Interventions in the House of Commons
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View Joe McGuire Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Joe McGuire Profile
2008-06-10 15:00 [p.6812]
Mr. Speaker, both the Ministers of Fisheries and Oceans and National Defence know a young fisherman from the Tignish area in Prince Edward Island, Danny Ellsworth, who lost his life while returning to port from the crab grounds early Sunday morning.
The search for his body by the Canadian Coast Guard was called off the same day. This is totally unsatisfactory to both the grieving family and the community that the Coast Guard serves. The family is deeply disappointed and wants the search for Danny renewed.
Will the minister immediately order the Canadian Coast Guard back in the water to continue the search for Danny Ellsworth?
View Joe McGuire Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Joe McGuire Profile
2008-05-07 14:05 [p.5541]
Mr. Speaker, with all due respect to the hon. member for Wascana's Fighting Ryans, the Fighting Shaws of Brockton, PEI, in the great riding of Egmont, have “got them beaten” in their contribution to Canada during the second world war.
No less than 10 out of 11 sons of Augustus and Louise Shaw served their country at that time. The recruitment officer rejected the 11th as it was thought that 10 from one family was quite enough.
In fact, there were also four daughters in that family. One, Mae Isabel, also enlisted and married an enlisted man.
Gordon Raymond, Garfield, Bayfield, William, John Avard, Wilfred, John Augustus, Holden Saunders, Perley Sumner, Kenneth Earl, Mae Isabel, Shaws all, and Lloyd Thompson served this country in war and deserve the gratitude of this House.
View Joe McGuire Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Joe McGuire Profile
2008-04-30 14:05 [p.5269]
Mr. Speaker, the Department of Natural Resources is getting out of its meagre financial support for wind energy research in Canada.
Last Friday, the minister for ACOA announced that the cut to the operating budget for the Wind Energy Institute of Canada would be partly restored, to get through the election period, I presume.
Half of the restored cut would come from the regional development agency, so in reality NRCan is restoring one-third of its obligation to the institute. The institute must cut one-third of its operating costs immediately to meet the demands of the federal government.
Why must ACOA take responsibility for a line department's commitment? Where is the 10 year commitment we were led to believe was going to be put in place? Why is the government continuing to fund R and D in the oil sands and carbon sequestration while R and D for wind energy is cut?
In this time of climate change, the government's priorities are upside down.
View Joe McGuire Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Joe McGuire Profile
2008-04-11 11:49 [p.4823]
Mr. Speaker, in a speech given in Quebec City on October 2, 2007, the Minister of Natural Resources said:
I have no doubt that the [Wind Energy Institute of Canada] will play a key role nationwide in accelerating the development of wind energy in Canada through research, testing, innovation and collaboration.
How can this be when he just cut the funds for the institute?
View Joe McGuire Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Joe McGuire Profile
2008-04-11 11:50 [p.4823]
Mr. Speaker, the funding for the institute is cut. It is good to have that confirmed by the minister.
I have a supplementary for the Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. The minister of ACOA told me that the wind institute would be the first in line for the next round of centres of excellence projects. How will this happen when the funding is cut?
View Joe McGuire Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Joe McGuire Profile
2008-03-03 14:13 [p.3535]
Mr. Speaker, the network of centres of excellence is supposed to be a national program of partnerships between the public, private and academic sectors to help commercialize research across the country. Yet Atlantic Canada was shut out of the last round of awards, even though an excellent project proposal on wind energy made it to the final cut.
This project had the financial support of the government of Prince Edward Island to the tune of $4 million and would have been located at the Wind Energy Institute of Canada at North Cape, P.E.I. We would have been able to build on that success story.
The limiting of Atlantic Canada to a peripheral role sends a very negative message. How can we ever catch up economically if the federal government refuses to invest in the region in an area where the province is prepared to step up to the plate and in an area where we have an advantage?
Are we being written out of any meaningful role in this country? Of the last 18 awards, Atlantic Canada got one.
I call upon ACOA to provide the funds required to establish the centre of excellence in North Cape now that it is painfully obvious the national selection process will never give us a fair hearing.
View Joe McGuire Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Joe McGuire Profile
2008-03-03 16:12 [p.3554]
Mr. Speaker, I was waiting for the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to wax eloquent on the great things that were in the budget for fisheries and oceans. He talked about a lot of things, but did not touch fisheries and oceans at all.
The only new initiative is $10 million over two years to buy outharbours. Why?
View Joe McGuire Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Joe McGuire Profile
2008-03-03 16:13 [p.3554]
Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Hull—Aylmer.
I am very happy to rise again to reply to the budget. I thought a year ago it would be my last time to talk about the budget as the government was gearing up for an election campaign. It appears to still be gearing up for one, but just cannot seem to bring itself to get in the position where it actually will go to the people for a mandate.
For the past two decades, I have had the honour of representing the people of Egmont from the western quarter of Prince Edward Island. I have really enjoyed representing them and their views. It is a rural riding for the most part. Summerside takes in about half of the voting population of my riding. The rest is rural. I live in the rural part of Egmont in the little village of Tyne Valley.
I am proud to have represented this rural riding and to champion rural issues over the time I have spent in the House.
Our party has a tradition of investing in the economy of Atlantic Canada, something which I really do not see in the budget. When I was in the Atlantic caucus, we spearheaded a caucus initiative called, “Catching Tomorrow's Wave”, which resulted in the prime minister at the time, Mr. Chrétien, announcing the Atlantic investments partnership. That partnership was not only strengthened by the minister of finance at the time, the right hon. member for LaSalle—Émard, but when he became prime minister, he budgeted for that initiative for a further five years to the tune of $706 million.
We do not really seem to be seeing the results of the initiative, which began under the previous Liberal government. In fact, when we take out the R and D funds, the community funds, which were to offset the R and D, are non-existent. We have been unable to identify any project approvals in the innovative communities initiatives fund.
The money is there, but why is ACOA not approving projects throughout Atlantic Canada and helping to develop the economy? Its role is to help community and regional development. Because the majority of the ridings are represented by Liberal MPs, the government does not feel that the region should benefit with these investments. This is the great failing when Atlantic MPs do not champion the region, when they, for crass political purposes, neglect to invest dollars in industry and the economy of the region that needs it the most.
When we look through the budget we do not see the words Atlantic Canada. We see the Pacific region, the automotive industry, forestry, money and investments for almost every region such as the north, which is all great stuff. However, when it comes to the Atlantic, the Conservatives cannot seem to not only utter the name, they cannot seem to print the name Atlantic Canada.
We have an Atlantic gateway that people mumble about, but they never put any resources toward it. They talk about the Pacific gateway. We had a chance for the Commonwealth Games and we failed to get enough federal dollars invested. They do not seem to have any problem investing in the Olympics in Vancouver, but when it comes to the Commonwealth Games in Halifax, we do not seem to be in the ball game at all.
Another item I touched on in statements by members today was the network of centres of excellence. This program is jointly funded by a number of research councils and Industry Canada. The goal of the program is to develop Canada's economy in areas of health, energy and natural resources. It has developed a number of world-class centres that specialize in commercializing technologies in the 21st century. These technologies produce cutting edge solutions to some of the challenges faced by our society.
However, it becomes clear that the government is investing in these centres of excellence in all the regions of the country except Atlantic Canada. Of the past 18 centres of excellence that were approved and created by the government, only one was established in Atlantic Canada. How can a government that claims to care about the region defend a record such as that? It cannot. And it certainly cannot claim a lack of qualified proposals from the region.
In my home province is an organization that is a national leader in wind energy. We have seen federal governments, whether Liberal or Conservative, invest heavily in the energy sector in the oil sands in Alberta, but when it comes to investing in the wind energy sector, which is the only energy source in Prince Edward Island, we find the government very reticent toward putting a penny into developing that energy source.
The Wind Energy Institute of Canada, in North Cape, P.E.I., was the Atlantic wind test site for the past 30 years, a federal government initiative built on provincial property. This centre is a key component of the province of P.E.I.'s green energy strategy. Although we are not blessed with many energy resources and do not have the luxury of massive gas and oil reserves, we do have abundant wind energy and a great desire by the province--and by the federal government, when we were in power--to develop that particular industry. Developing and investing in this industry will allow our province to take a large step closer to self-sustainability.
This institute is a priority of the provincial government, as I said. The province realizes that investing in this institute will help P.E.I. increase its position as a global leader in wind energy and technology, with a focus on clean, renewable energy sources in both the industrialized and the developing worlds. The Wind Energy Institute of Canada represents a golden opportunity for P.E.I. to shine on the global stage.
However, does the Tory government want to be partner in this initiative? No, it does not. Does the Tory government share the enthusiasm of the P.E.I. government for the centre? No, it does not.
Does the Tory government want to help P.E.I. develop its globally recognized centre of wind energy and research? Apparently not. Does the Tory government want to help develop a centre of excellence for Atlantic Canada in wind energy? It has not to this point. Time is rapidly running out.
The numbers speak for themselves. Eleven new centres were announced last month, but not a single one for Atlantic Canada. This lack of faith in the potential of Atlantic Canada is not unique to Industry Canada. One only needs to examine the activity, or the lack thereof, of the Minister of ACOA to see that the government does not care about the region.
The government has cut funding to P.E.I. each year it has been in power. As I say, on the innovative community projects we see very little investment. The money is basically going back to general revenue.
We have heard from the Minister of ACOA, during the past election campaign and as recently as a few days ago, that ACOA funding was as solid as a rock in the north Atlantic, but that rock is eroding pretty fast. I do not think it is made of granite. The particular rock we are talking about is probably made of shale, like the ground of Prince Edward Island.
However, the government continues to cut investment in the region and it continues to ignore ACOA. There is not one mention of ACOA in this budget. That is not a very strong statement of support at all.
I could go on, but in the few minutes I have left I am going to touch on the idea of a Crown corporation for the EI program and for setting the rates.
As for setting the rates, I really do not think that we need a Crown corporation set up with 12 members running it to set rates. I think the government could set the rates with a stroke of a pen. The rates have been high, I agree. They should be lower. They have been lowered. I think when we took power in 1993 we were running a $5 billion deficit in the EI account over the previous three years. The year after, 1994, we were running a surplus, and we have been ever since, and those rates have been going down.
It does not take a rocket scientist to know what is coming in from the EI account and what is going out. If there is a great desire to lower the rates dramatically, it could be done easily. This seems to me to be the thin edge of the wedge. Eventually the members of Parliament are going to be cut out of the running of this program and cut out of making any changes to this program to benefit areas of high unemployment.
I hope that enough people can get together to beat this budget.
View Joe McGuire Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Joe McGuire Profile
2008-03-03 16:24 [p.3556]
Mr. Speaker, I am glad the hon. member for Tobique—Mactaquac enjoyed my speech so much, but I would like him to compare the amount of money that was spent in his riding through the SCIF program to the amount of money that has been spent through the innovative communities program these past two years.
I think he will have to admit that the government of the day spent invested an awful lot of money in the smaller communities in his riding, and not only in the smaller communities in his riding, but at the border, with $1 million put into the entry into Maine. We did not quibble. It was good not only for his riding but for Atlantic Canada to have this improved border accessibility. The facilities were antiquated. We did not hesitate to invest money there.
When it comes to the beef plant, before the federal government would put a penny into the meat plant every provincial government in maritime Canada had to come up with $2 million each. I do not think the Conservatives really thought that the three maritime provinces would get together and come up with $2 million each for a beef plant on Prince Edward Island. I think they were counting on the fact that Nova Scotia and New Brunswick would not take their hard-earned money and put it into a plant in P.E.I., but the Conservatives were proved wrong because they are missing out on the new spirit of cooperation in maritime Canada.
The three premiers are getting together, along with the premier of Newfoundland, and we are working as a cooperative unit. We are working as a region. I would really appreciate it if the federal government would enter into that new spirit and start investing in the centres of excellence and research and development that other parts of this country are enjoying. If so, I think we will see that Atlantic Canada will prosper just as well as other areas.
View Joe McGuire Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Joe McGuire Profile
2008-03-03 16:28 [p.3556]
Mr. Speaker, what the proposal was asking for in regard to the centre of excellence for wind energy was the development of wind technologies for the north and for people who are off the grid, technologies for people with little access to conventional sources of energy. That is what the project was all about.
The centre was asking for a total of $15 million over the five year period, plus the province was going to come in with $4 million. To the little province of P.E.I., it was a major investment that was going to benefit people outside of Prince Edward Island the most, people in developing countries and the north.
View Joe McGuire Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Joe McGuire Profile
2008-02-27 17:21 [p.3376]
Mr. Speaker, on page 71 of the budget papers, with respect to the employment insurance program, the government announced that it is going to form a crown corporation to set rates. There does not appear to be any other function but to set rates.
I wonder why the government needs a crown corporation to set rates when that expertise is in the department and it could set rates at the stroke of a pen, really. I do not think it would take a crown corporation to determine what a proper break-even rate is.
It says it will be a new, independent crown corporation and proceeds to say that the maximum annual charge set by the CEIFB will be 15¢. If it is free, an independent should be able to set those rates on its own.
My main question is why a crown corporation, why set up a whole new bureaucracy merely to set rates for EI?
View Joe McGuire Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Joe McGuire Profile
2008-02-14 12:07 [p.3094]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the member to elaborate on the environmental concerns that she touched upon again.
I know that on the east coast there are more storm surges than there ever were before. They are much more intense and much more damaging than they ever were before. Fishermen tell us that they have not experienced previously some of the storm surges that they have in the past five or six years.
I know in the year 2000, during a federal election campaign, one of our worst storm surges occurred in Prince Edward Island and along the east coast where it almost destroyed three of our harbours. Yet, we as the federal government have not taken any steps that I can see, either by the previous government or the present one, on planning for these contingencies on how to deal with these very damaging events of nature and the effect that they have on our small craft harbours.
View Joe McGuire Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Joe McGuire Profile
2008-02-14 12:09 [p.3094]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform you that I will be sharing my time with the human dynamo, the member of Parliament for Yukon.
I have served on the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans for a number of years and I was the chair of that committee for a number of years. I must say that some of the most interesting times that I spent in the House of Commons were those years that I served on that particular committee.
Sometimes it was heavy, hot and heated in the committee because it was during a time of change when the Canadian Coast Guard went from Transport Canada to DFO. It was also the time when many of the port authorities were set up. People inherently resist change, but this made it one of the most interesting periods of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans for some years.
I am also very proud of the role that my party played at that time in setting up the port authorities that members are talking about today. Previous to harbour authorities, harbour repair was based more on which side of government a particular MP sat. That fact determined whether or not his or her harbour would be repaired.
I know that in my particular riding of Egmont, and if anyone looks at the map, they will see the importance of the fishing industry to my riding. Fishing is probably the most important industry in the province or in my riding. The 11 or 12 harbours there, now with the addition of the Lennox Island First Nation harbour, received almost no repairs for over 10 years.
The story I like to quote, when I speak with fishermen, is when the chairman of the fisherman's group in Howards Cove sent a letter to the minister of the day, with a copy to me, along with pictures of himself and his fellow fishermen standing in the basin of his harbour on a sand dune. The caption asked to please dredge the harbour so that the fishermen could go fishing in the spring.
I went to the minister of the day, who is now the Lieutenant-Governor of the great province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and showed him the pictures. We had a meeting. He did come up with the dollars to do the dredging and I give him credit for that. Knowing his sense of humour, which he still retains to this day, he said that now I owe him a big favour.
At that time the minister was trying to increase the carapace size of lobsters. He wanted fishermen to leave bigger lobsters in the ocean to propagate and grow larger. The minister said that I now had to support him in increasing the carapace size of lobsters to two feet between the eyes. Anyone who knows John Crosbie would know exactly what he was referring to there.
In 1993, when Brian Tobin was the minister of the day, we had to address the great problem that was coming in small craft harbours and the lack of dollars that were allocated, and the way they were allocated to the Atlantic provinces and probably to the whole country, whether it was recreational harbours or active working harbours.
The previous Liberal government implemented the concept of fishermen taking control in managing the infrastructure of the harbours that they used every day, and to priorize what had to be done in the long term. It was up to us as politicians to furnish the dollars that could address those problems.
It was astronomical the amount of dollars that were required to bring many of the harbours up to scratch. I know in Judes Point in Tignish Shore, which is the largest small craft harbour in Atlantic Canada, the harbour was basically returning to the earth. It was a very dangerous proposition for the fishermen of Judes Point to go out through the run at Tignish Run. They were taking their lives in their hands twice a day going in and coming out with the timbers that were leaning into the run.
Miminegash and Northport, two other very large small craft harbours in my riding, had not seen any kind of repairs, almost no minimum maintenance, for quite some time.
This happened quite often. In those years it was the position of the Atlantic caucus that we should set up a different way to do things. We should give the fishermen a bigger role to play, a role that would tie them into their workplace more often. Before it was totally the government's responsibility and there was a hostile situation between fishermen and government officials on the condition of the harbour and what to do about it.
Even though the federal government still owns those properties, they are managed and run by local fishermen on their own time. Some harbours have difficulty getting enough fishermen to volunteer for those positions. The difference in the attitude of the fishermen before the harbour authorities were instituted and today is like night and day. There will always be problems and a shortage of dollars.
In the past two years of the Conservative government, it appears we have gone back to when the bureaucrats used to say they were colour-blind. Now the colour is a little more tinged on the blue side if we look at what has been done in my riding over the past two years compared to what was done before on a regular implementation basis. The only work that has been done in the last two years is work that was already approved before the change in government.
According to the information I have, $5 million or $6 million worth of repairs was required, from Tignish, West Point, Skinners Pond, Miminegash Harbour and so on. It is difficult for the fishermen and the harbour authorities to get any kind of an answer as to whether those repairs will even start to be carried out or if they are approved. There is supposed to be a grading system whereby the budget will be allocated among the large harbours, A harbours, B harbours and so on. The harbours I have talked about are large small craft harbours that need continuous repair and dredging.
On the Northumberland Strait side, the harbours of Cape Egmont and Egmont Bay need to be dredged almost every three years as a matter of course. The sand runs from west to east and these harbours eventually fill up with sand and have to be dredged. It is part of the minimum maintenance of that harbour. Every year they have to practically beg to get a dredge allocated to the area so they can go fishing.
It is always a battle for members of Parliament to get the government of the day, whether Liberal or Conservative, to allocate the proper funding for the program. When the right hon. member for LaSalle—Émard was minister of finance, he would make his rounds to all the caucuses and we were able to convince him to put $100 million into that program. To give him his due, he implemented that. The fund over the five year period has now expired. The fishermen need the program not only to be reinstituted, but to be upgraded as well.
As stated in my question for the previous speaker, the amount of damage done by storm surges and the environmental conditions of today can cause a lot of damage to small craft harbours no matter how well the wharves are constructed. They need to be protected with rock and granite.
After the storm surge of 2000, the damage done to Seacow Pond,Tignish Harbour and Miminegash will not re-occur because of the repairs made at that time to protect those harbours. This needs to be continued.
View Joe McGuire Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Joe McGuire Profile
2008-02-14 12:21 [p.3096]
Mr. Speaker, I am glad the parliamentary secretary cleared up that matter. It is good to know those dollars are there, as I was left with the impression that they were not incorporated.
It stills leaves the fact that the program continues to be underfunded. Any study that the committee has come up with on small craft harbours, continuously and unanimously all parties have agreed the program is dramatically underfunded.
I know paying off the debt is a good thing. Our government balanced those budgets in the 1990s. We have put some of the surpluses into paying off our long term debt. However, surely we can use some of that to build up the infrastructure of small craft harbour. The longer we leave the repair of those harbours, the more expensive they will become. We might as well fix a leak now than fix the whole harbour a little later on.
It is incumbent upon all members of Parliament to convince the government that the budget for this program has to be increased substantially.
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