House of Commons Hansard #303 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was environment.


Report StageFederal Sustainable Development ActGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.


Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, I loved my colleague's speech. It was very much to the point when it comes to sustainable development. I would like him to elaborate so that we can truly understand that the Liberal government is not a sustainable government.

Report StageFederal Sustainable Development ActGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.


Steven Blaney Conservative Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government is basically raising taxes and putting Canadians further in debt. It has lost control of greenhouse gas emissions. This is a colossal failure and an example of what not to do when it comes to sustainable development.

Report StageFederal Sustainable Development ActGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.


Frank Baylis Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to support Bill C-57, which seeks to amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act.

Before I begin, I would like to thank the members of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development for their excellent work, their positive approach, and their constructive suggestions. The committee's recommendations, which are set out in the report entitled “Federal Sustainability for Future Generations”, contributed to the development of Bill C-57, particularly with regard to the adoption of the sustainable development principles. Those principles were very well received.

The amendments to the Federal Sustainable Development Act reaffirm the government's ongoing commitment to strengthening Canada's relationship with indigenous people and enforcing their rights.

Bill C-57 includes a new set of sustainable development principles, one of which is the principle whereby indigenous people must be asked to contribute because of their traditional knowledge and their unique connection with and understanding of Canada's land and water. This principle reflects the important role traditional knowledge plays in supporting sustainable development, as well as the government's commitment to reconciliation based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership.

However, there are certain environmental problems that disproportionately affect indigenous peoples. For example, climate change and resource development alter wildlife migration patterns and ranges. These changes have an impact on indigenous peoples' access to traditional food sources, as well as on their food security and culture.

Furthermore, persistent organic pollutants and heavy metals can migrate long distances to northern Canada. Scientists have observed high levels of these contaminants in Arctic wildlife, so there is a health risk for indigenous peoples who use these animals as a food source.

Indigenous peoples' relationship to the land is particularly crucial to the mandate of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, because her department is responsible for preserving, protecting, and improving the quality of the natural environment. At the same time, the government recognizes that indigenous peoples were the original stewards of the air, land, and water. Over many generations, they built up a vast store of knowledge about nature. That is why it is essential to continue to establish and maintain strong, positive relationships with indigenous communities and indigenous governing bodies. In the coming years, the government will continue to make use of all that knowledge, which is going to help shape our collective environmental future.

The Government of Canada committed to renewing the crown's relationship with indigenous people based on the recognition of their rights. We believe that adapting our work based on the recognition of rights is an important opportunity for us to build a relationship of trust with our indigenous partners; enhance the integrity of policies, research, and analysis; and obtain better environmental outcomes for all Canadians.

As part of our participation in the negotiation of various treaties and other conventions, we are working with indigenous partners to preserve and protect our wildlife and environmental resources. We are striving to implement transparent and rigorous consultation processes based on respect for the right of indigenous people to determine how land and resources will be used.

The government recognizes that there is still a lot of work to be done in this regard. We need to assess our contribution to the government's reconciliation agenda, including the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, on an ongoing basis.

We must also strengthen our commitment to our indigenous partners and look at opportunities for aligning programs, policies, and departmental rules and regulations with indigenous rights and interests. Like every federal department and agency, Environment and Climate Change Canada operates on the Principles respecting the Government of Canada's relationship with Indigenous peoples, drafted by the Department of Justice to be used a guideline in shaping the work of the department in its relations with the indigenous peoples, including a rights-based approach.

At the heart of this change in culture and path to reconciliation is the recognition of the importance of our relationships with indigenous peoples. Consulting indigenous peoples is more than just a legal obligation, it is a way to make more informed decisions. Our government is determined to ensure that indigenous peoples have the opportunity to participate in, engage in, and contribute to this ongoing dialogue.

For the reasons I just mentioned, Environment and Climate Change Canada consults representative organizations and the governments of the first nations, the Inuit, and the Métis across the country. When the proposed changes were being drafted, indigenous peoples raised a few key themes. They told us that traditional indigenous knowledge is important for sustainable development and that indigenous peoples need to be heavily involved. They also mentioned that the government should implement measures that reflect respect for indigenous rights as a priority and recognize the role of governments in indigenous communities and societies.

The representative organizations and governments of the first nations, the Inuit, and the Métis also expressed the need to provide support to indigenous communities for activities such as implementing climate change adaptation plans and modernizing infrastructure. They also indicated that we need to set more ambitious objectives when it comes to the quality of drinking water for first nations.

The federal sustainable development strategy, which we introduced in October 2016, reflects what we heard. For example, we know that Canada's drinking water is among the safest in the world. In fact, 98% of Canadians have access to drinking water. However, access to drinking water remains a challenge in first nations communities living on reserve. The strategy contains a target to eliminate long-term drinking water advisories affecting public systems on reserve.

The Government of Canada is working with first nations communities to improve on-reserve water infrastructure, address drinking water advisories that are one or more years old, and prevent short-term advisories from becoming long-term ones.

All Canadians, including all levels of government, indigenous peoples, civil society, and the private sector have a role to play in advancing our sustainable development objectives and ensuring that no one is left behind. In 2016, our government undertook an extensive consultation process to review our international aid policy.

We also heard from indigenous peoples who want more say on environmental issues. Our bill proposes increasing the number of representatives of aboriginal peoples on the Sustainable Development Advisory Council from three to six, to ensure that the strategy reflects the rights and perspectives of indigenous peoples and the wide range of challenges they face across Canada.

Bill C-57 reflects what we heard from indigenous peoples. It also reflects the government's commitment to reconciliation based on the recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership.

Main Estimates 2018-19Points of OrderGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.


Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to start by thanking you for your acknowledgement as to some of the debate that has happened in this place about timing of points of order on the estimates and for your flexibility in hearing these points.

I also wanted to assure you that this point of order with respect to Treasury Board vote 40 speaks directly to some of the comments made earlier today about the Speaker having a role in ensuring that votes proposed in the estimates are done under the proper legal authority and that the government has authority for those votes.

I made an attempt to abbreviate this point as much as possible. As fair warning, it is probably not a short point, but I will deliver it as expeditiously as possible.

It is a well-established principle that departments may only seek spending authority for programs within their respective legal mandate. Indeed, the government recognized as much in the wording of vote 40, which says:

Authority granted to the Treasury Board to supplement in support of initiatives announced in the Budget of February 27, 2018, any appropriation for the fiscal year, including to allow for the provision of new grants or for any increase to the amount of a grant that is listed in any of the Estimates for the fiscal year, as long as the expenditures made possible are not otherwise provided for and are within the legal mandates of the departments or other organizations for which they are made.

The key phrase in this instance is “as long as the expenditures are within the legal mandate of the departments or other organizations for which they are made”. While the wording of the vote seeks to address the problem of Treasury Board potentially allocating funds to other departments for programs outside their legal mandate, it does nothing to address the problem of vote 40 itself not having any basis within the legal mandate of the Treasury Board Secretariat.

Consider the main powers and responsibilities conferred upon the Treasury Board by the Financial Administration Act that constitutes it, as stated in subsection 7(1):

The Treasury Board may act for the Queen's Privy Council for Canada on all matters relating to

(a) general administrative policy in the federal public administration;

Vote 40 clearly does not pertain to this responsibility.

(b) the organization of the federal public administration or any portion thereof...;

Vote 40 clearly does not pertain to this responsibility.

Subsection 7(1) continues:

(c) financial management including estimates, expenditures, or financial commitments, accounts, fees, or charges for the provision of services or the use of facilities, rentals, licences, leases, revenues from the disposition of property and procedures by which departments manage, record and account for revenues received or receivable from any source whatever.

I will return to this item, as I believe it warrants further discussion.

Then paragraph 7(1)(d), as abbreviated, in saying “the review of annual and longer term expenditure plans and programs of departments”, clearly does not provide any authority for a central vote like vote 40. In fact, it has arguably led to the exclusion of certain items from departmental plans.

Paragraph 7(1)(d.1) as abbreviated then refers to “the management and development by departments of lands”. That is clearly not related to vote 40.

Paragraph 7(1)(e) refers to “human resources management in the federal public administration”. Vote 40 clearly does not cover that.

Paragraph 7(1)(e.1) refers to “the terms and conditions of employment of persons appointed by the Governor in Council”. We are getting far into the weeds here, and I suggest that the other provisions in that act under that subsection will prove equally unrelated to any legal mandate for a vote like vote 40.

After even a brief review, I hope you will be satisfied, as I am, that all but one of these can quickly be discarded as a potential basis for vote 40 authority. The only one that has any prima facie possibility at all is perhaps paragraph 7(1)(c). This item gives the Treasury Board authority to act for the Queen's Privy Council for Canada on all matters relating to financial management, including estimates, expenditures, etc.

The Treasury Board's authority with respect to the estimates is exhausted by the preparation and presentation of the estimates. It does not include relieving departments of the effort involved in preparing their own new budget initiatives for approval through the estimates process. In respect of the Treasury Board's authority for expenditures and financial commitment, that also does not include relieving departments of the effort involved in preparing their new budget initiatives for approval through the estimates process.

It may include outlining the mechanisms for effecting an expenditure or making a financial commitment. It may even include detailing what is required for departments to obtain Treasury Board approval for including an item in the estimates. That is very different from Treasury Board appropriating funds for itself for programs that are not within its own mandate and then dispensing them to other departments later.

It also bears addressing that the other central votes for Treasury Board—and I believe you made some reference to them earlier—do fall within the legal mandate and do not serve as any kind of precedent for vote 40 being within the legal mandate of the Treasury Board's mandate.

I would like us to consider all of those votes to show why those votes can be argued to have a legal mandate, whereas the other ones cannot.

Vote 10, government-wide initiatives, is for the purpose of strategic management initiatives within the federal public administration, a purpose that seems to relate rather clearly to the Treasury Board's responsibility for the organization of the federal public administration or any portion thereof, etc.

Vote 20 is for public service insurance. You can refer to the wording of the vote, Mr. Speaker. I will dispense with that in order to save time. It is essentially payments for different insurance, pension, and benefit plans. You will find, Mr. Speaker, that this is consistent with its responsibility for human resources management in the federal public administration, including the determination of the terms and conditions of employment of persons employed in it, as well as its responsibilities under subsection 7.1(1) of the Financial Administration Act. I would quote it, but I will simply refer you, Mr. Speaker, to subsection 7.1(1) in the interests of time. The vote also appears to be consistent with powers granted under section 11 of the Financial Administration Act, including paragraphs 11.1(1)(c) and 11.1(1)(j), but again, instead of quoting them, in the interests of time I will leave it to you, Mr. Speaker, to consult those passages for yourself.

Another central vote under Treasury Board is vote 30, paylist requirements. Again if you refer to the wording of the vote, Mr. Speaker, you will see that this is for requirements related to parental and maternity leave, severance pay, etc. I would put it to you, Mr. Speaker, that the purposes of that central vote are also consistent with the legal mandate of the Treasury Board under the Financial Administration Act.

Vote 25 and vote 35 are the operating and capital budget carry-forward votes. These votes grant authority to Treasury Board to “supplement any other appropriation for the fiscal year by reason of the...carry forward from the previous...year”. Admittedly, the legal authority for these votes is less clear. In fact, it may be a good idea for the government operations and estimates committee to study how the funds from these votes are ultimately disbursed. Nevertheless, there are a few points worth making about these particular votes.

First, the money for these votes comes from appropriations already made by Parliament. It is not new money, but money that was already approved for some purpose, albeit a purpose that was not realized in the intended fiscal year.

Second, it is recognized in the public and private sectors that requiring a department to spend all of its appropriated funds for the year by year end can lead to a use-it-or-lose-it mentality that leads to perverse outcomes. Parliament has seen fit to allow some carry-forward in capital and operating budgets to help mitigate that effect.

Third, if the money is going to be carried forward, it makes sense to exercise some control over the money. Arguably, a repurposing of this money could be suggested with the department's own estimates and approved by Parliament at the beginning of the year instead of entrusting it to Treasury Board alone, but it has been the practice of Parliaments so far to leave that job to Treasury Board.

In summary, I am not committed to the view that the current way these votes are handled is the best way, but they nevertheless are substantially different from vote 40 in a few respects: Parliament has accepted them for some time, they help to avoid wasteful spending, and they are constituted by money that has already been approved by Parliament for a given purpose.

Finally, I would like to address the question of vote 5, the contingency vote, which some would argue does provide a precedent for this vote. I will argue to the contrary.

The wording of the vote 5 states:

— Authority granted to the Treasury Board to supplement any other appropriation

— Authority granted to the Treasury Board to provide for miscellaneous, urgent or unforeseen expenditures not otherwise provided for — including for the provision of new grants [etc.]

You can consult the wording of the vote outside the House, Mr. Speaker. I saved this vote for last because it is most like vote 40 in some ways, although there are still important differences that would defeat any attempt to invoke vote 5 as a precedent for Treasury Board vote 40.

These votes are similar in that there is no obvious authority for either of them and, unlike any of the other central votes, they both empower Treasury Board to provide for new grants without any further authorization from Parliament. To the extent that someone may want, on that basis, to say it is a precedent, it bears mentioning that this contingency fund has been roundly criticized over the years, including by the Auditor General. For example, in 2002, the Auditor General said in respect to the government contingencies vote:

In our view, this language is sufficiently broad that arguably it establishes authority for practically any payment if the funds are paid directly from the Vote without first being transferred to a departmental vote. We question whether this lack of clarity is appropriate given the increasing use of the Vote to temporarily fund grant payments.

There is more in that report, but I have now referred you to it and given a sampling of what is in it. I encourage you to consult the report in full for more information on the Auditor General's criticism of this kind of vote.

The concerns expressed about vote 5 echo concerns expressed more recently by the Parliamentary Budget Officer with respect to vote 40, so there is definitely some similarity in those criticisms. In the PBO's report, “The Government's Expenditure Plan and Main Estimates for 2018-19”, he said the following:

The Government’s approach to funding Budget 2018 initiatives provides parliamentarians with information that only marginally supports their deliberations and places fewer controls around the money it approves.

With respect to the former, virtually none of the money requested in the new Budget Implementation vote has undergone scrutiny through the standard Treasury Board Submission process, which as indicated by the Government, is to “ensure resources are directed to programs and activities that remain government priorities and achieve value for money.” With respect to the latter, it is unclear that the proposed vote wording would restrict the Government to funding each Budget 2018 measure in the amount set out in the Budget Plan for each Department and Agency, rather than changing the allocations across any initiative mentioned in Budget 2018.

In other words, to the extent that vote 5 and vote 40 are similar, they are also suspect.

Nevertheless, there is a substantial and important difference between the two. The difference is that the contingency fund has a number of criteria for disbursement: that the expenditures be miscellaneous, urgent, or unforeseen. In other words, there must be a good reason for government to dispense these pre-approved funds instead of seeking appropriations through the regular supplementary estimates process.

Notwithstanding the concerns raised by the Auditor General and committees of Parliament that the government has not always done a good job of demonstrating that expenditures out of the fund meet these criteria, it is nevertheless important that those criteria exist. Those criteria provide the rationale for ignoring the usual supply process, something which is not to be done lightly.

The contingency fund is meant to recognize, albeit imperfectly—and we may be able to improve the process—that certain things come up through the course of the year and that some flexibility is required to deal with unforeseen needs, particularly if the needs are urgent.

On January 31, 2011, the Treasury Board published guidelines for accessing the contingency vote, which begin, “Guidelines for reviewing departmental requests for access to the Government Contingencies Vote.”

The guidelines state:

Treasury Board Vote 5 serves to supplement other appropriations in order to provide the government with sufficient flexibility to meet urgent or unforeseen expenditures....

I am just giving selections from the guidelines, not the entire passage, as follows:

This authority to supplement other appropriations is provided until parliamentary approval can be obtained, as long as the expenditures are within the legal mandate of the organization. The allocation from Vote 5 is provided on a temporary basis and is to be reimbursed once parliamentary authority for the expenditure has been obtained through the approval of the Supplementary Estimates.

These criteria make it very clear that using the contingency fund to circumvent the normal supply process should be done rarely, and only in cases of exceptional need. The funding is temporary, and requires that items funded out of vote 5 appear later in the supplementary estimates—and this is important—not just as information, but also for approval. This differs from what is proposed for vote 40. The government has committed to report on allocations from vote 40 online, and I believe also perhaps in subsequent supplementary estimates, but they will not appear as votes for approval. They would only appear as information.

While the government contingency fund authorizes upfront spending, it restricts the government's ability to make use of the fund without coming to Parliament for a formal, even if retroactive, approval. This approval requirement is an important difference between vote 5 and vote 40. The fact that a valid and compelling reason must exist as to why the government has to make a payment before the next supply period may have been in a quote that I did not read for the benefit of time, but I would refer my colleagues back to those Treasury Board guidelines.

It is part and parcel of why this House pre-approves a certain sum of money under vote 5. That sense of urgency is a critical justification for Parliament approving funding for programs that have not yet been developed. One cannot develop programs for needs that are unforeseen, and if there is a demonstrable urgency to respond to an unforeseen circumstance, then the flexibility to develop and fund a program on an urgent basis is needed. It is important to note that this is completely dissimilar to what is being proposed in vote 40.

Vote 40 is a pre-approval of funding for all of the government's new budget initiatives. The government can hardly claim that the entirety of their new budget initiatives are a collection of miscellany that have no place within the normal supply process, nor can the government claim that the needs it proposes to address with its new budget initiatives are unforeseen. The budget document is a forecasting document that proposes policies to deal with problems we know of.

That is not to say that the latest budget deals with all of the important problems that we are aware of, but by definition it does not deal with unforeseen problems. If the problems were unforeseen, they would not be in the budget. If they are in the budget, then they were foreseen.

Moreover, the government cannot claim any sense of exceptional urgency for these items. These items are to be implemented over the course of the fiscal year. The government is not pretending any differently. It has been very open about the fact that most of the programs it is requesting funding for under vote 40 are not ready to go. There are a number of examples from committee that I will not share at the moment. I shared some last Friday. I would refer you to those, and would be happy to provide other examples should you wish, Mr. Speaker.

The President of the Treasury Board and his officials have been very clear that most of these programs are not ready to go. In fact, to date, only $220 million worth has actually been approved, and there is no sign that departments are expected to develop these programs with a sense of urgency.

Vote 5 offers an exception to the normal supply process for clearly defined reasons, according to clearly defined criteria. Vote 40 items do not meet these criteria, yet the government is trying to use a similar mechanism to circumvent the normal supply process.

There is one last precedent that might be invoked. I think it is important to discuss it up front. Here I refer to Treasury Board vote 35 from 2009 in the 40th Parliament. I could read the wording of the vote, but I will dispense with that in the interests of time. I would let you know, though, Mr. Speaker, that vote 35 has at least two properties that make it very different from vote 40 in 2018-19. These two things are related but distinct. In the first place, vote 35 of the 40th Parliament was a time-limited vote. The money had to be spent between April 1, 2009 and June 30, 2009. In other words, it was not meant to become and could not by inertia become a new way of appropriating funds for all of the new budget initiatives in a given year.

Second, the government had the support of the official opposition Liberals of the day for vote 35. This support was not given for the vote to become a new way of appropriating funds for new budget initiatives. Rather, that support came in the context of consensus among all parties that urgent action was needed to address the fallout of the 2008 economic crisis.

I would refer you to a few examples from Debates, Mr. Speaker, that show the importance of that criterion. The then president of the Treasury Board, the Hon. Vic Toews, said in debate with respect to vote 35 on March 24, 2009:

The plan is timely, it is targeted, and it is temporary.... Doing the right thing means responding to an unprecedented economic situation with extraordinary measures.... These are extraordinary times and we cannot wait for the normal supply period in June before giving money to some of the ready-to-go projects.

The Hon. John McCallum, speaking for the Liberals in the same debate, said:

The government has asked, through the estimates, to have this special $3 billion fund under the so-called Treasury Board vote 35. These funds would be spendable over the period April to June of this year. Liberals do not have any objection to that in principle because we acknowledge the urgency of getting money out the door.

A second Liberal MP, Shawn Murphy, said:

Because of the urgency of the matter, the government wants approval from Parliament to spend the money. Parliament has considered this. It has debated it and it has said it is a reasonable request. We will bypass the ordinary chain of accountability and allow the government to spend the $3 billion. Because of the time in which the Canadian public wants the money spent, there should be no delay.

Vote 35 was clearly conceived as an extraordinary tool to deal with an economic crisis in an urgent fashion, within a specific and clearly defined period of time. Using a similar mechanism as a routine way of appropriating funds for all new budget initiatives is in no way justified by the precedent of vote 35.

To conclude, I do not believe that the budget implementation vote is consistent with the legal mandate of the Treasury Board, nor consistent with the practices and procedures of this House with respect to supply. If Parliament's right to meaningfully oversee and authorize public expenditures is to be maintained, mechanisms such as these must not be allowed to take root. Accordingly, Mr. Speaker, I request that you order vote 40 struck from the main estimates.

Main Estimates 2018-19Points of OrderGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I thank the hon. member for Elmwood—Transcona for raising his point of order and for his efforts to remain reasonably concise. I will return to the House in due course with a decision.

The House resumed consideration of Bill C-57, An Act to amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act, as reported (with amendment) from the committee, and of the motion in Group No. 1.

Federal Sustainable Development ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Pierrefonds—Dollard for his remarks earlier on Bill C-57.

This morning's announcement casts a pall over this bill to strengthen sustainable development laws. The government announced that it is prepared to spend $4.7 billion to help a Texas company transport Alberta oil west to Asian markets.

The government, the Prime Minister, and the Minister of Finance are ready to write a cheque for at least $4.5 billion to transport Alberta crude oil west to Asian markets. That oil will make its way to refineries in those markets by oil tanker.

My question for my colleague is a simple one. How can he justify talking about sustainable development today when his government is doing the opposite?

Federal Sustainable Development ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


Frank Baylis Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. I am indeed very happy to talk about sustainable development because I believe it is a fundamental part of Canada's economy. We are a nation that develops and sells its resources, and doing so sustainably is, in my opinion, great news for all Canadians. I am very proud of this bill, and I support it 100%.

Federal Sustainable Development ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


Earl Dreeshen Conservative Red Deer—Mountain View, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the member. Earlier today we talked about how Kinder Morgan in 2007 had a $550 million investment. Of course, 10 years later we are looking at multiple times that. They are happy, as their shareholders perhaps would be, if they look at the investment.

Then we also have to look at the options they have for the money they have made. Perhaps one good place would have been energy east, which would have allowed a pipeline to be built to eastern Canada, but instead maybe they will go to other places around the world where it is easier to build pipelines. Maybe they will be building some to the other coast, so we can import oil from other countries, as we continue to do.

I am curious whether or not the member is looking at sustainability from the point of view of investments in Canadian oil and gas industries.

Federal Sustainable Development ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


Frank Baylis Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, sustainability in all of our natural resources, including oil and gas, is critical.

As I said in my previous answer, natural resources is an important sector of the Canadian economy. Anything the federal government can do to support that industry and to do it in a durable and sustainable manner, I fully support. The fact that we do it in a more transparent manner is also something to be celebrated.

The ensemble of all of those things in support of our natural resources is good news for Canadians.

Federal Sustainable Development ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I just want to get back to where we are right now with this particular piece of legislation.

We are talking about an amendment brought forward by the Conservative member for Abbotsford. However, the interesting thing is that he was the member of the committee who put forward the motion that he is now trying to remove with this amendment.

In good faith, while I was on the environment committee, we had the opportunity to discuss his amendment. We then voted on it and and adopted it. Now, with the bill as amended before the House, the member for Abbotsford has put forward an amendment to essentially delete this section of the bill.

I hate to be overly cynical about this, but what is the member's motive behind this? I am curious about what my colleague might suggest is the reason for even embarking upon this.

Federal Sustainable Development ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


Frank Baylis Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is a bit of a funny situation when one party puts forward something, the government agrees with it, and then suddenly they have an about face to change it and go against what was put forward.

The only thing I can think is that it is about politics. That said, let them play politics. The important thing is that this bill is going to bring good, sustainable development to our Canadian resources. That is the important thing. Whatever politics happen, that is okay. The government is moving forward in the right way.

Federal Sustainable Development ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Resuming debate. The hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable has about a minute and a half left before question period. He can continue his speech after question period.

The hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable.

Federal Sustainable Development ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will make the most of this opportunity. I was going to talk about something, but I will come back to it right after question period.

The recent exchange I just witnessed between my Liberal colleagues leads me to speak about another aspect of the issue before us today, namely the hypocrisy on this side that they claim to condemn.

I want to remind the House of something. Very recently, in his commencement speech before New York University grads at the iconic Yankee Stadium, the Prime Minister of Canada asked 10,000 young men and women to respect people who look or think differently and engage with people with whom they may not agree. What does this government do instead? It imposes a time allocation motion on an issue as important and Bill C-57. He says one thing on the world stage and does the opposite here in Ottawa. After that, the Liberals have the nerve to lecture us, to tell us what to do, what to say, what not to say, because that would be playing partisan politics.

In closing, before question period, the only partisan politics here are happening on the other side of the House.

Federal Sustainable Development ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

The hon. member will have nine minutes to finish his speech when we resume debate on Bill C-57.

The Environment and Trans MountainStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Québec debout

Monique Pauzé Québec debout Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, from now on, as climate change worsens, we can tell ourselves that we played a small part in that. We will have a $4.5 billion interest in Trans Mountain, which is going to ship the dirtiest oil in the world without our consent.

Ottawa cannot afford to maintain appropriate health transfers for Quebec patients who need them. Ottawa cannot afford transfers for post-secondary education. Ottawa cannot afford to improve an employment insurance system that negatively impacts the unemployed. However, it can afford to pay for a pipeline that costs billions of dollars. It just takes out its cheque book and, presto.

What is the next step? Will the government be talking to TransCanada and take over energy east?

Pipelines that are forced on the people and that harm the environment are not in the national interest. It is about time that the government understand that getting rid of dirty energy is in the national interest.

Order of Canada RecipientStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Bill Blair Liberal Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today to acknowledge the extraordinary work of a remarkable woman in my city, a person who, driven by a profound commitment to social justice, has worked tirelessly on behalf of vulnerable children. On the front lines, Lynn Factor has had a distinguished career in child welfare, serving as a social worker, supervisor, manager, and philanthropist. She has also demonstrated an unflagging commitment to social justice, serving as the chair of the Children's Aid Foundation of Canada and on the board of Covenant House, a shelter for homeless youth, as well as many other service organizations, boards, and foundations.

Most recently, Lynn, along with her husband, Sheldon Inwentash, were leaders in establishing the Boost Child & Youth Advocacy Centre in Toronto, which has brought together a remarkable collaboration of all of the professionals involved in child abuse cases for a seamless interdisciplinary response to child abuse victims in Toronto. It could not have happened without her leadership and support.

For her extraordinary service and generosity, Lynn has been named to the Order of Canada, an honour for which we offer our most sincere congratulations and heartfelt thanks.

Community ServiceStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Alice Wong Conservative Richmond Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, this Thursday I will have the great privilege of welcoming S.U.C.C.E.S.S. to Parliament Hill. Over time, this Vancouver-based organization has evolved from focusing on enriching new Chinese immigrants with the skills and tools they need to make Canada their home to a multi-city, multi-service, and multicultural agency. Its services range from the personal development of youth to the social engagement of seniors. It also provides excellent care in the several seniors homes it has built.

I invite all parliamentarians to come and check out S.U.C.C.E.S.S. on the Hill this Thursday at 11:45 a.m. in the Banking room to congratulate it for its 45 years of service to British Columbians.

I thank S.U.C.C.E.S.S.

HealthStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Nathaniel Erskine-Smith Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, Helena Kirk was diagnosed with cancer when she was three. Now 12 years old, and after 841 hours of chemotherapy, she is a cancer survivor who continues to fight. Helena has spearheaded a proposal to improve outcomes for young Canadians with cancer, supported by dozens of organizations and leading pediatric oncologists and researchers. The proposal calls for funding for equitable access to early phase cancer clinical trials, as some promising trials are not available across our country, and provincial health insurance coverage is often denied for out-of-province treatments. It also calls for a working group to address health system issues, including support for pediatric oncology research.

I am thankful that our Minister of Health has met with Helena and is taking steps to investigate her proposal.

I ask all of my colleagues to join me in recognizing Helena's passion and perseverance, and to heed her words when she says, “I want Canadian children to have fair access to trials and treatments, no matter where they live in Canada or how much money their families have.”

Eddy LefrançoisStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, June is ALS Awareness Month. Eddy Lefrançois, from Dubreuilville, works hard to raise awareness about this illness, and has an extraordinary story to tell. When he was diagnosed in 1992, Eddy was told that he had three to five years to live. Since then, he has never stopped fighting.

Instead, he pursued a bucket list that most able-bodied people might find daunting. Eddy has travelled overseas, participated in indoor skydiving, and even hunted white-tailed deer. He maintains his own website and is a tireless advocate for others with ALS and for research. Eddy works to bring about greater public awareness and dreams of a day when ALS is treatable, not terminal. Last June, Eddy raised over $43,000 in Sault Ste. Marie's annual ALS walk. This Saturday, Eddy and his team will be participating in the walk again.

I invite members to join me in thanking everyone taking part in ALS walks, and in congratulating Eddy for his tireless advocacy and indomitable spirit 25 years after being diagnosed.

With Eddy I say, “Let's roll.”

Laurentides—LabelleStatements By Members

May 29th, 2018 / 2 p.m.


David Graham Liberal Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week, I was pleased to make an announcement that will greatly benefit young people in my region.

Through the “Le réemploi sous toutes ses formes, on en fait notre affaire” project developed by Inter Action Travail, an organization based in Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, 16 young people will have the opportunity to acquire the skills and knowledge they need to better integrate into the labour market.

For 22 months, these youth will work at La Recyclerie and will help to preserve our environment by giving construction materials and other used objects a second life.

I am privileged to be part of a government that cares about young people, encourages people to integrate into the labour market, and is aware of rural realities in areas all across Canada, such as Laurentides—Labelle.

I am extremely proud to have announced a federal partnership of $365,000 under the skills link program to support Inter Action Travail's wonderful project.

ImmigrationStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Jim Eglinski Conservative Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government must make a stronger effort in bringing Widlene Alexis Earl home to Canada so she can be with her adoptive parents, grandparents, and friends. One of my constituents, residing in my riding of Yellowhead, is the grandmother of Widlene. Her adoptive parents are presently trying to legally bring her to Canada. She is a young lady without a country.

In my riding also, Niton School's grade 1 class has a new program. It is called “A Hug for the World”. The students are encouraging all Canadians to give each other a hug on May 31.

Canada can show the world that it is a welcoming country. Let us bring Widlene from the Dominican Republic home to Canada so she can be hugged by those who care. If a small grade 1 class in rural Alberta can lead the way, so can Canada.

Mr. Speaker, on May 31, be prepared for a hug.

Retirement CongratulationsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Marwan Tabbara Liberal Kitchener South—Hespeler, ON

Mr. Speaker, one minute is too short to adequately honour Ken Seiling, husband to Kathryn, father of five, grandfather of nine, hockey coach, organist, choir master, teacher, museum director.

Ken has announced his intention to retire after 42 years of public service, two years as a councillor, seven years as mayor and regional councillor, and 33 years as regional chair in Waterloo Region.

During his time, our population has nearly doubled as Waterloo region has become one of Canada's economic engines. He has spearheaded policies to protect farm land and green spaces; protect groundwater resources; encourage urban intensification; build a regional transportation system, which includes light rail transit; and maintain strong public health services.

I thank Ken Seiling for his dedication, passion, and enduring stewardship of our region. We could not have asked for a better chair to represent Waterloo Region.

Duhamel Family RestaurantStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Pierre Breton Liberal Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to pay tribute to the Duhamel family from Granby, who have owned Rôtisseries Duhamel since 1958.

This family business was created 60 years ago, when poultry farmers Bernard and Jacqueline Duhamel decided to open their first delivery service from their home on Dufferin Street.

In 1992, their sons, Alain and Claude officially took over the business. The next generation is also very involved, since the founders' grandchildren Jérémie, David, Roxane, Cédrik, Andrée-Anne, and Binjamin all joined the management team in 2008.

I would like to sincerely congratulate the Duhamel family and its 155 employees who make an outstanding contribution to the riding of Shefford's economy. They deserve our full recognition. Well done.

Long Service AwardsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Larry Miller Conservative Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, in order for all of us to carry out our work as MPs, it is vital to have the support of our spouses and families, but it does not end there. It takes good staff. Today I want to recognize two of my staff who are being presented with long service awards later today.

Dianne Ackert started in my constituency office in Owen Sound in August 2007 as my executive assistant, and is my longest-serving employee. Chad Richards, who is from Chesley, started as my legislative assistant in Ottawa in April 2012. Dianne and Chad will receive their 10-year and five-year pins today.

We are all in the service industry, just like a motel or restaurant, and without staff like Dianne and Chad, our constituents would not get the service they expect and deserve.

For Diane and Chad, from Darlene and I, their colleagues Pam, Kara, Genielle and Shea, we are thankful for their years of loyal service, and congratulations on a job well done.