Offshore Health and Safety Act
An Act to amend the Canada-Newfoundland Atlantic Accord Implementation Act, the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act and other Acts and to provide for certain other measures
Joe Oliver Conservative
Introduction and First Reading
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Extension of Sitting Hours
May 21st, 2013 / 12:35 p.m.
Peter Van Loan York—Simcoe, ON
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.
Canadians expect their members of Parliament to work hard and get things done on their behalf.
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.
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.
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.
We also want to support veterans and their families by improving the determination of veterans' benefits.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
Business of the House
May 9th, 2013 / 3:05 p.m.
Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons
Mr. Speaker, this afternoon we will continue the debate on today’s opposition motion from the NDP. Pursuant to the rules of the House, time is allocated and there will be a vote after the two-day debate.
Tomorrow we will resume the third reading debate on Bill S-9, the Nuclear Terrorism Act. As I mentioned on Monday, I am optimistic that we will pass that important bill this week.
Should we have extra time on Friday, we will take up Bill C-48, the Technical Tax Amendments Act, 2012, at report stage and third reading.
When we come back from constituency week, I am keen to see the House make a number of accomplishments for Canadians. Allow me to make it clear to the House what the government's priorities are.
Our government will continue to focus on jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. In doing that, we will be working on reforming the temporary foreign worker program to put the interests of Canadians first; implementing tax credits for Canadians who donate to charity and parents who adopt; extending tax credits for Canadians who take care of loved ones in their homes; supporting veterans and their families by improving the balance for determining veterans' benefits; moving closer to equality for Canadians living on reserves through better standards for drinking water, which my friend apparently objects to; giving women on reserves the rights and protections that other Canadian women have had for decades, something to which he also objects; and keeping our streets and communities safer by making real improvements to the witness protection program. We will of course do more.
Before we rise for the summer, we will tackle the bills currently listed on the order paper, as well as any new bills which might get introduced. After Victoria Day, we will give priority consideration to bills which have already been considered by House committees.
For instance, we will look at Bill C-48, which I just mentioned, Bill C-51, the Safer Witnesses Act, Bill C-52, the Fair Rail Freight Service Act, and Bill S-2, the Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act, which I understand could be reported back soon.
I look forward also to getting back from committee and passing Bill C-60, , the economic action plan 2013 act, no. 1; Bill S-8, the safe drinking water for first nations act; and Bill C-21, the political loans accountability act.
We have, of course, recently passed Bill C-15, the strengthening military justice in the defence of Canada act and Bill S-7, the combating terrorism act. Hopefully, tomorrow we will pass Bill S-9, the nuclear terrorism act.
Finally, we will also work toward second reading of several bills including: Bill C-12, the safeguarding Canadians' personal information act; Bill C-49, the Canadian museum of history act; Bill C-54, the not criminally responsible reform act; Bill C-56, the combating counterfeit products act; Bill C-57, the safeguarding Canada's seas and skies act; Bill C-61, the offshore health and safety act; Bill S-6, the first nations elections act; Bill S-10, the prohibiting cluster munitions act; Bill S-12, the incorporation by reference in regulations act; Bill S-13, the port state measures agreement implementation act; Bill S-14, the fighting foreign corruption act; Bill S-15, the expansion and conservation of Canada’s national parks act, which establishes Sable Island National Park; and Bill S-17, the tax conventions implementation act, 2013.
I believe and I think most Canadians who send us here expect us to do work and they want to see us vote on these things and get things done. These are constructive measures to help all Canadians and they certainly expect us to do our job and actually get to votes on these matters.
I hope we will be able to make up enough time to take up all of these important bills when we come back, so Canadians can benefit from many parliamentary accomplishments by the members of Parliament they have sent here this spring.
Before taking my seat, let me formally designate, pursuant to Standing Order 81(4)(a), Tuesday, May 21, as the day appointed for the consideration in a committee of the whole of all votes under Natural Resources in the main estimates for the final year ending March 31, 2014. This would be the second of two such evenings following on tonight's proceedings.
Offshore Health and Safety Act
May 2nd, 2013 / 10 a.m.
Gerry Ritz Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-61, An Act to amend the Canada-Newfoundland Atlantic Accord Implementation Act, the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act and other Acts and to provide for certain other measures.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)