An Act to amend the Fisheries Act and other Acts in consequence

Sponsor

Dominic LeBlanc  Liberal

Status

In committee (Senate), as of Dec. 11, 2018

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Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Fisheries Act to, among other things,

(a) require that, when making a decision under that Act, the Minister shall consider any adverse effects that the decision may have on the rights of the Indigenous peoples of Canada recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, include provisions respecting the consideration and protection of Indigenous knowledge of the Indigenous peoples of Canada, and authorize the making of agreements with Indigenous governing bodies to further the purpose of the Fisheries Act;

(b) add a purpose clause and considerations for decision-making under that Act;

(c) empower the Minister to establish advisory panels and to set fees, including for the provision of regulatory processes;

(d) provide measures for the protection of fish and fish habitat with respect to works, undertakings or activities that may result in the death of fish or the harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish habitat, including in ecologically significant areas, as well as measures relating to the modernization of the regulatory framework such as authorization of projects, establishment of standards and codes of practice, creation of fish habitat banks by a proponent of a project and establishment of a public registry;

(e) empower the Governor in Council to make new regulations, including regulations respecting the rebuilding of fish stocks and importation of fish;

(f) empower the Minister to make regulations for the purposes of the conservation and protection of marine biodiversity;

(g) empower the Minister to make fisheries management orders prohibiting or limiting fishing for a period of 45 days to address a threat to the proper management and control of fisheries and the conservation and protection of fish;

(h) prohibit the fishing of a cetacean with the intent to take it into captivity, unless authorized by the Minister, including when the cetacean is injured, in distress or in need of care; and

(i) update and strengthen enforcement powers, as well as establish an alternative measures agreements regime; and

(j) provide for the implementation of various measures relating to the maintenance or rebuilding of fish stocks.

The enactment also makes consequential amendments to other Acts.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

June 13, 2018 Passed Concurrence at report stage of Bill C-68, An Act to amend the Fisheries Act and other Acts in consequence
June 13, 2018 Failed Bill C-68, An Act to amend the Fisheries Act and other Acts in consequence (report stage amendment)
June 11, 2018 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-68, An Act to amend the Fisheries Act and other Acts in consequence
April 16, 2018 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-68, An Act to amend the Fisheries Act and other Acts in consequence
March 26, 2018 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-68, An Act to amend the Fisheries Act and other Acts in consequence

December 6th, 2018 / 11 a.m.
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Conservative

Randy Hoback Conservative Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Chair, first of all, I'm going to support this because I think this is very important. I think we need to send a strong signal to the stakeholders that the Prime Minister cares, is listening, and has an idea of where he wants to go and what the end looks like. I haven't heard that from him at all, other than high-level talking points.

He can do lots of things on the tariff removals. As far as the regulations and the removal of Bill C-69 and Bill C-68, for example, there are things he can do that won't cost him any money and would provide stability for small and medium-sized enterprises and the different sectors that are in crisis right now.

I think he should tell Canadians what he is prepared to do. Let's face it, if he's not going to tell us in question period, then he can come to the committee and tell us. Then, if he's not going to tell us there, I'm going to ask his constituents to ask him at every meeting he goes to, and I'm going to ask your constituents to do the same. What's the plan? That's a fair question, because they need to know.

For him to duck away from this would be really bad form. It would show really badly on him as Prime Minister and the leader of our country, and on the Liberal Party and their chances for re-election anywhere outside of maybe one or two ridings.

I would strongly encourage my friends across the aisle to get behind this and let this happen, because I think it's very important.

Opposition Motion—The EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

December 4th, 2018 / 1:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Randy Hoback Conservative Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, I guess his answer to my previous question is that he will not answer the question about his constituents, because he will not answer it in the House. However, I will ask another question.

My colleague from Edmonton Riverbend talked about the 2,000 workers who protested the Prime Minister in Calgary, trying to get across to him how dire the oil and gas sector was out west. Will he at least do something to help them? Will he stop Bill C-68 and Bill C-69 and recognize the dire consequences of that legislation? The people who invest in pipelines tell us point blank that if those bills go through, they will never invest in a pipeline in Canada again.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

December 3rd, 2018 / 4:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Madam Speaker, I would like to begin this debate by quoting the premier of the Northwest Territories when the Prime Minister, in 2016, as part of a Joint Arctic leaders' statement, declared that the Beaufort Sea would be a national park essentially and that there would be no more drilling. This meant that any infrastructure there would now be landlocked and any infrastructure that had been invested in would now be stopped and be held up from being developed.

The premier of the Northwest Territories said that they would end up “living in a park.” That is precisely what the Prime Minister and his principal secretary Gerald Butts would like to see, that all of Canada become a national park, with no economy happening whatsoever.

I will be sharing my time with the member for Fort McMurray—Cold Lake.

Bill C-88 lays out the legal framework for the drilling moratorium. It is part of an ongoing trend we see from the government. Canadians are welcome to live in Canada provided they do not do anything to touch the environment. Again, in the Northwest Territories, this is a record. However, we are seeing a trend.

The Prime Minister has pounded his fists on the table, saying that he will get the Trans Mountain pipeline built. However, when it comes to every other energy project in the country, he has done everything in his power to undermine it. It all started with Bill C-48, the tanker moratorium on the west coast. This effectively killed the northern gateway pipeline. It is part of a larger trend.

In Bill C-68, we see the reversal of the changes we made to the Navigable Waters Protection Act, making it easier for municipalities to develop their regions by putting culverts in and pipelines across streams. Those kinds of things were important changes we had made to make life easier for the people who live beyond Ottawa and Toronto, yet we see the government of today definitely reversing that.

There is also Bill C-69, what we are calling the no more pipelines bill that overhauls the regulatory process for pipelines.

We had a great regulatory framework to build pipelines. Under the Conservative government, we built four pipelines, approved northern gateway and other pipelines. What is really frustrating is that the Liberals went around saying that the public had no confidence in the process, which was completely false. It had been tested significantly by the court. Now that they are in power, they feel the need to overhaul it entirely so it will have to be tested by the court again.

We see that again with Bill C-69, putting the livelihoods of many workers in the oil patch at risk. It is putting the livelihoods of many people who live north of the 55th parallel at risk. We would like to see the government change its ways regarding this.

Bill C-88 is part of a strategy to keep oil in the ground. Therefore, we would definitely like to see it pull this bill back and Bill C-69 in particular.

Over the weekend, there was much to be said about the back-to-work legislation the House imposed on the Canada Post workers. Just yesterday I saw a carton on Facebook about two oil field workers. One of the workers said, “I wish Ottawa would legislate us back to work.” This bill would legislate them out of work.

The Beaufort Sea has vast oil reserves that have been explored. There are millions of dollars in infrastructure sitting up there, which has been basically been abandoned because of the drilling moratorium.

We need to ensure that Canada can work and be prosperous again. We have to ensure that our natural resources, whether oil in the Beaufort Sea, diamond mines in the Northwest Territories, or gold mines in the Yukon, can be developed and can bring prosperity for all of Canada.

One of the major things we know about in northern Canada is the carbon tax and how that will affect northerners in particular. We hear the Liberals talking all the time about Canada being a carbon intensive economy. If we looked outside this morning, we would see that it was snowing, and we typically have snow for six to nine months out of the year, depending on where one lives in Canada. That means the temperature is below freezing for that length of time in the year, so we need to warm things up. We need to make sure our houses stay warm. I enjoy a warm shower every morning. Those things require energy. Not only does Canada require energy, but the world requires energy as well. What better place to get our energy than right here in Canada? However, when we bring in a drilling moratorium in the Beaufort Sea or introduce a carbon tax or table Bill C-69, we limit the development of our natural resources and we then import the energy we need from other jurisdictions that do not have the environmental regulatory framework we have. We do not allow our economy to flourish so it can bring prosperity to some parts of the country that could really use it.

It is important that we develop our resources, including resources in the Beaufort Sea. We know that a large amount of money has been invested in developing that part of the world, and to just bar its development, through government regulation into the future, seems shortsighted and pandering on the world stage to forces outside of Canada.

The announcement in 2016 shows to some degree that the joint Arctic leaders' statement did not take into account the Canadian perspective whatsoever. It was pandering to an international audience. The Prime Minister only had the decency to phone the premier 20 minutes before he made the announcement. That left the territories scrambling. When I was up in the Northwest Territories, one of the things they often said was to let them keep their own royalty revenues. Allowing them to keep the royalty revenues now, when they are unable to develop anything, will not help the situation whatsoever.

With that, I ask the Liberals to reconsider the bill, to reconsider the drilling moratorium in the Beaufort Sea, to reconsider Bill C-69 and Bill C-48, and ensure that we can get development of our natural resources back on the table, bringing prosperity to all Canadians and all Albertans.

Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins ActPrivate Members' Business

November 29th, 2018 / 6:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Julie Dabrusin Liberal Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to stand today in support this bill to end the captivity of whales and dolphins. What is important to me in seeing this bill go forward is that we are making steps about animal welfare. There is so much more to do, but we are seeing steps going forward.

I was pleased to speak in favour of the bill that would end sexual abuse of animals and animal fighting. I am looking forward to bills that are coming from the other place in respect to testing on animals for cosmetics, as well as shark finning.

Today, I am very pleased to stand in support of this bill, which builds on work that was done by the government bill, Bill C-68, which also aims to end captivity or at least capture cetaceans. This Senate bill goes further and it is a very important step.

One of my favourite holiday memories is from my vacation to Newfoundland. I went for my friend's wedding. We went to the Bonavista Peninsula.

We were at the Bonavista Social Club. As my family and I sat on the porch, we watched whales out in the bay. It was the most beautiful thing. What was beautiful about it was not just the whales; it was the fact that they were in their natural element. It was part of what added to the beauty. If people want to learn about animals and about cetaceans, the best way is to do that is to see them in nature, enjoying themselves and being together. That was truly one of my favourite holiday memories.

When I compare that memory to what I hear about the conditions of cetaceans being kept in captivity, it breaks my heart. It also breaks my heart when I hear members from across the way talking so disparagingly about taking this step forward to support our cetaceans and to ensure they do not suffer.

Keeping cetaceans in captivity is a fairly new development. It started in the 1960s. I understand the first orca on display was in 1964. Therefore, this has not happened forever. However, 54 years after that first orca was put on display, it is finally time to put an end to this practice. It is time for us to say “no more”.

I would like to take a moment to thank the leadership of the former Senator Wilfred Moore, who brought the bill forward in the other place, and Senator Murray Sinclair, who then took over the sponsorship of the bill and moved it forward. I also look very much forward to working with the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands to ensure we get the bill through this place, so we can move it forward.

What would the bill do?

It proposes to ban holding cetaceans in captivity. It also bans the breeding of cetaceans. That is also part of the problem. It is not just taking them out from the wild, but it is also about breeding them for the purposes of captivity. It bans the capture of cetaceans from the wild and it bans the import and export of cetaceans.

For anyone who is not used to the the term cetacean, it is defined as whales, dolphins and porpoises.

It is important that the bill have some teeth. Therefore it proposed a fine of up to $200,000 for people who contravene it.

As I mentioned, the bill goes further than Bill C-68, but I am very happy our government took that first step. Right now, Bill C-68 is being considered in the other place. However, this bill takes important additional steps. I ask all members in this place to give it serious thought and see how we can go further.

I want there to be no mistake. We must end keeping whale and dolphins in captivity. It is heartbreaking to hear some of the examples, such as confining whales to small spaces. A wild orca may travel 150 kilometres in a day. I was reading an article that described orcas in captivity as couch potatoes. It is not healthy. Apparently the largest orca tank in the world is less than one ten thousandths of 1% of the size of the smallest home range for wild orcas. That is unbelievable. Imagine how that would feel.

To picture that, an orca would have to swim the circumference of the main pool in SeaWorld more than 1,400 times to get that kind of distance. It is dizzying. I could not imagine having to go through that. Senator Sinclair perhaps said it best when he was speaking to senators in the other place about this bill. He said, “So think about this, senators: How would you feel if you had to live the rest of your life in a bathtub?”

I put that same question to the members here. How would they feel spending the rest of their lives in a bathtub?

Another part that really struck me was when I heard about the effect of sound in these tanks for cetaceans. They use sound to be able to get around. Echolocation is the right term. It is the main sensory system. Sound reverberates within these tanks, and they have more sounds from filtration systems, clapping, yelling and music. We can imagine being confined to a small space and having that kind of sensory overload. It is horrible, and it actually has an impact on whales and dolphins.

We see whales harming themselves in captivity. They do not in the wild, but we can understand that being held in a tank like that, having heard a bit of what I have described, would be so frustrating for them. They have hurting teeth. Their teeth are damaged from biting on the bars. They rub against the sides of the tank and damage themselves. That is not normal behaviour. It is the behaviour of whales and dolphins that are deeply frustrated and are being harmed by their circumstances.

Another part we have heard a bit about and I would like to emphasize is that whales, for example orcas, are very social. They are part of a family. In fact, I read somewhere that male orcas never leave their moms. They go away for a short bit, mate and come back. They stay as a family, and it is very important for them to stay together. If we take whales out of that family pod, we are breaking a very important tie for them. Not only are they confined to this bathtub, not only do they have these sounds disturbing them, they are pulled away from their social networks. That is a very important part of their health and mental health. We can add to that the fact that they do not necessarily get along with whales from other families, so there can be aggression between them, and we have seen that type of aggression in certain situations.

There are also shortened lifespan. When we have whales in captivity, they do not live as long as they do in the wild. From what I understand, of 200 orcas that have been held in captivity, none have reached what we would describe as old age, which would be about 60 years for a male and 80 years for a female. None of them have lived that long, because of the conditions they are kept in.

I want to mention sanctuaries for whales, because ultimately, we are going to have to find a place for those who cannot be released into the wild after they have been held in captivity. When we are doing this, we need to make sure that we do not have sanctuaries that also treat the whales as entertainment. We need to be sure that the sanctuaries provide them with a healthy atmosphere.

Mr. Speaker, you have been very kind to give me this time. I would like to thank the animal advocates who have stood up and carried this ball. We are going to keep carrying that ball and bring it over the line.

Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins ActPrivate Members' Business

November 29th, 2018 / 5:55 p.m.
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NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak in support of Bill S-203, an act to amend the Criminal Code and other acts (ending the captivity of whales and dolphins).

The bill was first introduced in the Senate in 2015. It has taken three long years to get it here, and I fully support its quick passage into law. The purpose of the bill is to phase out the captivity of cetaceans: whales, dolphins and porpoises in Canada. There is an exception for rescues, rehabilitation, licensed scientific research, or if it is in the best interest of the cetacean.

Keeping these incredible creatures confined is cruel. This is a moral issue, but it is informed by science, and I hope all members of the House will support this legislation. The study of cetaceans is important, but New Democrats believe research on cetaceans can be conducted in an ethical manner in the wild where they belong. There, scientists can get a realistic view of their natural behaviours without causing a lifetime of pain and suffering.

Science has proven that they suffer in captivity. Let us have a look at what the Animal Welfare Institute reports about their natural behaviour compared to when they are in captivity.

In the wild, cetaceans can travel up to 100 miles a day, feeding and socializing with other members of their pods. Pods can contain hundreds of individuals with complex social bonds and hierarchies. In captivity, they are housed in small enclosures, unable to swim in a straight line for long or dive deeply. Sometimes they are housed alone without opportunities for socialization, or they are forced to live with incompatible animals and even species with which they would not naturally have close contact.

In the wild, cetaceans spend approximately 80% to 90% of their time under water. They have the freedom to make their own choices. In captivity, they spend approximately 80% of their time at the surface, looking for food and attention from their trainers, who make the choices for them.

In the wild, they are surrounded by other sea life and are an integral part of marine ecosystems. They have evolved for millions of years in the oceans, and in most cases, they are the top predators. In captivity, cetaceans are in artificial environments that are sterile or lack stimulation. Tank water must be treated or filtered, or both, to avoid health problems for the animals, although they may still suffer from bacterial and fungal infections that can be deadly. Other species, such as fish, invertebrates and sea vegetation cannot survive these treatments, so display tanks are as empty as hotel swimming pools.

In the wild, cetaceans live in a world of natural sound. They rely on their hearing as we do on our sight. Echolocation is their main sensory system, and they use sound to find mates, migrate, communicate, forage, nurse, care for young, and escape predators. In captivity, cetaceans must listen to filtration systems, pumps, music, fireworks and people clapping and yelling daily. Their concrete and glass enclosures also reflect sounds, so a poorly designed enclosure can make artificial noises worse. Echolocation is rarely used, as a tank offers no novelties or challenges to explore.

In captivity, it must be horrific for these animals. Cetaceans are intelligent, emotional and social mammals. Orcas, in particular, are highly social animals that travel in groups or pods that consist of five to 30 whales, although some pods may combine to form a group of 100 or more.

Canadians witnessed their extraordinary human-like behaviour this past summer, as we watched the grieving ordeal of the mother orca, J-35 Tahlequah, who carried her dead newborn calf for about 1,600 kilometres over 17 days. She empathetically held on, diving deep to retrieve her calf each time it slid from her head. Jenny Atkinson, director of the Whale Museum on San Juan Island told the CBC:

We do know her family is sharing the responsibility of caring for this calf, that she's not always the one carrying it, that they seem to take turns. While we don't have photos of the other whales carrying it, because we've seen her so many times without the calf, we know that somebody else has it.

This type of grieving behaviour is not unique to killer whales. Dolphins and other mammals, including gorillas, are known to carry their deceased young in what is widely believed by scientists to be an expression of grief.

Sheila Thornton, the lead killer whale biologist for Fisheries and Oceans Canada describes it. She said:

Strong social bonds between the families of orcas drive much of their behaviour. The southern residents share food, a language, a culture of eating only fish and an ecological knowledge of where to find it in their home range.

Bill S-203 is an important piece of proposed legislation that would grandfather out captivity in three ways.

First, it would ban live captures under the Fisheries Act, except for rescues. To be clear, the bill would not interfere with rescues. In fact, it would allow for research if the cetacean is unfit to return to the wild.

Second, it would ban cetacean imports and exports, except if licensed for scientific research or in the cetacean's best interest. An example of that exemption would be a transfer to an open water sanctuary under the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act, or WAPPRIITA.

Third, it would ban breeding under the animal cruelty provisions of the Criminal Code, subject to a summary conviction and a $200,000 fine unless provincially licensed for scientific research.

It is important to note that government Bill C-68, which is currently in the Senate, prohibits cetacean captures except for rescues and authorizes the regulation of imports. However, Bill C-68 would not restrict imports or exports by law or ban breeding.

Bill S-203 would also ban cetacean performances for entertainment. Currently, two Canadian facilities hold captive cetaceans. The Vancouver Aquarium holds one dolphin and has publicly committed to not hold any new cetaceans following the Vancouver Park Board ban. Marineland in Niagara Falls, Ontario, holds 50 to 60 belugas, five dolphins and one orca. Since 2015, it has been illegal to buy, sell or breed orcas in that province.

For these facilities, a change brought on as a result of Bill S-203 would be felt gradually. Marineland, for example, could keep its current whales and dolphins, many of which should live for decades, and in that time it could evolve to a more sustainable model, perhaps with a focus on conservation. The Vancouver Aquarium, for instance, could retain its current residents for research and may even acquire new whales and dolphins through rescue and rehabilitation.

Phil Demers, a former head trainer at Marineland, said this about the bill:

As a former Marine Mammal Trainer, I believe the bill to ban cetacean captivity and breeding in Canada is imperative and long-overdue. I have witnessed the physiological and emotional consequences captivity imposes on these magnificent beings, and those who care for them. No living being should be forced to endure what I’ve witnessed, and it’s my hope that this bill will finally put an end to these cruel practices.

It is about time. Canada is behind other jurisdictions on this issue. The United Kingdom, Italy, New Zealand, Chile, Cyprus, Hungary and Mexico all have banned or severely restricted these practices. Companies have begun ending their partnerships with other companies that keep cetaceans in captivity. Air Canada, WestJet, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines and Taco Bell have all recently ended their association with SeaWorld Entertainment, which operates a total of 12 parks in the United States.

In a letter to the Vancouver Parks Board, Dr. Jane Goodall said:

The scientific community is also responding to the captivity of these highly social and intelligent species as we now know more than ever, about the complex environments such species require to thrive and achieve good welfare. Those of us who have had the fortunate opportunity to study wild animals in their natural settings where family, community structure and communication form a foundation for these animals’ existence, know the implications of captivity on such species.

In 1977, I received the honour of a lifetime when the Squamish nation bestowed me with the name Iyim Yewyews, meaning orca, blackfish or killer whale, a strong swimmer in the animal world. They gave me this name for the work I was doing to conserve, protect and restore the watersheds, our marine environment and the natural world, which includes these whales.

I encourage all members to get on the right side of history and pass this important bill.

Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins ActPrivate Members' Business

November 29th, 2018 / 5:35 p.m.
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Sean Casey Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Lib.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill S-203, an act to amend the Criminal Code and other acts, also known as the act for ending the captivity of whales and dolphins, or as we have heard, the Free Willy bill. It was introduced in the other place by the hon. Senator Wilfred Moore on December 8, 2015, and following his retirement was carried by Senator Sinclair.

The bill proposes amendments to the Criminal Code, the Fisheries Act and the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act. Because I only have 10 minutes, I will refer to that statute from here forward as WAPPRIITA.

The goal of these amendments is to end the captivity of cetaceans; that is, whales, dolphins and porpoises in Canada. Indeed, the stated objective of Bill S-203 is to gradually reduce and eventually do away with the practice of holding whales, dolphins and other cetaceans captive in Canadian facilities.

Bill S-203 proposes amendments to the Criminal Code that would make it an offence to hold cetaceans in captivity. It proposes an amendment to the Fisheries Act that would prohibit the capture of a cetacean in order to take it into captivity. Finally, Bill S-203 proposes to amend the WAPPRIITA to prohibit the import of cetaceans into Canada and the export of a cetacean from Canada.

Bill S-203 is a response to growing public concern about the well-being of cetaceans. We now have a greater understanding and awareness of the nature of these animals and the living conditions they need to be happy and healthy. There is clearly growing support for the protection of whales and other marine mammals in Canada and around the world.

Since its introduction, Bill S-203 has undergone significant changes. Our colleagues in the other place, particularly through the consultations and study done by the standing committee, have sent us a bill that deserves our full consideration.

Bill S-203 also now includes provisions that affirm the rights of indigenous peoples, many of whom feature whales as a central part of their culture and traditions.

In order to enable certain critical conservation and research activities to continue, Bill S-203 includes provisions that would create exceptions where an animal is in need of rescue or rehabilitation. Cetaceans currently in captivity at Marineland and the Vancouver Aquarium would also fall under the exception clauses; that is, these facilities would not be closed down, leaving animals that have never known another home with no place to be cared for.

We are surrounded on three incredibly wide-ranging coasts by spectacular oceans. These waters are home to 42 distinct populations of whales.

All of these animal species and many more are facing major threats. Global warming has affected water temperatures, and that is affecting the food supply. Illegal, unreported, unregulated fishing, accidental by-catch and entanglement in commercial fishing nets, declining food availability, noise pollution, habitat pollution and even collisions all pose a threat to cetaceans.

The conservation and protection of marine mammals in the wild, including cetaceans, has become a whole-of-government priority in Canada. This priority has been underscored by the increasing threats facing three endangered species of whales, the southern resident killer whales on the west coast, the North Atlantic right whales on the east coast, and the St. Lawrence estuary beluga in Quebec.

The government's commitment to recovering and protecting Canada's whale species is reflected in the support provided through the $1.5 billion oceans protection plan announced by the Prime Minister in 2016, the $167.4 million whales initiative announced as part of budget 2018, and the recent announcement of $61.5 million for measures in support of the southern resident killer whale.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada has been coordinating with other federal departments and provincial and territorial governments to advance other initiatives, including reducing vessel strikes and entanglement of the North Atlantic right whale, reducing contaminants affecting the St. Lawrence estuary beluga, and introducing amendments to the marine mammal regulations that establish minimum general approach distances for whales, dolphins and porpoises in Canadian fisheries waters.

Bill S-203's focus is on the capture of wild cetaceans for the purpose of keeping them in captivity as an attraction, and the ongoing holding and/or breeding of cetaceans in captivity. As I have said, there are only two facilities in Canada that hold cetaceans in captivity, Marineland in Niagara Falls, Ontario and the Vancouver Aquarium in British Columbia.

Marineland is a commercial facility that has approximately 60 cetaceans, including beluga whales, dolphins and one orca or killer whale. The vast majority of cetaceans held at Marineland are belugas.

The Vancouver Aquarium is a not-for-profit facility. It has only one cetacean at its facility, a 30-year old Pacific white-sided dolphin that was rescued from the wild and deemed non-releasable. Earlier this year, the Vancouver Aquarium announced that it would no longer display cetaceans and would focus instead on its work on conservation and rescuing stranded and injured whales and dolphins. The Vancouver Aquarium works with Fisheries and Oceans Canada to rescue and rehabilitate marine mammals in distress.

The Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard only issues licences for the capture of a live cetacean when the purpose is for scientific research or rehabilitation. In the past 10 years, only one such licence has been issued for the rehabilitation of a live stranded Pseudorca calf. It has been a matter of public policy for more than two decades that wild cetaceans not be captured and placed in captivity unless the goal is to rescue, rehabilitate and release them.

Provincial and territorial legislative regimes in this area continue to evolve. In 2015, Ontario banned the buying, selling or breeding of orca whales. The province also amended the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act to increase protection for other marine mammals held in captivity.

This bill was debated in the other place, so we have debated the amendments to the Fisheries Act that the government introduced in the spring and summer.

My colleagues may have noticed that some of the amendments put forward in Bill C-68 would achieve the main goal set out in Bill S-203: ending the captivity of cetaceans. Bill C-68 would do that without impeding the government's ability to do important scientific research.

Bill C-68 also includes provisions that protect the rights of northern indigenous peoples to export cetacean products, such as narwhal tusks.

Bill C-68 would prohibit capturing a cetacean with the intent to take it into captivity. Exceptions are made for the minister to authorize an exception if a cetacean is injured, in distress or in need of care.

The bill also proposes a regulation-making authority with respect to importing fish, including cetaceans. This regulation-making authority would allow the government to determine the circumstances under which a cetacean could be imported to or exported from Canada. For example, these movements may be permitted for purposes of repopulation or conservation. They may be prohibited if the intent is to display cetaceans in aquariums. These regulatory tools could also enable the government to authorize the import and export of cetaceans to sea sanctuaries should those facilities be established in the future.

The former minister of fisheries, oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard has acknowledged that the amendments to the Fisheries Act proposed in Bill C-68 as they pertain to keeping cetaceans in captivity were inspired by Bill S-203, and in particular the bill's sponsor, retired Senator Wilfred Moore.

There is no doubt that this government and Canadians from coast to coast to coast support the ban on the captivity of cetaceans for the sole purpose of display. That is why I look forward to supporting this bill to committee and participating in the debate that will occur there and hearing from witness testimony.

Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins ActPrivate Members' Business

November 29th, 2018 / 5:15 p.m.
See context

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

, seconded by the member for Drummond, moved that Bill S-203, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and other Acts (ending the captivity of whales and dolphins), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

She said: Mr. Speaker, I am honoured this evening to speak to Bill S-203 at second reading stage. This bill would put an end to the captivity of whales and dolphins.

This bill already has quite an interesting history in the other chamber. It was introduced in the Senate by Senator Wilfred Moore, from Nova Scotia, who is now retired. After the senator retired, the bill received the support of Senator Murray Sinclair.

I am very honoured to have this bill in my hands to take through the House. However, I would like us all to regard this bill as being in our collective hands. It is best that we not see this as a partisan issue or for anyone's particular credit. It is about time that we took the actions that are put forward in this legislation.

We have learned a lot about whales and dolphins over the decades. It happens that one of the pivotal stories that changed how humans have thought about whales had a link to my own riding. There is a story of a whale, an orca that was wrongly named Moby Doll, instead of Moby Dick, because when humans first took this whale into captivity, they wrongly assumed that they had a female whale. This story goes back to the effort to kill the whales to study them back in the 1950s. Killer whales are carnivores. They will eat seals but are extremely friendly toward human beings and not a threat in open water.

Saturna Island is one of the perfectly gorgeous small islands that I am honoured to represent here. I represent Saanich—Gulf Islands, Saanich being the anglicized word for WSÁNEC nation. These islands are the unceded traditional territory of indigenous peoples. The islands were scattered and in WSÁNEC traditional creation myths, the islands themselves had life and had been peopled and had been scattered. One of those scattered islands is Saturna, which to this day has the most astonishing land-based whale watching one can experience.

In any case, the scientists and other people from Vancouver aquarium came up with the idea of capturing and killing a whale. They harpooned the killer whale, held it for a period of days and realized that the whale was intelligent. The taking of Moby Doll was the beginning of scientists' realization that whales are not big fish. Rather, the whales reminded them of ourselves. The whales are sentient beings. In the Sencoten language, I was mentioning that we are all related. In Sencoten language, the phrase for human beings is the “human people” and the word for whale translates as the “whale people”. We are very connected.

That connection with whales has led science in different directions. Moby Doll did not survive. They did not know how to feed it. It was already injured. However, we learned a lot from that one contact. We learned that whales are our relatives. They are sentient beings and they are intelligent

Over the years, this has led us to greater research. What are the needs of whales? They are social creatures. We now know that the southern resident killer whales in the Salish Sea are acutely endangered. However, we have also learned a lot about what their needs are in the wild. They need a lot of space. They need to be able to swim in the wild. They have social needs. They have physical needs and bio-physical needs. They need to be in the wild. In the meantime, our fascination with them is for an obvious reason. They are fascinating.

The keeping of whales in captivity has become a form of entertainment. However, the science increasingly makes us understand that what might seem to be simple entertainment and a simple pleasure is actually animal cruelty, because these animals cannot be held in a swimming pool without significant cruelty and real pain and a loss of social contact and normal activities. As the science points out, cetaceans suffer from confinement, isolation and health problems. Confinement reduces their life span, their calves have much higher mortality, and the deprivation to their senses constitutes trauma, and when they are moved from place to place, kept in captivity or bred in captivity and separated from their calves, they suffer.

We saw this in the wild this summer when one of the southern resident killer whales in the Salish Sea gave birth to a dead calf or one that died immediately thereafter. That mother whale pushed that calf through the waters for 17 days while grieving. Even scientists who wanted to say they could not anthropomorphize this or assume that the whale was actually grieving realized, when this has gone on for 17 days, that the mother was grieving the loss of her calf. Imagine those kinds of sentient, emotional connections and then deciding to keep whales and dolphins in a swimming pool, thinking they would be fine.

We have taken steps in this country very recently, thanks to the former minister of fisheries, currently the Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade, who shepherded Bill C-68 through the House. It is now before the Senate. It quite rightly, and for the first time, banned the capture of whales in open water. However, what Bill C-68 does not do is deal with this additional large risk of keeping whales in captivity, breeding them in captivity, selling them, importing them and having a trade in whales and dolphins. That is what this bill would end. The bill would end the keeping of whales and dolphins. This step has already been taken by the United Kingdom, Italy, New Zealand, Chile, Cyprus, Hungary and Mexico. They have either banned or severely restricted the keeping of whales in captivity.

I also want to acknowledge the leadership in this regard of the Vancouver Aquarium. That aquarium, by the way, has a phenomenal science program. I love touring it and talking to its scientists. They are doing a lot of the heavy lifting on issues like plastics in our oceans, but they kept whales in captivity for entertainment and have pledged to stop doing that. They have said they will stop voluntarily.

This bill is supported by numerous leaders and marine scientists, including the Humane Society internationally and in Canada; The Jane Goodall Institute; Animal Justice; and the former head trainer at Marineland, Phil Demers, who has appeared at press conferences with members in this place.

Whales are still being kept in captivity in Canada. We do not want to put the one institution that keeps whales in captivity out of business. There are lots of other ways to maintain a tourist attraction with the great facilities present in that institution. There are display and trained seal operations, one can imagine. I think of the Cirque du Soleil. We used to think circuses needed animals, that we needed to see an elephant lumbering through, and we now know that one of the most successful, economically profitable, off-the-charts successful circus is Cirque du Soleil.

Cirque du Soleil does not use a single animal; only humans. The circus is nevertheless quite famous and has been very successful. The same is possible in Marineland, in Ontario. They could have a kind of Cirque du Soleil that would actually be a circus of the sea.

I am not going to give professional tourist advice, but I want to make it really clear that this is not about shutting down a tourist attraction. This bill is about ending animal cruelty. We cannot pretend anymore that we do not know this is cruelty. That is very clear from scientists around the world, and I am really pleased to know that this bill has so far been supported and seconded officially by members of the other parties in this place.

This is why I hope we can make this a non-partisan effort and collectively and collaboratively end keeping whales and dolphins in captivity, phase out and end the trade in whales and dolphins and ensure that Canada joins other progressive countries from around the world in protecting our whales in the wild. That must be done. We have three species right now of critically endangered whales: the right whales in the Atlantic, the belugas in the Saguenay and, as I have mentioned, the southern resident killer whales of the Salish Sea.

Much more needs to be done to protect whales in the wild, but we cannot as a country continue the practice of holding these animals of intelligence and with complicated communication systems. Their ability to communicate songs over wide distances in the open ocean is impossible when they are kept confined essentially in swimming pools. No matter how much affection may appear between a trainer and a whale, these animals are being kept in ways that harm them, that kill them and that deny them their ability to be what they are: magnificent creatures, leviathans. One of the great texts of the Bible to describe a non-human species is the description of leviathan, one of God's great creations. Masters of the oceans, they cannot any longer be kept in captivity.

To all my colleagues in all parties in the House, I say that it is time to put an end to this cruel practice of keeping whales and dolphins in captivity. This must stop immediately.

Now is the moment that we begin the second reading process of this bill. Please, I urge my colleagues, let us get it expeditiously to committee. Let us get it expeditiously back for report stage and third reading. Let us ensure that when we go back to our electorate in each one of our ridings across the country, we are able to say that we did one thing this year that we are really proud of. Let us say we ended the practice of keeping whales and dolphins in captivity, that we did something our children want us to do, that we did something for the wild beings of this planet.

In honour of Senator Wilfred Moore, I would like to end my remarks by saying that it is time we free Willy.

Canada's Oil and Gas SectorEmergency Debate

November 28th, 2018 / 11:35 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, the challenge that we face today in the energy sector is very simple. It is a question of stability and a question of certainty, both for the people who are making the investment decisions to invest in production in Canada's energy sector, and the people whom I talk to every day, who have selected me to be their voice in Ottawa. It is a question of certainty, and it is a question of stability.

The colleagues opposite who are laughing at this tonight should give their heads a shake. When people are sitting around a corporate board table and trying to determine whether or not they should spend several billion dollars on a major capital investment, they look at several determinants. They look at labour availability, political stability, market conditions, and all sorts of things. They make a determination based on a set of information available at the time, but they have to be certain that the information is right and that it is going to stay stable.

If there is no certainty in an area, workers who are trying to decide whether or not to stay in a region, or whether or not to sell their house, or what sort of purchases to make, or how to make ends meet, are going to make a decision one way or another.

The problem we have seen with the government over the last three years is the question of instability. When we started to see a shift in the supply side model of energy products in North America, as the Americans started to come on stream with more energy supply—and of course we should spend a bunch of time talking about the demand side model internationally as well—what the government should have done at that point in time, when they the Liberals came into government in 2015, was to do everything in its power to make the situation more certain and stable for the workers in Canada's energy sector so that companies could stay and prosper in Canada, and for those who seek to invest in Canada's energy sector, to do the same.

What does the government need to do to rectify the decisions it has made that have led to instability, so that we can see projects built from here on in?

First of all, the government has to scrap its carbon tax. It creates investment instability in the energy sector and is a burden on energy sector workers. There is no economic modelling to show that it will actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions, because for the most part carbon in Canada is price inelastic.

The second thing that it needs to do is to repeal its cancellation, during a major downturn in the Canadian economy, of the oil and gas exploration drilling tax credit. It needs to reverse that decision that it made.

The government needs to reverse the tanker ban that it put in place.

The government also put in place a five-year moratorium on northern oil and gas exploration, giving the territorial governments less than two hours' notice. That caused instability. It needs to reverse that decision it made.

The government also need to reverse the decisions it made around the methane regulation framework that it put in place. That is an example of the instability the government caused when it knew that the energy sector was going through a downturn.

The government needs to scrap and do everything possible to stop the passage of Bill C-69, which it has tabled. That bill creates instability. It creates a new regulator and an environmental assessment process with indeterminate timelines. If people are sitting at a corporate board table and trying to make a decision whether or not to invest, it is not about just getting to a yes, but about getting to a yes or no within a defined, clear set of timeframes. Bill C-69 completely undermines that.

Any investor who is looking at investing in Canada's energy sector looks at Bill C-69 and says, “No way.” The government put that in place in a time of economic downturn, and it needs to scrap that.

The Liberals need to scrap Bill C-48, which put in place the unilateral imposition of a ban on using B.C.'s north coast for oil and gas exports. They put that in place. They need to reverse that.

Bill C-86 gives cabinet the authority to unilaterally shut down the shipping of natural resources by water anywhere in Canada, including offshore oil and gas. That is instability that the sector looks at. They need to repeal that bill that they put in place during a major downturn in Canada's energy sector.

They need to repeal Bill C-68, because it dramatically increases the red tape on project development by adding a multi-month review under the navigable waters act for any water on a project site that is large enough to float a kayak. It adds instability. It is unnecessary red tape. They need to repeal this bill that they put in place during a major energy sector downturn.

They need to repeal Bill C-88, which politicizes oil and gas development in the Far North, by providing cabinet in Ottawa the unilateral power to shut down oil and gas development in the Far North.

As well, they need to stop the proposed fuel standards that they are proposing to unveil before Christmas that will equate to a carbon tax of $228 per tonne of fuel, which would almost certainly mean the end of the oil and gas sector.

They also need to apologize for standing here and applauding Barack Obama after doing nothing to prevent the veto or speak against the veto of the Keystone XL pipeline.

They need to apologize for the fact that they did nothing when they allowed Denis Coderre to dump millions of litres of raw sewage in Quebec and say that energy east was not in the best interest of Canada. Instead they stood up here and agreed with him. The speech by the member for Calgary Centre was such a disgrace. He said he was going to pound on the table for a pipeline. Where was he when Dennis Coderre was doing that? He got kicked out of cabinet. He was our supposed voice in cabinet for Calgary who did nothing to stop any of these bills.

They politically vetoed the northern gateway pipeline. In a political process, the government overturned a years-long regulatory review of the northern gateway pipeline that had over 200 conditions on it that was set and ready to go. That created uncertainty and instability, and politicized a system during a downturn in the energy sector.

They need to invoke section 92.10(c) of the Constitution Act to bring the Trans Mountain pipeline completely into federal jurisdiction so that B.C. cannot obstruct its building out through permitting or other mechanisms in their jurisdiction right now.

Mr. Speaker, I am sharing my time with the member for Peace River—Westlock.

They need to start building the Trans Mountain pipeline. If what the Prime Minister said is true, and it is in the best interest of this country, why are the Liberals kicking the can down through a potential spring election window? If they are serious about it they should be building it out today. There should be shovels in the ground tonight.

The last thing they need to stop doing, for the love of all that is holy, is stop abdicating the responsibility for getting these policies right. Every time, they stand up here and say that it is Stephen Harper's fault. They had three years to get these projects done. With that litany of lists that are nowhere near complete, all they have done every step of the way is add uncertainty and instability for the investors in Canada's energy sector and for the workers in my community. All the people in my riding want to do is get back to work. Everything the government has done has been to abdicate responsibility and create instability.

The last thing they need to do is the Prime Minister needs to stop going overseas and telling his true agenda to the world, which is that he wants to phase out Canada's energy sector. If I was a worker in Canada's energy sector or if I was looking to invest in this, I would be saying that is a pretty clear policy. He has backed it up with action. Every single one of these bills and actions has been anti-energy sector.

None of the Liberals can stand up in this place and say they have done anything for Canada's energy sector. However, they can tonight by undertaking to repeal all of these bills and standing up and saying that they were wrong, that this stuff was wrong, that it created instability and the death of Canada's energy sector.

We are out of time. The Liberals need to build Trans Mountain. They need to get the shovels in the ground tonight, repeal these bills, and start being serious about one of Canada's most prosperous and stable industries in this country.

Canada's Oil and Gas SectorEmergency Debate

November 28th, 2018 / 8:40 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for St. Albert—Edmonton.

Canada's energy sector is in crisis. It is a national emergency that impacts all of Canada and disproportionately hurts Alberta and Albertans. The oil and gas sector has already lost more than 100,000 jobs and over $100 billion since 2015 under the Liberals. That is eight times the GDP of, and more jobs than, the entire aerospace sector and five times the GDP of, and almost as many jobs as, the entire auto sector. That would rightfully be an emergency with full attention and action from any other federal government, but the response to the devastation in Alberta, in oil and gas, and on oil and gas workers and families has been a combination of empty platitudes with hostile attacks and legislation and policy that have only made things so much worse.

The ongoing and widening price differential for Canadian oil threatens to add tens of thousands more new job losses throughout 2019. Major producers with decades of history in Alberta are cancelling expansions and curtailing production, and are at risk of going bankrupt.

As recently as 2014, nine out of 10 new full-time jobs created in Canada were created in Alberta and more than 120,000 Albertans alone are out of work today. The most that the Prime Minister and the Liberals have offered is a five-and-a-half-week extension of EI benefits two years ago, which did not initially include Edmonton Bruderheim and the industrial heartland, and a “hang in there” ever since.

However, Albertans do not want EI. They just want to work and continue to be able to make their outsized contributions in the best interests of all of Canada. ATB Financial predicts that this crisis could cause a recession in Canada. The Bank of Canada already predicts no new energy investment in Canada after 2019, which will mean less money for pensions, health care, schools, social services and all governments across the country.

Over the past decade, Western Canadian Select has sold for an average of $17 U.S. less per barrel than West Texas Intermediate. This month, the differential hit a record of around $50 U.S., close to where it remains today. That is wreaking havoc on the industry and, by extension, on the entire Canadian economy. Every day, $50 million to $100 million is lost in Canada because of this differential.

Under the Liberals, more energy investment in Canada has declined than at any other time period in more than 70 years. Capital investment in Canada is collapsing while it soars in the U.S. Energy demand and development is increasing all around the world.

At least eight major companies have sold most of their Canadian business to invest in the United States. Canadian homegrown service, supply, technology and drilling companies are going with them. Business bankruptcies in Alberta are up 27.8% between August 2017 and August 2018. Real estate vacancies and property values are dropping. It is damaging all sectors.

Even the Prime Minister in Calgary last Thursday had the gall to say, “This is very much a crisis”. However, it has been three years of a crisis for Alberta. The Prime Minister's messages to Canadians and the world and policies caused it and only make it worse. What is unconscionable is it is a direct result of federal government policies and it is within the Prime Minister and the federal government's power to fix.

The Liberals cancelled the northern gateway pipeline, which would have exported Canadian oil to Asia-Pacific. The Liberal intervention, delays and double standards imposed on the energy east pipeline proposal were designed to make its proponent abandon it, which they warned a month before that they did; yet it would have secured Canadian energy independence and exports to Europe. They have disadvantaged Canada precisely because of the decision-making of the Prime Minister, especially with regard to the U.S., which continues to not only be Canada's number one energy customer, but also Canada's number one energy competitor right now, poised to supply 80% of the world's growing oil demand in the next three years.

The Trans Mountain expansion remains stalled indefinitely because of the Liberals' failure, with no start date yet in sight for construction. The Liberals chose the longest and most complicated option, delaying it still indefinitely, even while they gave Canadian tax dollars to Kinder Morgan, which is selling out of Canada and building pipelines in the U.S., even while they give Canadian tax dollars to the Asian infrastructure bank to build pipelines in China, and even while they fund anti-energy activists and Canadian pipeline protestors with Canadian tax dollars.

That lack of pipeline capacity and the landlocking of Canadian oil is a direct result of federal government policies that have stopped those new export oil pipelines and have directly caused the price discount.

The Liberals are layering on red tape and added costs at the very worst time, destroying confidence in Canada for investment. The Liberals' job-killing carbon tax is already costing Canadian jobs and driving Canadian companies into the United States. Imagine this. Canada is the only one of the world's top 10 oil-producing countries to impose a carbon tax on itself, but Canada is the most responsible energy producer in the world, and has been for decades. It makes no sense for the Prime Minister to make it even more difficult for Canadian oil and gas workers to do their work, which they do better than any other energy industry on the planet.

The Liberals cancelled the oil and gas exploration drilling tax credit during a historic collapse in Canadian drilling and energy job losses. The PM directed a B.C. north coast crude oil tanker ban, which is actually a ban on pipelines and on the oil sands, within 27 days of forming government, with no consultation or science or evidence to support it. The Liberals imposed a moratorium on northern oil and gas exploration, giving the territories less than two hours' notice before the announcement.

Their new methane regulations could destroy heavy oil development and end refining in Canada by adding tens of billions of dollars to an industry already in crisis, not because industry does not want to meet the standards but because of technology and timeline challenges to do it within the framework the Liberals are demanding.

The Liberals' “no more pipelines” Bill C-69 would create a new regulatory and assessment process with actually no concrete timelines and with vague conditions for review. It would open more foreign intervention in Canadian resource reviews and give new powers to federal cabinet ministers to politically interfere in the project development process. Certainty for proponents under their new legislation will only be determined through regulations out until 2021, continuing the uncertainty they created at the start of 2016.

Bill C-86 would provide cabinet with the authority to unilaterally shut down the shipping of natural resources by water anywhere in Canada, including offshore oil and gas in Atlantic Canada and the north.

Bill C-69 would dramatically increase red tap on project development by adding a multi-month review under the Navigation Protection Act for any water on a project site that could float any kind of watercraft, including a ditch. That would hinder mining, oil and gas and agriculture.

Bill C-88 would provide cabinet with the unilateral power to shut down oil and gas development in the far north. It would take back delegated authority powers from the Northwest Territories.

The Liberals proposed fuel standards will be the first of their kind in the world, equating to a carbon tax of $228 per tonne of fuel, to apply to industrial facilities.

This should be a concern for every Canadian, because energy is the number one private sector investor in Canada, and it is Canada's second biggest export. Canada is home to the third-largest reserves in the world, and it is the fourth-biggest exporter of energy on the planet, with a track record of responsible energy development literally second to none.

This emergency in the Canadian energy sector and the catastrophic job losses in Alberta are rippling through all sectors across all provinces. It is a national emergency.

Let me tell the House what Nancy Southern, the CEO of ATCO, says as she considers moving assets from ATCO, one of the oldest and largest privately started businesses in Alberta. She says, “How heartbreaking it is to see our wonderful resource-laden province so constrained by regulatory policy and politics of various dispositions.”

Gwyn Morgan, the founder of Encana, the largest Canadian-based energy company, which started in Alberta, said it plainly. He said what the more than 2,000 Albertans in Calgary said to the Prime Minister when he was there last week:

The past few years have been a nightmare for the Canadian industry, where every light at the end of the tunnel has turned out to be a train driven by the Prime Minister barrelling at us from the opposite direction.

No wonder Albertans do not believe a single word the Prime Minister or the Liberals say. This is a national emergency, and the Liberals should be absolutely ashamed of themselves for putting our country in this position. I probably share this view with my colleagues.

I look forward to Albertans delivering their verdict in 2019 on exactly what they think of the Liberals' record.

November 20th, 2018 / 3:55 p.m.
See context

Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Jonathan Wilkinson

As you know, in Bill C-68, there are a number of provisions that relate to the owner-operator policies, although those policies apply primarily in the Atlantic provinces and Quebec.

We certainly are aware that there are some in the Pacific region who are interested in seeing measures similar to those in Atlantic Canada. There are others who have a different perspective on that, and that is something that we are thinking of and discussing. We're very interested in the work the committee is going to be doing with respect to this issue. I think it will help us in the context of trying to figure out what the right pathway is here.

Sylvie, do you want to make any further comment?

November 20th, 2018 / 3:30 p.m.
See context

Jonathan Wilkinson Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Thank you.

I'm happy to be here in my role as Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard to discuss the supplementary estimates (A) for 2018-19.

As was noted, I'm accompanied by a number of my officials and the Honourable Sean Casey, my very able parliamentary secretary.

I am honoured to have been entrusted by the Prime Minister to play a leadership role in the protection of our oceans, coasts, waterways and fisheries to ensure that they are healthy today and for future generations.

Since being appointed as minister, I've developed a better understanding of the work being done by the communities whose livelihoods depend on our fisheries and oceans and on my department. I'm committed to building strong partnerships in order to protect our oceans and freshwater resources, not just in Canada, but as part of a global effort in the face of significant changes to climate and habitat around the world.

I want to commend the members of this committee for their efforts to help strengthen both the Oceans Act and the Fisheries Act. These pieces of legislation will be integral to restoring lost protections to fish and fish habitat, and to moving us toward our marine conservation targets.

Thank you for inviting me today to discuss supplementary estimates (A). Fisheries and Oceans Canada, including the Canadian Coast Guard, is seeking Parliament's approval of $980 million through these estimates.

The men and women of the Coast Guard are hard at work every day across this country, and our government is committed to providing them the tools that they need to keep Canadians safe, to protect our marine environment and to keep our economy moving. That is why over 80% of funding for supplementary estimates (A), $827.3 million, is to be spent on updating the Coast Guard's fleet through the purchase and upgrade of three icebreakers from Chantier Davie in Quebec. The ships will help to ensure that the Coast Guard maintains icebreaking capacity over the next 15 to 20 years as our fleet is being renewed.

Another $57.8 million under the estimates will go to the Coast Guard's offshore oceanographic science vessel project to allow for the completion of the engineering phase, as well as to purchase material to advance the construction of the ship.

As this committee knows, Canada's freshwater and marine coastal areas are inextricably linked to the economic prosperity of Canadians. Our government has an obligation, therefore, to incorporate modern safeguards and restore lost protections in the Fisheries Act. That's why $21.5 million is being sought for Bill C-68 to ensure that, should the amendments pass in the other House, we'll have the capacity to implement the act in a timely manner.

We are also seeking to increase investments beyond Bill C-68 when it comes to indigenous consultations and negotiations. Some funding included in the estimates, $48.9 million, will support negotiations and reconciliation efforts with indigenous peoples, specifically to implement treaty obligations such as undertaking fisheries studies and enabling access to fisheries, both of which will help indigenous communities improve capacity for self-government and self-determination.

I would like to take a brief moment to outline some of the important work the department has been doing as a result of previous investments.

Two years ago, our government launched the historic $1.5 billion oceans protection plan to make our oceans cleaner, safer and healthier. Since then, we've worked tirelessly to protect our marine coastal areas and endangered whales and to prevent and respond to oil spills, as needed.

Marine safety and accident prevention is an area that our government is firmly committed to through investments and new measures, enhancing Coast Guard capacity with new radar and the reopening of the Kitsilano Coast Guard base. We are leasing two offshore towing vessels for use in the waters off the west coast and increasing our towing capacity by installing tow kits on all of the Coast Guard's major vessels. These types of projects will help us to avoid potential marine pollution incidents. We are also strengthening the Coast Guard's capacity to respond to incidents. For example, we purchased 23 portable skimmers and 67,000 feet of curtain booms to help with potential spills. We opened four Coast Guard facilities, including two search and rescue stations.

A few weeks ago I introduced new measures and $61.5 million to further safeguard the southern resident killer whale population. We are taking decisive action by increasing access to food, reducing threats from vessels and protecting against contaminants.

Beyond implementation of the OPP, we are making significant progress in other areas as well. For instance, we have now protected almost 8% of our marine and coastal areas, up from just 1% when this government came to office in 2015. My officials and I will continue to work to ensure we achieve Canada's 10% commitment by 2020.

I would also like to highlight some of the investments in infrastructure that we're making to ensure that our communities are well supported. In budget 2018, we announced a $250 million commitment to renewing Canada's network of small craft harbours.

This funding is helping to accelerate repairs and enhance existing installations for planned projects at core commercial fishing harbours and at non-core harbours. Small craft harbours are key economic hubs in coastal communities across Canada, and they support regional fishing industries.

Finally, as part of Canada's 2018 G7 presidency Minister McKenna, Minister Sohi and I co-hosted the G7 ministerial meeting in September on the theme of working together on climate change, oceans and clean energy. We made progress in a number of areas related to healthy oceans and resilient communities. By combatting illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, and addressing marine plastic pollution by signing on to the Global Ghost Gear Initiative, we will support sustainable oceans and fisheries management.

We'll also increase our knowledge by expanding our global observation efforts and sharing scientific data in support of the development of clean energy systems in coastal communities that are vulnerable to challenging weather conditions.

Colleagues, Canadians can be proud of the progress we have made to date, but I am sure that you will agree there's still much more to do. Our government will continue to lead the way on new and innovative policies and actions that provide meaningful and lasting protection for our oceans and freshwater resources.

Thank you.

I would like to turn to my parliamentary secretary who will share a little bit about the work he is doing.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2Government Orders

November 6th, 2018 / 4:45 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals are drowning Canadian job creators in red tape and tax hikes. Whether it is the carbon tax, small business tax hikes or the many cancelled tax credits and deductions, the Liberals are driving businesses out of Canada and killing Canadian jobs, hurting workers and middle-class families across the country.

Every other day major oil and gas companies cancel future projects, stop expansions or completely sell their Canadian businesses and take their money to other countries. It is a crisis, and it is not a result of external factors beyond the government's control. In fact, it is a direct consequence of the Liberals' message to Canadians and the world that Canada is closed for business because of the Liberals' added red tape and imposed cost increases.

Context is important. The energy sector is the biggest private sector investor and accounts for over 11% of the value of Canada's economy. To put this in perspective, it contributes twice as much as agriculture and fisheries combined, sectors in which farmers and fishermen also often have jobs in oil and gas. It contributes more than the banking and finance sector and more than the auto sector. The benefits are shared across Canada. Every one job in the oil sands creates seven manufacturing jobs in Ontario. Every one upstream oil and gas job in Alberta creates five jobs in other sectors, in other provinces.

However, spending in Canada's oil and gas sector declined 56% over three years, from $81 billion in 2014 to $45 billion in 2017. More money has left Canada's oil and gas sector since the 2015 election than at any other comparable time period in more than 70 years. The equivalent value would be losing 75% of auto manufacturing in Canada, or almost the entirety of the aerospace sector in Canada, something no one rightfully would accept.

The biggest beneficiary is the U.S. where spending in oil and gas increased 38% to $120 billion in 2017. Today, U.S. investment in Canada is down by more than half. Canadian investment in the U.S. is up by two-thirds. The consequences of these losses are hundreds of thousands of Canadians out of work and less revenue for core social programs and services at every level of government in every single province.

Over 115,000 Albertans are out of work and not receiving any employment insurance assistance right now and tens of thousands more have lost their jobs. The Liberals' anti-energy agenda is clearly both hindering the private sector from being able to provide well-paying jobs, but it is also risking the life savings of many Canadians.

Oil and gas companies are a big part of most people's pension plans, and whether through employer provided defined contribution plans or personal investments in mutual funds, chances are that most Canadians are invested in oil and gas. When oil and gas companies leave Canada, the value of those investments in Canada drops, reducing the value of everyone's retirement savings. Now CPP and the Ontario teachers' pension plan are also investing in the United States.

I want to highlight an aspect of this legislation that will compound uncertainty and challenges for Canadian oil and gas proponents. On page 589, in the very last chapter of this 840-page omnibus bill, clause 692 implements sweeping new powers for the federal cabinet to impose regulations on marine transport. Included in these powers is the ability to pass regulations:

(j) respecting compulsory routes and recommended routes;

(k) regulating or prohibiting the operation, navigation, anchoring, mooring or berthing of vessels or classes of vessels; and

(l) regulating or prohibiting the loading or unloading of a vessel or a class of vessels.

This means the Liberal cabinet can block any class of tanker from any route leaving Canada or from docking at any port the Liberals choose. In Bill C-48, oil tankers of a certain size will be prevented from travelling and from the loading and off-loading of crude at ports only off the northern coast of B.C.

This legislation, Bill C-86, would be a dramatic expansion, giving the Liberal cabinet the power to block oil exports from any port anywhere in Canada or to block oil tankers in general from entering Canadian waters. Places like the Arctic could lose access to the fuel tankers that keep power on during the winter. Offshore oil and gas development in Atlantic Canada could be blocked overnight. That is alarming in itself, and it gets worse.

This legislation authorizes a single minister to be able to make legally binding changes to these regulations for a year at a time and even up to three years, regarding “compulsory routes” and “prohibiting the operation, navigation, anchoring, mooring or berthing of vessels or classes of vessels”. One minister with one stroke of a pen can shut down an entire industry with wide-ranging impacts.

This is a pattern. The Liberals repeatedly demonstrate their hostility to the oil and gas sector in Canada. The Prime Minister of course said that he wants to phase out the oil sands, and Canadians should believe him. He defended the use of tax dollars for summer jobs to stop the Trans Mountain expansion. The Liberals removed the tax credit for new exploration oil drilling at the very worst time.

Also, many Liberal MPs ran in the last election opposing the export of Canada's oil to the world. Since they formed government, the Liberals have used every tool at their disposal to kill energy sector jobs.

Canada is the only top 10 oil-producing country in the world, let alone in North America, to impose a carbon tax on itself. While there are significant exemptions for major industrial emitters, it will hike costs for operations across the value chain, and certainly for the 80% of Canadian service and supply companies that are small businesses. Moreover, individual contractors will still have to pay it.

The proposed clean fuel standards—which would be unprecedented globally because they would be applied to buildings and facilities, not just to transportation fuel—will cost integrated oil and gas companies as well as refining and petrochemical development in Canada hundreds of millions of dollars. Canada is literally the most environmentally and socially responsible producer of oil and gas in the world, oil and gas that the world will continue to demand for decades. We are falling dramatically behind the United States and other countries for regulatory efficiency and clarity.

The Liberals imposed the tanker ban, with no substantial economic, safety, or environmental assessments and no real consultation, and a ban on offshore drilling in the north against the wishes of the premier of the Northwest Territories.

The Prime Minister vetoed outright the northern gateway pipeline and then intervened to kill energy east with delays, rule changes and a last-minute double standard. Now, the Liberals' failures have driven Kinder Morgan out of Canada. Construction of the Trans Mountain expansion has never started in the two years since the Liberals approved it, and they have repeatedly kicked the can down the road for months. The consequence is that crude oil is now being shipped by rail and truck at record levels, negatively impacting other sectors like agriculture, manufacturing and retail.

The Liberals would add uncertainty and great expense for any resource project that has even a ditch on its property, by subjecting all water to the navigable waters regulatory regime in Bill C-68. Moreover, their “no more pipelines” Bill C-69 would block any future pipelines and therefore stop major oil and gas projects from being built in Canada.

Kinder Morgan is now going to take all of that $4.5 billion in Canadian tax dollars the Liberals spent on the existing pipeline and will use it to build pipelines in the United States, Canada's biggest energy competitor and customer. The consequences are that large companies are pulling out of Canada and investing in the U.S. or elsewhere.

Encana, a made in Canada success story, is selling Canadian assets to buy into projects in the United States. Gwyn Morgan, its founder, did not mince words. He said:

I’m deeply saddened that, as a result of the disastrous policies of the [Liberal] government, what was once the largest Canadian-headquartered energy producer now sees both its CEO and the core of its asset base located in the U.S.

It is estimated that the Liberal failure to get pipelines built is forcing Canadian oil to sell for $100 million dollars less a day than what it should be worth. That is $100 million dollars a day that is not providing for middle-class families, that is not fuelling small businesses, and not generating taxes to pay off the out-of-control Liberal deficit.

RBC recently reported that in 2008, taxes generated by oil and gas were worth $35 billion a year for provincial and federal governments. That is now down to almost $10 billion a year in 2016. That is more than $20 billion a year that could have gone to health care and education or to cover old age security costs, or be invested in building bridges and roads. Of course, the Liberals promised a deficit of only $10 billion a year and that the budget would be balanced by 2019, but none of that is anywhere in sight. They choose to spend recklessly: millions of dollars on perks like renovations for ministers' offices, a $5 million hockey rink on Parliament Hill that operated for a couple of months, or $26 million for vehicles. Never mind the billions of dollars spent outside Canada, building oil and gas pipelines in Asia with Canadian tax dollars or funding groups linked to anti-Semitism and terrorism.

Never has a government spent so much and achieved so little. The end result is Canada is trapped in a debt spiral. The ones who are going to pay for these deficits are millennials and their children, and it makes life less affordable today while federal government debt increases interest rates across the board. That poses significant risks to Canada and leaves us utterly unprepared for a global economic recession or worldwide factors that the government cannot control, unlike the Liberals' damaging policies. Future generations will find that their governments cannot afford services or programs they are counting on, and their governments will be in a trap of borrowing and hiking taxes. That is why Conservatives advocate balanced budgets, because it is the only responsible thing to do for Canada's children and grandchildren.

The out-sized contributions of the energy sector to the whole country's economy and to government revenue is also why the future of energy development in Canada is one of the most important domestic economic questions facing all of us. That is what makes the Liberal layering of red tape and costs on Canadian energy so unconscionable, and the consequences so devastating for all of Canada.

November 6th, 2018 / 12:25 p.m.
See context

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

I appreciate your analysis enormously. Bill C-68, of course, would prohibit the taking of whales and dolphins in the wild in Canadian waters, but it doesn't prohibit keeping them in captivity if they come from overseas or if they've been bred in captivity. The purpose of Bill S-203 is very clearly not to keep cetaceans in captivity in Canada. The amendment in Bill C-68, which we really welcomed, is totally consistent, but it applies, as you said, only to one part of the same topic. It doesn't accomplish the same ends. Taking this forward would be great.

If it had been known to Senator Wilfred Moore, the originator of this bill in the Senate, that the then Minister of Fisheries was on the verge of banning the taking of whales and dolphins in captivity, he would have left that section out of Bill S-203. However, it proceeded from the Senate in advance of when the minister put forward Bill C-68 for first reading.

It would certainly create unwanted complexities for the government to try to change that one section now that it's in the Senate, just as it would create unnecessary complications for Bill S-203 to try to remove that. The only real question is whether there is any incompatibility. There isn't. They work together toward one of the same purposes, but Bill S-203 is toward a rather different end and we'll have to see how it does in committee.

While I have the microphone, I'd just say that I consulted with senators Wilfred Moore and Murray Sinclair, who took the bill forward through the Senate. In terms of which committee you might direct it to, it appears most logical that it go to the fisheries committee. I just wanted to make that suggestion while that was under review.

November 6th, 2018 / 12:25 p.m.
See context

Liberal

David Graham Liberal Laurentides—Labelle, QC

If C-68 and S-203 both passed, would they create a contradiction in law?

November 6th, 2018 / 12:20 p.m.
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David Groves Committee Researcher

I'm happy to discuss any of the bills that the committee has before it, but as Mr. Graham has mentioned, I'm going to focus my comments on one bill in particular, which is Bill S-203. It is my assessment that all three of these bills could be declared non-votable, but Bill S-203 I feel requires a bit more elaboration.

Bill S-203, an act to amend the Criminal Code and other acts, ending the captivity of whales and dolphins, is a Senate public bill that seeks to accomplish three goals: one, to prohibit the keeping of a cetacean—which I have learned is a whale or a dolphin or other animals in that family—in captivity; two, to prohibit the catching of a cetacean so as to keep it in captivity; and three, to prohibit the import and export of a live cetacean.

In so doing, the bill would make amendments to the Criminal Code, to the Fisheries Act and to the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act. Of note for the committee, it would amend the Fisheries Act by adding section 28.1, of which subsection 28.1(1) would read as follows:

Subject to subsection (2), no one shall move a live cetacean, including a whale, dolphin or porpoise, from its immediate vicinity with the intent to take it into captivity.

Proposed subsection 28.1(2) reads:

A person may move a live cetacean from its immediate vicinity when the cetacean is injured or in distress and is in need of assistance.

I have flagged this proposed section in particular because there is another bill before Parliament that would make a similar amendment to the Fisheries Act. This is Bill C-68, an act to amend the Fisheries Act and other acts in consequence. It's a government bill.

Bill C-68, which was passed by the House and is currently at second reading in the Senate, has a number of stated goals, one of which, as described in its summary, is to:

prohibit the fishing of a cetacean with the intent to take it into captivity, unless authorized by the Minister, including when the cetacean is injured, in distress or in need of care

To achieve this goal, Bill C-68 would add section 23.1 to the Fisheries Act, which would read as follows:

23.1(1) Subject to subsection (2), no one shall fish for a cetacean with the intent to take it into captivity.

(2) The Minister may, subject to any conditions that he or she may specify, authorize a person to fish for a cetacean with the intent to take it into captivity if he or she is of the opinion that the circumstances so require, including when the cetacean is injured or in distress or is in need of care.

To summarize, Bill C-68 would prohibit the fishing of a cetacean with the intent to take it into captivity. Bill S-203 would prohibit the moving of a live cetacean with the intent to take it into captivity. Both would achieve these goals by making amendments to the Fisheries Act.

Normally, this subcommittee evaluates public members' bills on four criteria that were established in a report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, which you're all familiar with. Standing Order 92(1)(a), however, states that when considering Senate public bills, such as Bill S-203, the only criterion is whether the bill “is similar to a bill voted on by the House in the same Parliament”.

As echoed in House of Commons Procedure and Practice, “the only ground on which such a bill can be designated non-votable is its similarity to a bill voted on by the House in the same Parliament.”

This is simply to say that while there may be some similarities between the issue before the committee today and issues that have arisen around private members' bills over the last year, Bill S-203 has not been assessed on the basis of those criteria that the committee was applying in those circumstances. This is a different test.

Per the standing order, the only question is whether Bill C-68 and Bill S-203 are similar enough that Bill S-203 should be declared non-votable.

As I mentioned earlier, there is a clear similarity between the bills. Both of them would amend the Fisheries Act to prohibit the capturing of a cetacean for the purposes of keeping it in captivity. It could, therefore, be argued that they are similar and thus that Bill S-203 should be declared non-votable.

However, there are differences. Preventing the capture of cetaceans is only one of three goals in Bill S-203, which also seeks to prohibit the keeping of cetaceans and the importing and exporting of cetaceans. These are unique to Bill S-203. Bill C-68 is only interested in the act of capturing a cetacean. Bill C-68 also makes a number of other changes to the Fisheries Act that have nothing to do with cetaceans, which are the sole focus of Bill S-203.

As such, it is my assessment that these bills are partially, rather than completely, similar. The bills overlap in one aspect, but not in all aspects.

In the past, assessments of how votable a bill is have been conducted with the purpose of this committee in mind, which I understand to be to provide members with the fullest opportunity possible to use their private members' time effectively, so that if a bill or a motion would have little or no effect because of similarity, members should be given the opportunity to replace it with something that would be meaningful.

In this case, it is my assessment that there is enough difference between these two bills that were Bill S-203 to advance and become law, it would have a distinct effect. Both bills prohibit capturing, and in this respect Bill S-203 would be redundant. However, Bill S-203 would go further in prohibiting the keeping of cetaceans and the importing or exporting as well. As such, the committee could decide that this bill should be declared not non-votable.

Having said that, this assessment is not binding on the subcommittee. I'm here for your assistance. The issue of whether a partial similarity between items is so substantial that a private member's item would have little or no distinct effect—in other words, the issue of how similar is too similar—is not apparent from the text of the Standing Orders. The standing order simply says “similar”, and my assessment is based on past decisions of the subcommittee and my understanding of the subcommittee's purpose. This is different enough to be declared not non-votable.

I'm happy to answer any questions you have.