House of Commons Hansard #182 of the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was pipelines.

Topics

Respect for Communities ActGovernment Orders

7:05 p.m.

Conservative

John Duncan Conservative Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, if you seek it, I believe you will find consent to apply the vote from the last motion to the current motion, with the Conservative members voting yea.

Respect for Communities ActGovernment Orders

7:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Is there unanimous consent to proceed in this fashion?

Respect for Communities ActGovernment Orders

7:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Respect for Communities ActGovernment Orders

7:05 p.m.

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDP Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, we agree, and the NDP will vote no.

Respect for Communities ActGovernment Orders

7:05 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Liberal Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals agree to apply the vote and will vote no.

Respect for Communities ActGovernment Orders

7:05 p.m.

Independent

Scott Andrews Independent Avalon, NL

Mr. Speaker, I agree to apply the vote and will be voting no.

Respect for Communities ActGovernment Orders

7:05 p.m.

Independent

André Bellavance Independent Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will vote no.

Respect for Communities ActGovernment Orders

7:05 p.m.

Forces et Démocratie

Jean-François Fortin Forces et Démocratie Haute-Gaspésie—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Mr. Speaker, I agree to apply the vote and will vote no.

Respect for Communities ActGovernment Orders

7:05 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Green Party also agrees to apply the vote and will vote no.

Respect for Communities ActGovernment Orders

7:05 p.m.

Independent

Manon Perreault Independent Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will vote no.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #345

Respect for Communities ActGovernment Orders

7:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I declare the motion carried.

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

HealthAdjournment Proceedings

7:05 p.m.

Independent

Manon Perreault Independent Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Friday, the thalidomide victims were stupefied to learn that the government was going to offer only half the anticipated lump sum as compensation.

Following talks between the Thalidomide Victims Association and the office of the Minister of Health, everyone seemed to agree that the lump sum of $250,000 was fair.

Given the urgency of the needs and the age of the victims, the parties had to agree on a realistic sum that represented an acceptable strict minimum. It is ill-advised to cut this sum and thereby reopen and set back the negotiations.

It goes without saying that we are grateful to the government and the office of the Minister of Health for the efforts made and the steps taken to reach an agreement in this case, but we need to move forward.

Unfortunately, at this stage, some victims feel like this is a step backward. The government's current offer of $125,000 is clearly an affront to the settlement process initiated by the parties.

Canada has a moral obligation to take action, and last Friday's offer is an unacceptable setback for victims. This amount of money is insufficient and not in keeping with the reality these survivors face and the serious mistake the Canadian authorities made at the time. For the moment we are not clear on what comes next, but we do know that there is a huge difference between the original requests examined by officials at Health Canada and the offer the minister made on Friday.

These brave individuals have endured tough physical, mental and emotional battles. We must not make their already difficult lives even more difficult. Victims are telling us that the government is needlessly making the process longer to benefit itself. That is a very sad commentary. We must not break the bond of trust.

At this stage in the process, we encourage the parties to return to the negotiating table and we officially call on the government to clarify the offer it made and explain how the payments will be made after the lump sum is paid. We also call on the government to show some compassion on this issue. This is not the time for strategic calculations.

We need to be careful not to break the bond of trust between the government and the people in charge of the task force representing the victims in this case. Let us not forget that to them, this is the fight of their lives and the government is in the unfortunate position of being an adversary.

Members of the task force defending the victims' rights are prepared to sit down with government officials for as long as it takes to come to an agreement, but the more time that goes by, the more victims will die before the first cheque is issued.

I think that there has to be a meeting between the minister and the executive director of the Thalidomide Victims Association, Ms. Benegbi. Detailed explanations are needed to move forward. I also believe that the key parties need to have a frank discussion and that negotiations need to be reopened.

A positive resolution is still possible, and I believe this slight setback is temporary. The harm suffered by the thalidomide victims goes beyond comprehension and the government has to do everything in its power to mitigate the suffering of these people. The solution is within reach. I am sure that both sides are reasonable people who will be able to overcome their differences in the name of dignity and justice.

Let us put ourselves on the right side of history and stop making cold and inhumane calculations once and for all. I am asking the minister to clarify her offer and stop presenting half-measures that give the impression of bad faith and inappropriate strategies.

HealthAdjournment Proceedings

7:10 p.m.

Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo B.C.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health and for Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, the tragic use of thalidomide in the early 1960s had a terrible impact on the mothers, children, and families involved. These Canadians had to endure hardships that no one should have to go through. Indeed, in the House there are many of us who were born in Canada in the 1960s, and it could easily have been any one of us.

I can only admire the courage and determination of the survivors, who have had to overcome such serious injuries to enjoy the basics of life that the rest of us take for granted. That is why I want to start by acknowledging the real changes governments have made to the drug safety system to prevent similar tragedies from occurring again. These events sparked major changes in Canada's approach to drug approval and surveillance and triggered a complete overhaul of Canada's regulatory system for drugs.

I am very proud that our government has continued efforts to strengthen the regulatory oversight of drug products in Canada. Although many steps had been taken previously to enhance our drug safety system as a result of the thalidomide events, we all recognized that Health Canada needed better tools to protect patients from drugs that were found to be unsafe once they were on the market. Over the years, we have acted decisively to improve our drug safety system in Canada.

Most recently, Vanessa's Law received all-party support and royal assent on November 6, 2014. This new legislation provides Health Canada with new tools to identify potential safety risks and with stronger powers to act quickly and effectively when drug problems are identified. The oversight of Canada's drug regulatory system is continuously evolving, and this is a significant step in helping to prevent such tragedies from ever happening again.

We will continue to strengthen and improve our drug safety system so that a tragedy like this never happens again. In addition to preventing these tragedies going forward, Canadians should know that we remain committed to supporting the survivors of thalidomide and to ensuring that they can live with dignity throughout their lives. This is really the heart of what I know the members opposite would like to hear today.

The Minister of Health is meeting, as we speak, with the Thalidomide Victims Association, as she has done previously, when needed, to discuss their issues. In fact, today's meeting builds on a call the minister made just last Friday to thank the executive director of the association for her tireless efforts and to inform her of the new financial assistance to be provided by the government.

The financial assistance package includes up to $180 million for the fewer than 100 survivors, and it will include three elements. There will be an immediate tax-free lump sum payment of $125,000 to each survivor to help cover urgent needs. There will also be a commitment of up to $168 million for ongoing assistance for survivors. This financial support will be delivered by a third party throughout their lifetime. Included in this financial commitment will be a medical assistance fund for extraordinary costs.

This significant new financial assistance will be administered as efficiently as possible to ensure that we provide for the needs of every last survivor. However, we have to acknowledge that no regret or sympathy and no amount of financial support can ever undo what happened. The impact on the survivors' lives has been profound, and that is why I think the most important thing today is that our government has recognized their needs and is taking real action to address them.

We have been working hard with the survivors association throughout this process, and we will continue to ensure that they can live their lives with dignity.

HealthAdjournment Proceedings

7:15 p.m.

Independent

Manon Perreault Independent Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, we must realize that following last week's rather disappointing offer by the government, thalidomide victims who call their riding office are afraid that the compensation offered may be put off indefinitely.

Following the government's apparent accommodation and the steps taken so far, the victims had hoped to receive compensation as quickly as possible. The offer of a lump-sum payment of $125,000 gives the impression that the government does not want to settle and that it hopes to buy time in order to put off cutting the cheques.

The lack of transparency of the terms of the agreement will have to be corrected and clarifications must be made. At this time, the uncertainty is very high and we hope to obtain detailed explanations about the financial aspects of the agreement, as well as the underlying justification for the amount of $125,000, which seems to have been chosen arbitrarily.

Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health reassure thalidomide victims in the Montcalm riding and across Canada, and confirm her personal commitment and her intention to quickly resolve this matter?

HealthAdjournment Proceedings

7:15 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the hon. member of the significance of the new assistance that will be provided. The package includes up to $180 million for the fewer than one hundred survivors, and has three elements. There is an immediate tax-free lump sum payment of $125,000 to each survivor to help cover urgent needs, and a commitment of up to $168 million for ongoing assistance to survivors. This support will be delivered by a third party throughout the course of their lifetime. As well, included in this financial commitment will be a medical assistance fund for extraordinary costs.

However, once again, we cannot forget that no regret or sympathy, and no amount of financial support, can ever undo what happened. The impact on the survivors' lives has been profound, and we recognize their courage and determination.

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

7:15 p.m.

Green

Bruce Hyer Green Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, the gap between the rich and poor in Canada continues to grow at an alarming rate. At least three million Canadians currently live in poverty, or about one in ten. We are the tenth worst in the OECD.

Poverty is a problem that affects all Canadians, not just the poor. The financial burden of poverty in Canada is estimated to cost the government between $72 billion and $86 billion per year.

C02 emissions, like poverty levels, have also been rising for years in Canada. The Conservatives have not taken any serious action to reverse either of these trends. Climate change is an incredibly serious issue. We need to start making a plan to reduce both carbon emissions and poverty. Like poverty, climate change is a moral issue, but it is also an economic one. Canada is now paying billions of dollars annually due to forest fires, floods, and other effects of climate change.

They are both moral issues, with huge economic impacts as well for Canadians. As different as the two issues may appear to be, they can be addressed by the same policy: carbon fee and dividend. This is a carbon pricing system that will address carbon emissions without adding one penny of tax. It is not a tax; it is a revenue-neutral system in which the government gets zero money.

Instead, every Canadian will receive an equal share of all the carbon fees. Coal mines and oil and gas wells will pay a fee at the source based on the potential to release C02. The revenue generated from these payments will be paid directly to consumers on an equal per capita basis. Lower-income and middle-class Canadians will make money on carbon fee and dividend. Carbon dividends will use the marketplace to simultaneously tackle both climate change and income gaps.

The Conservatives say that they believe in the marketplace. All political parties should be in favour of a carbon fee and dividend because it uses free markets and addresses rising levels of both carbon emissions and poverty, all without implementing any tax system or any money going to the government.

Presently the Conservatives have no policy to address climate change. The Liberals plan to make it someone else's problem by passing the buck to the provinces. The NDP is stuck on cap and trade: expensive, bureaucratic, and ineffective.

Chris Ragan's Ecofiscal Commission was recently set up to decide upon ecofiscal solutions for Canadians. The commission was made up of prominent Liberals, including Paul Martin, and prominent Conservatives like Preston Manning. They decided that it was time to price carbon.

Carbon fee and dividend is a smart and effective policy that will decrease Canadian carbon emissions and reduce the divide between rich and poor, all without taxing Canadians or slowing economic growth.

When will our three main parties start seriously considering carbon fee and dividend?

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

7:20 p.m.

Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Colin Carrie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his question.

The Government of Canada has been very clear that it does not intend to address greenhouse gas emissions through a carbon tax.

Our government's record is clear. We have taken decisive action on the environment while protecting our economy. We have already begun to implement our sector-by-sector approach, starting with two of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in this country: the transportation and electricity sectors.

Last year, the government also announced new regulations in order to limit the increase in hydrofluorocarbons and to further reduce emissions in the transportation sector.

In the transportation sector, Canada worked with the United States to develop GHG emission standards for new passenger vehicles and new light trucks. We are doing the same thing for heavy-duty vehicles.

Building on existing regulations for light-duty vehicles, we released regulations that will lead to the progressive implementation of increasingly stricter standards that are harmonized with U.S. standards for model years 2017 through 2025. With these regulations, 2025 model vehicles will consume up to 50% less fuel and produce 50% less greenhouse gases than 2008 model vehicles.

In the electricity sector, Canada boasts one of the cleanest electricity systems in the world, with more than three-quarters of our electricity supply emitting no greenhouse gases. We have taken further steps to make it even cleaner. In fact, Canada became the first major coal user to ban the construction of traditional coal-fired electricity generation units.

In addition to contributing to Canada's climate change objectives, this measure will help improve air quality for Canadians.

On April 11, 2014, Environment Canada released the national inventory report to provide Canadians with a coherent picture of emission levels across the country. The report indicated that between 2005 and 2012, the economy grew by 10.6%, while Canadian greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 5.1% over the same period. Our per capita emissions are now at their lowest level since tracking began in 1990. Those are real results.

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

7:25 p.m.

Green

Bruce Hyer Green Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, regulations are a tax and they require growing huge bureaucracy. Carbon fee and dividend is not a tax. Carbon fee and dividend will help solve our dangerously high emission rates while also closing the ever-growing gap between the rich and poor in Canada.

The minister's response only demonstrates what Canadians who are paying attention already know: the Conservatives refuse to adopt an evidence-based policy for reducing carbon emissions. Instead, they are going to continue putting forward bad policy that conforms to their ideologies and their agenda. They continue to push aside any ideas that run contrary to those ideologies and agenda.

Members of the House have an obligation to work across party lines and to put forward policies that will benefit all Canadians. Carbon fee and dividend is such a policy.

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

7:25 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member for Thunder Bay—Superior North is aware, the environment is a shared jurisdiction between the provinces and the federal government. We have always been clear that all levels of government and industry have a role to play in addressing climate change, as do all Canadians. Provinces and territories are implementing programs and measures that will contribute to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Quebec BridgeAdjournment Proceedings

March 9th, 2015 / 7:25 p.m.

NDP

Annick Papillon NDP Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is always a pleasure for me to rise in the House to talk about issues that matter to Quebec City. Today it is a pleasure for me to talk about an issue that is of great importance to Quebec City: the Quebec Bridge.

The Conservative government promised $75 million for a new paint job, but that offer is conditional on CN's participation. The Conservatives are really playing games with the Quebec Bridge. They say they have money and are ready to take action, but then they pass the puck to CN. If CN does not make a move, the government will not spend anything. In other words, the Conservatives will not do anything with the Quebec Bridge. They announced funding, but then they passed the puck to CN and said they would wait. They will continue to sit on their hands as they have done for many years now, waiting for the issue to sort itself out. That is absolutely deplorable.

Sixty percent of the surface of the Quebec Bridge is rusted, and the corrosion could eventually affect its structural integrity. This bridge is a symbol of Quebec City. It is a symbol and the city is proud of this bridge. It is an internationally recognized landmark. I hope that the Conservative government will take responsibility if the Quebec Bridge falls into the water because no one took care of its structural integrity.

It will not be solely responsible since this is a mistake that dates back to the time when the Quebec Bridge was handed over to CN, which was privatized in 1995. Basically, in 1995, a previous Liberal government decided to sell the bridge. It sold the bridge to CN for one dollar. Once again, this is nothing new, since it is a way for the federal government to shirk its responsibilities and to tell the municipalities and provinces to take care of their own business because it does not care. The bridge was even sent to the private sector, which means that year after year, even after this case went to court, this issue drags on and nothing has been fixed. In the meantime, the Quebec Bridge is covered in rust. The bridge has lost its original charm.

It is time for the Conservatives to take action and assume their responsibilities. It is time for the Canadian government to admit that it is responsible for this mess, that it should pay for this and come up with a long-term solution, because the bridge will need to be painted again and again. There is a game plan for painting every other bridge in the world from one end to the other to ensure that it does not rust. The Quebec Bridge, however, is a flagrant example of the Conservatives' failure to act and their laissez-faire attitude. They allow infrastructure as important as the Quebec Bridge to deteriorate. It is completely unacceptable.

I must admit that this is not the first time we have seen the Conservatives abandon an issue that is extremely important to Quebeckers. Look at the Quebec City Armoury. It took nearly six years before the first tendering process to rebuild it was launched after it burned down in 2008. The tendering process was just recently announced. The government just said that perhaps it should be rebuilt. The way this government treats issues that are extremely important in Quebec City is absolutely appalling.

Quebec City is still waiting. Quebec City wants to host about 40 tall ships in 2017 as part of the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation. The city proposed the project in May of 2013, and two years later, we are still waiting. We want answers.

Quebec BridgeAdjournment Proceedings

7:30 p.m.

Essex Ontario

Conservative

Jeff Watson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, if I understood correctly through the translator, the member opposite said that those responsible for the bridge should pay for it. CN is responsible for the bridge. Notwithstanding that, the government has announced that it would play a significant partnership role in seeing the Quebec Bridge repainted, as did the City of Lévis, Quebec City, and the provincial government.

We have certainly stepped up to the plate. It is time for CN to do so.

Quebec BridgeAdjournment Proceedings

7:30 p.m.

NDP

Annick Papillon NDP Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, with this Conservative government we will never see the $75 million it promised for the Quebec Bridge. It is waiting for CN to do something and CN will not budge. We know that. Everyone knows that.

We know that we need an NDP government if we want to see some action. The Conservatives are definitely not going to be the ones to do anything. They are like Scrooge and do not put money where it should go, like the Quebec Bridge, which is really important. It is Quebec City's emblem.

What are you going to do? Are you going to again wait six years, like you did with the armoury? Are you going to wait longer? Quite frankly, that makes no sense. You must act now, you must assume your responsibilities and not leave Quebec City with such a problem.

Quebec BridgeAdjournment Proceedings

7:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

I would remind members to direct their comments to the Chair rather than directly to their colleagues.

The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport.