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Results: 1 - 15 of 41
View Earl Dreeshen Profile
Madam Speaker, war, food scarcity and energy insecurity is devastating our European partners who are now cutting back production, turning down the heat and going back to high-polluting energy sources. However, the Liberal government, whose environmental record is abysmal, shows no recognition of this global disaster that awaits, nor its effect on our own citizens as we have seen with skyrocketing home heating costs.
When will the Liberal government do the prudent thing and stop forcing its failed carbon tax on Canadians?
View Earl Dreeshen Profile
Madam Speaker, it is always a pleasure to rise in the House to speak on behalf of the people of Red Deer—Mountain View. I am rising today to speak to the government's bill, Bill C-29, an act to provide for the establishment of a national council for reconciliation.
I believe that truth and reconciliation should be viewed as a partnership, a journey to reach a successful destination. Rebuilding relationships is not easy, particularly when there has been a history of distrust. It is necessary for us to view this legislation through that lens of distrust as we review Bill C-29 and that we use that lens to focus on building bridges and consensus.
Bill C-29 is an attempt to address calls to actions 53 to 56 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission by establishing a mechanism of accountability on the progress of reconciliation across Canada.
As previous members of my caucus have stated, our party supports accountability. I had the honour to sit at the aboriginal affairs and northern development committee many years ago when we established the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. I will say that up until these latest amendments were introduced, I was supportive of Bill C-29, thanks to the strong work of my Conservative colleagues at committee who pushed to have common-sense amendments passed, which ultimately made this bill stronger. The Liberal amendments now cloud the issue. No matter what, there are still other areas of concern, and I would like to focus my comments on those now.
First, I have an issue with the appointment process of the board of directors of the national council for reconciliation, of its transparency and its independence. To address this, we need to reflect on the realities of the government's actions. The Prime Minister announced in December of 2017 that he would start the process of establishing a national council for reconciliation by putting in place an interim board of directors. In June 2018, that interim board of directors presented its final report with 20 specific recommendations. However, it took three and half years for the minister to then get around to appointing the new board members of this national council or to prepare for that reality.
The minister, in my view, needs to be accountable and transparent in the House when addressing the concerns Canadians have about the selection process, particularly to indigenous peoples. Why did it take so long for the government and the minister to complete the appointments? Who is responsible for analyzing the process, and why was it acceptable for it to take over three years?
As a former math teacher, I truly appreciate the importance of metrics and tracking. I speak about this a lot at the environment and natural resources committees, which leads me to my next concern. BillC-29 has nothing in it to measure outcomes. If we do not know what we have and where we are going, how will we ever know when we get there? We need that data to understand if what we are doing aligns with our desired goals. No one can see into the future and no one can speak for indigenous people better than they can themselves. Having data that we can measure can help everyone ensure that the outcomes we all want are actually achieved.
I understand that quantifying reconciliation is hard, but call to action 55 shows us there are several items we can measure. For example, the comparative number of indigenous children to non-indigenous children in care and the reasons for that care. We can measure and track that. I am sure that such data would be extremely helpful in policy development for this very important cause.
Another example to help us develop youth justice policy and social supports would be to track the progress made on eliminating overrepresentation of indigenous children in youth custody, as well as progress made in reducing the rate of criminal victimization in homicide, family violence and other crimes. I am sure these metrics would also be an asset to the policy development process. To measure accountability, we first must set targets to determine success from failure. We understand that the government has a poor track record with meeting targets and measuring accountability.
The PBO released a report in May 2022 in response to the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs' request to conduct research and comparative analysis on the main estimates of the Department of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs and the Department of Indigenous Services Canada.
The PBO was critical of the departments of Indigenous Services Canada and Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada. He noted that over the 2015-16 and 2022-23 periods there was a significant increase in the amount of financial resources allocated to providing indigenous services.
Then he added that this increase in expenditures “did not result in a commensurate [increase] in the ability of these organizations to achieve the goals that they had set for themselves.”
He further stated, “Based on the qualitative review the ability [of the organizations] to achieve the targets [that they have] specified has declined.”
Increases in budgets without any improvements to outcomes are never a good thing. Whether we are spending money or implementing policy, we need to be accountable to taxpayers and Canadians, and I feel that our Liberal colleagues have forgotten that principle.
When the bill appeared at second reading, I was concerned about the unacceptable timelines we saw in bringing the bill to the House for debate. I still remained concerned about the issues surrounding transparency as well as the independence of the appointment process of the board of directors. I am also concerned about the lack of measurable outcomes in the bill as well as barriers that governments erect to curb indigenous economic power.
Mr. Calvin Helin is a seven-time, best-selling, multi-award winning author, the son of a hereditary chief, the current CEO of Eagle Group of Companies and the previous president of the Native Investment and Trade Association. He recently appeared at the natural resources committee and talked about the need for indigenous peoples to have access to capital and markets. He spoke about the need to develop resources on their land and the issues indigenous peoples are having with the government in order to do that.
In Mr. Helin's book, Dances with Dependency, which I read when I first came here in 2008 and make sure that everyone who works for me also reads it, he addressed the reality of eco-colonialists. I fully agree with him that departments and governments are in the way of resource development for indigenous peoples, particularly at a time when the world needs Canada's ethical resources. It would be a real shame to see that these assets are stranded and to see our indigenous people further struggle for economic freedom because of the roadblocks the current government puts up around our oil and gas sector or, for that matter, many of our resource extraction activities.
At committee, a proposed amendment was defeated that would have given the national indigenous economic organization a seat on the board of directors. This contradicts multiple witnesses who testified on the importance of having a strong voice on economic reconciliation at the table. My Conservative colleagues at committee made strong arguments that economic reconciliation is the solution to eradicating poverty, solving the social issues that poverty creates and ultimately creating a pathway to self-determination for indigenous people.
It has been said that if one cannot be part of a solution, there is still money to be made prolonging the problem. Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada and Indigenous Services Canada, along with their ministers, seem content in prolonging the problem with our indigenous people.
We have seen this over the past seven years with the Liberal government, especially on indigenous issues. It makes big announcements, and it holds press conferences and photo ops only to ignore and rag the puck in order to avoid the hard work needed to help our indigenous peoples.
Seventeen of the 19 proposed amendments that were brought forward to committee were brought forward by my Conservative colleagues. Those 17 amendments all passed with the support of the other parties, and I want to thank them for their co-operation. Sadly, today we see a backtracking on some of these initiatives.
In closing, I will go back to where this discussion started with our former Conservative government, which formed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. We advocated for more transparency on reserve for indigenous peoples. My former colleague, Rob Clarke, passed the Indian Act Amendment and Replacement Act, which received royal assent in December 2014. It is sad that no real action has been seen on this initiative.
View Earl Dreeshen Profile
Madam Speaker, one of the main themes that was presented was the government and its calls to action. The member for the NDP had mentioned, just a moment ago, that we have 13 out of 94 that have been developed.
Having been there, sitting with natives in the territories, when all of this was going on and having had time to discuss with them their concerns, I think that it is kind of important that we realize that the government has been picking and choosing how it is going to help our indigenous people.
Certainly, if we can only get 13 out of 94, we are not—
View Earl Dreeshen Profile
Madam Speaker, perhaps, just to that point of order, when I was there in 2008 and 2010, when the discussions were taking place, these were terms. I apologize for using a term that was the case at that point in time. It certainly has changed now.
I believe that my points that were made to the member of the Liberal Party have been addressed.
View Earl Dreeshen Profile
Madam Speaker, I think that is important as we determine what the mandate of the council is going to be. As I said in my address, if we do not know what the mandate is going to be, then it will be very hard to measure what the outcomes are and what it is that we have achieved.
Of course, I know that there was a great amount of work done in committee. We found out this morning that the Liberals put an amendment forward to remove the seat of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples on the board of directors. I am sure that has come as a bit of a shock to the NDP members who were there and to the Bloc, which had also supported this.
It is not very often, but in this case, I feel sorry for the NDP if its coalition forces threw it under the bus while its leadership searched for a justification to prop up the Liberal betrayal.
View Earl Dreeshen Profile
Madam Speaker, absolutely not. When I was on the aboriginal affairs and northern development committee, I was in the territories speaking to leaders. Those leaders were asking for opportunities to bring their people out of poverty. That was it. It was not because of any political party. It is not because of who belonged to whom. It was a case of them saying that it needed to be done.
They had some of the most amazing individuals who I would love to have running a company if I was that sort of an individual or person. That is what we have in our northern communities. We have to get off this dependency approach. We cannot allow this eco-colonialism to continue. I think that is what Calvin Helin has indicated and, certainly, it is time now for us to give them the opportunities that they deserve. That is what I am standing up for.
View Earl Dreeshen Profile
Madam Speaker, it is always a privilege and an honour to rise in the House to speak on behalf of the people of Red Deer—Mountain View, and it certainly is to do so today, as we are talking about a bill that is promoting the right to a healthy environment. I 100% agree with that. My major issue is recognizing Canadian achievements and making sure we keep that in mind as well.
As we debate Bill S-5, which would make these changes, I think it is important, as has been mentioned before, that we recognize the fact that CEPA has not been updated since it was passed in 1999. The tabling of Bill S-5 would be the first significant update, so it is important.
However, after the Senate process, Bill S-5 has been amended greatly, and I must admit, it is not for the best. I think it is important we talk about some of the Liberal track record. For example, I understand what is being advocated for in the dark green environmentalist world, but in the real world, particularly in those countries where energy security is so important and so urgent, people are clamouring for clean natural gas. They are rethinking their previous nuclear and coal objections. They are recognizing their electrical grid limitations, and they are hoping countries like us, with a reputation of using our wealth, expertise and innovation, will be there to help them during these tumultuous times.
For the more than two billion people in this world who use animal dung for their energy, and for those countries that are forced to rely on conflict oil, will Canada use every bit of its energy know-how to bring all of our resources to their shores? Does the government have a real vision for the future where the mining and processing of rare earth minerals, our world-class reclamation expertise and our human rights records will be recognized and respected, or when the time comes, will those too be politically demonized?
All energy sources leave an environmental footprint, even the dung being used by 25% of the world's citizens for energy. We do not flood massive tracts of land for eternity for hydro power without consequences. We do not build massive windmills without using hydrocarbons. We do not build solar panels without dealing with toxic substances. We do not mine or drill oil wells without disturbance. Plus, we need energy to build each of these infrastructures, and I believe that when we discuss any energy source development, its transportation and use, its recycling and disposal, or its effect on the living things that surround it, we must analyze the entire upstream and downstream effects, from the first shovel digging it up to the last shovel covering it up.
Only then can we truly talk about the consequences of all these technologies, of EVs, hydrogen, hybrid ICE, and full battery production, repurposing and recycling. Only then will Canadians be able to make educated decisions about the energy options faced by this nation. If we take the political science out of this equation and focus specifically on the true metrics of these choices, we will have accomplished so much.
The question is if the government will ensure that, in future, all types of energy sources be subject to the same rigorous assessment as the government has demanded with Canada's hydrocarbon industry. I certainly hope it will.
I would like to take a few moments to discuss what the legislation would do and then look at the few amendments from the Senate that I have issues with.
Bill S-5 recognizes that every Canadian has the right to a healthy environment, and it would require the Government of Canada to protect that right. I will come back to one of these, as I have some comments on this. Second, Bill S-5 would add language to CEPA to highlight the government's commitment to implementing UNDRIP and to recognize the importance of considering vulnerable populations when assessing the toxicity of substances. Third, it would create a regime for highest risk substances. This would replace the list of toxic substances.
Fourth, it lays out a criterion for the government to look to for managing and regulating a substance. Next, Bill S-5 would require the ministers to develop and publish a plan specifying which substances should be given priority for assessing whether they are toxic or can become toxic. Bill S-5 would also ensure all new substances must be developed in 24 months if a substance is determined to be toxic.
The bill also streamlines risk assessment for drugs and removes redundancies in regulations. That I am a fan of. Finally, Bill S-5 allows any person to request a minister to assess whether a substance can become toxic.
We know that this legislation looked dramatically different when it was first tabled in the Senate. Some of our unelected colleagues in the other place have a habit of gerrymandering legislation to suit their own agendas. They have done so with the current vision of Bill S-5. In any event, there are significant concerns about certain amendments passed in the Senate, which I will be addressing.
The Senate passed 24 amendments, 11 of which I think are detrimental to the bill and industry. For example, plastic manufacturing items are now listed in schedule 1, part 2, of substances that need to be regulated. I cannot imagine our friends in the plastic industry are very happy about that. Plastics are used in medical devices and medical supplies, such as tubing, and in dentistry and surgeries. They are used in automobiles, cell phones and thousands of other items used daily. Common sense is required here.
I mentioned that I would circle back to the right to a healthy environment. While the Senate has added language here around mechanisms to support the protection of that right and reasonable limits, I feel this is premature and too prescriptive. It could predetermine certain elements of consultations with stakeholders. Furthermore, the ambiguous nature of this language will spur new litigation and impact the way that CEPA is enforced. The government would be wise to clear up the language on this, as the right does only apply to CEPA, and it is not a charter right.
The next amendments I have issues with are amendments 17 and 18, which pertain to living organisms. When I was the vice-chair of the environment committee, I heard from concerned industry stakeholders that this provision creates a new obligation for industries that use living organisms to hold public consultations with the minister for each new living organism developed in Canada. Not a lot of people understand what these living organisms are all about. They are environmentally responsive. They are cells. They are changeable in growth. They are reproductive. They have a complex chemistry, and they have a homeostasis with energy processing. Those are the sorts of things that we are speaking of.
The potential for theft of intellectual property is vast here. If I were involved in this, and if my competitors required that we hold public consultations, and they are developing an organism in my space, why would I invest in research and development when it can be taken from the public consultations and tweaked slightly? I have heard from industry about the chilling effect this would have on research and development in Canada and in investment and industry in Canada. This will set a dangerous precedent for chemicals.
The next amendments that I have concern over are amendments 9 and 15, relating to schedule 1, part 1. By replacing substances that pose the highest risk language, and reference to schedule 1, part 1, the Senate has added more rigid language. Removing the words “highest risk” makes enforcement of this provision unclear. Although the right is not yet defined, and challenges exist there, the government will have up to two years after this bill passes to figure out what that right means to stakeholders.
I will be supporting the bill, but I would like to see my colleagues at the environment committee return the bill to its original state or get as close as we can. I think this is one of the critical issues that we all have to be concerned about.
View Earl Dreeshen Profile
Madam Speaker, lots of times in politics one only takes part of the sentence that was presented. I said I would be supporting the bill and wanting to see my colleagues at the environment committee return it back to its original state or get it as close as we can. That basically means that all of these amendments I mentioned are the reason we need to do that.
Of course, if we are going to discuss why that is important, that is the purpose of the House. I am sure the member did not mean to take my comment out of context, but certainly that is the reason it is important for us to be able to continue this discussion.
View Earl Dreeshen Profile
Madam Speaker, interference with industries in provinces is something that the government is an expert at. Those issues and things that are important in Quebec are certainly just as important in my province of Alberta. It is critical that the current federal government get off of its ideological messaging and start thinking about things that are real.
I mentioned earlier as well my concern that we never measure things. We wait until it hits the media and then we crank up the discussion with that. However, to think that any energy process that we have, any item that we have and any molecules that are being presented do not affect the environment is an issue that we should all be concerned about. Certainly the area of provincial rights is probably the best place to make sure that this is done properly.
View Earl Dreeshen Profile
Madam Speaker, that gives me an opportunity to deal with the rest of the story. That, of course, has to do with the significance of our plastics industry.
I was at a school not that long ago and a student said, “What are you going to do about plastic straws?” I said that we can make that decision as to whether we want it that way or if we want to have the paper straws. At least, we should understand that it takes three times as much energy to produce the paper straw as it does to produce the plastic straw, so we need to understand that there are going to be trade-offs. That is really the critical point.
One of the main things that I was speaking about was that we have to make sure that we measure all things that are done, and then we make wise decisions. We can tell people that a decision has been made for this purpose, and we do not have to be always in this battle of one against the other.
View Earl Dreeshen Profile
Mr. Speaker, yesterday, I was honoured to celebrate true excellence in teaching.
Red Deer's Glendale Sciences and Technology School educator, Ashton Lutz, was awarded the national certificate of excellence in recognition of her unique leadership in new-learning approaches and her success in harnessing the power of educational activity in an impressive ceremony here in Ottawa.
As a former math and physics teacher, it gives me great pleasure to know that her students have been blessed with her passionate commitment to all aspects of their educational experience, as she connects them with the digital world by harnessing the power of technology.
Ashton shared this special moment with her mother Sandy, her husband Bryden, and his parents Fred and Robin Lutz, as she proudly took her place as one of Canada's most exceptional teachers.
Well done, Ashton. Her students, colleagues, friends and family are so proud of her accomplishments.
View Earl Dreeshen Profile
Mr. Speaker, the cost of living is rising for all Canadians. There is an energy and a food security crisis in Europe and it is coming to Canada. Germany is firing up its coal plants again so it can survive the winter. By tripling the carbon tax, the Prime Minister is tripling the taxes on home heating, gas and groceries. These tax increases make Canada less competitive, driving investment and good jobs out of our country.
Will the government end its triple tax plan for Canadians?
View Earl Dreeshen Profile
Mr. Speaker, I appreciated the speech the member gave. One of the things he talked about was blocked resources. He made some points about Fort McMurray and the energy systems that we have, and also the ring of fire.
Indigenous businesses have tried to promote the businesses that he indicated are causing the problems at this point in time. That is part of the discussion that he should have with everybody who is there, not simply those who are taking a position similar to that of the NDP, which is to try and minimize the activities that we have for our indigenous people.
I was on the aboriginal affairs and northern development committee prior to the truth and reconciliation report. It was handed over to the Liberals, and the Liberals indicated that they were going to do some things.
Can the member talk about his impressions of how quickly those things have been done?
View Earl Dreeshen Profile
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today on behalf of the citizens of my riding of Red Deer—Mountain View to reflect upon the tremendous reign of our late Queen.
I was deeply saddened by the news of the passing of our Queen and sovereign, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Princess Elizabeth was but a year younger than my late mother. My father would always quip that he too had a princess who had become a queen, just like the people of the British Empire. He made it clear to us boys just how fortunate we were and how important it was that we treat our mother accordingly.
The fact that the princess could fix a vehicle, drive a truck and would serve in her country's military during wartime just emphasized her skills and dedication. When she acceded to the throne at such an early age, her vast knowledge and abilities made her even more impressive. So it was that I heard many stories about the life and times of our Queen Elizabeth.
The one-room schoolhouse that my great-grandfather had helped build had been replaced by a Second World War army barrack a few years prior to my grade 1 year. At the front of the room was a portrait of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. We sang both O Canada and God Save the Queen. It was so natural for us and we felt this special bond daily.
As I grew older and learned more about Canada and our system of government, my interests turned to the Queen's representatives in Alberta, the lieutenant governors, many of whom I have had the pleasure of meeting over my lifetime: the Honourable Percy Page; Grant MacEwan; Ralph Steinhauer; Charles Lynch-Staunton; Helen Hunley; a former MP from Red Deer, the Honourable Gordon Towers; Bud Olson; Lois Hole; Norman Kwong; Donald Ethell; my dear friend, the Honourable Lois Mitchell; as well as our present Lieutenant Governor, Salmi Lakhani.
I also truly respected the vice-regal occupants at Rideau Hall. Canada's governors general, over Her Majesty's reign, included the Right Honourable Vincent Massey, Georges Vanier, central Alberta's Roland Michener, Jules Léger, Ed Schreyer, Jeanne Sauvé, Ramon Hnatyshyn, Roméo LeBlanc, Adrienne Clarkson, Michaëlle Jean, David Johnston, whom I got to know very well over his term in office, Julie Payette, and our present Governor General, Mary Simon.
For many of us, these people may now just be pictures on the walls of our respective legislatures, but their purpose was to represent Her Majesty on behalf of the people in her realm, and they did that with honour. Not only did these representatives give their hearts and souls to serving us, but their spouses and families brought so much to the offices as well. As all of us in this House know that no one survives in public office without the support of family.
This was uppermost in the minds of my wife Judy and me on our drive to Calgary last Thursday. We were driving to the memorial service for a dear friend, the late Doug Mitchell, husband of the Honourable Lois Mitchell, Alberta's 18th lieutenant governor, when we heard the news of the Queen's passing. She had just sworn in the U.K.'s new prime minister two days before, so even though she was at an advanced age it was still so unexpected. At the memorial ceremony there was an extra sense of sadness and finality as speaker after speaker spoke of the unique connection of Alberta's vice-regal family and that of our late Queen.
I say this as I turn back to my thoughts on the legacy of our Queen Elizabeth, because there was never any doubt that her late husband, His Royal Highness the late Prince Philip, was always by Her Majesty's side and truly made a difference to her as she served her nation and the Commonwealth.
The royal family, and in particular the Queen, have always had a special place in the hearts of Albertans. I was there on that rainy day at the Commonwealth Stadium as the Queen and Premier Klein presented to the crowd, celebrating Alberta's centennial in 2005. It was amazing. Later, as an elected official, I had the privilege to meet Prince Edward during a Duke of Edinburgh award ceremony, Prince William and Princess Kate at the Calgary Stampede, and to stand by as my wife and the Queen exchanged pleasantries when Her Majesty last visited Ottawa.
I generally appreciated each encounter and will always speak highly of the experience. Perhaps I still hear my father's voice.
As Queen Elizabeth surpassed all milestones of service, I think I had overlooked the reality of what the monarchy would be like after she was gone.
In 2012, Canadians showed such pride in our history and celebrated the special bond that existed between Queen Elizabeth and our nation. The Diamond Jubilee medals that celebrated her 60 years on the throne were presented to our fellow citizens for their exemplary service to our nation. It meant so much to so many people. In celebration of her 70 years on the throne, I encouraged grade 6 students within Red Deer—Mountain View to write essays about that one special person in their lives that reminded them of the service and love of humanity best exemplified by Queen Elizabeth II. There were so many beautiful sentiments and such great thoughtfulness expressed by these wonderful students.
What about the reality that we now face? Queen Elizabeth II is the only monarch I have known. It is her place in history within the centuries of tradition that I now reflect upon. It is from those reflections that I am now looking forward to the promise of the reign of King Charles III. His responsibilities will be immense, but he has had the greatest of role models.
One of those responsibilities is as head of the Church of England, which has been the foundation of the monarchy for centuries. As such, it has always had a prominent place in my local community of Pine Lake. The historic Holy Trinity Anglican Church is one of many local churches across the country that displays the names of community members who served and died for King and country in the two world wars. My hope is that never again will we need to display the names of young men and women in that same fashion on those walls in the name of any monarch.
One can only pray for strength and wisdom for ourselves and our new King to serve our nation both wisely in peace but firmly in conflict. What better legacy to follow than that of the young Princess who started her journey in service in her wartorn nation and, as Queen, guided it through so many decades with compassion and grace. Princess Elizabeth said, in 1947 on the occasion of her 21st birthday:
I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.
We are so thankful that her life was long. Long live the King.
View Earl Dreeshen Profile
Madam Speaker, the NDP and the Liberals seem to feel they know a lot more than a lot of the public health officials and any other parliamentarians around the country, and, as the hon. member from the Conservatives mentioned earlier, more than all other parliaments around the world.
What makes Canada so much more special that we can carve out this small niche for ourselves when the rest of the world is moving on?
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