House of Commons photo

Track Colin

Your Say

Elsewhere

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is environmental.

Conservative MP for Oshawa (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 51.30% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Rouge National Urban Park Act June 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, again the premise of the member's question is incorrect. If he had listened to my speech, he would have heard that what we are putting forward would offer the most protection that this area has ever been given.

There appear to be certain single-focus groups out there that may or may not have some misunderstanding of what exactly is going on with the new act. The individual he mentioned did take the time to come down and was there on Monday. I had the opportunity to speak with him, and I will be meeting with him in the near future to help answer many of the questions.

I am very pleased that all of these different groups have done a lot of good work to make this day happen. It is unfortunate that the NDP, the no development party, would even be against the development of the Rouge Park in the way it has been agreed upon. This is a historic agreement. All levels of government and all stakeholders are happy about it. The only people who are not, I guess, are the members of the opposition.

Rouge National Urban Park Act June 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague from Kootenay—Columbia for the question and also for all the good work he does in his community. He lives in one of the most beautiful places in Canada, and he is very committed to conserving Canada's environment.

The Rouge national urban park would support the key pillars of the national conservation plan by taking practical action to connect Canadians to nature, restore Canada's ecosystems, and contribute to the conservation of Canada's lands and waters. Situated close to 20% of Canada's population, the park would provide a great place for Canadians to connect with nature, culture, and agriculture without having to travel far from home.

This park, as I said in my speech, has about 1,700 species of plants and animals, several of which are rare or threatened. Parks Canada would apply its world-leading expertise in conservation and restoration and work with partners to ensure Rouge's precious ecosystem, plants, and animals are cared for, maintained, and restored for present and future generations.

Rouge National Urban Park Act June 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the critic for the Liberal Party. At least he took the time to attend the briefing yesterday. However, I do believe his question was answered at the briefing.

The member may or may not be aware that when transferring lands from different levels of government, the process requires something to transfer them to. As I have said, we have got agreement with different levels of government to move forward in this way. The member is correct in that once the act were passed, there would be a certain amount of land, and once there were an official entity to which to transfer the lands, then the other levels of government and other entities would be able to transfer this way.

As I said, one of the things we should be very proud of is that this would be 25% bigger than the area that is there now, and it would be a parcel of land 16 times greater than the size of Central Park in New York City. This is historic. Unfortunately, it has taken a long time.

I agree with the member's former leader, Mr. Ignatieff, who said when it comes to the environmental files, “We didn't get it done”. This is other proof that the Liberals did not get it done. We are getting it done for Canadians.

Rouge National Urban Park Act June 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am very disappointed that the critic for the NDP did not take the time to actually read the bill. As she said, it was tabled on Friday. As she quite rightly stated, there was a briefing yesterday, and unfortunately, she could not make the time to attend that. The answers to her questions would have been in there. If she had listened to my speech, she would have actually heard that the bill would provide the greatest protection that the Rouge has ever had in its history.

One of our priorities is to make sure we protect our environment for our future. As I said in my opening remarks, this has been a 30-year task. It has been 30 years in the making between all levels of government, and I must say, I am very pleased and I am very thankful for all levels of government—federal, provincial, and municipal—and all the stakeholders who have come together to make this a reality.

This is truly a historic moment for Canada. This is a unique park that is the first one in an urban area. It is a model, and it would be treated slightly differently because of the realities that are presented in the park. For example, there are things called highways. That is called development. There are things called hydro corridors. There are things called railways. These are developments that are in place.

Unfortunately, the NDP, instead of being known as the New Democratic Party, is now being known as the no development party, because it seems New Democrats are against everything.

Rouge National Urban Park Act June 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it is truly an honour and a privilege for me to speak in support of the bill to establish Rouge national urban park in the Greater Toronto Area. This park celebrates and protects, for current and future generations, a diverse landscape in Canada's largest metropolitan area. It offers engaging and varied experiences. It inspires personal connections to its natural beauty and rich history and promotes a vibrant farming community. In close proximity to 20% of Canada's population, the park includes more than 10,000 years of rich human history.

The national park would increase the size of the regional park by 25%, making it more than 13 times the size of Stanley Park in Vancouver and 16 times the size of Central Park in New York.

As Canada's first ever national urban park, the Rouge offers an unprecedented opportunity to support all three priorities of our government's national conservation plan: to connect Canadians to nature and to restore and conserve the parks' ecosystems and cultural resources.

We can all be proud that this legislation would create a remarkable new entity, one located within Canada's largest and most culturally diverse metropolis. This vast area would be an extraordinary mix of natural, cultural, and agricultural lands. Given its close proximity to one-fifth of Canada's population, the park would be easily accessible for people in the Greater Toronto Area.

This legislation would establish the Rouge national urban park as a new model of protected area in Canada. The park owes its very existence to local visionaries and stewards, citizens, organizations, governments, and countless volunteers. Our government is proud to pay tribute to the nearly 30 years of hard work and determination in building one of the largest urban parks in the world. We also want to acknowledge the over 100 provincial, municipal, aboriginal, and community stakeholders, and thousands of members of the public, who contributed to the vision and plans for Canada's first urban national park.

As hon. members will observe, the bill provides a new framework that would enable Parks Canada to manage the park's natural, cultural, and agricultural resources and to recognize the opportunities and challenges that its urban context brings. Home to nearly 1,700 species of plants and animals, several of which are rare or threatened, Parks Canada would apply its world-leading expertise in conservation and restoration and work with partners to ensure Rouge's ecosystems, plants, and animals are cared for, maintained, and restored for present and future generations.

The Rouge national urban park act would provide broad regulatory powers to address all aspects of park management. A flexible management approach is needed to meet future infrastructure. The minister of the environment, through Parks Canada, would be able to protect and present this unique place that encompasses deep river valleys and glacial features, thousands of species of plants and animals, farmlands, archeological resources, built heritage, and cultural landscapes.

I want to emphasize that the park's tradition of agriculture is a unique feature among Canadian protected heritage areas. The presence of working farms would be integral to the future success of this park. People would continue to live and work on the park's agricultural landscape, as many families have done since the late 1700s. The national urban park status would also bring a new sense of security to the park farming community. Parks Canada would become the landlord of all existing leases on transferred lands and is working closely with the farming community to develop a lease structure that supports long-term farming. There is a real potential for visitors to connect with farming as it exists now, as well as opportunities for new types of farming to serve the growing and increasingly diverse population of the Greater Toronto Area.

The legislation would ensure that all these natural, cultural, and agricultural landscapes are protected and managed in an integrated way to the benefit of Canadians, now and for generations to come. In fact, the bill would give the Rouge the highest level of ecological protection it has ever had. The management plan would permit the minister to present a comprehensive conservation approach. This would be based on the most up-to-date science expertise and experience, drawn from the entire system of national protected areas.

The approach to management planning would strive to maximize the ecosystem health of the park by maintaining and restoring its native Carolinian and Mixedwood Plains forests, and wetland meadow and aquatic ecosystems. The approach to the ecosystem health envisioned in the bill for the Rouge would take into account the park's increasingly urban surroundings and the working farms, roads, rail lines, and hydro corridors. The bill recognizes that this dynamic urban and agricultural context has long driven change, both within and around the park, and it would continue to do so.

The agency would therefore manage the park, but in an adaptive way, maximizing ecosystem health in these ever-changing conditions. Working with people living next to and in the park would be an essential component of the management approach. The park lessee community and the park stewardship volunteers would play an important role in maintaining ecosystem health, visitor experience, and cultural heritage.

Our government's long-standing commitment to first nations involvement in protected heritage places would also play an important role in this park. The new status for the Rouge would facilitate first nations celebrations of their historical roots in this park. The bill contains a provision that would respect traditional renewable resource harvesting activities by aboriginal people. The bill would also respect the rights of aboriginal people in the event of any future agreement for the settlement of land claims.

As the House knows, our government made a commitment in the 2012 budget to invest more than $143 million over 10 years and $7.6 million annually thereafter to make Rouge national urban park a reality. This is a commitment we reasserted in the 2014 budget.

Among other things, this investment would make possible a protected area that is both larger and more strategically situated than the existing park. Increasing the park's size would also help advance the goal of connecting Lake Ontario and the Oak Ridges Moraine.

Moreover, with the creation of the Rouge national urban park we would expand the level of experiences that visitors have in the park. Residents of the greater Toronto area and all Canadians would be able to explore more areas of the larger park. This might inspire them to visit more of Canada's heritage places.

As I mentioned earlier, the creation of the Rouge national urban park supports Canada's national conservation plan. I would like to take a few minutes to explain how this plan will work.

The plan responds to a clear message from Canadians that they care deeply about the natural environment and want to enjoy and conserve it for future generations. The plan aligns and bolsters conservation efforts across this country. It protects the environment while supporting a growing economy and makes concrete and tangible progress to conserve and restore Canada's lands and waters and connect Canadians to nature.

The launch of the plan is an opportunity to continue to work together to conserve Canada's rich natural heritage. Many Canadians are already working to conserve and restore Canada's lands and waters. This includes all levels of government, aboriginal groups, environmental organizations, and the private sector, as well as many Canadians at the local level including landowners, land managers, community groups, and individuals across our great country.

The national conservation plan celebrates collective efforts to conserve the environment. It also invests $252 million toward concrete and targeted actions on conservation. This investment over five years will support and expand successful initiatives, and also broaden work through new activities.

The plan built on the announcement on the 2014 budget including measures to invest in national parks, conserve recreational fisheries, encourage donations of ecologically sensitive land, and expand recreational trails. The national conservation plan's vision is to contribute to a stronger Canada, a country that cares about the conservation of its national heritage and where citizens can enjoy the beauty of Canada's environment from coast to coast to coast.

The plan focuses on action across three priority areas: conserving Canada's lands and waters, restoring Canada's ecosystems, and connecting Canadians to nature.

The first priority, conserving Canada's lands and waters, aims to safeguard and enhance biodiversity and ecosystems through conservation and stewardship actions.

The second priority is about restoring degraded ecosystems. Once restored, these ecosystems provide clean water and habitat for wildlife and are essential for the protection and recovery of species at risk. The plan also includes $50 million in funding to expand support for landowners, aboriginal communities, agricultural producers, conservation and community groups, and other partners to voluntarily implement measures to restore and conserve essential habitat and vulnerable species.

Stakeholders have reiterated that voluntary conservation and stewardship efforts are critical to achieving Canada's conservation objectives. These restoration actions complement existing efforts by the federal government such as the cleanup of contaminated sites.

With this in mind, the national conservation plan's third priority is to connect Canadians to nature. This work will leverage existing successful initiatives to help foster an appreciation for nature and build a community of stewards among Canadians of all ages.

Investments of $9.2 million will be made to improve public access to protected areas and green spaces, focusing on those areas located in and near cities.

To conclude my remarks, the creation of this unique park, the Rouge park, will be another milestone in our government's renowned history of heritage protection. Since we formed government, we have created two national marine conservation areas, three marine protected areas, three national wildlife areas, one national historic site, and two national parks. This does not include the Rouge national urban park.

It also does not include the bill we tabled last week in the House to create the Nááts’ihch’oh national park reserve in the Northwest Territories.

We have done more than any other government. In fact, the total area of lands we have protected in this area is more than twice the size of Vancouver Island.

The Rouge park's urban setting would offer exciting unprecedented opportunities and would connect Canadians to nature, culture, and agriculture. Nowhere is there greater opportunity to showcase and share our natural and cultural heritage than the greater Toronto area, which is home to millions of urban, new, and young Canadians.

Oshawa's Fiesta Week June 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, [member spoke in foreign languages]. In my home riding of Oshawa, residents are celebrating the 40th annual Fiesta Week, one of our most popular summer events.

This past Sunday, I was proud to be part of the Fiesta Week kickoff and attended the parade and concert. This week-long celebration is a wonderful opportunity to experience the cultural diversity of Oshawa. During this week, residents of Oshawa and Durham Region are able to experience European, Asian, and Caribbean cultures and cuisines, all without having to leave our community.

With the tragic events in Ukraine over the past several months, Oshawa residents stand in solidarity with our Ukrainian community taking part in the celebration. Fiesta Week continues to be an inspiring celebration of the cultural diversity of Oshawa. I encourage everyone to participate in the festivities.

I would like to thank all the volunteers and the Oshawa Folk Arts Council who make this event possible.

[Member spoke in foreign languages]

The Environment June 13th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, Canada is a leader in the environment. What Canadians need to know is that we only account for less than 2% of global greenhouse gases. For this reason, Canada supports the international agreement on climate change that includes real action by all emitters.

In the meantime, our government is doing our part by taking action to reduce greenhouse gases in Canada. Since 2006, we invested significant funds in more efficient technologies, better infrastructure adaptation and cleaner energy. We have done it without a $20 billion carbon tax.

We are protecting the environment. Canadians want us—

The Environment June 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to protecting our environment. That is why we recently launched the new national conservation plan that will enable Canadians to conserve and restore lands and waters. It will enhance the connections between citizens and natural spaces.

We have also created two national marine conservation areas, three marine protected areas, three national wildlife areas, two national parks, and one historic site. The total area of lands we have protected is an area twice the size of Vancouver Island. We are very proud of that.

The Environment June 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Calgary Centre for the question. I want to thank her for all her good work on this file.

The actions outlined by President Obama do not go nearly as far in the electricity sector as the actions that Canada has already taken. Canada's rules are tougher and will affect new power plants sooner than regulations in the United States. We are pleased that the United States is following Canada's lead.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott agrees with our approach that we can take actions to limit emissions without destroying our economy, as the NDP would like to do. We commend the Australian government for encouraging other countries not to impose a multi-billion dollar carbon tax, which is what the Liberals and the NDP have—

The Environment June 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier, we have a balanced approach. Our priority is to protect the environment while keeping the economy strong.

We have made significant investments to begin Canada's transition to a clean energy economy and advance our climate change objectives.

The actions we have taken on climate change will bring carbon emissions down to close to 130 megatons, compared to what they would have been under the Liberal Party.

I am proud to be part of a government that is getting real results for Canadians, unlike that party that had 13 long years and did absolutely nothing about it.