House of Commons Hansard #262 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was project.

Topics

The House resumed from December 12, 2017 consideration of the motion that Bill S-228, An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act (prohibiting food and beverage marketing directed at children), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Child Health Protection ActPrivate Members' Business

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Larry Miller Conservative Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to once again speak to Bill S-228, which is about marketing to children. I only had the chance to speak to this motion for about two minutes when the bill was last debated. I will use my remaining eight minutes to comment on some new developments that have taken place since the bill was last debated.

The bill is being sponsored by the government as part of its healthy eating strategy and is one of four key pillars of this strategy. This objective is also outlined in the Minister of Health's mandate letter. Furthermore, her letter stated that she would introduce “new restrictions on the commercial marketing of unhealthy food and beverages to children, similar to those now in place in Quebec”.

When I was speaking to the legislation in December, I had a great deal of concern that the government was not, in fact, following the Quebec model. The model in Quebec, when it comes to marketing food and drink products to children, is based on an age limit of 13. Originally, Bill S-228 set out that companies would be prohibited from advertising to any children under the age of 17, which is certainly far off from the model in Quebec.

Since then, the minister has announced that the government would be looking to amend the legislation so that the age limit would be 13. I am very pleased to see that the government will move forward with that amendment. It is important. An age limit of 13 is far more reasonable and is more reflective of the model I believe we are aiming for. I look forward to seeing those amendments brought forward.

However, the Quebec model focuses solely on advertising and does not contain labelling and packaging bans, bans on testimonials and endorsements, bans on sales promotions, or bans on sales. All of these are currently possible restrictions in Bill S-228. They would certainly create a system that was far more restrictive than the one in Quebec. Therefore, the bill goes beyond the minister's mandate letter and does not truly accomplish the goal of introducing a model similar to Quebec's.

I would welcome amendments to Bill S-228 that would ensure that the legislation did not include the activities I just outlined. We need to be as close to the Quebec model as possible, and that would certainly help the bill get much closer.

I also have a number of concerns about how vague Bill S-228 is. The bill would essentially pave the way for the Department of Health to create regulations for marketing to children. In fact, the only truly defined aspect of the bill is the age limit. Everything else is left to the discretion of Health Canada. This is concerning, because we have already seen Health Canada deem foods like milk and beef unhealthy in its review of Canada's food guide.

Bill S-228 would amend the Food and Drugs Act to give Health Canada the power to define unhealthy food or to set out the criteria for determining whether a food is unhealthy. It is unclear what kinds of food would actually fall under the scope of this legislation. Over-consumption of anything, instead of moderation, is not good, but to define milk and beef as unhealthy is absolutely not true and is very insulting to the dairy and red meat industries.

Furthermore, the bill is vague about what kinds of advertising would be deemed to be targeting children. This would again be left completely to Health Canada to implement through regulations. Given that the bill is so broad, it is difficult to know what exactly we would be agreeing to in passing Bill S-228. The bill needs to be more clearly defined so that we can be sure that Health Canada would not have the power to unilaterally start regulating our food and beverage industries without evidence to suggest that these regulations would have a positive impact.

Further still, the legislation would leave Canadian food and beverage companies at an unfair disadvantage. Under this legislation, Canadian companies would be unable to advertise on websites, social media, and apps that may be intended for adults but are popular with children. However, foreign companies would not face these same restrictions. This is unfair and could have significant economic impacts. It is another attack on Canadian small businesses.

There is also some significant hypocrisy when it comes to this legislation. I find it interesting that on the one hand, the government is hell-bent on eliminating advertising to children for food and beverages, while on the other hand, it is allowing our children to possess certain amounts of marijuana.

Furthermore, under this legislation, marketing to children by the food and beverage industry would be prohibited, but alcoholic beverages would not face the same restrictions. It does not make sense at all. For example, a 13-year-old watching Hockey Night in Canada would be able to watch a commercial for Budweiser, but Tim Hortons would be prohibited from advertising hot chocolate or Timbits. It does not make sense.

In closing, I am fully in support of measures that promote healthy eating and good nutrition for our children. However, I am not supportive of broad and unclear legislation that would put significant regulatory power in the hands of Health Canada without any legislative direction.

The minister made a number of promises in relation to this legislation. She said that the bill would not target companies that sponsor sports programs, such as Timbits hockey and soccer. I am pleased that the minister has made this promise. However, until I see it included in the bill, I am sceptical and do not trust that this will in fact be the case. I want to see it first.

I support the intent of the legislation. However, the bill needs some significant work at committee to ensure that there are clear and defined objectives. The current draft of the bill would leave uncertainty, and it would leave all decision-making power in the hands of Health Canada. We need more direction.

I have another concern. One of the government MPs has said that we should go beyond the legalization of marijuana and that all drugs should be decriminalized. It just blows my mind. We are talking about the health and safety of kids, and everything the Liberals say and do contradicts that.

With that, I am done for the day.

Child Health Protection ActPrivate Members' Business

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Ron McKinnon Liberal Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to have the opportunity to address the House today regarding an important piece of legislation to prohibit the marketing of unhealthy food and beverages to children. Bill S-228, An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act (prohibiting food and beverage marketing directed at children), has come to the House so that we can do our part to protect the health and well-being of Canadian children. It is through initiatives such as Bill S-228, introduced by the hon. Senator Greene Raine, that we will have a lasting impact on the health of Canadians.

I want to thank my friend and colleague on the health committee, the member for Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley, for his efforts in shepherding this bill through the House of Commons.

Diet-related chronic diseases are a national health crisis. For example, some three million Canadians, one in 10 adults, are currently living with diabetes, and about 90% of adult Canadian diabetics have type 2 diabetes.

To make matters worse, Canada's obesity rates are on the rise. Almost two-thirds of Canadian adults, 64.2%, are overweight or obese.

We have already heard from a number of our colleagues that the rate of obesity in children has tripled in Canada since 1980. This means that our children are at higher risk of developing a range of health problems later in life, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. With all this in mind, I would like to applaud the Minister of Health for her strong leadership in bending the curve. Specifically, the Minister of Health has launched the comprehensive healthy eating strategy, which targets the diets of all Canadians, including children. The key focus is to make the healthy choice the easy choice. Significant progress has been made on the healthy eating strategy since it was launched in October 2016. For example, Health Canada has advanced new nutrition labelling requirements that will increase the clarity of nutrition information on food packaging by 2022. Health Canada has also published new regulations that will eliminate industrial trans fat by 2018.

Moving forward, Health Canada is advancing initiatives to continue this momentum to support better health outcomes for Canadians. This includes reducing sodium in processed foods, revising Canada's food guide to reflect the latest scientific evidence, and introducing front-of-package labelling regulations to improve the ability of Canadians to identify foods high in sugar, salt, and saturated fat.

Restricting the commercial marketing of unhealthy foods to children is an important and timely component of the overall strategy. Now more than ever, our children are being exposed to a significant number and range of advertisements for unhealthy foods and beverages.

The marketing world has changed. In addition to traditional advertising, unhealthy food and beverage advertising is now all over the screens our children are exposed to.

According to a recent study, children see over 25 million food and beverage ads on their favourite websites every year. Technology has made it easier for advertisers to reach children now, no matter where they are. These factors combined are producing poor health outcomes and will have a negative impact on our children and our country in the long term.

In fact, the marketing of unhealthy food and beverages to children has been identified by the World Health Organization, WHO, as a major contributor to childhood obesity. To encourage countries around the world to tackle the problem, the WHO has developed guidance for implementing marketing restrictions, which Health Canada has followed in developing its policy.

Other countries are recognizing the need to take action in this area as well. Regulatory measures have been put in place in countries all around the world, including South Korea, the United Kingdom, and Chile. Health Canada is learning from their experience, as we are also learning here at home from Quebec, where regulations restricting marketing to children have been in place for over 30 years. The evidence suggests that this approach is working, as French-speaking children in Quebec are exposed to fewer ads than children outside of Quebec.

Advertising and marketing techniques work to influence behaviour. Health experts, and the food and beverage industry alike, have long recognized the impact that advertising unhealthy foods and beverages has on children. Unfortunately, voluntary efforts to reduce marketing to children have not worked. While some industry members have taken steps to restrict certain marketing practices to children, this legislation supports a stronger, comprehensive approach and has the potential to create substantial change for Canadian children.

In an effort to protect the health and wellness of Canadian children, the government is focusing the marketing restrictions on unhealthy foods that are high in salt, sugar, and saturated fat. These nutrients are associated with an increased risk of chronic disease and obesity. As such, they are also the nutrients which the WHO recommends we focus on in defining unhealthy foods for marketing restrictions.

The vast majority of children are consuming sodium at levels that are associated with an increased risk to health. In fact, the average daily sodium intake of Canadian children exceeds the recommended upper limit by a staggering 80%. This excessive intake of salt is putting children at increased risk of developing high blood pressure.

Our children are consuming excessive amounts of sugar, largely due to sugary drink consumption. The 2014-15 Canadian health measures survey reported that 16% of children and youth were drinking sugar-sweetened beverages every single day. Research has shown that this can contribute to an increased risk of tooth decay and childhood obesity. In Canada, tooth decay affects 57% of children aged 6 to 11 years, and nearly one-third of Canadian children are overweight or obese. Diets that are high in sugar, salt, and saturated fat play a large role in this alarming statistic.

This legislation, along with the various initiatives under the healthy eating strategy, will support better health outcomes for Canadians. Placing restrictions on the marketing of foods and beverages that are high in salt, sugar, and saturated fat will make it easier to choose whole foods that are the foundation of a healthy diet, foods that align with the dietary guidance provided in Canada's food guide and encourage a healthy diet and growth.

As the healthy choice becomes the easier choice for Canadians, we hope that the food and beverage industry will shift toward producing and promoting more foods that better meet the nutritional needs of Canadian children. This initiative aligns with the Department of Agriculture and Agri-food's food policy for Canada, which supports the need to increase access to affordable foods and grow more high-quality healthy food.

Research shows that marketing influences what children eat and drink. We know that food has a direct impact on health and well-being. This is why Bill S-228 is important to protecting the health and well-being of all children in Canada. Today, this marketing of unhealthy food and beverages is so pervasive that we need to play our part by providing parameters on the advertising of unhealthy foods and drinks directed at children.

I ask the House to support Bill S-228 in order to protect the health and well-being of all Canadian children by restricting the marketing of unhealthy food and beverages.

Child Health Protection ActPrivate Members' Business

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise and join in this debate. Senator Greene Raine, who has presented this bill, is part of my B.C. caucus. Overall today, I want to point out my admiration for her, for her past achievements, and also for her contributions since then, including bringing forward ideas that she thinks are important. That being said, my role today is to ask questions about how this will be interpreted, questions that industry and those who have to work under such rules will be asking, and to make sure they are included in any kind of contemplation and examination.

I used to be a martial arts instructor. I taught hundreds, if not thousands, of young people how to protect themselves. The very act of enabling our youth to make wise decisions, and to be strong, whether it be in self-confidence or in body, is very important. I also have children. I have three girls under the age of 17 that this bill would apply to, and one child who has reached the age of majority. Certainly, I have been a parent. I have worked with children to help them make better choices. I have helped parents to work with their children and become aware of these things. A sound body creates a sound mind, which helps someone to be able to give their time to their country.

Specifically, I would like to ask a few questions in relation to the bill.

The bill would amend the Food and Drugs Act to prohibit food and beverage marketing directed at persons under 17 years of age.

When a piece of legislation is put into place where officials, who are not a specific minister or Governor in Council, i.e., the cabinet, are not authorized to make further changes, it undercuts the ability of parliamentarians and the constituents we represent to make a direct connection with elected leaders to express their concerns. One just has to look at what brouhaha happened at CRA when, unbeknownst to the minister, CRA officials put forward a folio which changed how employees would be taxed on their benefits, such as receiving a lunch, or a discount on a pair of jeans or whatnot. The outrage we heard was particularly because this affected everyday Canadians in their lives, and we had a minister of the crown who basically said she knew nothing about it and it was the fault of the officials.

Our system works best when we have ministers who allow themselves to be accountable. I am happy to see a minister of the crown here today. It is not often that we see someone joining a private member's debate. I think that this is good. He can hear some of the thoughts on the other side. I welcome that.

The second thing I would raise is the lack of definition on what is unhealthy. We know that everyday members of Parliament from the Conservative side have been asking the Minister of Health specifically about stakeholder concerns about the Canada food guide. Stakeholders have not been allowed to participate directly with government officials at Health Canada. They were forced to attend regular public sessions to give their feedback. Stakeholders are worried, particularly in the dairy farming sector, that products like milk or cheese may be deemed to not be as healthy as traditionally we have seen in Canada. They are concerned because of what might happen under this piece of legislation if health officials decide, “Cheese is not as good as we thought. We are going to put that where it is no longer considered as a healthy food.” What does that mean for our grocery stores? Are store owners going to have to start hiding cheese?

That brings me to my next point. The bill talks about advertising. Advertising is “the act or practice of calling public attention to one's product, service, need, etc..”. Product placement, as we know, is a major part of our everyday life. If we go into convenient stores, what is displayed where on the shelves is highly subject to government regulation. Obviously, cigarettes should be tucked away and not seen, because we know unambiguously that they are not healthy products, but what does that mean for what we consider to be everyday products? If someone under the age of 17, let us say six years old, walks into a store, will he or she no longer be able to go down the aisle, count their nickels and dimes, and be able to buy gumdrops and all of those things? These are pertinent questions, and so far we have not heard substantive answers.

Advertising is not just what we see on posters or on TV. Advertising is product placement, even the labelling of such things. We have heard a lot of concerns regarding the government's new rules on labels. We may disagree or agree on those things, but, whatever we do, we should be practical and upfront with people.

The last thing I would like to raise is the government's ability to put these rules in place. We can agree to disagree on whether government officials do a good enough job of engaging with Canadians and stakeholders to put forward reasonable regulations, but every time the federal government tries to do something more, especially with regard to convenience stores, movie theatres, or businesses in remote and rural areas, it will be expected to apply these laws the same as for anyone in urban centres. Will the government have to hire more people to carry out these regulations?

When I was a city councillor in Penticton, one of the things we talked about was why we would have a bylaw that is unenforceable. Some people will follow the law, and other people, who know there is very little enforcement, will break it knowingly. That is especially so if there is competition. There may be one grocer down the way following the rules versus another one not following the rules. It creates an uneven playing field, and that is not right in Canadian law.

I again salute the senator who put this idea forward. It is always good for us to talk about these things, but we should be aware of what we are asking for. Sometimes we ask for too much. Sometimes the government should at least hear the concerns of the opposition and then make practical changes. I hope that is what will happen in this case, because there is far from a ready-to-go, pan-Canadian consensus on this.

Child Health Protection ActPrivate Members' Business

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Doug Eyolfson Liberal Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley, MB

Madam Speaker, it is an honour to stand here among my colleagues and thank them all for their efforts and thoughtful debate on the child health protection act. I also want to thank Senator Nancy Greene Raine for her tireless work on the legislation and for entrusting me with helping to shepherd it through the House of Commons.

Childhood obesity is an epidemic. We know obesity is linked to chronic illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. During my career as a physician, I noticed more and more of my patients who presented were overweight or obese, and I was seeing instances of heart disease and type 2 diabetes in younger and younger people. This bill takes concrete steps to address this issue.

I have heard concerns that the bill would interfere with consumer and parental choice. Nothing could be further from the truth. The legislation focuses squarely on marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages to children and does not dictate what can be served or sold.

It is an axiom that advertising plays a role in dictating preferences and choices. Companies would not spend billions of dollars if that were not the case.

Children in today's society have a marked preference for unhealthy foods in large part because they face a barrage of ads targeted toward them that encourage that preference. If we were to restrict children's advertising to healthy foods, this would help encourage preferences for healthy foods.

I have heard critics ask what proof there is that such an approach would achieve the desired objective.

Although it is notoriously difficult to conclusively prove causality in any public health measure, it should be noted that in 1971, Quebec passed the Consumer Protection Act, forbidding all advertising of unhealthy foods to children less than 13 years of age. In the intervening years, Quebec has achieved the highest rate of fruit and vegetable consumption among children and the lowest child obesity rates in Canada.

Whereas correlation does not necessarily equal cause and effect, we can find no other cause for this positive trend, and we are confident this trend will continue if established nationally.

As I stated previously, should the legislation pass second reading and be referred to the Standing Committee on Health, I will be submitting amendments to it.

The first amendment would change the definition of children from under 17 years of age to under 13 years of age. During Health Canada's consultation with stakeholders, it has become increasingly obvious any regime built on restrictions aimed at older teenagers would be subject to considerable legal risks associated with the restriction on freedom of expression under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. There is a strong precedent for defining a child as under 13 in the context of advertising restrictions in Quebec, and the province has withstood a charter challenge that was fully upheld at the Supreme Court of Canada.

Recognizing there is evidence showing the vulnerability of teenagers to marketing, as well as the experience in Quebec where industry shifted marketing efforts to teenagers when restrictions were imposed on younger children, I will move another amendment to require Parliament to conduct a mandatory review of the legislation, with a particular focus on the definition of children, within five years of the act coming into force. Through the parliamentary review of the legislation, the government would also be obliged to report publicly on compliance with the bill and on progress toward our common goal of healthier children of all ages. This would ensure that, if necessary, we would have the data needed to support a broadening of restrictions at a future date.

Additionally, the Minister of Health clarified that sports sponsorships would be exempt to ensure activities promoting healthy lifestyles and choices would continue. This has been a concern for many of my colleagues, and I want to assure them little league hockey and other youth sports activities will not be jeopardized.

Before I wrap up, I want to make one quick aside.

Over a decade ago, I was involved in the debate on indoor smoking in Manitoba, as it is both a public health and occupational health issue. At that time, in an attempt to deflect, a number of people challenged me by saying that obesity was a much bigger threat than smoking, and asked what I was doing about that. Well, now, 15 years later, they have their answer. I am doing something to combat childhood obesity, and everyone in this chamber has the opportunity to do the same.

I am calling upon all members for their support to show we are united in fighting this epidemic.

Child Health Protection ActPrivate Members' Business

11:30 a.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

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

Child Health Protection ActPrivate Members' Business

11:30 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Child Health Protection ActPrivate Members' Business

11:30 a.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

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

Child Health Protection ActPrivate Members' Business

11:30 a.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Child Health Protection ActPrivate Members' Business

11:30 a.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

All those opposed will please say nay.

Child Health Protection ActPrivate Members' Business

11:30 a.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Child Health Protection ActPrivate Members' Business

11:30 a.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Pursuant to Standing Order 93, the recorded division stands deferred until Wednesday, February 14, immediately before the time provided for private members' business.

Suspension of SittingChild Health Protection ActPrivate Members' Business

11:35 a.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

The House will now suspend until noon.

(The sitting of the House was suspended at 11:35 a.m.)

(The House resumed at 12 p.m.)

NDP

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion Project

Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

Noon

Conservative

Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

moved:

That, given the Trans Mountain Expansion Project is in the national interest, will create jobs and provide provinces with access to global markets, the House call on the Prime Minister to prioritize the construction of the federally-approved Trans Mountain Expansion Project by taking immediate action, using all tools available; to establish certainty for the project, and to mitigate damage from the current interprovincial trade dispute, tabling his plan in the House no later than noon on Thursday, February 15, 2018.

Madam Speaker, I will share my time today with the member for Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock.

I proudly stand with the hard-working Canadians who are waiting to get to work building the Trans Mountain expansion, waiting to start their next, higher-paying technical job so they can give even more to their families and to their communities. I proudly stand with investors and industry waiting to get answers from the government, to be permitted the opportunity to invest billions in Canada's economy to allow all of Canada to reap billions of dollars in rewards.

I moved this motion with every intention and all anticipation that it would receive the unanimous support of the House. The pipeline is in the national interest. The expansion would create jobs and provide provinces with access to global markets, but it has not been built yet. It has not even started, and no one seems to know when it will get built.

The time has come for the Prime Minister to take action. If federal approval for a project that is in the national interest means as little as it appears, it is now up to the Prime Minister to take sufficient next steps to ensure that federal approval of this national project under federal jurisdiction actually matters and that this pipeline actually gets built.

It is more important than ever, because the only other pipelines that would have reached tidewater and expanded Canadian markets were killed. Energy east was killed by changing the rules and red tape, and northern gateway was vetoed by the Prime Minister for political gain despite federal approval under the same rigorous process as Trans Mountain and despite the 31 first nations equity partnerships that were lost.

The oil and gas industry provides billions in tax revenue for important social programs. It directly and indirectly employs hundreds of thousands of Canadians in every part of the country. It provides the means to a better life for every Canadian. Without this expansion, Canada's key, almost only, customer is the U.S. Canada is a captive merchant, and our oil prices suffer directly as a result. It is an acute problem, because the U.S. is now Canada's biggest competitor in oil and gas, securing its own domestic energy production and supply while flooding world markets.

Let us review how we got to today. Six years ago, in 2012, Kinder Morgan said that it had received sufficient interest from oil shippers and that its projected demand required greater volume of product than the existing Trans Mountain pipeline could support.

In order to ensure that the capital funding would be in place to support that expansion, Kinder Morgan secured 15- and 20-year commitments from its shippers, including Canadian industry giants Cenovus and Suncor. Within one month, it had applied to the National Energy Board for approval of the overall contract and toll structure. A year and a half later, at the end of 2013, Trans Mountain filed its 15,000-page expansion application with the NEB. The NEB responded with a list of over 1,500 participants for hearings. The hearings got under way, and Kinder Morgan responded to more than 400 questions from the NEB and more than 17,000 questions from the participants in the hearings. A key component of those hearings was the contribution of traditional indigenous knowledge. That was in December 2013.

Twenty-nine months later, in May 2016, after a thorough and comprehensive scientific, technical, and environmental assessment, the strongest in the world, the NEB recommended the approval of the expansion, declaring it in the national interest. The recommendation for approval was contingent upon the successful fulfillment of 157 conditions, which apply to every aspect of the pipeline physically and temporally, before construction, during construction, during operation, and eventually to abandonment, addressing environmental protection, safety, emissions, marine and other ecological protection, prevention and emergency response capabilities, and the various communities impacted directly by the expansion.

Six months later, after yet another review of upstream emissions and an additional federal report on consultations requested by the Liberals, the Prime Minister finally approved it. Conservatives supported the approval but warned that approval was one thing and getting it built was another.

The NEB awarded a certificate of public convenience and necessity to allow construction and operation of the expansion. Since December 2016, Kinder Morgan has continued to comply with and fulfill the 157 conditions. It continues to engage with stakeholders and monitor environmental considerations. It was supposed to have started construction five months ago, but delays continue.

First were the City of Burnaby's delaying tactics. The city is along the expansion route, with a terminal enlargement as part of the project, and it is the permitting authority within its borders. It required Kinder Morgan to obtain preliminary plan approvals and tree cutting permits. Just as the city attempted to thwart Kinder Morgan's work on the Burnaby Mountain tunnel, it likewise attempted to use its permitting system to delay the expansion. In June 2017, Kinder Morgan applied for the required permits from the city, and finally in October 2017 it was forced to ask the NEB for relief. Two months later, only three months ago, the NEB responded and Kinder Morgan continued its work.

However, now it is delayed again, by the B.C. NDP, which claims that certain studies on the product that has been flowing through the existing pipelines for decades are still required, and that without those studies industry and government are necessarily underequipped to respond to a diluted bitumen spill. Those studies would take years to complete.

It is amazing that the Prime Minister did not anticipate this attack on Trans Mountain, since the B.C. NDP openly campaigned on killing it. Even more amazing is the fact that the Prime Minister did not bother to bring up the expansion with the newly elected B.C. NDP premier. That was just the beginning of the Prime Minister's failure to lead, since he has been MIA on Trans Mountain ever since.

Regarding the B.C. NDP's claims about the product, dilbit has been studied and researched thoroughly, both before it was ever put in a pipeline and ever since. I want to be clear. What I am not saying is that industry and academics know all they need and that no more research should be done on dilbit. What I am saying is that a very large body of research already exists, providing a solid foundation on which Canadian industry may confidently invest in critical capital energy infrastructure, and Canadians can be confident in the safety and the risk mitigation of the expansion. I know that in 2015 the Royal Society issued a report calling for additional research into the effects of an accidental release, but it is also true that many other reports and studies have built an existing body of research and literature that can reassure Canadians and educate industry.

Canada's energy industry is the nation leader in self-improvement, study, innovation, research and development, and precautionary spending. It plans and researches every conceivable problem in advance, to be prepared for when an accidental spill occurs. Canadians do not expect oil and gas companies to never have an accidental spill, because that would be unreasonable, but they do expect, rightly, that these companies be held accountable and be well equipped to deal with any such occurrences.

This expansion must be completed in order to allow Trans Mountain to ship products to its markets. The four key destinations reinforce the importance and urgency of the expansion. Currently, refined product is shipped to Kamloops and Burnaby for use within B.C. Crude product is shipped in part to Washington state through the interconnection at Sumas with the Puget Sound pipeline, where it connects with four other pipelines connecting to refineries. The remaining crude product is refined in Burnaby or exported through the Westridge Marine Terminal. Westridge is a key terminal because it allows for Aframax-size tankers to deliver to markets in Hawaii and the U.S. west coast, but most importantly to Asia-Pacific and India. If the expansion is built, Canada can be a provider of the most environmentally and socially responsible oil to meet the exponentially growing demand in those regions for decades to come.

The expansion is entirely focused on reaching new export markets and expanding the existing Canadian export market share, because it is going to carry unrefined products, which are aimed at export markets, not necessarily for domestic use or even for refining in the American Pacific northwest. That access, of course, is only one aspect of the determination that the pipeline is in the national interest. The Conservatives have long advocated that industry and the environment are two sides of the same coin. Canadians must have industry to work, innovate, build, invest, and profit, but they also must steward and protect the environment: air quality, water, land, and habitat. One cannot take precedence over the other. Government must strike that balance and protect the public interest.

The Trans Mountain expansion was assessed under the previous approval process, with the 157 conditions for approval, and was accepted by the Liberals. I must note condition 5, which states that unless the NEB directs otherwise prior to September 30, 2021, the certificate authorizing the construction will expire unless construction has commenced by that date. The year 2021 may seem like a long time from now, but it has been five months since construction was supposed to have started, and Trans Mountain is still at risk. It has not been allowed to put shovels in the ground. Therefore, I cannot help but wonder whether the reason the Prime Minister is sitting on his hands and failing to get involved and lead is that he is just waiting for the clock to run out.

The real deadline is when Trans Mountain decides that the likelihood of success is too small, but it recently announced that it is committed to the long haul. It is not going anywhere, and it expects to get this expansion built. This is embarrassing. It is embarrassing because Canadian energy investors feel compelled to affirm that in spite of all the delays, the uncertainty, the prospect of eventual failure, and the enemies on all sides, they are still trying to get the project built to benefit all of Canada. That is what energy investment in Canada looks like under the Liberals and under the current Prime Minister's failure of leadership.

The remaining conditions require Kinder Morgan to complete extensive assessments of environmental impacts, community engagement, and feedback, ensuring that all stakeholders and affected persons have been consulted and that their feedback has been implemented into the overall plan. That is especially and particularly true for the impacted indigenous communities. Kinder Morgan recognizes the unique nature of coastal indigenous communities, and it added a number of additional indigenous groups to its consultations.

I urge every member of the House to vote in favour of this motion. If we do not, then who will? It is our obligation as legislators to hold the—

Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

Questions and comments, the hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.

Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, I am a member of Parliament from the Prairies. Our natural resources and commodities, and getting them to market, have always been of great importance. How can one be a prairie representative and not recognize that importance? However, we also recognize the importance of the environment, working with stakeholders, and ensuring that when we do move forward we are moving in a direction that is favourable to both.

The Government of Canada, through our fine minister, has actually accomplished significant agreements where we now have pipelines going to tidewaters. Contrast that to Stephen Harper, who had zero inches of pipeline going to tidewaters directly.

Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

What the Conservatives could not get done, our minister and our government were able to get done.

We all recognize the importance of the issue, but given the Conservatives' poor track record and our government's positive track record in two years, why does the member not believe that this government can continue to do what the Harper government failed to do?

Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

I want to remind members to keep their preambles short if they want to ask a question. Otherwise, I will start cutting the questions off.

Also, I want to remind members that when another member has the floor they should please give that member the respect he or she deserves. There were quite a few interjections during the parliamentary secretary's comments.

The hon. member for Lakeland.

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12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

Madam Speaker, the oil and gas industry does not benefit just the prairie provinces. It provides multiple benefits for every community in every corner of the country.

The previous Conservative government approved multiple pipelines, and many of those pipelines are constructed and operational. The question here is, what does it mean to have federal approval of a pipeline that has already gone through Canada's rigorous, stringent, and transparent regulatory process, which is the strongest of any energy-producing country on planet Earth, when the project can continually be delayed?

The environmental assessments have been rigorous and stringent. The indigenous consultations have been thorough and comprehensive, and the proponent added multiple other indigenous communities to the consultation.

What the motion says is that the Prime Minister must lead on the approval that the Liberals themselves made. The Liberals just continue to use these empty words, over and over, that the pipeline will get built. However, it has not started yet, so that is all talk. It is incumbent upon the Prime Minister to lay out to Canadians exactly how he will ensure that this expansion gets built.

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12:15 p.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby South, BC

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the Conservatives for bringing forward this motion, because it is an important thing for us to talk about. Living at ground zero in Burnaby South, I can say that this is causing tons of stress in my community and in communities all through British Columbia.

To counter some of the talking points from the oil industry, this is of course a new pipeline. If we look at Kinder Morgan's website, we see that it is 980 kilometres of new pipeline going through about 80 first nations communities, nine first nations reserves, and of course very densely populated urban areas.

I would like to get to the crux of the debate. In the core of the motion, the Conservatives are calling for every tool available to force this pipeline through. I am wondering if the Conservatives are willing to use section 2 of the Emergencies Act and, as the natural resources minister said, use military force in order to push this pipeline through communities.

Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

Madam Speaker, we are calling on the Prime Minister to outline to Canadians exactly what actions he will take to ensure that his federal approval of this national pipeline, in the national interest, under federal jurisdiction will get built. That is the Prime Minister's responsibility, and that is what the motion is about.

Regarding the consultations with indigenous communities, we should be clear how they were consulted about the Trans Mountain pipeline. The final consultation list included 120 aboriginal groups, two non-land based B.C. Métis groups, and 11 associations, councils, and tribes.

The government has a duty to indigenous communities to consult, and that has been done. Kinder Morgan used a 10-kilometre buffer area around the proposed pipeline corridor to identify indigenous groups with traditional territory that may be affected. That led to the identification of seven reserves and five indigenous communities, as well as a number of other coastal indigenous communities, which were involved in the consultations.

Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Jamie Schmale Conservative Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, ON

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak today about the Trans Mountain expansion project.

Last week the Government of British Columbia announced that it would halt the flow of diluted bitumen through the Trans Mountain pipeline pending the outcome of what amounts to be an environmental review. This is in spite of the National Energy Board's 29-month review, the federal government's approval over 14 months ago, the B.C. government's requirement that 157 conditions be met, and the already issued environmental assessment certificate from the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office.

The project, which twins the existing 1,150 kilometre Trans Mountain pipeline between Strathcona County, Alberta, and Burnaby, B.C., would create a pipeline which increases the capacity from 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 barrels per day. The expansion project would assure that the Canadian oil industry could reach new markets by expanding the capacity of North America's only pipeline with access to the west coast.

The Trans Mountain project is in the national interest of Canada. The project would inject $7.4 billion into Canada's economy during the construction phase. Oil producers would see $73.5 billion in increased revenues over 20 years. All three levels of government would share $46.7 billion in additional taxes and royalties from construction and 20 years of operation.

According to the Conference Board of Canada's estimates, the project would create the equivalent of 15,000 construction jobs and the equivalent of 37,000 direct and indirect jobs over the years of operation. Direct construction workforce spending in communities along the pipeline route is estimated to be $480 million. Overall, the project would generate more than 800,000 direct and indirect person years of employment during the project development and operation.

Last week the B.C. government, an NDP coalition held thinly together by Green Party members, put the rest of Canada on notice that there would be no oil heading west to tidewater. The Prime Minister reacted to this news by telling us that this was a disagreement between provinces. It has nothing to do with the federal government, he said, and off he went to the United States, abandoning Alberta and B.C. to work it out among themselves. With tens of thousands of jobs on the line and billions of dollars in revenue, Alberta's premier put it best when she told the Prime Minister that this is not a debate between B.C. and Alberta, that this is a debate between B.C. and Canada.

The Minister of Natural Resources said that B.C. can launch further consultations but he assured Canadians that they need to be done in a timely fashion, words that no doubt are inspiring confidence throughout the oil and gas industry, and please note my sarcasm. One might think that the oil and gas industry should adopt a wait and see approach. Perhaps the opposition should simply let things work themselves out, as suggested by the Prime Minister.

One only needs to look at the track record of the government to quickly realize what is going on here. The Liberal government is not interested in supporting the oil and gas sector in Canada. The Liberals will talk a good game; I will give them that. Members on that side of the House will claim they approved the project and they support opening markets for Canadian oil. Then why did the government cave to environmental activists backed by foreign interests by banning tanker traffic on the northwest coast destroying the northern gateway project? Meanwhile, on the east coast, which is dependent on tanker shipments of oil from foreign despots, those same tankers can pull into Atlantic ports but not into Prince Rupert, B.C. It makes no sense.

Then there was energy east. Perhaps everyone will remember that project, the one that would have created 15,000 jobs and injected $55 billion into the Canadian economy. The energy east pipeline would have decreased our dependence on oil from the Middle East and countries with questionable human rights records. The Liberals claimed it was a decision by Trans Canada, that it had nothing to do with the government. It is no wonder these projects fail when we change the rules and pile on endless regulations and more red tape, all done mid-process.

The failure of energy east has nothing to do with any decision taken by Trans Canada. Instead, it was a result of the Prime Minister's mismanagement and failure to champion the Canadian energy sector.

The government is determined to keep Canada's oil, Canada's future, in the ground in northern Alberta. We can at least ship it to the United States, where Canadian producers are forced to discount their product by 30%.

If not pipelines, what is next? Today we rely on road and rail transport to move most of our oil at great risk to communities and Canadians on the road. This was made tragically apparent in Lac-Mégantic in 2013. A terrible event such as that would give us all reason to pause. The existing Trans Mountain pipeline system moves the equivalent of about 1,400 tanker truckloads, or 441 tanker railcars, daily. Expanding the Trans Mountain pipeline would result in safer, more efficient, and more economic shipment of oil between Alberta and British Columbia. Pipelines are safe. They are regulated. They are inspected.

The technology that goes into building and monitoring pipelines today is revolutionary. The Canadian men and women who build and monitor these pipelines, and who live and raise their families in the communities where the pipelines run, know what they are doing. They trust their skills and the skills of their co-workers. The government needs to stop the rhetoric and start supporting the hard-working Canadian families in the oil and gas sector.

I fear that the Prime Minister and the Minister of Natural Resources have made a fatal miscalculation in the standoff between Alberta and British Columbia. The B.C. government says that the proposed ban is designed to forestall any increase in exports via the Trans Mountain pipeline until it is assured the coast is perfectly safe from a spill. The truth is that the B.C. NDP government and its Green Party coalition detest Alberta oil, even though it fuels the productivity of their province. Their obstructionist strategy is clearly designed to sabotage the pipeline through indefinite delays. By changing the rules midstream, they hope to force Kinder Morgan to abandon the project in the same way the Liberal government forced the demise of energy east.

The Prime Minister's failure to champion the actual and timely construction of this pipeline has created a void in national leadership, and there needs to be action right now. I urge the government to look at the options and begin a face-to-face dialogue with the province. It should look at invoking the use of special powers under section 92 of the Constitution to say that this is against the national interest and the roadblocks need to stop. There is no middle ground on this issue. The Prime Minister needs to pick a side. Either he is for environmentally responsible and sustainable natural resource extraction or he is not. To quote Jason Kenney, the leader of the United Conservative Party in Alberta, “Words are not enough, we need action”.

Each day of inaction by the Liberals fuels national conflict. The Alberta government has banned B.C. wine, and co-operation on interprovincial projects is in jeopardy. Alberta has suspended talks with British Columbia on the purchase of electricity from the western province. Up to $500 million annually hangs in the balance for B.C.

We cannot blame Albertans. The trade dispute between Alberta and B.C. is just a symptom of the Prime Minister's failure to lead. It is no wonder energy investment in Canada was lower in the last two years than in any other two-year period in 70 years. It is no wonder oil and gas companies are packing up and heading south, where the business climate is robust and welcoming. ExxonMobil announced a $50-billion investment in the United States over five years. This is highly irresponsible at a time when the NAFTA negotiations are in such a state of flux, when we need to open markets, not shut them down, and when we need to reassure investors and not send them packing.

In the midst of this crisis, the government introduced Bill C-69, meant, in the government's view, to speed up major resource projects and bring clarity to the approval process. Nothing, though, could be further from the truth. One only has to read the legislation to see that there are many exceptions everywhere. The 450-day and 300-day maximums for major and minor project approval, for example, can be extended indefinitely. Projects can be dismissed by the minister, even before getting to the initial assessment phase. Yet another example of increased uncertainty and unpredictability is the elimination of the standing test used by the NEB to restrict participation at hearings to only those who are directly affected or have knowledge or insight that is relevant and useful.

The Trans Mountain project is in the national interest. It would create jobs and provide provinces with access to global markets. Conservatives understand that the Trans Mountain project is important to Canadian energy workers because this project would create tens of thousands of jobs and help fund our hallmark national programs, such as health care.

This is a national crisis and the answer is not to send public servants to do this job. The Prime Minister needs to go to B.C., stand up to the premier, and stand up for hard-working Canadian families.

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12:25 p.m.

Liberal

Chris Bittle Liberal St. Catharines, ON

Madam Speaker, the hon. member and I agree on one point in his speech, which is that this project is in the national interest, something that has been said by the Prime Minister, something that has been said by the Minister of Natural Resources, who I am sure will expand on that shortly.

The hon. member mentioned lack of investment. However, he forgot the part about oil prices being historically low. I was wondering if he could explain, in his mind, what the Conservatives' plan to increase oil prices is or whether there is a full understanding that the government has no control over that.

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12:25 p.m.

Conservative

Jamie Schmale Conservative Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, ON

Madam Speaker, I thought that after my speech my friend and I would agree on more than one point. Therefore, I will help to convince him a little further.

If we look at what is happening in the United States, the energy industry is booming. I mentioned the investment by ExxonMobil, a $50-billion investment over five years. That is unheard of. We are sending foreign investment to other countries to work on expanding the industry. We are noting that the oil and gas sector is needed to continue the growth of our economy, to continue investments in our social programs.

We have some of the highest, world-renowned and environmentally strong regulations in this country. We should be proud of that. We should be using this as an example to expand our industries, like the industry wants to do, and promote that as in the national interest. To date, we have yet to see leadership from the Prime Minister to do that.

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12:25 p.m.

NDP

Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Madam Speaker, because coastal communities in B.C. were very concerned about the effects of bitumen once it hits the oceans and marine environment, in 2011, as Islands Trust Council chair, I started writing letters to then prime minister Stephen Harper asking what the science was, how he was going to respond, if he had studied what would happen when this heavy bitumen hit the marine environment, and whether it would stay suspended long enough for the skimmers and oil spill response teams to be able to act. There was no answer from the Conservatives. Then prime minister Stephen Harper eroded the National Energy Board process so much that by the time the Kinder Morgan pipeline was reviewed, there was no public testimony and no cross-examination of evidence allowed. When the Royal Society of Canada and others wanted to bring evidence on bitumen in the marine environment, it was blocked based on the fact that it would be prejudicial to Kinder Morgan. Then the new Liberal Prime Minister embraced both the failure to regulate bitumen and the flawed National Energy Board review. The way I see it, Premier Horgan is now filling that gap by saying he is going to regulate and study what happens to bitumen in the marine environment.

To my Conservative friend, do you feel any regret for having undermined science and the regulatory process so much that we are here today?

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12:30 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

I want to remind the member she is to address the question through the Chair and not to the individual member.

The hon. member for Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock.

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12:30 p.m.

Conservative

Jamie Schmale Conservative Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, ON

Madam Speaker, I disagree with what my friend said. I find it quite interesting that we can do years and years of consultations, spend millions of dollars, speak to thousands of people on this issue, whether they be scientists, indigenous communities or experts in the industry, and it is still not enough.

We were told that the introduction of a carbon tax would give a social licence for such things as a pipeline. We have yet to see one built. The northern gateway was cancelled because of increased regulations and red tape, including the tanker ban. The government said that if we gave it the carbon tax, it would get these pipelines built. That has not happened. That is a scam. It is a tax increase on everyone. It has increased the cost of living for everyone, making life unaffordable, yet we still have no pipeline.

I would go back to the hon. member with a question. What would be enough? What would it take to allow this pipeline to move forward? Increasing regulations and red tape delaying the project are not an answer.

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12:30 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Jim Carr LiberalMinister of Natural Resources

Madam Speaker, it is with disappointment that I join this debate.

Canadians look to their national Parliament for steady leadership and aspirational thinking. They look to us to unite our country and build our nation. Instead, they have seen too many examples of something quite different today. They see a motion seemingly designed to provoke anger and inflame anxiety, members who prefer to point fingers and sow division. At times, I have even wondered if the main purpose of this debate is to fan regional tensions and reopen historical grievances. We are better than that.

The world has reached a turning point. Climate change represents our generation's greatest challenge, and investing in a low-carbon future is the new norm.

Canada is uniquely positioned to rise to this occasion and to be a global leader, thanks to the resources of our country and the resourcefulness of our people. This is our government's vision for Canada in this clean growth century. It is a vision that brings all Canadians together under common cause, and one that includes using this time of transition to Canada's advantage, building the infrastructure we need to get our resources to global markets, and using the revenues they generate to invest in that future. That is what we are doing.

This is why our government is working with officials in Alberta and British Columbia to get a resolution on TMX. Prime Minister to premiers, ministers to ministers, and senior officials in each government, everyone working in good faith and without an artificial deadline, which is why the motion before us is misguided.

To suggest that the Trans Mountain expansion pipeline is not of the utmost importance to our government is the height of folly, and it flies in the face of the facts. The Prime Minister has been very clear about our government's position. As he said in Edmonton earlier this month, “That pipeline is going to get built”. He then added, “We need this pipeline and we’re going to move forward with it responsibly”. Nothing could be more certain, which means there is no need for a motion to tell our government to use all of the tools available to it, and certainly no reason for deadlines or ultimatums.

Interprovincial pipelines are the responsibility of the federal government, and a responsibility that our government takes seriously, respects, and will defend. When making decisions on interprovincial pipeline projects, it is our duty to act in the national interest, which is exactly what we did in approving the Trans Mountain expansion pipeline.

There is an indigenous proverb that says, “We do not inherit this land from our ancestors. We borrow it from our children.” This perspective has inspired our government throughout its first two years in office. It is the reason we believe the economy and the environment must go hand in hand, and it was the motivation behind the launch of Generation Energy, the largest national discussion about energy in Canadian history.

I want to take a moment to remind the House what happened during Generation Energy, because, years from now, Canadians may very well look back and say that Generation Energy was a turning point, that it marked our emergence as a global leader in the transition to a low-carbon economy. We invited Canadians to imagine Canada's energy future, and they responded, joining the conversation by the hundreds of thousands, with hundreds more descending on my home city of Winnipeg for a two-day discussion on Generation Energy last fall. Let us reflect on that fact for a moment.

The people who came to Winnipeg for Generation Energy came from every corner of our country and from around the world. They came from Norway, France, Mexico, and the United States. They came from every sector of the energy industry: oil and gas, wind, solar, nuclear, electricity. Respected indigenous leaders, business leaders, community leaders, youth leaders, they were all there. It was only the Conservative Party that chose to send no one. People who may never have spoken to each other before were in the same room, challenging each other and themselves.

Suddenly, the questions became even more pressing, questions such as “What happens now?” and “What if our individual choices could add to transformational change?” Generation Energy tapped into something unexpected and unstoppable. Our government is building these ideas into a Canadian energy strategy, working with the provinces and territories to expand what they have already done: leveraging the fossil fuel resources we have today to deliver clean energy solutions for tomorrow; planning our energy future to align with a global transition to a low-carbon economy; leaning on shared priorities such as energy efficient, clean technologies, and green infrastructure; and linking those provinces that have an abundance of clean electricity with those trying to get there.

We do not share the views of those who would simply pump as much oil as we can as fast as we can, nor do we agree with those who say that we should leave all the oil in the ground and never build a single pipeline. Both sides miss the point that we can and must grow the economy while protecting our environment for future generations. How do we do both? One certainly does not take the approach of the Harper government, which was to ignore indigenous rights, climate change, and the environment in the name of economic development at any cost. One does it by fully respecting indigenous rights, climate change, and the environment as essential components of economic development.

To the hon. member and her party opposite, I offer a stroll down memory lane. This is an important point. The moment Harper decided to use all tools available in the sole name of pipelines was the moment he lost the trust of Canadians. To refresh our memories, the member opposite's government was focused on exempting pipelines from environmental assessments, treating environmentalists as terrorists, removing the ability for environmental groups to speak out, stripping the ability of Canadians to participate in project reviews, and using taxpayers' money to investigate any organization that cared about the environment, and eliminating decades' worth of legislation in one fell swoop. Harper truly did use all the tools he could find to dismantle anything standing in the way of rapid and unchecked resource development. What the Harper government never understood was that ignoring something does not mean it will go away.

When our government was elected by Canadians, we knew public trust was gone. We rolled up our sleeves to fix the mess the Harper government left behind. First, we launched a new interim approach to environmental assessments in Canada. Within weeks of taking office, we launched a different approach to major project reviews that put indigenous rights, science, environmental protection, and transparent and open public consultation front and centre. The Harper government removed all these things in the name of jamming things through. It did not work. We put these principles back, maintaining certainty for investors, expanding public consultation, enhancing indigenous engagement, and including greenhouse gas emissions in our project assessments.

Second, we acted on climate change. We ensured the Paris Agreement on climate change was ambitious. The House, including the members opposite, supported that agreement. We signed it, ratified it, and launched the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change, which included Alberta's hard cap on oil sands emissions. This was the first climate change plan in the history of the country that was developed hand in hand with provinces and territories, as well as with first nations, Métis, and Inuit. For the first time in the history of this country, we launched a federal plan to put a price on carbon pollution. For the record, we are nearly 30 years behind countries such as Norway in pricing carbon pollution, and it seems to be doing okay.

Third, we acted on oceans protection. We launched the single largest investment in Canada's oceans in this country's history, $1.5 billion. It is the largest investment in the Canadian Coast Guard in a generation. We looked to the world's leading ocean protectors, Alaska and Norway, and we said that we should match or beat them, and we have. Once implemented, Canada will have the best oceans protection measures in the entire world. Canada has oil, gas, and fuel being shipped through, from, or to all three of our coasts, and we have had this for over 60 years. With this comes great responsibility to protect our oceans.

Let us be clear, these three things would have happened, pipeline or no pipeline. However, these three crucial plans had to be implemented because the Harper government eliminated climate change action and oceans protections in its own efforts to use all tools humanly possible in the name of pipelines.

Fourth, we approved three pipelines, the Trans Mountain expansion, Line 3, and Nova Gas, and denied one, the northern gateway pipeline. All those decisions were made based on the national interest, sound science and evidence, full public consultation, and upholding the rights of the indigenous peoples. Most importantly, all of these decisions took into account everything we had done before: a new method of doing environmental assessments, ensuring these projects fit within Canada's climate change action plan, making sure we have the world's safest and strongest oceans protections plan, and ensuring indigenous rights were held up.

Regarding the northern gateway pipeline, the vast majority of indigenous communities were opposed to the project. The Harper government's insufficient consultations and complete lack of scientific considerations or public engagement meant that it completely missed the fact that the Great Bear Rainforest was no place for a pipeline. The Federal Court of Appeal, in its judgment that quashed northern gateway, was not critical of the proponent or the regulator but of the Harper government.

On the Trans Mountain expansion project, the majority of indigenous communities were in support. Today, 42 have impact benefit agreements, while six exercised their rights in court.

Through re-establishing transparent and open public consultations, a process the Harper government had dismantled, we heard from thousands of Canadians who told us we have a responsibility to get our resources to market, to take action to protect the environment, and to create good-paying, middle-class jobs.

We launched a special ministerial panel of distinguished Canadians. They were appointed to travel up and down the length of the proposed pipeline route, ensuring indigenous peoples and local communities were thoroughly heard. For the first time, we made the record of those decisions public on the Internet for all Canadians to see.

We also carefully considered the findings of the National Energy Board. For the first time, the Government of Canada co-developed, with first nations and Métis leaders, the indigenous advisory and monitoring committee for both Line 3 and the TMX. We are investing $64.7 million over five years in these communities, which are essential to ensure the companies live up to their promises and fully engage rights holders throughout the entire life of the projects.

We understand that our decision on the bill to expand the Trans Mountain network is not unanimous, but we are determined to work with the provinces and with indigenous peoples to keep Canada's energy infrastructure safe and secure, all while showing environmental leadership.

The project represents a $7.4 billion investment and thousands of good, middle-class jobs, a project that stands to benefit Canadians across the country, just as the existing pipeline has done since 1953, creating new access for Canadian oil to global markets and world prices.

This access and the stable reaction of government is crucial to investor confidence. This is particularly important in a time of discounted and low oil prices. The expansion of market access will feed economic growth. Those billions of dollars of investment will trickle down into public investment in schools, roads, highways, and my personal favourite, even the symphony orchestra.

There is a community cost to blocking this project. Government revenues support all Canadians, and they support investment in the transition to the low-carbon economy, all of which combine to make this a very important project to the entire country. The TMX expansion approval also came with 157 binding conditions, 98 of which relate to pre-construction requirements.

Just as important, the pipeline is required to be consistent with Canada's climate plan to 2030, as the project must operate within Alberta's 100 megatonne cap. As I described before, we are implementing the most ambitious oceans protection plan in our country's history, with the single largest investment to protect our waters, coastlines, and marine life.

Canada needed this plan with or without an expanded pipeline, because our oceans protection had eroded under the Harper government.

We understand that one of the biggest concerns on everyone's mind is the potential oil spill. We share that concern, which is why we have developed a plan that puts in place every safeguard against a spill happening in the first place.

Through the oceans protection plan, the Canadian Coast Guard now has more people, more authority, and more equipment to do its vital and necessary work. For the first time, two large tow vessels will be on call on the B.C. coast. Several Coast Guard vessels will be equipped with specialized toe kits to improve capacity to respond quickly. Primary environmental response teams, composed of specially trained personnel, will further strengthen the Coast Guard's existing on-scene operations.

We also reopened the Kitsilano Coast Guard station with new rescue boats and specialized pollution response capabilities, and there is a targeted action plan to promote recovery of the southern resident killer whale population.

Last week we introduced legislation, Bill C-69, that would restore the protections the country lost under the Harper government and would serve as a permanent fix in the way that Canada would assess and review major resource projects.

Bill C-69 is the culmination of more than a year and half of extensive consultations and thoughtful deliberations. It is informed by a comprehensive review that we launched just seven months into our mandate. The review also included modernizing the National Energy Board, protecting our fish, and preserving our waterways. We appointed expert panels, enlisted parliamentarians, released a discussion paper, and at every step of the way consulted Canadians, listening more than we spoke.

What emerged from these efforts were the same messages that we heard through Generation Energy, which is that Canadians are engaged. They are well informed. They know the economy and the environment can, and must, go hand in hand. They agree that Canada works best when Canadians work together. Those are the hallmarks of our legislation, a new and inclusive approach to protect the environment and build a stronger economy, creating good jobs and a sustainable future. It is an approach based on restoring public trust; renewing Canada's relationship with indigenous peoples; collaborating with the provinces and territories; protecting our environment, fish, and waterways; encouraging more investments in Canada's natural resources sectors; and better rules to build a better Canada.

Our approach is the exact opposite of the motion before us today, a motion that seeks to divide our country and pits the environment against the economy, province against province, and region against region. There is simply no need for a motion today that attempts to manufacture a crisis where one does not exist or that insinuates we return to the approach of the Harper Government.

All British Columbia has tangibly done at this point is to signal its intention to consult with the people of its province. That is its right. It is the right of every province to do that. However, we have clearly said that the federal government holds authority over the TMX pipeline, and we will. We will not entertain non-jurisdictional delays intended to stall or stop the project. That is simply not an option.

If that is the goal of any province, we will take the necessary action to ensure that federally-approved resource projects proceed. Until then, we will continue to work with all provinces and territories, and indigenous peoples, as we did on the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. By driving innovation, improving environmental performance, restoring public confidence, and advancing indigenous partnerships, we can create the prosperity we all want, while protecting the planet we cherish.

The motion before us today ignores all of this. It proposes a sledge-hammer solution where one is not required. There are better options, options that speak to the generosity of our nation, options that reflect our faith in Canada, and appeal to the better nature of all Canadians. That is what I will be supporting today

Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Madam Speaker, I listened attentively to the minister's intervention and, again, it was all flowery rhetoric. The Liberals govern by saying yes, but in truth they actually govern with a no. Every act they take leads to less investment in our communities. It has been estimated that just in one week, because of the price differential Albertans, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia are experiencing, one school and one hospital are being built in America and are not being built in Canada, all because the Liberals will not do anything about it. The minister talked about borrowing the land and environment from future generations. Absolutely the Liberals are borrowing huge, vast sums of money to finance their deficit spending and then not replacing it with investments.

On the TMX, the Trans Mountain expansion application was put in on December 16, 2013. We are five years and the line is still not built. I blame the government for doing this. I blame the government's delays, talking a good game, but not doing anything. Another generation, the greatest generation, was able to almost fight World War II and win it and we are still waiting for a pipeline to be built, all because of the current government.

What does the minister have to say to my constituents about the government's absolute failure to get energy infrastructure in the national interest built in Canada?

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12:50 p.m.

Liberal

Jim Carr Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Madam Speaker, I would say to the hon. member's constituents that the Government of Canada believes we strike a balance between energy infrastructure development to job creation and environmental stewardship. We believe we have struck that balance through the approval of very important pipelines. The point should not be lost that it is very important to Canada to expand its export markets, that 99% of our exports in oil and gas go to one country, the United States. That is not good for our country, which is why, for a variety of other reasons, we think TMX is in Canada's interest.

It is true in other sectors of the economy. We know that 99% of our exports of softwood lumber from Quebec go to one country, the United States. Therefore, I think the hon. member's constituents would feel that the Government of Canada recognizes the importance of expanding in those markets, creating good jobs, and also of doing it in a way that is sustainable in the long term.

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12:50 p.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby South, BC

Madam Speaker, the minister said, irresponsibly, to a group of business leaders that he would use military defence and police forces to push this pipeline through. Will he stand in the House today and say that he will never do this, that it would never be considered, that he would not use the army and the police forces against British Columbians in their own communities, on the reserves, and in their municipalities? I would like him to stand today and say that is not an option on the table.

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12:55 p.m.

Liberal

Jim Carr Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Madam Speaker, I am glad to respond to that. I am both confused and disappointed as to why the hon. member continues to bring that up since I have apologized and said I had misspoken. Within a few days of having said it, I realized it would invoke images that were not healthy to the debate, and I apologized to indigenous leaders. I will say again, as I have said many times over many months, that I apologized and misspoke.

Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:55 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Madam Speaker, the minister's discussion really goes to the heart of where Liberals stand on this. It is about a balance. It is about respecting the fact that, yes, the oil and gas sector represents about 2% of Canada's GDP. At the same time, renewable energies and clean tech represent about 3% of our GDP. Therefore, there is a real need to take a balanced approach to this.

As we can see and as we have heard numerous times in the House, the previous government put all its eggs in one basket. It put them all in oil and gas and yet was not able to deliver a single pipeline to tidewater.

Could the minister expand on the fact that the economy and the environment must go hand in hand and must be looked at together to be genuinely successful and fruitful in our economy within the country?

Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:55 p.m.

Liberal

Jim Carr Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Madam Speaker, I would like to remind everyone that it was the entrepreneurship and the power of innovation in Alberta that led to unlocking this great resource in the first place. Literally trillions of dollars of investment internationally are looking for a place to land and we want that investment to land in Canada. We have belief that research and development, innovation, and entrepreneurship, especially in Alberta, will help lead the way. Many leaders in the oil and gas sector in Canada believe that, understand that, and about it, that It is all part of the balanced approach that seeks to put Canada on the leading edge of this transformation, not only here but internationally.

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12:55 p.m.

Conservative

Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

Madam Speaker, the minister indicated that this motion was creating a crisis where a crisis did not exist. I would challenge him to come to my riding and listen to the crisis that has been going on for a number of years because of not being able to get product to tidewater. It is a huge issue. It is creating significant job losses. It is creating angst in families. I know individuals who have taken their lives because of the crisis they were going through. Families that used to donate to charities now are recipients of those charities.

We are living with the inaction of the government. It started weeks after the Liberal government took power of October 2015, when it put the tanker moratorium on the west coast. What about the east coast? Is its environment that much less important? It does not make any sense.

What is the plan of the minister to ensure our product gets to market, besides Trans Mountain? What other plans are in place? This thing—

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12:55 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

Sorry, I do have to allow for questions, so as I said, if members can keep their preamble short, if they want to ask a question, please do so.

The hon. Minister of Natural Resources.

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12:55 p.m.

Liberal

Jim Carr Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Madam Speaker, we also approved the Enbridge Line 3 replacement. We are also supportive of Keystone XL. We have said to Canadians, both through our actions and through debates in the House, that we understand the importance of developing further our oil and gas sector, including the expansion of export markets. Therefore, I agree with the member.

Also, we have never depreciated the impact of low commodity prices on families, particularly families in Alberta. This is why the Government of Canada has done many things to work with other governments, to work with the private sector, and to work with communities to do everything we can to ensure we get through this difficult moment.

There are signs that the Alberta economy is responding. We can look at job creation over the last number of months. If we look at what Canadians are choosing to do when they move from province to province, they are still moving to Alberta. They have hope in Alberta's future, in a future that will very much involve oil and gas and energy.

The member will also know that in our environmental assessment legislation, there is the guarantee that the headquarters of the energy regulator be in Calgary where it belongs.

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1 p.m.

NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Madam Speaker, the member for Kingston and the Islands talked about bringing a balanced approach to this whole issue. The problem is that in our relationship with the climate, we have had a profoundly unbalanced approach for the last several centuries. I would like to know the minister's climate math. With the projections for global warming going on, I want to know how he can square the circle by approving a 20th century project in the 21st century when all evidence points to the contrary, that we need to take a fundamentally different approach for future generations?

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1 p.m.

Liberal

Jim Carr Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Madam Speaker, is the member suggesting that we draw not another single barrel of oil? Is that a responsible position for any member of the Canadian Parliament to take? I do not think so. That is certainly not what we are hearing from Canadians.

If he is suggesting that there be a responsible approach, the Alberta 100 megatonne cap is sensible and within that cap, resource projects will be approved and developed. I would also remind him that if many of these resources do not move by pipeline, they will move and they will move by rail. I do not know whether he is suggesting that is a better transportation option for the energy industry in Canada.

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1 p.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby South, BC

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the Conservatives for putting this motion forward, because this is a debate that we are not having in the House of Commons. Nothing proves the theory of the Ottawa bubble more than our discussions about the Trans Mountain pipeline. We hear rhetoric, basically concerns about a line on a map, that does not look at the communities that are affected, so I invite the House to think about this project from the ground up rather than from Ottawa down.

This proposed project is 980 kilometres of new pipeline, much of which would go along another route, although the company has tried to disguise this and calls it “twinning”. It is new pipeline that would cross under the Fraser River and is a completely new route through Burnaby. This is a new pipeline. It carries bitumen, not for local use but for export, and the export is mostly to the United States. China has said over and over again that it cannot process this product. The only refineries that can handle this are in Texas.

The current TMX pipeline exports about 25% of what comes down the pipe. Where does it go? It all goes to California. There is so much rhetoric that is hard to counter because the pipeline companies and their consortiums put out false information.

There is something that trumps flashy commercials on television, and that is our Constitution that is also the law of our land. In British Columbia, although it seems beyond notice here, almost all of the territory in British Columbia is unceded. There are no treaties in British Columbia, so that makes negotiations with first nations very different. Although we hear lots of rhetoric about how many first nations have been consulted and how many have agreements, it only takes one nation to stop this pipeline.

This pipeline goes through about 80 different territories, and there are overlapping claims, but not all nations and people within the territories have signed off on this pipeline, not by a long shot. This pipeline also goes through first nations reserves. These are the last places for many first nations territories that were almost obliterated by colonialism, so there is a lot of anger and a sense of betrayal. When this pipeline was first built in the 1950s, first nations people could not vote or hire lawyers. The reason the pipeline was put through reserves in the first place was because it was the easiest place to put it. We can imagine having a pipeline put through our backyards without being able to hire a lawyer or participate in the process to get it built. There is a lot of residual anger over this, and I feel it is warranted.

The existing pipeline that goes through first nations reserves and territories, as well as many municipalities, has leaked a great deal. On the company's own website, we can see that 40,000 barrels have already leaked out of the existing pipeline. There was a very big spill in my community in 2007, and all along the route, if anyone would care to look, which no one usually does. This pipeline has already leaked. Therefore, we know the new pipeline will also leak, as they do all over the place. There is concern. These are not a bunch of hippies saying they do not want a pipeline; these people are concerned about their community.

I see how this project is going to go. In 2014, there were thousands of people on Burnaby Mountain when Kinder Morgan went into a conservation area without permission. These people placed their bodies in such a way as to prevent any future work. There were 125 people arrested. Gary Mason, from The Globe and Mail, likes to call these people professional protesters, but it shows that he is also out of touch. I was on the mountain. I went there 10 times. I crossed police lines to make sure that people were safe.

The people crossing the lines were local property owners, school teachers, university professors, hairdressers, regular people. The debate here has tried to taint normal people, people with property rights. In other cases, I am sure the Conservatives would fight for them, but, in this case, they seem keen to ram this project through. I am pleading with the House to look at it from the perspective of the people in the communities through which this pipeline would pass and to not believe what the companies are telling them.

The day after I was elected in 2011, I was called by Kinder Morgan. I have met with the company four times. I told them that I did not think the pipeline would ever get built. They walked me through the plan. I also said not only would the pipeline not get built, they would have to clean up the existing pipeline which leaks so much.

The current buzz in the media is the fight between Alberta and British Columbia, or really between Canada and British Columbia. British Columbia has said it is going to study the effects of bitumen, and well it should. I spoke to the environment minister. He is very well aware of the Royal Society of Canada report from 2014, which has many questions about the properties of bitumen. The natural resources minister has been wheeling out one scientist who has non peer-reviewed research that says it floats in certain conditions, but this is the Royal Society, which I think had about 30 prominent scientists on its panel. This is not a science-driven approach to pipeline building, because they are ignoring the Royal Society report.

There are many things wrong with how this pipeline has been approved and what people in the House are saying will occur if it is built.

The Province of British Columbia is right to conduct these studies and hearings, and it is right to protect its constitutional jurisdiction. That is what all provincial governments should do. However, I am afraid of the rhetoric in the House and in the media.

Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for New Westminster—Burnaby.

I am very concerned about something that no one in the House is talking about. That is what I saw in 2014 on Burnaby Mountain. I have evidence that I would be happy to table in the House, polling information and other information. People who are opposed to this pipeline do not believe in the process anymore. They have written their petitions. They have sent their letters. They have marched in their protests. They say that no one is protecting their interests. Where does this take us? It takes us to a very familiar route in British Columbia, which is civil disobedience. This makes me very nervous. It keeps me up at night. I think it is not being looked at seriously in the House of Commons.

We have a lot of rhetoric from this side, and that is why I asked the minister if he is prepared to back up his previous statement and say he is prepared to use the defence forces and police forces in order to push the pipeline through British Columbia. I plead with him, I plead with the government, not to consider this.

Since being elected in 2011, I have talked to all sides. I have talked to CAPP, Kinder Morgan, all pipeline companies, provincial ministers, both Liberal and New Democrats. I feel that this part of the debate is being left aside and we are in a bit of a denial as to what would occur. What does it look like when we put a new pipeline, carrying 600,000 barrels a day over 980 kilometres, through communities that do not want it?

The minister, I think flippantly, boastfully, and with arrogance, said at a meeting that he would be prepared to use defence and police forces in order to push this through. However, we should think about what that would look like. We have reserve land where they do not want the pipeline. If we put bulldozers in, we are putting the workers in danger.

The minister said that we will use the military to make sure the pipeline gets built. It is irresponsible. No one here is talking about that, and they need to. A core part of this debate has to be about section 2 of the Emergencies Act and whether either side of the House is purporting that we use that. This is probably one of the most serious decisions we have to make in this Parliament.

I thank the Conservatives for bringing the motion forward, even though I do not agree with it and I will be voting against it. However, we need to have this debate, and the government has to make its intentions clear.

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1:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jamie Schmale Conservative Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, ON

Madam Speaker, I thank my friend for the speech. There were parts that I agreed with. Most of it I disagreed with, like he does on our position, but I appreciate the debate that we are allowed to have today.

There are a couple of areas I would like to question the member on. The government imposed a carbon tax on the provinces and territories, and its logic was that this begins a social licence to get projects such as a pipeline approved. Now, the fact that we are seeing projects like energy east, the northern gateway and, more and more, delays with this project, would the member be on our side that the carbon tax is a scam, a wealth confiscation and redistribution, a new tax that is making life unaffordable?

Also, to the hundreds if not thousands of workers who supply material to the pipeline that is being built, what does he have to say to those constituents, who have their livelihoods on the line?

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1:10 p.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby South, BC

Madam Speaker, perhaps the member missed my point. We have to get beyond rhetoric. We have to see what is happening on the ground. There is a call for mass civil disobedience starting on March 10 in my community. This is real. This is well advertised. This is coming.

We have to get beyond rhetoric. We have to get out of the Ottawa bubble and see what this means to communities.

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1:10 p.m.

Gatineau Québec

Liberal

Steven MacKinnon LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement

Madam Speaker, listening to New Democrats on pipelines is second only to listening to New Democrats on trade; it is hard to figure out their position.

My question to the member is simple. New Democratic Premier Rachel Notley of Alberta, who has a revolutionary taxation regime for fighting climate change, is fighting tooth and nail to get this pipeline approved. The New Democratic government of British Columbia is putting significant obstacles in the path of a legitimate federally approved pipeline.

I think I understand that member's position, but what is the position of the New Democratic Party of Canada with respect to the Kinder Morgan pipeline?

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1:10 p.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby South, BC

Madam Speaker, sitting in this place makes one want to weep at times.

I just said there is plan for massive civil disobedience in my community on March 10. That member stated a bunch of rhetorical talking points because he is scared to answer the question of whether he is prepared to use military force to stop this.

What is this place for? It is bizarre that we are not talking about the core part of this debate. It is very discouraging.

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1:15 p.m.

NDP

Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Madam Speaker, before coming here as an elected member from British Columbia's coast, I was an elected member of the local government. I heard a lot of concern about oil tanker traffic with respect to the Kinder Morgan pipeline. I heard about how it would jeopardize existing jobs, our wild salmon industry, and tourism. Much money is generated on the basis of a pristine environment, and that is partly why we have had to stand up and oppose oil tanker traffic from Kinder Morgan.

I would like to hear my colleague's comments on the purported jobs that Kinder Morgan said would accrue to British Columbia from construction and pipeline operations, because to us it looks all downside, no upside.

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1:15 p.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby South, BC

Madam Speaker, the company's web page is incredibly informative when it comes to describing this project. The web page says there will be 90 new jobs after this pipeline is built, 50 in British Columbia. One could open a White Spot restaurant and have more jobs in B.C.

I agree that the impact from this project would be different on Alberta, but, for British Columbia, the province I have been elected to represent and where my constituents are clearly saying there would be no benefits for them, it is my job to stand up in the House and say that. When the minister threatens to use the military against them, I also have to stand up and defend them from that.

Members on that side of the House are being unrealistic. They are not conscious of what will be coming if they try to force this pipeline through.

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1:15 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Madam Speaker, I would like to commend my colleague from Burnaby South for his sterling work in listening to his constituents and learning about the issues surrounding the Kinder Morgan pipeline.

August 20, 2015, was the genesis of the motion we are seeing today. I support the fact that it was brought forward. We are going to oppose this motion for reasons my colleague from Burnaby South spelled out.

On August 20, 2015, the Prime Minister came to British Columbia, and in front of a crowd in Esquimalt, said very clearly that Kinder Morgan would not be approved unless the entire process was redone. That was a solemn commitment he made to British Columbians on August 20, 2015, a few weeks prior to the election date, and that is the genesis of the problem we have before us today.

The Liberals and the Prime Minister have taken Mr. Harper's incredible gutting of environmental regulations and the NEB process and are making that discredited process, a process that does not involve Canadians, does not involve British Columbians, their own. In other words, the Prime Minister promised to redo the whole process and put in place something that would actually mean legitimate consultation with British Columbians, but he did the exact opposite. It is absolutely shameful.

The Liberals have compounded this, as my colleague for Burnaby South just mentioned, by threatening military action in British Columbia. We have an illegitimate process, one the Liberals promised to change. They did not change it. Instead, they approved the pipeline, which the Prime Minister said very clearly they would not. On top of that, they threatened British Columbians. It is because of that badly broken, gutted promise made solemnly to British Columbians, just a few weeks prior to the election date, that so many British Columbians have come out in opposition to the Kinder Morgan pipeline. We have first nations that have come out in opposition. The City of Burnaby, which I and my colleague from Burnaby South represent, has come out strongly opposed, as have municipalities throughout the coastal region.

Why have they come out in opposition? It is not just that the process is illegitimate, that Mr. Harper's Conservative government gutted the whole process and made it illegitimate in anyone's eyes, and that the Liberals promised to do one thing and are doing the exact opposite. It is also because of the impact on the coast, which could be catastrophic.

I grew up in New Westminster, and I am proud of growing up in the Lower Mainland. Four generations of my family have lived in that area. My grandfather came from Norway and fished on the coast for a number of years.

The fishing and tourism industries have a profound impact on our economy in British Columbia. We are talking about impacts the Liberals have never investigated or looked at, an illegitimate process, and the potential loss of billions of dollars if there is just one spill. That is why so many communities have come out in opposition to this project. It is why so many communities have said that, ultimately, without a legitimate process, this is simply something that has no credibility.

My colleague for Burnaby South talked about the impact on the Fraser River. I would like to mention the Brunette River area, where I walk my dogs every morning. It is an area that could be profoundly impacted by the new route that is being pushed through. There were no consultations. The City of New Westminster was not able to come forward with its concerns. This is habitat that has been restored through decades of work by people who are involved in the Sapperton Fish and Game Club and other community organizations. They restored the habitat, and now we have Kinder Morgan, with the approval of the Liberal government, putting at risk the Brunette River as well. These are profound risks that have not been investigated through a legitimate process.

I should mention, being one of the few people in this House of Commons who has been ankle deep in oil, having worked in the Shellburn oil refinery and the Burnaby tank farm, that I know how serious the environmental impacts can be. I know how difficult it is to clean up even a small spill. I can say with some assurance that the incredible irresponsibility with which the Liberals have approached this whole process, not just by betraying British Columbians by breaking their promise but by refusing to put in place any sort of public consultation process, is something that has alienated many British Columbians.

My colleague referenced the Royal Society report. The Royal Society report is something that every single Liberal MP, not just those from British Columbia, should be reading, because it speaks repeatedly to the fact that we do not know the impact on the Salish Sea or the B.C. coast of a spill of bitumen. We have no idea. The Royal Society repeatedly requests that high priority, urgent research be done in all these areas, because we simply do not know. The pipeline the Prime Minister wants to push through is something that could have profound impacts on the coast, and scientific evidence shows that the Liberal government and the Prime Minister have simply not done their homework.

I was in this House when the Harper government gutted the environmental rules. I spoke to the budget for 14 hours, because there was so much to glean because of the impact on fish habitat and on environmental legislation right across the country.

It never would have occurred to me, or to most British Columbians, that the Liberals, having promised to address the concerns raised by Canadians from coast to coast to coast about the gutting of those environmental regulations, would refuse to do that.

This is no small issue, because when we talk about the impacts of just one spill, we are talking about impacts that could last for a generation. David Schindler, who is the foremost authority on water policy and water in Canada, recently wrote about the impacts of the Exxon Valdez. One generation later, the impacts are still being felt. The fishery has not come back in Alaska. The coast continues to be polluted by that spill. David Schindler is someone who has profound scientific renown, yet the Liberals, just as they have thrown aside the scientific evidence from the Royal Society, have thrown aside the scientific evidence from David Schindler. We know that the Exxon Valdez had a profound impact and continues to have a profound impact. The Kalamazoo River spill continues to have a profound impact on habitat, after the spending of a billion dollars.

We have a Prime Minister who came to Nanaimo a couple of weeks ago and said that there would be no coastal protection unless British Columbians promptly ignored all that evidence and promptly agreed with the Liberals on building the pipeline. That is unacceptable. That is why there is so much reaction in British Columbia. There is the illegitimate process, there are the broken promises of the Liberals, and there are the threats that unless the pipeline is agreed to, there will be no coastal protection and no environmental policies to combat climate change.

That is childish rhetoric that comes from the government. It is childish rhetoric that is improper for a national government. We need a national government that will actually show leadership on climate change and put in place the kinds of policies and process that consults British Columbians and Canadians. That is something Jagmeet Singh will bring to Ottawa when he is elected in 2019.

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1:25 p.m.

Conservative

Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Madam Speaker, one of the things that is great about pipelines is that they bring petroleum products to the world. Petroleum products make all our lives better. I do not think any one of us got here today without these petroleum products. We need petroleum products to ensure that we can live the lifestyle we have.

The Trans Mountain pipeline would allow petroleum products to make it to parts of the world where people are living in energy poverty and where they do not necessarily have the luxury we live in. This would allow us to get something out to the rest of the world.

It seems that my NDP colleagues are standing in the way of feeding the world, essentially, when it comes to petroleum products. To some degree, I understand that. What is interesting about this is that even though I and my NDP colleagues seem to disagree, fundamentally, on this issue, we seem to agree that the Liberal governments are doing a terrible job.

Would my colleague agree with that?

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1:25 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Madam Speaker, I would agree with that, but I would also like to say that the Conservatives have done a terrible job. One of the worst jobs they have done is in the province of Alberta.

I had a lot of respect for Peter Lougheed. He actually understood that there needed to be value added, that there needed to be an investment in wealth creation, and that services needed to be protected in Alberta. In the last 30 years, under Conservative governments, we saw exactly the opposite. They gutted education. They gutted health care. In terms of wealth creation, Norway, which has actually produced less oil over a shorter period of time, now has $1 trillion in its sovereign wealth fund. Alberta Conservatives gutted the heritage fund. They left it with nothing.

It is fair to say that although the Liberal government is bad, Conservatives in Alberta should be hanging their heads in shame. They took a valuable resource, and over decades, because they were concerned with rip and ship rather than anything else, left Alberta without the kind of heritage we have seen from the social democrats in Norway, which now has a trillion dollars for rainy days forever. That is social democracy in action.

Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

Sean Fraser Liberal Central Nova, NS

Madam Speaker, during his speech, my colleague cited the changes made in 2012 that gutted certain protections in our Fisheries Act, our environmental assessment process, the navigation protection act, and more. I agree that they were very important changes, which we are taking some steps to remedy. However, where I think we may part ways, and I will give the member an opportunity to comment, is that I believe that it is possible to construct, in a responsible way, a major energy project, including a pipeline, if there is a rigorous process around it and important environmental conditions.

I wonder if the member believes that it is possible to build a pipeline in an environmentally responsible way. If so, could the member give an example of one he supports?

Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Madam Speaker, the Liberals certainly do not listen when the opposition speaks, but they do not even listen to themselves.

I appreciate my colleague's comments, but he just mentioned two things that have not happened. First, he said that we need a rigorous consultation process, but they have gutted that. That is what the Liberals did. They brought a gutted process to the table. The member then said that we need to be responsible environmentally. We have not even had the environmental evaluation.

What is the impact, when we have a multi-billion dollar tourism industry, of just one spill of bitumen? Even the Royal Society has no idea what those impacts are. What happens when there is a shutdown of the fishery industry that generations of British Columbians have depended on, including people in my family? The Liberals have no idea. They did not do an evaluation on the environment. They have not done public consultations. Now Liberals are saying, “Hypothetically, if we did all these things, what would you say?”

The Liberals should have done it. They did not get the job done. It is shameful that they broke their promise to British Columbians.

Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Madam Speaker, I would like to advise you that I will share my time with the hon. member for Calgary Rocky Ridge.

For my riding in particular, this issue is of critical importance, and let me provide a quick example to illustrate exactly why. Within hours of the province of Alberta announcing what was basically a blockade of B.C. wine being sold or transported into that province, I received a call from a panicked B.C. wine owner. That winery owner has 6,000 cases of wine sold into Alberta, yet still has to make delivery. This is not some big corporate winery, and 6,000 cases represents a huge part of this winery's annual sales revenues and volume of production. This is a family-run winery, where on any given day we will see father and daughter working side by side. They have mortgages to pay, wages for staff, utilities, taxes, and hopefully at the end of the day, enough left over to draw a wage. I am certain everyone in this place can empathize with the resulting fear and frustration being felt by the British Columbia wine industry.

How did we get here? On the surface, we have two fighting New Democratic Party provincial governments. In B.C. we have a coalition NDP desperate to maintain its power through its deal with the Green Party. Of course, that coalition is on thin ice after the NDP approved the Site C dam project that it had railed against for years. Going after the Trans Mountain pipeline project is a political necessity for the B.C. NDP, and likewise for the Green Party in British Columbia.

So far, the Green Party has delivered very little. It abandoned its opposition to bridge tolling to support the NDP, and is likewise supporting an NDP government that approved the Site C dam and one that wants to support B.C. liquefied natural gas. B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver is desperate to show his base that his support for the NDP is not just a sell out deal that has resulted in little else but his party receiving taxpayer subsidies for political parties.

Meanwhile, over in Alberta, we have an NDP government essentially terrified after the two provincial political parties recently merged, with an election that is quickly approaching. For the Alberta NDP, fighting for the Trans Mountain pipeline is critically important not just for it to survive but because this project is absolutely critical to Alberta. That is what is troubling. This brewing trade dispute is politically helpful for both these NDP governments. Meanwhile, small family wineries are caught in the middle as political pawns.

As members of Parliament, how do we fix this? Ultimately, we know the Prime Minister has stated he strongly believes the Trans Mountain pipeline is in Canada's national interest. For the record, I agree with the Prime Minister on this. However, here is the problem. Beyond saying that he strongly supports the Trans Mountain pipeline and that the project is in Canada's national interest, the Prime Minister has said nothing else as to what measures he is prepared to invoke to make this project a reality. Of course that has created uncertainty, and in essence, a leadership vacuum on this file.

Therefore, the province of Alberta is basically in a situation where, absence of any federal leadership on this issue, it is now essentially forced to not only defend the interests of Alberta but also the Canadian interest. To be candid, I agree that the Prime Minister's lack of action and leadership on this file has put Premier Notley into a difficult and unfair situation. That is why we are having this debate today.

It is all well and good for the Prime Minister to say that this project is in the national interest and that it will get built, but he does not say when it will get built. When will he show some leadership and take action?

Here is the part I find deeply troubling. Recently on CBC we heard that “ultimately the federal government will not allow any province to impinge on its jurisdiction over the national interest. Full stop.” On the surface, this sounds somewhat promising. There is only one problem. Who said it? According to the same CBC article, it was “a senior Liberal, speaking on condition of anonymity”. In other words, it was not the Prime Minister, not the Minister of Natural Resources. The best the Liberals can do is to send out some anonymous person to speak some tough talk to the CBC. Seriously, is this the best that the current Liberal government can do?

What troubles me more is that this is a Prime Minister and Liberal government who will fight against veterans in court, even after they promised that they would not. This is a Prime Minister and Liberal government who will fight against faith organizations receiving summer jobs funding for grants unless they take a values test. This is a Prime Minister and Liberal government who will fight against the Prime Minister's having to repay his illegal vacation expenses, but when it comes to fighting for a project that the Prime Minister has deemed to be within Canada's national interest, basically nothing. All we get is some lowly anonymous Liberal leaker hamming it up with his favourite CBC reporter. Of course, that is why we are in this situation and why we are having this debate.

The Prime Minister needs to clearly articulate to Canadians what actions he will take to ensure projects in Canada's national interest become a reality. I think everyone here gets that. The time for platitudes and flowery language is over. Now is the time for action and to deliver results. If this Prime Minister is not capable of doing that, I would suggest he should find someone else who can, preferably someone who is not a senior anonymous Liberal.

I would also like to add a few observations. When it came to potentially looking after the interests of Irving Shipbuilding, the Prime Minister was prepared to cancel another shipbuilding contract in Quebec at great cost to taxpayers, until the public found out. When it came to defending the interests of Bombardier, we know once again that the Prime Minister was prepared to cancel a contract. In fact, the current Liberal government has now announced a procurement policy with this in mind.

I mention these things because we know that the Prime Minister is actually capable of standing up for certain things from time to time. Surely if the Prime Minister strongly believes that the Trans Mountain pipeline project is in Canada's national interest, he will do the same. The only question to be asked is why he has refused to do it thus far. Ultimately, that is what we need: a Prime Minister who will step up, show leadership, and deliver results for the country. That is the job of the Prime Minister.

That is why today I will ask this place to support the motion before us. In effect, what it is calling for is for the Prime Minister to do his job. On this side of the House, we do not believe that is asking too much and I hope that Liberals on that side of the House will agree.

Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Gatineau Québec

Liberal

Steven MacKinnon LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement

Madam Speaker, the fact is that the government put in place a process. It was an amended process. It was designed to give an added level of scrutiny to the pipeline approval process. Pipeline approval was granted. The Prime Minister has been in British Columbia. Ministers have been in British Columbia. We have relayed to the Government of British Columbia that this is in federal jurisdiction and this is an approved pipeline. What we have, though, is a Government of Alberta, a New Democratic government, and a Government of British Columbia, a New Democratic government, who cannot seem to see eye to eye.

I asked my hon. friend from British Columbia in the other party what the position of the federal New Democratic Party is. I would now ask this hon. friend, whether he has been able to discern a position. We know the position of his party. Has he been able to discern a position among all the New Democratic voices here? What is the position of the New Democratic Party of Canada on pipelines?

Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Madam Speaker, the fact that the member opposite is trying to use this issue to sling at the NDP shows that he is much more concerned about political posturing. In fact, I pointed out on Twitter recently that right now the premiers of Alberta and British Columbia are both doing what they figure is in their electoral interests, and so is the Prime Minister, because he does not want to lose seats in the Lower Mainland, which, by the way, was not an area where the Prime Minister held a town hall. If the Prime Minister believes, in this place, that it is in Canada's national interest, why is he not in Burnaby saying that it is in the national interest?

Questions like this will not help that lady and her father who, right now, have products they cannot get to market. Why? It is because the Liberal Prime Minister has refused to step up and speak as one country and one national economy.

Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Madam Speaker, earlier today, the Minister of Natural Resources spoke about the oceans protection plan. He commented on a $1.5-billion investment, which is about $300 million a year, and we are still trying to find the details of what exactly is being spent.

I wanted to ask a question of the natural resources minister, but I have not had the opportunity. I will ask my hon. colleague a very simple question about science and whether the product we are talking about, bitumen, sinks or floats. I wonder if my hon. colleague could talk about a peer-reviewed scientific report or study that shows whether it sinks or floats.

Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Madam Speaker, I am really glad that the member from British Columbia looks upon me with such esteem that he would consider me a substitute for the Minister of Natural Resources.

I will try to address his question, but getting back to the resources, the $1.5 billion that the Liberal government is designating to beef up safety on the coast, British Columbia did not get any of the $400 million that was announced for Atlantic Canada for it to innovate. The government, when it comes to talking about our coasts and whatnot, very much plays a regional game.

I would point out to the member, though, that the old pipeline that we have today, that has been serving that market for 60 years, probably will not be able to produce enough product for there to be an increase in material security. The member runs into a problem. We do not get the $1.5 billion in resources if there is not an expanded pipeline. I would bet any day that most of his constituents would much rather see investments in a new pipeline with new protections rather than having the status quo, with so many trains and trucks going to the Burnaby Chevron refinery.

When it comes to bitumen, I would say there are a number of different reports. Blair King has done a number of posts on that. He is an expert in the field and asks many of the same questions the member seems to want to parrot. It is important for us to ask these questions in committee, where there is time, but right now, our motion specifically asks the Prime Minister to do his job. I hope the member can appreciate we are being clear and up front with what we want the Prime Minister to do.

Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

Pat Kelly Conservative Calgary Rocky Ridge, AB

Madam Speaker, today's motion was precipitated by the British Columbia government's decision to challenge the approval of the Kinder Morgan expansion, and it represents possibly the greatest challenge to the federation in a generation. There are a number of things at stake in this, whether or not we are a country united in the principle of the rule of law and the Constitution of Canada, the viability of any large national project, and the future for any responsible resource development.

The response of the government to this crisis thus far has been wholly inadequate. We have occasionally heard from the minister who, in this House, quite smugly, almost condescendingly, merely repeated that the pipeline will get built. We have heard this a couple of times from the Prime Minister, but we have not heard the government championing this project in any meaningful way. This is important because the government's track record on energy project approval is abysmal.

Under the Liberal government, which is now into its third year, we have seen the northern gateway project killed by an arbitrary tanker ban that wiped out a project that was approved through an extremely rigorous and long-drawn-out approval process, with the support of dozens of first nation equity partners. We have seen how the government rendered the energy east project economically untenable by moving the goalposts, introducing upstream emissions, which is not an area of federal jurisdiction and not one which the NEB would have jurisdiction over, as well as downstream, which is quite ridiculous in a pipeline project. The final decision of what type of vehicle somebody is going to pour gasoline into is the strongest determining factor of downstream emissions.

Thus, we have seen two projects killed by the government. We have seen the anti-energy rhetoric that has come from many government members, including the Prime Minister himself talking about leaving resources in the ground. There are anti-energy activists in the governing party's caucus, in key staff positions, and indeed in the cabinet itself. We saw that ministers had to sanitize their social media accounts to delete anti-energy posts before the Liberals were in government.

The government has a large credibility problem when it comes to energy projects. Once in a while standing up in this House and trying to placate the Conservatives by simply insisting that this project will get built is not good enough. The Liberals need to do better than that.

Canada has lagged behind in energy infrastructure for years. We are way behind on LNG and are allowing the United States to become an energy superpower in exporting its product to international markets where we could be doing so ourselves.

The Canadian oil patch is not participating in the oil and gas industry recovery that is taking place in other producing jurisdictions. That is largely due to politics. It is due to the Liberal government's attitude and the signals it sends to the investment community. It is due to the attitudes of provincial governments as well.

We exist with a price differential on our energy products that is absolutely killing jobs. It is eroding our ability to produce public services. What we are doing because of the differential is exporting income taxes. We are exporting public service to the United States. A Canadian barrel has a $30 discount on world prices. Think of that one pipeline which has a capacity of half a million barrels a day, and we are taking a discount of up to $30 a barrel.

We should think of how much royalty money is not being paid to the Alberta, Saskatchewan, or other provincial governments. We should think of how much in equalization payments cannot be made. We should think of how much income tax is not being paid on money that is not being earned because of the differential. This has been going on for years and is exacerbated repeatedly by the absence of pipeline capacity.

By no means is this an Alberta issue alone. Although there are thousands of people in my riding whose livelihoods depend on the oil and gas industry, the benefits of this industry are spread throughout Canada. They are a major part of the public services that Canadians rely on and the revenue from royalties and from income tax.

Producers pay some of the highest royalty rates in the world on Canadian oil and gas. Producers are willing to do so because until now, Canada has been a reliable place where adherence to the rule of law, sanctity of contract, stable political regimes, and rigorous but predictable regulatory processes allow companies to invest in Canadian resources. All of this is being jeopardized by this current dispute. If international investors look at Canada and say this is not a country where they can rely on the rule of law because a provincial government can usurp federal approval, where the Constitution is not observed, where sanctity of contract in terms of governments moving goalposts on approval processes, this becomes a place where the international investment community will not go. All of the foregoing is under threat due to the Prime Minister's inaction and the mixed signals it sends to the investment community.

The situation today is utterly untenable. The Prime Minister and Parliament have the tools to remedy the situation. We know that affordable energy is an important human need. We are talking out loud about trade disputes between provinces. People are actually talking out loud about what would happen if the Government of Alberta were to refuse to allow the export of crude through the existing Trans Mountain pipeline. What would happen to the economy of the Lower Mainland? It would grind to a halt in days.

The fact that we are even talking about these things is absolutely unbelievable. There is no way we should be having these discussions, yet they are happening. It is time for the Prime Minister to choose what kind of prime minister he wants to be and what he wants his legacy to be. Does he want it to be a divided union? He cannot continue to placate everyone. He may need to alienate some of the extreme elements of the environmental movement, and why not? The utter destruction of the oil and gas industry is all that those folks will settle for, so there really is no trade to be made with these folks.

We know that Pierre Trudeau's family has a history of fomenting constitutional crises. In Alberta the same resentments and anger that I am now hearing are very familiar. I grew up with them in the 1980s. In Alberta they see a LIberal government that is letting its ideological fellow travellers in British Columbia kill a pipeline that many in the Liberal caucus do not even want anyway.

It is time for thePrime Minister to stop letting the noisy few kill the jobs and prosperity for the many. He should stop hemming in our oil and gas even as in the east we import oil from Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and the United States. He needs to stop exporting social services like health care and education to the United States. He needs to stop chasing away investment and tax dollars that would go with it from an industry because projects are not being developed. He should stop rewarding those who would subvert the rule of law and the Constitution Act. He should stop trying to ride both sides of every fence. He should show some leadership, stand up for jobs, and for once be proud of Canada's energy industry and the rigours of our environment policies.

Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Northumberland—Peterborough South Ontario

Liberal

Kim Rudd LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

Madam Speaker, I disagree with the hon. member. Our signals have been extremely clear. The Minister of Natural Resources last week and the Prime Minister before that clearly stated our support for the Trans Mountain expansion after consulting with thousands of thousands of Canadians. It is important to listen to what Canadians have to say.

There was a bit of revisionist history happening there with regard to the northern gateway pipeline. Northern gateway was stopped because the courts said there was no consultation by the former Conservative government.

Does my hon. colleague not believe Canadians should have a voice in major projects?

Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Pat Kelly Conservative Calgary Rocky Ridge, AB

Indeed I do, Madam Speaker, and indeed they have. This project was approved by the Liberal government and it is time for the minister and the Prime Minister to champion this project and quit just standing back and saying it will get built, as if repeating that enough times will make it happen.

Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Madam Speaker, we have spent many years in northern Ontario attempting to get the Ring of Fire project off the ground. We have been working in consultation and making sure that it is going to meet all of the environmental standards. We are finally at the point of discussing building a smelter. Building a smelter requires social licence and environmental licence. I note for my colleague that there are serious concerns in Coniston and Sault Ste. Marie about building a smelter within the city limits because of environmental concerns, and they are valid concerns when looking at this project.

A site is set up in the Timmins region that is ready and it has full social support. As well, it would build the infrastructure for the railway. Adding the plant in the Timmins region would provide a much stronger social and environmental net benefit to the region and would not face citizen opposition.

Would my hon. colleague support the New Democrats in our continued work on the Ring of Fire issue?

Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Pat Kelly Conservative Calgary Rocky Ridge, AB

Madam Speaker, I would support responsible resource development wherever it can be found in Canada. I am pleased to hear my colleague from Timmins—James Bay speaking of responsible resource development and being on board with it.

This whole business of so-called social licence is troublesome, especially in the context of this project. We have opponents to this project that cannot be placated and will not rest until resource development is completely eliminated in Canada. We have a government whose members in some cases were in part financed through the Tides Foundation, which has an explicit agenda to hem in and end all oil and gas exploration and extraction in Canada. That cannot be allowed to happen. We cannot allow a small handful of people to destroy projects that are in the national interest.

Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, the Prime Minister and the minister have been very clear on the issue. The pipeline is going to move forward. The Conservatives know that but they seem to be having a tough time trying to politicize this issue. It would appear that they are trying to use it as a wedge. The federal government is also responsible for a healthy Confederation. We have worked with premiers and have arrived at all sorts of agreements.

Given that the federal government has already said it is moving forward and that the pipeline will get built, why do the Conservatives think it is necessary to try to drive a wedge between Canadian provinces?

Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Pat Kelly Conservative Calgary Rocky Ridge, AB

Madam Speaker, it is so ironic to hear the member say that somehow it is the Conservatives who are fomenting division on this issue. We have two provinces with leaders of the same party at war with each other, playing to their own bases, and we have a Prime Minister who has done absolutely nothing up to this point to get this pipeline built. This thing should have been under construction already. It is on the Liberal government's watch and the Liberal government has to bear responsibility for the fact that this project is not already under construction.

Black History MonthStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Beaulieu Bloc La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak on behalf of the Bloc Québécois on the occasion of Black History Month.

We encourage everyone to come out and participate in the many different activities being held throughout the month of February all across Quebec, including Montreal, Gatineau, and Quebec City.

Musical, theatrical, and dance performances, exhibits, lectures, and discussion groups will showcase the incredible talents of Quebec's black community. These events will give participants a chance to learn more about the little-known and little-taught history of black Quebeckers and to collectively reflect on their unique perspective on Quebec.

Let us see Black History Month as an opportunity to celebrate four centuries of building Quebec together. Let us celebrate what brings us together and continue to cultivate what makes us unique.

Volunteerism in Centreville-Wareham-TrinityStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Churence Rogers Liberal Bonavista—Burin—Trinity, NL

Mr. Speaker, I stand in the House today to recognize a true example of community spirit and volunteerism at its finest.

Within my riding and in my hometown of Centreville-Wareham-Trinity, an annual winter festival is held. Invites are extended to people from neighbouring small towns and communities to participate in a week of fun.

I am proud to say that this festival is celebrating its 25th year and brings a sense of togetherness like no other, including to our senior population, who truly enjoy all the social activities that this festival offers.

To host and manage this event requires a tremendous amount of work. However, each year 30 to 40 people come forward to volunteer their time, some since the very beginning, in making this festival a huge success.

I am truly proud to stand today as their member of Parliament and commend these amazing volunteers for their effort and commitment.

Congenital Heart Disease Awareness WeekStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, as Valentine's Day approaches, people are thinking about their hearts. February 14 is Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day in Canada, and part of Congenital Heart Disease Awareness Week from February 7 to 14.

In Canada, one in every 100 babies is born with some form of CHD, making it the number one birth defect. These range from minor heart murmurs to complex structural anomalies. Sadly, there is no cure.

Years ago, CHD meant that children had only a 20% chance of reaching adulthood. However, today virtually 95% of CHD children live well into adulthood due to tremendous advances in medical and surgical care and treatments.

I stand to support the Canadian Congenital Heart Alliance as the only national organization supporting children and adults living with CHD. They aim to improve the health outcomes and quality of life for individuals with congenital heart diseases. We salute their wonderful work and the dedication of their volunteers.

Happy Congenital Heart Disease Awareness Day.

PIO Parliamentarian ConferenceStatements By Members

February 12th, 2018 / 2 p.m.

Liberal

Ramesh Sangha Liberal Brampton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I recently participated in the first-ever PIO Parliamentarian Conference, hosted by the Government of India in New Delhi. This was attended by over 130 parliamentarians and mayors of the Indian diaspora worldwide, from 23 nations.

At the conference, I was elated to witness our Prime Minister's lead towards gender reform, global collaboration, and a strengthening of diversity being taken seriously.

We celebrate February as Black History Month, and this is the kind of diversity that makes our Canada strong.

There is an anticipated excitement in store for our Prime Minister's upcoming visit to India.

Let us continue to build the global family.

PensionsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, proposed changes to pensions in Bill C-27 have constituents in my riding of Port Moody—Coquitlam, Anmore, and Belcarra worried about their future.

This bill would allow defined benefit plans to be converted to unsecured targeted benefit plans, placing all the financial risk on workers. This is short-sighted, ill-advised, and unfair.

Pensions are deferred wages, and they belong to the workers who have earned them. After working all their lives and sacrificing pay and benefit improvements to secure a reliable pension plan, Canadians deserve a fair, decent pension that they can count on.

New Democrats strongly oppose Bill C-27 and ask that it be withdrawn immediately.

Canada 150 Community Leader AwardStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ken McDonald Liberal Avalon, NL

Mr. Speaker, like many members in this House, in 2017, I had the opportunity to honour notable constituents in my riding with a Canada 150 pin, which is made from the old copper roof from these very Parliament buildings. I use the opportunity to highlight 20 incredible individuals for my Canada 150 Community Leader Award.

This award recognizes community leaders and volunteers who have made positive contributions throughout the riding of Avalon. Our towns are better for having these people in them.

They are Reverend Sam Butler, Ross Petten, Val Careen, Major Lorne Pritchett, Shelia Lee, Rita Pennell, Vince Burton, David Fagan, Patti Corcoran, Angela Woodford, Marjorie Gibbons, Trudy Strowbridge, Patricia Hynes-Coates, Wayne Power, Don Sword, Elizabeth Molloy, Kelly Power, Harbour Grace Ocean Enterprises, and the Conception Bay South Monument of Honour Committee.

On behalf of all the people of Avalon, I thank each and every one. They have all made lasting impacts on the lives of those in their communities, and it is my honour to recognize their contributions with this award. Keep up the good work.

Youth EmploymentStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, we all know that the Prime Minister said he admires the basic dictatorship of China. We now understand some of what he means.

This past Friday, applications closed for the Canada summer jobs program. In my riding of Oshawa, the number of applicants is down by about half. This means fewer jobs for students at UOIT, Trent University, and Durham College. It means fewer summer camp options for parents already struggling to make ends meet.

All of this is happening because of the Liberals' new values test: attest to their values or be punished. If one does not agree with the ideological positions of the Liberal Party, one's organization will no longer be eligible to receive funding for a summer student. It is as simple as that.

One organization in my riding wrote to me saying, “we are desperately concerned that this government overreach is just a test run for a more insidious plan”.

This values test has no place in Canada. While the current Prime Minister talks a lot about respecting diversity, his actions tell a very different story.

Mikaël KingsburyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, early this morning in Pyeongchang, one of Canada's top athletes crowned a distinguished career by winning the gold medal in freestyle skiing. I want to congratulate all the Canadian athletes competing in the Pyeongchang games, as well as all those who have already won seven medals for Canada.

I heartily congratulate Mikaël Kingsbury on this extraordinary feat that has made us so proud. With his humble, down-to-earth attitude and sportsmanlike behaviour, he is a fantastic role model for young Canadians.

I also want to congratulate the families and teams of trainers who support our athletes day after day in pursuit of their Olympic dream.

Mikaël, the people of Deux-Montagnes, the Laurentian region, Quebec and all of Canada are extremely proud of you, and we are all behind you. We are proud of our Canadian Olympic athletes. Mikaël, congratulations once again on your outstanding performance.

Black History MonthStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Darrell Samson Liberal Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to be the member of Parliament for Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, which includes, of course, the largest and oldest black community in Canada. The culture and history of African Nova Scotians is preserved and celebrated throughout my riding, as well as across Nova Scotia and Canada.

I am also proud to mention that the Black Cultural Centre in Preston is the largest black cultural centre in Canada.

This year, the theme for Black History Month is “Black Canadian Women: Stories of Strength, Courage and Vision”.

Like many Nova Scotians, I was inspired by the story of Viola Desmond. I happened to meet her sister, Wanda Robson, shortly after our government announced that Viola Desmond would be the first black Canadian woman to be on the ten dollar bill. Every time we use the ten dollar bill, please remind yourselves of her leadership and inspiration.

I wish everyone a happy Black History Month in Canada.

MarijuanaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-330 would require landlords' consent before medical marijuana plants could be grown on their property. Under the existing regulations, a tenant with a medical marijuana licence can legally grow plants without notifying their landlord. Compare this with the new recreational rules where provinces are recognizing that there is harm or potential harm, and places like British Columbia are going to require landlords' consent.

However, this principle does not apply to medical marijuana users. There are no mechanisms for landlords to prevent grow ops for medical purposes on their property. For example, unlike the four-plant limit for recreational use, in some cases, there could be three or four people living together and they may be authorized to grow 40 plants or more in a house. I have had many property owners who have invested their life savings into a rental property contact me because their property was destroyed by such grow ops.

This is simply wrong. I urge all members to support my private member's bill when it comes up.

Hooked on School DaysStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Yves Robillard Liberal Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, Hooked on School Days has been held across Quebec for 12 years now. This initiative, which takes place from February 12 to 16, gives stakeholders an opportunity to increase public awareness about the importance of educational success and perseverance and to explain the consequences of dropping out of school and the benefits of graduating.

Since I was a teacher for many years, I cannot help but support this initiative, and I encourage everyone in Laval and throughout the province to participate in the various activities.

No action or initiative is too small. Every action counts, and we must all work together and do our part to ensure the success of our young people and encourage everyone to stay in school.

West Island Black Community AssociationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Baylis Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to pay homage to Ms. Elizabeth-Ann Williams, who, for over 25 years, has been volunteering with the West Island Black Community Association. WIBCA, as it is known, is a wonderful organization that provides programs, workshops, and social activities for all in the region. She cemented her place in the organization in May of 2014 by becoming its president.

In recognition of her contribution to the city's development, Ms. Williams was named Bâtisseuse de la cité 2017 by the City of Montreal.

I am happy to say that WIBCA is now under the leadership of another lady, the young and dynamic Kemba Mitchell, and I am certain that the organization will continue to prosper and flourish under her leadership.

To all black women who have worked tirelessly to make a difference in our communities, I say that we see them, we hear their voices, and we thank them.

MPP BrantStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Conservative Brantford—Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is highly unusual for a Tory to stand in this House and heap praise on a Grit, but today I must. This spring, after 18 years of serving Brantford—Brant as MPP and speaker of the Ontario legislature, Dave Levac is retiring from political life.

Dave and I share many things in common, our age, 63; our alma mater, Wilfrid Laurier University, where we both played varsity sports and enjoyed our university years together; our love for our community; and, most importantly, our joint resolve to rise above partisanship in working for the good of our communities. The spirit of co-operation comes naturally to Dave. He is larger than life, a big man with a big smile, a really big moustache, and an even bigger heart. I am proud to have been able to work with him through all these years and to call him one of my best friends.

On behalf of the people of Brantford—Brant, there is only one thing left to say: Thank you, Dave.

Water QualityStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Paradis Liberal Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week, I went to Washington to meet with the teams of Vermont senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders, as well as with the U.S. secretary for the International Joint Commission. I also met with Canadian embassy officials.

The main focus of these strategic meetings was the water quality of Lake Champlain and Lake Memphrémagog, two of the largest water resources shared between Quebec and Vermont. We also talked about the economic challenges faced by the region, trade between Brome—Missisquoi and Vermont, and border security.

I would like to thank Jacques Landry, the mayor of Venise-en-Québec, for his involvement. He also chairs Actions Lac Champlain, a committee dedicated to protecting the water quality of the lake.

Let us do what it takes to leave clean water in our extraordinary lakes for the next generation, since that is our drinking water after all.

Hermel GiardStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Brigitte Sansoucy NDP Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, as we celebrate Canada's Agriculture Day, I am very moved to rise today to pay tribute to the late Hermel Giard, who passed away a few days ago. Mr. Giard was a well-known farmer who raised Holsteins, a breed he really loved.

His family has been involved in organizing the Saint-Hyacinthe agricultural fair from the beginning, or for 180 consecutive years! Mr. Giard was a man who loved farming and his region. He was devoted to his community and served as the mayor of Saint-Simon for almost 15 years.

Mr. Giard and his wife, Ms. Huguette, earned dozens of honours, including being inducted into the Quebec Agriculture Hall of Fame, which is indicative of their passion for agriculture and the greater Saint-Hyacinthe region. He was a role model for new and future farmers because of his leadership, wisdom, and honesty. His descendants will be farming for many generations to come.

2018 Winter OlympicsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Larry Miller Conservative Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, the 2018 Winter Olympics are now in full swing and, unsurprisingly, Canadian athletes have been winning medals left, right, and centre at these games.

As of this morning, Canada was only one medal behind Norway for most medals won so far at the games. We will all be watching and cheering on our athletes throughout the games.

This week also marks an incredible milestone for my friend and colleague, Senator Nancy Greene Raine. Fifty years ago, on February 15, 1968, Canadians watched as Senator Greene Raine raced down the slopes in Grenoble, France to win gold in the women's giant slalom alpine skiing event. It was an incredible victory, and a moment that many Canadians remember to this day. She also won silver in the slalom.

As the 2018 Winter Olympics continue, I am looking forward to seeing more and more medals come home to Canada. From hockey to skiing to figure skating and more, I am sure Canada will own the podium in Pyeongchang. Go Canada go.

Let's Talk ScienceStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Kate Young Liberal London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Sunday, scientists around the world mark the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. That is why, today, I would like to recognize the good work of Let's Talk Science, a national organization in my riding of London West.

Let's Talk Science gives youth the opportunity to see into the lives of real Canadians working in science, technology, engineering and math, otherwise known as STEM. They have 3,500 student volunteers at 45 universities and colleges across Canada, and over 60% of them are women. These young women work to actively make a difference as role models across the country.

Let's Talk Science works hard to engage and empower women and girls in the STEM fields, and I commend its work as it continues to inspire the next generation of female scientists.

Prime Minister's OfficeOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Kent Conservative Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, when the Prime Minister interrupted a woman at a town hall, correcting her use of “mankind” with “peoplekind“, his mansplaining went viral. Around the world, the Prime Minister was mocked for his political correctness.

The Prime Minister eventually conceded that it was a dumb joke, but his principal secretary, Gerald Butts, tweeted that any and all who criticized his boss were Nazis. The Prime Minister once said that any statement by Mr. Butts could be considered his own, and in this case?

Prime Minister's OfficeOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I did not hear a question in that statement.

Prime Minister's OfficeOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Kent Conservative Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Nazis killed six million Jews. People who laugh at the Prime Minister are not Nazis.

Will the Prime Minister disassociate himself from his principal secretary's unacceptable language?

Prime Minister's OfficeOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we, as all of us do, take very seriously the Holocaust and make sure we remind ourselves never again by telling the story of the Holocaust and not relating that to anything else that happened. We recognize that this is something of extreme difficulty and care must be taken. I have always ensured that we are respectful in our discourse, particularly around that subject.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Alain Rayes Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, it was a simple question. We were asking for an apology for the remarks made by his principal secretary. The Prime Minister's response shows a total lack of respect for the House.

The next question we want to ask him has to do with the Trans Mountain project, which will create tens of thousands of jobs and will be good for every region of our country. While the situation was deteriorating in Alberta and British Columbia, the Prime Minister was busy travelling around the United States.

Will the Prime Minister finally show some leadership, do his job, and fix this problem once and for all?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have made it very clear that the Trans Mountain project is in the national interest. That is why we will make sure that it gets built.

We know that in order to protect the environment and invest in our oceans, we also need to be able to find new markets for our natural resources. That is exactly what we are doing.

We will always work hard to unite the various regions of our country. We will always stand up for the national interest of all Canadians.

Prime Minister's OfficeOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, clearly, people who make fun of the Prime Minister's making up words that do not exist are not Nazis. Will the Prime Minister condemn and apologize for the comments of his principal secretary?

Prime Minister's OfficeOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we take very seriously the importance of creating open opportunities for dialogue. That is why I was so pleased to get out there and do town halls across the country, at which I took a broad range of questions from Canadians in a very honest and open environment. This is something that we continue to believe in. We have difficult conversations from time to time, and I will continue to do exactly that in the future.

Prime Minister's OfficeOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, quite obviously the most powerful staff member to the most powerful politician in Canada should not be calling people Nazis. Will the Prime Minister condemn and apologize for the comments of his principal secretary?

Prime Minister's OfficeOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to civil discourse, when it comes to the kinds of back and forth that happen in the House, it is a real shame to see the Conservatives using lines straight out of Rebel Media and the Rebel webcast. The Rebel should not be writing commentary and questions for the members opposite. They should know to disassociate themselves from that kind of politics and those kinds of personal attacks.

TaxationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, Ottawa's coffers are apparently short $47.8 billion in uncollected taxes. I say “apparently” because that is an estimate made by the Conference Board of Canada.

The parliamentary budget officer has been trying to get to the bottom of this shortfall since December 2012, but five years later we are still going in circles. The Canada Revenue Agency refuses to give the parliamentary budget officer the data he is asking for, even though the data is anonymous.

Will the Prime Minister call on the Minister of Revenue to work with the parliamentary budget officer or is he waiting to be taken to court?

TaxationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud that we on this side of the House support the work of the parliamentary budget officer. In fact, we gave him a broader mandate and more authority so that he could do his good work. We have always provided him with sound data in order to give his work added strength.

As far as the CRA's data is concerned, the Agency has concluded an agreement with the PBO. By the end of the month, the CRA will provide its data to the PBO in a manner geared to protect Canadians' privacy.

TaxationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, that does not resolve the root problem. The Canada Revenue Agency has an institutional culture of secrecy. Its directors constantly hide behind the infamous section 241 of the Income Tax Act to deny any responsibility, even when it does not involve the privacy of taxpayers. When we ask questions about the agency's failure to act on the Panama Papers or its communications with KPMG, the agency refuses to give us the information.

Will the Prime Minister stand with the parliamentary budget officer or the CRA's unaccountable directors?

TaxationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I said, we are pleased to have strengthened the role, responsibilities, and powers of the parliamentary budget officer. He plays a vital role in our system and we are always very pleased to support him.

I am also very pleased to repeat what I just said. The Canada Revenue Agency and the parliamentary budget officer have reached an agreement that will make it possible for the PBO to do the work he has been wanting to do for a long time.

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, our thoughts today are with the family of Colten Boushie. It is incumbent upon us to say that this Canada will not be a nation where the senseless killing of indigenous youth is considered okay, that Canada will not be a nation defined by racial suspicion, a failed judicial process or 150 years of broken promises. Platitudes are not enough.

My question is for the Prime Minister. What steps will he take to reassure the Boushie family and indigenous youth across the country that justice will be made real for Colten Boushie?

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, our thoughts of course are with the family and friends of Colten Boushie.

While it would be completely inappropriate to comment on the specifics of this case, we understand there are systemic issues in our criminal justice system that we must address. We are committed to broad-based reform to address these issues. As a country, we must and we can do better. Our government is committed to working hard every day to ensure justice for all Canadians.

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, speaking about specifics, when the justice system fails an individual, there are appeals, there is legal precedent. However, when justice fails a people, it is incumbent upon leaders to take a stand. Let us be clear. The system did not just fail Colten Boushie. The system has failed indigenous people all the way back to Poundmaker, and it has to stop.

Therefore, in this watershed moment, what concrete steps will the Prime Minister take to deal with the huge legal inequities that are faced by indigenous people all across the country?

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we agree. When indigenous adults make up 3% of our population but 26% of our incarcerated population, there is a problem. When indigenous Canadians are significantly under-represented on juries and in jury selection pools, we have a problem. We have much we need to do together to fix the system. In the spirit of reconciliation, that is exactly what we are going to be doing.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

Alain Rayes Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, thousands of jobs are at stake right now because our Prime Minister and his Liberal government are failing to show leadership. The $7.4-billion Trans Mountain project, which has already been approved, is on the line. The Prime Minister does not seem to recognize the urgency of the situation. His failure to take action and his silence on the matter are jeopardizing the Canadian economy, provincial economies, and the jobs of Canadian families that depend on the expansion.

Will the Prime Minister tell Canadians what he is going to do to resolve the difficulties British Columbia and Alberta are having?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Jim Carr LiberalMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, the government approved the Trans Mountain expansion pipeline because it was in the natural interest; because of the many thousands of jobs that would be created; because of the expansion of export markets so we would not have to rely on 99% of those exports going to one country, the United States; because of the $1.5 billion we invested in the ocean protection plan, which is world-leading; and because of the consultation with indigenous communities, which are the three pillars of responsible development.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

Alain Rayes Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Friday, the official opposition requested an emergency debate in the interest of workers in British Columbia, Alberta, and the rest of the country. That request was refused even though natural resources are a pillar of our economy and thousands of families depend on those jobs.

My question is a simple one: when will the Prime Minister step up, get to work, and show the kind of leadership that will help our natural resources sector?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Jim Carr LiberalMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has said unequivocally many times that this pipeline will be built, and that no province has the authority to impinge on federal jurisdiction in the national interest. There is only one government in Canada that speaks on behalf of Canada, and that is the Government of Canada, which it has done and will continue to do.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has completely failed to ensure that Trans Mountain will even get started. As per usual, he and the Liberals are full of empty words and very empty on action. The Prime Minister has done absolutely nothing to guarantee that Trans Mountain gets built, and the lack of leadership from the government has threatened jobs and interprovincial relationships.

What is the Prime Minister going to do to ensure that construction on this pipeline begins this spring?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Jim Carr LiberalMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows that the Government of Canada has already intervened in a motion in front of the National Energy Board and agreed with Kinder Morgan that there ought to be at standing panel established to ensure there are no unnecessary delays in a project that, and I know the opposition agrees with us, is in the national interest. We have been unequivocal in our support. We have taken steps supporting interventions at the National Energy Board, and will be very alert to any other attempts to unnecessarily delay this project in Canada's interests.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, it has been 440 days since Trans Mountain was approved and 440 days later not even a shovel in the ground. A trade war is starting between Alberta and B.C., and each day that goes by that tension is escalating. While all this is happening, where is the Prime Minister? He is missing in action. His own personal gain and vanity tour seems to trump the work he should be doing here at home.

Once again, what is the Prime Minister's plan to get Trans Mountain started this spring?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Jim Carr LiberalMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, the government has no interest in inflaming emotions between regions of our countries, between sectors, or from one province to another. The job of the Government of Canada is to speak on behalf of all Canadians. If the member opposite and members of the Conservative Party expect that we are going to play a game of trying to enrage and inflame regional tensions, we will not do it.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is not a game. They just have to do their jobs. With the Prime Minister finally back from his vanity tour in the U.S., he should finally lead on Trans Mountain and outline his plan for action, but he is still keeping Canadians in the dark. There is not even a glimmer of a plan, and without one, the interprovincial trade war gets worse. Every day, Canadians and small businesses are caught in the crossfire. It is the same empty rhetoric that someday, somehow this pipeline will magically get built.

Will the Prime Minister take this opportunity and finally announce the date when Trans Mountain construction will start?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Jim Carr LiberalMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, was the town hall in Edmonton in the dark? I think there were cameras there. There were microphones there. People were taking pictures of it. They were recording what the Prime Minister said, which was that this pipeline will be built. This has been unequivocal. We have intervened at the National Energy Board when there have been attempts made to slow the process down. We understand that this is a project that is going to create jobs, expand export markets, and invest heavily in ocean protection with the partnership of indigenous people. This is responsible national policy.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is still sitting down and will not step in to ensure this pipeline gets built. Without a real concrete plan, his words and the minister's words are meaningless. Clearly, the government's approval even for a pipeline that is obviously in the national interest, which it has said over and over, means absolutely nothing. He cannot just wish the pipeline into existence. The Prime Minister has to actually get involved and tell Canadians what he is going to do. Wishful thinking and sunny ways do not build pipelines.

Why does the Prime Minister refuse to make it clear to Canadians when Trans Mountain is going to get built?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Jim Carr LiberalMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, why does the hon. member refuse to hear what the Prime Minister has said over and over again.

He has said, and we have said, continuously, that we will not allow any province to impinge on the federal government's jurisdiction over the national interest. It is not profitable for us to deal in hypotheticals of what a government might do. We will act when the government acts, and we will act for all Canadians, not one region, not one sector, not one province.

JusticeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Georgina Jolibois NDP Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, I want to begin by paying my respects to the Boushie family who are here in Ottawa today.

They are here because they recognize that our system is broken. In order for the system to work, jury members must be reflective of all communities. In far too many instances, like the trial that followed the tragic death of Colten Boushie in my home province, that is not the case.

What is the government doing to address the under-representation of indigenous peoples on Canadian juries?

JusticeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver Granville B.C.

Liberal

Jody Wilson-Raybould LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I would echo my hon. colleague's sentiments to the Boushie family in their time of grief, and recognize that we, as a country, have to do more in terms of the criminal justice system and the overrepresentation of indigenous peoples, black Canadians, and other marginalized individuals within the system.

In terms of the under-representation of indigenous peoples on juries, this is something that I have had conversations about with my colleagues across the way. We will continue to have these conversations, benefiting from former Supreme Court of Canada justices who have weighed in on this issue.

JusticeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, for the system to be fair, jury members need to reflect the community where the alleged crime occurred. However, in far too many instances, that is just not the case. The use of peremptory challenges means lawyers can reject jurors for no reason at all: maybe they do not like the way they look, or maybe it is the colour of their skin.

As a first step to ensure real community representation, especially following the tragic death of Colten Boushie, will the minister review and possibly revoke the use of peremptory challenges under the Criminal Code?

JusticeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver Granville B.C.

Liberal

Jody Wilson-Raybould LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, first, we are undertaking a broad-based review of the criminal justice system. I look forward to bringing forward reform, in the near future. We have worked very diligently with members throughout the House.

To the member's specific question, we are looking at peremptory challenges. We are going to consider how we can utilize the expertise that exists in this room and across the country on how we can substantively improve the criminal justice system and the jury selection process. I know that the member is an active participant on the committee, and we will be engaging with the committee on this.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Joël Godin Conservative Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week, the Minister of Environment introduced a bill on the environment and sustainable development. The Liberals made all kinds of promises to environmental groups to get elected, and now, after 28 months in power, this Liberal government has given birth to a mouse. This bill is nothing but window dressing. It sets deadlines and requests scientific studies, but at the end of the day the minister has all the decision-making power.

Can we balance sustainable development with economic development? Why this charade? Can we put effective measures in place to protect our resources and develop them intelligently?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa Centre Ontario

Liberal

Catherine McKenna LiberalMinister of Environment and Climate Change

Mr. Speaker, I want to assure the hon. member across the way that we have protections. We know that in the 21st century we must do better. While the previous government attacked environmental programs and protections for our fish and navigable waters, we rebuilt them. We are off to a much better start because we are restoring Canadians' trust in our system.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Robert Sopuck Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals' proposed changes to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act will saddle job-creating resource development projects with unnecessary red tape, bureaucratic hurdles, political interference, and complex processes before these projects can proceed. In fact, the proof is in the pudding. There was a headline last week, “Suncor to shun major new projects amid Canada's 'difficult' regulatory environment”.

The Liberals fail to understand that energy projects in Canada are designed with the best environmental standards. Why is the Liberal government continuing to jeopardize the livelihoods of thousands of Canadians and hundreds of communities that rely on our natural resources?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa Centre Ontario

Liberal

Catherine McKenna LiberalMinister of Environment and Climate Change

Mr. Speaker, the reason that we have brought forward new legislation is to rebuild trust in our environmental assessment process. If we do not have the trust of Canadians, if we are not making decisions based on science, if we are not listening to indigenous peoples, then we are not going to get good projects built.

The proof is in the pudding with the party opposite. It could not get projects built. We have a system that rebuilds trust, that has tighter timelines, and is going to make sure that we protect our environment while ensuring good projects go ahead.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, let me quote the Canadian Environmental Law Association, who are the minister's friends, the new process “will not restore public trust or ensure credible, participatory and science-based decision-making”. That comes from her friends. The minister has the power to kill a project without any scientific review. The bill is riddled with red tape, delays, and new criteria that signal the death knell of resource development in Canada.

Why is the minister so disrespectful of our natural resource industry?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa Centre Ontario

Liberal

Catherine McKenna LiberalMinister of Environment and Climate Change

Mr. Speaker, we spent 14 months listening to energy companies, environmentalists, indigenous peoples, the provinces, and scientists. Why? Because the trust of Canadians was lost by the previous government. They destroyed the trust in the environmental assessment system. They did not make decisions based on science. They politicized everything.

We are rebuilding trust. I am extremely proud that we are delivering on a promise we made to Canadians.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, that is patently false. The minister claims the new environmental assessment process will be a more efficient, transparent, and predictable environmental review process. Nothing could be further from the truth. The bill is riddled with powers for the minister to halt, delay, and terminate projects on a political whim. The real intent of the bill is to give the minister a veto over resource development in Canada.

Why is the minister so intent on suffocating our natural resource industry?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa Centre Ontario

Liberal

Catherine McKenna LiberalMinister of Environment and Climate Change

Mr. Speaker, I was very pleased by the response of so many businesses. They recognize that our system is actually more efficient. Unfortunately, maybe the member opposite has not read the legislation. The proposed legislation ensures that there is a more timely process, that timelines are shorter, that the transparency that was lost by the previous government is reinstated, and that we will be making decisions based on science.

I could go on and on, but good news, we are going to do a lot better.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, this Thursday, veterans will gather in Ottawa for the “left in the cold” protest to raise awareness about growing levels of homelessness among Canada's veterans. Down the street, Trevor Sanderson and Dick Groot, who drove all the way from Winnipeg, are protesting by sleeping outside in the freezing cold.

In testimony at committee, the co-founder of VETS Canada said that the number of homeless veterans is 5,000. Our veterans risked everything for this country, and the Liberals promised that they would honour their sacred obligation. When will they and when will they tackle the issue of rising homelessness among our veterans?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

St. John's South—Mount Pearl Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Seamus O'Regan LiberalMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, veterans' homelessness is unacceptable, which is why we have identified it as a priority of this government.

Our government is investing $2.2 billion over 10 years to tackle homelessness through our redesigned and expanded federal homelessness program, complemented by NHS initiatives, including the national housing co-investment fund and the Canada housing benefit, as well as VAC initiatives, like the $4 million investment in the veterans emergency fund, providing immediate and flexible financial support for those veterans in crisis.

Public Services and ProcurementOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Karine Trudel NDP Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, many employees are now refusing to accept promotions or to take parental leave because they are afraid they will not be paid because of Phoenix.

The situation has been deteriorating for two years, but this government continues to inform us of its many priorities. Today, it will say that transfers from one position to another and parental leave are a priority. That is true. However, the priority is to pay all public servants what they are owed on time.

When will that happen?

Public Services and ProcurementOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Delta B.C.

Liberal

Carla Qualtrough LiberalMinister of Public Services and Procurement

Mr. Speaker, we are very concerned about the uncertainty being caused among public servants by the Phoenix system and I can truly empathize with them. We are doing all we can in terms of governance and partnerships. We are fixing the technology and working with the unions. I can assure the House that it is my first priority as minister and that we will fix the problem.

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Mike Bossio Liberal Hastings—Lennox and Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, even today, there are first nations children living on reserve in Canada who cannot safely drink, bathe in, or even play in the water that comes out of their taps. This is why we committed to ending long-term drinking water advisories on all public systems on reserve by March 2021.

Can the Minister of Indigenous Services please update the House as to the actions being taken to ensure reliable access to clean drinking water on reserves?

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Markham—Stouffville Ontario

Liberal

Jane Philpott LiberalMinister of Indigenous Services

Mr. Speaker, I hope all members in the House will join me in celebrating the fact that today 11 long-term drinking water advisories were lifted in Tsal’alh First Nation. Some of these advisories had been in place for almost 14 years. I want to particularly thank Chief Crane and her leadership team for their fantastic work on this.

This brings the number of long-term drinking water advisories that have been lifted since 2015 to now 52. We will continue to work to make sure that all long-term drinking water advisories—

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The hon. member for Perth—Wellington.

Interprovincial TradeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

John Nater Conservative Perth—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has shown no leadership on interprovincial trade. His government's failure to reach an interprovincial trade deal that actually eliminates trade barriers and its unwillingness to stand up for the constitutional right to free internal trade between provinces puts Canadian businesses are risk. Now provinces have begun blocking the trade of wine, and the problem is escalating.

While the war of the rosés rages on, the Prime Minister and the government does nothing. When will the minister of intergovernmental affairs do his job and end the trade war between the provinces?

Interprovincial TradeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Mississauga—Malton Ontario

Liberal

Navdeep Bains LiberalMinister of Innovation

Mr. Speaker, we strongly advocate for and support free trade among the provinces and territories. We want to see goods, services and investments flow across borders without barriers and impediments. That is why we worked with the provinces, to answer the question more specifically, and we negotiated a first Canadian free trade agreement among the provinces and territories.

We have the mechanisms in place to deal with disputes and we urge both parties to work together to quickly resolve this issue.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Mr. Speaker, that is no answer. It takes 18 months for that provision to be used and it only gives $10 million. Wineries need the help of the government right now. It is bad for small business, particularly like wineries and restaurants. It is bad for interprovincial relations. Frankly, it is just bad for Canada.

It is happening because the Prime Minister refuses to stand and tell Canadians what his plan is to get the Trans Mountain pipeline built. The lack of federal leadership has left Alberta on its own and now everyone will have to pay the price.

When will the Prime Minister act like a prime minister and do his job?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Jim Carr LiberalMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I do not know why the hon. member will not take yes for an answer. As we have been telling him throughout the last number of minutes, the last number of days, and the last number of months, we want this pipeline built. We want it built because it creates jobs; it expands exports markets; it invests $1.5 billion in an ocean protection plan, the best there is in the world; all while we are consulting with indigenous communities. That is the responsible thing to do. Why can the member not take yes for an answer?

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lévis—Lotbinière, QC

Mr. Speaker, in order for the Prime Minister's travel to the Aga Khan's private island to be justified by exceptional circumstances, he would have to show that he took that trip in the national interests of our country.

In his defence, the Prime Minister indicated that he and the Aga Khan did not discuss Government of Canada business.

Why do Canadians have to pay for the Prime Minister's private family vacations and when will he pay that money back to Canadian taxpayers?

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, as I have said many times, the former commissioner acknowledged that the costs were incurred as part of the role of the Prime Minister. After the report was tabled, the Prime Minister accepted responsibility and we accepted the findings.

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Mr. Speaker, when the health minister repaid inappropriate expenses, the Prime Minister said, “This situation was a reminder for all of us to be extremely careful about our expenses and about the public trust that we wield.” The report on the Prime Minister was clear. The vacation the Prime Minister accepted from a lobbyist was illegal.

Last week, the Prime Minister and the entire Liberal caucus voted against accountability when illegal expenses occurred.

Where is the trust and just how far are the Liberals willing to go to protect their “all-you-can-eat” buffet of corruption?

EthicsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, as I have said on numerous occasions, immediately after the report was released, the Prime Minister accepted responsibility and he accepted its findings. As the ex-commissioner has stated clearly, these are costs that are incurred in the function of the Prime Minister, as was the case for previous prime ministers.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Brigitte Sansoucy NDP Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, an analysis by The Globe and Mail identified a very troubling trend under the Liberals when it comes to awarding infrastructure grants. We saw the same trend under the Conservatives. The grants are being awarded to Liberal ridings and Liberal ministers. Rural ridings are once again getting the short end of the stick, and no, public transit does not explain everything.

Will this government assure us that its phase 2 selection grid will be based on need and not on the political affiliation of the riding?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Edmonton Mill Woods Alberta

Liberal

Amarjeet Sohi LiberalMinister of Infrastructure and Communities

Mr. Speaker, I reject the premise of the question. We put forward a very ambitious infrastructure plan in partnership with the provinces, municipalities, and territories. Provinces, municipalities, and territories are responsible for the selection of projects. We work with them to go through rigorous criteria to approve them.

As far as rural communities are concerned, we are the only government that put forward $2 billion of dedicated funding for rural communities to meet their needs and build the infrastructure they needed.

PensionsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Scott Duvall NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, first we had the Prime Minister's “Let them east cake” moment, suggesting Sears retirees could survive on EI and CPP. Now the owner of Sears is blaming his managers for the firm's bankruptcy, after he drained over $3.5 billion out of the company.

Clearly, neither understands what is at stake. Thousands of Sears retirees have lost their post-retirement benefits and are waiting to hear how much of their pensions they will lose.

When will the government offer Canadians some real hope that this kind of corporate theft will never happen again?

PensionsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Mississauga—Malton Ontario

Liberal

Navdeep Bains LiberalMinister of Innovation

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member opposite for his advocacy. He knows full well that under the CCAA process, Sears went under a restructuring and refinancing process that unfortunately did not work out well.

That is why we are working with the families and the workers in the different communities that have been impacted. That is why the Prime Minister has said that through Service Canada we have held sessions. That is why we put forward provisions in the CPP to support workers and their families as well.

We will continue to monitor and assess all other options and find a way to help these workers.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Conservative Brantford—Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, today, veterans are camped out across the street from the Supreme Court to raise awareness for homeless veterans. Yes, it is the same Supreme Court where veterans are forced to fight the government.

While trying to get elected, the Prime Minister promised veterans that they would not need to fight him in court. However, now that he is in power, he tells them that they are asking for too much.

When will the Prime minister start keeping his promises to veterans?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

St. John's South—Mount Pearl Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Seamus O'Regan LiberalMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we have delivered on our promise for a pension for life. It is a plan to ensure that veterans have a full and productive life post-service. It is monthly, it is tax free, and it is for life. It provides income replacement payable at 90% of a veteran's pre-release salary. It is indexed annually. It is for life.

The Conservatives had 10 years to make changes the veterans were asking for, and they did nothing. They did nothing but cut budgets, close offices, and ignore them.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, our veterans, who sacrificed their health for the good of the country, feel forgotten and abandoned. The Prime Minister's comments showed that he would rather ease the pain of Islamic terrorists than honour those who gave everything to protect Canada and democracy.

The Prime Minister said that our veterans are asking too much, but the truth is that we owe them our freedom and, most importantly, our respect.

Does the Prime Minister realize that he owes them an apology? When will he apologize?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

St. John's South—Mount Pearl Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Seamus O'Regan LiberalMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the best way to show respect to our veterans is through actions and not just words anymore.

As many in the House know, I relish the opportunity to compare the record of this government versus the record of the previous government. I enjoy talking about examples of how this pension for life will benefit people, like a retired aviator with five years of service who is 50% disabled, who would receive over $170,000 in pain and suffering compensation alone over her lifetime. We have listened to veterans. Better still, we have acted.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Order, please. Have I mentioned at some point that members will hear things they do not like or agree with sometimes and they should not interrupt? I am pretty sure I have mentioned that.

The hon. member for Yorkton—Melville.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Cathay Wagantall Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is clear to Canadians that the Liberal campaign promises to veterans were both empty and misleading. The Prime Minister promised our veterans lifetime pensions. He has failed. He promised no veteran would have to fight the government in court for the benefits that he or she deserves, right: From a hand on his heart to a blow to theirs.

Could the Prime Minister please tell Canadians why he is forcing veterans to go to court to get him to keep his promises?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

St. John's South—Mount Pearl Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Seamus O'Regan LiberalMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, in Corner Brook, Newfoundland; Sydney, Nova Scotia; Charlottetown, P.E.I.; Thunder Bay, Ontario; Brandon, Manitoba; Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; Kelowna; Windsor; Prince George; all offices were closed by the previous government. All offices were reopened by this government. They were reopened with a new office in Surrey, with a new mobile office for the Arctic. Do not let anybody tell you differently, Mr. Speaker. Those were cuts. Those are offices that were closed which we reopened.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I do not think the hon. member for Durham heard me, perhaps. I would ask him not to interrupt when someone else has the floor.

The hon. member for Brossard—Saint-Lambert.

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, 1975 was declared International Women's Year by the United Nations. Since then, we have celebrated International Women's Day on March 8. This date has become an international day to acknowledge the achievements of women and represents a call to action to advance gender equality.

Will the Minister of Status of Women tell the House how we can celebrate Canada's progress toward achieving greater equality for women and people of all genders this coming International Women's Day?

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Peterborough—Kawartha Ontario

Liberal

Maryam Monsef LiberalMinister of Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, feminists like the hon. member for Brossard—Saint-Lambert have shaped our country's history, from the early suffragettes to the activists, advocates, and leaders of today. We appreciate feminism as a powerful global movement for gender equality that has led to progress for women and people of all genders.

This year, the theme for International Women's Day is #MyFeminism. We invite all Canadians to engage in a conversation about what feminism means to them and join us in celebrating the achievements and contributions of women in Canada and beyond.

Public Services and ProcurementOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, QC

Mr. Speaker, more than 20 times—

I am sorry. The Liberals are making the babies cry and I got distracted.

Liberal ministers visited Seaspan and Irving more than 20 times, but made just two quick visits to Davie shipyard. Why do they have such contempt for workers? Why, when the shipyard successfully completed its work by the deadline?

When will the minister honour the Prime Minister's words and deliver the ships, the icebreakers, and the Obelix?

Public Services and ProcurementOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Delta B.C.

Liberal

Carla Qualtrough LiberalMinister of Public Services and Procurement

Mr. Speaker, Davie shipyard is an important shipyard. We recognize that it has experienced workers, who did excellent work in delivering the Asterix. After consultations with the industry, the Government of Canada started discussing options with Davie shipyard to see whether it could help meet the needs of the Canadian Coast Guard for interim icebreaker capacity. We are in the initial stages and we hope to provide more information once the discussions are complete.

Media IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, everyone agrees that our print media are facing a crisis. It is imperative that this year's budget include solutions for that sector. Meanwhile, Ottawa is spending less on advertising in our local media, choosing instead to pay over half of its advertising budget to companies like Google and Facebook. I would remind the House that all that money is going out of the country. In other parts of the world, governments support their media and make sure that web giants pay their taxes. Ottawa, however, is doing the opposite and giving the web giants whatever they want.

Why?

Media IndustryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Ahuntsic-Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Mélanie Joly LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, high-quality local and community information is essential to our democracy. We have reinvested in CBC/Radio-Canada, as my colleague is well aware. Since our new investment, some communities that had no coverage in the past now have new journalists. A number of communities in the Magdalen Islands and southern Ontario come to mind. We are also modernizing the Canada periodical fund. Our goal is to ensure that that fund meets the needs of local information venues and local magazines, particularly during the transition to digital formats. We believe that the government must take a targeted approach with regard to the print media in order to protect journalistic independence.

HealthOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Bill Casey Liberal Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, volunteers and organizations in my riding work tirelessly to help people access home care and palliative care. It is very difficult for them. We made great progress and great advancements in last year's budget in financing home care and palliative care, but there is more to do.

Will the Minister of Health tell us what has been done recently to help organizations that provide palliative care and in-home medical care?

HealthOral Questions

3 p.m.

Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe New Brunswick

Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my friend and colleague the member for Cumberland—Colchester for his hard work on this matter.

As my colleague highlighted, in addition to Canada's health transfer, our government is providing $6 billion to provinces and territories to support better home care and palliative care services. We were also pleased to support Bill C-277.

Earlier today, I was very pleased to announce an additional $6 million in funding to Pallium Canada to train additional health care providers so that they can provide services to Canadians when at home. Bilateral agreements are in the process of being signed, with already two being done and many more to come in the very near future.

Consular AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal MP for Richmond Hill thinks that Iran has an elected government.

Meanwhile, the Government of Iran continues to show its true colours, this week through the murder of imprisoned 63-year-old Iranian-Canadian academic Kavous Seyed-Emami, implausibly labelled a suicide by the Iranian authorities.

We have heard that a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian. Will the government denounce the killing of this Canadian and repudiate its failing Iran appeasement policy?

Consular AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Mississauga Centre Ontario

Liberal

Omar Alghabra LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Consular Affairs)

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Canadian government and the House of Commons, I want to extend our sympathy to the family of Mr. Seyed-Emami. We are deeply concerned about the circumstances surrounding his death. We call on the Iranian government to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into his death. On behalf of the Canadian government, we are asking for answers.

TaxationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

Xavier Barsalou-Duval Bloc Pierre-Boucher—Les Patriotes—Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, starting March 3, the 1% will have two more places to legally hide their money, namely Grenada and Antigua and Barbuda.

That means there are rich people who are going to exploit the system to avoid paying taxes for our hospitals, our schools, and our public services, aided and abetted by Ottawa.

When are the Liberals going to stop working for tax havens and start working for ordinary folks?

TaxationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Gaspésie—Les-Îles-de-la-Madeleine Québec

Liberal

Diane Lebouthillier LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, fighting the abuse of tax havens is an important issue for our government. In the last two budgets, our government invested nearly $1 billion to fight tax evasion.

We also decided to tighten the rules for the voluntary disclosures program so that any individuals identified through information leaks do not have access to that program. Instead of accepting an immunity agreement, we believe these people need to face the full consequences of the law.

The agency continues to review links to Canadian entities and will take appropriate action to ensure that everyone pays their fair share of taxes.

TaxationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, catching tax cheats is not the problem. The problem is that the Liberal government is making legal something that is unethical. This needs to change.

In a few weeks, people will be getting their T4s and the government will expect some cheques to come in. Too bad for those who fail to pay the $3,000 they owe the federal government. The Minister of National Revenue will go after them and you too, Mr. Speaker.

Nonetheless, in a few weeks, some very wealthy people will be able to hide their money in two new tax havens with the Minister of Finance's blessing.

When will the government stop giving free passes to those who do not pay their share of taxes? When will this tax unfairness end?

TaxationOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Gaspésie—Les-Îles-de-la-Madeleine Québec

Liberal

Diane Lebouthillier LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, our government is firmly committed to combatting tax evasion, and we will do a lot more about that than the Bloc Québécois could ever do for the regions of Quebec. That is why we invested nearly $1 billion.

The CRA now has the resources it needs to assess the risk associated with all major multinationals. Every year, we review every transaction over $10,000 in four regions.

As far as offshore compliance is concerned, on December 31, 2017, the CRA audited 1,090 taxpayers and launched criminal investigations—

TaxationOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Order. The hon. member for Nunavut.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Independent

Hunter Tootoo Independent Nunavut, NU

Mr. Speaker,

[Member spoke in Inuktitut]

My question is for the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.

The Government of Canada has recently recognized the importance and potential of the Arctic region, a region that contains my entire riding. I have had numerous conversations with the minister and have spoken to many of my constituents about the great need for an increased departmental presence in Nunavut.

I applaud the minister's recent announcement to build an inland rescue boat station in my hometown of Rankin Inlet. Will the minister consider taking further steps to increase and strengthen departmental presence in Nunavut?

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Beauséjour New Brunswick

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc LiberalMinister of Fisheries

Mr. Speaker, our government recognizes the importance of the Arctic in terms of the opportunities it offers for commercial fishing. Budget 2017 included funding to expand indigenous commercial fishing programs to Canada's north. This program will be co-designed with indigenous people from the north, including those in Nunavut. I also want to assure the House and my colleague from Nunavut that our government is looking at a way to enhance the decision-making capacity of Fisheries and Oceans in Canada's north, and I hope to have some good news in the coming weeks in that regard.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of His Excellency Mohammad Pervaiz Malik, Minister of Commerce and Textile of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Notice of MotionWays and MeansRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Toronto—St. Paul's Ontario

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett LiberalMinister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 83(1) I have the honour to table a notice of a ways and means motion to introduce an act to give effect to the Agreement on Cree Nation Governance between the Crees of Eeyou Istchee and the Government of Canada, to amend the Cree-Naskapi (of Quebec) Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other acts.

Pursuant to Standing Order 83(2) I ask that an order of the day be designated for consideration of this motion.

Notice of MotionWays and MeansRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

There being messages from Her Excellency the Governor General written in her own hand, members will want to stand.

A message from Her Excellency the Governor General transmitting Supplementary Estimates (C) of sums required to defray expenses for the federal public administration in the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2018 was presented by the President of the Treasury Board and read by the Speaker to the House.

A message from Her Excellency the Governor General transmitting Interim Estimates of sums required to defray expenses for the federal public administration in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2019 was presented by the President of the Treasury Board and read by the Speaker to the House.

Indigenous AffairsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Toronto—St. Paul's Ontario

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett LiberalMinister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the Agreement on Cree Nation Governance between the Crees of Eeyou Istchee and the Government of Canada.

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 51st report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. The committee advises that, pursuant to Standing Order 91.1(2), the Subcommittee on Private Members’ Business met to consider the order for the second reading of private member’s bills originating in the Senate, and recommends that the items listed herein, which it has determined should not be designated non-votable, be considered by the House.

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Pursuant to Standing Order 91.1(2), the report is deemed adopted.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 41st report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts entitled “Report 2, Call Centres—Canada Revenue Agency, of the Fall 2017 Reports of the Auditor General of Canada”. Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.

Citizenship and ImmigrationCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Rob Oliphant Liberal Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I believe that if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent for the following motion.

I move:

That the Twelfth Report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, presented to the House on Tuesday, June 20, 2017, be amended by replacing the name of the witness identified in footnotes 76 and 82 to “Witness 1”, and that the modification be reflected in Appendix A - List of Witnesses of the report.

Citizenship and ImmigrationCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

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

Citizenship and ImmigrationCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Citizenship and ImmigrationCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Citizenship and ImmigrationCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Citizenship and ImmigrationCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

(Motion agreed to)

The EnvironmentPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to rise in the House today to present a petition from my constituents as well as people from the Vancouver area calling on the government to take action to create a permanent tanker ban on crude oil tankers along the entire west coast of British Columbia to protect fisheries, tourism, coastal communities, and natural ecosystems.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Does the House agree?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Edmonton Mill Woods Alberta

Liberal

Amarjeet Sohi LiberalMinister of Infrastructure and Communities

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Lakeland for her motion on a matter of such importance, not only to our shared province of Alberta, but to British Columbia and indeed all of Canada.

As an Albertan, I am proud that our government, after extensive consultation, approved the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline. Before I go into why we approved this pipeline, let me first remind the hon. member how her party, under former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, failed to protect the interests of Alberta's resource sector. For 10 years, Harper Conservatives talked the good talk but failed to build a single pipeline to take our oil to non-U.S. markets.

I would also like to remind the hon. member that the struggles Alberta families and workers have faced in the last number of years started when her party was in power. More than 25,000 energy sector jobs were lost in the last year of the Harper government. What did it do to help those workers and families? It did absolutely nothing. It even held back infrastructure investments of nearly $1 billion that could have helped those struggling families to gain jobs. I guess that criticizing Premier Notley and the Government of Alberta was more important to the Harper government than helping struggling Alberta families.

When we took office, we immediately started looking for solutions to help Alberta workers and families. In March 2016, we provided $252 million in fiscal stabilization funding to the Government of Alberta. At the same time, we significantly extended employment insurance benefits for all Albertans who needed them. As a result, over 100,000 workers received more than $400 million for five additional weeks of EI support.

Very early in 2016, Export Development Canada provided $750 million in financing, guarantees, bonding instruments, and insurance to oil and gas companies. In July 2016, the Business Development Bank of Canada and ATB Financial partnered to provide $1 billion aimed at making more capital available for small and medium-sized businesses in Alberta. In March 2017, our government announced $30 million, which unlocked $235 million to accelerate the cleanup of orphan wells over the next three years.

My department, Infrastructure Canada, has provided support to almost 200 provincial, municipal, and indigenous infrastructure projects, leading to over $4 billion of joint investment in infrastructure over the coming years. This is on top of the $200 million that flows from the federal government to Alberta communities yearly through the federal gas tax program.

Finally, our government approved two oil and two gas pipelines, including Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain expansion, which will help get more of our resources to the markets we already have and open up new markets so we are not so reliant on our neighbour to the south to buy our oil.

We approved Kinder Morgan because it is in the interest of Canada. It is in the interest of Canada to create thousands of jobs in virtually every part of the country. It is in the interest of Canada to create a way for our resources to get to the global markets. It is in the interest of Canada to receive a fairer price for those resources. It is in the interest of Canada to partner with indigenous communities, respect and recognize their rights, and ensure that traditional knowledge is integrated into our decisions. It is in the interest of Canada to develop its resources in a way that does not compromise the environment.

The previous government generated complete uncertainty, widespread public mistrust, and a total inability to get a major energy project built. That approach did not work, as demonstrated by the Federal Court of Appeal ruling that overturned the Harper government's approval of the northern gateway pipeline because it failed to consult with indigenous peoples.

Since coming to office, our government has been guided by a simple but profound belief: that the economy and the environment must go hand in hand. In effect, the only way to have a dynamic economy is to ensure that it is done in a sustainable environment. We also know that good projects, such as the Trans Mountain expansion, will not get built unless they carry the confidence of Canadians.

That is why, in January 2016, the Minister of Natural Resources and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change introduced a set of interim principles to move forward on projects already under review. These principles reflect our priorities: maintaining certainty for investors, expanding public consultation, enhancing indigenous engagement, and including greenhouse gas emissions in our project approvals and assessments. The benefits of the interim principles were felt immediately.

However, our goal has always been a permanent fix to Canada's environmental assessments. That is why, just seven months into our mandate, we launched a comprehensive review that included modernizing the National Energy Board, protecting our fish, and preserving our waterways. We appointed expert panels, enlisted parliamentarians, released a discussion paper, and consulted Canadians every step of the way, listening more than we spoke.

Last week, our government revealed the fruits of those efforts with a new plan for reviewing major resource projects. Introduced last Thursday by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Bill C-69 has the potential to transform our natural resource sectors, providing project proponents with clearer rules and greater certainty while ensuring that local communities have more input and the rights of indigenous people are respected and recognized.

The Trans Mountain expansion decision was consistent with this approach. It was accompanied by a historic investment of $1.5 billion in the oceans protection plan, an unprecedented commitment to safeguard our coasts and partner with indigenous and coastal communities to ensure the health of our waters, shores, and marine life. That is how we have demonstrated our commitment to the environment. That is how we will ensure that economic growth comes because of, not at the expense of, protecting the environment.

I am delighted to see the hon. member supporting the TMX pipeline. Unfortunately, she has chosen to use this as an opportunity for wedge politics instead of nation building. She asks the government to take action. As the Minister of Natural Resources has pointed out, that advice, while welcome, is late.

The Prime Minister reached out to Premier Notley and Premier Horgan shortly after this issue arose. The Minister of Natural Resources and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change have been having discussions with their counterparts, and high-level officials from our government have flown out to British Columbia to seek a resolution. I have no doubt that a way forward can be found. It is in our national interest, and in the interest of the Government of Canada, to speak with some degree of moderation in encouraging a path forward to achieve the objective, which is to get this project built.

As the Minister of Natural Resources has already pointed out, our government consulted widely on the TMX. The National Energy Board conducted a thorough review and recommended approval with 157 binding conditions. The minister then extended the process and appointed a special ministerial panel to hold additional hearings, allowing even more people to participate. Our government believes in consulting with Canadians, and we are certainly not going to try to stop a provincial government from doing the same.

Let me be very clear. Any proposed regulation by the B.C. government to attempt to limit the flow of bitumen through the pipeline would be outside provincial jurisdiction. We approved the federally regulated pipeline project that will create thousands of good, well-paying jobs across Canada, and we stand by that decision.

In December, we intervened with the National Energy Board when the City of Burnaby attempted to delay the permitting process. At that time, the board created a dedicated process to resolve future permitting delays, should they arise. In that case, there was a specific action to challenge. At the moment, there is no comparable initiative by the Government of British Columbia.

This is not a time to fan the flames of division or to set parties hunkering down in one section of the Constitution Act or another. Now is the time for a measured, thoughtful, and appropriate response, one that responds to actions, not intentions. Should the Government of British Columbia attempt to impose unacceptable delays or take any other action that is not within its jurisdiction, our government will act as any other reasonable and responsible government would.

As a member of Parliament from Edmonton, Alberta, I know first-hand the importance of projects such as TMX to our communities. When our government was elected, Alberta's economy was struggling. Resource prices were down. Unemployment was up, and too many of my friends, neighbours, and fellow Albertans were suffering through a significant economic downturn. Our federal government recognized that Alberta and other resource economies needed help, and we stepped up to provide that assistance. The approval of the Kinder Morgan TMX is part of that effort to help the global economy and to create jobs for Albertans and for Canadians. That is why TMX is so important. That is why our government approved it. That is why we have criss-crossed the country supporting it, and that is why we will make sure that it is built.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby South, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Natural Resources, in 2016, stood in front of a number of business leaders and said that he was willing to use the military and police forces to push this pipeline through British Columbia. I challenged him earlier in this House to guarantee British Columbians that he would never do that. I challenge this minister to do the same. Will he guarantee British Columbians that he will not use the military or police forces to ram this pipeline through our beautiful province?

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Amarjeet Sohi Liberal Edmonton Mill Woods, AB

Mr. Speaker, one thing we as Canadians take pride in is our ability to participate in our democracy and our ability to participate in decision-making and to do that in a peaceful and respectful way, ensuring, at the same time, that projects that have been approved by the federal government that are in the public interest go ahead. It will go ahead, because this project will create thousands of jobs for Alberta families as well as for British Columbian and Canadian families.

This is about balancing the needs of every region and every province, and, at the same time, making sure that we are taking action to protect our environment and taking action to protect our oceans. We have done that and in a way that no other government has done in the past, and we are proud of that.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

Jamie Schmale Conservative Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, ON

Mr. Speaker, as an Albertan, what does the minister think about energy east requiring downstream emissions consideration but that sort of standard not applying to other industries subsidized by the Liberal government, such as Bombardier?

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Amarjeet Sohi Liberal Edmonton Mill Woods, AB

Mr. Speaker, let us set the record straight, first of all. Energy east did not proceed because there was no business case for the company to proceed.

As far as Alberta is concerned and our commitment to Alberta is concerned, we have done more in the last two years than the previous government did in 10 years. The only pipeline it had approved was overturned by the Federal Court of Appeal, because it failed in its fundamental responsibility to consult with indigenous peoples. We have done that. We have consulted with communities, we have consulted with indigenous peoples, and we have consulted with Canadians. That is why we are moving forward on this particular project, the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain expansion. We understand that we can grow the economy and at the same time protect our environment and protect our coastlines.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have been participating, as a listener, in the debate since it began at noon, and this is my first opportunity to take the floor. I hope that as well as posing a question to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities I will be permitted to say that I will be voting against this motion.

In the course of this debate, I have heard more assertions without evidence than is typical in a normal day here in this place, and that is saying something. A number of the assertions without evidence came from the Minister of Natural Resources. One was that pipelines are so much safer than trains, because we would not want what happened in Lac-Mégantic to happen along the route between Alberta and Burnaby.

I want to ask the hon. Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, and he is aware of the basic science, if he would agree with me that shipping bitumen as a solid by train is completely without risk. If there were a derailment or a containment break in the tank car, it would lie there like a lump. It could not blow up. If someone were to take a blow torch to it and attempt to get solid bitumen to catch fire, it would fail.

I find it egregious that, in this place, the Minister of Natural Resources would attempt to mislead people by throwing in the spectre of Lac-Mégantic. That train was loaded with Bakken shale, a crude-like product with characteristics completely unlike solid bitumen, which is already being placed in rail cars. Bitumen is heated up, put in rail cars, and warmed up at the other end, with no spill risk and no risk of explosion.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Amarjeet Sohi Liberal Edmonton Mill Woods, AB

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member would know, the approval of the Trans Mountain expansion comes with 157 conditions that will ensure that every safety aspect is considered to make sure that the pipeline is built to the highest safety standards.

There is a very effective spill response if there is a spill. Experts in the industry and others have often stressed the point that one of the safest ways to transport bitumen, oil, and gas is through a pipeline.

Aside from that, I think we all need to recognize that Alberta has struggled for the last number of years because of the downturn in this sector. Alberta deserves our support. Alberta families deserve our support. Alberta has contributed so much to the prosperity of our country. At a time of need, we stand with Albertans. Our government has done that by approving this project, and we will make sure that it is built and is done in a way that is responsible.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Baylis Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, as our government has often pointed out, the economy has to run with the environment.

There are valid concerns people always have when we talk about pipelines and the environment. I wonder if the minister could speak a little about the work that was done to ensure that this pipeline would be environmentally safe. It is a valid concern, but I think the work has been done. Maybe we need to make sure that this is out there.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Amarjeet Sohi Liberal Edmonton Mill Woods, AB

Mr. Speaker, as I said in my remarks, after the approval of this pipeline by the National Energy Board, our Minister of Natural Resources took additional steps to consult with indigenous peoples and Canadians by creating an expert panel that allowed us to listen to more people.

Our government is proud of investing $1.5 billion in an oceans protections plan, which was unheard of in the past. We did that because we understand, as the hon. member has mentioned, that the economy and the environment go hand in hand. We can do both. We can create jobs and protect the environment. We can make sure that every Canadian is able to enjoy the prosperity while leaving an environment that is healthy for future generations.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Mr. Speaker, in his comments, the minister talked about inflaming regional divisions. I would say that no government in the recent past has been more capable of inflaming regional divisions than the current Liberal government. In particular, the minister, coming from Alberta, should know full well that there are a lot of Albertans who are not at all excited about what the government is up to.

What does the minister mean by inflaming regional divisions?

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

Amarjeet Sohi Liberal Edmonton Mill Woods, AB

Mr. Speaker, let me remind the hon. member again that the struggles Alberta families have faced over the last number of years started under Mr. Harper. There were 25,000 jobs lost in the resource sector under the Harper government. What did it do? Nothing. Instead, it started attacking the duly elected NDP government of Alberta. That is called division.

We will not follow that. We will make sure that we work very closely with every government, regardless of which political party it belongs to. We will work with Alberta and we will work with British Columbia, as we have done in many other cases, to make sure that we come to a shared conclusion, understanding that we can create jobs while protecting our environment.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Environment proudly proclaimed that the government has brought in a new environmental assessment process, exactly what the Liberals promised to do, but it is not what the Prime Minister and many Liberal members promised British Columbians. In fact, during the campaign, the Prime Minister, who was then leader of the official opposition, was asked, “Does your NEB overhaul apply to Kinder Morgan?” The now Prime Minister said, “Yes, yes, it applies to existing projects, existing pipelines as well.” He was then asked, “So if they approve Kinder Morgan in January, you're saying....” The Prime Minister said, “No, they're not going to approve it in January because we're going to change the government and that process has to be redone.” That is a direct quote from the Prime Minister.

Does the minister acknowledge that the Liberal government has betrayed Canadians, most particularly British Columbians, who were promised that there would be a different environmental assessment process, a fulsome environmental assessment process, for the Kinder Morgan project, when the government has actually brought it in under the Harper assessment process? What does the minister have to say to that?

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

Amarjeet Sohi Liberal Edmonton Mill Woods, AB

Mr. Speaker, as the Minister of Natural Resources has stated many times, when we formed the government, there were a number of projects in the queue in the assessment process. We developed an interim approach, with interim principles: consulting with indigenous peoples; making sure that we are taking action on the environment; and making sure that the economy and the environment go hand in hand to make sure that we are creating middle-class jobs and building a stronger middle class but are doing it in a responsible way to protect the environment. We want to make sure that investors who who invest in Canada understand that there is certainty for their investments, that the process works, and that they are able to invest and trust the government. That is exactly what we have done through those interim principles.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, before I start, I want to indicate that I am sharing my time with the member for Calgary Nose Hill.

I have been looking forward to this Kinder Morgan pipeline debate, one that seems to be escalating federal-provincial relations, especially between British Columbia and Alberta. It is fair to ask, what is the Kinder Morgan pipeline? There is an existing pipeline already from Alberta to the B.C. coast into Vancouver which delivers crude oil for export abroad. What this new proposal entails is simply running another line, for the most part parallel to the existing Kinder Morgan pipeline, expanding the capacity by effectively tripling the amount of crude oil that makes its way to the west coast. What it will do is displace oil that travels by truck or rail. If we asked Canadians if they had a choice, pipeline, or truck and rail, most Canadians would say they feel a whole lot more confident that the crude oil will pass safely through an oil pipeline than by rail or truck.

The safest way to transport oil, of course, is by pipeline. Specifically, rail is almost five times more likely to experience an accident than a pipeline. Over 70% of pipeline spills result in spills of less than one cubic metre. That is about the space of the area that I occupy here in this House of Commons. The vast majority of spills occur within confined facilities, which generally have secondary containment mechanisms and procedures.

The Kinder Morgan pipeline has gone through arguably the most rigorous science-based review that has ever been applied to any pipeline in Canada. There have been extensive public hearings under both our former Conservative government and the current Liberal government. In fact, the process was pretty well complete when the new Liberal government of the day said it was going to tack on all kinds of additional criteria to be reviewed, basically extending the process beyond what the proponents had expected. However, they agreed and it went through that process. At the end of the process, the National Energy Board approved the project. The approval included 157 conditions that the project would have to meet in order to receive approval. Those conditions included 49 environmental protection requirements. The 533-page decision noted evidence that a spill in Burrard Inlet could occur and would have adverse environmental effects. However, it concluded, “a large spill in Burrard Inlet is not a likely event.”

Both the Conservatives and the Liberal government have determined that this project is in the national interest and must proceed. I will get to that in a moment. Why is this all important for Canada? Why are natural resources like oil important to our national prosperity? Let us not forget that Canada's resource sector writ large, which includes oil, gas, and mines, represents 16% of our total economy. The resource sector directly or indirectly employs almost two million people across Canada. That is two million people who depend on the resource sector for their livelihood and to support their families.

The Canadian government has received, on average, $25 billion of revenue from the resource sector. If we want to focus in on oil, which is what the Kinder Morgan pipeline will carry, in Canada, oil is one of our most significant resources. In fact, we have the third-largest crude oil reserves in the world. We are sitting on this oil, and it is incumbent upon Canadian governments to allow that oil to be extracted in an environmentally defensible and sustainable way.

In 2016, natural resource companies invested over $90 billion into our economy. We are a world leader in extracting those natural resources and have a great comparative advantage over other countries. Why is that? First, we have this resource, which many other countries around the world do not have. Second, we have the scientific knowledge and capacity to extract our oil, our gas, and other resources in the most environmentally sustainable way. Wherever one might go in the world, Canada is the leader.

When we are sitting on such a large resource that can be extracted in an environmentally sustainable way, why would we import oil from other countries? That is what we do today. We import oil from other countries because we do not have the pipelines in Canada to provide for our own oil supply to our refineries, for gas in our automobiles and all the other products fired by oil.

We are buying oil from countries like Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Nigeria, Venezuela, and Russia. Do we think those countries extract their oil in the most environmentally sustainable way? Of course not. Canada is a leader. Therefore, why would we not displace their oil with our oil by building the pipeline capacity that we need?

Another reason it is important that we get our pipelines to tidewater, to the ocean, is because today when Canadian companies sell their oil on the market, the only market they have available is the North American market, where they get $25 less per barrel for their oil than the United States. The United States can get its oil to tidewater, to countries like China and elsewhere around the world. Therefore, why would we not increase our capacity to get our product to international markets?

According to the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, this differential of $25 per barrel results in Canadians leaving $5 billion on the table every single year. Where does that go? Where does the opportunity go? We lose the opportunity. It is money lost from our coffers in Canada. It goes to the United States, which does export its oil abroad. Think of how many schools that $5 billion would build in Canada, how many hospitals. In fact, the Prime Minister recently said, when he was asked by a veteran about why he is taking them to court, that veterans are asking for more than the Liberals can give. Think of what $5 billion could do to satisfy our obligations to our veterans.

Now we have a trade war. We have British Columbia and Alberta fighting over the Kinder Morgan pipeline. Why has that happened? It is a profound failure of federal leadership. Last week, when the trade war between those two provinces was escalating, where was the Prime Minister? Was he here in Canada sitting down with the provinces and stakeholders and getting it sorted out? No, he was in the United States meeting with his billionaire friends, doing selfies, and hobnobbing with the rich and famous while things were falling apart here in Canada.

Remember when the Prime Minister was elected? One of the things he promised Canadians was that he was going to usher in a new era of co-operative federalism. What has happened? It is all falling apart. We have provinces fighting provinces. We have the federal government fighting the provinces. That is not the governance that the Prime Minister promised. It is another broken promise.

It is time for the Prime Minister to step up, take leadership, and use the federal government's declaratory power to get this project done, because it is in the national interest.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

Liberal

Nathaniel Erskine-Smith Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, it cannot be denied that new pipelines will increase upstream emissions. Our government, in approving this pipeline, has at the same time indicated it is very important that we tackle environmental climate change through a price on carbon. I know the member is opposed to carbon pricing, so perhaps he could explain to the House how we can lower emissions at a lower possible cost than the most efficient mechanism, which is carbon pricing?

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, do you remember the term “social licence”? Canadians were asked what would happen if caps were placed on emissions from the big polluters and a harmful carbon price were placed on Canadians? Society would provide a social licence that would give us the ability to get pipelines and resource projects built and get our oil and gas to foreign markets, but what happened in Alberta? That is exactly what the government did. It put caps on emissions and imposed a heavy carbon price on Albertans. Premier Notley, I am sure, expected that she would now finally have the social licence that was promised. What did she get instead? She got a trade war with British Columbia. Enough said.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to address this question to my hon. colleague from Abbotsford, which is fundamental, about the mania for shipping out unprocessed raw bitumen as opposed to cutting off imports of more high-value crude to eastern Canadian ports. I would put it to the member that I have been advocating for some time that we build upgraders and refineries in Alberta so that we are not shipping bitumen mixed with diluent. Bitumen is not dangerous to transport, unless and until it is mixed with diluent, which creates dilbit that cannot be cleaned up. We could create more jobs in Alberta more quickly and use the product in Canada by stopping the importation of about a million barrels a day from Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and so on.

Why not refine the product in Alberta and distribute finished product across Canada for Canadians? Why the mania for export?

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is not an all-or-nothing situation. We want to ensure we have pipeline capacity within Canada so we can ship our oil across the country to refineries on the east coast. We have so much oil that is valuable, that the world wants, and that we extract in a environmentally sustainable way, why would we not also seek export markets?

Part of the problem with compelling industry to refine oil in Canada is that the refineries have to have a market for it and we would still have to transport that finished product somewhere. It is going to have to travel to either the west coast or, as the member suggests, the east coast. How is that going to take place, by truck, by railcar? It is pretty dangerous.

Also, if we want to ship our crude abroad, the problem is that countries like China will not buy it because China wants to refine it there itself. I know that. I am a former trade minister, and I know how this works. The Chinese do not want to buy our refined oil; they want to buy our crude oil, because they then get the chance to refine it there.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby South, BC

Mr. Speaker, the natural resources minister was provided an opportunity to say whether he would use the military or police to push this pipeline through British Columbia. He previously said publicly that he could not guarantee he would not do that. The Minister of Infrastructure and Communities just did the same thing. When asked directly whether he would use the army or police, he went a little further and hinted that he would.

I am wondering if my hon. colleague could comment on that and what he thinks of these two very disturbing statements.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I do not think Canadians are asking for the army to be brought in to make sure that the Kinder Morgan pipeline gets built. The federal government has to step up, sit down with the provinces, and resolve this. The premier of British Columbia knows that the federal government has primary jurisdiction over this. This falls within the federal government's power. The process has been completed, which was rigorous, and the project was approved, with many conditions to ensure it is built and operated in an environmentally sustainable way. With regard to the suggestion that the army would be sent in to resolve this problem, it is ludicrous for us to even hypothetically suggest that.

Right now, there is a dispute between two provinces in which the Prime Minister should be exercising his leadership by sitting down with them and resolving the dispute. If he cannot do it, he should get out of the way.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, the motion before the House today reads:

That, given the Trans Mountain Expansion Project is in the national interest, will create jobs and provide provinces with access to global markets, the House call on the Prime Minister to prioritize the construction of the federally-approved Trans Mountain Expansion Project by taking immediate action, using all tools available; to establish certainty for the project, and to mitigate damage from the current interprovincial trade dispute, tabling his plan in the House no later than noon on Thursday, February 15, 2018.

I am going to take a bit of a different approach on this debate since my colleague from Beaches—East York is here. I want to try and change his mind today.

We are not having an honest debate in the House. Where the debate really needs to be is whether we want these projects approved or not. My concern with the federal government's approach, as an Alberta MP, has been that there have been obstacles put in the way without a lot of action. What does that mean? I think what the Liberals would like to do is to put up as many obstacles as possible, while saying that they are going to approve these projects and get them built, and then not actually having the political will to build them out and hoping they will fail down the road. I do not think that is honest. If the Liberals do not want these projects to be built out, as I know some of their caucus do not, then just be honest about it, because we can move on from there.

What is exceptionally bad for the Canadian economy, writ large, is for the Liberals to pretend, to industry, that Canada is somehow open for business for our natural resource projects, and then change the rules for assessments mid-stream and change the playing field. The Liberals should just be honest. Is that going to cost them some votes? Sure. Is it going to keep them some seats? Sure. However, we need to move on from this point.

The reason I want to see the motion supported is, if the plan that we are asking them to table is “we do not have a plan and do not want this to proceed”, then the Liberals need to be honest so that we can move forward. I have a lot of people in my riding, in my province, and frankly across the country that need some certainty on this.

I watched this play out with the energy east debate, which of course is at a different stage of approval, but TransCanada said this is a multi-billion dollar project and decision, and the investment climate is not here for that project. One of my colleagues asked about refining products, but how can we refine products if we cannot take them out to where the refineries are? That is what energy east was supposed to do, but it fell off the table.

There was an article in the National Post that I really resonated with, which stated that “Ottawa doesn't need a new energy regulator. It needs a new spine.” I really think that spine has to go one way or the other. Are we an energy-producing nation or are we not?

Earlier today, the Minister of Natural Resources tried to frame out this question by saying, “We do not share the views of those who would simply pump as much oil as we can as fast as we can, nor do we agree with those who say that we should leave all the oil in the ground and never build a single pipeline.” However, where are they? The government members have not actually defined where they are on that scale. To me, by trying to have it both ways, they are in the latter camp.

Here is where the problem is with that. We already are taking these resources out of the ground. The problem is that we are not getting the biggest value added for them. There is a price differential because we are confined to one market, rather than getting that product out to tidewater. Thus, the minister's statement was contradictory.

I do not understand why they cannot table a plan by Thursday. If the government is seriously committed to this, then how they are going to see this built through should be something that they have been thinking about for a long time.

The minister also said this morning, they are “working in good faith and without an artificial deadline”. Here is the reality. The funders of this project, the people who actually want to build this out, the producers of the product, they are not working on an artificial deadline. They are working on a real deadline to determine if this investment makes sense given the political instability in the country. There is no artificial deadline when talking about billions of dollars of investment. The minister's statement was ignorant of the understanding of how business works. That is why I would like him to be honest, so that we can start talking about the ramifications of not having the political will to build out a project that has passed every single review process in this country.

My colleague from Beaches—East York asked about climate change and what we would do. I am going to push back on his government's approach. It has been firmly attached to its $40 megatonne price on carbon. He said this is the most efficient way of doing things, yet I have not seen his government once stand up and say how many emissions that will actually reduce Canada's greenhouse gas profile by. It has not said it once.

In fact, I have a slight background in economics and have been following this. One of the leading economists, who is always out on this issue, says that he does not think we should actually care too much about what the specific effect on emissions will be. He started talking about how he can now see where the Liberals are transitioning to, and that it is just about putting a price on pollution.

If the member really cares about reducing greenhouse gas emissions, then the policy instruments should count. This is where we need to have a mix of strong regulations that encourage the adoption of technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We probably should be talking about this in terms of trade mechanisms. However, we have to do that in the context of understanding that we cannot price ourselves out of competitiveness with our major trade partners, because that inherently affects jobs, wealth, government revenues, and all these good things we want to do for social programs in the country.

For the government and the Prime Minister to say that we need to transition to a non carbon-based economy, there is a transition period and this is not it. This is not adequately managing that. Trying to have it both ways, sucking and blowing if we will, on approval for pipelines, hoping that industry will just pull out is not responsible government at all. It is a lack of a plan. That is why the government should be able to table a plan in the House of Commons by Thursday, even if it is as simple as saying that it does not want it built. Take accountability for that decision.

There are groups in this country that will never be reasoned with or believe we could somehow have environmental sustainability and economy growth. They do not want this pipeline built. It does not matter what regulatory body says that, because they do not want this built. What will the government do in that situation? Even if it went through all this new crazy process it put in place, which I could talk about, these people will still say that they do not want it built. What is the government managing to? Is it managing to opinions and votes, or is it managing to what is in the long-term best interest for the economy of this country?

That is why this motion is important and why it should be supported. If the Prime Minister is going to say, and the natural resources minister will use to argue his rationale for not voting for this, that the pipeline is going to get built, then how? What is the government going to do? There is a trade war breaking out between two of the economic powerhouses of this country right now, and what has the Prime Minister's response been? That he is going for a jog in California. That is not enough.

If the Prime Minister does not want this project built, then he just should say it. I cannot even imagine what his caucus meetings look like on Wednesday mornings. I am sure the member for the area of Burnaby has large constituencies of people who just do not want these pipelines built saying that we should not build this out and asking why we are even entertaining this. Be honest to that constituency, go with them, and let everybody else who does not feel likewise hold the government to account for that decision. This is not responsible.

The Liberals' climate change plan is not going to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is not the most efficient way. If we cannot even talk about price elasticity in the context of a regionalized Canadian economy, we are not at a good place right here. There should be a plan.

The other thing that really disappoints me is that this comes down to the Harper government doing this or that. Yes, the Harper government was unabashedly pro-pipeline, because we took that political will and said that this was in the best interest of the country and that this was where we were going. We could have a whole argument, or not, around the electoral consequences for that. The reality is that we are reaping 20 years of environmental NGOs putting forward a very strong message in Canada. However, the government has a responsibility now that it has been elected to say that this sector creates a lot of jobs, a lot of revenue for every provincial government and the federal Government of Canada, and we cannot just remove that without there being some economic consequence.

Letting these projects just kind of die is not just about this pipeline. It is about sending a message to the entire international community about whether or not Canada is open for business writ large. What is being said is that governments respond very poorly to these types of decisions.

People want political certainty. This pipeline can be built out. It has already passed all the regulatory processes. This can be done in an environmentally responsible way. This is Canada.

I would like the Prime Minister to stand and say the same thing, but with the “how” attached and what he is going to do to push back when the provincial governments become obstructionist against the people in my riding and every single person in this country who see economic growth and benefit from the sustainable development of our natural resources.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Northumberland—Peterborough South Ontario

Liberal

Kim Rudd LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I listened intently to my hon. colleague's speech and I will repeat what the minister said earlier today. I have a hard time understanding why the official opposition cannot take “yes” for an answer.

I was heartened to hear a number of the things that certainly I, the minister, and the Prime Minister have been saying in the House over the past number of days and weeks. Yes, the Trans Mountain expansion pipeline is supported by this government because it will create good paying jobs, because it is good for our economy.

Could the member opposite tell us why when she talked about all the tools in the tool box, she suggests the sledgehammer is the right approach?

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, the last time I checked, we actually do need a sledgehammer to build pipelines.

The government needs to exert political will to get this built. In my speech I said there are groups that will never, ever politically support the build out of a pipeline. The government must realize that by now. There are groups that are just fundamentally opposed to seeing this through.

My colleague, who will not even wait for the answer, having a government appointment, has a responsibility to speak up and not hide behind a delayed regulatory process. She needs to understand that this is not going to get built without the Prime Minister saying, and should have said last week, that this is something of national import and that he will look at every constitutional tool to get this done, that he stands behind his decision and will not allow the provinces to use interprovincial trade as a barrier, especially when we are trying to negotiate with the United States on NAFTA. That is leadership and hiding behind false equivalencies is not leadership.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Pauzé Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was surprised by how my colleague began her speech earlier. She said she wanted to have a clear and honest debate. I agree.

However, when someone tries to tell me that oil from the tar sands is clean oil, I am not sure how honest that is. When someone tells me that we import oil from Saudi Arabia, that, too, is not being honest. Some people say that it is safer to transport oil by train. However, the U.S. department studied spills between 2002 and 2012, specifically spills from pipelines versus trains, and found that train transportation is not safer. Those are the facts and the studies that have been done.

The federal government, whether Conservative or Liberal, takes a heavy handed approach with the provinces, including Quebec, deciding for them and ignoring provincial governments, which just want to protect their citizens.

How is this justified?

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, what my colleague said was “I don't believe this is safe”. That is like saying, “I believe in the tooth fairy”. This is why we have quantitative, evaluative processes to determine whether or not a project is safe. This project has gone through inordinate amounts of environmental assessments to determine that very question by scientists.

What the member has just said is that she is going to politicize this by coming up with a bunch of stuff that is not backed up by fact, when we should be looking at the outcome of a review process that took months and used scientific efforts. I do not accept her politicization and fearmongering on this topic.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Eglinski Conservative Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, we have heard from two ministers and the secretary of state to the minister about the Trans Mountain expansion being good for Canada and that it is in Canada's interests. However, if we look at the recent past, the Liberals rejected the northern gateway pipeline project, which would have moved Canadian oil to the Pacific Ocean. The Liberals put an oil ban on it. Then the Liberals dragged their heels and forced TransCanada to cancel the energy east pipeline, which would have left Canadian plants in New Brunswick to refine clean oil. There were a whole bunch of extra regulations.

Does the member think there is an ulterior idea here? Does she see dishonesty by the government members? It seems to be a way of dragging their heels and hoping this thing cancels.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, this morning the minister started his speech by saying the “purpose of this debate is to fan regional tensions and open historical grievances.” That is pretty telling. The first thing out of the mouth of the natural resources minister was a political statement like that. Instead of looking at one of these projects as a way to build prosperity across the country, he put that little nugget out there. Would the Liberals not love that?

When I was in cabinet, the first thing the former prime minister always did was to look at regional balances and projects, and I feel like the Liberal government is doing the opposite. The only reason this is an issue right now is because of the statements that came out of the mouths of both the Prime Minister and the natural resources minister. I am sure all Canadians who understand that a united Canada is greater than the sum of its parts will hold him to account, especially in Winnipeg, for those ignorant and divisive comments.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:10 p.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country B.C.

Liberal

Pam Goldsmith-Jones LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

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

In consideration of the opposition day motion before the House, I would like to highlight recent contributions made by the people of British Columbia to national public policy with regard to the environment and climate change, fisheries, oceans and the Coast Guard, transportation safety, and indigenous inclusion as a common thread throughout. Because of the engagement and leadership of this government, British Columbia has made great strides forward.

We are striking a better balance for Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

To begin, however, I would like to talk about the Olympics for a minute, partly because it is topical but mainly because my involvement in the games over the years has helped me to understand British Columbia and Alberta better, both with respect to domestic interests and international trade, as well as in the development of good public policy.

In 2006 in Torino, Italy, the Vancouver organizing committee for the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games hosted Canada House. I was part of the senior delegation because I was the mayor of West Vancouver, and ski and snowboard events were going to be held on the local mountain.

In Torino, Canada House was the single most popular venue that people wanted to visit. They lined up for blocks, from all over the world, to see the Squamish Nation carved front doors, to feel the pillars made of timber from B.C.'s majestic forests, and to experience Coast Salish culture.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:10 p.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby South, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. We are having an incredibly important debate today on the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline. As much as I enjoy the Olympics, the parliamentary secretary should be concentrating on that. I would ask you, Mr. Speaker, to ask her to move to that topic.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

I thank the hon. member for Burnaby South for his intervention. He is right. We ask all hon. members to ensure their remarks are pertinent to the question before the House. It is not uncustomary for members, from time to time, at the start of their remarks to proceed with a brief intervention or comment in respect to something that is current and perhaps relevant to Canadian society at the moment or timely. The emphasis there would be on brief, so the parliamentary secretary can turn to something like that briefly and then quickly come back to the question before the House. I would encourage her to do that and stay on topic.

We will get back to the hon. parliamentary secretary.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

Pam Goldsmith-Jones Liberal West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, British Columbia's commitment to the Four Host First Nations and the green games had never been seen before.

Four years later, we hosted the games in Vancouver, and my special assistant was seconded from Calgary, Alberta. Her name was Wendy Tynan. She was an unbelievable partner, and her father was involved in Alberta House.

It was a real revelation to me that the public art installation in Alberta House was a digital readout of the price of oil that day. This is what Albertans wanted their guests to see. Cheers would go up spontaneously when the price went up, no matter what.

The reason I am mentioning B.C. House and Alberta House is not to oversimplify or waste anyone's time. It is to explain the challenge of governing for all parts of Canada, and the fundamental elements of the Trans Mountain decision.

I will begin with what are vital considerations for British Columbians. We take our responsibility for environmental protection and advocacy seriously. It is a public trust.

The previous federal government abandoned the public trust with regard to the natural environment, marine safety, and public engagement. It gutted the Fisheries Act and the Navigable Waters Protection Act. It closed the Kitsilano Coast Guard station. It diminished the importance of maritime safety and our capacity for proper protection on the west coast. It forsook the public's genuine and abiding interest in providing input to the National Energy Board. It muzzled scientists. It simply failed to recognize what it had done to the soul of those of us who lived on Canada's coastlines and the respect we had for the natural environment.

Every member of Parliament from British Columbia on the government benches arrived here to advocate for the protection of our coasts and marine ecosystems, and our government is unequivocal in its commitment to the protection of Canada's waters and marine ecosystems.

In November 2016, the Prime Minister launched the $1.5 billion oceans protection plan in Vancouver. This historic national investment will protect Canada's marine environments, improve marine safety, and ensure responsible shipping. It will provide indigenous communities and coastal communities with new opportunities to protect, preserve, and restore Canada's oceans and sea routes.

Under the OPP, we reopened and expanded the capacity of the Kitsilano Coast Guard station, which will now house two inflatable rescue boats, as well as a specialized pollution response vessel. As well, the Coast Guard's 24/7 response will be strengthened to protect Canada's waters and to lead in responding to marine emergencies.

To ensure world-leading marine safety and spill response, we are deploying two large heavy-tow tugs in British Columbia, the first coming into service this year, and the next one, next year. They are capable of towing commercial tankers and large container ships.

No doubt, members will remember when a Russian cargo ship, the Simushir, lost power in the fall of 2014 and began drifting toward Haida Gwaii. An Alaska-based tugboat, the Barbara Foss, was refuelling nearby, and was able to tow the cargo ship to safety. We simply lacked that capacity. The oceans protection plan addresses that.

We will also have new indigenous community response teams in B.C., offering training for search and rescue, environmental response, incident command, and for a greater role in marine safety.

Through the OPP, we are investing in British Columbia and across Canada to establish a world-leading marine safety system, and to expand the scientific foundation for spill response.

We have marshalled research capacity in labs in B.C., Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland to spearhead wide-ranging new chemical and biological research into the behaviour and effects of dilbit in marine environments, and to build world-leading ocean modelling capacity to underpin risk-based spill response planning. We are also providing additional funding in science and research to improve technologies that will mitigate and prevent marine incidents.

In B.C., we are also establishing environmental baseline assessments at the ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert in order to assess how human activities may impact our marine ecosystems over time. By doing this, we will better understand coastal ecosystems and the potential effects of regional marine vessel activity on the environment. I know this is central to the concern of the Government of British Columbia.

Certainly, our government's interest in developing the Department of Fisheries and Oceans lab in West Vancouver into the Pacific science enterprise centre and the partnerships that are already happening there, are entirely focused on science research and community engagement with regard to critical questions of marine ecosystems.

In 2016, an integrity review of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans was conducted and as a result, $1.4 billion was added to the base budget, reflective of the need to restore the devastation of the cuts made by the previous government and in order to carry out core functions of the fisheries department.

We wholeheartedly endorse the Cohen Commission recommendations and have now adopted 64 out of 75. We are working to implement wild salmon policy, at long last. We moved swiftly to ensure the salmon enhancement program was intact.

With respect to our commitment to marine protected areas, we are over halfway to our goal of 10% of Canada's coastlines by 2020.

Last week, the Minister of Fisheries announced the new Fisheries Act, to restore lost protections removed by the previous government. I look forward to debating that tomorrow. It is an exciting opportunity to advocate for wild salmon and the end of open-net salmon aquaculture, as I have mentioned in the House before.

The OPP and the renewed fisheries budget mean that $2.9 billion have been invested for coastal communities and the nation's waterways. We are devoted to working with the government of British Columbia on all of these initiatives. We know that by recognizing and balancing regional interests, we build the national interest.

Canada is a world-leading trading nation. Our economy and the ability to create good middle-class jobs depend on our ability to access and serve global markets, supported by our ability to access foreign markets through responsible shipping. We have to be committed to protecting Canada's coastlines and to every Canadian whose livelihood depends on the economic viability of Canada's waterways and natural resources.

Our government has consulted extensively. In 2015, in his mandate letter, the Minister of Transport was asked to legislate a tanker ban on the north coast of B.C. arising directly from concerns there. We listened. In January of 2016, we introduced a set of interim principles to improve on the process of assessing pipelines and projects. Public comment expanded, and we listened. In November 2016, our government rejected Enbridge's proposal for the northern gateway pipeline and endorsed the Trans Mountain project, attaching 157 conditions.

This demonstrates a balanced approach, a thorough approach, and one that has been achieved by acting in good faith.

It is the federal government's legal responsibility to ensure marine, rail, and pipeline safety, which we will uphold and endeavour to ensure reflects broad considerations and benefits most people.

The OPP, the new Fisheries Act, and the government's decision on the Trans Mountain project contribute substantially to strengthen the environment and the economy. There is no question that moving forward with Trans Mountain has been a difficult decision to make, and an even harder one for many to accept, particularly many in my community. However, now is the time to focus on the legislative strides we are taking to protect the coastal environment, wild salmon, ocean health, to tackle climate change, and embrace opportunities for innovation and renewable energy as we transition to a low-carbon economy.

I look forward to working with all British Columbians, Albertans, and Canadians toward our shared goals.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that people in my constituency and across Canada have a legitimate basis for being worried about the intentions of the government. The Trans Mountain pipeline really is the only pipeline that the government has not killed yet, and it is looking for all kinds of different ways to do so. With northern gateway, it was killing it directly. With energy east, it was compounding the process for review to such an extent that it was far beyond what we had seen with any other similar project. The government, frankly, is looking for excuses to kill these projects, even if it does not necessarily want to say it is doing it directly. Canadians have a legitimate concern about the government's credibility on this issue.

I want to understand from the parliamentary secretary what the difference is. If the government professes to be supportive of this pipeline project but, on the other hand, has done everything it can to kill every other pipeline project, why should Canadians have confidence in it when it comes to this one?

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Pam Goldsmith-Jones Liberal West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would remind the hon. member that it was the courts that killed northern gateway explicitly because of the previous government's failure to consult. I have spent my time explaining the confidence we had to rebuild as a result of the previous government's egregious actions in gutting the Fisheries Act and the Navigable Waters Protection Act, in closing the Kitsilano Coast Guard base, and in not acting to ensure that the west coast of Canada was protected in consideration of adding additional tankers.

I certainly believe my colleagues are capable of this. In the interests of British Columbians who seem to be at odds for the moment, we, as federal members of Parliament, have an obligation to work together for the greater good.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:25 p.m.

NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, as the member is now a champion for Kinder Morgan, I want to bring back the thoughts that were brought forward in the campaign. We know that in the last campaign, in Esquimalt, B.C., coastal B.C. where we are both from, the Prime Minister promised voters that ongoing pipeline reviews would have to be redone under stronger, more credible rules, including for the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline project.

There was a question to the Prime Minister, “does your NEB overhaul apply to Kinder Morgan?” The Prime Minister answered “Yes, yes.... It applies to existing projects, existing pipeline...” as well.

The question was, “Okay, so if they approve Kinder Morgan in January, you’re saying-” The Prime Minister said “No, they are not going to approve it in January because we are going to change the government, and that process needs to be redone.” That was in August 2015.

When the Prime Minister said it was going to be redone, it was going to be under a new process. That did not happen.

My colleague talked about governing for all people across Canada. Will the member stand up and start governing for coastal people? Coastal people did not grant this project social licence, and the Prime Minister said to the people of coastal B.C. in August 2015 that he was going to show up for coastal people and stand up for them. It did not happen.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

Pam Goldsmith-Jones Liberal West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, there is not a single day I have spent in Ottawa that I have not been devoted to restoring lost protection from the previous government with regard to the Fisheries Act, with regard to the navigable waters protection Act. These are the loud, clear, strong, practical, pragmatic, and reasoned voices of British Columbians working in concert with our resource sector.

What has been redone is the Fisheries Act. What has been done in the first instance is a national price on carbon. What has been redone or invented is the oceans protection plan, a $1.5 billion historic investment in marine safety, and that is not to mention the $1.4 billion added back into the fisheries budget. Those are the things that British Columbians care about.

This is very tough for British Columbia, but I feel that in the end we have come up with a balanced decision that respects our neighbours in Alberta and all Canadians.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

John Aldag Liberal Cloverdale—Langley City, BC

Mr. Speaker, as we have mentioned several times, this government believes that economic growth and protecting our environment go hand in hand. We have also made clear our determination to build a new relationship with indigenous peoples based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership. Nowhere is that commitment clearer than in our promise to work in full partnership with indigenous peoples when considering the development of natural resources and related major projects. We recognize that their relationship with the land is profound and that the impacts of development can be great.

We understand, too, that indigenous peoples' traditional knowledge of the land and its resources is intrinsic to their cultural practices and that we all benefit when the best of science is harmonized with traditional knowledge. That is why we promised to approach development decisions in a socially responsible and environmentally sound way, and why we pledge to consult closely with potentially affected communities to make sure we factor in their perspectives and fully consider their concerns.

Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, recognizes and protects existing and acquired aboriginal and treaty rights. These rights have been upheld in recent decisions on several pipeline projects which were made through open and inclusive processes. This includes the Trans Mountain expansion project.

I remind the House that the ministers of natural resources and environment and climate change added extra consultations with first nations regarding the Trans Mountain project. They also undertook an analysis of its impact on greenhouse gas emissions from the oil sands. Many see these projects as an opportunity for job creation and are interested in the socioeconomic benefits generated by sustainable resource development.

Stephen Buffalo, president and CEO of the Indian Resource Council, said at an energy conference last year, “We are depending on these pipelines for the success of the Canadian economy.”

That view was echoed in a recent interview by Calvin Helin, an executive with Eagle Spirit Energy, a company that hopes to build an indigenous-owned pipeline from the Alberta oil sands to the B.C. coast. He stated, “The reality is it is the only way forward. There's nothing else..”.

That said, while resource-based projects can spur investment, indigenous peoples, along with other Canadians, have been adamant that development decisions must be environmentally responsible and consider the concerns of potentially affected communities, which many believe have too often been neglected. That is in large part due to previous reforms to environmental laws and regulations that eroded public trust and put our environment and communities at risk. In response, our government put in place interim principles for project reviews in January 2016. They were followed up with a comprehensive process to review existing laws and seek the input of Canadians on how to improve our environmental and regulatory system.

Last week, the government delivered on its commitment to introduce proposed legislation that would put in place better rules for major projects to protect our environment, fish and waterways, support reconciliation with indigenous peoples, and rebuild public trust in how decisions about resource development are made. With these better rules, Canadians, companies, and investors can be confident that good projects will move forward in a responsible, timely, and transparent way, to protect our environment while creating jobs and growing our economy. These new rules reflect what the government heard from provinces and territories, indigenous peoples, businesses, environmental groups, and Canadians through extensive consultations across the country.

I also can assure my hon. colleague representing the riding of Lakeland that businesses will have greater clarity about what is required of them and that review timetables will be more predictable. This is crucial, given the hundreds of major resource projects worth over $600 billion in investment that are planned across Canada over the coming decade. Project reviews will be both more rigorous and more efficient, with reduced legislated timelines and clear requirements from the start. Canadians will have ongoing opportunities to provide their input on regulations and policy changes required to accompany the legislation. These improved rules will protect our environment and communities while making sure that good projects can get built to create jobs for Canadians. Equally essential, these progressive measures reinforce the need to consult with indigenous peoples. The new legislation establishes clear principles for assessing major resource projects in partnership with indigenous peoples.

As the Minister of Natural Resources said last week, with this legislation we are demonstrating how we can balance the economy and our environment. We can get projects responsibly built and get our resources to market while advancing reconciliation with indigenous peoples and protecting the environment for future generations. Our government takes its responsibilities seriously, to ensure that a strong economy and a clean environment go hand in hand for the benefit of all Canadians. We are legally responsible to ensure marine, rail, and pipeline safety and will strictly enforce these laws and regulations. We have made the transport of petroleum products safer through the Pipeline Safety Act, and enshrined the polluter pays principle into law. Our new measures enhance prevention, preparedness, and response, and liability and compensation.

Our $1.5 billion oceans protection plan is the largest investment ever made to protect Canada's coasts and waterways for generations to come. Oceans protection plan projects are on track to deliver real results and are transforming working relationships with indigenous peoples, coastal communities, and stakeholders.

I would like to reiterate that the review of any large natural resource project must consider all of the very real environmental challenges that we face. Our record on previous pipeline reviews has demonstrated that projects can be approved within these parameters. Similarly, under the proposed new rules, decisions on these projects will be guided by science, evidence, and indigenous traditional knowledge.

When deciding on the Trans Mountain expansion project, our government conducted a thorough review based on science and evidence. We considered five factors: first, ensuring the engagement of indigenous peoples concerning their rights and interests; second, the need for oceans protection; third, ensuring that the project could be built and used safely and securely; fourth, ensuring that the project fits within Canada's climate change target; and last, determining whether the project was in the national interest. These five new rules will continue to apply to new projects. Nothing in the newly proposed legislation would change that.

I am very proud to be part of a team that has worked hard to deliver on its commitment to engage with indigenous peoples on resource development in Canada and to restore Canadians' confidence in the review process. This is our government's plan for Canada, a plan that points us to a stronger economy and a cleaner environment. We stand by our decision to approve the Trans Mountain expansion project, just as we stand by our commitments to Canadians to engage with indigenous peoples on resource development and implement world-leading measures to protect the environment and our coasts. We approved TMX because we know that our coasts and communities will be well protected.

I invite the hon. member for Lakeland to work with us on this nation-building plan rather than using an opportunity to further ignite regional tensions.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:35 p.m.

NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, I know my colleague and friend from coastal B.C. cares a lot about tourism in British Columbia. Tens of thousands of jobs rely on a clean and healthy environment in British Columbia, and the government constantly talks about its ocean protection plan.

I will tell members what it looks like, if they ask the people in English Bay how the government's ocean protection plan responded to their bunker fuel spill; or the Heiltsuk, on how they dealt with a diesel spill there; or the Hanjin. These are shipping containers that landed in coastal B.C. When I came to the House and asked the Prime Minister what he was going to do to help coastal people deal with the largest marine debris spill in decades, he said they have a world-class protection plan and did nothing for the people of coastal B.C.

There is no trust from coastal people that the ocean protection plan is going to protect what is happening right now, never mind a sevenfold increase of raw bitumen when they do not even know how they are going to clean it up. Does the member think that two tugs and their proposals for an ocean protection plan are good enough for what is happening today, never mind a sevenfold increase of tanker traffic on the coast of British Columbia?

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

John Aldag Liberal Cloverdale—Langley City, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by thanking my colleague opposite for his advocacy and support for the tourism industry. I have had the opportunity to live and work in his neighbourhood, and I know how beautiful it is. I know how important the coasts are on the island, as they are throughout the Vancouver area and throughout British Columbia.

It is important to remind Canadians that the investments we made in the ocean protection plan are unlike anything that any government has done. There is some cynicism, some hesitancy on behalf of British Columbians about how we will protect our coasts, and the ocean protection plan is moving forward with that. It takes time to mobilize the kind of investment in our ocean protection that we are making. However, the things we have done already, with undoing the removal of protections by the previous government, are critical, and we will continue building on that. I am very proud of the work we are doing to promote the safety of our oceans and maintain the pristine nature of our coastlines for British Columbians, as well as for visitors wanting to see our beautiful part of the country.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague from Cloverdale—Langley City and I work together on the environment committee and we do a lot of good work there. In fact, we have already had two consensus reports emanating from that committee and I look forward to more.

My question relates to the dispute between British Columbia and Alberta. Our former Conservative government basically shepherded the Kinder Morgan pipeline approval through and it was affirmed by the Liberal government. Of course, that started a big trade war between British Columbia and Alberta. The premier of British Columbia said there is no way a pipeline is going to come through and he is going to do everything he can to stop it, even though he has no constitutional authority to do so. The premier of Alberta has said they are stopping B.C. wine from coming into Alberta.

Does the member see the Prime Minister as having a role to play in resolving this dispute between our two big provinces, and if so, what is that role?

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

John Aldag Liberal Cloverdale—Langley City, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his work on the environment committee. We have done great work there. We have had consensus reports and I look forward to his party supporting us as we move forward on more important legislation that is going to make these projects more reliable for developers and find that balance between the economy and the environment. I look forward to continuing to work together.

On the role of the Prime Minister and the current issues we are seeing between Alberta and B.C. in particular, it is a challenging situation and I believe that the Prime Minister and our government are taking all the necessary steps to bring the parties together. We know that the previous government walked away from engagement with the provinces and that is part of where we ran into problems with these project approvals. We have engaged with the provinces and we have hit a rough spot now, but our government is working very closely with Alberta and B.C. to find a way forward through this, while respecting that the pipeline decision is a federal government responsibility.

We need to make sure that it does happen, that we get oil to market, but that it is done in a responsible way. That is what our government is committed to doing and is working toward on a daily basis.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

It is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Calgary Rocky Ridge, Taxation; the hon. member for Courtenay—Alberni, The Environment; and the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands, also The Environment.

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, I too am pleased to join the important debate today. I will be sharing my time with the member for Brandon—Souris.

It has already been stated, but I want to talk first about the importance of our oil industry to Canada and to the world. Canada has 170 billion barrels of oil in reserve, and it is the third largest in the world. These economic benefits are shared across the country through services and supplies. I would like to give the House a quick example.

British Columbia's services and supplies in one year are $1.3 billion. There is a company, for example, Watson Gloves that sells work gloves especially built to withstand the rigorous operating conditions in the oil sands. This is but one example of a Canadian company that benefits from the industry.

In Ontario, it is $3.9 billion. Berg Chilling Systems is an equipment manufacturer that develops custom engineered chilling, pumping, and heat recovery equipment for use in natural gas production facilities. In Quebec, it is $1.2 billion in total. GHGSat is an innovative aerospace company working with oil sands producers to develop new satellite-based GHG emission acknowledging technologies.

These are just three examples of many companies across this country that are benefiting from the oil sands.

It is important to point out that these companies are all about technology. People have looked at natural resource companies and said they are just taking their supplies and sending them to market. However, for things like GHG emission monitoring with satellites, that is being done by innovative companies with technology that is supporting the oil sands.

The world needs more of Canada, not less. Canada is probably one of the most environmentally sound extractors of oil in the world. In my view, I would send our product to China, as there are many other countries that might supply the product with less environmentally sound practices. Whether we like it or not, we are going to need oil in the immediate and probably mid-term future. Someday we will probably make some advances in technology where our need for oil will be somewhat reduced, but in the meantime, we would be absolutely foolish not to take advantage of the opportunities.

What is the situation? We have heard we have a landlocked resource. We are unable to get our product to markets and that is to the severe detriment of the Canadian economy in terms of tax revenue going to the federal government and in fact all levels of government.

A lot of work has been done. We tried very hard to find ways to get pipelines to tidewater. The northern gateway, for example, was one, but the Liberal government just slashed that idea. We can look at energy east, where the government made the conditions so onerous that the company walked away. To be honest, that is an incredible shame.

We are losing investment. The president of Suncor just the other day said it is getting too tough to do business in Canada. We know that money goes where it is wanted. We know that investment goes where it is wanted. We are creating an environment where it is difficult to get anything done in this country.

We do have a project here. We have a project that has been approved and a company that, to be quite frank, has been very patient for many years. It's the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain expansion.

The Kinder Morgan pipeline goes through the riding that I represent. Many hundreds of kilometres of pipeline goes through my riding. This pipeline was built before I was born. I moved to Kamloops in 1999 and we were probably not even aware that it existed. We knew there was a pipeline but no one paid any attention to it. People did not worry about it. They knew there were opportunities for local jobs. They knew that it was providing the gas stations with, ultimately, the product they needed to fill their vehicles.

I heard the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands talking earlier about rail versus pipelines. If oil is transported by rail, it is right along the salmon fish-bearing streams, and the chance of an incident with rail is much higher than the chance of an incident with pipelines.

The other thing no one talks about is that as rail transport of the product increases, the opportunity to move other supplies and goods is lost. We often have conversations with those in the wheat industry and many others who are having trouble moving their product to ports because of the capacity of our rail system. Therefore, not only is rail perhaps a little more concerning in terms of transfer but it also takes enormous capacity. I suggest that our rail system is pretty close to capacity. At least, where I wait at the tracks where the two lines meet, it certainly seems to be at capacity.

This pipeline has been in place for many years and people did not really pay much attention to it, so what has changed? All of a sudden, there seems to be a dedicated movement. There has been a lot of talk and research done, where foreign influences work with environmental groups to shut down our oil sands. I would ask everyone why they are working to shut down Canada's oil sands and not focused on other areas, such as perhaps ships coming in from Saudi Arabia or what is happening in the U.S. It seems there is a targeted, intense effort to shut down our oil sands and to stop any pipeline project. We clearly need to ask ourselves what is happening in Canada and come up with a few answers.

I had quite a debate the other day with one of my NDP colleagues on Nation to Nation on APTN. She said that first nations did not want this project. I said the NDP does not want this project and that she should not speak for all first nations when she says that. That it is absolutely irresponsible. There are 51 first nations who have signed on and want this project to proceed. These 51 first nations have signed community benefit agreements, which will be a source of revenue for their communities.

To be frank, the NDP is saying these people should not have this opportunity. Reconciliation has to include economic reconciliation. Time and time again, whether it is the northern gateway, the moratorium ban with Eagle Spirit, or the drilling ban up north, we are depriving many indigenous and first nations communities of opportunities to have these benefits. Again, 51 first nations have signed agreements, including many in the area that I represent, and they are looking forward to the jobs that will become available and to putting their equipment to work. The NDP is very irresponsible when it makes blanket statements that first nations do not want this.

I think sometimes those in Vancouver and Burnaby forget about how important that existing pipeline is to their lives. If that pipeline were to shut down, they forget how it would affect the price of gas and the jet fuel that goes to the Vancouver airport. It is an important and critical resource for Vancouver also. To suggest that it does not benefit Vancouver and Burnaby is a big concern. Most citizens in Burnaby take public transit or drive cars, so where do they think that resource comes from?

The request being made today is very reasonable. Two provinces are embarking on a trade war and small business owners are going to be hurt in this process. It could be the person who makes gloves in Vancouver, it could be winemakers, or it could be the hard-working people of Alberta who have struggled for the last couple of years with a significant economic downturn. Real people, real families, and real jobs are being hurt and the Prime Minister is letting it happen rather than intervening and being a cheerleader for what he has approved. Last week, the trade war escalated and he was down in the U.S., from what I understand, jogging and buying Levi jeans. That was not the place for him to be.

This is an appropriate and reasonable request and Conservatives look forward to a response from the government that provides a clear, articulate plan going forward.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:50 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I have been listening to the debate all day. When the New Democrats stand to speak, one gets the impression that they would be quite happy if there was never a barrel of oil that left the ground in the province of Alberta, and then we have the Conservatives, who seem to want to say that the Government of Canada should do anything at all costs and that the agreements in place do not matter.

In reality, the Minister of Natural Resources has been very clear. By the way, this is a project that the Conservatives could not get off the ground and that this government was able to get off the ground. We are committed to the project. It is going to be built, but that is not good enough for the Conservatives. The issue for them is that they want to try to play a divisive role in the federation. I do not see that as a healthy thing. The Prime Minister and the minister have been clear that the project is moving ahead.

Why do the Conservatives want to try to stir the pot of discontent in the federation?

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, that was an absolutely ludicrous comment. The federal government has a responsibility. The pot has been stirred because the government has not stepped up to the plate. I have watched the process because it has been very much part of the riding I represent. For years, long before the Liberal government took over, there were conversations with first nations and other communities throughout the riding, with a huge amount of work being done and progress being made. Yes, it culminated in an assessment report by the National Energy Board, which was thankfully accepted, unlike what was done with northern gateway or energy east.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:50 p.m.

NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, this motion calls on the Prime Minister to use every tool available to force this project through. The Minister of Natural Resources provided a glimpse into the government's thinking when he threatened to use defence forces, the Canadian military, on behalf of this Texas pipeline company. In response, tens of thousands of British Columbians have signed a pledge to stand with indigenous land defenders along the pipeline route. These are people from my community, retired people, university students, business owners, clergy members, and homeowners from Burnaby. They say that they are willing to use their bodies to block construction equipment.

How far does the member believe the Prime Minister should go to force this unwanted project on a region of our country?

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, this member did not listen to my speech. I talked about how this was a welcomed project. The NDP is being very irresponsible in this debate, because it is trying to escalate the tensions around an approved project that the government has said is going through. The NDP is trying to create huge distress, and it needs to look at what it is doing and support the decision made by the government and recommended by the National Energy Board.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Martin Shields Conservative Bow River, AB

Mr. Speaker, I, too, have listened to the debate today, and I find some interesting comments being made. In the statement my colleague just made, she talked about some parts of it, but maybe she could talk a little more about the investment side and the signal for investment going forward. In the sense of the project being approved but not moving, the hope would be that this is a signal. If the government is out there and the Prime Minister is in the Lower Mainland saying that the government is in support of this, it is a signal to business in the sense of investment in this industry on a broader scale. Canada is interested in investment.

Maybe the member would respond to that signal and the leadership we are looking for.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, there are two realities. One is that, in Canada, we obviously care very much about the environment and we want appropriate environmental regulations. However, red tape and increasing regulations, such as the carbon tax, that are perhaps not in step with the United States and other areas make Canada an increasingly uncompetitive country for companies to do business in. If we talk to mining experts, look at the investments into mining, and hear the president of Suncor Energy expressing concern, we see that we are becoming a very over-regulated, packed in red tape, unappealing place to do business.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Larry Maguire Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, once again, it is our Conservative caucus that is taking the lead on an important issue facing the Canadian economy.

I agree with the words of my colleague from Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo in regard to the development of jobs that will occur from this type of line going ahead. On the discussion of the questions he brought forward, only the member for Winnipeg North would really know about how to divide the country. One example would be the small business program that the Liberals tried to bring in last fall.

Once again, the Prime Minister and his lack of leadership have let down thousands of Canadians and their families who rely on the natural resources sector for their livelihood. Our leader does not hum and haw and procrastinate when asked about his support for energy projects. He is not afraid to take a position, even when that decision may cause some opposition.

Today we are calling on the Prime Minister to do the same. He must prioritize the construction of the federally approved Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project by taking immediate action, and table his plan in the House. The Prime Minister must stop putting the interests of foreign oil companies and foreign despots ahead of Canadian interests.

Over the past two years, the Liberal government introduced new regulations on energy projects and forced Canadian oil companies to comply with standards that are not required for foreign countries, such as Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, and Algeria, that export oil to our Canadian market. The government is increasing regulatory uncertainties that are scaring off investments and the jobs that would come with these projects. It is ridiculous that Canada has to import foreign oil because of our inability to get energy transported from western Canada to the east coast.

We know that Canada's environmental and labour standards are the envy of the world, as pointed out by my colleague just a moment ago. We believe in a process that is fair and transparent, and that incorporates the latest technology and knowledge so we can build pipelines to get our energy to market. There is no doubt that pipelines are the safest and most environmentally sound way to transport oil and gas. They are no different than a road, a highway, a railway, or an electrical line. They are vital infrastructure that Canadians rely on.

As Don Iveson, the mayor of Edmonton, said, “Just imagine if we were trying to build a railroad 100 years ago and mayors were saying no. What kind of country would we have?”

Four major pipelines were constructed by our former Conservative government, as well as a handful of smaller ones that act as tributaries to the main lines. These ministry of truth facts would make even the Liberals' own diehard partisans cringe, as this is a clear truthful point that the Liberals are embarrassed to acknowledge. It is clear, from impeding the construction of the energy east line to the Maritimes and from not moving forward with northern gateway, that the Liberals' priority is not to make Canadian jobs or decrease greenhouse gas emissions.

Regarding the specific Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, we know that the vast majority of landowners who will be impacted by this project did not file objections, and more than half of the entire detailed route has already been approved. Public hearings are still going on, and they are working with those who have questions about the timetable, location, and methods of where the pipeline will be built within the 150-metre corridor that has already been approved. The National Energy Board has ruled that Kinder Morgan must fulfill 157 conditions, and that is exactly what Kinder Morgan plans on doing.

While there are those who are ignoring all the work that has gone into the planning stages and into the entire approval process, it is discouraging to know that they are still doing everything in their power to stop the pipeline for purely political reasons. When everything was done correctly and the proper process was followed, there should be no more uncertainty from the various levels of government. It is unfathomable that they are changing the rules in the middle of the process and will do anything they can to cause further delays.

Now it is time for our political leaders to stop the dithering. As Conservatives, we believe that supporting the middle class is more than just a talking point. We believe in supporting policies and projects that actually help the middle class by creating jobs and prosperity. These are the very same projects that create jobs, heat our homes, and pay for social services, like our health care and education systems.

It is long past time that the Prime Minister remove himself from the witness protection program, roll up his sleeves, and do everything in his power to immediately end this impasse. There are more times than I can count when I am trying to decipher what the Prime Minister is saying. We are used to the Prime Minister and the gobbledegook in the chamber, but his lack of clarity on this project is causing long-term harm. He is like the Michael Scott of Canadian politics. He starts a sentence and does not know where it is going. He just hopes he finds it along the way.

Because of that vacuum of leadership and the lukewarm support his cabinet has offered, there is no wonder the NDP-Green cabal in B.C. saw an opening to throw a wrench into this project. They could see the indecisiveness and the hesitancy from the federal government. They saw a weakness and are using this political cleavage to cause as much chaos as they possibly can. They are hoping that creating turmoil will inevitably wear down Kinder Morgan and it will walk away from the project. They are hoping to divide the Liberal caucus and those who are more worried about getting re-elected than doing what is right, even in the face of diversity. We only need to look at energy east as the strategy used by those who opposed the project.

We cannot let the B.C. NDP government and their cohorts submarine this project. While the expansion of Kinder Morgan Canada's Trans Mountain pipeline was approved in 2016, the $7.4 billion project continues to run into political obstructionists who, quite frankly, will do everything in their power to derail it. No carbon tax, social licence, nor environmental assessment will appease those who oppose the project. We must call a spade a spade. We are dealing with individuals who will never support this pipeline. Let us face it, even 157 conditions, which were being met, are not enough to satisfy their requirements to support the pipeline.

It is increasingly worrisome that pipeline projects in our country have become a litmus test to determine if one cares about the environment. That is a false choice. Regardless if the pipeline is approved by the NEB, abides by every condition, has the highest environmental standards, and they consult with every possible stakeholder, there is nothing that will eventually get them to say yes. If that was not enough, the Liberals are now going to upend the system, dismantle the NEB, and make the process even more political. While I have yet to decide if their actions are in fact well meaning, it would not be too far a stretch to think they are being naive. They are emboldening the forces who seek to stop energy projects.

Today, it is my sincere hope that we get unanimous support in the House on our motion. We must send a strong message that we stand united in getting this pipeline built, that we stand behind the process that approved the pipeline, and most of all, that we stand behind those who work in the industry. Is it really too much to ask for the Government of Canada to stand shoulder to shoulder with an industry that either directly or indirectly employs hundreds of thousands of Canadians?

I could not be more proud of how our Conservative team has consistently advocated for this project. There was no ambiguity in our position. We will always stand up for our energy sector. We will be a voice for those who feel let down by the inaction of this government. It is abundantly clear the Prime Minister has no plan whatsoever to get the Trans Mountain expansion project completed. No one in the industry actually thinks the Liberals are an ally of the oil and gas sector.

As Rex Murphy so eloquently said, the Prime Minister has given, “a treacle of insincere bromides, verbal goo to serve a moment’s press, forgotten before the camera lights dimmed.”

If only Kinder Morgan could change its name to Amazon or Bombardier, we would not have to face this debate. We would not have to ask the Prime Minister to do his job. We would not need to ask the Liberals to stand up for their constituents.

I call on government members to put away their buzzwords and naiveté and table a plan for this debacle to get this resolved. We will not waver or retreat when it comes to our livelihood. We will work to put people back to work and get the energy sector rolling. We will unite Canada, reduce red tape, and support job-creating projects like Trans Mountain.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

Chris Bittle Liberal St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have been here all day listening to the debate, and it is interesting. It is almost as if the Conservatives are not listening to this side of the House. As the hon. minister said, why can they not take yes for an answer. This project is in the national interest. The Prime Minister and minister have consistently said that it is going to get built.

I have been listening to the speeches, and one thing has been left out by members from that side, including the hon. member who just gave his speech. Why did he not mention that construction has already begun on the project at the terminal? Could he explain the reason he is leaving out that important piece of the puzzle?

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Larry Maguire Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have to correct the member from across the way. We have not seen a plan tabled in the House, as asked for in my speech, for the carrying forward of the Kinder Morgan pipeline. We know the government has already killed two other ones, so Canadians are suspicious.

When the Liberals say that it will build it, in what decade? Will anybody who is in the House now still be alive when they actually get it built? Where is the plan to move that oil into our foreign markets that desire cleaner energy, which will allow them to reduce greenhouse gases, and should in fact recur to our world participation in the reduction of greenhouse gases.

The government, by importing oil from other countries around the world, has not enforced the standards, as it would have with our own oil industry.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:10 p.m.

NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, I keep hearing from the Conservatives about jobs. We need to talk about our resource industry in Canada and how it produces jobs.

In my riding in Courtenay—Alberni, in Port Alberni, we have seen raw logs go up tenfold in 10 years. This was under the Conservative government and the B.C. Liberal government. What does that look like? The highest crime rate and the highest poverty rate in British Columbia.

The Liberal government has now removed a 25% tariff to build ferries in Canada, which generated $118 million that could have gone to creating more efficiencies in our shipbuilding sector. We are shipping jobs now to Gdansk, Poland. We are hearing about canneries closing on the north coast, and we are shipping fish to China so we can get them filleted and put on our grocery store shelves. However, we do not hear about why the government and Alberta is not processing raw bitumen. The Norwegians have $1 trillion in their wealth fund, and Alberta has $11 billion. We have mismanaged our resources.

Could the member explain how they are going to create jobs refining products and how they are going to stop this rip-and-ship mentality, which is failing communities like Port Alberni, and it is going to fail communities in Alberta?

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Larry Maguire Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, it has been a lifetime goal of mine to ensure that we process more of our products on the Prairies, particularly in the grain industry, which I have been involved in all of my life.

If the government and particularly the third party in the House were really concerned about the environment, they would be pushing to get this oil into the hands of countries like China and other areas that want it so we can reduce the greenhouse gases in their countries. I spent seven of my 14 years in the Manitoba legislature in opposition as the critic for the environment and conservation. No one cares more about the conservation efforts than I do in regard to those areas in my history of farming.

We need to ensure we can produce as many jobs as we can and continue to process all of the products that we possibly can in our country. Putting this pipeline project in place will put thousands of good-paying jobs into Canadian hands.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:10 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will follow up on the assertion from the member of Brandon—Souris that this will create thousands of jobs.

I was an intervenor in the Kinder Morgan review before the National Energy Board. In that review, Kinder Morgan, and I refer the member to volume 5B of its submission, claimed 2,500 jobs per year for two years. There are 90 permanent jobs in B.C., and there has been no support for more jobs than that, which is part of the reason the major unions of Alberta, Unifor and the Alberta Federation of Labour, oppose this project. They recognize that shipping raw bitumen out of Canada ships out the refinery jobs with it.

Could the hon. member refer us to any study that supports the claim that this will create more jobs than it kills?

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Larry Maguire Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, her own union said that it would produce 2,500 jobs. That is thousands of jobs. I have worked in the oil industry and agriculture all of my life. When we can move product, process it, take it even from a oil well to a battery, that is process and it creates jobs. It creates jobs all over Canada, not just in the oil field.

We have seen that particularly with Fort McMurray. Jobs are made in the Maritimes. They are made in the member's home town. They are made in all of southern Ontario. Canada is the beneficiary of the movement of these products into the export market, just the same as I have dealt with all of my life in regard to the grain industry. Sure we would like to have more of it processed in Canada. Part of that was the development of a larger livestock industry in the Prairies because it cost too much money to ship raw materials like that to our foreign ports.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:10 p.m.

Northumberland—Peterborough South Ontario

Liberal

Kim Rudd LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I know the hon. member for Lakeland understands, as do those of us on this side of the House, how important the Trans Mountain expansion pipeline is not only to her own province of Alberta but to the entire country. I am also pleased to see that the motion refers to two key points behind our government's approval of the TMX pipeline. The first is that the pipeline is in the national interest and will create good paying jobs for Canadians. Second, if we want to sell our resources to the world, we have to provide access to those markets. Our government has never wavered in standing behind its decision to approve this project.

The Prime Minister has made the case for it on many occasions, both in the House and elsewhere, including in Alberta and British Columbia. The Minister of Natural Resources has taken that same message across Canada, including just last week in Calgary and in his speech to the Vancouver Board of Trade a couple of months before that.

I do not understand how the hon. members on the other side could believe that this pipeline is anything but a priority for our government. Our position is clear. The TMX pipeline has been important to Canada since it was originally constructed in 1953, and it will be important to our future. It will be built.

This expanded pipeline will help diversify our markets. It comes with improved environmental safety, and it will create thousands of good middle-class jobs, including in indigenous communities. The TMX pipeline will also contribute to our government’s plan to make Canada a global leader in the transition to a low-carbon economy.

How? As the Minister of Natural Resources has said, by using this time of transition to Canada's advantage, building the infrastructure to get our resources to global markets, and using the revenues it generates to invest in innovative, cleaner forms of energy, in other words, leveraging the fossil fuel resources we have today and the innovation they provide to deliver clean energy solutions for tomorrow. That is the same message we heard from Canadians through Generation Energy, a historic natural discussion to imagine Canada's energy future for our children and their children.

Canadians have told us by the hundred of thousands that they want a thriving, low-carbon economy. They want us to be a leader in clean technologies. They also want an energy system that provides equal opportunities to Canadians, without harming the environment. They also understand we are not there yet, which means continuing to support our oil and gas industry, even as we develop sources of renewable energy, such as biomass, solar, tidal, nuclear, and wind.

This is the same approach we are taking as we work with the provinces and territories to develop a Canadian energy strategy, one that seeks common ground and shared purpose, leveraging our traditional resources while promoting renewable sources of energy, enhancing energy efficiency, and investing in clean technology. TMX fits within all of this.

We are under no illusions that everyone would agree with our approval of TMX. Many Canadians, including a number in Lower Mainland, British Columbia oppose the pipeline. Our government understands and shares British Columbians' sense of responsibility for Canada's spectacular west coast, which is why we took the time to get our TMX decision right, based on the best science, and the widest possible consultation.

At a time when the government of British Columbia has announced its own intention to consult, it is important to remember the broad consultation that has already taken place. The National Energy Board concluded a thorough review of TMX, and recommended that we approve the project, subject to 157 binding conditions.

To enable even more voices to be heard, however, the Minister of Natural Resources also appointed a special ministerial panel to hold additional hearings. The panel held 44 public meetings, hearing more than 600 presentations, and received some 20,000 submissions by email.

At the same time, we made the single largest investment ever to protect Canada's oceans and coastlines, with the $1.5 billion oceans protection plan, which was needed whether the TMX was expanded or not. It is an oceans protection plan that will improve regional plans with key partners, particularly coastal and indigenous communities that have irreplaceable on-the-ground and traditional knowledge. This generational investment in ocean safety addresses concerns about spill prevention and responses and provides significant additional protections for Burrard Inlet and the Salish Sea.

In approving TMX, we have also done something unprecedented in Canada. We have co-developed an indigenous advisory and monitoring committee to help oversee the safety of a major energy project through its entire life cycle. Our approval of TMX also fits within our international commitments on climate change and will be required to operate within the hard cap on emissions set by Alberta's climate plan. In fact, TMX, the line 3 replacement pipeline, and the proposed Keystone XL pipeline together will be required to stay within the 100 megatonne limit set by Alberta.

Finally, it is worth making the point that Canada will continue to produce oil and ship it across the country, whether new pipelines are built or not. What is indisputable is that pipelines are by far the safest means. The Pipeline Safety Act strengthens this by enshrining the principle of polluter pays. It makes companies liable, regardless of fault, for $1 billion in the case of major pipelines, and requires them to have the financial resources to respond to potential incidents.

Once the TMX is up and running, it will give Canadian energy a route to world markets, providing Canadians with something they have not had before: options. For the first time, we can export our energy where we can obtain the best price. Market decisions, not a monopoly buyer, will determine our strategy.

Those who believe that stopping TMX is a win overlook what would be lost: jobs, income, investment in the energy transition, and opportunity. As the world continues to make the transition to a low-carbon future, we need sensible, sustainable approaches, ones that understand that the path to a low-carbon future may be long, but its trajectory is clear. Our responsibility is to use this time wisely by improving the environmental performance of traditional energy sources while developing new ones, by investing in both pipelines and clean technologies, and by engaging indigenous peoples as never before. That is exactly what we have been doing.

We are demonstrating that we can grow the economy significantly while protecting the environment, that the two can, and indeed must, go together. The legislation we introduced last week, Bill C-69, is the clearest proof of that. It would offer a new approach to assessing and reviewing major new resource projects, a modern way to ensure that good resource projects were built in a responsible, timely, and transparent way.

This is our plan for Canada, a plan that points us to a stronger economy and a cleaner environment. I invite the hon. members opposite and the member for Lakeland to get behind this nation-building plan, to work with us rather than using this opportunity to further ignite tensions. Let us build a brighter future for Albertans, British Columbians, and indeed, all Canadians together.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:20 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have to say that this project certainly looks a lot different to the residents of a riding like mine that sits on the Salish Sea, where one spill could destroy the traditional food fisheries and ceremonial fisheries of four first nations in my riding, where there are tens of thousands of jobs that depend on the clean environment, such as the recreational fishery and tourism. Nobody comes to see an oil spill as a tourist. The jobs the member is talking about, theoretical jobs and a very small number of jobs, are up against the very real jobs and the very real needs of first nations in my riding when it comes to this pipeline.

The member talked about the oceans protection plan and all the great things the government is going to do. Does she really believe that a standard that says that it will take six and a half hours for oil cleanup crews to get to my riding to start working on a spill and that a success would be a 15% cleanup, with a 400% increase in tanker traffic, is a plan that people in my riding can support?

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:20 p.m.

Liberal

Kim Rudd Liberal Northumberland—Peterborough South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the oceans protection plan is historic, with a world-leading $1.5 billion to protect our beautiful coasts. In addition, in part of the bill put forward last week, Bill C-69, there is a component on transportation, fisheries, and oceans. It is important to remember that it is not about each piece individually. It is the importance of all those pieces coming together to ensure that we are able to get our resources to market, and protect our environment, and protect our coastlines.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:25 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I was somewhat horrified to hear the hon. parliamentary secretary refer to the National Energy Board review of Kinder Morgan as “a thorough review”.

At a campaign stop in August 2015, when the Prime Minister stopped in Esquimalt, he was asked by Kai Nagata, a former journalist, whether the commitment to a thorough review would apply to Kinder Morgan as well. I will quote the Prime Minister, who replied, “Yes. Yes. It applies to existing projects, existing pipelines as well.” When pressed, he said, “No, they’re not going to approve it in January because we’re going to change the government and that process has to be redone.”

That is what British Columbians heard from the Prime Minister.

I was an intervenor in the National Energy Board process on Kinder Morgan. As someone who appeared as a lawyer before the National Energy Board, going back to 1981, I know what it is like to appear before the National Energy Board when it is doing the job of a credible regulator. I know when the process is a sham that any government should be ashamed to support.

I ask the parliamentary secretary this. Who should we believe, now that the Prime Minister has abandoned the pledge to really study Kinder Morgan? Why should we accept the flawed process rejected by the Prime Minister on the campaign trail as now, magically, a thorough review?

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:25 p.m.

Liberal

Kim Rudd Liberal Northumberland—Peterborough South, ON

Mr. Speaker, in January 2016, we put in interim principles, and the minister also created a ministerial advisory panel to hear from those people along the TMX route who felt that they had not had an opportunity to contribute to that process. I believe that there were over 20,000 email submissions. There were 44 panels. There was a much more robust opportunity for Canadians to contribute.

With such experience and such passion, I hope the member will be helping to inform the process as we go through Parliament on this very important piece of legislation.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:25 p.m.

Liberal

Chris Bittle Liberal St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, it has been interesting to sit here today and listen to the opposition bring forward this motion. I brought this up before. Why can the opposition members not take yes for an answer? This is a project the government and the Prime Minister are pushing that will create lots of jobs.

I was wondering if the parliamentary secretary could expand on how this will benefit the national interest and what this pipeline will mean for the economies of both British Columbia and Alberta.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:25 p.m.

Liberal

Kim Rudd Liberal Northumberland—Peterborough South, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is about a benefit for Canadians. This project will create jobs in Alberta and British Columbia but will benefit all Canadians. It is important that we, as a government, have identified the opportunity for the economy and the environment to go hand in hand, and we have acted on that opportunity. We have acted on that opportunity by approving the TMX pipeline to provide jobs and increased economic development and to provide our industry with the opportunity to sell its product offshore.

As I said earlier in my speech, the oil is going to be produced. It is going to transit. Pipelines are the safest way to do that.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:25 p.m.

Liberal

Randy Boissonnault Liberal Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is with deep concern that I rise in the House today. It is a deeply worrying time for hard-working people in my home province of Alberta, for families in Alberta and British Columbia, and for our whole country.

The Government of Canada approved the building of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline because it is in the national interest. This project is in the national interest because it represents a $6.8 billion investment that will create 15,000 jobs during construction and 440 jobs per year after that. This does not even include all the indirect jobs that will be produced by the related opportunities, benefiting over 2,500 local businesses alone.

This pipeline is in the national interest because it will allow Canada, not simply Alberta, to get one of our country's most valuable natural resources to tidewater and to access markets beyond the United States. This means billions of dollars of investment and a direct benefit to the Canadian economy.

The TMX pipeline is in the national interest. It went through a rigorous review process under the interim principles brought in by our government, which included consultation with first nations peoples and listening to the honest concerns of citizens in the Lower Mainland in British Columbia and others who raised valid questions about protecting our oceans.

We did something that for 10 years the previous government refused to do. We listened to the concerns of Canadians, and we responded to those concerns, because we knew that it would improve the Kinder Morgan project. We responded with a $1.5-billion oceans protection plan, and we helped to ensure that over $300 million in financial commitments to first nations communities would flow from the proponent.

We also worked closely with the Government of British Columbia, under former premier Christy Clark, who, after years of serious concerns about the project, agreed that our government and key stakeholders had taken the steps necessary to gain its agreement.

This is a multi-billion dollar infrastructure project that runs 1,150 kilometres, and it is natural that not everyone agrees with it. Let me give a corollary. I represent the downtown core of Edmonton, and I hear from people regularly about disagreements over converting a 1,350 square metre parking lot into an apartment complex. Reasonable people are going to disagree about reasonable projects. That is why we have elected governments in place to weigh concerns and opportunities and to come to a decision. That is exactly what happened here.

Sadly, no sooner had our government approved the Trans Mountain pipeline than the opposition united in rooting for the project to fail. Members of the federal NDP chose to abandon the effective and historic leadership of Premier Rachel Notley, who recognizes that the environment and the economy go hand in hand and that while it is critical to protect our environment, we also need to empower our economy.

Like the premier, our government understands that the Alberta energy sector will continue to be a world leader in renewable energy and sustainable resource development and the future of our economy. We also understand that using pipelines to transport our oil resources is safer and less carbon intensive than the alternatives. Our governments have both championed these economic realities and have been met with the inexplicable intransigence of the federal NDP.

Like Premier Rachel Notley, our government understands that the Alberta energy sector will continue to be a world leader in renewable energy, in sustainable resource development, and in the future of our economy. We also understand that using pipelines to transport our oil resources is safer and less carbon intensive than the alternatives. Above all, we recognize that the environment and the economy go hand in hand. That is why this project is going to diversify our export markets, meet enhanced environmental safety standards, and create thousands of jobs for Canadians.

Perhaps even more unbelievable is the Conservative Party's determination that TMX fail. I can respect, on a theoretical level, that members of the Bloc, the Green Party, and the NDP sincerely disagree with pipeline projects. They have a point of view, and the economic arguments do not hold the same weight for them. What matters most to the federal Conservatives, however, is politics. They are scared to death of seeing a federal Liberal and provincial NDP partnership successfully get a pipeline to the coast.

I can respect, on a theoretical level, that members of the Bloc Québécois, the Green Party, and the NDP sincerely disagree with pipeline projects. They have a point of view, and the economic arguments do not hold the same weight for them. What matters the most to the federal Conservatives, however, is politics. They are scared to death of seeing a federal Liberal and provincial NDP partnership successfully get a pipeline to the coast. However, the fact remains that the decision we made on the Trans Mountain project was based on facts, evidence, and the national interest.

The Conservative Party wants nothing more than to see this project fail, because Kinder Morgan's success in building the Trans Mountain pipeline means that the heavy-fisted, closed-off, non-consultative adversarial approach championed by Stephen Harper and Jason Kenney completely and utterly failed to get a pipeline built to tidewater. Conservatives do not want to see the pipelines built or the energy sector succeed, particularly not on our watch, because their focus is to scare Canadians and pit them against each other simply in order to gain votes. They are not interested in pipelines. They are interested in politics, and if they were interested in getting pipelines built, they would have done so in the 10 years they had in office instead of being focused on the politics of division, which helps explain the intent behind today's motion.

The Conservatives are asking this government to lean in and get this pipeline built. We have been doing so since the day the project was approved. We made a commitment and every day since we have been working with industry and have communicated clearly that when a natural resources project is approved, it will proceed in a timely fashion to generate economic benefits for all Canadians. With our approval of Trans Mountain, it is already proceeding in a timely manner with construction taking place at the marine terminal, and steps to finalize the detailed route are already under way. At every point, following the approval of Kinder Morgan, the Conservatives have tried to tell Canadians that any challenge or concern is insurmountable and declared the project dead. Every time, this government has defended this project, removed roadblocks, and countered false claims by the opposition.

When the lawsuits were launched against the Kinder Morgan pipeline, the Conservative Party once again said that the pipeline was doomed. However, our government is defending the pipeline in court and will continue to do so because the project is in the national interest. When municipalities in B.C.'s Lower Mainland attempted to pass bylaws for no purpose other than to disrupt construction, once again the Conservative Party pronounced the project dead. Our government responded by creating a process at the NEB that enabled Kinder Morgan to get the green light to go ahead.

Recently, the Government of B.C. announced that it is considering imposing a ban on additional tanker traffic off the B.C. coast pending a study on the transportation of bitumen. What the discussion to date has largely ignored is that these regulations have not yet been put in place. Despite that, our government takes any attempt to infringe on federal authority and delay the building of a project in the national interest very seriously, and in response to these proposed regulations limiting tanker traffic, our government is already taking action.

The morning after these proposed regulations were announced, the Prime Minister stated unequivocally that the “pipeline is going to get built”. In the days that have followed, the Minister of Natural Resources has been unequivocal in stating, “No province can impinge on the national interest.” The Minister of Environment, members of cabinet, and government officials have been speaking with their counterparts in B.C. working to find a solution, all before any regulations have even been designed.

Our government has been involved in real action, while today's motion is mere theatre. We do not solve a national conflict or get pipelines built simply by passing a motion, snapping our fingers, and saying, “Make it so.” Canadians understand that Parliament cannot just pass a motion and the result will be B.C. and Alberta governments shaking hands, ending all of their disagreements, and all will be well. This motion is neither a serious proposal nor a serious solution.

What is important to note is that our government has been acting every day since this pipeline was approved. If there was any doubt that this is not a serious motion, members simply should look at the last words. Conservatives want a solution to a motion of interprovincial conflict in 72 hours. That is three days. One cannot get a blood test result in this country in three days. One cannot even get flowers delivered on Valentine's Day without three days' notice. A letter cannot get from Edmonton to Ottawa in three days. Let us ask a serious question. Are we going to end an interprovincial dispute with this Parliament saying, “Get it done in three days”? Get real. This conflict can only be resolved with open communication, co-operation, and hard work, not through cynical, theatrical, unbinding motions that just say, “Do this.” We saw that movie for 10 years and we know where it ends: nowhere.

Our government, together with all interested parties, will get this pipeline built.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:35 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is nice to hear that the hon. member for Edmonton Centre actually supports pipelines. It begs the question as to where the hon. member was when his government killed the northern gateway pipeline. Where was the hon. member when his government killed energy east?

In the face of this unprecedented unlawful attack on federal jurisdiction, an attack on billions of dollars of investment and thousands of jobs by the B.C. government, the best the Prime Minister could say was that he was disinclined to get involved in a disagreement among provinces. Does the hon. member for Edmonton Centre consider that leadership?

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:40 p.m.

Liberal

Randy Boissonnault Liberal Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, let us be honest about energy east. This is a project that was pulled back from being built by the proponent. I had the opportunity to have dinner with Russ Girling, who told me that when Keystone XL would be approved by the United States government, he would have no choice but to shut down energy east because there is simply not enough supply and Trans Canada runs both those lines. An economic decision led that company to say it could no longer afford energy east.

As it pertains to leadership, I believe in a leadership that says this pipeline will get built. This pipeline will get built.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:40 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Stetski NDP Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, the people of Kootenay—Columbia who are opposed to Kinder Morgan are opposed for three very good reasons.

First, the pipeline was approved using a flawed, weak environmental assessment process that was actually part of the 2015 election results. Certainly in my riding there was concern with what was happening to the environment under the Harper government. Second, one oil spill off the coast of British Columbia will far outweigh any economic benefit from a jobs perspective for British Columbia, and the impact on the environment, of course, would last for many years. Third, the concern is that every time we build a pipeline or focus on oil and gas, we are taking away time and energy from moving Canada forward to a green energy economy. I would like to hear the member's comments on that.

The other thing I would like him to comment on is the discussion earlier about bringing in the army to get the pipeline through. I think a much better use of the armed forces would be to clean up our beaches and get rid of the abandoned vessels. That is what we should be using the army for. I would like to hear the member's comments.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:40 p.m.

Liberal

Randy Boissonnault Liberal Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his commitment to his riding and to climate change. Our species is facing an existential threat, and that is global warming. Our government signed on to COP 21, and signed on to COP 22. The reality is that when there are caps on emissions, we have to be better at developing resources and also protect our coastlines.

Let us be serious. We have leadership from the Government of Alberta that allowed us to have a pan-Canadian framework on climate change. We have a $1.5-billion oceans protection plan, and we have the ability to develop the resource, which is 20% of our GDP. If somebody wants to show me where 400 billion dollars' worth of economics is going to come from tomorrow, then I will sit down and listen.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:40 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, the member was talking about how the energy east decision was made by the company, but he neglects the fact that there was a vote in this House on the first opposition day motion we had. I know people from the greater Edmonton area, which I also represent, thought that the member was going to come here and stand up for pipelines. However, the first opposition motion that he had a chance to vote on, what did he do? He stood up and voted against energy east. That is a vote which he has to be accountable for.

The member gave a discourse about why he thinks the opposition is actually against pipelines, and yet every chance he has to vote in favour of pipelines, he chooses not to. When will the member stop standing up for what the Prime Minister tells him to stand up for and actually start standing up for the people of Alberta?

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:40 p.m.

Liberal

Randy Boissonnault Liberal Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, if we look at the chronology, my track record is clear. I have been standing up for the people of Edmonton Centre and Alberta since the day I came into this House. Theatrics that are used by the Conservative Party as opposition to try to break up a government caucus simply will not be accepted.

Let us talk about what is real here. We are talking about tens of thousands of jobs. We are talking about my support and this government's support for Kinder Morgan. It infuriates the other side that we are going to get this done. Those members can watch us do it.

Business of the HouseGovernment Orders

5:40 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties and if you seek it, I think you will find there is unanimous consent for the following motion.

I move:

That a take-note debate on the subject of the experience of Indigenous Peoples within Canada's justice system take place, pursuant to Standing Order 53.1, on Wednesday, February 14, 2018, and that, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House: (a) any Member rising to speak during the debate may indicate to the Chair that he or she will be dividing his or her time with another Member; and (b) no quorum calls, dilatory motions, or requests for unanimous consent shall be received by the Chair.

Business of the HouseGovernment Orders

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Does the hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader have the unanimous consent of the House to propose this motion?

Business of the HouseGovernment Orders

5:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Business of the HouseGovernment Orders

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Business of the HouseGovernment Orders

5:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Business of the HouseGovernment Orders

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

(Motion agreed to)

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Souris—Moose Mountain.

I rise to speak to the Conservative Party's opposition motion respecting the Trans Mountain pipeline and the abdication of leadership by the Liberal government toward seeing the pipeline actually built.

It has now been two weeks since the B.C. environment minister said that the B.C. government is prepared to block the flow of additional diluted bitumen pending the outcome of a study on the environmental impacts of spillage.

The fact that the B.C. government is prepared to block the flow of additional diluted bitumen pending the outcome of this so-called study effectively means that the B.C. NDP government is prepared to unilaterally force the Trans Mountain project to be stalled, a pipeline project that is a work of national interest, a project that means jobs, and amounts to billions of dollars of investment. The plan to delay on the part of the B.C. NDP government is unlawful and unconstitutional. It puts a $7.9-billion pipeline project at risk, and with it thousands of jobs.

It is an undisputed fact that interprovincial pipelines like Trans Mountain fall squarely within federal jurisdiction. As part of that federal jurisdiction, there was a significant, substantive, and comprehensive review of this project by the National Energy Board. At the end of that review, the National Energy Board gave Trans Mountain the green light.

The fact that there was a comprehensive review that lasted some 29 months and resulted in some 157 conditions is not of interest to Premier Horgan and his NDP government. What Premier Horgan is interested in is obstruction. He is interested in delay. He is interested in using all means necessary to stop Trans Mountain, and Premier Horgan has said as much. True to his word, Premier Horgan has declared war on Trans Mountain, and in so doing, he has declared war on federal jurisdiction.

In the face of this unprecedented attack on federal jurisdiction and on the pipeline approval process by Premier Horgan, what has the Prime Minister done? What has the Minister of Natural Resources done? What have the three Liberal MPs from Alberta done? Have they stood up for federal jurisdiction? No. Have they stood up for the rule of law? No. Have they stood up for the billions of dollars of investment and the thousands of jobs that are at risk due to the reckless actions of the B.C. NDP government? Not a chance. Instead, the Prime Minister has been silent.

The best that the Prime Minister could say was that he was disinclined to get involved in disagreements between provinces. What is the Prime Minister talking about? This is not a matter of a disagreement between provinces. This is a matter of an interprovincial pipeline that is in the national interest, that went through all of the hurdles, that received the green light from the National Energy Board after a comprehensive review, that was approved by the federal cabinet, and is now being stalled by the unilateral actions of the B.C. NDP government, a government that has made it clear it is prepared to thwart the rule of law and put thousands of jobs and billions of dollars at risk and effectively hold this country at ransom.

That is the position of the NDP government in British Columbia, and that is what the current Liberal government faces. In response to that, all the Prime Minister can say is that he is disinclined to get involved in disagreements among provinces. If that is what the Prime Minister calls leadership, I call it pathetic leadership.

There is then the Minister of Natural Resources, who said on Global Television that if the British Columbia government wants to review the issue of spillage, it can go ahead so long as there is not unreasonable delay. What a joke. Instead of standing up for jobs, for rule of law, instead of standing up for our energy sector, the position of the Minister of Natural Resources is one of going along and getting along with the B.C. NDP.

Quite frankly, the lack of leadership we have seen from the Prime Minister and the Minister of Natural Resources on the Trans Mountain pipeline is part of a two and a half year pattern on the part of the government in terms of the lack of leadership it has provided in terms of championing Canada's energy sector. The current government so often likes to say that the economy and the environment go hand in hand. We hear that talking point again and again. However, those are just words. When one looks at the record of the government, time and time again, instead of balancing the environment and the economy, the record of the government is to side with U.S. financed, radical anti-oil sands activists.

That is precisely what the current government did when it killed the northern gateway pipeline by imposing an arbitrary tanker ban on the north coast of British Columbia. That was not based on science, not based upon what was in the best interests of the environment, but on the basis of raw politics. That is the same government that is responsible for killing energy east by changing the rules of the game midway through the review process, and now it is a government that is sitting idly by as Premier Horgan threatens yet another pipeline project.

We have heard a lot of speeches, a lot of talk today, from members opposite, about how they believe this project is in the national interest. It is nice to hear, but I say it is time that the government actually does something. It is time for the government to act. There is one simple thing that the Liberals could do to act, to say enough is enough—enough of a delay, enough of the obstruction—and that is to invoke section 92 of the Constitution and call upon Parliament to declare that Trans Mountain is a work for the general advantage of Canada, thereby suspending municipal and provincial roadblocks. The time for talk is over. The time for action is now. The clock is ticking.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:50 p.m.

Liberal

Mike Bossio Liberal Hastings—Lennox and Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hon. colleague talked about banging heads together, of pitting one province against the other, the same wasteful bullying tactics, divisive tactics, that were used by the previous Harper government. Could the member maybe tell me how many pipelines to tidewater the Harper government built during the 10 years it was in government?

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:55 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that under the previous Harper government four pipelines were built. The applications for Northern Gateway, for energy east, and for Kinder Morgan were brought forward under the Harper government. It was not until the current government intervened and interfered that those major pipeline projects to tidewater were killed. It is the record of the current government that has stood in the way of getting pipelines to tidewater, by creating massive regulations and a lot of uncertainty. It is no wonder that the president of Suncor, the largest integrated oil company in Canada, has said that Suncor is not moving ahead with any more projects because of the policies of the current government.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:55 p.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, is the member asserting that the British Columbia government does not have the right to assert its point of view? The question is not if there will be a spill, but when there will be a spill and how big the spill will be. In the event of a spill, should we not ensure that there is a scientific process to clean up the mess? As it stands right now, there is not any capacity to clean up a spill. Should the provincial government, Premier Horgan, not ensure that process is in place?

The Prime Minister promised British Columbians that there would be a new environmental assessment process for the Kinder Morgan project before any approval is given. Should the federal government and the current Prime Minister ensure that promise to British Columbians is honoured?

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:55 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is an undisputed fact that it is squarely within federal jurisdiction for matters pertaining to approval, construction, and operation of the interprovincial pipelines. There was a comprehensive review. As a matter of fact, that review included addressing and reviewing issues related to spillage. The fact is, this is an issue that has been looked at. It is an issue that was considered by the National Energy Board.

Clearly, the intention of Premier Horgan in this regard is not to look at the issue of spillage, it is a way for him to obstruct and delay. That is what is unacceptable.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:55 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, today's is a very important debate. We are here debating the Trans Mountain expansion project and the ability to move our energy to the tidewater. The reason we are having this debate is that since the Liberal government has come into power, we have seen capital for these types of projects leaving Canada. We have seen investment dollars leaving Canada.

It was best said by the Suncor president Steve Williams, when he said, “Absent some changes and some improvements in competition, you're going to see us not exercising the very big capital projects that we've just finished.”

What Mr. Williams was talking about, the “absent some changes” is that the Liberal government has brought in changes to make these types of projects much more difficult. Certainly, investors are not going to put their capital at risk. They realize it is high risk now with this government. I wonder if the hon. member would comment on the investment attitude of those investors, but also the atmosphere around this capital coming into Alberta and Canada.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:55 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Mr. Speaker, the member picks up on the point I made in my previous response, which is that we saw the president of Suncor indicating that Suncor is no longer prepared to invest in major projects. It speaks to a larger issue, which is one of regulatory uncertainty that is driving away capital and investment. That is particularly concerning at a time when the U.S. is moving in exactly the opposite direction by rolling back regulations and allowing its energy sector to thrive.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6 p.m.

Conservative

Robert Gordon Kitchen Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, I am fortunate to be able to speak to today's opposition day motion regarding the need for the federal government to champion Canada's energy sector, and more specifically calling on the Prime Minister to take immediate action with regard to getting the Trans Mountain expansion project constructed.

It is unfortunate that our request for an emergency debate on this topic was denied last week. However, I am happy to have the opportunity to discuss this important matter today, as it is essential that the federal government begins to take leadership on this issue.

Canada has a worldwide reputation as being a hub for natural resource industries. With a sizable amount of our resources coming from and being used for the energy sector, we expect that our federal government will do everything it can to ensure the energy industry is being supported and indeed championed. This has not been the case with the Trans Mountain pipeline, and it certainly was not the case with the failed energy east pipeline, which would have been running through my riding.

Pipelines are needed in Canada for a number of reasons. They are proven to be a significantly safer way of transporting crude oil across the country compared to doing it by rail and or by truck. The construction and maintenance of pipelines also creates much-needed jobs for many of the small communities that they run through. Most of all, pipelines that allow oil to be carried from oil-producing provinces to our coastal provinces will open markets for export, something that the energy sector has been asking the government to do for some time now.

As it currently stands, Canada's only export market for our oil is the United States. We have one buyer, and that is it. Not only that, we are also selling our oil to the United States at an almost 50% discount, which the U.S. can resell at the market price. Canada is losing out on money that could be used here at home for things like our veterans, our seniors, home care, health care, education, and many other things.

Expanding to global markets means that we would not need to accept such a deep discount on our oil exports, yet we do not have a choice; we only have that one market. This is where pipelines could make all the difference. As said previously, the energy sector has been asking for the government's assistance in diversifying available markets so that we do not have to sell our oil to the United States at an extreme discount.

The Trans Mountain pipeline project would do exactly that. It has gone through rigorous environmental assessments, including a 29-month review by the National Energy Board which recommended federal approval. One would think that taking action on this recommendation would be easy, and we would have shovels in the ground. Instead, British Columbia and Alberta are waging a trade war, and the root cause of it is a lack of leadership on behalf of this Prime Minister.

When the Prime Minister fails to stand up and support energy projects that are in the national interest of all Canadians, there are bound to be repercussions. This is what we are seeing now between British Columbia and Alberta, and it is completely unnecessary. It is the federal government's responsibility to ensure it is not pitting provinces against provinces, but that is exactly what is happening here. It will not just affect the provinces involved but will be a trendsetting precedent across the entire country.

The Prime Minister has tried to reassure Canadians by stating that we are going to get the Trans Mountain pipeline built. Unfortunately, based on the number of promises that he and his government have already broken to Canadians, these words cannot be trusted. Do $10-billion dollar deficits and electoral reform ring a bell? It seems as though sunny ways has turned into sunny words, given the lack of action on this and other files. The inaction on the Trans Mountain project has literally created a national conflict that continues to grow with every day that passes. This is not leadership, and it is not helping our economy.

I would like to touch on something I mentioned earlier about the failed energy east pipeline, and that is the effect on the communities involved. The town of Moosomin in my riding was one of those places where energy east would have gone through. It would have created many jobs, both in the construction and the maintenance of the pipeline and retaining reservoirs. Moosomin has a population of roughly 3,000 people, many of whom work in or rely on the energy industry to keep them employed.

When energy east was cancelled, it did not just affect those who would have been directly employed through the building of the pipeline, it also affected the entire service industry that was expecting an influx in business due to the pipeline's construction.

The trickle-down effect is real. We could ask the hotels and restaurants that have been struggling since the decrease in oil prices back in 2014.

When a key industry in a small community stops getting the support it needs, and by its federal government no less, it can be the death knell for businesses. Put a carbon tax and sweeping changes to small business taxes on top of that, and we have a recipe for disaster, a death by a thousand cuts.

The Prime Minister is doing nothing and lets the industry twist in the wind, changing rule after rule, just like with energy east. It seems the Prime Minister hopes the industry simply loses interest and finds the project economically unpalatable, allowing him to place blame elsewhere. People and communities will suffer from this lack of leadership.

My constituents expect the Prime Minister to understand the ins and outs of life for rural Canadians, and they expect him to care about it. They expect him to care for the people who reside in small communities, like those in my riding. He failed to champion energy east and sat back, allowing the mayor of Montreal, former Liberal MP, to lobby against the project, which certainly had an effect on the decision to cancel it. He did not step up then, and he is not stepping up now.

To western Canadians, this is yet another example of the Liberal government favouring the east and failing to represent the interests of those in the west. The people of Moosomin and those in Alberta and British Columbia deserve better. They need leadership. Without it, the situation will only get worse.

What we need is a concrete plan, an action plan, and a strong voice to say that this is wrong and unconstitutional. The Prime Minister and his government can talk the talk all they like, but if they cannot walk the walk, it means bad news for our economy. Saskatchewan has already lost thousands of jobs, and the lack of confidence in the industry will trickle down to affect us even more.

Energy investment in Canada is lower in the last two years than at any other two-year period in our 70-year history, and the government's inaction will keep further investment out. If the leader of a country cannot even support his own energy sector, how is that supposed to instill confidence in foreign investment? Coupled with the lack of access to global markets, it is clear the energy industry needs a champion. Unfortunately, I do not think the Prime Minister will be it.

Let us be honest here. The more he delays, the more he kicks the issue down the road, the greater the chances he can claim he supported the Trans Mountain project but “aw shucks, they threw in the towel before we even got a chance to help them.”

Today's motion calls for the Prime Minister to take immediate action, using all the tools available to establish certainty for the project, to mitigate damage of the current interprovincial trade dispute, and table this plan in the House no later than noon on Thursday, February 15. This is a reasonable, logical request. It is all well and good to say that something will get done. Until there is some level of commitment on paper, there is no way for the Liberals to be held accountable.

It is our job on this side of the House to do exactly that: hold the government to account. However, it becomes difficult when the government refuses to nail anything down and instead gives out vague promises and reassurances that have no actual affect on getting things done.

I know members on the government side will likely stand and tell me that they will take no lessons from the opposition on this. However, they do not need to take lessons from us. Their own party has made enough mistakes with its handling of the energy industry over the past few decades, from which they should have learned. I am sure many of us remember the national energy program. If we do not learn from history, we are bound to repeat it. Alas, this is what is happening here, right down to the name of the prime minister involved.

The Trans Mountain pipeline needs to be built and the Prime Minister needs to start taking action on it. The situation with Alberta and British Columbia is a symptom of a greater problem: a lack of leadership.

I call on the Prime Minister and the government to stand up, do the right thing, resolve this provincial trade dispute and truly become a champion for Canada's energy industry. The Liberals need it, Canada needs it, my constituents need it.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:10 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, throughout the day we have heard from Conservatives say to do this and do that with respect this sector. It is significant to recognize that we have a government that, for the first time in the last 10 years or more, has advanced the importance of getting oil to export markets, which the former Stephen Harper government failed to do.

Now the Conservative Party is trying to cause discontent and create a wedge issue. However, the government is on the right track and it has been over the last couple of years. It has clearly demonstrated that.

My question is a collective question.

What more can be done when we finally have a Prime Minister who has made it happen and a Prime Minister who is committed to ensuring the shovel gets in the ground? This is so much more than what the previous Stephen Harper government accomplished.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:10 p.m.

Conservative

Robert Gordon Kitchen Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, the member's comments reflect a number of issues. Basically he is asking what can the Prime Minister do to show what he cares about. The member is from Winnipeg. I know there are a number of nice facilities there that deal with our sporting bodies. Let us take a look at our Olympians right now who are in Pyeongchang competing. Our Olympians take part in the figure skating teamwork, which we won a gold in yesterday. I congratulate that whole team.

What did we see with that group? Every one of those skaters, whether it was the singles men, or the singles women, the ice dancers, or the group together, was in the kiss and cry booth. They were all there. The other teams had one, two, or three. Canadians showed teamwork and commitment. They spoke for it and showed their actions.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:10 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Hoback Conservative Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, I have a little history lesson. In 2009-10, a new west partnership was formed. We had a centre right government in British Columbia, a Progressive Conservative government in Alberta, a centre right government in Saskatchewan, and we had true leadership in Ottawa. What were they doing? They were tearing down barriers, tearing down the things that created unemployment and they created employment. They created an environment for investment.

What was happening in that region at that time while the rest of the world was in chaos? It was growing, seeing investment, things were happening. Now we fast forward to today, with a left government in B.C., a left government in Alberta, chaos, and no leadership in Ottawa. Look what we have. Unemployment is rising and investment is at an all-time low. If we look at the number of projects on the books in the resource sectors, there are less than five.

If the country is to grow, if the country is to benefit, do we not need true leadership in Ottawa?

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:10 p.m.

Conservative

Robert Gordon Kitchen Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, the member is right in so many ways. We need someone to stand up and show leadership. We are not getting that from the government. We are seeing communities such as my riding, which has a huge part of the oil and gas industry but also farming, coal, and energy plants. Most jobs are at risk.

If there is no confidence in the market, no confidence in the Prime Minister or in the country, the companies that would invest money will to take their money elsewhere, which they are doing. They are taking it to the United States. They are putting it in places where they know they can get something back for their money and we are not getting that here. That will end in lost jobs.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:10 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, as background, I was an intervenor on the National Energy Board process. I am probably the only person in the chamber who went through all 23,000 pages submitted by Kinder Morgan. I found the one piece of paper which it claimed to have studied bitumen. It was an non peer-reviewed study done over a 10-day period in a tank of water in Gainford, Alberta. They took fresh water and stirred in salt. This is apparently now what National Resources Canada folks are doing.

I want to assure members of the chamber that the science on what bitumen and diluent will do in the marine environment is best reflected in the Royal Society of Canada report, best reflected in the work of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and is not reflected in the propaganda we are getting.

We know that bitumen with diluent appears to float in tanks of water in Alberta, but in the real world environment of our oceans, forms oil balls and sinks. I wanted to share that with the hon. colleague from Souris—Moose Mountain.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

Conservative

Robert Gordon Kitchen Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, my answer is that the NEB studied this project for 29 months. The officials approved it. The bottom line is that we have a Prime Minister right now who is not showing leadership. He basically said approximately one year ago that it was time to phase out the oil fields. That is not acceptable.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

It being 6:15 p.m., it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of the business of supply.

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

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

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

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

All those opposed will please say nay.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

In my opinion the nays have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Mr. Speaker, I ask that the vote on the motion be deferred until tomorrow, February 13, at the end of the time provided for oral questions.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Accordingly the division stands deferred until tomorrow at the conclusion of oral questions.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

Conservative

John Nater Conservative Perth—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, if you seek it, I believe you will find unanimous consent of the House to see the clock at 6:30 p.m.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Is that agreed?

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Opposition Motion—Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Pursuant to Standing Order 30(7) the House will now proceed to the consideration of Bill C-378 under private members' business.

The House resumed from December 1, 2017, consideration of the motion that Bill C-378, An Act to amend the Department of Veterans Affairs Act (fairness principles), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Department of Veterans Affairs ActPrivate Members' Business

6:15 p.m.

NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to be here as the critic for Veterans Affairs on behalf of the NDP, and I want to thank my friend and colleague from Barrie—Innisfil for tabling this very important bill.

Bill C-378 recognizes what all Canadians know and believe. Specifically, this bill recognizes that our veterans, as well as their dependants and survivors, should be treated with dignity, respect, and fairness, and that the uniqueness of the person's profession and the obligations and sacrifices such a profession demands also impact the experiences of their families, and that any decision regarding the care, treatment, or re-establishment in civilian life of the person and the benefits to be provided to them be made in a timely manner. On these points, we will find little disagreement among Canadians and certainly not among New Democrats.

However, this bill, as well intentioned and agreeable as it is, represents somewhat of a missed opportunity to state unequivocally that the government, acting on behalf of the people of Canada, recognizes that we have a sacred obligation to our veterans. Canadians, of course, love our veterans and their families, and we thank them for their service and sacrifice. At one time, this love and respect was obvious in the treatment bestowed upon veterans by the government. Lifelong pensions, the creation of Wartime Housing Limited, and complete coverage for all disabilities incurred during service were once the ways this love was shown to veterans by the government on behalf of all Canadians.

Indeed, it is widely agreed that at one point in time, the government firmly believed that it had a “sacred obligation” to veterans and their families. This obligation was a clear acknowledgement that when a woman or man entered into the service of our country and put their health and lives on the line for us, the government would be there to care for them for the rest of their lives. I say that we believed that at “one point in time” because I am no longer sure this is the case.

The Harper Conservative government made an effort to modernize the rights, services, and benefits provided to Canada's veterans, but in reality, it inadvertently made life worse for many. In the 2015 campaign, the Liberal Party promised to make things right for veterans. The Prime Minister, before he was Prime Minister, made lofty goals and raised expectations for so many people in need, but sadly, the government is failing to live up to its own commitments and the expectations of Canadians who put them in government to finally make things right. We can and must do better, and New Democrats will always work with other parties in the best interests of veterans.

Bill C-378 also fails to address in any way the many specific issues facing veterans and their families today. There are, of course, limits to what legislative bills or amendments can be tabled, debated, and adopted by individual members, but it would not have been impossible to explicitly recognize some of the specific injustices perpetrated upon military personnel and veterans over the course of many governments.

We must never forget our own collective failings as a society and a government to take care of and look after veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange, nuclear radiation, and other lethal and debilitating toxins and agents in the course of their service; the horrific sexual trauma that has been endured by many military personnel, particularly women, over the course of their military service; the serious psychiatric side effects associated with the use of the anti-malarial drug mefloquine; the widespread prevalence of operational stress injury and post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychological challenges faced by active and retired armed forces personnel; and the unconscionable transition gap, which denies benefits to so many veterans who are transitioning from active duty to civilian life.

Veterans Affairs Canada acknowledged late last year that there were about 29,000 applications for disability benefits in the queue waiting to be processed at the end of November, and nearly half of those cases took longer than 16 weeks to process. That is a 50% increase over the last eight months.

A particularly stark example of how governments have changed the way they serve veterans is with housing. Today, veterans are camping out just blocks away from here, in the cold, to raise awareness about veterans living on the streets of our country. Wartime Housing Limited was created after World War II to transfer 30,000 affordable homes to veterans, but today there are more than 770 veterans that the government classifies as homeless and living on the street. However, the number we hear from Veterans Affairs Canada is over 5,000 and, shamefully, we know that number is rising with the current housing crisis in our country.

Improving support programs for families and dependants of veterans who are also suffering and who also carry a very heavy burden on behalf of our country is another unaddressed issue, as are the unintended and negative consequences experienced by veterans as a result of changes under the new veterans charter, including the ongoing court battle with Equitas and its effort to re-establish lifelong pensions for veterans, which began under the Harper Conservatives and which the Liberal government has now adopted.

The list of challenges and injustices facing veterans today that could have been referred to explicitly in this bill goes on and on. In spite of all these omissions, I would like to thank the member for Barrie—Innisfil for tabling this bill, which we will be supporting at second reading.

Department of Veterans Affairs ActPrivate Members' Business

6:25 p.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Conservative Brantford—Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a true privilege to stand today and speak to this private member's bill from the member of Parliament for Barrie—Innisfil.

Recently in Victoria I was privileged again to meet with veterans at a veterans' round table. We had a fairly lengthy discussion about the issues that they were facing, and these were people who have been advocates for veterans and assist in their dealings with Veterans Affairs Canada. There was one word that was said over and over again, and then right at the very end when we were wrapped up, one of the veterans' wives said, “If you have heard anything, please remember one word, and that is respect.”

Recently at a town hall with our Prime Minister, he basically delivered the message to veterans of the reason they are in court. During the election campaign the Prime Minister stood with veterans and promised them that they would never have to fight their government in court. That is a broken promise that shows an utter disrespect to veterans. In terms of this particular private member's bill that my colleague has tabled in the House of Commons, he has referred to it as the military covenant bill, but it is an extension of a sacred covenant that goes back to 1917 and our prime minister, Sir Robert Borden, who after the First World War, the Great War, said that Canadians have a special bond with veterans and are responsible for veterans' health as they returned home from that Great War. He was the first person to express in this place that sacred covenant.

What my colleague is trying to do with this bill is to use his accumulated knowledge in the role of veterans shadow minister or critic as he travelled across the country and listened at various round tables to veterans. When I took the role on, I got the three eight-inch-thick binders with every comment that was made and transcribed during those round tables. The common thread that weaves through those discussions when listening to veterans is the fact that they were promised by the current government not to go back to court, yet we have veterans right now appealing to the Supreme Court of Canada to be able to take the government to court on a class action lawsuit for failing to give veterans what they have so rightfully earned, in many cases the equivalent of pre-2005 pension benefits, and not scale it so that some who are more moderately injured and have been injured in their duty to this country would receive far less than they would have received through that pension plan that once existed.

The other part of their application to the Supreme Court that the advocates have told me is that they are asking the court to consider the sacred covenant, the covenant that my colleague is talking about here. It has been done in other countries. The United Kingdom in 2011 put into place through legislation the Armed Forces Covenant. It goes so far as to require the government to report annually on the treatment of veterans in the U.K. Bill C-378 aims to have similar fairness and unique principles in the legislation as that which created the Department of Veterans Affairs in the first place.

We are looking at something here that wants to put three principles into legislation that puts obligations on the government. My colleague from the NDP read them and I want to add them to my transcript today.

Veterans and their dependants or survivors are to be treated with dignity, respect, and fairness. We need to recognize the uniqueness of veterans' duties and sacrifices and the impact on their lives. Decisions regarding care, treatment, and transition to civil life should be made in a timely manner The member has coined it in the legislation as a “military covenant”.

This has been talked about in this place on many other occasions. This is the first occasion we as legislators from all parties will be able to do the right thing for veterans.

I am going to go back to the word “respect”. I am going to talk not with my own words, but with the words of people who every day are involved in the veterans community, to describe where they are today and what the landscape is today on the Liberal broken promises.

The first quote is on fighting our veterans in court. Don Sorochan, the lead counsel for Equitas Society, said on CBC News on January 31, 2018:

The position taken by the government was astonishing. For them to stand up and say we don't have any special obligation to veterans was completely contrary to everything they had been saying in Parliament, on the election campaign.

Mark Campbell, a veteran and Equitas plaintiff, and a member of the Minister of Veterans Affairs' policy advisory group, said on restoring lifelong pensions, “The new pension for life is nothing more than a shell game.” He was advising them what to do, and they took an opposite direction.

Here is another quote relating to lifelong pensions. This was said by Sean Bruyea, a veteran and veterans' advocate:

[T]he government merely resurrected the ghosts of Christmases past with a hodgepodge of benefits that amount to recycled, remodelled and repackaged programs that already exist.

Here is another quote from a different individual:

It's fair to say the disappointment (with the new plan) has been immense because it just didn't do the trick.... If you're going to make a promise to provide lifetime pensions, then do it.

That was said by Brian Forbes, the executive director of War Amps Canada and chairman of the National Council of Veterans Associations of Canada.

The Prime Minister told veterans that they are asking for more than the government is able to give right now. The Prime Minister said that to a veteran during a town hall meeting. The veteran lost one leg in Afghanistan to an explosive device and 80% of the use of his other leg, for which he has been having all kinds of surgery to even get 20% of its function. He looked back at him and said that veterans are asking for more than the government is able to give right now. In commenting on that, the Royal Canadian Legion said, “These sorts of words are extremely insensitive”.

Colin Saunders, a veteran and veterans' advocate said this about the Liberal record. “The reality is veterans aren't seeing that money”

I will wrap up quickly and underscore what I believe everyone in the House should, without reservation be voting for, and that is respect for our veterans. Let me repeat that everyone should be voting for respect for our veterans.

Department of Veterans Affairs ActPrivate Members' Business

6:30 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Baylis Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak in the House today to Bill C-378, a bill to amend the Department of Veterans Affairs Act.

The welfare of veterans and their families is an important issue to me and to our government. It takes more than recognizing sacrifice on Remembrance Day. It is our duty to take care of those who have served and protected our great nation.

The government launched consultations on issues affecting veterans, which has helped us gain a better understanding of their needs and those of their families.

The Minister of Veterans Affairs also created advisory groups made up of veterans, veterans groups, and experts, including the Royal Canadian Legion; Brian Forbes, who has advocated for veterans as the chairman of the National Council of Veterans Associations of Canada; retired General Joe Sharpe; and veterans who served in Afghanistan, such as Aaron Bedard, Mark Campbell, and Willy MacDonald. The six ministerial advisory groups focus on the following government priorities: policy, service excellence, mental health, families, care and support, and commemoration.

As part of the electoral platform in 2015, the government has been hard at work to uphold its promises made to veterans and their families.

To provide better support, the government has introduced the program pension for life. This monthly tax-free payment will allow more financial liberty to ill and injured veterans and their families. This benefit could be the difference between being able to pay rent and homelessness, and a financial safety net for a veteran who is transitioning to life after service.

The pension for life includes three different component programs. The pain and suffering compensation will be available to veterans who suffer because of an illness or an injury resulting from their service. The additional pain and suffering compensation is another benefit for veterans who experience obstacles in their reintegration due to a severe and permanent service-related disability. The income replacement benefit streamlines existing benefits, such as earnings loss benefits, supplementary retirement benefits, and retirement income security. It offers income to veterans who face hardship on their road to re-establishment due to health-related issues.

The government has also introduced the new education and training benefit, which comes into effect this April. I am proud to say that this program allows veterans who have served in the Canadian Armed Forces for six years or more to pursue post-secondary education. The government will spend a total of $133 million over a period of six years to support the continuing education of our Canadian veterans.

Furthermore, the government has made considerable investments to enhance the following services addressing veterans and their families, including the disability award, the career impact allowance, the career transition services, the veteran emergency fund, and, lastly, removing limits for eligible spouses and survivors so they can access the rehabilitation and vocational assistance program when and if they need it.

Our government also recognizes that helping veterans and their families goes beyond monetary assistance. It is equally important to provide mental health and caregiver support. As such, we have increased funding for the veterans family programs in all 32 military family resource centres, and the veteran community now has access to free mental health first aid training.

Moreover, the 2017 budget included services and benefits such as a monthly tax-free payment of $1,000 to family caregivers who assist veterans. The government has also formed a partnership with organizations like VETS Canada to address the issue of affordable housing and homelessness.

Additionally, our government has reopened nine veterans affairs offices, a new office in British Colombia, and has extended outreach efforts to veterans in the territories.

All of the initiatives undertaken by our government are based on respect and our recognition of the sacrifices made by our veterans and their families.

Amidst the conflicting priorities and limited resources of any government, we have made it a top priority to work hard for veterans and their families. We also recognize that this file is an ongoing process and that the well-being of veterans must and will remain a top priority for this government.

I had the honour this summer of attending the Invictus Games, which are the games put on by Prince Harry for veterans who were injured. The Invictus Games are based on a poem called, Invictus, and there is a line in there which I truly think is wonderful. It says:

I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

My grandfather, Frank Baylis, who I am named after, fought in the First World War and was buried alive. He fought in the trenches and when the trenches collapsed, he just had his hand out. Luckily for him, his comrades in arms saw his hand and dug him up. He was obviously hospitalized, but he had an unconquerable soul. I thank my grandfather for his unconquerable soul. I stand here today because of it.

I also stand here today because of the unconquerable soul of many men and women who have fought in the armed forces. Our freedom of speech, our values, our very way of life has been defended and protected by our veterans and people actively serving in the armed forces today. I thank all of them for their unconquerable soul. We owe them a debt of respect, which goes without saying, and we owe them our deepest gratitude.

I thank all our veterans and all the men and women who have served in the Canadian Armed Forces.

Department of Veterans Affairs ActPrivate Members' Business

6:40 p.m.

Conservative

John Nater Conservative Perth—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Village of Arthur in Wellington county is known as Canada's most patriotic village. It has that title because of the actions that its citizens took between 1939 and 1945.

On November 2, 1942, the Toronto Daily Star ran an article, and the headline of that article read, “Arthur Village Gives Sons and Money to Aid the War”. The article talked about how over 100 of the village's barely 800 citizens had enlisted to serve in the Second World War. By the end of the Second Word War, that number had more than doubled. The article talks about families, like the Day family, whose four sons were serving overseas, or the Colwill family, whose six of their 11 children were serving at the time, with the youngest five being too young to serve at the time. The article talks about how the Village of Arthur raised over $250,000 in mere days in the war bond program. At the time, this represented 64% of the tiny village's taxable income base, or taxable property tax value.

I raise this story about the Village of Arthur, because it reminds me of a mural that is proudly displayed in Arthur beside its fieldstone cenotaph. The mural proclaims the simple reminder that freedom is not free. It is not the actions of politicians in this place that make us free. It is not the words that we say in this place that make us free. Our freedoms as Canadians comes from those who have served our country in uniform, from the brave women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces who have served in the past and who continue to serve to this very day. To them we owe a duty of dignity, respect, and fairness. Bill C-378 would do just that.

Bill C-378 would elevate more expectation to that of a legal requirement. We owe our veterans more than we can ever truly repay, but it serves us in our requirement as legislators to ensure our veterans are provided with what they are owed. It is a very important matter that we provide them with dignity, fairness, and respect.

It is appropriate that we are debating the bill in 2018. Indeed, it was 100 years ago this year that the armistice was signed and we saw the end of the First Word War. We saw the end of the Great War. We saw the end of the war that would end all wars. We saw the first of those veterans return home to Canada.

I am reminded of one of Perth County's famous sons, the Right Hon. Arthur Meighen, one of the great orators of this place. During the First World War, he had this to say:

No one has seriously argued in this House—and in solemn truth no one seriously believes—that we can dispatch, as we have done, 350,000 men overseas, commissioned by us to stand between our country and destruction, pledge them the undying fidelity of a grateful people, watch them through harrowing years of suffering, bathe ourselves in the reflected glory of their gallantry and devotion, and then leave them to be decimated and destroyed. Surely, surely, an obligation of honour is upon us, and fortifying that obligation of honour is the primal, instinctive, eternal urge of every nation to protect its own security.

These words were uttered during the conscription debate of 1917. However, the duty we owe as legislators today to our veterans and those who have served our country remain just as strong today as the words uttered 101 years ago in this very chamber.

We have often heard phrases “military covenant”, or “social covenant”, or “sacred covenant”, the duty we owe to our veterans.

Those words and that thought came from our wartime Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden. Overseas, he said the following:

The government and the country will consider it their first duty to see that a proper appreciation of your effort and of your courage is brought to the notice of people at home, and it will always be our endeavour to so guide the attitude of public opinion that the country will support the government to prove to the returned man its just and due appreciation of the inestimable value of the services rendered to the country and empire; and that no man, whether he goes back or whether he remains in Flanders, will have just cause to reproach the government for having broken with the men who won and the men who died.

Those words remain true on this date as well. We owe so much to our veterans. My mind is drawn to the more recent veterans, those who have served our country in uniform over the past decades, particularly those who served our country in Afghanistan. There are more than 40,000 members of the Canadian Armed Forces who have served in Afghanistan, and 158 who lost their lives serving our country in the pursuit of freedom.

My mind is also drawn to Master Corporal Anthony Klumpenhouwer from Kurtzville, in North Perth, Ontario, who lost his life as a member of JTF2 and was the 54th casualty in 2007 in our battle in Afghanistan. My mind is drawn to those veterans who served us in Afghanistan and who continue to serve us. We owe them our undying gratitude. More tangibly, we owe them a duty of fairness, and that is exactly what this bill would do. It would enshrine in law for all Canadians to see and parliamentarians to respect, the principles of dignity, respect, and fairness.

It is my great honour to support this bill, and I hope all parliamentarians will do the same.

Department of Veterans Affairs ActPrivate Members' Business

6:45 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Hardie Liberal Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to have the opportunity today to speak to Bill C-378, which is an act to amend the Department of Veterans Affairs Act.

I would like to thank our colleague from Barrie—Innisfil for his ongoing attention to the welfare and well-being of our veterans. It is my passion too. My dad was on a corvette. My mom repaired airplanes at No. 10 Repair Depot in Calgary. Both my grandfathers served in the First World War for Canada. My great-grandmother got the keys to the City of Vancouver for sending eight of her boys off to fight in World War II.

I think all members of the House would agree that the well-being of veterans and their families is important to them, and that Canadians want the best for these men and women should they fall ill or become injured. We all want what is best for this country's proud veterans, and I am pleased to be able to speak to how far this government has gone.

We have heard from veterans and their family members. We have spoken to thousands across this country and the comments are always in the same vein. When soldiers come home, all they ask for is to have the services and care they need for themselves and their families. We could not agree more. This is what our government promised to do when we came to office just over two years ago, and this is what Veterans Affairs Canada endeavours to do every day as it delivers benefits and services to over 190,000 Canadian Armed Forces veterans, Royal Canadian Mounted Police veterans, and their families.

The proposed amendments to the Department of Veterans Affairs Act speak to the principles that guide our government every day, the principles of action that guide Veterans Affairs Canada and its commitment to ensure veterans and their families receive the care, compassion, and respect they deserve, and principles similar to those already enshrined in the Veterans Bill of Rights. They are the same principles that the Minister of Veterans Affairs leads his department by, and which led to the announcement in December of the new pension for life. However, they are not objective principles that should be written into law, which is why we cannot support Bill C-378. This bill offers no benefits or services for veterans or their families.

I assure members that just as veterans and their fallen comrades sacrificed everything to safeguard our future, this government is here to safeguard theirs and that includes the work we do to deliver services and benefits to veterans. What we can and should all support are measures to increase benefits for veterans, measures like our promise to re-establish a tax-free pension for life for pain, which recognizes and compensates veterans for disabilities resulting from a service-related illness or injury.

It is important to deliver on our government's promise while also delivering on our commitment to treat veterans with the dignity, respect, and fairness they deserve, and to support them as effectively as possible, to ensure a smooth transition with a focus on well-being. “Well-being” means a veteran has purpose, is financially secure, safely housed, in good physical and mental health, highly resilient in the face of change, well-integrated into the community, proud and cognizant of his or her legacy, and is valued and celebrated. We know that each of these qualities means something different to each individual veteran, because all veterans have their own unique story and their own individual needs. That is what led to the pension for life and making this nearly $3.6 billion investment a reality.

Combined with the over $6 billion in initiatives that we announced in budgets 2016 and 2017, the result is a flexible package of benefits and programs that allow veterans and their families to decide what form of compensation works best for them. With these changes and enhancements, veterans have access to tax-free financial compensation to recognize pain and suffering caused by a service-related illness or injury, an income replacement benefit to help with financial support during rehabilitation or to make up for lost earnings, and support programs to help veterans with such aspects as education, employment, and physical and mental health. The new pension for life is a combination of benefits that provide recognition, income support, and stability to members and veterans who experience a service-related illness or injury.

One of the key new benefits is the pain and suffering compensation. This is a monthly lifelong payment recognizing the pain and suffering of members and veterans caused by a disability resulting from a service-related injury or illness. The monthly amount can be cashed out for a lump sum, giving members and veterans the flexibility to choose what works best for them and their families.

Additional support for those with service-related, severe, and permanent impairments causing a barrier to re-establishment in post-service life is available through the additional pain and suffering compensation provided as a monthly benefit. The income replacement benefit is another monthly program that will provide income support during transition for those facing barriers to re-establishing themselves because of health problems resulting primarily from service. In an effort to streamline services and simplify the application process for veterans, the IRB will replace six current benefits: earnings loss benefit, extended earnings loss benefit, supplementary retirement benefit, retirement income security benefit, the career impact allowance, and the career impact allowance supplement. Additionally, veterans who wish to join the workforce may earn up to $20,000 per year from employment before any reduction in their IRB payment.

With that said, we know that a successful transition requires more than money alone; it must address personal and professional growth. In fact, the most successful transition occurs when a veteran has a positive state of well-being, a balance of financial, mental, physical, and social factors. Pensions for life provide a holistic package of financial security and wellness elements to help veterans and their families transition to the next stage of their life and make choices about what they want to do next, whether it is education, work, or retirement.

Now that we have delivered a balanced and effective combination of programs and services, of which pension for life is a key piece, we are turning our full attention to delivering them with the excellence that veterans and their families want and deserve. These investments and enhancements all speak directly to the goal of my colleague's proposed amendments in his bill. I might also remind my colleagues that the Canadian Forces Members and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Act was revised in early 2015 to clearly speak to the just and due appreciation owed to members and veterans for their service to Canada. It is gratitude shared by all Canadians and not one to be taken lightly.

Among the reasons I ran for office was to do my part to ensure that our Canadian Armed Forces members, our veterans, and their families, have access to the benefits and services they need when and where they need them. This government is proud of our brave men and women in uniform, and we are grateful for their service and sacrifice for their country. Make no mistake, treating veterans and their families with fairness, respect, and dignity is the cornerstone of the delivery of our programs, benefits, and services, which are the principles in the Veterans Bill of Rights. They are respected and embraced by the government in everything we do. It is also why they need not be written into the Department of Veterans Affairs Act.

I applaud our government's continued efforts to improve the experience of our veterans. I applaud the spirit with which my friend from Barrie—Innisfil has put forward his private member's bill as we recognize the sacrifices and contributions of veterans and their families.

Department of Veterans Affairs ActPrivate Members' Business

6:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Seeing no further debate, I invite the hon. member for Barrie—Innisfil for his right of reply. The hon. member has up to five minutes.

The hon. member for Barrie—Innisfil.

Department of Veterans Affairs ActPrivate Members' Business

6:55 p.m.

Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank everybody who contributed to this fulsome debate on Bill C-378, my proposed amendments to the Department of Veterans Affairs Act.

I want to make clear right off the start that this was not intended to coincide with the unfortunate comments of the Prime Minister, which he made in Edmonton a couple of weeks ago. This bill was introduced in October 2017 after I and my colleagues travelled the country to talk to veterans. One of the things we heard over and over again was the sacred obligation, this covenant, that the Government of Canada and the people of Canada should have, which mirrors exactly what Sir Robert Borden spoke about in advance of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. He spoke about the sacred obligation and military covenant that our country has to its veterans.

I am intending to put that into the legislation by amending the Department of Veterans Affairs Act so that it does not become an aspirational thing for members of Veterans Affairs in Charlottetown to be looking at. It is for the current and future governments to be reminded of that sacred obligation that we have to our veterans, and it is being done with the sincerest of attempts.

I will remind everyone again of the covenant. There is only one elsewhere in the world, and that is in the United Kingdom, which has the military covenant act. It deals with veterans, as well as their families and survivors, that they be treated with dignity, respect, and fairness. Veterans and their duties are unique among Canadians, and I think all of us in the House can agree with that. There is an obligation to care for veterans because of sacrifices made by them, and that obligation must and should extend to their families.

One of the areas that I know needs some work, and when it gets to committee we can look at this in a fulsome way, is that the care, treatment, and transition of Canadian Armed Forces in and to civil life are dealt with in a timely manner. That is the kind of work that the committee can do to deal with what exactly is a “timely manner”. I will remind the House that the backlog right now is about 29,000 cases for disability claims, and that number is going to increase as we move forward.

We talk about sacred obligation, and the Prime Minister has spoken about sacred obligation several times. On December 9, 2014, he said in Hansard, “Mr. Speaker, we have a sacred obligation to our veterans who chose to put everything on the line for their country.” Again on December 9, 2014, in Hansard, he said, “Mr. Speaker, we have a sacred obligation”. On August 24, 2015, when he stood in Belleville with his hand over his heart and made the promises we have talked about, he said, “We have a social covenant with all veterans and their families—a sacred obligation we must meet with both respect and gratitude.”

On November 25, 2014, the Prime Minister said, “Mr. Speaker, we have a sacred obligation to our veterans, but too many are struggling”. Over and over again, not only the Prime Minister but the current Minister of Veterans Affairs and the former minister of veterans affairs all talked about this sacred obligation that we have to our veterans. What I am trying to do with this bill is to enshrine that in legislation, so that not just the current government but future governments, future prime ministers, future ministers of veterans affairs, and future employees at Veterans Affairs Canada understand that it is the will of Parliament and the Canadian people to make sure that we live up to and fulfill this sacred obligation that we have to our veterans.

I was elected in 2015 and have had the privilege of coming into this place as one of 338 members across this country. Since Confederation, only 4,000 of us have sat in the House of Commons. When I sit here and think of the sacrifices, I think of the blood that has been spilled, the lives that have been lost, the lives that have been decimated by war, those who fought for this country, fought against tyranny, fought against oppression, fought against Naziism, and who fight against Islamic jihadists to allow us the privilege and honour to sit in our symbol of democracy. We owe them no less than this sacred obligation and I am calling on the government to live up to that obligation and support Bill C-378.

Department of Veterans Affairs ActPrivate Members' Business

7 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

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

Department of Veterans Affairs ActPrivate Members' Business

7 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Department of Veterans Affairs ActPrivate Members' Business

7 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

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

Department of Veterans Affairs ActPrivate Members' Business

7 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Department of Veterans Affairs ActPrivate Members' Business

7 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

All those opposed will please say nay.

Department of Veterans Affairs ActPrivate Members' Business

7 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Department of Veterans Affairs ActPrivate Members' Business

7 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

In my opinion the nays have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Pursuant to Standing Order 93, the recorded division stands deferred until Wednesday, February 14, 2018, immediately before the time provided for private members' business.

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

TaxationAdjournment Proceedings

7 p.m.

Conservative

Pat Kelly Conservative Calgary Rocky Ridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise tonight in adjournment proceedings to follow up on a question I asked in the House in October. In October, the House was seized with a number of tax-related issues. The finance minister was dealing with the backlash over the small business tax changes he had recklessly brought in during the summer without much forethought.

We were also becoming aware that the finance minister, after castigating small business owners all summer and talking about how business owners used complex corporate structures to reduce their taxes, had continued, through a complicated arrangement of a number of private numbered companies, to own shares in his publicly traded family business, Morneau Shepell, much to the surprise of everyone, including, presumably, his own Prime Minister.

Around that time, we also became aware that the Canada Revenue Agency, through a change made to its assessment process for the disability tax credit, was rejecting a full 80% of applicants with type 1 diabetes. This was in contrast to right up to May 2017, when approximately 80% of applicants who suffered from type 1 diabetes were approved.

On October 23, I asked the question we can see in Hansard. The answer from the minister that day was not adequate. The minister talked at that time of being in the process of hiring nurses to assess DTC applications. That did not really make any sense then and it still does not make any sense now. If the agency were capable of processing DTC applications without any problem in particular for type 1 diabetics who had been applying and had been approved 80% of the time for over 10 years, why all of a sudden, in May 2017, would a shortfall of nurses employed by the CRA have anything to do with what was going on? Subsequent events have revealed that this is nonsense. This was really a matter of the minister and/or employees in the CRA simply deciding to make it more difficult and to raise the bar for eligibility for type 1 diabetics.

Here we are. This is a government that has gaping holes in its budget and an out-of-control spending problem. It will go after any low-hanging fruit for additional revenue, including pursuing type 1 diabetics and single parents or any sort of angle to generate more revenue. We saw and heard talk again last week about retail and restaurant employees. However, it is really a spending problem and a case of misplaced priorities government-wide, made all the more bitter by the hypocrisy of the finance minister himself.

TaxationAdjournment Proceedings

7:05 p.m.

Brampton West Ontario

Liberal

Kamal Khera LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, first and foremost, I want to clarify that it is our government that is committed to lowering taxes for small businesses, and actually have done so.

To answer my colleague's specific question, I am pleased to once again clarify the information shared in the House on the disability tax credit.

Let me be absolutely clear. Our government is committed to ensuring that all Canadians, especially our most vulnerable Canadians, receive the credits and benefits to which they are entitled.

While the member opposite's party cut services to Canadians, while it was in government, it even took away the committee that was put in place to give Canadians with disabilities and those who advocated on their behalf a voice in the CRA. It took away this important forum back in 2006. This meant that for over 10 years, these groups had to sit on the sidelines, without a formal mechanism for advising the agency on how to best serve Canadians with disabilities. However, we are giving these groups back their seat at the table.

Now let us talk about what our government has done.

We have made it easier for Canadians to apply for the disability tax credit by allowing nurse practitioners to certify the medical information and the effects of their impairment on the application form. Nurse practitioners, as we know, are often the first and most frequent point of contact between patients and Canada's health care system. This is especially true in remote regions of Canada.

This is great news for Canadians with disabilities as it makes the application process easier and more accessible.

We also reinstated the disability advisory committee to provide a way for stakeholders and experts to provide recommendations to the CRA on how to improve the disability tax credit. This committee met for the first time in January. I repeat, we are committed to ensuring Canadians receive the credits and benefits to which they are entitled.

More Canadians accessed the DTC last year than ever before. This is good news, but we know we can do so much more.

Over 6,000 Canadians participated in the national consultation to inform the development of a the new federal accessibility legislation. In 2016, the Minister of Health announced five new SPOR chronic disease networks, led by CIHR. Through two of these networks, funding is supporting a continuum of research that engages patients as partners to improve diabetes and kidney disease outcomes.

Again, Canadians can rest assured that we will continue to work for Canadians to make the DTC even more accessible to them.

TaxationAdjournment Proceedings

7:10 p.m.

Conservative

Pat Kelly Conservative Calgary Rocky Ridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, only with the Liberal government could someone speaking for it say that the government is pleased with its ability to make it easier for Canadians to access credits to which they are entitled even while rejecting 80% of the applications.

Right up until May 2017, it had 80% approval; after May, it had 80% rejection. The parliamentary secretary is congratulating the Liberal government on its ability to ensure that Canadians get the deductions to which they are entitled?

With respect to the small business tax rate, only the Liberal government could characterize the undoing of a broken promise to reduce the small business tax rate to the rate that the previous government had already scheduled it to be reduced to in 2015.

TaxationAdjournment Proceedings

7:10 p.m.

Liberal

Kamal Khera Liberal Brampton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am extremely proud of our government's commitment to support persons with disabilities and their families.

This is part of our overall approach to improving health care and quality of life for all Canadians. Disabilities affect the lives of many Canadians, and we understand the concerns raised and are working to address them.

Canada is at its best, and all of society benefits, when everyone is included. That is why our government is committed to ensuring greater accessibility and opportunities for Canadians with disabilities in their communities and workplaces.

As I said before, Canadians can rest assured that we will continue to work to make the disability tax credit even more accessible to Canadians who need it.

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

7:10 p.m.

NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in response to a question I had on November 2, 2017, which was the eve of the disastrous Korean-owned Hanjin Seattle spill, which saw 35 shipping containers insulated with styrofoam contaminate the coastline of the west coast of Vancouver Island.

To date, I will note that the government has provided zero funding to clean up the spill, while the community-led initiatives and volunteers sprung into action and continue to donate hard-earned money and clean up the mess that was left on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

I want to thank the groups that led the charge: Ocean Legacy, Pacific Rim chapter of Surfrider, Clayoquot Clean up, the Tla-o-qui-aht, Indigenous Guardians, the leaders in Tofino and Ucluelet, and the Nuu-chah-nulth leaders. They called for support from Ottawa, which did not happen. During the year that we did not get support on the west coast, the government indicated, after a year, that there was a near-complete legislative and regulatory void for coastal debris cleanup, and no dedicated fund.

When this incident took place, I came into the House of Commons, notified the government, and called for support. The government did not provide any support. Early last year, in 2017, the parliamentary secretary of Transport at the time identified that the government's position was it did not feel that ocean plastics and marine debris posed an immediate threat to the environment. We know that is ridiculous.

Through debate, even today, as we debated the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline, it was clear in hearing from members that they do not understand how important the ocean is for us. It is not just about the economy or the environment, or our food security and recreation, because it is all of those to coastal people, but it is our home. It is what connects us. It is our language. It feeds us, and we rely on it every day to sustain our communities and sensitive ecosystems.

During the time that the government has shown no action, I have raised this concern in the House of Commons repeatedly. The response I have been given is that the government has created a world-class oceans protection plan. That is invisible on the ground. We have not had any support. Meanwhile, the government went to the United Nations' first world summit on oceans last June. They signed on to agreements to help tackle ocean plastics. We know with ocean plastics that if we keep going the way we are going, they will outweigh fish by 2050. We recently heard that the government wants to use the G7 to talk about ocean plastics and combatting them.

My question is directly to the Prime Minister, and to the parliamentary secretaries of the environment, fisheries and oceans, and the transport minister. All of them keep touting this world-class oceans protection plan. When it comes to ocean plastics, we have seen nothing. What we would like to see is a national strategy to combat plastic pollution in aquatic environments and creation of a permanent, dedicated, annual fund to help clean up efforts like this in the future.

This was a serious incident that took place, and the Government of Canada was invisible. We expect more. Everyone expects more, and certainly coastal people expect more. I hope the government today will come forward with a solution that it is not going to leave our communities high and dry if an incident like this takes place again. We have seen global trade with Asia growing at a rate of 6% a year over the last two decades, and we have seen no support on the ground for the impact that marine highway is having on our sensitive ecosystems.

I outlined how important the ocean is to us. I hope that the member opposite will share a positive solution moving forward.

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

7:15 p.m.

Kanata—Carleton Ontario

Liberal

Karen McCrimmon LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, with goods being shipped to and from Canada's coast, it is imperative that these products get to market in a safe and responsible way. That is one reason behind why the government announced the oceans protection plan, a $1.5-billion investment to ensure safe, clean, and efficient marine transportation that protects marine environments and communities. This initiative will allow us to achieve a world-leading marine safety system that can respond to marine accidents that threaten Canada's oceans and waterways. It will allow us to further strengthen the Canadian ship-source oil pollution fund.

Our government is also addressing the risks of other types of hazardous and noxious substances transported by ships and is adopting regulations as the final step toward Canada's ratification of the 2010 hazardous and noxious substances convention.

Altogether, these measures will set Canada's regime as the international benchmark for a robust polluter pay ship-source pollution liability and compensation regime.

The safety and protection of our waterways and shorelines, and the many people who make use of them, are at the heart of these regulations. Canadians, as well as visitors, enjoy our coasts and waterways for a variety of purposes, and we have a duty to ensure that they are protected.

Our government will continue working with marine stakeholders, indigenous groups, and coastal communities to implement the various measures in the oceans protection plan. Indigenous and coastal communities will have many opportunities to participate in responsible shipping. They will contribute to and have access to information on marine shipping activities and will also be offered training and have the opportunity to participate in search and rescue missions, environmental monitoring, and emergency spill response.

It is through the participation of marine stakeholders, indigenous groups, and coastal communities that our oceans protection plan will succeed, and our coast and waters will be preserved for future generations.

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

7:15 p.m.

NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, the oceans protection plan does not even mention ocean plastic anywhere, or any measures on how the government is going to tackle it.

The Government of Canada did not do anything when the spill happened. The local community and quick-thinking Pacific Rim National Park staff appealed to the bankruptcy court, and the bankruptcy court got $72,000, which came to Ottawa. That money sat in Ottawa for five months, not in the hands of the coastal people who were doing the hard work of the cleanup. The Liberal government failed coastal people.

Today, there is no answer as to how the government is going to amend its oceans protection plan to talk about ocean plastics. We have put forward a clear strategy that talks about plastic debris discharge, how to limit microplastics entering our environment, and a permanent dedicated annual fund, which is necessary not just for ongoing use but especially if there is an emergency.

The government has provided no answers again today.

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

7:20 p.m.

Liberal

Karen McCrimmon Liberal Kanata—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, this government takes the safety, security, and protection of life in the marine environment as our key priorities, and that has been the core of various initiatives announced through the oceans protection plan.

Parks Canada has been involved in this cleanup. Funding was provided by Hanjin as part of the debris cleanup. Those funds were provided to Parks Canada Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. I would like to add my thanks to all the groups that helped make a difference.

Moving forward, our measures as part of the oceans protection plan will set Canada's regime as the international benchmark for a robust polluter pay ship-source pollution liability and compensation regime.

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

7:20 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise this evening in adjournment proceedings to return to a question I asked on October 23 of last year. Some will remember this question only for the uproarious laughter that ensued, most inappropriately, as some members in this place thought the Minister of Transport had misspoken. He referred to the kind of sense of shared commitment the opposition benches all felt in opposing the omnibus budget bills put forward by the previous government.

In the spring of 2012, the omnibus budget bill, Bill C-38, repealed our environmental assessment act and destroyed the Fisheries Act. We fought very hard against that, and then in the fall of the same year, there was another omnibus budget bill, Bill C-45, that gutted the navigable waters protection act. In referring to that, the hon. Minister of Transport referred to remembering spending the whole night with me, which of course, was in this House over 24 hours of straight voting. Very few members actually stayed in their seats voting continually on every amendment and every motion, but since most of the amendments were mine, I stayed here in my seat for 24 hours voting straight through. It certainly was not an occasion for raucous laughter, but we know sometimes people in this place do not rise to the occasion. They sink to grade two or maybe kindergarten.

In any case, I want to return to that, because now we have seen the proposed amendments to the Navigation Protection Act. In fact, they were tabled in this place just last week. I have reviewed them thoroughly. I had extreme concern, which I raised in my question, that the Minister of Transport was not likely to meet the mandate letter, in which the Prime Minister had instructed him to restore lost protections to the Navigation Protection Act. It appeared from discussion papers and from the report of the parliamentary committee on transportation that the government was going to be prepared to say that this is what the previous government did, that it took some 99% of navigable waters from our inland waterways out of the act and created a short list of about 100 named waterways that are internal to Canada, and that is that. If a waterway is on that list, it is navigable water. If it is not on the list, it is not. It appeared for quite a while that the Liberal approach would be to say that they would create a system whereby people could add waters to the list by application.

It was a real relief, in reading Bill C-69, one of the few places in reading that bill that I was actually relieved, that the definition of navigable waters has been changed such that it is not just the schedule of waterways that will be considered navigable waters but any waterway human beings are currently using. It would not be as broad as what there was in 1881, but any body of water, anywhere in Canada, in which one could put a canoe or a kayak and navigate one's way through would require a permit from the federal minister before that body of water could be obstructed. It is much broader than it was under Harper. It is not a complete restoration of lost protections, but a much bigger swath of interior waters of Canada would now be under a navigable waters act.

One of the aspects of the lost protection was that the issuance of a federal permit would trigger an environmental review. Under part 1 of Bill C-69, we would now have what would be called an impact assessment, but without any triggering to review projects where a federal minister had to give a permit. We await finding out what the designated projects would look like, but it would still fall short of what was promised.

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

7:25 p.m.

Kanata—Carleton Ontario

Liberal

Karen McCrimmon LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her tireless commitment to environmental protection. She has made a difference.

Our government committed to restoring navigation protections, and that is what it has done. On Thursday, our government introduced Bill C-69, which contains amendments to the Navigation Protection Act and would create the new Canadian navigable waters act.

This new act is informed by a study conducted by the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, as well as 14 months of listening to Canadians, including indigenous peoples, boaters, industry, other levels of government, environmental non-government organizations, and the Canadian public.

The new Canadian navigable waters act delivers on our government's mandate commitment to restore and better protect the rights of Canadians to travel on Canada's vast network of waters. It will do this by introducing navigation protections for every navigable water in Canada, increasing transparency in our processes, giving indigenous people and communities a say in projects that may affect them, and by providing opportunities for indigenous people to become partners in protecting navigation.

Indigenous peoples have a sacred relationship with waterways and use those waterways to exercise their rights. This is why the Canadian navigable waters act is an important opportunity to advance our government's commitment to reconciliation with indigenous peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership.

Indigenous people have told us they want more information about development on the navigable waters in their traditional territories. The Canadian navigable waters act proposes new notification requirements and the creation of a public registry that would make information available about new projects in all navigable waters in Canada. It also proposes a new process that would allow indigenous people and communities to raise concerns about projects with project proponents, and for the government to assist with resolving these concerns when needed.

The proposed Canadian navigable waters act is aligned with the principles and approaches of the broader environmental and regulatory system introduced by my colleague, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, on February 8. Any permitting decisions under the Canadian navigable waters act will be fully integrated into this new impact assessment system so that we can protect our environment, fish, and waterways, rebuild public trust, and create new jobs and economic activity.

Together, we are committed to implementing a new environmental and regulatory system that responds to the needs of Canadians.

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

7:25 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, if in my first introduction to adjournment proceedings I did not state clearly enough my appreciation to the Minister of Transport for listening to the concerns that the very narrow approach of allowing additional waterways to be added to a schedule was inappropriate, I am grateful he listened. Again, it is not the full restoration of protection but it is much closer.

I also want to add my voice of thanks to his hon. parliamentary secretary here tonight because I know she did a lot of the heavy lifting herself.

I do not see in the act the thing she just mentioned, so I would love to know where it is, which is the full integration of granting permits on navigable waters for obstruction under this new system of impact assessment. There is no law list in the new impact assessment legislation. It is only by project list designations, and those are not yet complete, or if it is on federal land. We have lost other environmental assessment triggers and it is a much weaker piece of legislation than the one Harper repealed. I would love to know how we, in fact, have an assessment before the minister gives permits under the navigable waters act.

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

7:25 p.m.

Liberal

Karen McCrimmon Liberal Kanata—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is right. There was an awful lot of work that went into this, and these amendments that created this new Canadian navigable waters act include protections for navigation on every navigable water, including lakes and rivers. Through this legislation, we are delivering on that commitment to restore navigation protection. We are providing for greater transparency and accessibility to give local communities a say in projects that could affect navigation.

We recognize the importance of navigable waters to indigenous peoples and to providing them with opportunities to partner with Canada. That is why we developed a comprehensive and complementary protection regime that will preserve our priceless environment for generations to come.

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

7:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

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

(The House adjourned at 7:31 p.m.)