moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.
It is truly an honour to stand here in the House of Commons today at third reading on Bill C-238. I have had the pleasure of speaking to this bill a few times in the House and at committee.
However, before I get started, to better reflect the environmentally positive intent of the bill and to complement the federal government's proposed code of practice for the environmentally sound management of end-of-life lamps containing mercury, at the committee stage, we amended C-238's title to read, “a national strategy for the safe and environmentally sound disposal of lamps containing mercury act”. This title better represents the precautionary approach and nature of the bill. It is important to me that Canadians are protected from toxic mercury and that we ensure these bulbs are recycled by Canadians in an environmentally sound way.
Bill C-238, as amended, passed unanimously through the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development. The comments and questions at the committee stage, from all parties, were thoughtful and supportive. I thank the members throughout the House who have provided me with constructive feedback and support. I truly believe that we are better when we work together. I appreciate, and have remained open to, members' comments, because this is what Canadians want and what they expect from us. They want us to work across party lines. Together, we can develop a robust national strategy for the safe and environmentally sound disposal of mercury-bearing lamps.
I come from a great place. Dartmouth—Cole Harbour is not just where elite hockey players are born, and it is not just the place over the bridge and across the harbour from beautiful Halifax.
Dartmouth—Cole Harbour is home to innovative businesses and bright minds—from Dalhousie University's Dr. Jeff Dahn, who has the research agreement for Tesla batteries; to facilities like Dan-X Recycling, in Burnside, which can take every bit of a mercury-bearing light bulb and safely recycle its components.
To represent this riding filled with great people and good ideas is an honour. As the federal representative for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, it is my job to bring these bright ideas from home and effect real change.
A Halifax regional councillor visited me the other day and asked me what the topic was for my private member's bill. When I told him about Bill C-238, he remarked, “Are you still on that? I remember when you worked on those bulbs as a councillor.” Yes, I am still on this.
The idea for Bill C-238 goes all the way back to my early days as a municipal councillor. Like any new representative, I wanted to make sure that I knew my district inside and out. While visiting the Burnside industrial park, I came upon Dan-X Recycling. While touring this facility, I learned that it was able to recycle every bit of a fluorescent mercury-bearing light bulb in an safe and environmentally friendly way.
I also learned that it only takes 0.5 milligrams of mercury to pollute 180 tonnes of water. This statistic really resonated with me, especially coming from Dartmouth, the “City of Lakes”. It is up to us to keep our lands and waterways safe. I also learned that these bulbs are valuable recyclables that can easily be diverted from landfills. Canadian municipalities are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on landfill cells each year. Whenever possible, we must divert recyclables.
Dan-X Recycling separates and reuses the glass in the production of new bulbs. The metal is melted down and reused by metal recycling facilities. It even processes and recycles the phosphor powder, which contains the mercury. This facility barely takes up 1,000 square feet, and employs local people through this clean technology.
It was at this point that I learned that when the previous government banned the use of inefficient incandescent bulbs, it was always assumed that regulations for fluorescent bulbs, in particular, CFL bulbs, would follow.
Back then, I committed to help in solving the issue of mercury-bearing light bulbs and to divert them from our city landfills. I helped to ensure that all Halifax regional city facilities diverted their spent mercury-bearing light bulbs to recycling facilities, ensuring their safe and environmentally sound disposal.
Now, as a member of Parliament for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, with one of these amazing facilities in my riding, I remain committed to solving this issue.
I have been a member of Parliament for only about a year. However, as soon as I could, my team and I hit the ground running on this issue. I want to ensure the safe and environmentally sound disposal of mercury-bearing bulbs nationwide. This is a problem with a positive solution, and together we can make this happen. Bill C-238 would build on the work of the previous Conservative government by producing a national strategy for the safe and environmentally sound disposal of these bulbs.
I spent almost seven years as a councillor for the Halifax Regional Municipality, and I remember what it is like to have costs and red tape imposed by higher governments. From listening to my colleagues across the floor speak to Bill C-238, and through consultation, I came across a possible costly measure that required amendment. The member for Red Deer—Mountain View spoke to how the reporting mechanism in the original draft of this bill could cause delays and perhaps unnecessary costs, and I agree. It will be up to the consultation process, and any governments that might be implicated by this legislation, to determine any sort of reporting features, regulations, and standards. That makes the most sense.
While listening to testimony from indigenous witnesses at the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, I heard first-hand about the toxic effects of mercury on populations. Mercury is a toxic substance, with the ability to undergo long-range transport. I have used this example before in the House, and I will use it again. Hypothetically, mercury deposited in a Halifax landfill could redeposit into a northern Canadian community, or any other remote area. Although some provinces are making headway on this issue, mercury does not stop at provincial boundaries. Bill C-238 is about working together to find solutions while ensuring that every appropriate body is at the table.
Throughout this process, I have appreciated and listened to the feedback from my colleagues, and I have remained open to good amendments. After listening to the members for Abbotsford and for Skeena—Bulkley Valley, I agreed to amend, strengthen, and open the consultation process of this strategy. It is imperative that all interested and appropriate governments, persons, and organizations are part of this consultation, and that they are all owners of this strategy. Bill C-238 must be a strong, collaborative effort that will include any interested indigenous groups, governments, stakeholders, or citizens, to ensure that this strategy will be best for all Canadians and will represent all Canadians. This will ensure a nationwide solution to this issue.
I believe that a problem like mercury-bearing light bulbs in landfills takes real environmental leadership to solve. I look forward to the dialogue that Bill C-238 will generate among governments, stakeholders, and citizens. I believe that, as a whole, we can take responsibility and protect Canadians from this needless pollution through this collaborative effort. This is another opportunity to show that a clean environment and a strong economy go hand in hand.
It has been an honour to bring this bright idea from home, in Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, and to work to make it a reality here in Ottawa. It is a humbling experience for me, as a new member of Parliament, to have an opportunity to create a law that will benefit Canadians nationwide. I hope that all members of this House will continue to support Bill C-238, a national strategy for the safe and environmentally sound disposal of mercury-bearing lamps. It is up to me to make the voices of Dartmouth—Cole Harbour heard here in Ottawa, but it is up to us in this House to work together to improve the lives of Canadians, now and for future generations.