House of Commons Debates Tuesday, May 21, 2013 (Part A) VOLUME 146

House of Commons Debates Tuesday, May 21, 2013 (Part A) VOLUME 146
House of Commons Debates
VOLUME 146
●
NUMBER 252
●
1st SESSION
OFFICIAL REPORT
(HANSARD)
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
(Part A)
Speaker: The Honourable Andrew Scheer
●
41st PARLIAMENT
CONTENTS
(Table of Contents appears at back of this issue.)
16681
HOUSE OF COMMONS
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
The House met at 11 a.m.
Prayers
PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
● (1105)
[English]
CRIMINAL CODE
Mr. Mark Warawa (Langley, CPC) moved that Bill C-489, an
act to amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional
Release Act (restrictions on offenders), be read the second time and
referred to a committee.
He said: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Chilliwack
—Fraser Canyon for seconding this motion.
I am honoured to stand here and speak on my new Bill C-489,
which is also called the “safe at home bill”. I do so on behalf of my
constituents in Langley and other young victims who have lived in
fear of their offenders. I am in awe of their bravery and courage to
fight for the rights of future victims.
In my riding of Langley, two brave families lived in constant
turmoil when the sex offenders of their children were permitted to
serve house arrest in their neighbourhoods. In one case, the sex
offender served a sentence right across the street from the victim, and
in the other case, right next door. That is outrageous.
Neither child felt safe in their home or their neighbourhood, which
is the very place where they should feel the safest. Their doors were
locked and the blinds were kept closed. Every time they saw the sex
offender the entire family was re-victimized. The families lived in
continual turmoil as they watched the offenders possibly looking for
an opportunity to reoffend or hurt somebody else. Their homes in the
neighbourhoods that they had loved were now places they dreaded
because their attackers were there. One family could not take the
stress any more, which forced them to move out of the
neighbourhood they had spent so many years loving.
One mother came to my office and asked me, “Why should we
have to move from our home when we are the victims?” That is a
good question. Everyone should have the right to feel safe in their
home, and victims of sexual assault should be no exception.
This is why I brought forward Bill C-489, which I believe meets
these important concerns head-on. If passed, the bill would help to
ensure the safety of victims and witnesses from convicted offenders.
It would enhance the level of confidence that victims have in the
justice system as well as help them feel that the justice system is
hearing and responding to their concerns. The bill would achieve
these objectives by proposing a number of amendments to the
Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act.
Bill C-489 would prevent offenders, when released from prison,
from contacting victims or witnesses. Specifically, the bill proposes
that when an offender is convicted of a child sexual offence, the
sentencing court would be required to consider imposing a specific
geographic restriction of two kilometres from any dwelling in which
the offender knows or ought to know that a victim may be present as
well as a condition prohibiting the offender from being alone in any
private vehicle with a child under the age of 16. Efforts to prevent
contact between offenders and their victims should serve to increase
public safety and victims' confidence in the sentencing process.
The bill would also require courts to impose conditions in all
probation orders and conditional sentencing orders prohibiting an
offender from communicating with any victim or witness, or from
going to any place identified in the order. Although these conditions
would be mandatory, the court could decide not to impose them if
the victim or witness consented or if the court found exceptional
circumstances, in which case written reasons would be required to
explain the findings. I believe this would enhance public safety and
confidence in the justice system by helping to ensure that victims
and witnesses would not be contacted by offenders upon their release
into the community except in exceptional circumstances or where the
individual consents.
The bill also proposes to amend recognizance or peace bonds
against individuals when there is a reasonable fear that they may
commit a future child sex offence.
Specifically, the bill proposes to amend Section 810.1, peace
bonds, to require a court to consider imposing conditions prohibiting
the defendant from contacting any individual or going to any place
named in the recognizance. As with the proposed probation and
conditional sentence order amendments, the court could choose not
to impose the conditions in the peace bond where there is consent of
the individual or where the court finds exceptional circumstances.
This amendment would also lead to enhanced public safety for
victims and witnesses.
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COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Private Members' Business
Lastly, Bill C-489 proposes to amend the Corrections and
Conditional Release Act, or the CCRA, to require decision-makers
under that act to consider similar conditions. I would like to consider
this amendment a bit more fully.
Currently under the CCRA, Parole Board of Canada tribunals and
correctional officials are authorized to impose conditions on an
offender when the individual is being released into the community
under parole, stat release or temporary absence orders. This type of
gradual and supervised conditional release into the community prior
to the expiration of sentence is intended to help ensure public safety
and successful reintegration of the offender into society. This is
especially true where the offender has been imprisoned for many
years and will have difficulty re-entering society without a carefully
planned and monitored release strategy that includes tailored
conditions and specialized programs that the offender must abide
by at all times.
According to the 2012 Conditional Services of Canada annual
report, there are currently about 22,000 offenders under the authority
of the federal corrections system. About two-thirds of these
offenders were convicted of a violent or sexual offence. About
38%, almost 9,000 offenders, are at any given time under active
supervision in the community by corrections officers. All 9,000 of
those offenders are required to abide by a mix of mandatory and
discretionary conditions imposed by the authority of the CCRA. If
offenders breach their conditions, they are subject to disciplinary
measures, including having their conditional release revoked and
being required to serve out the remainder of their sentence in prison.
As the CCRA is currently structured, Section 133 provides the
authority of the Parole Board of Canada, for example, to impose at
its discretion any type of condition that meets the two objectives of
conditional release. The first and primary consideration is public
safety.
The second consideration is the successful reintegration of the
offender into the community. Section 133 also references the
regulations of the CCRA regarding mandatory conditions of release.
Under this legislative authority, Section 161 of the regulations
prescribes a number of specific conditions that must be imposed for
all offenders in the community under conditional release, such as
reporting as required to their parole officer, not possessing any
weapons and reporting any changes in their address or employment,
among other things.
While it is not uncommon for the Parole Board of Canada under
the current regime to exercise its discretion to impose conditions
prohibiting contact between offenders and victims when released, the
point is that these are not mandatory conditions nor are these
conditions that the Parole Board of Canada is required to consider
under the current Section 133. I spoke earlier about the two cases in
my riding of Langley where the victims and their families felt that
their welfare had not been taken into account when these decisions
were made by the Parole Board of Canada.
One of the objectives of Bill C-489 is to respond to these types of
concerns. It proposes new mandatory conditions prohibiting the
offender from communicating with any identified victims or
witnesses and from going to a place identified in the condition.
This objective is entirely consistent with the government's initiatives
that have provided a greater emphasis on safer communities in
general and victims in particular.
● (1110)
As with the bill's other proposed amendments, the releasing
authority would not have to impose the condition if there were
exceptional circumstances or if the identified individual consented.
These two exceptions would ensure that the provision is flexible
enough to accommodate the types of circumstances that would
undoubtedly occur in practice.
Where the releasing authority does find that exceptional
circumstances do exist, reasons for making that finding must be
provided in writing explaining how it came to that conclusion. I
believe this requirement would ensure that victims and witnesses
better understand the Parole Board's decisions.
I expect that the Standing Committee on Justice and Human
Rights will want to fully consider this bill and its operational impacts
to ensure that it operates as intended and that its objectives are fully
achieved.
Public confidence in our justice system is important. It pains me to
hear from victims of crime that they have to speak out to say that
they have been forgotten and that the justice system does not
consider how sentencing affects them. This is a gap that Bill C-489
seeks to address and I believe it hits the mark.
I hope by tabling this bill that this House and this government will
act to enhance public safety by holding criminals accountable, by
enhancing the voice of the victims and by making victims feel safe in
their homes and neighbourhoods. I ask for support from the hon.
members in the House in helping to get the bill passed into law so
that young victims and their families can feel safe at home and in
their neighbourhoods.
● (1115)
[Translation]
Ms. Françoise Boivin (Gatineau, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I thank
my Conservative colleague for his Bill C-489.
I would just like to ask him a quick question. I understand that the
Subcommittee on Private Members’ Business studied the bill and
deemed it votable, which is why we are now considering it in the
House. However, the clerk stated that clause 1 of the bill, amending
subsection 161(1) of the Criminal Code, could pose problems. He
pointed out that although this clause was not clearly unconstitutional,
it could still face a constitutional challenge.
I would therefore ask my hon. colleague whether he consulted
with constitutional experts—other than the law clerks who help us
draft bills—to ensure that the bill was indeed constitutional.
[English]
Mr. Mark Warawa: Mr. Speaker, I have consulted. I started
working on this bill about two years ago. It was initiated by a
Langley resident who came to my office and asked the important
question, “If we are the victims, why should we have to leave our
home?”
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16683
Private Members' Business
The experts have indicated that the bill is sound. It would provide
the courts the discretion they need. Therefore, I believe it would
withstand the challenge. The experts have told me so.
Mrs. Joy Smith (Kildonan—St. Paul, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I
thank the member for Langley for this very important bill. There are
many victims in this country who have never felt as if they have
been heard.
Our government has done much. It is a government for the
victims. As the member has described the bill today, I would like to
ask him this. It seems unconscionable that a family would have to
close their blinds or run away from the perpetrator after it has been
proven that he or she has committed a violent or sexual act against a
minor. Could the member expand on what it is like for the
constituents in his riding to have to endure this because often as
parliamentarians we forget how difficult it is for victims?
Mr. Mark Warawa: Mr. Speaker, if your child were sexually
assaulted, can you imagine how you would feel toward the offender?
The reintegration of the person who has committed that offence is
important. We need to make sure those persons deal with what has
caused them to commit that offence. However we also need to
consider the victims.
In one case the offender lived right next door to the victim's
family. In another case, the victim's family lived right across the
street from the offender. Every time they saw the offender cutting the
lawn, being out and living life quite normally, it created a huge
turmoil in the victim's family. The stress it created on the family was
intolerable and eventually they had to move out. The neighbourhood
used to have barbecues. It was a very tight, close neighbourhood. It
all ended when the offender was permitted to serve the sentence at
home.
We need to consider the rights of the victim.
● (1120)
[Translation]
Ms. Christine Moore (Abitibi—Témiscamingue, NDP): Mr.
Speaker, some towns in my community do not even cover two
kilometres. These are really small towns.
I would like to know how this standard would apply to such
places.
[English]
Mr. Mark Warawa: Mr. Speaker, that is a very good question. In
the initial draft of my bill, it was a five-kilometre separation. We
quickly found that would not be practical and changed it to two.
[Translation]
Ms. Françoise Boivin (Gatineau, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I am
pleased to rise in the House to speak to Bill C-489, introduced by the
hon. member for Langley. This important bill certainly addresses a
number of problems that many people have raised, including the
ombudsman for victims.
The New Democratic Party does not play political games with
bills amending the Criminal Code. We feel it is better to address
serious issues and solve serious problems in a logical way that is
consistent with the Criminal Code.
Since I like to get straight to the point, I will say to the member
opposite that we are going to support his bill at second reading. We
believe that everyone in the House should be concerned about
victims, not for a political purpose, but because we really want to
help them on the path to recovery—if there is such a path, because it
is not always clear. Some horrible crimes cause such terrible harm
that, regardless of what we can do to mitigate things, regardless of
anything we can do, it will never go away.
To follow up on the question I asked my colleague about
Bill C-489, I think the study by the Standing Committee on Justice
and Human Rights will help us see if the bill can pass the charter
compatibility test. When the Subcommittee on Private Members'
Business was studying the bill, the clerk said that it was not clearly
unconstitutional, but that it could be susceptible to a constitutional
challenge. That sends a message. The committee will determine if
this passes the compatibility test.
When she asked her excellent question, my colleague from Abitibi
—Témiscamingue clearly said that, for a number of reasons, it might
be difficult to apply Bill C-489 in some cases. For one thing, it
would prevent someone from moving to an area near the victim.
That implies that the criminal serving a sentence would know where
the victim lives, which seems problematic to me. Something about
that bothers me.
However, as I told my colleagues when we were studying
Bill C-489 before recommending that it be supported at second
reading, I appreciate that some discretion was left to the courts. The
committee will also have to verify whether the courts will be able to
fully exercise their discretion.
This discretion should not be seen as some undefined power. The
public sometimes sees it as being soft on criminals, to the detriment
of victims. Here, it simply means that judges will look at the facts of
each individual case.
That may not be practical in certain circumstances. That is why
the bill provides discretion to the courts. They do not necessarily
have to do this, but they would have to provide a reason why not.
In some circumstances, it may be difficult to set certain
conditions. For example, it may be more difficult in a town than
in a city, where the offender could live 5, 6 or 7 kilometres away.
Two kilometres sets the standard. If two kilometres does not work
in certain circumstances, it would be adjusted to what is practical.
I appreciate how my colleague from Langley crafted his bill. He
did not strip the courts of all discretionary power, as the government
opposite so often does. That approach jeopardizes bills, even those
that the Conservative government passes, because there is a large
black cloud hovering over their heads, and it leads defence lawyers
to challenge certain provisions.
The principle is, though, that a victim should not have to see, on a
daily basis, the offender serving the sentence right across the street
from them. The courts will determine what is reasonable.
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COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Private Members' Business
We cannot allow this legal game to even get started. We need to
make it clear that the facts will be looked at on a case-by-case basis.
Therefore, the best sentence will be applied in each situation, once
the person is found guilty. The judge is in the best position to do that,
or the jury in certain circumstances.
That is why this bill is so important. We have been saying that all
along, despite what is being said at press conferences. I am tired of
hearing it, particularly from the Minister of Justice. In my opinion,
he should rise above the fray. The justice minister and Attorney
General of Canada is not simply a political partisan, he is the keeper
of Canadian laws. In that context, I feel that always bringing the
debate back to “we're tough on crime, they're soft on crime”
demeans his public office. It is a question of respect for the law.
● (1125)
All the NDP justice critics have taken this position. I would have
liked to name them, but since I am not allowed to do so, I will just
say that I am talking about the hon. member for St. John's East and
his predecessor. I can never remember the riding names. What
matters is that I remember the name of my own riding.
An hon. member: Windsor—Tecumseh.
Ms. Françoise Boivin: Yes. It was the hon. member for Windsor
—Tecumseh. That is teamwork.
We have always had this view of the law. We are making sure that
the government respects justice. We never look at it from the
perspective of what we want to accomplish. The government is
there. It is in power until 2015. We may not be happy about it,
particularly in light of the events that we followed with great interest
during the week that we spent in our ridings, events that people were
asking us about. Even though we did not want to get involved, we
did not have a choice. I am talking about the magnificent chamber
across the hall. Regardless, we believe that the law is sacred in
Canada. Our country and our democracy are built on the rule of law.
When we ask questions about the legality or constitutionality of a
bill, it is not just to get in the government's way or because we are
soft on crime. We do so because we abide by the rule of law.
In closing, I would like to reiterate that the NDP will vote in
favour of this bill at second reading. That is not a guarantee that we
will support the bill at all stages. I will not go that far, because I have
my doubts. Sometimes, we do not have any doubts about a bill and
we support it right from the start. Sometimes, we are completely
convinced that a bill does not work and so we vote against it. At the
very least, this bill seems to be worthwhile and it shows respect for
victims. What is more, we know what the Federal Ombudsman for
Victims of Crime said in his report.
The Minister of Justice is going from one press conference to
another explaining that he is holding consultations to determine
victims' needs. That sometimes makes me smile.
We know what victims need. Victims have been telling us loud
and clear for years.
The Crown prosecutors' offices sometimes have difficulties
consulting victims about criminal trials because they have an
enormous number of files. This is not a criticism of the Crown
prosecutors; they just are overwhelmed by the number of cases.
There is a shortage of Crown prosecutors and judges, which means
that trials go on endlessly. This increases the victims' suffering. It is a
fact that the longer the trial, the more times the victim must return to
court. The problems caused by the fact that they are victims of a
crime are not considered. They get peanuts. The government may
not like it, but even though its Bill C-37 was passed, victims get
peanuts.
Moreover, victims are not always given an explanation of the
sentences, even though they have many questions about them.
People do not always have the time to explain them, and that is
unfortunate.
In that context, we support any measure that respects victims'
rights and takes them into account in order to help victims. We want
the sentencing system to be punitive and also to focus on
rehabilitation. The NDP will always insist on this because these
people will return to society. I would prefer them to be good citizens
and not bad citizens who take to crime again. We must look at the
whole picture. The government has to stop compartmentalizing.
I would like to once again thank the member for Langley for
introducing a very important bill that has our support at this stage.
● (1130)
[English]
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia (Lac-Saint-Louis, Lib.): Mr. Speaker,
I would like to enumerate some of the goals of the justice system,
because it is important that we place legislation dealing with criminal
offences and so on within the context of the principles that guide the
justice system. We could say that the point of the justice system is,
first, to reinforce acceptable norms of behaviour; second, to protect
society from those who have proven that their actions can cause
harm; and third, to ensure that only the guilty pay for their crimes
and that the innocent are not convicted. These seem to be, in general,
the overriding goals of our justice system, a system that has evolved
slowly but surely over centuries.
It turns out that because the justice system is focusing on these
three principles, often the interests of victims are ignored, albeit
unintentionally. Bill C-489 would attempt to provide some assistance
to victims.
Bill C-489 would deal mostly with sexual offences, though not
exclusively, as I understand it. Sexual offences create a unique kind
of vulnerability among the victims. They are a unique kind of
violation compared to, for example, car theft or house break-ins
when individuals are not at home. Both of those crimes create a
terrible sense of vulnerability as well, but we are talking here of
sexual offences and the particular sense of vulnerability they create.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
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Private Members' Business
I agree with the hon. member that the interests of victims of
sexual crimes have often been overlooked in our criminal justice
system. Liberals support the intent of Bill C-489. We are not certain
that the bill would bring about meaningful progress in all cases for
victims or prospective victims of sexual crimes. I say “prospective”
victims, because the bill would also deal with recognizance orders,
where an individual has not committed a criminal act but poses a
threat to another person.
We support sending the bill to committee to ascertain its merits in
attaining a goal that, obviously, we all share in this House.
I understand that the bill is motivated by the MP for Langley's
particular experience with some victims in his riding. In fact, the
member stated:
[A] sex offender...was permitted to serve House arrest right next door to his young
victim. In another case, the sex offender served House arrest across the street from
the victim. In both cases, the young victims lived in fear and were re-victimized
every time they saw their attacker.
Obviously, that situation, which the hon. member for Langley
described, leaves all members in disbelief and with a view that
something should be done.
Bill C-489 would introduce two prohibitions through amendments
to two laws. Number one, it would amend the Criminal Code, and
number two, it would amend the Corrections and Conditional
Release Act.
In terms of Criminal Code changes, as I understand it, the bill
would deal with subsection 161(1) of the Criminal Code, which
allows conditions to be placed on offenders who receive conditional
discharges for sexual offences. This discharge is sometimes granted
in cases where the offence carries no minimum sentence and a
maximum possible sentence of less than 14 years. In this case, as I
understand it, the accused would not have a criminal record if all of
the conditions imposed as part of the conditional discharge were
respected.
● (1135)
Bill C-489 seeks to add to the list of conditions that may be
imposed by a judge. This is a very specific list, and as I understand
it, the judge cannot impose conditions beyond this list. It is important
that a specific point be made in adding this condition, because it is
not something the judge could impose if he or she saw fit. We are
talking about the condition that an offender must be no closer than
two kilometres from the house where he or she knows or ought to
know that the victim is alone. Similarly, another condition would be
that the offender would not be allowed to be in a private vehicle with
any person under the age of 16 without his or her guardians' consent.
It is important to note that the list of possible conditions in this
instance is finite. There is no flexibility here for the judge to impose
other conditions beyond those listed. Therefore, this is the only place
where adding conditions might make sense, since it gives the
sentencing judge the ability to prohibit the offender from living near
the victim. As I said, it is important to specify the condition, because
there is no latitude for the judge to impose it.
In the bill there is also a restriction on contacting victims. I am not
sure if it pertains to those who have committed sexual offences. The
bill extends the list of conditions the court must, or shall, prescribe
for offenders on probation.
At the moment, section 732.1 of the code has two sets of
conditions. One set is conditions the judge shall impose. The second
set is conditions the judge may impose.
In this case, the bill would add a new “shall” condition. The court
would have to impose this condition on an offender, for example,
who is on probation or is under a conditional sentence. If it chose not
to impose the condition, the court would have to explain, in writing,
why it was not choosing to add this condition.
We understand the intent of this part of the bill. What I would say
is that, at the moment, the list of possible conditions for probation
orders and conditional sentences both include “such other reasonable
conditions as the court considers desirable.” In other words, in this
case, the judge has the latitude to impose conditions that are not
specifically prescribed on a list. Presumably, the court could already
order offenders not to have contact with their victims or not to visit
certain places, if it saw fit to do so.
The point I am trying to make is that unlike the first amendment,
about staying within two kilometres of where the victim would be
residing, in this case, we have to ask ourselves if this particular
amendment to the Criminal Code is necessary, given that the court
already has the latitude to impose this condition.
I congratulate the hon. member for bringing this bill forward. I
know that he is attempting to address a very serious flaw in our
criminal justice system. I look forward to discussing and studying
the bill at committee so that we can see and understand the extent to
which the bill achieves its stated goals.
● (1140)
Ms. Candice Bergen (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister
of Public Safety, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I am very privileged to rise
today to speak in support of private member's Bill C-489, An Act to
amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional
Release Act (restrictions on offenders), introduced by my colleague,
the member of Parliament for Langley.
I want to begin by congratulating the bill's sponsor for the work he
has put into this very important piece of legislation. I believe it is
entirely consistent with our government's commitment to making our
streets and communities safer for Canadians and to better meeting
the needs and concerns of victims.
The bill's objective is clear. It proposes to enhance the protection
of victims and witnesses and to prevent their re-victimization when
an offender is released into the community. It addresses concerns
expressed by victims and witnesses across Canada that they should
not have to feel threatened by the prospect of an offender watching
them, following them, phoning them, or attempting to contact them
in any way once they are released into the community. The bill meets
this objective by targeting existing provisions that currently provide
authority for conditions to be placed on offenders after they have
been convicted of a criminal offence, or in some cases, if there is
reason to believe that they will commit a child sexual offence.
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COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Private Members' Business
Generally speaking, the purpose of these types of existing
conditions is to ensure public safety and the successful reintegration
of the offender into the community. They are imposed at various
stages of the process, such as at sentencing; for child sexual offender
prohibition orders, probation orders and conditional sentence orders;
just prior to release from prison on parole or conditional release
orders; and before someone is charged, but there is a reasonable
belief that he or she may commit a child sexual offence while under
a peace bond.
Statistics Canada data indicates that about 105,000 or more orders
per year may be affected if Bill C-489 becomes law. Our government
will be supporting the bill while proposing amendments to ensure
clarity and consistency and to take into account recent Criminal
Code amendments.
exceptional circumstances existed. In the latter case, the court would
be required to provide written reasons explaining this decision.
This proposed approach would provide the court with some
flexibility, which I believe is needed. It is possible, however, that
requiring written reasons for declining to make the order in
exceptional circumstances may have some impact on the day-today operations of the courts. I am also aware that similar provisions
exist elsewhere in the Criminal Code and instead require reasons to
be stated on the record. This, too, is something I believe the justice
committee will no doubt take into consideration and look at when it
is studying the bill.
● (1145)
I would like to take a few moments to consider the first order Bill
C-489 proposes to amend, section 161 of the Criminal Code
prohibition order. Under this section, at the time of sentencing an
individual convicted of a listed sexual offence against a child under
the age of 16, the court must consider imposing listed prohibitions,
such as not attending public parks, school yards and other places
where children are often present. While the current provision makes
it mandatory for the court to consider these conditions, the court
retains the discretion not to impose the order. The prohibition order
takes effect upon the offender's release into the community and can
last up to the lifetime of the offender.
The bill also proposes to include similar conditions for section
810.1 of the Criminal Code, recognizing orders often referred to as
peace bonds. These are imposed where it is reasonably feared that
the defendant will commit one of the enumerated sexual offences
against a child under the age of 16. The bill proposes to amend this
provision to require the court to consider imposing a condition
prohibiting any form of communication between the defendant and
any individual named by the court, or prohibiting going to any
specified place, unless the named individual consents or unless the
court finds, as I mentioned, exceptional circumstances exist to permit
such contact.
First, the bill would require the court to consider imposing a
geographical condition restricting the offender from being within
two kilometres of any dwelling house in which a victim could
reasonably be expected to be present without a parent or guardian.
Second, it would require a court to also consider prohibiting the
offender from being in a private vehicle with any child under the age
of 16 without a parent or guardian.
I agree that the court must consider these types of conditions, and
I look forward to this proposal being reviewed in more detail at the
committee to ensure that the provision will function as the sponsor of
the bill has intended.
It is possible, however, that this two-kilometre limit may be
challenging to implement, something I believe the Standing
Committee on Justice and Human Rights should consider when it
studies the bill.
I also agree that a child sexual offender should not have
unsupervised access to a child. In fact, members will recall that
the Safe Streets and Communities Act amended section 161 of the
Criminal Code by adding two new conditions: prohibiting the
offender from having any unsupervised contact with a child under
age 16 and prohibiting the offender from having unsupervised use of
the Internet.
The bill before us would also amend both the probation and
conditional sentence provisions of the Criminal Code by prohibiting
the offender from communicating with the victim, witnesses or any
other person identified in the order or from going to any place
specified in the order.
These proposed new conditions would be mandatory whenever a
sentence included a probation or conditions sentence order, with two
exceptions. First, the court could choose not to impose the condition
if the identified person in the order consented. Second, the court
could decide not to impose the condition where it found that
Finally, the bill would also provide the authority for imposing
specific types of non-contact conditions under conditional release
orders pursuant to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act,
which includes parole orders, statutory release orders and orders for
temporary absence from federal penitentiaries. Specifically, the bill
proposes to amend section 133 of the Corrections and Conditional
Release Act to require the Parole Board of Canada or other releasing
authority to impose conditions that prohibit contact with a witness,
victim or other specified person, or from going to specific places
unless there is consent or there are exceptional circumstances for not
doing so. For the same reasons I have already mentioned, I do
support the proposal in Bill C-489.
The sponsor of the bill, the member for Langley, has explained
why he introduced the bill, namely because the safety and well-being
of victims in his riding were not being taken into consideration.
Indeed, if it is happening in his riding, we know it is happening in
other parts of the country.
The victims were not being taken into consideration when
decisions were being made regarding the release of offenders into his
community. I agree that Bill C-489 responds to these concerns and
would help to enable victims, their families, witnesses and other
individuals to feel safe in their homes and in their communities when
these offenders are released back into the community.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
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Private Members' Business
Moreover, the bill is consistent with our government's commitment to make Canada's streets and communities safer by holding
violent criminals accountable and by increasing the efficiency of our
justice system. It is also very consistent with our government's
commitment to giving victims of crime a stronger voice, one that can
be heard, listened to and given consideration in our criminal justice
system.
We support Bill C-489. I look forward to other members of the
House supporting it. We can study it further in committee.
● (1150)
Mr. Jasbir Sandhu (Surrey North, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I speak
today about Bill C-489, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the
Corrections and Conditional Release Act (restrictions on offenders).
It is a privilege to speak on behalf of my constituents of Surrey North
about this important bill. As my hon. colleague, the member for
Gatineau, has pointed out in a previous speech, it is rare that we as
MPs have the opportunity to discuss something that has a tangible
outcome for our constituents. It is a privilege to be able to bring a
Surrey North perspective to this debate.
The NDP has a solid history of advocating for survivors of violent
crimes, particularly in reference to gendered violence and violence
against children.
In my own riding, offenders who are released from detention have
moved into neighbourhoods where constituents are worried for their
safety and the safety of their families.
My predecessor NDP MP, Penny Priddy, along with other MPs
from British Columbia, previously proposed measures to assist
municipalities in the management of violent offenders. They have
called for federal funding for communities that must pay
extraordinary costs to monitor these offenders, to support mental
health facilities and addiction services, and to provide appropriate
housing for the reintegration process. Lack of funding has not
prevented hard-working professionals from addressing this concern.
We have seen from the federal side, over the last number of years, a
downloading of a number of services to the provinces and,
eventually, to the municipalities.
However, Surrey's crime reduction strategy has been heralded as
the most comprehensive community-based initiative intended to
reduce delinquency and re-offence. It builds community capacity to
address crime while providing rehabilitation and reintegration
assistance to the offenders.
Surrey's program has been particularly successful because of the
extensive collaboration between law enforcement and correction
services, non-profit organizations, the Surrey school board, the
Surrey Board of Trade and other community organizations. I am also
grateful for the professionals who work in rehabilitation and halfway house services, and I encourage a perspective of rehabilitation
and social integration in our justice system.
The bill proposes restricting certain offenders from being within
two kilometres of a house where a victim is present without a parent
or a guardian, or from being in a vehicle with a person who is under
the age of 16 years old without the presence of a parent or a
guardian. It also would potentially prevent certain offenders from
communicating with any victim, witness or any other person
identified in a probation order, or from going anyplace specified in
the order, except in accordance with specified conditions.
This is an important bill for violent crime survivors' rights, and it
must be examined with the needs of survivors in mind. Along with
my NDP colleagues, I am in favour of Bill C-489, as we are in
favour of any proposal that would protect vulnerable members of our
society.
Although well intentioned, the structure of the justice system often
retraumatizes the very people it is trying to protect. It is well
documented that witnesses and survivors, particularly of gendered
crimes and cases involving children, are revictimized throughout the
justice process, particularly when the victim must confront the
alleged offender at trial.
Once the ordeal is over, survivors can begin their healing journey.
However, imagine a survivor's shock when the offender returns to
the neighbourhood. The retraumatization of having to see this person
every day could undoubtedly lead to increased mental health issues
and challenges to the healing of the survivor.
Although victims understand that offenders will eventually be
released, it is imperative that they be informed of the release and the
relocation.
Research has proven that knowledge about the offender and the
rehabilitation of such can be incorporated into the psychological
healing journey of the survivor. The knowledge that the offender is
taking steps to address the reasons for his or her crime could be
relieving to some survivors.
Furthermore, information on the offender's relocation is essential
to the development of a safety plan and a general feeling of security.
However, as with any proposal that would affect Canadian lives,
we need to ensure that the bill would offer suitable solutions.
● (1155)
The NDP proposes that there be extensive consultations with
victim rights groups to ensure that Bill C-489 offers adequate and
appropriate protection for survivors of violence. I am particularly
interested in gaining the perspective of organizations in my
community, such as the Surrey Women's Centre, The Centre for
Child Development and Options Community Services. By talking to
these front-line service providers, families and local enforcement
agencies, we can gauge whether the bill, in its current form, would
address the needs of the most vulnerable.
Throughout our discussions today, we need to be conscious of the
fact that most crimes are unreported, particularly sexual assaults, and
if they are reported, often survivor stories are not believed. Contrary
to the “stranger danger” myth, the University of Toronto reports that
in as many as 85% of sexual assault cases, the survivors know their
attackers. As found by Calgary Communities Against Sexual Abuse,
if children are the target of violence, in 75% of the cases they know
the offender, who is usually a relative or family member.
16688
COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Private Members' Business
Power imbalance between the victim and offender and even the
victim and justice services, as well as societal reception of certain
crimes, often averts survivors from reporting. This means that many
survivors are forced to relive their trauma without closure, justice
and adequate support services. If the offender is a close relative,
friend or community member, the survivor may be forced to
continue to see the offender on a regular basis, reliving the trauma
first experienced and making him or her increasingly vulnerable to
further violence.
Today we may not be able to change the lives of survivors of
unreported crimes. However, through a debate in the House, we have
the power to make a real change in the lives of those people who we
can help. We need to do what we can here in the House to say that
the retraumatization and revictimization of survivors of violence,
particularly women, youth and children, is not okay. We need to
protect survivors and empower them to continue their journey of
healing.
I encourage my hon. colleagues in the House to reflect on these
ideas while remaining conscious of the power we have in our
positions as members of Parliament. We need to use this power to
support survivors of violent crimes and continue to support tangible
solutions for prevention, the justice system and protection of victims
rights.
I encourage members of the justice committee to examine this bill
further, to look at ways we can protect victims and provide services
to victims of crime.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton): Before I recognize
the hon. member for Brossard—La Prairie, I will let him know that
there remains approximately six minutes in the time allotted for
private members' business. Of course, he will have the remaining
time available when the House returns to debate on this question.
Resuming debate, the hon. member for Brossard—La Prairie.
[Translation]
Mr. Hoang Mai (Brossard—La Prairie, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I
rise today to speak to Bill C-489, An Act to amend the Criminal
Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act.
I would first like to congratulate my colleague, the hon. member
for Langley, on his initiative. We in the NDP understand that steps
have been taken for both victims and witnesses. We understand
where he is coming from on this. We know he met with people in his
riding who went to see him to explain what a real problem this is.
As long as I have been a member of the Standing Committee on
Justice and Human Rights, along with my hon. colleague from
Gatineau, we have seen a great deal of discussion and many bills on
this matter. Quite frankly, having moved over to the Standing
Committee on Justice and Human Rights from the Standing
Committee on Finance, we can understand much better and see
the concrete impact this could have on victims.
The NDP has always been in favour of victim protection and we
still are, which is why we are supporting the bill. We want to study it
at the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.
Why do we want to study it? We are seeing more and more private
members' bills being used to advance the government's agenda. We
are not the only ones to say so. It is being widely reported in the
media. Why is the government doing that? That is what we want to
know and we think it is worth looking into the process. Again, this is
not about taking away from or attacking the member for Langley's
bill, but about how the process is being used.
This bill addresses something rather important in that it would
amend the Criminal Code and related legislation. In this case, we
know that the Conservative government is being sued by Edgar
Schmidt, who used to work at Justice Canada. He claims that the
government was not obeying the law and not fulfilling its obligations
to ensure that government bills are consistent with the charter.
What is more, with the Conservatives, the cost of justice is at a
record high because the government has to defend its bills in court.
We are talking about $5 billion. That is quite a bit of money just to
get the government to fulfill its legal obligations.
Again, we want to know why a private members' bill is being used
to introduce something that is already part of the government's law
and order agenda.
The Minister of Justice has really pushed this agenda. It is not
necessarily the government doing this. It is backbenchers who are
introducing these bills.
To come back to Bill C-489, I want to say that it has good
intentions in that it seeks to protect victims. The bill would ensure
that a judge hearing a case is required to impose certain obligations.
The judge would have to make an order prohibiting certain offenders
from being within two kilometres of a dwelling house where the
victim is present without a parent, say, the father. This is very
important, as it was something that was raised by the Office of the
Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime.
● (1200)
[English]
In his report it was mentioned that “...it might help a victim to feel
more at ease if they were informed of a local instruction placed on
the offender that prohibited him or her from going within a certain
distance of the victim's residence.”
One thing that we will need to look at is how the two kilometres
would apply. I heard the member of Parliament for Langley mention
that he went from five kilometres to two kilometres. When we look
at what happens specifically in certain regions, two kilometres
basically means that the person would have to be evacuated from
where he or she lived. This is something we need to look at in the
justice committee.
Again, I applaud and commend the member for thinking of
victims. On this side, we also understand that we need to protect
victims and we will look at the bill in more detail in the justice
committee.
[Translation]
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton): The hon. member for
Brossard—La Prairie will have four minutes remaining when the
members resume debate on the motion now before the House.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16689
Points of Order
[English]
bells to call in the Members shall be sounded for not more than thirty minutes;
and
Is the hon. government whip rising on a point?
***
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Hon. Gordon O'Connor (Minister of State and Chief
Government Whip, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I offer the following
motion:
That, during the debate pursuant to Standing Order 81(4) in relation to the
consideration of Votes in the Main Estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31,
2014, no quorum calls, dilatory motions or requests for unanimous consent shall be
received by the Chair and, within each 15-minute period, each party may allocate
time to one or more of its Members for speeches or for questions and answers,
provided that, in the case of questions and answers, the Minister's answer
approximately reflect the time taken by the question, and provided that, in the
case of speeches, Members of the party to which the period is allotted may speak one
after the other.
● (1205)
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton): Does the Chief
Government Whip have the unanimous consent of the House to
propose this motion?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton): The House has heard
the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the
motion?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
(Motion agreed to)
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton): The time provided
for the consideration of private members' business has now expired
and the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on
the order paper.
GOVERNMENT ORDERS
[English]
EXTENSION OF SITTING HOURS
Hon. Peter Van Loan (Leader of the Government in the House
of Commons, CPC) moved:
That, notwithstanding any Standing or Special Order or usual practice of the House,
commencing upon the adoption of this Order and concluding on Friday, June 21,
2013:
(a) the ordinary hour of daily adjournment shall be 12 midnight, except on
Fridays;
(b) when a recorded division is demanded, in relation to a proceeding which has
been interrupted pursuant to the provisions of an order made under Standing
Order 78(3) or pursuant to Standing Orders 61(2) or 66(2), (i) before 2 p.m. on a
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, it shall stand deferred until the
conclusion of oral questions at that day's sitting, or (ii) after 2 p.m. on a Monday,
Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, or at any time on a Friday, it shall stand
deferred until the conclusion of oral questions at the next sitting day that is not a
Friday;
(c) when a recorded division, which would have ordinarily been deemed deferred
to immediately before the time provided for Private Members' Business on a
Wednesday, is demanded, the said division is deemed to have been deferred until
the conclusion of oral questions on the same Wednesday;
(d) when a recorded division is to be held, except recorded divisions deferred to
the conclusion of oral questions or to the ordinary hour of daily adjournment, the
(e) when a motion for the concurrence in a report from a standing, standing joint
or special committee is moved, the debate shall be deemed to have been
adjourned upon the conclusion of the period for questions and comments
following the speech of the mover of the motion, provided that the debate shall be
resumed in the manner ordinarily prescribed by Standing Order 66(2).
He said: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak to the
government's motion proposing that we work a bit of overtime in the
coming weeks here in the House.
Government Motion No. 17 proposes to do three things: first,
provide that we can sit to as late as midnight each night to do our
job; second, to manage the votes so that they take place in an orderly
fashion that is not too disruptive to the lives of parliamentarians;
third, ensure that concurrence motions can be dealt with and
considered without disrupting the work of the committees and of this
House itself.
It has been an honour for me to serve as government House leader
for the past two years, and indeed, for 18 months during a previous
Parliament. Throughout that time I have always worked to have the
House operating in what I call a productive, orderly and hardworking fashion.
Canadians expect their members of Parliament to get things done,
to work hard—
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton): The hon. opposition
House leader is rising on a point.
***
POINTS OF ORDER
Mr. Nathan Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley, NDP): Mr.
Speaker, I apologize for interrupting my colleague just at the
beginning of his speech on the justification for the motion that he has
just presented to the House, but we have a point of order that we
need to raise because I think it establishes a couple of important
things for you, as Speaker, to determine before we get into the
context and the particulars of this motion.
Specifically, I will be citing Standing Order 13, which says:
Whenever the Speaker is of the opinion that a motion offered to the House is
contrary to the rules and privileges of Parliament, the Speaker shall apprise the House
thereof immediately, before putting the question thereon, and quote the Standing
Order or authority applicable to the case.
This is the standing order that we cite, because we have looked at
the motion the government has presented here today with some
notice given last week.
● (1210)
[Translation]
This motion goes against the Standing Orders and certainly the
spirit of Parliament. The government is not allowed to break the
rules of Parliament that protect the rights of the minority, the
opposition and all members of the House of Commons who have to
do their jobs for the people they represent. This motion is very
clearly contrary to the existing Standing Orders.
16690
COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Points of Order
I have some good examples to illustrate this. In my opinion, there
is no urgency that would justify the government's heavy-handed
tactics to prevent members from holding a reasonable debate on its
agenda. I say “agenda”, but for a long time now it has been difficult
to pin down what this government's agenda is exactly. This is
nothing new.
The motion comes to us today at a difficult time, but just because
the government held a brief caucus meeting and is facing numerous
problems and a few scandals, it is not justified in violating the
Standing Orders of the House of Commons. No one would accept
those excuses. There is no historical basis for the government to use
the Standing Orders in this way. That does not work.
[English]
There are a few important things we need to point out. One is that
it behooves us to have some explanation of what this motion actually
does. For those of us who do not intimately follow the rules and
history of Parliament, it can be quite confusing not in terms of the
intention of what the government has read but certainly in the
implications. It needs some translation, not French to English or
English to French, but translation as to what it actually means for the
House of Commons. That is why we believe a point of order exists
for this motion.
The motion essentially would immediately begin something that
would ordinarily begin in a couple of weeks, which is for the House
to sit until midnight to review legislation. This is somewhat ironic
from a government that has a bad history with respect to moving
legislation correctly through the process and allowing us to do our
work, which is what we are here to do on behalf of Canadians.
I am not alone in seeing that the government has shown the
intention of having some urgency with respect to 23 bills, 14 of
which have not even been introduced since the last election.
Suddenly there is great urgency, when in fact it is the government
that has set the agenda. The urgency is so great that it has to
fundamentally change the rules of how we conduct ourselves in this
place in response to an urgency that did not exist until this moment.
One has to question the need. Why the panic? Why now, and why
over these pieces of legislation? Are they crucial to Canada's
economic well-being? Is it to restore the social safety net that the
government has brutalized over the last number of years? What is the
panic and what is the urgency?
Context sets everything in politics, and the context that the
government exists under right now is quite telling. Every time I have
had to stand in this place raising points of order and countering the
closure and time allocation motions that the government uses, I am
often stating and citing that this is a new low standard for Parliament.
I have thought at times that there was not much more it could do to
this place to further erode the confidence of Canadians or further
erode the opportunity for members of Parliament to speak, yet it has
again invented something new, and here we are today debating that
motion.
That is why we believe that Standing Order 13 needs to be called.
It is because it is very clear that when a motion is moved that is
contrary to the rules and privileges of Parliament—which is what I
would underline, as it is the important part—the Speaker must
involve himself or herself in the debate and ask that the debate no
longer proceed.
The privileges of members of Parliament are not the privileges
that are being talked about by our friends down the hall to falsely
claim money that did not exist or privileges of limo rides and trips
around the world. The privileges of Parliament that speak
constitutionally to the need for Parliament are that members of
Parliament have the opportunity to scrutinized and debate government bills.
Just before the riding week, we saw the government introduce
another time allocation on a bill that had received exactly 60 minutes
of debate. Somehow the Conservatives felt that had exhausted the
conversation on a bill they had sat on for years, and suddenly the
panic was on. We are seeing this pattern again and again with a
government that is facing more scandal.
I was looking through the news today. Every morning I start my
day with the news and we consider what we should ask the
government in question period. There are some days when the focus
can be difficult and one may not be sure what the most important
issue of the day is. However, the challenge for us today as the official
opposition is that, as there are so many scandals on so many fronts,
how do we address them all within the short time we have during
question period or in debate on bills.
I listened to my friend for Langley, who has been somewhat in the
news of late on his attempt to speak on issues he felt were important
to his constituents. We saw him move a new private member's bill
today. He withdrew the former bill, and now he is moving one again.
The New Democrats will support the bill going to committee for
study because we think there are some options and availability for us
to look at the legislation and do our job.
Whether it is muzzling of their own MPs and the Conservatives'
attempt to muzzle all MPs in the House of Commons, or using
private members' bills to avoid the scrutiny that is applied to
government legislation, and one important piece of that scrutiny is
the charter defence of the legislation and so, in a sense, the
Conservatives are using the back door to get government legislation
through and move their agenda in another way, or the omnibus
legislation, which has received so much controversy in Canada as
the government has increasingly abused the use of omnibus
legislation, or the F-35 fiasco, or the recent Auditor General's
report, or the former parliamentary budget officer who was under
much abuse and the new Parliamentary Budget Officer who has
asked for the same things he did, or infamously, prorogation, time
and time again the pattern is the same. The government has complete
disdain for the House.
Whether it be the scandals in the Senate, or the China FIPA
accord, or the recent problems with the Prime Minister's former chief
of staff, or the employment insurance scandals, or the $3 billion
missing, or the 300,000 jobs that have not been replaced, the
government keeps trying to avoid proper scrutiny out of embarrassment. However, the House of Commons exists for one thing and one
thing alone, which is to hold the government to account.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16691
Points of Order
The government will make some claims that the urgency right
now is because there has not been enough progress on legislation.
Therefore, the Conservatives have to hit the panic button and would
have the House sit until midnight, which has consequences beyond
just being a late night, and I will get into those consequences in a
moment because they support our notion that it infringes upon the
entitlements of members of Parliament to debate legislation properly.
The Conservatives' record shows, and this is not speculation or
conspiracy, that when they ram legislation through, they more often
than not get it wrong. That is not just expensive for the process of
law making, but it is expensive for Canadians. These things often
end up in court costing millions and millions of dollars and with
victims of their own making. The scandal that exists in the Senate is
absolutely one of their own making. The Prime Minister can point
the finger where he likes, but he appointed those senators.
Specific to the point of order I am raising, this motion would
lower the amount of scrutiny paid to legislation. It would allow the
government extended sittings, which are coming in the second week
of June anyway, as the Standing Orders currently exist, to allow the
government to do that, but the Conservatives want to move the clock
up and have more legislation rammed through the House.
Also, as you would know, Mr. Speaker, the order of our day
includes concurrence reports from committee, which allow the
House to debate something that happened in committee which can
sometimes be very critical, and many are moved from all sides.
However, they would not get started until midnight under the
Conservatives' new rules. Therefore, we would study and give
scrutiny on what happened at committee from midnight until two or
three o'clock in the morning.
As well, emergency debates would not start until midnight. Just
recently we had a debate, Mr. Speaker, that your office agreed to
allow happen, which was quite important to those implicated. We
were talking about peace and war and Canada's role in the world. It
was a critical emergency debate that certainly went into the night.
However, the idea is that we would take emergency debates that the
Speaker's office and members of Parliament felt were important and
start them at midnight and somehow they would be of the same
quality as those started at seven o'clock in the evening.
The scrutiny of legislation has become much less important than
the government moving its agenda through, which is an infringement
on our privilege as members of Parliament. The Conservatives' socalled urgency, their panic, is not a justification for overriding the
privileges that members of Parliament hold dear.
● (1215)
As for progress, just recently we moved the nuclear terrorism bill
through, Bill S-9.
We also had much debate but an improvement on Bill C-15, the
military justice bill, to better serve our men and women in the forces.
The original drafting was bad. The Conservatives wanted to force it
forward and we resisted. My friend from St. John's worked hard and
got an amendment through that would help those in the military who
found themselves in front of a tribunal.
We have the divorce in civil marriages act, which has been sitting
and sitting. It would allow people in same-sex marriages to file for
and seek divorce. All we have offered to the government is one vote
and one speaker each. The government refuses to bring the bill
forward and I suspect it is because it would require a vote. It is a
shame when a government resists the idea that a vote would be a
good thing for members of Parliament to declare their intentions on,
certainly something as important as civil liberties and rights for gay
men and women.
I mentioned earlier why, in the infringement of this privilege, it
causes great harm and distress not just to Parliament but to the
country.
I asked my team to pull up the list of bills that were so badly
written that they had to be either withdrawn or completely rewritten
at committee and even in the Senate which, God knows, is a terrible
strategy for any legislation.
There was the infamous or famous Bill C-30, the Internet
snooping bill, which the Minister of Public Safety said something to
the effect that either people were with the government or they were
with child pornographers, which may be an example of the worst
framing in Canadian political history. There has probably been
worse, but that was pretty bad. The Conservatives had to kill the bill.
We have also seen Bill C-10, Bill C-31, Bill C-38 and Bill C-42,
all of these bills were so badly written that oftentimes the
government had to amend them after having voted for them. After
saying they were perfect and ramming them through, invoking
closure and shutting down debate, the Conservatives got to
committee and heard from people who actually understood the
issue and realized the law they had written would be illegal and
would not work or fix the problem that was identified, and so they
had to rewrite it. That is the point of Parliament. That is the point of
the work we do.
We have also seen bills that have been challenged at great expense
before the courts. Former Bill C-2, the tackling violent crime act,
with huge sections of the government's main anti-crime agenda, was
challenged and defeated in court.
Bill C-38, arbitrarily eliminating backlog for skilled workers, was
challenged and defeated.
Bill C-7, Senate term limits, was after years just now deferred to
the Supreme Court. It is called “kicking it down the road”.
Also, there are Bill C-6, Bill C-33 and others, and there are those
that are being crafted and debated right now that are going to have
serious problems.
The essential thrust of our intention is in identifying the rules that
govern us, and specifically Standing Order 13. The government has
time and again talked about accountability before the Canadian
people and talked about doing things better than its predecessors in
the Liberal Party, the government that became so arrogant and so
unaccountable to Canadians that the Conservatives threw it out of
office. History repeats itself if one does not learn true lessons from
history.
16692
COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Points of Order
As I mentioned, Standing Order 27(1) already exists, and it allows
the government to do exactly what we are talking about, but not
starting until the last 10 sitting days. The Conservatives have said
that there is so much on their so-called agenda that they have to do
this early, allowing for less scrutiny, allowing for emergency debates
to start at midnight, allowing for concurrence debates that come from
committees to start at midnight and go until two, three or four
o'clock in the morning.
This is contrary to the work of parliamentarians. If the
Conservatives are in such a rush, why do they not negotiate? Why
do they not actually come to the table and do what parliamentarians
have done throughout time, which is offer the to and fro of any
proper negotiation between reasonable people?
We have moved legislation forward. My friend across the way
was moving an important motion commemorating war heroes. We
worked with that member and other members to ensure the bill,
which came from the Senate, made it through speedy passage.
Parliament can work if the Conservatives let it work, but it cannot
work if they keep abusing it. Canadians continue to lose faith and
trust in the vigour of our work and the ability to hold government to
account. We see it time and again, and I am sure, Mr. Speaker, you
have as well, in talking to constituents who say that they are not sure
what goes on here anymore, that it just seems like government will
not answer questions, that everyday they ask sincere and thoughtful
questions and the Conservatives do not answer. Bills get shut down
with motions of closure.
Let us look at the current government's record.
Thirty-three times, the Conservatives have moved time allocation
on legislation, an all-time high for any government in Canadian
history. Through war and peace, through good and bad, no
government has shut down debate in Parliaments more than the
current one.
● (1220)
Ninety-nine point three per cent of all amendments moved by the
opposition have been rejected by the government. Let us take a look
at that stat for a moment. That suggests that virtually 100% of the
time, the government has been perfectly right on the legislation it
moves. All the testimony from witnesses and experts, comments
from average Canadians, when moving amendments to the
legislation before us, 99.3% of the time the government rejects it
out of hand. It ends up in court. It ends up not doing what it was
meant to do.
Ten Conservative MPs have never spoken to legislation at all. I
will note one in particular. The Minister of Finance, who has not
bothered to speak to his own bills, including the omnibus legislation,
Bill C-38 and Bill C-45, which caused so much controversy. He did
not bother to stand and justify his actions. I find it deplorable and it
is not just me, Canadians as well, increasingly so.
This is my final argument. We cannot allow this abuse to continue.
This pattern has consequences, not just for what happens here today
or tomorrow, but in the days, weeks, months and years to come and
the Parliaments to come. If we keep allowing for and not standing up
in opposition to bad ideas and draconian measures, we in a sense
condone them.
We say that Parliament should become less irrelevant. We think
that is wrong. We think what the government is doing is
fundamentally wrong. It is not right and left; it is right and wrong.
When the government is wrong in its treatment and abuse of
Canada's Parliament, that affects all Canadians, whatever their
political persuasion. We built this place out of bricks and mortar to
do one thing: to allow the voice of Canadians to be represented, to
speak on behalf of those who did not have a voice and to hold the
government of the day to account. Lord knows the government
needs that more than anything. It needs a little adult supervision from
time to time to take some of those suggestions and put a little, as we
say, water in its wine.
It has the majority. This is the irony of what the government is
doing. In moving more time allocation than any government in
history and shutting down debate more than any government in
history and using what it is today, it speaks to weakness not strength.
The Conservatives have the numbers to move legislation through if
they saw fit, but they do not. They move legislation, they say it is an
agenda and they hold up a raft of bills.
● (1225)
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton): Order, please. I
remind the hon. member that the question before the House right
now and the arguments that the member has put forward are in
respect to the point of order respecting, essentially, section 13 of the
Standing Orders.
While members have much liberty to present these arguments in
respect of the point of order, there is also a question before the House
that members will no doubt have the opportunity to speak to.
Therefore, I wonder if the member could perhaps wrap up his
arguments specifically relating to his point of order, then perhaps we
could get on to debate some of these other questions as the debate
may continue.
Mr. Nathan Cullen: Mr. Speaker, your role as Speaker and all the
Speakers that hold your office is, as has been stated many times in
our references and standing orders, to protect the role of members of
Parliament and certainly to protect the minority that is in this place to
allow for some fairness, to prevent cheating and bending the rules to
the point of breaking.
My point is that the government has so many times abused this
place and its fundamental democratic values, which are to engage in
debate for the betterment of the country and to hold the government's
legislation and spending to account. We have seen the Conservatives
too often defer to that weak place of hiding, of using closure, of
shutting down the conversation rather than opening it up to
Canadians.
It will be the role of the official opposition, and I contend it is the
role of the Speaker's office as well, to ensure, regardless of any
political agenda or political scandals going on or any panic
happening within the government's chamber, that this place, in
which we seek to represent Canadians each and every day, must
remain a place that is above that. It should hold the government to
account each and every day with the authenticity and sincerity that
are Canadians values. We, as New Democrats, will do that each and
every day, regardless of the bully tactics that they use.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16693
Points of Order
Hon. Peter Van Loan: Mr. Speaker, I was surprised by this point
of order, but I suppose I should not have been surprised that the NDP
would pull out all the stops to try to avoid having to work hard in
this House of Commons, to try to use every device it can think of
and every procedure and every tactic it can think of to avoid having
to work a little bit of overtime and stay here until midnight.
I suppose if we were unionized around here, maybe we would not
have to work extra hard or we would demand overtime for it. I
suppose that is the attitude of the NDP, as it consistently represents
those kinds of views around here.
In terms of a point of order, what I heard was very thin and very
lacking. First of all, on the substance of it, the entire complaint
seemed to be an argument that there is insufficient debate and
scrutiny of bills around here, and yet the argument is “let us not have
more debate; let us have not as much opportunity for scrutiny; let us
not work quite as hard up here; let us do a little bit less”. I fail to see
how that is somehow a point of order.
In fact what we are trying to do is exactly the opposite, to ensure
we have adequate debate, to ensure we have an opportunity to
consider bills, and to ensure we do the work Canadians sent us here
to do.
On the actual merits of the point of order—and I noticed there was
nothing there—let us go through what the rules actually say. The
green book, O'Brien and Bosc, is quite clear. It says, at page 257:
Besides the permanent Standing Orders, the House may adopt other types of
written rules for limited periods of time.
That is what we are doing here. The House can do that. The House
can do that on a government motion. The House can do that by a
majority vote. That is fully within the rules of this place. That is how
it has been practised for many years, decades—centuries one would
say—in the Westminster parliamentary system. We are masters of
our rules. We make them. That is what the green book says. That is
the practice and procedure of this House.
That is what government motion no. 17 says. There is absolutely
nothing that I heard from my friend opposite to the contrary.
Further, at page 258, it says:
In addition to the Standing Orders and provisional and sessional orders which
form the collected body of written rules, the House may also adopt special orders.
That is what we are doing right now under this motion. It goes on
to say:
A frequently used instrument for the conduct of House business, special orders
temporarily suspend the “written” Standing Orders.
It goes on to say:
They may apply to a single occasion or to such period of time as may be
specified.
This is the normal practice of the House, something that is done
quite often. It is codified to the extent of the last 10 days in the
Standing Orders right now, but none of that takes away the ability of
this House to set its own rules by a majority vote anytime on a
motion.
That is exactly what we are seeking to do here under the rules for
presenting motions in this House, and that is what government order
no. 17 proposes to do.
Again, I heard absolutely nothing, not one scintilla of contrary
argument or evidence. What I heard was a long speech on the NDP's
messages of the day. I will get to that in a minute.
I would also go to another one of our authorities, Beauchesne's
Parliamentary Rules and Forms at page 5, very early on, under the
heading “Written Rules”, it says:
Standing, Sessional and Special Orders are the rules and regulations which the
House has agreed on for the governance of its own proceedings.
That includes special orders, special orders that are reflected in
government motion no. 17, that are reflected in what O'Brien and
Bosc refer to.
Further on, in paragraph 8 on that page, it says:
A Special Order may have effect for only a single occasion or such longer term as
may be specified.
Again, that is what this motion seeks to do.
It has become the custom in modern times to apply the term Special Order to all
rules which have only temporary effect.
Again, that is what we are seeking to do to the end of this
parliamentary sitting when we rise before the summer.
It further goes on in Beauchesne's to say:
All rules are passed by the House by a simple majority and are altered, added to,
or removed in the same way.
Again, this is what we are seeking to do, fully contemplated by the
rules, 100%, and as I said, generations of experience, and yet you,
Mr. Speaker, are being asked, for some reason, to toss out all that
history and simply say “Nah, we do not want to work late.” That is
what the NDP is asking.
● (1230)
Furthermore, in that paragraph, it goes on to say:
There is no procedural reason why any Member cannot introduce a motion to alter
the rules...
In the next paragraph, paragraph 10, it says:
Sessional and Special Orders are normally moved by the Government...
Anybody can move it if they can gain favour with the House, but
it is normally done by the government.
Clearly, what we are engaging in here is a point of order over
whether something that has been accepted forever exists and is
allowed and contemplated by the rules. I have gone through citation
after citation of where they are specifically contemplated by the
rules. Everything within government motion no. 17 complies fully
with that.
What I found troubling about my friend's comments is that he did
not have any citations to the contrary, rulings to the contrary or
evidence to the contrary. In fact, he did not even have any arguments
to the contrary other than arguments on the merits on the motion
itself, which we are debating.
Basically, what he got up and did, under the guise of pretending it
was a point of order, was make a speech on the motion itself and its
merits. It is his place to do so—after the government finishes
presenting its arguments for it. The rules contemplate that.
16694
COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Points of Order
In fact, if there is a point of order to be raised or a privilege that
has been offended, through this device, he has actually offended the
privileges of other members of the House, the government and
myself. I am the one who has a point to complain about. He has
reversed the order, contemplated by our Standing Orders, in which a
debate should proceed here.
Mr. Speaker, you picked up the exact same thing and alluded to it
in your remarks. I would not be the least bit surprised if you were to
say to him, after I have my finished my comments on the main
motion itself, that he has already discharged his right of reply and
has in fact done so in a fashion that has offended my privileges, has
prevented me from presenting my arguments, and presented his
arguments himself, first, on the merits of the motion. That is highly
improper. I find this an unusual and ironic situation.
The fact remains that he raised not a single citation, historical
example or reason in the rules why this motion is not in order.
However, every single thing we see in historical practice, in the
citations I quoted and in the footnotes that point to earlier examples
is that the House has the full right to consider a motion of this type,
governing its rules and processes. It is decided by a majority vote.
There shall be a debate on it in this fashion if the House wishes to
have such a debate and people wish to speak to it. It even outlines
the fashion in which that will happen.
I am not personally hurt that he wanted to trump me and go first. I
suppose it was a clever way of trying to do that and getting his
message out. I am not offended that he did not speak to the merits of
the motion, but rather wished to speak to the communications
messaging of his party for the day. That is his right as well.
However, the fact is that, on a point of order, one has to look at
the evidence and the rules that are in place, and decide it that way. It
is quite clear that this motion is entirely in order and properly put.
There really is very little to respond to out of his arguments to the
contrary.
● (1235)
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton): Does the hon. House
Leader of the Official Opposition have something additional to add
to the debate on this point of order?
Mr. Nathan Cullen: Mr. Speaker, it is in response to something
my colleague said.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton): If it is new, the hon.
House Leader of the Official Opposition has the floor.
Mr. Nathan Cullen: Mr. Speaker, the member raised it, not I.
I realize that my friend perhaps has short-term or near-term
memory loss. However, if you recall, Mr. Speaker, in the times that
the House sat all night as the NDP opposed, through vote after vote,
the government's draconian omnibus legislation or its anti-worker
legislation with respect to Canada Post, hard work has never been a
problem for New Democrats, and sitting long has never been a
problem for New Democrats when the cause has been right.
My only point is this. He suggested, Mr. Speaker, and I put it
through you to him, that he is into long hours and hard work. I may
have heard a commitment from him in his comments that the
government is expecting to use the full calendar, all the way through
to the end of June.
As he will well know, New Democrats throughout Parliament's
history have always pursued the calendar to its end, even as other
parties have sought to get out of town and hit the barbecue circuit, if
that is the commitment my hon. friend is making in reply to my point
of order,
I would also suggest to him that perhaps it works that way on his
side, but I did not actually check with my communications office or
any central command today before I made my point of order. I
checked with myself, and I checked with the record as to what the
government has done. There is no trumping of his particular
message. There is no message of the day on this. This is a message
today, and this is a message tomorrow, and this is the message for
weeks to come that when they are being anti-democratic and abusing
Parliament, we will stand here and resist it.
If he would like to sit until the end of June and use his privilege,
which he has demarcated today about midnight sittings, and that is
the commitment he is making to Canadians—to work hard, as he
said—we will take him at that commitment and we will see him at
the end of June.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton): I thank the hon.
government House leader and the hon. opposition House leader for
their interventions in this matter. I will take those comments and
arguments under advisement and get back to the House if necessary.
Resuming debate, the hon. government House leader.
***
EXTENTION OF SITTING HOURS
Hon. Peter Van Loan: Mr. Speaker, I will pick up where I left
off. Obviously my hon. friend did not hear this and has not read the
motion. I will respond to his macho riposte at the end of his
comments by pointing out that the motion would do three things:
first, it would provide for us to sit until midnight; second, it would
provide a manageable way in which to hold votes in a fashion that
works for members of the House; and third, it would provide for
concurrence debates to happen and motions to be voted on in a
fashion that would not disrupt the work of all the committees of the
House and force them to come back here for votes and shut down the
work of committees.
Those are the three things the motion would do. In all other
respects the Standing Orders remain in place, including the Standing
Orders for how long the House sits. Had my friend actually read the
motion, he would recognize that the only way in which that Standing
Order could then be changed would be by unanimous consent of the
House.
The member needs no commitment from me as to how long we
will sit. Any member of the House can determine that question, if he
or she wishes to adjourn other than the rules contemplate, but the
rules are quite clear in what they do contemplate.
As I was saying, the reason for the motion is that Canadians
expect their members of Parliament to work hard and get things done
on their behalf.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16695
Points of Order
● (1240)
[Translation]
Canadians expect their members of Parliament to work hard and
get things done on their behalf.
[English]
We agree and that is exactly what has happened here in the House
of Commons.
However, do not take my word for it; look at the facts. In this
Parliament the government has introduced 76 pieces of legislation.
Of those 76, 44 of them are law in one form or another. That makes
for a total of 58% of the bills introduced into Parliament. Another 15
of these bills have been passed by either the House or the Senate,
bringing the total to 77% of the bills that have been passed by one of
the two Houses of Parliament. That is the record of a hard-working,
orderly and productive Parliament.
More than just passing bills, the work we are doing here is
delivering real results for Canadians. However, there is still yet more
work to be done before we return to our constituencies for the
summer.
During this time our government's top priority has been jobs,
economic growth and long-term prosperity. Through two years and
three budgets, we have passed initiatives that have helped to create
more than 900,000 net new jobs since the global economic
recession. We have achieved this record while also ensuring that
Canada's debt burden is the lowest in the G7. We are taking real
action to make sure the budget will be balanced by 2015. We have
also followed through on numerous longstanding commitments to
keep our streets and communities safe, to improve democratic
representation in the House of Commons, to provide marketing
freedom for western Canadian grain farmers and to eliminate once
and for all the wasteful and inefficient long gun registry.
Let me make clear what the motion would and would not do.
There has been speculation recently, including from my friend
opposite, about the government's objectives and motivations with
respect to motion no. 17. As the joke goes: Mr. Freud, sometimes a
cigar is just a cigar. So it is with today's motion. There is only one
intention motivating the government in proposing the motion: to
work hard and deliver real results for Canadians.
The motion would extend the hours the House sits from Monday
through Thursday. Instead of finishing the day around 6:30 or 7 p.m.,
the House would sit instead until midnight.
[Translation]
This would amount to an additional 20 hours each week.
Extended sitting hours is something that happens most years in
June. Our government just wants to roll up our sleeves and work a
little harder, earlier this year. The motion would allow certain votes
to be deferred automatically until the end of question period, to allow
for all honourable members' schedules to be a little more orderly.
[English]
As I said, all other rules would remain. For example, concurrence
motions could be moved, debated and voted upon. Today's motion
would simply allow committees to continue doing their work instead
of returning to the House for motions to return to government
business and the like. This process we are putting forward would
ensure those committees could do their good work and be
productive, while at the same time the House could proceed with
its business. Concurrence motions could ultimately be dealt with,
debated and voted upon.
We are interested in working hard and being productive and doing
so in an orderly fashion, and that is the extent of what the motion
would do. I hope that the opposition parties would be willing to
support this reasonable plan and let it come forward to a vote. I am
sure members opposite would not be interested in going back to their
constituents to say they voted against working a little overtime
before the House rises for the summer, but the first indication from
my friend opposite is that perhaps he is reluctant to do that. Members
on this side of the House are willing to work extra hours to deliver
real results for Canadians.
Some of those accomplishments we intend to pass are: reforming
the temporary foreign workers program to put the interests of
Canadians first; implementing tax credits for Canadians who donate
to charity; enhancing the tax credit for parents who adopt; and
extending the tax credit for Canadians who take care of loved ones in
their home.
● (1245)
[Translation]
We also want to support veterans and their families by improving
the determination of veterans' benefits.
[English]
Of course, these are some of the important measures from this
year's budget and are included in Bill C-60, economic action plan
2013 act, no. 1. We are also working toward results for aboriginals
by moving closer to equality for Canadians living on reserves
through better standards for drinking water and finally giving
women on reserves the same rights and protections other Canadian
women have had for decades. Bill S-2, family homes on reserves and
matrimonial interests or rights act, and Bill S-8, the safe drinking
water for first nations act would deliver on those very important
objectives.
We will also work to keep our streets and communities safe by
making real improvements to the witness protection program
through Bill C-51, the safer witnesses act. I think that delivering
these results for Canadians is worth working a few extra hours each
week.
[Translation]
We will work to bring the Technical Tax Amendments Act, 2012,
into law. Bill C-48 would provide certainty to the tax code. It has
been over a decade since a bill like this has passed, so it is about time
this bill passed. In fact, after question period today, I hope to start
third reading of this bill, so perhaps we can get it passed today.
16696
COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Points of Order
[English]
We will also work to bring Bill C-52, the fair rail freight service
act, into law. The bill would support economic growth by ensuring
that all shippers, including farmers, are treated fairly. Over the next
few weeks we will also work, hopefully with the co-operation of the
opposition parties, to make progress on other important initiatives.
[Translation]
Bill C-54 will ensure that public safety is the paramount
consideration in the decision-making process involving high-risk
accused found not criminally responsible on account of mental
disorder. This is an issue that unfortunately has affected every region
of this country. The very least we can do is let the bill come to a vote
and send it to committee where witnesses can testify about the
importance of these changes.
the expansion and conservation of Canada’s national parks act,
which would, among other things, create the Sable Island national
park reserve, and Bill C-61, the offshore health and safety act, which
would provide clear rules for occupational health and safety of
offshore oil and gas installations.
Earlier I referred to the important work of committees. The
Standing Joint Committee on the Scrutiny of Regulations inspired
Bill S-12, the incorporation by reference in regulations act. We
should see that committee's ideas through by passing this bill. Of
course, a quick reading of today's order paper would show that there
are yet still more bills before the House of Commons for
consideration and passage. All of these measures are important
and will improve the lives of Canadians. Each merits consideration
and hard work on our part.
[English]
Bill C-49 would create the Canadian museum of history, a
museum for Canadians that would tell our stories and present our
country's treasures to the world.
[Translation]
Bill S-14, the Fighting Foreign Corruption Act, will do just that by
further deterring and preventing Canadian companies from bribing
foreign public officials. These amendments will help ensure that
Canadian companies continue to act in good faith in the pursuit of
freer markets and expanded global trade.
[English]
Bill S-13, the port state measures agreement implementation act,
would implement that 2009 treaty by amending the Coastal Fisheries
Protection Act to add prohibitions on importing illegally acquired
fish.
[Translation]
Tonight we will be voting on Bill S-9, the Nuclear Terrorism Act,
which will allow Canada to honour its commitments under
international agreements to tackle nuclear terrorism. Another
important treaty—the Convention on Cluster Munitions—can be
given effect if we adopt Bill S-10, the Prohibiting Cluster Munitions
Act.
We will seek to update and modernize Canada’s network of
income tax treaties through Bill S-17, the Tax Conventions
Implementation Act, 2013, by giving the force of law to recently
signed agreements between Canada and Namibia, Serbia, Poland,
Hong Kong, Luxembourg and Switzerland.
[English]
Among other economic bills is Bill C-56, the combating
counterfeit products act. The bill would protect Canadians from
becoming victims of trademark counterfeiting and goods made using
inferior or dangerous materials that lead to injury or even death.
Proceeds from the sale of counterfeit goods may be used to support
organized crime groups. Clearly, this bill is another important one to
enact.
Important agreements with the provinces of Nova Scotia and
Newfoundland and Labrador would be satisfied through Bill S-15,
In my weekly business statement prior to the constituency week, I
extended an offer to the House leaders opposite to work with me to
schedule and pass some of the other pieces of legislation currently
before the House. I hope that they will respond to my request and put
forward at our next weekly meeting productive suggestions for
getting things done. Passing today's motion would be a major step
toward accomplishing that. As I said in my opening comments,
Canadians expect each one of us to come to Ottawa to work hard,
vote on bills and get things done.
In closing, I commend this motion to the House and encourage all
hon. members to vote for this motion, add a few hours to our day,
continue the work of our productive, orderly and hard-working
Parliament, and deliver real results for Canadians.
● (1250)
Mr. Nathan Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley, NDP): Mr.
Speaker, I thank my friend in particular for the final offer he made.
I hesitate to negotiate in public what we often try to spend our time at
House leaders' meetings doing, as brief as that time sometimes is.
Opposition members have consistently gone to the government
with bills that we were interested in supporting, even in an effort to,
as my friend says, work hard for Canadians, limit the amount of
debate. A bill I mentioned earlier talks about the allowance of civil
marriages, so-called gay marriages, a law that was passed by
Parliament and opposed by the member's party, allowing for the
closure of a loophole in the law to permit those who are married to
also seek divorce, which seems a reasonable thing to do.
All we have asked for, in the expediency of the passage of Bill
C-32, is one vote, which takes about seven minutes, on average, in
this place. We allowed the government to introduce a motion, if it
saw fit, to allow one speaker per party. Doing the quick math on that,
that would be about an hour and a half. We could see a bill that has
been sitting for about 18 months, give or take, to pass completely in
this place in an hour and a half, two hours at the outside if we did
something slowly. The government has refused it every single time.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16697
Points of Order
The government then claims it has great urgency in the world and
that there are other bills to pass that opposition parties have offered
to the government. We just passed a technical amendments bill
recently and there is an instruments bill that we are looking to pass as
well. There has been progress, but what we have seen time and again
is an attitude in breaking the historical—and he cannot answer this
one, by the way, Mr. Speaker. A majority government, within two
years, used time allocation to shut down debate, something
Conservatives used to rile against when Liberals did it. The
Conservatives have used that same tactic more than any other
government in any four or five-year mandate in Canadian history.
The Conservatives did it in two and are now turning the bully into
the victim and saying that they are somehow victimized by the will
of the minority.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton): I would remind the
hon. member we are in questions and comments.
reading on October 17, 2011, and which we have heard nothing
about since.
The hon. government House leader.
Hon. Peter Van Loan: Mr. Speaker, on the question of Bill C-32,
as I said, we are willing to go even further. We have said in the
House in public many times that we are prepared to pass that bill if it
is supported by the opposition at all three stages by unanimous
consent. It could happen by unanimous consent in the House.
Apparently, that is not good enough for the opposition members. As
a result, that bill has not yet been passed because they simply have
not accepted that offer.
Another priority, of course, has been bills to ensure we build a
safer and stronger Canada, safer communities. That issue of tackling
crime, of making our communities safer, is again one reflected in the
bills that we wish to see brought forward, debated and passed by this
Parliament.
In terms of our overall legislative agenda, there is, as I indicated, a
lot of work that needs to be done in the House that we are very
pleased to do. One thing we have tried to do in the House is change
the approach where time allocation is brought in as a form of
shutting down debate, which used to be done in the past, to using it
as a fashion to ensure a productive, hard-working approach. For
example, on the second-last budget implementation bill, we provided
for the longest debate ever in Canadian history on any budget
implementation bill in that time allocation motion. This was to allow
for full debate but also to allow for certainty that the measures would
come into place.
That has been our approach throughout: to give the members the
fullest opportunity to participate, to allow a full opportunity for
debate, but also to do it in a businesslike fashion where people know
that we are going to debate it for a period of time, for a number of
days, five, six, seven, whatever the case may be, on a particular bill,
and then allow a matter to be voted on. That is why time allocation,
of course, has been moved usually at the start of our debates and not
toward the end, not after days and days, but, rather, in order to have
certainty of scheduling. This is has been the approach of our
government, one that is aimed at working hard and delivering
results, being productive, hard-working, orderly, and doing the job
that Canadians sent us to do by giving people a chance in the House
to actually vote on measures before the House.
● (1255)
[Translation]
Hon. Mauril Bélanger (Ottawa—Vanier, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I
listened carefully just now to the bills that the Leader of the
Government in the House of Commons enumerated in his speech. I
noted that he did not include Bill C-17, An Act to amend the Air
Canada Public Participation Act, which was introduced at first
I was wondering why it was not part of his list.
[English]
Hon. Peter Van Loan: Mr. Speaker, I have been encouraged to be
reasonable in what I request. In order to identify our priorities, we
have focused on the priorities that we believe are the priorities of
Canadians.
First and foremost is the priority of the economy. We will see
economic bills come front and centre because Canadians want to see
that there is a government and a Parliament that is seriously engaged
in doing what is important to encourage job creation, economic
growth and long-term prosperity. Bills that match what is clearly at
the top of our agenda have been the focus of our activity.
Then, of course, there are important questions of our national
identity.
Unfortunately we cannot pass everything. We heard the opposition
House leader complaining that we want to get too much done, that he
does not want to work that hard, and that we are pushing too many
things through. Unfortunately, we have to be reasonable. We have to
find the appropriate balance and choose the priorities that reflect
those priorities of Canadians, first and foremost, delivering on the
economy.
[Translation]
Ms. Françoise Boivin (Gatineau, NDP): Mr. Speaker, all these
debates are rather interesting.
With respect to the point of order raised by my colleague, the
House Leader of the Official Opposition, and Motion No. 17, I
would like to reiterate that we work from morning until night, and
even into the wee hours. It is the government's bizarre and twisted
rhetoric, not the fact that the sitting hours of the House will be
extended, that is cause for concern.
The government is proposing to act on bills that, all of a sudden,
are absolutely essential. Time is of the essence. Yet for two years the
bills have languished, nothing has been done and the Senate has
been on the agenda. Now, with a majority, the government is puffing
itself up and proposing to introduce amendments and change things.
My colleague, the House Leader of the Official Opposition, asked
a question and I did not hear a specific answer from our colleague
opposite. Can the government assure us that the motion moved,
Motion No. 17, is not an exercise designed to have the House
adjourn earlier because the government is starting to get embarrassed
and does not know what else to say to the media outside the House
and its members are eager to go and hide in their ridings? Will we be
here to work and to do even more, between now and the date set for
the House to adjourn for the summer?
16698
COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Points of Order
Hon. Peter Van Loan: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member need only
read the motion that is in front of her before she gets up to ask a
question about it. Before she gets up to participate in the debate, I
encourage her to read it. She will see on its face it would do nothing
to change the Standing Orders with regard to the question of the
calendar, in terms of when we are sitting here in Ottawa. If she
understands that, she understands the answer to that question.
happen and to let decisions be made. Debate is important. However,
this should not be a talk shop where all we do is debate. It should
also be a place where decisions are made. Canadians sent us here to
do work, and that includes the work of actually making decisions.
That is what the votes are when we vote in the House of Commons.
We will continue to ensure that those votes take place so that bills
can be decided upon and progress can be made, for the benefit of
Canadians, on the economy and on having safer streets and
communities.
There is nothing in the motion that would provide for a different
adjournment date from the Standing Orders. Oddly, I find it very
strange that she would get up and ask a question not having actually
read the motion right in front of her.
[Translation]
[English]
However, that is not surprising, again, from a party that is
standing here, saying, “We don't want to work hard. Please don't
make us stay late. Please, God forbid, we actually have to read the
motion in front of us, because that's too much work. So, I'll just ask
you what it says.”
What it says is very simple, “Let's get things done for Canadians.
Let's do the work they sent us here to do. Let's focus on the
economy. Let's create jobs for Canadians. Let's deliver economic
prosperity for Canadians. Let's do our jobs here in the House of
Commons that Canadians want us to do.” They want hard-working
parliamentarians. We are trying to deliver that. If the opposition
members agree with us, I suppose they will vote for that. If they do
not agree that Canadians want hard-working parliamentarians, I
suppose they will oppose the motion.
● (1300)
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Winnipeg North, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I
think it is important to be very clear. It is interesting. The
government House leader talks about getting to work and putting
in the time. The Liberal Party is not shy of putting in the time. We
are prepared to work as hard, if not harder, than this particular
government House leader. In fact, I would challenge the government
House leader to be here half the amount of time that I am here,
addressing legislation and so forth. That would surprise me.
The government needs to recognize that it is also the
responsibility of a majority government to be somewhat—I would
argue a whole lot—more democratic in terms of dealing with
legislation that comes before the House.
My question for the government House leader is, is he prepared to
work hard for Canadians and allow for appropriate debate on the
remaining legislation that is on the legislative agenda; in other
words, not continue bringing in time allocation and preventing us
hard-working members of Parliament from being able to contribute
to the debate?
Hon. Peter Van Loan: Mr. Speaker, I have never heard a
legitimate complaint from that member that he has not had ample
opportunity to participate in debates. I will respond to his challenge
by saying that I will speak when needed in the House, and I will
allow other people an opportunity to speak from time to time as well.
I will use that to guide my approach.
In terms of our approach, the member heard my answer. Our
approach is to provide time for debates to occur to allow for the full
participation of members, but also, importantly, to allow votes to
Mr. Nathan Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley, NDP): Mr.
Speaker, I am not very happy about being here. However, I am
here because we need to stand up to this government, which believes
that Parliament exists only for its benefit and that it is just a place
concerned with the government's problems and accountability.
[English]
It is almost as if a new party came into the House today, as we
listen to the Conservative House leader speak. It certainly is not the
party that moved prorogation and killed legislation time and again.
This new Conservative Party is suddenly interested in not defeating
legislation. It could not be the same Conservative Party that has shut
down debate in the House of Commons more than any party in
Canadian history. It could not be a member of the same party who
was speaking here today, talking about opening up debate. The
Conservatives have invented a new world for themselves that is
fascinating.
I am reflecting on my friend from Langley, who sought to speak in
this House on what they call an S. O. 31 statement, which happens
just before question period. It is a statement that lasts for about a
minute. Usually members of Parliament get up and make a statement
about their ridings about some issue that is important to them. My
friend from Langley, who sits in the Conservative Party, was a
parliamentary secretary, I remember, for the Minister of the
Environment, a chair, a well-respected member of Parliament, and
a friend. He sought to stand up and speak to something he thought
was important to his constituents.
It was the old Conservative Party that shut down that member of
Parliament and every other one who tried to get up and speak,
because this new Conservative Party talks about wanting people to
speak in the House and wanting to have debate.
While it is refreshing to hear it, I do not believe it, and I do not
think Canadians are going to believe that suddenly accountability
and democracy have broken out within the Prime Minister's Office.
It is the office of this particular Prime Minister who, rather than face
any uncomfortable questions from the media or the official
opposition members today, or for the rest of this week, has decided
that going to South America to sit with other trading partners from
other countries we already have established trade deals with to talk
about trade deals that already exist is much more important than
asking questions about the Senate.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16699
Points of Order
It must be a new Conservative Party that suddenly has on its
agenda a legislative directive that the members need to sit longer
hours and work hard on something that might be quite topical today,
something such as the reform of Canada's Senate, which has been
long overdue and long called for by Canadians and New Democrats
who said that the place was fundamentally broken. There is no
accountability. Unelected and under investigation is the new Senate.
I remember the old Reform Party. You probably do as well, Mr.
Speaker. It came in riding from the west, from my part of the world.
I see a member across the way, who was one of the founding
members of the Reform Party, calling it a beautiful thing. While I
disagreed fundamentally with many of its positions, certainly its
social positions, there was something on which I could see some
common ground. That was to make Parliament more accountable
and to reform the Senate.
The current government has now been in power almost seven long
years. Is that right? The time goes slowly. In those six or seven years,
the Prime Minister made a promise as one of his fundamental
commitments to Canadians. Commitments should be treated
sacredly, I believe.
We all get up at elections. We have party platforms and promises
we make to Canadians. If we win, that platform and those promises
become our agenda. That is what we would seek to do in office. It is
simple. One of his promises, one of his agendas, one of his reforms
was on the Senate. When the Conservatives were in opposition, they
would see those Liberal senators down there taking their money, not
really representing anybody, going on trips and maybe even
defrauding taxpayers. Who knows? The Reform movement came
in and said it was wrong and anti-democratic.
For a party that decided to put “democratic” right in the middle of
our name, we take these questions seriously. We feel that it is
accountability to the people we on the orange team represent. In a
sense, we are watching this Prime Minister now play victim to what
is going on in the Senate with senators he appointed exclusively and
explicitly to raise money for the Conservative Party of Canada. Now
this same Prime Minister claims victimhood and wonders how this
happened. How did his chief of staff, who sits to his immediate left
every day and knows his deepest, darkest secrets, whom he put in
charge of major trade files and negotiations with other countries, cut
a $90,000 cheque to a senator he appointed? However, obviously,
the Prime Minister's hands are clean, and he has nothing to say about
this. He believes that his hands are so clean that he is not going to
answer any questions about it. He is going to go to South America to
be in trade talks with countries we already have trade deals with.
That is the new Conservative Party, which is the old one, the same
one that has forgotten its roots.
Dear Mr. Manning is still with us, so he is not spinning in his
grave, but he is definitely spinning. He was asked recently whether
the Conservatives have lost their principles. He said, no, they have
maintained their priorities. It is an interesting dodge of a question.
Mr. Speaker, you have been around politics a bit. You know when a
question is put directly and someone answers it indirectly.
● (1305)
[Translation]
I find it incredible that we have before us a motion that continues
to abuse Parliament. This motion is designed simply to restrict
debate and demonstrate to members of the House of Commons that
the only reason Parliament exists is so that the government can do
what it wants.
I remember a comment made by the Minister of Aboriginal
Affairs and Northern Development. When we were debating a time
allocation motion, he said that their intention was not to put an end to
debate or to censure it, but just to control Parliament.
It is incredible that a minister is admitting that the Conservatives
just want to control the Parliament of Canada. It also reflects the
Conservatives' esprit de corps. They want to control everything, not
just the opposition and Parliament, but their members, as well as the
media and the public.
The current vision of the Prime Minister and the government
leaves the public with no choice and no voice. It is all about the kind
of country that the Prime Minister wants to build.
[English]
We see a government moving this extraordinary thing, which will
see, big deal, members of Parliament sitting until midnight.
New Democrats have been known, sometimes to our detriment, to
be willing to force the calendar to the very last minute and sit all
night, such as when the government moved anti-worker legislation
against a very profitable Canada Post, which, I might add, in a
parenthetical way, then lost money.
After the lockout by Canada Post, the government imposed wage
contracts on those workers that were less than what the company was
willing to offer. Then it said that it needed to shut down Canada Post
offices around the country, as Canada Post was losing money
because of the lockout it allowed them to do. The logic is inherently
twisted on that side.
Remember the omnibus debates and the voting we had. I
remember my friend from the Green Party moving a certain number
of amendments to the bill, which forced the House to sit all night and
vote, hour after hour. I remember some of my friends from Surrey
who stayed in their seats for 22 hours.
No one has ever accused New Democrats of not being willing to
come to work and work on behalf of our constituents. We may do
some things wrong. We may sometimes fall short in some areas, but
hard work has not ever been one of those things.
There is such irony in hearing a Conservative House leader who,
with his Prime Minister, has prorogued Parliament, shut it down, and
killed their government's own legislation time and time again, say to
the Speaker that the problem is that they cannot get their legislation
through.
It had been there for 12 months. After eight months, they killed it
themselves and prorogued the House.
16700
COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Points of Order
One prorogation was quite notable. The government looked to be
in a bit of trouble. It was in a minority position. The world was
entering into a very deep recession. The Minister of Finance, who
claims to be the best in the world, ignored the recession and
introduced what the Conservatives called an austerity budget at the
very moment when the rest of the world, realizing that the economy
was coming to a virtual standstill, was introducing budgets that did
the opposite.
The finance genius we have sitting in the chair said, “Never mind
what the rest of the world thinks about what is going on in the global
economy; we know that Canada is not going into recession”, even as
we were in the midst of a recession. He introduced an austerity
budget to cut back billions in job creation, in grants and in all the
things the Conservatives take credit for, such as unemployment
insurance for a bunch of Canadians who were just being thrown out
of work.
The opposition said that it was not a very good budget and
suggested that we vote against that budget. The government
panicked and prorogued. Canadians got a civil lesson in how
Parliament works. They had never heard the word “prorogation”
before. Then we got to learn.
The Prime Minister had to go to the Governor General. He sat
there for a number of hours, perhaps being lectured about how
undemocratic it was, when facing a non-confidence vote, to head
down the road to the Queen's representative to ask for permission to
shut it all down before he was thrown out of office. He was more
worried about his job that day than about Canadians. That is for sure.
● (1310)
That is a government that killed its legislation in order to save
itself, and did it time and time again.
Here is the trend that we worry about with today's motion. For a
government that has broken the record by shutting down debate
more times than any government in Canadian history, it has refused
99.3% of all the amendments that the opposition has brought to its
legislation.
Let us look at that for a moment. The way a bill is supposed to
work is it comes into the House and gets debated. There is a pro and
con and the real coming together or clash of ideas to improve the
legislation because no one is perfect. The drafters of legislation do
not get it right. They are sometimes hundreds of pages long and very
complicated. The House is meant to debate that. Then we send it to
committee and hear from experts, not just members of Parliament
who are not often experts in these areas, but people who work in the
field. They are the social workers, the financial experts, the crime
experts and the police. We hear those suggestions and write
amendments based on those ideas. That is the way this place is
supposed to work.
However, the government is saying that in 99.3% of those cases
those experts are wrong and the government is right. It will not
change a period, a comma, not a word in any of the legislation. Then
lo and behold, time and time again, the legislation is challenged in
the courts successfully. The legislation does not fix the problems
identified and costs Canada and Canadians billions.
We all remember well Bill C-30, the Internet snooping bill that
would allow the state to look in on the Internet searches and emails
of Canadians without any warrant. The government decided in its
vigour for its tough on crime agenda that it would pass a law that
said that at any point, at any time, Canadians anywhere could have
their BlackBerrys and iPhones tapped by the government, that web
searches on home computers could be looked at by the government
and the police. There is no country in the world, outside of Iran and
North Korea, that would even consider doing this. The Conservative
government thought it was a fantastic idea. In trying to argue the
case, it said that if we were not into exposing our Internet searches
and our emails then we must be in support of child pornography.
Has any more offensive or stupid an argument ever been made on
the floor of the House of Commons? It is offensive to basic civil
liberties and decency, to the role of members of Parliament trying to
do our jobs and to the Canadians who said that they were not sure
they wanted the government looking at their email?
I look at the member for Yukon right now. I do not know what he
is searching and I do not want to know. It is his privacy to look on
his computer and do as he sees fit. That is a civil liberty I am sure he
defends as well, but not his government.
Bill C-10, the omnibus crime bill, was the flagship. The
government rammed it all into one bill and said that it was such
important legislation it would shut down debate on it too. Then
whole sections of the bill were taken out. Why? It was because they
were unconstitutional.
Now we know where that all comes from. Canadians actually pay
for a service. Many members of Parliament may not know this, but
when a government introduces a bill it goes to constitutional legal
experts to determine if the new legislation goes against our
constitution, our foundation as a country? If it does, it is a good
idea to modify the law to ensure it does not get challenged in the
courts, which costs upwards of $3 million to $5 million to taxpayers
every time there is one of those challenges. The government did not
check on Bill C-10. We know that because the people who work for
the Government of Canada, who do this work, are no longer
receiving references from the government.
The government is not even asking anymore. It is choosing
ignorance. This is incredible. It is saying that it does not want to
know whether the laws it writes are constitutional, whether the laws
it writes as a government are for or against the Charter of Rights and
Freedoms. This is incredible. This is not a mistake. It is by intention.
Therefore, we have these lawyers sitting in their offices, being paid
every day, waiting for the government to refer the bills it introduces
here to ensure they can survive a constitutional challenge. The
government does not ask anymore.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16701
Points of Order
Bill C-38, the first omnibus bill and Bill C-45, the second
omnibus bill, were both challenged in the courts as unconstitutional.
First nations are challenging it. I need to address this because the
government House leader mentioned two bills that are being moved,
so-called, on behalf of first nations. They are Bill S-2 and Bill S-8.
One is matrimonial property rights. It sounds pretty innocuous. Most
Canadians would say that matrimonial property rights for first
nations women on reserve maybe protects their rights. Who is
opposed to it? It is not just us in the opposition, but aboriginal
women, every first nation women's group in the country. My friend
across the way shakes his head, but I can show him the testimony
that says the bill is no good for aboriginal women.
● (1315)
However, the Conservatives know better. With their shameful
record on aboriginal rights and title in the country, suddenly they
know better than aboriginal women, than first nations women. Bill
S-8 is a bill to help first nations have clean drinking water because
the record has been shameful.
Government after government has failed first nations communities. Thirty-five per cent of the people I represent in northern
British Columbia are in first nations communities. The water
conditions there are incredibly bad. We have to do something about
it. There are fixes and there are ideas coming from those
communities.
Instead the government moves the bill, handing all responsibility
down to first nations in terms of cleaning up their own water mess,
but none of the resources to do it. Are first nations supportive of it?
No. Nor would any municipality or any province in Canada be
supportive of legislation that rams down responsibility without any
of the support, money or help to get that done.
Most of these first nations communities are living in abject
poverty. Where does the government think they are going to get the
money from? The government will not settle treaty with them in the
west. First nations are having mining, oil and gas exploration and
pipelines put everywhere and are receiving none of the royalties,
none of the compensation and the government will not move treaty
forward.
I was just in Gitxsan territory, speaking with the Gitxsan and the
Wet'suwet'en, talking about basic child services, kids who are being
abused in their homes and setting up a program that the federal
government said that we should enact 20 years ago to allow first
nations more rights and responsibilities to rescue those kids and help
them kids integrate back into their communities.
Who is not coming to the table? The Conservative government.
This is the government that on Bill S-2 and Bill S-8 suddenly said
that it had first nations rights and title and priorities at heart, when it
did not.
The place can work. Members can sense a certain amount of
frustration in my voice, because Parliament can work. It is actually
designed to work. I love our system. It is so superior to many other
systems I have studied around the world, that have consistent
congressional gridlock on legislation and on budgets. We can make
things happen here.
However, with the power that is afforded a majority government,
which is a lot, comes a certain amount of responsibility to use the
power wisely and not abuse it. Yet time and again we have seen the
government House leader and other ministers get up and say that
they are not looking to limit the debate; they just want to control it.
They reject virtually 100% of all the amendments and all the changes
and suggestions they hear at committee because they know better
and they have the votes to push it forward.
It is at such a point that the control has extended deeply into the
government's caucus. Some of the more socially conservative
members of the Conservative caucus are no longer free to speak,
or are only free to speak on certain things, in certain ways, if the
Prime Minister's Office allows for it.
In a small program that we run in northern B.C., initiated a
number of years ago, I hold a conference call with all the detachment
commanders from all the RCMP outposts that exist in my riding. It is
a very large riding facing a lot of tough, difficult situations with
policing. Once every two or three months I get on the phone with 12
detachment commanders and we talk about what is going on. We
talk about what is happening in crime, what the drug use is like, what
legislation is moving through the House that will help or hinder these
hard-working, hard-serving officers.
I am not allowed to have that conversation with these RCMP
officers anymore. I am not supposed to talk to them. As a sitting
member of Parliament, I am not supposed to go to them. A number
of them have come to me because they are friends and we have
known each other for years. They offer good, on-the-ground advice
about what is happening.
They say that they are sorry, that they cannot talk to me. They tell
me that I have to phone the Prime Minister's Office in order for them
to talk to me about what is going on in Prince Rupert, or what is
going on in Dease Lake or Bella Coola.
It is insane. This is wrong. Government officials at the
Department of Fisheries and Oceans, who I have known for years
and who I phone just for an update to see what is going on with our
fish on the west coast, tell me that I am a member of Parliament from
the opposition and that I need to phone the people in the Prime
Minister's Office and that they will give me permission as to whether
they can tell me what is going on in Canada's fishery.
This is not their government. This is not a Conservative
government. This is Canada's government. We pay for these civil
servants. We pay their salaries to do work on behalf of Canadians.
Whether it is silencing scientists, shutting down access for members
of Parliament to basic conversations, or shutting down debate in
Parliament, the consistent voice from the government is that it will
not be held to account.
● (1320)
[Translation]
This is bad. This is not just about the privilege all members of the
House need to do their job. The government says there is some
urgency, but there is not. There is no urgency when it comes to the
government's mandate or agenda.
16702
COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Points of Order
It is very strange for the government to say it is very open, when
we see what is going on in the Senate.
Minister's Office has shut them down. They run under the blue
banner, which is their choice.
We have senators like Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau. All current
senators have potentially stolen money from Canadians. These are
the same senators that the Prime Minister says are very good people.
These are the same senators using money from the Canadian people
to travel during an election and raise money for the Conservative
Party. That is the new Conservative Party. I do not understand.
I lament for those who seem so happy to get up and repeat the
mindless dribble that is put to them by the Prime Minister's Office
day after day. When they first ran for office, I wonder if they said
that they wanted to be a member of Parliament to represent people
and get to Parliament to speak with a strong voice of conviction on
behalf of the people they represent and that in order to do they would
read whatever was put in front of them by the Prime Minister's
Office, written by a 24-year-old intern who types out some sort of
nonsense and makes up policies that the NDP does not have, making
personal attacks on a regular basis as a substitute for honest and
sincere debate? Was that really their expectation?
I remember the Reform Party of Canada and some reforms that
Mr. Manning wanted to make. With the current party, it is the same
story as with the Liberal Party and the Gomery commission and all
the rest. I am both angry and sad.
The majority of Canadians did not vote for this government,
which has a majority, but does not have the majority support of
Canadians. Close to 60% of Canadians voted against this agenda,
against this sort of arrogance. They voted not to have the kind of
government that now uses brutal tactics, not against the New
Democratic Party, but against Parliament.
Lastly, I think we need to have a referendum, which may not
happen until the next election.
[English]
It bears some comment, not only with respect to the Senate
scandal but even the motion today.
I watched the government House leader and the Prime Minister
on television earlier. He actually allowed the media into his caucus
room for a second, which was bizarre. The bully turns into the
victim, that somehow this is put upon them, that they are somehow
being victimized here.
What frustrates me is not just the work that we have to do as
parliamentarians that is constantly thwarted by the government at
committee stage, and my friend laughs, but how can it be possible
that 99.3% of all amendments were rejected? The evidence is clear.
My friend can shake his head and laugh and treat this with disdain
or heckle out what seems to be a favourite tactic of some of my
friends who cannot win the debate, but can simply sit in their seats
and heckle, yell and try to put down a comment that hurts a little too
much, that being that 99.3% of all amendments were rejected, that
the witnesses were all wrong, that the government was always right
and that the courts must be wrong too. Soon the Conservatives will
call them activist courts like the Republicans do in the states.
Members should watch for it because it is coming.
We believe this motion is fundamentally flawed in its abuse of this
place and of all members. I do not speak just for the New Democrats
or the folks down the way. I speak for the backbenchers who have
been rubbing up against some of the limitations. What is sad about
most of it and is most concerning is those who are not agitating
against the Conservative government's control over its backbench
and accepting it. I lament the most for those who are so comfortable
reading the script from the Prime Minister's Office and repeating it
like robots, feeling that is their work and whose expectations of what
it is to be a member of Parliament are so diminished that they simply
accept it, not those the media have called rebels who have stood up
and stated that they want to have their own statement but the Prime
I wish I had some video evidence from some of those early
debates because I know that is not what those members ran on. I
know their nomination meetings did not look like that, nor did any of
the debates they attended during the campaign. That is not what they
said. They said that they would speak on behalf of their constituents,
fight for them and still raise their voice, even if that meant it was
contrary to what their government suggested.
● (1325)
I am sure that is what my friends across the way said. They are
very nice people. I know a lot of these folks, as we have spent some
time together. I know some of their inner thoughts about the way
Parliament ought to be, and some of them lament it. However, it is
the ones who do not who worry me. They are the ones who so
comfortably slip into that straitjacket day after day. Maybe they just
get used to it, but they are able to rationalize that there is some larger
agenda that is more important than their having an independent and
free voice.
They can keep yelling and you can allow them to if you wish, Mr.
Speaker, but the truth often hurts, and the truth of the matter is that
with a majority government, this member and his colleagues have
chosen to vote for closure more than any government in Canadian
history. With a majority, the Conservative government has refused
the evidence, has refused the science time and time again, and that
government is bad government.
The Conservative government appointed senators, and I am sure
some fundraising went on for some of my friends. Maybe Ms.
Wallin, Mr. Duffy or Mr. Brazeau came by and raised a few dollars,
shook a few hands and got a few votes for my friends. Maybe there
is a little bit of a tarnish on my colleagues, which is why they are
calling out and why they are worried. It is because their base hates
this. They hate the idea of entitlement and of an insider's game that
goes on in Ottawa all the time, and that friends of the Prime
Minister's Office get some sort of special treatment.
Talking about special treatment, how about a $90,000 personal
cheque just cut off the back and handed over to somebody who may
have defrauded taxpayers? Where is the Reform Party now? Where
are the original Conservative intentions now? They are gone, bit by
bit, eroded piece by piece. That is where it has gone, and it has all
been subjugated to some idea that there is a better and bigger cause,
that this grand scheme they are involved in somehow makes all of it
justifiable.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16703
Points of Order
Can you imagine, Mr. Speaker, what these guys would sound like
if the roles were reversed? If it were a Liberal government with
senators getting cheques from the Prime Minister's chief of staff or a
New Democratic government acting the way the Conservatives act,
could you imagine the hue and cry and the calls for resignations
every second minute? They would be losing their minds.
Now the Conservatives play the victim, saying that these senators
were put upon them, that they didn't know what they were doing,
that it is terrible. They only have a majority, both here and there. The
Prime Minister has appointed more senators than any Prime Minister
in Canadian history. How many did he say he would appoint? None,
but he had to appoint some, and then it had to be justified. These are
small and slow slippages, and this motion is a continuation of that.
This motion says that Parliament matters less and that those
Canadians who have grown cynical about the role of MPs are
justified in their cynicism. We say that is wrong. How do we turn to
the young voters coming up? How do we turn to people who come to
us and say that they might want to run for office one day? How can
we say that their voices will matter when the government moves
motions like this time and time again, shutting down debate?
As my friend the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern
Development said, the Conservatives do not want to shut down
debate; they just want to control it. Is this is how one entices people
into a life of politics? Is this how one encourages young people to
vote? Do we say, “Welcome to Parliament, where we are going to
control debate and shut it down time and time again”? This is the
Conservatives' call to action.
It is not a call to action, but a call to inaction. It is a call to
cynicism. It is calling to people, “Do not look over here; nothing is
happening here in government. Go on with your lives and other
things that are more important and distracting.” The government is
counting on people to have an attention deficit rather than realize that
the decisions we make here in Parliament every day affect Canadians
in every way.
If members of Parliament cannot do their work, as this motion
suggests, and hold the government to account, it is bad government.
It is bad government when it cannot find $3 billion that may be
under a mattress or in a banana stand or wherever it happens to be,
and when senators rip off taxpayers with no consequence
whatsoever. We think the RCMP might have a role to play here.
What would happen if any of the Canadians in our gallery today
or watching on TV defrauded the Canadian government of $500?
They would get charged. However, if it is a Conservative senator,
what happens? Oh, they just recuse themselves from caucus. Wow.
They still get paid, they still have all of their privileges, but they
cannot go to caucus meetings on Wednesday mornings.
Mr. Speaker, do you think that maybe that punishment is a little
severe? I mean, having to recuse oneself from a two-hour meeting on
Wednesday morning for defrauding taxpayers—boy, that seems
pretty harsh.
Why the double standard? We used to call that the culture of
entitlement. I remember a colleague of mine in this place, Ed
Broadbent, asking a former Liberal minister who became head of the
mint and was claiming packets of gum and coffee on his receipts,
“Are you entitled to your entitlements, sir?” This person took a
moment of authenticity and said, “Yes, I am entitled to my
entitlements.”
● (1330)
The Conservatives railed at the Liberal entitlement, the culture of
entitlement, the Gomery inquiry and all those terrible things that
went down.
History repeats itself if one is not a student of history, and it seems
that the Conservative Party has not looked at the history of this place
or of other parliaments.
The fact of the matter is that debate in and of itself is not a bad
thing. The exchange of ideas is not in and of itself a bad thing. Being
wrong from time to time is not of itself a bad thing; learning happens
in those moments, and the government needs to learn, because I can
read off the list of the bills it had so fundamentally wrong that it had
to withdraw them. The Conservatives had to say that they got it so
badly wrong because they listened to none of the amendments that
they have to fix it now, at the very last minute, or wait until it gets to
the Senate and let the unaccountable, unelected and under
investigation senators deal with it. That is no form of democracy
worth defending, and the Conservatives know it. They know it better
than most.
I will move that the motion be amended by deleting all the words
after “Fridays” and replacing them with the following: “(b) when
oral questions are to be taken up pursuant”—
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
Mr. Nathan Cullen: Mr. Speaker, my friends have not heard the
motion. Maybe they do not understand it yet. How could they? They
have not heard it yet.
Allow me to finish—
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
The Speaker: Order. The hon. opposition House leader is moving
an amendment. He does not need unanimous consent to move an
amendment at this point.
There will be an opportunity for members to express their opinion
on the amendment, but let us allow the member for Skeena—
Bulkley Valley to move the amendment before we do so.
The hon. member.
Mr. Nathan Cullen: Mr. Speaker, perhaps I will preface it a bit to
contain the catcalls.
The government is eventually going to shut the House down early,
as many suspect, due to the context and the scandals going on right
now. We are going to move an amendment that would allow question
period to be one and a half hour, 90 minutes, to allow the
government to be held to account.
It is a simple amendment. I will read it, and then we can debate it.
I know the Prime Minister has seen an urgency to suddenly go to
South America, but we believe that a 90-minute question period
would be a good idea.
I move:
16704
COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Speaker's Ruling
That the motion be amended by deleting all of the words after “Fridays;” and
replacing them with the following:
(b) when oral questions are to be taken up pursuant to Standing Order 30(5), they
shall last for a period of 90 minutes.
***
● (1335)
POINTS OF ORDER
SCOPE OF PRIVATE MEMBERS' BILLS—SPEAKER'S RULING
[English]
In his presentation the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of
the Government in the House of Commons argued that Standing
Order 97.1 does not preclude a committee from seeking an
instruction from the House in relation to a private member's bill.
He further explained that the committee remains seized of Bill C-425
and that its eighth report in no way supersedes the 60-sitting-day
deadline to report the bill back to the House.
The Speaker: Before moving on to questions and comments, I am
now prepared to rule on the point of order raised on April 25 by the
hon. member for Toronto Centre regarding the eighth report of the
Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, recommending that the scope of Bill C-425, An Act to amend the Citizenship
Act (honouring the Canadian Armed Forces), be expanded.
[Translation]
At the outset the Chair wishes to clarify what appear to be certain
misconceptions about the nature of private members' bills.
I would like to thank the hon. member for Toronto Centre for
having raised this issue, and the hon. Leader of the Government in
the House of Commons, the hon. House Leader of the Official
Opposition, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of
the Government in the House of Commons, and the members for
Winnipeg North, Saint-Lambert and Calgary Northeast for their
interventions.
[English]
As pointed out by the member for Saint-Lambert, constitutional
compliance is among the criteria used by the Subcommittee on
Private Members' Business to determine non-votability of private
members' bills. House of Commons Procedure and Practice, second
edition, describes these criteria at page 1130, including one
requirement that “bills and motions must not clearly violate the
Constitution Acts, 1867 to 1982, including the Canadian Charter of
Rights and Freedoms”.
In raising this matter, the hon. member for Toronto Centre
explained that during its consideration of Bill C-425, the Standing
Committee on Citizenship and Immigration adopted a motion
recommending that the House grant the committee the power to
expand the scope of the bill in order to allow for the consideration of
what he called “amendments that the Minister of Citizenship,
Immigration and Multiculturalism has asked be added to the list”.
This led to the presentation on April 23, 2013, of the committee's
eighth report. He found this approach to be problematic in two
respects. First, he argued that pursuant to Standing Order 97.1,
committees examining private members' bills are restricted as to the
types of reports they can present to the House. He argued essentially
that since the eighth report falls outside these parameters, it is out of
order.
His second argument centred on the impact such a manner of
proceeding could have. Specifically, he expressed concern that if
committees examining private members' bills were to be allowed
latitude to proceed in this fashion, the effect of this practice “will be
that the government could, by extrapolation, even add an omnibus
feature to a private member’s bill and say it is using its majority to
add everything, the whole kitchen sink, into the measure.”
[Translation]
The Government House Leader explained that, in view of the
differences of opinion expressed in the committee as to whether the
amendments proposed were within the scope of the bill, the
committee was seeking guidance from the House on the matter. In
making this observation, he pointed out that this process would
result in a number of hours of debate in the House on the committee
report before a decision was taken.
The first of these has to do with the arguments made by the House
leader for the official opposition and the member for Saint-Lambert
in reference to the constitutional compliance of legislation sponsored
by private members.
The Chair is not aware of further constitutional compliance tests
that are applied to any kind of legislation, whether sponsored by the
government or by private members, once bills are before the House
or its committees. In addition, hon. members will recall that in a
recent ruling delivered on March 27, I reminded the House that as
Speaker I have no role in interpreting matters of a constitutional or
legal nature.
● (1340)
[Translation]
Another apparent source of confusion has to do with the
difference between private bills and public bills. Virtually all the
bills that come before the House are public bills, whether they are
sponsored by private members or by the government.
[English]
As O'Brien and Bosc explains at page 1178:
Private bills must not be confused with private Members' bills. Although private
bills are sponsored by private Members, the term “private Member's bill” refers only
to public bills dealing with a matter of public policy introduced by Members who are
not Ministers.
[Translation]
Thus both government and private members’ bills are subject to
the same basic legislative process, namely introduction and first
reading, second reading, committee stage, report stage and, finally,
third reading. At the same time, the House has seen fit to devise
specific procedures for dealing with public bills sponsored by the
government and private members alike.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16705
Speaker's Ruling
[English]
In describing the three broad categories of reports that standing
committees normally present, O’Brien and Bosc, at page 985,
describe administrative and procedural reports as those:
For example, Standing Order 73 allows the government to
propose that a government bill be referred to committee before
second reading after a five-hour debate. The purpose of this rule is to
allow greater flexibility to members in committee by enabling them
to propose amendments to alter the scope of the measure.
● (1345)
[Translation]
[Translation]
The procedures in place for dealing with private members’ bills
are likewise many layered, and have evolved in response to
particular situations faced by the House in the past. This is the
case with the provision for a maximum of two hours of debate at
second reading, which came about to allow the House to consider
more items and thus to allow more private members to have their
measures considered. Similarly, Standing Order 97.1 was originally
brought in to ensure that private members’ bills referred to
committee would be returned to the House and to the order of
precedence in a timely fashion.
An example of a committee reporting on a matter related to a bill
may be found in the Journals of April 29, 2008, where, in its sixth
report, the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable
Development felt compelled to provide reasons why it did not
complete the study of a particular private member’s bill.
[English]
In the present case, it appears to the Chair that the essence of the
procedural question before me is to determine whether the House has
the power to grant permission to a committee to expand the scope of
a private member's bill after that scope has been agreed to by the
House at second reading and, if so, whether this can be achieved by
way of a committee report.
House of Commons Procedure and Practice, second edition, is
helpful in this regard. It states at page 752:
Once a bill has been referred to a committee, the House may instruct the
committee by way of a motion authorizing what would otherwise be beyond its
powers, such as, for example, examining a portion of a bill and reporting it
separately, examining certain items in particular, dividing a bill into more than one
bill, consolidating two or more bills into a single bill, or expanding or narrowing the
scope or application of a bill.
Clearly then, by way of a motion of instruction, the House can
grant a committee the power to expand the scope of a bill, be it a
government bill or a private member's bill. An example can be found
at page 289 of the Journals for April 27, 2010, where an opposition
member moved a motion of instruction related to a government bill.
[Translation]
Having established that the House does have the authority to grant
permission to a committee to expand the scope of a bill through a
motion of instruction, the question becomes whether a committee
report is also a procedurally valid way to achieve the same result.
[English]
The member for Toronto Centre is correct in saying that the
explicit authority to present this type of report is not found in
Standing Order No. 97.1, which exists to oblige committees to
respect deadlines for reporting back to the House on private
members' bills. In that respect, Standing Order No. 97.1 continues to
apply.
However, Standing Order No. 108(1)(a) does grant committees
this power under their more general mandate to:
examine and enquire into all such matters as may be referred to them by the
House [and] to report from time to time
in which standing committees ask the House for special permission or additional
powers, or those that deal with a matter of privilege or procedure arising from
committee proceedings.
[English]
Finally, O'Brien and Bosc, at page 752, further state:
A committee that so wishes may also seek an instruction from the House.
This undoubtedly could be done only through the presentation of a
committee report to the House.
What this confirms is that the authority of the House to grant
permission to a committee to expand the scope of a bill can be
sought and secured, either through a motion of instruction or through
concurrence in a committee report.
O’Brien and Bosc summarizes this well at page 992:
[Translation]
If a standing, legislative or special committee requires additional powers, they
may be conferred on the committee by an order of the House—by far the most
common approach—or by concurrence in a committee report requesting the
conferring of those powers.
[English]
Later, O’Brien and Bosc explain, at page 1075:
Recommendations in committee reports are normally drafted in the form of
motions so that, if the reports are concurred in, the recommendations become clear
orders or resolutions of the House.
[Translation]
Just as the adoption of a motion of instruction to a committee
would become an order of the House, so too would the adoption of a
committee report requesting the permission of the House to expand
the scope of a bill.
Of course, it has always been the case that instructions to a
committee must be in proper form. According to O’Brien and Bosc,
at page 754, such instructions must be “worded in such a way that
the committee will clearly understand what the House wants”.
[English]
It is nevertheless clear to the Chair that there is genuine disquiet
about the impact of this attempted procedural course of action. The
Chair is not deaf to those concerns and, in that light, wishes to
reassure the House that this manner of proceedings does not obviate
the need for committees to observe all the usual rules governing the
admissibility of amendments to the clauses of a bill, which are
described in detail at pages 766 to 761 of House of Commons
Procedure and Practice, second edition.
16706
COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Governement Orders
In particular, granting a committee permission to expand the scope
of a bill does not, ipso facto, grant it permission to adopt
amendments that run counter to its principle. Were a committee to
report a bill to the House containing inadmissible amendments,
O’Brien and Bosc at page 775 states:
The admissibility of those amendments, and of any other amendments made by a
committee, may therefore be challenged on procedural grounds when the House
resumes its consideration of the bill at report stage. The admissibility of the
amendments is then determined by the Speaker of the House, whether in response to
a point of order or on his or her own initiative.
For all of the reasons outlined, I must conclude that the eighth
report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration is
in order. I thank all hon. members for their attention.
***
EXTENSION OF SITTING HOURS
The House resumed consideration of the motion, and of the
amendment.
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Winnipeg North, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it
has been an interesting process we have witnessed over the last
couple of years. We have gone from having a minority Conservative
government to a totally different attitude on how to govern
proceedings inside the House now that the Conservatives have a
majority. Democracy has really fallen to the side. It is not as
important as it used to be when the Conservative/Reformers had a
minority government.
I want to raise a specific issue. It was during the 39th Parliament
that the previous clerk of the House of Commons told the Standing
Committee on Procedure and House Affairs that the budget for
Parliament can handle two weeks of extended sitting hours in June.
However, if the extended hours were to continue for additional
weeks, the government would likely have to seek Parliament's
approval for more money.
I notice that the supplementary estimates (A) do not include a
request to make any of the payments that will be generated by things
such as overtime for House of Commons staff. I would argue that the
government House leader seems to be responding to a Conservative
crisis from last week and is getting anxious to leave a little early as
opposed to going through the normal process. If the government had
a plan to sit extra hours, there should have been a budget request
going into the estimates to increase the budget, which would allow
us to sit the extra weeks.
My question to the opposition House leader is whether he would
concur that this might have been done in a very hasty fashion,
possibly as a way to deal with the crisis that is looming with respect
to the Senate.
● (1350)
Mr. Nathan Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley, NDP): Mr.
Speaker, it seems to the Conservatives that something so
unimportant as taxpayer dollars would never get in the way of their
avoiding a crisis. The fact that they have not actually accounted for
the money required to run Parliament for these extra hours for an
extended time—a month, in this case—shows two things. One is that
they do not really care all that much if they have to blow more
money. I remind my hon. colleague of the scandal around the F-35
purchase. It does not really matter what kind of evidence comes
forward or how expensive it is, whether the evidence is from the
Parliamentary Budget Officer, the U.S. Congress or the Auditor
General of Canada. The political expediency of buying those
particular jets, which they seem obsessed with, always overrides the
responsibility they have to taxpayers.
With respect to this new bullying tactic and ramming bills through
Parliament and the fact that it is going to cost more money to do
what the Conservatives say they are going to do, I am going to take
the House leader at his word today. When he was asked by my friend
from Gatineau if we were sitting all the way to the end of June, as the
calendar now states, at these extended hours, he said yes, because
they are such hard-working Conservatives.
They do not have the money to pay for it. We will find out where
they claw it back from. I have an idea. There is $90 million being
spent on the Senate, where we do not really get good value for
money. Why do we not cut that budget down a few hundred million
dollars over the years and pay for some things Canadians want?
Ms. Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands, GP): Mr. Speaker,
I am curious about the procedural and traditional question he raised
on extended hours until the very end of the current sitting, with no
justification. Another place we could find the money would be the
completely unaccountable budget of the Prime Minister's office,
currently at $10 million. We cannot even get a list of who works
there or what they earn. Perhaps we could attach that as a condition
precedent to meeting until midnight. I also do not mind late hours,
but I would like to see taxpayers get the accountability they deserve.
Mr. Nathan Cullen: Mr. Speaker, this is an interesting and maybe
fruitful exercise. We could start to look at the way the Conservative
government spends its money, which is badly, on gazebos and F-35s.
There is $3 billion it cannot actually account for, which I believe was
meant for anti-terrorism measures, and $100-plus million for ads
Canadians are annoyed by. Those all seem like good places to start to
look for the money we need to allow Parliament to function. I think
Canadians could actually get behind the idea of allowing democracy
to go ahead of all of these wasteful, ridiculous expenditures of the
Conservatives, who were supposed to be conservative with taxpayer
dollars and have turned out to be anything but. Those would all be
great sources.
I would like to suggest to my friend down the way that the Senate
would be the New Democrats' preferred place to start. Not only are
we losing money in the proposition and getting nothing for it, we are
probably being defrauded right now. I do not want to pay for
Conservative senators to run around raising money for Conservative
MPs and the party itself. That is one of the worst uses of taxpayer
money I have ever seen.
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, my
colleague pointed out, actually, a really interesting aspect. When one
is in trouble, what does one do? One runs for the border and goes
south, just like the Prime Minister has done.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16707
Governement Orders
I want to go to a specific element he pointed out that is important,
which is that legislation that is tied up in the budget bill does not go
to committee. We are dealing with the Investment Canada Act. This
is the third time it has been in a budget bill, because it has been done
wrong every single time. There is legislation related to CIDA. There
is all kinds of legislation in this budget bill. It not only locks out the
committee process, it locks out the public, businesses, not-for-profit
organizations, researchers and the experts. All those that have
provided value-added input are now disappearing. That is why we
are losing in the courts.
I would like my hon. colleague to expand on that.
Mr. Nathan Cullen: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my friend
from Windsor West not only for his question but for the work he has
done with respect to the border. Every time the current government
increases the hardship for the border guards who work at all the
border crossings, but particularly at Windsor, he has recognized not
only the harm and the risk to our border agents but the harm to our
Canadian economy when we do not have the free flow and exchange
of goods, particularly with our largest trading partner.
With respect to how legislation comes through now, it has become
a fundamental and categorical mess. Not only is there the expense to
Canadians from all these charter challenges that go to the Supreme
Court, while the government uses Canadians' money to defend bad
legislation it knows is wrong, it also hurts the business community,
which is looking for certainty of the rules, whether it is the foreign
investment act, et cetera. It would be incredible if one of these
ministers would get up one day and actually define “net benefit”
when talking about the acquisition of Canadian companies from, in
some cases, Chinese state-owned enterprises. It hurts the business
community and it hurts our economy when the government keeps
writing such bad laws and keeps getting it wrong, simply out of
hubris and arrogance.
Let us do it right. Let us use Parliament for what it is for, which is
to conduct debate, hold these guys to account, and make sure that
they stop blowing so many billions of dollars on such wasteful and
dumb ideas.
● (1355)
Mr. Jack Harris (St. John's East, NDP): Mr. Speaker, there was
some talk of overtime from the other side of the House. I think the
idea of having question period for an extra 45 minutes may be a bit
of overtime for ministers on the other side. However, is it possible
that with an extra 45 minutes, we might actually get some answers at
question period?
Mr. Nathan Cullen: Mr. Speaker, that is a novel concept. The
opposition would put forward the questions we put each and every
day and then the government would seek to actually answer those
questions.
How many constituents have we all heard from who have said, “I
watched question period the other day. You know what frustrates me
the most? You guys ask a simple, direct question, such as, 'When is
the government going to do X?' or 'When is decision Y?' and all you
get back is this bafflegab time and again.” Maybe an extra 45
minutes a day would do the trick.
What we will see in question period today is that each of the
ministers has a little binder. They flip open these little cheat sheets to
answer questions they do not know the answers to. Perhaps after
another 45 minutes, they would run out of those little cheat sheets,
and then, lo and behold, they might actually answer a question. They
might actually give us their thoughts on the affairs of the state and
tell Canadians, for once, what is actually going on. Rather than
finding out about it from access to information and through scandalplagued Senate debacles, we could find out what the government is
actually planning to do with the money it spends on behalf of
Canadians.
Ms. Jinny Jogindera Sims (Newton—North Delta, NDP): Mr.
Speaker, when we hear that we have this legislative agenda and we
are going to sit until midnight every night until June 21, this is really
legislation through exhaustion.
We have so much stuff being done by the current government
outside of Parliament. We watched as major changes to family
reunification were announced on Friday, the Friday before the break
week, that would basically put families under stress, yet here we are
now saying that we will be meeting until midnight. If we have so
much stuff to debate, why does the government keep shutting down
debate constantly?
I have to say to my esteemed colleague that if we were to have a
longer question period, my fear is that the government would keep
reading the same answers over and over again.
Mr. Nathan Cullen: Mr. Speaker, hope springs eternal to my
friend from Surrey.
One wonders if we actually ever saw the legislation that allowed
for half of all so-called immigration into Canada to be now under the
foreign temporary worker program. I do not recall seeing legislation
from the government that said that one out of every three new jobs
created since 2008 would go to a foreign temporary worker. I do not
remember that bill.
I do not remember the bill before Parliament in which it said that
Chinese state-owned enterprises can buy up Canadian enterprises
with little to no oversight. I do not remember that legislation. If the
government had actually moved some legislation and new law, we
would have debated it. The government would not have had the
courage of its convictions, and we would actually have seen
something that is quite unique under a Conservative government:
Parliament doing its job and members of Parliament speaking on
behalf of the people they represent and holding these guys to
account. Lord knows, they need it.
16708
COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Statements by Members
STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS
opportunity to meet with Elijah on a number of occasions to share
perspectives on northern and aboriginal issues.
ETOBICOKE CENTRE
Mr. Ted Opitz (Etobicoke Centre, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I meet
with constituents frequently. Their insights are invaluable, and I am
grateful for their confidence and the opportunity to serve Etobicoke
Centre these past two years.
Elijah Harper was a visionary and a trailblazer. He was a role
model. History will record him as being a great leader for first
nations, for Manitobans and for Canadians.
[English]
We thank Elijah. Chii-Miigwetch.
This past week, I updated my constituents of Somali heritage on
our government's support of Somalia, and I announced new
humanitarian funding for the region.
***
MEMORIAL CUP
I discussed the super visa with the Serbian community.
I met with the Ukrainian community in my capacity as chair of
the Canada-Ukraine Friendship Group.
I toured an adult learning and training centre for developing skills
and finding jobs for Canadians.
I attended the Toronto Catholic District School Board's miniOlympics.
I was interviewed on a Hungarian TV program, Magyar Képek.
I participated in the Rotary Club reception for Queen Elizabeth II
Diamond Jubilee Medal recipients.
I welcomed the International Development and Relief Foundation
to Etobicoke Centre.
I presented Florence Thiffault greetings on her 95th birthday at the
season opening of the Etobicoke Lawn Bowling Club.
I visited a photo exhibition chronicling the Katyn massacre, and I
addressed Polish veterans who valiantly fought for and won the
Battle of Monte Cassino in May 1943, a battle my own father fought
in.
It was yet another productive week in Etobicoke Centre.
***
Mr. Brad Trost (Saskatoon—Humboldt, CPC): Mr. Speaker, it
will be an incredible week in Saskatoon as the city and the province
of Saskatchewan host the Memorial Cup. The Memorial Cup will be
an outstanding event, thanks to the true Saskatchewan volunteer
spirit.
Military representatives, alumni from the host Saskatoon Blades
and Canadian Hockey League officials were on hand as the
Memorial Cup arrived in Saskatoon. The flyover by two members
of the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, Canada's famed aerobatics team,
made the opening ceremony special. It was an opportunity to
acknowledge the role of the Canadian military in our country today.
Its members' sacrifices are extraordinary, and the opening ceremony
was an opportunity for the people of Saskatoon to express the
gratitude they feel to the men and women of the Canadian Armed
Forces.
Special thanks to the many volunteers who have worked tirelessly
to ensure the success of this Memorial Cup, led by Tim Gitzel and
Jack Brodsky. They are to be commended for going above and
beyond the call of duty. It is the effort they are demonstrating this
week that has made Saskatoon the volunteer capital of Canada. We
salute each and every unsung volunteer and thank them for making
the Memorial Cup an event of which to be proud.
● (1400)
ELIJAH HARPER
Ms. Niki Ashton (Churchill, NDP): Mr. Speaker, on behalf of
my constituents and all New Democrats, I stand in this House and
pay tribute to Elijah Harper. I would like to share our condolences
with Elijah Harper's family and his community on this great loss.
From a young age, I had the honour of knowing Elijah as he was
first elected MLA in Manitoba in 1981, along with my father.
Elijah made history as the first first nations person to be elected as
MLA and then as cabinet minister in Manitoba. He changed the
course of history by speaking for aboriginal people on the Meech
Lake accord. He spoke with courage on first nations issues and was a
champion for first nations sovereignty, for justice, for building a
better future.
I have the honour to represent the same constituency Elijah Harper
represented, including Red Sucker Lake, Elijah's first nation, a
nation that is so proud of him. I was fortunate to have the
***
[Translation]
HAITIAN COMMUNITY IN THE NATIONAL CAPITAL
REGION
Hon. Mauril Bélanger (Ottawa—Vanier, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, in
recent years, there has been a notable resurgence of pride and energy
from the Haitian diaspora in the national capital region.
I would especially like to congratulate His Excellency, Mr. Frantz
Liautaud, Haiti's ambassador to Canada, on the occasion of the 210th
anniversary of the creation of the Haitian flag. The anniversary
celebrations were held on May 15 at the Canadian Museum of
Civilization in Gatineau, where hundreds of guests had the pleasure
of listening to Chantale Laville's beautiful voice and David
Bontemps's piano performance.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16709
Statements by Members
I am taking this opportunity to highlight the creation of excellence
scholarships for the Haitian community in the Outaouais. Last year,
together with Gatineau city councillor Mireille Apollon and a
remarkable committee of volunteers, I launched this initiative at the
University of Ottawa, and funds were collected to create an
excellence scholarship for the Haitian community at that university.
This year, we are holding an event on Thursday, May 23, with all
profits going to create a matching scholarship fund at the Université
du Québec en Outaouais.
Congratulations and all the best to our friends from the Haitian
diaspora and, of course, heartfelt congratulations to all Haitians.
***
[English]
CANADIAN FORCES
Mr. Bernard Trottier (Etobicoke—Lakeshore, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, today I would like to stand and honour the men and
women who have served in the Canadian Forces and who continue
to serve our great country. Our Conservative government supports
our troops while in combat, and we continue to support them when
they return home safely.
This is why our government is getting things done for Canadian
veterans, cutting red tape, creating new career opportunities and
partnering with non-profit organizations and corporate Canada to
ensure a seamless transition to civilian life.
In addition to what our government is doing, a Canadian charity,
To the Stan and Back, supports post-combat wellness programs for
returning troops from Afghanistan, or “the Stan” for short. Tonight,
To the Stan and Back is hosting the fourth annual Party Under the
Stars in Ottawa to raise money for the Canadian men and women
who have returned recently from the Stan. This event is always a
great time and raises money for a worthwhile cause.
I would like to invite my fellow parliamentarians to show their
support for tonight's great event and support the men and women
who have risked their lives for the safety of all Canadians.
***
● (1405)
[Translation]
GRANBY REGION
Mr. Réjean Genest (Shefford, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the Granby
region is a very popular summer destination, and it is easy to see
why. Our major tourist attraction is without a doubt the well-known
Granby Zoo and its aquatic park Amazoo. Every year, 600,000
visitors come to admire the zoo's 1,000 animals.
[English]
NORTH SHORE RESCUE
Mr. Andrew Saxton (North Vancouver, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I
rise today to salute the incredible work of North Shore Rescue.
Originally established as a civil defence unit in 1965, North Shore
Rescue quickly evolved into a specialized, well-trained and highly
effective search and rescue team comprising entirely volunteers.
Their focus on mountain, helicopter and urban search and rescue
and public education provides life-saving services all year round.
Last year I was pleased to present founding member Karl Winter
with a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of
more than 50 years of contributions to this service.
Recently the combined efforts of rescue team leader Tim Jones
and our government also helped to speedily resolve a regulatory
problem with helicopter long line equipment. This quick action
saved lives and is a testament to the importance of teamwork.
On behalf of the outdoor sports enthusiasts who enjoy North
Vancouver's gorgeous terrain, I want to thank the North Shore
Rescue team for its ongoing commitment to our safety and security,
and send big congratulations on its new state-of-the-art command
centre.
***
CAVE AND BASIN NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
Mr. Blake Richards (Wild Rose, CPC): Mr. Speaker, last Friday
it was my pleasure to announce the grand re-opening of Banff's Cave
and Basin National Historic Site.
In 1883, Canadian Pacific Railway workers explored the site's
warm mineral springs at Sulphur Mountain. They set off a chain of
events that echoed eastward across the great plains, all the way to the
ears of our country's founding prime minister, Sir John A.
Macdonald.
Just two years later, his government reserved a wide swath of
territory surrounding the cave and basin. This was the genesis of
Canada's national parks system, which today includes 44 national
parks and 167 national historic sites.
Yamaska National Park and its beach are also very popular with
visitors who enjoy canoeing, camping and much more. The Granby
area is also home to a fantastic bike path network. Granby also hosts
a number of events, such as Granby International, one of the largest
classic car shows in Canada, the Granby Challenger tennis
championship, festivals in downtown Granby, and I could go on.
Since 2006, our Conservative government has expanded the total
area of our national parks by more than 50%, an area larger than
Greece. These are Canada's gift to future generations and form the
very fabric of our great nation.
Campgrounds, hotels and bed and breakfasts offer a wide range of
lodging options. This summer, you will need more than a week in
Granby.
I invite all Canadians and the world to visit the revitalized Cave
and Basin National Historic Site in beautiful Banff National Park to
see where this dream truly began.
16710
COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Statements by Members
[Translation]
SHIPWRECK IN TABUSINTAC
Mr. Yvon Godin (Acadie—Bathurst, NDP): Mr. Speaker, it is
with sadness that I rise today to pay my respects to the three lobster
fishers who died in the early hours of Saturday, May 18. SamuelRené Boutin of Rivière-du-Portage, age 23; Alfred Rousselle of
Brantville, age 32; and Ian Benoit of Grattan Road, age 35, left the
Tabusintac wharf in New Brunswick, never to return. Their boat hit a
sandbar and capsized.
Fishing was Samuel-René, Alfred and Ian's livelihood, but they
also loved being at sea. Every morning, hundreds of fishers leave
their families and go out to sea. Fishers and their families are all too
familiar with the dangers involved, but they go out despite the risks.
On behalf of the NDP, I would like to take this opportunity to offer
our sincere condolences to these men's families and to all the fishers
who have lost friends and colleagues. Our thoughts are with you.
***
[English]
LEADER OF THE NEW DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF
CANADA
Mr. Costas Menegakis (Richmond Hill, CPC): Mr. Speaker, for
17 years, the NDP leader has known about corruption in Quebec, but
kept it all to himself.
In 1994, the NDP leader met with the former mayor of Laval, who
offered him help in the form of an envelope stuffed with cash.
Today, media are reporting that after the former mayor of Laval
tried to bribe the NDP leader, the NDP leader had the gall to thank
him and shake his hand. That does not sound like someone outraged
by being witness to criminal activity.
Let us recap what we know. The NDP leader was silent about the
criminal activity of the former mayor of Laval for 17 years. Then he
was untruthful about it when he said he was never offered any
money. Then he did not seem that upset about it.
The NDP leader has some explaining to do.
***
● (1410)
[Translation]
PEACE AND FRIENDSHIP AWARENESS
Mr. Philip Toone (Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, NDP): Mr.
Speaker, today, the Peace and Friendship Awareness Walk arrived in
Ottawa.
[English]
Adam Barnaby, Christianne Bernard, Tina Caplin, Doris Martin,
Richard Martin and Ryan Papineau all walked from Listuguj First
Nation in the Gaspé all the way to Ottawa, starting 21 days ago,
meeting many first nations along the way. They are calling for the
respect of treaty rights and better environmental protection.
Their initiative is just the latest example of the leadership the
Mi’kmaq Nations have taken in the Gaspé and across Atlantic
Canada. From employment insurance to the Navigable Waters
Protection Act, from wind energy production to salmon river
protection, the Mi’kmaq are leaders in the many issues that impact
Eastern Canada.
[Translation]
Their leadership is a perfect example of the benefits of working
together.
I thank all of the walkers for reaching out to us. Now it is up to us
to reciprocate.
***
LEADER OF THE NEW DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF
CANADA
Mr. Jacques Gourde (Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière,
CPC): Mr. Speaker, the leader of the NDP has been aware of the
political corruption in Quebec since 1994, when the mayor of Laval
allegedly offered him an envelope—the Liberals' preferred method
of assistance. He kept this sordid affair a secret for 17 years.
In 2010, he even denied that he had ever been offered a bribe.
After remaining silent for 17 years, he decided to speak out after an
investigation was launched into these issues in 2011.
The leader of the NDP could be called to appear before the
Charbonneau commission to explain his actions. The leader of the
NDP hid his knowledge of corruption from the public for two years
before deciding to break his silence last week.
The leader of the NDP must explain why he kept this a secret for
17 years.
***
[English]
ELIJAH HARPER
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Winnipeg North, Lib.): Mr. Speaker,
today marks the beginning of Aboriginal Awareness Week, a time to
recognize and celebrate the history and ongoing achievements of
aboriginal peoples across Canada.
The late Elijah Harper is an example of leadership and inspiration.
Last Friday Canada lost a great leader in Elijah Harper, a man who
stood strong for aboriginal peoples and worked tirelessly throughout
his life to ensure that the voice of indigenous peoples was, and
continues to be, respected.
A memory of mine, which I will never forget, took place inside
the Manitoba legislature. I was able to witness first-hand when Mr.
Harper, in 1990, voted no on several consecutive days. By voting no,
he single-handedly prevented the Meech Lake accord from passing
the Manitoba legislature.
His actions then continue to be an enduring reminder of the need
to respect the voice of aboriginal peoples. Mr. Harper was also a
chief, a member of Parliament, a husband, a father and so much
more.
On behalf of the Liberal Party of Canada and the residents of my
home province, we offer our condolences to his family.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16711
Oral Questions
LEADER OF THE NEW DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF
CANADA
Mr. Rob Anders (Calgary West, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the leader
of the NDP has known about corruption in Quebec politics since
1994, yet he chose to keep it secret for 17 years. In 2010, he even
denied to the media and to Canadians ever having been offered a
bribe by the mayor of Laval. The leader of the NDP kept his firsthand knowledge of corruption from the public and was only forced
to speak up and backtrack on his denial after corruption investigations began in Quebec.
of both Houses of the Parliament of Canada. I ask everyone here
today to join me in paying tribute to a great Canadian patriot, Doug
Finley.
The leader of the NDP should be investigated by the RCMP for
concealing his knowledge of corruption. As parliamentarians we
must uphold a culture of accountability. The NDP owes Canadians
an explanation for its leader's 17-year cover-up on corruption in
Quebec.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair (Leader of the Opposition, NDP): Mr.
Speaker, when the going gets tough, the tough get going, to Peru
apparently.
***
CONSERVATIVE PARTY OF CANADA
Mr. Dan Harris (Scarborough Southwest, NDP): Mr. Speaker,
Canadians have had a difficult time following the Conservatives'
twisted train of logic on their latest scandal. From the start of the
great Senate cover-up, Conservatives have flip-flopped with great
conviction. There is the parliamentary secretary for transport who
boldly defended this unethical behaviour declaring, “Nigel Wright
did an exceptionally honourable thing. He reached into his own
resources, wrote a personal cheque...”.
The member for Calgary Centre claimed the resignation of the
Prime Minister's chief of staff and others is proof of “...the highest
ethical standards”. Then there was this morning's Oscar-worthy
performance of a Prime Minister trying to sweep it all under the rug
before he heads out the back door and jets off to Peru.
My constituents want the corruption to end. They want the guilty
parties to be punished and they want some genuine accountability
here in Ottawa. It is too bad Canadians have to wait until 2015 to
move beyond the old line parties and get the honest change that they
deserve.
***
● (1415)
DOUG FINLEY
Mr. Scott Reid (Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington,
CPC): Mr. Speaker, a great Canadian has passed.
Doug Finley was born overseas and never lost his magnificent
Scottish accent, but he loved this country from the top of his head to
the tips of his gillie brogues. He was a gifted political organizer. He
was discreet, loyal, a wise counsellor to the mighty and a wise guide
to the young and idealistic. He was an idealist himself who believed
profoundly in democracy and who devoted the last decade of his life
to pursuing this ideal. He was my friend and I miss him deeply.
Above all, Doug Finley was a family man. His love for his wife
Diane was legendary. His daughter and his grandchildren were his
life's joy.
His accomplishments took place in the theatre of partisan and
electoral politics, but Doug had the respect of members on both sides
ORAL QUESTIONS
[English]
ETHICS
The Prime Minister's chief of staff gave Mike Duffy a $90,000
cheque. In exchange Duffy paid—
Some hon. members: Oh! Oh!
The Speaker: Order. The hon. Leader of the Opposition has the
floor.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's chief
of staff gave Mike Duffy a $90,000 cheque. In exchange, Duffy paid
off illegal expenses, stopped co-operating with auditors, and the
PMO said in writing that they would go easy on him. In his own
words, Senator Duffy “stayed silent on the orders of the Prime
Minister's Office”. A secret cash payment from the Prime Minister's
chief of staff was negotiated by the Prime Minister's own lawyer.
Will the Prime Minister call in the RCMP and release all
documents related to this secret backroom deal?
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, the Prime Minister has been very clear that he was not
aware of the payment until last week, after it had been reported
publicly in the media. The Prime Minister spoke very loudly and
very clearly this morning. Furthermore, this matter has been referred
to two independent bodies for review. We look forward to the results
of these reviews.
[Translation]
Hon. Thomas Mulcair (Leader of the Opposition, NDP): Mr.
Speaker, many questions remain unanswered about the secret deal
made by the Prime Minister's Office, the report that was doctored to
clear a senator and the so-called gift of $90,000.
When did the Prime Minister find out about the negotiations
between his chief of staff, Nigel Wright, and Senator Duffy? Was the
new chief of staff, Ray Novak, aware of this scheme?
[English]
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, the Prime Minister was not aware of the payment until last
week after it was reported in the media, and neither was his current
chief of staff.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair (Leader of the Opposition, NDP): Mr.
Speaker, Mike Duffy agreed to “stay silent on the orders of the
PMO”. In exchange, the Prime Minister's Office agreed to cover the
cost of the senator's fraudulent expenses.
16712
COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Oral Questions
Why were taxpayer-funded lawyers used to negotiate this secret
backroom deal between the Prime Minister's chief of staff and
Senator Duffy? Was taxpayers' money used to bankroll Senate-gate,
yes or no?
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, it will come as no surprise to the Leader of the Opposition
that I reject much of the premise of his question. I have been very
clear and the government has been very clear that the Prime Minister
was not aware of this payment until media reports surfaced last
week. Let me be very clear on that point.
● (1420)
Ms. Françoise Boivin (Gatineau, NDP): Mr. Speaker, this
morning's press conference left us with many unanswered questions.
We still do not know if the Prime Minister knew about his chief of
staff's sudden generosity or if he had anything to do with the
whitewashing of the Senate audit. His role has yet to become clear.
Minister was not aware of the payment until last week when reports
surfaced in the media.
I have a very simple question. What did the Prime Minister know
and when did he know it?
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, one has to be able to roll during question period.
I am going to repeat my question: what precisely was the secret
deal that the Prime Minister's Office made with Senator Duffy?
The government has provided a very clear answer. I cannot be
more clear. I cannot be more specific. I did indicate to the Leader of
the Opposition that the Prime Minister was not aware of this
payment until after it surfaced in the media last week. I cannot be
any more clear to the House and I cannot be any more clear to the
member opposite.
[Translation]
Ms. Françoise Boivin (Gatineau, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the
Conservatives are always going to have a problem with credibility.
They have no credibility whatsoever. They always wait until the last
second to act. Then, they take us for fools.
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, the Prime Minister obviously not having known of the
payment could not know about any alleged agreement to which the
leader of the third party refers.
Our understanding is there is no document. Again, I am very
happy to have responded to both questions the member asked.
Mr. Justin Trudeau (Papineau, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the Prime
Minister is in it up to his neck, and the members opposite know it.
[Translation]
It is now clear that the government has lost its moral compass
under this Prime Minister. The Prime Minister's right-hand man
made a secret $90,000 deal with a parliamentarian in order to
obstruct an audit. Canadians are demanding real transparency.
[English]
This matter has been referred to two independent bodies that will
review it. We look forward to hearing their comments following.
The Conservatives have still not provided a shred of evidence to
support their claims on this issue.
Mr. Justin Trudeau (Papineau, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, Canadians
work hard and play by the rules. They pay their own debts.
Apparently, when the Conservatives break the rules, they get their
debts secretly paid off by their friends in high places. It boggles the
mind. Nobody over there even thinks anybody did anything wrong
except get caught.
The Prime Minister is known for micromanaging his government,
yet, the Conservatives now expect us to believe that he knew nothing
about the schemes concocted by his chief of staff and his lawyer,
Benjamin Perrin. Come on.
When will the Conservatives release this secret document, allow
for a full investigation and, while they are at it, apologize to
Canadians?
Are the Conservatives really saying that this complex scheme was
carried out without the Prime Minister knowing anything about it?
[English]
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, I have stood in this place and I have answered the question
categorically as to when the Prime Minister was made aware of this
issue. I could not be any clearer.
Mr. Justin Trudeau (Papineau, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is clear
now that the Conservative government under the Prime Minister has
lost its moral compass. The Prime Minister's right-hand man secretly
paid a parliamentarian $90,000 to obstruct an audit. Canadians
deserve better. They deserve actual transparency and accountability.
What precisely was the secret deal that the Prime Minister's Office
made with Senator Duffy? Show us the documents.
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, I have said it before and I will say it again. The Prime
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, with respect to a legal agreement to which the member
opposite refers, our understanding is there is no such agreement.
This issue has been referred to two independent authorities that
will look into the matter. We look forward to them reporting back to
Parliament and to Canadians.
Mr. Charlie Angus (Timmins—James Bay, NDP): Mr. Speaker,
we now learn that the Prime Minister's key legal adviser, Benjamin
Perrin, helped Nigel Wright with this secret deal that included a
$90,000 payout and a promise to have Conservative senators “go
easy” on Mike Duffy's rip-off of the taxpayer.
The Prime Minister has praised Mike Duffy for leadership, he has
praised Wright for being honourable, but he has not come clean with
the Canadian people.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16713
Oral Questions
Who else was involved in this plan to obstruct the audit? Does the
Prime Minister think that it is okay for taxpayer-funded lawyers to
obstruct investigations into taxpayer rip-offs? Does the Prime
Minister have a problem with that?
● (1425)
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, let me be very clear. No taxpayer money was involved with
respect to this reimbursement.
of anything done or omitted by that person in their official capacity
is guilty of an offence.
It is clear from the committee's report over in the other place that
these expenses should not have been claimed. The government and
no one in this caucus is disputing that fundamental fact.
Let me say a number of things. One, the Prime Minister became
aware of this issue last week after media reports surfaced. Right now,
there are two independent authorities looking into this matter. Let us
give them the opportunity to do that.
On Sunday, Mr. Wright took the responsible decision and tendered
his resignation, and that resignation was immediately accepted.
Mr. Charlie Angus (Timmins—James Bay, NDP): Mr. Speaker,
with answers like that, it is like the Conservatives are taking their
crisis management courses from Rob Ford. We are talking about
abuse of the public trust here.
Today, the Prime Minister blew off the Nigel Wright scandal as a
mere distraction, but he failed to tell Canadians whether he thought it
was wrong or illegal, wrong to make secret payouts, wrong to
obstruct an investigation.
The Prime Minister called in the cops on Helena Guergis and
Bruce Carson. Given the seriousness of these allegations, will he call
in the cops against Nigel Wright and Mike Duffy?
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, let me once again be very clear. This issue has already been
referred to two independent authorities that will appropriately look
into this matter and report back to Parliament and to Canadians. This
government looks forward to the findings of those two independent
reports.
Mr. Craig Scott (Toronto—Danforth, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the
Minister of Justice may be aware that section 16 of the Parliament of
Canada Act states that every person who gives, offers or promises to
any member of the Senate any compensation for services relating to
a proceeding, contract, claim or controversy before the Senate is
guilty of an indictable offence.
Does the Minister of Justice believe the PM's former chief of staff
may have committed this crime when he gave Senator Duffy
$90,000 as part of a cover-up deal?
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, once again, it will come as no surprise to my colleague, the
member opposite, that I reject much of the premise of his preamble.
Does the minister agree that the Prime Minister's former chief of
staff may have committed this crime?
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, once again, I reject much of the premise of the question
from the member opposite.
[Translation]
Ms. Alexandrine Latendresse (Louis-Saint-Laurent, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, either the Prime Minister knew that a report on his
caucus members was coming and that his chief of staff had arranged
a secret $90,000 deal to let Senator Duffy off the hook, or the Prime
Minister knowingly chose to ignore the information.
It is either a cover-up or incompetence. We all know that the
Prime Minister is a control freak. This story reeks of cover-up.
Could we at least know when the Prime Minister was informed of
the content of the report? At that point, what directives were given?
[English]
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, the other place had auditors come in. A committee of that
place looked into this matter. It came to the conclusion that these
expenses should not have been claimed. No one in this government
believes these expenses should have been claimed, and that
undoubtedly reflects the conclusion of the report at the end of the
day.
I understand the report did reflect that a reimbursement had been
made, which was obviously factual.
[Translation]
Mr. Alexandre Boulerice (Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, in a one-year period, the Prime Minister has lost three
ministers, two senators and one chief of staff to scandals.
The Conservatives promised to clean house in Ottawa, but it turns
out that they are just as crooked as the Liberals before them. The
only way for the Conservatives to get out of this is to start telling the
truth instead of claiming in unison that they are upset.
Let me just say this. The Prime Minister was not aware of this
reimbursement until after it became public through media reports.
The chief of staff has tendered his resignation. There are two
independent authorities looking into this matter. We will allow them
the time to do their work and we will await their findings.
Mr. Craig Scott (Toronto—Danforth, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I
would like to try again with the Minister of Justice.
Nigel Wright must explain his actions. Senator Duffy must
disclose what was in that secret deal. Canadians deserve to know the
whole truth.
Let us remind ourselves that the PMO handed out $90,000 to keep
a senator quiet. We have another provision that is relevant. Section
119 of the Criminal Code states that any person who offers an office
holder any money, valuable consideration or employment in respect
[English]
Will the government help us shed light on this scandal or will it
keep pressing on without answering any questions?
● (1430)
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, in this place, I have answered the questions that the
members opposite have put forward.
16714
COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Oral Questions
There are two independent authorities that are looking into this
matter. Let us give them the time to do that work. We look forward to
their findings.
***
to support allegations of political influence in the ACOA investigations”.
ACOA has taken action on the recommendations of the Public
Service Commission.
[Translation]
***
GOVERNMENT ADVERTISING
Mr. Alexandre Boulerice (Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, first there was the RCMP visit to Conservative offices
and the in and out scandal, and now things keep getting worse for the
Conservative government.
Here is another one of their schemes: the airwaves are now
inundated with ads touting a jobs program that does not even exist
yet. Negotiations with the provinces are ongoing. Parliament has not
approved it. It is as though the government were advertising Senate
reform.
Why are the Conservatives spending taxpayers' money on
promoting a program that may never see the light of day?
[English]
Ms. Kellie Leitch (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of
Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of
Labour, CPC): Mr. Speaker, we want to ensure that, moving
forward, the provinces have an opportunity to negotiate with us and
to put in the hands of employers and employees the opportunity to
train.
We know we have skills mismatches across the country. We know
Canadians need opportunities to be trained. Our initiative is to help
employers be matched with employees. I was in B.C. just this last
week. They were talking about how people were walking in asking
for this opportunity, because we want to link Canadians with jobs.
That is what we are about. We are focused on the economy and
creating jobs for Canadians, unlike the opposition.
***
GOVERNMENT APPOINTMENTS
Mr. Robert Chisholm (Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NDP): Mr.
Speaker, here is another example of how the Conservative
government works. An investigation has revealed that at ACOA,
folks decided to rig the deal so that Kevin MacAdam, a failed
Conservative candidate and former political aid to the Minister of
National Defence, would get the job.
ACOA is all about advancing economic development for Atlantic
Canada; it is not a job bank for Conservatives.
Will the Conservatives finally come clean about their role in this
job-rigging scandal and subsequent cover-up of the four senior
ACOA executives?
Hon. Gail Shea (Minister of National Revenue and Minister
for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, the independent investigation by the Public Service
Commission did not find evidence of any wrongdoing or influence
on the part of the ministers or political staff in this matter. The Public
Service Commission report clearly states, “No evidence was found
ETHICS
Mr. Pat Martin (Winnipeg Centre, NDP): Mr. Speaker, it was in
2005 that the Prime Minister puffed up his chest and said “If
anybody violates the public trust under my watch, they are going to
prison”. Now his tune has changed. “All governments make
mistakes” is what he says today.
Was it a mistake to continue to hand out plum patronage
appointments to their pork-barrelling friends? Was it just a mistake
to run a bunch of self-serving ads for programs that do not even
exist? Was it a mistake to have the Prime Minister's Office cut a
$90,000 cheque to buy the silence of a Conservative senator?
The public trust has been violated. It has been abused. In fact,
Conservatives have stomped all over it. What happened to the
promise they made in 2005? Who is going to jail?
[Translation]
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, the Prime Minister was not aware of this reimbursement
until after it became public through media reports. I cannot make it
any clearer.
[English]
This morning the Prime Minister spoke to Canadians and to some
parliamentarians and was very clear. People who come to
government should have the public interest first and foremost as
their priority, and those who want to advance their private interests
will be shown the door, as they properly should.
[Translation]
Hon. Dominic LeBlanc (Beauséjour, Lib.): Mr. Speaker,
ordinary Canadians do not have any special, secret deals to clear
their debt. The question is simple: did the Prime Minister ask if the
arrangement complied with Senate rules, the Conflict of Interest Act,
the Criminal Code and the Parliament of Canada Act, which state
that prohibited monetary compensation cannot be offered to a
senator and that anyone who makes such an offer can be imprisoned?
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, the Prime Minister was not aware of this reimbursement
until after it became public through media reports.
● (1435)
[English]
This issue is already before two independent officers to review the
situation. Let us give them the time to do that. We look forward to
the outcome of those reviews.
Hon. Dominic LeBlanc (Beauséjour, Lib.): Mr. Speaker,
ordinary Canadians cannot get their debts wiped out and their
records whitewashed by the Prime Minister's Office.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16715
Oral Questions
What mechanisms did the government use to “go easy” on
Senator Duffy as laid out in the agreement between the two lawyers?
What authority did the Prime Minister have to supposedly promise a
sanitized audit report, allegedly an independent evaluation, of
inappropriate expenses?
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, how could the Prime Minister have expectations on a
reimbursement that he was not aware of until it became public? It is
just that simple.
that contravene the rules, but their solution is to appoint their
defeated candidates to positions that they are in no way qualified to
hold. Those who are appointed simply say that the appointments are
rewards.
The Prime Minister was not aware of the payment, as I have said.
The member opposite talks of some legal document I am not aware
of. My understanding is that no such document exists.
Hon. Dominic LeBlanc (Beauséjour, Lib.): Mr. Speaker,
ordinary Canadians do not have wealthy Conservative friends who
can pay their debts and then whitewash official reports.
Since they are unable to stop handing out partisan appointments,
will the Conservatives apply the ethics rules and force those they put
in place to stop these political donations?
When was the Prime Minister made aware that Conservative
senators on the audit committee had been asked to delete certain
sections of the report pertaining to Senator Duffy's wrongdoing?
Could he tell us who gave that order to the Conservative senators?
Was it the Prime Minister, his chief of staff or the government leader
in the Senate?
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, it is very clear from the committee's report that the
committee concludes that these expenses should not have been
claimed. No one on the committee disputes that. No one in the
government disputes that. That, in our judgment, is a fact.
The reality is, and I understand this report did reflect, that a
reimbursement was made. This issue has been referred to two
independent bodies. Let us await their findings.
***
GOVERNMENT APPOINTMENTS
Ms. Chris Charlton (Hamilton Mountain, NDP): Mr. Speaker,
it is bad enough that the Conservatives stack EI boards with
patronage appointments, but it also turns out they are making money
off them.
Many of their appointees contribute money to the Conservative
Party. Treasury Board guidelines and the PCO are clear. These
appointees must avoid all political activities, including making
donations.
What action has the government taken to investigate what appears
to be a clear violation of the rules? Will the government ensure that
the Conservative Party returns these donations?
Hon. Peter Van Loan (Leader of the Government in the House
of Commons, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the boards in question no longer
exist, and they were recently replaced by our government with the
Social Security Tribunal. Members of the new Social Security
Tribunal are appointed by merit. They undergo a rigorous selection
process, and they have to meet significant experience and
competency criteria that are required to do that job.
[Translation]
Ms. Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet (Hochelaga, NDP): Mr. Speaker,
the Conservatives claim that they want to avoid political donations
Just like the former Conservative organizer in Quebec, another
defeated Conservative candidate, Dominique Bellemare, was
recently given a spot on the Social Security Tribunal as a consolation
prize.
Hon. Peter Van Loan (Leader of the Government in the House
of Commons, CPC): Mr. Speaker, as I have already said, the boards
in question no longer exist. Our government replaced them with the
Social Security Tribunal.
Members of the Social Security Tribunal are appointed by merit
and must undergo a rigorous selection process to ensure that they
have the required experience and skills needed for the job.
***
EMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
Mrs. Anne-Marie Day (Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles,
NDP): Mr. Speaker, the Social Security Tribunal is exactly where
party friends are appointed.
Employment insurance is supposed to protect regional seasonal
economies across Canada, but for the Conservatives, it is just a big
bureaucracy where they put party friends.
The employment insurance reform could have a serious impact on
employees who depend on job sharing to make a living. There is
much confusion even in New Brunswick about who can be
employed in the public service and who cannot.
Instead of focusing on partisan appointments, will the Conservatives work with the provinces to come up with solutions to their
fiasco?
[English]
Ms. Kellie Leitch (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of
Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of
Labour, CPC): Mr. Speaker, we have put forward reforms to
employment insurance to better connect Canadians with available
jobs, and this is something we have been focused on like a laser, as a
certain minister has said in the past, to make sure Canadians have
opportunities. Let us be very clear. The reforms to employment
insurance, making sure we move forward with the Canada jobs
grant, the 5,000 new internships that are available to young
Canadians, making sure we increase the enabling accessibility fund
so that individuals with disabilities have opportunities to be
employed; these are all things we are doing to better connect
Canadians with jobs so they can be prosperous in the future, unlike
the opposition.
16716
COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Oral Questions
PUBLIC WORKS AND GOVERNMENT SERVICES
● (1440)
Ms. Chris Charlton (Hamilton Mountain, NDP): Mr. Speaker,
thousands of seasonal workers are wondering how their industries
are going to survive the Conservative attack. However, while they
are worrying about the future, the Conservatives are advertising a job
training program that does not even exist. Based on the
Conservatives' inability to work respectfully with the provinces, it
probably never will.
Why would the Conservatives rather waste tax dollars on false
advertising than actually fix the mess they have made out of the EI
system? How much are they throwing away on this misleading selfpromotion?
Ms. Kellie Leitch (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of
Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of
Labour, CPC): Mr. Speaker, my question for the member opposite
is: Why will they not get on top of promoting opportunities for
individuals to have jobs? That is exactly what this is doing. We have
put forward opportunities for Canadians to have jobs or gain the
skills so they can be employed in what is available. The opposition
members continue to vote against these things, whether it was the
budget, economic action plan 2012, or in their case, already stating
that they will be voting against economic action plan 2013.
Bad on you. We want to support Canadians getting jobs. I wonder
why the opposition will not get on board.
The Speaker: I will just remind the parliamentary secretary to
address her comments through the Chair, not directly to her
colleagues.
The hon. member for Kildonan—St. Paul.
***
ABORIGINAL AFFAIRS
Mrs. Joy Smith (Kildonan—St. Paul, CPC): Mr. Speaker, for
more than a quarter century, aboriginal women living on reserve
have been without access to the legal rights they deserve.
Could the Minister for Status of Women update the House on the
actions this government has taken to address this inequality that has
stood for far too long?
Hon. Rona Ambrose (Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, I want to tell the House that last week I announced a project
in northern Alberta that will support 200 aboriginal girls between the
ages of 8 and 14 in addressing violence and abuse. We are working
in partnership with representatives from the Bigstone Cree Nation
Women's Emergency Shelter, the Bigstone Community School, the
Bigstone Cree Nation family and children services and also the
RCMP.
Today we have gone even further. Today the Standing Committee
on the Status of Women finished its clause-by-clause review of Bill
S-2, and we all know that in situations of family violence it would
allow judges to enforce protection orders to remove a violent partner
from the home. This is an incredible day for aboriginal women and
girls, and I want to thank the Conservative members from the status
of women committee for getting the job done.
Ms. Linda Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona, NDP): Mr.
Speaker, perhaps the minister could do something to support
aboriginal businesses.
These Conservatives came to power promising transparency and
accountability, saying rigged contracts were a thing of the past. It is
obvious in the wake of mounting court cases that not much has
changed. Just last year Veritaaq pleaded guilty to bid rigging. Public
Works and Government Services then awarded it new contracts
worth millions of dollars. Under the Conservatives' new alleged
tough rules, the company would still not be blacklisted. The
government is favouring bid riggers over honest Canadian
businesses.
Is this the fairness to business and fiscal accountability Canadians
were promised?
Hon. Rona Ambrose (Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, that is not the case. The member knows we have
implemented and developed a tough integrity framework to ensure
companies that are convicted of crimes cannot do business with
public works and are being banned from bidding on contracts. Other
departments have also begun to implement these same tough
integrity measures, including Defence Construction Canada. In the
case of CRG, which received a contract from Defence Construction
Canada, I contacted DCC myself, and I understand it is applying the
same integrity framework that public works has applied to its own
contracting and it will be banning this company from bidding on any
contracts with it as well.
[Translation]
Mr. Mathieu Ravignat (Pontiac, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the
Conservatives have left the door open so that companies found
guilty of collusion can bid on public contracts. Two companies
received 500 contracts from the Conservative government after
being found guilty of collusion for bid rigging. Unbelievable.
How is it that companies found guilty can still bid on public
contracts? When will the Conservatives close the door once and for
all on companies that cheat and misuse taxpayers' money?
● (1445)
[English]
Hon. Rona Ambrose (Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, we have shut the door on this particular company, CRG,
which has been convicted of a crime. We have developed a tough
integrity framework to ensure that any company that has been
convicted of a crime or any illegal activity cannot bid on contracts
with public works and will be banned from bidding.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16717
Oral Questions
Other departments have also begun to implement these same
measures, including Defence Construction Canada. It has assured me
that it is implementing the same tough measures and that this
company in question will, from now on, be banned from bidding on
any contracts with Defence Construction Canada.
***
GOVERNMENT ADVERTISING
Mr. Mathieu Ravignat (Pontiac, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the
Conservatives have pushed the bar even lower by advertising a
job program that does not even exist. Legislation is still months
away, and the provinces have not even agreed to it yet. Advertising
experts are saying this is downright misleading.
Why are they spending $190,000 a minute on Hockey Night in
Canada ads for a program that does not even exist?
Ms. Kellie Leitch (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of
Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of
Labour, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I think I have been relatively clear
already today. We are about creating jobs and making sure
Canadians have the skills they need to fill those jobs that are
available. We are providing an opportunity for employers to be
linked to those employees, and that is exactly what we are doing. We
are making sure Canadians know about the skills opportunities that
are available to them. We are making sure employers know this grant
is available to them as well.
I encourage the opposition to get on board and make sure
Canadians receive the skills they need so they can fill those jobs and
we can grow our economy, because if they do not get on board, I
guess we will just have to do it ourselves.
***
[Translation]
LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA
Mr. Pierre Nantel (Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, anyone appointed by the Conservatives clearly enjoys
playing with taxpayers' money. After what happened with Senator
Duffy, Senator Wallin and Senator Brazeau, now we learn that el
señor Daniel Caron also treated himself, spending $170,000 of
taxpayers' money at the Rideau Club and on trips to Puerto Rico and
Australia in 2011 and 2012. Meanwhile, at Library and Archives
Canada, he was gutting important programs and muzzling archivists
with a code of conduct that was controversial, to say the least.
ETHICS
Hon. Ralph Goodale (Wascana, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, ordinary
Canadians do not have access to rich Conservative friends to pay
their debts. A week ago the government was calling Mike Duffy an
“honourable man”, showing “leadership” and doing “the right
thing”. The Prime Minister knows that a secret payment of $90,000
was made by his most senior official to shut down a forensic audit of
Duffy's illegal expenses, to pervert the Senate's official report on
those expenses and to block any further investigation.
With whom and when did this corruption begin, and will the
government table all emails pertaining to this insidious scheme?
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, it will not come as any surprise that I reject much of the
preamble of the question the member opposite raises.
Let me say this. A committee in the other place that was looking
into this brought in some outside auditors. The conclusion of that
report was that these claims never should have been made.
No one in the government, certainly no one in this place, rejects
that conclusion. I understand that in the report it was mentioned that
these expenses had been reimbursed, as is what had happened.
Hon. Ralph Goodale (Wascana, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, this is about
unethical, possibly illegal, behaviour in the Prime Minister's inner
circle.
All of last week and again today the Prime Minister showed
nothing but contempt for ordinary Canadians: no answers, no
accountability, no apology.
Ordinary Canadians do not have a sugar daddy in the Prime
Minister's office. Ordinary Canadians pay their debts. Ordinary
Canadians do not get to blockade an audit, whitewash a Senate
report and pocket $90,000.
Who gave the orders for this Conservative corruption? Table the
emails.
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, that is a bunch of wild accusations and conclusions from
the member for Wascana. I am not surprised. This is not the first
time.
Will the Conservatives finally do the right thing and appoint a
serious and dedicated chief librarian at Library and Archives
Canada?
Let me say this. There are two independent bodies reviewing this
matter. Let them conduct that review. We look forward to hearing the
findings of that review.
[English]
Hon. James Moore (Minister of Canadian Heritage and
Official Languages, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I made it very clear both in
the House and privately to Mr. Daniel Caron when he was president
of Library and Archives Canada that his spending was irresponsible
and out of line with what taxpayers expect from the president of
Library and Archives Canada. I communicated that to him directly.
The next day he offered his resignation, and I was not sad when he
did that.
Mr. Nathan Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley, NDP): Mr.
Speaker, we have asked the government to come clean on
Senategate. Unfortunately, we have yet to hear the truth from the
Conservatives.
Canadians deserve answers. The Minister of Foreign Affairs is
repeatedly saying, “two independent authorities” are looking into the
matter. Can the Minister of Foreign Affairs tell us who these
authorities are, and is one of them the RCMP? If not, why not?
16718
COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Oral Questions
● (1450)
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, the caucus of the House leader of the official opposition has
made two referrals to two independent bodies. That is the answer.
Mr. Nathan Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley, NDP): Mr.
Speaker, the fact that the Minister of Foreign Affairs will not even
answer such a simple, straightforward question calls in the idea that
the Conservatives will not be accountable.
ETHICS
Ms. Judy Foote (Random—Burin—St. George's, Lib.): Mr.
Speaker, ordinary Canadians cannot get a special Conservative deal
to wipe out their expenses.
The Prime Minister previously said he personally looked at
Senator Wallin's expenses and they were fine.
The fact is that the Prime Minister called the cops on Helena
Guergis and Bruce Carson.
Did the government learn any new details of Senator Wallin's
expenses last week that it was not aware of months ago?
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC): Let me
see what time it is, Mr. Speaker.
Canadians deserve better. Canadians deserve the truth. Given the
seriousness of these allegations, will he call the police on Nigel
Wright and Mike Duffy, yes or no?
The Prime Minister did say in this House with respect to Senator
Wallin that the Senator's expenses were in line with other
parliamentarians from Saskatchewan.
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, the Prime Minister has been very clear. It is a tremendous
honour to serve as a parliamentarian, and each and every person who
is given that privilege, that responsibility, should be standing up for
the public interest and not their own private interests. If they want to
do that, they should be out the door.
The Senate has referred her expenses for review, and we look
forward to receiving the results of that review.
That is the view of this party, that is the view of this government
and that is the view of this Prime Minister.
***
JUSTICE
Mr. James Bezan (Selkirk—Interlake, CPC): Mr. Speaker, last
week Vince Li, the man found not criminally responsible for
beheading and cannibalizing Tim McLean on a Greyhound bus, was
granted escorted leave by the independent Manitoba Criminal Code
review board into the communities of Selkirk, Winnipeg and
Lockport.
In my view, this is an insult to the family of Tim McLean. The
review board did not take into consideration the rights of the victim
in its decision, nor did it put public safety first.
Canadians expect their government to keep them safe from such
high-risk individuals. Could the Minister of Justice please inform
this House what action the government is taking to address the
concerns of Canadians?
Hon. Rob Nicholson (Minister of Justice and Attorney
General of Canada, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I want to thank this
member for his advocacy on this issue on behalf of his constituents.
Our government has responded to the concerns of victims and
provincial Attorneys General by introducing the not criminally
responsible reform act.
The legislation would ensure public safety and that the rights of
victims come first. It would also create a new high-risk designation
to protect the public from certain individuals found not criminally
responsible.
This government has always put victims first, and we always will.
***
CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION
Mr. Claude Gravelle (Nickel Belt, NDP): Mr. Speaker, it is time
to get rid of the Senate, that is what time it is.
[Translation]
The more time passes, the more the residents of northern Ontario
feel betrayed by the Conservatives, who, in addition to moving
services to Toronto and Ottawa, are also cutting funding to crucial
organizations that help francophone permanent residents and
refugees settle in francophone communities in northern Ontario.
This translates into fewer workers, fewer jobs and less assistance
to francophone refugees.
Why are the Conservatives once again going after francophones in
northern Ontario?
Hon. Jason Kenney (Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and
Multiculturalism, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I just met with the president
of the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du
Canada specifically regarding our strategy to increase francophone
immigration outside Quebec. Our target is 4%.
In fact, francophone employers are exempt from having to get a
labour market opinion, and this will help them find workers in
regions outside Quebec. This is meant to strengthen Canada's
linguistic duality.
***
[English]
FOOD SAFETY
Mr. Harold Albrecht (Kitchener—Conestoga, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, Canadian consumers are our first priority when it comes
to food safety. Our government is committed to strengthening food
safety for Canadian families. In addition to the $150 million in past
budgets to enhance food safety, our government also passed the Safe
Food for Canadians Act, which increases penalties for those who risk
food safety and gives inspectors more tools to do their jobs.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16719
Points of Order
Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture
please update this House on further measures being taken by our
government to boost Canada's food safety system?
● (1455)
Mr. Pierre Lemieux (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister
of Agriculture, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the
member for Kitchener—Conestoga for his hard work regarding food
safety.
I am pleased to announce that last week the Minister of
Agriculture and Agri-Food unveiled the safe food for Canadians
action plan. This plan puts into place mandatory requirements that
will strengthen E. coli testing in federally registered beef plants,
including increased testing and mandatory labelling for tenderized
beef.
These initiatives have been very well received by industry and in
fact the Canadian Cattlemen's Association said that, “the new rules
and requirements for beef outlined in the Safe Food for Canadians
Action Plan will further strengthen Canada’s food safety system.”
***
[Translation]
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Ms. Laurin Liu (Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, NDP): Mr. Speaker, last
week, the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities
made a ridiculous comment that only makes sense to the
Conservatives.
He said that instead of funding researchers who never find
anything, he would rather fund finders.
With an attitude like that, it is no wonder that the latest report on
the state of Canada's science, technology and innovation system is so
damning for the Conservative government.
Instead of making industry pay for research, why do the
Conservatives not invest more in research?
[English]
Hon. Gary Goodyear (Minister of State (Science and
Technology) (Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario), CPC): Mr. Speaker, if the member opposite had done
her own research, she would know that is not what the gentleman
said.
I want to thank STIC for its report. In fact, the report concludes,
“Canada's success in the 21st century will be determined by our
ability to harness science, technology and innovation to drive
economic prosperity and societal well-being.”
I would like to tell my friends opposite that there are hundreds of
millions of dollars for basic research in this budget, just like all the
others. Will they finally stop pretending and vote for science?
***
launched a costly ad campaign to promote a job training program,
even though the Quebec government has categorically refused to
participate in it. This program does not exist.
The government is making cuts to public safety, employment
insurance and public services, yet it is wasting hundreds of
thousands of dollars on propaganda. An ad can cost $95,000, which
is almost the same amount as the cheque the Prime Minister's former
right-hand man gave to Senator Duffy. That is a big chunk of
change.
Will the minister put an end to these misleading ads, yes or no?
Ms. Kellie Leitch (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of
Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of
Labour, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the government has a responsibility to
inform Canadians about the programs and benefits available to them.
For example, this year, the government is implementing new
measures to help Canadians, including the new Canada job grant, in
order to help Canadians get training so they can find a job or find a
better job.
The government is promoting these measures because it wants
Canadians to take advantage of them.
[English]
The Speaker: That concludes question period for today.
The hon. member for Papineau on a point of order.
Mr. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Speaker, it is not three o'clock yet.
The Speaker: It looks like three o'clock to me on that clock.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
The Speaker: It is certainly three o'clock now.
The hon. member for Papineau on a point of order.
***
POINTS OF ORDER
ORAL QUESTIONS
Mr. Justin Trudeau (Papineau, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the Minister
of Foreign Affairs mentioned a couple of times two investigative
processes to look into the Senate allegations. I am just curious if the
minister would like to explain or inform the House which two
independent bodies are looking into this already.
[Translation]
● (1500)
GOVERNMENT ADVERTISING
Mr. Jean-François Fortin (Haute-Gaspésie—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the federal government has
The Speaker: That did sound more like a question than a point of
order, so perhaps the member for Papineau would take that up at a
future question period.
16720
COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Routine Proceedings
ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
[English]
GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO PETITIONS
Mr. Tom Lukiwski (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of
the Government in the House of Commons, CPC): Mr. Speaker,
pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both
official languages, the government's response to 18 petitions.
occupations requiring fewer qualifications, low-skilled occupations
are also experiencing shortages, especially in regions with strong and
rapid economic growth.
The first finding of the study, which was reiterated by many
witnesses, is that no single solution will magically solve the
challenges caused by labour and skills shortages. Various complementary solutions must be identified.
***
[Translation]
COMMITTEES OF THE HOUSE
OFFICIAL LANGUAGES
Hon. Michael Chong (Wellington—Halton Hills, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the
sixth report of the Standing Committee on Official Languages.
[English]
In accordance with its order of reference of Monday, February 25,
2013, the committee has considered vote 20 under Privy Council in
the main estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2014, and
reports the same.
One solution that was mentioned often by the witnesses who
appeared as part of the study was to make all the essential
information on future labour needs available so that educational
programs can be created and modified accordingly, and so that
consequently young people can choose occupations that will be in
high demand.
Obviously that will not be possible without high-quality labour
market information. The holders of these data must work together to
avoid duplication and find ways to improve both the quality of the
information as well as the distribution of all LMI products to the
people who can benefit the most from its use.
HUMAN RESOURCES, SKILLS AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT AND THE
STATUS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
Ms. Chris Charlton (Hamilton Mountain, NDP): Mr. Speaker,
I am pleased to rise in the House this afternoon to move concurrence
in the ninth report of the Standing Committee on Human Resources,
Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with
Disabilities presented on Wednesday, December 12, 2012, with
respect to labour and skills shortages in Canada. The subtitle of the
report is “Addressing Current and Future Challenges”.
There is no doubt that a vital competitive economy in the global
era requires the development of a skilled workforce that provides
Canadian employers with the workers they need and that provides
Canadian workers with the opportunities they deserve. In order to
achieve that goal Canada needs to find the right match between skills
and employment opportunities so that we do not suffer from skills
shortages and high unemployment at the same time.
My NDP colleagues and I supported the standing committee's
report on labour shortages in Canada, and we were particularly
pleased to see recommendations on incentives for training and
labour mobility. However, we also think there are some important
areas in which the recommendations did not go far enough in
addressing the crucial challenges that Canada faces.
Let me begin with some general areas of concern that were raised
in testimony by a number of witnesses who appeared before our
committee.
It is true that labour shortages were already being felt prior to the
2008-2009 recession, especially in the western provinces. The
recession eased this pressure, but already shortages are reappearing
in certain regions and sectors.
Given the aging population, it is likely that labour and skills
shortages will increase, but this will not be true for all regions nor for
all occupational groups. While shortages may be less severe in
Another solution the committee heard throughout the study was to
maximize the untapped potential of individuals and certain groups of
the Canadian population that have a lower participation rate or a
higher unemployment rate than average, such as mature workers,
people with disabilities, aboriginal peoples and recent immigrants.
These groups represent a huge pool of untapped talents and could
help address a significant part of the skills shortages.
Other suggestions made by witnesses include increasing labour
force mobility, increasing awareness of trades and professions in
demand that are not popular with young people, providing workers
with adequate on-the-job training, increasing the level of basic skills,
improving worker productivity and increasing reliance on partnerships between various levels of government, companies, educational
institutions, students and workers.
Of course, special mention was made of the temporary foreign
worker program, around which there was a significant consensus that
there had to be reform. Given the recent media spotlight on the
temporary foreign worker program, I do not think that will surprise
any member in the House.
The recommendations in the report address many of these
concerns. In fact, there were 38 recommendations made by the
committee, most of which my NDP colleagues and I agreed with. Let
me re-emphasize the word “most”, because as one can imagine, on a
Conservative-dominated committee, much of the language in this
report is both self-congratulatory and slanted to the needs of
employers only. Nonetheless, we did find some significant common
ground.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16721
Routine Proceedings
There were, however, also areas of significant disagreement, and I
want to spend the better part of my remaining time on those areas.
These areas represent a huge missed opportunity, and I would hope
that moving forward, the government will take a second look at our
minority report and use it to shape additional measures that were
lacking in the original recommendations.
Let me begin with comments about labour market information.
Time and time again the committee heard from witnesses that
labour market information in Canada is not good enough. We heard
that the data are not granular enough and do not allow for sufficient
breakdown by occupation or region. The data are also not published
frequently enough and do not allow for high-quality projections of
shortages in the future. In fact, the committee's final report offers
numerous instances in which the testimony from industries and the
data available from current surveys disagree on whether or not there
is or will be a skills or labour shortage in a given industry.
● (1505)
The Certified General Accountants Association recently published
an examination of available sources of data that concluded that our
current LMI is not good enough to enable policy-makers to
effectively deal with labour shortages. It recommends “...closing
the statistical information gap and improving the relevance and
reliability of labour market statistics at the regional and occupational
levels”.
Given that good LMI is the linchpin to good skills training and
labour force development policy as well as crucial to good
immigration policy and management of the temporary foreign
worker program, we find the report's recommendation on LMI to be
very weak indeed. We need more than better publicity for the data
that are already being produced.
The experts on the advisory panel on labour market information
established by the Forum of Labour Market Ministers have already
provided an excellent blueprint of the steps that could be taken to
improve the collection, analysis and use of LMI in Canada. For that
reason, my NDP colleagues and I recommended that the government
take steps to implement the recommendations made in the final
report of the advisory panel on labour market information.
We also noted in our report that the weakness of our labour market
information has been exacerbated by cuts to Statistics Canada and its
surveys and by the elimination of core funding for sector councils,
which play a crucial role in bringing together industry partners and
provide very useful sector-specific LMI. Therefore, we also
recommended that Statistics Canada be provided with the funding
it needs to improve labour force-related surveys and that core
funding be restored to sector councils.
Moving on to a second area that merited additional attention, I
want to focus next on the need to develop the Canadian labour force.
While employers are experiencing shortages of both skilled and
low-skilled labour, unemployment in Canada remains high, with six
unemployed Canadians for every job vacancy. The Conservatives'
response has been to blame the unemployed for their unemployment,
to reduce access to employment insurance while trying to force
Canadians to move to other parts of the country and to use the
temporary foreign worker program to drive down wages.
By contrast, New Democrats believe that Canadian workers and
employers benefit when Canadians are given the tools they need to
be able to take available jobs. That is why we believe that
investments in skills training are so important. We laud the report's
recommendation that the government consider incentives to employers to invest in on-the-job training. However, we also recommend
that the government review its bilateral agreements with the
provinces to ensure that they provide maximum benefit to Canadians
in need of training. For instance, the fact that the largest part of
funding for skills training provided through labour market development agreements is limited to those who qualify for employment
insurance benefits makes no sense when more than 6 in 10
unemployed Canadians are not qualifying for EI.
Similarly, we believe that Canadians need support for labour
mobility rather than to be threatened with the loss of their EI benefits
if they do not move for the jobs. We are pleased that the report
recommends support for a tax credit for travel and lodging for those
working more than 80 kilometres away from their residence. This is
a proposal I have been pushing for years by introducing Bill C-201,
an act to amend the Income Tax Act for travel and accommodation
deduction for tradespersons. The building and construction trades
have been lobbying for this bill for over 30 years, and it continues to
be one of the key priorities at each and every one of their legislative
conferences.
In every Parliament the government has made vague promises of
progress to come; then each Parliament ends without concrete action.
The time to rectify that situation is now, and I appreciate the
committee's support in this regard. The ask is simple: allow
tradespersons and apprentices to deduct travel and accommodation
expenses from their taxable income so that they can secure and
maintain employment at a construction site that is more than 80
kilometres away from their home.
At a time when some regions of the country suffer from high
unemployment while others suffer from temporary skilled labour
shortages, the bill offers a solution to both. Best of all, it is revenue
neutral for the government because the cost associated with the
income tax cut is more than made up by the savings in employment
insurance.
Now that the Conservatives have a majority in the House of
Commons, there are no more excuses. The government can and must
support the bill and act unequivocally to support Canada's building
and construction trades. I am hoping to be able to test the
government's resolve on this issue in the very near future.
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May 21, 2013
Routine Proceedings
Let me just give a quick shout out to some of the people from my
hometown of Hamilton who have been instrumental in putting this
issue on Parliament's agenda. In particular, I am thinking of Joe
Beattie, Tim Penfold, Geoff Roman, Gary Elleker, Dave MacMaster,
Paul Leger and all the members of the Hamilton-Brantford Ontario
Building and Construction Trades Council, whose support for the
bill has been unwavering and who, frankly, were the first to bring the
issue to my attention.
● (1510)
I could talk about my bill and the need for its speedy adoption all
day. Nonetheless, I recognize that my time here is limited and I also
want to get some other issues on the record with respect to the
current skills shortage.
One of the other barriers to labour mobility that was raised over
and over again was the lack of affordable housing. Regions that are
experiencing an economic boom cannot develop housing fast
enough to offer workers reasonable accommodation at prices they
can afford. Therefore, in our minority report we recommended that
the government support NDP Bill C-400, which called on the
government to create a national affordable housing strategy in cooperation with the provinces and territories.
Members will know that in the time since we tabled our report, the
Conservatives defeated that bill in this House. To New Democrats
and housing activists from coast to coast to coast, that was a
devastating rejection of a desperately needed program. Canada
remains the only G8 country without a housing strategy, while 1.5
million families and individuals are unable to access adequate,
affordable housing. It is a national disgrace. Certainly the evidence
we heard at committee confirmed that the lack of affordable housing
should have been a priority for our federal government.
Similarly, testimony confirmed that the Conservatives also
mismanaged the temporary foreign worker program, allowing
employers to bring in temporary foreign workers with little to no
monitoring for compliance with the rules of the program. The result
has been that Canadian workers have lost out on jobs that should
have been available to them, while temporary foreign workers face
exploitation and rights violations.
If managed properly, the temporary foreign worker program
should provide a temporary solution to a serious problem while
emphasizing a longer-term response that promotes the best interests
of Canadian workers and employers and our economy. The
government has announced a review of the temporary foreign
worker program, and New Democrats recommend that this review be
conducted in a thorough and transparent manner, with a report tabled
in the House of Commons as soon as the review is concluded.
Although this is another topic about which I could talk for hours, I
will keep moving along.
Let us look next at the need for effective partnerships. In its skills
strategy, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development suggests that all relevant stakeholders must be involved in
order to ensure an effective, comprehensive approach to skills
policies. Designing effective skills policies requires more than
coordinating different sectors of public administration and aligning
different levels of government: a broad range of non-governmental
actors, including employers, professional and industry associations,
chambers of commerce, sector councils, trade unions, education and
training institutions and individuals must all be involved.
New Democrats agree that policies are stronger when all relevant
stakeholders are involved and consulted, and that is why we
recommend that the development of policy options to improve
labour market information to ensure a better match between the skills
of graduates and the needs of employers and to develop strong
curricula must always include all relevant stakeholders: federal,
provincial, territorial and aboriginal governments, businesses and
industry, employee representatives and labour unions, educational
institutions and student associations as well as not-for-profit groups.
Speaking of students, my NDP colleagues and I respect that one of
the major goals of post-secondary education is skills training.
However, we also recognize that this is not the only goal for
Canada's colleges and universities and that there is a role for pure
research.
We also respect academic freedoms and the rights of scholars to
freely choose their subject areas and research projects. Therefore, we
recommend that consultations on curricula always be undertaken
with appropriate respect for the multiple roles of post-secondary
educational institutions.
Finally, I would be remiss if I did not say a few words about the
participation of aboriginal peoples in the labour market. Our
committee heard some very compelling testimony in that regard.
As the report notes, aboriginal peoples' labour market outcomes must
be improved to ensure that aboriginal peoples benefit from resource
development to reduce aboriginal poverty and to provide the skilled
labour force that Canada will need in the future.
A key element of aboriginal labour market outcomes is education,
yet the report offers no recommendations on aboriginal education at
all. If educational outcomes are to improve for aboriginal students,
they need adequately funded education that respects their unique
culture and history in safe and healthy school facilities.
First nations education is the jurisdiction of the federal
government, which does not provide equitable funding for first
nations children.
● (1515)
While budget 2012 provided some new funds for first nations
education, only eight new schools were built out of 170 needed, and
so far, no money has been committed directly to first nations schools
for front-line education services.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16723
Routine Proceedings
According to the Assembly of First Nations, $500 million is
needed to bring funding for first nations K-12 education to parity
with non-aboriginal Canadians. The AFN has also noted that a gap in
funding for post-secondary education has prevented more than
13,000 first nations students from pursuing higher education. Those
realities are completely unacceptable. That is why my NDP
colleagues and I recommended that the government provide
sufficient and equitable funding for first nations K-12 education as
well as post-secondary education, including vocational training and
apprenticeships, and that the government remove the punitive 2%
cap on funding increases to first nations.
The Conservatives' failure to take consultations seriously has
already derailed this process once, with the chiefs withdrawing from
the process due to inadequate consultation. That is why we further
recommended that the government recognize first nations' jurisdiction over education and abide by the federal government's duty to
consult by holding extensive and meaningful consultations leading
to the creation of a first nations education act that respects first
nations' rights, culture and history.
The federal government also provides funding for Inuit education
through territorial transfers and land claims agreements. The
education system is seriously failing Inuit youth, with only 25%
graduating from high school. Those who do manage to graduate are
still not at the same skill level as non-aboriginal students.
The report of Thomas Berger, a conciliator appointed to resolve
differences in the negotiations for the implementation of the land
claims agreement, found that education was a key factor in impeding
progress on Inuit representation in the public service. It called for an
increase of $20 million annually to education funding beyond what
is provided through territorial financing.
The same holds true for other jobs. Inuit youth need culturally and
linguistically appropriate education that enables them to stay in
school and graduate with the skills they need to join the workforce.
New Democrats therefore recommended that the government
increase funding for Inuit education beyond the funding provided
through territorial financing and land claims agreements.
Finally, the committee heard from multiple witnesses that the
aboriginal skills and employment training strategy, ASETS, has been
very successful in providing the training aboriginal Canadians need
and the links with employers that help them find jobs after their
training. However, the committee also heard that funding has been
frozen since 1996, despite the fact that the need is greater than ever
as the aboriginal population grows.
ASETS holders have also noted the heavy reporting burden that
comes with their funding. A review of the program is beginning, and
New Democrats recommend that the federal government include
ASETS holders in the ongoing program review in a meaningful way
and work with them to establish a process for stable, predictable and
adequate funding to maintain and improve this highly successful
program.
Let me try to sum up. To meet our labour force goals, we need
more and better labour market data; incentives and/or requirements
for employers to offer training programs; more support for workers
seeking training; better EI programs; more affordable education
programs; enhanced support for labour mobility; the ability of
immigrants here to have their credentials recognized and a much
faster and more efficient process; and better support for an
immigration program that does more than simply provide cheap
foreign labour with no path to citizenship.
Overall, we need to see the skills shortage as one important issue
among a series of important labour market issues, the most important
of which remains the still very high unemployment rate. With 1.4
million Canadians out of work, it is hard to make the argument that
we have a national labour shortage. What we have are regional
shortages that cannot overshadow the fact that the Conservative
government's most lasting failure is to develop and implement a
strategy to create Canadian jobs. Until that happens, at best we will
be tinkering at the margins.
● (1520)
Ms. Kellie Leitch (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of
Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of
Labour, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to address this
concurrence motion on the report of the Standing Committee on
Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of
Persons with Disabilities, entitled “Labour and Skills Shortages in
Canada: Addressing Current and Future Challenges”.
This report is—
The Speaker: Is the hon. member getting up on a question?
Sorry, it was not clear. I wanted to make sure, because someone
had started her speech.
The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human
Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour.
Ms. Kellie Leitch: Mr. Speaker, I know I do not usually have a
podium like the Leader of the Opposition, but today I just felt I
needed to have one. However, I greatly appreciate your looking out
for me, sir. I guess I should be just a little more direct.
I appreciate the comment from the member opposite with respect
to the recent report put forward by our committee. We heard
throughout the committee's deliberations on the issue about skills
mismatches and about absolute shortages in certain fields and certain
sectors.
Maybe the member could comment on where she believes those
absolute shortages are in the country and where we need to be
focused with respect to those absolute shortages, which I could
comment on. Maybe the member opposite could comment on where
she sees those absolute shortages in the country and where we
should be focusing our efforts.
16724
COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Routine Proceedings
Ms. Chris Charlton: Mr. Speaker, as I said in my comments,
there were many areas in the study on skills shortages that we
actually agreed upon, on all sides of the House. What the member
wants is that I suggest that in some areas of the country there are
skills shortages of such a nature that we absolutely have to bring in
temporary foreign workers and that we have to be able to get access
to cheap labour. Frankly, that is a recommendation with which I
cannot agree, because until we actually provide decent wages for
jobs and provide Canadians with the kind of skills training that
enables them to fill the jobs in the areas where there are shortages,
and until we provide incentives for labour mobility, temporary
foreign workers should be the very last resort.
As members know, from following the debates in this House, is
that whether at HD Mining or at RBC, what is happening now is that
temporary foreign workers are coming into this country and are
displacing Canadians and Canadian jobs. That is completely
unacceptable, so we are calling on the government to help Canadians
access those jobs. Again, it would do that by offering decent wages,
by investing in a comprehensive skills training program and by
supporting labour mobility initiatives, such as my Bill C-201, which
I am very hopeful will come to the House soon. I look forward to the
support of my colleagues on the government side of this House.
[Translation]
Mrs. Anne-Marie Day (Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles,
NDP): Mr. Speaker, in Quebec, the manpower vocational training
commissions or CFPs became the SQDM, which became EmploiQuébec. In the 1990s, there was talk of a labour shortage. This is
nothing new. It is a problem that the government should have dealt
with a long time ago.
Now that they have recognized that there is a labour shortage, the
Conservatives' reaction has been to lay responsibility for this
situation on unemployed workers, reduce access to employment
insurance, force Canadians to move to other parts of the country, and
use the temporary foreign worker program to drive down wages.
What does the NDP propose we do to deal with this labour
shortage?
● (1525)
[English]
Ms. Chris Charlton: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague
not only for the question but for her incredible advocacy with respect
to the employment insurance file. I do not think there is a more
eloquent spokesperson in this country for the need to not only
protect the existing EI system but to actually expand it so that those
people who have paid into EI all of their working lives can access the
benefits when they need them most.
As members know, EI is supposed to be a rainy day fund. People
are paying into it as an insurance system, and on the day they lose
their jobs, they are supposed to have access to those benefits to tide
them over and give them the ability to look for their next job. This
member, more than anybody else in this House, has fought on behalf
of seasonal workers, particularly in Quebec and in the eastern parts
of Canada, and on behalf of all working Canadians who need the EI
system to be there for them when they need it most.
The member is absolutely right that we need to do much more to
support Canadians to access work. We have a youth unemployment
rate at twice the national average. Today's young Canadians belong
to one of the most educated generations we have ever had in this
country, yet they graduate and are unable to find employment. Why
is that? It is because we are not providing them with the
opportunities they need to access skills training and access the jobs
that are available right across Canada. They need our support. We are
able to fill labour shortages without resorting to the temporary
foreign worker program.
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Winnipeg North, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I
want to provide a brief comment about the temporary foreign worker
program, which for the most part is an excellent program. However,
because of the way the government has allowed that program to
explode, at a great cost to many residents of Canada, it is generally
felt that the government has gone overboard. We are not allowing
residents of Canada to fill those job vacancies, which is critically
important.
The temporary foreign worker program can be given a great deal
of credit for a lot of success in certain industries from coast to coast
to coast. We need to recognize that.
My question is related to the leadership role Ottawa should be
playing in the different regions of our country. High school students
who are graduating need to be in a better position to fill the many
jobs that are, in fact, there. There needs to be more graduation of
post-secondary students and the courses to meet labour demands into
the future. There needs to be stronger federal leadership in working
with the many different provincial training bodies, departments of
education and so forth to ensure that our future labour force is better
equipped to meet the demands of the economy.
Does the member want to provide comment as to what the federal
government's role should be in that regard?
Ms. Chris Charlton: Mr. Speaker, first let me comment on the
little bit of revisionist history in the preamble to the question on the
Conservative record on temporary foreign workers. I agree that the
record has not been a stellar record. Again, I would reference RBC
hiring temporary foreign workers and displacing Canadian jobs, HD
Mining and others.
The reality is that the floodgates to temporary foreign workers
were actually opened under the previous Liberal government. If we
look at the record, since 2002, the record has been absolutely
abysmal.
I think there is a role for the temporary foreign worker program,
particularly with respect to some of the skilled professions, where we
currently have a shortage. However, the reality is that we need to do
our very best to make sure that young people have an opportunity to
get those jobs, as the member suggested. That requires investments
in post-secondary education, in apprenticeship programs and in skills
training. We have to make sure that young Canadians have access to
those programs in an affordable way.
Ms. Jinny Jogindera Sims (Newton—North Delta, NDP): Mr.
Speaker, first I want to acknowledge the work done by my colleague
from Hamilton Mountain. She is stellar in the way she does her
research. She comes prepared. She is stellar in her advocacy for her
file and her constituents.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16725
Routine Proceedings
We are in a state in which we have more temporary foreign
workers being brought into the country than skilled workers. We
have all kinds of concerns about the very high unemployment among
our youth, yet the government still appears to be tinkering with the
idea of investing in skills development in our youth today. In her
research and at committee, what kind of suggestions were put
forward to—
● (1530)
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin): Order, please. I
would just remind the hon. member that this is a question. Could
she, first of all, address the Chair and, second, take the signal that her
time is rapidly expiring? Could she quickly put the question?
we have segments of the population that are unemployed or
underemployed and that would be available to fill those jobs.
Something is wrong when we have so many Canadians sitting on
the sidelines, looking for ways to enter the job market at a time when
employers say that they have unfilled positions. Demand is
particularly great for career fields, like science, technology,
engineering, mathematics and many of the skilled trades, which
require exactly those same skills in math and sciences. These
shortages will only become more acute over the coming years as we
see more and more baby boomers retire.
Ms. Jinny Jogindera Sims: Mr. Speaker, my question to my hon.
colleague is this. What does she think the government needs to do to
address the serious issue of Canadians not being able to work for a
living wage?
Canada's economic action plan 2013 has a three-point plan to
ensure that skills training is aligned with the needs of the job market,
something that the opposition members state they are voting against.
Ms. Chris Charlton: Mr. Speaker, let me say to the member that
our committee has also conducted a comprehensive study of
apprenticeship programs and the need for serious investments in
apprenticeships. It is something Canada has not taken very seriously
in the past. We should follow the path of countries like Germany,
which have invested in youth, in that country in particular, and have
made sure that they have the skills their labour force needs, not just
now but into the future. That is the kind of progressive planning
Canada needs to do. It is a positive investment in our youth and is
also a positive investment in our economy and in our future.
Ms. Kellie Leitch (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of
Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of
Labour, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to address this
concurrence motion, the report from the Standing Committee on
Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of
Persons with Disabilities, entitled “Labour and Skills Shortages in
Canada: Addressing Current and Future Challenges”.
First, we are introducing the Canada jobs grant to get employers
directly involved in skills training decisions so they know exactly
where there is a job so we can skill someone for that job, something I
heard about from employers and employees all across the country
last week when I was running round table consultations.
The report is in perfect harmony with our government's policies
on skill shortages. This is something that I have heard a significant
amount about in doing cross-country consultations with regard to the
Canada jobs grant. We also even heard about some of that this
morning in committee.
Given Canada's demographic trends and especially our aging
population, skills and labour shortages will only get worse until we
find a way to use the country's untapped talent. I am talking about
capitalizing on the potential of groups that tend to have the highest
rates of unemployment, such as Canada's young people and
individuals with disabilities.
Since 2006, the government's top priority has been jobs, growth
and long-term prosperity. We have good reason to be proud of our
performance in this area. The numbers speak for themselves.
Since the worst downturn of the recession, over 900,000 net new
jobs have been created, mostly private sector and full time. In fact
90% of them have been in the private sector and full time, with over
two-thirds in high-wage industries.
Canada's economy has done well, but it still can do better. There
are currently thousands of jobs available across the country that
continue to go unfilled and too many Canadians are still looking for
work. This has serious consequences for our country's economy and
for Canadians' standard of living.
For example, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in its top 10
barriers to competitiveness has once again identified skill shortages.
As opposed to what the opposition likes to say, skill shortages is one
of the number one obstacles to success of its members. Meanwhile
Second, the plan will create more opportunities for apprentices,
something we have heard about at our committee.
Finally, it will provide support to groups that are underrepresented in the job market.
Let me focus a little more on the range of measures we have
announced in economic action plan 2013.
Many young people are graduating into unemployment or
underemployment and that is because of a lack of skills that
employers are actually seeking. There is a mismatch. Young people
start to make career and education decisions as early as grade seven.
By the time they finish high school, they have already formed their
ideas of what is or is not actually the career for themselves. We need
to help them get better information at an earlier age.
We need to help them understand where the jobs really are in
Canada and where they are not, something we spoke about during
the course of this committee's discussion on this exact report. These
echo what the committee heard from those who were interviewed.
We know on-the-job experience is just as important as training
and our apprenticeship programs are working well.
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COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Routine Proceedings
However, there is room for improvement, particularly when it
comes to better credential recognition. That is why we are working
to put forward, with our province and territorial partners, an ability to
harmonize requirements for apprentices.
We are also going to examine the use of practical tests for methods
of assessment. We will promote the use of apprentices in federal
contract work, for things such as construction and maintenance of
affordable housing and infrastructure projects, something that was
specifically asked of us at committee.
Economic action plan 2013 will invest significant funds over two
years to give Canadians access to better labour market information,
exactly what I was mentioning before, providing young people in
particular the opportunity to know what is available and where and
where it is not and develop new outreach efforts to promote careers
in high-demand fields, where jobs are available for them to fill.
For example, our young people need to become better informed
about career opportunities in the skilled trades and how good wages
actually exist. Having grown up in Fort McMurray, Alberta, I know
that many of the individuals there, who are skilled trades individuals,
have an acute idea of exactly what a good wage is and they are doing
particularly well, whether that is working for a large firm or a small
firm or moving on to create their own firm as an entrepreneur.
● (1535)
Skilled trades are an excellent opportunity for young people and it
is not just apprentices who would benefit from this budget. There is
another 5,000 paid internships that will be made available over three
years for recent post-secondary graduates, ensuring they have onthe-job training that not only employers but employees have talked
to us about so they can make the transition into the workplace.
Our economy needs the skills, talents and amazing spirit of our
young people, but we also need the skills, talents and amazing spirit
of Canadians with disabilities. Any vision of future growth and
prosperity in Canada would be incomplete without considering the
contribution that people with disabilities can make.
I would like to remind the House that economic action plan 2012
announced the creation of the Panel on Labour Market Opportunities
for Persons with Disabilities. Its mandate was to identify privatesector successes and best practices and increasing the labour market
participation of persons with disabilities. In its January 2013 report
entitled, “Rethinking Disabilities in the Private Sector”, the panel
estimates roughly 800,000 working-age Canadians who have a
disability are unemployed. Imagine how they could help address the
skills shortages that employers have across the country.
The panel argues that there is a good business case for hiring
individuals with disabilities and the report sets out practical steps
that can be taken to recruit individuals with disabilities and support
them in the workplace. The panel found that many workplace
accommodations required for employees with disabilities cost little
to nothing and organizations that already employed persons with
disabilities reported they have significant benefits, both in terms of
company culture and their bottom line. From personal experience,
working in clinics and talking to the parents of young adolescents
who have cerebral palsy or talking with patients who have
disabilities, these are exactly the things we need to be doing moving
forward.
Our government is doing its part to get more people with
disabilities into the workforce. Budget 2013 announced significant
investments for a new generation of labour market agreements for
persons with disabilities. The reformed agreements to be introduced
in 2014 would better meet the needs of Canadian businesses and
improve the employment prospects for individuals with disabilities.
Budget 2013 also proposes ongoing funding for the opportunities
fund to provide more demand-driven training solutions for persons
with disabilities. Budget 2013 would make permanent the annual
funding for the enabling accessibility fund to support capital costs of
construction and renovations to improve physical accessibility.
Economic action plan 2013 also proposed the creation of a
Canadian employers disability forum to be managed by employers
for employers. This forum will facilitate education training, the
sharing of resources and best practices with regard to the employment of individuals with disabilities, something that I would
encourage all members of the House to inform their businesses
about and to become active in.
When I was British Columbia last Friday, a number of employers
stated they had not necessarily heard what the great results were of
this report. I encourage as many business leaders as possible across
the country to look up this report and read the recommendations. If
they have questions, they should approach individuals who can give
them some direction on education and what we can do in order to aid
individuals with disabilities entering into the workforce.
The budget provides enhanced funding for the Social Sciences
and Humanities Research Council of Canada, some of which will
support research on labour market participation of Canadians with
disabilities entering into the workforce.
Lastly, I will comment on the cross-country consultations that the
Government of Canada is doing with respect to the Canada jobs
grant and temporary foreign workers. Having been in Regina,
Calgary and Vancouver last week and later this week in St. John's
and Halifax and other places in the country in the near future, we are
listening to Canadians because we need their input and are asking for
their input on how to ensure these are the most effective programs
and skills training programs for Canadian businesses, employers and
employees. We want to ensure we are linking Canadians to available
jobs, those that are in demand, and that they have the information
available to them so they can make great decisions with respect to
their future career opportunities.
I appreciate the time to speak to this concurrence motion. The
skills and training initiatives in economic action plan 2013 will
enable more Canadians to contribute to the economy and share in our
growth and prosperity across the country. Therefore, we are happy to
concur with the report from the Standing Committee on Human
Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons
with Disabilities.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16727
Routine Proceedings
● (1540)
● (1545)
Ms. Linda Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona, NDP): Mr.
Speaker, I welcome this report, but I have to admit that I am
extremely puzzled. I look forward to the hon. member informing me
on whether this incredible program, the Environment Sector Council,
now called ECO Canada, which may no longer be funded by the
federal government, will be remaining.
Ms. Kellie Leitch: Mr. Speaker, this government has actually
been very focused on ensuring young Canadians have opportunities
for jobs. That is why we put forward the youth employment strategy,
a $300 million program, which was augmented in last year's budget,
as well as another 5,000 paid internships, as I mentioned in my
speech. The member opposite may not have heard that. There are
also a number of other items that employers and employees have
spoken to me about, whether that be the Canada jobs grants, for
which any Canadian will be able to apply. These are great
opportunities for Canadians.
I had the honour of sitting on that board for seven years. It does
labour market work on environmental employment. For more than a
decade, it has shown that environmental employment is the highest
growing rate of employment in the country. In this report, we see
recommendations for informing Canadians about these potential
jobs, with a section specifically on getting aboriginals into
environmental employment and another for immigrants. It also
provides for apprenticeships and matching up students with jobs for
the summer.
Could the hon. member inform the House whether the
Conservatives intend to continue financing the labour market
reviews by ECO Canada and if they in fact intend to use that as a
model for all the other agencies and government.
Ms. Kellie Leitch: Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned in my speech, we
are providing significant funding in economic action plan 2013 with
regard to labour market information, in fact $19 million over two
years to ensure that Canadians are best informed of where there are
in-demand jobs.
I think the member opposite knows that there has been a
sunsetting of the sector councils. We do have an opportunity for
them to apply for funding. If this organization is as excellent as the
member states, and I am sure it is, then I encourage it to participate
actively in that process.
We have been very clear. There are a number of in-demand jobs
available and we want to best link young Canadians, individuals
with disabilities and individuals looking for jobs with those
opportunities. We have provided substantive funding in the budget
to do just that.
The opposition, though, has already stated it is voting against that.
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Winnipeg North, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it
is interesting listening to the parliamentary secretary trying to give
the impression to Canadians that this is a progressive government
trying to get our young people and others the skill sets in order to
meet the jobs of tomorrow. In fact, there has probably been more
effort by the Conservative government than any other government
prior in promoting itself.
In the local ridings, we spend roughly $300,000 on the summer
employment program. These summer employment programs go a
long way in not only filling jobs while students attend university, but
also in developing the skill sets they have so they can actually get
into full-time jobs after they graduate.
Would the member try to justify to Canadians how her
government feels it necessary to limit the amount of real summer
employment for youth, while at the same time spending literally tens
of thousands, $90,000 plus, on one ad during the NHL playoffs.
If the member opposite would like to talk about government
spending, the Liberals cornered the market on that before 2006 when
we were elected. I encourage him to think again about those
numbers. I do not think he wants to get into that debate.
Ms. Linda Duncan: Mr. Speaker, I would like to follow up on my
previous question for the hon. member.
She mentioned there was great respect for the sector councils, and
I am looking quickly through the list of witnesses. Did it not occur to
the government that they would be very good witnesses to come in
since they used to do labour market analyses, particularly ECO
Canada?
I am absolutely stunned that the Conservatives would kill the
sector council. It was an organization that brought together people
working in the sector, non-profit people, students and so forth. Could
she speak to why on earth, at a time when the very recommendations
they are making to initiate labour market studies, they have killed the
very entity that did them so effectively for a decade?
Ms. Kellie Leitch: Mr. Speaker, as the member opposite knows,
this is actually a committee of the House of Commons, not of the
government. At our committee we have a very fair and open process.
Any individuals whose names are put forward to come to committee,
we actually accommodate everyone.
I would encourage the member in the future, if she would like to
have someone come forward, to please speak to the members who
are on our committee because we would be delighted to hear from
them. Their names were never put forward, but I can say that we
listened to people from all over the country. They gave great
testimony and we were able to put forward this great report that all
members invested a significant amount of time in.
[Translation]
Mrs. Anne-Marie Day (Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles,
NDP): Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for her
speech. It caught my attention and raised some questions for me.
I received a letter from Joyce Reynolds of the Canadian
Restaurant and Foodservices Association. It indicates that the 15
to 24 age group has reached a demographic peak, which is
contributing to the labour shortage. She says that the restaurant and
food service sectors will need 1,225,200 employees between now
and 2015 and that 35,000 of these positions will not be filled.
16728
COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Routine Proceedings
The parliamentary secretary has said that the Conservatives are
going to encourage the hiring of young people to fill those positions,
yet this age group has clearly already reached its demographic peak.
Where will they get the workers to fill these positions?
haven't bought my pair of runners yet, I haven't gone for a jog in six
years but I'm going to finish it next year and this is my advertisement
here.” It is unbelievable.
[English]
That money that the Conservatives are wasting is on a program
that might or might not happen, and they have bailed out of training.
Let us pick a number, say $200 million, that would have gone to the
Province of New Brunswick to help with training in the labour
market development agreement. Now the Conservatives are saying
that they will come in with a third of the dollars if New Brunswick
will come in with a third, and then the private sector will come in
with a third. So if the Province of New Brunswick, which is running
a significant deficit under its Conservative provincial government,
cannot afford to match that $200 million, we know those federal
dollars will not be going into those training opportunities for the
young people in New Brunswick for them to pursue an education or
apprenticeship and develop some kind of skill to be productive
citizens. However, now they have the advertising. Therefore, I am
with the lion's share of Canadians who are really upset with this
thing.
Ms. Kellie Leitch: Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned, we have an
untapped wealth of 800,000 Canadians with disabilities who can fill
a number of different roles, let alone a number of young people
across the country seeking their first opportunity for employment.
We want to provide hands-on, on-the-job training experience to as
many young Canadians as is absolutely possible. That is why we
have moved forward with the youth employment strategy.
I appreciate the question from the member opposite. I encourage
her, just as I have all members in the House, to actually make sure
that employers in her riding are well educated about the report from
the panel on labour market issues regarding persons with disabilities,
because she can better integrate those Canadians into her workplace.
Mr. Rodger Cuzner (Cape Breton—Canso, Lib.): Mr. Speaker,
I would like to share with the House that I will be splitting my time
with my good friend and colleague from Winnipeg North. I want to
thank my colleague from Hamilton Mountain for bringing this
forward at this time this afternoon to speak to this very important
issue.
Before we get into the meat of the issue, I will just take two
minutes up front here and maybe vent a little frustration that is on the
minds of many Canadians currently, especially those who follow the
NHL playoffs. It sort of ties in with the whole thing about job
creation and what the government is doing, but also what it is not
doing with regard to job creation and opportunities to fill some of the
skills shortages that are in this country. It is neglecting some of the
areas where we are seeing mass out-migration and hurting rural and
remote communities.
The one that really has Canadians rankled is that the
Conservatives continue to waste money. They did it every night of
the NHL playoffs, and of course during the Juno Awards and the
Super Bowl, with the action plan advertisements. We know that it
costs $32,000 a minute for these particular ads. We know the number
of summer students that could support, that every time we see an ad
that is 32 summer students who could probably be supported through
this money. Often, these are young people's first opportunities to get
into the workforce, to garner and develop those work skills and those
good work habits. Then they could go further and continue their
education and become strong and productive citizens. That is what
we all want here. However, there is this perverse attempt by the
Conservatives to paint themselves as a caring party when we know
that they are squandering important, precious money on these
particular advertising programs.
The latest one is the job grants. If it was not bad enough before
with the action plan ads, in the job grants ads the Conservatives are
actually advertising for a program that is not even set up yet. They
have not spoken to the provinces yet. It is supposed to be coming in
2015 and they have not even had consultations with the provinces
and they are advertising this program. It is unbelievable. It would be
like me going to my wife and saying, “Honey, if you want to
congratulate me now I just finished the Cabot Trail relay road race. I
● (1550)
There is a proviso at the bottom that this is subject to
parliamentary approval. It has more disclaimers than a Viagra
commercial. My suggestion is that they pull out of this program.
That is enough ranting about the waste we are seeing. I want to
talk about support for apprentices and where the Conservatives have
fallen short. Regarding the inaction, suggestions have come forward.
Testimony has been presented by very credible witnesses, people
who are impacted by the changes the government has made over the
last number of months. For example, on the apprenticeship program
we had testimony just recently from Polytechnics Canada. Witnesses
pointed out during committee meetings that the level of financial
support provided through the system is just simply inadequate.
We asked a number of apprentices about their level of support
because if people take a trade, when they go to school they are
supported by employment insurance. They talked about the attrition
rate for young apprentices. People are older when they start
apprenticeship programs. Maybe they take a job and get some life
experience and then move to the trades when they are about 27 or 28
years old, on average. By that time, some may have a family.
Certainly they have bills, if they are coming out of the workforce and
are trying to upgrade into a trade. That is a reality.
When they go to school, typically they make application for
employment insurance and there is a two-week waiting period.
Because the Conservative government has gutted EI processing
centres, cut 600 jobs in the EI processing centres, the backlog of EI
claims now just goes on and on. In 2004, 80% of the time first-time
claims were being turned around in 21 days. At that time we thought
that was a long time for a person to go without any household
income. Now, and what we heard from witnesses, that is taking 28
days. That is the new target. Conservatives have extended the target,
so they have a better chance of hitting the target if they make the
target a little broader, but they are only hitting that 30% of the time.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16729
Routine Proceedings
We are seeing young apprentices having to go five, six or seven
weeks without any income. If they do not have family support, if
they do not have someone helping them out by putting food in the
fridge and paying their bills, then they are dropping out of the
courses and are letting the apprenticeships go. We have testimony to
that effect. There is no sign of that in the report. We are not seeing
the testimony line up with the recommendations as presented.
The government heralds how well it is doing with apprenticeship
grants. Through the department's own findings in 2009, it published
in the apprenticeship grant review that almost all apprentices who
completed their apprenticeship would have done so without the
grants. I question what impact this is having on skills development
and addressing the problem of skills shortages. There are many other
initiatives. Certainly we have put those initiatives forward in the
minority report. I would hope that the government would seriously
consider and try to move on these.
● (1555)
Mr. Mike Wallace (Burlington, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I loved the
member's presentation. It did not make any sense, but I loved it.
This concurrence motion is a discussion of a report on skills
shortages in Canada. This government, through the economic action
plan, has put forward a number of opportunities, through skills
development for aboriginals, for those with disabilities, for students
who need employment. I heard that the opposition has some other
ideas in the minority report.
Are there things we are doing that members of the Liberal Party
approve of that they would like to see happen and are they going to
support us in moving forward on the area of work in terms of skills
development, or are they opposed because they did not come up with
the idea?
● (1600)
Mr. Rodger Cuzner: Mr. Speaker, the member said he did not
understand most of it. I was talking about actual situations that have
taken place in households across Canada. The Conservatives are that
far removed from the reality that it would be so foreign to them.
They just do not understand it. They cannot relate.
There is a firewall between reality and the current government,
and the Conservatives just cannot relate.
This is something that would never happen from the PMO talking
points, but as a matter of fact, the labour market information aspect
of the recommendations is not all that bad, so I will give the member
that.
The fact is that it has been four years since the federal government
received the working together to build a better labour market
information system, which is all about labour market information,
put together by Donald Drummond, and the Conservatives have
done nothing with it. They have not moved on one of the
recommendations.
The chance of the Conservatives moving on some of the
recommendations we put forward in the minority report are probably
about as good as the Leafs—
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin): Questions and
comments, the hon. member for Charlesbourg—Haute-SaintCharles.
[Translation]
Mrs. Anne-Marie Day (Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles,
NDP): Mr. Speaker, the committee repeatedly heard evidence and
was provided information about the job market. We heard that there
will be a labour shortage—something we have known since the
1990s—and that we do not have sufficient data about businesses,
employers or the population. Furthermore, the data is not released
often enough, nor are high-quality forecasts.
My question is about future shortages. We need more workers in
the labour market. Does the member know whether this government
has made plans to fill that labour shortage? What does his party
suggest?
[English]
Mr. Rodger Cuzner: Mr. Speaker, what the member shared with
the House about the lack of information is absolutely true. Certainly
reducing the funding to the sector councils would have an adverse
effect going forward, in recognizing opportunities within the
workforce, what industries would require and what types of work
they would need. The defunding of the sector councils was a huge
step back for workforce development.
Does the government have a plan? We saw the plan the
Conservatives had for temporary foreign workers. A year ago they
introduced the 15% decrease, the accelerated labour market
opinions. They introduced that last year and now, 12 months later,
they flip on that and pull that stuff away.
The Conservatives have managed to have everybody wondering
what the heck is next. Business and the workforce are guessing about
what will happen next, because there is no plan and no strategy. In
the absence of that, we have chaos.
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Winnipeg North, Lib.): Mr. Speaker,
perhaps I could pick up on my colleague's comments about the lack
of a plan. There is a significant difference between this particular
government and the Liberal Party. The government has demonstrated
a willingness to act, to a certain degree, but in a very piecemeal way.
It will take on a little section and then talk about how much it is
investing and how it will be to the betterment of Canadians. What we
really need to do is take a holistic approach dealing with our skills
and the types of employment opportunities out there.
What we have witnessed with the government are serious
cutbacks and neglect in dealing with the skills shortages Canada
has, not only for today, but also for tomorrow. We need a
government—ideally a Liberal government, I would suggest—that
is going to take a more holistic approach to dealing with what is a
very serious issue that all Canadians are trying to better appreciate.
They want to see a government being more aggressive in dealing
with the skills shortage and labour needs going forward.
Canadians are concerned about unemployment. It is very real.
Look at our youth unemployment numbers. They are some of the
highest we have ever seen. The government is actually seeing net
decreases in youth employment opportunities going forward. Of
course we are going to be concerned about that.
16730
COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Routine Proceedings
What about the middle class, the individual who is 45 to 55 years
of age, who now finds himself unemployed? Maybe he was working
in the manufacturing industry in Ontario or Manitoba or any other
place in Canada. He was receiving a relatively decent wage and now
finds himself unemployed because of the structuring that is taking
place worldwide and the impact, in part, it has had on Canada.
Where is that caring, compassionate government that is going to
stand up for the middle class, the working class, someone who has
been deemed unemployed because of a factory having been shut
down? The government has not ponied up. It has not been at the
table. We do not see a government working with the many different
stakeholders in our community.
My colleague made reference to the jobs grant. The government is
spending taxpayers' dollars on promoting the jobs grant, yet it has
not done its homework on it. It has not had the necessary meetings
with the many different stakeholders to try to develop a program that
will be effective. This is something in which the government has
been very much lacking.
It was not that long ago that I was standing up and using the
example of youth and summer employment job opportunities. We
are seeing fewer youth being employed today than we have seen
under previous administrations. Quite often it is those summer jobs
that provide the skills and opportunities that assist young people
upon completion of their post-secondary education in landing their
first job. Instead, we have seen the government cut back on that.
At the same time, the Minister of Finance and the government
have spent astronomical amounts of tax dollars. They are using tax
dollars to promote things like the action plan, which many, including
me, would argue is a dud. Tax dollars are being spent on
commercials. As my colleague mentioned, it costs $90,000 for a
30-second ad during NHL playoffs, and it is getting to be more of an
expense.
These are Canadian tax dollars being used for something that is
just not necessary, while on the other hand, every community across
Canada could benefit from the tax dollars being spent on youth
summer jobs. Those jobs will go much further in terms of advancing
skills for young people.
● (1605)
However, I believe we need to do a lot more. We need to take a
holistic approach. This is where, I would argue, Liberals differ from
New Democrats. The previous member who spoke got a little upset
with the temporary foreign worker program. There is some reason to
be upset with the temporary foreign worker program. Let us
recognize that the program has done wonders for our country. It has
improved the standard of living for every Canadian and resident in
Canada. If it is done properly and managed in the way it was
intended to be managed, it is not going to displace one resident or
Canadian in this country from a job. It should be building our
economy. There are certain industries in Canada today that would
not be here if it were not for the temporary foreign worker program.
Unlike the NDP, Liberals see the merits of the program and
believe the program has great value, but we also understand that
abuse has been taking place and the government has allowed it to
take place. The government has failed to recognize how important it
is to have the skill set training programs in place to ensure that we
are better able to fill the labour market, whether it is today or into the
future. The government has not been successful in doing that and, in
good part, has been relying on the temporary foreign worker
program to fill that gap.
There are many different ways in which the Government of
Canada could be demonstrating leadership in ensuring that valued
jobs, which are important jobs and could potentially continue to
grow our economy, are being filled by Canadians and residents of
Canada. One of the most important things it can do is work with
different stakeholders. The government has not been known to sit
down with stakeholders in provinces and cities to come up with
good, sound public policy, but if it genuinely cares about creating
jobs and wants Canadians to be employed, it needs to give more
attention to this file. That means picking up the telephone and,
beyond that, meeting with ministers and trying to line up different
types of programs that are being made available, recognizing it has a
role to play in that.
Far too often I meet with high school students who say they hear
about jobs and then ask to what degree they are actually being
provided the opportunity to acquire those jobs or to what degree
community colleges or universities are working with the private
sector and different levels of government to ensure that future jobs
are in fact being taken into consideration when the curriculum is
being developed. Many would argue that is long term and, yes, it is
long term, but there are also short-term things the government can be
doing, such as working with stakeholders and providing incentives
through the use of tax dollars to ensure there are first-class training
opportunities for people who call Canada home, whether they are
Canadian citizens or landed immigrants.
We have people who are prepared to do the work. They are
looking for strong leadership from the government and other sectors
to come to the table to make sure those jobs are in fact going to
people who call Canada home.
● (1610)
Hon. Jim Flaherty (Minister of Finance, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I
listened carefully to the comments of the hon. member opposite, and
I must say I agree with him entirely that infrastructure in Canada
needs more support, that the municipalities need more support on
infrastructure, that we need a much more effective jobs training
program and that our manufacturers need assistance.
Since we are doing all of these things, and in fact they are major
points of the economic action plan 2013, I ask the member opposite
whether will he vote his conscience in support of the budget bill.
● (1615)
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux: Mr. Speaker, first, I compliment the
Minister of Finance for listening to what I have to say.
I think it is important that he recognize that there needs to be
leadership from the Prime Minister's Office in dealing with the
important issues facing our country today.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16731
Routine Proceedings
If the Prime Minister truly believes in doing things for our
working class and our middle class and wants to create more jobs,
why has he never met once with the premiers as a collective group?
Why does he not look at how we can start working together?
Canadians expect the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance to
be working in co-operation.
I recognize, as the Liberal Party of Canada recognizes, how
critically important it is that we keep our economy moving forward
and put emphasis on job creation, on infrastructure and so forth, but
we also believe it is critically important that we work in co-operation
with the many different stakeholders, including the different levels of
government, because if we are successful at doing that, we will
create more jobs and more skill sets for Canadians.
To date the government has been doing it in a very piecemeal
fashion. It means that some will be created, but nowhere to the
degree that Canada has the potential to create if in fact we were
prepared to show—
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin): Questions and
comments. The hon. member for Richmond—Arthabaska.
[Translation]
Mr. André Bellavance (Richmond—Arthabaska, BQ): Mr.
Speaker, the member just spoke about the lack of co-operation
between the federal government and provincial governments,
especially the Government of Quebec, and the famous 30-second
$95,000 ads about a job training program that does not even exist,
which are being run during the current playoffs.
There is a disconnect between reality and the government's line
that it is willing to work with the provinces and Quebec in order to
put programs in place. We have come to the conclusion that the
federal government is interfering once again in Quebec's areas of
jurisdiction, because labour training is the responsibility of Quebec
and the provinces.
How is it logical for the government to claim that it is putting in
place a program even though Quebec does not want it? Quebec
wants support and it wants the funding that goes with the program,
which is paid for by our taxes, but it does not want the federal
government to impose conditions on job training, which is a
provincial area of jurisdiction.
[English]
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux: Mr. Speaker, whether it is the Province
of Quebec or the Province of Manitoba or any province in Canada,
we have to respect and work with provincial entities if we want to
achieve maximum employment and maximum skill set development.
action plan or the jobs bank is insulting. In this case it does not even
exist yet. It is just so the government can pat itself on the back.
Let us deal with real—
● (1620)
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin): Order, please.
Resuming debate, the hon. member for Calgary Northeast.
Mr. Devinder Shory (Calgary Northeast, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I
am pleased to rise in favour of the motion and the ninth report of the
Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social
Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities entitled
“Labour and Skills Shortages in Canada: Addressing Current and
Future Challenges”.
The report acknowledges that the issue of labour and skills
shortages is very complex and requires coordinated action on a
number of fronts.
I would like to take this opportunity to highlight what the
Government of Canada is doing to close the skills gap. I would also
like to address some of the opportunities our partners in the private
sector have to be part of the solution.
Now is a critical time for Canada's economic recovery. While
markets are fragile because of global uncertainty, Canada is still on
the path toward economic growth and prosperity, but this growth can
only be sustained if we have a skilled and knowledgeable workforce,
which means that our workers must be equipped with the basic skills
required to drive the economy. These skills are building blocks
recognized in our government's budget, economic action plan 2013.
The economic action plan proposes new measures to connect
Canadians with available jobs and to provide them with the skills
and training they need to strive in today's economy. These measures
include introducing the new Canada job grant, creating more
opportunities for apprentices and providing employment support to
underrepresented groups, such as people with disabilities, youth,
aboriginal people and newcomers.
There is a strong role for the federal government to demonstrate
leadership on that file. It is equally important that we also recognize
the many different institutions that develop those skill sets and the
stakeholders that use those skill sets.
While significant money is spent on training, it is clear we can do
better. There are still too many unemployed Canadians looking for
jobs and too many businesses looking for workers.
What we really need to do is recognize that we have to put
Canadians first and foremost as the highest priority. If we do that and
acknowledge it as the highest priority, then it behooves all levels of
government to start working more closely together.
I would like to focus on the Canada job grant, which seeks to
connect Canadians looking to increase their skills with job creators
who need skilled workers.
In terms of the reference to the jobs grant, much like the action
plan, I think the amount of money that we spend to promote the
Mr. Speaker, I forgot to mention that I will be splitting my time
with my colleague.
16732
COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Routine Proceedings
For example, a small dental practice in London, Ontario, might be
seeking a new dental assistant. The current receptionist is interested
in the position but is not qualified. The dentist is keen to retain this
worker in her practice and contributes $2,500 toward a $7,500
Canada job grant. That also results in equal contributions of $2,500
from the federal and provincial governments to allow the receptionist
to complete the dental assistant course at the local community
college. The original receptionist works with the dentist to hire and
train a new receptionist. Now working as a new dental assistant, the
employee's wage has increased 25%. That dentist has managed to
retain a committed and loyal employee and also has the additional
flexibility to manage periodic employee absences by having an
employee trained in several areas of the practice.
As members can see from the example, for the first time the
Canada job grant is taking skills training choices out of the hands of
the government and putting them where they belong: in the hands of
job creators and Canadians looking for work.
Given the magnitude of the problem, we must ask all players,
including employers and post-secondary institutions, to step up to
the plate to address this very serious issue. This is especially true for
Canadian companies that want their businesses to grow.
According to a survey conducted by the Conference Board of
Canada, the average amount companies spent for employees on
training and development in 2011 was $747. Companies allocated
1.5% of their payroll budget to training, down from 2% in the 1990s.
As well, 51% of organizations plan to cut spending on training, and
33% of Canadian employees said they wanted to further their skills
but did not.
● (1625)
Now that the recovery is starting to get a foothold, we believe
companies should invest more aggressively in their employees' skills
and in their future.
What we are saying is that our future balance sheets could be
much better if we invested in the skills needed to propel our
economy, and this is the central point in the report: that a concerted
effort is required by everyone to tackle this important issue.
Ensuring that Canadians have the skills required for the jobs of
today and tomorrow is critical to achieving our top priorities of job
creation, economic growth and long-term prosperity for Canadians.
A shortage of workers with the right skills can mean forgone
business opportunities for Canadian enterprises, lost productivity for
Canada, and lower living standards and fewer employment
opportunities for Canadians.
Let me quote a few experts on the skills shortage facing
Canadians.
In August 2012, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business
said that a shortage of skilled labour is the main operating challenge
facing business owners in Newfoundland.
Susan Holt, the New Brunswick Business Council CEO, said on
February 24, 2012:
There are more shortages in the higher-skilled positions but we still have 30 per
cent of respondents highlighting challenges in filling low-skilled positions.
Perrin Beatty, the president and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of
Commerce, said on February 8, 2012:
...what I'm hearing from businesses is they cannot get their hands on the people
they need to allow them to expand and be more competitive.
As committee members heard as they travelled to all regions in
Canada, the skills gap is real and it is holding back our economy
from fully developing. We want to ensure every Canadian can find a
place in the job market, because Canadian employers need every last
one of them.
Highlighting youth, economic action plan 2013 proposes several
strategic investments to help them at different stages of their
education and careers.
For example, to make maximum use of education and talent of
recent graduates, we will invest through the career focus program to
support 5,000 more paid internships for recent post-secondary
graduates and we will also improve labour market information for
young people considering careers in high-demand fields such as the
skilled trades, science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
These youth-focused initiatives are accompanied by supports for
persons with disabilities, aboriginal people and newcomers that will
help meet the employment needs of Canadian businesses and
improve individuals' job prospects.
With initiatives such as the Canada job grant, we are addressing
the real needs of workers and employers.
By working collaboratively, employers, industry, educational
institutions and governments can ensure that our workforce can
keep Canada competitive and prosperous for the long term.
This is why we are pleased to provide our support to concur in this
report.
Ms. Chris Charlton (Hamilton Mountain, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I
followed the member's speech with great interest. We serve on the
committee together, so I know his perspective on many of these
issues quite well.
I want to ask him specifically, though, about the part of his speech
in which he talked at length about the Canada job grant. He talked
about it in much the same way that the TV ads do. He lauded it as a
great program, as the next best thing for Canadians who are looking
to upgrade their skills, yet the program does not actually exist.
What we know about the job grant is that there is an ad campaign
running in the middle of NHL hockey games, I think to the tune of
$90,000 per ad, about a program that advertises the Canada job
grant, which does not exist.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
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Routine Proceedings
I wonder if the member, because he talked about it in his speech,
knows more about it than the rest of us in this House do. If he does, I
wonder whether he would share those details with the rest of us.
I would ask him quite directly here, since he raised it, to give
members of this House the details of the Canada job grant and how it
would help people in my community of Hamilton Mountain and,
indeed, people right across this country.
● (1630)
Mr. Devinder Shory: Mr. Speaker, I honestly love this question. I
do not know where the member lives, but I can tell her one thing:
this program is introduced in the budget. I myself have already
started consultations.
I will quote what I heard from the United Way president and
CEO, Dr. Lucy Miller, and its vice-president and chief operating
officer, Heather MacDonald. They said that the government's focus
on skills training is in line with the United Way's project called All
In. At Bishop McNally High School they started to invite high
school dropouts back to school and were encouraging students in
higher learning such as skilled trades and colleges.
I would encourage the member opposite to start consulting her
constituents.
Mr. Rodney Weston (Saint John, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I want to
talk about the Canada jobs grant as well. I wonder if the member
could explain to the House why this is so important. Could he
explain why we should be dealing not only government to
government but also government to business? We all know how
important the economy is and how much value we place on a skilled,
trained workforce. I am wondering if the hon. member could talk a
bit about why it is so important that businesses be incorporated into
this model as well.
Mr. Devinder Shory: Mr. Speaker, too many jobs go unfilled in
Canada because employers cannot find workers with the right skills.
As I mentioned, there are always good results when it is a
partnership and also when all stakeholders are involved. It is
important to work with employers with a vested interest in keeping
their employees for the long term and having their skills updated. It
is important for all stakeholders to get involved and invest in the
skills they require.
Ms. Linda Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona, NDP): Mr.
Speaker, I would like to repeat the question raised by my colleague
in the House. I wonder if the member could tell us the details about
what exactly the skills program is doing rather than just giving us
accolades from some people about a program they might know about
but the House does not yet know about.
Mr. Devinder Shory: Mr. Speaker, I guess I have to repeat my
answer because the hon. member seems to have missed the point.
This program was introduced in Canada's action plan 2013.
Consultation is going on and stakeholders are taking note of it. I
can assure the member opposite that the stakeholders I have been
consulting with are encouraged to see this kind of program and they
do appreciate it.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin): It is my duty pursuant
to Standing Order 38 to inform the House that the question to be
raised tonight at the time of adjournment is as follows: the hon.
member for Saanich—Gulf Islands, Airport Security.
Resuming debate. The hon. Minister of Labour.
Hon. Lisa Raitt (Minister of Labour, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I
would like to begin by commending the Standing Committee on
Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of
Persons with Disabilities for examining the issue of skills and labour
shortages in Canada. We cannot speak of skills and labour shortages
in Canada without mentioning how strongly the future is linked to
the economic development of the resources in our country, especially
since these resources are so abundant in so many regions.
I have consulted widely with employers and unions across the
country with respect to challenges being faced in the workplace.
What has come back very clearly to me from both sides is that labour
and skills shortages are a major concern of both management and
unions. That is why the key focus of our economic action plan 2013
is on skills training and development. It is not just on skills
development in general, but on skills and development training that
are going to meet specific labour market demands for all Canadians.
Our Conservative government recognizes that we have more to do
to maximize participation by Canadians in the market, with
initiatives that connect more people to the jobs that are available
now and in the future. That is where we have been focusing in recent
years.
We know that to improve Canada's long-term economic outlook,
we need to get more of Canada's underutilized workers and their
skills to work. We have been improving the employment insurance
program so we can ensure that Canadians have a better connection
with the jobs available. We are also working to better connect the EI
system to the temporary foreign worker program to ensure that we
always put Canadian workers first. That is why economic action plan
2013 would invest significantly in skills and training; to ensure that
all Canadian workers have the skills they need to play an active part
in the labour market and, ultimately, contribute to our country's
economic growth.
Economic action plan 2013 puts forward a three-point plan to
connect Canadians with jobs available. Most notably, and this is
what we have been speaking about in the House today, is the new
Canada jobs grant. It is a very exciting program, because it will
potentially provide hundreds of thousands of Canadians each year
with $15,000 or more to retrain; $5,000 of this will come from the
federal government. The provinces and territories and employers will
be expected to match that contribution.
At the time of introducing the economic action plan, the Minister
of Finance said:
The Canada Job Grant will take skills-training choices out of the hands of
government and put them where they belong: in the hands of employers [...] and
Canadians who want to work.
More importantly, the new grant should lead to one essential thing
for unemployed or underemployed Canadians: a job.
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May 21, 2013
Routine Proceedings
That is not all. The economic action plan committed to creating
more opportunities for apprentices as well. To help reduce barriers to
accreditation, we are going to invest $4 million over three years to
work with the provinces and the territories to harmonize requirements and examine the use of practical tests as a method of
assessment.
We are also going to reform procurement practices. This is very
important, because we are going to encourage contractors to hire
apprentices on federal construction and maintenance projects. We are
going to work with the provinces and territories to ensure that they,
too, support the employment of apprentices.
Our third focus in economic action plan 2013 would improve
support to groups that are currently under-represented in the job
market. These are youth, Canadians with disabilities, aboriginal
people and newcomers to Canada. We want to ensure that every
Canadian can find a place in the job market because, quite frankly,
Canadian employers need every last one of them.
To highlight youth, economic action plan 2013 proposes several
strategic investments to help the youth at different stages of their
education and, of course, their careers.
● (1635)
To give an example, to make maximum use of the education and
talents of graduates, we are going to invest significant funding
through the career focus program to support more than 5,000 paid
internships for recent post-secondary graduates. We will also
reallocate money over two years to improve labour market
information for young people considering careers in those high
demand fields, such as the skilled trades, science, technology,
engineering and mathematics. These youth-focused initiatives would
be accompanied by supports for persons with disabilities, aboriginal
people, and of course, for newcomers to help meet the employment
needs of Canadian businesses and improve individuals' job prospects
along the way.
As anyone with young people knows, young workers entering the
workforce face an uncertain job market, while at the same time,
some industries in certain sectors face labour shortages that young
Canadians could fill. The youth employment strategy, whose budget
has been significantly increased over the past few years, is helping
youth develop the skills and gain the experience they need to get
jobs now and prepare for the workforce of tomorrow. Since 2006,
our efforts have helped over 2.1 million young people get skills,
training and jobs in the Canadian labour market.
We are also helping young people, and especially students from
low-income and middle-income families, by making post-secondary
education and training more accessible.
A mix of supports is available to help Canadians save for, finance
and repay their post-secondary education. Measures include the
Canada learning bond, Canada education savings grant, Canada
student grants, Canada student loans and the repayment assistance
plan.
The best programs to develop young people's skills and ensure
they are adapted to the needs of employers are those that are offered
in workplaces. That is especially true in the case of the skilled trades.
That is why our government created the apprenticeship grants, which
match skills with the jobs available. The apprenticeship incentive
grant provides up to $2,000 in grants for an apprentice in a red seal
trade who completes the first or second level of their apprenticeship
program. The apprenticeship completion grant is a $2,000 cash grant
for apprentices who successfully complete their training. In other
words, apprentices could be eligible to receive up to $4,000 in
grants. I am very happy to say that to date, nearly 400,000
apprenticeship grants have been issued across the country.
In addition, employers are encouraged to support apprenticeships
through the apprenticeship job creation tax credit. This initiative
provides employers with a tax credit equal to 10% of the wages paid
to apprentices in designated red seal trades in the first two years of
their apprenticeship.
There is also a well of talent in rural and remote communities that
we believe has not been fully tapped: our aboriginal people. Through
our aboriginal labour market programs, our government works with
partners to ensure that aboriginal people are able to take full
advantage of the economic opportunities around them.
The federal government's primary programs to support the
development of aboriginals' skills are the aboriginal skills and
employment training strategy and the skills and partnership fund.
Through ASETS, significantly funding has been committed from
2010 to 2015 to increase aboriginal participation in the Canadian
labour force. With an investment of significant funds, the skills and
partnership fund emphasizes our government's commitment to
working with partners to develop projects based on economic
opportunities.
One thing is certain: we need to think about our labour market
differently. We need to use our imagination and creativity in ways
we never have before. We have to think outside the box because we
have to match workers and jobs. We need to find solutions to
situations where we have double-digit unemployment, yet local
companies are searching desperately for skilled labour.
I do believe that this is a great step. I am confident that the actions
in the economic action plan 2013 will help address the labour and
skills shortages.
● (1640)
Ms. Chris Charlton (Hamilton Mountain, NDP): Mr. Speaker,
maybe the Prime Minister should not have left the country. I think
this may be the first time that two Conservatives are not on the same
page with respect to their talking points. I asked the member for
Calgary Northeast about the details of the Canada jobs grant and he
said that he was still out there consulting, yet the Minister of Labour
just said that she was really excited about this program. She must
know some details that the member for Calgary Northeast does not.
However, I want to ask her about something more specific today.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16735
Routine Proceedings
She will know that one of the ways to fill a skills shortage in the
country is by assisting people with labour mobility. We have people
in some parts of the country who are unable to access employment
whereas we have skills shortages in other parts of the country and
there is an opportunity for us to do the right thing and bring people
together.
The minister knows, because she has been lobbied by people in
my riding, including Joe Beattie from the Hamilton-Brantford
Building Trades Council, about my Bill C-201, which would
facilitate such labour mobility for people who are working more than
80 kilometres away from home to be eligible for a tax credit for
accommodation and travel expenses. The bill was actually supported
in the HUMA committee recommendations. Could the Minister of
Labour tell the House today whether she also supports the bill?
● (1645)
Hon. Lisa Raitt: Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out the fact
that I have actually had over three years of discussion with unions
and management on issues of skills shortages, so I do possess a
greater knowledge of detail of what the issue is. The problem will be
addressed in what we are putting forward in Canada's job grant.
With respect to her bill, as the member knows, the lead minister
on this is the Minister of Finance. I look forward to discussing the
matter with him in due course.
Hon. Wayne Easter (Malpeque, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, on that last
point, while the Minister of Labour is discussing the issue with the
Minister of Finance, due to some of the changes that the government
has made, we have more and more people commuting to Alberta and
Saskatchewan for work. One guy told me the other day that his cost
of transportation was $18,000 for the year, but that was not
deductible as an expense in going to work. Therefore, I would
encourage her to talk strenuously to the Minister of Finance.
I enjoyed the minister's remarks and she made some goods points
on some of the things she was doing under her portfolio. However,
the problem is with the other changes that the government has made,
which are really affecting labour in my province. Those are the
employment insurance changes. These changes are affecting labour
in the seasonal industries negatively.
Does she have any solutions to propose that would stop this
disincentive to work in much of rural Canada, which is happening as
a result of the EI changes in those seasonal industries?
Hon. Lisa Raitt: Mr. Speaker, being from Cape Breton Island, I
spend a significant amount of time visiting businesses and relatives
in the area. I have had the opportunity to discuss the employment
insurance changes and clarifications that we have brought in to better
connect unemployed Canadians with the jobs that are available in the
area. I disagree with what the member is saying.
Fundamentally, employment insurance will be there for those who
need it at the time they need it. That is a truism. It will be available,
and that is exactly what will happen. However, our ability to connect
Canadians who do not have a job, who are searching for a job, with
all of the jobs available in their area is extremely important.
Information is power.
I know the member agrees with me that people out there who are
on unemployment definitely want to find jobs because there is
dignity in going to work every day. That is what they are searching
for and that is what we are providing when we give them the
information to find where the jobs are.
Ms. Jinny Jogindera Sims (Newton—North Delta, NDP): Mr.
Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise today to speak to something that is
very important to Canadians today, and that is the skills and labour
shortages. Canadians did not really need a lot of media focus on this.
They live this every day and they live this because skilled Canadians
apply for jobs and are told they do not have skills. Instead, workers
are being brought in under the temporary foreign worker program.
Before I get started, I want to talk about the federal Canada jobs
grant for workers and all the advertising that has been done. I have
heard today in the House that there is some consultation going on. I
have also heard from another member that this program is well
researched, there is a lot of data and a lot of plans are being made.
The fact is that it does not exist. What it does is creates false hope
and gives people misinformation because the government is
advertising something that does not exist yet. I would ask us all to
take a look at that.
There is another thing I want to focus on today. I have heard a lot
about apprenticeships and skills training. I want to talk a bit about
my experiences as a high school counsellor and classroom teacher in
a high school for a great number of years. Over the last 25 years, I
have personally witnessed the decimation of the apprenticeship
program and the dismantling of the skills training that used to exist. I
will reference British Columbia specifically because that is the
province I am very familiar with.
Just over a decade ago, British Columbia stopped funding in the
same way for apprenticeship programs, the grants and things that
were available, but something else happened over a decade ago. The
tuition costs for the courses that apprentices took tripled and
quadrupled overnight. There used to be a different fee level for
apprenticeship academic courses compared to university degree
courses. The government of the day in British Columbia made the
fees the same. It did not lower the fees, by the way, it raised the other
fees.
In the high school in Nanaimo that I taught in, there was a huge
ricochet effect because suddenly many young students from
struggling working-class and middle-class families found they could
not afford it. Not only were the grants cut at that time in huge
amounts, but also, with the costs going up and the student loan
program being changed, it shut the door to a whole generation that
would have gone into the skills area.
The other thing that happened was a modular program was
brought in, which really put the Red Seal in jeopardy across Canada.
It had a huge impact in British Columbia. When we talk about the
existing skills shortage, I do not think we should talk about it as if it
is something that has just been discovered in the last year or two. I
believe this has been systematically created over the last few
decades.
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May 21, 2013
Routine Proceedings
It is only recently that the CBC covered a story where wellqualified IT people in a bank, and it happened in many banks after
that, were laid off. When they were laid off, they were asked,
“Before you leave, could you please train these people we are
bringing in from other countries? We are going to be paying them a
lot less, they can't do your jobs, train them and move on”.
● (1650)
came to Canada when there was a shortage of English teachers in
Quebec. I did not come in as a temporary foreign worker. I and my
husband came in as permanent residents. That is how we built our
country.
That is not creating and nurturing skill development or utilization
of the skills we have in Canada. Now we are hearing not one but
hundreds of stories of people who say they came to our country to do
these so-called high-tech IT jobs. When they came here they did not
find it was all that it was made out to be. Many of them ended up
doing other jobs.
If we have a legitimate skills shortage that we cannot fill, and it is
only temporary, then I can see why we would use a temporary
foreign worker program. However, what we are seeing is that while
people in the same part of the country, in the same environment, are
on employment insurance and are looking for work, the government
has allowed a huge number of temporary foreign workers to come
into this country and thus suppress wages. It has also created
problems for many who have come into this country.
There is a pathway to citizenship in there somewhere, but this is
what it looks like. If a person is one of those temporary foreign
workers who gets a pathway to citizenship and actually gets to apply
for permanent residency, guess what happens. Many are coming into
MPs' offices and saying that as soon as they get permanent
residency, they are laid off because employers would rather bring in
another group of temporary foreign workers because they can pay
them less.
Therefore, it is very hard for us to believe how serious the
Conservatives are about meaningful employment for Canadians
where Canadians get to earn a living wage. Instead what we have
seen are policies that suppress wages and policies that, from the
reports we hear in the agricultural and other sectors, are very abusive
relationships in the payment, the recruitment and also in the working
lives of some of the workers who come here.
I want to take this opportunity to clarify something that I have said
1,000 times. It appears my colleague from Winnipeg North has not
heard it and is deliberately failing to understand it and thus he
misrepresents the NDP position on temporary foreign workers. I
have said this 1,000 times, so let me say it again, and I hope my
colleague is listening this time and that it will actually sink in.
The NDP supports a temporary foreign worker program where no
Canadian is available to do the work. We support a program that
addresses a specific skill shortage, where the needs are identified and
temporary foreign workers come in for a temporary time while
Canadian skill sets are grown. In the agricultural sector, where there
is an acute shortage in many areas, we support a living wage for all
and fair working conditions. With all of that in place, if there still are
no Canadians available and able to do the work, that is when we look
at a temporary foreign worker program.
It is under the Liberal government, by the way, that the floodgates
to temporary foreign workers were opened. I know the huge tsunami
of over 400,000 people hit us under the Conservative government,
but it could not have taken place without the Liberals, while they
were in government, opening up that floodgate. It is important that
this be put on the record.
Once again, Canada is a country that has been built through
immigration. Almost every one of us, except for a small handful,
were either our parents, grandparents or great-great-grandparents
came from another country. We came here for a variety of reasons.
We came here when there was a labour shortage. I am one of those. I
● (1655)
Only yesterday I read an article about a very highly trained IT
worker who applied to a huge number of companies. They were all
hiring. He thought that being a Canadian and having the skill set he
had a crack at the jobs. However, he only heard back from two
companies. The rest of them did not even acknowledge the fact that
he sent his resumé in. Guess what they did? Guess what has
happened to him? He did not get the jobs. Many of the jobs went to
what some people call intra-company transfers.
I am going to hear the rhetoric that Conservatives fixed the
program, but there is a fundamental flaw, which is that LMOs are
given without due diligence and without proper oversight. When
they are given that way, Canadians are not aware of the jobs, nor is
there an onus on the employer to advertise those jobs in a
meaningful way to make sure that it is communicated.
With high unemployment and youth unemployment sitting at
double digits, the youth I talk to find it very difficult to talk about the
government's economic action plan. They find it very hard to talk
about all the jobs being created. All they know is that after getting
into huge debt and developing skill sets they thought were going to
be in demand, labour is being brought in from other countries, and
they are without work. This is where the federal government has to
play a role. This is where employers have to play a role as well.
Industry has an absolute obligation to develop the skill sets it
needs, not on its own—I am not saying that—but in partnership.
This is where the government has a critical role to play. Instead of
passing the buck, it has to work with partners and industry. It has to
work with community organizations. It has to work with postsecondary institutions and provide scholarships and affordability so
that our youth, and those of us who are not so young but are in need
of a change in career, can actually go out and get that training.
I talk to many people in their forties and fifties who are still ready
and willing to work for the next 15 or 20 years, but they are being
laid off. They are looking to transition into other jobs or just to do
their own jobs, which are now being filled through so-called intracompany transfers.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
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Routine Proceedings
The recent changes to the temporary foreign worker program
actually failed to address the administration and enforcement. Of
course we have rules that say that an LMO can only be given “if”,
but who is making sure the “if” is fulfilled? It seems recently that the
way the LMOs were handed out was faster than a McDonald's fast
food outlet. People could just walk in and say they wanted one and
they were given some.
● (1700)
Even those that were meant only for highly skilled workers, such
as the ALMOs, were handed out. No wonder the public has very
little faith and very little trust that the government is there to protect
their interests and to look after jobs for Canadians. B.C. is a prime
example. There was the mining fiasco, where Mandarin was required
while highly qualified and experienced miners were sitting right
there, not being hired.
I was just talking to a young man last week as I was going door to
door in my beautiful British Columbia, where the sun was shining.
What he said to me was that he had heard all the hype about all the
jobs that were going to be available in high tech. He spent lots of
money, by the way. It was kind of astounding me when he told me
the debt load he had. That debt load was much higher than the total
price of the first house I bought after I graduated. That is the kind of
debt load our youth are going into the future with.
What he said was that except for working in a bar and
occasionally in a restaurant, he has not been able to find any work in
his field. This is the field we were encouraging young people to go
into, IT.
I do not have to tell members this. They have watched it on
television, not that everything we watch on television is true. We
have sound evidence in front of us that the IT jobs are being given
away. We can call it outsourcing, in-sourcing, intra-company
transfers, or the temporary foreign worker program. Whatever we
call it, I call it taking jobs out of the hands of Canadians and giving
them to people who do not live in Canada.
By the way, I just want to make it clear that when I am talking
about taking jobs away from Canadians, it includes everybody who
lives right here in Canada and has legal status in Canada as a
permanent resident. It includes the people who just arrived a few
weeks ago.
On Saturday, I was talking to an engineer who is now working as
a taxi driver. He is highly skilled, has built bridges and did all kinds
of amazing things in his home country. He came here with his skill
set in hand. He got permission to come to Canada because of his skill
set. However, when he got here, it was not recognized. That is the
kind of tension we are creating.
I am hearing this over and over again. Being an English teacher,
data is not really my forte, but all kinds of people are telling us, and I
agree with them, that to plan for the future and to address the present
needs, we need hard data. It seems that the government has an
allergy to data. Having data might actually lead to making informed
policy decisions.
Over the last number of years, what the government has done is
collect less data, data that is less reliable and is not as thorough. We
are hearing from industry, as well, that the data available is really not
anything we can base future labour market planning on. That should
cause us all some serious concern.
When we make policy statements based on ideology rather than
on the needs and the reality on the ground, it can only lead to
mishaps.
One last thing I have to say is that we have to pay special attention
to the needs of our aboriginal communities and the youth. Having
worked very closely with the youth in those communities and having
watched the high stress levels and high suicide rates, it is time we
engaged them in a meaningful way to take an active part in the
workforce.
● (1705)
[Translation]
Mrs. Anne-Marie Day (Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles,
NDP): Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for her
speech, which was excellent and very clear, as always.
In this time of globalization, a strong and competitive economy
requires well-trained workers who have jobs that match their skills.
Businesses want well-trained workers too. It is not really acceptable
to have doctors and lawyers working as taxi drivers in downtown
Montreal. This leads to other problems.
The government, in its wisdom, wants to send EI recipients to
where the jobs are, yet it does not take skills into account. It also
wants persons with disabilities who are available for work to take a
job to the extent their disability allows. It wants to do the same for
temporary foreign workers and aboriginal people too.
Obviously the Conservatives have completely ignored the fact
that workers need to have the skills to do the job. No one can learn a
trade overnight. The government needs to come up with a
comprehensive worker training plan.
I think the hon. member is well aware of this and I would like to
know a bit more about her thoughts on the issue.
[English]
Ms. Jinny Jogindera Sims: Mr. Speaker, for a number of
decades, we have had a huge focus on academic education. I love
that focus, but we also have to focus now in post-secondary
education on skills development and training. We cannot leave that
to just happen. That is where the governments, provincial and
federal, have to work in partnership with employers to make sure we
are developing the skill sets for the next decade.
To do that in a meaningful way, we need data, which the
government is allergic to. If it is allergic to data and yet needs data to
make good, informed decisions, what it will do is keep making
decisions that will not get it anywhere. Therefore, I believe we have
to invest in a very serious way, not just with a few dollars here or
there.
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COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Routine Proceedings
● (1710)
Hon. Gary Goodyear (Minister of State (Science and
Technology) (Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario), CPC): Mr. Speaker, I would ask the member if she
could comment on the ridiculousness of some of her statements.
First, she is now asking that we force Canadians to move anywhere
in Canada to get a job. This is after months of beating up on the
Minister of Human Resources for having an employment program
that required folks to move within an hour.
Second, we put $2 billion into post-secondary education to rebuild
research infrastructure but also to lower the pressure on rising tuition
fees. One of those projects was at Conestoga College, in my riding.
It will now produce about a thousand skilled trades students in the
food industry, which is the second largest manufacturing sector in
Ontario.
The member and her party vote against it every single time. That
is data. How do you respond to that hypocrisy?
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin): I would remind the
minister and all hon. members to orient their questions to the Chair
rather than to their colleagues.
The hon. member for Newton—North Delta.
Ms. Jinny Jogindera Sims: Mr. Speaker, there are Canadians
with skills, in the areas where they live, where temporary foreign
workers are doing the jobs they were doing and could be doing
today. No one can deny that. That is firm data. The Alberta
Federation of Labour has produced a report that does that matching.
The CBC has focused on what is happening in the banking industry,
and it is not just RBC.
Is it not coincidental that this huge program the minister talked
about happens to be in his riding? We are very happy for him.
However, right across Canada, there are Canadians ready and willing
to work. At no time did I say pick people up and move them from
one province forceably to another. There are people who are willing
to be mobile and who are willing to work where jobs are available.
The same jobs they were removed from are being done by someone
else. What is the minister's answer to that?
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Winnipeg North, Lib.): Mr. Speaker,
my question is related to the importance of communication between
the premiers and the Prime Minister's Office. We have never seen a
first ministers conference under the present Prime Minister, where
the premiers come to Ottawa or the Prime Minister has a conference
in another jurisdiction. It is important for us to develop the skill sets.
There has to be communication between the different levels of
government, and I would ultimately argue even beyond that.
However, it does not appear to be a priority for the Conservative
government.
I would ask my colleague to respond to the need for the different
stakeholders—and when I talk about stakeholders, I am referring to
students, employers, government agencies, and post-secondary
facilities such as universities, colleagues and so forth—to meet the
demand for the skills for today and tomorrow. Would the member
agree that there needs to be better communication, at all levels, and
strong leadership from the Prime Minister's Office?
Ms. Jinny Jogindera Sims: Mr. Speaker, every time I hear the
word “stakeholder” I quiver. I have watched too many movies
involving a stake and a hammer. It makes me shiver.
I absolutely believe that there is a need for partnerships. The
federal government, as well as provincial and municipal governments, industry and post-secondary institutions, need to work
together to come up with programs that will lead to greater skills
development for today and tomorrow. For that we need data, and the
government is allergic to data.
● (1715)
[Translation]
Mr. Pierre Nantel (Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, my Conservative colleague across the way behaved
very rudely. He blabbered on while my colleague was responding.
This kind of behaviour and lack of respect is typical of the
Conservatives.
I would like to know whether she thinks this government's biggest
challenge is basically to agree, to come to a consensus and to talk
with other levels of government, particularly when we know there
are horror stories in her region. In fact, some owners are
exaggerating about the living conditions of temporary workers
employed by fast food chains.
[English]
Ms. Jinny Jogindera Sims: Mr. Speaker, we have heard stories
from some temporary foreign workers, who have been brought into
the country to work in restaurants, about incredibly difficult working
conditions. We cannot imagine the kinds of pressure and abuse that
these people have to face.
Only three weeks ago I dealt with a cook who came here from
Spain. He told me that his first day at work was beautiful. He really
liked the first two days. Once he finished his second day, his
employer told him that his wife had to start coming in the following
week. The cook said he was the only one who had applied for the
job, so his wife would not be coming in. He was actually told not to
bother coming back to work unless he and his wife came together.
We have also heard stories about workers who are not being paid
their full wages, or workers who have to pay money to consultants.
Not every employer is like that. Not every person who comes into
this country receives that kind of abuse. We live in Canada, which is
a democratic country. We have to enforce our labour rules in each of
the provinces. We have to make sure that the people who come here
when we need them get a living wage and are treated fairly, in the
same way that Canadians are treated.
Mr. Colin Mayes (Okanagan—Shuswap, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I
am pleased to respond to this debate on the ninth report of the
Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social
Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities. The report
is titled, “Labour and Skills Shortages in Canada: Addressing
Current and Future Challenges”. Our government supports concurrence in this report because it highlights a very real skills gap facing
Canada. I am a member of the human resources committee and I
listened to the evidence of the witnesses. My comments will reflect
the facts that the witnesses presented.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16739
Routine Proceedings
There are employers who cannot grow their businesses because
they cannot find workers with the skills they need. At the same time,
there are Canadians looking to fill these jobs but they do not have the
skills needed to qualify. This is why our government took further
action in budget 2013 to more directly connect skills training to jobs
that are currently available. We will do this through the Canada jobs
grant. The grant moves training decisions out of the hands of
government and into those most qualified to determine in-demand
skills, those being employers with unfilled jobs.
● (1720)
Most notably, a new Canada jobs grant will provide up to 130,000
Canadians a year with $15,000 or more to retrain. The amount of
$5,000 from that will come from the federal government, with the
provinces and territories expected to match that contribution. As our
Minister of Finance said at the time, “For the first time, the Canada
Job Grant will take skills-training choices out of the hands of
government and put them where they belong in the hands of
employers and Canadians who want to work”.
Our ultimate goal is to nurture and enable economic growth by
creating more opportunities for all Canadians.
There are currently thousands of jobs available across Canada
going unfilled, at great cost to the economy and all Canadians. With
baby boomers starting to retire in large numbers, we are
experiencing real skills shortages. This is undermining our country's
competitiveness and ongoing economic growth. We are also working
to improve the training of apprentices to fill needs in the skills trades.
To reduce barriers to accreditation, we will invest over three years to
work with provinces and territories to harmonize requirements and
examine the use of practical tests as a method of assessment.
We are also reforming procurement practices to encourage
contractors to hire apprentices on federal construction and
maintenance projects, and we will work with the provinces and
territories to ensure that they too support employment of apprentices.
Our economic action plan also improves supports to groups who are
currently under-represented in the job market, such as youth,
Canadians with disabilities, aboriginal people and newcomers to
Canada. We want to ensure every Canadian can find a place in the
job market because Canadian employers need every last one of them.
With regard to youth, economic action plan 2013 proposes several
strategic investments to help them at different stages of their
education and careers. For example, to make maximum use of the
education and talents of recent graduates, we will, through the career
focus program, support 5,000 more paid internships for recent postsecondary graduates. We will also invest over two years to improve
labour market information for young people considering careers in
high-demand fields, such as the skills trades, science, technology,
engineering and mathematics.
Under our government's action plan, Canada will continue to have
one of the lowest youth unemployment rates in the G7. Since 2006,
our government has helped 2.1 million youth obtain skills training
and jobs. This year alone our measures have created 60,000 jobs for
youth. Approximately 400,000 Canadian apprenticeship grants have
been handed out to youth since 2007, helping thousands of youth fill
skilled trades jobs. These youth-focused initiatives are accompanied
by supports for persons with disabilities, aboriginal people and
newcomers.
We will continue to work with provinces and territories and
stakeholders to enhance the foreign credential recognition processes
to increase the successful integration of internationally trained
professionals into the job market.
There have been several references today to the temporary foreign
worker program. Let me be clear. This program was never intended
to allow for the outsourcing of Canadian jobs. When concerns were
raised about the program, we acted quickly to ensure the interests of
Canadian workers came first. Last month we announced several
changes to the program. Before issuing a labour market opinion, we
will make sure, through beefed-up questions, that the temporary
foreign worker program is not used to enable the outsourcing of
Canadian jobs.
Through legislative and regulatory amendments currently before
the House, we would increase the government's authority to suspend
or revoke work permits and labour market opinions if the program is
being misused. We would now require employers who rely on
temporary foreign workers to have a firm plan in place to transition
to a Canadian workforce. Effective immediately, we would also
temporarily suspend the accelerated labour market opinion process
in order to determine whether it is the best approach. Our goal
continues to be to process applications as efficiently as possible,
while ensuring that Canadian workers always come first.
In addition, fees for processing LMOs and work permits would be
introduced so that taxpayers are no longer obliged to subsidize the
cost of processing these applications. We would require that
employers who use the program pay temporary foreign workers at
or above the average wage for a job.
The opposition voted against providing funding to skills training
for Canadians to qualify for jobs that might otherwise have been
filled by temporary foreign workers. It has continued to vote against
the legislative changes we are attempting to introduce to ensure the
government has the tools to discover and crack down on businesses
that are abusing the temporary foreign worker program.
I would like to point out that we have put forward measures to
help unemployed Canadians access labour market information to
transition back into the labour force more quickly. For example,
through enhanced job alerts, registered claimants can receive
information up to twice daily on jobs available in their area.
16740
COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Routine Proceedings
We need everyone's skills and talents at work to meet labour
market demands and support the economy. We need action on all
fronts, which our government is already taking, to create jobs and
economic growth that will ensure continued prosperity for all
Canadians. Canada is experiencing significant skills shortages in
many regions and sectors of the economy, but we must always keep
Canadians first whenever there are job openings.
We have heard from a lot of the opposition MPs when it comes to
a plan. Well, we have a plan. It is a plan that the opposition has voted
against every step of the way. Our economic action plan has
delivered on our commitment to Canadians to focus our efforts on
jobs, growth and long-term prosperity.
Canadians understood that the economic leadership of our Prime
Minister was a key to navigating the difficult economic times we
have faced in the recent past. That trust paid off, by electing a strong
and stable national Conservative government.
We have seen the creation of over 900,000 net new jobs. Most are
full-time jobs in the private sector, with over two-thirds being in
high-wage industries. This reflects the strength of Canada's economy
amidst global economic uncertainty.
● (1725)
As good as these results are, however, our focus is still on getting
Canadians back to work. While there are currently thousands of jobs
across Canada going unfilled, there are still too many Canadians
looking for work. We are confronted with mismatches between the
existing skills of the local labour force in some regions and the skills
required by employers for new jobs. This is leading to shortages in
some occupations that are key to our competitiveness and continued
economic growth.
Therefore, the Conservatives are pleased to support concurrence
on this report and to call on all members of this House to work with
us to address the skills gap. This can be most directly demonstrated
by supporting our economic action plan and the budget implementation act that is now working its way through the House of Commons.
[Translation]
Mr. Pierre Nantel (Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, once again, I listened to the speech given by my
colleague opposite.
I would like to ask him a question. How can he ask us to support
this kind of initiative when the government is making political hay
by broadcasting ads about a program that the provinces have not yet
been able to weigh in on?
[English]
Mr. Colin Mayes: Mr. Speaker, one thing the committee found
during our discussions with the witnesses who came forward was
that a lot of the needs, the skills gaps and opportunities for jobs of
today were not communicated well enough to the general public and
to educational institutions across the country. What came out over
and over again is that we need to better communicate those
opportunities and what the government is doing to help come
alongside people who want to get this skills training. This is just part
of the program. Sure, it is going to be coming in the near future, but
it is making Canadians aware so they can prepare themselves to get
into the workforce.
● (1730)
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Winnipeg North, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I
have a relatively simple question for the member. Canada is at an alltime high of approximately 338,000 temporary foreign workers,
more than we have ever had in Canada.
Why has the government done such a poor job at equipping
Canadians with the skills necessary to fill those thousands of jobs
that could not be filled? Apparently, according to the Conservatives,
employers had to look outside Canada in order to find workers to fill
those jobs. In the member's opinion, what did the Conservative
government do wrong so that employers were unable to fill
thousands of jobs with people who live in Canada?
Mr. Colin Mayes: Mr. Speaker, the member, as I understand, was
part of a provincial government and knows that skills training is the
responsibility of the provincial government. The problem has been
the communication between the provinces and the skills training to
meet the needs of the employers of today. That is why we
determined with our Canada jobs grant that there would be funding
for the in-demand jobs so we could ensure those job needs are met.
It is obvious that the program has not worked in the past because
there was such a skills gap. Our government is willing to take action
and move with the provinces and with employers to make this
happen, to ensure we get not only the people trained but people who
are trained in the right skills so they can meet the needs of today.
The Deputy Speaker: I understand the hon. Leader of the
Government in the House of Commons has an intervention.
***
EXTENSION OF SITTING HOURS
NOTICE OF CLOSURE MOTION
Hon. Peter Van Loan (Leader of the Government in the House
of Commons, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I want to give notice that with
respect to consideration of Government Business No. 17, at the next
sitting a minister of the Crown shall move, pursuant to Standing
Order 57, that debate be not further adjourned.
***
COMMITTEES OF THE HOUSE
HUMAN RESOURCES, SKILLS AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT AND THE
STATUS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
The House resumed consideration of the motion.
Mr. Kevin Sorenson (Crowfoot, CPC): Mr. Speaker, certainly in
the area I represent, in the province of Alberta, the biggest threat to
our economy is a lack of labour, and skilled labour is in great
shortage. I know many companies in the oil business and many other
types of businesses that cannot find people. There are too many jobs
that go unfilled in Canada because the right type of people cannot be
found. However, part of our budget, part of this last economic action
plan, is the Canada job grant and part of this program would allow
business to pay a portion.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16741
Routine Proceedings
The member spoke about youth. Does he believe that part of
recruitment will now be carried out by the business community?
Businesses will move into the high schools and explain why they
want to hire youth and give incentives. In the past, governments and
others tried to perhaps find unemployed persons and put them into
positions. However, businesses will now recruit these young men
and women, help them get skilled and train them if they work for
them. That is the job grant. Perhaps the member would like to
expand on that.
● (1735)
Mr. Colin Mayes: Mr. Speaker, interestingly, we heard today
from witnesses at committee that 90% of the temporary foreign
workers are actually in the western provinces, which shows the need
the member just talked about.
We identified with the union representatives who attended the
meeting and talked about the issues of skills shortages and
communicating with youth in high schools, colleges and universities
about opportunities.
It is interesting that in Canada the average person going into the
trades is 26 years old. Most have gone through university, got their
degree, but when they came out they could not find a job and then
had to go back into skills training. We are saying that we should
eliminate the university and get right into the skills training. Part of
the Canada job grant is to connect the job and make youth aware of
the opportunities in the skilled trades.
[Translation]
Mr. Philip Toone (Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the speech by the hon. member
for Okanagan—Shuswap, and I have two questions for him.
The Conservatives have not yet discussed the impact of the
Canada job grant with the provinces. Does the hon. member think
that the provinces are partners when it comes to employment in
Canada, or does he think they get in the way more than anything?
Moreover, the Conservatives have spent thousands of dollars to
advertise a program that has not yet been implemented. My
colleague from Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher asked the question
previously, but the hon. member did not really answer, so I will
repeat it. Why spend thousands of dollars for a program that does not
even exist?
[English]
Mr. Colin Mayes: Mr. Speaker, the discussions at the table were
interesting, especially with the unions. The member opposite should
be aware that the unions have a great part to play in some of these
needs, because they see it every day. They are the ones who really
helped to put together a strategy. Of course, our government is
willing to listen to Canadians and find out what the needs are, and so
we reacted to that. Obviously this program was based on information
that was provided to the committee. It had to be done in a timely
fashion because the longer we wait to put these people into training
and get them into the workforce, the more it will jeopardize our
economy and the growth that we anticipate for our country.
Ms. Joyce Murray (Vancouver Quadra, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I
was listening to the debate with interest and my colleague from
Okanagan—Shuswap commented that there may be some justifica-
tion that it is perhaps better that young people do not go to university
and go straight into trades instead.
My view is that it is best if all young people have a chance to
graduate from high school and are then able to make the choice of
whether to go into trades or to university.
Therefore, I would ask my colleague this. There is an underfunding of aboriginal people on reserve compared to the provincial
and territorial funding for young people in small communities. That
results in an unfortunate high level of young people on reserve who
do not graduate from high school and perhaps do not go into
technical training or university. Should that not be addressed by his
government so that equitable funding is provided for aboriginal
people on reserve?
Mr. Colin Mayes: Mr. Speaker, I want to clarify that I was not
suggesting that all students should not go to university and should
look at the trades. Rather, that is obviously an opportunity they need
to be exposed to.
When I first came to this place in 2006, I was the chair of the
Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development. We did a study on post-secondary education for aboriginal
students. The outcome of that study was that if aboriginal students
were to get to the grade 12 level the percentage who would go on to
post-secondary education was the same as non-aboriginal people in
Canada. The issue was to get them to grade 12. One of the
recommendations was to try to introduce some of the skills and job
opportunities in the areas close to the community. That was very
important, especially with the young aboriginal males because they
might not want to leave their communities in the north and would
rather want to look at the opportunities with respect to mining or
whatever economic activity was happening in the area.
Our government has put together a first nations job fund of $109
million over five years and $132 million over five years to create the
service delivery structure to further help aboriginals get the skills
they need to fill the jobs in their area.
● (1740)
[Translation]
Mr. François Lapointe (Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska
—Rivière-du-Loup, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to rise
in the House today to speak about a report that was tabled by a
committee of which I am a member. In the next few minutes, I will
be sharing my time with the hon. member for Edmonton—
Strathcona.
We are focusing our attention on a study tabled by the Standing
Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development
and the Status of Persons with Disabilities. This report, which is
entitled “Addressing Current and Future Challenges”, deals with the
labour and skills shortage in Canada. The report does indeed contain
some solutions. However, the entire NDP caucus believes that these
solutions are highly inadequate.
16742
COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Routine Proceedings
Committee members spoke at length about certain recurring
points, such as the lack of interest in skilled trades observed
throughout the provinces. For several decades now, post-secondary
education has been promoted and a BA or other degree has been
touted as the key to success. Now, this is causing a significant lack of
people with training in skilled trades, and there is a shortage of
plumbers and electricians across the country.
In 2008, before the economic crisis and the never-ending
economic difficulties, there were signs all along highway 20. Just
outside Beloeil, there was a giant sign that said “we are looking for”
or “we are looking to hire 12 electricians tomorrow morning”. At the
time, before the recent crisis, there was already a labour shortage,
particularly in the skilled trades.
The bad news is that, if we are fortunate enough to see a true
economic recovery in 2014-15, we will be in exactly the same
position, with the same problems we had in 2008. Billions of dollars
have been invested in the Conservative government's much-vaunted
economic action plans over the past few years. The government
could have shown some vision, but it did not. It sometimes even
made mistakes. If there is an economic recovery tomorrow, the day
after tomorrow or in 2014, we will be in the same position as we
were in 2008.
The good news is that, when it came right down to it, all members
recognized that the major challenge of the first half of the 21st
century would be a lack of human resources. Conservative and NDP
members agreed on this.
The not-so-good news is that the government engaged in a
completely ridiculous exercise, which is particularly evident at the
end of the report, where almost all of the testimony was manipulated.
For example, the Conservative majority linked everything that the
witnesses said to 2012 budget initiatives.
A standing committee should be a place where members have all
the freedom they need to recommend to a minister whether an
initiative should be carried out in a certain way, or faster or slower,
and so on. Such a place no longer exists.
SMEs. That is the big challenge facing our economy and it is by far
this government's favourite subject.
● (1745)
As soon as the witnesses started talking about the need to provide
more resources, the Conservative majority started tuning them out.
During witness testimonies we heard endless stories such as that
of a 20-year-old without the necessary support to become an
apprentice because there was a waiting period to receive employment insurance benefits and because the help provided to apprentices
does not last for the duration of the apprenticeship.
It is not a total success. Depending on the program and province,
30% to 40% of apprentices drop out. Because the government tries
to save a few thousand dollars by failing to support the apprentice for
the duration of his apprenticeship, that apprentice resorts to
employment insurance or social assistance or returns to an unstable
job.
Instead of responding to an urgent need, like the need to have
more electricians who earn excellent salaries, we lose that young
apprentice. We lose a taxpayer who might have earned an annual
salary of $35,000, $45,000, $55,000, $65,000, or $70,000. All
because the Conservatives are obsessed with reducing the size of
government. The Conservatives do not understand that sometimes
they need to invest a bit of money simply to generate wealth and
purchasing power. The return on investment can be tenfold or better
over a period of 5 to 10 years.
The members opposite do not have this on their radar even though
the witnesses agreed that the government needs to make more of an
effort and invest more in order to successfully meet this tremendous
challenge.
The NDP agrees with a number of the recommendations in the
report. I will go over a few of them here. However, none of them go
far enough. The Conservatives' logic seems to be, “this is something
important that the government should do, but it will cost a lot of
money, so let us pretend we did not see it”. It is dizzying.
Let us now look at the second recommendation in the report:
Witnesses are now being ground down by the Conservative
majority, which hacks every argument to bits until each little piece
falls into place and conforms with ministers' decisions made months
or even a year ago.
The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada continue its efforts
toward achieving better and more user-friendly labour market information, which
could [note: could] in turn [if they get that far] be provided to students, graduates and
job seekers...
Thus, the committees are being completely manipulated. We have
known this for the past two years. In this report, however, this
exercise is no longer simply verging on the absurd; it has become
wholly and utterly absurd.
They are so hypocritical. They make cuts to everything that has to
do with statistics. They cut resources for statistics gathering even
though they know that good statistics are essential for making the
right decisions in order to do something about this desperate
nationwide labour shortage.
There is another problem. Throughout the study, this obsession
with reducing the size of government was apparent. Let us clear this
up once and for all. There are times when the government must
support a vision. In order to do so, it sometimes has to spend a little
money in order to make more money. Yes, the government can do
that. It sounds crazy, but it has happened in the past.
We know there is a problem, so in our minority report, we wrote
something that took incredible courage. We wrote clearly that, “New
Democrats recommend providing Statistics Canada with the funding
it needs to improve labour force-related surveys and restoring core
funding to Sector Councils.”
Today we are faced with a huge challenge. We will not have
enough human resources, especially entrepreneurs. Quebec alone
needs 70,000 people to ensure the entrepreneurial succession of
Oh, what a big expense. Yes, it would cost the government
something. However, on the other hand, how can we tackle the
greatest challenge of the early 21st century if we do not even have
the resources to properly define it?
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16743
Routine Proceedings
I will now read recommendation 13:
The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada review the resources
allocated to the Adult Learning, Literacy and Essential Skills Program to confirm the
current levels are sufficient to raise the basic skill level for adults.
Literacy statistics have stagnated for 40 years now. For 40 years,
we have known that approximately 20% of our fellow Canadians do
not have the basic skills to respond to a simple human resources
need like working as a cashier at Petro-Canada. The problem has
been around for 40 years. There is no recommendation about
allocating adequate resources to resolve this problem. The problem
is there and the Conservatives know it.
I would have liked to comment on other recommendations, but I
will speak briefly to another aspect that I think is an absolute priority.
It is not even about government money, but money that belongs to
employers and employees. We have to build the employment
insurance fund and leave the money there so that we can respond to
urgent, essential industry needs.
I have here the testimony of Mr. Atkinson, the president of the
Canadian Construction Association. He said:
One of the things that our industry has been calling for, and, indeed, this
committee recommended, was to provide either some tax incentives through the
Income Tax Act or some support for relocation expenses through the EI system for
workers relocating on a temporary basis.
● (1750)
Someone from the construction industry, not someone from the far
left, is simply saying that we need to let the employment insurance
fund grow. Workers have basic needs; they need to be mobile so they
can get the training they need. Please, let the fund grow.
Mr. Denis Blanchette (Louis-Hébert, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I
really liked my colleague's conclusion. This leads me to raise what I
think is a relevant point. Employment insurance included funds
allocated for training. These funds were drained. A separate program
was created and announced, but no agreement has been reached with
the provinces. This did not stop the government from advertising the
program.
I would like my hon. colleague to continue talking about a broader
and more inclusive vision in terms of not only job training but also
skills development for the jobs of tomorrow.
Mr. François Lapointe: Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for
his question.
The Canada job grant program is a striking example. It has been
launched in a rather dogmatic fashion. We know that the provinces
were not consulted. What is more, the provinces are opposed to the
program for the good reason that training is their jurisdiction.
SME employers and entrepreneurs are also opposed to the
program for a very simple reason. The federal-provincial-SME
partnership will provide a $15,000 grant. It is much more difficult for
a small business that urgently needs to train a plumber, for example,
or for an SME in an outlying area than for Bombardier or a major car
manufacturer in southern Ontario to pay its one-third share of the
grant. Small businesses believe that the program is completely illconceived.
Furthermore, employers contribute to the employment insurance
fund, and this money is systematically put into the consolidated
revenue fund. What happens to this money? We really are not sure.
The government buys British submarines that do not work or things
like that.
Instead, the fund should be built up, and we should sit down with
these people and tell them that we have the money if they need
apprentices or training programs.
In Scotland, for example, workers who lose their jobs have to take
a literacy test. If it is found that they have difficulty entering the job
market because they cannot read, for example, they receive
employment insurance for several weeks while they learn to read.
Yes, it does cost money, but in the end, someone who is literate can
enter the job market with skills. He or she can meet the needs of
service businesses that are having difficulty finding people just to be
cashiers.
Until we address the structural problem, we will not make any
progress, and business people's money will continue to go into a
fund that will be squandered. I hope it will not be spent on F-35s this
time.
[English]
Mr. Kevin Sorenson (Crowfoot, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I really
wish that the member would come to my riding of Crowfoot in
Alberta. I would love to take him around the riding and show him
the restaurants where signs say they cannot find waitresses or
employees or people to fill the jobs. Come to some of the places
where oil and gas companies are doing everything they can to keep
and retain their employees. They tell us that the temporary foreign
worker program is very important, as are many of the programs this
government is bringing forward.
If the opposition members are serious about connecting Canadians
with available jobs, I would encourage them to take a look at the
measures in budget 2013. They are put there because, as we heard
earlier, we realize the situation. We realize that 90% of the employers
who apply for temporary foreign workers are from Alberta. They are
from a place where they cannot find Canadians who are willing to
work in those places.
What is the opposition's plan for dealing with skills and labour
shortages? We know it has a $21 billion carbon tax it would like to
put in to drive the economy down more, but what plan do you have
for places like Alberta where we cannot—
● (1755)
The Deputy Speaker: I would direct the member for Crowfoot to
direct all comments and questions to the Chair, not to individual
members.
[Translation]
The hon. member for Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—
Rivière-du-Loup. He has 30 seconds remaining.
Mr. François Lapointe: Mr. Speaker, I will try to be very
concise.
The problem is not with bringing in temporary workers. The
problem is that they are part of a temporary worker program. If their
help has been needed 12 months a year for the past 10 years, they
should be allowed to immigrate. That is all we are saying. That is
clear.
16744
COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Routine Proceedings
If 20% of people—the statistics are the same in every province—
do not have the essential skills even to be a cashier, investments need
to be made so that Canadians can reach a certain standard of living
and have a better job. If these measures are applied and are given the
necessary resources, yet an entrepreneur still cannot manage to open
an inn or a business because of a labour shortage, then we agree.
However, it is imperative that we develop a valid immigration
system and support people who need to obtain basic skills. Those
solutions, which will make Canadians richer and more prosperous,
must be our priority, not an ill-conceived temporary worker program.
[English]
Ms. Linda Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona, NDP): Mr.
Speaker, I will try to be brief, but there is a lot to cover.
I commend the committee for doing this review and coming
together with a good number of unanimous recommendations. I
commend our representatives for their additional recommendations
and for bringing this matter forward to the House. We have had an
excellent debate today.
There is one thing that troubles me in going through the report. I
will go through this in great detail because it is of most interest to
me, particularly because a lot of the recommendations raise
programs that the government has historically funded, but has made
the decision of late to de-fund.
I go to recommendation 1, formal public-private academic
partnerships to coordinate labour market evaluations. As I mentioned
earlier in the House, I have had the privilege of sitting on the
environment sector table board for seven years. The government has
decided to end that organization, along with all the other sector
tables.
The value of the environment sector table, which was ECO
Canada, Environmental Careers Organization Canada, was that
several times a year it did labour market analyses. Year after year it
showed that the highest growing area of employment in our country,
in fact worldwide, was in the environmental field. There are endless
possibilities for work, endless opportunities for aboriginal Canadians
and recent immigrants. The government is ending these sector tables.
One of the things this organization did was form partnerships
between universities and small colleges with industry, with the
community and with first nation communities on identifying needed
jobs and areas of activity where we could be working together.
Another recommendation that I find rather odd is recommendation
14, which encourages young people to acquire work experience
through the Canada summer jobs program, particularly including
French-English language development.
for providing science-based job opportunities for university students.
The government de-funded it, and yet it signed off on a
recommendation in the report to create those exact kinds of
programs.
As the government moves forward and responds to this report,
which is invaluable, I am looking forward to it perhaps reconsidering
some of the decisions to cut the funding for these very important
programs.
As Shawn Atleo, the National Chief of the Assembly of First
Nations, pointed out, in the area of aboriginal Canadians, far more
aboriginal youth are being incarcerated than graduating from high
school, yet the government still continues to underfund the education
opportunities for students, including at university level and technical
schools. There is, as I understand, 13,000 students waiting to get into
these programs, but there are insufficient funds.
It is one thing to sign off on the report and make recommendations, it is another thing to actually budget for it and support
programs.
My final comment would be what my colleague from Newton—
North Delta asked, which was why the government was not working
on the skill set for the next decade. I had many young people in my
riding lined up to start companies to do energy efficiency audits and
energy retrofits in homes. Then the government in its wisdom
decided to provide the funding for eco-energy home retrofits for only
one year, ending all opportunities for these youth, which would have
been well-paying jobs using their technical skills.
I commend all of those who participated in this report. We look
forward to action on it.
● (1800)
The Deputy Speaker: It is my duty to interrupt the proceedings at
this time and put forth the question on the motion now before the
House.
The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to
adopt the motion?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Some hon. members: No.
The Deputy Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will
please say yea.
Some hon. members: Yea.
The Deputy Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.
It is sad to report to the House that for more than half of the jobs
under the Canada summer jobs program in my riding for which there
was huge demand, as I have three university campuses and one
technical college campus, many people were providing opportunity
for students. Many of those were bilingual opportunities, and they
were not funded. Why? Because the government is not funding that
program adequately.
Hon. Gordon O'Connor: Mr. Speaker, I ask that the vote be
moved to after government orders.
Very sadly, also, the government decided to shut down its funding
for the Experimental Lakes Area. That was one of the best programs
The Deputy Speaker: The recorded division on the motion stands
deferred.
Some hon. members: Nay.
The Deputy Speaker: In my opinion the yeas have it.
And five or more members having risen:
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16745
Routine Proceedings
PETITIONS
NUCLEAR FUEL PROCESSING LICENCE
Mr. Andrew Cash (Davenport, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I have a two
petitions. The first is in respect to the GE Hitachi nuclear fuel
processing facility in my riding. A few months ago the people of
Davenport awoke to the news that this facility had been operating for
50 years in the riding. They were to have engaged in a very broad
and important public engagement process over the course of those 50
years and had not.
The petitioners call on the Nuclear Safety Commission to reopen
the licence so the public can have its rightful moment to participate
in a discussion about the facility. I am honoured to present this on
behalf of the people in my riding.
● (1805)
CONSUMER PROTECTION
Mr. Andrew Cash (Davenport, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the second
petition is with respect to the fact that many companies, phone
companies, now banks and telecoms of all sorts, are charging their
customers $2 and up just to receive their paper bill in the mail. This
negatively affects seniors and those who do not have access to the
Internet. It negatively affects those who are in a fixed income
situation.
The petitioners call on the government and relevant agencies to
take the issue seriously as it is an issue of fairness, especially for
those on the margins of our society, and to call on companies to stop
this practice.
VIOLENCE AGAINST BUS WORKERS
Mr. Ray Boughen (Palliser, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to
present four petitions from my riding.
The first petition comes from residents of Regina who express
concern about violent assault against public bus drivers. The
petitioners feel the bus drivers face increasing risk of being assaulted
and deserve stronger protection under the law.
The petitioners call upon Parliament to amend the Criminal Code
to recognize the incidents of violence against bus workers in the
same way as peace officers are recognized in the code.
EXPERIMENTAL LAKES AREA
Mr. Ray Boughen (Palliser, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the next petition
is also from Regina residents.
The petitioners draw the attention of the House to the
Experimental Lakes Area. They are asking the government to
recognize the importance of the Experimental Lakes Area and to
reverse its decision on the Experimental Lakes Area, as well as to
continue to staff and provide financial resources.
The petitioners are asking for a moratorium on the release of
genetically modified alfalfa to allow for a review of how it affects
Canadian farmers.
SEX SELECTION
Mr. Ray Boughen (Palliser, CPC): Mr. Speaker, my final
petition is from residents of Moose Jaw.
The petitioners state that the Society of Obstetricians and
Gynaecologists of Canada oppose sex selection. Millions of girls
have been lost through sex-selective pregnancy termination.
The petitioners ask Parliament to condemn this form of
discrimination against females.
LYME DISEASE
Ms. Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands, GP): Mr. Speaker,
I rise to present two petitions.
The first petition is from residents of Vancouver, Alberta, as well
as within my riding, in Sidney, Salt Spring Island and Victoria, in
support of private member's bill, Bill C-442. This is my bill calling
for a national Lyme disease strategy.
I am very gratified by hearing from so many members that they
are also concerned in hearing from Lyme disease patients in their
own communities. I hope there will be full-party support for this
private member's bill.
THE ENVIRONMENT
Ms. Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands, GP): Mr. Speaker,
the second petition I am bringing forward today is from residents of
the Vancouver area, as well as some from Saanich.
The petitioners are calling for the government to reassess its
commitment and support for the Enbridge northern gateway project,
but rather to assume a neutral stance and allow the evidence to be
collected.
SEX SELECTION
Mrs. Joy Smith (Kildonan—St. Paul, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I
have three petitions to present.
The first one is from residents all across the country. The
petitioners ask that the House condemn discrimination against
females occurring through sex-selective pregnancy termination.
They say that this is the worst form of discrimination against
females and want Parliament to take action on it.
CRIMINAL CODE
Mrs. Joy Smith (Kildonan—St. Paul, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the
next two petitions are on the target the market model.
Mr. Ray Boughen (Palliser, CPC): Mr. Speaker, my next petition
is from the residents of Regina. It pertains to the introduction of
genetically modified alfalfa before variety registration.
Petitioners are requesting that Parliament amend the Criminal
Code to decriminalize the selling of sexual services and criminalize
the purchasing of sexual services and provide support to those who
desire to leave prostitution. This is a result of the Swedish and
Nordic models to target the market. Those are the people who buy
sex and victimize young victims.
The petitioners are concerned about this issue for a number of
reasons, including contamination, new clusters, testing and cleanup
and possible loss of farm safe seed.
Ms. Linda Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona, NDP): Mr.
Speaker, I have two petitions.
GENETICALLY MODIFIED ALFALFA
THE ENVIRONMENT
16746
COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Routine Proceedings
The first petition is from residents of Edmonton, Leduc, Cold
Lake, Valleyview, basically from across Alberta. The petitioners
state that the decisions made by the federal government should be
based on sound and objective science data, that cancelling research
projects and monitoring has a negative impact on the environment,
that scientists should be allowed to express themselves freely and
that laying off hundreds of scientists threatens Canada's ability to
monitor.
Therefore, they call on the Government of Canada to end its
muzzling of scientists, to reverse the cuts to research programs at
Environment Canada, DFO, Library and Archives, the National
Research Council, Statistics Canada, Natural Sciences Engineering
Research Council of Canada and to cancel the closures of the
National Council of Welfare and First Nations Statistical Institute.
● (1810)
HEALTH CARE
Ms. Linda Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona, NDP): The
second petition, Mr. Speaker, is from residents from across Alberta,
from Devon, Edmonton, Cold Lake and a variety of other places.
They petition the House of Commons to support public health
care. They say that they support the public health care system to
ensure every Canadian has access to the same high-quality health
services wherever they live. To achieve this goal, they call for a panCanadian prescription drug strategy, funding transfers to the
provinces and territories to enable consistent high-quality home
and long-term care, a pan-Canadian health human resources strategy
for primary care and improved living conditions, including access to
food, housing, living wages, social and mental health services and
better living conditions for aboriginal peoples.
Mr. Rick Dykstra (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of
Citizenship and Immigration, CPC): Mr. Speaker, with regard
to section (a) and section (b), a comprehensive response would
require an arduous and time-consuming manual search of all of
CIC’s reports and is not feasible in the requested time frame.
With regard to section (c), the information requested is not readily
available through CIC’s financial system.
Question No. 1274—Ms. Elizabeth May:
With regard to the costs of the July 16, 2010, press conference in Ottawa, Ontario,
at which the Minister of National Defence announced the government’s intention to
procure F-35s for the Royal Canadian Air Force, what were the costs incurred by the
government (not including the cost of $47,313 related to the model F-35 used at the
conference and described in Order Paper question Q-596) for: (a) flying in a
Canadian CF-18 as part of the press conference, including fuel, maintenance, storage,
Departmental personnel, and transportation; (b) all personnel, including those from
Department of National Defense or other Departments involved in the press
conference; (c) audio-visual support, including Departmental personnel, equipment
rentals, translation, and any contracting services provided; (d) venue setup and
dismantling, including costs related to seating, catering, lighting, and accommodating
media; and (e) the entire press conference inclusive, including those related to the
model F-35 described in Order Paper question Q-596?
Hon. Peter MacKay (Minister of National Defence, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), the costs related to the flight of a CF18 during the press conference on July 16, 2010, were approximately
$200 for the pilot’s hotel and per diem expenses. There were no costs
associated with the aircraft itself, as it was using allocated annual
flying hours related to the pilot’s training activities.
SHARK FINNING
Ms. Jinny Jogindera Sims (Newton—North Delta, NDP): Mr.
Speaker, I have three petitions signed by Canadians across the land.
The petitioners call on the government to ban the importation of
shark fin to Canada. They talk specifically about the practice of
shark finning that results in an estimated 73 million sharks a year
being killed for their fins alone and that over one-third of all shark
species are threatened with extinction as a result of shark finning.
***
QUESTIONS ON THE ORDER PAPER
Mr. Tom Lukiwski (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of
the Government in the House of Commons, CPC): Mr. Speaker,
the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 1266, 1274,
1279 and 1293.
[Text]
Question No. 1266—Mr. Frank Valeriote:
With respect to the organizations that officially requested the attendance of the
Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism at an event since January
1, 2011: (a) what were the names of the organizations, the names of the events, the
organizers, the dates, times, and locations; (b) did the Minister attend the event and, if
not, what is the name of the government representative who attended the event in lieu
of the Minister; and (c) what were the costs of any government advertisements in
event publications or greetings, and the description and costs of any gifts to the event
or organizers?
With regard to (b), the cost for personnel was $13,298, based on
230.25 hours of overtime that Department of National Defence
civilian staff worked in support of, or in relation to, the conference.
The temporary duty expenses for Royal Canadian Air Force
personnel at this event were $5,362.
With regard to (c), audiovisual support for the press conference
cost $22,603.
With regard to (d), the cost of a working lunch for subject matter
experts totaled $113. Other venue costs included electricity at $2,178
and water and fruit platters at $236.
With regard to (e), the entire event cost the Government of Canada
$47,513.
Question No. 1279—Mr. Glenn Thibeault:
With regard to section 347 of the Criminal Code, broken down by fiscal year for
each fiscal year since 2006-2007: (a) how many investigations has the RCMP carried
out into contraventions of this provision; (b) how many charges have been laid; and
(c) how many successful prosecutions have been carried out?
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16747
Routine Proceedings
Hon. Vic Toews (Minister of Public Safety, CPC):
Mr.
Speaker, section 347 of the Criminal Code is not an offence that falls
solely under the RCMP mandate. It is an offence that is also reported
to and investigated by the local police force. The RCMP is the police
of jurisdiction in many smaller communities across the country, but
not usually the police of jurisdiction in the larger urban
municipalities.
In the RCMP’s former records management system, called “Police
Information Retrieval System”, PIRS, section 347 of the Criminal
Code is mapped to a general violation code called “Other Criminal
Code” along with a multitude of other offences.
A manual case-by-case analysis of all these files would be
required in order to provide a complete and accurate response to all
parts of this question. Such an analysis cannot be completed within
the time available, as a significant amount of time and resources
would be required in order to do so.
Question No. 1293—Ms. Elizabeth May:
With regard to the National Geographic television program “Border Security:
Canada’s Front Line”: (a) what is the total cost to the government for any support
provided by the Department of Public Safety or by the Canadian Border Services
Agency in relation to the program; (b) in what form or forms has this support been
provided; (c) what are the contents of any agreements signed by the government
related to this program; and (d) for both the (i) Department of Public Safety and (ii)
Canadian Border Services Agency, what is the total cost of all resources that have
been allocated to negotiating, researching, or communicating the government’s
participation in this television program?
Hon. Vic Toews (Minister of Public Safety, CPC):
Mr.
Speaker, Public Safety Canada did not incur any costs related to the
National Geographic television program “Border Security: Canada’s
Front Line”.
each episode before airing to verify that operational, legal and
privacy considerations are met.
With regard to (d)(ii), no incremental costs were incurred by the
CBSA for negotiating, researching or communicating the government’s participation in the documentary series.
***
[English]
QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Mr. Tom Lukiwski (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of
the Government in the House of Commons, CPC): Mr. Speaker, if
a supplementary response to Question No. 1259, originally tabled on
May 9, as well as Questions Nos. 1267, 1272 and 1275 could be
made orders for returns, these returns would be tabled immediately.
The Speaker: Is that agreed?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
[Text]
With regard to (a), the production takes place at no extra cost to
the CBSA’s front-line operations. For season one of the production,
the CBSA incurred an internal cost of less than $60,000, primarily
for salary dollars for the required administrative support, including
on-site oversight within one region. Season two will be twice the
number of episodes and involve more than one region. As such, the
CBSA has estimated internal costs to be approximately $160,000 for
the required administrative oversight.
Question No. 1259—Mr. Nathan Cullen:
There is no exchange of monies between the production company
and the CBSA. ¸
Question No. 1267—Mr. Frank Valeriote:
With regard to written questions Q-1226 to Q-1237, Q-1244 and Q-1245, what is
the estimated cost to the government for each response to each question?
(Return tabled)
With regard to (b), the costs noted in part (a) relate to the CBSA
providing administrative support such as regional on-site filming
oversight to ensure privacy and operational security during
production.
With regard to the Prime Minister’s Office, as of February 1, 2013, how many
people did it employ and of those, (i) how many make a salary of $100 000 a year or
more, (ii) how many make a salary of $50 000 a year or less?
With regard to (c), there are three multimedia agreements between
the CBSA and Force Four Productions related to the documentary
series, one to govern the production of the demonstration reel and a
separate one for each of the first and second seasons in which the
CBSA has participated. The multimedia agreements detail the
working relationship, responsibilities and requirements of each party
and outline the precautions necessary to safeguard Canadian laws as
well as CBSA employees, facilities, operations and procedures.
(Return tabled)
Further, the agreement stipulates that while editorial control rests
with the production company, the CBSA will review the content of
Question No. 1272—Mr. Brian Jean:
With regard to Order Paper questions: (a) for questions Q-819 through Q-1259,
what is the estimated cost of the government's response to each question; and (b)
what is the estimated cost of the government's response to this question?
(Return tabled)
16748
COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
S. O. 52
Question No. 1275—Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia:
With regard to the participation of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)
in the reality show Border Security: Canada’s Front Line: (a) what has been the total
cost for the Agency’s participation in the reality show to date and what is the total
cost of the production agreement between CBSA and Force Four Entertainment; (b)
how many episodes did CBSA agree to and over what time period will the episodes
be filmed; (c) what provisions are in place to ensure that CBSA officers and subjects
are not exploited; (d) who reviewed and analyzed the show's proposal and what were
their comments; (e) what is the examination and approval process for footage; (f)
how are CBSA officers recruited for participation in the show; (g) how many officers
have participated in the show and how many have refused to participate in the
program and on what grounds; (h) how are subjects recruited for the show; (i) are
subjects asked whether or not they would like to participate in the show or are they
required to sign a consent form prior to being filmed; (j) are subjects given incentives
to participate in the program, either monetary or otherwise, and if so what; (k) has the
CBSA received any formal complaints with regards to the show and if so, what was
the nature of said complaints and what was CBSA's response; (l) were any concerns
raised within CBSA about its participation in the show, and if so, what was the nature
of those concerns and from whom did they come; (m) what were the CBSA's stated
reasons for participation in the show; (n) what are the established parameters for a
case's inclusion in the program; (o) on what grounds will CBSA refuse inclusion of a
case; (p) does CBSA have a veto over what footage is aired and, if so, has it been
used and for what reasons; and (q) what measures are in place to ensure that the
program does not violate the Privacy Act?
(Return tabled)
***
[English]
REQUEST FOR EMERGENCY DEBATE
REPAYMENT OF SENATE EXPENSES
The Speaker: The Chair has notice of two requests for an
emergency debate.
I will hear the hon. member for Winnipeg North first.
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Winnipeg North, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I
rise pursuant to Standing Order 52 to request an emergency debate
on the issue of the handling of the repayment of Senate expenses by
Senator Mike Duffy and the conduct of the officials in the Prime
Minister's Office in this process.
This is a very serious situation that has the potential to undermine
the confidence Canadians have in their institutions.
The issue raises very troubling questions that have yet to be
answered and that merit the immediate attention of the House. We
are talking about the most senior official in the Government of
Canada, the chief of staff to the Prime Minister, providing a
substantial cash gift to a sitting parliamentarian. This raises a whole
host of issues in terms of whether this arrangement was fully
compliant with the rules of the Senate, the Conflict of Interest Act,
the Parliament of Canada Act or the Criminal Code.
There are allegations that Senator Duffy was promised by the
Prime Minister's Office that a Senate committee would “go easy on
him” if he kept his mouth shut. We are talking here about the
executive branch of government paying a parliamentarian to stay
quiet and, in return, promising an outcome in an independent Senate
committee. This is extremely serious.
The Criminal Code is clear. Paying a public official to undertake a
certain action is bribery or corruption. The facts in this case are that
the most senior adviser to the Prime Minister paid a senator $90,000
and had a Senate report altered, and then the Prime Minister's Office
ordered that senator to keep his mouth shut and not participate in an
external audit. This order was followed.
There are so many unanswered questions. The Prime Minister's
Office has stated that the Prime Minister was aware of the agreement
but did not know “the specifics” or “the means”.
What was the Prime Minister made aware of, and when was he
made aware?
Under what authority was the Prime Minister's chief of staff able
to promise Senator Duffy a certain outcome in a supposedly
independent Senate report?
When did the Prime Minister become aware that the funds
Senator Duffy was paying back were not in fact his own? Why did
he allow Senator Duffy, his spokespeople and his Senate leader to
keep up the pretence that they were?
There can be no more important issue for the House of Commons
than ensuring the integrity of our parliamentary institutions. It is for
this reason that the House must debate this issue and must get to the
bottom of it so that Canadians can have trust in their institutions.
[Translation]
The Speaker: The hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie,
on the same topic.
● (1815)
Mr. Alexandre Boulerice (Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, the official opposition's motion also calls for an
emergency debate on the Senate scandal and on the involvement of
the Prime Minister's former chief of staff in repaying what were
likely fraudulent expense claims made by a Conservative senator
appointed by the Prime Minister.
Many years ago, Shakespeare wrote that, “Something is rotten in
the state of Denmark.” I think the same thing is happening on the
other side of Parliament. There is a bad smell, and it seems to be
coming from the Prime Minister's Office and back rooms.
Now is the time for some real housecleaning, which was not done,
despite the Conservatives' broken promises to be an honest
government with integrity, after what we saw with the Liberals'
scandals. The Senate has become a refuge for party hacks and people
who financially support the political party. It is no big deal if a
Conservative candidate loses an election. He will be rewarded with a
Senate appointment.
Today, senators are helping themselves to money, facing
allegations of fraud over their primary and secondary residences
and being reimbursed. When they are caught red-handed, they call
on their Conservative buddies, who pay back the money from their
deep pockets.
So many rules have been broken here that it is time for
parliamentarians to be able to talk about it. Unfortunately, we do
not get answers from the government during question period.
Unfortunately, the Prime Minister does not seem to be available to
answer questions from the media and journalists. Once he made his
speech, he ran out the door to hop on a plane and flee the country.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16749
Government Orders
Parliamentarians have a job to do. The police should also have a
job to do to shed light on what happened with these housing
allowance payments. We need clear, specific and strict rules. This
money belongs to taxpayers and the public. People who call openline shows are furious. They are sick of the scandals from this
Conservative government. This was the last straw.
We need a forum. We need to be able to discuss this. That is why
the NDP is moving this motion. We want to hold an emergency
debate on the Senate scandal and on the involvement of the Prime
Minister's Office. We need to get to the bottom of this. It has gone on
long enough.
[English]
The Speaker: I did not receive a notice from the hon. member for
Saanich—Gulf Islands.
These requests for emergency debates are not debatable. Does she
have a different point of order?
Ms. Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, no, I was hoping to provide
additional support. I apologize, Mr. Speaker.
SPEAKER'S RULING
The Speaker: I appreciate the hon. member for Winnipeg North
and the hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie for raising this
issue. However, I am not satisfied that it meets the test of the
standing order for emergency debates.
The hon. member for Scarborough—Agincourt on a point of
order.
Hon. Jim Karygiannis: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank you. You
said it does not meet the test. I was wondering if you could elaborate
on what you mean by not meeting the test.
We in this House are concerned by what reeks on the other side.
I was just wondering what you meant by it does not meet the test.
Would you please elaborate and explain for the layman to
understand.
The Speaker: The hon. member for Scarborough—Agincourt
may know that these questions are not debatable, nor do they require
the Speaker to elaborate on all the reasons why he or she determines
a decision. I found it did not meet the test.
GOVERNMENT ORDERS
[English]
TECHNICAL TAX AMENDMENTS ACT, 2012
The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-48, An Act to
amend the Income Tax Act, the Excise Tax Act, the FederalProvincial Fiscal Arrangements Act, the First Nations Goods and
Services Tax Act and related legislation, as reported (without
amendment) from the committee.
The Speaker: There being no motions at report stage, the House
will now proceed, without debate, to the putting of the question on
the motion to concur in the bill at report stage.
● (1820)
Hon. Lisa Raitt (for the Minister of Finance) moved that the
bill be concurred in.
The Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
(Motion agreed to)
The Speaker: When shall the bill be read the third time? By
leave, now?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Hon. Lisa Raitt (for the Minister of Finance) moved that the
bill be read the third time and passed.
The Speaker: On debate, the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the
Minister of National Revenue.
Mrs. Cathy McLeod (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister
of National Revenue, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to begin
third and final reading at debate stage of this important piece of
legislation for taxpayers and tax professionals, Bill C-48, the
Technical Tax Amendments Act, 2012.
I have to admit that it is certainly not the most riveting or the most
exciting piece of legislation that has ever come before Parliament.
However, it is a very important piece of legislation and it is going to
go a long way and a significant way toward the goal of simplifying
Canada's tax system.
As previous Parliaments' efforts to adopt these technical tax
amendments were unsuccessful for a variety of reasons, we have
seen a considerable backlog develop over the years, making it more
important now to act and to finally pass these technical tax
amendments.
We all recall even the Auditor General of Canada recently
cautioning over a growing concern, and outlining that concern in a
2009 report. She said:
Taxpayers’ ability to comply with tax legislation depends on their understanding
of how the rules apply to their own circumstances. ... Uncertainty about how the law
should be applied can also add to the time taken and costs incurred by tax audits and
tax administration.
Of course, I could not agree more with the comments from the
Auditor General. Furthermore, I would also like to flag that the
Auditor General also made some important observations about the
impact of not dealing with this issue in a timely manner, an impact
with far-reaching implications.
Among the many negative effects for taxpayers of the uncertainty
over the backlog of outstanding income tax amendments, the
Auditor General's report identified:
higher costs of obtaining professional advice to comply with tax law; less
efficiency in doing business transactions; inability of publicly traded corporations
to use proposed tax changes in their financial reporting, because they have not
been “substantively enacted”; ...and increased willingness to use aggressive tax
plans.
16750
COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Business of Supply
Before continuing, let me pause here to thank my colleagues on
the finance committee from all sides for their timely and swift
consideration of the technical tax amendments, 2012, earlier this
year. I also want to thank them for giving their unanimous support to
the legislation. It is little wonder, as during the multiple hearings the
finance committee held, we heard from dozens of witnesses ranging
from the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada to the
Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants to the Canadian Tax
Foundation, and many more. They were all calling for the timely
implementation of today's legislation.
Permit me to share with the House and with all Canadians some
snippets of what we heard at committee, all underlining the lengthy
process to get this legislation to this stage and the importance of
Parliament finally adopting it.
First, allow me to quote from the Canadian Institute of Chartered
Accountants, which said:
Bill C-48 marks the end of a very long road, one with many twists and turns over
the years. The last technical bill on income tax received royal assent in 2001....
That speaks for itself. It was a long time ago. They continued to
say:
...it is fair to say that we greet the technical tax amendments act of 2012 with a
sense of relief. We support Bill C-48. The CICA understands how important it is
for taxpayers to have greater certainty and a clearer understanding of Canada's
federal income tax system.
We listened to the Canadian Tax Foundation, and again I will
quote at length. The CTA said:
We live in a rapidly changing world, and this legislation must respond
dynamically to changes in commercial transactions. Can you imagine how much
work would be required if you made no repairs to your home or your car for more
than 10 years? That is what has happened with these two statutes. The last bill
addressing technical amendments was passed in 2001. ... [The Technical Tax
Amendments Act, 2012] represents 10 years of repairs and maintenance in updating
the Income Tax Act and the Excise Tax Act. Its passage is important to all Canadians.
... I want to emphasize it again. Its passage is very important to all Canadians. ...
Delays in the passage of tax legislation leave taxpayers and their advisers in a no
man's land of uncertainty. My message for the Standing Committee on Finance is that
you should encourage passage of this legislation....
● (1825)
I will give the House another example. The Certified General
Accountant's Association of Canada told finance committee:
...we encourage you to move swiftly to pass this important piece of legislation.
The bill deals with a massive backlog of unlegislated tax measures. Its passage
would, in our opinion, bring greater clarity to the tax system and strengthen the
integrity of our laws.
We all know these delayed technical amendments cause serious
difficulties for taxpayers, businesses, professional accountants and
their clients, and of course, government. We heard some very vocal
support for the technical tax amendments act, 2012 at finance
committee from these and many other public interest organizations
and tax professionals. The support was a big part of the reason the
legislation received unanimous support from all members, from all
parties, on the committee.
For those watching at home, and parliamentarians, I want to
briefly recap the content of the technical tax amendments act, 2012.
As I alluded to earlier, the vast majority of these amendments have
already been publicly released in either a previous budget or a
previous technical tax bill. In addition to that, the vast majority of it
was previously and extensively released prior to introduction during
the multiple public consultation phases. The ultimate legislation, in
point of fact, incorporates a tremendous amount of the feedback
provided by Canadians during those many public consultations.
Today's act, among other things, would further simplify Canada's
tax system through numerous technical amendments to the Income
Tax Act, the Excise Tax Act and related legislation. I would like to
further add that today's legislation also takes key steps to close some
tax loopholes to create a stronger and fairer tax system for all
Canadians.
I want to quickly review the legislation, part by part, to highlight
some key measures and what they hope to achieve. Even though
today's act is obviously extremely technical in nature and includes
seven different sections, I will keep my remarks brief.
I will commence with Part 1 of the bill, which would modify the
Income Tax Act by taking into account comments we received
during our extensive consultations and which would create simpler
rules for non-resident trusts.
Parts 2 and 3 deal directly with the taxation of Canadian
multinational corporations with foreign affiliates, implementing
changes, some of which date all the way back to 2004, that would
make Canada's tax system more fair and equitable, and of course,
easier to administer. As is the case with the majority of measures
contained in the bill, these changes, again, are the result of extensive
public consultations.
Part 4 of the bill deals with the concept of bijuralism. More
specifically, it contains amendments that will ensure that the bill will
function effectively under both common and civil law. This means
that amendments dealing with certain legal concepts, such as rights,
interest, real and personal property, life estate and remainder interest,
tangible and intangible property, and joint and several liability, will
accurately capture common and civil law in both official languages.
Part 5 of the bill is designed with fairness for taxpayers in mind
and sets out to close tax loopholes to ensure that Canadians would
carry their fair share. The act would close tax loopholes related to
specified leasing property, ensure that conversion as specified
investment flow through trusts and partnerships into corporations are
subject to the same rules as transactions through corporations—
***
BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
OPPOSITION MOTION — 2013 SPRING REPORT OF THE AUDITOR GENERAL
OF CANADA
The House resumed from May 9 consideration of the motion, and
of the amendment.
The Deputy Speaker: It being 6:30 p.m., the House will now
proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the
amendment to the motion relating to the business of supply. I would
advise the hon. parliamentary secretary that she will have
approximately 10 and a half minutes when this debate resumes.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16751
Business of Supply
Call in the members.
● (1855)
(The House divided on the amendment, which was negatived on
the following division:)
(Division No. 682)
YEAS
Members
Allen (Welland)
Andrews
Angus
Ashton
Atamanenko
Aubin
Ayala
Bélanger
Bellavance
Bennett
Bevington
Blanchette
Blanchette-Lamothe
Boivin
Borg
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Brison
Brosseau
Byrne
Caron
Casey
Cash
Charlton
Chicoine
Chisholm
Choquette
Chow
Christopherson
Comartin
Côté
Cotler
Crowder
Cullen
Cuzner
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
Davies (Vancouver East)
Day
Dewar
Dion
Dionne Labelle
Donnelly
Dubé
Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona)
Dusseault
Easter
Foote
Fortin
Freeman
Garneau
Genest
Giguère
Godin
Goodale
Gravelle
Groguhé
Harris (St. John's East)
Hsu
Hughes
Jacob
Julian
Karygiannis
Kellway
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Larose
Latendresse
Laverdière
LeBlanc (LaSalle—Émard)
Liu
MacAulay
Mai
Marston
Martin
Masse
Mathyssen
May
McCallum
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
Moore (Abitibi—Témiscamingue)
Morin (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord)
Morin (Laurentides—Labelle)
Mulcair
Murray
Nantel
Nicholls
Nunez-Melo
Pacetti
Papillon
Patry
Péclet
Perreault
Pilon
Plamondon
Quach
Rankin
Ravignat
Raynault
Regan
Rousseau
Saganash
Sandhu
Scarpaleggia
Scott
Sellah
Sgro
Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor)
Sims (Newton—North Delta)
Sitsabaiesan
St-Denis
Stewart
Sullivan
Toone
Trudeau
Turmel
Valeriote– — 116
NAYS
Members
Adams
Albas
Alexander
Allison
Ambrose
Anderson
Ashfield
Adler
Albrecht
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Ambler
Anders
Armstrong
Aspin
Baird
Bateman
Benoit
Bergen
Bernier
Bezan
Blaney
Block
Boughen
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Brown (Barrie)
Butt
Calandra
Calkins
Cannan
Carmichael
Carrie
Chisu
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Crockatt
Daniel
Davidson
Dechert
Del Mastro
Devolin
Dreeshen
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Dykstra
Fantino
Findlay (Delta—Richmond East)
Flaherty
Fletcher
Galipeau
Gallant
Gill
Glover
Goguen
Goldring
Goodyear
Gosal
Gourde
Grewal
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hayes
Hiebert
Holder
James
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission) Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Kent
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Leef
Leitch
Lemieux
Leung
Lizon
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunney
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Mayes
McColeman
McLeod
Menegakis
Menzies
Merrifield
Miller
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Nicholson
O'Connor
Oliver
O'Neill Gordon
Opitz
O'Toole
Paradis
Poilievre
Preston
Raitt
Rajotte
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Saxton
Schellenberger
Seeback
Shea
Shory
Smith
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Tilson
Toet
Toews
Trost
Trottier
Truppe
Tweed
Uppal
Valcourt
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country)
Weston (Saint John)
Wilks
Williamson
Wong
Woodworth
Yelich
Young (Oakville)
Young (Vancouver South)
Zimmer– — 146
PAIRED
Nil
The Speaker: I declare the amendment defeated.
The next question is on the main motion.
Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Some hon. members: No.
16752
COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Business of Supply
The Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say
yea.
Turmel
NAYS
Some hon. members: Yea.
Members
The Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.
Some hon. members: Nay.
The Speaker: In my opinion the nays have it.
And five or more members having risen:
● (1905)
(The House divided on the motion, which was negatived on the
following division:)
(Division No. 683)
YEAS
Members
Allen (Welland)
Angus
Atamanenko
Ayala
Bellavance
Bevington
Blanchette-Lamothe
Borg
Boutin-Sweet
Brosseau
Caron
Cash
Chicoine
Choquette
Christopherson
Côté
Crowder
Cuzner
Davies (Vancouver East)
Dewar
Dionne Labelle
Dubé
Dusseault
Foote
Freeman
Genest
Godin
Gravelle
Harris (St. John's East)
Hughes
Julian
Kellway
Lapointe
Latendresse
LeBlanc (LaSalle—Émard)
Liu
Mai
Martin
Mathyssen
McCallum
Moore (Abitibi—Témiscamingue)
Morin (Laurentides—Labelle)
Murray
Nicholls
Pacetti
Patry
Perreault
Plamondon
Rankin
Raynault
Rousseau
Sandhu
Scott
Sgro
sor)
Sims (Newton—North Delta)
St-Denis
Sullivan
Trudeau
Valeriote– — 117
Andrews
Ashton
Aubin
Bélanger
Bennett
Blanchette
Boivin
Boulerice
Brison
Byrne
Casey
Charlton
Chisholm
Chow
Comartin
Cotler
Cullen
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
Day
Dion
Donnelly
Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona)
Easter
Fortin
Garneau
Giguère
Goodale
Groguhé
Hsu
Jacob
Karygiannis
Lamoureux
Larose
Laverdière
Leslie
MacAulay
Marston
Masse
May
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
Morin (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord)
Mulcair
Nantel
Nunez-Melo
Papillon
Péclet
Pilon
Quach
Ravignat
Regan
Saganash
Scarpaleggia
Sellah
Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—WindSitsabaiesan
Stewart
Toone
Adams
Adler
Albas
Albrecht
Alexander
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambler
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Armstrong
Ashfield
Aspin
Baird
Bateman
Benoit
Bergen
Bernier
Bezan
Blaney
Block
Boughen
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Brown (Barrie)
Butt
Calandra
Calkins
Cannan
Carmichael
Carrie
Chisu
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Crockatt
Daniel
Davidson
Dechert
Del Mastro
Devolin
Dreeshen
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Dykstra
Fantino
Findlay (Delta—Richmond East)
Flaherty
Fletcher
Galipeau
Gallant
Gill
Glover
Goguen
Goldring
Goodyear
Gosal
Gourde
Grewal
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hayes
Hiebert
Holder
James
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission) Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Kent
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Leef
Leitch
Lemieux
Leung
Lizon
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunney
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Mayes
McColeman
McLeod
Menegakis
Menzies
Merrifield
Miller
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Nicholson
O'Connor
Oliver
O'Neill Gordon
Opitz
O'Toole
Paradis
Poilievre
Preston
Raitt
Rajotte
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Saxton
Schellenberger
Seeback
Shea
Shory
Smith
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Tilson
Toet
Toews
Trost
Trottier
Truppe
Tweed
Uppal
Valcourt
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country)
Weston (Saint John)
Wilks
Williamson
Wong
Woodworth
Yelich
Young (Oakville)
Young (Vancouver South)
Zimmer– — 146
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16753
Government Orders
PAIRED
Nil
The Speaker: I declare the motion defeated.
***
NUCLEAR TERRORISM ACT
The House resumed from May 10 consideration of the motion
that Bill S-9, an act to amend the Criminal Code, be read the third
time and passed.
The Speaker: The House will now proceed to the taking of the
deferred recorded division on the motion of the third reading stage of
Bill S-9.
Hon. Gordon O'Connor: Mr. Speaker, if you seek it I believe
you would find agreement to apply the results of the previous motion
to the current motion, with the Conservatives voting yes.
The Speaker: Is there unanimous consent to proceed in this
fashion?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
[Translation]
Ms. Nycole Turmel: Mr. Speaker, we agree to apply the vote and
the NDP will vote in favour of the motion.
[English]
Ms. Judy Foote: Mr. Speaker, the Liberals agree to apply and will
vote yes.
[Translation]
Mr. Louis Plamondon: Mr. Speaker, the Bloc is in favour of the
motion.
[English]
Ms. Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, the Green Party will be voting
yes.
Mr. Peter Goldring: Mr. Speaker, I will be voting yes.
(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the
following division:)
(Division No. 684)
YEAS
Members
Adams
Albas
Alexander
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Ambler
Anders
Andrews
Armstrong
Ashton
Atamanenko
Ayala
Bateman
Bellavance
Benoit
Bernier
Bezan
Blanchette-Lamothe
Block
Borg
Boulerice
Brison
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Adler
Albrecht
Allen (Welland)
Allison
Ambrose
Anderson
Angus
Ashfield
Aspin
Aubin
Baird
Bélanger
Bennett
Bergen
Bevington
Blanchette
Blaney
Boivin
Boughen
Boutin-Sweet
Brosseau
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Brown (Barrie)
Byrne
Calkins
Carmichael
Carrie
Cash
Chicoine
Chisu
Choquette
Christopherson
Clement
Côté
Crockatt
Cullen
Daniel
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
Day
Del Mastro
Dewar
Dionne Labelle
Dreeshen
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Dusseault
Easter
Findlay (Delta—Richmond East)
Fletcher
Fortin
Galipeau
Garneau
Giguère
Glover
Goguen
Goodale
Gosal
Gravelle
Groguhé
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hayes
Holder
Hughes
James
Julian
Karygiannis
Kellway
Kent
Komarnicki
Lake
Lapointe
Latendresse
Laverdière
Leef
Lemieux
Leung
Lizon
Lukiwski
MacAulay
MacKenzie
Marston
Masse
May
McCallum
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
Menegakis
Merrifield
Moore (Abitibi—Témiscamingue)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Morin (Laurentides—Labelle)
Murray
Nicholls
Nunez-Melo
Oliver
Opitz
Pacetti
Paradis
Péclet
Pilon
Poilievre
Quach
Rajotte
Ravignat
Regan
Rempel
Rousseau
Sandhu
Butt
Calandra
Cannan
Caron
Casey
Charlton
Chisholm
Chong
Chow
Clarke
Comartin
Cotler
Crowder
Cuzner
Davidson
Davies (Vancouver East)
Dechert
Devolin
Dion
Donnelly
Dubé
Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona)
Dykstra
Fantino
Flaherty
Foote
Freeman
Gallant
Genest
Gill
Godin
Goldring
Goodyear
Gourde
Grewal
Harris (St. John's East)
Hawn
Hiebert
Hsu
Jacob
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Kerr
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lamoureux
Larose
Lauzon
LeBlanc (LaSalle—Émard)
Leitch
Leslie
Liu
Lobb
Lunney
MacKay (Central Nova)
Mai
Martin
Mathyssen
Mayes
McColeman
McLeod
Menzies
Miller
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Morin (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord)
Mulcair
Nantel
Nicholson
O'Connor
O'Neill Gordon
O'Toole
Papillon
Patry
Perreault
Plamondon
Preston
Raitt
Rankin
Raynault
Reid
Richards
Saganash
Saxton
16754
COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Routine Proceedings
Scarpaleggia
Schellenberger
Scott
Seeback
Sellah
Sgro
Shea
Shory
Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor)
Sims (Newton—North Delta)
Sitsabaiesan
Smith
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
St-Denis
Stewart
Storseth
Strahl
Sullivan
Sweet
Tilson
Toet
Toews
Toone
Trost
Trottier
Trudeau
Truppe
Turmel
Tweed
Uppal
Valcourt
Valeriote
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to
Sky Country)
Weston (Saint John)
Wilks
Williamson
Wong
Woodworth
Yelich
Young (Oakville)
Young (Vancouver South)
Zimmer– — 263
NAYS
Nil
PAIRED
Nil
The Speaker: I declare the motion carried.
(Bill read the third time and passed)
ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
● (1910)
[English]
COMMITTEES OF THE HOUSE
HUMAN RESOURCES, SKILLS AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT AND THE
STATUS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
The House resumed consideration of the motion.
The Speaker: The House will now proceed to the taking of the
deferred recorded division on the concurrence motion.
Chisu
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Crockatt
Daniel
Davidson
Dechert
Del Mastro
Devolin
Dreeshen
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Dykstra
Fantino
Findlay (Delta—Richmond East)
Flaherty
Fletcher
Galipeau
Gallant
Gill
Goguen
Goldring
Goodyear
Gosal
Gourde
Grewal
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hayes
Hiebert
Holder
James
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Kent
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Leef
Leitch
Lemieux
Leung
Lizon
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunney
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Mayes
McColeman
McLeod
Menegakis
Menzies
Merrifield
Miller
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Nicholson
O'Connor
Oliver
O'Neill Gordon
Opitz
O'Toole
Paradis
Poilievre
Preston
Raitt
Rajotte
Rathgeber
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Saxton
Schellenberger
Seeback
Shea
Shory
Smith
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Tilson
Toet
Toews
Trost
Trottier
Truppe
Tweed
Uppal
Valcourt
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country)
Weston (Saint John)
Wilks
Williamson
Wong
Woodworth
Yelich
Young (Oakville)
Young (Vancouver South)
Zimmer– — 146
(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the
following division:)
(Division No. 685)
YEAS
Members
Adams
Albas
Alexander
Allison
Ambrose
Anderson
Ashfield
Baird
Benoit
Bernier
Blaney
Boughen
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Butt
Calkins
Carmichael
Adler
Albrecht
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Ambler
Anders
Armstrong
Aspin
Bateman
Bergen
Bezan
Block
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Barrie)
Calandra
Cannan
Carrie
NAYS
Members
Allen (Welland)
Angus
Atamanenko
Ayala
Bellavance
Bevington
Blanchette-Lamothe
Borg
Boutin-Sweet
Brosseau
Caron
Cash
Chicoine
Choquette
Christopherson
Côté
Crowder
Cuzner
Davies (Vancouver East)
Dewar
Dionne Labelle
Andrews
Ashton
Aubin
Bélanger
Bennett
Blanchette
Boivin
Boulerice
Brison
Byrne
Casey
Charlton
Chisholm
Chow
Comartin
Cotler
Cullen
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
Day
Dion
Donnelly
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16755
Adjournment Proceedings
Dubé
Dusseault
Foote
Freeman
Genest
Godin
Gravelle
Harris (St. John's East)
Hughes
Julian
Kellway
Lapointe
Latendresse
LeBlanc (LaSalle—Émard)
Liu
Mai
Martin
Mathyssen
McCallum
Moore (Abitibi—Témiscamingue)
Morin (Laurentides—Labelle)
Murray
Nicholls
Pacetti
Patry
Perreault
Plamondon
Rankin
Raynault
Rousseau
Sandhu
Scott
Sgro
sor)
Sims (Newton—North Delta)
St-Denis
Sullivan
Trudeau
Valeriote– — 117
Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona)
Easter
Fortin
Garneau
Giguère
Goodale
Groguhé
Hsu
Jacob
Karygiannis
Lamoureux
Larose
Laverdière
Leslie
MacAulay
Marston
Masse
May
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
Morin (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord)
Mulcair
Nantel
Nunez-Melo
Papillon
Péclet
Pilon
Quach
Ravignat
Regan
Saganash
Scarpaleggia
Sellah
Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—WindSitsabaiesan
Stewart
Toone
Turmel
PAIRED
Nil
The Speaker: I declare the motion carried.
ADJOURNMENT PROCEEDINGS
A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed
to have been moved.
● (1920)
[English]
AIRPORT SECURITY
Ms. Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands, GP): Mr. Speaker,
I rise tonight to pursue a question I first asked on February 15, which
is in relation to the loss of RCMP services at a number of class 2
airports in British Columbia and elsewhere. The response I got from
the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety at the
time was that the deployment of RCMP assets was an operational
decision of the RCMP and not related to a decision of this particular
administration.
It is a loss for the airport in Victoria, which is actually in Sidney,
B.C. in my riding. The presence of these RCMP officers was
enormously helpful. With dedicated RCMP officers at the Victoria
airport, there was coverage seven days a week. Now if there are
problems at the airport, the local RCMP detachment based in Sidney
would have to juggle other calls and demands in order to come to the
airport. It is a busy airport and the RCMP presence was very
important for security.
As well, the RCMP presence was withdrawn from Kelowna.
Although Kelowna is in quite a spectacularly beautiful part of
Canada, in the Okanagan, it happens to be, according to security
experts with whom I have consulted, something of a thoroughfare
for the smuggling of drugs and weapons. It is in an area where there
are significant markets in northern Alberta and, without the RCMP
detachment at the Kelowna airport, there is a concern that there will
be an increase in drug dealing and other offences.
This comes at the same time as significant cutbacks in border
security agents. According to the union representing the border
guards, the Canada Border Services Agency has had cuts of up to
1,000 people. A lot of us saw the news coverage of the loss of the
canine division, which was very efficient, effective and accurate at
detecting the presence of illicit drugs and narcotics and so forth at
borders. We have lost the canine division, we have lost the
workforce of Canada Border Services agents who worked with that
canine force, and we are losing security along the Canada–U.S.
border at the same time that these cutbacks at the RCMP have lost us
protection in our airports.
I have to say that I find this rather baffling, coming from an
administration that has fashioned itself as being tough on crime and
as being one that wants to protect Canada and Canadians from the
threats of violent crime and the threats of illegal and illicit activity.
This is in fact not just affecting particularly the Canada Border
Services agents, not just affecting so-called backroom arrangements,
agents and operations, but actually will affect the front-line
operations of border security agents in such a way that the president
of the union feels that smugglers will get the upper hand.
It really would be appropriate for the federal government to revisit
these ill-advised cuts and to restore and replace the presence of
RCMP officers in the class 2 airports, such as in Victoria and in
Kelowna, and at the same time to revisit the cutting of border
security agents. These are ill-conceived cuts that will cause far more
damage through the loss of security than they can possibly gain in
austerity.
Mr. Pierre Poilievre (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister
of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and for the
Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario,
CPC): Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for
Saanich—Gulf Islands for providing me with the opportunity to
respond to some of her concerns. Like other police services across
Canada, the RCMP in British Columbia provides on-site policing at
airports. Airport security in Canada is designated into three tiers
across the country.
Tier 1 includes larger airports with policing detachments such as
Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Vancouver and similar other larger
centres. The policing detachment in each tier 1 airport is provided by
the police of the jurisdiction in that municipality where the airport is
located.
Tier 2 airports are located in medium-sized municipalities that
include cities like Kelowna or Victoria.
16756
COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Adjournment Proceedings
Tier 3 airports are located in small communities across Canada
and do not have dedicated police presence as part of their security
measures.
Security assessment of all airports is a continuous effort of
Transport Canada.
● (1925)
[Translation]
The funding for airport security measures is paid directly by
Transport Canada to the airport authorities and the municipality.
[English]
The RCMP provision of policing services under contract is
conducted through co-operation with the municipality and the chief
operating officer in each airport.
Total security operations for each airport include various
measures, for example, perimeter fencing, employee security passes
and controlled access zones. Budget allocations by Transport Canada
are based on the assessment to determine the risks and need for
security at each airport.
In 2012, Transport Canada estimated that existing security
measures as a whole at tier 2 airports, including Kelowna and
Victoria, other than dedicated police officers and detachments, were
sufficient to ensure public safety at these airports.
We have confidence in Transport Canada's assessment that the
overall security package at Canadian airports, including Kelowna
and Victoria, provide maximum security and safety measures for all
Canadians. Let me assure the House that the policing presence at
Kelowna and Victoria airports is ongoing through routine patrols and
by responding to all emergency 911 calls for service.
With that being said, I thank the member for her query and I now
anticipate her follow-up.
Ms. Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, certainly when we lost the
RCMP presence at the Victoria airport, the Victoria Airport
Authority said it found the presence of the RCMP extremely
important to the airport. It is hard to quantify the benefit of having
officers present because, as the airport authority officials noted at the
time in the Times Colonist, their mere presence at the airport may in
fact have offset and prevented crimes from occurring.
With all respect to the hon. parliamentary secretary, I suggest to
him that his three tiers are not enough. We have to have airport
security as a priority and border security as a priority. When the
unions that represent border service agents say they think smugglers
will get the upper hand, Canadians should be worried.
When the RCMP officers are pulled from our airports for austerity
reasons, I think we should all be concerned. It is a small amount of
prudence for a large amount of benefit.
Mr. Pierre Poilievre: Mr. Speaker, the RCMP as the police of
jurisdiction will continue a police presence at the Kelowna and
Victoria airports with routine patrols and in response to 911
emergency calls for service. I assure the member that the RCMP is
well equipped, well trained and well positioned to continue to carry
out this essential function. We will support our national police force
in so doing.
[Translation]
The Deputy Speaker: Order. Pursuant to Standing Order 81(4),
the motion to adjourn the House is deemed to have been withdrawn,
and the House will now go into committee of the whole for the
purpose of considering votes under Natural Resources in the main
estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2014.
[English]
I will now leave the chair for the House to resolve itself into
Committee of the Whole.
[For continuation of proceedings see part B]
CONTENTS
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
Criminal Code
Mr. Warawa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Bill C-489. Second reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Boivin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mrs. Smith. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Moore (Abitibi—Témiscamingue) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Boivin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Scarpaleggia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Bergen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Sandhu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Mai . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16681
16681
16682
16683
16683
16683
16684
16685
16687
16688
Business of the House
Mr. O'Connor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Motion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
(Motion agreed to) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16689
16689
16689
GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Extension of Sitting Hours
Mr. Van Loan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Motion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16689
16689
Points of Order
Mr. Cullen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16689
Extention of Sitting Hours
Mr. Cullen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Bélanger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Boivin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Lamoureux . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Cullen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Amendment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16696
16697
16697
16698
16698
16704
Points of Order
Scope of Private Members' Bills—Speaker's Ruling
The Speaker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16704
Extension of Sitting Hours
Motion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Lamoureux . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Cullen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. May . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Masse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Harris (St. John's East) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Sims . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16706
16706
16706
16706
16706
16707
16707
STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS
Etobicoke Centre
Mr. Opitz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16708
Elijah Harper
Ms. Ashton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16708
Memorial Cup
Mr. Trost . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16708
Haitian Community in the National Capital Region
Mr. Bélanger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16708
Canadian Forces
Mr. Trottier . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16709
Granby Region
Mr. Genest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16709
North Shore Rescue
Mr. Saxton. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16709
Cave and Basin National Historic Site
Mr. Richards. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16709
Shipwreck in Tabusintac
Mr. Godin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16710
Leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada
Mr. Menegakis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16710
Peace and Friendship Awareness
Mr. Toone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16710
Leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada
Mr. Gourde . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16710
Elijah Harper
Mr. Lamoureux . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16710
Leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada
Mr. Anders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16711
Conservative Party of Canada
Mr. Harris (Scarborough Southwest) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16711
Doug Finley
Mr. Reid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16711
ORAL QUESTIONS
Ethics
Mr. Mulcair . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Baird . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Mulcair . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Baird . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Mulcair . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Baird . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Boivin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Baird . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Boivin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Baird . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Trudeau . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Baird . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Trudeau . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Baird . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Trudeau . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Baird . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Angus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Baird . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Angus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16711
16711
16711
16711
16711
16712
16712
16712
16712
16712
16712
16712
16712
16712
16712
16712
16712
16713
16713
Mr. Baird . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Scott. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Baird . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Scott. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Baird . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Latendresse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Baird . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Boulerice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Baird . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16713
16713
16713
16713
16713
16713
16713
16713
16713
Mr. Baird . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Cullen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Baird . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16718
16718
16718
Justice
Mr. Bezan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Nicholson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16718
16718
Ethics
Ms. Foote . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Baird . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16718
16718
Government Advertising
Mr. Boulerice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Leitch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16714
16714
Government Appointments
Mr. Chisholm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mrs. Shea . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Citizenship and Immigration
Mr. Gravelle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Kenney . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16718
16718
16714
16714
Ethics
Mr. Martin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Baird . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. LeBlanc (Beauséjour) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Baird . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. LeBlanc (Beauséjour) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Baird . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. LeBlanc (Beauséjour) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Baird . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Food Safety
Mr. Albrecht . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Lemieux. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16718
16719
16714
16714
16714
16714
16714
16715
16715
16715
Science and Technology
Ms. Liu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Goodyear. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16719
16719
Government Advertising
Mr. Fortin. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Leitch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16719
16719
Government Appointments
Ms. Charlton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Van Loan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Boutin-Sweet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Van Loan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16715
16715
16715
16715
Points of Order
Oral Questions
Mr. Trudeau . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16719
Employment Insurance
Mrs. Day . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Leitch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Charlton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Leitch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16715
16715
16716
16716
Aboriginal Affairs
Mrs. Smith. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Ambrose . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16716
16716
Public Works and Government Services
Ms. Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Ambrose . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Ravignat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Ambrose . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16716
16716
16716
16716
Government Advertising
Mr. Ravignat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Leitch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16717
16717
Library and Archives Canada
Mr. Nantel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam) .
16717
16717
Ethics
Mr. Goodale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Baird . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Goodale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Baird . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Cullen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16717
16717
16717
16717
16717
ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Government Response to Petitions
Mr. Lukiwski . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Committees of the House
Official Languages
Mr. Chong . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and
the Status of Persons with Disabilities
Ms. Charlton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Motion for Concurrence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Leitch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mrs. Day . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Lamoureux . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Sims . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Leitch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Lamoureux . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mrs. Day . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Cuzner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Wallace. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mrs. Day . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Lamoureux . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Flaherty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Bellavance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Shory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Charlton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Weston (Saint John) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Raitt. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16720
16720
16720
16720
16723
16724
16724
16724
16725
16727
16727
16727
16728
16729
16729
16729
16730
16731
16731
16732
16733
16733
16733
Ms. Charlton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Easter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Sims . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mrs. Day . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Goodyear. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Lamoureux . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Nantel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Mayes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Nantel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Lamoureux . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16734
16735
16735
16737
16738
16738
16738
16738
16740
16740
Extension of Sitting Hours
Notice of Closure Motion
Mr. Van Loan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16740
Committees of the House
Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and
the Status of Persons With Disabilities
Motion for concurrence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Sorenson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Toone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Murray . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Lapointe. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Blanchette . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Sorenson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Division on motion deferred. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Petitions
Nuclear Fuel Processing Licence
Mr. Cash . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Consumer Protection
Mr. Cash . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Violence Against Bus Workers
Mr. Boughen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Experimental Lakes Area
Mr. Boughen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Genetically Modified Alfalfa
Mr. Boughen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Sex Selection
Mr. Boughen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Lyme Disease
Ms. May . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The Environment
Ms. May . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Sex Selection
Mrs. Smith. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Criminal Code
Mrs. Smith. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The Environment
Ms. Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16740
16740
16741
16741
16741
16743
16743
16744
16744
16745
16745
16745
16745
Health Care
Ms. Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Shark Finning
Ms. Sims . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16746
16746
Questions on the Order Paper
Mr. Lukiwski . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16746
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Mr. Lukiwski . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16747
Request for Emergency Debate
Repayment of Senate Expenses
Mr. Lamoureux . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Boulerice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Speaker's Ruling
The Speaker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16748
16748
16749
GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Technical Tax Amendments Act, 2012
Bill C-48. Report stage. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Raitt (for the Minister of Finance) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Motion for concurrence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
(Motion agreed to) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mrs. McLeod . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16749
16749
16749
16749
16749
Business of Supply
Opposition Motion — 2013 Spring Report of the
Auditor General of Canada
Motion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Motion negatived . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Motion negatived . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16750
16751
16753
Nuclear Terrorism Act
Bill S-9. Third reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Motion agreed to . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
(Bill read the third time and passed) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16753
16754
16754
16745
ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
16745
16745
16745
16745
16745
16745
Committees of the House
Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and
the Status of Persons With Disabilities
Motion for concurrence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Motion agreed to . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16754
16755
ADJOURNMENT PROCEEDINGS
Airport Security
Ms. May . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Poilievre. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16755
16755
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House of Commons Debates
VOLUME 146
●
NUMBER 252
●
1st SESSION
OFFICIAL REPORT
(HANSARD)
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
(Part B)
Speaker: The Honourable Andrew Scheer
●
41st PARLIAMENT
CONTENTS
(Table of Contents appears at back of this issue.)
16757
HOUSE OF COMMONS
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
[Continuation of proceedings from part A]
GOVERNMENT ORDERS
● (1930)
[English]
[English]
The House, in committee of the whole, pursuant to Standing Order
81(4)(a), the second appointed day, consideration in committee of
the whole of all votes under Natural Resources in the main estimates
for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2014.
The hon. member for Burnaby—New Westminster.
BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
NATURAL RESOURCES—MAIN ESTIMATES, 2013-14
(Consideration in committee of the whole of all votes under
Natural Resources in the main estimates, Mr. Joe Comartin in the
chair)
The Chair: Tonight's debate is a general one on all of the votes
under Natural Resources. Each member will be allocated 15 minutes.
The first round will begin with the official opposition, followed
by the government and then the Liberal Party. After that, we will
follow the usual proportional rotation.
As provided in the motion adopted earlier today, parties may use
each 15-minute slot for speeches or questions and answers by one or
more of their members. In the case of speeches, members of the
party to which the period is allotted may speak one after the other.
The Chair would appreciate it if the first member speaking in
each slot would indicate how the time will be used, particularly if it
is to be shared.
[Translation]
When the time is to be used for questions and answers, the Chair
will expect that the minister's response will reflect approximately the
time taken by the question. Members need not be in their own seats
to be recognized.
I also wish to indicate that in committee of the whole, all remarks
should be addressed through the Chair, and I ask for everyone's cooperation in upholding the standards of parliamentary language and
behaviour.
[English]
Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP): Mr.
Chair, I would like to let you know right off the bat that I will be
using my full 15 minutes for questions. We have lots of questions.
I will start with the minister. The information from the
Parliamentary Budget Officer's integrated monitoring database
shows that by the third quarter of the last fiscal year the department
had spent 108% of its budget for internal services, the so-called back
office expenses.
Can the minister tell us what the total amount of overspending on
back office services was in the last fiscal year, and if money is being
used from these estimates to cover the gap?
Hon. Joe Oliver (Minister of Natural Resources, CPC): Mr.
Chair, I am very pleased to point out that we are the first government
in Canadian history to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Canada
is now halfway towards our goal of reducing emissions by 17% by
2020.
While our economy grew over the last six years, our emissions
have decreased. Expanded protection of parks in Canada has been
increased by 50%. We have created the world's largest freshwater
protected area, Lake Superior. We have expanded Canada's green
conservation area by over 10 times. We have increased pipeline
inspections and audits. New fines have been imposed for companies
that break environmental laws. We have strengthened—
The Chair: Minister, the time allocated for your speech has to
correspond with roughly the same length as what was received from
the questioner. We will go back to the hon. member for Burnaby—
New Westminster.
Finally, I would remind hon. members that according to the
motion adopted earlier today, during the evening's debate no quorum
calls, dilatory motions or requests for unanimous consent shall be
received by the Chair.
Mr. Peter Julian: Mr. Chair, I hope the minister does not
continue to not respond to a very simple question that he should be
capable of answering.
[Translation]
I will give him an easier question. What is the department's budget
for advertising for the 2013-14 fiscal year? I would like a response,
not a speech.
We may now begin tonight's session.
16758
COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Business of Supply
● (1935)
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, this is a critical moment in the
development of our natural resources, and therefore we have
allocated a significant amount of money for advertising. Under vote
1, the main estimates for this year, the number is $16.5 million.
The training program for people other than me is designed to help
them communicate with the public. Part of that will be training for
scientists and staff, not for me. We want our scientists to
communicate with the public and to do so in a way that is accessible
to the public.
It is common practice for governments to use advertising and
public information to communicate with Canadians. Providing
Canadians with the facts helps them to make informed decisions.
This is a fact-based ad.
Mr. Peter Julian: Mr. Chair, given the minister's lack of
credibility in the media, I think it is fair to say that there are some
real problems there.
Mr. Peter Julian: Mr. Chair, he has taken more time than should
have been allotted, but I thank him for at least for answering that.
My next question is, how many communications staff does the
department employ and how many of them were hired in the last two
years?
The question I want to ask now is, how much of an increase in
advertising spending does that represent over 2012-13?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, these numbers, of course, are in the
main estimates of 2012-13, and as the member opposite fully knows,
it is $9 million.
The issue here, as I mentioned a moment ago, is that this is a
critical moment in the development of our natural resources because
we are awaiting a decision from the U.S. administration in respect to
the Keystone XL pipeline.
Mr. Peter Julian: Mr. Chair, now that the minister has given us
the math, does he agree that the department has now increased
spending on advertising by almost 7,000% since 2010-11? That is
7,000% since that year.
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, the point I made before seems to be
difficult for the member opposite to understand. This campaign will
raise awareness of Canada's environmental record and U.S.-Canada
shared energy interests. It will challenge and correct misinformation.
● (1940)
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, I am surprised that the member
opposite is engaged in such short questions, given his affinity to
filibuster. Apparently his 226,000 words of anti-development
rhetoric spoken in this House last year were not enough. Not once
in that garrulous verbosity did he ever praise the 300—
The Assistant Deputy Chair: Order. The hon. member for
Burnaby—New Westminster.
Mr. Peter Julian: Mr. Chair, it appears the minister is engaging in
a filibuster. However, more importantly for taxpayers, he is not
answering direct questions on the estimates, which is appalling.
I will now ask the next question, and I hope that he answers.
Mr. Peter Julian: Mr. Chair, so that is a 7,000% increase since
2010-11.
How many complaints has the department received about
increases in advertising expenditures, that 7,000% increase in
advertising—
My next question is very simple. How much money is the
department spending on media training for the minister in 2013-14?
The Assistant Deputy Chair: The hon. Minister of Natural
Resources.
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, no money has been allocated. I have
not taken any of the training and I do not intend to.
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, sorry, could he repeat the question?
Mr. Peter Julian: Mr. Chair, obviously the minister is in error. Is
it not true that half a million dollars has been allocated for media
training for the minister and senior staff for 2013-14?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, if the member opposite does not want
to listen to the answer, at the very least he should listen to his own
questions. He was asking the question, as I understood it, about
myself as minister, and I gave him that answer.
All the details regarding the advertisements will be published by
the government in the annual report on government advertising
activities.
Mr. Peter Julian: Mr. Chair, I have now asked the question three
times and I am going to ask it again. I would hope that this time the
minister will actually answer.
What are the expected outcomes of the projected cost of half a
million dollars in media training?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, this is actually a new question. Now
we are talking about the outcomes.
Mr. Peter Julian: Mr. Chair, could the minister tell me how many
complaints the department has received about the 7,000% increase in
advertising expenditures?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, the premise is wrong. The
government is strongly advocating for Canadian jobs and economic
growth, and we will continue to defend and promote Canada's
interests. Our two nations shared commitment to democracy, free
markets and the rule of law underpin why Canada and the United
States have the world's most successful relationship. This campaign
will raise awareness of Canada's environmental record.
Mr. Peter Julian: Mr. Chair, could the minister tell us how much
of the 7,000% increase, the $16.5 million advertising budget, will be
spent in the United States this year?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, this advertising campaign is ongoing,
and extensions will be assessed as the campaign continues. Once the
campaign is complete, full costs will be available.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
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Business of Supply
Mr. Peter Julian: Mr. Chair, the minister is not answering that
question either. He does not have a very good track record, so I will
give him another question. How much of the $16.5 million
advertising budget for this year will be spent in Europe?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, the details of this ongoing
advertising campaign will be made available at the appropriate time.
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, natural resources create jobs and
support economic growth in all regions of Canada. It is common
practice for the government to use advertising and public awareness.
We are discussing important things with companies, environmental
groups and Canadians.
Mr. Peter Julian: Mr. Chair, that is not very respectful to
taxpayers.
[English]
When the minister held his March 18 media event on tanker
safety, was he aware that an oil spill recovery vessel had run aground
on the way to the announcement, that his media event on safety had
resulted in an accident?
Mr. Peter Julian: Mr. Chair, he did not answer the question.
There were four meetings, according to the registry, that were held in
March 2010. Therefore, how many times has the minister or senior
officials met with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
and was energy communications and advertising discussed at these
meetings?
Mr. Leon Benoit: That does not even warrant an answer.
Hon. Joe Oliver: No, it does not, but I will give the answer, and
the answer is no.
Mr. Chair, we have taken significant measures to protect against a
spill. This includes requiring trained experts with knowledge of the
coast to accompany tanker captains while they navigate to open
waters. We have introduced tough new fines for companies that
break our environmental laws. Canada has never had a major tanker
spill off our coasts. In the unlikely event of a spill—
The Assistant Deputy Chair: Order. The hon. member for
Burnaby—New Westminster.
[Translation]
Mr. Peter Julian: Mr. Chair, is the minister aware that the Go
With Canada website stated that greenhouse gas emissions from the
oil sands are falling in Canada, when in fact they are on the rise?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, our government is committed to
protecting the environment with respect to climate change, air
quality and water conservation. We are protecting Canadians. Our
government delivered results for Canada.
● (1945)
Mr. Peter Julian: Mr. Chair, is the minister aware that the Go
With Canada website states that the changes made to the
environmental impact assessment process improve environmental
protection, when in fact they have resulted in the cancellation of
nearly 3,000 environmental assessments?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, our government is committed to
many aspects of environmental protection, from climate change and
air quality to water conservation and protecting Canadians against
harmful chemicals. We have produced results for Canadians.
Mr. Peter Julian: Mr. Speaker, what were the criteria and studies
used to determine that the department's advertising expenditures
should increase by nearly 7,000%?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, I have already answered that
question.
Mr. Peter Julian: Mr. Chair, no, the minister did not answer the
question.
I will continue anyway. Did department officials meet with
representatives from the Canadian Association of Petroleum
Producers in March 2010 to agree on a communication strategy?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, we have consultations with a broad
range of Canadians, industry and environmental groups and we
discuss the critical issues regarding responsible resource development in our country. That is the way this minister and this ministry
inform themselves about the issues that are of concern to the
Canadian public. There is an enormous opportunity to develop our
resources and we will do so responsibly.
The Assistant Deputy Chair: That brings us to the end of the
first 15 minutes allocated. We will continue to the next 15 minutes
that go to the Conservative Party.
The hon. Minister of Natural Resources.
Hon. Joe Oliver (Minister of Natural Resources, CPC): Mr.
Chair, I welcome this opportunity to discuss our government's
commitment to responsible resource development. Canada's resource
industries, energy, mining and forestry, are key drivers of the
Canadian economy, accounting for $1.6 million jobs and almost
20% of our GDP. They generate $30 billion in taxes every year,
revenues that help fund health care, education and public pensions.
This is a pivotal time for Canada and the actions we take as a country
will either set the course for future growth or consign us to watching
opportunities pass us by.
[Translation]
Up to 600 major resource projects are under way or planned for
the next decade, to the tune of approximately $650 billion. We are
entering a development period comparable to the period during
which our national railroads were built.
This truly contributes to building the country. Our government
will not miss this wonderful opportunity. We are doing what is
needed to ensure that Canada remains one of the most attractive
sources of natural resources and investment destinations in the
world.
16760
COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Business of Supply
● (1950)
[English]
Our government recognizes that climate change is a serious global
threat and we support urgent action to mitigate its effects. Where we
differ with the opposition parties is how to address this important
issue.
The NDP seems to suggest that we should stop developing the oil
sands and switch to renewable power. Such a policy is not
economically feasible and would have dire consequences for our
country's standard of living and security. According to the
International Energy Agency, even under the most optimistic
scenarios for the development of renewable energy, the world will
have to rely on fossil fuels for 63% of its energy needs in 25 years.
Globally, cutting off oil production would create severe, if not
catastrophic, economic hardship, especially for the poorest nations
that already suffer from an energy deficit. Indeed, 1.5 billion people
are currently without electricity.
Our government believes we can generate economic growth,
create jobs and assure prosperity for Canadians for generations to
come, and we can do that while protecting the environment. Our plan
is working. Without killing jobs or closing businesses, we are
reducing emissions.
Ours is one of the first governments to grow the economy at the
same time that we are reducing emissions. From 1995 to 2011, our
economy grew by 8.4%, while emissions fell by 4.8%. Rather than
strand our resources and relinquish our legacy, we have invested in
research and development that makes resource development cleaner
and greener. We have done that in coordination with our provincial
partners, Canadian and international scientists and industry. We have
provided incentives for consumers and businesses to enhance energy
efficiency to make for a sustainable greener future.
The oil sands represent one one-thousand of global GHG
emissions. Their development would not mean game over for the
planet. We are continuing to reduce emissions, with a 26% reduction
per barrel since 1990.
[Translation]
We estimate that we are halfway toward achieving our objective of
reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 17%. International
statistics from the United States Energy Information Administration
show that, between 2005 and 2011, Canada reduced its emissions by
11.4%, compared to 8.5% in the United States, 9.9% in Japan, and
7.9% in Europe.
[English]
Canada can be proud to be one of the only oil producing countries
that have strong environmental protections.
In the long term, the United States will develop its own vast shale
gas and oil reserves. That is why Canada must strategically diversify
its markets, which means building the infrastructure we need to
transport our resources to the ocean so they can be shipped out.
To meet this challenge, our government is seeking new markets
and, in principle, is supporting the construction of pipelines to the
southwest and east. We have also modernized our regulatory
approval process, strengthened our environmental reviews and
increased consultations with aboriginal groups.
[English]
In contrast, we have from the NDP incoherence and contradiction
and support for foreign commentators who claim our resources are a
curse and that it would be game over for the climate if we developed
our oil sands which represent one one-thousand of global emissions.
From the Liberal leader, these attacks on Canada are greeted by
deafening silence.
The plan of the New Democrats is as clear as mud. While they
claim they support the development of the oil sands, all indications
are to the contrary. They oppose northern gateway before a review is
complete. The NDP leader is also opposed to Kinder Morgan's Trans
Mountain pipeline, saying that they cannot say “yes” to a project by
Kinder Morgan. They opposed Keystone XL and flew to
Washington to lobby against the approval of a project that would
create hundreds of thousands of Canadian jobs.
● (1955)
[Translation]
The NDP claims to be in favour of a west-to-east pipeline, but
now it is opposing the reversal of line 9B. The NDP said that we
cannot reverse the flow of Enbridge's pipeline 9.
[English]
When he was speaking in English, the leader of the NDP said a
west to east pipeline was:
—the type of pro-business common sense solution that not only creates jobs—it
strengthens Canada’s energy security and will leave more to future generations
than just debt.
This blatant contradiction, policy incoherence and opposing
messages in different regions of the country undermines the vestiges
of his credibility, while it does nothing to help our government sell
its message to foreign countries. Similarly, it would be helpful for the
Liberal Party to show some courage and start to support policies that
advance the national interests.
[Translation]
The challenges facing Canada's energy resources are clear and
urgent. The sole client for our oil and gas resources is the
United States. In the short term, that has led to a drop in prices,
which has meant a loss of some $20 billion in revenue for the
Canadian economy. In the medium term, our pipeline capacity is
becoming insufficient, which risks wasting our resources.
Our government is taking action on climate change, while
promoting Canada abroad and creating jobs and economic growth
at home.
Mr. David Anderson (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister
of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board, CPC):
Mr. Chair, it is a great pleasure to be here tonight.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16761
Business of Supply
I thank the minister for the speech on the importance of resource
development to Canada's economy and particularly on how we are
proceeding while protecting the environment. He has made it crystal
clear the very stark contrast of our approach versus the NDP, whose
members, we would argue, have abandoned our Canadian workers
with their anti-development rhetoric and anti-development stance.
While completely lacking respect for the elected leader of
Saskatchewan, more broadly it showed that the leader of the NDP
had no understanding of how important this sector was to the
Canadian economy. Particularly, he did not understand how
important it was to the western Canadian economy.
I am fortunate to come from my home province of Saskatchewan
where we have a very strong resource sector with oil, potash and
uranium production. These jobs are crucial to the Saskatchewan
economy, which has been incredibly strong over the last few years.
They have been incredibly important to the national economy
because we have been able to provide some of the stability that has
gone toward carrying us through the crises of the last few years.
Could the minister explain our position on the resource sector and
whether he believes it is creating Dutch disease across Canada?
However, throughout my time as a member of Parliament,
businesses, municipalities and people in my riding have told me that
the development of our resources have been held hostage to an
environmental review system that does not balance our needs.
Last year our government introduced important legislation in this
regard called “responsible resource development”. Could the
minister take a few minutes tonight to tell us in the House how
this legislation balances the need to protect the environment, while
also ensuring that we have a review system that is not cumbersome
or inefficient?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, the parliamentary secretary's
question is very important and relevant.
Responsible resource development is a critical piece of legislation
that makes reviews more timely, reduces duplication, strengthens
environmental protection and enhances aboriginal consultations.
Prior to our plan, thousands of projects with little or no
environmental effect were being reviewed and reviews would take
far too long, which resulted in a weaker economy and less jobs for
Canadians. We accomplished this improvement, while ensuring that
the environment was protected.
Our government is focusing valuable resources on projects with
the largest possible environmental impact, while increasing pipeline
and tanker safety. Indeed, in the main estimates for the National
Energy Board before this chamber right now there is new funding to
hire more pipeline inspectors to increase our pipeline safety. While
the opposition would like to mislead the Canadian public by saying
that we cannot both protect the environment and create jobs, our
government will take a balanced approach that ensures we do both.
Mr. David Anderson: Mr. Chair, I thank the minister for the
explanation on how important that legislation is to Canada.
I note that the NDP members have been very clear that they are
opposed to resource development. They have been clear in the
House that they stand against basically any type of resource
development. However, one area of particular importance to me,
especially being from Saskatchewan, is their notion, their theory, of
Dutch disease.
The premier in my home province of Saskatchewan was very
public about his disagreement with the leader of the NDP when he
called resource jobs a disease. We are all familiar with his position
on that. The leader of the NDP then called Premier Wall a messenger
for the Prime Minister.
● (2000)
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, the NDP has never been known for
clear economic thinking. The Dutch disease theory has been
debunked by economic history and by economists across Canada,
including The Macdonald-Laurier Institute and the former governor
of the Bank of Canada, Mark Carney.
The crux of the NDP's argument is the supposed impact on the
manufacturing sector. Of course, if the NDP had spoken to the
manufacturing sector, it might have heard that resource development
actually helps Canada's manufacturing industry. Let us listen for a
second to what the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters had to say:
“The fact is that all Canadians stand to benefit in very real ways from
the wealth created by these developments”.
However, the biggest issue with the New Democrats' theory is the
hundreds of thousands of jobs created by these developments, many
of them union jobs. For example, Canada's Building Trades Unions,
a union representing around 200,000 workers in our energy sector,
says that the NDP would be very bad for workers and the entire
Canadian economy.
I wonder when the leader of the NDP will finally admit to his
erroneous economics, seek forgiveness, and support the hundreds of
thousands of Canadians employed in our resource sector.
Mr. David Anderson: Mr. Chair, the Liberals admitted that they
failed to get the job done. The NDP has told us that it wants to bring
in a $23-billion carbon tax. Perhaps the minister could take a few
minutes to talk a bit about the accomplishments of our government
since we came to power.
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, there is not enough time to do all of
that, but let me focus on a few matters.
Our government has created the largest freshwater protected area.
We have expanded Canada's marine conservation area by over 10
times. We have increased pipeline inspections and audits. We have
imposed new fines for companies that break environmental laws. We
have strengthened tanker inspections. We require double hulls for
large tankers. We have improved aids for navigation, including
updated charts for shipping routes. We have invested in scientific
research in marine pollution, and we have invested some $10 billion
in green energy, in alternative energy, and in reducing the energy
footprint of conventional and non-conventional energy expansion.
16762
COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Business of Supply
Mr. Marc Garneau (Westmount—Ville-Marie, Lib.): Mr.
Chair, I welcome the opportunity to speak on behalf of the Liberal
Party and to ask the Minister of Natural Resources some questions
this evening. My focus will be primarily on asking questions.
Being the Minister of Natural Resources is a challenging task. Not
only does the minister have to oversee the development of Canada's
natural resources, but because natural resources can have consequences when they are developed, he must also show that he has a
keen understanding of the consequences that can occur if these
resources are not developed in a sustainable manner.
I have to admit that in recent weeks, on his trips to the United
States and Europe, he has certainly raised eyebrows with respect to
the things he has said with regard to climate change, raising
questions about whether he really understands the subject very
clearly. I am going to be asking him some questions about that, but
first I want to get back to a question my colleague from the NDP
tried to ask him three times, unsuccessfully. It concerned the fact that
there is on MERX a request for services for a contract of up to half a
million dollars. If I may quote from it, it says that “NRCan will
acquire the required media relations training for the Minister and
senior NRCan officials”. It is understandable that my colleague got
confused, because it does actually say “the Minister”.
I would like to ask the minister whether his intention is to avail
himself of any of that half a million dollars to do some media
training.
● (2005)
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, this is an historic moment. It is the
first time since I was appointed minister almost two years ago that a
Liberal natural resources critic has risen to ask me a question in the
House. Now that it has finally happened, I had hoped it would be a
matter of some moment. Alas, my hopes are dashed. In fact, he is not
off to an auspicious start.
The question was already asked. The question was answered. The
fact is that I have not and I will not avail myself of that service.
Mr. Marc Garneau: Mr. Chair, as an aside, it probably would not
be a bad idea if the minister did avail himself of some of that
training, but I digress.
Let me point out that the minister recently answered a letter
written by 12 scientists, and I want to quote from it. In his answer, he
said:
Domestically, we have taken action to reduce our GHG emissions and estimate
that, as a result of collective action to date, we are already halfway towards closing
the gap between the original projections for 2020 and where we need to be to meet
our 17 per cent Copenhagen Accord target.
It is not the first time he has said it. He has said it many, many
times, as has the Minister of the Environment. To begin with, what is
the target, in megatonnes, for 2020 the government has set itself?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, it is 611 megatonnes.
Mr. Marc Garneau: Mr. Chair, I thank the minister for that
answer. The last time we had available figures for Canada's
production of greenhouse gases was in 2011. It says so on the sites,
and that number was 702 megatonnes. Now, if we are halfway
toward our 2020 targets, we should be in the area of about 670
megatonnes at this time. That is how the math works out.
Does the minister know where we are now? I would like to
understand that, because he and the Minister of the Environment
have not stopped making claims that they are halfway to the target
set for 2020, which is 17% under the 2005 target. How does the
minister know that they are there, and can he tell us what the levels
are now? It should be around 670, or less, if he is actually telling
Canadians the right answer.
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, our collective actions to date will
bring us halfway toward closing the gap between what our emissions
had originally been projected to be in 2020 and where we need to be
to meet our Copenhagen target.
Mr. Marc Garneau: Mr. Chair, I think the minister said this time
that it “will bring us” halfway, which is different from saying that
they are halfway. We should be able to see right now, if the
government claims that it is halfway, that it knows that we are at or
below 670 megatonnes now. Can he give me a straight answer,
please?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, frankly, I find it a bit rich to be
attacked on this issue by the Liberal Party, which signed us on to an
international agreement that it had no intention of complying with
and that it did not comply with. During their tenure, the result was an
increase in greenhouse gas emissions by, I believe, some 30%. We
do not have to listen to belated comments from the members of the
Liberal Party. The apologies are belated, and we are still waiting for
them.
● (2010)
Mr. Marc Garneau: Mr. Chair, I do not think I am going to get
an answer about how we are halfway to our 2020 targets, but let me
ask another question. Can the minister tell us what share of the
progress that has been made is due to the provinces, as distinct from
federal government action?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, our obligation is an obligation for the
country, and that means that we all have to collaborate together. The
natural resources sector is an area of shared jurisdiction, and in the
case of the environment, it is directly shared, so of course, we expect
and are receiving co-operative action from the provinces, and we are
doing our part.
The emissions, as I said, from 2005 to 2011, fell by 4.8%, while
the economy grew by—
The Assistant Deputy Chair: Order, please. We still have to try
to work on getting the response time similar to the time taken for the
answer as close as we can.
The hon. member for Westmount—Ville-Marie.
Mr. Marc Garneau: Mr. Chair, that was a non-answer.
Let me say that I have also witnessed a first this evening. This is
the first time the Conservatives have actually acknowledged that it is
a team effort. They did not tell us how much the provinces have
contributed, but up until now, for the past number of years, they have
made it sound as if it has been only through their efforts that the
actual numbers have been reduced. I am not even talking about the
slowdown in the economy. It is the first time there has been some
kind of recognition that the provinces are also playing a role in this.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16763
Business of Supply
Let me go on to my next question. Canada has the opportunity to
be a world leader. The Conservative government claims that it is a
world leader in renewable energy. Why is it that the government is
missing the opportunity, with its staggering $328 million in cuts to
clean energy funding? For example, there is $162 million cut from
the clean energy fund and $60 million cut from the ecoENERGY for
biofuels fund. There is $59 million cut from the grant for Sustainable
Development Technology Canada for next generation biofuels.
How is it that the government is able to go down to the United
States and to Europe and say that it is taking all sorts of responsible
actions, when it is cutting the programs that are intended to develop
the clean energy sources we need to have in this country?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, Canada is a recognized leader in
clean energy and energy efficiency. For example, the International
Energy Agency ranks Canada as second only to Germany, among 16
countries, in its rate of energy efficiency improvement from 1990 to
2008. Since 2006, our government has invested more than $10
billion to reduce emissions and to protect our environment through
investments in green infrastructure, energy technologies, clean
energy and the production of cleaner energy and cleaner fuels.
These investments increase our competitiveness globally and create
jobs for Canada.
Our government's clean energy investments contribute to our goal
of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 17%. With respect
specifically to energy efficiency, we have shown strong leadership.
In 2015, energy performance standards will be in place for 55
appliances and equipment used in Canadian homes and businesses.
This is expected to save an estimated 48 megatonnes of greenhouse
gases annually by the end of this decade. In 2011, our government
announced $195 million over five years to continue its momentum in
improving energy efficiency in Canada.
It is this type of action that will assist in meeting our greenhouse
gas emission targets.
Mr. Marc Garneau: Mr. Chair, the government likes to talk
about its sector-by-sector approach, and it has indeed brought in a
couple of initiatives, one dealing with car exhaust emissions and the
other dealing with coal-fired generating stations. The big one,
because it is the one that is most susceptible to our not being able to
reach our 2020 targets is, of course, the sector dealing with oil and
gas. We have been waiting for a long time for this one, and it is really
the elephant in the tent.
Can the government tell us on what date the government will
introduce its long-delayed oil and gas regulations under its sector-bysector approach? Is there funding from the minister's department
involved in the implementation of the regulations?
● (2015)
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, I am pleased that the member
opposite recognizes the significant progress we have made in the
transportation sector, which makes up 24% of Canada's emissions.
In October 2010, light-duty vehicle regulations for model years
2010 to 2016 came into force, establishing a common Canada-U.S.
standard. In November 2012, Canada announced regulations to
improve fuel efficiency and to reduce GHG emissions from
passenger automobiles and light trucks for model years 2017 and
beyond. As a result of our actions to date, 225 passenger vehicles
and light trucks will emit about half as many GHGs as 2008 models.
Mr. Marc Garneau: Mr. Chair, my next question deals with the
fact that there are premiers in the country who are taking some
initiatives. I speak about the Premier of Alberta, in particular, who is
trying to work with the other provinces and has made trips to visit
other premiers from other provinces and has advocated the idea of a
Canadian national energy strategy, working collectively in the
interests of Canada and the Council of the Federation.
I would like to ask the minister whether he believes in the concept
of a national energy strategy. If he does, what action does he plan to
take?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, we of course support the
collaborative efforts that our provincial colleagues are making with
each other and within their own provinces on this file.
I had the opportunity to meet with many of the provincial premiers
and many of my counterparts right across the country. Of course, we
have an annual meeting every year. We had one in Kananaskis. We
had one in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. There will be one
in Yellowknife. We will continue to work with the provinces on a
collaborative basis.
The Liberals—
The Assistant Deputy Chair: Order. We have time for one more
short question. The hon. member for Westmount—Ville-Marie.
Mr. Marc Garneau: Mr. Chair, the environment commissioner's
spring report gave a scathing review of the lack of federal
government oversight and management with the chemicals used in
fracking.
Is there funding allocated in this year's estimates to rectify this
inaction?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, without question the government is
moving in the right direction on this important issue. We place great
emphasis on science. It is worth noting that in British Columbia there
has been horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracking for almost 50
years. There is not a single instance of contamination of drinking
water in that period of time.
However, we will continue to work with scientists to make sure
that the best science is available to protect Canadians and protect the
environment.
The Assistant Deputy Chair: That will complete the opening
round. Now we will proceed into the first rotation.
Resuming debate, the hon. member for Vegreville—Wainwright.
Mr. Leon Benoit (Vegreville—Wainwright, CPC): Mr. Chair, I
am delighted to participate in this debate here tonight. Canadians are
very fortunate, as I think we all know, that our country is wealthy in
natural resources, and we are the envy of many other countries
around the world.
16764
COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Business of Supply
For generations natural resources have brought opportunity, jobs
and growth to every region of this country, and today natural
resources account for 15% of our gross domestic product and 50% of
our exports. When we include the spinoff industries that provide
goods and services to this sector, natural resources account for close
to 20% of our GDP, nearly one-fifth of our economy.
Specifically, the energy, mining and forestry industries provide
over $30 billion a year in revenue to governments, money that
supports critical social programs such as health, education, pensions
and old age security. That $30 billion is equal to half the spending by
all governments together on hospitals last year. Therefore, those MPs
across the way who oppose all natural resource development—and
that would be the New Democrats—are slowing development, which
means that they are limiting the amount of money available for
health care and other social programs.
Other benefits include jobs. About 800,000 Canadians work
directly in natural resources, while another 800,000 are employed in
sectors that serve the natural resource industries. Added up, close to
1.6 million Canadians depend on natural resources for their jobs,
making up 10% of all employment in Canada.
Importantly, these are good jobs. My wife Linda and I have five
children, and all five of them work in the natural resource sector. All
five of them have good jobs because of the success of the businesses
in the sector. Not only that, they are all married, and all five of their
spouses work in the natural resource sector and have good wages
and good jobs. That is something we should all take pride in, instead
of working against it, as some across the floor would do.
At the same time, over the next 10 years over 600 major natural
resource projects will be under way across this country. That means
about $650 billion in spending on major natural resource projects
over the next 10 years. With these opportunities at hand, the
Government of Canada is working to increase Canadian trade and
investment to facilitate the expansion of Canada's natural resource
infrastructure. Sadly, the New Democrats are working against this
development as well. They oppose any pipeline that has ever been
proposed. They oppose projects like that, and they probably will
continue to do so. They laugh about it, but it is a serious issue.
Now I want to talk a bit about our responsible resource
development.
To capitalize on these opportunities, our plan for responsible
resource development will ensure Canada's regulatory regime is
among the most efficient and competitive anywhere in the world.
Responsible resource development has put in place more predictable
and timely reviews with fixed end dates and will end unnecessary
duplication with provincial regimes that meet federal requirements to
deliver on our shared objective of one project, one review.
These changes will save time and money, providing the certainty
that investors demand. In fact, the reality is that with this accelerated
and streamlined process, if a project is given the “no” answer and a
company is told that it cannot go ahead, it would much rather that
happen after a two-year period than after the eight years that it often
takes now for some of the larger projects. Even if the answer is no, it
is a lot easier for a company to take if it has invested less time and
money in the project.
However, our approach is not just about developing resources
efficiently; it is about developing them responsibly. For this reason,
our government is committed to protecting the environment. Simply
put, we will not approve projects unless they can be done safely.
● (2020)
It is not a question of either developing our natural resources or
protecting the environment; we can do both and we must do both.
Responsible resource development will ensure stronger environmental protection by increasing our focus on major projects with the
most potential for significant environmental impacts on areas of
federal jurisdiction and through the introduction of new measures to
strengthen compliance and enforcement, including tough new fines
for companies that break environmental safety laws.
The Government of Canada has also taken action to strengthen
pipeline safety as a part of our plan for responsible resource
development. For example, budget 2012 provided the National
Energy Board with $13.5 million more to increase the number of
annual inspections on oil and gas pipelines by 50%. That would
increase the number of inspections by 50%, from 100 to 150, to
improve pipeline safety right across this country.
Further, the government is doubling, from three to six, the number
of comprehensive annual audits of oil and gas pipelines to identify
potential safety issues before they occur.
On March 18, 2013, we also announced a comprehensive set of
measures to ensure we have in place a world-class marine safety
system, including a tanker safety expert panel to review Canada's
spill response requirements, a review of the liability and compensation regime to ensure the polluter pays for all the costs of cleanup,
scientific research on marine pollution risks, the creation of an
incident command structure to strengthen emergency response
oversight and new investments in navigational aids, inspections,
surveillance and monitoring.
Our goal is to prevent incidents from happening, to strengthen our
response capacity in the unlikely event that an incident does occur
and to ensure that Canadian taxpayers are not left on the hook for the
cost of the cleanup.
Responsible resource development also includes a commitment to
ensuring more meaningful and consistent consultation with aboriginal peoples and exploring new economic partnerships with
aboriginal groups.
The government also recently announced the appointment of a
special federal representative to engage aboriginal communities on
aboriginal opportunities related to proposed west coast energy
infrastructure, such as oil and gas pipelines and marine terminals.
These efforts will help identify opportunities to facilitate greater
aboriginal participation in resource development as well as in our
ongoing efforts to strengthen environmental protection.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16765
Business of Supply
Quite frankly, we have already seen that development and that
engagement of aboriginal people. In the oil sands we have seen
companies that are led by aboriginal people and owned by aboriginal
people. This model can certainly be expanded.
● (2025)
would ensure stronger environmental protection by increasing our
focus on major projects with the most potential for significant
environmental effects, introducing tough new fines for companies
that break our environmental laws, and advancing new measures to
ensure world-class pipeline and marine safety regimes.
Just recently—in fact, yesterday—I came back from a meeting of
the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. I chair one of the economic
committees in that group. We are doing a study on unconventional
gas and oil production. At those meetings, we get the message very
clearly that Canada had better be as quick as it possibly can in
developing liquid natural gas terminals or it will simply be done by
other countries around the world.
Our plan for responsible resource development would achieve the
balance needed to unleash the potential of Canada's resource sector
to create jobs and economic prosperity, while ensuring strong
environmental protection and enhanced consultation with aboriginal
communities.
The United States already has applied for export permits for
natural gas. Australia will very soon become the largest producer and
exporter of natural gas in the world. The competition is there. We
cannot just assume that in Canada we can take our time to develop
these liquid natural gas exports and that the markets will be there for
us. The reality is that with the cost of the infrastructure required to
develop an LNG project, well over $10 billion, long-term contracts
and investment from the country buying the gas are going to be
involved. Off the west coast, we could expect China to be one of
those, so it is important that we move ahead at the fastest pace that
we possibly can.
In closing, I would just like to say that we have done one of the
most beneficial things that governments have done in the last many
years, probably since the free trade agreement. In putting in place
this responsible resource development program, which is a
comprehensive program, we have done an awful lot that will allow
natural resource industries to move ahead in the future.
I am looking forward to that happening.
● (2030)
The Assistant Deputy Chair: Questions and comments.
Mr. Leon Benoit: Mr. Chair, I will go straight into questions. It is
a format that happens every now and again, but not all that often
around here.
We know that resource development is crucial to our success as a
country. I think we all know that, at least on this side of the House.
As an Albertan, I can see these benefits in my riding. They are
widespread. I talked about my five children and their spouses. This is
what keeps them going. This is what makes their families do quite
well, frankly.
Last year, our government implemented our responsible resource
development plan that recognized the balance between resource
development and environmental protection. How do we ensure that
we continue to benefit from resource development while ensuring
that the environment is well protected because Canadians expect that
of us?
Mr. Leon Benoit: Mr. Chair, we have been talking about our
responsible resource development program that would put more
onus on companies to be much more careful in the way they operate
in the natural resource sectors, that would put a lot more onus on
them when it comes to the environmental process, to get approval.
With this extra responsibility on companies, I would like to ask
the minister whether he believes this process, which in fact would
just cut down the timeline for approval or rejection of a project,
would actually push companies away from investing in Canada or
whether it would encourage more companies to invest in Canada and
I would like him to give the reasons for his answer.
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, the NDP policy chaos is a little like
looking at a train wreck. The leader of the NDP says that the oil
sands are not beneficial for Canada. In fact, he said it is a definition
of a Dutch disease. He also thinks that it is a curse.
Then he goes to Alberta and says, “We want to be a partner for the
development of our resources”.
Then he goes to Washington and has a meeting with Nancy Pelosi,
who says that “Canadians don't want to see the pipeline in their own
country”.
After the meeting, he sends his deputy leader to Washington, who
then says “We're trying to present a different face of Canada on this”.
We know what that difference face is. It is anti-jobs. It is antidevelopment. It is anti-trade. The fact is, the NDP cannot be trusted
to develop Canada's economy.
[Translation]
Mr. Chair, I would like to take a few minutes to talk about the oil
sands, which constitute the third largest oil reserves in the world,
create jobs and stimulate economic growth across Canada and in all
sectors of the Canadian economy. The oil sands development is
expected to support an average of 630,000 jobs a year across Canada
between 2011 and 2035. An estimated $2 billion will be injected into
the economy—
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, I would like to thank the hon.
member for Vegreville—Wainwright for his hard work as chair of
our natural resource committee.
● (2035)
As he knows, our plan for responsible resource development
would ensure Canada's regulatory regime is among the most efficient
and competitive in the world. Responsible resource development
The Assistant Deputy Chair: Order. That will conclude the time
allocated in this particular round. We will go to resuming debate. The
hon. member for Vaudreuil-Soulanges.
[English]
16766
COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Business of Supply
[Translation]
Mr. Jamie Nicholls (Vaudreuil—Soulanges, NDP): Mr. Chair, I
will be using my full 15 minutes to ask questions.
Can the minister tell me how many new resource development
projects the National Energy Board was asked to review in 2012?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, through the National Energy Board,
our government has taken action to prevent pipeline accidents and
improve our ability to respond to any incidents that do occur. We
increased the number of inspections of federally regulated pipelines
by 50% and doubled the number of annual audits.
[English]
The NDP members refuse to even—
The Assistant Deputy Chair: Order. The short questions compel
short responses. I appreciate that it does have to take some time to
get that response in order, but we will try to keep the times as equal
as we can on either side.
[Translation]
Mr. Jamie Nicholls: Mr. Chair, it was a simple question. The
minister should know his portfolio, but clearly, based on how he has
to shuffle through his papers, he does not know the answer. He did
not answer the question correctly.
[Translation]
Mr. Jamie Nicholls: Mr. Chair, it is clear that $3 million has been
cut. You can try to change reality, but here on this side, we know
what the reality is.
Can the minister tell us where the department thinks the board will
find the means to accomplish these savings?
[English]
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, first just may I say that the NDP does
not really care what the NEB concludes because that party comes to
its conclusions prior to the scientific evaluations being done.
[Translation]
Mr. Jamie Nicholls: Mr. Chair, how many board employees will
be responsible for compliance activities in the coming year?
● (2040)
[English]
I will try again. How many new resource development projects
was the National Energy Board asked to review in 2012?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, the NEB will have available an
additional three-quarters of a million dollars for the fiscal year 2014
for a total of $2.25 million for public participation in its review of
pipeline projects. The NEB has reallocated $3 million from 2012-13
to 2013-14 and for 2014-15 another $2.25 million for the trans
mountain project.
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, as I said, the National Energy Board
is an independent body.
[Translation]
[English]
The main functions of the NEB include the design, construction,
operation, the regulation of design construction, operation abandonment of pipelines, natural gas imports, and oil and gas activities on
frontier lands.
[Translation]
Mr. Jamie Nicholls: Mr. Chair, the minister clearly does not
know the answer.
I will try another question. How many projects is the board
expected to be responsible for reviewing in 2013? Does he know the
figure for this year, for 2013?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, the question has to do with the
number of projects that are under regulation in mid-year. I do not
have the answer.
Mr. Jamie Nicholls: Mr. Chair, that is too bad.
Mr. Jamie Nicholls: Mr. Chair, clearly the minister does not
understand my questions in French, but I will try again.
I asked how many board employees will be responsible for
compliance activities in the coming year.
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, as I said, the regulatory authority is
independent.
I can assure Canadians that they have enough experts to meet their
obligations.
Mr. Jamie Nicholls: Mr. Chair, it may be independent; however,
it is the minister's responsibility to ensure oversight of all agencies
associated with his department.
Does the minister agree that Canada needs to improve its pipeline
safety measures?
[English]
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, as I said, this government manages
resources responsibly, and we are using its plan and taking effective
measures to improve the safety and integrity of Canada's pipeline
projects.
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, the funding to ensure the NEB has
clear and robust regulatory oversight throughout the life cycle of the
facilities and activities it regulates was put in place. For example, in
comparison to 2012-13, the 2013-14 main estimates have increased
primarily due to an increase of $5.6 million for pipeline safety and
awareness, a decrease of $2.3 million in funding for the participant
funding program.
The plan increases pipeline safety by allocating $13.5 million over
two years to the National Energy Board in order to increase the
number of oil and gas pipeline inspections from about 100 to 150 per
year. The plan also doubles the number of comprehensive annual
audits in order to identify potential problems and prevent incidents
from happening.
Does the minister know that $3 million has been cut from the
National Energy Board's budget for 2013-14?
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16767
Business of Supply
Mr. Jamie Nicholls: Mr. Chair, did the minister know, before
May 2013, that the NEB did not inspect backup power systems at
pump stations on a regular basis and did not consistently enforce the
regulations?
[English]
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, the NEB is the agency that oversees
the compliance by the energy companies and it will continue to do
so.
[Translation]
Canadian companies must comply with National Energy Board
regulations. It is an independent regulatory body. The NEB will take
all the necessary steps to protect the public and the environment.
When the NEB identifies deficiencies in a company's system,
projects or programs, it requires that the company make certain
immediate changes to correct those deficiencies or draw up plans for
corrective measures that must be approved.
Mr. Jamie Nicholls: Mr. Chair, I hope that we will comply with
the rules for this type of debate and that the time I take to ask my
question will be equal to the time the minister takes to respond.
What kind of minister is he? It is clear that the companies have
him in their back pocket.
Mr. Chair, did the minister know, before May 2013, that the NEB
did not inspect emergency shutdown systems at pump stations on a
regular basis and did not consistently enforce the regulations?
[English]
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, we have every confidence in the
NEB to do its work, and in fact it is doing so. It is a strong
independent regulator of pipeline safety. It subjects pipeline
development proposals to an extensive review process taking into
account pipeline safety and protection of the environment. Public
regulated pipelines boast a safety record of 99.9996% of the crude
oil and petroleum product that was transported. I have full
confidence the pipeline—
[English]
The Assistant Deputy Chair: Order, please. Just a word to hon.
members. I do not want to take time away from the debate, but
members realize that the questions and responses need to be
proportionate in time. That said, for a five second question that
compels a complex response, the respondent needs the time to
explain that as well. Therefore, we are going to have a healthy debate
here. A question that actually compels a rather intricate response,
time needs to be permitted to do so.
On the other side of the coin, we compel the respondents to do
everything they can to make the responses concise and make them as
close to that time as they practically can. All of this is an effort to try
and make the debate informative and flow in a way that it helps
inform Canadians on the question that is before the committee this
evening.
[Translation]
The hon. member for Vaudreuil-Soulanges.
Mr. Jamie Nicholls: Mr. Chair, does the minister know when the
regulations applicable to backup power systems and emergency
shutdown systems went into effect?
[English]
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, in the time allotted I will just say that
the NEB enforces the regulations.
[Translation]
Mr. Jamie Nicholls: Mr. Chair, I can answer the question: the
regulations are 14 to 19 years old. There has been no oversight for 14
years.
Does the minister even know what the regulations are called?
[English]
The Assistant Deputy Chair: Order. The hon. member for
Vaudreuil-Soulanges.
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, our government is investing to
ensure Canada has world-class pipeline safety systems and, as
reflected in the main estimates, $5 million is dedicated to increasing
inspections for pipelines from 1 to 150 and doubling the amounts of
annual audits.
[Translation]
[Translation]
Mr. Jamie Nicholls: Mr. Chair, does the minister know when the
regulations applicable to backup power systems and emergency
shutdown systems went into effect?
Mr. Jamie Nicholls: Mr. Chair, come on. A rookie MP has to tell
the minister that they are called the National Energy Board Onshore
Pipeline Regulations. It was a very simple question.
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, as I said, we have full confidence in
the regulations. The Board has received Enbridge's corrective action
plan, which addresses the non-compliance issues, except for
Enbridge's plan to address compliance problems on Line 9.
How many times has the department had meetings with
representatives of the Canadian Standards Association to determine
whether regulations for Canada's onshore pipelines are up-to-date
and comply with international regulations?
The NEB requires pipeline companies to anticipate, prevent,
manage and mitigate situations related to their pipelines that could
present a threat and to take immediate action in cases of compliance
—
[English]
● (2045)
What is the problem?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, the member opposite is asking me
how many times my staff has met with an independent regulator. So
many of these questions are questions that would more appropriately
be raised with people in the department at a more junior level.
16768
COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Business of Supply
[Translation]
Canadian corporations must comply with the rules and regulations
of the National Energy Board. The latter is an independent
regulatory body, and it will take all measures required to protect
the public and the environment.
● (2050)
Mr. Jamie Nicholls: Mr. Chair, we have seen that the
government's public consultation process was flawed, but I am
shocked to learn that there were also problems with the consultation
process that they held with experts.
Does the minister realize that the number of pipeline-related
accidents has increased over the past few years and that those
accidents are becoming more serious?
[English]
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, as I said, the safety record for
pipelines in our country is 99.9996%. That is a fact and no matter
how many times we hear criticism on the other side the fact remains.
However, we will do everything we can to ensure that this number
actually decreases. The ultimate objective is that there are no serious
pipeline incidents.
[Translation]
Mr. Jamie Nicholls: Mr. Chair, the National Energy Board's
website says the opposite.
It says that the Board has noticed an increase in the number and
severity of incidents being reported by NEB-regulated companies in
recent years. There have been six leaks in Alberta alone, which
contradicts what the minister said.
Does the minister realize that old pipelines are more likely to
break than new ones?
[English]
Hon. Joe Oliver: Technology, Mr. Chair, is obviously improving
and so the safety record is improving as well. However, we can get
whiplash from following NDP contradictions on pipelines and the oil
sands. The New Democrats claim to support resource development,
but oppose it at every turn. They oppose pipelines going south, west
and east. They are opposing the most recent going east. Before they
seemed to be on side. Today at a meeting of the natural resources
committee, we heard from a member of the NDP that they were in
favour of the number 9 line, but the leader of the party is against it. I
do not really know where they stand and I am not sure they do either.
Mr. Mike Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac, CPC): Mr. Chair, I
appreciate the opportunity to speak today and participate in this
debate. I plan on using the full 15 minutes to make a few comments.
However, I also want to pose a few questions for the minister as
well.
My comments and question will primarily focus on pipelines and
specifically on our position on the economic potential brought by a
west-east pipeline and the safety aspects of bringing oil to the east.
Canada is among the world's leading energy producers. We have
the world's fifth largest producer of oil and the third largest proven
reserves, estimated at 173 billion barrels, mostly in the oil sands.
As we heard at the natural resources committee, the global
demand for crude oil is projected to increase for the next 25 years
and beyond, especially in emerging economies. We are the third
largest producer of natural gas, with marketable natural gas resources
estimated to be as high as 1,300 trillion cubic feet. These are
enormous resources and the development of these resources is
supporting Canadian prosperity, as we heard comments previously.
Directly and indirectly, Canada's energy sector supports hundreds
of thousands of jobs a year for Canadians. The oil sands alone
support jobs for some 275,000 people, jobs right across the country
in every sector of the economy, such as skilled trades, manufacturing, clerical jobs, the financial sector, everywhere.
The energy sector is also a key source of revenue for governments
at all levels. For example, over the past five years the oil and gas
extraction industries have added an average of $22 billion a year to
government revenues.
Canada has the energy resources that the world needs. Our
challenge going forward is being able to get these valuable
resources, oil and natural gas, to tidewater and then to global
markets. The solution is an expansion of Canada's energy
infrastructure. The energy sector knows this and so does our
government, and we are working to facilitate success for this vital
economic sector.
Canada's crude oil pipeline system is integrated with the North
American pipeline network and nearly all of our oil goes to the
United States. Current maximum crude oil pipeline capacity out of
Canada is 3.5 million barrels per day.
As western Canadian crude oil production has continued to grow,
this production increase has overwhelmed existing pipelines.
Canadian crude has oversupplied the local western Canadian market,
driving Canadian crude oil prices lower than the prices of similar
crudes globally.
Similarly, growing western Canadian and U.S. crude production
has oversupplied the Cushing, Oklahoma crude market where West
Texas Intermediate crude oil prices are set. West Texas Intermediate
is also steeply discounted compared to the prices of similar crudes
globally. This is important to Canada as most of our crude sales to
the U.S. receive a price influenced by West Texas Intermediate.
What is more, Canadian crude oil production is still growing and
pipeline capacity has not kept pace. Canadian crude oil producers
currently need more pipeline capacity than is available.
I would like to remind members of the House that pipelines are
not just an Alberta or western Canadian issue. Canada's eastern
refineries currently have the industry's lowest profit margins. For
example, the majority of crude oil consumed in Quebec comes from
higher priced international markets and currently costs more than
$100 a barrel as of May 6. We also know that the Irving refinery in
New Brunswick, where I am from, also imports large amounts of its
crude.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16769
Business of Supply
Over the past six months, I know the minister has done a fair
amount of travelling. He has been to Saint John, New Brunswick to
visit the oil refinery and the Irving refinery. He has also seen firsthand that Canadian refineries can process substantially more
Canadian oil, generating more jobs and making our country less
reliant on more expensive foreign oil.
Because of a lack of pipeline capacity, the Irving refinery and
indeed Quebec currently import crude oil from foreign countries,
some with much less stringent environmental standards. The Suncor
refinery in Montreal is not currently processing western crude at all
but crude from such far-flung sources as Africa, the Middle East and
the North Sea.
● (2055)
The Irving refinery, in addition to offshore oil, is also bringing
significant quantities of western U.S. oil to Saint John via rail. That
could be upwards of 90,000 barrels a day coming into Saint John via
rail from the western U.S.
I know our government supports the idea of a pipeline to the east
that would bring lower cost Canadian crude to consumers and
refineries in Quebec and Atlantic Canada. Such a pipeline to eastern
Canada would create new jobs and economic growth across the
country, particularly in Quebec and Atlantic Canada. According to
Christopher Smillie, senior advisor of government relations for the
Canadian Building Trades, even though direct pipeline construction
jobs last on average three seasons, he said “the vast bulk of jobs
created last for 50 years or more...pipelines link together jobs from
one end of the production chain to the other...” That was in our
natural resources report, which was tabled in the House on May 2,
2012.
This would allow Canadian refineries to process substantially
more Canadian oil, making our country less reliant on more
expensive foreign oil. Access to Canada's western crude would allow
for lower prices than overseas crude and would help in maintaining
the profitability of this refinery and other refineries in eastern
Canada.
With regard to our May 9, 2013 committee on natural resources, I
think it is important to say something for the record because it talks
to the importance of bringing crude from west to east. I want to refer
to comments by Mr. Daniel Cloutier in that meeting, when he was
talking about the line 9, I guess we would call it re-reversal. He said:
We therefore believe that for the future viability of the Suncor and Ultramar
refineries in Quebec, we need a reliable supply of affordable oil that will allow us to
compete on equal terms. Maintaining the refineries is also indispensable to the
petrochemical industry. The Parachem and CEPSA plants in eastern Montreal, for
example, are very dependent on the survival of the Suncor refinery. Losing that
Montreal Suncor refinery would, therefore, likely create a chain reaction affecting a
number of other employers and threatening to cause a shut down as well. The Line 9
reversal project is currently generating the kind of excitement that has not been seen
in eastern Montreal for years, a decade in fact. We now see a number of projects in
preparation, with all the players positioning themselves. And we know right now that
the reversal will lead to the investment in Quebec refineries, which will have to
develop, among other things, units that can handle Canadian crude.
In addition, what was interesting today at our natural resources
committee is that John Telford, director of Canadian affairs for the
United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbers
and Pipe Fitting Industry also talked about west-east being right after
Keystone in his priorities. Sarnia, Montreal and in fact New
Brunswick, would all benefit, and he said that New Brunswick
definitely needs that help. Being a New Brunswick MP, we certainly
would like to have the economic benefits.
The Saint John delegation, which included the hardworking MP
for Saint John, was in Calgary last week to hear very positive news.
With regard to some of the things the minister has learned on
export markets, could he talk about the position on east-west
pipeline, specifically the benefits of not having more oil in the east
refined at the Irving refinery, and maybe more specifically on the
ability to get our product to deep water and the benefits of that to
Canada?
● (2100)
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, of course our government supports in
principle the idea of a pipeline to the east. It would bring lower cost
Canadian crude to consumers, and to refineries in Quebec, Lévis and
Montreal, and Atlantic Canada, at the Irving refinery in Saint John.
Pipelines to eastern Canada would create new jobs and economic
growth across the country, particularly in Atlantic Canada.
With respect to the member's question about taking products to
deep water, we currently export 80 million tonnes of oil off our east
and west coasts every year. In fact, on any given day there are 180
vessels of over 500 tonnes that operate within our waters under
Canadian jurisdiction. We welcome all proposals to further diversify
our resources.
Mr. Mike Allen: Mr. Chair, many proposals have been made to
expand Canada's infrastructure, among these, as I said, are the
reversal of Enbridge line 9 and the possible conversion to natural
gas/oil of one of the pipelines in the trans-Canada main line system,
both of which would take oil to the east. The Keystone XL and
Enbridge expansions would move oil south, and the proposed
northern gateway and trans-mountain expansion would move
Canadian oil to tidewater on the west coast. That said, independent
regulators will conduct comprehensive, objective, scientific evaluations to determine whether any specific project passes regulatory
muster and is safe for Canadians and for the environment.
The demand to move oil has clearly outstripped the capacity of the
North American pipeline network, and as indicated, railways are
filling some of this gap for now. However, there is no question that
one of the safest and most reliable ways to move very large
quantities of oil, as the minister pointed out, is through pipelines.
With our plan for responsible resource development, our government
has taken steps to enhance our pipeline safety. I know the line 9
reversal proposal is currently before our independent regulator, the
National Energy Board, to review that.
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Business of Supply
Minister, we talked about the estimates for the NEB. Can you talk
specifically about what expenditures are there to ensure pipelines are
built that will adhere to a strict safety regime? With the NEB
estimates and their responsibility for cradle to grave on the project
reviews, is there any concern about the NEB being able to fulfill its
mandate as a regulator?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, funding to the NEB ensures that
there is a clear and robust regulatory oversight mechanism
throughout the life cycle of the facilities and activities it regulates.
For example, in comparison to 2012-13, the 2013-14 main estimates
have increased, primarily due to an increase of $5.6 million for
pipeline safety and awareness.
The National Energy Board is a strong independent regulator of
pipeline safety. The NEB subjects pipeline development proposals to
an extensive review process, taking into account pipeline safety,
protection of the environment and the public. Regulated pipelines
boasted a safety record, as I said, of 99.9996% of the crude oil and
petroleum products that were transported.
I have full confidence that pipeline companies will continue to
ensure that pipelines meet the NEB's strict safety standards.
During the consideration of business of supply in committee, the
deputy minister said that about 65 scientist positions have been cut.
Which unit did these scientists work in?
[English]
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chairman, Natural Resources Canada is
proud of its scientists. We encourage scientists to share their findings
and to share their findings with interested parties, by publishing
articles and by conducting interviews with the media. In 2012,
Natural Resources Canada scientists provided approximately 550
interviews with reporters to discuss scientific results and findings.
[Translation]
On average, every year, scientists publish approximately 500 peerreviewed articles, while—
The Assistant Deputy Chair: Order. The hon. member for
Rivière-des-Mille-Îles.
Ms. Laurin Liu: Mr. Chair, 40% of positions have been cut, and
the minister refuses to answer questions.
● (2105)
Scientists at Natural Resources Canada play an important role
with regard to environmental protection and safety.
Mr. Mike Allen: Mr. Chair, given that a significant portion of the
west-east pipeline would travel through the Tobique—Mactaquac
riding in New Brunswick, it is very important to constituents of mine
that this be done in a safe manner.
What responsibilities did the minister have to abdicate by laying
off 60-some scientists?
Minister, in the estimates you noted there is $5.6 million allocated
for heightened public safety awareness of pipeline safety. When we
discussed the $5.6 million in our committee, it was said that the $5.6
million is really around $5 million which is going to actual
operations and safety, and inspections, its actual work on the ground.
About $600,000 of that amount is explaining this to Canadians, by
enhancing the website and responding to various kinds of inquiries.
However, my understanding was that the bulk of it was to be actual
safety operations.
When you say “heightened public awareness”, what is your
impression of what that means, and what provisions are in the main
estimates to make sure we enhance that safety?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, as reflected in the main estimates, $5
million is dedicated to increasing the inspections for pipelines from
100 to 150, and to the doubling of the amount of annual audits.
Almost $600,000 is allocated for heightened public awareness of
pipeline safety.
It is important that Canadians know how to work around pipelines
so that both pipelines and the people involved are safe. We welcome
initiatives such as the “call before you dig” initiative that will further
improve pipeline safety and public safety.
Our government has taken action to prevent pipeline accidents and
to improve our ability to respond to any incidents that do occur.
[Translation]
Ms. Laurin Liu (Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, NDP): Mr. Chair, I will
be using my full 15 minutes for questions.
[English]
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chairman, 42% of NRCan's indeterminate
employees were occupying scientific or technical positions before
the implementation of savings measures under budget 2012. After
the resulting workforce adjustments, 43% of NRCan's indeterminate
employees are occupying scientific or technical positions, so that is
an increase in percentage.
[Translation]
Ms. Laurin Liu: Mr. Chair, my question had to do with the
sectors affected by the cuts and the layoff of 40% of departmental
scientists.
Perhaps the minister will be able to answer my next question.
Which regions were affected by the cuts, and how many layoffs
were there in Quebec?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, there are four areas in which we are
making savings.
We are streamlining administrative support to ensure the
sustainability of and make internal savings at Natural Resources
Canada.
The savings are related to the use, management and dissemination
of information and knowledge; travel; vehicle fleets; programs;
services and administrative costs; organizational changes, focusing
on core roles and organizing government priorities; focusing on
more economically advantageous work and adapting to the industry's
changing circumstances—
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COMMONS DEBATES
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Business of Supply
● (2110)
The Assistant Deputy Chair: Order. The hon. member for
Rivière-des-Mille-Îles.
Ms. Laurin Liu: Mr. Chair, the minister keeps dodging my
questions. I will ask the same question again.
Which regions were affected by the cuts and how many layoffs
were there in Quebec?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, as I said, the government has
committed to balancing the budget by 2015-16.
The savings measures are based on the assurance that Canadians
will receive superior value and that our programs, especially grants
and contributions, will remain affordable while improving the
efficiency of internal operations and services.
Ms. Laurin Liu: Mr. Chair, I am still waiting for an answer, but
let us move on.
Is the minister co-operating with the inquiry that the Information
Commissioner launched in April 2013 on the Canadian government's systematic efforts to obstruct the right of the media and, by
extension, that of Canadians to timely access to the government's
scientists?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, Natural Resources Canada complies
with the communication policy of the Government of Canada and
the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.
This policy seeks to ensure that communications from the entire
Government of Canada are well coordinated, effectively managed
and responsive to the diverse information needs of the public. This
policy is the same for all departmental spokespersons at Natural
Resources Canada, and for the entire Government of Canada.
Ms. Laurin Liu: Mr. Chair, when was the protocol on the
relationship between the scientists and the media developed? I would
like a short answer.
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, a number of years ago.
Ms. Laurin Liu: Mr. Chair, has this protocol been made public?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, I can check, but I believe so, yes.
Ms. Laurin Liu: Mr. Chair, does the minister control what
scientists can say to the media about climate change and the oil
sands?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, the very short answer is no.
As I said, Natural Resources Canada is proud of its scientists and
encourages scientists to share their findings with interested parties by
publishing articles and conducting interviews with the media.
In 2012, Natural Resources Canada scientists participated in
approximately 550 interviews with reporters to discuss scientific
results and findings. On average, every year, scientists publish
approximately 500 peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals.
Ms. Laurin Liu: Mr. Chair, that is absolutely ridiculous. We
know that the Conservative government continues to muzzle its
scientists.
However, let us move on to cuts to the department. As one of the
largest science-oriented departments, Natural Resources Canada
plays a key role in supporting economic development in the natural
resources sector. Before the cuts made in recent years, the
department had 3,000 employees who supported science and
technology activities.
How many of them will be left after all the cuts have been made?
● (2115)
[English]
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, it might be worthwhile to talk about
the amount our government has invested in scientific research in the
member's province of Quebec. We have invested $1 million in
intelligent net zero energy buildings, $3.3 million in electrical
vehicle charging station networks and $4.7 million for efficient
carbon capture from oil sands operation.
Why does the member ignore our government's support for these
projects? Perhaps it is because she voted against providing SDTC
with $325 million over eight years. Does the member continue to
oppose development at every turn? Why is that? Does she know that
—
The Assistant Deputy Chair: Order, please. The hon. member
for Rivière-des-Mille-Îles.
[Translation]
Ms. Laurin Liu: Mr. Chair, Canadians want answers, not
propaganda.
The government still refuses to be transparent regarding cuts that
target scientists and science and technology. Before the cuts made in
recent years, the department had 18 major laboratories all over
Canada.
How many will remain?
[English]
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, it is not propaganda that 80 Quebec
companies are suppliers to the oil sands. We do not know why the
NDP keeps on opposing projects that result in job creation
throughout the country, including, of course, Quebec.
NRCan is a results-oriented science organization with national
presence. It has 19 major research sites across Canada, including the
north, and more than 2,300 scientists, researchers, technicians and
support staff delivering science and technology activities. Expenditures were $582 million in 2011-12 and $554 million in 2012-13.
[Translation]
Ms. Laurin Liu: Mr. Chair, for the Conservatives, it is the oil
sands or nothing.
The minister said that certain radical environmental groups were
trying to block Canadian trade and hurt our economy. He said, and I
quote, “Unfortunately, there are environmental and other radical
groups that would seek to block this opportunity to diversify our
trade.”
Can the minister name a single group that is trying to hurt
Canada's economy?
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Business of Supply
[English]
[Translation]
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, first of all, it is not a choice of oil
sands or nothing. With the NDP, it is nothing.
Ms. Laurin Liu: Mr. Chair, if the minister agrees with those
statements, what measures has his department taken to assess the
environmental repercussions of current resource development
projects?
Who has opposed it? Well, I have to look across the aisle. For
every single major project that we have been proposing for the
benefit of Canada, Canadian jobs, Canadian economic activity, for
billions of dollars of revenue to governments to support critical
social programs, whether the projects are going west, south or east,
the NDP is in opposition, yet the NDP members get up and talk to
the government as if they are on the side of jobs—
The Assistant Deputy Chair: Order. The hon. member for
Rivière-des-Mille-Îles.
[Translation]
Ms. Laurin Liu: Mr. Chair, on the contrary, the NDP is in favour
of sustainable development. However, the minister continues to
make ridiculous statements. He said:
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, as I said, the regulatory system
analyzes each project scientifically in order to protect the
environment and Canadians.
Ms. Laurin Liu: On the contrary, Mr. Chair, we know that the
Conservative government gutted the environmental assessment
process last year. However, I would like to talk about cuts to the
department.
In recent years, before the cuts, the department published
approximately 900 scientific publications per year. How many
publications were released last year?
Can the minister give an example of this approach and name the
groups that have used such an approach?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, I provided those numbers.
Responsible resource development will enhance environmental
protection by putting more emphasis on large projects that are more
likely to significantly affect the environment, by imposing heavy
fines on companies that break environmental laws and by setting out
new measures to ensure world-class safety measures for pipelines
and maritime safety.
[English]
[English]
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, I do not know where the hon.
member has been.
Mr. Brad Trost (Saskatoon—Humboldt, CPC): Mr. Chair, I
appreciate the opportunity to engage in this debate tonight.
They attract jet-setting celebrities with some of the largest personal carbon
footprints in the world to lecture Canadians not to develop our natural resources.
Finally, if all other avenues have failed, they will take a quintessential American
approach: sue everyone and anyone to delay the project even further.
Every single major resource project since I have been appointed
minister has been opposed by several environmental groups—every
single one. If the member opposite has been paying attention, she
would know that.
I cannot say that the NDP has opposed every one, but it has
opposed every one that I can recall, or every important one.
● (2120)
[Translation]
Ms. Laurin Liu: Mr. Chair, I can assure the minister that I have
spoken with environmental groups, and they are not part of the jet
set.
I would like to quote something Preston Manning said:
It goes without saying that, with respect to any energy production, it is important
to determine the environmental impact it will have and the cost of risk management,
in order to include it in the price of the product.
Does the minister agree with this statement?
[English]
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, of course, and that is what I have
been saying repeatedly. We will not go ahead with any project unless
it is safe for Canadians and safe for the environment, but if it is, we
will certainly go ahead, and we will, therefore, create the million
jobs in the next 25 years, the $3 trillion to $4 trillion in economic
activity and the hundreds of billions of dollars to support social
programs. We believe that our resources can be developed
responsibly and we intend to pursue that objective in the interests
of Canadian prosperity and security.
Sometimes—not always, but sometimes—it is forgotten that the
purpose of the House is to engage in substantive debate on
substantive issues. One of the things we need to realize and grasp
about the Canadian economy and what is important to Canadians is
the importance of the natural resources industry. When we look at
our industries that export and create jobs, the natural resources
sector, particularly in certain areas of the country, tends to be
dominant. We also need to grasp and understand that many of the
jobs in the service sector in places such as Toronto, Montreal and
Vancouver are based on the natural resources industry.
Tonight the specific aspect that I wish to concentrate on is what
mining means to this country in terms of the Canadian economy and
jobs for people all across this country.
I have a particular interest in this subject that has to do with my
occupation prior to being elected to the House of Commons. I was
trained and proudly graduated from the University of Saskatchewan
as a geophysicist. This was in the era when there was $20 oil and the
price of gold was considerably lower. Now we talk about how the
rich oil and mining companies make money, but there have been
years when it has been fairly tough to make a living in this industry.
I worked and got great experience in northern Quebec, our three
territories of Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon, and
of course Saskatchewan and the neighbouring province of Manitoba.
This personal experience in the industry impacts to this very day
how I approach policy issues and my understanding of the various
things that impact and affect mining and natural resource development specifically. Let me give an example.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16773
Business of Supply
Frequently in the House we have dealt with legislation that has to
do with the regulatory impacts, meaning regulation and what it
means to mining. We in Canada should be proud of our
environmental record on mining. There have been grave problems
in certain instances, but in general we should be proud.
I think of a specific time when I was working as a junior
geophysicist in northern Manitoba and was talking with a senior
geologist, a gentleman with close to 20 years of experience.
Geology is one of those occupations that cannot be learned in the
classroom. It takes a certain maturing and a certain degree of field
experience. It does not matter how long one spends in the classroom;
one cannot overestimate the value of that experience.
However, this senior geologist, someone with 20 years of field
experience, was explaining to me that more than 50% of his time
was spent dealing with regulations and permits, things that, while
necessary, were not fundamental things for which his experience as a
geologist would be of most use and impact.
That, to this day, has impacted how I think about the industry.
There is so much productivity in our mining industry and in our
workforce, but we do things to hold it back and slow down what we
have there.
We need to grasp who it is that works in the mining industry. We
know about the financial sector in Vancouver and Toronto, which I
will talk about, but in areas of northern Canada where the aboriginal
population in places like Nunavut does not have to this day a very
strong, functioning economy in the historic sense based upon
trapping and the various traditional arts, mining has in many cases
been the only economic driver.
We see that in Nunavut and in northern Saskatchewan. This is an
industry that does not pay poor wages; it pays top-dollar wages, not
just for highly skilled tradespeople such as electricians and people
who work some of the equipment but for miners, because it is tough
work. These people very much deserve the wages they receive, and
they are very productive because of the high capital put into it.
Coming from Saskatchewan, I can ask what mining fundamentally
means to my home province. For people listening tonight, the answer
is that Saskatchewan is the province most dependent on mining in
the whole country on a per capita basis. It is one of the reasons that
Saskatchewan is, per capita, also the province in the country with the
highest degree of international exports and the least dependence
upon the U.S. market.
● (2125)
Potash in our province is a $7-billion-a-year industry. It has
attracted some very large companies. BHP Billiton, the largest
company in the world, is looking at building, in the corner of my
constituency, an approximately $10-billion mine, give or take a few
billion dollars. That is the sort of impact it has in areas such as
Saskatoon. Other companies, such as Mosaic and PCS, a
Saskatchewan headquartered potash giant, the largest in the world,
are from Saskatchewan. Along with Vancouver and Toronto,
Saskatoon is becoming the third capital of mining in Canada.
What does mining mean, and not just to areas in the remote north,
not just to places like Baffin Island, where we are looking at a brand
new iron ore deposit, or places like northern Ontario? I see my hon.
friend, who is a big fan of the Ring of Fire and the potential
development there. What else does it mean to places like Toronto or
Vancouver, places that we do not always automatically connect with
the mining sector?
Let me throw out a few facts from the TSX Venture Exchange
mining stocks. The percentage of the world's public mining
companies listed in Canada: 58%. The ranking in the world for
publicly listed: number 1. The number of listed mining companies:
1,665. The number of companies that have mines in production or
under development: 326. The numbers go on and show how
important mining is to Canada.
Canadian-headquartered mining companies accounted for nearly
37% of budgeted worldwide exploration expenditures in 2012. That
means that our lawyers, finance people, accountants, technical
people, and legal people have good jobs in the service sector in
places such as Vancouver and Toronto. The jobs spin out. We see
this in things like the quality of our education, such as at the worldclass mining program we find at Queen's University in Kingston. We
in Canada are proud of this history. We see it in our scientific
research as the world's leader per capita, and very close in real
numbers, in terms of knowledge and the number of geological
papers produced.
At the base of it, mining is important to all of Canada. Twenty per
cent of our exports come from mining, and this does not include oil
and gas, which is shipped through the pipelines. Mining is good for
Canada, particularly northern Canada, as it is often the only thing
there for building its economy.
How has the government and the natural resources committee
been working and dealing with supporting mining? Earlier this year,
we did a report on development in northern Canada. We broadly and
loosely defined the term, but again and again, the overwhelming
theme that came out was the importance of mining, the importance
of connecting what is down in the south with what is up in the north.
A couple of major themes began to emerge in that report, and we
see this throughout everything we are doing. The first is that
regulatory changes have an impact. They make a difference. We
were talking today in committee about another subject. Thankfully,
this involved the United States, where it took 14 years to get
permitting done for a project that took only 18 months to get into
play. We do not see that in the Canadian mining sector anymore. In
fact, one of the things that makes us competitive is the way the
federal government has been working in coordination with the
provinces to increase regulatory changes that make sense. As
someone who experienced that as a junior geophysicist talking with
a senior geologist, I understand how that has an impact on the
ground.
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May 21, 2013
Business of Supply
A second major theme we have been noting is labour force
changes. It takes a great deal of skill. People often deride Canadians
as hewers of wood and haulers of water, as if extracting natural
resources is not something to be proud of. Some of the world's most
profitable companies today are extracting natural resources. There
are major dollars and large incomes. One hundred thousand dollar a
year jobs are not uncommon in this industry.
● (2130)
very room, said, “I want to be very clear. The NDP is opposed to any
new nuclear infrastructure in Canada”.
Those are two areas where the government has been working with
the industry and the general public to get them involved. It is
providing and streamlining regulatory changes and labour force
changes to provide a workforce for the industry and better jobs for
Canadians.
It is frustrating. I know that the member for Saskatoon—
Humboldt may have some other comments he would like to make
about this.
As I noted earlier, potash is very important to the province of
Saskatchewan. We are also fairly unique as one of the world's major
producers of uranium. Along with Kazakhstan and Australia, we are
one of the big three. The entire uranium-producing industry in
Canada is now located in the province of Saskatchewan.
I wish to ask the parliamentary secretary about the government's
approach to regulation and the uranium sector. I am particularly
interested in knowing about the regulations and the approach we
have had to uranium and to the nuclear sector.
Perhaps the parliamentary secretary would also provide a bit of a
contrast with the positions the other parties have taken on this issue
and explain how this resource is mined safely, what the strict
regulations are and what the government's view on uranium and
mining regulations is.
● (2135)
Mr. David Anderson (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister
of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board, CPC):
Mr. Chair, again, it is good to be up this evening.
There is an incredible contrast between our position and that of the
NDP, the opposition, when it comes to the important uranium
resources we have in this country. Our government supports safe and
responsible uranium production. We all know that it is a highly
regulated industry, and it has been since the beginning. It needs to
pass muster with our independent regulatory agency as well. The
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, of course, is that regulator.
Over the last few years, we have promoted trade in the uranium
sector by signing new agreements with China and India, two of the
largest uranium users in the world. Those agreements insist that they
use uranium for peaceful means and peaceful uses.
This has created jobs. It has created growth, particularly in our
province of Saskatchewan but also right across the country.
On the other hand, I need to point out that the NDP has been very
clear that it opposes nuclear energy in all its forms. It is frustrating to
us. We see the NDP opposing mining. We see it opposing pipelines.
We see it opposing oil sands. We see it opposing shale gas. However,
it has been particularly vehement in its opposition to the nuclear
industry in all forms.
I hear some heckling from across the way. My good friend across
the way should listen to his leader when his leader, in 2008, in this
I do not know if that extends to research in medical isotope
production. I am not sure if it does. He maybe could explain that.
Apart from that, there are 23,000 jobs across Canada the NDP is
saying no to, on top of all the other resource sectors the NDP is
opposed to.
Mr. Brad Trost: Mr. Chair, very briefly, to the parliamentary
secretary, how is the government balancing environmental needs and
development needs? How is the government contributing to a more
environmentally friendly mining sector?
Mr. David Anderson: Mr. Chair, I am sure that the opposition
members across the way are going to want to ask about the green
mining initiative. I look forward to them bringing questions forward.
It brings stakeholders together to develop and demonstrate new
green technologies and processes. It is creating new opportunities for
Canadian mining, technology and service industries, both here in
Canada and around the world.
Mr. Claude Gravelle (Nickel Belt, NDP): Mr. Chair, my
questions are for the minister, and he is not here.
The Chair: The parliamentary secretary is here to answer
questions in the absence of the minister.
Mr. Claude Gravelle: Mr. Chair, I will be using my full 15
minutes for questions.
Does the Department of Natural Resources have a seat at the Ring
of Fire Secretariat?
Mr. David Anderson: Mr. Chair, it is good to be here. The Ring
of Fire is a strategically important mineral resource region in
northern Ontario. It is interesting that the opposition seems to be
ambivalent about its relationship to it. The member opposite is fairly
supportive of it. Other members of his party are not as supportive of
that whole project and of mining development and things that go
with it. We understand that it holds over $60 billion in metal
potential and deposits and could become one of the most significant
mineral deposits in our country, and we are working on that project.
Mr. Claude Gravelle: Mr. Chair, how many Ring of Fire
Secretariat meetings has the minister attended?
Mr. David Anderson: Mr. Chair, that is the exciting thing, and I
hope you will give me a little bit of time here. Mr. Clement, the
President of the Treasury Board and the Minister for the Federal
Development Initiative for Northern Ontario, has been appointed to
lead federal efforts and ensure that Canada takes advantage of the
resource development opportunities in the Ring of Fire.
I hope that the member opposite will be willing to work with us on
that, because this is a tremendous opportunity for that part of the
world. He may have to work against his own party, but we certainly
look forward to working with him.
Mr. Claude Gravelle: Mr. Chair, I hope the minister can answer
the questions.
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Business of Supply
Could the minister list the companies that he or his senior officials
have met with in conjunction with the Ring of Fire development?
Mr. David Anderson: Mr. Chair, I would just point out that the
President of the Treasury Board has responsibility for this. He has
been given that responsibility. We look forward to his working on
this and certainly look forward to the member opposite working with
him.
● (2140)
Mr. Claude Gravelle: Mr. Chair, could the minister list the first
nations communities he or his senior officials have met with in
conjunction with the Ring of Fire?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, my colleague has mentioned that the
President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal
Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario has responsibility for the Ring of Fire. I have personally met with quite a few
aboriginal leaders across the country and will continue to do that
going forward.
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, this is a very important issue. What I
have been saying across the country, and what my colleagues have
been saying as well, is that there is an enormous transformative
opportunity for the responsible development of our natural resources
to benefit aboriginal communities right across the country. It is one
of the driving forces for our government and for me personally to see
those enormous benefits accrue to aboriginal communities from
these vast resources.
Mr. Claude Gravelle: Mr. Chair, the minister was in Capreol last
week in my riding, which is where the smelter is proposed for the
Ring of Fire project. Did the minister meet with anyone on the
proposed smelter?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, I did not meet with anyone with
respect to that activity. However, let me reinforce the point I made
before. The natural resource sector is the largest private employer of
aboriginal people in Canada.
Mr. Claude Gravelle: Mr. Chair, has the minister met with the
Matawa First Nations?
● (2145)
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, the department has. I have met with
National Chief Atleo and with the Canadian Aboriginal Minerals
Association. I have met with Grand Chief David Harper and Chief
Jerry Primrose in Manitoba and with Grand Chief Ron Michel and
Vice Chief Simon Bird in Saskatchewan. In Alberta I have met with
Chief Allan Adam. In British Columbia I have met with Chief
Robert Louie, Chief Ellis Ross, Chief Ed John, Chief Doug White,
Chief Ian Campbell, Chief Calvin Helin, first nations—
Mr. Claude Gravelle: Mr. Chair, what work is being done by the
department to identify the workforce skills that will be required for
the smelter to run?
The Chair: The hon. member for Nickel Belt.
Mr. Claude Gravelle: Mr. Chair, has the minister met with the
chiefs of Ontario?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, the department has met with the
chiefs in Ontario, and of course, my colleague, the Minister of
Aboriginal Affairs, has met with those chiefs as well.
Mr. Claude Gravelle: Mr. Chair, what input has the department
had on training programs for first nations related to the Ring of Fire?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, the question is directed at the wrong
minister. I do not have that detail, nor would I be expected to, nor
would the questioner expect me to.
[Translation]
Mr. Claude Gravelle: Mr. Chair, can the minister confirm that
anyone who wants to have access to workforce training must have a
high school diploma?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, this is not one of my portfolio
responsibilities. There is a minister responsible for relations with
aboriginal peoples. The President of the Treasury Board and Minister
for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern
Ontario is in charge of leading the federal efforts while ensuring that
Canada takes advantage of opportunities to develop the Ring of Fire
resources.
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, again, this is the responsibility of
another minister. You can keep asking the questions, but you are still
getting the same answer.
The Chair: I caution the minister to direct his comments to the
Chair and not to other members of the House.
The hon. member for Nickel Belt.
Mr. Claude Gravelle: Mr. Chair, has the department made any
assessments of the shortages in skills and in skills training to ensure
the local workforce is ready for the project in 2016?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, the government will of course deal
with the issues that are raised. My colleague, the President of the
Treasury Board, is occupying himself in that connection.
Mr. Claude Gravelle: Mr. Chair, when in Capreol, did the
minister meet with Capreol's safety, health and environmental
committee that has been seeking a full environmental assessment for
the smelter?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, again, there is a combination here of
what is the responsibility of my colleague and the responsibility of
an environmental review panel. The question is directed in the wrong
direction, as the member opposite well knows. I do not why he is
wasting the time of the House.
[English]
Mr. Claude Gravelle: Mr. Chair, I would like to remind the
minister that he is the Minister of Natural Resources.
Mr. Claude Gravelle: Mr. Chair, is the minister aware that the
dropout rate in some communities in places like Webequie and the
Ring of Fire area is 62%?
What has the government done in greater Sudbury to invest in
skills training for natural resources development?
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Business of Supply
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, budget 2013 announced $4.4 million
over three years to FedNor to provide targeted support to aboriginal
communities in the Ring of Fire. The funding will provide support
for business skills development, strategic business planning and
aboriginal youth engagement to ensure they benefit from resource
development opportunities in the region.
Mr. Claude Gravelle: Mr. Chair, does the minister agree with the
statement that, “The Crown obligation to engage first nations in a
meaningful way has yet to be taken up with respect to natural
resources development projects?”
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, the short answer is no. Our
government takes very seriously our constitutional responsibility to
consult and, if necessary, to accommodate the responsible resource
development. The legislation that was passed last year, against the
objection of the NDP, has enhanced and enriched the opportunity for
aboriginal communities to participate.
I announced the appointment of Mr. Doug Eyford who will be
reporting—
The Chair: The hon. member for Nickel Belt.
Mr. Claude Gravelle: Mr. Chair, could the minister provide a
definition for “directly affected” with respect to public participation
in resources project reviews in sections 55.2 in the National Energy
Board Act?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, I announced the appointment of Mr.
Doug Eyford who is reporting directly to the Prime Minister. He is
responsible for western infrastructure development and he is now,
and will be, working closely with aboriginal communities to find
ways that they can maximize their benefit from the development of
our resources. The—
affected by a proposal before the NEB and they have the right to be
heard.
Mr. Claude Gravelle: Mr. Chair, the answer is none.
[Translation]
Can the minister tell us how many aboriginal communities are
located within 200 km of mining sites in Canada?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, the reason I said that there is a huge
potential benefit for aboriginal groups is that in many cases they live
close to natural resource projects.
[English]
Therefore, it is estimated that there are 32,000 aboriginal peoples
currently employed in the natural resources sector and it is estimated
that there will be 300,000 workers needed in the resources sector
over the next decade. At the same time, nearly 400,000 aboriginal
youth are expected to enter the labour force, creating an
unprecedented opportunity for aboriginal employment.
Mr. Claude Gravelle: Mr. Chair, how many agreements have
been concluded between mining companies and aboriginal communities or governments across the country?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, about 300.
Mr. Blaine Calkins (Wetaskiwin, CPC): Mr. Chair, I would be
more than glad to add my voice to the reasoned side of the debate in
this chamber this evening.
The Chair: The hon. member for Nickel Belt.
Mr. Claude Gravelle: Mr. Chair, how many community,
environmental and aboriginal groups did the department consult
with prior to changing the National Energy Board Act to limit public
participation and project reviews?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, since these questions require longer
answers, I will answer the previous question.
Our government is committed to a robust National Energy Board
review system that is based on science and the facts. The board must
hear from those who are directly affected and may choose to hear
from those with relevant information or expertise. Focusing
consultation on individuals directly affected by a proposal before
the NEB and experts with relevant information or expertise ensures
the review is informed by the facts. The NEB—
● (2150)
The Chair: The hon. member for Nickel Belt.
Mr. Claude Gravelle: Mr. Chair, let us see if he can answer this
one.
Could the minister identify which departmental performance
indicators in the 2013-14 report on plans and priorities provide
targets related to aboriginal economic development?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, as I was saying, the NEB is
committed to simplifying the form and the application process to
those wishing to participate, and that is those who are directly
I would like to thank the minister for taking his valuable time out
tonight to answer questions, as ridiculous as some of them may have
been from the other side. He does an excellent job in his leadership
role as the Minister of Natural Resources.
As a member of Parliament from Alberta, natural resources are
absolutely vital and important to our economy. We could not have a
better minister looking after that portfolio.
I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of this important
debate. I will discuss our priorities for the natural resources portfolio.
On May 2, 2011, Canadians gave our government a strong
mandate to focus on jobs and the economy.
Since the depths of the global recession, Canada's economy has
created over 950,000 net new jobs. This is the best performance in
the G7. Our real GDP is now significantly higher than pre-recession
levels, again the best performance in the G7.
However, we still face a fragile global economic recovery and too
many Canadians are still looking for work. That is why we are
squarely focused on implementing economic action plan 2013, our
low-tax plan to create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for
Canadians.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
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Business of Supply
The economy is a top priority for our government. Our natural
resource sectors contribute significantly to our economic success,
generating close to 1.6 million jobs and driving almost 20% of our
GDP. Canada is the world's fifth largest producer of oil and just our
proven reserves are the third largest in the world at 173 billion
barrels and as technology advances, more will become available.
Differentials change quickly and reflect market forces, such as
increasing production, adjusted transmission, infrastructure and
difficulties accessing appropriate refineries. Producers, provincial
governments and the Government of Canada all suffer as a result of
elevated differentials, as do portions of the Canadian public via
losses of jobs and reduced investment returns.
We are also the third largest producer of natural gas. In fact, our
recoverable gas resources are estimated to be as high as 1,300 trillion
cubic feet.
The oil sands in particular have become one of Canada's great
economic engines. This resource has attracted more than $185
billion in investment, $25 billion in the last year alone.
Over the past five years, royalties and taxes generated by the
energy sector have added $25 billion a year to government coffers.
That helps to pay for everything from roads and bridges to education
and health care, the core services and infrastructure that Canadians
depend on every day in every part of our country.
Within the next 25 years, the oil sands alone could be supporting
630,000 Canadian jobs, not just in Alberta but right across the entire
country.
Canada has some very significant energy resources for export. We
are about to become a major player in global energy markets through
our exports of liquefied natural gas and oil, a role in which Canada
can offer energy security and economic stability to the world. This is
why it is so critical that we have the capacity to deliver this resource
to new markets.
It will come as no surprise to the members of this committee that
Canada's energy has traditionally flowed south. In fact, 99% of our
crude oil and all of our natural gas exports are sent to the United
States, a sole customer. However, the United States is now finding its
own wealth of oil and gas reserves and in future will be less reliant
on importing oil from Canada and elsewhere.
The International Energy Agency predicts that the U.S. will
become the world's largest oil producer by 2020. That is why Canada
must build and expand the infrastructure needed to move our product
to tidewater for export to other countries as well.
● (2155)
It is estimated that the Province of Alberta alone, loses, or leaves
on the table, billions, up to $5 billion to $8 billion, a year in royalties
alone on the price differential. Narrowing that price gap will ensure
that Canadian producers can obtain the best possible price for their
crude and ensure that Canadians realize the maximum benefit of this
great resource.
Canada is also targeting new global opportunities for liquefied
natural gas. Our recoverable resources are currently estimated at as
much as 1,300 trillion cubic feet, as I said earlier, a number that will
grow significantly as offshore development continues and new shale
deposits are discovered. The Conference Board of Canada estimates
that B.C.'s natural gas sector could attract more than $180 billion in
investment between 2012 and 2035, an average of more than $7.5
billion in new investment each year. On the west coast, the first of a
number of proposed LNG projects could be in operation as early as
2015. Based on potential and proposed projects, Canada could be
exporting the equivalent of 75 million tons of liquefied natural gas
per year from the west coast, with project startups expected before
the decade is out.
Therefore, Canada is looking to build infrastructure to move
energy both west and east as well as south. Right now there are four
major proposed oil pipeline projects in Canada, two to connect
Alberta's oil to the west coast and overseas markets, the other two to
use existing infrastructure to link western production with markets in
eastern Canada. We know pipelines are a safe and efficient way to
transport crude to world markets. This is why it is vital that we
continue to develop our pipeline capacity in Canada.
Japan, South Korea and China have all expressed interest in LNG
from Canada's west coast, and they are active participants in current
Canadian LNG export proposals. Partners in one of the proposed
LNG projects, for example, include Korea Gas Corporation,
PetroChina Company Limited, and Japan's Mitsubishi Corporation.
Our government strongly supports the opportunity for our
refineries to process substantially more Canadian oil, generating
jobs for Canadians and making our country less reliant on expensive
foreign oil. Diversifying our markets will give Canada access to
global markets and prices for Canadian crude oil and petroleum
products. Currently, Canada is forced to sell its crude at a
considerable discount. In February, this was as much as $30 U.S.
a barrel below global prices. Today, the gap has closed significantly
to just under $10 a barrel.
India is now expressing interest in LNG exports from Canada's
east coast. That is a logical step, since Canada's Atlantic provinces
are closer to the west coast of India than any other place in North
America. Our overall goal is to make Canada the platform for North
American liquefied natural gas exports.
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May 21, 2013
Business of Supply
Canada is also aggressively pursuing agreements that will allow
Canadian businesses to compete in some of the world's fastest
growing economies. We know that between 2010 and 2035, the
International Energy Agency predicts that global energy demand
may grow by up to 35%. In this scenario, China, India and the
Middle East will account for a staggering 60% of this increase in
world demand. Already India is facing an electricity shortfall of
about 8%, with peak shortages of more than 10% in 2011 and 2012.
To meet its growing needs, India aims to more than triple its
electricity supply within the next 25 years.
That is why our government was delighted that last month Canada
and India took the important step toward full implementation of a
nuclear co-operation agreement. Once the agreement is finalized,
Canadian companies will be able to export controlled nuclear
materials, equipment and technology to India for peaceful energyproducing purposes. When we consider that India's nuclear energy
output is expected to more than double by 2020, Canada stands to
gain a large portion of that growing nuclear energy market.
Canada has a diversified energy mix, one that can help drive the
national economy and build global energy security.
As an Alberta MP, something that is near and dear to me is the
expansion and diversification of our energy markets. It is absolutely
critical for not only my province but of course the entire country. It is
a top priority for the Government of Canada. To capitalize on these
opportunities, our plan for responsible resource development
introduced important new measures to eliminate unnecessary
duplication that was weighing down project reviews and to get
projects moving quicker.
Our plan will ensure Canada's regulatory regime is among the
most efficient, effective and competitive in the world, while
strengthening environmental protection and enhancing consultations
with aboriginal Canadians. This includes important new measures to
strengthen marine and pipeline safety, to ensure our resources can be
transported safely to markets around the world.
We are also making every effort to ensure that aboriginal people in
Canada can share the benefits of energy development in the years
ahead. Just recently, the Prime Minister appointed a new high-level
energy adviser, the Government of Canada's special federal
representative on west coast energy infrastructure, to engage with
aboriginal peoples in British Columbia and Alberta who could
benefit from future development of energy infrastructure projects.
Realizing the potential of our energy sector is critical to our
government's goal of jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. That is
why our government is so focused on creating the right conditions
for success.
I would like to thank my colleagues for their support and
encouragement. If I am permitted, I would like to ask the more than
capable minister a few questions deeply relevant to Albertans.
I would like to keep my questions related to pipeline safety, at
least this initial question. The issue is near and dear. Albertans
understand very well the benefit of pipelines. There are miles and
miles, kilometres and kilometres of pipeline in Alberta, whether it is
delivering natural gas to our homes or delivering product to
upgraders, refineries or our export markets.
● (2200)
We are very concerned as well, because Albertans love their
environment, their outdoors and their outdoor pursuits. We work
hard in Alberta and we play hard as well.
We are all aware of the benefits that the energy sector generates,
not only for Albertans, but for our country. However, we must ensure
that this oil is transported safely. I would like to ask the minister
what the government is doing to ensure that pipelines in Canada
maintain a high safety record. As well, if the minister is able to share
with us what the safety record of pipelines regulated by the National
Energy Board is, that information would be most beneficial.
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, I would like to thank the member for
Wetaskiwin for his important question. I agree that pipeline safety is
crucial to ensuring the transport of petroleum products across the
country. The NEB subjects pipeline development proposals to an
extensive review process that ensures that pipelines are safe for the
public and protect the environment.
I am proud to say that pipelines regulated by the NEB boast a
safety record of 99.9996%. This is an impressive safety record that
we continually strive to improve. Our government has taken action
to further improve pipeline safety. These actions include increasing
the number of inspections at federally regulated pipelines by 50%,
doubling the number of comprehensive audits and putting forward
new fines for companies that break Canada's rigorous environmental
protection.
Our government will continue to take a balanced approach to
resource development that creates jobs and growth, unlike the NDP,
which opposes all developments of pipelines and the jobs they
create.
Mr. Blaine Calkins: Mr. Chair, how much time do I have left?
The Chair: You have two seconds.
Mr. Blaine Calkins: Mr. Chair, that is fantastic. Thank you very
much, Mr. Chair, and many thanks to the member for the answer.
It is clear the government is taking significant action to ensure that
pipeline safety in Canada is, of course, very high. One would expect
that the opposition would be supportive of the measures that were
being put forward. They are so important to Canada and to the safe
transport of oil and natural gas across our country.
I would like to ask the minister if he can share with us the position
that the opposition parties have taken on these important issues.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16779
Business of Supply
● (2205)
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, I appreciate this question and
welcome the opportunity to put on record the opposition's position
on these important measures.
While common sense would dictate that both the NDP and the
Liberals would have supported the increased safety measures that
our government introduced, unfortunately, it is not surprising that
these measures were not supported by the opposition parties. Both
the Liberals and the NDP voted against increasing pipeline
inspections by 50%. They voted against doubling the number of
comprehensive audits. They voted against imposing new fines for
companies that do not follow our environmental laws. This is
unfortunately a pattern with the opposition. It opposes any measure
to make resource development even safer, as it would rather not have
development at all.
Our government is the only government that will take serious
steps to improve pipeline safety across the country. I have full
confidence that pipeline companies will continue to ensure that
pipelines meet the NEB's strict safety standards. This is not only a
substantive issue. It is also an issue of gaining the confidence of the
public, the so-called social licence. We must proceed with these
world-class safety measures for pipelines and for maritime safety,
both because it is the right thing to do and because we want to
protect Canadians and the environment.
We also want to communicate clearly to the Canadian population
that we are taking these actions in order to achieve the social license
to permit us to develop these resources for the benefits of Canadians
right across the country.
The Chair: The hon. member only has less than 30 seconds, so a
quick question and a quick answer.
Mr. Blaine Calkins: Mr. Chair, I would like to thank the minister
for his hard work when he travels to Washington or other places
outside of Canada to engage other countries in the benefits of
Canadian natural resources.
Could he contrast that with some of the ridiculous positions and
messages that have been in the media about what other parties,
particularly the NDP, have taken on their anti-trade missions?
The Chair: I am afraid that the minister is out of time. We will
move on.
[Translation]
doubling the amount of annual audits. An amount of $600,000 was
devoted to the issue of communication.
Mr. Marc Garneau: Mr. Chair, in the main estimates, the
budgetary expenditures for AECL is $211.1 million for this fiscal
year. In the supplementary estimates, the government is now asking
for another $260 million, which is even more than the original
amount in the main estimates.
I note that AECL has spent almost $620 million to date in the
2012-13 estimates. Why has there been such poor planning with the
original main estimates?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, AECL funding for its nuclear
laboratories in the 2013-14 main estimates has remained constant at
$102 million. As has been the case in recent years, and in the context
of the ongoing restructuring, AECL has required additional funding
to meet its ongoing operational requirements.
This year, budget 2013 provided AECL with $141 million, over
two years, on an accrual basis. This funding will enable AECL to
ensure the production of medical isotopes, health and safety
upgrades and environmental protection.
Additionally, AECL continues to receive statutory funding for
addressing legal obligations relating to the divestiture of its former
CANDU reactor division. These requirements are decreasing, and
$109 million was provided for AECL in—
● (2210)
The Chair: The hon. member for Westmount—Ville-Marie.
Mr. Marc Garneau: Mr. Chair, how many projects were
submitted to the National Energy Board for study in 2012?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, this is a matter for the National
Energy Board. It is public on their site, or it will be at the appropriate
time.
Mr. Marc Garneau: Mr. Chair, I am talking about 2012. I would
think that information would be available, and that the Minister of
Natural Resources, who has responsibility for it, should be aware of
it.
[English]
Let me proceed with my next question. What specific action is the
government taking with Enbridge on the 83 pump stations that do
not have an emergency off button and the 117 pumping stations that
do not have backup power in case of a pipeline leak?
In the 2013-14 main estimates, $5.6 million is allotted to the
National Energy Board for what is called “heightened public
awareness”. How much of that $5.6 million is allotted to
advertising?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, as I mentioned in response to a
previous question, the National Energy Board is looking at this issue
and will ensure that Enbridge takes the appropriate corrective action
that the NEB requires.
The hon. member for Westmount—Ville-Marie has the floor.
Mr. Marc Garneau: Mr. Chair, I will continue with questions.
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, I believe that question was answered,
but I am happy to repeat it.
As reflected in the main estimates, $5 million is dedicated to
increasing the inspections for pipelines from 100 to 150 and
Mr. Marc Garneau: Mr. Chair, I assume that means NEB will tell
them that they must have backup power at each of the pumping
stations and they must also have an emergency off button in the case
that they leak.
16780
COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Business of Supply
For my next question, can the minister list any research funded by
the government, or that will be funded in main estimates, that
addresses the behaviour of dilbit, or diluted bitumen, in the
environmental conditions likely to be found on B.C.'s north coast,
i.e., cold saline water which is an environment where the winds, the
swells, and the currents can be quite extreme?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, there has been extensive research
indicating that the corrosiveness of diluted bitumen is no greater than
that of light crude. However, it is part of the plan to continue to
conduct further research in that connection. The research will relate
to non-conventional petroleum products such as diluted bitumen, but
beyond that to enhancing understanding of how these substances
behave when spilled in a marine environment, including in the north.
Mr. Marc Garneau: Mr. Chair, obviously at the beginning the
minister did not understand my question. He was thinking that I was
referring to what happens to dilbit in pipelines themselves and then
later on said there will be studies about what happens.
Considering the northern gateway pipeline and the possible
implications, I would like to ask him again, very specifically, this
question: does the government know what happens to dilbit if there
is a major spill in the north Pacific Ocean?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, I thank the member opposite for not
only asking the question but repeating my answer to it.
We are conducting research on offshore maritime safety—in other
words, the performance of dilbit in ocean waters—as well as the
studies we have done in respect of pipelines, because both are
relevant to security. Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans and
NRCan together are working on those issues.
Mr. Marc Garneau: Mr. Chair, if research is being conducted, let
me ask the minister what happens to dilbit if it is spilled in large
amounts in the Hecate Strait.
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, neither I nor the member opposite is
a scientist. I said they are conducting research. How would I know
what the precise results of that research would be?
We have recently tabled a new bill, the safeguarding Canada's seas
and skies act, that would require terminal facilities to submit
pollution prevention plans, to streamline penalties so polluters can be
fined, to empower Transport Canada inspectors to remove legal
barriers that would otherwise—
● (2215)
The Chair: The hon. member for Westmount—Ville-Marie.
Mr. Marc Garneau: Mr. Chair, can I ask the minister what
research is specifically being done at the moment by the government,
and by whom, on the effects of dilbit being spilled into the north
Pacific? He says it is under way. I would like to know who is doing
it.
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, it really is strange. The member
listens to some of my answers and repeats them, but he seems to
miss others.
Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans and NRCan are
looking at these issues. I can repeat that, if you would like, or would
you prefer to repeat it?
The Chair: I would remind the minister to direct his comments to
the Chair, not to the member.
The hon. member for Westmount—Ville-Marie.
Mr. Marc Garneau: Mr. Chair, needless to say, I look forward
with great anticipation to some results from this, considering that the
National Energy Board is looking at the whole concept of sending
dilbit to tidal waters on the Pacific, and we still do not know what
will happen to it.
Can the minister identify what additional funding measures of a
regulatory or monitoring enforcement or liability management type
the federal government is taking to manage the unique risks
associated with dilbit spills?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, first let me say to the member
opposite—and he should know this—that one does not get a result in
the middle of a scientific study. One waits until the scientific study is
completed. We know that the NDP anticipates results. I did not think
that the member opposite did as well.
Let me tell the member that we have moved forward with eight
more steps that will bring us closer to a world-class marine safety
system. One is more tanker inspections. All foreign tankers in
Canadian waters will be inspected on first arrival and every year
after that.
I am not going to have time to complete this answer. We will
expand the surveillance and monitoring of ships by air.
Mr. Marc Garneau: Mr. Chair, Atomic Energy of Canada quietly
announced in March of this year that the expected long-term cost for
cleaning up its nuclear program had surged to a total of $6 billion, up
dramatically from the $3.6 billion currently on the books. How does
the minister explain why there is such a major increase in the costs?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, this government has been ensuring
diligent and responsible management of nuclear files. This includes
the ongoing restructuring of AECL to put its laboratories under
private sector management. As part of the preparation necessary to
put this process on a firm footing, AECL has undertaken a
comprehensive plan to review its waste and decommissioning plans.
Using the best industry practices and accounting standards, this has
led to an update of the forecast value of AECL's nuclear legacy
liability, which has increased by $2.4 million on a present value
basis.
I am confident that a restructured AECL, under its new
management model, will be best positioned to manage its nuclear
waste and decommissioning activities in the future.
Mr. Marc Garneau: Mr. Chair, how many applications to appear
as witnesses have been received by the National Energy Board with
regard to the proposed line 9 reversal by Enbridge?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, the National Energy Board will
report on that number.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
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Business of Supply
Mr. Marc Garneau: Mr. Chair, I was hoping the minister would
have that information, especially since the Conservatives made
changes under Bill C-38 to the eligibility of witnesses to appear in
front of the National Energy Board. Certainly it is a question that is
on the minds of many people because it has such important
repercussions.
The latest environmental commissioner's report gave a scathing
review on the federal government's and the two offshore petroleum
boards' readiness for a major oil spill. Is there any funding in the
estimates to fix this negligence by the minister and his government?
● (2220)
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, the person to whom the hon. member
was referring is Scott Vaughan and let me quote from his report. He
said:
For me, this report has been a model of cooperation with senior government
officials, both in terms of working through some difficult files [but also]...in...the
government accepting our recommendations...
I am pleased to participate in this committee of the whole debate
and would like to start my comments specifically with our
government's most recent budget, economic action plan 2013.
Canada has a well-earned reputation for excellence in economic
and financial management and we intend to return to balanced
budgets by 2015. Economic action plan 2013 builds on our
economic record by taking concrete steps to position Canada for
success in the 21st century global economy. Specifically, it would
help Canadians obtain the skills and qualifications they need to get
jobs in high demand fields; it would help manufacturers and
businesses succeed in the global economy by enhancing the
conditions for creating and growing business; it introduces a new
building Canada plan that would lead to better roads, bridges and
public transit in cities and communities all across our great nation;
and it would invest in world-class research and innovation to help
ensure that new ideas are developed and transferred from the lab to
the marketplace.
Another comment he made was:
I don't have the slightest doubt that this government is absolutely focused on
closing the gaps we've identified.
Finally, he said:
—this is how the system is supposed to work. We've identified...gaps, and the
government is committed to closing them.
Mr. Marc Garneau: Mr. Chair, I hope there is a timetable
associated with that.
The main estimates provide the decrease of $22 million in the geomapping for energy and mineral program, the GEM program. Will
the government allow this program to sunset after this year, despite
industry support and the recommendations of the natural resources
committee in its 2012 report?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, the geo-mapping for energy and
minerals program commenced as a five-year $100 million initiative
as part of the government's plan to lay the foundation for sustainable
economic development in the north by providing modern fundamental geo-science knowledge. Natural resource development
remains at the centre of the government's economic agenda. The
geo-science knowledge created by the GEM program is directly
contributing to economic development objectives in Canada's north.
Mr. Marc Garneau: Mr. Chair, during testimony at the Natural
Resources committee, the deputy minister stated that the department
had cut 160 positions in the department. Where did those cuts
happen and how many of them were to scientists?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, as I said earlier this evening, 42% of
NRCan's indeterminate employees occupied scientific or technical
positions before the implementation of savings measures under
budget 2012. After the resulting workforce adjustment, 43% of
NRCan's indeterminate employees are occupying scientific or
technical positions.
Mr. Ryan Leef (Yukon, CPC): Mr. Chair, I am pleased to rise
tonight to speak during this debate. It is 10:30 p.m. here in Ottawa
but it is only 7:30 back in Yukon so I hold out hope that a number of
my constituents will be tuning in to watch this and it will not just be
my mother. All of them will be watching, not just my mom.
Of course our nation does have challenges to welcome. Despite
the fact that Canadian workers are among the highest educated and
the best trained in the world, Canada is facing shortages of skilled
labour for the coming years. For example, the Canadian Chamber of
Commerce has identified Canada's skill shortages as the number one
issue facing its membership. Canada's resource industries are also
facing the same problem with skilled labour and trades.
To help address these issues, economic action plan 2013 sets out a
practical three-point plan.
First, to ensure that Canadians are acquiring the skills that
employers are seeking, the plan introduces the new Canada jobs
grant that would provide $15,000 more per person, including a
maximum federal contribution of $5,000 to be matched by
provincial and territorial governments and employers. Just this past
week I was pleased to host an open house consultation in my riding
to speak about the jobs grant and how employers and governments
can partner and shape this plan into our future so that it works to
meet the needs of industry in those skill shortages.
Second, the plan would create opportunities for apprentices by
working with the provinces and territories and by introducing
measures that would support the use of apprentices through federal
construction and maintenance contracts.
Finally, economic action plan 2013 would provide support to
groups that are under-represented in the job market, such as persons
with disabilities, youth, aboriginal peoples and newcomers to our
country.
These groups were well represented during the consultations that
took place in Yukon. They had valuable input and feedback that we
are looking forward to receiving and reviewing as we move forward.
16782
COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Business of Supply
Members of the House well know that Canada's abundant natural
resources are pillars of our economic strength. When we take the
direct and indirect impact into account, the natural resource sector
represents about 20% of Canada's GDP and employs 1.6 million
Canadians. The resource sector also pays more than $30 billion per
year to government coffers through taxes and royalties, which helps
pay for health care, education, pensions and other critical social
programs.
In the case of the energy sector, many analysts say that it has
become the new engine of Canada's economy. The oil sands alone
are responsible for some 275,000 direct and indirect jobs in skilled
trades, manufacturing, high technology and financial services in
every single region of Canada. According to the Canadian Energy
Research Institute, projected increases in oil sands production could
support close to 630,000 jobs on average between now and 2035.
The institute also forecasts that the oil sands could contribute more
than $2.8 trillion to Canada's GDP, an annual average of $113 billion
during that same period.
This is great news for all Canadian workers and their families, but
while our resources are great and many, unless we can ensure that
they will reach foreign markets and obtain world prices, we will not
meet our full potential as a nation.
● (2225)
Those who think that pipelines are an Alberta issue should think
again. Getting pipelines built west, south and east to send our oil and
natural gas to the United States, to Asia and to other world markets is
a national priority for this government. Few countries are generating
natural resource products on the scale or pace of Canada. As many as
600 major resource projects worth more than $650 billion are under
way or planned over the next decade, with the potential to create
enormous prosperity for Canada, realizing the potential of our
natural resources industries is critical to our government's goals of
jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. That is why our government
is so focused on creating the right conditions for success.
Through our plan for responsible resource development, we have
set firm beginning to end timelines for project reviews. We are also
eliminating duplication in the review process where provincial
reviews meet our stringent environmental standards.
In Yukon, natural resources development projects have seen the
benefit of regulatory reform through devolution. The 2003 Yukon
Northern Affairs program devolution agreement brought management and the administration of all the lands and resources under the
control of the government of the Yukon. The Hon. Michael
Miltenberger referred to Yukon as a prime example of how timelines
and the responsiveness of project reviews improved because of this
important regulatory reform.
In addition, the former president of the Yukon Chamber of
Commerce, Sandy Babcock, had reported to the Natural Resources
committee that Yukon's cap of $3 million in resource revenue
sharing needed to be increased so the territorial government received
a greater share of its resource royalties.
The Government of Canada listened. Last summer, during the
northern tour, the Prime Minister announced a new resource revenue
sharing agreement, doubling the cap to $6 million. Recently, the
premier of Yukon, Darrell Pasloski, outlined that this made for an
additional sharing of $2.7 million to the territory.
However, our plan is not just about developing resources
efficiently; it is about developing them responsibly. Our government
is committed to developing our natural resources in a responsible
way, which includes strengthening environmental protection. We
reject the notion that we cannot do both at the same time. Through
our actions, including tough new fines for companies that break our
environmental laws and new measures to ensure world-class pipeline
and marine safety regimes, we are proving we can.
Our government is also making every effort to ensure that
aboriginal people and first nations people can share in the
tremendous benefits that natural resources development offers in
the years ahead. Earlier this month, Natural Resources Canada
funded $500,000 to a consortium led by the Champagne and
Aishihik First Nations to pursue the study of a potential power
generation plant fed by biomass in Haines Junction. This project was
included among 56 new innovative clean energy projects announced
by the Prime Minister, representing an investment of $86 million
through the Government of Canada's eco-energy innovation
initiative. This program was created to invest in new clean energy
technologies that would create jobs, generate economic opportunities
and help protect the environment.
I was certainly pleased to be in Yukon to make that very
important funding announcement and I can assure members that it
was exceptionally well received by the people of the territory and the
first nation of the Champagne and Aishihik in that community.
The significance of the resource sector's economic impact cannot
be understated. In 2012, 32,000 aboriginal people, or 8.3% of the
working aboriginal population, were employed in the natural
resources industries of forestry, energy and mining. Aboriginal
people make up 7.5% of the workforce in Canada's mining sector.
However, the minerals and metal sector is not the only sector
offering opportunities for aboriginal people. Ten per cent of the oil
sands workforce is aboriginal. Many aboriginal companies are also
thriving in Alberta's oil patch. The Canadian Council for Aboriginal
Business estimates that oil sand companies do $1.3 billion worth of
business each year, with a wide range of aboriginal companies,
including parts suppliers, mechanical contractors and camp caterers.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16783
Business of Supply
Given the scope of aboriginal business activities and employment, the council has named the oil sands as the largest single nongovernmental source of aboriginal income in Canada. This degree of
participation in Canada's resource economy is a substantial
achievement and one that our government wishes to expand on
across the country.
To that end, we are committed to working in concert with
aboriginal communities to ensure they continue to share the rewards
of natural resources development in Canada.
● (2235)
Mr. Ryan Leef: Mr. Chair, the north has been a particular focus
for our government since taking power, and it can be argued that
there has not been as much emphasis on the north and our great
territory since the Diefenbaker government, which is something my
constituents are very grateful for. Whether it is Yukon, Northwest
Territories or Nunavut, we have certainly been investing in
infrastructure and in responsible development of our resources.
● (2230)
The committee on natural resources recommended this past year
that the Government of Canada increase its support to mining
training initiatives for first nation and Inuit communities in order to
help develop the labour force required to support mining projects in
northern Canada. Their contributions are vital to the mining sector,
and these recommendations seek to further their impact. As members
know, economic growth, job creation and prosperity for all
Canadians is our government's top priority.
Can the minister talk a bit about the strong support that our
government has shown, as well as the economic potential for the
north?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, our government has shown strong
support for the north. We signed a revised royalty sharing agreement
between our government and the Government of Yukon.
In conclusion, our government has designed and implemented
policies aimed at driving the economy to its full potential for the
benefit of all Canadians. Together the initiatives in economic action
plan 2013 build on previous government actions to reinforce the
fundamental strengths of the Canadian economy. By staying the
course, the Government of Canada will continue to promote
economic growth, job creation and long-term prosperity for all
Canadians.
Throughout the north, mining projects are providing well-paying
jobs for Canadians. There are nine producing mines in the north,
including Yukon’s own Minto. This one, Wolverine and Keno Hill,
are providing opportunities for thousands of Canadians today, and 24
advanced natural resource projects representing more than $20
billion in investments have the potential to provide opportunities for
thousands more.
I would now like to ask the minister, along the vein of much of my
discussion today, about the benefits for aboriginal and first nation
communities in resource development, specifically in my riding of
Yukon. Because we know that northerners, including our aboriginal
people, first nations and Inuit, are an integral part of resource
development in the north, I would like to ask what our government is
doing to ensure that they are able to benefit from the opportunities
that resource development provides.
We established the Canadian Northern Economic Development
Agency, which will help with this development. Earlier this year, we
opened its permanent headquarters—not, I might add, in Ottawa or
Gatineau, but in Iqaluit. One of its most important responsibilities is
the northern projects management office. As in the south, we want to
ensure a single window for industry in dealing with government.
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, I would like to thank the member for
Yukon very much for his insightful and moving remarks, and also for
his very relevant question.
We need thorough, balanced, science-based environmental
assessments conducted on a timely basis and in accord with the
principle of one project, one review so that opportunities like this
one can be realized across the north in a responsible manner.
The natural resource sector is the largest private employer of
aboriginal peoples in Canada. In 2012, more than 32,000 aboriginal
people worked in the sector, which is 8.3% of all aboriginals
employed in Canada, with 13,500 in the energy sector, 10,200 in
minerals and metals, and 8,500 in the forestry sector.
Ms. Linda Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona, NDP): Mr. Chair,
I will be using my full 15 minutes for questions.
Over the next 10 years, more than 600 major projects representing
over $650 billion in potential new investments are planned across
Canada. Most of this development is located on or near aboriginal
communities, and much of it is located in northern Canada.
To further enable aboriginal peoples to take advantage of these
opportunities, budget 2013 would provide over $600 million to
support aboriginal education, skills development and community
infrastructure. These efforts will ensure that aboriginal Canadians
can share in the tremendous benefits offered by the development of
our natural resources.
On how many occasions have the minister or senior officials
travelled to the United States to discuss Canada's oil sands with U.S.
federal or state officials in the past 18 months?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, I am proud to say that I and a number
of my cabinet colleagues have travelled to the United States. I have
travelled to Chicago, Houston, New York and Washington. We are
promoting a Canadian environmental and development interest. We
are conveying our responsible development of resources, and we are
promoting projects that would create jobs in Canada, across the
country.
16784
COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Business of Supply
Ms. Linda Duncan: Mr. Chair, how much was the departmental
budget for travel, accommodation, staffing support and materials
related to oil sands-related travel to the United States in each of the
past seven years?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, I am really astonished that the NDP
would bring up this subject because its members have travelled to
the United States to thwart development. They have travelled to the
United States to undermine our projects that are going to create jobs
and economic growth. What a waste of money that has been.
Ms. Linda Duncan: Mr. Chair, perhaps we will try this question.
How many times has the minister or senior staff visited the United
States in the last 18 months to discuss the Keystone XL pipeline
proposal?
● (2240)
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, as I said, I am proud of every visit
that I have made to promote Canadian jobs, and frankly we are very
pleased with the progress. There is 70% of the American public who
are onside with Keystone. All the governors to whose states the
pipeline would go are in favour of it. A majority of the Senate and a
majority of the members of the House of Representatives are in
favour of it.
However, the members opposite go down there, using taxpayer
money, to undermine our message.
Ms. Linda Duncan: Mr. Chair, perhaps I could ask how many
visits they have had to discuss energy efficiency and renewable
power, but instead I will ask this question. What has been the
departmental budget for promotional communications and government relations work in European Union countries since 2009?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, I have dealt with that number.
However, again, what we are doing is standing up for Canada's
interests against an unscientific, discriminatory objective which
undermines Canadian jobs.
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, the point I was making is that
Canada strongly opposes any measures that would unfairly
discriminate against oil sands crude in a way that is unscientific. If
unjustified and discriminatory measures to implement the FQD are
ultimately put in place, Canada would consider all options to defend
its interests. The fact that the opposition is presenting a proposal
directly opposed to Canadian interests undermines our prospects of
getting things changed.
Ms. Linda Duncan: Mr. Chair, the simple answer is over 110.
Did the department participate in the creation of the pan-European
oil sands advocacy strategy?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, I find it odd that there is a kind of
accusatory tone that if we make an effort to defend Canada's interests
there is somehow something wrong with that. Actually, the opposite
is the case. We are defending Canada's interests and members on the
other side inexplicably are opposed to job creation in Canada.
Ms. Linda Duncan: Mr. Chair, has the minister or senior staff
attended any meetings related to the development or implementation
of the pan-European oil sands advocacy strategy?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, again, when NDP members go to a
foreign country they advocate against Canadian interests and
Canadian jobs. Canadians expect their government to advocate for
their jobs. We will see what their reaction is and we have seen what
the reaction is when an NDP government out west decided to oppose
all forms of development. The answer is in and the members from
the other side ought to take note.
What I find astonishing is that this party would have—
Ms. Linda Duncan: Mr. Chair, are any Natural Resources Canada
staff presently seconded to the Department of Foreign Affairs and
International Trade? If yes, how many, what is their mandate and
which countries are they working in?
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
● (2245)
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, it is hard to speak when there is a
constant cacophony from the other side.
The Chair: We could have some order. All it is doing is taking
up more time, on both sides.
The minister will have one more attempt and then we will go back
to questions.
Hon. Joe Oliver: The point I was making about the fuel quality
directive is that this is a discriminatory policy which does not
achieve and cannot achieve its environmental objective. It
discriminates against Canadian interests and also undermines
European competitiveness. What is the response from the NDP? It
is to take—
The Chair: Order, please.
The hon. member for Edmonton—Strathcona.
Ms. Linda Duncan: Mr. Chair, how many lobbying events have
been organized by the Canadian government on oil sands and
European fuel quality directives since 2009?
[Translation]
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, I will try to answer in French.
Canada supports the adoption of measures aimed at tangibly
reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. However, as drafted, the
proposed fuel quality directive will not reduce greenhouse gas
emissions and will harm the European Union's economy, especially
the refining industry.
The fuel quality directive is a non-scientific and discriminatory
approach aimed at reducing—
The Chair: Order. The hon. member for Edmonton—Strathcona.
[English]
Ms. Linda Duncan: Mr. Chair, how many climate science
briefings did the minister receive in the past year?
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16785
Business of Supply
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, I receive briefings continually from
my department. Those briefings include scientific information. We
have thousands of scientists working in NRCan and we take their
conclusions very seriously. For example, the conclusion that the
diluted bitumen is not more corrosive than light crude going through
pipelines.
Ms. Linda Duncan: Mr. Chair, given these briefings, does the
minister agree that current levels of exposure and sensitivity to
climate-related changes, as well as limitations in adaptive capacity,
make some northern systems and populations particularly vulnerable
to the impacts of climate change?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, as I have said many times, climate
change is a serious issue. There is no dispute about the science of
climate change and our government is determined to take action.
Where we disagree with the opposition is on the policy response. We
take very seriously the views of science when they are talking about
science.
Ms. Linda Duncan: Mr. Chair, of course, the climate-related
impacts have been documented in the Natural Resources Canada
report in 2007. Could the minister detail specific measures his
department is taking to assess the impacts of these vulnerabilities?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, through our budget, our government
has renewed domestic climate change adaptation funding. This was
an almost $150-million investment over five years. Natural
Resources would receive $35 million to enhance competitiveness
in a changing climate with this new funding. NRCan is working with
provinces and territories, industry and professional organizations to
develop the knowledge and tools to adapt their operations and
services to the effects of a changing climate. Examples include a
protocol to assess infrastructure vulnerability currently being applied
to the highways in British Columbia and at Pearson airport in
Toronto; tools, such as mapping permafrost hazards to inform the
development of new mines, roads and ports in the north; compiling
natural resource sector-specific business cases have been highlighted—
The Chair: The hon. member for Edmonton—Strathcona.
Ms. Linda Duncan: Mr. Chair, that is finally a bit of an answer.
Does the minister believe that the global annual average
temperature is rising?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, what I have said repeatedly is that
climate change is a serious issue. There is no dispute about the
science of climate change and the need for action.
Let me just add this. James Hansen and other scientists have
acknowledged that, fortunately, the pace of global warming has
recently slowed. However, and this is absolutely critical, we must
continue to address our efforts to growing global GHG emissions.
Where we disagree is not on the science. Where we disagree with
the opposition is on the policy response.
Ms. Linda Duncan: Mr. Chair, does the minister believe that
climate change has been caused by human activity?
● (2250)
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, I have said yes many times.
Ms. Linda Duncan: Mr. Chair, does the minister agree with the
statement that a 2° average global temperature increase is a tipping
point for destructive and possibly catastrophic climate change
impacts?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, we are of a belief that a significant
change in climate would be deleterious.
Ms. Linda Duncan: Mr. Chair, between 2001 and 2010, global
temperatures averaged .46° centigrade above the 1961-1990 average
and were the highest ever recorded for a 10-year period since the
beginning of instrumental climate records.
Does the minister believe that this is an indication that climate
change is occurring?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, I have answered the question
repeatedly. I do not know what all this belief business is about. We
have said that climate change is a pressing global problem, and we
are acting to deal with it. The nature of our policy response is
different from that of the opposition parties.
We believe that we can deal with climate change and environmental challenges and at the same time develop our resources in a
responsible way. What is at stake here, on both issues, is a
tremendous opportunity for the Canadian population to benefit from
the development of our resources and for Canada to be a reliable
source of energy for the entire world.
Ms. Linda Duncan: Mr. Chair, a study in the journal
Environmental Research Letters analyzed 4,000 summaries of
peer-reviewed papers in journals giving a view of climate change
since the early 1900s and found that 97% said that it was mainly
caused by humans. It was the biggest review, so far, of scientific
opinion on climate change and showed a clear consensus.
Does the minister agree that there is a scientific consensus that
climate change is real and largely man-made?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, I have answered the question so
many times, I am not going to answer it anymore.
What I would like to talk about is that those who keep denigrating
Canada's record are just plain wrong, and they should know better.
Canada has aligned its goals in greenhouse gas emissions with the
United States and is calling for a 17% reduction by 2020.
Our government has invested more per capita than the U.S. on
clean energy. That is an important point that is not well known.
16786
COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Business of Supply
Ms. Linda Duncan: Mr. Chair, can the minister tell the House
what the projected growth of oil sands carbon emissions will be by
2020?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, the NDP would impose a jobcrippling, $21-billion carbon tax that would increase costs to
consumers, with no positive impact on the environment.
Ms. Joan Crockatt (Calgary Centre, CPC): Mr. Chair, it is a
real honour to be able to participate in this critical debate tonight. I
will be using ten minutes to speak, leaving five minutes for questions
at the end.
Today I would like to focus on market diversification and the
hurdles we need to surmount as Canadians in order to put our natural
resources to the highest and best use for the benefit of the entire
country. Our government is working hard to pursue the responsible
development of our resources, hand in hand with protecting our
environment. I will explain more about that in a minute.
First, to set the scene, the problem that Canadians face is that we
are currently selling our resources too cheaply. In fact, last year alone
we lost $6 billion in my home province of Alberta. According to
CIBC, we stand to lose $27 billion in federal and provincial taxes
and royalties every year, not to mention lost jobs in every single
province in Canada, because of the lack of access to international
markets.
That is $50 million every day, and that $50 million is a loss for
every child and every grandchild, and every woman and man in
Canada, because our resources are landlocked. That money could be
going right now to pay for schools and hospitals, roads and bridges
and child care. Instead, Canadians are subsidizing schools and
hospitals, roads and bridges and child care in the United States,
while they pay us $20 billion to $30 billion below the world price for
oil.
There are proposals to build pipelines, as we have heard, to the
south, the west, the east and to the north coast of Canada to
tidewater, where we will have international market access. I would
like to applaud those who are showing leadership in this regard.
Firstly, I would like to applaud British Columbians. We can all
celebrate the decision by British Columbians, who in last week's
election realized that natural resource development is the key to their
future. British Columbians showed us that when people get the facts
they make the right decision.
The Northwest Territories government has added a healthy sense
of competition by opening the door to a pipeline to the north. The
Metis Settlements General Council has just signed an agreement
with the Alberta government so that they can develop natural
resources in their province. Additionally, aboriginals in several other
provinces have signed agreements to benefit from jobs and
investment.
Quebec premier Pauline Marois said she would welcome a
pipeline extension to the east, to allow Quebec refineries like Suncor
and Ultramar to stay competitive, with better access to Canadian oil
supplies where other Quebec refineries have closed.
Many union voices are joining this chorus. At committee in the
last few weeks, we have heard definitive testimony from the
Canadian energy and paperworkers in Montreal and the AFL-CIO in
central and eastern Canada. Just today, the united association of
journeymen and apprentices said that pipelines, such as line 9 from
Sarnia to Montreal and the proposed west-east pipeline to St. John,
will keep refineries competitive in Ontario, Quebec and New
Brunswick, and will provide new, well-paying jobs. They want our
federal government to enable industry to create those jobs and to
provide stability into the future.
Quebec's top import in 2012 was crude oil. The lack of a pipeline
from west to east meant that Quebeckers were paying a higher world
oil price to import the highest percentage of their oil from, guess
where, Algeria. That is right. A recent CERI survey showed that a
majority of Quebecers said they would rather be buying their oil
from Canada.
New Brunswick Premier David Alward is throwing out the
welcome mat to bring Albertan and Saskatchewan oil to his
province, where Canada has its largest refinery along with a
deepwater port to provide ready access to world markets.
What is more is that there is a new urgency to do this, since world
supply has shifted dramatically in recent months. Suddenly Canada's
oil suppliers are bottlenecked by a lack of pipelines and the world is
seeing vast quantities of shale gas and oil being discovered daily.
These are going to compete with us for the world markets that we
could be serving. India, China, Africa, Latin America and the United
States all have found abundant supplies of non-conventional gas and
oil.
● (2255)
The early bird will get the worm. However, the Liberals and the
NDP, shockingly including the NDP's only Alberta member from
Edmonton—Strathcona who is working against her province's
primary industry, are opposing our access to international markets
and putting Canada at risk of being left out in the cold.
Many of our competitors can develop their resources in a far less
environmentally sound manner than Canada. Last year, China's
growth more than ate up all of the GHG emission reductions of
Canada and the U.S. Dr. Jack Mintz recently reported that in the
National Post. The planet will suffer and China's citizens, not ours,
will reap the economic benefits, while we literally run the risk of
missing the boat to China and losing out on billions in revenue that
could be in the pockets of Canadians.
However, all is not lost. I talked earlier about British Columbians
showing us that when intelligent people get the facts they make the
right decision. What are the facts?
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16787
Business of Supply
Canadians justifiably want to be assured that the environment and
the economy can work together to benefit us all and enhance our
quality of life. Let me tell the House what is being done in the area of
resource development to protect our environment for future
generations.
that the industry can and is co-existing very happily with the
environment.
● (2300)
Industry is dramatically reducing its water usage in the oil sands.
It used to take eight barrels of water to produce a barrel of oil and
that ratio has been cut in half to four. Water is now recycled four
times on average and in some cases six times, a world-leading
benchmark.
We are not finished yet, but Canada has already achieved half the
GHG reduction levels to meet its Copenhagen targets by 2020, and
this is in stark contrast with the Liberals, as greenhouse gas levels
rose 30% under their watch.
Greenhouse gas emissions from the oil sands have dropped 25%
per barrel of oil produced with our government's strong guidance.
Just two weeks ago, we saw a significant leap forward in
technological advancement. Imperial Oil began production from its
Kearl oil sands plant near Fort McMurray, the first plant to produce a
barrel of oil with a comparable greenhouse gas emission level to an
average refinery in the U.S. A study by the Colorado-based industry
analysis firm IHS shows Kearl will produce a barrel of oil at a life
cycle GHG emission level below that of California heavy oil.
Finally, I will leave everyone with the environmental moral cause
for shipping oil and gas westward from Canada to China. The School
of Public Policy's Jack Mintz, Maria van der Hoeven of the
International Energy Agency and Dr. Wenran Jiang of the Asia
Pacific Foundation all point out Canada is uniquely positioned to
assist China in getting off its dependence on coal-fired power by
supplying it with clean fossil fuels like oil and liquefied natural gas.
That should be a game changer for people, busting the myth of the
anti-jobs, no development party over there and the notion of the oil
sands being dirty when in fact the oil sands can produce with the
same GHGs as conventional oil. Kearl is the first plant to reach that
mark, but it clearly shows the groundbreaking environmental
benchmarks that Canadian companies are reaching through hightech advances.
Canada has also spawned world-leading green tech companies
leading the charge for sustainable energy development and
environmental responsibility. Tervita Corporation in my own riding
of Calgary Centre is just one example. Tailings ponds used to take 17
years to be reclaimed. Now that time is down to two to five years and
in some cases just months.
CTV Power Play's Don Martin even announced last week that the
oil sands had cleaned up their act tremendously. In fact, it is worth
telling Canadians that only 5 of the 101 projects under way in the oil
sands in 2012 were mines. The rest were underground in situ
projects. Therefore, members can see why we talk about the myths
being perpetuated by the opposition.
Our government has also doubled pipeline inspections in the
recent budget and put in place mandatory guidelines for doublehulled tankers that are piloted through our waters to ensure that
Canada keeps its over 99.9996% pipeline safety record.
Unfortunately, the NDP members voted against all these
measures. They might be asking themselves why B.C. rejected the
NDP.
Our knowledgeable and competent natural resources minister has
noted that, compared to other countries, we meet or exceed the very
best safety records and world-class standards for environmental care.
We have toughened our strong penalties for violators, which include
the polluter-pay principle.
While the opposition over there huffs and puffs and belches black
smoke about our energy industry, scaremongers both at home and in
Washington and strives to halt development, the Conservatives know
Mr. Chair, thank you for allowing me to break down some of the
myths surrounding development of Canada's miraculous natural
resources. Facts surmount fear every time.
Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend with the hon.
Minister of State for Science and Technology the launch of the Algal
carbon conversion pilot project to be built near Cold Lake, Alberta
by Pond Biofuels and CNRL, an oil sands leader. This pilot will not
only reduce the carbon emissions of CNRL's oil sands operation in
Primrose by 15% to 30%, it is actually going to turn carbon dioxide
into a safe, marketable biomass. Bringing this idea to market will
benefit all Canadians.
I bring this up because it is one of the newest examples of how
Canadian industry, with the strongest encouragement and new
regulations put in place by our government, is bridging technology
gaps to produce our natural resources more cleanly. It is one of the
examples of the interests of energy and the environment merging,
growing Canada's economy and benefiting all Canadians, breaking
the myths being perpetuated by the opposition.
With this in mind, I would like to ask the parliamentary secretary
what our government is doing to further encourage the decrease in
emissions from natural resources development.
● (2305)
Mr. David Anderson: Mr. Chair, obviously we work with
partners and in collaboration with those partners, our government
has made substantial investments in clean technology and industry.
For example, $590 million in funding has gone toward Sustainable
Development Technology Canada, which has leveraged a $1.6billion investment. That is a ratio of $3 of investment for every $1
that has been contributed by taxpayers.
16788
COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Business of Supply
Economic action plan 2013 allocates $325 million over eight
years in funding for SDTC and that signals our continuing
commitment to energy and environmental innovation. The new
funding means that the government's total investment in the SDTC
tech fund is $950 million to date. Eco-energy innovation is investing
$268 million over five years for clean energy demonstration and
research and development projects. This will include investments in
smart grid and renewable energy in carbon capture and storage in
energy-efficient buildings and environmental aspects of oil sands.
The eco-energy for biofuels program will make a total investment
of over $1 billion by 2017 to encourage the expansion of the
domestic biofuels industry. Everyone can see that we are doing much
to encourage the decrease in emissions from development through
clean tech funds and new technology.
Ms. Joan Crockatt: Mr. Chair, one of the hurdles to market
diversification is misinformation from the opposition. Both the NDP
and Liberals have been engaging in this and our Conservative
government is the only party in the House standing up for the
environment and the economy.
Canadians and, indeed, all residents of the planet need to know
what is happening. I would like to ask the minister what our
government is doing to ensure that resources in Canada are
developed with the highest degree of environmental protection.
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, I will speak about the oil sands
monitoring program that our government, in partnership with the
Province of Alberta, has introduced. I am pleased to say that by the
time the three-year plan is implemented in 2015, water monitoring
sites will increase from 21 to over 40, air sites will increase from 21
to over 30, and biodiversity wildlife contaminant sampling will
increase from 3 to 25.
[Translation]
Ms. Anne Minh-Thu Quach (Beauharnois—Salaberry, NDP):
Mr. Chair, I will use my entire 15 minutes to ask questions.
First of all, what portion of the department's $16.5 million
advertising budget is dedicated to promoting Canada's renewable
energy sector?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, I have answered the question a few
times. However, as I said, I believe the total amount is $600,000. It is
$16.5 million in total, but we are talking about advertising.
An amount is set aside for promoting the Keystone project in the
United States. We launched the project because it will create jobs in
Canada, as well as create economic activity and revenue so that
governments can support social programs.
● (2310)
Ms. Anne Minh-Thu Quach: Mr. Chair, my question was about
the portion of the advertising budget that was for renewable energy,
not oil sands.
[Translation]
These investments increase our capacity to compete globally and
create jobs for Canada. The investments—
The Chair: The hon. member for Beauharnois—Salaberry.
Ms. Anne Minh-Thu Quach: Mr. Chair, I assume from this nonanswer that there is no budget for renewable energies. I have another
question.
What proportion of the department's budget is devoted to
developing a national energy strategy in co-operation with the
provinces and territories?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, since 2006, our government has
invested more than $10 billion in order to reduce emissions and
protect our environment through investment in green infrastructure,
energy efficiency, clean energy technologies and the production of
cleaner energy and fuel.
Ms. Anne Minh-Thu Quach: Mr. Chair, according to last year's
public accounts, $90 million was allocated to the clean energy fund,
and $45 million of that amount went to Shell Canada.
Can the minister explain why a fund designated for promoting the
transition toward clean energy is being used to finance the big oil
companies?
[English]
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, the question shows a misunderstanding of where the money is allocated. We are devoting significant
amounts of money to carbon capture and storage, and we are doing
that in co-operation with companies, because that is the way to do it.
Our government is a world leader in carbon capture and storage. I
was up at the Scotford upgrader project, where our government is
investing some $120 million in a project in which the Government of
Alberta is putting in $700 million, I believe. That will reduce
greenhouse gas emissions by some 45%.
[Translation]
Ms. Anne Minh-Thu Quach: Mr. Chair, I do not think that
giving half the green funds budget to a major oil company will help
ensure that things improve on this front.
Sustainable Development Technology Canada estimates needing
$100 million a year to handle green energy development needs.
Despite the investment within the framework of the recent budget,
there is still a $60 million shortfall annually.
Will the minister call on his government to fill this gap?
[English]
[English]
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, the program, as I mentioned, is
devoted to the issues that will create jobs and economic growth in
Canada.
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, the fact that the NDP votes against
carbon capture and storage is somewhat inexplicable, given their
pretended concern about the environment.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16789
Business of Supply
In collaboration with partners, the government is also investing in
clean technology through the funding of Sustainable Development
Technology Canada, SDTC, which has leveraged significant money,
and we have just announced an additional $325 million in funding
for SDTC, signalling our commitment to energy and environmental
innovation. New funding means that the government's total
investment in the SDTC tech fund is $950 million to date.
[Translation]
Ms. Anne Minh-Thu Quach: Mr. Chair, according to the
International Energy Agency, clean energy solutions are not being
implemented fast enough. Has the minister read this report?
[English]
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, I have read that report, and I have
also read the conclusion by the International Energy Agency that
62% of energy in 25 years will come from hydrocarbons, even with
the most optimistic possible view of renewable energy. The NDP has
voted against all of our measures for a cleaner environment.
● (2315)
[Translation]
Ms. Anne Minh-Thu Quach: Mr. Speaker, that does not justify
doing nothing.
The agency points out that the large market failures are preventing
the adoption of these solutions; not many green solutions have been
implemented; policies need to address the energy system as a whole;
and energy-related research, development and demonstration need to
accelerate. Does the minister agree?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, the ecoENERGY innovation
initiative is investing $268 million over five years to fund clean
energy demonstration and R&D projects. This includes investments
in intelligent energy networks and renewable energy, carbon capture
and storage, energy efficient buildings and the environmental aspects
of the oil sands.
Ms. Anne Minh-Thu Quach: Mr. Chair, speaking of ecoENERGY, can the minister confirm that, since the end of the
ecoENERGY for renewable power program, the minister no longer
has a major program to facilitate direct funding for major renewable
energy development projects?
[English]
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, through the ecoENERGY for
renewable power program, the department is investing $1.4 million
over 14 years to support 104 renewable energy projects, representing
4,458 megawatts of capacity in areas such as wind, solar and
bioenergy.
The government is actively supporting the lower Churchill River
hydro project in Newfoundland and Labrador, a major investment in
clean energy infrastructure that will benefit the entire region of
Atlantic Canada.
[Translation]
Ms. Anne Minh-Thu Quach: Mr. Chair, the problem is that this
program was abolished by the Conservatives.
Still on the topic of the ecoENERGY home retrofit program, did
the department stop accepting applications in January 2012 before
the $400 million was completely disbursed?
[English]
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, the NDP has voted against all our
measures for a cleaner environment. Those members have opposed
the $325 million over eight years for sustainable development
technology. They have opposed the ecoENERGY for homes
program. They have opposed our measures to make Canada more
energy efficient through our ecoENERGY initiative. They have
opposed our measures to make pipelines safer with 50% more
inspections and double the number of audits.
[Translation]
Ms. Anne Minh-Thu Quach: Mr. Chair, the minister is still
avoiding the question, but I am going to ask it again. What
proportion of the $400 million ecoENERGY budget was not used?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, the ecoENERGY home retrofit
program that the hon. member mentioned created jobs across Canada
and helped homeowners save an average of 20% on their home
energy use. The over 640,000 homeowners who received grants
from the federal government starting in 2007 are now saving over
$400 million on their annual energy bills.
Ms. Anne Minh-Thu Quach: Mr. Chair, if this program is so
effective, why was it abolished before all the money was spent? I am
going to give the answer that the minister is hiding from us. On
December 4, 2012, department employees told the Standing
Committee on Natural Resources that the department had spent
$185 million. There is therefore $215 million remaining.
An hon. member: Shame.
Ms. Anne Minh-Thu Quach: Yes, it is fairly shameful.
Can the minister tell us whether the rest of the money will be used
to help Canadians renovate their houses in order to make them more
energy efficient? If not, what will that money be used for?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, our government made wise use of
taxpayers' hard-earned money while encouraging Canadians to make
energy-saving choices. The program stopped accepting new
applications in January 2011, when the goal of 250,000 applications
was reached, in order to ensure that money would be available to
fully respond to all future requests. We extended this program many
times. In fact, we invested seven times the amount that was first
announced in 2007.
● (2320)
Ms. Anne Minh-Thu Quach: Mr. Chair, cutting $285 million is
not exactly what I would call being prudent. I call that being
irresponsible.
16790
COMMONS DEBATES
May 21, 2013
Business of Supply
The minister still has not answered my question. What is that
$285 million going to be used for?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, as I said, in order to ensure prudent
management in times of fiscal restraint, we used historical trends
concerning assessments done before and after the renovations
combined with average payouts to each household. We are using the
money saved to benefit Canadians.
Ms. Anne Minh-Thu Quach: Mr. Chair, if he were any more
evasive, he would disappear altogether.
The government has set a goal of generating 90% of Canada’s
electricity from zero-emitting sources by 2020.
What sort of progress has been made so far?
[English]
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, the NDP would impose a jobcrippling, $21-billion carbon tax that would increase costs to
consumers, with no positive impact on the environment. While New
Democrats talk about a tax that would hurt consumers, they stand in
opposition to every form of resource development.
[Translation]
Ms. Anne Minh-Thu Quach: Mr. Chair, I will repeat the
question.
What sort of progress has been made so far on the goal of zeroemitting sources by 2020?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, regarding the eco-energy initiative,
here are some examples of our investments: in Ontario, $466 million
for 47 projects; in Quebec, nearly $200 million for 10 projects; in
British Columbia, $305 million for 19 projects; in Alberta,
$166 million for eight projects—
The Chair: Order. The hon. member for Beauharnois—Salaberry
has nearly one minute remaining to finish her questions.
Ms. Anne Minh-Thu Quach: Mr. Chair, can the minister tell us
his department's responsibilities in relation to shale gas?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, shale gas is an area of provincial
jurisdiction.
It is in the Constitution, and the provinces decide individually.
British Columbia has decided to develop shale gas and Quebec has
launched an environmental study. The Government of Canada is
committed to safe, responsible and sustainable development of our
country's natural resources, including shale gas.
Ms. Anne Minh-Thu Quach: Mr. Chair, for the minister's
information, Natural Resources Canada provides geoscientific
information that is used to make decisions related to exploration,
resource management and environmental protection.
Is the minister aware of the negative effects hydraulic fracking has
on the environment?
Hon. Joe Oliver: Mr. Chair, as I said, this is an area of provincial
jurisdiction.
A recent special report from the International Energy Agency
concluded that the technology and expertise exist to produce shale
gas in a way that will not harm the environment, and we know that—
[English]
The Chair: The time is up. The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to
the Minister of Natural Resources will have approximately six
minutes before we are out of time.
Mr. David Anderson: Mr. Chair, I share the opposition members'
enthusiasm for the minister's performance here tonight. It has been
great. We want to thank he minister for sharing his evening with us
in such an effective way.
I also would like to acknowledge Mr. Dupont and Mr. Arora for
the time that they have spent here tonight and the expertise that they
bring on this file as well, and I know there are other people who have
worked hard to present the natural resources case for this country.
I also want to acknowledge my colleagues who have spent the
evening here with us. Most of them have spoken and have spoken
extremely well. I think of the chair of the natural resources
committee; the member for Vegreville—Wainwright; my colleague
from Tobique—Mactaquac; my friend from Wetaskiwin, who spoke
a bit earlier; the member for Saskatoon—Humboldt; the member for
Yukon, who even sent a “hi” out to his mother there; and the member
for Calgary Centre, who spoke so effectively.
I also want to acknowledge the member for Blackstrap, who has
been here with us all night tonight because resources are important to
Saskatchewan. She is an important member of the cabinet and an
important member from Saskatchewan. It is great that she was able
to be with us as well.
We have been talking about numbers all night tonight, and there
are some numbers that I find a bit disquieting and intriguing. We
have talked about the 630,000 jobs that are projected to be created by
the oil sands over the next 25 years and the hundreds of thousands of
other jobs that are going to be created by the resources sector across
this country. Unfortunately, again tonight it seems that we have
heard the New Democrats say one more time that they want to say
no to those jobs.
It bothers me, when I come from a resource-based province, to
hear that kind of thing. As I mentioned earlier, it seems that they
oppose everything about natural resources. We heard the member for
Edmonton—Strathcona, from Alberta, the province where the oil
sands are so important, who came in here and opposed oil sands. We
heard my colleague from Calgary Centre talk about the Kearl project
and how those greenhouse gas emissions now are similar to what is
being produced from regular oil production. Certainly the opposition
members should be welcoming that news, but they do not seem to be
willing to do so.
We have heard in the past how they have opposed offshore. They
do not like offshore and the development of offshore. We hear how
they do not like pipelines. Some of them do not like pipelines and
some of them seem to. They keep changing their position. I had to
appreciate my colleague this afternoon in what seemed to be
grudging support for the west-to-east pipeline, although last week his
leader changed his own position on that, so we wish them luck in
trying to convince their leader that he actually needs to represent all
of Canada and just not small interest groups in particular areas across
this country.
May 21, 2013
COMMONS DEBATES
16791
Business of Supply
We are concerned, as I read in a quote a bit earlier, that the NDP
opposes all things nuclear. The New Democrats' leader was
straightforward about that here in the House. He said that they are
just going to oppose it. I can hear my colleague across the way
saying that they of course oppose that, that they certainly do oppose
that.
There is shale gas, the latest and greatest development around the
world that is going to change the way energy is produced and used
on this globe, and the New Democrats again come up dead against it.
We also see their opposition in so many ways to mining across
this country. My colleague from Yukon and other colleagues from
the north are particularly concerned about their opposition up there
as they try to develop their economies and begin to get some of the
same advantages that the rest of us have.
as far east as my colleague from New Brunswick. He looks forward
to having some of those opportunities as well.
I wanted to talk about the New Democrats' great commitment to
the carbon tax and the $20 billion that it would take out of
Canadians' pockets. We have not mentioned much about that tonight,
and they certainly do not want to bring it up anymore.
However, we look forward to continuing to be the government in
this country, continuing to develop resources across this country,
continuing under the great leadership of the Minister of Natural
Resources, and being able to do that in spite of what the New
Democrats want to do to our resource communities, our resource
jobs and so much of our resource-based economy.
● (2325)
It was interesting to hear about the impact that the development of
natural resources will have on our aboriginal communities. Those of
us from the west, and particularly from Saskatchewan, know that we
need to get our young aboriginal people involved in the economy
and that probably the quickest and best way to do that is through the
resource sector. It pains me to have to ask again why the New
Democrats stand so strongly against that when it is so important in so
much of our country.
[Translation]
At the natural resources committee today we were excited to hear
from some folks from Montreal who were talking about the
importance of the west-to-east pipeline and the re-reversal of that
pipeline so that it can create opportunities in Quebec and further east,
The Deputy Speaker: This House stands adjourned until
tomorrow at 2 p.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).
The Chair: It being 11:30 p.m., all votes are deemed to have been
reported pursuant to Standing Order 81(4). The committee will rise,
and I will now leave the chair.
● (2330)
[English]
(The House adjourned at 11:30 p.m.)
CONTENTS
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
GOVERNMENT ORDERS
BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Natural Resources—Main Estimates, 2013-14
(Consideration in committee of the whole of all votes
under Natural Resources in the main estimates, Mr. Joe
Comartin in the chair) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The Deputy Speaker. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Julian . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Oliver . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Oliver . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Anderson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Garneau . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Benoit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16757
16757
16757
16757
16759
16760
16762
16763
Mr. Nicholls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Liu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Trost . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Anderson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Gravelle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Calkins . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Leef . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Crockatt. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Quach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Oliver . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
All Natural Resources votes reported . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16766
16768
16770
16772
16774
16774
16776
16781
16783
16786
16788
16788
16791
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