House of Commons Hansard #188 of the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was environment.

Topics

Opposition Motion—Environmental impacts of microbeadsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, the member was very passionate on the issue of killer whales, or orcas, as many Canadians are. We often get the opportunity to watch nature shows. They are beautiful, awesome mammals.

Does the member believe that the greatest threat to the killer whale or orca today is microbeads, or are there other areas he believes the government could be acting more aggressively on? He made reference to noise. Some have suggested tanker traffic. Are there other issues he believes the government could be doing more on to deal with the issue of our killer whales?

Opposition Motion—Environmental impacts of microbeadsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear. I am saying that microbead plastics are one of the pollutants that are a threat to southern resident killer whales. They are not the only one. They may not even be the major one. The problem is that the government has eliminated the science unit that could have helped answer those questions. Now we are dependent on private foundations, like the Vancouver Aquarium, to step up and do the work that really is the responsibility of the federal government.

If he looks at the motion I introduced in the House, it has four major parts, and they include reducing the noise and perhaps reducing or redirecting tanker traffic around critical areas for killer whales. They include improving fish stocks, including the chinook. However, there is a holistic point I think members on the other side often miss here, which is that there is one natural system operating, and if we keep putting pollutants in at the low level, it will eventually reach our own species.

Opposition Motion—Environmental impacts of microbeadsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, there is some attempt on the other side to discredit our motion by questioning the amount of scientific research. One can go into any library and look at a major database. I just pulled up three in Environmental Pollution. “The present and future of microplastic pollution in the marine environment” is from February 2014. There is “Contributing to marine pollution by washing your face: micoplastics in facial cleansers”. There are a large number of academic studies online. The problem is, by eliminating the scientists who work for DFO, the government is just relying on its regular rhetoric to try to throw up smoke.

I wonder if my colleague agrees that the absence of science in policy-making on the other side is probably one of the biggest problems we have here in Parliament?

Opposition Motion—Environmental impacts of microbeadsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question and for pointing out the very obvious thing, which is that the science exists. The science is very clear that microbead plastics are part of the problem here. They are not the whole problem, but they are part of the problem.

As I mentioned as I was speaking, we actually issued 10 tips for people at home to stop using products that contribute to these problems, but we cannot do it ourselves. We can make a start at home, but we cannot do it ourselves. Without the government fulfilling its responsibilities to monitor pollution, we have a hard time knowing exactly what is going on and where our most urgent crises are in terms of ocean pollution.

Opposition Motion—Environmental impacts of microbeadsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

David Wilks Conservative Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak in favour of this motion.

The motion before us gives me the opportunity to highlight that the government has made great investments in protecting the health and safety of Canadians. Since 2006, we have made major investments in the chemicals management plan, an approach that has made Canada a global leader in the assessment and management of the environmental and health effects of chemicals.

Most recently, in 2011, the government announced renewed funding of $506 million for the chemicals management plan. I think I should reiterate that, because the opposition keeps saying that we are not investing anything in environmental issues. Again, that is $506 million for the chemicals management plan. This investment supports the ongoing review of the 4,300 industrial chemicals identified as priorities for assessment.

Before I go any further, I would like to mention that I will be splitting my time with the member for Mississauga South.

We expect to complete this review, that is to say, we expect to have considered the potential health risks or environmental effects of all 4,300 substances by 2020. That is consistent with Canada's commitments in global chemicals management. This plan has been recognized by non-governmental organizations, industrial associations, and international partners as reasonable, balanced, and above all, successful.

Under the chemicals management plan, we are addressing such high-profile substances as BPA and phthalates. Furthermore, in 2007, the government announced the food and consumer safety action plan, which has likewise made Canada a recognized leader in the identification and management of human health risks from products like the food, cosmetics, and consumer products we all use every day.

Our focus is on ensuring that industry takes seriously its responsibilities to actively prevent dangers to human health and safety, on providing for targeted oversight of the marketplace to help us identify emerging health risks early, and on equipping the government to respond quickly when risks are identified.

Under these programs, we have continued to build Canada's cosmetic regulatory system into one of the most stringent and effective systems anywhere in the world. The chemicals management plan has led to the addition of 26 substances to the cosmetic ingredient hot list, which is a list of substances that are prohibited or regulated in cosmetics. The chemicals management plan has also resulted in two existing hot list items being amended to be even more protective of the health of Canadians.

I should add that the hot list is a science-based document that is reviewed and updated as new scientific data becomes available. The hot list serves to keep the cosmetics industry aware of new substances Health Canada considers inappropriate for cosmetic use or that require hazardous labelling.

While Environment Canada is the department charged with understanding and managing the effects chemicals may have on the environment in Canada, Health Canada is the department that evaluates human health impacts. To figure out whether a chemical can have negative effects on the user's health when it is used in a cosmetic, the department carefully considers both the science concerning the potential health effects of the chemical and the ways in which a person may be exposed. For most cosmetics, the main source of exposure is usually through the skin.

Health Canada scientists are constantly reviewing the emerging science and international regulatory actions. At this point, the department does not believe that there is evidence indicating that the kind of plastics used to make microbeads are harmful to human health as they are currently used in cosmetics.

Health Canada will continue to monitor this emerging issue, and certainly if a risk to human health is identified, the department will take action to address it.

Everyone who sells cosmetics in Canada is required to notify Health Canada of each cosmetic sold in the country within 10 days of the first sale. This notification must include details concerning the ingredients. The department must use that information to help to verify that cosmetics sold in Canada meet all of the legislative and regulatory requirements set out in the hot list and the cosmetic regulations.

On top of that, the cosmetic regulations also require manufacturers or importers to disclose all ingredients on the label. People looking to avoid plastic microbeads could check the labels of products that have beads or grit, such as exfoliating scrubs or face and body washes, and then avoid those that contain polyethylene or polypropylene, or any of their ingredients.

While these substances are not always used in microbead form, they are the substances most often used to make microbeads. These substances also have other known uses in cosmetics, including as binding and bulking agents, stabilizers, film formers and skin conditioning agents. If they are in the product, they have to be on the label.

Furthermore, many cosmetic companies have already voluntarily eliminated the use of microbeads in their products or they have already announced that they will be phasing them out of their product lines. With that, I would like to add that I was searching this morning and recognized that Crest, one of the major toothpaste producers, will be eliminating microbeads from its products in 2016. That is one way to recognize that companies themselves are eliminating an ingredient without regulatory requirement.

The requirements that apply to cosmetics provide a high level of safety for Canadian consumers and allows consumers to make informed decisions about the products that they purchase.

Our government, as members can see from my speech, has done a lot to ensure that we put the safety of Canadians first and foremost.

Opposition Motion—Environmental impacts of microbeadsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, my colleague mentioned that Crest is eliminating microbeads in its product. It is not about Crest regulating itself. It is important for the government to ensure that it is protecting all Canadians, not just one company to another.

Does he not think that we should be a leader in this and ensure that microbeads are actually banned from products?

Opposition Motion—Environmental impacts of microbeadsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

David Wilks Conservative Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, to answer that question, in my speech I stated that Canada is a global leader in ensuring the health and safety of not only products used by humans but also other products with microbeads. Canada is a world leader and we will continue to show the world that we will ensure the safety of Canadians' well-being,

Opposition Motion—Environmental impacts of microbeadsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

March 24th, 2015 / 1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

There will be four minutes remaining for questions and comments with the hon. member for Kootenay—Columbia when the House next resumes debate on the question.

Action Week Against RacismStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Independent

Maria Mourani Independent Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week is Quebec's semaine d'action contre le racisme, a week of action to fight racism, and, irony of ironies, next Saturday the Pegida organization, a group that fuels Islamophobia through its Muslim conspiracy theories, is holding a rally in Montreal's Little Maghreb.

In Germany, Angela Merkel has warned her citizens and urged them not to take part in Pegida's rallies, saying that the members of that organization have hearts filled with “prejudice, coldness and hatred”.

Yesterday I asked the Prime Minister to join the German Chancellor in condemning the group. Nothing, radio silence. Even though CSIS regards the group as a real security risk, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and his Prime Minister have not said a word.

Today I rise to once again to ask them to show some courage and take concrete action against this unscrupulous Islamophobia, even though this government's current strategy seems to centre on exploiting people's fear of Muslims.

Canadian FlagStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Conservative Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Mr. Speaker, one of my constituents, Mildred McKim of Old Barns, sent me a very old, faded copy of the March 31, 1916 Calgary News-Telegram.

The Telegram tells the story of her great grand-uncle Mr. T.P. Lowther who, three decades earlier, lived on a farm near Fenwick, Cumberland County, Nova Scotia where he had a grove of spectacular maple trees.

In 1886, Mr. Lowther was told that Canada was considering the maple leaf as our national symbol, so he picked and pressed a dozen leaves to send to the Government of Canada. Using these leaves as specimens, the government decided that the maple leaf would indeed become the symbol of our nation.

The Calgary News-Telegram story, 99 years ago this month, focused on the fact that the maple leaf was reproduced in bronze and was now being worn on the collar of soldiers fighting in Flanders.

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of our flag, thanks to Mrs. McKim we now know the role that a dozen maple leaves from Cumberland County, Nova Scotia played in the choosing of our national symbol.

EmploymentStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Ève Péclet NDP La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, this government brags about defending the economy and creating jobs. Unfortunately, all it has to show for its claims is photo ops. The reality on the ground is quite different, including in my riding, La Pointe-de-l'Île.

It is not just the manufacturing sector that is closing its doors. The entire job market is becoming unstable. The jobs that are available are precarious, part-time, low-paying positions. Add to that the growing household debt of families struggling to make ends meet. The alarm has been sounded. Even CIBC has informed us that the employment quality index is at a record low.

An NDP government would work hard to help middle-class families pull through.

World Tuberculosis DayStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Daniel Conservative Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, today is World TB Day. On this day in 1882 the bacteria causing TB was discovered by Dr. Robert Koch.

We can be proud of the contributions that Canada has made to combat this horrible disease. The latest information we have says that every year, nine million people are infected with TB, and three million do not even get diagnosed by the health systems.

In Nunavut, the rates of TB are comparable to any sub-Saharan country. As of today, we do not have an effective vaccine against TB.

In many places TB has become a forgotten disease, resulting in new strains being developed. Canada has been a leader in its support to the global fund and TB REACH for their ongoing research to find new solutions.

I thank organizations such as Results Canada and Stop TB that have done great work to highlight this issue. Tonight there will be a reception in the speaker's lounge and I invite my colleagues to join me there.

CBC/Radio-CanadaStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Adam Vaughan Liberal Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, on March 12 in Toronto, I co-hosted a town hall on arts and culture and the future of the CBC with the honourable members for Toronto Centre and Saint-Laurent—Cartierville

For residents and businesses in my riding of Trinity—Spadina, the CBC is not just a critical and cherished national voice for current affairs and culture, it is also a major employer.

Hundreds of residents came to the AGO for the community forum to defend public broadcasting, but we also heard this: funding cuts to the CBC are undermining the cultural sector of the economy. Layoffs are now triggering job cuts by small suppliers to the CBC. They are also beginning to hurt families, restaurants, hotels and shops in the neighbourhood.

The digital media industry is growing and is now worth close to $2.5 billion annually in this community. However, the impact of recent changes to the Broadcasting Act by the CRTC and the Conservative government's tampering of Canadian content regulations are now bringing independent film and television work in Toronto to a grinding halt.

The government needs to take action. It must reinvest and reinforce the independence of the CBC and reverse the CRTC decisions that are starting to do serious harm to the digital media, film and television industries in Toronto, and it must do it immediately.

Maternal, Newborn and Child HealthStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, earlier this month, I had the privilege of visiting Malawi and Zambia. While in Malawi, I had the honour of visiting a project that is being funded by our maternal, newborn and child health initiative.

To visit Mulanje Hospital and then to travel to a rural area to see the on-the-ground action being taken by village leaders and health care workers in Malawi was truly inspiring. The dramatic reduction in mortality of pregnant mothers and newborn children is good news for Malawi.

In Zambia, to listen to the heart-wrenching story of a victim of early and forced marriage would have been totally depressing were it not for the great work of the YWCA in Lusaka, our partners in delivering hope to girls and women in Zambia.

I am proud of these positive initiatives which are the result of the vision and action of our Prime Minister.

World Tuberculosis DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, today we mark World Tuberculosis Day. Tuberculosis still affects over nine million people worldwide. While many in Canada view this as an illness of the past or of somewhere else, the fact is that it continues to affect many in our own country.

First nations and Inuit communities struggle with high rates of TB. This is very much the case in my own constituency in northern Manitoba. In fact, TB rates for indigenous communities are 10 times higher than those in non-indigenous communities and the rates are not decreasing.

In Manitoba, indigenous people make up 65% of all cases, despite being only 14% of the population. In the far north, indigenous people make up almost 100% of all the cases there.

This is not by accident. Determining factors behind the spread of TB are all too familiar: overcrowded housing, mould-infested infrastructure like schools, extreme food insecurity and most fundamentally, poverty. All of these factors are a result of the ongoing colonial approach of the current and prior governments, an approach that has involved systemic underfunding all along the way.

As we mark this day, we call on the federal government to be a global leader in the fight against TB abroad as well as at home.

Haven on the QueenswayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Bernard Trottier Conservative Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, this past Thursday, the Prime Minister was in Toronto to honour this year's recipients of the Prime Minister's Volunteer Awards. Haven on the Queensway, a phenomenal organization from my riding of Etobicoke—Lakeshore, was very deservedly given the Social Innovator Award for Ontario.

Haven on the Queensway is a charitable organization meeting the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the people in Toronto and surrounding communities. Haven offers numerous programs including Clothing Closet, which offers a selection of apparel provided free to those less fortunate in our community; First Care, which offers assistance to pregnant women and parents of newborns; and a food bank. It also offers many other services that focus on recovery and well-being, along with programs that take place outside of its own building such as inmate rehabilitation and mobile Hope With Wheels units that deliver food, water, sleeping bags and words of hope to the homeless in Etobicoke and across Toronto.

Heartfelt congratulations to Bev Hynek, Susan Carbone, Pastor Billy and Roger Berg, along with the countless volunteers who make Haven possible.

Islamic StateStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

David Anderson Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, the genocidal activity of ISIL has gone too far for far too long. The desperate situation in Iraq and Syria is daily highlighted by ISIL's targeting of religious minorities. These communities have been integral to the cultural, intellectual and moral heritage of the Middle East for centuries.

Yazidis are being forced to leave their lands and compromise their faith, which is so closely tied to these sacred spaces. ISIL is desecrating mosques, churches have been destroyed, priceless Iraqi and Assyrian artifacts have been looted, and atrocities are common. Children are kidnapped and tortured, women and girls raped, and men brutally murdered, simply because of who they are.

For Canada, this is not just a military mission. We are committed to developing and protecting religious freedoms, especially for those minorities who formed the cultural fabric of this area.

Today, we welcome to Ottawa leaders from many of the affected religious communities. We want them to know that we stand with them in this difficult time of persecution.

Economic Development in the PontiacStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Mathieu Ravignat NDP Pontiac, QC

Mr. Speaker, the riding of Pontiac has two chambers of commerce—the Maniwaki and Vallée-de-la-Gatineau chamber of commerce and the Pontiac chamber of commerce—and many business groups that do an excellent job. The region's development depends on entrepreneurship, the growth of small and medium-sized businesses and the creation of an environment conducive to the development of its resources.

The Pontiac has a strong entrepreneurial culture, and I would like to congratulate all entrepreneurs in the region. However, Ottawa must do more to help SMEs grow and prosper.

We must encourage development that benefits everyone. We must restore the hiring credit for small business, reduce SMEs' taxes and help business owners access financing that will help their companies grow. We also have to do something about employment insurance. It must be available to seasonal workers.

We can also limit hidden fees on credit card transactions, create a tax credit for hiring and training young people, make it easier to transfer family businesses from parents to children and reduce the paper burden.

We must help our SMEs. The government must do something.

Public SafetyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Bradley Trost Conservative Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, our Conservative government has a strong record of keeping communities safe from dangerous and addictive drugs. Last night we passed the respect for communities act, which will guarantee residents, law enforcement, and community leaders a say when drug injection houses want to open. Unfortunately, the Liberals voted against communities having the support and say, and the Liberal leader has called for more injection houses to open across Canada.

Drug injection houses allow the use of dangerous and addictive drugs that tear families apart, promote criminal behaviour, and destroy lives. The Liberal leader's pledge to blindly open drug injection houses in communities across Canada is disturbing and it is wrong.

Our Conservative government will continue to support treatment and recovery programs that work to get addicts off drugs, while ensuring that our streets and communities are safe for Canadians and their families.

Nunavik Youth HockeyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Romeo Saganash NDP Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Nunavik youth hockey development program began in 2006 with the goal of helping young people in the 14 Inuit communities of Nunavik to achieve their full potential through hockey.

The program promotes education, physical activity, and healthy living among youth. It was developed in co-operation with Joé Juneau, a former NHL player.

Nunavik is tremendously proud of this initiative. The young participants also gain a sense of pride and become youth ambassadors.

Each year, the teams from this program, the Nordiks, represent Nunavik at the provincial, national, and international tournaments. Last year, the Nordiks' midget girls won the gold medal at the Kanata Girls Hockey Tournament. The 2014-15 hockey team hopes to repeat this achievement this weekend.

As their MP, I would like to wish this young and talented team of proud Nunavik girls the best of luck. May the program continue to be a success.

Status of WomenStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Stella Ambler Conservative Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday this House debated and voted on Bill S-7, the zero tolerance for barbaric cultural practices act.

While our Conservative government is taking a strong stand against harmful barbaric practices, the opposition fails to stand up and take action. The leader of the Liberal Party refuses to even call these acts barbaric. After a thorough debate at second reading, the opposition did not even want to be seen on the record as voting against such an important piece of legislation.

I am proud of this government for taking steps to strengthen our laws to help to ensure that no young girl or woman in Canada becomes a victim of these barbaric practices. I hope the opposition will stop playing politics and vote on the record in support of Bill S-7.

Atlantic Agricultural Hall of FameStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I rise to recognize Wayne Dickieson for his induction into the Atlantic Agricultural Hall of Fame.

A resident of North Rustico, P.E.l., Wayne graduated from Macdonald College in 1964 and worked with the P.E.I. department of agriculture in several capacities but, key, as a dairy specialist until his retirement in 2001.

Beyond professional work, he served as registrar-treasurer of the P.E.I. Institute of Agrologists, on the board of Eastern Breeders and EastGen, as secretary-treasurer of the P.E.I. branch of Holstein Canada, and more.

Wayne dedicated himself to the care and showmanship of livestock for well over 40 years, standing as an official judge with Holstein Canada, where he has presided over shows in five provinces, the U.K., Isle of Man, and Colombia, as well as extensive work with Semex Canada in Iran.

He and his wife Flora and son David operate Birkentree Holsteins, which received a Master Breeder award from Holstein Canada in 2006.

We thank Wayne for his life's work in the agricultural community and beyond. Congratulations.

Television ChannelsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Wladyslaw Lizon Conservative Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Mr. Speaker, our Conservative government understands that Canadian families expect choice and fair treatment when it comes to their spending on everyday items and services.

On this side of the House, we believe and have said all along that Canadians should not have to pay for the channels they do not want in order to watch the channels they do want.

In our Speech from the Throne, we promised to provide consumers with more choice in channels, and that is exactly what we have delivered: the ability to unbundle TV cable packages.

Unbundling will let Canadians control not only what they want to watch but also how much they want to spend.

This is just another initiative by our Conservative government that puts consumers first and will help Canadian families make the best decisions on how to spend their hard-earned dollars.

National DefenceStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, New Democrats have been raising concerns for over a year about sectarian violence in Syria and Iraq and the best way for Canada to help.

Sadly, Canadians have been misled from the start by the Prime Minister. He promised that our troops were being sent to “advise and assist”, not to accompany Iraqi forces. Now, six months later, Canada is conducting air strikes and our forces are exchanging fire on the front lines. Tragically, a member of the Canadian Forces has been killed.

The Prime Minister cannot claim that he wants to prevent atrocities when his planned expansion into Syria will aid and abet Bashar al-Assad. As Paul Heinbecker said, any direct or indirect alliance with Assad would be the “ultimate betrayal of the Syrian innocents”. Meanwhile, Liberals claim to oppose this mission, yet refuse to commit to ending Canada's combat involvement in this war.

In October, Canadians will have a clear choice. Only a vote for the NDP is a vote to end the war and a vote for an effective Canadian role to stop the spread of violent extremism.

TaxationStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Susan Truppe Conservative London North Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, it should come as no surprise that our Conservative government is the only one that stands up for middle-class Canadian families. Through our low-tax plan for families, our government is helping 100% of families with children to receive the benefits they need so that they can put their hard-earned money toward their own priorities.

We have doubled the children's fitness tax credit, enhanced the universal child care benefit, and now implemented the family tax cut. All parents, including single parents, will benefit from our family tax cut. That is more than 4 million families and more than 7 million parents.

Meanwhile, the Liberals' and the NDP's idea for Canadians is high taxes and high debt. They will take away our benefits and implement a job-killing carbon tax that will raise the price of everything.

The facts are crystal clear. Only our Conservative government can be trusted to keep money in the pockets of Canadian families.