Interventions in the House of Commons
 
 
 
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View Brian Storseth Profile
CPC (AB)
View Brian Storseth Profile
2015-03-26 14:06 [p.12372]
Mr. Speaker, it is with great honour that on April 11, I will be marching down the main street of St. Paul with the Mallaig Army Cadets in commemoration of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
As members know, the Battle of Vimy Ridge was significant not only for its military contribution to World War I. This battle marked the first time that all four Canadian divisions, comprising troops from across the country, fought as a cohesive unit. It is this image of national unity and triumph that gives the battle importance to Canadians. The Battle of Vimy Ridge was essentially the event that came to symbolize Canada's coming of age as a nation. For this we honour the men who fought and are eternally grateful to those who lost their lives that April of 1917 in France.
The people of St. Paul dedicate April 11 to remembering the great sacrifice made by those soldiers who fought to end the Great War and bring peace to the world. The Lakeland region has always been proud of Canada's exceptional military past. Our brave soldiers, past, present, and future, are a symbol of the great achievement and sacrifice that defines this great nation.
View Brian Storseth Profile
CPC (AB)
View Brian Storseth Profile
2014-10-23 14:06 [p.8716]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the dedication of over 600 Canadian Forces personnel who departed from 4 Wing Cold Lake in my riding to join our allies in Operation Impact.
The timing of this deployment could not be more significant. On Monday, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, who had served with the Canadian military for 28 years, was struck down in Montreal by a homegrown terrorist. Now, in the wake of yesterday's act of terror on Parliament Hill, we are still grappling with the gutless murder of Corporal Nathan Cirillo.
Those set on doing harm to Canada and its people should make no mistake: these senseless acts of violence will only strengthen the resolve of all Canadians.
Our servicemen and women carry the memory of their fallen comrades with them on their mission. To the families of those Canadian Forces personnel who said goodbye to their loved ones this week, we sincerely appreciate the sacrifices they make and thank them for their service to our country.
United, our country remains strong against those who threaten freedom and democracy, both at home and abroad.
View Brian Storseth Profile
CPC (AB)
View Brian Storseth Profile
2014-10-21 14:49 [p.8659]
Mr. Speaker, I ask all Canadians to take a moment today to think about the men and women of the Canadian Forces, and particularly 4 Wing Cold Lake, who are currently deploying to combat ISIL.
This terrorist group, ISIL, has been carrying out a murderous rampage across Iraq, seizing territory and killing men, women and children in the most brutal ways imaginable. Make no mistake, if left unchecked, these terrorists represent a threat to Canada and to Canadians.
Canada will do its part in fighting this threat. Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence please update the House on Operation Impact and Canada's contribution to fighting ISIL?
View Brian Storseth Profile
CPC (AB)
View Brian Storseth Profile
2014-10-02 14:04 [p.7642]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to take a moment to recognize that with the changing leaves and the crisp morning air, we are approaching the end of harvest.
Harvest is a significant time of year for our farmers because it is the culmination of their hard work. After months of planning, prepping, seeding, fertilizing, and spraying, harvest is the end result.
It is a stressful time for many, as they have a relatively short window of time to get the crop off the field and into the bins. This means waiting for the right weather conditions, making sure the crop is at the right moisture level, and putting in endless hours to get the job done.
In particular, I would like to recognize Leonard and Leona Smyl, who were recently acknowledged for their farming excellence, as well as David and Sharon Boorse, who were awarded the Alberta Century Farm and Ranch Award for farming the same land for 100 years, and Raymond and Candice Phillips of Beauvallon. It is producers like these who constitute the backbone of this country.
I would like to thank all the farmers in the Lakeland region and all of Alberta for their hard work and steadfastness.
God bless.
View Brian Storseth Profile
CPC (AB)
View Brian Storseth Profile
2014-06-12 10:11 [p.6710]
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-616, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (failure to comply with a condition).
He said: Mr. Speaker, it pleases me today to rise to introduce my private member's bill, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act.
The reality of our justice system is that a disproportionately small number of offenders is responsible for a disproportionately large number of offences. This act would create two important parole reforms that target these repeat and high-risk offenders. Its enactment would create a new offence for the breach of conditional release and require the reporting of those breaches to the appropriate authorities. It is critically important that an accurate record be maintained with respect to an offender's breach of conditions while on early release, so that future justice decisions may take this conduct into account.
These amendments are proposed in the belief that early release from a court sentence is a privilege to be earned and not a right to be demanded.
View Brian Storseth Profile
CPC (AB)
View Brian Storseth Profile
2014-05-13 14:16 [p.5320]
Mr. Speaker, on behalf of our Conservative government and Canadians across the country, I would like to commend law enforcement officers for their commitment to ensuring the safety and security of our communities.
This week marks National Police Week, when we take a moment to think about the valuable services these men and women provide and to thank them for their dedication and professionalism.
Law enforcement officers work hard in our communities, on our highways and waterways, at our airports, at our ports of entry, and in foreign countries.
During National Police Week, let us also think of the families of law enforcement officers. It is the people who are closest to them who really know the sacrifices they make to help keep us safe.
This past weekend there was an incident in my home town of St. Paul, where RCMP officers were injured while putting themselves in harm's way to keep their fellow Canadians safe. On behalf of our government, I wish a quick recovery to all of the injured officers.
I would also like to thank all law enforcement officers across our country for keeping us safe each and every day.
View Brian Storseth Profile
CPC (AB)
View Brian Storseth Profile
2014-04-29 14:51 [p.4677]
Mr. Speaker, as the father of four, I am very concerned over the unusually high number of cases of measles reported in Canada this year. A number of these cases have recently been reported in my home province of Alberta. Measles is relatively rare in Canada, thanks to high immunization rates across our country, but more work clearly needs to be done.
This week being National Immunization Awareness Week, can the Minister of Health update the House on our government's efforts to keep immunization rates in Canada high?
View Brian Storseth Profile
CPC (AB)
View Brian Storseth Profile
2014-03-24 14:03 [p.3721]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to share with Canadians and hockey fans, such as my niece Xeina, exciting news about the Xtreme Hockey Night charity event that I will be hosting once again this year.
Last year, the event raised over $100,000 for nine different local community organizations, such as the St. Paul women's shelter. This year it is promising to be even more successful.
We will also be honouring three men with local roots, who have demonstrated where hard work and dedication can take us in the world today. Wilf Martin and Pierre Dechaine are being recognized for their success in amateur and professional hockey. Guy de Moissac, a mentor to many, will be recognized for his role in helping aspiring athletes and being a core builder of hockey in our community.
What is more, our afternoon hockey game will feature local greats, along with members of Parliament from across Canada.
I thank the fundraising committee for its hard work, and our sponsors for making this possible. The second annual Xtreme Hockey Night in St. Paul is sure to be a fun-filled event, bringing families together to raise funds for the numerous local organizations that do critical work in our community.
View Brian Storseth Profile
CPC (AB)
View Brian Storseth Profile
2014-02-05 22:38 [p.2653]
Mr. Speaker, I agree with my colleague on one issue. This is a very serious issue that affects real families in Alberta. Whether I am talking to my colleague and friend, Ian Donovan, from Little Bow, or to the Bauer family farm in Thorhild, this is an issue that directly affects them and the outcome of their livelihoods. At the end of the day, it deserves serious debate, not the throwback model of back to the future we have we have heard from the Liberals.
I have some questions for my colleague on the other side, who is talking about needing staffing resources, railcars, and locomotives for Churchill going to the port of Vancouver. Will the member urge the Teamsters to accept the tentative deal with CN so that it does not deprive western Canadian families of those resources she was just talking about? Will she urge her friends and the Teamsters to accept the deal so we can ensure that we continue to move the record harvest of western Canadian grain?
View Brian Storseth Profile
CPC (AB)
View Brian Storseth Profile
2013-11-29 11:16 [p.1544]
Mr. Speaker, I rise to congratulate Mrs. Colleen Yoshida of Assumption junior high in Cold Lake, Alberta for receiving a certificate of achievement from the Prime Minister. It is no surprise that a teacher from northeast Alberta would receive such high praise, as we have so many dedicated educators in the Lakeland region. Whether it be a younger teacher in Ashmont, such as Jeninne Poirier, who thrives on learning and teaching new methods; the dedication and experience of Corey deMoissac, at St. Paul Regional; or the work ethic and skill of Ryan Morey, at the new Mennonite school in Two Hills.
The Lakeland is truly blessed with talented educators who care. On behalf of our community, I would like to thank each and every one of them. The extra hours they put in truly make a difference. The development and future success of our children is truly their legacy.
View Brian Storseth Profile
CPC (AB)
View Brian Storseth Profile
2013-11-21 15:00 [p.1216]
Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday, the Liberal MP for Westmount—Ville-Marie urged Canada to jeopardize its security and military relationship with the United States, yet that was the same Liberal Party that had no issue with the fact that our Canadian Armed Forces would be exposed to cluster munitions in Afghanistan simply by working on joint missions with the United States. The Liberals cannot have it both ways.
On this side of the House, we understand the importance of taking real action on the destruction of cluster munitions, while at the same time never wavering from our commitment to the men and women in uniform.
Could the Minister of Foreign Affairs please comment on the government's response to rid the world of cluster munitions?
View Brian Storseth Profile
CPC (AB)
View Brian Storseth Profile
2013-11-05 14:43 [p.771]
Mr. Speaker, big union bosses at the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers are telling anyone who will listen that they want to ensure that convicted rapists and murderers have their own private accommodations while in prison. They say that it is troubling that these prisoners are forced to share cells. My constituents strongly disagree.
Plenty of Canadians are required to share accommodations for a variety of reasons. Could the Minister of Public Safety please tell the House whether he agrees that these dangerous criminals should be treated better than college students?
View Brian Storseth Profile
CPC (AB)
View Brian Storseth Profile
2013-06-11 20:10 [p.18128]
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to be here tonight to talk about such an important piece of legislation as Bill S-10. It is truly a piece of legislation that I have been waiting for since pre-2008.
I am a little disturbed to hear the type of dialogue that has been going on in the House. This is not only a good piece of legislation, but is an important piece of legislation for us to ratify and to move forward on. We want to maintain Canada's standing in the world and our history of being a strong country. Whether it is land mines and the Ottawa treaty or cluster munitions, it is important to note that we have been part of this cluster munitions discussion since the beginning of the Oslo process.
As the member of Parliament for Westlock—St. Paul, it sometimes can be seen as a bit of yin and yang when it comes to the issue of supporting the eradication of cluster munitions to many people who are not educated on the issue. I represent two of the largest tactical military bases in our country, 4 Wing Cold Lake, the tactical fighter squadron, and Edmonton Garrison.
However, when we talk to the men and women of the Canadian Forces, they agree with this legislation because they believe that we need to give them the best arms possible that target the enemy and not civilians. As members on both sides of the aisle have said today throughout the rigorous debate that we have had, cluster munitions, unfortunately, target civilians.
The use of cluster munitions has had a profound impact on many countries because it is an intermittent use. We cannot ask the offending country or the offending state or the offending terrorist organization to give us a map of where it used them because they are dispersed throughout an area where, ultimately, young children and farmers end up becoming the victims months, if not years, afterwards.
As I said before, I have to thank my wife for bringing this very important issue to my attention back in 2008 when it was happening in Lebanon, as it has happened in Serbia, as it has happened Vietnam, as it has happened in Nicaragua. When we have had the opportunity to talk to victims of cluster munitions, young children who picked up that little pink ball thinking it was a toy and it blew up and took off an arm or a leg, it is something that we cannot help but feel passionate about. It is something that we cannot help but say, that it is wrong and we need to fight to ensure that it changes.
We go back and think about the time, 2008-2009, when Mr. Turcotte was negotiating on our behalf, as one of the delegation. We were looking, as Canadians, at the ups and downs. We did not know if there would even be enough countries to bother ratifying this, to come to the process at which we are today. It seemed like a bit of a dream to get to the point where we, as a country, were ratifying, where we had over 100 countries on side, and where we could honestly look to putting pressure on those countries, having the social licence to put pressure on those countries that had not ratified.
I look at this legislation. Is it perfect? Is it everything that we could have dreamed about in 2008? No.
However, as we went through the steps I will talk about today, it is a very good piece of legislation. It would have an impact that would make a significant difference, and would reduce the amount of cluster munitions used in the world today. I think that is a very important step. I think that anybody who opposes that has not done their due diligence in looking at this and saying, we cannot have it all, but we can sure start with this piece of legislation, with the Oslo treaty. Being able to move forward from here is a great starting point, not only for Canadians, but in particular for those third world countries that have been affected by the harmful use of cluster munitions.
As members before me have already stated, Canada participated actively in the negotiations on the Convention on Cluster Munitions, and we were one of the first countries to sign on to it, in 2008.
As we prepare to return home to our constituencies this summer, it is extremely important that we move this legislation forward as quickly as possible. Bill S-10 is a necessary step that brings us closer to ratification.
Let me emphasize this fact. When I first started lobbying the Minister of Foreign Affairs, we needed to make sure that we ratified this, that Canada continue its international reputation as a leader in the area of land mines and cluster munitions. I was proud of the support that I received from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, but at the end of the day our country has gone through numerous minority governments. We have now finally got into a strong, stable Conservative majority government that has allowed us to take on some of these important issues.
I am happy to sit longer into June so that we can make sure that this not only gets voted on in the House of Commons but gets royal assent. It is important that we maintain our reputation around the world. As Canadians, we are expected to be leaders. Let nobody in this House say otherwise. We have been leaders throughout this entire process. We were one of the first countries at the table. We were one of the first countries to push our NATO allies, as the parliamentary secretary of defence talked about earlier. We have been one of the leaders. It is because of the credibility and the bloodshed of our men and women of the Canadian Forces that we have that credibility with the Americans, with the British, with the Australians, with all of our allies to say we have been there and we want to move the ball forward when it comes to the elimination and ratification of cluster munitions.
Explosive remnants of war, including those caused by cluster munitions, are a grave humanitarian concern. Cluster munitions are deployed from the air or ground with some types able to release dozens or even hundreds of smaller submunitions quickly, covering a large area.
Cluster munitions pose a significant threat to civilians, not only during attacks but particularly afterwards when they fail to detonate as intended. Unexploded bomblets can kill and maim civilians long after conflicts have ended, especially in densely populated areas. Tragically, many cluster munitions casualties are innocent and unknowing children. Unexploded bomblets can also hinder access to land and essential infrastructure, curbing the development potential of entire communities.
As I have been advocating for this legislation for many years, I have had the opportunity to talk to children and farmers who have been in their groves or in their fields and picked up what they thought was a toy only to find that it was a harmful explosive device that, unknown to them, would end up causing them severe damage.
We should be proud of the work that we have done in Canada. We should be proud of the fact that we are consistently in the top ten, if not the top five, when it comes to donating money to countries regarding land mines or cluster munitions. We should be proud of these accomplishments that we have consistently made from 2005, 2006 and onwards.
I find it quite offensive to hear members of the opposition stand up and say that we should not ratify this because it is not perfect and is not exactly what somebody has told us we need to do. Quite frankly, as I listen to them, I realize that most of them have not taken the time that their former leader Alexa McDonough did to understand the importance of ratifying this treaty. I looked at the member from Winnipeg as he talked about this. He sat in the same caucus as Ms. McDonough. Did he not understand from her and her passion the importance that we as a country move forward quickly on this?
Our government's commitment to the protection of civilians against the indiscriminate effects of explosive remnants of war is well established, with Canada traditionally in the top ten donors and often in the top five.
Since 2006, we have contributed more than $200 million to over 250 projects with respect to this global effort. For example, our efforts have provided over $1.5 million for the Organization of American States to support mine clearing in Nicaragua, which, with the support of other donors, helped to clear 179,000 landmines planted during the internal conflict in Nicaragua in the 1980s. As a result, in 2010, Nicaragua declared itself mine-free. Its mine-free status made Central America the first post-conflict region of the world to become mine-free.
Building on this momentum, we are proud to be part of the international effort to rid the world of cluster munitions. Recognizing the harm that cluster munitions cause civilians, inspired by the Ottawa convention, the international community began in 2007 to negotiate a treaty that would ban cluster munitions. The resulting Convention on Cluster Munitions prohibits the use, development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, retention and transfer of cluster munitions.
In the government's view, the treaty we signed and are now working to ratify strikes the right balance between humanitarian considerations and the continued ability of states parties to protect their national security and defence interests. Indeed, the convention reflects Canada's efforts during negotiations to ensure the right balance between the commitment to eliminate the use of cluster munitions based on humanitarian concerns and the need to protect our legitimate and important security considerations. Canada has never used cluster munitions. We would have agreed to a complete ban on them, but it was clear from the outset that this was simply not a realistic option.
Given the positions of other countries, it would not have been possible for Canada to ratify an immediate and complete ban since other countries we co-operate with militarily were not prepared to do the same. Would we have preferred that all countries sign on to the convention? Would we have preferred that all countries had the principled stance and the ability that Canada has had? Yes, of course, but unfortunately some of our closest allies did not sign on. In that context, the best way to eventually end the use of munitions is to allow countries like Canada to renounce their use and join the treaty while maintaining the ability to co-operate with allies that choose not to join.
Throughout the preparatory phases and during negotiations on the convention known as the Oslo process, a number of states insisted that the new treaty needed to contain provisions permitting the continued ability to engage effectively in military co-operation in operations with countries that did not sign the convention. We negotiated for the eventual elimination of these weapons, but also recognized that not all states would be in a position to immediately join that convention. In a context where multilateral, military co-operation operations are crucial to international security, again this was not exclusively a Canadian position but one shared by other countries, particularly our allies.
Article 21 of the convention is the resulting compromise, which recognizes that allowing states parties to conduct military co-operation in operations with states not party was the best way to ensure as many countries as possible join the convention. Without article 21, fewer states that possess cluster munitions would have agreed to join us and commit to eliminating their stockpiles and use of weapons.
There has been a lot of talk about the people who negotiated this treaty today, but I can say that, sitting in the room with those people in briefings and asking them questions, they felt as I did, that article 21 was essential to ensuring that this treaty was a success. It is easy to have hindsight, to look back and see that something is not perfect, but at that point in time this was the only path that was seen forward, not just for Canada but for the entire process. While appearing before the foreign affairs committee in the other place, the Minister of Foreign Affairs said:
...we have to deal with the reality of the world that we live in. With this, if we had zero tolerance, we would probably get zero results. I think what we have is the capacity that Canada will not use these weapons, will not acquire them and Canada will eliminate its stockpile. That is a good accomplishment; 110 other countries joining us in doing that is more accomplishment. Hopefully, each and every year we can get one or two or more countries, and we can see a time when it will not be necessary for any country to want to possess let alone use these kinds of weapons.
The compromise established by article 21 is found in clause 11 of the prohibiting cluster munitions act. Since the convention calls for the use of penal law, it is necessary to ensure that members of the Canadian Forces and associated civilians who participate in military co-operation operations as permitted by the convention will not be subject to criminal liability for otherwise lawful activities in the service of our country. This protection would be achieved through exemptions from prohibitions. Our government has been clear that we will not jeopardize the ability of our men and women in uniform to do their jobs or what we ask of them in the interests of our country.
Let me be clear. The exclusions in clause 11 do not permit or authorize any activity; they simply exclude these activities from new criminal offences that Bill S-10 would create. If these exclusions were not included in the act, there would be potential criminal liability for a wide range of frequent and lawful military co-operation activities with our closest allies, in particular, the United States. It does not intend to join the convention in the near future, and from my experience I do not expect it to. Obviously, it would not be fair to expose Canadian Armed Forces members to liability for doing their duty in the service of our country when participating in co-operation on operations with states that are not party to this convention.
To bring this to a real-world example of only a few years ago, if Canadian Forces personnel had been in a firefight in Afghanistan, they would have had to call air support from the United States of America, their military allies, who then could use cluster munitions. It is not fair to expose Canadian ground forces to being subject to penal law because their allies use this. It is very important that we not only look at it in context of treaties, but how it would affect men and women on the ground in the Canadian Forces who are risking their lives every day that they go beyond the wire.
It is important to note that the exclusions in clause 11 are carefully limited to activities that are committed by the convention itself and are necessary for effective military co-operation and operations. They only apply to persons who are engaged in activities related to military co-operation operations involving the Government of Canada. They also do not detract in any way from other applicable legal obligations on the part of members of the Canadian Armed Forces, including those established by existing international humanitarian law. The bill would create specific offences related to cluster munitions, and exceptions to those offences. However, nothing in the bill affects any other existing offence. If something is a crime today, it will still be a crime if and when Bill S-10 is enacted.
Members of the Canadian Forces will be fully subject to the prohibitions on the use of cluster munitions, in the same way as any other Canadian, unless they are engaged in a permitted form of military co-operation with a state that is not party to this convention. When members of the Canadian Forces are engaged in this type of co-operation, they are still prohibited from using cluster munitions if they are in exclusive control over the choice of the type of munitions they want to use. It is only in circumstances where that choice is partly or entirely under the control of the other country that the offences will not apply to Canadian Forces personnel.
I have been involved in this process, from a Canadian perspective and from a parliamentarian perspective, right from the beginning. As someone who has consistently lobbied and worked hard to make sure that not only the Canadian public understands the importance of this process, but the Government of Canada understands, I am very happy to see the steps that have been taken by the government to get this legislation quickly passed through the House of Commons. We will be able to stand up and say that once again Canada has taken the lead. Once again, Canada has asserted its moral authority to ensure we are a country that stands up, not only for countries, but for people who are less fortunate and need our support, our strength and our convictions. We can ensure that we, as a country, continue to be a leader when it comes to land mines and cluster munitions.
View Brian Storseth Profile
CPC (AB)
View Brian Storseth Profile
2013-06-11 20:32 [p.18131]
Mr. Speaker, I would ask the member to please put down the talking points and listen and engage in the dialogue that I have presented in the House of Commons. I mentioned the children at least three times. I have actually talked to children who have been victims of these cluster munitions.
When we talk about this and think about it in the context of the children, and when we think about it in the context of people who are today being affected by cluster munitions, this is legislation that I would certainly advocate time allocation for, to get it through the House of Commons as quickly as possible.
I do not understand how the members opposite can sit there and talk about process issues while those children they pretend to stand up and defend, and will potentially vote against, will be affected by this. The quicker we get this legislation through, the better we will be.
Is the legislation perfect? I do not think that any piece of legislation is perfect. However, certainly this piece of legislation is a significant step forward, and without it our country will not be one of the ratifying members. It is important that our country becomes one of the first members to ratify this legislation.
View Brian Storseth Profile
CPC (AB)
View Brian Storseth Profile
2013-06-11 20:35 [p.18131]
Mr. Speaker, I may be mistaken, but I think time allocation has already been put in place on this legislation.
The member is a very respected member of the House of Commons. She has been a minister in a government, and she understands that I cannot dictate whether amendments would be seen or not. If the opposition hopes to bring forward amendments to this, I hope they make sure it is done in an open and transparent way so that we could all have an opportunity to talk about it. However, if the only amendment that would be brought forward is the amendment on interoperability, I think the point has been made very clearly, not only by the Government of Canada, but by many of our allies across the world, that this is an important component. Without the interoperability article 21, we would not have the Oslo treaty; we would not have 110 countries on side.
It is with the 110 countries on side that we get the moral authority to press others to make sure they become engaged in this, to make sure they sign on and do their part in ratifying and becoming part of this process.
It is very important that we move this legislation quickly through the House of Commons, that we move it through to royal assent, so we can continue to be one of the leaders when it comes to issues of land mines and cluster munitions.
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