House of Commons Hansard #217 of the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was scientific.

Topics

TaxationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Lawrence Toet Conservative Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, our government has brought in multiple measures to help middle-class families. Could the Minister of Employment and Social Development please update the House on the impact of our universal child care benefit and the family tax cut?

TaxationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeMinister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, the universal child care benefit in its original amount and form already lifted 41,000 children out of poverty and into the middle class. I recently asked my officials to examine what the new increases that the Prime Minister has put forward would do to further reduce poverty in our country.

However, I was really discouraged to hear the Liberals today announce that they believed that seniors who put money in tax-free savings accounts should have their guaranteed income supplement clawed back. This is an attack on working-class seniors who have done the responsible thing by saving for their future. We will never allow that to happen.

Public SafetyOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Information Commissioner warned the ethics committee that “the retroactive stripping of the application of the Access to Information Act is a perilous precedent”. This is related to the fact that the RCMP has destroyed government documents and the Information Commissioner has asked the Attorney General to lay charges. Put simply, the measures in the budget bill are a legislative coverup to protect the instigator of a crime.

Who in the minister's office ordered the RCMP to destroy government documents in violation of the law?

Public SafetyOral Questions

3 p.m.

Lévis—Bellechasse Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney ConservativeMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, from a member who had occupied an important cabinet position, I would expect more trust and respect for the excellent work of the RCMP and its professionalism. I am disappointed, but I can tell the member that, yes, we are closing a loophole to respect not only the Canadian law but the will of Parliament.

The member and his party would want to bring back the ineffective long gun registry. We will stand up for the respect of all Canadians who comply with the law, and we will support the budget as well.

InfrastructureOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, Minister Fournier is not happy. After doing away with the community infrastructure plan in 2014, the Conservatives have now created the Canada 150 community infrastructure program to upgrade municipal infrastructure. However, in his rush to get his picture taken with big cardboard cheques right before the election, the federal minister forgot to do his homework and call the Government of Quebec to sign an agreement. That is not very impressive coming from a former Quebec mayor. Now, Quebec municipalities are excluded because of his forgetfulness.

Will the minister sit down with the Government of Quebec and sign an agreement?

InfrastructureOral Questions

May 26th, 2015 / 3 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, this is a federal program. My colleague needs to understand that the federal government delivers federal programs. We do not need to call the provinces. This is a federal program.

We did not do away with the program. It came to an end. We are going to continue to support the Knights of Columbus, the Daughters of Isabella, seniors groups and many other community organizations across Quebec.

Public SafetyOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Nina Grewal Conservative Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Mr. Speaker, the people of Surrey are demanding action. Gang violence is threatening the safety of law-abiding Canadians, and we cannot stand aside while this violence goes on. Just last Sunday there was another senseless shooting, leaving residents of the area exposed to the drug turf war that is going on.

Could the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness please update the House on what is being done to ensure our communities are safe?

Public SafetyOral Questions

3 p.m.

Lévis—Bellechasse Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney ConservativeMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for her outstanding work in Surrey in making the community safer and working with leaders of the community. That is why I am proud to confirm that we are providing 100 more RCMP officers as requested by the government. We are also providing $3.5 million, 20 times more than the Government of British Columbia asked us for. As well, 30 new measures to counter violence were adopted by our government.

We are standing in support of the people of Surrey.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

3 p.m.

Forces et Démocratie

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

Mr. Speaker, as a plaintiff, I obtained a copy of the official languages commissioner's preliminary report on the National Energy Board's refusal to translate the documents on the energy east pipeline into French.

Oddly enough, the commissioner indicates that the Official Languages Act does not apply and that the documents submitted by TransCanada are not considered public communications, even though francophones have no other way of knowing where and how the pipeline will be built.

I have no doubt that the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages would think it was unacceptable if a company that was working on a pipeline project in Alberta published its documents only in French. The law needs to be changed. Will she do that?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar Saskatchewan

Conservative

Kelly Block ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, the National Energy Board takes its responsibilities under the Official Languages Act seriously. Any documents produced by the National Energy Board must be published in both official languages. Questions related to documents filed by an applicant should be directed to the project proponent.

The MinistryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Independent

Brent Rathgeber Independent Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, this week the new Alberta government introduced a lean, new cabinet of only 12 ministers, less than half the size of former premier Redford's grossly oversized version.

When the federal government assumed office in 2006, its original cabinet was 26 members, in the Prime Minister's own words, “designed for work—not for show”, “more focus and purpose; less process and cost”.

However, the current ministry has swelled to 39 members, by far the largest cabinet in the democratic world. Since the Prime Minister lacks the discipline to constrain the size of his cabinet, will the government support my private member's bill, Bill C-672, to statutorily limit the size of cabinet to a maximum of 26 ministers?

The MinistryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, our government has been focused on ensuring that Canadian tax dollars are guarded carefully and husbanded carefully. That is why we have delivered, thanks to the leadership of our Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance, a balanced budget this year. That is why we have the strongest fiscal position of any of the major developed economies in this world.

Everybody who is watching today knows there is only one party in the House of Commons that is seriously committed to taking care of tax dollars, and that is the Conservative Party and this government.

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

Opposition Motion—Federal Science ResearchBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The member for Scarborough—Guildwood has six minutes left to conclude his remarks.

The hon. member for Scarborough—Guildwood.

Opposition Motion—Federal Science ResearchBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, prior to question period I was talking about bloodletting. It appears that bloodletting is not just limited to out-of-date medical procedures but is still living in on Environment Canada. The title of the document that I was reading from is called, “Environment Canada scientists told to toe the line”. Until now, Environment Canada was one of the most open and accessible departments. One of the researchers was quoted as saying “They’ve been muzzled,” says Weaver of the federal researchers. “The concept of free speech is non-existent at Environment Canada. They are manufacturing the message of science.”

This is serious stuff. I am pleased that the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands has brought forward this motion because the scientists who work for not only Environment Canada but also the rest of the federal government are under siege.

Fifty per cent of them believe that there are cases where the health and safety of Canadians or environmental sustainability has been compromised because of political interference with scientific work. There appears to be no end to which the government will go in order to muzzle scientists, even to the point of compromising the health and security of Canadians.

Seventy-one per cent of them agree that our ability to develop policy laws and programs are based on scientific evidence and that facts have been compromised by political interference, much like my bloodletting example where the ideology gets ahead of the evidence. In fact, the evidence is that when it is, it is inconveniently ignored.

Forty-eight per cent of them are aware of cases where the department or agency has suppressed or declined to release information, which has led to incomplete, inaccurate and misleading impressions.

Seventy-four per cent of them think the sharing of government science findings with the Canadian public has become too restrictive. This is serious stuff.

Finally, 60% of the scientists of Environment Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans believe that the government is not incorporating the best climate change science into its policies.

This is not just some sort of little academic excise. Last week, after Parliament rose, the Minister of the Environment told reporters, and in effect the world, that Canada was going to reach a target in 2030 of a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. That sounds like a good target. This morning she came before the committee on estimates and I asked her a very simple question. Could she state that 30% target in actual megatonnes? It was quite interesting. The deputy minister immediately took over the question, did not let the minister speak, and went into this rather complicated story of how this was a bit of a moving target. I agree with him that it is a moving target. This simple little lawyer asked himself: how can we actually state a 30% reduced target if we do not know what the number of the megatonnes to be achieved is? It is hard to say. It may be 20%, it may 40%, or it may be no per cent at all.

It is quite strange. We are starting with a target of 749 megatonnes as of 2005. Simple math would take that down by 30%, which is somewhere between 150 megatonnes and 200 megatonnes. One would think it would be easy to say that we expect to have a target somewhere in the order of 550 megatonnes by 2030. However, the environment minister is not even able to say that. Nor is the the deputy minister.

This is either the result of the inability of Environment Canada to actually calculate the number or it is a result of the inability of Environment Canada to communicate the number. If in fact the number were stated in public as to what our megatonne target was in terms of greenhouse gas emissions reduction, then Canadians from all provinces, all stripes, would know whether this was a realistic target and would know how the government planned to get to this target.

This exercise in talking about how scientists are muzzled is very serious. It is very serious because policy is being made, being announced, and what is it based upon? The government chooses, for whatever reason, to not put forward evidence on which to base its decision-making process. The consequence is that we have fantasy targets. The government's credibility is completely shot on this file and many others, and the consequence of the consequence, if you will, Mr. Speaker, is that ideology prevails, communication and speaking points prevail over all matters, and with respect to evidence, who cares? That is simply inconvenient.

I thank the House for the time and attention. I appreciate the opportunity to speak. I look forward to questions from members.

Opposition Motion—Federal Science ResearchBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:10 p.m.

Richmond Hill Ontario

Conservative

Costas Menegakis ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, through you, I want to ask the hon. member if I could jog his memory a bit. In 2002, the Liberal government put out a communications policy. This is what it says about policy advisers, program managers, and other functional specialists, including researchers:

Their supervisors must ensure that the head of communications, or his or her designate, is consulted on all activities and initiatives involving communication with the public or which have implications for an institution's internal communications.

Further, it goes on to say that “Ministers are the principal spokespersons of the Government of Canada”.

I wonder if that member can share with us today whether he agrees with the policy put in place by the Liberals in 2002.

Opposition Motion—Federal Science ResearchBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to take note that in 2002, there were not masses of scientists gathered on the front lawn of Parliament Hill saying, “Free us” and “Allow us to speak”. They started to gather only a few years ago when the policy of the government was enunciated by the then minister of the environment as having one department, one website, and one voice. The consequence is that scientists feel as if they cannot speak.

In fact, it has become so bad that even scientists who do not work for the federal government feel that they cannot speak. A doctor recalled speaking with the scientists at the Experimental Lakes Area in Kenora. According to him, even some non-federal government scientists are afraid to speak out, as their funding comes from the federal government.

As long as we have this climate of fear, this muzzling of scientists, the best evidence does not get out. Unlike 2002, where decision-making was based upon the best evidence available and was frequently in the public domain, it was in the public domain because the scientists of federal Canada put it there and were not afraid to do so.

Opposition Motion—Federal Science ResearchBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member talked about the experimental lakes, but we also have to look at the experimental farms, and one of them was in Kapuskasing. Again, we see that the government is not serious about the scientific research that needs to be done.

I agree with my colleague that the Conservative government has waged an ideological war on the scientific community. We have seen the slashing of $1.1 billion. Even though the government says it has invested more, in reality it has slashed. It has also eliminated 4,000 federal researchers.

Does my colleague see our ability to go by the results of research as being problematic, and how problematic is it to retain researchers in Canada now?

Opposition Motion—Federal Science ResearchBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, I think the best answer to my colleague's question is to read a headline posted on May 22, 2015 by Michael Rennie, a scientist with the Experimental Lakes area. The headline is “Ex-government scientist in northwestern Ontario says muzzling was part of “toxic” work environment”. He said, “I think that Canadians are missing out by not hearing about our work”.

In direct answer to my colleague's question, when an ex-scientist from Environment Canada, presumably no longer dependent upon the Government of Canada's largesse, says they were working in a “toxic work environment”, we have to conclude that the best evidence in not getting into the public domain. The consequence is that the best policies are not being acted upon.

Opposition Motion—Federal Science ResearchBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Michelle Rempel ConservativeMinister of State (Western Economic Diversification)

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the the Minister of State for Federal Economic Development for Southern Ontario, who is very excited to speak to this topic as well.

I do not have much time, so for my colleagues opposite, as context of my speech I would like to remind them of the roles of the various organizations involved in the debate today.

First is the executive branch of the Government of Canada. The executive is comprised of the Crown, represented by the Governor General, the Prime Minister, and the cabinet. The executive is part of the government, which makes and implements decisions required to maintain the rule of law and well-being of Canadians. Ministers are assigned specific portfolios by the Prime Minister and oversee the operations of the government departments corresponding to that portfolio. Of course, ministers are accountable to the electorate. All of us right now are members of Parliament, so there is an accountability to the people.

The purpose of the Public Service of Canada is to serve the constitutional democratic state. By referring to the Public Service of Canada as part of the executive branch, it is suggested that its fundamental purpose is to carry out or execute state decisions. The state takes its decisions through legislatures, federal and provincial.

Civil society is the aggregate of non-governmental organizations and institutions that manifest the interests and will of the citizens. In an article entitled “Parliament and Civil Society”, published in Ottawa on November 21, 2001, Jean Augustine said:

Parliamentarians are the link between civil society and government. Our responsibilities demand that we be in contact with the pulse of our constituencies, understand their needs and encourage citizen participation.

With the context and understanding of the role of the executive, the public service, and civil society, which comprises NGOs and our academic community, we look at the motion today. As ministers are primary spokespersons for their departments who prefer the government's communications protocol put in place by previous governments, we are still accountable to the Prime Minister and Parliament for presenting and explaining government policies. Of course, we are still accountable to others, but the point is that we have an accountability in the policies that we put forward. Therefore, it is an important delineation to make between the executive and the public service, in which context we are debating research scientists today, as well as civil society.

I should also outline that a condition of employment for civil servants in the federal public sector is part of the values and ethics code for the public sector, as well as compliance with the communication policy of the government, which again the previous Liberal government had a hand in putting in place.

The interesting thing is that my colleague opposite who just spoke talked about masses of scientists protesting being the key difference between then and now, when they put in place that particular communication protocol. Since the scientific method is defined as “A method of procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses”, I would like to test his hypothesis.

For anyone following at home, if they look on my Twitter feed, @MichelleRempel, they will see the picture from our Public Works webcam that shows the masses of scientists who protested that day. They will notice that there was a gathering of about 10 people. I took that picture because I knew this was going to come up in debate.

Therefore, let us use the scientific method to dissect the assertions in the motion today. It states:

That, in the opinion of the House: (a) the government has constrained the ability of federal scientists to share their research and to collaborate with their peers; (b) federal scientists have been muzzled and prevented from speaking to the media about their work;

I spent over 10 years in academic research management. I know a little on the subject. I would argue that some of the metrics to determine whether or not this assertion would be correct would be the number of media interviews given and publications made. I would like to focus on those two. However, there are other metrics as well, including research contracts that are gained, patents that are filed, and graduate students who are trained. I could go on, but let us focus on the first two, due to time.

There are over 1,200 Government of Canada social media accounts to disseminate information. We coordinate communications through the Government of Canada media policy in order to prevent duplication and redundancy in communications and to ensure we are not missing opportunities to communicate with the public.

In terms of specific metrics, in fiscal years 2013-14, 2014-15, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans conducted over 647 media interviews and responded to over 1,406 media inquiries in writing. In the calendar year, 2013-14, they put forward 900 peer-reviewed articles.

Environment Canada, in the same time period I believe, put forward 700 peer-reviewed articles. Last year, they conducted over 4,200 media interviews. NRC, in 2014, conducted 340 media interviews and put forward 724 scientific articles. NRCan put forward 472 media interviews. In total, federal departments have put forward over 4,000 science publications a year.

I would like to put forward that Canada, even though we account for less than 0.5% of the world's population, produces over 4% of the world's research papers. We are the only country to have increased its share of research papers in the last decade.

In terms of hypotheses saying that we are muzzling scientists, based on empirical evidence and the fact that my colleagues opposite have only put forward four examples, which I would love to fact check, I think we have the numbers here.

Next, the motion says:

(c) research is paid for by taxpayers and must be done in the public interest in order to protect the environment and the health and safety of Canadians; and, therefore, (d) the government should immediately rescind all rules and regulations that muzzle government scientists....

It also says that it should be available to the public through “a central portal”. For those listening at home, they can go to open.canada.ca, science.gc.ca, publications.gc.ca. If they want to go into specific departments which are listed on those portals, because my colleagues opposite have not figured out how to navigate Google, I would point out that the National Research Council also has a publication portal, which I learned today that one of my Twitter followers put together.

I am happy to give my colleagues screen shots of this or show them how to navigate to those portals, if they are unfamiliar with Internet technology.

I would also like to highlight some of the other things we have done in terms of promoting access to information, such as my colleague, the Minister of State for Science and Technology announcing something that he can be so very proud of, which is our open access policy for research. It will allow Canadians to have free online access to research funded by our tri-council agencies. Congratulations and a big shout-out to all my colleagues at the tri-council, and to CFI. They are hard-working public servants.

If anyone wants more information on that particular policy, again refuting my colleagues' assertions, that was published on February 27, 2015. They probably should have Googled that as well before they put this motion forward.

The other thing I would like to put forward is that there are many factors involved in looking at whether a media request can be completed in time: Is the researcher available that day? Are there any intellectual property review policies that it is subject to? For example, is the research going to be put through a provisional patent process? Has the research been validated?

All of these sorts of things are the reasons we have communications specialists to support this. I would like to point out that I think there are close to two dozen communications experts at the University of Toronto, which of course is part of civil society and academic freedom. There are still communications experts there.

With regard to the final part of the motion about the chief science officer, I would like to remind my colleagues that in 2007 our government put in place the Science, Technology and Innovation Council. Its mandate is to have oversight of science and provide advice to the executive branch of government.

Also, if my colleagues have any scientists whom they feel are not being served well or have employment issues, the Treasury Board of Canada does have an employment dispute involvement mechanism.

I think we have covered all the bases. That is what the scientific method does.

Opposition Motion—Federal Science ResearchBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, after that speech, I am just not sure where to go with it. The member has ensured that she has confused so many people with everything she has thrown out. I do not know that anybody really understood everything she said.

The reality is how we look at it. To put it into perspective, how do other countries view what is happening here in Canada? As I mentioned previously, the government has slashed $1.1 billion and eliminated 4,000 federal researchers.

Let us look at the high profile muzzling cases. When we look at the prestigious British journal, Nature, which published two editorials, in 2010 and March 2012, it basically tells the Canadian government to set its scientists free.

Why is the government systematically putting in jeopardy Canada's scientific community and our sciences, which we need in order to be world leaders?

Opposition Motion—Federal Science ResearchBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Centre-North, AB

Mr. Speaker, my colleague opposite just admitted that she did not understand what I said, so I will assume that she did not understand what she just said and present her with some facts.

Since 2006, our government has invested over $13 billion in all aspects of the innovation ecosystem, from basic research through to commercialization. Canada leads the G7 in R and D performed by higher education as a share of GDP. We just invested over $1.5 billion in the Canada first research excellence fund. We produce more than 4% of the world's published papers, and we produce 5% of the most cited publications.

Our academic community and our researchers punch above their weight, and these guys continue to vote against all of these budgetary measures. It is a joke.

Opposition Motion—Federal Science ResearchBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ted Hsu Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I think my colleague from Alberta does not understand how scientists communicate and what kind of communication is needed to convey and understand scientific research.

I want to read a letter I received from a scientist. It says:

Thank you for raising in the House the question of first-hand access to scientific findings. Our citizenry need to hear what is new in science, from the scientists who made the observations. Science...is not a catalogue of facts that can be passed on second-hand. It is a nuanced message that must be heard at its source, or it will be lost.

That is from Dr. John Polanyi, a Canadian winner of the Nobel Prize in 1986.

The idea is that even scientists do not learn about what other scientists did simply by reading journal articles. If they work in the same specialized field, they can learn a lot from journal articles, but most of the time, scientists have a phone call or a chat in the hallway during a conference to really understand what each other did. That is why there needs to be a two-way conversation between scientists and journalists. It is so the public can understand what government scientists have done, and participate in the democratic process of deciding government policy.

Can the member answer that?

Opposition Motion—Federal Science ResearchBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Centre-North, AB

Mr. Speaker, the difference between Liberals and Conservatives is that the Liberals expound on esotericism. My colleague opposite claimed that I do not know what I am doing. However, I worked in research communications and administration for 10 years.

Let us go through how researchers communicate with each other. They communicate at scientific conferences, in which our researchers participate. They publish in journals; Government of Canada scientists publish more than 4,000 peer-reviewed journals per year. We also conducted thousands of media interviews just in Environment Canada.

On top of this is the fact that it has been our government, not the Liberal government, that year after year has steadily increased funding to the Tri-Council, including support for research communications. I give a big shout-out to the Tri-Council research communication officers, as well as at CFI, innovation.ca.

The Liberals have no idea what they are talking about here. They are backing a union ahead of negotiations, but Canadians know better because they understand the scientific method.

Opposition Motion—Federal Science ResearchBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Cambridge Ontario

Conservative

Gary Goodyear ConservativeMinister of State (Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario)

Mr. Speaker, it is always a pleasure to stand up in this House as the representative for Cambridge and North Dumfries, but it is also a pleasure to speak to this motion put forward by my friend and colleague the member for Kingston and the Islands.

While the member may wish to gloss over the facts, I will use my time to clearly demonstrate that not only does our government support the work of scientists, but we continue to make record investments to ensure that high-quality science is available to Canadians and is for the benefit of Canadians. I am going to speak specifically to the topic of science at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. I would like to use the next few minutes to apply a bit of what has already been applied quite well by my colleague—scientific methodology—to the motion that has been put before us.

The member who put forward this motion would like members of this House and members of the public to believe that scientists face impediments when sharing their research. Once we review all the facts—of which many have come forward already and many more will come forward as this debate goes on—we find that the data does not support the member's motion. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

As my colleagues may be aware, one of the main methods scientists use for communicating their results to one another is through publication in peer-reviewed literature. Journals such as the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Nature, or those sponsored by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea provide a forum for reporting aquatic research and sharing the results of scientists' ideas with their peers. Through this interaction, science both is tested and inspires. It also focuses further work in areas where questions remain.

I do agree that this motion is conveniently put forward at a time of union negotiations, but contrary to what the member wants members of this House and the public to believe, the fact is that scientists at Fisheries and Oceans Canada produce a bevy of articles for these publications. In fact, in 2012 and 2013, scientists at Fisheries and Oceans alone published more than 1,000 peer-reviewed articles. I do not think even the member opposite has read that many. This is what they do in just a couple of years in one department. The list could be compiled, but I would recommend that my colleague simply visit the department's website where these studies are already posted for public information. I would encourage the member to do exactly that, to look up this website. However, I will warn the member that he will be embarrassed because he is also a scientist who clearly has not done his research.

Above and beyond this, the department publishes scientific documents for use by other scientists around the world and in Canada, by the public, and by the media. In 2012-13, Fisheries and Oceans produced 670 science publications documenting advice and research regarding Canada's fisheries and oceans. I would again encourage my colleague to visit the website of the Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat to see the range of issues that are being tackled by government scientists and made fully available.

Canadian scientists are also regular participants, face to face, talking with one another, not just in hallways and laboratories—which we built, by the way—but also at scientific conferences around the world. In fact, last year scientists at Fisheries and Oceans alone participated in a wide range of meetings as collaborators, presenters, or simply representatives of this great country. Our government is committed to ensuring that our scientists are able to participate in these events that benefit our scientific knowledge, the capacity of the world, of course, and making the best use of taxpayer dollars. Canadians should expect nothing less.

Despite what the member, in this motion before us, would like members of this House and the public to believe, fisheries scientists have a solid record in presenting their findings and discussing their work with interested media. This is equally true of all science done at the federal level. When we look at all the facts, the truth becomes quite clear. When we apply scientific scrutiny to the member's motion, we clearly see that his hypothesis is false and is not supportable.

While ministers are the primary spokespersons for their departments, and the opposition would be the first to criticize otherwise, over the last year alone Fisheries and Oceans responded to 834 science-related media enquiries.

In addition to its area of expertise, Fisheries and Oceans always gets questions that may not be within its expertise, so it refers that journalist to another department. That should not be considered denying information. That is simply referring to the actual expert for the journalist's questions.

It is clear that our government is proud of the excellent work our scientists do, particularly in Fisheries and Oceans. They are supported and encouraged to speak about the interesting scientific aspects of their work.

So far in my evaluation of the motion, my colleague, a good friend, unfortunately is zero for two. His science teacher would not be impressed. It gets worse. The motion also calls for the creation of a new layer of bureaucracy—of course, it does.

As I have clearly demonstrated, scientists are already supported in providing their research to the public through multiple avenues. This new bureaucracy would be completely redundant and entirely unnecessary, but it is of course typical of Liberals who love to grow government, create big bureaucracies, and spend other people's money.

Again, looking at the evidence at Fisheries and Oceans Canada, we see that our government has actively promoted the work of scientists through publishing their science, providing plain language summaries and even videos to provide Canadians with a clear picture of the work their tax dollars are supporting. We do not need a new bureaucratic layer and spending of more tax dollars to duplicate what is already existing, and existing well.

To give an example, the advice prepared for the minister, through the Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat, is published online. It is all there. Through this avenue, the public is able to review the basis for the science advice that informs decisions and program development by Fisheries and Oceans. If the public is interested in the results of a particular study, the department has summarized a large number of the current research projects in plain language, readily available for review, including review by the member.

I think it is clear that communicating science is a priority for this government, and our record is solid. The evidence presented today, with more to come, demonstrates quite clearly that an abundance of access to the work of government scientists is already being provided.

From the information and evidence before us, it is also clear to me that Fisheries and Oceans works daily to ensure the public is provided timely, accurate science—and that is very important, that the science is checked and it is accurate, objective, and complete. That is exactly what it does for the public.

In addition to this commitment to public information, we are also, as a government, ensuring that our scientists have the tools they need to carry out their important research. That includes rebuilding dozens of laboratories.

Just a week ago, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans announced up to $18 million in infrastructure investments for three major west coast science facilities: the Center for Aquaculture and Environmental Research, in West Vancouver; the Institute of Ocean Sciences, in Sidney; and the Pacific Biological Station, in Nanaimo.

As well, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans recently announced our government's commitment to work with partners, such as the Vancouver Aquarium and the Pacific Salmon Foundation, on collaboration at the West Vancouver lab.

We recognize, of course, that we are not the only game in town, that there are other players, and we want to pursue opportunities to make sure our scientists have the tools they need to do the best they can. That includes everything, all the way up to the Canadian Coast Guard, which has three vessels dedicated to scientific research and data collection. The list goes on and on.

One of the programs of which I am most proud that this government put forward was the knowledge infrastructure program, a few years ago, where this Conservative government put $2 billion into colleges and universities to improve the research capacity in our nation, in that regard.

I believe we have clearly shot down the member's motion. The hypothesis is false and it should be retracted. I cannot possibly support it.