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Results: 1 - 15 of 87
View Anthony Housefather Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Anthony Housefather Profile
2021-06-15 11:00 [p.8434]
Madam Speaker, this is one of the most important speeches that I have given in this virtual chamber. I want to clarify for the people in my riding and across Canada what this motion means, and even more importantly what it does not mean. I also want to contribute my views to the public record so that they can be examined by any court that may, in the future, be called upon to consider the significance of this motion.
First, I want to clarify that if this motion is adopted, it does not constitute an agreement by this House to a constitutional amendment. Amending Canada's framework document would require a proper bill, extensive public consultation, committee study and hearings, legal analysis and extensive debate in this House and across the country. I would never support any constitutional amendment that did not follow this process.
Second, what does this motion do?
It asks the House to recognize that section 45 of the Constitution Act, 1982, allows Quebec and the other provinces to unilaterally amend their respective constitutions. What the motion does not say is that section 45 is subject to section 41. Section 41 refers to section 43(b), which clearly states that any amendment to any provision that relates to the use of the English or the French language within a province also requires the approval of the House of Commons and the Senate. I will speak to what this means a little later.
This motion also calls on the House to acknowledge the fact that Quebec intends to use section 45 to amend its constitution to state that Quebeckers form a nation, that French is the only official language of Quebec and that it is also the common language of the Quebec nation.
Third, let me be clear about the mechanism being used. Quebec's proposed Bill 96 has not yet been the subject of hearings. It has not been debated, amended or adopted. Since the determination of whether section 45 applies to an amendment will depend on the final wording of Bill 96, it would be premature to offer more than a preliminary assessment as to whether section 45 could apply.
No amendment to the constitution of a province made under section 45 can have any legal effect on the Constitution of Canada. Our Constitution is very clear that if any amendment relates to the use of English or French language in the province, section 43(b) must be used, not section 45. Therefore, this amendment cannot be used to reduce or impact the rights of the Quebec English-speaking minority in any way.
It would not and could not change the scope of section 133 of the Constitution, which says that English is an equal language with French within the National Assembly and the courts of Quebec. It would not and could not change the scope of the rights of the minority language community under the charter, such as education rights under section 23. Perhaps most importantly, in my view, this amendment cannot be used to interpret whether any charter right has been breached or to justify a section 1 limitation of that right.
Fourth, I support the exact wording adopted by the House of Commons in 2006. That motion stated, “that the Québécois form a nation within a united Canada.” I want members to note those last words, which are “a united Canada.” The current proposal is missing those words.
I also believe that it is very important to understand the legal implications of the notion of French as the common language of the Quebec nation. I hope that there will be presentations and debates in the National Assembly on this issue.
Quebec's Charter of the French Language states that French is the official language of Quebec. French is the first language used in Quebec, and French-speaking Quebeckers should be able to live, work and be served in French throughout our province.
Some proposals in Bill 96 have raised real concerns that common language means something else. For example, is the Quebec government seeking to limit those who can receive certain services in English? Sections 22.2 and 22.3 of Bill 96 link the ability to receive certain government services in English to those who are eligible to receive instruction in English. This has never previously been done in the Charter of the French Language outside of education rights.
Let us look at what that means. Suddenly hundreds of thousands of people who considered themselves part of the English-speaking community of Quebec will no longer be eligible to receive certain services from the state in English. This would include people who came to Quebec from the United States or other English-speaking countries, and even Holocaust survivors in their nineties who have been part of the English-speaking community since arriving in Canada over 70 years ago. This is profoundly disturbing, and I very much hope this section is amended by the National Assembly.
There is also section 18.1, which states that the personnel members of the civil administration shall use exclusively French when communicating orally or in writing with one another in the exercise of their functions. I do not think it is reasonable to ask two anglophone public servants to speak and write to one another in French.
In light of these and other provisions in Bill 96, we can understand why leaders of the English-speaking community, including former member of Parliament Marlene Jennings, who is the president of the Quebec Community Groups Network, have expressed some serious concerns about Bill 96.
I am particularly concerned about the impact of Bill 96 on how we see the charter and how individual rights interact with collective ones. In my view, we have a Charter of Rights because we, as a society in Canada and Quebec, have accepted that there are certain rights which are inalienable, rights that are not subject to change by a simple majority in the legislature. A charter is designed to protect minorities, even unpopular minorities.
In Bill 96, Quebec has departed entirely from this principle. First, the bill says the Charter of the French Language would no longer be subordinate to the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. This means that Quebeckers would no longer be able to argue that the Charter of the French Language breaches rights under the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.
Quebec is also proposing to use a notwithstanding clause in an omnibus and pre-emptive way, preventing any Quebecker from arguing that fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, are breached under this bill. I would like to be very clear that I am against the notwithstanding clause. I do not believe it should be part of the charter.
We already have section 1, which allows legislatures to place reasonable limits on rights. To allow legislatures to allow unreasonable limits on rights, or to put laws outside the review of the judicial branch of government, is not something I can ever support. I oppose the use of the notwithstanding clause by Quebec, Ontario or any other jurisdiction.
Although we have to accept that the notwithstanding clause is part of the charter and can be invoked, it should be invoked only on very rare occasions, in response to a legal ruling. It must not be used pre-emptively. The idea of insulating a bill from possible legal challenges is profoundly troubling. The public would have no way to find out whether a right has been violated. As a Quebecker and a Canadian, I believe that we need an extensive public debate on this matter.
What is clear is that the issues related to our Constitution, our charter and our two official languages are at the very core of the fabric of our country. They are not documents or concepts to be taken lightly, but to be approached thoroughly, transparently and with the best interest of the federation at heart. Canadians place their trust in us to protect our country, protect our rights, including minority rights, and protect our democracy. These are not conversations that happen in one day, but rather require time, reflection and public debate. Our Constitution and Canadians deserve nothing less.
In the end, while I believe that this motion is purely symbolic in that it only asks this House to acknowledge what Quebec intends to do as opposed to the House agreeing to anything substantive, I also understand why this may be unclear to Canadians, especially official language minority communities and in particular, English-speaking Quebeckers.
Therefore, I move that this motion be amended by adding, after the words “of the Quebec nation”, the following: “That the House acknowledge adopting a motion in 2006 stating that this House recognize that the Québécois form a nation within a united Canada and reaffirm this position, and declare that the rights of Quebec's English-speaking minority under the Canadian Constitution may not be impacted or reduced by such an amendment.”
View Anthony Housefather Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Anthony Housefather Profile
2021-06-15 11:12 [p.8436]
Madam Speaker, I would like to let my hon. colleague how much I respect him and his intellectual acumen.
I know there are many people throughout the country who misunderstand the symbolic nature of this motion, including my constituents and those within the English-speaking minority in Quebec and the French-speaking minorities outside of Quebec. There are certainly reasons why the House would want to restate that we are, indeed, of the belief that the Québécois should form a nation, but a nation within a united Canada, such as we agreed in 2006. I would also like to assure the English-speaking minority in Quebec that our constitutional rights will not be impacted by the motion before this House, which is the reason I proposed the amendment.
I would be happy to support the motion, provided that we clarify those two points. It is very important to my constituents and very important to many across Canada that we do so.
View Anthony Housefather Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Anthony Housefather Profile
2021-06-15 11:15 [p.8437]
I am just as much a Quebecker as the member of the Bloc Québécois. I always find it frustrating that the Bloc Québécois does not recognize that I, who am an anglophone member, or my colleague from Hochelaga, who is an allophone, are just as much Quebeckers as the members of the Bloc Québécois, even though we are not of French origin.
We are Quebeckers. We are part of the Quebec nation within Canada. I am sorry, but I do not think that I am stuck in the past. I am actually the future of Quebec because Quebec is becoming more multicultural. We are all Quebeckers within Canada.
View Anthony Housefather Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Anthony Housefather Profile
2021-06-15 11:16 [p.8437]
Madam Speaker, first of all, I am troubled that my colleague from Rosemont—La Petite‑Patrie would question the fact that, as an English-speaking member from Quebec, I gave half of my speech in English. I was under the impression that we have two official languages in the House of Commons.
Second, I see and I fully agree that French is the official language of Quebec. I have never denied that. However, as a Liberal, I believe that we can think that way while also respecting the rights of the English-speaking minority. That is a concept I will always fight for.
View Anthony Housefather Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Anthony Housefather Profile
2021-05-31 14:08 [p.7616]
Mr. Speaker, today is the last day of Jewish Heritage Month. Unfortunately, this month, the celebrations have been overshadowed by the greatest wave of anti-Semitism that I have seen in my lifetime.
Events in the Middle East should not lead to hate in Canada, but they do. People in their nineties have told me that they have not felt this level of fear since the 1930s, the time of the Christie Pits Riot in Toronto and our “None is too many” Jewish refugee policy. Some constituents have told me they are afraid to take their kids to the park. Schools and day cares have stopped letting their students leave school grounds at recess. An elderly couple told me they have taken their mezuzah off their door.
This should not be happening in Canada. I call on all my colleagues to publicly denounce anti-Semitism in Canada and ask them to please issue a public statement if they have not already done so. Countering hate is all of our responsibility.
View Anthony Housefather Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Anthony Housefather Profile
2021-05-13 14:07 [p.7184]
Mr. Speaker, in the last Parliament, the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights tabled a report on improving support for jurors in Canada. Across party lines, we came together to recognize that there was much work to be done to improve the experience of jurors.
We found that jurors lacked information on their role and responsibilities, often were paid amounts that had not been adjusted since the 1970s and were not compensated for their costs. Most important, we recognized jurors were often not provided with appropriate mental health services they desperately needed.
We made important recommendations, which included increasing awareness of the role of jurors. Since then, individuals like Mark Farrant, Patrick Baillie and Tina Daenzer have stepped up to create the Canadian Juries Commission to advocate for jurors.
Today, I call upon Parliament to recognize the second week in May as jury appreciation week in Canada. This week is recognized in many U.S. states and is a great way to recognize the important role that jurors have to ensure the effective administration of justice in Canada.
View Anthony Housefather Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Anthony Housefather Profile
2021-05-13 15:12 [p.7196]
Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties, and if you seek it, I hope you will find unanimous consent for the following motion: that the House recognize that each year thousands of Canadians are asked to serve on juries and contribute to the Canadian justice system, and designate the second week of May in each year as jury appreciation week in Canada, to encourage those Canadians who provide this public service and to recognize their civic duty.
View Anthony Housefather Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Anthony Housefather Profile
2021-05-13 16:14 [p.7206]
Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Outremont.
Today is May 13, and it my father's first birthday since his death. My father is among those people who died during the pandemic. The first part of the Bloc Québécois motion refers to all of the Quebeckers and Canadians who died during the pandemic. I want to express my condolences to all of the families in Quebec, in my riding and across Canada who have lost loved ones.
My father had been in a long-term care unit. Our country has some significant problems when it comes to long-term care. I truly hope that we will take everything that we have learned to ensure that people like my father will be better served in the future.
I fully support the idea of national standards, and I hope that all Canadians will respect not only provincial jurisdictions but also national standards to guarantee that our seniors can enjoy their right to be safe in long-term care homes.
The motion also talks about an election, and I can assure the Bloc Québécois and all the hon. members of the House that I do not have any interest in an election, nor do any of the other people I know on our side of the House. It is one of those things where we can keep repeating it and people may or may not believe us, but in the end result, that is the case.
We also, of course, understand that we are in a minority Parliament. The government does not get to control when the next election happens. All of the opposition parties could force an election, and I am not saying that it is necessarily in bad faith that people may vote non-confidence in the government. It could happen for a variety of reasons.
If non-confidence in the government is voted, then we need to have a safe election. There is no doubt about it, with the entire idea of potentially having an election. I am not blaming opposition parties for voting non-confidence. They have a right to do so, but there have been 14 times in recent weeks when opposition parties have voted non-confidence in one way or another, and as a result we could have an election, so it is really important that we appreciate that we need to find a way to bring Bill C-19 through the House in order to have a fair and safe election.
We have talked a lot about it, and I am very proud of our government having taken many measures to ensure safety in the workplace. Elections Canada needs to ensure safety for its poll workers and for all Canadians who wish to express their right to vote in our society. I am also very pleased that we are in a country where we have national rules on national elections. We see what has happened with our neighbours to the south, where there are different rules in every state and different rules, sometimes, in every county in a state. Different types of election machines in different counties led to a 2000 election where Palm Beach County in Florida managed, by itself, to reverse the results of an election.
In the most recent election in the United States, there was a candidate who refused to accept the results of the election. He launched many lawsuits, which were all unsuccessful, and now he continues to maintain that the election was unfair and is trying to get states to create legislation that makes it more difficult for people to vote.
I am pleased that we would be making it safer and better to vote with Bill C-19. We know that the Chief Electoral Officer and the procedure and House affairs committee are really cognizant of the importance of this issue, as evidenced by their significant work and associated recommendations. In addition to supporting the committee's recommendation with respect to long-term care voting and extending the voting period, Bill C-19 proposes a number of other measures to ensure that our electoral process remains resilient, taking into account the current public health context. Both the committee and Bill C-19 propose increased adaptation powers for the Chief Electoral Officer for the purposes of ensuring the health and safety of electors and election workers, should an election occur during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In its final report, the committee acknowledged that it has the utmost confidence in Elections Canada in undertaking the diligent planning and preparedness necessary to deliver a successful and accessible election during the pandemic.
This is reflected in Bill C-19's temporary amendment to extend the Chief Electoral Officer's power to adapt the provisions of the act to ensure the health and safety of electors or election officers. It seeks to offer greater flexibility, given the rapidly changing nature of the pandemic and the diverse logistics of conducting 338 elections, and each riding having different challenges. On the committee's recommendation that rapid tests be provided, the government is committed to supporting Elections Canada's preparedness, all while respecting its independence.
An election during the pandemic also means that more electors will vote by mail, as we have seen in various Canadian and international jurisdictions. Indeed, the chief electoral officers of British Columbia, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island all told the committee that there were significant increases in demand to vote by mail during their respective provincial elections held during the pandemic. We certainly saw the same thing with our neighbours to the south.
In British Columbia, there was a 100-fold increase of mail-in ballots between the 2017 and 2020 provincial general elections. At the federal level, the Chief Electoral Officer testified that surveys had indicated that 4 million to 5 million electors intend to vote by mail if a federal general election is held during the pandemic. The Chief Electoral Officer noted that steps had been taken to ensure that Elections Canada would be prepared for such an increase.
Although the committee's recommendations on mail-in voting were primarily directed to Elections Canada, it is evident through the report and witness statements that access to mail-in ballots would support electors that may face barriers. As such, measures to shore up the mail-in ballot system are important. That is why Bill C-19 seeks to implement measures to improve access to mail-in voting for all Canadians in numerous ways, including the installation of mail reception boxes at all polling stations and allowing for the receipt of online applications for mail-in ballots.
The committee's final report highlights that mail-in voting was identified by several witnesses as a means of increasing accessibility for electors who face barriers to voting, including persons with disabilities, indigenous voters, persons living in poverty and students. Augmenting mail-in voting procedures will ensure the system is easy to use, accessible and responsive to voter's needs. It will also provide additional alternatives for those who are most vulnerable during the pandemic.
Ensuring that our electoral system is easy to use, accessible and responsive to voter's needs is also very much the advice we heard from international partners and experts from government, industry and civil society. We want good practice. We want a solution tailored to communities. We do not need a one-size-fits-all approach, but we need to ensure that the same access to voting exists across the country.
Multiple witnesses, including Canada's Chief Electoral Officer, told the committee that holding a federal general election during the pandemic would pose significant challenges and difficulties for Elections Canada. Elections Canada has exchanged information on our best practices and contingency planning and commissioned research.
Bill C-19 will reaffirm to Elections Canada, political entities and Canadian electors that the government remains committed to ensuring that a general election during a pandemic, should one be required, which all of us say we do not want, would be delivered in a manner that is safe for electors and election workers, and ensures the overall integrity of the electoral process.
In conclusion, I do believe it is important to pass Bill C-19, whether or not there is an election on the horizon.
View Anthony Housefather Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Anthony Housefather Profile
2021-05-13 16:24 [p.7207]
Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for whom I have a lot of respect.
During the pandemic, the federal government made a lot of investments to help the provinces manage the crisis. When the crisis is over, there will certainly need to be a discussion between the provinces and the federal government on the issue of health in order to determine how we can work together to ensure that the federal and provincial governments are able to make the best investments in health.
View Anthony Housefather Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Anthony Housefather Profile
2021-05-13 16:25 [p.7207]
Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague, who is a man of great intellect.
Because he is a man of great intellect, he certainly knows that only the Prime Minister will be able to answer that question, as to what he can or cannot do.
All I can say is that no one in the Liberal caucus feels like there should be an election, just like no one in the opposition caucuses feels that way. Nevertheless, we know that an election can be triggered against our will for a number of reasons.
I gave an example. If opposition members find it impossible to vote in good conscience on a bill that is a matter of confidence, it might mean that they will trigger an election, even if they do not want to. I suppose that is always a possibility on both sides.
View Anthony Housefather Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Anthony Housefather Profile
2021-05-13 16:28 [p.7208]
Madam Speaker, I have huge respect for my hon. friend. I shared the view at committee that there should not be an election during the pandemic, on either side.
View Anthony Housefather Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Anthony Housefather Profile
2021-05-06 20:49 [p.6854]
Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure to take part in a debate where all parties in the House have the rare opportunity to agree. We must do everything we can to ensure that Line 5 continues to operate.
I had the pleasure of sitting on the Special Committee on the Economic Relationship between Canada and the United States and working with my colleagues in the Bloc Québécois, the Conservative Party and the NDP to deliver a unanimous report to the government.
It was also a pleasure to have our colleague from Sarnia—Lambton frequently join the committee, because this affects her riding almost more than anywhere else. This is about jobs. This is about economic security for Canadians. This is about the price we pay for things like gas, and this is about our relationship with our closest ally.
How did we get here? What is Line 5? Line 5 is a 645-mile pipeline that was built in 1953. It was built long before most of us were born, when Dwight Eisenhower was the President of the United States and issued a presidential permit to allow for the construction, operation and maintenance of Line 5. In Canada, Louis St. Laurent was our Prime Minister. That is how far back this line has been carrying shipments of light crude oil, light synthetic crude oil and natural gas liquids to Canada. It carries today about 540,000 barrels per day, and since it first entered into service in 1953, it has carried approximately 80 million barrels. It is responsible for transporting about 70% of the total Michigan crude oil production. It starts in Wisconsin and moves through Michigan to Ontario, where it ends near Sarnia.
What has happened? A notice has been given by the Governor of Michigan that she intends to end the easement that has been in effect since 1953 permitting the continued operation of Line 5. For a period of time, a portion of Line 5 crosses the Straits of Mackinac. It is about a four-mile portion of Line 5, and it is a dual pipeline. The governor has issued a shutdown order, telling Enbridge it can no longer operate that portion of the pipeline, which has no alternative, so essentially shutting down that four-mile stretch would mean the pipeline can no longer operate.
However, the governor has cited hypothetical safety concerns. We learned at committee that, first of all, there has never been an escape of product into the Straits of Mackinac since 1954, when the pipeline started operating. Second, there have been numerous tests that have been done, and what they have determined, from private companies, is that the chance of a leak is less than 0.05% per year, meaning less than one in 2,000 chance per year that there would be any leak into the Straits of Mackinac.
The company has come forward with an alternative. The company has said, “Let us build a tunnel, an alternative”, and previously Michigan had agreed to this. The company will need a few years to get that in place, which would mean we would no longer have this four-mile stretch. I respect Governor Whitmer, in the sense that she had a very tough time during the recent presidential election. She was threatened in a way that no public official should ever be threatened, and my complete sympathies go to her and her family for what she went through, but this decision puts Canadian families, Canadian workers and also American families and American workers through a horrible ordeal because it risks their jobs and it risks their economic security. I would beg her to reconsider.
One thing I would like to say is that, like our friends in the United States, Canada has a federal system, which means that in Canada we have sections 91 and 92 of the Constitution and certain powers are federal and certain powers are provincial. In the United States, there are certain powers that are federal, and in my view, based on the evidence we heard at committee, the Governor of Michigan lacks the power to terminate this easement.
For example, Congress enacted the Pipeline Safety Act and invested a federal agency called the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, which people call PHMSA, with exclusive authority to regulate pipeline safety. The act provides that the state authority “may not adopt or continue in force” safety standards for interstate pipeline facilities or interstate pipeline transportation. It comprehensively regulates pipeline security.
In the United States, as in Canada, there is something called the supremacy clause, which means that if the federal government enters into an area of jurisdiction, the state cannot, by its actions, trump the federal legislation. Having enacted the Pipeline Safety Act, it would seem to me that it would be unconstitutional, if I can use that word, for the Governor of Michigan to revoke the easement, because all the safety concerns from the pipeline are dealt with through PHMSA and its regulations. They have confirmed as a result of all their reviews, and there have been a number of independent reviews done, that the dual pipelines, which are the two lines going under the Straits of Mackinac, are fit for service and safe to operate. That is very important, and I reiterate that since starting operation over 65 years ago, these pipelines have never released any product into the Straits of Mackinac.
Another issue, constitutionally, is who gets to regulate interstate and foreign commerce. In the United States, the Constitution says that the federal government is exclusively responsible for regulating interstate commerce. There is no argument here that this does not go through a number of states. As I mentioned before, Line 5 originates in Superior, Wisconsin. It then goes into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and receives product at Lewiston, Michigan, where local Michigan crude oil is collected and transported to U.S. and Canadian refineries. It transports 14,000 barrels of Michigan oil per day. Then, the oil is taken not only to Sarnia, but also to Marathon's Detroit refinery and to two refineries in Toledo, Ohio. In addition, in Ontario, the pipeline is connected to other pipelines that transport crude to Pennsylvania and to my home in Montreal, Quebec.
It is hard to argue that this does not constitute interstate commerce: Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania. That is more than one state, and it is definitely commerce. My feeling is that this is under federal jurisdiction.
Then, let us look at international. There is no dispute that international commerce is federal, and the United States has even entered into pipeline treaties with Canada, including a 1977 pipeline treaty that ensured the continued operation across the border, which should not be ended by any one state.
In the context of Canada-U.S. relations, clearly it is not acceptable for different states to be involved in deciding whether a pipeline can cross the border between our two countries. The same is true for a pipeline that crosses several states. There is no question that a state like Michigan should not have the power to stop oil flowing through its territory between Wisconsin and Ohio or Pennsylvania. We therefore need specific, clear rules that apply to all states. That is why the United States has a federal government.
Given that there is a congressional law, a law passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate, that deals with this issue and exclusively regulates the safety of the pipeline, given the fact that it is a pipeline that goes between four different states, at least, given that it is a pipeline that transverses an international boundary between the United States and Canada, and given the fact that the United States government has actually entered into an agreement with Canada related to the continued operation of the pipeline and issued a presidential permit for this pipeline, I would argue legally that Enbridge is correct in its pleadings in the Western District of Michigan and the Governor of Michigan does not have the power to end the easement or to cease operations of the pipeline. I also agree with Enbridge's position that it would be up to Michigan to seek an order of the court, an injunction, to stop the pipeline from operating.
In the meantime, we need to be team Canada. We need to appeal to state legislatures in Michigan and elsewhere, especially those states that are impacted by the governor's decision. We need to appeal to fellow legislators in Washington, whether it is the Prime Minister to the President, or all of us to our fellow legislators. We need to let them know how important this pipeline is to Canada, and perhaps to their states, which they may not be aware of. We need to make sure we do everything in our power to protect the jobs of Canadians and Americans, protect the continued operations of a pipeline that has operated safely for over 65 years and make sure the refineries in Canada do not lose—
View Anthony Housefather Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Anthony Housefather Profile
2021-05-06 21:01 [p.6855]
Mr. Speaker, in my speech I did not say there has not been any progress over five months. I said that we need the continued operations of the pipeline. I am in complete agreement with the member. We heard at committee how aggressively the government, our ambassador to Washington and others have been in making this very clear to the Americans.
The saving grace is that Enbridge has taken Michigan to court and has made it very clear it will not cease operating the pipeline. Michigan has not secured an injunction to stop the pipeline from operating. The case Enbridge has made is very strong, and we need to continue to make sure that the Biden administration in Washington clearly understands that this pipeline must continue to operate. I am in full agreement that we need to do everything in our power to do so.
View Anthony Housefather Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Anthony Housefather Profile
2021-05-06 21:03 [p.6856]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to tell my colleague from Lac-Saint-Jean that I have a great deal of respect for him as well.
I am not saying that it will not happen just because there has not been a spill in 65 years. What I am saying is that many studies have been conducted in the past five years, including the study by Dynamic Risk Assessment Systems in 2017. According to this study, the risk of the pipeline failing is 0.0476% per year. That means the risk of the pipeline rupturing is less than one in two thousand.
View Anthony Housefather Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Anthony Housefather Profile
2021-05-06 21:04 [p.6856]
Mr. Speaker, we are all in agreement that we need to make a transition, but I do not think that transition is going to happen tomorrow. Many Canadians rely on the good jobs and income that come from the oil and other liquids that are delivered in the pipeline. I do not believe it is going to get shut down tomorrow or imminently.
The legal case, as I tried to illustrate in my presentation, is a very good one, and I think the governor of Michigan lacks the power to do it. We need to ensure the U.S. federal government intervenes, but the courts in the United States, I trust, will make sure that an illegal action, such as trying to end an easement illegally, will not be allowed to happen.
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