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

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?