Interventions in the House of Commons
 
 
 
RSS feed based on search criteria Export search results - CSV (plain text) Export search results - XML
Add search criteria
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
Madam Speaker, I would like to welcome the member for Whitby to the House of Commons.
I was reading a letter from 11,000 scientists who are involved in studying our climate and who declare unequivocally that planet earth is facing a climate emergency. I take great stock in what scientists are saying.
The member was talking about how he values evidence-based decision-making. Scientists are stating unequivocally that we are facing a climate emergency, yet his government has gone ahead and bought a bitumen oil-exporting pipeline and plans to triple its exports.
Can the member try to qualify how he can support such a project, how his government can support such a project, yet firmly believe in evidence-based decision-making?
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
Madam Speaker, I congratulate the member for Niagara Centre on his re-election.
I want to speak about dental care. So many Canadians across this great land suffer from poor oral health and cannot afford to go to a dentist. Members of the NDP caucus met with constituents who had to cover their mouth while speaking to us because they were so embarrassed by the state of their teeth. We know that poor oral health can lead to further health complications. It is a real barrier to social mobility.
The government recently tabled a ways and means motion. The NDP has countered that proposal by making it apply to people who earn $90,000 or less, using the resulting savings to invest in a national dental care program, thereby providing some real economic relief to people who desperately need it.
Will my hon. colleague support such a measure and give that real help to the people who need it? If he is not prepared to make that commitment, perhaps he can inform the House as to how much longer Canadians will have to wait for that kind of service.
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I am glad my colleague touched on the subject of aquaculture.
It is also a big area of concern on Canada's other coast, in a the riding I am proud to represent, but particularly in northern Vancouver Island. We know our wild salmon populations are feeling an incredible amount of stress right now. There is a real movement afoot to try to get those open-net fish farms out of the way of wild salmon migration routes. In the 42nd Parliament, my previous colleague, Fin Donnelly, tried to move those open-net fish farms to closed containment, land-based systems.
Could my colleague inform the House what the Conservative Party's position is on that? I know the coastal residents of British Columbia would be very interested in that, given the threat fish farms pose to wild salmon populations.
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
Madam Speaker, seeing as this is my first time rising in the 43rd Parliament, I would like to thank the good people of Cowichan—Malahat—Langford for again placing their trust on my shoulders.
I agree with the motion. I was a member of the Standing Committee on Agriculture in the last Parliament and China loomed large in that committee, as it did at the international trade and foreign affairs committee. What I like about establishing a special committee is that it can take all of these separate threads, put them together in a comprehensive report and really look at all those issues.
Over the course of debate, I heard members from the Bloc and the Liberals speak about some concern over item (k) of the motion. I wonder if it is the hon. member's intention to maybe get rid of the item, if we can get more members in this House to support this and then allow the committee to go ahead and call those witnesses as it sees fit, as is mentioned in that particular section.
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
Madam Speaker, I have been listening to Liberal arguments during the course of debate today, and they seem centred on two particular problems.
Number one is that the Liberals are concerned about the effect this committee would have on Canada's diplomatic efforts with regard to China. This committee would have the ability to go in camera. I trust that its members would treat these issues with the sensitivity they deserve.
The other argument I hear is that there are existing standing committees to look at these issues. Yes, that is true, but standing committees have a lot of pressures on them and a lot of different agendas coming their way. One thing I have learned, being a member of the standing committee on agriculture, is that we often wish we could go a little further. What is needed is to have a special committee to tie all these threads together and issue a comprehensive report on the matter.
Why can my hon. Liberal colleague across the way not see the good in this proposal? This proposal would allow this Parliament to work together over a very important issue, namely the relationship between our country and China.
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague from Mégantic—L'Érable for his return to the House. I sincerely enjoyed working with him in the previous Parliament on the agriculture committee, and I look forward to working with the member for Foothills on that very important subject.
When we are debating this motion, the fates of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig are in everyone's hearts. In everything we do, we should have the well-being of those two gentlemen at our hearts in our deliberations.
The Liberals keep on raising the point that by setting up this special committee, we will somehow be endangering those two men. I invite my colleague to explain to the House the ways in which this special committee could conduct itself to keep those diplomatic efforts safe and secure.
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Parkdale—High Park for his speech and his very obvious commitment to human rights both here in Canada and abroad.
Two of the most important functions the House serves, and indeed its committees, are oversight and accountability. We have oversight over government programs and we make sure that the government is accountable for delivering on its mandate and providing services that Canadians need.
I have heard the Liberal arguments refer to the fact that there are many standing committees that already have mandates to look into issues associated with our relationship with China, and I agree. However, one of the limitations on standing committees is that they are grasping at all these different threads and many of them have different agendas and different pressures for different studies.
I am trying to come to terms with the Liberals' reluctance to establish a special committee so that we can take all of those different threads and weave them together in a comprehensive report that will get us somewhere with the relationship that is really the trying issue of our time in international relations.
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Speaker, the member is right. The Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs could look at this issue, as could the Standing Committee on Agriculture or the Standing Committee on International Trade. I mean that is the very point. We have a number of different standing committees that could look at different aspects of this. My argument all day long has been that it is entirely proper for this House to constitute a special committee to weave all these threads together and constitute it into a report that is comprehensive and all-encompassing.
The hon. member was referring throughout his speech to how delicate consular affairs are and he will find no disagreement on this side of the House. We very much agree.
Would the member not agree that there are ways for committees to handle themselves when discussing sensitive subjects? First of all, I would assume that all members of the committee would realize the seriousness of the issue that they are facing, but there are also opportunities for that committee to go in camera so that those delicate discussions happen behind closed doors. Would he not agree that that is an entirely appropriate avenue for a committee to go down, should it be discussing those sensitive topics?
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I recall in an earlier exchange with the member for Winnipeg North that he talked about how it was not good to give this special committee special instructions. As was mentioned earlier, we have often given committees instructions. We have given them very strict timelines to conduct a study, told them how many witnesses we want them to have and so on. Therefore, it is by no means out of the ordinary to have some kind of a parameter with respect to what we want a special committee to study. It has been done multiple times.
This is for my friend from British Columbia, my fellow colleague. At the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food, we studied the sudden shut off of the canola market for our farmers. In one fell swoop we had lost 40% of our export market. I remember when we had ministers and departmental officials come before the committee. Often we were straying so close to the territory that came under the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, but we wanted to really keep on going. However, the mandate of our standing committee kept us tied strictly to agriculture.
I would like to hear his comments on the importance of weaving all these different threads together. As he said, this is an opportunity for a hung Parliament to come together, to bring forward a comprehensive report and deliver some clear recommendations on what is a very important relationship in our international relations.
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
Madam Speaker, let me offer my sincere congratulations to you on becoming the Assistant Deputy Speaker.
A common theme in the speech of my colleague across the way was urgency. If we look at the issues affecting the Canada-China relationship, whether it is fentanyl that makes its way to our shores that is affecting our communities through the opioids crisis, whether it is what our canola producers are going through, whether it is the detention of Canadians and the multiple human rights concerns, yes, there is a sense of urgency. A special committee is not struck to study a relationship unless something is going seriously wrong. I would argue that the actions of the Chinese government over the past several years have pushed the House of Commons to this point.
We have confidence in the standing committees, but I think if the House were to pass this motion today and establish this special committee to tie all those threads together into one comprehensive area of study and report, it would send a strong message to the Government of China that we have taken notice of its actions and we say, “no more”. We have to put our foot down in the sand. We have to let China know that we are treating this issue with the seriousness that it deserves.
Results: 1 - 10 of 10