House of Commons Hansard #232 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was billion.

Topics

Firearms ActPrivate Members' Business

7:05 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-346 under Private Members' Business.

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

Vote #395

Firearms ActPrivate Members' Business

7:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I declare the motion defeated.

I wish to inform the House that because of the delay, there will be no private members' business hour today. Accordingly, the order will be rescheduled for another sitting, as will the debate on the motion to concur in the 13th report of the Standing Committee on Finance.

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

Indigenous AffairsAdjournment Proceedings

7:15 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Stetski NDP Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, last June, I asked a question about a request for supply arrangement, also known as an RFSA, that was issued by the Parks Canada Agency on May 5, 2017.

The RFSA is for interpretive exhibit writing. The description states:

The Parks Canada Agency (PCA) requires the services of Contractors capable of providing National Parks, National Historic Sites and National Marine Conservation Areas throughout Canada complete interpretive product planning and interpretive writing services (including development of thematic framework) for all types of non-personal media including a range of visitor experience products, such as panels, brochures, touchscreens, sculptures, artifact displays, multi-media and exterior signs. The interpretive writing must be in keeping with Parks Canada’s emphasis on facilitating memorable visitor experiences.

This next section is key to this evening's discussion:

The writer will work closely with the site and park staff, the product developer and designer, historians, scientists, and other Parks Canada staff.

That sounds like excellent work. I love to see panels and displays in our cherished national parks that inform and educate, and even entertain our visitors. However, there is a problem. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission's report called on the federal government to do things differently. Call to action No. 79 states:

We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Survivors, Aboriginal organizations, and the arts community, to develop a reconciliation framework for Canadian heritage and commemoration. This would include, but not be limited to:

i. Amending the Historic Sites and Monuments Act to include First Nations, Inuit, and Métis representation on the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada and its Secretariat.

ii. Revising the policies, criteria, and practices of the National Program of Historical Commemoration to integrate Indigenous history, heritage values, and memory practices into Canada’s national heritage and history.

iii. Developing and implementing a national heritage plan and strategy for commemorating residential school sites, the history and legacy of residential schools, and the contributions of Aboriginal peoples to Canada’s history.

I would like to mention that my friend across the floor, the member for Cloverdale—Langley City, has moved private member's Bill C-374 to address part one, and include first nations, Inuit, and Métis on the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. My party and I support his bill.

The government, including the Parks Canada Agency, has committed to respecting the rest of call to action No. 79. Yet, this RFSA makes no mention of indigenous expertise. It has no requirement to consult with first nations, Métis, or Inuit communities. It talks clearly about the need to work with Parks Canada staff, designers, historians, and scientists, but leaves our indigenous communities out in the cold.

I ask again, as I did last May, will the government honour the history and sites of our indigenous people, recognize their expertise, and work with them by changing this RFSA to properly recognize and include indigenous heritage?

Indigenous AffairsAdjournment Proceedings

November 8th, 2017 / 7:20 p.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question, and for the passion he shows on issues relating to parks and indigenous reconciliation.

Parks Canada is committed to implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's call to action 79, and is doing so in a manner that ensures indigenous voices and perspectives are very much present in our national historical narrative. The agency works with more than 300 indigenous communities across the country in conserving, restoring, and presenting Canada's natural and cultural heritage. This includes implementing advisory bodies and co-operative management boards that ensure indigenous perspectives are reflected not only in cultural and historical programming, but also in conservation science and the day-to-day operational decisions of our heritage places.

Beyond call to action 79, Parks Canada is committed to developing a system of national heritage places that recognizes both the invaluable contributions of indigenous peoples and the traditional use of these special places. In addition, Parks Canada is working with indigenous partners to develop interpretive materials and activities at national parks, national historic sites, and national marine conservation areas, that are respectful of indigenous traditions, cultures, and contributions to Canada's heritage.

During 2017, existing indigenous visitor experiences were enhanced and new experiences were offered in collaboration with indigenous communities and businesses as part of an initiative that received $4.7 million in funding through budget 2016.

The RFP in question seeks interpretive writing services that might cover any aspect of Parks Canada's broad mandate to present Canada's natural and cultural heritage. The member should be assured, we very much hope that indigenous businesses will bid on this work and will be focused on bringing their perspectives and expertise to this initiative. It is always Parks Canada's expectation that indigenous perspectives be considered and included wherever relevant in all aspects of its interpretive programming and works to provide opportunities to indigenous businesses that have positive socio-economic benefits for local communities while offering unique, meaningful, and memorable learning experiences to Canadians and international visitors.

Indigenous AffairsAdjournment Proceedings

7:25 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Stetski NDP Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, this RFSA is scheduled to be on Parks Canada's website until 2020. It is a pretty simple fix. I will read the line again: “The writer will work closely with the site/park staff, the product developer/designer, historians, scientists and other Parks Canada staff.”

I would ask again that they add “indigenous people” to this and make sure indigenous people are properly respected in their work.

Indigenous AffairsAdjournment Proceedings

7:25 p.m.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned in my remarks, we are very concerned to ensure indigenous peoples and their perspectives, histories, and culture are reflected in the context of the discussions around Canada's parks.

We will continue to do that in every effort going forward, and we will reflect on that as we consider all of the RFPs that we are going to be issuing going forward.

National DefenceAdjournment Proceedings

7:25 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is indeed an honour to rise in adjournment proceedings tonight to address my friend, the parliamentary secretary on national defence, about a question I originally raised on June 8. Here we are a few months later talking about the defence policy review process and the report released to the public by the Minister of National Defence. The concern we raised at that time, and still have, is that although the defence policy has some good things in it, it is under-resourced, and there is a bit of a shell game going on with respect to where the money is going to come from.

The Liberals have cut $12 billion from the defence budget in budget 2016 and budget 2017. There was just under $4 billion cut in budget 2016 and just over $8 billion cut in budget 2017. That has a huge impact on our ability to have a capable force that is ready to deploy to defend Canada's sovereignty, to work with our allies, and to stand up for those who cannot stand for themselves around the world.

As we know, the Liberals have broken a number of promises as they relate to our Canadian Armed Forces, including on peacekeeping. They still have not made any decisions on deploying 600 peacekeeping troops, spending $450 million, and deploying 150 police officers. In fact, under the Liberal government, peacekeeping has dropped to an all-time low of only 88 peacekeepers from Canada participating in United Nations' missions around the world this month. That is something the Liberals should be quite ashamed of, especially with the Minister of National Defence hosting a UN peacekeeping conference in Vancouver on November 14 and 15.

There are some major gaps in the defence policy review the Liberals came out with. First of all, it was done in isolation and was not informed by foreign policy. If we look at the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, when they have done their defence policies, they have done them in collaboration with foreign policy reviews at the same time. What we have are some major shortfalls in the defence policy because of that.

We do not have any plans to replace our submarines. We need to have the ability to protect Canada from approaching threats in our waters, to protect our seaways, and to protect the Arctic, in particular. Submarines are stealthy. Our adversaries have them. Actually, there has been a huge proliferation of submarines.

We still have not been able to get to a point where we are ordering any fighter jets. We are two years into the mandate, and the defence policy is calling for 88 fighter jets, but the Liberals still have not been able to deliver a single fighter jet to replace our aging CF-18s, and the options they are presenting are quite embarrassing.

The Liberals are not matching the NATO aspirational target of spending 2% of GDP on our military. They are getting to 1.4%, and they are doing it through some very creative accounting by stealing some money from Foreign Affairs, stealing some money from the Coast Guard, and stealing money from Veterans Affairs through pensions to build up the budget beyond what it actually is spending on National Defence.

It is time for the Liberals to get serious about actually resourcing our troops properly.

National DefenceAdjournment Proceedings

7:30 p.m.

Saint-Jean Québec

Liberal

Jean Rioux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for this question. I know he is deeply dedicated to the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces, and I am grateful to him for it.

On June 7, the Minister of National Defence announced the new defence policy, “Strong, Secure, Engaged”.

This policy is a comprehensive, carefully considered plan for the next 20 years, and it is built around military members and their families.

This new policy is based on a solid commitment to increase funding to the Canadian Armed Forces by more than 70% over the next 10 years.

The new defence policy provides an additional $62.3 billion on a cash basis over 20 years. The money that was not spent in the first few years allowed us to build this fund, including $6.5 billion over the next six years.

This amount includes additional operational funding for maintaining existing equipment, as well as for new initiatives, plus additional funds for equipment and infrastructure. By 2026-27, the annual defence budget will be almost $33 billion. As the new deputy minister of defence said in committee on October 30:

...the launch of Canada's new defence policy has been monumental....a once in a generation opportunity.

The new defence policy is a clear acknowledgement of the importance of the Canadian Armed Forces. The funding plan we have committed to is supported by external costing experts and has been verified by external accounting firms.

This stable funding will also allow us to make major defence investments that meet our current needs while also enabling us to plan for the future.

Since taking office, our government has made great strides. The program to refit and modernize the Halifax-class frigate is almost complete, and the program to deliver tactical armoured patrol vehicles is going well. In addition, now the entire fleet of light armoured vehicles is going to be upgraded. We have also signed a contract for the new fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft. We are about to post the invitations to tender for the permanent replacement for our fighter fleet, and the construction of the Arctic offshore patrol ships is moving forward nicely.

Furthermore, in the new policy, we committed to building 15 Canadian surface combatants and two joint support ships to ensure that the Royal Canadian Navy has the capabilities required to fulfill the missions it is assigned.

Canadians can see from our actions that we are committed to ensuring that the Canadian Armed Forces and their personnel are well equipped and properly supported. Canadians can see that in our new policy.

Canada must get involved in the world. We have an important role to play, but to get involved in the world we must first ensure that our country is safe.

The new defence policy and its sound funding plan will ensure that thanks to the Canadian Armed Forces, Canada will be strong and safe and fully engaged in the world. That is what Canadians expect and that is what we are committed to.

National DefenceAdjournment Proceedings

7:30 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives believe that our men and women in uniform deserve the best equipment, training, and support available. That requires substantial investments to be made today, not 20 years from now. Unfortunately, we have learned that the majority of the funding in the defence policy will not be available until after the next election, when we are government, and the government will not tell us where it will come from. The Liberals are running huge deficits. They will have to go into deficit to do any of the spending they have said they will do. It is still underfunded compared to what the military needs. In fact, one of the witnesses at the Standing Committee on National Defence today said that we would have to come up to the 2% if it was to carry the weight that was expected of it, not only to defend our country and sovereignty but to participate in NATO as well.

The parliamentary secretary talked about procurement on navy ships. It is a mess, especially on the Surface Combatants. The Arctic offshore patrol vessels, the Harry DeWolf class, which started under the Conservatives, are the only ships being delivered on time.

The Conservative Party knows the joint support ships, along with the Surface Combatants, are being delayed because of interference from the government. That is why we say we need another interim auxiliary oil replenishment ship built by Davie to fill the gaps that have been created by the Liberals.

National DefenceAdjournment Proceedings

7:35 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Rioux Liberal Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canada's new defence policy is realistic and its funding was carefully planned within the fiscal framework so as to be secure.

Unlike the Conservatives, who left us just enough to fund six surface combatants, we are funding 15 ships and we will ensure that the Canadian Armed Forces are well equipped.

We also have software that allows anyone within the department to understand the proposed initiatives within the policy and to track the progress made. Every defence team leader has this tracking software on their desktop and everyone can get involved in the implementation of various initiatives.

This system is updated regularly and we hope that this tool will become an important motivator for employees. Within the Department of National Defence, the message is clear. The minister, leadership, and the entire National Defence headquarters share a common goal and have just one wish, and that is to move forward and stay the course.

TaxationAdjournment Proceedings

7:35 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley—Aldergrove, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to begin by thanking the hon. member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman. What an incredible member of Parliament he is, if only he could be the minister of defence here in Canada. Hopefully, that will happen one day soon. What an incredible job he does.

The question today is about the fairness or unfairness of the taxation of Canadians under the Liberal government.

Approximately a year ago, the Prime Minister announced that he was putting in place a mandatory tax on carbon in Canada and that all the provinces and territories would have to put a price on carbon. There are diverse opinions on whether that should be happening. I live in British Columbia, where we have had a carbon tax for a number of years. Therefore, the debate is not about carbon taxation, it is not about whether our climate is changing, but about tax fairness. The Prime Minister, in justifying placing a price on carbon, clearly promised on October 3, 2016, the following:

Provinces and territories will be able to have a choice in how they implement this pricing. They can put a direct price on carbon pollution, or they can adopt a cap-and-trade system....

He went on to say:

Whatever approach is chosen, this policy would be revenue-neutral for the federal government.

Shortly afterward, through a request to the Library of Parliament, we found out that this was not true. In fact, the government, in its budget projections, was estimating an increase in GST revenue coming to the federal government from charging GST on the carbon tax. Canadians are always willing to pay their fair share of the goods and services tax. However, the government is now projecting that it will have millions of new dollars in revenue from Canadian provinces and territories by charging GST on the price of carbon. That is not fair.

I asked for input on this from a number of constituents, who said it should be stopped because it was not fair. In fact, it is not common sense. It shows a government with out of control spending that as a result needs to get more tax revenues from wherever it can. We are seeing that continue with the government charging increased taxes and taking away tax benefits for children with autism and people with diabetes, and the list goes on. This is a government that is out of control and needs to get tax revenue. The answer to the Liberal government's dilemma with budgets that are not balanced is to reduce its out of control spending.

Again my question for the government is this. Why does it believe it is fair to charge a tax on a tax when Canadians do not believe in that?

TaxationAdjournment Proceedings

7:40 p.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for the opportunity to talk about carbon pricing and what we believe in, which is protecting the environment. That is an integral part to building a strong and prosperous Canada.

Canadians know that polluting comes at a cost. We see the costs of draughts, floods, and other extreme weather, but also the effects on our health. Canadians expect polluters to pay because it is the right thing to do for our kids, grandkids, and future generations.

Pricing carbon pollution is an essential component of the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change announced by Canada's first ministers in December 2016. Under the pan-Canadian framework, provinces and territories have the flexibility to choose between two systems: an explicit price-based system, either a carbon tax or a carbon levy and output-based pricing system, or a cap and trade system.

British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec, representing over 80% of the population, have already implemented carbon pricing. The Government of Canada will introduce a backstop pricing system that will apply in jurisdictions that do not meet a federal carbon pricing benchmark.

As committed under the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change, the federal government will return direct revenues from the carbon price under the federal backstop to the province or territory of origin. For instance, this revenue can be used to cut taxes, to invest in clean innovation and infrastructure, or given straight back to Canadian families.

Details of the proposed federal option were outlined in a technical paper, which was released for public consultation on May 18. The government is assessing the many comments received on the proposed backstop option. As our Minister of Environment and Climate Change has stated clearly before, pollution is not free. A successful climate change strategy is one that puts a price on pollution so Canadians can make choices about their consumption habits to ensure they do not come at the expense of our environment.

I encourage all members to learn everything they can about the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change. To us, making polluters pay is an important part of any serious climate plan, which the previous government unfortunately never delivered for Canadians. In fact, many Conservatives still have a hard time realizing the science regarding climate change.

Making polluters pay is important. It gives the incentive to companies to innovate and create cleaner solutions and, most important, to reduce pollution.

We are proud to be working together with provinces, territories, indigenous people, businesses, communities, and all Canadians to build a more sustainable, cleaner, more prosperous economy, and create good-paying middle class jobs now and for the future.

TaxationAdjournment Proceedings

7:40 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley—Aldergrove, BC

Mr. Speaker, I wish I could thank the member for his answer, but there was no answer. That is the problem in the House. The government said that it would be revenue neutral, no GST on the carbon tax, and yet it is charging carbon tax.

The government promised transparency, and we do not have that. It promised it would take care of seniors, and we do not have that. It promised Canadians would be further ahead with their government, and we do not have that. Taxes have increased. Most Canadians are now paying approximately $800 a year more under the Liberal government. It does not answer questions, and the frustration level in the House and with Canadians is reaching a peak that is unhealthy.

When will the government start answering questions, even the basic questions that were asked here tonight? I ask the member to please answer the questions.

TaxationAdjournment Proceedings

7:40 p.m.

Liberal

Joël Lightbound Liberal Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I think the opposition is sometimes responsible for the level of cynicism. It would benefit from being more productive and constructive in its work.

They claim that the government has done nothing for seniors, but it is quite the opposite. One of the first things we did was increase the guaranteed income supplement by 10%, and we lowered the age of retirement from 67 to 65. As a result, we kept hundred of thousands of Canadian seniors from ending up in precarious situations. This means that we are not increasing social-assistance costs for the provinces. It is no surprise that there is more cynicism when members are claiming that the government does nothing for seniors. All parties would benefit from working harder.

With regard to the answer my colleague opposite expects, I very clearly said that we believe that putting a price on carbon pollution is a good thing. We want to work with the provinces on this and let them decide what they will do with the revenue. We think it is important that companies that pollute know that there is a cost to pollution, and that is the carbon tax. We believe that such a plan will encourage companies to innovate to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. That is our goal, a goal that the previous government also should have had.

TaxationAdjournment Proceedings

7:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

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

(The House adjourned at 7:45 p.m.)