House of Commons Hansard #142 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was islamophobia.

Topics

Rail Transportation
Adjournment Proceedings

6:20 p.m.

Kanata—Carleton
Ontario

Liberal

Karen McCrimmon Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Madam Speaker, I want to begin by thanking the hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable for raising this important question. It is important for the people of Lac-Mégantic and we understand the situation.

The safety and security of Canada's transportation system remains an indisputable priority to our government and rail safety is the top priority for the Minister of Transport. We are investing $143 million in budget 2016 in order to improve rail safety and the transportation of dangerous goods. This investment helps Transport Canada continue to monitor all federal railways to ensure enhanced compliance and their capacity to enforce safety rules.

The accelerated removal of DOT-111 tank cars for transporting crude oil is a crucial step toward strengthening our rail system by making sure that crude oil no longer travels in the least crash-resistant tank cars. Transport Canada will ensure that the expedited deadline set by the minister is met and will not hesitate to act swiftly in the event that old tank cars transporting crude oil are uncovered.

What is more, the Minister of Transport remains committed to reducing the number of accidents and incidents on the Canadian rail network and at federally regulated crossings. There are new technologies that have proven to be effective, and we are making over $55 million in investments across the country through the new rail safety improvement program.

The member for Mégantic—L'Érable again mentioned the Lac-Mégantic tragedy. The minister has visited Lac-Mégantic three times and has spoken directly with residents who shared their concerns about rail safety in their community. We understand their concerns. The Lac-Mégantic disaster in 2013 was one of the most tragic moments in Canada's transportation history.

I can assure the House that Transport Canada continues to monitor rail safety in the region and will not hesitate to act if necessary. What is more, during a visit to Sherbrooke, the Prime Minister met with the mayor of Lac-Mégantic and promised to do everything in his power to expedite the feasibility study. Since that time, the Minister of Transport has contacted the Government of Quebec to organize a meeting with the province and the Town of Lac-Mégantic in order to discuss the rail bypass and the possibility of expediting the feasibility study.

Rail Transportation
Adjournment Proceedings

6:25 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Berthold Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Madam Speaker, if I may, I would like to commend my colleague on the quality of her French. I congratulate her. It is not always easy to speak in French, but I think she did a great job. I also want to congratulate her on her appointment to the position of Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport. We will have the opportunity to speak regularly about Lac-Mégantic.

I heard the parliamentary secretary express her support. I thank her, as well as the minister, the Prime Minister, and all members of the House. The NDP asked a question yesterday about Lac-Mégantic.

Now that we all agree that we need to take action and expedite the process, I would like the parliamentary secretary to commit to passing the message on to the Minister of Transport.

Rail Transportation
Adjournment Proceedings

6:25 p.m.

Liberal

Karen McCrimmon Kanata—Carleton, ON

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable.

As mandated by the Prime Minister, our government is committed to improving rail safety. That is the top priority for the Minister of Transport. Our thoughts are with the families of the victims of the July 2013 disaster.

Our government is committed to finding ways to expedite the study and to continue the dialogue with the people of Lac-Mégantic and with other stakeholders in order to help get the community back on its feet and to find a solution.

The Environment
Adjournment Proceedings

February 16th, 2017 / 6:25 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Waugh Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

Madam Speaker, let me pick up where I left off last year, November 2, when I asked the member for Regina—Wascana why he continues to support the carbon tax scheme, which will cost my province of Saskatchewan substantially in jobs and in money.

We know the Liberals are on this borrowing binge of billions of dollars. They are well over their projected $10-billion deficit they promised during the general election. They are at least double, maybe even triple over that. We will find out soon. However, we also know that borrowed money has to be paid back sometime. Will it be my children or my grandchildren who are going to have to pay this debt back?

The Liberals, we have now found out, are raising taxes on the middle class that they talk so joyfully about every day in this House.

The Prime Minister promised a new era of co-operative federalism. Instead, he is using a sledgehammer to force provinces like mine, that have not signed on to this carbon tax, and the territories to impose a massive tax grab.

Let us go to the recent Toronto Sun headline that stated, “Trudeau carbon tax takes from the poor, gives to the rich”.

The Environment
Adjournment Proceedings

6:25 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Carol Hughes

I just want to remind the member that he is not to refer to either the Prime Minister or any other member by their name in the House.

The Environment
Adjournment Proceedings

6:25 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Waugh Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

Madam Speaker, as my colleague, the member for Carleton, has pointed out repeatedly, we know the effect of carbon taxes are felt most by those who have the least. We know the government is censoring a Finance Canada memo showing the impact of this carbon tax on the gap between the rich and the poor.

If the carbon tax is really revenue neutral, as the Liberals say it is, then why are they not releasing the data? They know the numbers. Why are they continuing, every day in this House, to hide that number from us? Because we know that poor households spend a larger share of their income on gas, groceries, and heat. They will suffer the most from this new federally mandated carbon tax.

Our largest trading partner is the United States. It has repeatedly said it will lower business taxes and will not have a carbon tax.

Our province of Saskatchewan is very worried. Do members know why? It is not a level playing field, as our companies will have increased costs of doing business because of this unfair carbon tax. Last year alone, in my province of Saskatchewan, we lost 7,900 full-time jobs in the last 12 months in one of the great provinces of this country.

I ask, why does the government pursue this tax grab on those who can least afford it by imposing a plan that will cost Saskatchewan its competitiveness and employment opportunities?

The Environment
Adjournment Proceedings

6:30 p.m.

Halifax
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Andy Fillmore Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Democratic Institutions

Madam Speaker, it does in fact bring me joy to rise in the House today to talk about our government's plan to put a tax or price on carbon pollution and to speak about how it will help Canada's middle class.

It is not conjecture, but rather we know that pricing carbon pollution is the most effective way to reduce emissions and to create a clean-growth economy. For this reason, it is a key part of our government's pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change.

Carbon pricing will provide certainty and predictability for Canadian businesses. It will encourage businesses and Canadians alike to reduce emissions and help Canada transition to a low-carbon economy. Because it is predictable and gradual, carbon pricing will drive innovation and attract investment capital to Canada to create the middle-class jobs of tomorrow and beyond.

Again, this is not conjecture. British Columbia's introduction of a carbon price demonstrates this well. Studies show that carbon pricing reduced greenhouse gas emissions in the province while its economy, including a thriving clean-tech sector, grew faster than that of the rest of Canada. Not only that, but as a result of the B.C. revenue-neutral price on carbon, middle-class families got a tax cut of 5% for the two bottom tax brackets. Today, B.C. has the lowest overall personal taxes in the country, thanks to its carbon tax.

In Alberta, the carbon price will provide financial support for those who need it most, covering 60% of households. These rebates, which will start in July, will put up to $520 in the pockets of middle-class families, and that is cash, not conjecture.

This is why our plan gives all provinces and territories the flexibility to decide how they implement a price on carbon pollution. They can use the revenue as they see fit, including supporting middle-class families in ways similar to the B.C. and Alberta examples that I just gave.

The member for Regina—Wascana has represented his constituents in this House for over 24 years, with considerable success and aplomb, I might add. He knows well the benefits Saskatchewan can see from introducing a carbon price. For example, with a carbon price of $20 per tonne, Saskatchewan could reduce personal income taxes by over one-third, and cut its provincial sales tax by two-thirds. At $30 per tonne, Saskatchewan could completely eliminate sales tax. How about that for protecting the environment and growing the economy?

By putting a price on the things that we do not want, like pollution, provinces can do things that middle-class Canadians want and need, like reducing taxes and creating good, middle-class jobs.

The Environment
Adjournment Proceedings

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Waugh Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

Mr. Speaker, my colleagues across the floor are fond of telling us that their carbon tax scheme is revenue-neutral, yet they continue to refuse to disclose the cost. Every day in the House we ask that question. What is the cost?

Saskatchewan businesses, as early as last year, came to the House. They are not looking for hand-outs. We are not a province with hand-outs. We work. The businesses in our province of Saskatchewan are proud of what they have accomplished over the last number of years. However, when they came here, they pleaded with the current government to absolutely stop its job-killing tax schemes. Some 7,900 jobs were lost last year in our province.

Saskatchewan wants to be competitive. We love competition, but that does not include a carbon tax. We are still one of the only provinces, if not the only province, holding out.

We on this side of the House are also fighting for the working-class Canadians. Why do the Liberals insist, then, on inflicting—

The Environment
Adjournment Proceedings

6:30 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Carol Hughes

The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Democratic Institutions.

The Environment
Adjournment Proceedings

6:30 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Fillmore Halifax, NS

Madam Speaker, after a decade of inaction and years of lost opportunities, we are finally taking the steps required to protect our planet for our children and grandchildren.

Under our plan, each province has the flexibility to decide how to implement the price on carbon, based on their regional context and how they use those revenues. I have outlined just a few steps that Saskatchewan could take, including completely eliminating the sales tax in Saskatchewan. That would certainly be a job creator.

Carbon pricing is just one element of the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change. Our focus will remain on taking real, concrete, and lasting action to reduce our emissions, grow our economy, and create good, middle-class jobs across Canada and certainly in Saskatchewan.

The Environment
Adjournment Proceedings

6:35 p.m.

NDP

Gord Johns Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Madam Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to talk about marine debris, in light of an incident on November 3, when a South Korean cargo ship lost 35 shipping containers at the entrance of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. These shipping containers were insulated with styrofoam. The debris ended up washing up along the west coast of Vancouver Island, on the coast of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, in the District of Tofino, and on Vargas Island.

As soon as I heard about the issue, I contacted the acting superintendent of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. I talked to local government officials and first nations. We called on Ottawa for funding support, because there was no mechanism to clean up the debris on the west coast. After a week, there was no response from Ottawa, and the local communities were left to clean up what turned out to be fridges on their beaches and styrofoam that was getting into the ecosystem, into fish and shellfish, and really contaminating the local ecosystem. This could have been prevented.

Marine debris is a huge problem where I live, and it is only getting worse as we see increased traffic on the west coast with the increased trade with the Pacific Rim and Asia. There is 6% growth in our trade with Asia. The government is working toward increasing that trade, yet we see no mechanism to deal with the environmental fallout of marine debris. There is actually no money going to clean up debris right now targeted specifically to marine debris.

The people on the west coast would like to see a mechanism tied to economic growth and a real commitment from the Government of Canada and corporate interests that they are going to invest in protecting the coastline.

Right now we are relying on local organizations and true community champions like Surfrider and the local indigenous-led Guardians to do that kind of work, and we are giving them no funding. In fact, when this incident took place, they were given no money to help with fuel or to even buy coffee and cookies for their many volunteers. Nothing came from Ottawa. This is a terrible situation. At the time, we did not even know what was in those containers.

The cleanup of the high-profile beaches is mostly complete through the combined resources of these community volunteers, such as Surfrider, and the great work of the Pacific Rim National Park staff. However, now they are focusing on remote areas outside the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. The surveillance of the remote areas is complete. We know where pretty much everything is and where to concentrate the cleanup efforts, but some of the debris is buried deep in the beach, under logs and sand, and requires large equipment to remove it.

Parks Canada received $72,000 from the South Korean cargo ship for the cleanup effort. What we need now is a mechanism to transfer the money from Parks Canada to the community volunteers, organizations like Surfrider and the indigenous Guardians program, so they can get reimbursed for their cleanup efforts and finish the job. The only reason this debris has been removed from the shoreline so far is because of these community volunteers.

I am calling on the government to not only release this funding immediately and get it to the local community organizations but to establish a plan. We really need a plan. We need a national and international plan. Right now, the ocean protection plan, as has been discussed, is not talking about marine debris.

The Environment
Adjournment Proceedings

6:35 p.m.

Kanata—Carleton
Ontario

Liberal

Karen McCrimmon Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for Courtenay—Alberni for his concern and advocacy for the sensitive ecosystems that are so important to all of us.

We have been clear that the safety and protection of the public and the environment are one of our government's primary concerns. He is right. There is a significant volume of Canada's commodities and processed goods that are exported by marine transportation. It employs about 250,000 Canadians and injects more than $25 billion into Canada's economy.

With this in mind, the Prime Minister announced an unprecedented $1.5-billion oceans protection plan on November 7, 2016, the details of which I will get into momentarily. We realize that a consultative process would be required to address these diverse coasts and that would be important. The oceans protection plan was developed through collaborative work done by indigenous and coastal communities and various government programs.

This unparalleled plan, which we will begin implementing this year, includes tabling new legislation which would address abandoned, derelict, and wrecked vessels. It would also require shipowners to mark and remove any hazardous wreck that results from an accident, including any objects from a ship that have washed ashore. This will provide an added means of protection for local communities and taxpayers once the new statute comes into force.

Our government knows that Canadians rely on our coasts and waterways for economic reasons as well as for cultural and recreational purposes. The safety and protection of our waters and of the people travelling on them are of great importance to this government.

The hon. member's question asks specifically about the fragments of empty containers lost overboard from the MV Hanjin Seattle, some of which are washing ashore along Vancouver Island. These container fragments are not posing an immediate environmental or navigation hazard, for which Transport Canada would immediately move into action, but they are unsightly on our beaches and shores. As such, the lead agency for the cleanup, Parks Canada, has advised us that it will be moving quickly to remove this debris.

I want to assure the member that the incident that involved the Nathan E. Stewart on B.C.'s north coast, which also would have been a concern, showed us all that we needed to improve the existing maritime safety system in order to prevent, prepare for, and respond to maritime pollution from vessels.

For that specific incident, we acknowledge the assistance of all responders and partners, the Canadian Coast Guard, the Province of British Columbia, the community of Bella Bella, the Western Canada Marine Response Corporation, and the Heiltsuk Nation, in the management of this incident, much of which was carried out in challenging weather and environmental conditions. Collaborating with the Heiltsuk Nation in particular has allowed responders to benefit from the nation's traditional knowledge and extensive experience with weather, tides, and navigation in this area. Working together is the key.

The Environment
Adjournment Proceedings

6:40 p.m.

NDP

Gord Johns Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Madam Speaker, our coastline is becoming a junkyard. There is an increase in ocean plastics as a result of trade, and the number of cargo ships that are going through the Strait of Juan de Fuca are actually immediately contaminating our ecosystems. This is something that is urgent to the people in the communities where I live. It has contaminated our shellfish, our food security, and what we count on most, a clean ocean.

We want to be guaranteed that the marine debris cleanup will be part of the ocean protection plan. Specifically in terms of this case of the shipments that fell off the South Korean ship at the mouth of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, we want to know that the $72,000 was given to Pacific Rim National Park and that the bureaucrats will do everything they can under the direction of the government to release that money to community organizations like Surfrider and Tribal Parks Guardians, because they have used community funds by raising money from local businesses and local people to contribute to the cleanup.

It should be the big corporate interests that benefit and profit from shipping cargo to Asia that should be contributing. There should be a mechanism, whether it be incorporated into each TCU, each piece of cargo, that is directly related to contributing to cleaning up debris. This is having a huge impact on our communities. The amount of ocean plastics that we are seeing, the density of ocean plastics in the water is through the roof—

The Environment
Adjournment Proceedings

6:40 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Carol Hughes

The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport.

The Environment
Adjournment Proceedings

6:45 p.m.

Liberal

Karen McCrimmon Kanata—Carleton, ON

Madam Speaker, Canadians rely on the coasts and waterways for their living, their culture, and their recreation, and it is absolutely imperative that we protect them for generations to come. That is why we announced a $1.5-billion investment to make Canada a world leader in marine safety and take a powerful step toward co-management of our coasts with indigenous and coastal communities. This oceans protection plan will ensure our waters and coasts remain safe and clean for generations to come. I want to assure the hon. member that Canada is putting the needed safeguards in place to make certain that we are better informed, better prepared, and better equipped to protect our precious coastlines and waterways.