam Speaker, I am deeply concerned and share the concern expressed in the House and at committee by my colleague, the NDP justice critic, the member for Victoria. Despite the Minister of Justice's mandate letter, which directed that she remove mandatory minimum sentences, and despite the fact that the criminal trial lawyers association of Canada called for that reform because of the delays in court proceedings, many matters are going to trial because of the fear of minimum mandatory sentencing.
Could the member speak to why they did not deliver on the instruction of removing the minimum mandatory sentences? Why did they refuse to do that? They could have done it within this 300-page bill.
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View Linda Duncan Profile
NDP (AB)
View Linda Duncan Profile
2018-11-08 11:34 [p.23436]
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Madam Speaker, the member's colleagues have stood in the House frequently to call on the government of the day to fill the vacancies for judicial appointments. As he is aware, as he was in the last Parliament with me, the Conservative government also failed to fill those vacancies and failed to respond to the pleas of the former Conservative attorney general of Alberta. I wonder if he could speak to that. There has been a languishing problem in that area for a long time.
I wonder if the member could also speak to the previous government's decision to impose minimum mandatory sentences. As the Criminal Trial Lawyers' Association has pointed out, that has been one of the major causes of clogging the courts. Why, then, is his party completely opposed to any kind of reform of that measure?
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