House of Commons Hansard #107 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was vaccine.


Made in Canada ActGovernment Orders

6:25 p.m.

Some hon. members



Made in Canada ActGovernment Orders

6:25 p.m.


The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

There is no agreement but the point has been made.

Business of the HouseGovernment Orders

November 4th, 2009 / 6:25 p.m.


The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I would like to inform the House that under the provisions of Standing Order 97.1(2), I am designating Tuesday, November 17, 2009 as the day fixed for the consideration of the motion to concur in the seventh report of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology. The report contains a recommendation not to proceed further with Bill C-273, An Act to amend the Competition Act and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (right to repair).

The one hour debate on the motion will be held immediately after the usual private members' business hour, after which the House will proceed to the adjournment proceedings pursuant to Standing Order 38.

The House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's order paper.

The House resumed from October 6 consideration of the motion.

First Nation Cadet ProgramsGovernment Orders

6:30 p.m.


Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pride to speak to this motion on increasing the cadet program in aboriginal communities. I am very excited about the motion. I have a lot of aboriginal people and communities in my riding and I am very supportive of the motion.

I am a bit disappointed at not having more prescription as to what we could do to facilitate the enhancement of cadets in aboriginal communities, but, nevertheless, I am very excited to support the motion. I thank the member for Wetaskiwin for bringing it forward. I also thank my colleague from Labrador for his eloquent speech on the motion and about the experiences in his riding. The member for Wetaskiwin spoke very passionately about how important this was to the people of Hobbema and he showed what a tremendous difference a program for youth could have on a community and the success of the program. It is these types of success stories that parliamentarians should support, try to continue and expand.

Some people do not understand the purpose of the cadet program. It is not a recruitment for the military, although some people inevitably go on to the military. It is a youth responsibility program. It is a chance for youth to work together constructively and learn a lot of skills that are important in life. In particular, they learn leadership skills, teamwork skills, they boost their self-esteem, they have a sense of self-discipline, they can hone their decision making and self-confidence and there is an important physical education component.

All those good qualities that are very important for the education of youth and for youth to have successful lives are great benefits of the cadet program. We are very supportive of the program itself and, in particular, in first nation communities it makes wonderful sense, especially when we can see, from the example of Hobbema, how well it has worked and how excited the young cadets from Hobbema were to be in that program.

I must also congratulate the RCMP officers for their great community service of being involved in and running that program. When a people come from rural Canada or from the north, from Yukon like I do, they see the important role the police play in the community, not just policing, but they are involved in all aspects of the community. They are part of the community and they are wonderful role models. In this particular exercise, the Hobbema Cadet program, the RCMP showed exactly that type of function. Some might say that is not related to why we hired the RCMP, but it is related. It is a point that we on the Liberal side have been making for so long, which is that prevention is the best tool to reduce crime. These positive activities for youth are a great step in that direction.

We all know the saying that idle hands are the devil's playground. When I was a youth, we had after-school programs and summer programs where we could get involved in activities at school. Those programs kept us doing positive and productive things, just as the cadet programs do.

I want to talk about how wonderful the cadet program is in my riding. We have a cadet camp and cadets come from all over Canada in the summer, the air cadets, the sea cadets and the army cadets. They have a wonderful experience. They not only learn all the important lessons of life, which I talked about, but they also get to meet other youth from right across Canada and understand where they come from. I go to a lot of the graduation ceremonies and it is moving to see how sad the cadets are to leave.

I am almost moved to tears sometimes to see very small Inuit children who have come and who have never seen a tree before in their life. They have come to this cadet program and met other Canadians from across the north and from across Canada. They have seen things they would not otherwise have seen.

It is such a positive experience in the lives of youth that I cannot help but promote this motion that I hope leads to more and more cadet camps in the aboriginal communities, as specified in this motion, to give the opportunity to thousands of aboriginal youth across the country to have the same positive experience that many of the youth in Hobbema had.

I also want to talk about another program that is very similar and also very positive, which I am strongly supportive of for the youth of the north, and that is the junior rangers. There is a range of programs in the north. A high percentage of the northern rangers who express our sovereignty across the north and that do our rescue across the north are northern aboriginal peoples who know how to live on the land and who are doing a great service for Canada.

We have been very supportive in our party of the rangers, of creating them, of making them grow and of their having more and more of a presence. There have been some problems in the past about uniforms or equipment, or not getting their remuneration for their supplies or equipment, or getting paid on time or in a way they could actually access it in remote communities where, for instance, there may not be a bank, there may not have been enough of a per diem or not enough of an amount for their equipment.

However, I think we need to all work together and remember that the rangers are a very important part of Canada's armed forces and that they should be treated with the equipment and respect they deserve and need. I think every Canadian is very proud of our northern rangers.

It only makes sense that we would therefore be very supportive of the junior ranger program, led by these rangers and others in communities across the north. Once again, it is a tremendous learning experience on the land and in the skills that are needed in the north to show our presence.

We did have an issue at one time. A community wanted both a junior ranger and a cadet corps but this was not allowed. This was a large enough community that I think it could have easily supported both. I hope that type of policy does not continue and that we can have both types of wonderful youth programs in a community when the community wants it, when the tremendous volunteers who are required to run all these programs are available, interested and are supportive of the programs.

In conclusion, I would like to say that I am very supportive of the motion. There are over 600 aboriginal communities in the country but not that many aboriginal cadet corps at the moment, and there is obviously room for expansion of it.

The wonderful show on CBC done on the Hobbema Cadet Corps shows what can be accomplished. It shows how crime can be reduced by investing in positive activities for our youth and giving them those opportunities in the north and in the south, in aboriginal communities so that they learn these valuable lessons of life. They interact with adults who are volunteers and role models, either RCMP or rangers.

I commend the member for Wetaskiwin for bringing this motion forward and the member for Labrador for his great support and examples of this motion. I certainly encourage everyone in the House to vote to support our youth, to support more activities for youth, to support the junior rangers and to support the army, sea and air cadets.

First Nation Cadet ProgramsGovernment Orders

6:35 p.m.


Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to speak in favour of Motion No. 271 on behalf of the entire New Democratic caucus. If passed, this motion would call on the government to promote first nations community cadet programs across the country.

I want to thank and congratulate my colleague from the government side, the hon. member for Wetaskiwin, for bringing this motion forward. I understand that his motion is inspired by the success of a first nations cadet program that is running right now in his riding, the Hobbema Community Cadet Corps program.

I would like to thank the hon. member for drawing our attention to this excellent program and the attention of the entire House and for giving us the opportunity to learn more about the fine work that is being done by RCMP officers, first nations leaders and other community members who have devoted their time and energy to this program and have made this commitment to the children and youth in Hobbema to offer them a vision of the future that is filled with hope, pride and success.

The first Community Cadet Corps started 10 years ago in Saskatchewan on Carry the Kettle Reserve near Regina. It was developed by RCMP Corporal Rick Sanderson. More than 40 chapters now exist in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The Hobbema program was formed in November 2005 and it is the only program of its kind in Alberta. It is the largest Community Cadet Corps program in Canada.

These cadet corps programs were developed specifically to meet the needs of first nations youth because they emphasize aboriginal languages and cultures. This is a joint project between police officers and members of first nations communities to provide young people with leadership training.

The purpose of the programs is to foster positive attitudes and teach social development skills. Basically, these programs give young people hope and nurture a sense of pride in their identity and their communities.

These cadet corps programs are designed specifically with the needs of first nations youth in mind. They emphasize native culture and language. They are a collaborative effort by police officers and first nations community members to give young people leadership training. They aim to teach positive attitudes and social development skills. Fundamentally, these programs are about instilling in these young people some hope for the future and full pride in their identities and in their community.

As the New Democrat public safety critic, I commend the RCMP for creating these first nations programs. I commend the partnership between RCMP and first nations leaders. We need more of this co-operation to happen right across the country. We need more aboriginal youth to seek a career with the RCMP and other police forces. When first nations are able to take leadership in policing their communities, we have safer communities.

What a wonderful vision it would be to see RCMP and policing detachments across the country, in aboriginal and non-aboriginal communities, staffed by aboriginal youth who become the young men and women who police with their visions, their culture, their experiences and the special knowledge that they will bring to the types of issues that they have grown up with and know so well.

My riding, Vancouver Kingsway, is very different from the area that my hon. colleague from Wetaskiwin represents. Vancouver Kingsway is an urban riding 21 square kilometres in size. It seemed like more than that when I went door-knocking in the last election, but I am assured that it is actually quite small when compared with other ridings. Certainly it is small compared with my hon. colleague's constituency, which stretches over 15,000 square kilometres.

I point this out because, while we represent two very different parts of our country, we both have first nations populations in our ridings that are facing very difficult challenges.

I would like to talk a bit about the issues facing urban first nations, particularly in the Vancouver area. When we talk in the House about first nations in our country, we often look at first nations people who live on reserves or in rural communities. We deal with critical issues facing these people.

The issues facing rural first nations are important ones: ensuring that they receive a fair share of the natural resources that our country is blessed with; and ensuring that their voices are heard in land-use decisions on territories that they have traditionally inhabited and, in the case of British Columbia, much of which is unceded.

However, there are equally important issues facing urban aboriginal people and these issues are too often forgotten.

There are 1.2 million people in Canada who self-identify as aboriginal. The majority of those, 53%, are living in urban areas. That is over 600,000 first nations people living in urban communities across Canada. There is a large, vibrant first nations community in Vancouver. This community faces huge challenges. On nearly every social, health and economic measure, urban aboriginals are disadvantaged. Too many live in poverty and substandard housing. They face high unemployment and too many do not graduate from high school.

Members in the House know about these challenges. They see them in their ridings as well. I do not want to belabour these negative facts because I want to talk about the positive things that are happening in our community. I want to talk about some of the good work that is being done by people in Vancouver.

There is a first nations housing co-op in my riding. It is called the Synala Housing Co-op. I have had the opportunity to visit this co-op and it is an example of the good things that can be achieved to improve the lives of urban first nations. This co-op is filled with first nations families that are living together, building community, working together and raising families in an urban setting that preserves the important cultural identity that they must.

My youngest daughter, Cerys Davies, recently graduated from Mount Pleasant Elementary School in Vancouver, which is just outside Vancouver Kingsway. This school has a wonderful principal named Steve Agabob. I spoke with Mr. Agabob this afternoon and I asked him about the challenges facing aboriginals in his school. He told me that 12% of the population of his students was aboriginal.

He talked to me about the importance of aboriginal enhancement agreements. These are living documents that enable us to look at the issues facing urban first nations, youth and their families and examine the options we have to address them. He told me about the abysmal job that we were doing on graduating students.

We need better cultural programs, special literacy programs and more social initiatives. At Vancouver Technical Secondary School in Vancouver, I understand they are gathering just this week to discuss such issues.

The urban challenge is particularly difficult because there is no one first nations culture of course. In Vancouver we have Métis. We have northern aboriginals. We have coastal aboriginals. We have prairie aboriginals, so it is difficult to express and build one cultural identity, nor should we. However, what we can say is that these people are overrepresented in prisons and have lower educational outcomes. They are at greater risk for diseases such as H1N1 and poverty is the biggest factor that they face.

On the other hand, Mr. Agabob told me that there was a huge opportunity. Aboriginal youth represent the fastest growing population in our country entering the workforce. What a wonderful opportunity we have because this generation of first nations could be our next doctors, our next lawyers, our next architects, our next nurses, our next politicians.

I also want to single out the good work of Ms. Katanni Sinclair, a first nations cultural support worker at Mount Pleasant, who for years has quietly and competently worked with first nations people in that school and their families and is really making a difference in our country.

One of the ways the government can support urban first nations to come together as a community is also through friendship centres. Friendship centres are at the front lines of addressing the complex needs of the urban aboriginal community.

In May my office received a letter from Vera Pawis Tabobondung, president of the National Association of Friendship Centres. She heads a network of 118 such centres across Canada. She described the crucial role these centres play in improving the lives of urban first nations people. These centres offer recreational programs for aboriginal youth, cultural and arts programs. They have day cares, including supports for special needs children. They run literacy courses, offer parenting support services and advocate on behalf of children in transition with social services.

This is the kind of positive work that I call upon the government to support. However, I have heard from Ms. Tabobondung that friendship centres are struggling with crumbling physical infrastructure, outdated technological systems and escalating cost pressures. The financial difficulties have been exacerbated by the economic crisis.

I wrote the Minister of Canadian Heritage, asking him to include increased funding for friendship centres in the next federal budget so they could continue to provide the crucial services that Canada's urban aboriginal population desperately require. I echo that call today.

I want to congratulate the government side, and particularly the hon. member for Wetaskiwin, for championing what is a positive program in our country, one we can build upon so we can bring to our country the success that is owed—

First Nation Cadet ProgramsGovernment Orders

6:50 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Brant.

First Nation Cadet ProgramsGovernment Orders

6:50 p.m.


Phil McColeman Conservative Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to join in the debate on the motion before us today. Our government has been committed to implementing effective crime prevention programs since we were first elected in 2006 and to ensuring that at-risk young people in particular get the help they need to avoid becoming involved with gangs and other activities that can lead them into a life of crime.

We have refocused the national crime prevention strategy to ensure that initiatives are targeted, effective and long term. We have also taken steps to ensure that funding is permanent rather than subject to the sunset provisions, which the previous government had put in place.

As well, as my hon. colleagues have pointed out, our government has set up the northern and aboriginal crime prevention fund, which supports innovative and culturally sensitive crime prevention practices that aim to reduce offending among at-risk children and youth.

All in all, our government has invested nearly $74.4 million in 46 national crime prevention centre projects across Canada this year alone, many of them targeted at helping aboriginal youth. I am therefore very proud of what we have accomplished to date and I am confident that we can and will do more.

Today the successive programs funded under the national crime prevention strategy rests largely on the fact that they are evidence-based and targeted to individuals most at risk of offending. They are also based on community partnerships and extensive community involvement and participation so initiatives are focused and will have the greatest impact among the young people who need it the most.

All of this is important, given that our goal is to help young people at risk make smarter life choices and avoid becoming involved in a life of crime. Equally important is the need to continually monitor and evaluate projects to ensure they produce lasting results. That is one way we can be sure that taxpayer dollars are invested in a way that makes sense and produces the desired outcome. So far that is exactly what our government has done.

We have invested, for example, in several projects this year alone targeted at aboriginal youth, which meet all of this criteria. As my hon. colleagues have mentioned, we have invested in projects such as the helping youth to help themselves project in Yellowknife.

The Government of Canada is also investing close to $166,000 over 15 months to help the department of justice, community justice division, of the Northwest Territories government continue to foster the creation of partnerships and networks to coordinate the crime prevention approaches and to support the practitioners to ultimately reduce crime.

The Government of Canada is also investing nearly $160,000 over 15 months to help the Department of Justice of the government of the Northwest Territories research the development of a culturally sensitive prevention program that will target men who are at high risk of using violence in intimate relationships.

The leadership and resiliency program is a model program designed to enhance youth's internal strengths and resiliency, while preventing involvement in substance use and violence. This program has shown to be very effective when it has been implemented in other places and it has a strong record of reducing crime. This is why we are supporting two educational institutions to implement this program in communities in the Northwest Territories.

Our government is also funding the South Slave Divisional Education Council's leadership and resiliency program with over $1.4 million over 60 months, and the Yellowknife Catholic Schools leadership and resiliency program, through the Public Denominational District Education Authority, with over $7.1 million, also over 60 months.

In Halifax our government is committing funds of $696,000 over three years to the Chebucto Communities Development Association so it can offer the seeds of change youth Inclusion program to youth between the ages of 14 and 18 who are at risk of criminal involvement.

This program will allow participants to learn new skills, get help with their education, and also focus on drug prevention and conflict resolution, so that young people can increase their social skills and sense of belonging.

As well, our government is investing $469,000 over three years, so that the Aboriginal Women's Association of P.E.I. can deliver the “Gathering Together” program to at risk children, youth and young adults in first nations communities across P.E.I. in an effort to reduce incidents of violent crime and property crime associated with substance abuse.

This program will involve communities, families, service providers and youth in culturally sensitive activities which will help develop the skills needed to support effective crime prevention and reduction.

Each of these initiatives is important. They are community-based. They are founded upon a demonstrated capacity and interest in the community to get them up and running. They are based upon demonstrated links to studies which clearly establish that they work, and indeed, experience shows that they have been and will be successful in helping to reduce crime among at risk youth in our communities.

The motion before us today proposes in this regard:

That, in the opinion of the House, the government should examine First Nations cadet programs and develop a plan to facilitate, promote and help monitor First Nations community cadet programs across Canada.

Our government supports the motion in principle. Still, we need to move forward in a prudent and measured way in order to ensure that we continue invest taxpayers' dollars in projects that will work to help at risk youth and people to avoid a life of crime. That is what we have done to date and it is what we will do in the future as we continue to build safer communities for everyone.

First Nation Cadet ProgramsGovernment Orders

6:55 p.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta


Laurie Hawn ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to speak in favour of this motion. I know that my colleague from Wetaskiwin has been working very hard in the preparation of this motion and is a great supporter of the cadet program that is bringing a positive choice to the youth of the four bands of Hobbema, all the while curtailing the tide of violence and the spread of gang recruitment that is plaguing those reserves.

Today, over 1,050 cadets have registered in this program. There are 65 registered cadet instructors. There is one Hobbema RCMP community cadet corps program coordinator and one RCMP provincial youth cadet program manager. There are also five parent volunteers and three senior cadets, who recently turned 18 and are waiting to be trained as adult cadet Instructors. That is real teamwork.

I want to take a few minutes to outline why this motion should be passed and to speak of the successes currently happening in the Hobbema community cadet corps program.

First, and foremost, the cadet program started with the four individual bands and brought them together as a collective unit to solve problems, learn tolerance and work patiently with each other, resulting in their parents and elders working jointly.

The cadet program has attracted hundreds of members since forming four years ago. It was developed and implemented by the RCMP as a comprehensive crime reduction initiative, while educating first nations youth on the dangers of gang activity, drug abuse and associated violence.

The program is recruiting first nations youth and is advising them on positive choices and alternatives to overcome daily negative obstacles that prevent them from obtaining future education and career opportunities. It has partnered up with local businesses to help members with scholarships and jobs.

I know that many of the involved youth are going to look back and think fondly of their experiences in the cadet corps as they embrace leadership positions as adults. Their time in the program might even lead to some becoming members of the RCMP, the Canadian Forces, or other similar groups.

The program is empowering young people to make decisions and solve problems affecting them and their cadet corps, as well as their families, schools and communities.

The cadet corps provides a safe, secure, positive peer group and a strong support system, allowing them to learn to grow and respect each other and themselves.

As well, the program teaches the Cree language to all the cadets, while the elders teach wisdom, knowledge and the understanding of the Cree culture.

With the co-operation of community agencies, such as social, mental health, police and fire and ambulance services, as well as youth development, the cadet corps is working collectively like never before. In light of this success story, it is my wish to see such an achievement repeated in first nations communities across Canada.

The Hobbema community cadet corps program is now known as the largest aboriginal cadet program around the world and has partnered up with the national inter-school brigade Jamaica police cadet corps program.

Since the cadet program was developed, school attendance has risen and crime has significantly been reduced in the community. The program's youth empowerment and crime reduction model has received national interest among aboriginal, academic and police communities. And with the passage of the motion, we can promote cadet programs in all of Canada's first nations communities.

I want to strongly encourage chiefs, elders, parents, sponsors, surrounding communities, and the RCMP to work with the cadet program organizers to ensure it continues and succeeds.

On a final note, I want the young people involved in the program to know that I am inspired and impressed with their dedication and hard work. They have built the program from the grassroots up and have made a tremendous difference in their community.

I represent an intercity riding in the city of Edmonton. The city of Edmonton has, as many people may know, or will shortly, the highest number of urban aboriginals in Canada. It is incredibly important that we address the challenges of aboriginal youth, whether it is in urban settings like Edmonton or rural settings like Wetaskiwin. They are some of our future leaders and we need to give them every encouragement and every opportunity to reach their full potential in a safe environment.

Again, I urge all members of this House to vote in favour of this motion, and I want to thank my hon. friend from Wetaskiwin, who has worked tirelessly to advance this issue.

First Nation Cadet ProgramsGovernment Orders

7 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Resuming debate. There being no further members rising to continue debate, I will recognize the member for Wetaskiwin for his five minute right of reply.

First Nation Cadet ProgramsGovernment Orders

7 p.m.


Blaine Calkins Conservative Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, let me just say how delighted I am that this motion has been brought before the House of Commons. I want to thank all of my colleagues in all parties of the House who have spoken so eloquently in support of my motion to support, to enhance, and to monitor first nations cadet programs across our country.

I know I only have a few minutes, but I would like to take this wrap-up opportunity to thank all the organizers and founders of the Hobbema community cadet corps going back to Inspector Doug Reti, who in 2005 mounted a crime reduction initiative to disrupt gang activity, drug abuse and associated violence.

He assigned two people who have become two of my best friends in the line of work that I have as a member of Parliament, Sergeant Mark Linnell and Constable Richard Huculiak. These two extraordinary gentlemen are members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and they dignify the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in ways that cannot be enunciated with words. They are pillars of the community. They typify the excellence that is found in so many front line police officers across our country. They deserve every bit of the congratulations and every bit of the praise and recognition for the success of this program to date.

I should also mention that we are fast approaching November 22 or November 23, I cannot remember the exact date, that will mark the fourth anniversary of this successful program. It has started. It has blossomed. It has evolved. Now it is on the national stage here in the House of Commons. I am so pleased that I will be able to have an opportunity to attend the fourth anniversary in the very near future.

I would like to thank Samson Oil & Gas. It has a large warehouse building that is probably the largest building on any of the four band areas. It provides indoor space during the winter months and provides much needed space for the cadets to practice their drill and to participate in some of their activities. The company certainly needs to be recognized and thanked for its contribution.

I want to thank the chiefs and councils of the four bands for their support. They have a remarkable opportunity to demonstrate further leadership and a commitment to their youth by continuing to support this excellent program. I certainly encourage them to do so. They should know that I stand ready to support this program alongside them.

I want to thank all of the donors and sponsors who have given their time, their resources, their money to help the program continue for the better part of the last four years. There is just too many of them to name, but without their support this program would have floundered and would have found an unfortunate end. But because of their support and their commitment, this program is still alive and well, and moving forward and doing so many good things for the young participants.

I also wish to thank some of the volunteers who have done so much to help lead the program: David Huculiak, Salty Lee, Noreen Buffalo, Bryan Makinaw, Deanna Roasting, Wesley McCarthy, Deb Swanson. These are the volunteers who volunteer their time, put in countless hours, almost immeasurable in value, volunteer their efforts to assist Mark Linnell and Richard Huculiak, and make the Hobbema community cadet program so successful.

I would like to thank the local media, regional media, and even the national media for the coverage of the Hobbema community cadet program. There is often a lot of bad news that comes out of that community generated by a few people in that community. My experience has been there are so many good people there doing great things. The media certainly has had a role to play through its coverage of various events and through the documentaries to make Canadians aware of what is happening there.

I want to thank my province; the ministers, Gene Zwozdesky, Harvey Cenaiko, and Fred Lindsay; my local MLA colleagues, Verlyn Olson, Dianna McQueen and Raymond Prins; and Ron Hepperle, the first nations policing manager for the province of Alberta. The province has been a stalwart supporter financially and with other gifts in kind. The province of Alberta should be recognized for this.

I wish to thank the Government of Canada. The Minister of Public Safety has visited with the cadets and has shown a keen interest in helping and further advancing this program. I certainly do appreciate the support that Public Safety and Health Canada and other agencies have provided in not only supplying services but also small amounts of financing from time to time to help.

With that, I would like to say this is all about those cadets. It is about those young people. They are an inspiration to all of us and I hope that this motion will pass unanimously to show these young people that here in the House of Commons we believe in them 100%.

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7:05 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

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7:05 p.m.

Some hon. members


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7:05 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I declare the motion carried.

(Motion agreed to)

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

7:05 p.m.


Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am rising to raise questions following the ones I posed to the Minister of Natural Resources on October 28. I would like to provide further details of the questions that I raised for the benefit of the minister and the House.

We have frequently heard from the government about its efforts to work in sync with the United States of America on the U.S.-Canada clean energy dialogue. However, contrary to the information that is provided to us, the two governments do not appear to be in sync, and I would like to raise a number of questions and issues with the minister and would appreciate a more detailed reply.

We claim to be in sync and yet President Obama not only committed but actually issued approximately $3.2 billion from the federal budget to incent new jobs through investment in green energy. Yet what we hear from the Conservative government is still simply a lot of talk about incenting genuinely green energy.

I wish to bring to the minister's attention that we have three very strong powers at the federal level, and I would like to inquire about whether the government is intending to pursue the exercise of these very strong federal powers to genuinely incent the shift in investment toward a cleaner, greener economy. Those three powers include spending power, regulatory power and taxation power.

As I mentioned, despite the commitment in the 2009 budget by the government for clean energy and for renewables, we are still relying on the 2006 budget allotment to incent renewable power. It was a very small amount specifically allocated to renewable power, as I understand it, $100 million plus compared to the billions of dollars toward a broader so-called clean energy initiative.

I am advised that the eco-energy program was supposed to go right to 2011. Fortunately, there was so much interest in the program that the moneys are already allocated. The program was oversubscribed. There was incredible interest by investors and the industry sector in Alberta and in jurisdictions across the country towards investing in this. It is a clear indication that when there are federal monetary incentives, people shift over and invest in cleaner energy.

As for the regulatory area, my question to the government would be what action the minister has taken to reach out to the Minister of Finance, the Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to initiate laws that will trigger the investment in cleaner technology? For example, have they approved a building code? Have they pursued laws to put stricter standards on greenhouse gases, NOx, SOx, particulates and heavy metals?

In the taxation arena, the government has seen fit to give particular tax incentives, for example, to the tar sands, which have been very effective at triggering a massive shift of investment to the tar sands. Is the government giving consideration to and discussing with the Minister of Finance the possibility of giving similar subsidies to shift investment over to renewable power?

7:10 p.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan


David Anderson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, I would like to address those issues, because in terms of the spending power the government has had, the taxation power and the regulatory power we have had, we have been able to move on the whole spectrum of energy. We are not just dealing with renewables in isolation as the member would like us to do.

The interesting thing is that she has opposed each of those initiatives. The member and her party have stood against us. They want to talk about energy but on every point, as with so much of that party's policy, members of the NDP have opposed good public policy particularly to do with energy.

The member has come out against carbon capture and storage, a major initiative by the government. It has the potential to make a major difference in the environmental situation across the country and yet the NDP has come out against that. The member in particular has spoken against it.

When we make a major commitment to the environment, she chooses to oppose it. A good example of that was the project announced by the Prime Minister recently in Keephills to reduce emissions from a coal-fired power plant. The member came out against that. The member has a cottage in the area. We really need to ask, does she oppose this because she dislikes economic development, because she is not really that interested in the environmental challenges that we face, or is this a case of NIMBY, not in my backyard, or does she not want this to take place because she has some investment in the community?

Worst of all has been her support for Bill C-311. She really needs to answer some questions about her role and her position on energy in Alberta. Bill C-311 would wipe out the Alberta and Saskatchewan economies. She supports it. It is a bill that would cost thousands of jobs. She still supports the bill. It is a bill that would cost up to and over $20,000 per capita in some ridings. She continues to support it.

It is a bill, according to the report that was released last week by the David Suzuki Foundation and the Pembina Institute, that would cost Alberta 12.1% of its GDP and would cost Saskatchewan 7.5% of its GDP. She continues to support it. I think it was on Power Play, when she was asked about this report, she basically said that she does not think Alberta is coming out of this so badly. If a reduction of 12.1% in GDP is not a bad thing, I do not know what would be.

There is an energetic young man who is going door to door in Edmonton—Strathcona. Everywhere he goes he is asked how it is possible that there is an MP representing Edmonton—Strathcona who stands so strongly against the interests of Alberta. His name is Ryan Hastman. He is a Conservative candidate in Edmonton—Strathcona. He shares the disappointment that so many Albertans feel with the member. He would like to bring a different vision to this House, a vision that supports jobs, a vision that supports the Alberta economy, and a vision that supports the energy sector, both renewable and non-renewable, in ways that will lead us forward.

7:15 p.m.


Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, contrary to what the member has suggested, I have not opposed carbon storage and sequestration. What I have opposed is spending public tax dollars subsidizing the testing of unproven technology on the coal-fired sector, which is an additional subsidy for a dirty source of power, instead of taking at least half of that money and putting it toward the development and deployment of clean electricity. This is something which the majority of Canadians, and certainly people in Alberta, have been calling for.

I also object to the fact that we are subsidizing a project where there has been zero consultation with my community. I am not speaking on behalf of my personal interests; I am speaking on behalf of the first nation community that may be directly affected and all the people who live and work in that general vicinity.

What the member has suggested in fact is not the truth.

7:15 p.m.


David Anderson Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, again I need to come back to this. I challenge the member to start to represent the issues of her constituents.

We are speaking about energy today, but there is another issue. Less than an hour ago we saw a demonstration of the fact that the member is out of touch with Alberta and out of touch with what Albertans believe in, in the fact that she stood in this House and supported the continuation of the long gun registry. She cannot talk about opposing public money being spent in a variety of ways when she stands here and supports that wasteful $2 billion gun registry.

The government is committed to supporting renewable energy. She should start to support that as well as part of a package that is good for the environment, that is good for energy production and that is good for Alberta. Again I will remind people that is what Ryan Hastman, the young man in Edmonton, is doing. That is what the residents of Edmonton—Strathcona really do want.

7:15 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly, this House stands adjourned until tomorrow morning at 10 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 7:16 p.m.)