House of Commons Hansard #212 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was justice.

Topics

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of O Canada, led by the hon. member for Red Deer—Lacombe.

[Members sang the national anthem]

Montreal-Mirabel International AirportStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Simon Marcil Bloc Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, on this very day, October 4, in 1975, we celebrated the grand opening of Mirabel airport, a manifestation of the arrogant federalism at the heart of everything Pierre Elliott Trudeau ever did. Trudeau rounded up a bunch of fancy people in suits to applaud the big white elephant he plunked down right in the middle of a 100,000-acre field that the federal government had expropriated from 2,700 families who called the place home. Ten thousand people were exiled from fertile land. The federal government took our ancestors' land and paved the heck out of it.

Trudeau's airport sure was a thing of beauty, right up until the day the government spent millions tearing it down because there was nothing else they could do with it.

Now there is not much left save the descendants of the people who were dispossessed, and they are still fighting Ottawa for right of first refusal when their families' land is put up for sale. I think the government owes them that much at least, as well as an apology.

Canada Summer Games 2017Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Darren Fisher Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise with pride today to commend the 11 Canada Summer Games 2017 medalists from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour. As everyone knows, Dartmouth, the city of lakes, is home to incredible athletes and some of the best paddlers and rowers in the world. Our canoe and kayak athletes brought home multiple gold, silver, and bronze medals. Huge congratulations go to paddlers Connor Fitzpatrick, Grace Whebby, Robert Laureijs, Olivia Denman, Jessica Hogg, Kate Hennessey, Julia Lilly Osende, Paul LaPierre, and Ava Carew.

Donald Peter brought home two bronze Special Olympics medals in athletics, and Alyssa Hartlen brought home the bronze with the Suburban Football Club.

I am so proud of these superb athletes. Their hard work will serve to inspire more young Dartmouth—Cole Harbour athletes to reach for the top. Cheers to all.

National Kids Cancer RideStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley—Aldergrove, BC

Mr. Speaker, on September 6, Chuck Magnus and 35 other National Kids Cancer Ride participants picked up pebbles and dipped their wheels into the Pacific Ocean, starting their journey across Canada on their bikes. Their destination was Halifax, Nova Scotia, where they dropped their pebbles off and once again dipped their wheels into the ocean. Each of the 36 cyclists was on a mission to raise funds for cancer research, specifically for childhood cancer. Chuck is from Langley. He was riding for many people, but especially for his daughter Kristen, who had cancer but is now in total remission.

His message was one of gratitude. He said that the medical staff gave so much to help Kristen, now it was his turn to give back, and give back he has. Chuck helped raise over $1.2 million for the National Kids Cancer Ride, and he had the overwhelming support of his community for every kilometre he rode.

On behalf of me and my staff, I congratulate Chuck on his perseverance and his incredible accomplishment. We are so proud of him.

RosemèreStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Linda Lapointe Liberal Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate the municipality of Rosemère, one of the four towns in my riding, which again this year won a major award in the Communities in Bloom competition.

The awards ceremony for the national and international editions of Communities in Bloom took place on September 16 right here in Ottawa. The town of Rosemère received a “5 Blooms—Gold” rating and a special mention for its magnificent country character. In an era of climate change and global and national concerns about the environment, I want to congratulate all the communities that took part in the competition.

Their actions are decisive solutions to the global challenges of the 21st century, and their leadership is important to their community.

Congratulations to the people of Rosemère and the local decision-makers.

Public HealthStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, a year ago, I talked about how, after 12 years of partnering with Dopamine in Hochelaga, the Public Health Agency of Canada was ending its funding for the organization's Dopalliés project.

This decision was so ridiculous that the minister finally decided to backtrack at least a little and restore funding until March 31, 2018. Now, the agency is putting an end to the project. This means that, in the midst of the fentanyl crisis, our community will be losing $120,000 that was used to help drug users. That is extremely worrisome. Drug users have an illness, and if the government does not reconsider this decision, it could cost these people their lives. All the experts are saying that all stakeholders, especially drug users themselves, need to be involved in addressing this crisis.

By cutting funding for Dopamine's project, the government is jeopardizing the health of our entire community. I really hope that the new Minister of Health will look into this matter and reverse the agency's ill-advised decision.

AfghanistanStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Liberal Mississauga Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I stand with determined resolve to mark a difficult anniversary. Joshua Boyle and his wife, Caitlan Coleman, have been held hostage by the Haqqani network in Afghanistan for five years. It is an unspeakable ordeal. Joshua, Caitlan, and their two children, born in captivity, are victims in the truest sense.

Our thoughts are with Patrick and Linda Boyle and the rest of their family. I have met the Boyles, and I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, their strength is remarkable. Through you, Mr. Speaker, I want to say this to the Boyle and Coleman families: Know that Joshua and Caitlan's freedom remains a priority for our government. Know that we are working with all relevant authorities here and abroad to bring them home safely. Know that we will not stop until that goal is achieved.

It is a truly difficult anniversary, but also know this: Canadians stand with them and are united in our determination to see their loved ones back in their arms.

TaxationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am hearing from thousands of people in my riding who are incredibly upset about the unfair Liberal tax hike on small businesses and family farms.

Linda runs a small farming operation in my riding of Lethbridge. She recently wrote to me and said this:

“The capital gains on this land, which has been in the family for over 100 years, will be an immense burden for my son, and for us, should we pass it on to him. We wouldn't be able to pay it, and we would have to sell the land in order to pay the tax. We are definitely not wealthy or the 1%. We work very hard. We have no pension, no sick day pay, no maternity leave, and no vacation pay. We've had to put a personal guarantee to insure loans against this equipment and land, so if the farm doesn't do well and we are taxed at such a high rate, we will not be able to sustain this family farm.”

On behalf of Linda and all hard-working Canadians who are employed within the private sector, I implore the Prime Minister and his members to put aside their selfish ambitions and put the needs of the Canadian taxpayer first.

International Day of the GirlStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Sven Spengemann Liberal Mississauga—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, on October 11, we celebrate the International Day of the Girl, recognizing girls' rights globally and supporting action to address discrimination and the barriers girls face simply because they are young and female.

Today we are joined on Parliament Hill by 17 young ambassadors from Plan International Canada, an NGO supporting young women. They have come from across Canada to declare that they belong in their dream jobs.

These 17 inspiring youth will be stepping into a variety of roles to illustrate every girl's right to claim her place in society and realize her full potential to be a leader of change who defies and rewrites stereotypes about the place of women and girls in the work world.

Our government is committed to gender equality and will always speak out against discrimination.

As we celebrate Women's History Month, we highlight women and girls claiming their place in Canadian society and around the world. To our guests and all girls, they belong here, and we invite them to stand with us.

Indigenous AffairsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Yvonne Jones Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to acknowledge the many vigils that are being held across Canada in memory of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, including a vigil here on Parliament Hill today. I want to acknowledge and thank all members of Parliament and the Prime Minister for attending that vigil and offering their support.

I invite all Canadians to observe a moment of silence today on the occasion of the Sisters in Spirit vigils, which have been taking place since 2006. A vigil can take many forms, from a walk to a rally to a shared meal. Let us honour our Sisters in Spirit by participating in a vigil today. Let us demonstrate our shared commitment to end the national tragedy of the violence experienced by indigenous women and girls in Canada. As the Sisters in Spirit vigil founder, Kukdooka Terri Brown, says, “Grandmothers, lighten our path in the dark. Creator, keep our sisters safe from harm”.

Mid-Autumn FestivalStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Alice Wong Conservative Richmond Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am thrilled to join all Canadians of Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, and Japanese descent to celebrate the mid-autumn festival today. It is the time of the year when the moon is at its brightest and fullest. This celebration dates back centuries and is associated with fertility, rejuvenation, and gratitude for a bountiful harvest.

Tonight, families and loved ones will gather under the full moon to light beautiful lanterns, exchange gifts and stories, and share traditional foods.

Canada is home to a number of vibrant Asian communities who have helped shape our society for the better and contributed tremendously to Canada's success.

I encourage all Canadians to participate in these community celebrations with our Asian friends and neighbours and to learn more about this holiday. On behalf of the riding of Richmond Centre, I wish all those celebrating a happy mid-autumn festival.

German Heritage MonthStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Raj Saini Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to mark the start of German Heritage Month. This month we recognize the contributions that German Canadians have made to our country. German Canadians have helped to shape our country through their contributions to arts, culture, and political life. This holds especially true in the Waterloo region, where this year we are honouring Joseph Mausser, as well as the sons of Friedrich Rumpel and their descendants, as part of German Pioneers Day.

To kick off Canada's first national observance of German Heritage Month, we will be celebrating here on the Hill tonight, beginning at 6:30 p.m. in room 200 of the Sir John A. Macdonald Building, with Oktoberfest sausage, schnitzel, and strudel. The celebration will continue in the Kitchener–Waterloo region next week with the largest Oktoberfest outside of Germany. I invite everyone here today to visit tonight and to come to our great region to experience German culture at its finest.

Indigenous AffairsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Dan Vandal Liberal Saint Boniface—Saint Vital, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in honour of the national day of vigils to remember and honour the more than 1,000 murdered and missing indigenous women and girls.

Today, we are encouraged to come together to remember those we have lost, to promote awareness of this national tragedy, and to provide support to those who have lost their loved ones.

There are a number of ways that we can honour the victims, such as a moment of silence, a family gathering, or a large community vigil. People could also hang a red dress in commemoration, a project started by Winnipeg Métis artist, Jaime Black.

I ask all my colleagues in the House to take a moment today to remember and honour these murdered and missing aboriginal women and girls.

Thank you. Merci. Meegwetch.

[Member spoke in aboriginal language]

Mid-Autumn FestivalStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Saroya Conservative Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in the House to wish the very best to the Chinese community in Markham—Unionville and around the world who celebrate the coming moon festival. Zhongqiu jié kuàilè.

Today, tens of thousands of residents will celebrate this day, also known as the mid-autumn festival. On this day of the Chinese calendar, the moon is believed to be its brightest. This festival has been taking place in China for over 3,000 years. Traditionally, it began as worship of the sun and moon and prayers for a good harvest. Today, the moon festival is an occasion for families to spend time together, eat festive food, including traditional mooncake, and enjoy Chinese tea.

As the member of Parliament for Markham—Unionville, I wish everyone taking part in the mid-autumn festival a safe and happy time. I cannot wait to join in the celebration.

Zhongqiu jié kuàilè.

Mid-Autumn FestivalStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Geng Tan Liberal Don Valley North, ON

Mr. Speaker, many Canadians of Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese heritage are gathering on Parliament Hill today to celebrate the mid-autumn festival, also known as the moon festival. It is a time for families and friends to reunite under a full moon, eat mooncakes, and enjoy time together. These family reunions multiply our blessings and enhance our mutual understanding as Canadians.

I invite all my colleagues to join tonight's joyful celebration in the spirit of togetherness and fun. As people across Canada celebrate this evening, let us all continue to come together and walk together as one Canadian family for a better Canada.

Indigenous AffairsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, today we honour the lives of murdered and missing indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people. On the front steps of Parliament and all across the country over 200 communities are holding Sisters in Spirit vigils, including the Vancouver Island University student union in Nanaimo—Ladysmith, the riding I serve.

I salute the advocacy and strength of the families and indigenous women's organizations that have brought us to this point and have pushed for change. The United Nations Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women has condemned Canada for failing to end violence against indigenous women and girls. It is time to act to bring justice to families and survivors, and to end violence against indigenous women.

Birthday CongratulationsStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Conservative Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise in the House today to recognize the hon. member for Haldimand—Norfolk. As a matter of fact, I am dying to “Finley”, I mean, finally have this opportunity to pay tribute to the member on the occasion of her 60th birthday.

She is known to Canadians for her successful tenure as the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, as well as Citizenship and Immigration, but there is much more to this remarkable woman. She founded the largest publicly funded ambulance service company, and is active in the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships. From her crusade to help fight human trafficking to her passion to encourage young people to enter politics through the annual Doug Finley Memorial Dinner, this member gives far more than she receives.

It is with great pleasure that I join Canadians across this country in wishing my colleague and, more importantly, my friend, many happy returns on her 60th birthday.

[Members sang Happy Birthday]

Birthday CongratulationsStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Of course, we are not usually supposed to refer to a member by name, but occasionally we make exceptions.

The hon. member for Edmonton Centre.

Attack in EdmontonStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Randy Boissonnault Liberal Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, last week our lives were shaken by the tragic events in Edmonton and Las Vegas that injured Edmontonians and took the lives of Albertans and Canadians. My thoughts are with all of the affected families and friends.

The Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and I attended a vigil in response to the Edmonton attack, where all levels of government came together with our community to declare that we would not be divided. I would like to thank the Edmonton Police Service for working tirelessly to keep Edmontonians safe. To the men and women who put their lives on the line to ensure the safety of our community, I thank them for their courage and integrity.

It is a great honour to represent such an incredibly diverse riding in the House of Commons. This rich and beautiful diversity makes Edmonton stronger, smarter, and more resilient to all that the world throws at us. We will not let the actions of one person define our city or our country. We are one Edmonton, one Alberta, one Canada.

TaxationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Regina—Qu'Appelle Saskatchewan

Conservative

Andrew Scheer ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, thousands of Canadians are calling on the Prime Minister to listen to their concerns and to extend consultations on the unfair tax changes.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister could have shown that he is truly listening to Canadians, but he ignored small business owners and farmers, and he voted against our motion.

Will the Prime Minister admit that he refuses to listen to concerned Canadians, simply because these tax changes will not affect his own family fortune?

TaxationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we were elected on a promise to increase taxes on the wealthy and lower them for the middle class.

That is what we have done since we were elected, and that is what we will continue to do every day in the House of Commons. We know that putting money into the pockets of the middle class creates economic growth, which benefits everyone.

We have been listening for months, and we hear Canadians' concerns. We will continue to listen as we finalize our bill.

TaxationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Regina—Qu'Appelle Saskatchewan

Conservative

Andrew Scheer ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

The problem is, Mr. Speaker, that every time the Liberals touch the tax code, the middle class ends up paying more.

Thousands of small business owners and the workers they employ have told the Prime Minister they will be hurt by the proposed Liberal tax changes. He has ignored them every step of the way.

One group that will not be hurt is the millionaire investors and shareholders, and people like the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance. We know he incorporated to collect thousands of dollars in speaking fees from charities. We know he has a multi-million dollar trust fund. He brags that his fortune will not be touched.

If this really is about taxing the rich, could the Prime Minister list a single proposal on these new changes that will cost him even a—

TaxationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The right hon. Prime Minister.

TaxationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we were elected on a commitment to Canadians to raise taxes on the wealthiest 1% and to lower them for the middle class. That is what we did. It is the first thing we got to the House to do. That is what we have continued to work on every day, and we will continue to do that, continue to work to make our tax system fair.

If the member opposite wants to propose to raise corporate tax rates, he can do that, but we think that is a bad idea. We think the better the tax rates for small business and for corporations makes a lot of sense.

TaxationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Regina—Qu'Appelle Saskatchewan

Conservative

Andrew Scheer ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, that might be what the Liberals tried to do, but the results of their action is that the wealthiest Canadians are paying less and middle-class Canadians are paying more in almost every single case.

The Prime Minister has lost all credibility on this issue, and he continues to defend the proposals he has put on his department's website, including the fact that many of these changes will be retroactive to this summer.

Therefore, after weeks of denying these tax changes will hurt the very people he claims to help, will the Prime Minister now finally admit that what the Liberals have proposed will hurt the very people they claim to help?

TaxationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as we said from the very beginning, we are looking at making the tax system fair. Canadians know that wealthy Canadians are encouraged, with our current tax system, to use private corporations as a way to pay lower tax rates than many middle-class Canadians. We do not think that is fair. Canadians do not think that is fair. That is why they sent us to Ottawa, to fix what we inherited from the Conservatives, and that is exactly what we are doing.

The first thing we did was lower taxes on the middle class and raise them on the wealthiest 1%. We have delivered a Canada child benefit that gives more money to nine out of 10 Canadian families. The Conservatives voted against it.

JusticeOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Regina—Qu'Appelle Saskatchewan

Conservative

Andrew Scheer ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the previous Conservative government respected the court decision and repatriated Omar Khadr. That was his compensation, a second chance to live in the country that he fought against. However, the Prime Minister decided to cut him a cheque over and above for $10 million. His justification for doing that was that he wanted to save costs on legal fees. Meanwhile, he is fighting an indigenous girl in court over her need for dental care

. When it comes to standing up to a convicted terrorist, why does the Prime Minister give up the fight, but when it comes to fighting an indigenous girl for dental care, money is no object?

JusticeOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, previous governments violated a Canadian's fundamental rights and freedoms. When that happens, we all pay. We know we cannot just defend people's rights when it is popular, when it is easy. We have to stand up and defend charter rights even when it is hard. That is exactly what we are doing.

The outrage we hear from Canadians, which we share, needs to continue to make sure that no government ever thinks it is okay to violate a Canadian's fundamental rights again.

JusticeOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Regina—Qu'Appelle Saskatchewan

Conservative

Andrew Scheer ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the previous government respected the court ruling and repatriated Omar Khadr, but that was not enough for the Prime Minister, who preferred to give him $10.5 million instead of fighting him in court.

However, when a young girl needs orthodontic care, the Prime Minister drags the matter out in court.

Why is it as easy for the Prime Minister to give millions of dollars to a convicted terrorist as it is to deny care to a young girl?

JusticeOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, to address the second part of the question, our government knows that all Canadians should have access to medically necessary health care services.

Through the non-insured health benefits program, we ensure that first nations and Inuit children have coverage for the full cost of medically necessary orthodontic treatment.

As we move forward with the creation of the new department of indigenous services, we recognize that all programs and services have room for improvement. The ultimate goal is that benefit plans will be planned and delivered by first nations for first nations.

Until that is possible, we will continue to look for ways to improve the services we deliver.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the commissioner of the environment and sustainable development released a series of absolutely devastating reports. She says that the government is, and I quote, “not prepared to deal with the impacts of climate change”.

The commissioner reported that 14 of the 19 departments audited had not assessed their climate change risks, and a 1990 cabinet directive on environmental impact was not being followed 80% of the time.

The Liberals have plenty to say about the environment.

The question is, what are they doing about it?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, first allow me to congratulate the member for Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques on his new role and new responsibilities. I also want to congratulate the New Democratic Party for choosing a new leader who represents Canada's full diversity. His leadership will benefit everyone in this chamber.

The environment is an issue we take extremely seriously. It has taken a lot of hard work to address the deficiencies we noted over the past 10 years under the previous government. We are moving forward in a vigorous and responsible way.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the Prime Minister on behalf of our new leader for his good wishes.

To the matter at hand. We have in front of us a government that has approved three pipelines, is 111 megatonnes away from our Copenhagen targets, and is 219 megatonnes away from our Paris targets.

Greenhouse gas emissions have actually increased by 15% since 1992. Do the Liberals understand that when it comes to the environment, the proof is in the pudding?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, for the first time in Canada's history, we have a concrete plan to reduce our climate emissions as a government. We actually are going to reach our Paris targets. The way we are going to do that is by understanding that we cannot separate economic growth from protecting the environment. We need to do it together. That is what Canadians expect.

The Conservatives ignored our environmental responsibilities for 10 years. The NDP is not focused on growing the economy. We know we have to do them both together. That is exactly what we are doing with a historic plan to price carbon, a historic plan to work with the provinces, and to move forward—

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The hon. member for Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques.

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

We hear the words, Mr. Speaker, but we are still waiting to see action.

Governing should be about establishing clear and fair rules for everyone, yet the Minister of Heritage chooses to make deals with foreign multinationals, allowing them to forgo paying their fair share. She has been clear that Netflix is just the first in a long line. Spotify, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube are next.

When will the Prime Minister listen to reason and realize that this deal means outsourcing our cultural industries to American companies?

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

On the contrary, Mr. Speaker. We on this side of the aisle recognize that the cultural universe is changing whether we like it or not. People are watching less on TV and more on the Internet. That is why we are reaching out to different ways and new ways to finance our content creators, finance the great production companies in Quebec and across Canada to ensure we will be able to produce Canadian content that will be consumed not just across the country but around the world.

We believe in our content creators, and that is the investments we are drawing in from around the world.

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, the National Assembly was not satisfied with these arguments, since yesterday it passed a unanimous motion rejecting the Netflix deal. The Assembly also demanded that the minister defend our cultural industries.

Yesterday, the Quebec ministers of culture and finance condemned the inequities in the administration of the tax rules. The artists' union also expressed their concerns yesterday after a meeting with the heritage minister.

What does the minister say in response? She says that other such deals are coming—

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The right hon. Prime Minister.

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we made a commitment during the election campaign not to raise taxes for Canadians, and that is exactly what we are going to do. We are not going to raise taxes for Canadians.

In terms of investing in culture, we are very proud that for the first time we actively sought investors like Netflix, who will be investing half a billion dollars here in Canada to get extraordinary content that we can create right here. This will benefit our artists and production companies. It is a great day for the artistic community and this will not stop here.

TaxationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Conservative Beauce, QC

Mr. Speaker, in their quest for fairness, the Liberals have found a new way to prevent a young entrepreneur from accessing funding to create his own business. The end result is pure hypocrisy. Firms such as Morneau Shepell will not be affected by the reform, but young entrepreneurs will have to look elsewhere to find the necessary funding to build their business.

When will the Prime Minister get a grip on reality and stop taxing the middle class?

TaxationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the first thing we did was lower taxes for the middle class and increase them for the wealthy, an initiative that the Conservatives voted against.

We know that to invest in our communities, in our small and medium-sized enterprises and our start-ups, we have the ability to encourage people to invest, to not keep these passive investments for their own retirement, but to use them for the future of our businesses.

TaxationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Conservative Beauce, QC

Mr. Speaker, the middle class, especially young entrepreneurs, will be hit hard by this reform. It is unjust and unfair that public corporations are not being taxed while young entrepreneurs who want to build their businesses are being taxed and prevented from creating wealth.

This government does not redistribute wealth; it gobbles it up and prevents wealth creators from making their dreams come true.

When will the Prime Minister see that his reform is unfair and does not apply to big corporations? Can he name just one clause in his reform that would have him pay more tax?

TaxationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, opposition members would rather talk about me than about businesses.

We are working hard for small and medium-sized businesses, and we know we have to invest in their future and help the middle class to stimulate economic growth.

We will have a fairer system. We will make sure that everyone pays their fair share of taxes. That is what Canadians expect from this government, and that is exactly what we are going to do.

TaxationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Lisa Raitt Conservative Milton, ON

Mr. Speaker, what the Prime Minister does not understand, when we stand to talk about the stories we have heard, is that we are not talking about him. We are talking about what constituents are saying about him, and they are saying it.

Last night, after the Liberals voted to close consultations on these tax changes, I went to Cornwall, Ontario. There were 130 people in that room who said they were not done with giving information to the Prime Minister and the cabinet. One woman said that she had been in the community for a long time. She had promised her daughter that they would not move, but now they have to move. Her complaint is this. Her family fortunes are changed, but his are not.

TaxationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have been listening to Canadians across the country over the past months. We have been listening to them for years. They recognize that the system we have encourages wealthy Canadians to use private corporations to get out of paying the same tax rates as middle-class Canadians. That is not fair, and that is exactly what we have committed to change.

We have heard the concerns of Canadians. That is why we have committed, as we move forward with making the tax system fair, that we will do nothing to harm small businesses or the middle class.

TaxationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Lisa Raitt Conservative Milton, ON

Mr. Speaker, he may have heard, but is he listening to the anguish in their voices, and is he seeing the tears on their faces? That is exactly what I was seeing when I held consultations across this country. People are terrified.

A woman in Cornwall last night was at a loss for words. She could not speak, because she was so worried that she was not going to be able to make ends meet. Do members know what her solution was? It was that maybe she should just wrap it all up, move to the city, and work for someone else.

The current government is killing innovation for women, and I want to know from the Prime Minister, what hurts him in this legislation?

TaxationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we take very seriously the concerns of Canadians, which is why we are moving forward with legislation. It will show that small businesses, folks who are working hard, and the middle class will not be affected by these changes. This is what we are moving forward with.

I know members opposite want to stretch out the period of uncertainty, but what we are actually doing, having listened to Canadians, is moving forward. It will demonstrate that what we are doing to make the tax system fairer will not hurt small businesses and the middle class.

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is the Prime Minister who created the uncertainty with this surprise attack on the tax rates of our local businesses and family farmers. Double taxes will reach as high as 73%, and higher taxes on farmers selling to their kids than selling to foreign multinationals, but no new taxes on the Prime Minister's personal family fortune.

If I am wrong about that, can the Prime Minister give even one example of a measure in this package that will cost him a penny more?

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, members opposite talk about surprises, but the fact is we got elected on a commitment to raise taxes on the wealthiest 1% and lower them on the middle class. That is a commitment we made, and it is one on which we followed through.

In our election platform, we explicitly laid out our intention to support small businesses, recognizing the current system encourages wealthy Canadians to use private corporations to pay lower tax rates than the middle class. This was a concern we were going to fix. We committed to it, and we are doing it.

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, on election promises, he promised he would lower the small business tax rate to 9%, but then cancelled that tax rate.

He promised lower taxes for the middle class, but 87% of them are paying more.

He promised higher taxes for the rich, but we collected fewer than $1 billion from the wealthiest 1% than in the previous Conservative government

With this particular package, he promised the rich would pay more, but in fact, the Morneau Shepell millionaires, and the Prime Minister's personal family fortune are excluded.

Will he admit that he broke all of those promises?

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is very simple. We got elected on a commitment to lower taxes for the middle class, and raise them on the wealthiest 1%. We did that.

We then committed to create a new Canada child benefit that would put more money in the pockets of the middle class by not sending child benefit cheques to millionaire families. We did that, and that will be reducing child poverty by 40%, lifting hundreds of thousands of kids out of poverty.

Further, we want to help small businesses and the middle class, which is why we are making our tax system fairer right now.

Airline IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, specific action from the current Liberal government to protect air passengers has been delayed and delayed. The minister talked about including an air passenger bill of rights in his legislation, but he never presented a plan. Instead, he wants to leave it to the airline industry. The safety and rights of passengers must be prioritized, which is the whole point. The NDP actually had amendments to protect customers and consumers right now.

The Minister of Transport does not want to do his job. Will the Prime Minister now step in and side with passengers for a change?

Airline IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we made a commitment to bring in a passenger bill of rights, and that is exactly what we are doing.

We know that protecting airline passengers and travellers across this country is an important issue for Canadians, and that is why I am so proud of the work that the Transport Minister has been doing.

He is working with industry, advocacy groups, and citizens to ensure that, for the first time, we actually have a passenger bill of rights to protect our passengers..

Airline IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in committee, the Liberals rejected all of our amendments that sought to immediately create an air passengers' bill of rights. The Liberals' trademark is becoming their never-ending consultations. Meanwhile, we heard from a number of witnesses who told us that there are already solutions. It seems as though the Liberals are colluding with the major airlines.

If they want to avoid scandals like the ones we have seen with Air Transat or United Airlines, why do the Minister of Transport or the Prime Minister not immediately guarantee air passengers' rights?

Airline IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, when Canadians buy a plane ticket, they expect airlines to be respectful, fair and competent.

That is why our government has introduced a bill to establish new rights for passengers. We even challenged the airlines to immediately respect the specific intentions of this bill, so that we can continue advancing Canadian passengers' rights.

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister met with his provincial counterparts yesterday.

He probably noticed that the Premier of Quebec gave him a bit of a cool reception, and with good reason. Like millions of Canadians, the Premier of Quebec recognizes that the Liberal government's tax reform is going to directly affect middle-class Canadians.

Even Premier Couillard, the Liberal Premier of Quebec, said that it will also affect truly middle-class people, not just the super rich. This is not coming from a Conservative, but rather from the Liberal Premier of Quebec.

Will the Prime Minister finally admit that his reform is going to affect middle-class Canadians directly, while neither his family businesses nor he, himself, will be affected at all?

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I was very pleased to be able to sit down with the first ministers yesterday.

We have a good working relationship with each and every one of them, especially the Premier of Quebec. He was very pleased to hear about the intent of our bill, which is to create real tax fairness and will not target the middle class. Rather, it will help the middle class and small businesses, and will create economic growth, which is good for everyone.

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is not exactly what the Premier of Quebec was saying yesterday.

The rules around the transfer of family businesses are some of the Liberals' most tragic reform proposals. Selling a business to a family member will cost more in taxes than selling to an outsider.

That makes no sense. The Liberal Premier of Quebec is the one saying this, not me. He said that, back home, in the regions, when a business gets sold to an outsider, it usually ends up leaving the area, resulting in a loss of jobs and economic activity.

When will the Prime Minister of Canada finally understand that his tax reform will directly affect middle-class Canadians, especially those in the regions?

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have heard this concern many times over the past few months. I can assure the House and all Canadians that our reform will not make it harder to sell a business to the next generation.

We value the farmers and small business owners who hope to pass on their business to the next generation, and we are going to protect them. That is one of the things we intend to accomplish with this bill.

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, Rita Felder, owner of FFM, Field Farms Marketing, in my riding, has worked for 15 years to build a business that employs 50 people, including her family. She knows these Liberal tax changes will have a devastating impact on her business, and jeopardize her children's dream of taking over the farm,

If this is really about going after the wealthy, then which of these tax changes will force our wealthy Prime Minister to pay one penny more in taxes?

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we recognize that Canadians have questions and concerns about making the tax system fairer. We have heard those concerns, but we are allaying them. We recognize that nothing we are doing is going to harm middle-class Canadians.

This is a measure that goes after a system that encourages wealthy Canadians to use private corporations to pay lower tax rates than hard-working middle-class Canadians. That is not fair. That is what Canadians sent us to Ottawa to fix, and that is exactly what we are working on every single day in the House.

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

John Barlow Conservative Foothills, AB

Mr. Speaker, class warfare should not be government policy, but these unfair Liberal tax changes do not distinguish between hard-working Canadian farm families and real tax cheats. A new technical analysis of these changes show that over a 20-year period, the typical Canadian farm of 3,000 acres will pay $1.3 million in new Liberal taxes.

Why is the Prime Minister going after hard-working Canadian farm families to the tune of $1.3 million when his own family fortune is untouched?

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we recognize there are concerns about these changes. We have listened, and that is why we are bringing forward measures that will demonstrate we are focusing on supporting the middle class and helping our small businesses.

It is the wealthiest Canadians who use our current system as a way of paying lower taxes than middle-class Canadians. That is unfair. That is what Canadians know, and that is what Canadians expect from this government. It is to ensure we are supporting the middle class, and those hard-working farmers and fishers right across this country.

SeniorsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Rachel Blaney NDP North Island—Powell River, BC

Mr. Speaker, we have never had a national strategy that focused exclusively on Canadian seniors. Yesterday at committee, Liberal MPs repeatedly stated we would finally see one. One Liberal MP said, “We are doing one. That's the whole point of this.” However, when the minister was asked about this directly, the minister responsible for seniors was completely non-committal.

Seniors deserve more than just another study with another report whose recommendations are ignored. Will the Prime Minister commit today to a national seniors strategy?

SeniorsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the NDP loves its national strategies. We prefer actions.

That is why one of the first things we did was increase the guaranteed income supplement for our most vulnerable seniors by 10%. That is almost $1,000 more in the pockets of our most vulnerable seniors.

We strengthened the CPP for a generation. We are delivering on a national housing strategy that is going to focus on supporting our seniors to ensure they live and retire in safety, security, and stability.

These are the kinds of things this government is working on every single day, and we will continue to, because we care about our seniors, and we are delivering for them right now.

Public Services and ProcurementOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Brigitte Sansoucy NDP Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, another new story has come out about Phoenix. Apparently, the government was going to save taxpayers $688 million by using this new program, but as everyone knows, the opposite is true. The Phoenix fiasco has been dragging on for almost two years, and thousands of workers are still seeing no light at the end of the tunnel.

Now that they are halfway through their term in office, will the Liberals stop blaming the Conservatives, do their job, and make sure that Phoenix works for all public servants?

Public Services and ProcurementOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we know that it is unacceptable that people are not being paid properly and promptly for the work they do. That is why we are working so hard to resolve this situation we inherited. We are working with the public service and the unions. Employees throughout the public service are working extremely hard with our government to resolve this problem as quickly as possible because it is unacceptable.

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Iqra Khalid Liberal Mississauga—Erin Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, including myself many of my constituents in Mississauga—Erin Mills were not born in Canada, but that does not make us any less Canadian. I remember the day when I proudly took the oath of Canadian citizenship, along with my family, which was one of the most humbling moments of my life.

The Harper Conservatives put in measures in the Citizenship Act that told Canadians like me that we were below those who were born on Canadian soil.

Can the Prime Minister please update the House on how our government is ensuring fairness for all Canadians, regardless of where we were born?

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Mississauga—Erin Mills for her incredible advocacy on so many important files.

In one week from today, on October 11, key changes to the Citizenship Act resulting from Bill C-6 will come into force. We delivered on a promise we made to Canadians to repeal the unfair two-tiered citizenship provisions brought in by the previous Conservative government.

We know that one of the strongest pillars for successful integration into Canadian life is achieving Canadian citizenship. We know diversity is our strength, and for this side of the House, a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian.

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals paid convicted terrorist Omar Khadr $10.5 million when they were under no obligation at all to do so. Their explanation was they did not want to waste taxpayers' money on legal fees.

Now we come to a young aboriginal girl who requires $6,000 in dental work to ease her chronic pain, yet the Liberals have spent over $100,000 fighting her.

How can the Prime Minister justify giving $10 million to a convicted terrorist while fighting this girl in court?

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, our government knows that all Canadians need to have access to medically-necessary health care services. Through the non-insured health benefits program, we ensure that first nations and Inuit children have coverage for the full cost of medically-necessary orthodontic treatment.

As we move forward with the creation of the new department of indigenous services, we recognize that all programs and services have room for improvement. The ultimate goal is that benefit plans will be planned and delivered by first nations for first nations. Until that is possible, we will continue to look for ways to improve the services we deliver.

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Alex Nuttall Conservative Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's talk is cheap. The Prime Minister says one thing, and yet his government does another. The Liberals denied $6,000 in dental surgery to a young first nations girl and then racked up $110,000 in legal fees fighting this young girl, but when it comes to terrorists, they just give up and write a cheque.

Why did this Prime Minister give a convicted terrorist, Omar Khadr, $10.5 million but denied a young first nations girl $6,000 for dental surgery?

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the actions of previous governments left Canadians liable for up to $40 million in payouts to Omar Khadr. We did not think that was right.

We know that when governments violate Canadians' fundamental rights and freedoms, everyone ends up paying. That outrage that everyone is feeling about the Omar Khadr settlement I hope continues to make sure that no future government ever violates a Canadian's fundamental rights again.

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Order. Most members in all parties, a clear majority, are able to sit through question period and hear things they do not like, lots of them, without commenting when it is not their turn. I would urge members to not comment when it is not their turn.

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government needs to gain some perspective. It rushed a $10.5 million payout to convicted terrorist Omar Khadr. It had no legal obligation to do so. At the same time, the government is fighting Josey, a young Cree girl who needs $6,000 worth of dental surgery. It spent $110,000 fighting her in court.

Can the Prime Minister stand up and justify why a convicted terrorist gets a rushed payment, while the Liberals continue to fight Josey and her family in court?

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, when Canadian governments violate Canadians' fundamental rights, we all end up paying. It is not a question of only standing up for rights when it is easy or when it is popular. It is a question of standing up for rights because it is the right thing to do, because that is what makes us proud to be Canadians.

We stand up for people's rights, period. That is why when the government violates people's rights, subsequent governments end up paying. That is the way it works. Hopefully it will never happen again, because Canadian governments needs to respect Canadians' rights.

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, last week the Minister of Indigenous Services gave a great speech about her commitment to improving health services for first nations. The Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs went on Twitter to encourage people to call Health Canada if they know a child who needs care. What they did not say was that then the government was going to fight them in court all the way.

It was $110,000. How can the Prime Minister explain to Canadians again that a convicted terrorist he had no obligation to pay gets $10.5 million, but he is going to fight Josey and her family all the way in court?

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, our government is absolutely committed to ensuring that first nations and Inuit children get the care they need through the non-insured health benefits program.

As I said earlier, our government recognizes that unacceptable socio-economic gaps continue to exist, including in health outcomes. That is why our government has created the new department of indigenous services. Moving forward, I and our government will be working with all partners to improve programs and services for indigenous peoples across this country. I will be happy to work with the member opposite in order to do so.

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, today as we honour the lives of murdered and missing indigenous women, girls, and two-spirited people, families and survivors are on the front steps of Parliament calling for justice.

The United Nations Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women condemned Canada for failing to end violence against indigenous women. Shockingly, over 700 recommendations have gone unanswered by successive governments. What will the Prime Minister do now so there are no more stolen sisters?

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we recognize this unacceptable ongoing national tragedy. We have committed as a government to work hard to end violence against women, to get healing for the families, to get justice for the victims and survivors, and to end this ongoing national tragedy.

We continue to be committed to doing everything we can to work with indigenous communities to protect our sisters, our daughters, our cousins, our nieces, our aunts, and our grandmothers. This is a tragedy that has too long been ignored. That is why we are working so seriously on it.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Beloeil—Chambly, QC

Mr. Speaker, a report from the correctional investigator has sounded the alarm on the situation of young adults in federal prisons. They are vulnerable to exploitation, bullying, and abuse. What is more, they are overrepresented in terms of placement in segregation and use of force incidents.

The government promised major reforms emphasizing rehabilitation and protecting vulnerable people. Will the government respect the report's recommendations and abolish the use of solitary confinement on those under age 21, in favour of proper rehabilitation?

Public SafetyOral Questions

3 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we recognize the work that needs to be done in our correctional services, and I am proud of the work that our Minister of Public Safety is doing on exactly that. We are moving forward on a broad range of initiatives and recommendations made, including the restoration of prison farms, the diminution of the use of solitary confinement, the kinds of things that we know will not just do a better job of respecting rights but will also keep our communities safer.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

3 p.m.

Regina—Qu'Appelle Saskatchewan

Conservative

Andrew Scheer ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has moved the goal posts for important energy projects, like energy east, that would allow western Canadian oil to flow to eastern provinces, but now he has changed the rules and added new hurdles that only apply to domestic projects. As a result, energy east is now in jeopardy. However, he has made one group of people very happy: the oil executives and politicians from countries like Venezuela, Algeria, and Saudi Arabia, whose companies will not be subject to these new hurdles. Why the double standard?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

3 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, for 10 years we had a Conservative government that did not understand that the way to move forward on energy projects was to take leadership on the environment. The two go together. Canadians know that, and that is part of why the Conservatives did not get much of anything done in terms of expanding energy projects.

We have managed to approve a number of pipelines. We have created a process whereby Canadians can be reassured that as we create jobs and grow the economy, we are also protecting the environment. After 10 years of failure from that government, we are proud of our track record and the work we are continuing to do to grow our economy and protect our environment.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

3 p.m.

Regina—Qu'Appelle Saskatchewan

Conservative

Andrew Scheer ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the only jobs the Prime Minister is protecting are those energy jobs in Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, and Algeria, not in Canada. He could take this opportunity to promote a national nation-building project like energy east. It would increase the competitiveness of our energy sector and decrease our need for foreign oil. Instead, he is making it more difficult for these projects by changing the rules in the middle of the game, but these rules do not apply to foreign oil imports from countries with terrible human rights records and abysmal environmental standards.

Why the double standard? Why put the interests of foreign companies ahead of Canadian workers?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

3 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, do you know what made it more difficult for energy producers in this country? It was the botched approach of that former government on energy projects. By not understanding the responsibility toward future generations and the responsibility toward the environment, they were unable to get things done. They were unable to demonstrate that they were working for Canada's national interests, that they were working to grow the economy, create good jobs, and protect the environment at the same time. That is why for 10 years they did nothing. That is why Canadians chose to change the government.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

3 p.m.

Regina—Qu'Appelle Saskatchewan

Conservative

Andrew Scheer ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the foreign oil companies and countries like Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, and Algeria are thrilled that the Prime Minister is doing everything he can to wipe out their Canadian competition. They are happy that the Prime Minister is putting up new roadblocks for Canadian energy projects. He killed northern gateway based on political considerations, and with it, Canada's ability to export to Asian markets.

Why is the Prime Minister doing everything he can to kill domestic energy projects while he watches tanker after tanker of foreign oil flooding Canadian markets?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

3 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it boggles the mind to see the Leader of the Opposition double down on the failed approach of the previous Conservative government. Key pipeline decisions we made will create more than 21,000 jobs across this country, protect environmentally sensitive areas, and expand paths to global markets while continuing to renew our relationship with indigenous peoples. The Line 3 project will create approximately 7,000 full-time jobs. The Trans Mountain project will generate $4.5 billion and create 15,000 jobs. We are continuing to grow the economy and protect the environment--

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The hon. member for Vimy.

YouthOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Eva Nassif Liberal Vimy, QC

Mr. Speaker, right now there is a shortage of workers in a number of sectors in Quebec. The economy is growing and employers need skilled workers. I know that our government has a plan to help young people acquire the skills and experience they need to succeed. Can the Prime Minister tell the House about the measures the government is taking to help at-risk youth in Quebec?

YouthOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Vimy for her question. We are helping more than 4,500 young people in Quebec get the job skills and work experience they need by investing nearly $54 million in the youth employment strategy. For example, a project at Accès travail de Montréal will help 144 young people overcome barriers to employment and learn essential workplace skills. These projects have a real impact on our young people, our businesses, and our communities.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lévis—Lotbinière, QC

Mr. Speaker, when I fill up my tank every week, I am supporting social programs in some foreign countries, or I am enriching dictators who are torturing their people. Oil transportation is very important to Canada.

Why does the Prime Minister agree to the safe transportation of foreign oil but refuses to do the same with Canadian oil?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, for 10 years, the member opposite was part of a government that failed to show Canadians that it could create energy projects for the common good. The former government lost Canadians' support because of its record on job creation and natural resource projects. Canadians felt that the former government was not able to govern our country. We have a different approach that takes both the environment and economic growth, together, into consideration, and we will always invest with those aspects in mind.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Salaberry—Suroît, QC

Mr. Speaker, speaking of the environment, this is the 25th time I have risen in the House to get information about the wreck of the Kathryn Spirit, information that is still not being supplied regularly. Bidding for the contract to dismantle the Kathryn Spirit closed over two weeks ago, but neither the mayor of Beauharnois nor I have been updated on the process.

Will the government keep the people of Beauharnois up to date about the next steps, including when the contractor will be selected and whether the work will begin in time for a fall 2019 completion date at the latest, as the government promised repeatedly?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, our government is determined to protect the health and safety of Canadians and our waters. We are taking necessary steps to ensure that the permanent removal of the Kathryn Spirit will be carried out safely and efficiently. Between July 2016 and June 2017, Public Services and Procurement Canada conducted the environmental studies and assessments required prior to dismantling the ship. We expect the contract to be awarded this fall.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Mike Bossio Liberal Hastings—Lennox and Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, we know that a strong and competitive agricultural sector is vital to Canada's prosperity, creating good jobs, growing the middle class, and bringing high-quality products to the tables of Canadian consumers.

Canada's beef sector is an important driver of economic growth, contributing $2.69 billion and 61,000 jobs to my province of Ontario. Could the Prime Minister highlight some of our government's recent investments to help create growth and opportunities for our beef farmers.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Hastings—Lennox and Addington for his question and for his tireless work and advocacy on behalf of farmers right across the country.

We were proud to recently announce an investment of $4.4 million to help farmers innovate, expand markets, and manage their business risk. As part of this investment, $2.2 million will support our world-class beef farmers here in Canada. We also announced over $3 million in investments in beef research with the Beef Farmers of Ontario, the Elora Beef Research Centre, and the University of Lethbridge. These investments will help make our beef farmers more competitive while supporting jobs--

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The hon. member for North Okanagan—Shuswap.

Public Services and ProcurementOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Mel Arnold Conservative North Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals' incompetence on reform of the public service pay system has now put public safety and public interest in jeopardy. Canadian Coast Guard vessels in Newfoundland and Labrador remain docked, because coast guard personnel have not been paid. Nineteen months after launching the Phoenix pay system, the Liberals have yet to fix the problem they implemented.

When will the Liberals stop wasting time and money, fix this fiasco, and stop jeopardizing the safety of our coastal communities?

Public Services and ProcurementOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite may not know, but it was the previous Conservative government that laid off the 700 pay workers before implementing the new system.

We are working very hard to fix this unacceptable system. I have to congratulate, yet again, the hard-working public servants; the public sector unions, which have been great partners in moving forward on this; and the tireless work of our minister, government employees, and government ministers to fix this unacceptable problem. We continue to work very hard, and we will fix this problem.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, among Arnold Chan's last words to the House were these:

It is imperative that we stop treating climate change as solely an environmental issue but recognize it as an all-encompassing priority that we as a society and a government must confront with the utmost urgency.

The environment commissioner's report yesterday made transparent what most of us know: that we are not there, that we are not acting with urgency, that we are not acting.

Will the Prime Minister use this occasion to commit to a reset to actually reduce emissions with urgency?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the member opposite for her many years of advocacy and for being a staunch defender of the environment and of our future.

A year ago this week, I stood in the House of Commons and announced, for the first time in Canada, a national price on carbon pollution that would go from coast to coast to coast. This is the kind of leadership that we never saw from a previous government. We know there is a lot more to do.

We continue to work diligently on protecting the environment and growing the economy together in ways that will benefit future generations.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of the Right Hon. the Lord Fowler, Speaker of the House of Lords of the United Kingdom, and, by the way, a former 30-year member of the British House of Commons.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to four petitions.

While I am on my feet, I move:

That the House do now proceed to orders of the day.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

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

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

All those opposed will please say nay.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Call in the members.

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

Vote #357

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I declare the motion carried.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism

moved:

That, in relation to Bill C-48, An Act respecting the regulation of vessels that transport crude oil or persistent oil to or from ports or marine installations located along British Columbia's north coast, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the Bill;

and

That, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the Bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Pursuant to Standing Order 67.1, there will now be a 30-minute question period. I invite hon. members who wish to ask questions to rise in their place so that the Chair has some idea of the number of members who wish to participate in this question period.

The hon. opposition House leader.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2017 / 3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am disappointed in this, and we as a party are offended.

There was an agreement made two and a half weeks ago when this session started that we would work together with the government and not be obstructionist, but work to help pass bills that we were able to support.

The result so far is that the government has passed Bill S-2, C-21, C-47, and Bill C-58 all without time allocation, and progress was being made on three more bills, Bill C-55, C-57, and C-60.

There was one bill that we said we had a lot of interest in and would like to have enough time for all of our members to be able to speak, and that was Bill C-48. Now the House leader has broken her word. There is no other way to interpret this. If this is the way she is going to start this session after we have worked in such good faith for the last two and half weeks, all the members know that it will be a case of here we go again: a repeat of the failure we saw in the spring session.

Where in the world is the House leader's integrity and ability to keep her word?

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.

Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount Québec

Liberal

Marc Garneau LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, of course I know that my hon. colleague realizes that this is an extremely important bill. It is a bill that we very clearly announced a long time ago. It was one of the electoral promises we made. We have had a chance to talk about this bill for a while. However, it will go to committee, as we know, and will be amply debated there, not to mention report stage and third reading. It will also get an airing in the Senate. This is an extremely important bill that we promised Canadians we were going to deliver. I cannot say how many people support it, but it is a huge number . We are going forward with this bill and hope the opposition will be constructive about it.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Strahl Conservative Chilliwack—Hope, BC

Mr. Speaker, yes, it is an important bill. That is why we wanted to have more than two members from the official opposition speak to it before the government invoked closure. Perhaps we should not be surprised. The government House leader and the Liberal government telegraphed that they would go to time allocation whether or not we agreed with them.

The Minister of Transport just said this was an important bill and that we would be heard somewhere else, not in the House of Commons. This is once again a case of the Liberals wanting an audience, not an opposition. They are violating the rights of this place. There were two speakers on a half-day. We agreed to give them a half-day when the Governor General was sworn in. They took advantage of our good faith and are abusing the process to shut down the opposition after two votes.

Is the minister really proud of shutting down the debate after only two opposition speakers have had an opportunity to speak?

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud of this bill. That I will say to everyone right now. I promise I will only mention it once, but I remember—

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I am very interested in hearing both the question and the answer. I know it is nice to get all excited about it, but I remind the hon. members that I would like to hear what is being asked and answered.

The hon. Minister of Transport.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud of this bill. I want to assure my colleague that the debate will continue. There are many more stages in the House of Commons, as well as the Senate, where this bill will go. I will only say it once, but I remember keeping count of the more than a hundred time allocation motions the opposition moved when it was in government just a little while ago.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.

NDP

Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, I had a speaking spot on this bill this afternoon. It looks like it will not happen now. It is very disappointing. There has been a lot of community pressure for a ban along these lines brought forward by some of my own colleagues in previous parliaments. However, there are a lot of questions that we still have to ask about this bill. For example, the minister is given too much arbitrary power to exempt vessels from the ban and to determine what kind of fuels are included or excluded; we hear that there is not enough consultation with first nations; and the bill does nothing to prevent the kind of spills we saw on the north coast, for example, by the Nathan E. Stewart. That spill was calamitous for the shellfish industry and the maritime jobs of the Heiltsuk people.

If the government is so proud of this bill and so ready to go forward with it, why not give the official opposition and the progressive opposition the ability to ask questions and offer our ideas now in the House where everyone can see our work on this issue?

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount, QC

Mr. Speaker, of course, we have said very specifically that the ministerial power would only be used in extreme emergencies for the public good and in cases where there was a dire emergency and a need to refuel a community along the northern coast of British Columbia.

As for the persistent oils that are on the list, we gave that a great deal of thought before we came up with that list. The ones that are on the persistent oil list are those that take a long period of time to break up and can potentially cause the greatest damage to ecosystems, bird life, mammals, and shorelines. Those are things that we gave a great deal of thought to. We excluded naphtha, jet gas, propane, LNG, and gasoline.

We gave it a huge amount of thought and have already talked about it. Therefore, I am not quite sure why my colleague is asking the same question again.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Conservative

Chris Warkentin Conservative Grande Prairie—Mackenzie, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister says he is proud of the bill. Is he proud to shut down the democratic process in the House? There are members from all parties who were elected by their constituents to bring their perspectives to the House. We have 96 members in our caucus. I am proud of each and every one of them. Many of them have different perspectives, coming from different communities, and will be impacted differently by the bill.

The minister is suggesting that we should be happy if five of our members have a chance to speak to the bill: two in the House of Commons and three at committee. This would be the full complement of Conservative representation that would be brought to this process with the bill before us.

We have members from Calgary, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and across this country who have a right to be heard on the bill. Their constituents demand that they be heard on the bill. The minister is shutting down that right of these members to be heard, but more importantly, he is shutting down the voices of Canadians.

Is the minister proud of shutting down the voices of Canadians who are concerned about the bill?

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have to say that I find this incredibly rich. I remember over 100 occasions when time allocation was used by the opposition when in government. To hear that kind of manufactured outrage right now is, frankly, a little bit too much.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, two thoughts come to mind.

First, I do have to second the comment just been made by the government side. The Conservatives, when they were in government, imposed time allocation and closure on debate over 100 times in this place. They had no respect for the rights of parliamentarians to have their say on bills.

However, on the other hand, as we learned in grade 4, two wrongs do not make a right, and it is no excuse for the Liberal government to now impose closure and take away the rights of people on this side of the House to have their say.

I also had a speaking spot today. I come from Vancouver, a coastal city where our constituents have very important concerns about tankers on the coast. Now I have been robbed of my ability to raise the voice of the people of Vancouver Kingsway in the House, because the Liberal government is imposing time allocation and taking away our right to represent our constituents in the House.

It was wrong when the Conservatives did so. It is wrong that the Liberals are doing it now. This is why we need a New Democrat government in 2019 to finally bring back respect for democracy in this chamber and across this country.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his impassioned comments on this, but I do want to reassure him that there are still many stages left before this bill leaves the House of Commons for the Senate. I am optimistic that he will have an opportunity to express himself during the course of the different stages of this legislation through the House of Commons.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, what just happened in this House is that the Liberals made the decision to shut down debate. They moved time allocation on a bill that is very important with regard to the energy sector. It is a bill that I and many of my colleagues were hoping to have the opportunity to speak to.

It is important to note that my colleagues and I do not represent ourselves. We do not. I think the Liberals sometimes forget that. They forget that they are here on behalf of those who elected them to be here, to be a voice on behalf of the Canadian people. On this side of the House, we have not forgotten that. We were elected by our constituents to be a voice on their behalf in this place.

This place is called the House of Commons because it is supposed to be common people representing common people. The only way that can happen is if debate actually takes place in this House. What my colleagues across the aisle have just done by moving time allocation robs us and Canadians from coast to coast of a voice in this place where they deserve to have a voice. Why? It is because Canada upholds democracy, which means we were voted in, we were elected to be in this place to represent our constituents.

On behalf of the people of Lethbridge, I am meant to be in this place to have a voice for them. The Liberals just took away that voice from those in Lethbridge.

Here is my question for the hon. minister. Are you Liberals actually so anti-democratic that you would shut down debate and silence the voice of constituents from coast to coast? Are you that anti-democratic?

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Before the minister answers, I just want to remind the hon. members to place their questions through the Chair and their answers through the Chair, so that we do not get into—and I know it never gets very rowdy in here—screaming at each other. Going through the Chair keeps the tone down and keeps it respectful.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is a good reminder.

Back in 2015 we definitely heard a lot of voices from Canadians who very strongly supported the concept of a permanent moratorium on west coast tanker traffic. That is, of course, the substance of this bill.

We feel that there is going to be a reasonable amount of time for members of the opposition to express themselves on this bill. The bill is going to go to committee. It will come back for report stage and third reading. There will be other opportunities for both parties to express themselves on whether they agree with it or not.

As well, there is the very important work that goes on in committee. May I say, on a very positive note, that yesterday there was great co-operation among all the parties in doing the clause by clause on another important transport bill, Bill C-49.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby South, BC

Mr. Speaker, I feel pretty lucky today, because the other day when the minister was making his speech, I was in the House and I happened to be able to ask him a question. It appears that I am going to be one of the few who are going to be able to ask a question of the government, because it is shutting down debate.

The problem with that is that I asked the minister a question, and he deliberately evaded it. I represent a west coast constituency that has the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline set to run through it. We are talking about protection of the west coast.

What the minister would not answer was whether or not he agreed with his colleague that the army should be used to ram this pipeline through British Columbia. I am giving the minister a second chance now to answer that question. Is he going to use the defence forces to ram the Kinder Morgan pipeline through communities and through first nations reserves against the will of British Columbians?

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would be delighted to answer any question on the moratorium, but this has absolutely nothing to do with the moratorium. This is not a free-for-all for people to ask any questions about any subject.

If there is a question on the moratorium, I promise I will give my opinion on that.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Mel Arnold Conservative North Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, this is just another example of the Liberal government not wanting to hear legitimate criticism.

Limiting the debate on this issue to only a few members in this House does not give fair representation to the members from British Columbia, from Alberta, from Saskatchewan, or from the rest of the country to even present their position.

It does not give those members the opportunity to voice the opinions that they have heard from first nations that will lose economic opportunities because of this bill. It does not give members a chance to address the regional discrimination that this bill would impose against one region of the country.

I challenge the minister: has he checked the constitutional legality of this bill?

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am interested in that comment about regional discrimination. If we are talking about discrimination between adjacent provinces, our record shows very clearly that unlike the previous government, which was in power for 10 years, we have done a great deal to promote and to allow the possibility of pipelines and the industry in Alberta, something that the previous government was clearly unable to do. I would not call that discrimination, but it certainly was a failure on the part of that government.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:10 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am seriously troubled. I feel very privileged to be in a caucus with fellow members who represent ridings bordering on the very ocean that we are talking about. Every one of them is sincere in standing up and sharing the views of their constituents. I stood aside as the environment critic in order to give them an opportunity to voice those views.

The hon. minister says there will be lots more opportunity, and this deeply troubles me. Let us look at the reality. The bill would be referred to a committee on which we have one representative, and that one representative may be able to ask a few questions of witnesses and may have the opportunity to propose a few amendments.

I am deeply troubled by the Liberals' track record. They have rejected every amendment that has been put forward in this place. They are sometimes open to amendments by their fellow members in the Senate, but they never accept amendments from here.

Would the minister undertake to not invoke closure on the next reading of this legislation in this place?

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to my colleague. I remember being the single Liberal member on a number of committees for four years during the previous government, so I understand what she is talking about. I nevertheless had the opportunity to voice my concerns, as will others as the bill goes through the House of Commons.

This is a multi-stage process of debate. The debate will continue in committee and it will continue at third reading stage and it will then go on to the Senate, so there will be ample opportunity for this bill to be aired.

As for consultation, we did a huge amount of consultation during the year and a half before we put the bill together, so I am confident that we represent the vast majority of Canadians in support of this moratorium.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to hear the minister say on the one hand that it is a platform commitment so we barely need any debate, when on the other hand, most of the time he says it is a platform commitment so we are not going to do it.

Not only is this an assault on democracy but it is also an assault on economic development. It is clear that the government prefers foreign oil to Canadian oil in every case. Tankers bringing foreign oil from one place to another will be travelling up and down the B.C. coast, yet we will not have the opportunity to export Canadian oil and get it to markets. It is the same principle whereby the government is imposing all sorts of restrictions that limit energy infrastructure from going east while it continues not to apply those restrictions to the export of foreign oil.

Why are we seeing this assault on democracy and economic development at the same time? I would particularly like to know from the transport minister why there is a preference in every case for foreign oil over Canadian oil.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure I understand the question, because our government approved three pipelines, with conditions. We want to see Canadian oil going to foreign markets and we are definitely doing everything we can to make that happen, so I am not sure what point the hon. member is trying to make.

As our Prime Minister has said and as all of us in the Liberal Party have said many times, we are achieving the proper balance between economic development and the environment. We are making a strong statement here, as part of the greater oceans protection plan, that we want to ensure that the coastal area, those 400 kilometres north of Vancouver Island, will remain pristine. This is an area where for millennia coastal nations have lived and worked and brought up their families. We have made a solemn commitment to do this and we are going to do it.

To say that we are not in favour of economic development is to not understand the Liberal government.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

Alex Nuttall Conservative Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, ON

Mr. Speaker, today we are speaking about time allocation on the bill. I find it interesting when I see time allocation, especially when there are only two speakers and it is brought forward under circumstances that one would question, because the throne speech that the government brought forward when it was elected says the following:

Welcome also to the 197 members who are newly elected. Your enthusiasm and fresh ideas will serve your country well.

I call on all parliamentarians to work together, with a renewed spirit of innovation, openness and collaboration. ...

How?

By being smart, and caring—on a scale as never before.

The times we live in demand nothing less.

Canada succeeds in large part because here, diverse perspectives and different opinions are celebrated, not silenced.

Parliament shall be no exception.

In this Parliament, all members will be honoured, respected and heard, wherever they sit. For here, in these chambers, the voices of all Canadians matter.

When I look at what is happening here today, I am trying to rationalize what was said in the throne speech versus the actions that we see by the government day after day, and I cannot rationalize it. I would like the Minister of Transport to stand in the House of Commons today and tell the Canadian people why he has turned his back not only on them but on his own government's throne speech.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount, QC

Mr. Speaker, over the course of the past two years, we have allowed ample amounts of time for debate. As we know, we are going through Bill C-48, which is on the moratorium. It will go to committee. When it goes to committee, there will be opportunity to debate it. Witnesses will be heard on both sides, I am sure. After that, it will go to third reading and to report stage. After that it will go to the Senate.

We are following the proper process to turn this bill into law and we feel that an adequate amount of time has been allocated for Bill C-48.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

Rémi Massé Liberal Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to recognize the Minister of Transport, his team, and all of the public servants who worked on this bill.

Earlier, the minister said that he had consulted many people in recent weeks and months. Could he share the outcome of these consultations with the House, and tell us how the consultations were factored into this bill?

What aspects of the consultations were retained and considered in this bill?

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount, QC

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

We knew that we had to set the terms and conditions of this bill. When we were talking about an oil tanker moratorium, we had to decide, for example, which products would be allowed to be transported in these oil tankers, taking the science and importance of the environment into consideration. We also held extensive consultations concerning the remote communities in northern British Columbia that rely on these tankers to supply their oil. We were forced to limit how much oil these tankers could transport, in order to be able to supply these communities.

Furthermore, we extensively consulted first nations, including the Nisga'a, Lax Kw'alaams, Metlakatla, Haisla, Heiltsuk, and Haida bands. We spoke to a number of first nations living in that part of the country, and they all had things to say. We consulted many people before we finalized this bill. I hope that it will be passed as drafted. We will see as this bill moves forward.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Questions and comments, the hon. member for Vancouver Kingsway.

I want to remind the hon. members we have about five minutes left, so if you can be as brief and concise as possible, it would be very much appreciated.

The hon. member.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, five minutes was about the length of the last response from the government side.

We on the west coast know how important the coastal waters are to our province. It is an important resource. It is a basis for our fishery, forestry, and eco-tourism. It is of enormous impact to species all along the coast, and the consequences of an oil spill on the west coast could be disastrous. We know the Exxon Valdez cost billions of dollars that the company still never really paid the full amount for, which is still affecting fish stocks today.

I support the banning of supertankers in certain areas of British Columbia, but this bill gives the minister the power to exempt ships for indeterminate amounts of time if deemed in the public interest. The New Democrats believe that this exemption is irresponsible and unnecessary. The current government deemed it in the public interest to allow supertankers to go into the Burrard Inlet through the Kinder Morgan pipeline to have seven times the current supertankers going through the Burrard Inlet now, risking an oil spill in Vancouver, which in the eyes of the Liberals was in the public interest.

How can Canadians trust that the minister will demonstrate proper judgment in the exercise of the public interest, when the Liberals have already so badly mismanaged that in determining it is in the public interest to allow oil tankers in the Burrard Inlet, contrary to the interests of the people of British Columbia?

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am glad my colleague supports this bill, but it is the third time I am answering the NDP question about ministerial powers. The ministerial powers are for extreme emergency situations. The only example that at the moment exists is if there was an emergency in a community along the coast in a remote area that suddenly, for reasons we do not anticipate, needed a vast quantity of a certain kind of fuel. That might be one exception. However, we do not anticipate using that ministerial power.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

Ben Lobb Conservative Huron—Bruce, ON

Mr. Speaker, I sit on the transport committee, and we put through Bill C-49 last night. It was a little unusual that on Monday we were notified the committee would sit from 3:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Be that as it may, the member from Saskatoon and the member for Wellington—Halton Hills stayed, and it was very collegial. In my nine years, I do not recall any bill getting passed in one day through a committee. The members made their points and were very collegial.

However, we see this take place today. If people wonder at home why politics are sometimes toxic, this is a great example. Here is an opportunity for members of Parliament to debate the issue, to let it go to committee, and probably have an opportunity to be collegial with the amendments in clause-by-clause. He has now forced the committee to examine every amendment, and every clause to the very finite end.

Therefore, between the minister and the House leader, could they explain why they would want to sour the positive relationship on the transport committee? For good measure, he should apologize to the chair, because she has done a great job, and now he is putting her in a heck of a situation.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am glad that my colleague brought up the fact, as I did beforehand, that Bill C-49 passed yesterday through clause-by-clause. It is certainly my hope that Bill C-48 will go through a similar collegial process. There will be that opportunity.

I totally respect the independence of the committee as our government has done from the very beginning, unlike the previous government. I am sure when it does arrive at committee, there will be a similar opportunity to hear witnesses to argue for and against, and eventually go to clause-by-clause. I hope to do all this in a collegial manner.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

It is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 38 to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Calgary Nose Hill, Foreign Affairs; the hon. member for Kootenay—Columbia, Royal Canadian Mounted Police; the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands, The Environment.

It is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith the question necessary to dispose of the motion now before the House.

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

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

All those opposed will please say nay.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Bill C-48--Time Allocation MotionOil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Call in the members.

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

Vote #358

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I declare the motion carried.

The House resumed from October 3 consideration of the motion that Bill S-232, An Act respecting Canadian Jewish Heritage Month, be read a second time and referred to a committee.

Canadian Jewish Heritage Month ActPrivate Members' Business

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Levitt Liberal York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among all parties, and I think if you seek it, you will unanimous consent for the following. I move:

That the Order made on Tuesday, October 3, 2017, pursuant to Standing Order 93(1), respecting the deferral of the recorded division on the motion for second reading of Bill S-232, an act respecting Canadian Jewish Heritage Month, be discharged and the motion be deemed adopted.

Canadian Jewish Heritage Month ActPrivate Members' Business

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Does the hon. member have unanimous consent of the House to propose the motion?

Canadian Jewish Heritage Month ActPrivate Members' Business

5:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Canadian Jewish Heritage Month ActPrivate Members' Business

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The House has heard the terms of the motion. It is the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Canadian Jewish Heritage Month ActPrivate Members' Business

5:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Canadian Jewish Heritage Month ActPrivate Members' Business

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

(Motion agreed to, order discharged, bill read the second time and referred to a committee)

Canadian Jewish Heritage Month ActPrivate Members' Business

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I wish to inform the House that because of the proceedings on the time allocation motion, government orders will be extended by 30 minutes.

The House resumed from October 2 consideration of the motion that Bill C-48, An Act respecting the regulation of vessels that transport crude oil or persistent oil to or from ports or marine installations located along British Columbia's north coast, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Joyce Murray LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Davenport.

I am pleased and proud to be part of today's debate on Bill C-48, and to discuss implementing an oil tanker moratorium on British Columbia's northern coast.

It is important to remember that with the bill, the Government of Canada is honouring its promise to Canadians. By formalizing this moratorium and including marine safety, the government is delivering on its promise, as set out in the mandate letter from the Prime Minister to the Minister of Transport.

I want to thank our Prime Minister for his commitment to the oil tanker moratorium on the Pacific north coast. I also want to thank the Minister of Transport for taking his thoughtful approach in consulting widely on the bill and delivering on this commitment.

This is one of those times when it is very satisfying to be a member of Parliament.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I am going to interrupt the hon. member and remind everyone in the chamber that a presentation is being made. Someone is speaking. It is great to see everybody getting along and speaking, but it is making it very difficult for me to hear what the parliamentary secretary is saying. I am sure if they have a discussion, they will take it outside the chamber. Meanwhile we can continue.

The hon. parliamentary secretary.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, I worked on this issue as a core project in Vancouver Quadra from early 2009. Therefore, I want to also acknowledge all the constituents of Vancouver Quadra, the environmental groups, the communities, and the indigenous communities on British Columbia's coast that paid attention to the potential risks to our coast and supported the idea of banning crude oil tanker traffic, consistent with a policy moratorium that had been put in place in 1972 by a previous Prime Minister Trudeau.

Therefore, I would like to share with the members a press release I wrote in February 2011, after two years of work on this. It said:

Yesterday, Vancouver Quadra Liberal MP... announced that C-606, her private Members’ bill to ban oil tanker traffic off B.C.’s north coast, has been officially submitted to proceed to debate next month. “We are now one step closer to a legislated oil tanker ban on B.C.’s north coast--the only way to protect our oceans and communities from a catastrophic oil spill... If disaster were to strike in our northern coastal waters, B.C.--and Canada as a whole – would never be the same.

Bill C-606 legislates a crude oil tanker ban in the dangerous inland waters around Haida Gwaii known as Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound. The bill would not affect current deliveries of diesel and other oil products to local communities

The work to protect that area of the coast has been going on for a long time. The press release continued:

We’ve witnessed the Gulf of Mexico and Exxon-Valdez oil spills. It’s just not worth the risk...In perfect conditions, industry considers 15 percent recovery of oil a success, but a recent report by Canada’s Environment and Sustainable Development Commissioner raised serious doubts about the Conservative government’s ability to even respond to a spill.

This initiative is widely supported by British Columbians in all parts of the province. In fact, a press release I issued in March 2011 talks about a two-day campaign being kicked off to meet with Vancouver Island residents and stakeholders about Bill C-606, the bill to legislate a ban on crude oil tankers in B.C.'s dangerous northern waterways. It says that I would also be consulting with the northern communities, the community of Kitimat, where a terminal for an oil pipeline that would be transported through those waters for which it was planned, and that I would visit first nations, community organizations, local businesses, unions, and municipalities to reach out to those communities. Those early consultations made it very clear that “An oil spill would hurt our communities, our environment, our businesses, and our way of life. This is not a risk British Columbians can afford to take”, quoting from that press release.

I am talking about this because I want to acknowledge and thank some of the key environmental organizations that brought this issue forward to the Liberal caucus of the day. The four environmental organizations that were critical to this work, doing the research and encouraging us to move forward on this issue, were Dogwood Initiative, Living Oceans Society, Stand.earth, and West Coast Environmental Law.

This was a real priority. Why was it so important and why is it so important for a government that is committed to protecting the environment, a particularly sensitive environment in this case, while also protecting and developing a strong economy? It is because B.C.'s coastal economy in 2010 was estimated to have 56,000 jobs tied to clean coastal environments, jobs in fisheries, tourism, ecotourism, and recreation, film and television among them. It also was about a way of life for our coastal communities.

Imagine being in Hartley Bay, a remote coastal community, as I had the privilege to be, knowing that community's supermarket really is its freezers. The fishermen go and harvest the shellfish, the abalone, the mussels and clams, the salmon, and the halibut, and the residents eat that seafood throughout the year, as they have for a millennia. It is about a way of life, as well as an economy and an environment.

I came naturally to thinking about how we could protect our coastal environment from a devastating oil spill. I was a tree planter and reforestation contractor working on the north coast in my late teens and early 20s, and I came to know it well.

I also had the chance to travel up and down the coast as a minister of environment. Imagine being at the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary, this amazing and rich estuary, watching the grizzly bears feed with their families, as I had a chance to do. Imagine that being fouled with a crude oil spill, as happened in Alaska's estuaries with the Exxon Valdez oil spill? We could never go back.

Therefore, I and so many British Columbians were committed to ensuring that these dangerous waters would not be the location of a devastating oil spill. We are reminded by the Deepwater Horizon, the Exxon Valdez, and some of the other spills off our coast that human error and equipment failure are something one can never guarantee will not happen.

B.C.'s north coast is home to the Great Bear Rainforest and some of the world's most diverse ecosystems, including 27 species of marine mammals, 120 species of marine birds, and 2,500 individual salmon runs.

One of the big concerns after the Exxon Valdez example was the jobs that would be lost as well as the impact on the environment. I met with a woman who came to one of my meetings wearing the gumboots she wore when she went to clean up the Exxon Valdez spill up in Alaska.

I am so proud of our government and our minister for having done significant consultations throughout the province and for having discussed this with groups from the coast right through the interior.

I want to again thank my constituents for supporting me on this. I would like to thank our minister and our Prime Minister for delivering on this promise to British Columbia and to Canada to protect this very special part of our country.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Strahl Conservative Chilliwack—Hope, BC

Mr. Speaker, I too want to ask members to imagine a few things. Imagine members of one of the 31 first nations or Métis communities in the Aboriginal Equity Partners agreement, who stood to gain $2 billion from the northern gateway pipeline. Imagine their being told by the Prime Minister that there was no relationship more important than our relationship with Canada's indigenous people, then imagine their being completely ignored and having no consultation done with them while $2 billion was torn away from them, their communities, their children, and future generations that would stand to benefit from responsible resource development.

Is the member proud of the fact, which has been confirmed in Order Paper questions, that the Government of Canada was not required to undertake consultations with those indigenous groups? Because they wanted economic development, because they wanted natural resource development, because they wanted this pipeline that would bring prosperity to their people to go ahead, they were deemed unworthy of consultation. Is she proud of that fact?

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am proud that our government does extensive consultation on every initiative and every bill we put forward, unlike the previous Conservative government, which would cook up changes to bills in back rooms for political purposes, like with the Fisheries Act, and lay them out in a huge omnibus bill and never even talk to anyone about them.

Coastal first nations up and down British Columbia supported this moratorium. Coastal first nations all through the area of over 700 rivers, creeks, and streams that lead to salmon-bearing rivers were for a moratorium on the coast. I am proud that we listened to them. We consulted, and we listened.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

5:20 p.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby South, BC

Mr. Speaker, I listened intently to my colleague's speech. I agree with her that this moratorium is a good idea. However, all the facts she is reading out actually apply to the south coast as well. If we have a bitumen spill in the waters right off her riding, there will be devastation to all kinds of recreational areas and areas that are worked by local first nations.

How does the member square the circle? How can she and all her colleagues from British Columbia stand with the Prime Minister while he approves the Kinder Morgan pipeline, while there are 19 court cases now pending, many from first nations that do not want this, while tens of thousands of British Columbians say that they do not want the Kinder Morgan pipeline, and while the British Columbia government says that it will use every tool in the tool box to stop this pipeline? How can she square the circle?

How can she say the facts in her speech about this northern gateway pipeline, agree with the moratorium, and then turn around, with her B.C. colleagues, and support the Kinder Morgan pipeline?

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

5:20 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, I hope my colleague across the way will support this bill, as all the NDP members agreed to support my bill, Bill C-606, because of the importance of protecting coastal rainforest that is untouched. A pipeline would have had to go through the Coast Mountains, days' worth of wilderness, which have no roads and no human activities.

This particular bill would protect an area that is remote and that the Coast Guard probably could not even get to, even with the additional resources and funds our government is putting into the Coast Guard. There is no capacity to deal with an oil spill in these remote waters. I am very proud that we will not be facing that horrible possibility on our Pacific north coast, and I hope the member will support the bill.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

5:20 p.m.

Liberal

Julie Dzerowicz Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to stand in the House on behalf of the residents of my riding of Davenport to support Bill C-48, the oil tanker moratorium act. The environment is very important to the residents of the riding of Davenport, so I stand to support this bill.

For anyone who does not get a chance to watch this live, I want to review very quickly what the oil tanker moratorium act would do. The act would formalize a moratorium for oil tankers off British Columbia's north coast. It would do three things. It would cover an area from the northern Alaska-B.C. border down to the point on B.C.'s mainland adjacent to the northern tip of Vancouver Island. That includes Haida Gwaii. Tanker traffic would not be allowed to go in and out of the ports in the northern part of B.C. This would apply to all ships carrying over 12,500 tonnes of crude oil or persistent oil as cargo in this area. As well, the tanker moratorium would complement the existing voluntary tanker exclusion zone, which has been in place since 1985.

If we have a voluntary moratorium, what would this tanker moratorium actually do? The act would expand the current area to include areas such as the Hecate Strait, Dixon Entrance, and Queen Charlotte Sound, off the coast of Haida Gwaii. Also, the voluntary moratorium only dealt with ships that were actually passing through the area. The bill proposes to include all the traffic that goes through the area. We are very pleased with the two changes this bill would put in place.

This is a pristine part of northern British Columbia that from time immemorial we have wanted to protect. First nation groups and community groups along the coastline have been asking governments for many years to protect it. We made the promise years ago that we would do so, and I am very pleased that today we are moving forward by pursuing this bill.

The other thing I want to mention is that the tanker moratorium act would complement the $1.5 billion comprehensive national oceans protection plan. That plan has four priority areas.

First, the Government of Canada will create a world-leading marine safety system that improves responsible shipping and protects Canada's waters. When we talk about world-leading, we mean that the system will meet or exceed the best practices in the world. This area focuses both on prevention and response measures.

Second, the government will focus on the preservation and restoration of marine ecosystems and habitats. This will be done using new tools and research as well as measures to address abandoned and derelict vessels and wrecks.

Third is building and strengthening partnerships with indigenous and coastal communities. The government is helping to build local capacity so that indigenous groups play a meaningful role in emergency response and waterway management.

The fourth part of our oceans protection plan is that the government will ensure that Canada's marine safety system is built on a stronger evidence base, supported by science and local knowledge. I am delighted that this is going into place.

I started off by saying that the environment is very important to Davenport residents. I have always told them that one of the key things we promised as we formed government was that as we looked forward to developing our economy, we wanted to do it in a sustainable way. The oceans protection plan and the oil tanker moratorium act are both part of that plan.

I will now move to my more formal remarks.

In an earlier session, there were some questions about government consultations. Indeed, there has been extensive government consultation. I want to acknowledge the leadership of the member for Vancouver Quadra, who has done such a wonderful job for years advocating for this. I know that there were a lot of consultations at that time, and I am very proud that we continue to engage in additional consultations. We made sure that we reached out to as many groups as possible. We listened and incorporated their views into the bill before us today.

I am very pleased and proud to take part in today's discussion about implementing an oil tanker moratorium on British Columbia's northern coast. I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the efforts made by the government and its partners to reach the decision to implement this moratorium. It is important to remember that with this bill, the Government of Canada would be honouring its commitments to Canadians. Formalizing this moratorium and improving marine safety were among the priorities set out in the mandate letter from the Prime Minister to the Minister of Transport.

We believe it is essential to protect the environment, a particularly sensitive environment in the case of northern B.C., while also developing a strong economy. It is just as important to note that the decision to impose this moratorium was the outcome of a vast consultation process.

Our government is committed to pursuing its objectives in the spirit of renewed collaboration. We firmly believe it is essential to maintain and enhance our relationships with provincial, territorial, and municipal governments and with indigenous groups to bring about concrete, positive change. Therefore, we undertook these consultations when the government first announced its intention to adopt a legislative framework to formalize the moratorium.

The first meetings were held in British Columbia, where the minister brought together representatives from first nations, industry, local communities, and non-governmental organizations dedicated to environmental protection.

Discussions were held across the country, including in Iqaluit, St. John's, Montreal, and Calgary, to name only a few locations. It was important for us to bring together Canadians with differing opinions on the moratorium. The government took great care to include various stakeholders from different settings, namely, the marine community, the oil and gas industry, environmental groups, provincial and municipal governments, Canadians from across the country, and of course, first nations.

In total, Transport Canada organized 16 round tables and over 30 bilateral and multilateral meetings to involve Canadians in improving marine safety, which included discussions about the moratorium on oil tankers. With the aim of extending the discussion further and enabling those who were unable to attend those meetings, Transport Canada set up a web portal. Indeed, many letters from Canadians were also forwarded to the department. Overall, nearly 5,000 users visited the online portal. Of them, 330 provided comments or submitted documents. Most of those comments were about the moratorium that is the subject here today.

It is obvious that Canadians wanted to be heard. I can assure members that this was done. We not only listened closely to the concerns of our partners and Canadians about the matter, we took steps to meet their expectations. For example, a number of stakeholders expressed concerns about the moratorium's potential impact on transporting supplies for the communities and industries on British Columbia's coast. Resupply is vital to their welfare. The communities and industries must be able to continue to receive shipments of petroleum products. Therefore, the government ensured that the proposed legislation would allow resupply to continue by setting a threshold of 12,500 metric tonnes of crude oil and persistent oil in a tanker's cargo spaces. The resupply of communities and industries would therefore not be affected by the proposed moratorium.

Some stakeholders pointed out to us that they also wanted to ensure that the moratorium was transformed into action by an act of Parliament. That is exactly what the bill is proposing.

During the Canada-wide discussions, concerns were raised about marine safety. The stakeholders found that the Canadian Coast Guard lacked resources, including salvage tugs. Stakeholders also raised concerns about the time required to respond to an incident. The oceans protection plan will allay their concerns by giving the Canadian Coast Guard a greater role when it comes to patrols and monitoring the marine environment. The Coast Guard is also going to have increased towing capacity.

A number of stakeholders also noted that there could be more involvement from local communities in emergency responses. For that reason, the government is making plans to better coordinate the federal emergency response plan. With greater resource capacity from coast to coast to coast, the government is ready to work with local communities and indigenous groups. New indigenous community response teams will also be established, with training in search and rescue, environmental response, and incident command.

Remember that Canada is a maritime nation that was built on a safe, secure maritime transport system. This government is dedicated to developing a long-term agenda for marine transport that demonstrates that a healthy environment and a sustainable economy go hand in hand.

In short, the moratorium on oil tankers would be a major initiative for protecting the B.C. coast. I encourage all members to come together and support this bill that would protect our environment.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

5:30 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Madam Speaker, these pipeline projects are of critical importance to my constituency. They contribute jobs and opportunities in western Canada and, frankly, all of Canada. For example, there is a pallet factory outside Toronto. Generally speaking, everything that moves in the oil sands moves on a pallet. We are all interconnected, so when the government brings forward legislation that shuts down jobs and opportunities, it will affect not just my riding but also jobs and opportunities in that member's riding.

Why is the government moving forward with legislation that would shut down opportunities for Canada in the energy exporting market that would have created jobs and opportunities here, while opening the market to oil from countries that do not share our values and human rights record? In its entirety, it will gratuitously disadvantage Canadians and our economy.

Why is the government moving in this direction? Why does it not put jobs and opportunity ahead of its anti-energy ideology?

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

5:30 p.m.

Liberal

Julie Dzerowicz Liberal Davenport, ON

Madam Speaker, I can assure the hon. member that we are putting jobs and our economy at the forefront of our priorities. As we have said time and time again, we will move forward in developing and growing our economy in a sustainable way.

We have already approved three pipelines that will create thousands of jobs, mostly in Alberta. A lot of our natural resources will be brought to tidewater.

We do have an obligation to develop our resources, but in sustainable way, and that is what we are committed to doing.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

5:30 p.m.

NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Madam Speaker, the member and the member before her talked about sensitive ecosystems and important marine coastal jobs. She also talked about protecting the environment.

The member for Vancouver Quadra pointed out that there is no world-class oil response program in place for the central B.C. coast. Here I would like to tell both members that one is not in place on the west coast of Vancouver Island either.

The Liberal government says that its stakeholders support this ban. Those same stakeholders opposed the Kinder Morgan pipeline, yet the government went ahead and rammed it through. The Liberals support a project right now that has no world-class response program in place, and the stakeholders who support this ban opposed the Kinder Morgan pipeline.

The member talked about jobs and ocean protection. Along coastal British Columbia, 100,000 jobs are being threatened by an oil spill, 10,000 in my riding alone.

The government talks about its oceans protection plan, but we know what it looks like on the ground: no jobs in marine training for indigenous people, no marine debris cleanups, and closed marine traffic control centres.

Will the Liberals stop talking out of both sides of their mouths and tell us why they supported a Kinder Morgan pipeline with the same principles this legislation would institute on the north coast of British Columbia?

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

5:35 p.m.

Liberal

Julie Dzerowicz Liberal Davenport, ON

Madam Speaker, when the gulf oil spill happened, it was a bit of a trauma for me. I did not like it happening over such a long period of time and that it took so long to stop the damage. I was concerned about how we would be able to approve some of our pipelines.

Our oceans protection plan is a huge part of our commitment to ensuring that we have world-leading means to protect Canada's waters and prevention and response measures in place. We are best in class in terms of that. That is top of mind for all of us.

We are trying to find a balance between moving forward and growing our economy in a sustainable way. We are engaging with all stakeholders and trying to make the most responsible decisions possible moving forward.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

5:35 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Benzen Conservative Calgary Heritage, AB

Madam Speaker, for some time now, from well before the by-election in April that brought me to this place, I have watched with a mix of resentment and regret as the Liberal government engages in what I have come to call “proxy politics” on the issue of pipelines. I say “resentment”, because for many in my province of Alberta and even closer to home in my riding of Calgary Heritage, pipelines are too important an issue to play political games on. I say “regret”, because what the government views as political manoeuvring only is having real and negative effects on the ground in Alberta, jeopardizing the livelihoods of thousands of people whose employment relies on the health of the energy sector.

As I speak today on Bill C-48, I see in its provisions not just the express purpose of its title to ban oil tankers, but also another example of the proxy politics that the government has been playing when it comes to pipeline development in Canada. What does proxy pipeline politics entail? It simply refers to the government's penchant for attaining indirectly, through legislation and politicized bureaucrats and signalling to special interests, what it cannot attain directly because of the political optics involved. This bill is another step by the government toward a goal that it pursues, but does not publicly name, the phasing out of the oil sands.

Bill C-48 would prohibit oil tankers carrying crude and persistent oils as cargo from stopping, loading, and unloading at ports or marine installations in the moratorium area. On the surface, it purports to enhance environmental protection by banning oil tankers from the north coast of British Columbia. However, that is just a greenwashing of the bill's true intent: to convert a vast region of Canada's west coast into a no-go zone for tankers under the pretext of environmental protection. Reading and listening to the Liberals' messaging around this bill, one might assume that an environmental apocalypse was imminent in B.C. That, of course, is not the case at all.

In fact, the Conservative government enhanced protections for the environment in 2014 by creating a world-class tanker safety system. We modernized Canada's navigational systems, enhanced area response planning, expanded the marine safety capacity of aboriginal communities, and ensured that polluters would pay for spills and damages. We did these things because, in contrast to the party opposite, Conservatives understand that the environment can be protected while also growing the economy.

Conservatives believe in fair and balanced policy-making. Liberals, however, would have us believe there is no middle ground. They would have Canadians forget that a voluntary exclusion zone of 100 kilometres for oil tankers travelling from Alaska to Washington State has been in place since 1985. They would also have us ignore how the Alaskan panhandle juts deep into the moratorium zone, meaning that any U.S. community sharing B.C.'s coastline can welcome oil tankers. The Liberals say never mind to the realities on the ground and to the protections already in place. Instead, they craft policies to address hypothetical contingencies that have become even less likely in recent years. Where is the fairness and balance in such an approach?

The bill's inherent unfairness is clear. It is unfair to coastal communities in northern British Columbia, excluding them from even the possibility of oil pipeline projects as a means of economic development and local job creation. This bill is unfair to those aboriginal communities in B.C. that support and seek responsible pipeline development to the west coast as a means to achieving economic independence for their communities. There are many more of those communities than the Liberals care to admit. In fact, according to the chief of the Assembly of First Nations, 500 of the 630 first nations across Canada are open to pipeline and petroleum development on their lands.

The bill is also unfair to the energy companies that take all the risks and make all the investments and do all the work that we require of them to meet our world-class safety regulations, only to discover at the end of the process that it all means nothing when a political, unbalanced, unfair outcome results.

This bill is not balanced. It favours environmental interests and their activists while marginalizing economic stakeholders. The Liberals do this not only in the interests of the environment but also because they are opposed to pipelines, and legislation such as Bill C-48 helps them to achieve their ends.

In November of last year, the federal government directed the National Energy Board to dismiss the northern gateway pipeline project. It cited concerns about oil tankers transporting some of the half-million barrels per day of a petroleum product at Kitimat, oil that would have found new international markets via tidewater. How convenient it is that we now have legislation before us that effectively bars any similar projects in the future. After all, if tankers cannot receive what pipelines send them, there is little reason for a pipeline.

For the government to engage in such reckless spending to fulfill its all-encompassing view of the role of the state shows little understanding of what is needed to fund such largesse. Governments do not create wealth; they only tax the wealth created by others to finance their objectives. Therefore, it strikes me as odd that the Liberal government consistently seeks to smother one of Canada's largest sources of wealth. Alberta's oil sands alone represent a potential $2-trillion boost to Canada's gross domestic product over the coming decade. That would help to fund health care and other social programs and priorities for many years to come. Rather than champion responsible development of a resource beneficial to everyone, the government continues to throw up hurdles.

We have seen the same with the energy east pipeline. The Liberals continue to allow interference during the approval process by bureaucrats who seem intent on moving the goalposts on investors. Allowing the regulator in that case to step outside its mandate to consider upstream impacts of the pipeline sends a signal to opponents of oil and gas development that the process is politically driven and can be disrupted. It does by proxy what the Liberals cannot do publicly for political reasons.

However, there is a cost to such interference. We cannot ask companies to make massive initial investments in the energy sector, to responsibly follow all of the regulations set before them to safely develop such projects, only to have politics change the rules in the middle of the process.

Canada stands in jeopardy of losing future oil and gas sector investments if the Liberal government continues to allow this. We cannot afford to do that, especially considering the debt into which the government is sinking us and the staggering number of public dollars that will be needed to pay it back.

Demand for Canadian oil is strongest in the rapidly growing markets of the Asia-Pacific region. However, the government's response is to ban Canada's gateway to such large markets from transporting our oil. This is not going over well with everyone, by the way.

The Chief's Council Eagle Spirit Energy project, a first nations-led energy corridor proposal that has the support of its affected communities, has claimed there has been insufficient consultation on the ban and says it “does not have our consent.”

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

5:45 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

I regret to interrupt the member. However, he will have 12 minutes remaining in his time the next time this matter is before the House.

It being 5:45 p.m., pursuant to the order made earlier today, it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of the second reading stage of the bill now before the House.

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

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

5:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

5:45 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

5:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

5:45 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

All those opposed will please say nay.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

5:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

5:45 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

In my opinion the nays have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Call in the members.

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

Vote #359

Oil Tanker Moratorium ActGovernment Orders

6:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I declare the motion carried. Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.

(Bill read the second time and referred to a committee)

The House resumed from September 27 consideration of the motion that Bill C-345, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (pregnant and nursing employees), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Canada Labour CodePrivate Members' Business

6:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill C-345.

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

Vote #360

Canada Labour CodePrivate Members' Business

6:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I declare the motion lost.

The House resumed from September 29 consideration of the motion that Bill S-231, An Act to amend the Canada Evidence Act and the Criminal Code (protection of journalistic sources), be read the third time and passed.

Journalistic Sources Protection ActPrivate Members' Business

6:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at third reading stage of Bill S-231 under private members' business.

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

Vote #361

Journalistic Sources Protection ActPrivate Members' Business

6:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I declare the motion carried.

(Bill read the third time and passed)

Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials ActPrivate Members' Business

6:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at third reading stage of Bill S-226 under private members' business.

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

Vote #362

Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials ActPrivate Members' Business

6:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I declare the motion carried.

(Bill read the third time and passed)

It being 6:54 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's Order Paper.

Act respecting the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal ActsPrivate Members' Business

6:55 p.m.

Conservative

Sylvie Boucher Conservative Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d’Orléans—Charlevoix, QC

moved that Bill C-343, An Act to establish the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal Acts and to amend certain Acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to rise in the House today for the second reading of my first private member's bill, Bill C-343, an act to establish the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal Acts and to amend certain acts.

The position of ombudsman for victims of crime was created in 2007. Like the ombudsman for the Department of National Defence and the ombudsman for offenders, or correctional investigator, the ombudsman for victims of crime exists for a reason: to defend the rights and interests of those in need of such advocacy.

Unlike the other federal ombudsmen, the ombudsman for victims of crime currently operates under a Justice Canada program and therefore is not independent from that department.

The main goal of Bill C-343 is to make the position of ombudsman for victims of crime equal to the position of correctional investigator. Commonly referred to as the ombudsman for offenders, the correctional investigator is federally appointed and operates at arm's length from the Department of Justice, unlike the ombudsman for victims of crime.

The ombudsman for victims of crime is currently not independent from the Department of Justice and is required to submit all her annual reports to the department instead of Parliament. Accordingly, if the ombudsman for victims of crime makes a recommendation or criticism in her report that is unfavourable to the Department of Justice, the department can remove it from the report at any time and thereby directly circumvent one of the chief purposes of the ombudsman for victims of crime, which is to be a voice for the victims and represent their rights and interests.

For victims of crime, having a voice and fair and equitable representation before the Department of Justice is critical to their healing process, which is all too often a difficult one. After experiencing a terrible trauma that is incredibly hard to survive, victims far too often have to fight to get their rights recognized at every stage of their journey.

The road to rehabilitation and healing is long and daunting. Victims have to provide a statement and testimony at trial, they have to be able to understand and digest all the legal jargon, and they might have to challenge a ruling. They also have to duly fill out a multitude of forms, even just to have the right to receive information.

Given that the ombudsman's responsibilities have significantly evolved since the position was created in 2007, particularly with the enactment of the victims bill of rights in 2015, it goes without saying that the rights of victims of crime must be respected and that, if they are not, the ombudsman for victims of crime must be able to properly represent those victims, independently of the Department of Justice. That is particularly true when a problem arises that is directly related to the department in question.

The rights of victims of crime are grouped under four categories in the bill of rights: the right to information, the right to protection, the right to participation, and the right to restitution.

It is important that the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights be updated to make the ombudsman for victims of crime an agent of Parliament who is independent from the minister and who is responsible for providing feedback and oversight.

For victims of crime, having an independent body to protect their rights is a matter of survival. All aspects of the Canadian justice system need to be fair and equitable.

Victims of crime and criminals must have equal rights, and ombudsman positions must also be equally independent.

Making the victims' ombudsman as independent as the criminals' ombudsman would be a big step in the right direction in proving to victims that they matter, and that all members of the House agree that it is unfair that in 2017, victims' rights are still not given the same importance as the rights of the criminals who destroyed their lives, that this must end, and that we need to give ourselves the legislative tools necessary to do just that.

For victims, passing Bill C-343 would ensure that the federal ombudsman for victims of criminal acts will operate at arm's length from the Department of Justice, and this is critically important to all victims. The ombudsman could do a better job of defending the rights and interests of those victims when they file a complaint against federal departments, particularly the federal Department of Justice.

I invite my colleagues to imagine themselves as someone who has suffered a terrible trauma after being victimized by a violent crime, someone whose basic rights enshrined in the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights have been violated during the court proceedings and who now wants to file a complaint against the federal Department of Justice. After a quick search on the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime website, they will soon realize that that office is an agency of the Department of Justice, and therefore an extension of the same department that is responsible for the wrongdoing.

Let us put ourselves in the shoes of a victim who thought they could rely on solid representation before the courts, when in fact they cannot count on the independence of the ombudsman representing them to the same extent as our soldiers and even criminals can count on their ombudsman. Who can such a victim turn to?

A very important part of the ombudsman's work involves identifying issues that affect victims of crime and issuing recommendations to help the federal government make its laws, policies, and procedures more compassionate toward victims.

The ombudsman must also help criminal justice system personnel and decision-makers develop a better understanding of victims' needs and identify systemic issues, some of which are created by the Department of Justice itself, that can have negative repercussions on victims. I believe that this part of the ombudsman's job is crucial for victims, and I have to wonder whether it can be done properly without full independence.

Not being fully independent makes things difficult for both the victims ombudsman and victims themselves. Trying to defend clients' interests before the Department of Justice without the independence and power to conduct a formal investigation to determine whether a complaint is legitimate and make recommendations to right a wrong is frustrating for the ombudsman, and it is frustrating for victims too.

Victims of crime deserve strong and independent representation. It should be a fundamental right, a right that criminals have always had. By passing Bill C-343, the position of ombudsman for victims of crime will no longer be a program. The victims are calling for a meaningful recognition of the office to ensure its long-term existence.

The time has come to make the victims ombudsman an agent of Parliament. Passing Bill C-343 provides the current government with an ideal opportunity to strengthen its position on transparency in the selection process for this type of appointment. Passing Bill C-343 is an opportunity to send a strong message to victims of crime.

In other words, everyone here in the House believes that it is high time we gave victims of crime equal rights relative to the rights of criminals, and that their recognition is in no way partisan. Every party is concerned about the well-being of victims. This is not a one-party issue.

In closing, for victims of crime and their loved ones, I hope that every member will support Bill C-343.

Act respecting the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal ActsPrivate Members' Business

7:05 p.m.

Liberal

Michel Picard Liberal Montarville, QC

Madam Speaker, I commend my colleague for her work on the extremely delicate subject of the importance of supporting victims of crime. I thank her for her attention to their cause.

However, I have an issue with this bill as drafted, and I would like to hear more from her about it. My concern is that saying the bill is intended to make this institution independent implies that it is not already, and seems to cast aspersions on the ombudsman's expertise and judgment and the department's ability to properly manage its affairs.

I know from experience that a number of departments have welcomed recommendations issued by various organizations and that the resulting collaboration, on matters of public safety or other issues, has always benefited Canadians.

Why, then, seek to make the ombudsman independent, when doing so casts a pall on the credibility of the system in its current form?

Act respecting the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal ActsPrivate Members' Business

7:05 p.m.

Conservative

Sylvie Boucher Conservative Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d’Orléans—Charlevoix, QC

Madam Speaker, let me be clear: no aspersion is intended.

My bill calls for the position of federal ombudsman for victims of crime to be equal to the position of correctional investigator, which operates at arm's length from the Department of Justice. I am only asking that the ombudsman for victims of crime be granted the same independence.

Let us put ourselves in the shoes of a victim of violent crime. How can we defend both the widow and the orphan? I want the ombudsman for victims of crime to report to Parliament, not just to the department. When a complaint is made, the ombudsman needs to be able to tell us about it.

All the other ombudsmen, such as the ombudsmen for national defence and for offenders, operate at arm's length from the relevant departments. They report to the House, not to the departments. That is exactly what my bill seeks to achieve. I am not putting down the work of the ombudsman in any way. I only want the position to be independent. Being at arm's length from the system enables an ombudsman to—

Act respecting the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal ActsPrivate Members' Business

7:05 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

Order. There are only five minutes remaining for questions and comments, so there should be time for at least one more question.

The hon. member for Abitibi—Témiscamingue.

Act respecting the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal ActsPrivate Members' Business

7:05 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Madam Speaker, the bill provides for that independence, but it also makes the position permanent. It would therefore no longer be just a program but a permanent, independent office.

I would like to know what impact that could have on the office, particularly in terms of hiring qualified staff.

Act respecting the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal ActsPrivate Members' Business

7:10 p.m.

Conservative

Sylvie Boucher Conservative Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d’Orléans—Charlevoix, QC

Madam Speaker, the ombudsman position already exists. We just want it to be independent. This will not cost anything since the office already exists. We want the ombudsman to be able to work independently, like every other ombudsman.

Every ombudsman position that has been created has become independent. They are accountable to Parliament, not just to departments. This bill is very important for victims of crime.

I was fortunate, or perhaps unfortunate, to come from a family of police officers and prison wardens, so I have seen a lot of victims of crime. They are the ones who are asking us to make the ombudsman position independent.

This is not a partisan issue. It concerns every party. Whatever government is in office, this ombudsman would be independent and would be free to stand up for—

Act respecting the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal ActsPrivate Members' Business

7:10 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

The hon. member's time has expired.

Resuming debate. The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.

Act respecting the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal ActsPrivate Members' Business

7:10 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Marco Mendicino LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Madam Speaker, I want to begin by congratulating my colleague on all her hard work on this bill.

I am pleased to speak to Bill C-343, an act to establish the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal Acts and to amend certain Acts. This bill has been sponsored by the member for Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix. It seeks to establish a new office for the federal ombudsman for victims of criminal acts.

As I am sure all members know, there is already an Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime. It has been in place since 2007, and Sue O’Sullivan has very capably undertaken the role of federal ombudsman for victims of crime since 2010. The new office proposed by Bill C-343 would entail a drastic expansion of the role, mandate, and powers of the federal ombudsman for victims of crime.

While I support the need for a federal office for victims of crime, I cannot support this new, proposed office for the following three reasons.

First, the bill would require additional resources, beyond those currently provided, to establish a new department for the victims ombudsman. This issue was raised on a point of order by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons on May 12, who reminded us that section 54 of the Constitution requires that bills that appropriate any part of the public revenue must be recommended to the House of Commons by the Governor General. Standing Order 79(1) similarly prohibits the House from passing any bill that requires the appropriation of funds without the support of the Governor General. He also noted at the time that the bill would attempt to circumvent the requirement for a royal recommendation by tying it to a coming into force clause. Bill C-343 would establish a new office, which, according to precedent, may require a royal recommendation.

The second reason, unfortunately, I cannot support the bill is that it would make the federal victims ombudsman an agent of Parliament. Agents of Parliament have broad powers they are able to exercise at their own discretion. They do not require the approval of parliamentarians for their actions, and there is no avenue for members of Parliament or senators to direct their activities.

There are currently only eight officers of Parliament whose roles include the Auditor General, the Chief Electoral Officer, and the Privacy Commissioner.

The sponsor of Bill C-343 states that the bill would make the powers of the victims ombudsman equal to those of the correctional investigator in terms of independence and accountability to Parliament. This is, in fact, incorrect. The correctional investigator is not an agent of Parliament. Rather, the correctional investigator is appointed by the Governor in Council.

While the sponsor has noted that the responsibilities of the victims ombudsman have evolved since the coming into force of the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights, this does not justify elevating the victims ombudsman to the position of an agent of Parliament who would enjoy largely unrestricted independence. The victims ombudsman is already able to provide a second level of review for alleged infringements of victims' rights under the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights once the internal complaints mechanisms of federal departments have been exhausted. A new agent of Parliament should not be created without first undertaking a rigorous analysis, and unfortunately, in this case, such an analysis has not been carried out.

The third reason I cannot support Bill C-343 is that it proposes new and unrestricted investigatory powers and an overly broad mandate for the victims ombudsman. The bill's proposed mandate would allow the ombudsman to investigate complaints against any federal department. The ombudsman's current mandate allows for investigations of complaints related to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, or CCRA, as it is known, and the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights. This is in keeping with the limited number of statutes and programs for victims of crime at the federal level due to the constitutional division of powers. This is also in keeping with the powers of other ombudsmen.

The overly broad mandate proposed by Bill C-343 raises concerns regarding an overlap between the mandate and duties of the victims ombudsman and other federal ombudsmen or oversight bodies. For example, the Canadian Armed Forces has its own ombudsman. Similarly, the victims ombudsman currently does not have the authority to review complaints regarding the RCMP, as this is the responsibility of the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission. It would be unwise to create a regime that could undercut or interfere with other oversight bodies that already exist.

As I mentioned, the bill's sponsor states that Bill C-343 is modelled on the correctional investigator, who is responsible for investigating and addressing complaints of federally incarcerated offenders. The investigatory powers granted to the correctional investigator are necessary due to the nature of the complaints being investigated, which can include allegations of mistreatment and human rights violations. The need for such broad investigatory powers does not exist for the victims ombudsman, who operates in a substantially different context. The role of the victims ombudsman is closer to that of other federal ombudsman, such as the veterans ombudsman, who does not have the power to compel documents or sworn testimony.

Our government is committed to a criminal justice system that keeps communities safe, protects victims, and holds offenders to account for their actions. Our government's ongoing support for the victims ombudsman is one such example of this commitment. However, I cannot support this bill for the significant substantive and procedural reasons that I have just highlighted.

Any proposals for changes to the ombudsman's mandate should be informed by evidence, rather than speculation. I am not aware of any evidence, such as an evaluation of the office of the victims ombudsman, that demonstrates any shortcomings in the current mandate of the ombudsman or that officer's ability to carry them out. In fact, as the numerous reports released by the ombudsman's office shows, the ombudsman's mandate has allowed for a broad range of work in the criminal justice and corrections systems in order to effect change for victims of crime since the office was first established in 2007.

I am also unaware of any evidence supporting the need to grant the ombudsman the additional discretion and independence that comes with an officer of Parliament position.

I am also unaware of any evidence supporting the need to grant the ombudsman the additional discretion and independence that comes with an agent of Parliament position.

An evaluation of the office of the victims ombudsman would allow for a measured consideration of the need for changes to the ombudsman's mandated powers. It would also allow for a careful assessment of the office of the victims ombudsman's current arm's-length relationship with the Department of Justice in order to determine if further independence would be required. In the absence of an evaluation of the current office, there is insufficient evidence to support a broad expansion of the ombudsman's mandate as proposed in the bill.

For all those reasons, in spite of all of the work of my hon. colleague, which I began by commending at the outset of my remarks, unfortunately we on this side are not able to support it. I would encourage all my colleagues to vote the bill down.

Act respecting the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal ActsPrivate Members' Business

7:20 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to have the opportunity to speak to this bill because I believe that victims' issues are of utmost importance.

The bill that my colleague from the Quebec City region introduced addresses this issue. The ombudsman's office is currently a program within the Department of Justice. My colleague's bill will make that program a permanent, independent office. It will no longer be merely a Justice Canada program. The office will be much more independent. I think this is a very good idea, especially when the ombudsman has to intervene regarding problems within the Department of Justice itself. With more independence, the ombudsman will be able to do that properly.

I think this is a very good bill that really deserves to go to committee. I am sure there are probably other repercussions, but I think the committee can get to the bottom of that. I sincerely hope this bill will make it to committee.

It is important to give the ombudsman's office more independence because that will facilitate victims' access to federal programs and services. Once we have examined the bill more closely and maybe amended it to make it even better, it will achieve that goal.

I think it is important to point out that, too often, indigenous victims get completely overlooked. I believe that making the office of the ombudsman more independent would allow it to provide more assistance to indigenous victims of crime. Indigenous communities are often very isolated. Unlike other Canadians, the people who live in these communities cannot just go to the nearest courthouse for information. They have to get their information online or over the phone in a language that is not their mother tongue. That is why I believe it is especially important to highlight the circumstances indigenous victims often get trapped in. Whereas criminals with limited means are entitled to legal aid, victims are often left to chase down information for themselves and struggle to understand what is going on. Unfortunately, this can make victims feel overlooked.

Given the badly mismanaged missing and murdered indigenous women inquiry going on right now, I understand why indigenous victims fear and distrust the Canadian justice system. An independent ombudsman's office would be able to help them get more justice. It would also be in a position to issue recommendations so these women can get more resources and support and the reality of small communities can be better understood.

For people who live in Waskaganish or in the small village of Kangiqsualujjuaq in my colleague from Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou's riding, the courthouse is not next door. There are no victims services in their community. What is more, victims of crime committed locally might be forced to live with the person who committed the crime or with that person's family, which makes the situation even harder for a victim living in those communities. They might want a bit of privacy, but everything is out in the open in those communities. That is tough to go through.

I think that the ombudsman could focus specifically on the issue of services provided to indigenous victims who live in those communities. With greater independence, the ombudsman will not be afraid to make recommendations calling for swift action from the Department of Justice. That might be a bit harder to do for someone who is not fully independent.

Then, we might manage to truly improve the lives of women living in the north, but also of men who might be victims of crime.

We see what is happening with the Jordan decision, where criminals are being released without punishment. Lack of access to justice in the north is already an extremely complicated problem. Having a more independent and effective ombudsman whose term is secure will go a long way to improving justice in the north. I think it is worth sending this bill to committee so that we can truly understand how beneficial this role can be. By passing a bill like this one we might bring more justice to people who are far too often forgotten in our current justice system. I am talking about first nations in northern Quebec, but also across Canada.

Act respecting the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal ActsPrivate Members' Business

7:25 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Madam Speaker, what a pleasure, honour, and privilege to speak to this bill introduced by my colleague, the very patient and very committed hon. member for Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix. Toward the end of my comments, I will have a chance to touch on the circumstances surrounding this bill, but especially the circumstances surrounding that member's commitment.

Bill C-343 seeks to establish the office of the ombudsman for victims of crime. It is not written anywhere, not in any bill, civil code or criminal code, but there is a principle of justice whereby justice must be served, but most of all there must be the appearance of justice. That is exactly what this bill is trying to do.

We acknowledge that there has been an ombudsman for victims of crime in Canada since 2007. However, as the hon. member who introduced this bill said so well, the ombudsman is an honourable person who is diligent, earnest and professional, but unfortunately is in a conflict of interests. Why? Because the ombudsman works under the authority of the Department of Justice.

Because of the painful situation they are in, victims of crime may understandably have grievances against the Department of Justice. As a result, the ombudsman, despite all of his good will and professionalism, as well as the thoroughness, intensity, and quality of his work, finds himself in a conflict of interest when it comes time to determine whether the Department of Justice did its job properly.

That is the spirit in which the member introduced the bill now before us. The bill seeks to ensure that the ombudsman is independent from every level of government, organization, and service that victims may be in contact with.

It is a bit like saying that the ombudsman will now report to judges. That would not work. If victims feel as though they have been mistreated by a judge, that would constitute a conflict of interest. It would also not work to have the ombudsman report to crown prosecutors, defence lawyers, or the prison service. The ombudsman needs to be completely independent since he protects victims of crime.

When I read the bill introduced by the member for Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix, I was surprised to learn that this was not already the case because it just makes sense. How can the protector of victims of crime not be independent? It goes without saying that such should be the case. Therein lies the genius and the wisdom of this bill. It implements a fundamental principle of justice: independence.

We must protect that basic principle, and this bill not only protects it but literally enshrines it in the very definition of the ombudsman's role and, most importantly, puts victims of crime first.

As the member explained very clearly earlier, the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights recognizes four categories of rights: information, protection, participation, and restitution.

All four are very present in this bill, which will ensure that victims get relevant information when they feel they need help from the ombudsman. Protection is critical, and anyone who has been in contact with a victim of crime knows very well that the first thing they ask for is protection. Victims have already been victimized, and they do not want to be victimized again by the system or, worse still, by the person, people, or institution that victimized them in the first place. That is why this right is such a prominent part of the bill before us.

The bill will also ensure participation by all stakeholders, especially victims, and it includes the restitution element, which is very subjective, of course.

That is precisely why we need to have an office that will rigorously, but above all independently, handle the requests of victims of crime. In 2007, when a parliamentarian decided to introduce this bill, that was merely the beginning. It goes without saying that experience leads us to want to make changes, but when I hear the government's argumentation, I think it is unfortunate, perhaps even suspicious, with all due respect.

First of all, the Liberals argue that this is an insult to the current ombudsman, when that is not at all the case. On the contrary, we want to give the protector of victims of crime even more tools and powers so that the office can take meaningful action, and more importantly, remain independent. This is a fundamental part of our justice system.

Furthermore, contrary to what the government is suggesting, this will not require any additional money, since the ombudsman already has a team in place. With a budget of over $300 billion, the Government of Canada can certainly come up with the money needed to guarantee such a fundamental function, namely, the position of victims ombudsman.

The staff in the ombudsman's office are doing a fine job, but unfortunately, they are not independent, since they fall under the Department of Justice. We would simply need to put them somewhere else and change the name plate, which would not cost much. I am hardly exaggerating. Obviously this could be done. The cost involved should not be a concern.

Not to get too off-topic, but is it really the Liberal government saying we need to count every penny, the same Liberal government that is accumulating deficits 80% larger than it promised? The Liberals have no idea when the budget will be back in balance, yet they have the nerve to lecture us about spending. Let us take what they say with a grain of salt.

For all of these good reasons, we believe this bill should proceed to a clause-by-clause study so it can be improved in committee. The process itself demands it.

As I said earlier, it is an emotional experience for me to support this bill, because I have the privilege of being acquainted with its sponsor, the member for Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix. She was first elected in 2006, and as luck would have it, I was working as a journalist at the time, assigned to cover the federal election. I was in the basement of a restaurant in what is now the riding of Louis-Saint-Laurent when I spotted this brave woman, whom I had met during the election. She was accompanied by her leader, the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, the member for Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, the member for Lévis—Lotbinière, the member for Beauce, and the rest of the team. They were all having fun celebrating their victory.

I will never forget this woman who was at a table with at most four other people, and who had just been elected by her peers. That is the beauty of democracy. These people worked hard, ran for office, offered their services, and were elected.

Without getting too melodramatic, I would remind my colleagues that this member was defeated in 2011. It happens. I have not experienced that yet, but it could happen one day, although I am in no hurry. What I am trying to say is that a setback in politics is no reason to give up altogether. On the contrary, the member ran again. She faced the popular vote in 2015, and the people of her riding, Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix, placed their trust in her, which is to her credit.

In closing, this is a good bill that guarantees the independence of the protector of victims of criminal acts. That office protects us, and we need to ensure the independence of that institution. The office, as it is proposed in this bill, guarantees precisely that, and also ensures that Canada enjoys not only justice, but also the appearance of justice.

Act respecting the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal ActsPrivate Members' Business

7:35 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, I rise today to address Bill C-343, and perhaps take a different approach on it.

I believe all members of the House understand that tragedies take place in all regions of our country. When there are victims, we want to extend whatever we can to assist them in whatever manner we can. For a number of years, when I sat in opposition, I would often talk about victims, understanding that when an offence took place, there needed to be a consequence. We have to be very sensitive to victims.

I served for many years as the chair of the Keewatin youth justice committee. We dealt with young offenders in the communities we represented, in a volunteer capacity. One of the things that sparked a great deal of interest was how we could assist victims. We had great discussions about restorative justice, believing this was one way to do that. The victim and the individual who has committed the offence are brought together and we try to build some sort of consensus as to what kind of consequence that youth should have to pay to make the victim feel there has been some justice. Even though we really did not get too heavily involved in that area, there was a great desire to pursue it.

When I have the opportunity to address issues of this nature, I always like to highlight that there are different ways to work with and support victims, understanding and appreciating in many ways some of the things victims have to go through. Therefore, I have a great deal of sympathy in dealing with these types of issues.

We should be looking at ways to prevent victims from becoming victims in the first place. We can do that through different types of programs and promotions, for example, getting young people more involved in different types of programs. We all have a responsibility, as local members of Parliament, to encourage and promote this, and to get citizens involved as much as possible.

I was always a very strong advocate for community policing and programs like the neighbourhood watch. In fact, we have the Bear Clan in Winnipeg's north end. It is well served by that group of outstanding citizens, who are volunteers and committed to improving conditions and making our communities a safer place, and thereby, in many ways, preventing individuals from becoming victims. Other groups are working within our communities, and most often it is in a volunteer capacity. I truly applaud their efforts and the types of things they do to make their communities safer.

With respect to Bill C-343, I did get the opportunity, back in April or May of last year, to make reference to the fact that there was a cost to the implementation of the bill. Both Conservative members have attempted to address that issue. From the government's perspective, there is a significant cost factor to what has been proposed, and it would require a royal recommendation. Collectively, we need to be somewhat concerned about that. If we say that bills that have a cost to them do not require royal recommendation, we open up a whole new window. We know the former prime minister and House leadership team of the Conservative Party would never have supported that.

This is something we have seen as a parliamentary tradition in the House. Therefore, I think it is legitimate to raise concern with respect to that issue.

It is also important to get a sense of what it is we are talking about with respect to the bill, and what is being asked by the member opposite. The current Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime was established back in 2007.

The current ombudsman was appointed by Governor in Council. We know that. The ombudsman currently deals with complaints of victims regarding compliance with the Corrections and Conditional Release Act; promoting awareness of the needs and concerns of victims, and the laws that benefit victims of crime; identifying and reviewing emerging and systemic issues, including those related to services and programs administered by the Department of Justice and Public Safety Canada that impact negatively on the victims of crime; and facilitating access of victims to federal programs and services by providing information and referrals. It also includes things such as examining any matter that relates to his or her powers, duties or functions, which is like a catch-all.

My colleague, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety, questioned if there has ever been any sort of an analysis done. Where does the member across the way get the information to say that this office should now become an agent of Parliament? I do not think that she has made the case as to why that should happen.

If we look at the numbers, there are a significant number of files that the ombudsman has ultimately looked at and reviewed. All in all, I believe that the office has done a fairly decent job at representing the interests of victims, and no doubt will continue to do so. However, I do not believe there has been an argument with respect to why it is that the office should become an agent of Parliament, given the fact that it has been there for almost a decade.

From what I understand, there has not been any thorough analysis, report, or ask for that to be the direction for that office to move in. That is something that would definitely be warranted before we want to move forward. That is not to minimize the thoughts of the member opposite on the issue, but to say there needs to be a lot more work done on the issue. We need to have a better understanding of what is taking place, and an appreciation of the actual numbers, as has been pointed out with respect to the correctional investigator.

As there are other ombudsman offices out there, what about the potential crossover of responsibilities? That is something we feel has not really been addressed. The member should be looking at some of those numbers. For example, we know that in one year there were 453 contacts for which there were files opened. Half of those files, some 224, involved some form of a complaint. If we look at the Office of the Correctional Investigator, it responded to 25,600 contacts, over 6,500 complaints from federal offenders, and it conducted over 2,000 offender interviews.

It is really important that we get a better understanding of the role the member across the way is envisioning, but for now it is best that maybe we not see the bill go further but rather for the member to give it—

Act respecting the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal ActsPrivate Members' Business

7:45 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

Unfortunately, the member's time is up.

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Lévis—Lotbinière.

Act respecting the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal ActsPrivate Members' Business

7:45 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lévis—Lotbinière, QC

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to rise in the House this evening for the debate at second reading of a private member's bill. This bill was introduced by my colleague from Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix, with whom I have had the pleasure, honour, and privilege of working since 2006. I commend her for choosing to introduce this bill.

The position of ombudsman for victims of crime was created in 2007 by our former Conservative government. Every weekend, I hear nostalgic people say that it was a good government and that they look forward to the Conservatives' return to office in 2019.

As is the case with the ombudsman for the Department of National Defence and the ombudsman for offenders, the correctional investigator, the mandate of the ombudsman of victims of crime primarily involves standing up for the rights and interests of those who need such representation. Unlike the other federal ombudsman positions, the ombudsman for victims of crime currently operates under a Justice Canada program. The ombudsman is therefore not independent of the department.

Bill C-343 mainly seeks to make the position of ombudsman for victims of crime equal to that of the correctional investigator, commonly known as the ombudsman for offenders. The correctional investigator falls under federal jurisdiction and is independent from the Department of Justice, unlike the ombudsman for victims of crime.

Not currently being independent of the Department of Justice, the victims ombudsman has to submit all annual reports to the department, not to Parliament. If the victims ombudsman includes a recommendation or a criticism in a report that reflects poorly on the Department of Justice, the department can remove it from the report whenever it wants, thereby nullifying one of the main reasons the victims ombudsman exists, which is to be a voice for victims of crime and represent their rights and interests in Canada.

For victims of crime, having a voice and fair, equitable representation in dealings with the Department of Justice is vital to their healing process, a process that is difficult for so many. Not only must victims survive horrible, unspeakable trauma, they must also, in far too many cases, fight for their rights every step of the way through the process. From reporting a crime to testifying in court, they have to be able to understand and internalize all the legal jargon, challenge rulings, and fill out innumerable forms properly just to exercise their right to get information. Theirs is a long and difficult journey even as they go through the rehabilitation and healing process.

The ombudsman's duties have evolved tremendously since the role was created in 2007, most notably with the adoption of the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights in 2015. It goes without saying that the rights of victims of crime need to be respected. When they are not, the ombudsman for victims of crime needs to be able to enforce them adequately independently of the Department of Justice, especially when a problem arises that directly involves that very department.

The rights of victims of crime fall under four categories in the charter: the right to restitution, the right to participation, the right to protection, and the right to information. Every one of those rights is important. It is important that the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights be updated to make the ombudsman for victims of crime an officer of Parliament independent of the minister whose work the ombudsman is tasked with monitoring and assessing. I think that is clear, simple, and straightforward.

As hon. members might imagine, for a victim of crime, having their rights respected in an independent manner is a matter of survival. In Canada, our justice system has to be administered fairly and equitably for the entire population every step of the way. The rights of victims of crime should be equal to the rights of criminals, and ombudsman positions should also be equally independent. We are asking that victims have the same rights as criminals. That is not too much to ask in our country.

Unfortunately, here in Canada in 2017, that is not yet the case, either for victims' rights versus criminals' rights in the justice system or for the independence of each ombudsman position.

Making the victims' ombudsman as independent as the ombudsman for offenders would be a major step in the right direction. It would show victims that they matter and that every member in this House believes it is unjust, in 2017, for victims' rights to not always be considered as important as those of the criminals who destroyed their lives. It would send a message that this state of affairs needs to end and that we need to develop the necessary legislative tools to achieve that goal.

For victims, the passage of Bill C-343 will serve as a kind of legal recognition that the federal ombudsman for victims of crime is independent from the Department of Justice. This is of paramount importance to victims. The ombudsman will be better positioned to defend victims' rights and interests when they are filing complaints against federal departments, including the federal justice department.

For example, imagine for a moment a person who has been seriously traumatized as a result of a violent crime and whose fundamental rights, as set out in the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights, have now been violated in the administration of justice. She wants to file a complaint against Justice Canada, but when she goes to the website of the federal ombudsman for victims of crime, she discovers that the ombudsman is nothing more than a Department of Justice official, or an extension of that same department towards which she is already feeling distrustful.

How would the victim feel when she thought she could get some help and find someone to properly represent her before the department?

Who can victims of crime turn to and who can they trust if they cannot even count on the independence of their ombudsman like our troops can with theirs and like offenders can, too?

A very important part of the work involves identifying the issues that affect victims of crime and making recommendations to the federal government so that it can make its laws, policies, and processes more responsive to victims' needs. The ombudsman must make criminal justice system staff and decision-makers aware of victims' needs and identify any systemic issues that have a negative impact on victims, issues that are sometimes caused by the Department of Justice.

Act respecting the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal ActsPrivate Members' Business

7:50 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

I am sorry to interrupt, but the hon. member's time has expired. He will have just over a minute left for his speech when this matter returns before the House.

The time provided for the consideration of private members' business has now expired and the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the Order Paper.

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

Foreign AffairsAdjournment Proceedings

7:55 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Madam Speaker, earlier this year we received news that Saudi Arabia had been voted as a member of the United Nations committee charged with promoting and furthering the rights of women. Certainly, I think anyone in the House would be hard-pressed to defend Saudi Arabia as a champion of women's rights. A lot of people across the political spectrum in the House raised their eyebrows, and rightly so, at that decision.

The 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly occurred in New York about two weeks ago. In his speech the new Secretary General spoke about the need for reforming the United Nations.

In this regard, there are related issues that we have been charged with here in the House in Commons, and certainly near and dear to my heart is the global response to the Yazidi genocide. It took many months for the House, government, and department of immigration to respond to the fact that Canada had not brought in any Yazidi genocide survivors. Even to this day, the number has been really low.

One of the questions related to UN reform was how the UNHCR, for example, works to ensure that victims of genocide who might be internally displaced make it onto their list, and that people in these cohorts are not discriminated against in their camps but their passage expedited. This is not a partisan discussion, but a reflection of the fact that the world has changed since the original refugee conventions were signed after World War II. When there are big big bureaucracies like the UN, they are slow to change. It is up to member states such as Canada to push to ensure that positive changes happen.

We have gone through the UNGA and heard the charge by the Secretary General to look at reform, and yet have seen the example of states such as Saudi Arabia becoming members of the Commission on the Status of Women at the UN. All of this really speaks to the soul of the UN and how we as a member state are pushing and advocating for change.

The government has signalled how keen it is to get a seat on the UN Security Council, which is one of the only bodies that can compel member states to do something. However, the government cannot just campaign to get on the Security Council, but should have an agenda, and I would like to see reform as part of that agenda.

If Canada is successful in its bid to get a seat on the Security Council, will the Liberal government stand up and oppose countries such as Saudi Arabia sitting on the women's rights commission, or North Korea sitting on the human rights commission? If the government were given this mandate, I want to get a sense of what it would actually do with it.

Foreign AffairsAdjournment Proceedings

7:55 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Matt DeCourcey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Madam Speaker, I thank my friend across the way for bringing this matter back to the floor for further debate, specifically as it relates to the election of Saudi Arabia to the UN commission on women's rights and this government's view of the importance of promoting women's rights and gender equality in all forms, both at home and abroad. Certainly, we have been clear that the protection and promotion of human rights is central to our foreign policy and that we will never hesitate to defend human rights, including women's rights, and promote gender equality in all fora around the world.

To answer the question the member opposite initially posed, the UN Economic and Social Council chooses the members of the Commission on the Status of Women. To be clear, Canada did not vote, as it is not presently a member of the UN Economic and Social Council. Saudi Arabia's regional candidacy was also uncontested.

The overall human rights situation in Saudi Arabia is certainly a source of concern. Specifically, we have concerns related to women's rights, minority rights, freedom of expression, and the widespread use of the death penalty. I can assure everyone that we raise those concerns at every opportunity and at all levels. We are well aware that there is still much progress to be made when it comes to human rights in Saudi Arabia.

I want to reiterate that our Prime Minister is, of course, a feminist. I am also proud that the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Minister of International Development announced $650 million in funding for women's sexual and reproductive health last March.

We know that empowering women, overseas and here at home, makes families and countries more prosperous.

Our government is committed to advancing gender equality, the empowerment of women and girls, and the promotion and protection of their human rights. Achieving gender equality requires changing unequal power relations and challenging social norms and gender stereotypes. That is why Canada is fully committed to renewing its national action plan on women, peace, and security.

As the member opposite cited, we are energetically pursuing a two-year term on the UN Security Council. We are seeking this seat because we want a safer and more prosperous world and because it will allow us to share our Canadian values, including those of feminism and the promotion of the rights of women and girls. These rights, as I said, are core to our foreign policy.

It is clear that Saudi Arabia has many challenges to address its human rights record, but that is why we are committed to continuing to make use of every opportunity to engage our Saudi counterparts to raise those concerns. In fact, that was the view of the hon. member's friend, the former Conservative foreign affairs minister, John Baird. He said:

Canada has an active partnership and candid relationship with Saudi Arabia.…We will maintain an ongoing, respectful dialogue with Saudi Arabia on a number of issues, including human rights.

Canadian officials engage both bilaterally and through multilateral forums such as the UN General Assembly, the Human Rights Council, and the Commission on the Status of Women. We will always stand up for the promotion of gender equality and women's rights as they relate to Saudi Arabia and all nations around the world.

Foreign AffairsAdjournment Proceedings

8 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Madam Speaker, my colleague opposite talked about the government's commitment to ensuring the promotion of human rights around the world. Right now within the United Nations, only 2% of its budget is allocated to human rights promotion activities. I was shocked when I heard that number from several leading human rights experts. I believe there will be an international campaign to reallocate some of the UN's budget toward specifically human rights promotion activities within the UN. I think that will have huge international support.

To reiterate, or to put some meat behind my colleague's assertion that the government stands up for human rights, will he commit the government to working in the UN to ensure that a greater percentage of the budget, at least doubling that amount, is reallocated to the UN, specifically to human rights promotions?

Foreign AffairsAdjournment Proceedings

8 p.m.

Liberal

Matt DeCourcey Liberal Fredericton, NB

Madam Speaker, I look forward to working with my colleague as we pursue that UN Security Council seat. There is much that Canada has to offer, and no one side of the floor has a monopoly on what it can offer to the leadership that Canada can provide.

We know there is a state of uncertainty in human rights in certain parts of the world. We will continue to work hard to advance human rights, including women's rights, and that will continue to be a core feature of our engagement with Saudi Arabia.

As Canadians are well aware, this government believes in engagement as opposed to creating distance between countries. That is why we continue to be a champion of multilateral fora where, once again, we can espouse the Canadian values of gender equality, human rights, respect for the rule of law, and peaceful pluralism.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceAdjournment Proceedings

8 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Stetski NDP Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Madam Speaker, much has changed since I asked my question about Bill C-7 last spring. The government accepted the Senate's amendments to the bill, and the legislation came into force last week.

However, the problems at the RCMP and at other federal law enforcement agencies across the country have not changed at all. In my riding of Kootenay—Columbia, at least two of our detachments are at 50% of their full complement. Many others are short-staffed and are working with outdated equipment.

Why is this so? It is because under the previous Conservative government and continuing with the current Liberal government, budget cuts have been aimed squarely at RCMP members on the ground. The Conservatives even increased the amount RCMP officers had to pay for their medical benefits.

In New Brunswick last week, we saw the RCMP itself convicted of failing to provide its members with the weapons and training needed when responding to an active shooter tragedy. That failure contributed to the loss of three officers, and resulted in other officers being injured.

The RCMP is losing members to provincial and municipal forces where they receive better pay, better equipment, and better treatment. It takes incredible commitment for any officer to stay with a force that cuts their benefits, and will not keep up with critical equipment and training needs or offer them the respect they so rightly deserve. I thank them for their commitment.

Until the passage of Bill C-7, the RCMP was the only police force in Canada not to be unionized, and even with the bill's passing, RCMP members will be forbidden from taking their grievances to the Public Service Labour Relations Board and from engaging in negotiating tactics such as strikes.

Sadly, the lack of respect paid to our RCMP officers is not an isolated situation. I spoke recently about our border security officers, who have been without a contract for more than three years and whom the government refuses to recognize as federal law enforcement officers. Canada's corrections officers have gone without a contract for almost four years. They were recently on Parliament Hill lobbying for treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. The federal government, however, does not consider them to be first responders and will not require provinces to pay for their PTSD treatment where it is currently not offered.

Right here, a few feet from where we are sitting in the House of Commons, officers of the Parliamentary Protective Service, those women and men who work to protect us and our visitors, are once again protesting the government's refusal to negotiate a new contract with them in good faith.

Last spring, our parliamentary officers signed an agreement to back off on their quiet protests in exchange for fair negotiations. Oddly, that happened just in time for the Canada 150 celebration here on the Hill. However, the government now refuses to negotiate in good faith, and we are once again seeing these officers wearing green hats to protest their treatment.

There is a crisis in federal law enforcement, a crisis made by successive Conservative and Liberal governments who have refused to honour all those officers who put their lives on the line for us, every day. It is unacceptable to those officers. It is unacceptable to Canadians. I would hope that it is unacceptable to the members of the House and to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceAdjournment Proceedings

8:05 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Joyce Murray LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise in this House to say a few words about Bill C-7.

I appreciate the acknowledgement of the member for Kootenay—Columbia that there were changes made to the original bill proposal and that some of the critical amendments put forward by the Senate were accepted and incorporated into the bill. I also want to acknowledge the member for his staunch defence and support of first responders, including security officers on the Hill who protect and defend members of Parliament every day in the very important part of our lives here as members of Parliament.

I am pleased to say that this government, which inherited a collective bargaining situation in which many outstanding agreements had not been signed, has completed 85% of the public servants' collective agreements, including the one for the RCMP. On March 9, the government introduced legislation to support the dedicated and proud members of Canada's national police service by providing them with a labour relations framework that gives them the respect they deserve.

Bill C-7, which received royal assent on June 19, was a great step forward. It is a labour relations regime that takes into account the special circumstances of the RCMP and respects it as Canada's national police force. The legislation takes into account the operational integrity of the RCMP as a police organization and ensures alignment with the labour relations regime that applies to federal public service employees. This legislation respects the 2015 Supreme Court of Canada decision by providing RCMP members and reservists with the ability to pursue their interests through collective bargaining for the first time in Canada.

There was much consultation with regular members of the RCMP and with jurisdictions with RCMP police services agreements in crafting this legislation. I want to express my gratitude to all members of the House of Commons and the Senate who helped in the development of this bill. Bill C-7 gave us an important opportunity to further improve Canada's RCMP labour relations regime and to serve the men and women who benefit from it.

This is a new era in the history of the RCMP. Now the RCMP members and reservists have the same collective bargaining rights as other police forces in Canada.

Our national police force has a storied past in Canada. It deserves our respect, and with this bill, the RCMP also has a bright future ahead.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceAdjournment Proceedings

8:10 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Stetski NDP Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Vancouver Quadra for her comments. We had the pleasure of working together under the provincial government when we both were with the Province of B.C. some time ago.

I really am very concerned when I look at law enforcement across Canada and see where things are today. There is the RCMP's yellow stripe campaign. Border services officers are three years without a contract. Corrections officers are almost four years without a contract. Our own parliamentary officers are currently starting their quiet protest again by wearing green hats. I see all these men and women who are so dedicated to keeping us safe struggling with collective agreements. I really would like to see the minister take it very seriously and try to reach resolutions to all these outstanding issues and contracts.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceAdjournment Proceedings

8:10 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Joyce Murray LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Madam Speaker, the government takes its responsibility to keep Canadians safe and secure seriously, and that is reflected in Bill C-7.

As I mentioned, our government has made a huge step forward in restoring a culture of respect for and within the public service. We have rescinded some of the provisions the previous government put in place that were essentially an attack on collective bargaining and on unions. We have gone forward with collective agreements with 85% of public servants. We will continue to work on that until they are complete, and we will always respect our first responders and do our very best on their behalf.

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

8:10 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, I rise in adjournment proceedings tonight to take up a question that I asked earlier this spring. It might be considered to be somewhat stale-dated by this point, but there are current issues of real importance related to the question that I asked of the Prime Minister back in the month of March. It was on the eve of a very important meeting of the Arctic Council that took place in Fairbanks, Alaska. It was the last Arctic Council meeting chaired by the United States, which chaired the council for a brief period when the Obama administration represented the United States in international affairs.

It was very clear that we were making progress. Ironically, we were repairing the damage that Canada had done as chair under the previous Conservative government. Under Canada's chairing of the Arctic Council, climate change was ignored and shelved as an issue. When chairmanship went from Canada to the U.S. under Obama, we began to see the focus of what we would expect in a time of galloping climate change in the Arctic. It is critical to look at the impacts on not just the Arctic as a specific region but at the impacts of a warming Arctic on the planet.

In any case, the question I put to the Prime Minister was whether Canada would stand firmly with Nordic nations to ensure that the urgency of climate change and the commitment to the Paris accord were reflected in the communique from the Arctic Council. I have to say that I am very pleased that Canada stepped up. The Trump administration was somewhat sidelined, but in the end, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signed on to the joint declaration from the Arctic Council in Fairbanks, Alaska, in the spring to say that the Paris accord was critical and that the parties were committed to climate action.

In taking it up now, we know that the current and next chair of the Arctic Council is the Government of Finland. However, science is increasingly conveying the urgency to start asking questions about the kind of Arctic we need to have to ensure that we can avoid catastrophic and indeed cataclysmic levels of climate change. This has to do with asking questions about working backwards from the Paris target of ensuring that we do not go above a 1.5° Celsius global average temperature temperature increase over what it was before the industrial revolution. It is specifically and urgently critical to the question of what kind of Arctic we need to have for human civilization to survive.

It relates very directly to evidence presented most recently in Nature as a projection based on current levels of governmental commitments, and I mean government commitments globally.

There is only a 5% chance that we will stick to 1.5°, and for every degree of warming above where we are now, recent studies in Nature Climate Change predict that for every 1° Celsius of warming, we will see 1.5 million square miles of permafrost disappear. Every ounce of permafrost that disappears releases vast quantities of methane, which is 20 times more powerful, unit for unit, than carbon dioxide. In other words, if the world's permafrost melts, it is game over for humanity. It is stark. It is real.

The urgency of acting means that we not take our target from the Paris accord—the weak target left behind by the Conservatives of 30% below 2005 levels by 2030—but actually take on board the far more real challenge that Canada supported in Paris of avoiding 1.5° Celsius. That is the challenge I put to the government.

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

8:15 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Matt DeCourcey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Madam Speaker, as my friend knows, the Minister of Foreign Affairs did lead Canada's delegation to the Fairbanks Arctic Council meeting, where the minister successfully underscored the priority that the Government of Canada was committed to the Arctic. This was demonstrated by our partnership with northerners and indigenous people, and through funding for renewable energy and energy security, including $400 million for the Arctic Energy Fund announced in budget 2017.

This year's Arctic Council ministerial meeting demonstrated all eight nations' key commitments to the Arctic. We reiterated the need for global action on climate change and also made note in the Fairbanks declaration of the entry into force of the Paris agreement. Canada worked closely with all Arctic states and indigenous peoples organizations at the Fairbanks meeting to ensure all of our respective positions on the environment reflected this important fact.

An agreement was reached among all eight Arctic states to sign a ministerial declaration that noted the importance of the Paris agreement on climate change, the need for global action to reduce both long-lived greenhouse gases and short-lived climate pollutants, and a reaffirmation of the United Nations sustainable development goals. This was the first instrument agreed to and signed by the current U.S. administration that contained a reference to the Paris agreement.

The Arctic Council ministers also adopted a report on the progress and recommendations for black carbon and methane reductions and included a goal to reduce black carbon emissions by 25% to 33% below 2013 levels by 2025. This is the first-ever collective international goal on black carbon ever agreed to, which will contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Additionally, Canada, along with the other Arctic states, signed an agreement on enhancing international Arctic scientific co-operation, which will help increase effectiveness and efficiency in the development of scientific knowledge about the region as well as strengthen scientific co-operation in the Arctic, including at the Canadian High Arctic Research Station in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut.

Canada knows that climate change has a tremendous impact and that only international action can combat climate change.

So far, Canada's international leadership over the past year to address climate change includes the ratification of the Paris agreement, the amendment to the Montreal protocol to phase down highly polluting HFCs, and the historic agreement under the International Civil Aviation Organization to address greenhouse gas emissions from the aviation sector.

Everyone on this side of the House in the government share the member's concerns and need to ensure we act to promote environmental sustainability, guard against ecosystem pollution, and ensure we have an Arctic that can thrive for years to come. That is the view of the government, and it is only by working together that we will achieve our international commitments, as laid out in the Paris agreement.

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

8:20 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, certainly the black carbon announcement from the Arctic Council was welcomed, but I do not think it was the first. The first global commitment to reduce black carbon was, I recall, at the Conference of the Parties that took place in Durban.

Setting that aside, we are now looking at clearer evidence all the time that Canada's current domestic plans and international commitments fall far short of the rhetoric. This was underscored yesterday in a report by the environment commissioner within the Office of the Auditor General. The report stated that Canada was completely unprepared to deal with the consequences of climate change and that we were not acting aggressively enough at all to meet our Paris targets.

While I celebrate good intentions on the part of the Liberal government, it is time to see far more aggressive action, using tools in the federal jurisdictional tool box.

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

8:20 p.m.

Liberal

Matt DeCourcey Liberal Fredericton, NB

Madam Speaker, Canada will continue to play a leadership role, as it is now, at home and among international partners to address climate change and drive the transition of our global economy toward sustainability and inclusivity. We do continue to lead the way not only in having ambitious targets but in ensuring we have a plan that will help us meet them.

We are working with all our Arctic Council partners, states, indigenous peoples' organizations, and observers to ensure joint leadership on climate and environmental issues so they address the needs of northerners in Canada and around the circumpolar north.

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

8:20 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

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

(The House adjourned at 8:23 p.m.)