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

February 12th, 2018 / 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.

Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

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.

Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

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.