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Results: 1 - 60 of 1465
View Erin Weir Profile
CCF (SK)
View Erin Weir Profile
2019-06-18 18:32 [p.29339]
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Mr. Speaker, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, celebrating the 75th anniversary of the election of our first government in Saskatchewan, agrees to apply and votes yes.
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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 Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2019-06-11 20:53 [p.28962]
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Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would ask you to review the tape and find that there are at least one or two Liberal members who are flying paper airplanes in the chamber here tonight. We have seen a number of different things take place. I have never seen that before in all my years here. I would ask you to review the tapes perhaps, as members come forward. I know that several Liberal members were involved in passing the plane around. There has been a lot of discussion about decorum and so forth in the House. I have seen a number of different things over the years.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
Mr. Brian Masse: I know that some members want to continue to heckle me down right now, but that is okay. Actually turning it to this type of a measure and throwing projectiles like that reaches another level.
I do not mind continuing to raise this issue, because perhaps that Liberal member or several Liberal members will actually come forward and talk about the fact that they participated in this type of activity.
This is not a ballpark. This is the House of Commons, and we would expect members' behaviour to at least have that type of substance to it.
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View Richard Cannings Profile
NDP (BC)
View Richard Cannings Profile
2019-06-11 20:58 [p.28962]
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Madam Speaker, I would like to echo the comments and sentiments of the member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo that after this bill was brought in, it did not even come to second reading until last Christmas. This is a bill that the Liberals knew they had to produce before the election in 2015. This was before the courts in the Northwest Territories. There was an injunction that was holding up litigation until this place produced this legislation.
Yes, there had to be consultation. However, it is my understanding that the consultation was completed in the middle of 2017, and yet here we are two years later and the government is saying that we have to hurry up. Well, hurry up and wait. We have been waiting for this legislation for two years, and now the government is saying that there is no more time left.
I agree with the Premier of the Northwest Territories that the bill has to be passed expeditiously, but we have not had a good answer from the government as to what caused these delays. I could speculate on other things, but I think it is a bit rich for the Liberals to say that we have to pass this right now and we have to have time allocation. They have had four years to do this, and I think that has to be noted.
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
View Peter Julian Profile
2019-06-11 21:03 [p.28963]
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Madam Speaker, I am very saddened. Sunny ways are definitely dead. Democracy is dying.
Tonight, we just had an extreme closure motion that even Stephen Harper never brought in. It was an extreme closure motion that did not allow for the right to reply of one opposition member in the entire House. There was a 20-minute closure speech. That was for a bill that has raised real concerns around civil liberties and the fact that we are talking about metadata of innocent Canadians being kept without proper scrutiny.
What we had from the Liberals was a few hours of debate a year ago, and then tonight, closure. It is absolutely unacceptable. Now, with Bill C-88, we are seeing the same thing of bulldozing. Even Stephen Harper did not go this far. Liberals promised, back in 2015, to bring a new tone to the House, to actually work with opposition members, and they have chosen to do the opposite. Why are Liberals bulldozing through legislation that requires proper scrutiny and proper discussion?
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View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
View Carol Hughes Profile
2019-06-11 21:06 [p.28963]
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I want to remind the member that he is to address the question directly to the Chair. I can tell him that I have been very busy during this Parliament.
The hon. minister.
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View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
View Carol Hughes Profile
2019-06-11 21:08 [p.28964]
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The hon. member knows that he has to address the question to the Chair. I am not going to expand on it. I will let the minister do it, though.
The hon. minister.
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View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
View Carol Hughes Profile
2019-06-11 21:10 [p.28964]
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I want to remind members that even though they may not like what they hear or be in agreement with what they hear, they need to ensure that they respect the rules of the House. Therefore, I would hope that the parliamentary language issue will not be a problem during the debate.
Questions and comments, the hon. member for North Okanagan—Shuswap.
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View Sheri Benson Profile
NDP (SK)
View Sheri Benson Profile
2019-06-11 21:12 [p.28964]
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Madam Speaker, what we are discussing tonight is the fact that we do not have an opportunity to hear what the minister has to say, have a good debate and talk about a process that perhaps was very good and was built on consensus. This possibly is very good legislation. However, this is the House. This is Parliament. As parliamentarians, we have a right to review the bill and the government still has a right to bring it forward and talk about it. I may very well find the bill and the consultations good, but what we are talking about right now is closure on that debate. You are denying my right to review that legislation. That is the piece that is offensive to me.
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View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
View Carol Hughes Profile
2019-06-11 21:13 [p.28964]
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I want to remind the member for Saskatoon West that she is to address the questions to the Chair and not the individual members.
The hon. minister.
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View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
View Carol Hughes Profile
2019-06-11 21:16 [p.28965]
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Before I go to a point of order, I want to remind the member that he may want to correct something. They are not our first nations; they are the indigenous peoples of Canada.
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View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
View Carol Hughes Profile
2019-06-11 21:17 [p.28965]
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The hon. member is getting into debate. He either wants to apologize or he does not.
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View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
View Carol Hughes Profile
2019-06-11 21:17 [p.28965]
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We do not need additional information. The hon. member either apologizes for what he said or—
An hon. member: He did.
The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): We will accept that.
The hon. minister.
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View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-06-11 21:19 [p.28965]
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Madam Speaker, as is not uncommon for me, I find myself somewhat in the middle on this. I deeply object to this very harsh time limitation on the debate of Bill C-88. At the same time, I was here in the 41st Parliament and I did work against the legislation. It was clear at the time to be disrespectful and a violation of treaty rights to create a so-called superboard without consultation in violation of treaties.
After the decision of the Northwest Territories Supreme Court, which suspended the creation of the superboard, this legislation is almost a no-brainer. It is required that we get rid of the legislation from the 41st Parliament that ignored the treaty rights of indigenous people, but it deserves proper and full consideration in this Parliament.
Therefore, I object to the proceeding we are going through tonight, although I do support the legislation. I also do not believe it is inappropriate for any woman or man in this place to choose first nations designs to promote first nations designers. I find that level of debate really demeans this place.
We are here to promote reconciliation, democracy and respect for each other. The way we conduct ourselves in this place would make any indigenous person wonder if he or she wants to actually join this country or find a way to avoid reconciliation and go back to pre-colonial times, without the burden of the way we conduct ourselves in this place.
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View Alexandre Boulerice Profile
NDP (QC)
View Alexandre Boulerice Profile
2019-06-11 21:22 [p.28966]
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Madam Speaker, it is incredible that they are trying to derail the debate on the substantive issue, which is that they are curtailing our right, as parliamentarians, to debate bills. Once again, the Liberal government has not properly managed the parliamentary machinery, has woken up at the last minute and is trying, in a panic, to prevent us from having debates that are appropriate for us to have.
They are telling us we debated the bill for two days two years ago and that consultations were held in 2017, but that is not what we are discussing at this time. That is truly unfortunate. Earlier, the Liberal government imposed a far-reaching gag order. Opposition members did not even have the right to ask the minister questions.
The Liberals should look themselves in the mirror and admit that what they are doing is even worse than what the Conservatives did in the worst years of Stephen Harper.
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View Alexandre Boulerice Profile
NDP (QC)
View Alexandre Boulerice Profile
2019-06-11 22:16 [p.28968]
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Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
He probably already knows that the NDP will be supporting Bill C-88, which fixes some of the mistakes made by the previous government.
We agree on the broad principles and the fact that the people of the Northwest Territories should have the right to manage their own affairs and govern themselves when it comes to assessments and respect for the environment.
I do, however, have one simple question. My colleague, and all other members of the Liberal government, voted to support the bill that states that we must respect and include the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in every piece of Canadian legislation. Unfortunately, it has not been included in Bill C-88. I would like to know why.
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View Guy Caron Profile
NDP (QC)
Mr. Speaker, we are indeed talking about Bill C-15, which this bill seeks to replace. I was in Parliament when Bill C-15 was passed under the Conservative government. It sought to replace the regional councils in the Northwest Territories with one large pan-territorial council.
The problem is that those regional councils were created as a result of land claim and self-government agreements with indigenous governments. The regional councils were created through nation-to-nation agreements. The Conservatives unilaterally overruled those decisions without consulting the indigenous peoples involved.
I would like to know why the member wants to go backward. Why he does not want to have this conversation and work on this nation-to-nation relationship that was undermined and ignored by the Conservatives?
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View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-06-11 22:51 [p.28973]
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Mr. Speaker, I am surprised that the hon. member for Saskatoon—Grasswood, in describing this bill, which is about the restoration of indigenous treaty rights around rejecting the idea of superboards, among other details, has raised the issue of oil and gas, the need for development, and demonstrations in Calgary in favour of oil and gas.
We have a lot of discussion in this place about the need to recognize a climate emergency. I wonder if my hon. colleague has any particular notion of when we should stop expanding oil and gas, and how quickly we need to phase out oil and gas in order to avoid catastrophic impacts from the climate crisis.
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View Alexandre Boulerice Profile
NDP (QC)
View Alexandre Boulerice Profile
2019-06-11 23:05 [p.28975]
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Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
I think that he already knows that the NDP will support Bill C-88, which will fix some of the mistakes made by the previous government. This bill is a step in the right direction.
Unfortunately, I do not really understand the lack of consistency. The Liberals voted in favour of the bill to include in federal legislation the principles of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, but unfortunately those principles are nowhere to be found in Bill C-88.
I would like my colleague to explain that inconsistency to me.
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View Fin Donnelly Profile
NDP (BC)
View Fin Donnelly Profile
2019-06-11 23:08 [p.28975]
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Mr. Speaker, I may have been a reluctant politician, but I quickly realized the importance of changing public policy. I have always believed that if we develop an ethic of care and stewardship for the planet and our environment, that ethic will naturally extend to all living things, including our neighbours.
I brought that approach to my 17 years of public service, 10 years federally and seven years locally, through six campaigns. This job is special, demanding but amazing.
I have had the good fortune to meet world leaders, national figures, celebrities and community heroes, like the Dalai Lama, Dr. Jane Goodall, Alexandra Cousteau, Rob Stewart, Alex Trebek, Rick Hansen, David Suzuki, Sam Waterston and Kevin Estrada to name a few.
I have participated in some incredible events, from witnessing an exoneration ceremony of powerful Tsilhqot'in leaders drumming on the House of Commons floor to taking part in a once-in-a-lifetime Canada C3 trip to deliver homemade, all-natural garden care products by students from Parkland Elementary School to the prime minister in 2010.
I have had some proud moments, like the passing of my motion calling on the government to recognize its sacred obligation to look after veterans and their families, which passed unanimously, to co-founding the all-party oceans caucus in 2012, which I hope will continue in the 43rd Parliament.
I have led effective campaigns, like banning the importation of shark fins to Canada, which hopefully will become law very soon; my wild salmon campaign, where Captain Kirk, William Shatner, joined me to save wild salmon by transitioning west coast salmon farms to closed containment; celebrating a win, seeing the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station finally reopen; and rewarding case work.
Here is just one example. Karin in my office worked hard for 10 years, my entire career as an MP, to reunite Kabondo with his wife Emmerence. They were separated during the Congo civil war in 1998. Emmerence moved to Canada and saved enough money from her cleaning job to visit the refugee camp where he was in 2014. Finally, in 2018, the family was reunited 20 years later in Canada. I thank Canada. There were sad cases, like the tragic circumstances of little Alan Kurdi and his Syrian family.
Through it all, it has been a team effort: my family, my wife Lynda, my parents Val and Cy, my brother Liam and all my relatives and close friends, like Doug Radies. I had my NDP team: from Dawn Black, the member who passed the torch to me, to leaders like Jack Layton, Nycole Turmel, Tom Mulcair and now the member for Burnaby South.
I want to mention my teammates, current and former: my roommate, the incredible member for Vancouver Kingsway, whose quick wit and sense of humour is matched only by his generosity; my seatmate, the unstoppable member for Edmonton Strathcona; the ever-talented member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley; the knowledgeable and so-connected member for Victoria; the inspiring, youthful member for Sherbrooke; the dean of our caucus, the member for Windsor West; and all my colleagues.
I also want to mention my good friends: the mayor of Vancouver, Kennedy Stewart; B.C. premier, John Horgan; my amigos, Malcolm Allen and Jack Harris; amazing formers like Megan Leslie, Libby Davies, Chris Charlton, Joe Comartin, Denise Savoie and Jean Crowder; and the incorrigible Pat Martin, who once had to leave his seat during a vote because of an underwear sale at the Bay. I still laugh at that today.
There was our dear friend, Paul Dewar. I want to mention my political heroes, John Cashore and Dave Driscoll, local champions like Diane Thorne and Selina Robinson, community heroes like Elaine Golds, Ruth Foster, Rod MacVicar, Natalie Thomas and Fred Soofi, and first nation leaders, Shawn Atleo, Bob Chamberlain and Grand Chief Stewart Philip.
I also want to mention Legion Branch 263 and Branch 119 and my amazing campaign team, Tania Jarzebiak, Cheryl Greenhalgh, Alex Ng, and Anne Ladouceur, and my hard-working executives. There are so many incredible volunteers. There is my wonderful staff, Karin Kreuzkamp, Roberta Webster, Nick Watts and Andrew Christie, and Brynn, Mark, Coree, Sophia, Melissa, Melanie, Matt, Nicole, Natasha, Noah and Dan.
I want to mention those who helped me and working people, Jim Sinclair, Mark Hancock, Paul Moist, Ivan Limpright, Tom Dusfresne, John Baile, Geoff Devilin, Keegan Gordon, Marcel Marsolais and Kenny Neumann.
There is our team in the lobby, Rob and Jeremy, Christian, Anthony, Chuck, Audrey, Dominic and the whole gang.
There is my Rivershed Society of B.C. family and all the ENGOs that do such amazing work across our country. There are Oceana, HSI, PSF, DSF, WWF, West Coast Environmental Law and the scientific heroes like Dr. Kristi Miller-Saunders, Alex Morton and Brian Riddell.
I say to the Prime Minister, I welcome him to paddle the Fraser with me any time. I say to the member for Beauséjour, get well soon. It has been a pleasure working with him. I want to mention my oceans caucus co-chairs, the member for Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame, and you, Mr. Speaker, the member for Simcoe North, true gentlemen.
There is the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, with whom I traded many a verbal joust. By the way, you still owe me, my friend. There is the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, and the parliamentary secretary. I enjoyed working with them and their staff. There is the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, to whom I say, a swim any time.
I say to the leader of the Green Party, good job on Bill S-203. I want to acknowledge Senator MacDonald for working together to save sharks.
I thank all the security guards for keeping us safe, especially during the 2014 shooting in Centre Block. I say a special shout-out and thank you to Sergeant-at-Arms Pat McDonell and former sergeant-at-arms Kevin Vickers.
I say thank you to the clerks, pages, interpreters, committee staff, bus drivers, cafeteria staff, mail room staff, custodians and maintenance team.
Finally, to all those who are running again, I wish them the best of luck. May the 43rd Parliament come together to make Canada an even better place to live, work and raise a family. Please, please work hard to transition our country as fast as possible to a low-carbon future. Be bold. Make tough decisions. Co-operate. Put us on a path to a sustainable future.
I will be working to heal and protect the Fraser watershed, one of the most biologically diverse watersheds in North America and one of the most magnificent areas in all of Canada. To the next MP for Port Moody—Coquitlam, Bonita Zarrillo, I wish the best of luck. I look forward to seeing her here in the House of Commons.
Hych'ka O'Siem.
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View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2019-06-11 23:23 [p.28977]
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Mr. Speaker, I am humbled to be standing in this place as the new critic for fisheries and oceans, following in the footsteps of someone who is a legend in the House and in coastal British Columbia.
On behalf of British Columbians and people from coast to coast to coast, we are forever indebted to this man for his advocacy and his fight for salmon. He has spoken more about salmon than anyone out of 338 members of Parliament. He has fought for fish and the health of our oceans.
Again, we are forever indebted to this member of Parliament. We wish him the very best. We know he is leaving the House as a parliamentarian, but will continue his fight for salmon. It is a testament to who this individual is by turning his life and dedication to fighting for fish and salmon and coastal communities.
I cannot say enough about this individual. We can all stand and applaud because I know everyone in the country is so lucky and fortunate to have leadership like the man from Port Moody—Coquitlam.
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View Fin Donnelly Profile
NDP (BC)
View Fin Donnelly Profile
2019-06-11 23:24 [p.28977]
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Mr. Speaker, it truly has been an honour to serve.
I would like to thank the members for Courtenay—Alberni, Beaches—East York and Cariboo—Prince George for their very kind remarks. It has been a pleasure working with each of them. It has been a pleasure working with so many members across the aisle and in the House over the years. I think that is the important thing, how we make good public policy decisions by coming together and doing the hard work of listening and working together to find solutions for Canadians. That is what it is all about.
In my 10 years as a member of Parliament, I have felt very honoured to be in this place. We are among the few people who can get here and have debates like this to move good legislation that is for the betterment of the entire country. I would not change it for the world.
I am definitely looking forward to spending my next chapter in life with my wife, Lynda, and working on my passion, which is the Fraser.
I wish everyone here all the best going forward, either in the next Parliament or wherever life may take them.
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View Rachel Blaney Profile
NDP (BC)
View Rachel Blaney Profile
2019-06-10 11:03 [p.28779]
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Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to speak to this important issue today.
I want to thank the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands for bringing Bill S-203 to the House. The bill looks at the reality of phasing out the captivity of dolphins, whales and porpoises.
The riding that I represent, North Island—Powell River, is along the ocean, and these are beings that we live with. That interaction is very important to us. I think of the times I have spent watching this wildlife engage with us in their free natural state. It is important that we are talking about this issue here today.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank my caucus colleague, the member for Port Moody—Coquitlam, for his dedication to the country's oceans, rivers and streams. His commitment to protecting the wildlife that lives within them has resonated with people across Canada. He will not be sitting in the House with us much longer, so it is important to acknowledge the work he has done on files like this one.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley. The member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley has always had a special place in my heart because he represents the area where I grew up. I really respect his connection with the communities in that largest of ridings in British Columbia.
A couple of weeks ago, the member came to my riding to talk about his private member's bill on zero-waste packaging. That issue is a huge concern in my riding. Packaging made of plastic takes so long to deteriorate and we know the impact it is having on our oceans.
Without that member's work we would not be standing here today debating Bill S-203. I understand that he is working with the minister right now to push forward his important piece of legislation around zero-waste packaging. It deals with an important issue to make sure we do not fill our landfills with plastics anymore.
If it were not for the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley accepting a letter from me, the member for Courtenay—Alberni, the member for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, the member for Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, our colleague from Victoria and Laurel Collins asking him to give up his spot on today's private members' hour, we would not be debating this bill today. I want to acknowledge that and thank him for continuing to work so hard on his zero waste packaging legislation. He will not give up, which is something that I appreciate deeply about the member.
Bill S-203 proposes to phase out the captivity of whales, dolphins and porpoises in Canada, except in situations like rehabilitation or rescue.
New Democrats will always support the ethical and useful research of these beings in the water, but the research can take place in the wild. Scientists in the wild environment can get a realistic view of the natural behaviours of these animals without causing a lifetime of pain and suffering, which we know is the reality when they are held in captivity.
What we have heard from scientists is that these beings suffer in confinement. They suffer a sense of isolation, serious health problems, reduced lifespans, high infant mortality rates, sensory deprivation, as well as trauma from the transfer to other parks and calf separation.
This bill speaks to an important issue where we can get it right and do the right thing. Given the evidence, captive facilities cannot provide for these beings' social or biological needs.
Keeping them in captivity is cruel. They are intelligent social animals. They are acoustically sensitive marine beings that spend their time in the vast oceans. They dive deep down to places many of us will never see.
When we look at their freedom in the wild, to swim freely, to dive deeply, when we think about their confinement, it is so much less. We have heard it is less than 1% of the range that they are used to. Can members imagine that? None of us in this place can imagine being in our environment, doing the things that we do, and suddenly being put into a small box and told that we have to be successful and perform for other people. We cannot ask these beings to do that.
It reminds me of what Maya Angelou said, “When you know better, do better.” This is an opportunity in this House to move forward because we now know better, so it is time for us to do better.
Unlike many issues, this really is not a partisan issue. It is a moral issue. It is a bill that is supported by science. We know that whales, porpoises and dolphins in captivity suffer in a way that cannot be justifiable. We know that this bill, Bill S-203, is a reasonable one. It is a balanced piece of legislation. It grandfathers the process and it gives zoos and aquariums time to phase out this practice. This is the right thing to do and I hope everyone in this House takes the opportunity to support this.
When we think about the grandfathering process out of captivity that Bill S-203 proposes, we know it will do important things. It will ban live captures under the Fisheries Act, except for rescues when some being out there needs help. Currently, captures are legal if they are licensed. We all need to pause and take a moment to think about what that means. We know that the last capture that happened was belugas near Churchill in 1992, so it is a practice that is not being implemented. However, the fact that it is still there is very concerning, and this bill would remove it.
Bill S-203 also bans imports and exports, except if licensed for scientific research. This is a hard one, but we want to see an open water sanctuary. We want to see the process happen in a way that is best for the whale, the dolphin or the porpoise. We want to make sure it is under the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act. These are important factors that this bill can bring forward.
Finally, this bill would ban breeding under the animal cruelty provisions of the Criminal Code. This is also very important.
Right now there is a bill before the Senate, Bill C-68, that would prohibit the captures but it would not restrict imports or exports by law nor would it ban breeding. This is why we need this bill. This is why I will be supporting it. This is the action that needs to be taken to complete what is happening already.
Twenty marine mammal biologists from around the world released a letter supporting Bill S-203. They said, “At a minimum, the maintenance of odontocetes [toothed whales, dolphins and porpoises] in commercial captive display facilities for entertainment purposes is no longer supported or justified by the growing body of science on their biological needs.”
We know it is the right thing to do and it is time to make sure that people have the opportunity to see these beautiful animals in the wild, to respect what they need and to create a new relationship. Keeping them enclosed is not the right way to go.
When we look at the wild, we know that dolphins, whales and porpoises travel up to 100 miles daily feeding and socializing with other members of their pods. The pods can contain hundreds of individuals with complex social bonds and hierarchies. That is their natural state. In captivity they are in small enclosures and unable to swim in a straight line for any distance. They do not have the ability to dive deep. Sometimes they are housed alone or housed with other animals they are not naturally used to being with. When we look at that isolation with this concern in mind, we know this is the right thing to do.
I look forward to seeing support from all members in this House. We can do the right thing. Today is the day and I look forward to seeing a positive vote.
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View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2019-06-10 11:26 [p.28782]
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Mr. Speaker, it is a huge honour to speak today in the House of Commons. With this bill and with the support of my hon. colleagues, Canada is on the cusp of making history and ending cetacean captivity and making sure it is a thing of the past. Not only is this important to me, but it is important to the people of my riding, to people right across this country from coast to coast to coast, to countless environmental stewards who have fought hard on this issue, and certainly to the Nuu-chah-nulth people and indigenous people across this country.
I have heard from many of them. Many Nuu-chah-nulth people see the orca, in their language the kakaw’in, as a spirit animal and as an animal that is a reflection of their ancestors. To think of their ancestors being held in captivity is certainly something they do not want to see happen again.
If we pass this bill, it would do a couple of things. First, it would give us credibility and legitimacy to take it even further, to push for a global ban on having cetaceans held in captivity. We know that cetaceans held in captivity suffer in a way that is not justifiable. Bill S-203 is a reasonable, balanced piece of legislation.
Let us look at the life of a captive whale, dolphin or porpoise. In captivity, conditions are spartan and prison-like. Cetaceans suffer confinement, isolation, health problems, reduced lifespans, high infant mortality rates, sensory deprivation and trauma from transfer to other parks and calf separation. Given the evidence, captive facilities cannot provide for their social or biological needs. They need to roam widely and dive deep in order to thrive. The range of captive orcas is only 1/10,000th of 1% the size of their natural home range, and 80% of their time is spent at the surface, looking for food and attention from their trainers, who make the choices for them when they are held in captivity. Captive-born animals are often forcibly weaned and shipped to other facilities, away from their mothers and the only companions they have ever known. It creates unnecessary trauma. It is cruel.
Let us compare that to wild cetaceans. They spend approximately 80% to 90% of their time under the water. They have the freedom to make their own choices, sometimes travelling up to 100 miles per day, following food and the members of their family. Many of these species, like the orcas, live in complex societies with their own cultures and dialects, maintaining close ties with family and friends. Some remain in family groups for life. For wild orcas, their pod is critical to their survival.
I want to add that I am excited that we just had a baby orca in the pod off Tofino, witnessed by my good friends Jennifer Steven and John Forde. It is another reminder of the importance of our orcas being able to roam freely in the wild and knowing that a baby orca will not be taken and put into captivity. It is a relief to all of us.
We know that keeping cetaceans is cruel, given the scientific evidence about their nature and behaviour. They are intelligent, social and acoustically sensitive marine animals.
New Democrats believe in the power of research, and we know that the continued study of cetaceans can be done ethically in the wild. There, scientists can get a realistic view of their natural behaviours without causing a lifetime of pain and suffering.
Our party also understands the need for legislation to be measured, and Bill S-203 does balance a fair transition for the two remaining facilities that hold captive cetaceans. It grandfathers in existing animals and gives the zoo and aquarium community a long phase-out period. It is not asking these facilities to close overnight. Certainly we will not be supporting the movement of cetaceans or sale of cetaceans anywhere from those facilities.
There are a few people we need to thank today. First of all, we need to thank the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who brought their voice to all elected officials, whether in the House of Commons or in the Senate, calling for this legislation to be passed; the environmental groups and animal rights organizations for mobilizing people; and indigenous communities for raising their concerns, which led to the bill and today's debate.
Also, there are people in the House whom we need to thank, for coming together and showing this is not a partisan issue; it is a moral issue. First, I want to thank my colleague from Skeena—Bulkley Valley. He had a very important piece of legislation to end zero-waste packaging, with which we hope the government will move forward. It made some announcements today in response to my motion, Motion No. 151, around phasing out single-use plastics. I would like to congratulate the government on that first step, and I look forward to seeing more momentum and movement, especially around industrial-use plastics, and rethinking how we use plastics.
I thank my colleague from Skeena—Bulkley Valley because his bill was supposed to be in the House today, and he gave up his spot so we could move forward with this piece of legislation, knowing the only way we could save it was for it to be in the House today. I also want to thank Terrace's Ben Korving. He is the one who helped my colleague from Skeena—Bulkley Valley bring the bill forward on zero-waste packaging through a contest held in his riding to ensure Canadians' voices were heard in the House. We have not lost sight of Ben's work. We have ensured the government heard the proposal that Ben brought forward. I want to thank them both.
In that same spirit, I want to thank my colleague and friend from Saanich—Gulf Islands for the considerable work she has done on this issue and the stewardship she has shown by taking on this bill, working with us to find a path forward and showing a non-partisan approach when it comes to ensuring we do the right thing for cetaceans, which do not have a voice. We are their voice and this is an opportunity to demonstrate what we are going to do to look out for them.
I want to thank my colleague and friend from Port Moody—Coquitlam, the former vice-chair of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, who helped move this bill through committee and worked very hard on it. I also want to thank my friend and colleague, the chair of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, the member for Avalon, who has done some great work to help ensure the passage of this bill. I really mean that, because without his help, working with all of us in the House, we would not have got this done. I commend him for his work on that.
This bill would not have made it this far without the courageous and bold efforts of Senator Wilfred Moore. We sometimes raise concerns about the Senate, and I certainly have my doubts right now on a number of pieces of legislation, so I will take it away from the Senate and give it to a human being who is a huge champion, and that is retired senator Wilfred Moore. He has been a champion of this bill. He tabled this bill in the Senate and stayed on this bill even beyond his retirement, showing his dedication and commitment, and we owe him a round of applause. I thank him for being completely committed and devoted to seeing this through.
I thank Senator Murray Sinclair for taking on and championing this bill in the Senate, bringing the really important wealth of indigenous knowledge and his connections across this country and ensuring those voices were also heard in the Senate.
In closing, I hope this bill passes very quickly. I thank the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who have been the voice of cetaceans, which do not have a voice, and look forward to Canada having legitimacy and credibility on the international stage when it comes to fighting for cetaceans and ending the captivity of whales internationally. I hope that is the next step for our country.
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View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-06-10 11:46 [p.28785]
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Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour to speak today during the final hour of debate after several years of work on a bill that is important to the world's whales.
I am particularly honoured to rise this morning because we are at the point that most members in this place appear ready to see this legislation pass. The legislation was first brought forward in the last few days of the Senate sitting of 2015. It has been, to put it mildly, a long haul.
The hon. member just raised concerns, and I think all concerns by my colleagues in this place are legitimate. However, it is important for anyone watching this debate to recognize that the bill is based on science.
Many scientists testified as to why it is critical that we stop keeping cetaceans in captivity. We understand why. They are obviously not akin to livestock, for instance. Cetaceans require the ocean. They require the space. They require acoustic communication over long distances. The scientists who testified before the committee who made the case so strongly made it based on science.
Yes, Canadians care. Yes, the school children who wrote to us in the thousands were not moved by the science; they were moved because they see movies and nature films and they understand that whales, dolphins and porpoises are of a different character than other animals.
I would reassure my friend that we could not just substitute the name for another species. Bill S-203 is firmly tied to the Fisheries Act. I do not think we would find any horses in the wild in the ocean. We have tied it down legislatively in such a way that others should not worry that there will be a creeping effect.
In the time remaining, I want to say how grateful I am for the non-partisan spirit. It has been my entire honour to be the sponsor of this legislation in the House. I am enormously grateful to my colleagues.
I mentioned the scientists. Let me thank Dr. Visser, who testified at committee, coming in by Skype from New Zealand in the days right after the Christchurch killings. It was an emotional time for everyone. I would also like to thank Dr. Naomi Rose, and from Dalhousie University, Dr. Hal Whitehead. Phil Demers, a former whale trainer at Marineland, offered excellent real-life testimony as to the cruelty of keeping whales in captivity.
Certainly Senator Wilfred Moore and Senator Murray Sinclair have done an enormous amount to help. So too has the government representative in the Senate, Senator Harder.
I also want to thank the Minister of Fisheries and his predecessor for taking companion elements in Bill S-203 and embedding them in Bill C-68. Bill C-68, the reform of the Fisheries Act, remains before the Senate.
I want to take a moment to urge all colleagues in the other place to move Bill C-68 through. I also urge everyone here, if there are amendments, to move Bill C-68 through, because the Fisheries Act is critically important on many scores, as well as being companion legislation to Bill S-203.
Again, in a non-partisan spirit, I want to thank the hon. member for Port Moody—Coquitlam, who we will miss in this place, and the hon. member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley. I also want to mention his constituent, Ben Korving, who put forward the legislation regarding zero-waste packaging. I pledge, as leader of the Green Party, to take on Ben Korving's motion and make sure that it does not die in this place, because those members made a sacrifice to allow Bill S-203 to pass before we rise at the end of June.
I also want to thank the hon. member for Beaches—East York, a Liberal, and my friend from Courtenay—Alberni, who was gracious in his praise earlier.
Everyone pulled together on this. The member for Charlottetown, the parliamentary secretary, helped enormously.
I would once again like to thank my Bloc Québécois colleague, the member for Repentigny.
I know that there were Conservative colleagues who did what they could.
I cannot tell members how important this legislation is. I will close with a few words that we have not heard in this place before. They are from the book of Job. They are found in chapter 41, verse 1.
Behold, Behemoth,which I made as I made you;...He is the first of the works of God;...Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhookor press down his tongue with a cord?Can you put a rope in his noseor pierce his jaw with a hook?...Will traders bargain over him?Will they divide him up among the merchants?...On earth there is not his like,...He sees everything that is high;he is king over all the sons of pride.
To everyone in this place, let us think for a moment. We behold Leviathan. He belongs in the wild. He will never again be placed in a swimming pool in this country.
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View Richard Cannings Profile
NDP (BC)
View Richard Cannings Profile
2019-06-10 20:39 [p.28855]
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Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the parliamentary secretary for his speech. He mentioned the fact that people in the north are anxious to see this legislation move forward quickly, and yet his own government has taken an inordinate amount of time preparing it.
We knew that this legislation was necessary before the last election. The negotiations and the consultation started then. From my information, they were finished in July 2017, and yet it was 18 months before this legislation was tabled only just before Christmas. Here we are in June of 2019, just days away from the end of this Parliament, and they are saying we have to hurry up.
I just want to ask the member why suddenly there is a rush when we should have had this finished long ago.
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View Richard Cannings Profile
NDP (BC)
View Richard Cannings Profile
2019-06-10 20:44 [p.28856]
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Madam Speaker, the parliamentary secretary's government supported the private member's bill put forward by my colleague, the member for Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, which asked the government to put the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into every appropriate piece of legislation that the government was going to produce, and here we have the most appropriate piece of legislation. This legislation is about resource development and about indigenous peoples.
We are here because of the lack of consultation. This legislation screams out to have the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples included in it, and yet it is not. I am wondering if the member might comment on that.
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View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
View Carol Hughes Profile
2019-06-10 20:46 [p.28857]
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Before I go to resuming debate, there seems to be a bit of confusion again about how those who are asking questions and making comments are selected.
Members may recall that on November 3, 2016, the following statement was made:
As Chair occupants, we recognize that the time for questions and comments is often the most valuable time for an exchange between members. In accordance with the procedures and practices, we will do our best to ensure that time is generally afforded to the members of the parties who are not associated with the member who has just spoken but not to the exclusion of that party....
That is the way we will do it. We will also be attentive to members who are particularly present during the day and paying attention to the debate to ensure that as many members as possible can participate....
I was going to recognize the member earlier. However, there was an agreement made that the government House leader was going to get up and ask that question. The hon. member for Northwest Territories could certainly have the first question that will be posed once the opposition does its speech.
Resuming debate. The hon. member for Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa.
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View Richard Cannings Profile
NDP (BC)
View Richard Cannings Profile
2019-06-10 21:14 [p.28860]
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Mr. Speaker, it is always entertaining to listen to the member. I think he and I are the only members in the House who self-identify as biologists. Beyond that, I think we have a lot of differences of opinion. I will leave it at that.
I have about 20 questions I would like to ask him. Right off the top, he said that this was energy-killing legislation, and then he went on to talk about the Conservative record on the environment. He talked a lot about Brian Mulroney. I noticed that he did not mention Stephen Harper once in terms of the environmental record of his government. I think a lot of people would say that it was quite a negative record.
He also talked about the results and track record of the Conservatives. Here we have legislation the Conservatives brought in that drastically affected the environmental impact assessments in the Northwest Territories. It got rid of the boards that were set up through land claims agreements. The Conservatives did the same thing in the Yukon, and that had to be fixed through Bill C-17 earlier.
The Conservative record is really one of gutting environmental legislation, and that was energy-killing legislation. It is what has brought us to this very polarized standstill in Canadian development.
Could the member comment on the Conservatives' track record with respect to getting energy and resource projects going while at the same time trying to gut the environmental regulations Canadians want?
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View Richard Cannings Profile
NDP (BC)
View Richard Cannings Profile
2019-06-10 21:20 [p.28861]
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Mr. Speaker, I am happy to rise tonight to speak to Bill C-88, an act to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act.
As I said in my first speech on this bill, the overall position of the NDP is that northerners know best how to manage their own resources. We supported this bill at second reading and will support it again at the final vote, but we feel that there were some opportunities at committee to improve parts of it that were lost.
There is a lot of history to this bill and the measures taken over the years to bring more democracy to the north and to end the colonial style of government that has been in place since Confederation. It seems that with every step forward, there are a few steps back, and this bill is perhaps no exception.
This is a bit of an omnibus bill. It sets out to do two very different things. First, it would repeal parts of Bill C-15, the Northwest Territories Devolution Act, which was passed in the last parliament. Second, it would bring into force an announced moratorium on oil and gas exploration and development in offshore waters of the Canadian Arctic.
Bill C-15, passed in 2014, was also a bit of an omnibus bill in that it did two things. The bulk of that bill dealt with the devolution of powers from the federal government to the territorial government. The general public opinion in the north was that this was, as Martha Stewart would say, a good thing. However, the second part of Bill C-15 went back on that, eliminating four regional land and water boards and replacing them with a single superboard. The feeling was that this was not a good thing. Those four boards were originally created out of land claim agreements and negotiations with various first nations in the Mackenzie Valley area, and the new superboard significantly reduced the input those first nations would have on resource management decisions.
In passing, I will note that the previous Conservative government did similar things to the Yukon, so the present federal government had to remove contested reforms to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act litigated by Yukon first nations. This led to Bill C-17, which rescinded those contested reforms in 2017.
I will return to the Northwest Territories and a brief list of modern agreements and treaties. There are a few smaller ones I will not mention. The member for the Northwest Territories has told me that there are 10 more that are in the process of negotiation as well, but I will just mention four here.
First, the Inuvialuit agreement covers the northern part of the Mackenzie Delta, the Beaufort Sea and the Northwest Territories portion of the Arctic Archipelago. That region is outside the areas covered in the regional land and water boards covered in Bill C-88, but it does bear on the second part of the offshore and gas exploration part of this bill.
Second, the Gwich’in agreement covers the southern portion of the Mackenzie Delta and the northern part of the Mackenzie Mountains.
Third, the Sahtu Dene and Métis agreement covers the region around Great Bear Lake and the adjacent Mackenzie Mountains.
Fourth, the Tlicho Land Resources and Self-Government Agreement covers the area north of Great Slave Lake.
These agreements are modern-day treaties that create and confirm indigenous rights and are protected by section 35 of the Constitution. The Gwich'in, Sahtu and Tlicho agreements contain provisions for the creation of a system of co-management boards enacted by the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act. On each of these boards, there are four members and a chair. Two of the four members are nominated or appointed by the Gwich'in, Sahtu or Tlicho so that they have an equal partnership in those decisions.
In parts of the Northwest Territories where there is no settled land claim, the main board created by the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act, the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board, is in operation. In the lnuvialuit Settlement Region, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency conducts environmental assessments.
This was all working well until the previous federal Conservative government came to power and was looking for ways to speed up resource development. It commissioned the McCrank report in 2007, which eventually put forward two options to streamline the assessment processes in the Northwest Territories, both of which would significantly affect the operations of the regional land and water boards. Option one was to eliminate the boards and replace them with a superboard. The McCrank report warned that this option would take a long time to implement, as it would necessitate renegotiation of the land claims affected and a lot more consultation on top of that. Option two would keep the boards but reduce their mandates. Again, there would be a lot of consultation needed but perhaps not a full renegotiation of the treaties.
In its habit of cutting corners and ignoring indigenous rights, the Harper government picked option one but dropped the pesky renegotiation and consultation requirement and then slipped that into Bill C-15, introduced in December 2013. Bill C-15 was primarily meant to implement the provisions in the Northwest Territories Lands and Resources Devolution Agreement. However, as I mentioned, it contained a kind of poison pill in the form of changes to the land and water co-management boards. The Harper bill eliminated the regional boards in favour of a single superboard consisting of ten members and a chair. These changes were widely and wildly unpopular in the Northwest Territories, and contrary to the wishes of northerners.
In committee, we heard from a number of witnesses about the negative effects of Bill C-15 and the legal battle it unleashed. I would like to quote, first, directly from the testimony of Chief Alfonz Nitsiza, of the Tlicho government. He testified:
The Wek'èezhii Land and Water Board [the Tlicho board] and other boards in the Northwest Territories would be replaced with a single super-board. Instead of appointing 50% of the board members, as our Tlicho agreement requires, the Tlicho Government would appoint only one out of 11 members on this super-board. The Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act amendments could allow decisions about Wek'èezhii to potentially be made by a panel of the super-board that could lack Tlicho Government appointees entirely. This was unacceptable to us. Tlicho were promised something different in their treaty from what was designed in the Northwest Territories Devolution Act. The treaty promise was broken with no good reason, so we went to the courts for justice.
The Tlicho Government immediately sought an injunction from the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories. That injunction was granted. It prevents the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act amendments from coming into force, and remains in effect to this day. You should also know that the underlying lawsuit also remains active, pending the results of this legislative process. The injunction will remain in effect until either a new law is passed [this one] or our lawsuit regarding the Northwest Territories Devolution Act runs its course.
The Gwich'in representative at committee, David Wright, also mentioned the damage that even this temporary dissolution of regional boards would do to regulatory capacity in the Northwest Territories. He said:
The injunction says the Tlicho, in particular, because they were the primary litigant in that case, would suffer irreparable harm if those amendments were brought into force, because what it would mean is that the Tlicho, Sahtu and Gwich'in land and water boards would be dismantled. Picture staff being sent packing, corporate memory and resources and capacity being disbanded, and the single Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board being created.
The irreparable harm is at that institutional bureaucratic capacity level, and it would take a lot to get that engine going again if the court result was ultimately favourable and was in line with the findings of Justice Shaner, I believe, in the injunction case.
In other words, depending on what level of court this stopped at, if the result was, yes, indeed, this is an unconstitutional set of amendments that go against land claim agreements, then you would have to restart these boards years from now, which would just be lost time and waste and uncertainty.
We also heard from Bob Mcleod, the Premier of the Northwest Territories, regarding the need for the timely passage of Bill C-88. The premier said:
The Government of the Northwest Territories supports swift passage of Bill C-88. The implications of not proceeding with the bill within the lifetime of this government and retaining the status quo are significant. Amendments to the MVRMA have been on the books for five years, and we don't want any more uncertainty associated with our regulatory regime. Resource developers are contemplating investing in developing the Northwest Territories' rich natural resources, and everyone benefits from regulatory certainty.
Here we are with Bill C-88 before us. Part of this bill is what the Northwest Territories wants. It wants the devolution of powers. It wants to keep the regional boards.
However, there is a part 2. This is kind of a mini-omnibus bill. I will now go to the second part of Bill C-88, which deals with the Canada Petroleum Resources Act. This began in late 2016, when the Prime Minister was meeting with President Barack Obama and they both gave what was called the “United States-Canada Joint Arctic Leaders' Statement”.
In that statement, President Obama said that the U.S. was designating the vast majority of U.S. waters in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas as indefinitely off limits to offshore oil and gas leasing. At the same time, it seemed that Canada felt obliged to designate all Canadian waters as indefinitely off limits to future offshore Arctic oil and gas licensing, to be reviewed every five years through a climate and marine science-based life-cycle assessment. The Prime Minister made this decision without properly consulting any form of government in the north. He made a phone call to everybody 20 minutes before the fact. Northwest Territories Premier Bob Mcleod reacted by issuing a red alert, calling for an urgent national debate on the future of the Northwest Territories and saying that the Prime Minister's announcement was the re-emergence of colonialism.
A year later, in October 2017, I spoke to Duane Smith, the board chair of Inuvialuit Regional Corporation. This was at the Generation Energy Forum meetings in Winnipeg. A year later, he was still hopping mad and very concerned about this issue. In 2016, he stated, “There was a total lack of consultation prior to the imposition of the moratorium. This and the subsequent changes to key legislation impacting our marine areas are actions inconsistent with the way the Crown is required to engage with its Indigenous counterparts.”
These concerns were again heard loud and clear in committee testimony. Merven Gruben, the mayor of Tuktoyaktuk, said:
I just didn't want this to be seen again as another case of Ottawa throwing in this moratorium and showing us what to do—do as I say, you know. That's what I didn't like. I thought we were going to be...but there was no negotiation. You just do this. Ottawa says if you do this, you do that.
In response to the concerns of northerners, Canada began a consultation process and agreed in October 2018 to begin talks with the territorial governments and the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation to reach a co-management and revenue-sharing agreement. Meanwhile, the current oil and gas development moratorium remains in place to be reviewed in 2021.
I would like to comment briefly on the rushed timelines faced by this bill. Here we are in June 2019 debating a bill that everybody knew was coming before the election in 2015. Consultations began on the Mackenzie Valley part of this bill right after the election and if my understanding is correct, the consultations were largely finished by the summer of 2017, yet this bill was not tabled until just before Christmas. It sat in limbo for 18 months. I can speculate that maybe it was a decision to bring the oil and gas moratorium into the legislation that caused this delay because it needed more consultation, but whatever it was, here we are staring the end of this Parliament in the face and risking the untimely death of this bill in the Senate. When legislation is literally being forced upon us by the courts, it behooves the government to move quickly, and that would have been to keep the two issues separate so the Mackenzie Valley act could proceed first.
I will mention a couple of ways Bill C-88 could have been easily improved. New Democrats brought amendments forward in committee, but were unsuccessful. New Democrats are disappointed that the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is not mentioned at all in this bill, despite the fact that of all the bills before us in this Parliament, Bill C-88 seems to be the one most needing this reference. The bill deals specifically with resource development, precipitated by litigation put forth by indigenous peoples, pointing out, with good reason, that treaties have been broken, their views ignored and consultations not done.
The Liberal government supported the private member's bill of my colleague, the member for Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, on putting the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into every appropriate legislation that the government produces, but there is no mention of that at all, nor the underlying concept of free, prior and informed consent in this bill. This was brought up in committee testimony as well.
In its brief, the Northwest Territories Chamber of Commerce argued that the final decision to prohibit certain works and activities in the national interest “needs to be approved by the Indigenous Nation of the prescribed area who are the stewards of the area but also rely on the land to provide economic independence” to their membership.
In its brief, the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation said:
Further, while the Oceans Act and CPRA include non-derogation clauses, the requirement to consult with those who hold rights in marine areas is not clearly articulated. It is important to note that the imposition of the Moratorium by the Prime Minister was done without consultation with any Inuvialuit in contravention of the IFA [Inuvialuit Final Agreement] and with the framework established and the promises made under the Northwest Territories Lands and Resources Devolution Agreement.
The IRC added:
The proposed Section 12(1) introduces “national interest” as a further basis for “freezing” licenses indefinitely. The national interest criterion is problematic as it elevates the national priorities of the day vis-à-vis Inuvialuit priorities within our traditional territory.
David Wright of the Gwich'in suggested that if it could not be inserted into this bill, reference to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples should at least be seriously considered when the Mackenzie Valley agreement itself is reviewed in the near future.
The second place that Bill C-88 could be improved is through a real commitment for intervenor funding in the review processes that the bill puts forward. While there is a separate funding source available for indigenous intervenor funding in the north, it is not enshrined in legislation and it is not available for non-indigenous groups.
Intervenor funding is included in Bill C-69 and it should be included in this bill as well. It is a critical part of any proper consultation.
To conclude, I will reiterate that the NDP will support the bill and hopes to see it move quickly to royal assent before Parliament is dissolved.
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View Richard Cannings Profile
NDP (BC)
View Richard Cannings Profile
2019-06-10 21:38 [p.28863]
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Mr. Speaker, the member for St. John's East is very attentive to resource issues across this country. I would just like to reiterate what he said. A lot of the failure to move forward on a lot of energy files, resource files over the last 10 years has been because the Conservative government was really trying to rush these through and by rushing them through, it cut corners. It did not do environmental assessments properly. It did not do consultation properly. That resulted in a lot of litigation in the courts on various issues.
Unfortunately, that has continued with the Liberal government. We have seen the same thing happen with the Trans Mountain expansion project, where the so-called consultation done by the Liberal government was completely inadequate and that put the project back for a year or so.
It seems that the rush to get these things through has resulted in very few actually getting through. Therefore, I would say that both the Liberals and the Conservatives are to blame in this regard.
The NDP is very much in favour of the first part of this bill. It would restore the four land and water management boards. It would do what indigenous peoples and the peoples of the Northwest Territories want and we are very much in favour of that.
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View Richard Cannings Profile
NDP (BC)
View Richard Cannings Profile
2019-06-10 21:41 [p.28864]
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Mr. Speaker, I will start with the member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo's last question or comment about the timeliness of this bill. Again, I just reiterate that we are seeing this with a number of bills that should have, and probably could have, been tabled a year or two ago, but instead right now, at the very end of this Parliament, we are being asked to rush them through.
We only had one committee meeting on this bill to hear from witnesses. I think it deserved more than that. It was the same for Bill C-69. It was a very big omnibus bill. I think only 48 witnesses were heard at committee on that bill.
We therefore end up relying on the Senate for sober second thought. That says a lot about the lack of work that we are doing here in this House, but to do that work, we have to get these bills before us in a timely manner. I think it is unfortunate that is not happening.
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View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
2019-06-10 21:42 [p.28864]
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Mr. Speaker, I was listening to the previous Conservative speaker talk about the Liberals and the NDP and our positions on various government bills in this Parliament.
I take real issue with some of his commentary on Bill C-68. I represent a coastal riding, which is heavily dependent on wild salmon for its economy. Members do not have to take my word for it. Our opinion on Bill C-68 was actually formed from people who have spent their entire lives working as fisheries biologists. There is unanimous support in my riding for that. It is a rural riding. I will not take any lessons from the Conservatives about C-68 and rural communities. I represent a rural community. It is on the coast. It is dealing with a resource of wild salmon that directly affects the people who live in my riding.
On Bill C-88, I think the member for South Okanagan—West Kootenay clearly elaborated to the House the testimony that we heard at committee from the people who are most directly affected by this legislation. I listened with great interest to his comments, particularly about the timeline that this bill is facing and that one first nations group was saying that it was either going to go through the courts or rely on this piece of legislation.
Given the mess that is happening in the other place right now where we are going to have government bills coming back to the House with Senate amendments, some bills having had trouble, does the member realistically think that Bill C-88, with the time that is left is going to see royal assent or is the government going to actually have to entertain the thought of bringing the House back in the summer months? Is that how much importance the government is going to attach to this bill?
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View Richard Cannings Profile
NDP (BC)
View Richard Cannings Profile
2019-06-10 21:44 [p.28864]
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Mr. Speaker, I agree with the member for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford. My riding is in the British Columbia interior where issues are different. We do not have that direct attachment to the sea, and yet my constituents certainly told me during the last election that these environmental issues were very important and that things had to be done properly. They were dismayed at the Conservatives' gutting of environmental legislation, including navigation protection and the Fisheries Act and the way the National Energy Board was conducting its hearings. Those were all things that got me energized in the last election. I am a little disappointed, to say the least, at the slow place that the Liberal government has been taking to turn that around.
As to the timeline for this bill, what goes on in the Senate is fairly mysterious to me. I am not going to comment on how rapidly this bill may or may not pass through the Senate. I will just leave it at that.
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View Richard Cannings Profile
NDP (BC)
View Richard Cannings Profile
2019-06-10 21:46 [p.28865]
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Mr. Speaker, I totally agree that we need to pass this legislation quickly. The part that affects the Mackenzie Valley in particular is attached to a timeline of litigation. We are in an injunction situation right now.
If we do not pass this, that litigation will start up again and continue. If a new government is elected in the fall, it may well appeal this and we will be in this endless cycle of litigation. It is really incumbent on us to pass this quickly.
My comment to the member would be that if the government had tabled this legislation back in the fall of 2017, we could have been done with this legislation, and everybody would be working on other things. Instead, we are here in June 2019 facing the end of Parliament, and this is the result.
It has to be passed, and I hope it will.
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View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-06-06 10:30 [p.28664]
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Mr. Speaker, I am enormously grateful that my friend from Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan chose to put some focus on the media bailout, because I was not able to get in on the debate when that was before the House squarely.
I voted against the Conservative motion last night. My vote might be considered to be support for the approach of the government in its entirety. Unfortunately, the Conservative motion included deleting tax treatment for energy efficient vehicles, probably inadvertently, in a series of amendments that were about the media bailout.
I am concerned about the media bailout. The media does need support. We need independent journalism. I would have been more impressed with a commitment that zero government dollars would go to advertising in digital platforms and would concentrate government advertising in the newspapers that were struggling.
I would also be more impressed if the group that was deciding who got the money did not include recipients of the funding. One reason I could not vote for the Conservative motion on its own was it singled out Unifor. Sun Media is sitting on it. The point, as made as journalist, Andrew Potter, is this. Why would the recipients of the funding form the group to decide who gets the funding?
Those are my concerns. The are not full-on opposition to the government's approach, but I would like to see it tweaked.
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View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
2019-06-06 10:47 [p.28666]
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Mr. Speaker, I heard the member cite a number several times in his speech, a number I have heard before in the House, about lifting 300,000 children out of poverty. My colleague from Saskatoon West has asked the government for a breakdown of how that number was calculated. We have not been successful so far in getting any information on how that number was arrived at. I am wondering how that number was arrived at.
If the hon. member does not know where that number came from, I am interested to know where he got it from and on what authority he is using it here in the House.
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View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
2019-06-06 11:04 [p.28668]
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Mr. Speaker, when irregular border crossings began in earnest, the Conservative Party was calling for the entire Canadian border to be treated as an official point of entry, so that people crossing the border could be turned away wherever they crossed, without being able to make an asylum claim in Canada. The government at that time was very critical of the Conservative position.
There are provisions in this budget bill that would effectively mean that all borders will be treated as official points of entry, in just the same way the Conservatives recommended.
It is not clear to me, so I wonder if the member would care to elaborate on the ways, if there are any, in which the changes proposed in this omnibus budget differ from the Conservative proposal.
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View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
View Pierre Nantel Profile
2019-06-06 11:06 [p.28668]
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Mr. Speaker, I will share my time with the member for Courtenay—Alberni.
This is probably my last chance to express my opinion about this government.
I listened to my colleague from Malpeque, and I know his heart is in the right place. He talked about the new horizons for seniors program, which is a very good program in many of our ridings. It is indeed a success.
However, I listened to my other colleague who spoke before him about the government's social housing initiatives, and I had to work hard to keep from shouting. The truth is that places like Longueuil—Saint-Hubert need social housing. We do not spend enough time talking about that. Sadly, the poverty rate in the City of Longueuil and its two suburbs is incredibly high. Over a third of the children belong to families living below the poverty line. I know for a fact that we need social housing. The Longueuil housing office's waiting list now has over 2,000 names on it. We need this kind of initiative, but the Liberal government has never done more than talk about it.
Once again, we are seeing their obsession with always calculating the very best time to announce some big carrot they want to dangle in front of people right before the election. That is what they did. Even though that was two years ago, they told us they were investing $10 billion in social housing. What they have put on the table so far is really just peanuts. What will we get later? It will be a nice gift. We will see if Canadians are smart, if they have realized that they have to trust the blue bloods in the Liberal Party of Canada. Now we will get small carrots here and there; we will get what is to be expected. It is appalling.
The media industry is now in crisis. How are the Liberals going to support the media? They are offering more carrots. No changes were made to the legislation.
Getting back to the people of Longueuil, what did the government do right away? It eliminated the tax credit for public transit passes. That is fantastic. It is almost as good as pipelines. Let us encourage people to take the bus. Congratulations, that is fantastic. I will not even mention the subway, since we obviously still do not have our subway extension.
Quebec has a lot of needs and a lot of ambition, and we can be proud of that. People in Montreal and the rest of Quebec really want to use public transit. Are we going to get some support from higher up? I sure hope so. I would love to see some big announcements before the election. They had better be good, and the Liberals would do well to keep their word and not lose the election. I hope members on that side can really understand how things are for the people of Longueuil.
Longueuil has had the same metro station since 1967. It is 52 years old. Nothing has been built since. God knows we need more. The bridges in my riding, especially the Jacques Cartier Bridge, are constantly congested. When people need to get to Montreal, they do not even consider taking public transit because it takes two tickets to cross the river and the return trip costs $13, so they drive their cars.
In fact, that is why I am so passionate about electric cars and the electrification of transportation. The people in my community were early adopters because it seemed like we were always stuck in traffic. Many drivers ended up going electric. Again, we got peanuts for the electrification of transportation. The Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development at least had the vision to support a few good projects, but the Department of Transport has not offered up a penny, for Pete's sake. How pathetic. Electric cars are nothing new. Tesla reinvented the car years ago, but Ottawa is asleep at the wheel.
Being here among the 338 MPs who represent the people of Canada is an incredible opportunity. It is time to wake up. We see a lot of apathy, especially on the other side of the aisle. I have said over and over how ashamed I am that this Parliament cannot stand up and make sure e-commerce is properly taxed, at least at the same rate as our own businesses. Peter Simons has opened a store here on Rideau Street, and what a store it is. It was not that guy from Amazon who did it; it was Peter Simons. He got people involved by investing his own money and hiring employees.
Taxes are to be expected, since they fund our services. Paying a tax is not a shame. Roads and hospitals do not pay for themselves, nor do the boats that keep us safe on the water.
The government is letting web giants into the country. Does Amazon, a competitor to Simons, for example, pay taxes? I am not so sure. People are always surprised to hear that someone who ordered a product on Amazon did not pay tax. This cannot work. We are not in a little village in 1812. This is 2019 in a G7 country. I am trying to refrain from swearing.
This is shameful. Why is the media in a crisis right now? The government thinks it is complicated and that it is a new paradigm. I remember I had an eBay account about 20 years ago. This is not a new paradigm, and that is not an excuse.
It is a fact that the Conservatives ignored this for 10 years. The Liberals are even worse. They have been calling this situation appalling for four years, but they are not doing anything. The truth is that the media sector is in one hell of a mess right now and has lost 16,800 jobs since 2008, and the Liberals are partly at fault, since they had four years to do something.
We do indeed need to amend legislation, but the government should have done it sooner. When the Liberals were elected in 2015, they said that they were going to change this because it is important. They said that they would consult, but they did not manage to get everyone together. A government is meant to be able to unite people. Did this government do so? Absolutely not. I do not want to sound alarmist, but that is the truth. Anyone in the culture industry would tell you that.
Currently, we are talking a lot about the 75th anniversary of the brave heroes who defended our democracy in the Second World War. That is what we call patriotism, correct? The person who made a documentary on the Second World War—I forget the name of the production company, but no matter—sold one million copies of his DVD. Three years later, or around four years ago, they made another documentary, this time on the First World War. I can see how people could have found it a little dated and would not have been as interested, but that is not the point. They sold 100,000 copies of this documentary.
The band Alfa Rococo received $16,000 in public performance royalties for one of their radio hits, which makes sense, given that the radio was playing their song. During the same period, they only got $11 from Spotify. Clearly, this is the kind of thing that influences the decision of whether to go into music or not. That said, we are all happy to have music.
The government is well aware of all the problems. This morning I was asked in an interview whether the Minister of Canadian Heritage is incompetent. I said that I believe he is not incompetent so much as powerless. He is powerless before the will of the Prime Minister and he is powerless before the intellectual dishonesty of the Minister of Finance, who, when asked why the GST is not applied to Netflix subscriptions or ads on Google and Facebook, always says that this is very complicated and it should be taken up with the G7 and the G20.
Most of the U.S. states apply a sales tax on accounts like that. Everyone is asked to pay sales tax. For example, when we go to a small-time garage to buy some washer fluid and the employee says it will cost $4 in cash but he will have to add the tax if we pay by credit card, we raise a disapproving eyebrow, but that is what we are allowing to happen.
I did the math. GST would cost Netflix roughly 75 cents a month per subscription. That is roughly $10 a year per subscription. Ten dollars times roughly ten million subscriptions is $100 million.
Do the Liberals not want that money? Canadians do. We need it. The Liberals have to wake up.
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View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
View Pierre Nantel Profile
2019-06-06 11:18 [p.28669]
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Mr. Speaker, in my response, I will consider the fact that my colleague is a former journalist and has the utmost respect for that profession, which is very important in our country.
The distribution of government support to the media, electronic or print, must be carried out in the most impartial way. We made several recommendations, such as supporting journalists independently of the platform they use. Naturally, the report was shelved because the Liberals are in the majority and are in charge at committees. I have been an MP for eight years and, unfortunately, most of the time, reports are shelved. That is disgraceful. The report had not even been tabled yet and the Prime Minister dismissed it, as did the Minister of Canadian Heritage.
Several suggestions were made, in particular in Mr. Greenspon's report, which was not acted upon. What did the Liberals do? Just before the election, they realized that they needed to do something. They asked themselves who might be involved. They made a choice knowing that that would work to defeat the Conservatives, and told themselves it was not a problem, it would do the trick.
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View Anne Minh-Thu Quach Profile
NDP (QC)
View Anne Minh-Thu Quach Profile
2019-06-06 11:19 [p.28670]
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Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Longueuil—Saint-Hubert for defending this cause so passionately and articulately all these years.
I would like to hear what he has to say about the impact on jobs in the regions. There is a lot of talk nowadays about information democracy. In the regions, it is especially important to have independent media outlets that are treated the same as web giants, so they can stay in business. God knows the regions are grappling with a labour shortage.
Could my colleague tell us about the repercussions on jobs in the regions and on young people hoping to get into journalism?
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View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
View Pierre Nantel Profile
2019-06-06 11:20 [p.28670]
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Mr. Speaker, my heartfelt thanks to my colleague. I know she is doing a fantastic job in her riding. If anyone can talk about local media, it is her. I know that she writes for a local newspaper, for instance. These newspapers are often free, like the Pamplemousse in the riding of my colleague from Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie. I will not make a joke about his riding's name.
Local media need support. Unfortunately, the program that was created specified that they needed to have at least two employees, which is often impossible for local media outlets. They did not get any support at all.
Many reports on this issue have recommended supporting local media in the transition to digital platforms. However, that requires Internet access, which is another thing the regions may not get.
The survival of our information and our culture is vital to our democracy.
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View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2019-06-06 11:22 [p.28670]
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Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to speak to Bill C-97, the budget implementation act.
Yesterday was World Environment Day. Tomorrow is World Oceans Day. We would hope that the government would have some imagination, knowing that we are in a state of crisis. There is a climate emergency happening right now, and if we do not take action, there will be catastrophic climate change, which we are seeing right now.
I am from Vancouver Island. In January, as members are probably aware and have heard me speak about, we had the largest windstorm in recorded history. In February, we had the largest snowstorm in recorded history. In March, we had the largest drought in recorded history.
Here in Ottawa, on the river, in two of the last three years we have had the largest floods in the recorded history of this region.
We are having forest fires on Vancouver Island right now, for the first time in my memory, and I was born and raised on Vancouver Island. The salmon are struggling to make it to their migration routes. The Cowichan area is at 25% water levels. Members have probably heard from my colleague in Cowichan—Malahat—Langford that the government needs to invest in the Cowichan weir and invest in ways to mitigate the impacts of climate change. However, we have not seen the bold action we need.
We have talked a lot about climate and economic equality. The time for talk is over. We need bold and courageous action. Our leader from Burnaby South has put forward a bold, courageous plan, power to change, to move us forward. It is a plan that includes working together, taking climate leadership, creating good jobs for everyone, improving where we live and work, improving how we get around, powering our communities carbon-free and protecting our land and water.
We talk about getting results. We know we need to reduce emissions by 45% by 2030. There is an incredible movement happening, as we know. Greta Thunberg, a young woman from Sweden, is leading a movement around the world. She is mobilizing youth. Youth are asking to be heard, and we are listening at our end of the House.
I walked with Youth Environmental Action in the Comox Valley. There were 300 young people from George P. Vanier high school and Mark R. Isfeld Secondary and the elementary schools. Grandparents, parents, cousins and aunts and uncles walked with them in support to give them strength and ensure that they are being heard and that we bring their voices to floor of the House of Commons. Just last week, at Wood Elementary School in Port Alberni, the kids walked out and demanded action on climate change. We need to listen to them.
Last week at the FCM, there was a new climate caucus created. Local governments are not seeing action from the federal government. They are calling on us to take further action, bold and courageous action. We need to listen to local governments and their leaders in our communities.
It is a privilege to follow my friend from Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, who is the first electrification critic from any party. We have an opportunity to take bold action and electrify vehicles across this country. It can be done. In Norway right now, 53% of vehicles are electrified. Norway's goal is that by 2025, any new vehicles sold will be EVs. It is happening around the world.
Taking bold climate action is good for the economy. Sweden has reduced its emissions by 25% and has grown its economy by 50%. California has seen its GDP rise by 35%, and it has reduced its emissions by 25% per capita. This is the kind of bold leadership that helps grow the economy, tackles inequality and moves us forward in taking this crisis seriously. This is the kind of bold leadership our country can take. There are models around the world and there are leaders around the world who are doing this. We need to join them.
I am calling on the government to take real action. In their budget, the Liberals committed $300 million to an energy retrofit program. We wanted to see that. It is something we are happy to see get started.
However, when the Liberals talk about balancing the environment and the economy, there is no balance. They bought a raw bitumen pipeline for $4.5 billion. We know that if they twin it, that will accelerate to $15 billion. Therefore, $300 million and $15 billion is not balancing the environment and the economy, far from it.
Organizations in my riding, like Hakai Energy Solutions and Synergy Electrical Installations, have been calling for a home energy retrofit program, something that is bold and courageous, and $300 million across this incredibly large country of ours will not get us there.
I wanted to touch on that, because this is a crisis. There are so many opportunities for us to move forward.
Before I go any further, I would like to take a minute to recognize my colleague, the member for Avalon, who is the chair of Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans. He is turning 60 on Saturday. I wish him a happy birthday, and I hope we all can do that. It is always nice to acknowledge our colleagues in the House.
The government has talked about investing in our salmon and fish. We are in a crisis in British Columbia. Six species, Chinook salmon being one of them, are endangered and six are threatened. This is impacting sport, commercial, indigenous and recreational fishers all across the coast of British Columbia with recent closures.
The government talks a good game. It talks about how it is investing in salmon at record levels. It talks about a coastal restoration fund, $75 million over five years coast to coast to coast, which is a drop in the bucket. That is $15 million a year that has been slow to move out and that has not shown up in most of the communities I represent. We are in a state of crisis with our salmon. We know restoration dollars go far. However, our hatcheries have not seen an increase in 29 years.
I just met with the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation. Chief Moses Martin and his council asked me to bring the message to Ottawa, that the government needs to accelerate money in enhancement and it needs to do it right away.
The Liberals announced their new B.C. restoration fund of $142 million. They understand and say that there is a crisis, but what do they do? They rollout $17 million for the whole coast of British Columbia. Again, organizations like West Coast Aquatic in my riding have been denied funding from coastal restoration funds. They have been denied money from the B.C. salmon restoration fund. This is not how we deal with a crisis.
Again, this is how the Liberal government continues to respond to crises, whether it be on our salmon restoration, climate crisis or our housing crisis, rolling out a 10-year plan.
The Liberals talk a good game about the oceans protection plan and plastics. We have not seen them invest in mitigating the impact of plastics. We hope this month when the Liberals rollout their response to my motion, Motion No. 151, on a national strategy to combat ocean plastics, there will be money behind it to take on these really important issues and also some regulations to eliminate single-use plastics, like the EU and India have done. It is real action.
I also want to talk about the oceans protection plan. The Liberals had scheduled to spend $145 million in 2017-18; they spent $105 million. They scheduled to spend $263 million in 2018-19; they spent $217 million. The shortfall total is $86 million. This is their world-class delay in spending money, not their world-class oceans protection plan.
Again, people in my communities are not talking to their neighbours, saying “Hey, there's a world-class oceans protection plan protecting our oceans”. In fact, they are saying that the government is not acting with the sense of urgency we need to protect our oceans.
It is the same thing for housing. Real estate prices have gone up over 50% in my riding over the last three years. The government has been slow in dragging out its funds.
On indigenous languages, the government has been slow in getting money out the door. It does not provide the flexibility that is needed for indigenous languages. In fact, there is a project in my riding for an indigenous languages revitalization pole and the government has no flexibility to fund that, which is very important to the Nuu-chah-nulth people.
A lot of issues and things are not in this budget, such as pharmacare, money for the opioid crisis, and I could go on and on.
I hope the government is listening. I hope we see some urgent action on these issues on which we can work together.
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View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2019-06-06 11:33 [p.28672]
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Mr. Speaker, I could spend another 10 minutes just on the response alone.
We know where we are in our country, where 4% of our housing is non-market housing. We were at 10% in the 1970s and 1980s, before the Liberal government killed the national housing plan at that time.
If the member wants to point fingers, he should look within. The Liberal government got us in this mess in the first place. Europe's non-market housing is at 30%. We are talking about building 500,000 housing units. We have been calling on the government to front-end load the 10-year plan, accelerate it and get half of that money out the door right now.
If the government did what we have asked for, get the money out the door, we would do it. The government has not responded with courageous, bold action, understanding what a crisis looks like.
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View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2019-06-06 11:35 [p.28672]
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Mr. Speaker, we absolutely need to spend historic amounts of money on electrification and investing in public transit. That is what we are calling for in our document “Power to Change”. We will talk more about that in our platform. I appreciate the member's commitment to that.
When it comes to electrification, we do not have to look far. We can look to Norway. Fifty-three per cent of its vehicles are electrified. Why are we not looking at models around the world? California has done great work at lowering emissions.
The rebates in British Columbia and Ottawa are making a difference. In fact, we need to incentivize even more to get more people driving electric vehicles.
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View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2019-06-06 11:36 [p.28672]
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Mr. Speaker, I certainly agree with my colleague about what is happening in Ontario. The provincial Conservative government is cutting rebates and opportunities for us to take real action, working together. I am as disappointed as the member is on that.
With respect to the whole budgeting process, how we operate our country and the framework we work under, we need a rethink. We need a whole rethink of our taxation system. Billions and billions of dollars are leaving our country through tax havens, loopholes and subsidies to the oil and gas industry. That billions of dollars could be there to balance budgets or invest in clean energy initiatives that would create jobs and move us forward.
We are talking about over tens of billions of dollars. That is not included in the Liberal budget or the Liberal plan. The Liberals are still giving subsidies to CEOs who do not need a break. They are still giving subsidies to big corporations. They are still allowing the shovelling of billions of dollars out of our economy on the backs of everyday hard-working people. The member did not talk about that.
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View Anne Minh-Thu Quach Profile
NDP (QC)
View Anne Minh-Thu Quach Profile
2019-06-06 11:48 [p.28674]
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Mr. Speaker, in my opinion, and that of many young people across Canada, the most important issue is the environmental crisis.
The government recognized that there is a climate emergency. Today, a group of young people called ENvironnement JEUnesse is in Montreal to launch a lawsuit against the federal government for its failure to respect the environmental rights of young people. This group is made up of youth aged 35 and under who want to file a complaint in court.
Even with budget 2019, we have not succeeded in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. On the contrary, they have increased by 12 million tonnes. According to the government itself, we will not meet our 2030 targets for 200 years. We are falling far short, and there is a lack of vision and leadership. We need to take action to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030.
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View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2019-06-06 15:51 [p.28711]
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Madam Speaker, as my friend and friend colleague is retiring, I would like to thank him for his service. We have done some work together at the all-party climate caucus, and I appreciate his involvement there.
With respect to the legislation, we have heard the arguments about record suspension and we have talked about expungement. The MP for Victoria put forward a bill on expungement, which was defeated by the government. It just does not make sense to us that everyday Canadians can go ahead now and legally use marijuana recreationally, while their neighbour, who may have been convicted for using marijuana, still holds a criminal record. Now people are being asked to go through a long process in asking for a record suspension, which is very costly. Records could be expunged. We have done this in the past with historical wrongs, such as with Bill C-66.
Does the member agree that we should go to full expungement, save a ton of money and move on so people, especially those who are vulnerable, do not have to go through this process?
I have 10 first nations communities in my riding. Many of these people are facing huge challenges when it comes to transportation. For them, applying for a record suspension is very unlikely, because of the costs associated with getting to where there is broadband or an office to do that important work.
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View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2019-06-06 16:05 [p.28713]
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Madam Speaker, it is actually nice to see the spirit of the House as we are trying to move forward collectively in a way that is going to help those people who have been convicted for small possession of marijuana, especially the most marginalized persons.
We hear in Regina that indigenous people are nine times more likely than non-indigenous people to be charged with small possession of marijuana or carry a charge of small possession. Clearly, that is a fundamental wrong.
If we look at historical wrongs, homosexuality was illegal until 1969. There were charges laid until 1969. It took us 49 years to pass Bill C-66 to expunge the convictions of those who were charged under what was clearly a historical wrong in our society. We do not want to wait another 49 years to fix this historical wrong. We can fix it right now, and record suspension is just not enough. It is going to be a long, onerous and expensive process.
I call on my colleague to support us in calling for expungement. I know she has talked about some of the rationale behind it, but this is just a much easier way. Let us not wait to fix this historical wrong, because we know that it clearly is one.
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View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2019-06-06 16:08 [p.28714]
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Madam Speaker, I support this bill. I think that there could be improvements, and I know that the Green Party requested some amendments, including expungement. We have a lot of people in this country who have criminal records based on simple possession. It has ruined a lot of good people's lives and opportunities, and it creates problems for people who want to cross the border.
I think expungement is the best solution. Finding a way to make it very affordable for people to have their records removed so that they can carry on with their lives and not carry this with them for the rest of their days is very important as well.
I would ask the hon. member whether she think that the bill is good enough as it is to support it. What changes would she make otherwise?
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View Wayne Stetski Profile
NDP (BC)
View Wayne Stetski Profile
2019-06-06 16:20 [p.28715]
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Madam Speaker, my riding of Kootenay—Columbia has long been a place known for generations of cannabis farmers. It has been quite interesting to work through the process over the last couple of years trying to make sure that cannabis grown under sunshine and rain is as acceptable as cannabis grown under plastic and glass, and I do not think we are quite there yet.
I have consulted with constituents in my riding about this particular bill and I am personally supportive of Bill C-93. Why not go all the way to expungement now that we have started that process?
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2019-06-06 16:34 [p.28717]
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Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. I know that he spoke briefly about this, but I would like to go back to the issue of making the process automatic.
When the bill was in committee, we heard that giving it a title that implies the process would cost nothing is misleading. My colleague briefly mentioned this at the end of his speech.
In reality, not only is there a cost associated with obtaining the documents required to apply, but these costs also vary widely from one region to the next. Furthermore, people living far from major urban centres may have an even harder time obtaining these documents.
I also want to add that the Conservatives proposed an amendment, which I supported. In Canada, we have a serious problem with storing and maintaining criminal records, so this amendment would have allowed people whose documents have been lost or destroyed to swear an oath and receive a sworn statement that they could use to apply. This amendment was rejected by the Liberals at report stage.
I would like to know what my colleague has to say about this. Does he believe that we should be a bit more flexible and make the process automatic?
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2019-06-06 16:40 [p.28718]
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Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to once again speak to Bill C-93. This bill has a number of flaws and perfectly illustrates why Canadians' trust in the Liberals has been broken. On the eve of the election, the government is settling for half measures that are not even guaranteed to pass.
As the parliamentary secretary said, we oppose this bill. We are not here to give the Liberal government a free pass for measures that very few people will be able to access. For example, I will talk about Bill C-66, which established an expedited procedure for expunging criminal records of LGBTQ community members sentenced for behaviour that is no longer deemed criminal. This objective is commendable and we support it, but an automatic process would have been preferable.
We can look at the numbers for the sake of comparison. When Bill C-93 was in committee, we learned that of the approximately 9,000 people who were eligible for the procedure established under Bill C-66, only seven had applied. In committee, we asked government officials for an explanation, but naturally, they were unable to respond. I would certainly be able to provide some, just as the experts did in committee. I will come back to that.
Meanwhile, the government said that it would advertise through non-traditional means. Is it talking about tweets, Facebook posts or pretty hashtags? I have a hard time believing that these ads will be seen by the right people, who are often in precarious situations. We are talking about vulnerable Canadians, racialized people, indigenous peoples and low-income Canadians. Factually and statistically, these people are the most likely to have a criminal record for simple possession of marijuana.
This is easy to prove. Here in the House, the Prime Minister publicly stated that he had once smoked marijuana recreationally, as did other politicians. There is nothing wrong with that. Black people in Toronto, however, cannot get away with it that easily. They are the most likely to have a criminal record for simple possession of marijuana. This is a serious problem and is one of the reasons we oppose this bill. It is clear that the people who need this process the most are the same ones who will not benefit from it.
I would like to talk a little bit about the study in committee in order to explain why the NDP does not support this bill. First, a criminal lawyer told us that this was the least Parliament could do and that it was better than nothing but that parliamentarians have a duty to do much better than that. I could not agree more.
The NDP's commitment to Parliament involves doing our best to help those who need it most. We do not want to settle for taking a tiny step in the right direction. The lawyer I mentioned, Solomon Friedman, also raised several problems with the record suspension system. Those problems are not an issue in the NDP's approach of expunging criminal records. He mentioned two factors.
The first is good conduct. Those who apply for a criminal record suspension, whether under the process proposed by Bill C-93 or the usual process, must demonstrate that they are being good citizens. For the average Canadian, that means refraining from robbing a bank or murdering someone, for instance, as farfetched as that may sound.
Actually, Mr. Freidman explained that it could include getting a speeding ticket or causing a minor accident with another vehicle by turning onto a one-way street and the police is called in. These actions would be considered bad behaviour. Fortunately, the leader of the Green Party and member for Saanich—Gulf Islands introduced an amendment to fix the problem. We introduced a similar amendment that went even further. I will come back to that in a moment.
The government's amendment appears quite good, but if the government acknowledges this flaw and the distinction between record suspension and expungement, why did it not simply agree to expunge the records from the outset? That was what my colleague from Victoria's bill called for. Incidentally, some Liberal and Conservative members supported it.
There are other differences between the two approaches, but I want to come back to the amendment. The Liberals moved a sub-amendment to the proposed amendment, which then lost an important element that was found in one of my amendments, which was rejected. Simple possession of a reasonable quantity of cannabis, just like its consumption for recreational, medical or other purposes, is now permitted under the law following the passage of Bill C-45 earlier in this Parliament. An individual who obtains a record suspension for simple possession of cannabis could subsequently commit another crime for all sorts of reasons. I am not excusing the crime or stating whether it would be justified. This is a hypothetical situation.
Under Bill C-93, if an individual with a criminal record for simple possession of marijuana has his criminal record suspended and subsequently commits a crime, no matter how minor or insignificant it may be, the record is reinstated. That makes no sense. I do not understand that. If the member for Sherbrooke, the member for Saskatoon West, the member for Courtenay—Alberni, or even I, or anyone else, were in possession of cannabis, that would not be considered unlawful under the act.
An individual can get a record suspension through a government-approved process because the offence they committed is no longer an offence. That individual might go on to commit a crime, perhaps due to being marginalized, as the vast majority of people burdened with the injustice of a criminal record for simple possession of cannabis are. This bill is an attempt to repair that injustice. The individual might be struggling with very difficult circumstances. We do not know all those circumstances.
The government says it wants to help these people, but its new system is flawed. If these people trip up at any point in the future, their criminal record will be reinstated and they will no longer benefit from the Liberals' system.
If their records were expunged, as the NDP and all the committee witnesses except for the minister suggested, the records would no longer exist. No matter what future difficulties people might encounter, that record would be gone for good.
I also want to speak about other vulnerable individuals whom this bill does not help. I want to speak about the issues raised by the Native Women's Association of Canada, which came to committee and said that one of the groups that would benefit the least from this legislation is indigenous women, because of all the barriers that would still exist despite this process.
Earlier, I asked the member for Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston about the fact that, by not making the process automatic and calling it “no-cost”, the government is misleading Canadians who may want to benefit from this process. Why is that? As every witness said in committee, there are sometimes enormous costs associated with obtaining the necessary documents to apply in the first place, especially for the individuals who seek to benefit from this process.
The application no longer has a cost, but people have to pay to get their fingerprints, pay to go to the court to find their old records, if they even still exist, which is something I will come back to in a moment, and they have to pay for any other documents they might need. The costs could be hundreds of dollars, and it varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
If people live far away from an urban centre, in a region that is already underserved and where vulnerable Canadians, indigenous people and others are already victims of a system that is fixed against them in many ways, they are even more disadvantaged by those barriers that would remain in place despite this legislation. That is unacceptable.
What could have been done? We proposed an amendment that was unfortunately ruled beyond the scope of the bill, which is interesting. I challenged the chair and the Liberals voted with the chair, which is not surprising, but the explanation that was provided by the law clerk in committee was interesting, when he argued why the amendments were beyond the scope of the bill. He said that all the bill seeks to do is take the existing record suspension process, which everyone agrees is fundamentally unequal, and make it a bit easier in some aspects.
However, by making it automatic, we would get rid of those barriers. It was pointed out to us by the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers, the Native Women's Association and others that many of these individuals do not even think they have criminal records anymore because they paid their fines, which is considered time served, and have moved on to other things. They do not even know.
Anyone in this room who has dealt with government, and certainly we have, in our offices, by the very nature of our work, knows that if it is hard enough for those of us within government to deal with the government apparatus and to have the proper knowledge, then certainly it is true for the most vulnerable Canadians.
Even the idea of making the system automatic was a compromise. We initially wanted criminal records to be expunged, but we said we could live with record suspensions. We were not happy, but we wanted the government to at least make the process automatic. It refused. It will not even accept a compromise.
I said earlier that I would come back to the issue of documentation and poor records management in Canada. It is madness. Ask the police about the Canadian police database. Ask about a crime being committed in Ontario and having to search for records in Alberta, Quebec or elsewhere. It is crazy to see how poorly managed these records are. One of the things that needs to be done is a digital upgrade.
The Conservatives proposed an amendment that all committee members supported. If a person could no longer locate documents because they had been destroyed or lost, they could sign a sworn statement explaining the lack of documentation. The Parole Board of Canada would be able to accept this sworn statement, this letter or declaration, so that the person could move forward with the process.
Everyone was happy. It was a step in the right direction. When the bill came back to the House at report stage, the amendment was quashed. The government turned it into an option the board could choose to make available in very specific cases. The amendment might as well not have been adopted, because it will not help anyone.
That brings me to my next point, which is about the most shameful and frustrating part of the whole process. I have been an MP for eight years. I have great respect for the public service and for public servants who work very hard with very little in the way of resources, despite what the general public might think. What I saw during the committee's study of this bill was unbelievable.
When we asked the minister why this process could not be made automatic and why the records could not be expunged, he flat out said that it was too much work. I swear that is what he said, and I invite my colleagues to read his testimony. We heard the same thing from the representatives of the parole board and during clause-by-clause consideration. When I proposed amendments to make things easier for the people this bill is meant to help, the Liberals asked officials to provide a reason for rejecting my amendments. What did they say? They said that they did not have the capacity, that they did not know how they would do that and that it would be too much work.
The government says that better is always possible. It introduced a bill to help people in our society who are caught in a tough situation, but it refuses to accept a better approach, one supported by everyone who testified at committee. It seems it is too much work for the parole board. According to police, civil society and every expert in the legal community, the parole board has been mismanaging records for far too long. It is far from being the best system. In fact, it is quite the opposite. It is unacceptable.
It is even more shameful given that the committee conducted a study. When the minister was appointed, he came in with great fanfare, much like the rest of the government. He said that the government was going to address all of the injustices created by the previous government and all of the injustices in society. To hear him talk, this was going to be the best government in the history of the universe. According to him, there was no need to worry.
Four years later, what is happening? It costs about $650 for a person to have their criminal record suspended. I do not have the exact number in front of me. There are some disadvantages to giving a speech without any notes. People are being asked to pay about $650 to apply for a record suspension. That measure was put in place by the previous government. Some of the wording has been changed. Now, we talk about record suspensions instead of pardons. As the former Conservative government would have said, a criminal can never be pardoned. The minister said that there was a major injustice in the system and that he was going to fix it.
What happened then? Following in the footsteps of several other members, a Liberal member who, I have to believe, had good intentions, hopped on the bandwagon and ordered a committee study. Most people will have only one opportunity in their entire life to introduce a motion or bill in the House. The member called for a study of criminal record suspensions.
I think he could have asked the committee to conduct the study. It would have gladly done it, but let us put that aside. The member's intentions were good. The member for Saint John—Rothesay appeared before the committee and said that an automatic process should be considered for minor crimes, such as simple possession of cannabis.
We did the work and produced a report. The committee presented its report to the House. The government said it would look at it. Incidentally, Public Safety Canada had already commissioned an Ekos survey that found that three-quarters of Canadians supported simplifying the process for applying for a criminal record suspension, because it would allow individuals to reintegrate into society and get a job. Indeed, 95% of people who are granted a pardon or record suspension do not reoffend.
What did the government do? If I were sitting down, I would fall out of my chair. The government presented the same recommendation that had already been made, which would have been a footnote to our study of the bill, based on what the minister said.
It really fuels cynicism when a government says it will do one thing when it comes to power, but then does not do it. One of the government's own members orders a study. The government says it will do it, and then it does not. Then, a month before the House of Commons' last sitting before the election, the same Liberal members say in committee that we did not really have enough time to do the study and that perhaps it should have been done or will be done with the next government.
This is why we oppose Bill C-93. In the justice system and the public safety system, people were far too often penalized for the colour of their skin or the place they lived. We truly want to help these people. We do not want half measures that fuel cynicism.
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2019-06-06 17:01 [p.28721]
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Madam Speaker, I do not think the bill would contribute to fairness, and this is why. I already mentioned some of this in my speech, but it bears repeating with regard to the member's question.
First, there is a cost. Yes, the Liberals have removed the $600 cost, but they have not removed it for record suspensions at large, even though they promised to do that. As I said, there has been study after study, but it has not been done.
The government said it has removed the cost, but it really has not. Every single witness who came before committee, including lawyers and others in civil society, agreed that the costs are still there. People have to pay to get their records, and get to the courthouse to get them.
Representatives of the Native Women's Association of Canada asked whether we really thought that indigenous women with a record for simple possession of cannabis have the means to make their way to a courthouse in an urban centre, to pay to get the records, if they even still exist, and then take them back home and apply for the process the government is putting forward. They do not. Solomon Friedman, a criminal defence lawyer, said this is true of most of his clients.
In fact, it gets worse than that. If we google “Canada pardon” or “pot pardon”, we get a bunch of Google results for some of the most disgusting and unsavoury people, who are taking advantage of these individuals, charging them thousands of dollars, much like we see in the immigration system. They take advantage of these people and give them bad and erroneous advice, making sure they get strung along at a high cost.
What is going to happen? Will we get a social media campaign from the Parole Board that will fight back against those unsavoury actors? That is not the case. All of the witnesses told us as much.
While I appreciate the hon. member's good intentions, the fact of the matter is that the title of the bill does not reflect the reality of what the bill would do.
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View Pierre-Luc Dusseault Profile
NDP (QC)
View Pierre-Luc Dusseault Profile
2019-06-06 17:03 [p.28721]
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Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech and especially for his expertise. I also thank him for his outstanding command of his files. I know that he has worked very hard on this.
In his speech, he mentioned that government officials, and even the minister, claimed that providing for an automatic system would be too difficult and too much work. I find it somewhat hard to believe that that was the excuse that the department and the minister himself came up with, considering the billions of dollars they have at their disposal. The Parole Board of Canada may have a hard time managing its workload, but I still believe that the Government of Canada, with its $360-billion annual budget, should have the means to set up an automatic system.
Can my colleague elaborate further on this surprising, absurd answer from the government, namely, that it does not have the means or the capacity to grant automatic pardons? I find that hard to believe.
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2019-06-06 17:04 [p.28721]
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Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
We are paraphrasing what was said. They obviously did not use the words “we can't”, but they made it clear that it was too much work for them and that they did not feel as though they had the capacity to do it. In spite of that, in response to one of my amendments, they said that there were privacy concerns. However, the Parole Board of Canada benefits from Privacy Act exemptions that apply specifically to this type of case. It is important to recognize that, if the political will had been there, this could have been accomplished.
The best example is that of San Francisco. After cannabis was legalized in California, a process similar to the one being offered by our government was proposed. As members can imagine, as in the case of Bill C-66, which I mentioned at the beginning of my speech, very few people benefited from this process, particularly because it mainly impacts people in vulnerable situations.
What did they do in San Francisco? They decided to invest in artificial intelligence, a sector in which our governments like to invest, allowing them to sort through records, identify those who are eligible and develop an automatic process for expunging their records.
If a municipal government like that of San Francisco can be innovative, I do not see why the federal government of a G7 country cannot do the same.
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