House of Commons Hansard #337 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was segregation.


Corrections and Conditional Release ActGovernment Orders

5 p.m.


Robert-Falcon Ouellette Liberal Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, that is a very interesting question. I have been working quite hard with the John Howard Society, which has an office just in front of my office on Ellice Avenue. I am very proud of the work. I often have the chance to go over and speak with them. They have had a halfway house in the past few years where I could go to speak with people who had just been recently released from prison and hear their own stories directly from them.

Solitary confinement is a terrible thing. In the military it was used quite often against prisoners in POW camps. It is a form of torturing people because, over time, it erodes your sense of humanity. It erodes your sense of connection. As human beings are social animals, we do need contact with others.

I think the difference with this bill is that we are trying to define, to a greater extent, what intervention will actually look like, and if we must have rehabilitative programs, what those would entail. In this case, we must have meaningful contact. The bill refers to “an opportunity for meaningful human contact and an opportunity to participate in programs and to have access to services that respond to the inmate’s specific needs and the risks posed by the inmate.” I think that is extremely important, because there are other clauses here that refer to a health care professional. Their ruling is important and if the inmate is suffering from mental health duress, then that must have a review, and it goes immediately, I believe, to the commissioner of Correctional Service Canada.

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5 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

I will just let hon. members know that we are letting questions and comments go a little longer right now. We have roughly 10 minutes. I am not taking any part of that right now. We will tack that onto the end. However, usually when there are not a lot of people standing up, we let members take a little bit more liberty with their time. I just wanted to let members know that, so that if members are interested in weighing-in on this 10-minute period, they can stand up and we will be sure to recognize them.

The hon. member for Edmonton Strathcona.

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5 p.m.


Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, my colleague across the way has raised many concerns about the treatment of indigenous Canadians in our country. He has often supported reforms in that direction, and yet I am puzzled that the member has not mentioned another tragedy.

There was a lot of talk about the way Ms. Smith was treated and then committed suicide, but three years after Ms. Smith's death in prison, there was a suicide by an indigenous man, Eddie Snowshoe, from Northwest Territories. Mr. Snowshoe had been incarcerated in solitary confinement for 162 days. Mr. Snowshoe had attempted suicide many times in prison. What was the response? They gave him drugs that made him feel even worse and put him in solitary confinement. The same situation happened with him as it did with Ms. Smith. When he was transferred from Stony Mountain to Edmonton, no one bothered to tell them that he had already been in solitary confinement for 134 straight days, so they started the clock again. Just before Mr. Snowshoe committed suicide, he asked to speak to a psychiatrist. That request was never passed on. Also, he asked to be transferred into the main cells.

Could the member speak to why the bill, unlike the previous bill his government tabled a year ago, which specified 21 days maximum for solitary confinement and 15 days after a year and a half, gives no time limit and has completely discretionary language? How are we to be satisfied that there will be no more Eddie Snowshoes when so many indigenous people are incarcerated in our country?

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5:05 p.m.


Robert-Falcon Ouellette Liberal Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, that is an important question. Mr. Snowshoe's case is absolutely disgusting. Spirituality is extremely important to me as a sun dancer and someone who believes in and practices spirituality. I had a pipe ceremony in my office yesterday, and the hon. Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and the member for Etobicoke came to my office. We spent a beautiful 20 minutes praying and thinking.

Excuse me, I am not a lawyer, but the bill does have has a paragraph specifying that indigenous spirituality must be allowed for all indigenous inmates. Under it, Mr. Snowshoe could request those services and have contact. Subclause 83(2), under spiritual leaders and elders, states:

The Service shall take all reasonable steps to make available to Indigenous inmates the services of an Indigenous spiritual leader or elder after consultation with (a) the national Indigenous advisory committee established under section 82; and (b) the appropriate regional and local Indigenous advisory committees.

It is extremely important to allow contact with another human being, to allow a person who is in segregation, or in this case an intervention unit, to have contact with others. From what I read in the bill, the idea is to make sure that if they have to regroup people together who have similar issues, a certain amount of services can be provided. All that programming needs to be provided to that person. They cannot be isolated by themselves, but the programming for all of those things needs to occur day after day to get them on the right path.

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5:05 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

We will take one last question.

The hon. member for Sturgeon River—Parkland.

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5:05 p.m.


Dane Lloyd Conservative Sturgeon River—Parkland, AB

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for—

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5:05 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

I am sorry. I was perhaps a bit misleading there. We are still in questions and comments. We will get back to the hon. member for Sturgeon River—Parkland.

I think, under questions and comments, the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Democratic Institutions was on her feet.

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5:05 p.m.

Bernadette Jordan Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Democratic Institutions, Lib.

Mr. Speaker, I sat for quite some time on the status of women committee, and we did a study on indigenous women and their access to the justice and criminal justice system. One of the things we heard over and over again was the intergenerational trauma and how women in corrections, particularly indigenous women, are strongly affected by what has happened to them and their families over a number of years.

Could my hon. colleague talk a little more about how important it is to have that mental health component in this piece of legislation?

Corrections and Conditional Release ActGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.


Robert-Falcon Ouellette Liberal Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is actually written right into the bill. This is not something that is a regulation that can be changed if another government comes to power. Under the Conservatives, in 2015, the government actually cut the budget by $295 million.

In fact, clause 30 of Bill C-83, under proposed section 89.1, states:

The Service shall provide, in respect of inmates in penitentiaries designated by the Commissioner, access to patient advocacy services

(a) to support inmates in relation to their health care matters; and

(b) to enable inmates and their families to understand the rights and responsibilities of inmates related to health care.

We are actually supposed to be providing that. It would actually be written right in the law. This is an extremely important change, because as I have mentioned, it is not normal to be in prison. We have to ensure that people have the appropriate mental health supports so that they can not only get on with the healing for themselves but they do not reoffend in the future.

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5:05 p.m.


Dane Lloyd Conservative Sturgeon River—Parkland, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is a great opportunity to stand again. I will be sharing my time with my colleague from Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix.

I am rising to speak to Bill C-83, the flawed reforms to our correctional system the Liberals are trying to push through. This issue is very important to me because of the hundreds of correctional staff who call my riding home and who rightfully expect me to stand up for their safety and best interests.

The Union of Canadian Correctional Officers told me at meetings that the government did not bother to consult front-line correctional officers on these reforms. These people put their lives in harm's way every day to ensure that the most dangerous and violent offenders do not harm the innocent. These courageous men and women, at the end of the day, should be able to go home safely, and we must consider how these changes will affect their safety in the workplace.

Recently I had the opportunity to meet with the union representatives who interact with these criminals. These people have first-hand knowledge and experience of what is happening in the system. These are the people we should be looking to for solutions. They are very concerned about this legislation and many other policies the Liberal government is bringing forward with regard to correctional reform. These concerns involve the safety of correctional officers. They believe that the government is ignoring them and running over them with legislation that would grant extraordinary new privileges to prisoners at the expense of public safety and rehabilitation.

One of the main problems is the policy of administrative segregation. This policy is used to separate dangerous, violent offenders who are threats to the safety of fellow inmates and staff. Administrative segregation is a means to both protect and punish. It acts as a deterrent to committing violence against staff and inmates. Some cases brought to me by correctional staff have included inmates telling each other that it is not a big deal to assault a corrections officer, because they will only get five days. This is exactly the kind of thing we need to deter.

I wonder why the Liberals are reducing punishments for inmates who assault staff and make the workplace dangerous for those who serve in this risky environment.

Let us be clear. We are not talking about an oppressive system like that outlined by the United Nations. We are not even talking about how prisons operated in decades past. Canadians, when they think of administrative segregation, might conjure up images from movies such as The Shawshank Redemption, where corrupt wardens can place inmates in solitary confinement, in darkness, with no amenities or opportunities for meaningful human contact. That is simply not the case.

Although there have been mistakes in the past, several government members today have noted that the CSC has taken great strides in recent years to improve administrative segregation.

Administrative segregation is restrictive, but we are not talking about Club Med resorts. We are talking about prison. Inmates in administrative segregation have the right to exercise and leave their cells for an hour each day. These cells are lit, not dark. Prisoners have access to services to better themselves. If one listened to some groups, one would believe that these inmates were being thrown into a hole and forgotten about, and that is simply not the case.

It is clear from several high-profile cases that administrative segregation cannot be used as a replacement for effective psychological health services in the prison system. I know that Correctional Service Canada has taken many positive steps in recent years to integrate recommendations to ensure that past poor practices are reformed.

Many of those suffering from mental health challenges have been administratively segregated, and the consequences to their health and the overall outcomes for rehabilitation have not been positive. No one wants to see anyone fall through the cracks, and ensuring that services are available to those who need mental health services is absolutely critical, but this does not mean that we have to get rid of administrative segregation. It means that we need new tools to address these issues. Reforming administrative segregation needs to involve an assessment of risk and needs to seek the improvement of rehabilitation and mental health outcomes.

I am sure we could all agree that people who find themselves in the prison system are troubled individuals, but that does not mean that all criminals suffer from mental health issues. Abolishing administrative segregation as a practice would take an essential tool away from front-line personnel for protecting themselves and the inmates. In that sense, although these new secure intervention units may hold some promise, there is no reason they could not operate alongside an effective and responsibly used system of administrative segregation.

Those who do not suffer from mental health issues and who choose to assault other inmates or staff should not be rewarded with the secure intervention units. In fact, the union representing correctional officers is asking that these tools be maintained. The government is ignoring the wisdom of front-line personnel who put their safety on the line every day.

The Liberals' action to move full steam ahead in abolishing administrative segregation is a concerning move, but they are also introducing other means for threatening staff and other inmates by condoning drug use and needles in prisons.

Most Canadians would be shocked to hear that the Liberals are pushing forward with a policy to provide needles to prisoners so that they can self-administer harmful drugs. Not only is this counter-productive for the rehabilitation of prisoners, it is a threat to the security and safety of prison staff.

Violent incidents are not uncommon in a correctional environment, and handing out needles to prisoners can be akin to handing out weapons. Vulnerable inmates, guards and other staff will now live in a state of new fear that these potent tools could be used against them, possibly even lethally.

Most Canadians would also be shocked to learn that the Liberals even intend to provide cooking spoons. These are not my words. It is what the union of correctional officers is telling me. Prisoners will be able to cook and produce their own drugs so that they can self-inject. This policy is seriously ill-informed, because as I have been told, lighters have been banned from prisons, because they have been used to start fires in the past. How are they even supposed to cook the drugs with these cooking spoons if they are not even allowed to have lighters?

The Liberals are rolling back best practices that have been learned from experience by our front-line personnel and implemented. The government is rolling back these best practices and putting people at risk. This does not make sense.

Many look to Europe for an example for Canada to follow, but the government is selectively choosing which European policies to adopt while ignoring how the overall system works. Yes, needles are used in some European prisons, but there is no European country where needles are provided in all prisons. The eventual agenda of the Liberal government seems to be that all prisons, regardless of security classification, should have access to needles.

In Europe, administrative segregation is used in the case of an assault on a police officer. It changes from country to country. This is not seen as a viable option for the future for the government. Why is it not being maintained here?

I just wonder what policy objective the Liberals intend to achieve through prisoners receiving needles. Do the Liberals want to protect prisoners from infectious diseases? Correctional staff have informed me, and I have seen the statistics on this, that over the past 10 years, the rate of infectious diseases, such as HIV, have been reduced drastically. I think 50% was the model. I do not see how introducing new needles would decrease the likelihood that dirty needles will be used. This permissive approach to this abuse is likely to cause more of the same problem the Liberals are looking to get rid of.

When actions are brought before the courts, it seems that the policy of the Liberal government is always to cave in and run. Some courts have ruled that the widespread use of administrative segregation is a violation of prisoners' charter rights. It is clear that in the cases cited earlier, oversight was the issue and the indefinite period of time was the issue. That does not mean that administrative segregation in and of itself is a flawed concept.

We have charter rights, but when people go to jail, they give up some of those rights. They are not absolute. The right to liberty is an example. We have to draw a line. What about the safety of our correctional staff? Where is their right to safety in the workplace?

Correctional staff have every right to expect that the government will ensure that they have a safe working environment. This legislation, combined with allowing needles in prisons, would endanger the safety of correctional staff.

It is time for the Liberals to take a stand, uphold the will of the people and the will of those who serve on the front lines and stop taking away the tools they need to do their jobs.

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5:15 p.m.


Celina Caesar-Chavannes Liberal Whitby, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is very well known and recorded that I am very much a strong advocate for mental health. I know the member spoke quite a bit about the mental health issues of inmates and the safety of those who are in charge of them.

While I recognize the need for safeguards, I do take some offence with using the mental health case as a reason to misinform Canadians by saying that inmates will be rewarded, as my colleague mentioned. Inmates will be separated through a secure intervention unit. Inmates will be separated when necessary while providing not only mental health services, but rehabilitative service and other intervention services that are necessary. This is not just about mental health. This is about securely having someone away from the general population and providing them with the services that they need because there is the capacity to rehabilitate and reduce recidivism rates.

The warden has the opportunity to review at five days and then at 30 days, while the person is in the secure intervention unit. I am hoping that my colleague could speak to why he focused on the mental health aspect when he clearly understands that this is not the complete intention of the bill.

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5:20 p.m.


Dane Lloyd Conservative Sturgeon River—Parkland, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have not solely been focusing on the mental health aspect because I have been focusing on the right of our correctional officers to have as safe a working environment as they can possibly have. These are the people who put their lives on the line every day when they work in these dangerous environments with people who have committed violent crimes and are likely to commit violent crimes.

I stand by the use of the term “reward”. We are talking about a previous system where someone would be sent to administrative segregation and completely stripped of their right to extra privileges and now under this new SIU policy the government proposing, the individual will gain those privileges back. I do not see any other way to look at it other than it is adding privileges, it is rewarding prisoners under this new policy. That is the way that I see it and that is the way that people in the corrections system are seeing it.

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5:20 p.m.


Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure I heard this in my friend's speech because there is the way he sees it, the way my colleague from Whitby sees it, and there is the way the courts have seen the use and practice of solitary confinement in our prisons and the response from not one, but two superior court decisions, one in British Columbia and one in Ontario, against this practice is what the bill is responding to, allegedly.

We craft laws in this place. They then get put out into the public and if they are challenged, as this previous practice was challenged in court, after the most brutal experiences where people in solitary confinement ended up killing themselves, because the practice was abused.

There are two things that both of the courts identified. One was oversight and the second was a limitation on the number of days that solitary confinement could have. A previous Liberal bill actually had some elements of oversight and had some limits to solitary confinement. The bill does neither. How does my friend not expect this to end up right back in the courts after more damage is done to more people who are incarcerated and Parliament in some future day to be taken up with the very same example after so much more human tragedy?

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5:20 p.m.


Dane Lloyd Conservative Sturgeon River—Parkland, AB

Mr. Speaker, what I worry about is not necessarily that this will end up back in court, but that we are going to see some deadly consequences from this legislation if correctional services officers are being put at increased risk because they have this essential tool taken away from them. I can agree with my colleague that there have been abuses in the past and that things need to be done about that, such as talking about appropriate limitations and appropriate oversight. These are things that I can certainly support in legislation. What I will not support is completely taking away an essential tool that is necessary not only to protect prison staff, but to protect vulnerable inmates from being preyed upon by the more powerful.

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5:20 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Before we resume debate, I must inform the hon. member for Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix that she has about six minutes remaining for her speech. She can finish her speech the next time the House resumes debate on this motion.

The hon. member now has the floor.

Corrections and Conditional Release ActGovernment Orders

October 18th, 2018 / 5:20 p.m.


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

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-83, an act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and another act.

I do so because I have a duty to give a voice to the victims of crime and their loved ones here in the House because, ever since the Liberals came to power in 2015, the voice of the people has been growing weaker and weaker and their rights are being increasingly trampled.

The Canadian justice system is not perfect. A lot of work remains to be done to make it better, fair and equitable, and to ensure that it upholds the rights of victims of crime and their families. There is still a lot of work to do to make victims' rights equivalent to the rights of criminals.

Fortunately, the previous Conservative government took an honest look at the imbalances that persisted for many long years.

The excellent work done by former prime minister Stephen Harper for the advancement and respect of the rights of victims of crime resulted in the creation of the position of federal ombudsman for victims of crime, an end to prisoners serving only one-sixth of their sentence, the drafting of Bill C-452 to support victims of procuring, minimum penalties for certain sexual offences, a financial compensation program for parents whose children are missing or killed as a result of a criminal offence, a review of the faint hope clause bill and, finally, the victim surcharge bill.

Since 2015, the government across the aisle has not passed a single piece of legislation to support victims. Worse still, it has not introduced a single bill to improve the lives of victims of crime.

On top of that, even though the House unanimously voted in favour of Bill C-452 in June 2015, the government has backtracked and still refuses to sign the order in council to implement the act, which would protect young girls from sexual exploitation. It claims that the bill is too harsh on pimps.

The Liberals also want to eliminate the mandatory minimums in some acts. Further evidence that the Liberals would much rather support criminals than victims is that they took nearly a year to appoint a new federal ombudsman for victims of crime, but the new federal ombudsman for offenders was appointed in less than a month. Furthermore, they voted against my private member's bill, Bill C-343, which would have made the position of ombudsman for victims of crime the same level of authority as the corrections one.

Now, with Bill C-83, the government continues on its path, seeking to punish criminals as little as possible, even the most dangerous, aggressive criminals who pose serious risks to the safety of other offenders and corrections officers. The government wants to stop placing inmates in segregation, commonly known as the hole.

I must say that, these days, being sent to the hole is not the same thing as before. I come from a family that worked in the prison system for a long time, so I know what I am talking about. My father was a prison warden and my mother was a prison guard.

The Minister of Public Safety wants to replace the administrative segregation cells reserved for the most dangerous and problematic offenders with structured intervention units, which would separate these offenders from the rest of the prison population, when necessary, but continue to give them access to rehabilitation programs, interventions and mental health care.

We all agree that mental health issues must be treated. However, we also all agree that, when inmates are in solitary confinement, it is because they are endangering the lives of others. Because of that, I will have to vote against this bill. For me, victims of crime come well before criminals themselves.

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5:25 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The hon. member for Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix will have four and a half minutes to finish her speech when the House resumes debate on this motion.

It being 5:30 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business, as listed on today's Order Paper.

The House resumed from September 21 consideration of the motion that Bill S-245, An Act to declare the Trans Mountain Pipeline Project and related works to be for the general advantage of Canada, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Trans Mountain Pipeline Project ActPrivate Members' Business

5:30 p.m.


Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am happy today to speak to Bill S-245, which asks this place to declare the Trans Mountain expansion project to be in the general interest of Canada. I assume this has been brought forward because of the bureaucratic process the project has been through for the past few years and the legal quagmire that it remains in today.

The Conservatives have been gleefully blaming the Liberals for this mess and the Liberals have been blaming the Conservatives. For once, I am happy to report that they are both right. The irony is that this was a problem created by the Conservatives in the previous government, and is a problem that the Liberal government now has failed to address.

In the rush to get a number of pipeline projects done, the Conservatives gutted the Fisheries Act, the Navigable Waters Protection Act and the environmental assessment process. These actions served to polarize the Canadian public around energy projects and policy. That polarization is certainly part of the reason that pipeline projects continue to be a source of division in Canadian society today. That division is part of the reason these projects continue to be delayed.

Under the Conservative watch, the National Energy Board undertook an impact assessment process regarding the Trans Mountain expansion project, then owned by Kinder Morgan, now owned by us. That process was deemed by many to be deeply flawed. Consultation with first nations was inadequate. Concerned citizens, experts and groups were denied opportunities to appear before the panel. There was no opportunity to question or to cross-examine the testimony of Kinder Morgan. Major parts of the environmental study were ignored, namely those involving the marine transport aspect of the project.

Because of these shortcomings, in the 2015 election, both the Liberal Party and the NDP ran on a clear platform that called for the Kinder Morgan assessment to be redone. The Prime Minister repeated that promise numerous times: a brand new process. However, when the Liberals came to power, they announced something very different.

A ministerial panel made a quick tour along the pipeline route in the summer of 2016, giving first nations and communities very short timelines to prepare. It did not even record the proceedings. The panellists did produce a report that posed six questions they felt the Liberal government had to answer before making their decision on the project, but those questions have never been adequately answered.

When the NDP pointed out that this process was completely inadequate and that the Liberals should live up to their promise of a new thorough process, we were criticized by those who said that a new process would delay the project, perhaps by as much as two years. That was three years ago, and we are back at square one.

We are back at square one because at the end of August, the Federal Court of Appeal quashed the federal permits for the Trans Mountain project based on two errors: the lack of consideration of marine transport issues and inadequate consultation with first nations. Ironically, those are interconnected because a lot of the concerns that first nations had in that inadequate consultation were around the fact that marine transport was left out of the whole process.

I want to start by talking about that consultation issue.

The Court of Appeal clearly stated in a unanimous decision that the consultation process was simply bureaucrats who were sent out to listen to the concerns of first nations and to relay those concerns to cabinet. As the court repeatedly states in the decision, they were simply note-takers. There was no attempt made to actually address any of those concerns. In fact, the consultation team and the government apparently mistakenly believed they could not add any more conditions on Kinder Morgan than the National Energy Board had done, so why bother consulting if they could not make any changes.

One example of that failure is the concern of the Coldwater First Nation, which wanted the pipeline to take an optional route to the west to avoid crossing its aquifer. It is a big concern, a very reasonable concern and a reasonable request. However, there is no evidence that acting on that concern was even considered.

I could go on and on about consultation, but I will simply say that the government knows what proper consultation is. It is not an impossible task. It has been done before. It just requires more effort and that sincere desire to address concern, rather than just writing them down.

In the natural resources committee, we have heard many examples of proper consultation, many from the mining industry and certainly from the oil and gas sector. One example is the Squamish process regarding the Woodfibre LNG project.

The other error the court of appeal pointed out was the failure to include concerns about marine transportation. One of the main concerns there is the status of the southern resident population of orcas, which is something we have heard a lot about in the news this past summer. I must say that I know a fair about this, because I was on the committee on the status of endangered wildlife in Canada a few years ago and was at the meeting where we actually assessed that population as endangered in Canada. The Liberals are saying that they are relying on their oceans protection plan to cover off those concerns. It is a plan that claims to include world-class oil response. We hear a lot of that “world-class” talk around here.

This summer, I attended the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region meetings in Washington state, and I talked to people from the United States about that plan. It seems that the states of Washington and Alaska are very concerned that the Canadian plans are not world-class at all, at least not in the sense of being the best of the best or near the best. They are only run-of-the-mill world standard apparently. Alaska and Washington state would like Canada to join with their system of tracking ships off the Pacific coast, a truly world-class system that would be a proactive way of minimizing the risk of collisions and spills. This is the kind of thing we might have heard about had the TMX project included marine transport in its proceedings.

I want to turn again to this issue of polarization. When people who are concerned about the environment or first nations reconciliation are labelled “foreign-funded radicals” by the former Conservative government, and I still hear those words in Conservative remarks today, it makes a wide public choose sides and makes it very difficult to have a reasonable discourse on an issue. There is a way forward, a way to reduce this polarization.

I have been involved in a number of meetings here in Ottawa organized by Positive Energy. I think a meeting is happening right now today, which I cannot be at, but its goal it to bring these disparate sides together for a proper discussion on energy issues in Canada.

At one of these meetings I sat with Nik Nanos, the pollster, who had done some polling across Canada on this issue. He had found that only 2% of Canadians had strong confidence in Canada's energy regulation system, also known as the National Energy Board. His polling also indicated that there was a path to rebuild this confidence, and that path was through proper consultation with first nations and proper consultation with communities.

This court decision is a reminder that we have to put the effort in at the start. There are no shortcuts to the approval and assessment process for energy projects.

Finally, I would like to mention the story that we need a pipeline to tidewater, because it will give us a fair price for our oil, and that the discount we are forced to pay now is because we are forced to sell to one customer, the United States.

I have talked to many oil industry people and read a lot of articles in industry magazines, and two things seem to be clear. The first thing is that the best price for the oil we have is to be had in the United States and not in Asia. The second is that the discount we have been suffering through off and on for the past few months is due only to pipeline flow constraints and not to whoever we are selling to. Therefore, it is not who we are selling it to but how easy it is to move.

I met with pipeline industry reps this morning in my office and asked them about Line 3, one of the new expansion proposals for selling our oil to the United States. They said that line will be in operation late next year and added that it will fix the discount problem. Therefore, if we think that Trans Mountain is in the national interest because it is the only solution to the discount problem, that does not seem to be true.

The NDP feels that it is time for a thorough and critical look at our energy strategy in Canada. It is time to invest boldly in the clean energy sector to provide good, long-lasting jobs in a sector that is the true future of the world energy market. We feel that purchasing old pipelines is not proper use of public funds. Let us invest in the future.

Trans Mountain Pipeline Project ActPrivate Members' Business

5:40 p.m.


Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Mr. Speaker, as a fellow British Columbia MP representing a riding that the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion will pass through, citizens and communities have a vested interest in this project.

In this place we often talk about the very large numbers, such as a $7.4 billion construction budget. Now that the government has bought it for maybe $9 billion or more, it estimates that for the first 20 years of construction and operation this will generate $46.7 billion, including federal and provincial taxes paid. It also estimates this project will create the equivalent of 15,000 person years of employment in construction and 37,000 indirect and induced jobs each year it operates.

However, what we do not often talk about are the smaller numbers, like the $922 million estimated for municipal tax payments over 20 years; the $8.6 million in community benefit agreements, the monies that pay for park upgrades or new trails and walkways in small communities. It helps to upgrade infrastructure.

For example, the small community of Merritt has had two once-in-a-century flood events these past two years. Many of the people in Merritt look forward to some of the upgrades that could alleviate flooding once this project goes forward. They have told me that they are very supportive of this project, not just for that but for all the other reasons I have given. It makes small rural communities and many local first nations communities more liveable and more prosperous.

Last week, there was an incredibly moving speech in the B.C. legislative assembly by former Haisla chief councillor Ellis Ross, who is now an MLA. His speech was a very powerful one on how resource projects could lift first nations communities out of poverty.

On that note, I would like to pause for a moment. While the Prime Minister and B.C. NDP Premier John Horgan were busy hugging each other for the photo ops for an LNG announcement, let us all take a moment to recognize the two people who played such a significant role in the announcement. They had the vision and determination to see that B.C. LNG project succeed. I speak of no other than former B.C. premier Christy Clark and former Haisla chief councillor Ellis Ross. They both endured a huge amount of mocking and personal ridicule from different sides. Thankfully, they had the resolve and conviction to see that project continue to move forward.

However, we are not here to debate B.C. LNG. We are here to debate Senate Bill S-245. Therefore, let us take a moment to see how we got here.

In 2015, when the Liberal government was elected, it inherited the following: a northern gateway project that had been approved by the former Conservative government; a Trans Mountain pipeline that was still before the National Energy Board; and an energy east pipeline that was in the works. What happened?

We all know what happened to the northern gateway project. The Prime Minister made the political decision to kill that project. It was not a science-based decision, because that same National Energy Board process also approved the very same B.C. LNG project for which the Prime Minister now so desperately tries to take credit.

After that, we know the Prime Minister then moved the goal posts so energy east threw up the white flag. When the Prime Minister did that, he had only one project left, the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

However, we are not done yet. Of course we know the Prime Minister has also set out with his northern tanker ban. That is also not a science-based decision. How do we know that? Because the Western Canada Marine Response Corporation can provide the same spill response in northern coastal waters exactly as it does in southern coastal waters. Likewise, the Pacific Pilotage Authority Canada, a Crown corporation, can also provide the same world-respected marine pilots to navigate these vessels as it does in southern B.C. coastal waters. Yes, companies like Seaspan, which provides multiple tugboats to assist with docking in Burnaby, B.C., can do the very same thing in northern British Columbia.

The bottom line and the evidence is that what the Prime Minister says is perfectly safe for tanker traffic in southern B.C. can be applied to the northern coast as well.

However, as usual with this Prime Minister, it is all about playing politics and boosting his brand. What is that brand? Increasingly, it is “Do as I say, not as I do.”

Let us look at this bill. Rather than slowly meandering through the other place to get through to this place, the Prime Minister could have recalled this place at any time during the summer and brought this in as a government bill.

However, we all know he did not do that. Why not? This Prime Minister was in a conundrum. He says he wanted to see this pipeline built, yet none of the things he actually does support getting any pipeline built.

We should remember, this is the Prime Minister who killed off northern gateway and energy east, and who proposes a tanker ban. Those were all political decisions and none was evidence based.

Kinder Morgan basically called the Prime Minister's bluff and established a deadline. Rather than make some difficult and unpopular decisions within that very voting demographic that this Prime Minister so wants to earn, he bought his way out of the problem that he himself had created.

Buying the Trans Mountain pipeline was a huge insult to taxpayers, but it was a brilliant political move by this Prime Minister. Why do I say this? It is brilliant because now he controls the timeline. What is the timeline? We do not know. We have a timeline for one part of the review, but for the other part of the process we have no timeline.

Do members see how that all worked together? This Prime Minister used Canadian tax dollars to buy his way out of a problem he created.

Do members remember social licence? Do members remember that line in the Liberal platform? I quote:

While governments grant permits for resource development, only communities can grant permission.

How is that all going? It is a massive fail. Does anyone think this Prime Minister will allow a Trans Mountain shovel to break ground between now and the upcoming election? I would submit everyone in this room knows the answer to that.

While I am fully supportive of this bill, and I commend the efforts of Senator Doug Black from Alberta to bring this bill forward, I have my doubts that this Prime Minister will actually do anything with this bill in the event that it gets passed.

I believe that with the Prime Minister it all comes down to numbers, and I do not mean the kinds of numbers I quoted at the beginning of my speech, be they big or small. I mean this Prime Minister is looking at the number of Liberal MPs in B.C. ridings, many located in the Lower Mainland where there is often the least amount of support for this pipeline, versus the very few Liberal MPs in Alberta.

Of course, there is also that NDP provincial government, which put its faith in this Liberal government initially by fully supporting its climate platform. Now the Prime Minister has totally thrown that Alberta NDP government under the bus. It is not an LNG bus, by the way.

In B.C., where a new LNG pipeline project is approved, that project has been given an exemption from the Liberal government's carbon tax increases. This Prime Minister looks the other way about that, smiles and hugs B.C. NDP Premier John Horgan for a photo op. This is the very same NDP premier who stands in the way of the project that this Prime Minister claims is in the national interest.

We also know this Prime Minister quietly waived tariffs so that cheaper, foreign steel can be used to build B.C. LNG. I wonder if he mentioned that when he was visiting Canadian steel mills this past summer.

By the way, did I mention that Westshore Terminals in B.C. last year exported more coal than the entire country of Mexico? I wonder if our Prime Minister had a conversation with Premier Horgan about that? I would say it is somewhat unlikely.

The Prime Minister says the Trans Mountain pipeline is in Canada's national interest. This bill states that the Trans Mountain pipeline project and related works are declared to be works for the general advantage of Canada. I agree with that.

I will vote to support this bill, one that I specifically reported to my constituents on. I asked them about the bill, and the overwhelming majority of people replying by email were very positive and supportive of it.

I am also hopeful that the Prime Minister will hear this speech and that he will also vote for this bill and for once actually do something that he says he will do and build it.

Trans Mountain Pipeline Project ActPrivate Members' Business

5:50 p.m.

Paul Lefebvre Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources, Lib.

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today as part of the government's response to Bill S-245 at second reading and to do so as the new Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources.

I have said many times over the past few months that I am truly honoured by the confidence given to me by the Prime Minister and I have big shoes to fill. The member of Parliament for Northumberland—Peterborough South, who was in this position before, set the bar really high and I want to thank her for her great work.

Luckily, I learned a lot while representing Sudbury. Some things stood out as being of particular importance: developing our resources, doing things properly and ensuring that development benefits everyone, including project proponents, local communities, the environment and indigenous peoples. In everything we do, we must consider both job creation and environmental protection.

It is for these reasons that we approved the Trans Mountain expansion. The project had the potential to create thousands of good middle-class jobs. It created opportunities for the 43 indigenous communities that signed mutual benefit agreements. Expanding Trans Mountain will also strengthen our economy by generating billions in new revenue for all levels of government and allowing us to ensure that Canada gets a fair price for its resources.

I would like to share just some of the main reasons we continue to believe in the Trans Mountain project. These are some of the basic reasons we purchased the pipeline's existing assets as a secure investment in Canada's future. It is also for these reasons that we are moving the project forward properly. The bill before us today has been overtaken by events. Not only is Bill S-245 clearly obsolete, but also, passing it would bring no real benefit to Canada or Canadians. That is why our government will oppose the bill.

We know that expanding Trans Mountain is in the national interest. However, Bill S-245 contains two fundamental flaws.

First, Bill S-245 was drafted long before the government acquired the pipeline and long before the Federal Court of Appeal quashed the government's approval of the project. In other words, the bill was written for a very different time and, therefore, serves no practical use in the circumstances we find ourselves in today.

Second, the bill is legally flawed because it seeks to increase federal jurisdiction over a project that is already under federal jurisdiction. Nor does it offer any real improvements in terms of how provincial laws affect matters within federal jurisdiction or change the scope of federal jurisdiction. In short, this bill adds no value and serves no purpose.

If I may, I would like to use my time today to remind members how our government is moving forward on the TMX project in the right way, such as how our efforts make the motion before us unnecessary and how our approach ensures that we continue to create good jobs and grow the economy as we also build public confidence, advance indigenous reconciliation and enhance environmental stewardship. All of this was actually confirmed by the Federal Court of Appeal, in its August 30 ruling on the TMX project.

For example, the court acknowledged that we had made a solid start with the interim principles we introduced back in January of 2016, measures aimed at improving the way major resource projects are reviewed in Canada. The court also concluded that “...Canada acted in good faith and selected an appropriate consultation framework” for engaging indigenous groups and communities on the expansion project and, finally, the court lauded our government's efforts to protect coastal waters and communities. It even encouraged us to continue with those efforts through our historic $1.5-billion oceans protection plan.

Ultimately, the Federal Court of Appeal found that there was still more work to be done in terms of the National Energy Board's review of project-related marine shipping and the phase III portion of our indigenous consultations. Our government accepts both findings which is why we have decided not to appeal the court's decision. Instead, we are following the court's guidance and suggestions for addressing those shortcomings. We are doing so in two key ways that supersede anything found in the legislation before us today.

First, we asked the National Energy Board to reconsider its recommendations, taking into account the effects of project-related marine shipping, including the effects of additional tankers along the coast of British Columbia.

We also asked the National Energy Board to deliver its report within 22 weeks. The board will get input from Canadians and will provide participant funding so that the views of indigenous groups are well represented.

Furthermore, we will appoint a special marine technical advisor to ensure that the National Energy Board has the expertise and capacity to deliver the best advice to the government.

Then, we asked the board to consider our government's recent efforts to protect the southern resident killer whales. Our oceans protection plan is part of these efforts. This is one of the largest investments in Canadian history to protect our waters, coastlines and marine life.

Second, our government decided to start over with phase 3 consultations with the indigenous groups affected by the Trans Mountain network expansion. We will use a different and much better framework.

For example, government representatives on the ground will have a clear mandate to conduct meaningful consultations. They will also be able to discuss reasonable arrangements with indigenous groups on the issues that are important to them. We will work with first nations and Métis communities to get their views on how to run the phase 3 consultations.

We will more than double the size of our consultation teams and give them access to all of the government's expertise, internally and externally. We will also adapt the consultations to the groups we are meeting.

Let me be clear. We are not starting over. We are building on the relationships we have, the information we have gathered and the consultations we have conducted.

Finally, as we move through phase 3 consultations, we will have access to the best possible advice from within and outside our government. As part of that, we have appointed retired Supreme Court of Canada Justice Frank Iacobucci to serve as a federal representative to oversee the consultation process.

All of these initiatives represent tangible and substantial ways our government is taking action to ensure the TMX project moves forward in the right way.

That is the clear vision and the practical plan missing in the legislation before us today. That is why I will not be supporting Bill S-245.

Trans Mountain Pipeline Project ActPrivate Members' Business

5:55 p.m.


François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak to this bill. The NDP will not be supporting it either, but not exactly for the same reasons my colleague across the way laid out. In fact, his argument is not as sound as he claims.

Bill S-245 seeks to declare the Trans Mountain pipeline project and related works to be for the general advantage of Canada. We think that is a bit much, but that is okay. We are here to listen.

Every process related to the Trans Mountain project was completed recently. It bears repeating that the assessments were conducted according to the same environmental assessment system that the Conservative government used. The government did say that it would never use this system again after it was completely gutted of all its authority and no longer provided any opportunity for real consultation. I wanted to mention that.

Then there was the dramatic announcement that Kinder Morgan would not move forward with this project because it was not profitable and it made no sense. However, on May 29, 2018, the government decided to buy Kinder Morgan's shares along with the infrastructure related to the Trans Mountain pipeline. Using $4.5 billion belonging to Canadians, the people in my riding, and Quebeckers, the government purchased outdated, problematic, 60-year-old infrastructure. No one is talking about it, but one day this old pipeline will have to be dismantled and the site will have to be decontaminated.

Canada has a tremendous amount of sites to decontaminate. Often, old mining companies leave the land polluted and fail to assume their environmental responsibilities. Taxpayers end up footing the bill for all that. The polluter pays principle is extremely important. Here, the government just decided that Canadians will pay to decontaminate the lands along the pipeline's path. I was astounded by the news.

There continues to be strong opposition to this pipeline in general, especially on the part of municipalities, environmental groups and indigenous groups. They oppose it because the government is still subsidizing the fossil fuel industry. I would remind members that some $2 billion of Canadian taxpayers' money is used to subsidize the fossil fuel industry even though Canada committed to gradually eliminating these subsidies. At this rate, with inflation, we will never get rid of them, even though they promised to do so.

On Monday, a number of members joined us in asking for an emergency debate on the latest alarming report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC. It states that if we continue doing the same things, we will never hold global warming to 1.5°C, which was the commitment made by the Liberal government in Paris. It said that Canada was back as an environmental leader on the world stage. Unfortunately, it is back with the same low targets as Stephen Harper's Conservatives, making it impossible to make any real commitments.

Therefore, we are far from satisfied. Many people have said that this IPCC report is sounding the alarm and that we must take action and bring in more measures. The report mentions something critical, which is that the technology needed to limit global warming already exists.

What is lacking is political will. Speaking of a lack of political will, the Liberal government definitely has a deficit in that area. I am not the one saying so. According to Greenpeace, the Liberal government is not doing enough to reduce GHG emissions. Greenpeace spokesperson Patrick Bonin said that Canada is really not on track to comply with the Paris accord and warned that unless drastic action is taken, it will completely miss the greenhouse gas reduction target it set for 2030.

Need I remind the House that they were very low targets? François Delorme, an economist at the University of Sherbrooke's School of Management, said that Ottawa is sending the wrong signal by giving unequivocal support to the oil and gas sector, especially with the Trans Mountain pipeline purchase. He said that the government cannot ask people to change their habits while subsidizing fossil fuels.

That was the first mistake, as we have mentioned. Yes, we need to put a price on carbon as a first step, but the next step is to stop subsidizing fossil fuels. Not only is this government subsidizing them, but it is purchasing them with taxpayers' money.

That is not all. The Trans Mountain pipeline is floundering at the moment because of a court ruling that pointed out a number of flaws, including a failure to ensure the protection of marine biodiversity and marine mammals. According to a CBC report, the killer whale has become Trans Mountain's Achilles heel, and the Federal Court of Appeal found that the National Energy Board made a “critical error” in failing to assess the impact of the marine transportation of tar sands oil on killer whales. That is another important factor the government ignored.

This has been the subject of much criticism for some time now. In her latest 2018 report, the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development revealed that the Liberal government does not have an action plan for protecting marine mammals, including the St. Lawrence beluga. Because of the federal government's failure to take action, these species are going from threatened to endangered. In the report, Commissioner Gelfand wrote: “We found that federal organizations did not have any criteria or guidance for considering the specific needs of marine mammals”.

That is extremely important. Everything is connected. We see that with the Trans Mountain pipeline.

In closing, Canadians want champions of the environment. They want people who will use their money to support sustainable development and renewable resources, like the solar walls in my riding and energy efficiency. We are in the process of growing that very important sector in my riding.

There are many companies working to grow the renewable energy sector, but they have to compete with the fossil fuel industry, which receives billions of dollars in subsidies.

There is a lot more I could say, but I see that I have only a minute left. I will close by saying that Canadians expect much better from our government. The Liberals say that they are champions in the fight against climate change, but I think they have demonstrated that that is not the case.

That will not be the case until the Liberals eliminate fossil fuel subsidies and set better targets. There was an emergency debate on Monday, but nothing has been done this week and there is nothing on the agenda for next week either. The government has not made any more investments in energy efficiency, and it still wants to expand the Trans Mountain pipeline.

For all of these reasons, my constituents and other Canadians are saying that champions in the fight against climate change and champions of the environment do not buy pipelines. They invest in renewable energy.

Trans Mountain Pipeline Project ActPrivate Members' Business

6:05 p.m.


Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Mr. Speaker, a lot of members who have spoken so far on this Senate bill have provided numbers or explained why they are either for or against. I heard the parliamentary secretary explain to us that this was not needed, that this particular bill coming from the other place is defective, because it does not deal with the current situation.

After three years of dithering, confusing and obstructing, we find ourselves in the situation now where the Government of Canada has expropriated Kinder Morgan, allowed a private company in the most profitable sector of the energy industry in Canada, in transportation, midstream, to take $4.5 billion from the taxpayer, and there is no pipeline being built.

We are at this point today due to desperation. There is a great Yiddish proverb that applies: Out of desperation, one finds.

What a surprise that it is an Alberta senator, duly elected by the people of Alberta to represent them in the other place, who has put before this House a bill that would fix a major problem, which is the rule of law in Canada. We have a Constitution that is supposed to apply equally to all provinces, but I would submit that the vast majority of Albertans feel that there is a two-tier system, one system for everyone else and one for Albertans, and that is simply not good enough.

This bill is about respect, respect for Albertans and energy workers in all provinces, because this is not just an Alberta issue. This is an issue that affects energy workers in every single province in Canada if we cannot build major industrial energy projects any more, and with bills like Bill C-69 on the books, we will not be able to build them anymore.

The Senate has already passed this bill. It is up to us to take up the task and pass it here to clear any further obstructions and delays that may come the way of this project from other levels of government, provincial and municipal, and actually get this project built.

The ideal situation, which I would have preferred, like the vast majority of Albertans, would have been to see a private company build it. As I said before, this happens to be the most profitable sector of the energy industry. There is a great cartoon Malcolm Mayes put together in the Edmonton Journal. It shows the Prime Minister riding a massive anchor hooked up to a piece of equipment, and it says, “I'm behind you all the way!” That is what most Albertans fear when they hear that from the federal government, that the Liberals have their hands in Albertans pockets, taxing them.

For the longest time, Albertans accepted it. They said it was okay. They were willing to pay their freight, to contribute to equalization, to contribute to Confederation, because they knew they were building a better country, improving Canada and putting food on the tables of families all across Canada. That is not true right now. That is not true anymore. The highest unemployment rate happens to be in Calgary. I represent a suburban area of Calgary, where countless energy workers are unemployed and underemployed because of decisions being made by the Liberal government of today. It is not getting better; it is getting worse. Families are still losing their homes. Severance pay has run out.

Many people have left the province. An entire generation of young people was told to go into STEM, into science, technology, engineering and mathematics, because they would get amazing jobs in the energy sector and contribute to the province. We spent a generation trying to convince more women to join the STEM fields, trying to convince young people that it was worth their time, and convincing people from outside the province to come to Alberta to establish themselves and bring their families, because they could make a living there. That has been taken away, much of that because of decisions made by the Liberal government, which have compounded problems on the commodity market.

Now we have a differential that has only grown. I remember working for the Calgary Chamber of Commerce many years ago when the differential was $25, and businesses were complaining then. Now it is $40. The reason for the increasing gap between what Canadian heavy crude can get on the market and what we can get in the United States is the decisions of the Liberal government only.

Bill S-245 would clear the way. Liberals have already expropriated Kinder Morgan. They already own the project. This would clear the way from any further delays that could possibly happen. It is the right thing to do. I hear a member again heckling from the other side.

This is about respecting Albertans and respecting energy workers in every province in Canada. This particular section of the Constitution has been used before, many times. The Canadian Grain Commission used it. Facilities, such as storage and sorting facilities linked to the grain commission, were federalized. The Teleglobe Canada Reorganization and Divestiture Act used this particular section of the Constitution so the Government of Canada could divest itself of a corporation. The Cape Breton Development Corporation Act used this section of the Constitution to come into being. The Ottawa canal used that particular section as well. It is not special in any way. It has just not been used as of late, but it has been used hundreds of times by the federal government to ensure that large-scale industrial projects get built for the benefit and general advantage of Canada.

If this is a country of 10 islands, 10 separate provinces that can each do whatever they want whenever they want, then Albertans have a serious question to ask, which is: why are we still footing the bill through massive equalization payments? It is a legitimate question to be asking.

The member for Lakeland has fought for three years to point out the damage that has been done by Liberal government policy. It is something Albertans know all too well. They have experienced this before with a previous Liberal government and its national energy program. It is a myth now in Alberta. It is an easy thing to mention, even for those of us who did not have the opportunity to be born there, who moved to Alberta and became Albertans because they wanted to. The civic nationalism of our province knows about the stories, about the farms that were lost and the homes that were lost. That is what we do not want to have happen again.

The price differential we are experiencing right now is leading to job losses. Just last week, companies were telling us that for the first time ever they had to pay others a few pennies on the barrel to take our oil. That is ridiculous. It makes no sense.

Bill S-245 clears the way. Members opposite say it is not needed anymore, but I have not heard a single description of what harm it could do. The proposed bill does not even mention Kinder Morgan. It just mentions the projects and the licences issued. It applies just as well today as it will in the future. The government has explicitly said it wants to find a buyer. It has not explicitly said whether the project will be fully built and complete by then and actually producing and shipping or not. This would clear the way for any future owner of the pipeline as well, ensuring they can maintain it, ensuring the safety of the workers on site and ensuring the safety of the environment.

Bill S-245 is the right bill at the right time. It took an Alberta senator, an elected senator, not a member of the Conservative Party, but an independent senator, to put it forward. I am happy to support it. It is a great piece of legislation. It is brought from that desperation I just talked about. He found an opportunity to use the Constitution for the general advantage of Canada. This is how we build a community, a community of 10 provinces agreeing that—and I think we all agree—this has gone on for too long. There are too many delays, too much obstruction. Let us get the project built. The energy industry in Alberta is part of the lifeblood of Alberta. The public treasury there depends on it to ensure we have hospitals and schools, and pay for the salaries of its public sector workers. Without it, it will not happen. There will be further harm done to Alberta and to Albertans.

I am calling on all members to support the bill. Like other members have done in the past, when this section of the Constitution was used for things like Teleglobe, the grain commission, the wheat board, all of those things, it is time to act. The time to act is now.

Trans Mountain Pipeline Project ActPrivate Members' Business

6:15 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Resuming debate, the hon, member for Calgary Signal Hill. I will let him know that there are only about six minutes remaining in his time so we can leave enough time for the right of reply.

Trans Mountain Pipeline Project ActPrivate Members' Business

6:15 p.m.


Ron Liepert Conservative Calgary Signal Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to use the six minutes to express some views that I consistently get from my constituents in Calgary. They are very similar to what the member for Calgary Shepard mentioned. However, a couple of comments were made today that prompted me to get up and respond.

I listened attentively to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources. He talked about the government having a plan. Many in Alberta believe the Liberals do have a plan, and it is called ragging the puck. Part of the plan was to purchase Kinder Morgan so they were then in control of the timeline for building the pipeline. Many people in Alberta, including me and many of my colleagues, believe the government has no intention of ever getting shovels in the ground. This is part of the plan all right, the plan to rag the puck until after the next election, and the Liberals are doing a good job of it.

I know a number of members on the government side may not be familiar with how the oil industry is priced. I thought I would like to make a few comments to put it in a perspective that is easy for all Canadians to understand. We hear terms like, “price differential”. Very few people really understand what price differential means, so let me try to lay out as to what it means to Canadians in the way of lost revenue.

Today, the price of world oil is about $80 a barrel. In the U.S., it is around $70 a barrel. Alberta today is getting under $20 a barrel. Therefore, that price differential of $50 a barrel equates to one school per day not being built in Canada, while one school per day is being built in the United States. It equates to the equivalent of one hospital per week not being built in Canada, but it is being built in the United States.

For those members of the government who come from the auto industry area of Ontario, let me put this in perspective. At the Ford plant in Oakville, it produces a car worth $70,000 and it sells for $70,000 in Canada. However, when that same car is sold in the U.S., the Americans are quite happy to give us $20,000 for it. That is what we are dealing with today.

It is time for the government to do what it says it will do. The Liberals say they are committed to this pipeline. I see nothing in what they are doing that will get this pipeline built. That is why this bill is so very important.

I am offended when I hear the Prime Minister say that the government will not use tricks. He is calling a piece of legislation a trick. The Prime Minister is very good at tricks. It is time he start to look at reality and get on with it, get the job done and get that oil flowing to the west coast so we can start having a school per day built in Canada, not in the United States; a hospital per week built in Canada, not in the United States.

The time is now. We can do it with this legislation. Let us get on with it and support it.