House of Commons Hansard #321 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was accessibility.


Sikh Heritage Month ActPrivate Members' Business

September 19th, 2018 / 6:55 p.m.


Ruby Sahota Liberal Brampton North, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour and my privilege to rise today in the House to speak to Bill C-376, an act to designate the month of April as Sikh heritage month.

I must first commend the member for Surrey—Newton for all of his hard work in bringing this bill forward. I know that this piece of legislation means a lot to Sikh Canadians in my riding of Brampton North, as well as Sikhs across Canada and abroad.

The passage of this bill would recognize the contributions of Sikhs to Canadian society and educate future generations about our language, traditions and history in Canada. I look around at my fellow Sikh members of Parliament, listen to their persona! stories, and cannot help but acknowledge and be grateful that we have had the opportunity to be here today because of the hard work and struggles of the Sikh community before us.

Since arriving on Canadian shores, Sikhs have been active members of our society. Canada is now home to one of the largest Sikh populations in the world, and the Sikh community has become known for their compassion, work ethic and entrepreneurship.

The month of April holds particular significance to Sikhs, as it is the time of year when the community celebrates Vaisakhi, which marks the birth of the Khalsa Panth. Sikhism is rooted in the teachings of equality, unity, selfless service and social justice, values that all Canadians hold dear and strive to incorporate into their daily lives. Sikh values are in fact Canadian values.

However, it has not always been easy. The Sikh community has been a victim to racism, discrimination and violence. Generations of Sikhs have struggled to find their place. Our clothing, our turbans, our kirpans, our food and our traditions were not welcome. From the rejection of Sikhs aboard the Komagata Maru to the desecration of gurdwaras, the history of Sikhs in Canada has dark chapters.

However, those dark chapters are now coming to a close, because as a country we have grown. I, the daughter of Sikh immigrants, today, have the opportunity to stand in the House and speak to legislation that recognizes the importance of my heritage, so that tomorrow, Sikh youth can take the utmost pride in who they are and be able to share and celebrate that heritage.

Sikhs have found their place in this country, because our proud legacy of multiculturalism does not ask us to chose between our faith and our religion. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms has allowed Sikhs to physically and spiritually be who they are without giving up being Canadian. The implementation of the charter has ensured that equality and diversity have become the pillars and strength of our nation.

I have been fortunate to be able to travel to every province and territory, and to see how the contributions made by Sikhs are evident from coast to coast to coast.

I went to Nunavut early last year, and I visited a Sikh who is working on a Liberal campaign and for a riding association. I met Sikhs in New Brunswick who were driving taxis. I know Sikhs who are running homeless shelters, food banks, and a lot of other services, including meals on wheels. I have met Sikhs who are teaching Bhangra in Whitehorse and in Halifax. They have made contributions to celebrate our heritage all throughout the country.

With Bill C-376, we are able to share and celebrate Canadian heritage through a Sikh lens. As our Prime Minister stated when he visited the Sikh Heritage Museum of Canada, the story of the Sikh community in Canada is, in fact, just the story of Canada.

This summer, I was excited to be on hand as we announced funding for the museum and a project aimed at creating a Canadian Sikh heritage trail and a travelling Canadian Sikh timeline exhibition, along with a web portal and interactive mobile application showcasing facts, figures and Sikh personalities that have shaped the civic life of Canada. The project will allow current and future generations of Canadians to learn more about the struggles, sacrifices and successes of Sikhs, as they travel across this beautiful country.

As I speak about our heritage and history in Canada, I wanted to take a moment to highlight the contributions of Canadian Sikh women. In 1912, Harman Kaur and Kartar Kaur fought for the right of women and children to join Sikh men in Canada. In 1946, Ajit Kaur defended herself at city council when her neighbours did not want her to move in because they feared the family would lower their property values. In 1949 and 1950 respectively, Dr. Sarjit Kaur Siddoo and Dr. Jagdis Kaur Sidoo graduated from the University of Toronto as the first female Sikh doctors in Canada.

More recently, trailblazers like Palbinder Kaur Shergill, Lilly Singh and very our own hon. government House leader are contributing to our place in Canada and showing the next generation that anything is possible.

As I reflect on what Bill C-376 means to me, I am reminded of one of Rupi Kaur's verses, entitled “progress”:

our work should equip
the next generation of women
to outdo us in every field
this is the legacy we'll leave.

I want to once again applaud the member for Surrey—Newton for his work in leaving behind a legacy where every April we, as Canadians, celebrate our Sikh heritage and the contribution of the Sikh community to Canada. I would like to also thank him for his work and efforts on the Komagata Maru apology. He has been working hard on the issue since 1999.

I join my colleague in looking forward to seeing all members in the House passing this bill so we can honour and retell the Canadian stories for future generations to come.

Sikh Heritage Month ActPrivate Members' Business

7:05 p.m.


Steven Blaney Conservative Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, QC

Mr. Speaker, as the Conservative Party critic for heritage, I rise today to speak to Bill C-376, an act to designate the month of April as Sikh heritage month.

I commend my colleague opposite, the member for Surrey—Newton, for introducing this bill in the House.

Without a doubt this is an issue near and dear to his heart as a Canadian Sikh, and he represents his community honourably in the chamber, although, in my view, a little in a too Liberal way.

I also want to thank my Conservative colleague from Markham—Unionville. He has done so much to help the Sikh community as well as the immigrant community more broadly in our country. He has played a key role in our caucus in the work we are doing on files such as immigration, which are important for the Sikh community and all Canadians.

My colleague from Markham—Unionville is also a living example of the quintessential Canadian immigrant. He came to this country in humble circumstances and through his hard work has not only achieved success for himself and his family, but also his community and our country. When he arrived in this country in 1974, he was 21 years old and did not speak a word of French or English. He had a job that paid $1.50 per hour and would work 364 days per year. However, he told me that he took a break on Dominion Day, which would turn out to be Canada Day. We could see he was a proud Canadian early on.

In discussing the history and celebration of the Sikh community, I think of the new Canadians like my colleague and also like those I welcome every year to my riding. They come from all over the world and they are more than welcome. They come from Africa, Latin America and so on. They are like my Irish ancestors. Like the Sikh we have welcomed over the years, they come here to work hard, whether in farming or in industry. We are all better off and thankful for their hard work. Actually, they are the fabric of our country and this how our country is built.

I support this bill and its aim to designate every April going forward as Sikh heritage month.

Sikhism has millions of followers around the world. As we have heard, Canada is a home to over half a million Sikhs, making it the second-largest Sikh population in the world, after India. That deserves to be recognized.

What I also like about Sikh values is that they are universal human values, such as respect for others, kindness, charity, courage and honesty.

The significant Sikh population is represented in vibrant urban centres, such as Surrey, Brampton, and many other places across this land, whether in British Columbia, Ontario or Alberta. Without a doubt, the large and thriving communities of Indian and Punjabi heritage are essential to the increasingly close and important relationship Canada has with India. For one, cultural and educational exchanges between India, Punjab and Canada make our country richer.

India not only represents an opportunity for shared prosperity through trade with one of the world's largest economies, but also presents an opportunity to strengthen ties with the world's largest democracy. Democracy is something that unites people and countries. Indeed, we have seen how much Canadian Sikhs contribute to our Canadian democracy. In the last parliament I served as minister with Canadians of Punjabi heritage in caucus and in cabinet. I think of my former colleague Tim Uppal, who was the minister for democratic reform, or Bal Gosal, the former minister of sport, with whom I have entertained some good boxing galas where Quebeckers in particular were proving their talent. In British Columbia, we had Ujjal Dosanjh, a Canadian Sikh, who served as the premier of that province. I had an opportunity to visit Afghanistan with him when we were involved in the defence committee. In this parliament we also have members, like my colleague from Markham—Unionville on the Conservative side, as well as ministers and members on the government benches. Some day we may have the leader of the NDP join us in the House.

The first immigrants settled in British Columbia. They came to Canada with little or no money, but knew they wanted a better life for their families.

As my colleague mentioned, it has not always been easy for the Sikh community, as Sikhs have gone through difficult times. In 1914, hundreds of people wanted to improve their lives and their families' futures. They were hoping to find a better life in Canada, but were not allowed to enter. This resulted in the tragic Komagata Maru incident.

In fact, several deaths resulted from the Komagata Maru tragedy. We may remember that in 2008 the Right Hon. Stephen Harper apologized on behalf of Canadians. More recently, as made clear by the leader of Her Majesty's loyal opposition, the Conservatives will never forget the Komagata Maru, and we will use the memory of those who perished to learn from our mistakes and make this country even better.

Importantly, what is amazing about Canada is that despite regrettable historical chapters, communities like the Sikh community have come together and worked with all Canadians to move forward. While we learn from the past, we do not helplessly dwindle in the past. We do not focus on what divides us. Canadians, Sikhs and non-Sikhs alike focus on celebrating what unites us, because Canada has a lot to be proud of. This includes, without a doubt, the contributions of the Sikh community.

It is important that Canada's Parliament ensure that we recognize Sikh heritage and that we celebrate the contribution Sikh Canadians have made to the social, economic, political and cultural fabric. It is also important to recognize the richness of the Punjabi language and culture, not to mention their food.

It is important to note that April is the month designated to celebrate Sikh heritage month. As my colleague mentioned, it is an important month for the Sikh community because that is when Sikhs celebrate Vaisakhi, which is a historical and religious festival in the Sikh religion that marks the new year.

Vaisakhi commemorates the founding of the Sikh community known as the Khalsa under Guru Gobind Singh in 1699. Since that time, every April, Sikhs gather around the world to celebrate this important moment with parades, entertainment and gatherings of family and friends.

April is the logical choice for the Sikh community, and that is why I support this motion.

Essentially, this heritage month would allow us to make Canadians aware of the culture and heritage of the Sikh community and to educate future generations. For that reason, I wish to support this bill and I invite my colleagues to support it as well.

Perhaps this bill is long overdue. We, indeed, have dates designated for the Asian community, the aboriginal community and the black community at the national level. Recently, we also worked with one of our colleagues from the Senate to make Jewish Heritage Month a reality. I would like to thank my colleagues for working on that, but today we can make history again by supporting this private member's bill.

Sikh Heritage Month ActPrivate Members' Business

7:10 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Brampton East. The hon. member will have five minutes to speak.

Sikh Heritage Month ActPrivate Members' Business

7:15 p.m.


Raj Grewal Liberal Brampton East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to rise today to debate Bill C-376 at second reading. The bill was introduced by the hon. member for Surrey—Newton and I was more than happy to second the bill.

I am humbled and enormously grateful for this opportunity to speak in favour of a bill that provides opportunity to highlight the many contributions that Canadians of Sikh heritage have made to Canada, an occasion to educate future generations about the role that Sikh Canadians have played and will continue to play building our country from coast to coast to coast.

A Sikh heritage month is an opportunity to highlight, respect and honour the many contributions that Sikh Canadians have made to Canada. In fact, Sikh heritage month is already celebrated every April in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. I look forward to the passage of this bill so we can celebrate all across Canada.

April is a particularly significant month for Sikhs around the world. It was in April in 1699 when Guru Gobind Singh created the Khalsa Panth, which was the formal creation of the Sikh faith. Sikhs around the world believe in core values of naam japna, meditation, kirt karni, earning an honest living, seva, community service, and always helping the less fortunate. These are not just Sikh values; these are also Canadian values.

Today, Canada holds the second largest Sikh population in the world. Almost 500,000 Sikhs proudly call Canada home. Indeed, the Sikh Canadian story is a deep-rooted story with many ups and downs in Canadian history. Sikhs have worked hard across the country, from serving in our armed forces to building our railroads and working in the lumber mills in British Columbia. Today, Sikhs are doctors, engineers, teachers, lawyers, entrepreneurs, media personalities and even politicians. They have successfully established themselves as hard-working, generous people who are integral to the Canadian fabric.

As Sikh Canadian families enter the third and fourth generations in Canada, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the fact that the success of the Sikh Canadian community is, in large part, due to the early pioneers who left everything they knew in Punjab and India in search of a better life for themselves and their families. We salute the early taxi drivers, truck drivers, people in factories, the individuals who picked up the extra overtime shifts so they could start building their local temples for a place to pray.

The first Sikh temple was opened in British Columbia in 1907, the Khalsa Diwan Society, and it is still operating today. From that first gurdwara in British Columbia, Sikhs have built numerous gurdwaras from coast to coast to coast. From Halifax to Victoria, one could always drop in to a Sikh gurdwara, meditate and enjoy a community meal, known as langer.

Sikhs have always worked hard and today our community stands on the stories of giant Canadian Sikhs. Baltej Singh Dhillon comes to mind, the first turbaned RCMP officer; Gurbaj Singh Maltani, a young student who dropped his kirpan on the playground and fought for his right to wear his kirpan, his article of faith, all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada; Sikhs like Harnarayan Singh, who is breaking barriers on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada Punjabi Edition; and even our very own Minister of National Defence, who in 2014 was named the first Sikh lieutenant colonel of the Canadian army.

Indeed, the Canadian Sikh story is thriving today across the country. However, we did not get here by accident and the story of success will not continue without effort. Everyone in the House remembers that in 1914 the Komagata Maru, a Japanese ship carrying Sikhs fleeing India, was turned away by Canadian authorities. When the ship returned to India, many people were killed. The Prime Minister, in 2016, apologized on behalf of the Canadian government for this unspeakable act.

Even throughout my lifetime, I have experienced racism for wearing my turban and I have seen Sikh places of worship vandalized. Just last year, university students were being asked if they were extremists just for the simple fact that they were wearing their identity proudly.

That is why Sikh heritage month is so important. It is not just an opportunity to celebrate the contributions of Sikh Canadians, but, more important, an opportunity to educate Canadians and people all around the world of the Sikh way of life and the Sikh philosophy.

Sikh Heritage Month ActPrivate Members' Business

7:20 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

The time provided for the consideration of private members' business has now expired and the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the Order Paper.

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

Indigenous AffairsAdjournment Proceedings

7:20 p.m.


Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, the previous minister of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans made commitments to the lead negotiators of the five Nuu-chah-nulth nations that operate the T'aaq-wiihak fishery. At a face-to-face meeting in Campbell River on March 13, 2018, he made commitments to accelerate the reconciliation of the five nations of the Nuu-chah-nulth that have been in a longstanding battle for their fishing rights. It has been dragging on and on through litigation and prolonged negotiation since 2009.

The government initiated a rights recognition and reconciliation process with the five nations in June 2017, which has yet to produce any results. The five nations negotiated a term sheet with senior government representatives from Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, which was concluded in September 2017. It was promised that the term sheet would become the substance of a memorandum to cabinet that has yet to make it to the cabinet committee, despite repeated commitments by the government that cabinet would deal with this memorandum to cabinet in the fall of 2017, and then the spring of 2018. Now it is the fall of 2018. Specifically, the fisheries minister was to champion with the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs the memorandum to cabinet that must be presented to it this fall. The memorandum to cabinet will lead to the implementation of the nations' rights-based fisheries, and tangibly demonstrate that the government is serious about reconciliation with first nations in Canada.

The five nations wrote to the new minister of the DFO on August 29, requesting a meeting as soon as possible, and there has still be no response. They just want to confirm the commitments made by the previous minister.

The nations met concurrently with the previous minister, the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and the Minister of Justice on June 27, 2016, in Ottawa. The five nations have met twice with the Prime Minister on this issue, and yet, despite these high-level meetings and the promises of government action, there has been no substantive process of recognition of the nations' fishing rights by the government, even though two B.C. Supreme Court decisions and several appeals have all instructed the government to work with the five nations to establish a new fisheries regime that recognizes and respects their priority rights.

When will the government start taking substantive action, demonstrating a real understanding and respect for first nations' rights, and specifically the commercial fishing rights of these five Nuu-chah-nulth nations, rather than just more talk and rhetoric by it about respecting first nations' rights and the importance of the relationship with indigenous people? With these five nations, the government can back up its empty promises so far with real action by approving the reconciliation agreement that these five Nuu-chah-nulth nations crafted with senior government staff from Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs and DFO. That is all they are asking for.

Indigenous AffairsAdjournment Proceedings

7:20 p.m.

Sean Casey Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Lib.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Courtenay—Alberni for raising this issue.

The government recognizes that indigenous peoples have a deep connection to oceans and waterways and that fishing is culturally and economically significant to their communities. In this context, a renewed nation-to-nation relationship with indigenous peoples based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership is a top priority for our government.

As Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, and as a Canadian, I can assure the member that we are fully committed to advancing reconciliation, including working with the five Nuu-chah-nulth nations to exercise and implement their fishing rights.

Over the past year, the Government of Canada has been taking concrete actions in the spirit of reconciliation with the five Nuu-chah-nulth nations.

Since the spring of 2017, Canada and the five nations have been engaged, as the hon. member said, in recognition of indigenous rights and self-determination discussions. In fact, the parties signed a framework agreement in 2017 that forms the basis of ongoing negotiations. These negotiations have been instrumental in developing a common understanding of each other's perspectives in what are inherently complex matters.

In March of this year, the former minister personally met with the leaders of the five first nations to hear directly from them their priorities for implementing their fishing rights. At that time, we were pleased to offer additional licences and quota for groundfish, salmon and shellfish to the five nations.

In its April 19 decision in the Ahousaht case, the British Columbia Supreme Court clarified the nature and scope of the right of the five Nuu-chah-nulth nations on the west coast of Vancouver Island as:

...a small-scale, artisanal, local, multi-species fishery, to be conducted in a nine-[nautical] mile strip from shore, using small, low-cost boats with limited technology and restricted catching power....

The court found that Fisheries and Oceans Canada has taken useful steps in some fisheries to accommodate the rights of the five Nuu-chah-nulth nations.

The court also noted that some improvements need to be made. In particular, the court found that DFO's Pacific salmon allocation policy was not justified in according priority to the recreational fishery over the five nations aboriginal commercial fishery for chinook and coho.

As part of an immediate response to the decision, the former minister announced on the day the decision was released that he directed Fisheries and Oceans Canada to review the Pacific salmon allocation policy in collaboration with indigenous groups and all stakeholders to renew and co-develop this policy.

While our government and the five Nuu-chah-nulth nations review the court decision and its implications, we will continue working together to advance reconciliation. We are committed to reconciliation and to advancing our relationship with the five Nuu-chah-nulth nations through accommodation of their fishing rights. Significant steps were taken in 2018 and further steps are being planned for next year.

Court decisions help inform the broader process, which seeks to provide stability and predictability around the management of fisheries and oceans resources.

We will continue to work with the five nations through negotiations to reach agreement on the implementation of their rights and provide the foundation for a strong and enduring relationship between Canada and the five nations.

Indigenous AffairsAdjournment Proceedings

7:25 p.m.


Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member talking about what the courts said. What the courts did say that he did not mention is that at every opportunity the minister sent his negotiators empty-handed to the table. He tried to stymie every opportunity for them to negotiate. That is what the judge said.

When the member talks about an artisan fishery, the government attacks their rights at every opportunity and tries to diminish them every step of the way. That is not reconciliation. That is not a commitment to reconciliation.

The government talks about its most important relationship being with first nations and Canada's indigenous peoples, but we do not see that. The government is talking about moving forward with the recognition and implementation of an indigenous rights framework.

The government needs to recognize the frameworks that are in place right now, charter section 35 in the Charter of Rights, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, case law that has been proven, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, treaties where they exist. The government has not been able to honour the existing frameworks never mind talking about future frameworks.

The government needs to direct its negotiators to go to the table and give them something to bring to the table so they can get out fishing, not be in court. They belong on the water.

Indigenous AffairsAdjournment Proceedings

7:25 p.m.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Lib.

Sean Casey

Mr. Speaker, on April 19, 2018, the B.C. Supreme Court decision clarified the scope and nature of the rights of the five Nuu-chah-nulth nations.

In his statement to the press on that same day, the former minister of fisheries and oceans spoke to the concrete actions that had recently been taken, including offers of additional licences and quota for groundfish, salmon and shellfish to the five nations in 2018 and a commitment to continue to implement their fishing rights in 2019 and beyond.

The former minister indicated immediate action to review the Pacific salmon allocation policy in collaboration with indigenous groups and all stakeholders to renew and co-develop this policy.

Our government is committed to reconciliation and to advancing our relationship with the five Nuu-chah-nulth nations to accommodate their fishing rights.

International TradeAdjournment Proceedings

7:30 p.m.


Tracey Ramsey NDP Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rose in the House on April 19, which was 12 days before the U.S. tariffs on aluminum and steel came down. It was a very difficult time, but it pales in comparison to where we find ourselves today. I want to remind members that we are talking about 146,000 direct and indirect good-paying steel and aluminum jobs across our country, many of which are in my riding of Essex, certainly in southwestern Ontario in Windsor-Essex.

At that time the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs was reassuring us that they were going to be able to achieve this permanent exemption. They felt that they were working hard on it and were working hard to make this become a reality. As we know, 12 days later, we were slammed with the steel and aluminum tariffs which for the last five months we have really been suffering under greatly. Working people across our country are losing their jobs. Small business owners in my region are faced with closing their doors.

This reassurance did not come to pass and it is deeply unfortunate. It is incumbent on the government to continue the efforts to get a permanent exemption. I know that the government has tried to remove this and extract it from NAFTA, but to say that these things are not connected is simply fooling Canadians because these things are all deeply connected to the difficult times we are having with the United States right now.

In the NAFTA negotiations we have to have a conversation about the steel and aluminum tariffs and the impacts as well as the looming threat of a 25% auto tariff which is quite considerable.

The Liberals' failures are hurting workers and industries across this country. The Prime Minister all but promised he would secure a deal with former President Obama on softwood lumber but that did not happen. With regard to the CPTPP, the Liberals promised a progressive renegotiation, yet what we see is anything but progressive. In fact, “progressive” has been removed from the Prime Minister's mandate letter to the new Minister of International Trade Diversification.

In CETA, the Liberals promised new markets and support for Canada's supply-managed sectors, but one year into CETA and Canada's trade imbalance with the EU is growing and our support is not reaching our dairy farmers and our other supply-managed sectors.

The Liberals pledged to secure a good deal for Canada under NAFTA. Time is running out and Canadians are deeply worried.

On U.S. tariffs, again the Liberals pledged to secure a permanent exemption, but obviously this did not happen. Now our auto sector is very concerned that it will be faced with the same job-killing tariffs.

It is clear that the Liberals' trade strategy is not delivering the results they promised for working Canadians. Canada has roughly collected $300 million in retaliatory tariffs in the surtaxes that have been imposed on U.S. goods after President Trump's imposition of the steel and aluminum tariffs and our reciprocal tariffs.

Two billion dollars was promised by the Liberals to support these sectors and it is simply not reaching them. The amount that has reached them is $11,000. I am going to repeat that because someone asked me today if I had omitted a zero. I have not. Some $11,000 has been paid out. I have businesses in my riding that are desperate. Workers are worried about whether they are going to have a job to go to tomorrow. The government is failing at delivering this package to them. It is failing in giving them support.

The New Democrats have called on the government to establish a national tariff task force. This is exactly what we need to do at this critical time in our trading relationships to support workers across this country.

International TradeAdjournment Proceedings

7:30 p.m.

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

Mr. Speaker, the tariffs imposed by the United States on steel and aluminum are illegal and completely unacceptable.

That is why our government has taken such strong responsive measures to defend Canadian workers. That is why we announced dollar for dollar, perfectly reciprocal tariffs on $16.6 billion of U.S. imports into Canada. As the Minister of Foreign Affairs has said, this is the strongest trade action that Canada has undertaken since World War II.

That was an action that we took out of necessity to defend the principles of trade that have developed between Canada and the United States over decades and which have led to shared economic prosperity. lt was also an action that strongly demonstrated to Canadian workers just how united Canada is in defending our workers. Canadian steelworkers know that our government is firmly behind them. Canada's response is proportional, measured and reciprocal and will cease immediately once tariffs on Canada are lifted.

We are also challenging these illegal and counterproductive U.S. measures at the World Trade Organization and under NAFTA. These tariffs are completely unjustified. Not only have Canada and the U.S. been close allies in NATO and NORAD for years, but Canada is even recognized in U.S. law as part of the American military industrial base. Using national security concerns to impose tariffs on Canadian products therefore makes no sense.

On June 29, 2018, we also announced that we would make available up to $2 billion to defend and protect the interests of Canadian workers and businesses in the steel, aluminum and manufacturing industries. Our government continues to stand up for Canadian workers, including the steel and aluminum industries.

Our government continues to stand up for Canadian workers in the steel and aluminum industry.

That is why we have also consulted with Canadians on possible safeguards action on seven steel products.

If evidence gathered during these consultations led by the Department of Finance points to harm or threat of harm to Canadian producers, we will immediately apply provisional safeguards and refer the issue to the Canadian International Trade Tribunal for inquiry.

We have also provided new funding, more than $30 million over five years, starting immediately, and $6.8 million per year after that, which will mean more than 40 new officers to investigate trade-related complaints, including those related to steel and aluminum.

Our government has and will continue to have the backs of the steel and aluminum industries and will continue to work for the permanent removal of the illegal U.S. tariffs.

International TradeAdjournment Proceedings

7:35 p.m.


Tracey Ramsey NDP Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry but that is an extremely poor response when we know that only $11,000 has flowed out of the money that the member is speaking about.

I want to give kudos to our WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation. Stephen MacKenzie, who is the CEO, Marion Fantetti, Rakesh Naidu, Wendy Stark, Lana Drouillard and Lee McGrath are an amazing team. They attended, along with me, an event that was held by the Canadian Association of Moldmakers over the summer. Some 250 people came on two days' notice to talk about the impact in our region of the steel and aluminum tariffs.

They did a survey and 10% to 99% of their steel and 50% to 100% of their aluminum purchases are from the U.S. They need exemptions, and they are not able to get them from the government. They are asking that the processing of requests be timely, that they do not wait up to six months. Also, information on programs and services needs to be clear and consistent.

Ultimately, the New Democratic Party is calling for a national tariff task force. Our country is in a crisis under the Trump tariffs. Windsor-Essex is feeling the brunt of that. Will the Liberals join us, strike this task force, and talk about how we can use the money that we are collecting to—

International TradeAdjournment Proceedings

7:35 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Order. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources.

International TradeAdjournment Proceedings

7:35 p.m.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources, Lib.

Paul Lefebvre

Mr. Speaker, Canada's steel and aluminum industries support good, middle-class jobs across the country. Our workers and industry have our government's full support.

We have taken actions to end fraudulent transshipment and to further prevent dumping of unfairly priced imports into the Canadian market. We are committed to taking action to protect and support our workers and producers.

We want to protect Canada's steel and aluminum workers and producers. It is our job to protect them.

Our government will always stand up for Canadian workers and Canadian businesses, and we will continue to work with stakeholders to determine if further responses are necessary.

Natural ResourcesAdjournment Proceedings

7:35 p.m.


Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, when I was last debating this issue of paramount importance to the coast of British Columbia and my riding of Nanaimo—Ladysmith, the Minister of Natural Resources said some stunning things, given how deeply the federal government has since invested itself in the Kinder Morgan pipeline. He challenged me on my numbers and said that it is not a sevenfold increase in tankers but only one tanker a day. Well, in fact, the National Energy Board said that it is a 680% increase. Just last week, a Tyee magazine quoted economist Robyn Allan as saying that it is more like a 1,200% increase; from 30 tankers a year to 408 tankers a year, which is a colossal increase.

The minister also said that this is happening at a time when indigenous people for the first time had been involved from day one and were becoming part of monitoring and safety. Here is another deep betrayal of that promise. The Heiltsuk first nation are heroes on the coast for being the on-water response in a very ad hoc way. There was not a government-led response to the sinking of the Queen of the North when the ferry went down, nor to the Nathan E. Stewart. These were very high-profile sinkings and attendant oil spills on the coast.

Therefore, the Heiltsuk bid to the federal government to be able to own and operate a standby tug, which we sorely need. Washington State has it, but Canada does not. It is to be able to have a strong tug capacity to take vessels that are in trouble into safety, so that they do not create an oil spill.

The Prime Minister just the week before had stood with the Heiltsuk people, shoulder to shoulder, proclaiming his allegiance and solidarity with them, and recognizing their stewardship and ownership of the waters. Well, the tug contract was given to an Irving subsidiary on the Atlantic coast, not to local people, and not to very strong indigenous leadership. What a betrayal that was.

The minister also said to me that “we believe we are going to leave the backyard of indigenous people better than we had found it”. What a totally patronizing comment that is. Indigenous leadership has been the stewards and occupants of the B.C. coast since time immemorial. To think that the lauded oceans protection plan is going to leave the coast better than when we started is an embarrassing statement for a minister to make, particularly in light of the court case that has since come down.

Coastal people had been saying all of these pieces loudly on the coast, and coastal MPs brought them into this Parliament: about the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion, such as the biggest risk on the coast is from oil tanker traffic, which had been insufficiently studied; that the orca whale impact had not been accommodated, although it had been identified; and that indigenous people had not been consulted.

The strongest court ruling came down affirming that all of those were barriers to the Kinder Morgan pipeline. It is now, of course, the Prime Minister's pipeline, because he spent $4.5 billion of taxpayers' money buying it. Then, on the very same day, we had the finance minister say that the pipeline will be built and, oh, they will also do more consultations.

How can the government square all of these inconsistencies, and how will it move forward, given all of these broken promises?

Natural ResourcesAdjournment Proceedings

7:40 p.m.

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

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Nanaimo—Ladysmith for her important and timely question.

It is timely because we know that the Federal Court of Appeal recently ruled that the National Energy Board should have included marine transportation in its assessment of the Trans Mountain expansion proposal.

It is important because the issues she raised reflect what we on this side of the House have been saying from the outset: the economy and the environment must go hand in hand, and no relationship is more important to Canada than its relationship with indigenous peoples.

Those core values go to the heart of our government's vision for this clean-growth century. The good news is that our government is committed to ensuring that those values are respected in everything we do, including expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline. That is why we introduced Bill C-69 to improve the way we review major resource projects.

That is why we are making the single-largest investment ever to protect Canada's oceans, marine life and coastal communities. The $1.5 billion oceans protection plan has been a cornerstone of our agenda and our efforts. The oceans protection plan strengthens the eyes and ears of the Canadian Coast Guard to ensure better communication to vessels, adds new radar sites in strategic locations, puts more enforcement officers on the coast and establishes the national aerial surveillance program to keep a watchful eye on ships and waters under our jurisdiction.

At the same time, the oceans protection plan strengthens our capacity to respond in the unlikely event of a spill, by adding more primary environmental response teams to bolster Coast Guard capacity, investing in new technologies and conducting scientific research to make cleanups more effective, including $80 million for groundbreaking research on the behaviour of diluted bitumen in marine settings. We are using every tool at our government's disposal to remain vigilant in protecting our coasts and marine life. That includes a $170 million action plan to protect the south resident killer whales.

The oceans protection plan is also building meaningful new partnerships with indigenous people in other coastal communities. This includes a Canadian first with the creation of an indigenous advisory and monitoring committee to oversee the safety of the TMX project through its entire life cycle. In addition, we have enhanced indigenous access to federal funding for economic development, job training and other business opportunities that will flow from the pipeline's possible expansion.

Our position is clear: We are committed to creating the prosperity we all want while protecting the planet we all cherish.

Natural ResourcesAdjournment Proceedings

7:45 p.m.


Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, the spin is astonishing. The court completely discredited the government's approach to this. There was no reason for the Liberal government to use the discredited and undermined Harper Conservative review process. In fact, the Prime Minister promised during the campaign that he would not, and they did. They chose to leave marine impacts out. They chose not to implement the 2012 court ruling on protecting habitat for orca. In fact, just last week, the environmental groups took the Liberal government to court again over its failure to protect the habitat of the orca. The most astonishing thing is to be so bold as to say they cannot increase the oil-spill safety net without approving a pipeline and a 1,200% increase in oil tanker traffic. It is hypocritical; it is not true. If the government truly were going to lead, it would boost oil-spill response right now and spend tax dollars doing it, but it is not.

Natural ResourcesAdjournment Proceedings

7:45 p.m.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources, Lib.

Paul Lefebvre

Mr. Speaker, all I can do is repeat that our government is committed to ensuring that the Trans Mountain expansion project is done right. We are working hard to figure out how to proceed, and we will have more to say on this in the coming days.

In the meantime, our position is that TMX is part of a sensible approach to a low-carbon future that includes diversifying our energy market, improving environmental safety and creating thousands of good middle-class jobs, including good jobs in indigenous communities.

Canadians understand all of these things are possible if this project is done right.

Natural ResourcesAdjournment Proceedings

7:45 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

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 7:48 p.m.)