Bill C-9 (Historical)
An Act to amend the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992
This bill was last introduced in the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in December 2009.
John Baird Conservative
This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.
- March 25, 2009 Passed That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass.
- March 23, 2009 Failed That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following: “Bill C-9, An Act to amend the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992, be not now read a third time, but be referred back to the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities for the purpose of reviewing Clause 5.2 with a view to reviewing the procedures on security clearances.”.
March 10th, 2011 / 5:15 p.m.
Disposition of Abolition of Early Parole Act
February 11th, 2011 / 1:10 p.m.
Marlene Jennings Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC
Madam Speaker, I would not say that words fail me just because I will not be debating the bill itself. I want to debate the motion that would prevent any discussion of the substance of the bill. I find it rather odd that the Bloc supports the government's attempt to stop any possibility of debating the substance of the bill.
No one in the House can accuse the Liberals of not supporting the proposal to abolish one-sixth accelerated parole for white collar criminals. Two years ago, my colleague from Bourassa, our candidate in Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, and the member for Lac-Saint-Louis participated in a press conference with a number of Earl Jones' victims to urge the government to quickly introduce a bill to eliminate eligibility for one-sixth accelerated parole for white collar criminals, especially those who commit major fraud and have many victims. No one can accuse the Liberals of not supporting this idea. I find it shameful that the government is making these types of accusations when it is fully aware of the Liberal position. That is my first point.
Second, I want to talk about the debate and the possibility that there will be closure. Barely seven months ago, the Bloc members rose in the House to criticize this government for doing what it is about to do with Bill C-59. The government had moved a motion to prevent debate. The Bloc member for Saint-Maurice—Champlain rose in the House last June to admonish the government because it moved a motion to prevent debate on the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act. The Bloc member for Hochelaga also rose to oppose the government's time allocation motion to prevent debate on the Jobs and Economics Growth Act, Bill C-9.
We oppose this time allocation motion because we believe that this is an important matter. In addition, the Liberals have been asking the government for two years to abolish one-sixth accelerated parole for white collar criminals such as Earl Jones, Vincent Lacroix and others. I find it regrettable that the Conservatives are trying to make people believe that the Liberals do not care about the victims. That is not true.
As I mentioned, when the government introduced Bill C-21 regarding white collar criminals and it was sent to committee, I proposed an amendment to eliminate the one-sixth accelerated parole rule for white collar criminals. The Conservative and Bloc members defeated the motion.
It is a matter of responsibility. Every member has the right to speak about the bills that the government introduces in the House. This is an extremely important issue.
We would like to hear from experts. It is possible that experts will tell us that we should eliminate the possibility of parole after one-sixth of a sentence for white collar criminals who committed a crime over a certain amount or if there were multiple victims. But for white collar crime that is not fraud, we believe evidence shows that parole after one-sixth of the sentence is served is very effective and that the recidivism rate is lower. I do not know. With this motion to limit debate, we will perhaps never know before we are asked to vote on this bill.
The Liberals are against this motion to limit debate. It is not justified, and we are sorry to see that the Bloc has decided to join the Conservatives to limit debate on this bill. As for the substance of the bill, up until today, no one could accuse the Liberals of not showing their support for eliminating the one-sixth accelerated parole rule for white collar criminals.
December 2nd, 2009 / 4:15 p.m.
Daniel Petit Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Good morning, Mr. Minister.
Mr. Minister, I often reiterate that two or three months ago when you and the Prime Minister were here, we met people who had been scammed, robbed or bilked by what are known as white-collar criminals. They subsequently came to give evidence. They spoke to us and you greeted them. They then told us that they were almost insulted that those people had the charge stayed at some point, as is currently the case with one of them. They were genuinely shocked, and the retiree who spoke to us, Mr. Kube, said that he had lost his faith in the justice system. We have to restore people's trust in the justice system.
I think this is an important element. This is my first comment, and I am a bit disappointed, because Bill C-9, which I worked on with my colleagues, was completely gutted the last time. I could not believe it, and I remember that in Montreal around the same time, there were seven or eight home invasions for which people were given suspended sentences because it was their first offence and they did not hit anyone. Yet they entered someone's home at night. The people were afraid.
I would like to know if, in your opinion, Bill C-42 can restore the faith of those who in reality are good people but are literally being assaulted by there criminals, both economically and in their private home.
Ending Conditional Sentences for Property and Other Serious Crimes Act
October 26th, 2009 / 12:50 p.m.
Gord Brown Leeds—Grenville, ON
Mr. Speaker, once again the hon. member has asked the question about the cost. I do not know whether members might have asked him how much his bill would cost. What is the cost in terms of dealing with child pornography?
Once again, I go back to the real question. What is the cost to society of not taking these types of action? What is the cost to society of not putting in place the deterrents to stop these types of action?
I have laid out that the original bill, as amended, was $10.7 million and that Bill C-9, as it was originally introduced, was $21.7 million.
There will be some costs, but these are costs that the people of Canada expect the government to pay.
Ending Conditional Sentences for Property and Other Serious Crimes Act
October 26th, 2009 / 12:50 p.m.
Gord Brown Leeds—Grenville, ON
Mr. Speaker, my constituents, and I am sure his constituents in Mississauga South, feel that we should spend the money to implement these changes.
I am just looking at some of the numbers that were provided before, when Bill C-9 was going through the House. The cost, ultimately, was amended to $10.7 million. However, the cost for the original Bill C-9 was $21.7 million. So, I know that Canadians expect their tax dollars to be used wisely, and I know that my constituents expect us to spend money on these types of things.
May 14th, 2009 / 3:15 p.m.
The Speaker Peter Milliken
Order, please. I have the honour to inform the House that a communication has been received as follows:
May 14, 2009
I have the honour to inform you that the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, signified royal assent by written declaration to the bills listed in the schedule to this letter on the 14th day of May, 2009 at 2:33 p.m.
The schedule indicates the bills assented to were Bill C-5, An Act to amend the Indian Oil and Gas Act--Chapter 7; Bill S-3, An Act to amend the Energy Efficiency Act--Chapter 8; and Bill C-9, An Act to amend the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992--Chapter 9.
Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992
May 14th, 2009 / 10:10 a.m.
Marine Liability Act
May 13th, 2009 / 5:10 p.m.
Dennis Bevington Western Arctic, NT
Madam Speaker, I thank all those who applauded me from across the House. That is very nice. It really speaks to the goodwill that came out of the transport committee in bringing forward the third reading of this bill to amend the Marine Liability Act.
I may not have served as much time as many of my august compatriots on the transport committee but in the time I have been here I did feel that this bill was a good example of parliamentarians working carefully on a bill that had very little partisan aspects to it and very little ideology. It is a pretty straightforward bill that would put into place certain international conventions and then ratify them. These conventions have been around for a very long time in which Canadian law has picked up, in one way or the other, over that time and there are provisions within those conventions.
The bulk of the bill's importance was within the conventions but that did not necessarily translate into the time the committee spent on those particular aspects of it. More of the committee's time was spent on the Adventure Tourism aspect of it and the opportunities for establishing liens against foreign vessels in Canadian waters.
The committee's work should be applauded by all members of the House because it does represent good work together. However, it is not like this committee does this all the time. We have differences. Quite clearly, the debate that took place over Bill C-9, the amendments to the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, showed that when the issues are controversial and they speak to differences in ideological direction on the committee there will be a healthy debate and a strong presence by all parties.
The functioning of the committee is good but this is a committee that is also in charge of infrastructure. What I have seen here on the committee is a failure to deal with infrastructure issues. We saw that quite clearly with a vote at the last committee meeting on a motion brought forward by a Liberal member to examine right away the aspects of the infrastructure stimulus moneys that had been put forward in the budget. The motion was defeated because there was a reluctance on the part of two of the parties to deal with a very important part of parliamentary business, for which this committee is responsible. The committee has a responsibility to Canadians to ensure that the work that is going on under the infrastructure stimulus program is well understood and well expressed in the committee.
I find that these types of issues sometime need to come back to Parliament as well. We need to have exposure of what we are doing on the committee in order for the committee to work properly and for individual members on the committee representing their parties to understand that there is are reactions to the positions they take.
I was quite willing to accept that with Bill C-9. I had to come and stand up again in Parliament to debate amendments to try to bring sense to the bill as I saw it. I exposed the workings of the bill because I considered it inappropriate but I suffered the consequences in the vote and did not get what I wanted. Nonetheless, the House understood what was going on in the committee and it understood what was happening with the bill, which is a better situation for everyone. Infrastructure is important and I hope the committee will come around, as it has come around with Bill C-7, to work on the issues that are important and in front of the committee.
I mentioned earlier that two aspects of the bill were under some degree of scrutiny and that they were clearly understood by the committee as to their impact on citizens in Canada. The impact of ratifying conventions when enormous sums of money may or may not be utilized for the purposes of cleaning up oil spills or other types of pollution that occur in waterways was probably not that well understood by the committee and we simply accepted the good advice that came from a variety of witnesses and experts in international law who gave us the assurance that these larger issues matched up to what was good for Canada.
There is background to this. In May 2005, Transport Canada put forward a marine law reform discussion paper in which many of the points in the bill were brought out so that the legal communities had many years to take a look at it and understand what was happening with the larger conventions.
When it comes to the smaller issues, such as Adventure Tourism, there were many more grounds for improvement in the bill and the government, in bringing forward a number of amendments, admitted that, which was a good step forward. We have come to a better understanding of how Adventure Tourism waivers will work in the system and how this bill would enhance the ability of the industry, which is not a huge industry and a very seasonal industry.
I understand the Adventure Tourism industry because in my hometown of Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, we have probably one of the largest whitewater rivers in Canada with class six rapids. For many years we had Adventure Tourism with rubber rafts on that river but the nature of the risk involved with these rubber rafts, bringing people in and putting them on the river, made the business of Adventure Tourism very difficult and expensive to operate.
Adventure Tourism is not a gold mine of opportunity and the cost of insurance is a drag on the system. The opportunity to use waivers to allow people to engage in Adventure Tourism is with the understanding that they take on the risk themselves for the activity that they are involved in as long as the operator provides a certain measure of safe conditions, equipment, professional conduct and trained guides. When those are in place, the waivers are acceptable and there is a prior understanding by the people involved in the Adventure Tourism that the waivers are something they can either accept or not participate in the activity. They have that knowledge prior to showing up at the river's edge with their families for the Adventure Tourism opportunity.
All of those things were discussed. We went through them in detail in committee and heard from many witnesses and I think we came to a satisfactory solution on Adventure Tourism. However, this would be the third attempt by Parliament to come to grips with it. There was a law in place prior to 2000, then another law was put in place in 2000 and now we have another law in 2009. This subject is not perfect and will not likely to be perfect but it is the third iteration of the understanding of the nature of the liability that Adventure Tourism operators take on.
This subject is not perfect, and not likely to be perfect, but this is the third iteration of the understanding of the nature of the liability that adventure tourism operators take on. We worked on it and I think in all conscience all parties tried to come to a good understanding on this issue.
Then we took on another issue that was controversial, and a number lawyers were present to debate this with us. This issue was the nature of maritime liens and whether maritime liens, as outlined in the bill, would be effective to ensure Canadian suppliers would get their money out of foreign boats before they escaped to the high seas.
There was considerable debate on this. There was a sense that if we gave it to the lawyers, it might not be good enough because lawyers might not be available, their fees might be too high, the timing might not work right and the foreign vessel would escape Canadian waters and the Canadian supplier would be out the dollars for whatever type of provision had been given to the boat. There were differences of opinion on it, but they were differences of opinion that were primarily technical. They were not going to stop a ship supplier from putting a lien against a boat. They might make it a little more difficult, they might make it expensive, but it was there for the ship supplier to do it.
This was the compromise we finally achieved in putting the bill forward to Parliament. My Liberal colleagues made valiant presentations about the nature of the lien and the nature of work of lawyers, and I thank them for that. The Liberal Party is well supported by lawyers. They like those intricate details of how these things work. I appreciate the work they did. I think we have came to a solution on that one.
The bill is now before us. The good work of the transport committee in agreeing to put the bill forward, with the unanimous support for it at the end, suggests it should pass through Parliament just like a foreign vessel slipping out of Canadian waters without paying its bill.
We are not at the end of debate at the transport committee. We saw this in the previous Parliament when the safety management system in the bill to amend the Aeronautics Act was fought tooth and nail by my party, and to good success. We kept it from coming back and being foisted upon the Canadian public in a fashion that it could have been without the hard work of the New Democratic Party. We stood day after day and debated the issue to ensure it did not go forward.
That kind of work will continue in the transport committee when the occasion requires it. At this point in time, though, we can be congratulatory and we can be happy about the work we have done. Parliament now has the opportunity to move forward in a consensual fashion with the Marine Liability Act.
Human Pathogens and Toxins Act
April 30th, 2009 / 1:35 p.m.
Judy Wasylycia-Leis Winnipeg North, MB
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to address this House on Bill C-11. First, I want to thank Bloc Québécois members for their contribution to the debate on this legislation. They did a lot of work. We proposed many changes to this bill.
We too, like the Bloc, have many issues with this legislation. However, unlike the Bloc, the NDP has proposed some changes. In fact, Bloc members opposed the proposals that we made in committee.
Moreover, we proposed an amendment to this bill, dealing precisely with the issue raised by the Bloc Québécois member today. We proposed an amendment to eliminate human pathogens. That is exactly what we did, but the Bloc said no. That is the only thing that researchers and members of the scientific community asked for. That is precisely what we tried to do, but we did not succeed because of the Bloc's opposition. It is as simple as that.
I want to be absolutely clear. We have some problems with this bill and, like the Bloc, we listened to witnesses and, since they were opposed to this legislation, we proposed amendments to it. Two of our three amendments were accepted by the committee and by all the members of the parties sitting in this House. We accomplished a couple of important things, such as asking that regulations be presented to the House of Commons, for monitoring purposes.
That is something we always ask for regarding any legislation. It is absolutely critical to ask that government regulations be referred to the Standing Committee on Health and to the House of Commons. That is what we accomplished. This is not a Bloc proposal. It is an NDP proposal, and the Bloc supported these amendments. So, this is very important, and it is something that we achieved.
We also dealt with the Bloc's concerns through another amendment that I am going to read. This is precisely the proposal that the Bloc rejected. It reads as follows:
That Bill C-11, in Clause 7, be amended by adding after line 22 on page 5 the following:
(c) any activity involving a micro-organism, nucleic acid or protein that falls into Risk Group 2, if the person who conducts the activity provides the following elements to the Minister:
(i) the location of the places where the activity is conducted and the name of a contact person, and
(ii) a signed document certifying that the activity is conducted in accordance with the Laboratory Biosafety Guidelines of the Public Health Agency of Canada.
This is an amendment that all scientific researchers asked for, in order to eliminate human pathogens that fall into risk group 2, and we made that proposal. Bloc members voted against it and now we have a bill that includes all human pathogens that fall in risk group 2.
It has to be pretty clear about what we do in the House and how we accomplish change. The government's job is to bring forward a bill. Yes, it made many mistakes in this case because it claimed to have done all kinds of consultations and to have done a thorough analysis of this area and the government was prepared to tell us that the whole community supported it. The government did not tell us the truth. It did not do the proper consultations because the minute Bill C-11 was tabled, we were inundated with concerns from scientists and researchers that research in this country would be denied. They were concerned that research would be cut off and would not be undertaken because people would be very concerned that they would fall under this criminal rubric and be subject to all kinds of criminal penalties because of their laboratory work with level 2 pathogens.
We accepted the arguments the researchers and scientists made, which was that there has to be a differentiation between the different levels of toxins and pathogens. Therefore, we proposed an amendment to do just that.
Many of the scientists we heard from said that the work that was done by the government's amendment was a step in the right direction and they also said that the proposition we had made was a good one. Yet the Bloc accepted neither.
Our job is not to do the job of government. Our job is to amend and change the bills it brings before us. We cannot simply say every time we do not like something that we are going to send it back and start all over again.
In this case we heard multiple times from those witnesses. Some of us called them and spoke to them individually apart from the discussions at committee. It was clear that this issue about including level 2 pathogens in this whole umbrella of punitive measures around safety in our laboratories was a major concern and had to be addressed.
Many of them said as we went through the process that they could live with the government's amendment. We did not think that was good enough and we proposed one step further. That was the one that was rejected by the Liberals because they were not part of the discussion at all, but most surprisingly it was rejected by the Bloc members. This actually would have addressed their concerns.
We did our best. We put the proposal on the table and we were turned down. We did our part to try to make this a better bill but it is certainly not our job to hold up everything ad infinitum because we did not get our way. We do our best to work within a minority Parliament. We work to make changes and that is exactly what we did. We accomplished two important changes. We did not get the third change. We will continue to find ways to address the concerns raised by scientists and researchers.
It is very important to note that the NDP's amendment to get all regulations before the House is a significant breakthrough. The Bloc members are quite right when they ask how we can vote for something when we do not know the regulations. We deal with that each and every day. Every time we have a piece of legislation we deal with it.
We did it with Bill C-9. That bill deals with the transportation of dangerous goods. It is a very similar situation to this bill dealing with laboratories handling dangerous toxins and pathogens. We tried through a motion to get the House to amend that bill to ensure that all regulations would go before the committee. Where were the Bloc members on that? Where were the Bloc members on each and every other bill where we were trying to get regulations under the purview of the House and we raised concerns about the discretion of the minister and the latitude he or she may have in terms of implementing a bill and for which we do not know the full consequences? It is a legitimate concern but the normal parliamentary way is to amend a bill so that the regulations go to committee.
Now, all regulations for this bill will come before committee as a result of the NDP amendment before the bill is finally approved. It may not be perfect. It may mean the Conservative government can still try to do some things for which it has no authority and where it is taking advantage of grey areas in the bill, but we have a major role to play in terms of overseeing the regulations before allowing the bill to go any further. I think it is important to note all of that.
I will talk a bit about the bill as a whole and put it in the context of the present swine influenza outbreak because the two are very much connected.
We are talking about the precautionary principle in whatever we do. One of the fundamental principles behind Bill C-11 is that Canadians, health workers and all who come into contact with pathogens and toxins are safe beyond a reasonable doubt. Our first premise in dealing with the bill was to ensure that this safety provision was a part of it, but not in any way that would try to prevent research in important areas. We did not get what we wanted on that bill, but we made a good try.
With respect to the do no harm principle in the current context of the swine influenza outbreak, it is important to note that, because we have such capable and competent individuals in our national laboratories, especially our level 5 laboratory in Winnipeg, the National Microbiology Laboratory, we can feel somewhat confident that scientists are doing their job, ensuring that Canadians are protected in the event of a pandemic and that work in labs for which they have oversight are operating according to the highest principles and standards.
In that context, I want to single out Dr. Frank Plummer. He was the individual to whom Mexicans sent their concerns and samples once this soon-to-be-identified swine influenza broke out in Mexico. Dr. Frank Plummer and his team identified this new strain, which became known as the swine influenza. This laboratory is overseeing much of the work in this area. In fact, it is working very stringently on the development of a vaccine, which could happen, as reports show today, much sooner than actually expected. There could be a vaccine developed within a couple of weeks for the swine influenza, thanks to the work of Dr. Frank Plummer and his whole team of scientists and their collaboration with the CDC in the United States, with public health agencies across the country and with public health officers in every province and territory.
I want to mention the work of Dr. Frank Plummer because he also helped us identify the issue around listeriosis. Through Dr. Frank Plummer, the electronic surveillance system detected the listeriosis outbreak. We were able then to take measures to deal with this very serious pathogen and ensure further containment of it.
Dr. Frank Plummer is known to us all for his work, especially, in the area of HIV and AIDS. He is one of the internationally renowned scientists who have done leading and groundbreaking research in getting to the bottom of HIV and AIDS. He has been recognized for that work in many parts of the world. In fact, as members will know, he was recently appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada. Probably more important than anything, he was inducted into the Royal Society of Canada. He has received a grant from the Grand Challenges in Global Health, an initiative of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which continues studies on HIV resistance and work on the HIV vaccine. He was named Canada research chair of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and has been elected to the American Society of Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians, and I could go on.
We are talking about someone who is world renowned, who is providing groundbreaking research on new unidentified pathogens and toxins. He has been behind the developments around listeriosis. Now he has been identified as the key researcher with respect to the swine influenza. He will ensure that we have a vaccine for that latest epidemic in short order.
He is a person with whom we consulted regularly throughout the debate. He took the time to come to our committees, along with Dr. Butler-Jones, the head of the Public Health Agency of Canada. As a result of their efforts, particularly Dr. Frank Plummer's, we were able to get a better handle on the nature of level 2 pathogens versus level 3 and level 4 pathogens and, in fact, begin the process of trying to put in place a modified regime with respect to level 2 pathogens so research would not be stymied and scientists would not feel any encumbrances around their work.
That has been accomplished, in part, thanks to all the scientists who came before us. They were very vigilant in their work at our committee. In fact, I want to mention the efforts by a number of them with respect to this bill, as the Bloc also referred to, and indicate that they were instrumental in our understanding of this whole area.
I hope the government has learned some lessons from Bill C-11, that it must ensure thorough consultations before it proceeds with legislation. I am glad it listened to some of our amendments. I hope it will take seriously our concerns about the regulations and will act quickly and promptly to bring those regulations before the House.
We have the unfortunate example of human reproductive technologies legislation that was passed by the House some five years ago. It still has not been finally approved, nor are the regulations forthcoming. Here is an area where changes are happening every day, by the minute. There are all kinds of concerns about the new groundbreaking innovations in fertility treatments as well as concerns with respect to identity of anonymous sperm donations. Back five or six years ago, our committee tried to address numerous concerns and provide good advice to the government. We are still waiting for those regulations.
We hope the government has learned something from this most recent chapter in its legislative pursuit around protecting Canadians and has learned the lessons from the witnesses we heard at our committee. We hope it will ensure that all legislation brought to the House in the future is done so only after thorough consultation with stakeholders has been provided and with all regard for and taking into account the concerns raised by those people most directly affected by this legislation.
The government has failed to do that in this case and we have ended up with less than perfect legislation.
We are prepared to support the bill in the final analysis. I know Bloc members will go into conniptions over that. We believe we have done our job in trying to improve the bill. We have spoken to the same scientists they mentioned in the debates. We believe we have addressed their concerns, to a large measure, through the amendments to the bill by the government and then by ourselves.
We know it is a less than perfect legislation. There will be concerns identified along the way. We will ensure, through the regulatory process, absolute vigilance and complete oversight to ensure the government is true to its word about bringing forward regulations that meet the specific concerns of the scientists, researchers and laboratory workers.
We will hold the government to account every step of the way to ensure the health and safety of Canadian researchers, laboratory workers and patients are always at the top of the equation and that nothing in the legislation gets in the way of good research and groundbreaking scientific endeavour.
We will continue to raise the need for more government assistance, not less as was the case with the government in the last budget. I think all scientists were shocked by the cutbacks to research. They are crying for the government to pay attention to the need for Canada to be involved in the continuation of groundbreaking research and investigative studies, which will enhance the health and well-being of all Canadians.
April 28th, 2009 / 3:35 p.m.
John Baird Ottawa West—Nepean, ON
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Committee members, I'm very pleased to be here today with my cabinet colleague, Rob Merrifield. You've already done me the pleasure of introducing our officials from both Transport Canada and Infrastructure Canada.
I also want to tell you that we're looking into the Brandon airport project, which I know you've been working hard on.
I want to begin by thanking the committee for its work over the past several months. A number of important pieces of legislation, such as Bill C-9, the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, and Bill C-3, the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act, have progressed through this committee since February of this year. I appreciate the time and effort each of you has put into this achievement.
We're here to facilitate discussion and to help answer any questions you may have regarding the main estimates for both Transport Canada and Infrastructure Canada.
The actions taken by our government through the spending outlined in the estimates are contributing to cleaner air and water, to safer roads, and to more prosperous and livable communities. We are focusing our efforts on key actions and key infrastructure investments that will stimulate the economy, create jobs, and support Canadian families.
The 2009-2010 main estimates show significant investments through Transport Canada and Infrastructure Canada in the upcoming year, when our economy will need them the most. And we are working collaboratively with provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to help ensure there is three times more money flowing into the economy for more projects and more jobs.
We have accomplished a great deal since the meeting of first ministers in January. At that meeting, we agreed to a five-point action plan to accelerate infrastructure investments.
In keeping with this plan, we have amended the Navigable Waters Protection Act, reduced duplication of federal and provincial environmental assessments, and streamlined our own federal approval processes.
Our government, led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, is also delivering on our economic action plan to stimulate economic growth, create jobs, and support Canadian families.
Within weeks of the budget being tabled, we approved more than 500 projects, valued at $1.5 billion, in small communities in various parts of Canada. We announced major projects, with a total federal contribution of almost $1 billion—$980 million to be exact—including the Evergreen Transit Line in the great city of Vancouver; the Edmonton southwest ring road; GO Transit improvements in the province of Ontario; and the expansion of a drinking water facility in Lévis, Quebec. And we have flowed over $307 million to provinces and territories under the provincial-territorial base initiative.
I would also note that when this new fiscal year began, we accelerated the first payments to cities of the federal gas revenue transfer. The first payment was issued within days of the start of the fiscal year. We will flow another $1 billion to municipalities later this year, because, I am proud to say, this fund has now doubled to $2 billion per year. It will remain at that level beyond 2014, when it becomes a permanent measure. Municipalities across the country will benefit from this additional funding now and for years to come.
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities recently noted that “The Government of Canada and all parliamentarians deserve recognition and thanks for their ongoing support...and the working partnership they have forged with Canada's municipalities.”
Our economic action plan made available nearly $12 billion in federal money for new infrastructure stimulus funding over two years. This includes infrastructure funds for which I am responsible: the $4 billion infrastructure stimulus fund and the $1 billion green infrastructure fund, and accelerated payments under the provincial-territorial base fund.
I have to tell you that we are working incredibly well with our provincial partners to help maximize those investments; I cannot put too fine a point on this. Premier McGuinty of Ontario, Premier Gordon Campbell of British Columbia, Premier Gary Doer of Manitoba, and Premier Charest are among those who are showing leadership in Canada's collective response to the global economic crisis. They are responding to the call for governments to put aside partisanship and political games and to work collectively for the benefit of Canadians and job creation in our economy.
There are several examples I would like to cite. Recently, my Ontario counterpart, Minister George Smitherman, and I sent a joint letter to Ontario municipalities, outlining our non-partisan approach to infrastructure development and the importance of these significant investments as a stimulus to our economy. We are working in lockstep to fully allocate funding for the communities component under the Building Canada fund. Strong provincial partnerships also allow us to put the infrastructure stimulus fund into action. We're providing more than $100 million from this fund to British Columbia's community infrastructure projects.
In the province of Quebec, we invested $700 million in a program to address water quality and repair sewers.
Mayors across Ontario are quickly preparing their stimulus fund applications, which are due by the end of this week.
Under our Building Canada plan, the provincial-territorial base fund was established to provide predictable funding of $25 million over seven years, with a total of $175 million per jurisdiction by 2014. We will be accelerating this funding where provinces and territories can match it by working to provide $175 million over the next two years. We have great pickup from that around the country. I'm also happy to say that several are taking advantage of this and investing more money in the economy as a whole.
Another major priority of this portfolio is to ensure that our transportation system is safe and secure. I'm pleased to report to the committee that, following the most recent Auditor General's report and the chapter on national security, an agreement was signed between Transport Canada and the RCMP. This will expand criminal background checks for transportation and security clearance applicants to include more intelligence data from more sources. This will allow us to better beat back criminals who may attempt to infiltrate our airports and will allow us to keep Canadian travellers secure.
Canada is a trading nation, and the importance of ensuring that Canada has an economically effective and efficient transportation system cannot be understated. We're focused on ensuring that this is the case while we work to ensure that the stimulus projects can be implemented quickly to get shovels in the ground and jobs created. These strategic and targeted investments will provide a much-needed shot in the arm for the Canadian economy.
The main estimates before us are directly linked to addressing the economic challenges that confront our nation and indeed all nations.
I look forward to chatting with you today. I'll turn it over to Minister Merrifield.