House of Commons Hansard #415 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was area.

Topics

Oceans ActGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson LiberalMinister of Fisheries

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to be here today to talk about the message to the Senate on Bill C-55, a bill that will amend the Oceans Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act.

First, I want to thank the parliamentary secretary, the member for Charlottetown, for starting the debate off last Friday and for his work on this file. I would also like to thank the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands for supporting this bill and for echoing the need to have this type of legislation so that we can move forward with protecting our marine spaces.

I would like to begin with an overview of the bill we are debating today, then an overview of the motion itself.

Bill C-55 seeks a new ministerial order instrument to establish interim protection marine protected areas to protect ecologically sensitive and important marine areas in cases where initial science and consultations tell us it is urgently needed.

The process to establish interim protection will not be a shortcut to any science and consultation processes that are integral to how we establish marine protected areas today.

The fundamental principle underlying interim protection is the application of the precautionary principle. This principle is not new under Bill C-55. It is already found in many pieces of modern environmental legislation. It is also consistent with the Privy Council Office's framework on precaution, elaborated in 2013. This framework outlines guiding principles for the application of precaution to science-based decision-making in areas of federal regulatory activity for the protection of health and safety, the environment and the conservation of natural resources.

Indeed, we have received the bill with an amendment. While we respectfully reject the amendment, we are adding an amendment that we feel respects the intent of the amendment from the other place. As indicated by government officials during Senate committee deliberation, as well as expressed by members in the the other place during third reading, the amendment proposed is duplicative and would also make the interim protection of a marine protected area process more complex than the designation of a permanent marine protected area. Therefore, the amendment would go against the very objective of the bill to provide faster protection and to freeze the footprint of activities in areas where we are proposing a permanent designation, all while ensuring that we continue our high standard of consultations.

Let me explain.

The first part of the amendment from the other place requires that the approximate geographical location and a preliminary assessment of any habitat or species in the area be published prior to an order for interim protection being made. This is already covered under the cabinet directive on regulations, which requires all regulatory process to be open and transparent. This is the reason why, today, one can go online to look at an area of interest, which is the first step in the current process of developing a permanent MPA, and see a description of the area, a map of the area and all other relevant information, such as the key objectives.

The second part of the amendment, which was added by Senator Patterson, would require an additional consultation period to take place outside what is already required under the Oceans Act and the Gazette process. This amendment would add another consultation period that is, at minimum, 60 days, and would require the government to respond to all comments within 30 days. That brings the added consultation period to a possible 90 days before an order can be made. Indeed, this only applies to the interim process and would therefore make the interim designation process more complex than the process for a permanent designation.

As I have mentioned, these amendments were also duplicative. The current Oceans Act already explicitly outlines consultation requirements under sections 29 through 33. As mentioned on Friday by the parliamentary secretary, section 33 states under the oceans management strategy:

(1) In exercising the powers and performing the duties and functions assigned to the Minister by this Act, the Minister

(a) shall cooperate with other ministers, boards and agencies of the Government of Canada, with provincial and territorial governments and with affected aboriginal organizations, coastal communities and other persons and bodies, including those bodies established under land claims agreements;

(b) may enter into agreements with any person or body or with another minister, board or agency of the Government of Canada;

(c) shall gather, compile, analyse, coordinate and disseminate information;...

For these reasons, our government is rejecting these changes and proposing an amendment that we believe captures the intent of the message from the other place. This amendment will require the geographical location and all other relevant information to be published, along with the consultations that were undertaken when an order is made. This will ensure that the information that communities need will be provided, and that the process for interim protection is streamlined to ensure that protection is provided in a manner consistent with the objective of this bill. That is, to provide faster protection on an interim basis to marine areas until a decision, after comprehensive consultations are undertaken, is made on whether to designate the interim area as a permanent MPA.

This bill was first introduced in the House of Commons on June 15, 2017. Since then it has had the benefit of many hours of debate, discussion and review. The House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans spent a great deal of time carefully reviewing its proposals. From October to December 2017, that committee heard views and opinions from many orders of government, partners, stakeholders and experts on the bill. Following this in-depth review, the committee made five amendments to the bill that were proposed by Conservative, Green and independent members, which were adopted by the House on April 25, 2018.

The House of Commons committee's amendments add new and important elements to the bill without undermining its spirit and intent. This bill is truly one of those rare bills that has had co-operation and agreement at the committee stage by all parties, and I urge all members to put their partisanship aside to support a non-partisan issue of protecting our oceans.

Since February 2019, the committee in the other place has further reviewed Bill C-55, hearing from more witnesses and experts. I am grateful for the effort and attention paid by the other place to this important legislative proposal. However, their additional amendments do not align with the spirit of Bill C-55 to apply interim protection in a timely manner.

Consultation is the cornerstone of effective oceans protection in Canada. The transparency we will exercise for interim protection will be no less than for establishing more permanent marine protected areas.

What is our current practice? We consult and collaborate with provinces, territories and indigenous groups. We include marine resource users, such as fisheries groups, aquaculture groups, the oil and gas sector, mining, shipping, tourism and other stakeholders. We reach out to other experts, such as environmental groups, academics and various community members. Finally, we also, of course, consult with the public.

All of this collaboration is extensive and conducted at various stages of the process. Advisory committees with partners, indigenous groups and interested and affected partners are established to provide input to this work.

We consult at the outset, to identify and select an area needing protection; to gather information about the ecological importance of a sensitive marine area, the socio-economic considerations related to the area and any current or planned activities that may be of concern; to identify initial boundaries and conservation objectives for an area based on the best available science, including indigenous and local knowledge and a risk analysis; to develop a proposed regulatory approach and study the benefits and costs of such an approach, including a 30-day public comment period when the regulations are pre-published in the Canada Gazette, part I; and on an ongoing basis to provide input to the development of the management plan for the area.

Over and above this extensive consultation, marine protected areas are collaboratively managed with local partners through an adaptive management approach wherein ongoing science and socio-economic and cultural information are all considered.

This government is committed to both the precautionary principle and the need for ongoing scientific analysis and consultation. Our commitment to science and consultation does not end once interim protection is in place. These activities would continue for up to five years, with an aim to establishing a permanent marine protected area. We continue to consult and improve our scientific understanding of the area following its establishment, as part of ongoing management efforts.

Bill C-55 reflects the government's commitment to indigenous rights and the requirement to respect the duty to consult and accommodate. This requirement is already provided for within common law. Moreover, the Oceans Act and the cabinet directive on regulation recognize the importance of working with and consulting indigenous organizations.

In addition, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans added an amendment to Bill C-55 to reiterate that marine protected areas establishment cannot be conducted in a manner that is inconsistent with any land claims agreement.

Bill C-55 will go a long way toward ensuring that as Canadians we protect our marine ecosystems. Supporting the health of our oceans is essential so that we can benefit from the unique and precious marine ecosystems and resources that we will rely on for generations to come. Canadians are counting on us to protect our oceans.

Our marine protection work seeks to preserve ecosystems and species to ensure that Canada's marine resources can continue to support sustainable industries, local economies and coastal communities. As we progress, Canada's marine protected areas will become part of a global network that will contribute to healthier and more sustainable oceans for generations.

Many senators supported passing this bill as quickly as possible. However, here in the House, two years after the bill was introduced, despite the amendments agreed to by all parties in committee, the Conservatives continue to oppose this bill. That is disappointing but not surprising because, unlike our government and our Prime Minister, who have a plan for the environment, the Conservatives have no plan to protect the environment or to address climate change.

I believe that Bill C-55 is a very significant step in the right direction, and I am confident that all members will agree. Bill C-55 has been subject to thorough parliamentary review, as well as public debate and discussion, for nearly two years. The time to act is now. With interim protection, we will be able to act now to protect our oceans from coast to coast to coast.

Oceans ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, yes, there has been considerable amount of debate, but not enough for this side of the House with the amendment that has come forth. Time and again, the committee heard that the consultation was not thorough. As a matter of fact, there were groups, as well as the Premier of Nunavut, that said they were not consulted at all. Indeed, three territorial premiers issued a statement indicating that “the proposed amendments to the Oceans Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act included in Bill C-55 allow for the creation of Interim Marine Protected Areas by a federal minister without prior consultation.” How long would initial consultations be conducted before interim protection is provided for a marine protected area?

Oceans ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, as I noted in my speech, sections 29 to 33 of the act spell out the requirement for consultation. We believe that the intent of the amendment that was made in the other House was already reflected in the existing bill. However, when the bill was sent back to us after nearly a year in the Senate, we suggested an amendment to capture the intent of the message that the other chamber sent to us, such that it is very clear that not only would the requirement for consultation exist, but also the requirement for transparency in terms of what consultations have taken place.

Oceans ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the minister for moving forward and imposing some stricter measures to protect marine protected areas.

I note that the new standards would apply to marine protected areas but not to refuges. I also note that the minister, as I understand, has recently announced that there will be longer boundary distances set where ships and so forth cannot come near threatened species, such as the orca. Where threatened species are flowing through areas that are not marine protected areas, what kind of new measures and expenditures is the minister going to put in place, for example through the Coast Guard, to ensure that in fact those species are not impacted, not just by drilling but also by shipping?

Oceans ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Before we go to the minister, I would like to instruct the Sergeant-at-Arms to just step outside. It sounds like there is some noise going on in the hallway and it is getting a bit out of hand. It is making it difficult to hear what is going on inside the chamber, so he could just check it out and make sure everything is fine and working.

The hon. Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

Oceans ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, with respect to standards for conservation areas, which we announced a couple of weeks ago, there are two categories: marine protected areas and other effective area-based measures. We have put in place guidelines with respect to what is and what is not allowed in both of those. With respect to other effective area-based measures, including marine refuges, the focus is on ensuring that activities that are not inconsistent with the conservation objectives can continue. This is compliant with international guidance by IUCN. To be honest, that is a standard for the global community, in terms of what kinds of standards need to be put in place for marine conservation areas around the world.

With respect to protection, I think the hon. member is referring more specifically to the southern resident killer whale announcement. The focus is on expanding the zones to ensure that vessels do not come within a 400-metre radius of southern resident killer whales. That is something that would apply generally to all vessel traffic, whether it is in a marine protected area or not. In terms of enforcement, we have created a separate enforcement group in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. We are hiring 13 or 14 enforcement officers, who will focus 100% of their time on ensuring that those regulations are respected.

Oceans ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Independent

Celina Caesar-Chavannes Independent Whitby, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government has put in place a number of different initiatives that preserve and conserve not only life on land, but, in particular with this bill, life underwater. I voted in favour of time allocation because this is an important piece of legislation.

Could the minister expand on how the bill demonstrates Canada's leadership as we look to meet our sustainable development goals regarding life underwater and agenda 2030?

Oceans ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, the bill is important in the broader context of the commitment to nature that the government has demonstrated through the significant amount of funding that has been put into the nature agenda.

The bill would enable us to more rapidly protect, on an interim basis, areas of high ecological significance to ensure that ecologically significant attributes and biodiversity are not affected during the process of assessing permanent status.

The bill is important for us in terms of meeting our international commitment, which is to protect 10% of marine areas by 2020. We are now at 8.27%. This is well beyond where we were in 2015, which was less than 1%. We are absolutely committed to achieving the 2020 target.

We will then be engaging in a conversation about what the target beyond that should be and how we will go about reaching that. We have set standards in terms of what can take place within these conservation areas, which I believe will set a standard for the international community to ensure there is integrity to these concepts.

Canada is more than punching above its weight in the context of this conversation.

Oceans ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

Mel Arnold Conservative North Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, the fisheries minister claims that the new consultation process under the bill would be improved and satisfactory. However, I would like him to answer to the protests that have been taking place in front of his offices and outside the meetings that he has been holding over the past few weeks.

I believe he was in Nova Scotia over the past week and there was a large protest outside of the meeting he was holding there because consultation had not taken place. Fishermen were extremely upset about what was taking place and about the decisions that were being made under the fisheries minister. Again, this happened in front of his office in B.C. over the past couple of weeks.

Fishermen's views are out of line with the direction the fisheries minister is claiming to take regarding adequate consultation. That consultation is not there, and I would like him to answer to that. Why does he think it is?

Oceans ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, I think it is important to distinguish the two issues. Certainly, the issues in British Columbia have nothing to do with marine protected areas. They have to do with conservation for the purpose of saving Fraser chinook salmon.

Extensive consultations went on over many months with all relevant stakeholders and first nations communities with respect to Fraser chinook salmon and the fisheries regulations. However, that needs to be seen in a broader context. This government has brought forward a new Fisheries Act to restore the lost protections that were taken out under the previous government. We just committed $142 million for salmon habitat restoration, alongside our partner, the Government of British Columbia. We are actively working with stakeholders on a whole range of other issues, including the use of hatcheries and the idea of marked fisheries.

However, we also have to ensure that in the short term, enough of these salmon are getting back to the spawning grounds so they will be able not only to stabilize but to recover. I have said very clearly in the press that I will not be the minister who makes the easy political decision and knowingly allows these stocks to become extinct.

That was the basis on which the decision in British Columbia was made. It was the right decision from an environmental perspective, and it was the right decision from a biodiversity perspective.

On the Atlantic coast, there is an issue regarding the proposed east coast marine protected area. It relates to some of the concerns the lobster harvesters have. We have been very clear that lobster harvesting would not be impacted.

I went to have this conversation with the lobster harvesters last week myself. We engaged in the conversation, and I intend to continue that conversation. I have indicated to them that I will come back to further that conversation. We will take the time necessary to ensure that all perspectives are considered, and ideally all concerns can be addressed.

Oceans ActGovernment Orders

May 13th, 2019 / 1:45 p.m.

NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to give a shout-out to everyone at home who is participating in the first-ever Olympic surfing competition to qualify to participate in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. I hope they have a safe competition. I am sure everyone here in the House wishes them the best.

I wonder if the minister could clarify whether oil and gas will still be permissible in these MPAs with this piece of legislation and the amendments, or could he clarify whether they will be completely banned in all of these MPAs?

Oceans ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, in the regulations in the guidelines that we have established with respect to conservation areas, there are two categories. One is marine protected areas and the other is other effective area-based conservation measures.

In marine protected areas, oil and gas extraction, bottom trawling or dumping will not be allowed.

Oceans ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Cariboo—Prince George.

I want to remind the hon. member that he will have approximately 12 minutes before we hit question period. Upon return to debate, he will have another eight minutes coming to him.

Oceans ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague, the member for North Okanagan—Shuswap, who spoke on this topic for over an hour on Friday. It was fish Friday. Fish was even served in the lobby, and he spoke eloquently for over an hour on Bill C-55 and Bill S-203, which is on ending the captivity of whales.

I was back in the riding talking about species at risk, in particularly the issue we have with the southern mountain caribou. Members might wonder why I am bringing up this issue. It is because my colleague across the way wants to talk about consultation and how it has been thorough.

He would probably stand up and say that the consultation on the southern mountain caribou issue in the province of British Columbia was been thorough as well. I can tell members that what has been very thorough and robust is the attendance at these town halls done by the Province of British Columbia, and the reason attendance has been robust is that there has been no consultation. Here is an issue that is going to have detrimental impacts on our province in terms of industry and our way of life.

I also want to say at the very beginning that nobody wants to see a species such as the southern mountain caribou become extinct, or our chinook or our Atlantic salmon or our northern cod. One of the challenges we have with the current government is that its members stand up and say that they have consulted Canadians thoroughly, from coast to coast to coast, but indeed they have not. Why would the minister be getting protests outside his door by angry fishermen, angry groups, and have to be spirited away under the protection of security?

When we stand up on this side to talk about consultation, even the NDP members are in agreement with us that consultation is not there.

I will bring members back to earlier today, and for those in the gallery and for Canadians just tuning in to the debate, it has been 71 times that we have voted on time allocation. This is closure of debate. It has happened 71 times to this point under the current government.

I will bring members back to day 15 of the member for Papineau's campaign to be our Prime Minister. It was day 15 in the 2015 election when he stood up and said that under his government, we would be the most open and transparent government in the history of our country. Well, we have seen where that has gone.

He also said that he would run small deficits and then all of a sudden balance the budget in 2019. Well, where are we now? We have huge debt.

One of the other things he said was that under his government, they would not resort to parliamentary tricks and tactics such as omnibus bills, invoking closure or using time allocation. He would let the debate reign, because after all it was not about us as parliamentarians, but about the people who voted us in and got us here.

With that, I have to bring members back to today. I will remind those in the House who are checking their iPads and checking their messages and not really paying attention to the debate that this is not about them and it is not about the Prime Minister; this is about the electors who voted for 338 members of Parliament here to be their voice. When the government invokes time allocation and closure on debate, it is saying that the voices of those who elected members of the opposition and many others do not really matter.

We have seen that time and time again, and it is usually when Liberals do not like what they are hearing. It is usually when valid points are being brought up. We now see it again. We are sitting at 71 time allocation motions. I said 59 earlier, but my great colleague from Courtenay—Alberni reminded us that it is 71 times. I do not think that is letting the debate reign.

I also want to talk about consultation.

Liberals stand and talk about consultation. Throughout the southern mountain caribou exercise, a slide was brought out and then taken down very quickly. The slide said “consultation versus engagement”. That prompted me to think about this a little more. Liberals in government—and perhaps we on this side too, as elected officials—throw the terms “engagement” and “consultation” around as though they are interchangeable. The reality is that they are not. They are vastly different. Depending on the underlying motivation and the process, they come at different solutions.

In consultation, I would tell you, Mr. Speaker, that I have a great idea and ask you what you think about it. You may say that the hon. colleague from Cariboo—Prince George has a great idea, but there are some ways it could be tweaked to make it better. I would respond by saying that these are great ideas and I would think about them. However, with engagement, I would go to you, Mr. Speaker, and say that we have a problem and I would really like your help to try to figure it out. You and I would go back and forth in a transactional kind of dialogue, and I would take your thoughts, ideas and concepts, say that I think we have come up with a solution, and tell you what it was and away we would go.

I am probably going to elicit some boos from that side of the House, because in terms of what I just said about consultation versus engagement, it is engagement that Canadians truly want, especially those in fishing and coastal communities and first nations that depend on the fisheries for their sustenance. When we levy a policy such as what is found in Bill C-55, we are not consulting Canadians on what we should be doing but engaging Canadians from the grassroots on the issue. However, the problem with that is that at times, they cannot tell us what they want to protect.

Mr. Speaker, you just gave me a three-minute warning, but I think I have 11 minutes. It is three minutes until question period. That is going to ruin the video. Let the record show that I am splitting my time with question period, with 338 members of Parliament, unlike our colleagues across the way, who would not allow that.

Whether it is Bill C-55, the Fisheries Act, the northern cod study, the Atlantic salmon study or the aquatic invasive species study—which we will never get to, because our friends on the fisheries committee continue to delay it—Canadians are looking for engagement on policy that is going to impact them.

I have tried to change my vocabulary, my use of “consultation”, since that southern mountain caribou fiasco we dealt with in the province of British Columbia, and I now use “engagement”.

It is not an engagement. It is really just a check in a box to say that my colleagues across the way have talked about it. I wonder if it is because they do not believe Canadians are smart enough to come up with an idea. After all, we live in coastal areas and depend on the water, so maybe we are not smart enough to come up with a solution to the problem. Maybe they are worried the problem is that Canadians are too smart and will figure it out.

I have listened to a number of fishers, fishing organizations and first nations. They are concerned about the lack of consultation on Bill C-55. Our hon. colleague across the way is saying that the amendment that came back from the Senate is redundant and is way too much. After all, it would listen to Canadians, who time and again said that they were not consulted enough. They said that they were not being engaged enough.

We should always strive to be better. Bill C-55 is core legislation under the Liberal government. Now the Liberals say that time has dithered away, and I think my hon. colleague mentioned that there were only 25 sitting days left, and that is why there is an urgency to push it through. However, there are serious concerns with Bill C-55, which is why that amendment came forward. What they are essentially saying, which is no different than time allocation, is that because it is a Conservative amendment, it does not really matter. That is wrong.

With that, I will cede the floor and pick it up after question period.

Oceans ActGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

As was discussed prior, the hon. member for Cariboo—Prince George will have eight minutes coming to him to complete his presentation after question period and another 10 minutes of questions and comments after that.

Flooding in Glengarry—Prescott—RussellStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Drouin Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, over the past few weeks, flooding along the Ottawa River has been affecting residents of my riding in Cumberland, Clarence-Rockland, Alfred-Plantagenet and Champlain. The community has come together at this difficult time to help those affected by the flooding.

Businesses have given food, money and resources, and neighbours have been working side by side for hours to fill, transport and place sandbags.

We witnessed the great work of our Canadian Armed Forces, which, on short notice, were deployed in Cumberland and Clarence-Rockland to lend a hand to residents. There is nothing more powerful for affected residents than seeing our men and women in uniform.

Now that the water has peaked for a second time and is receding, I would like to take the opportunity to thank the residents, city officials, emergency services and members of the Canadian Armed Forces who worked together to overcome this flooding.

Lévis—LotbinièreStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lévis—Lotbinière, QC

Mr. Speaker, this year, spring is as slow in coming as the end of the Liberal rule. We have been buried in debt and looking like fools in everyone's eyes since 2015.

The torture is almost over. The Conservative Party has always proven to be the only transparent, ethical, credible and responsible choice to govern our country.

This summer, the values that reflect who we are and bring us together will be on display in Lévis—Lotbinière. I will have the privilege of sharing and celebrating those values with people of all ages at the Canada Day celebrations being held at the Expo de Lotbinière site and at our play, Comme dans le temps, a local cultural production being performed in Saint-Gilles.

There is still time to choose initiatives to improve our communities, especially with the upcoming election this fall.

Quebec deserves better.

Jewish Heritage MonthStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Deb Schulte Liberal King—Vaughan, ON

Mr. Speaker, last year, Bill S-232, sponsored by the member for York Centre, passed unanimously in the House and designated May as Canadian Jewish Heritage Month. By enacting this law, Parliament has provided Canada's Jewish community much-deserved recognition.

My riding of King—Vaughan is home to a vibrant and diverse Jewish community. Like Jews throughout Canada, the Jewish community in my riding has contributed immensely to growing a dynamic, successful and inclusive society.

In this disturbing period of rising anti-Semitism, it is right and just that all of us, whatever our faith, both recognize and celebrate the contributions Jews have made to Canada, but also work to support and defend our Jewish neighbours, friends and institution, not only this month but every month.

During Jewish Heritage Month, I want to pay particular attention to the good work undertaken by the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee, both of which work hard to educate politicians, students and community leaders on the issues of importance to Israel, Canada and the Jewish people.

Let me conclude by wishing everyone, chodesh tov.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, today I would like to show parliamentarians what leadership looks like.

Under the guidance of Ms. Gina, the grades six and seven students at Hastings school organized an amazing assembly to celebrate Earth Day. This project included a beautiful art piece of the Earth, with a handprint of each student that delivered his or her message on how to save the Earth.

The students are gripped with the most important issues of their generation: climate catastrophe, species at risk and forced migration. These young engaged citizens want actions and solutions. They want us to “Keep fossil fuels in the ground (coal, oil and gas).”

Like the students at Hastings, thousands of students took part in the climate strike on May 3. Their demands are clear: a 65% emissions reduction by 2030; the separation of oil and state; a just transition; the right to a safe environment; indigenous rights; conserve biodiversity; and, the protection of vulnerable groups.

It is time to put “Planet before profit. To stop pollution, we are the solution.” In other words, we need a green new deal now.

MullivaikkalStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Gary Anandasangaree Liberal Scarborough—Rouge Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, this May 18 we mark the 10th anniversary of the genocide in Mullivaikkal. Over 70,000 Tamils were killed, 300,000 detained and countless disappeared. I want to remember and honour those who died, their families and survivors.

Within the designated no-fire zone, the makeshift hospital was repeatedly bombed by the Sri Lankan military. The last remaining medical team became the lifeline for many. Its members saved thousands of lives, working in treacherous conditions and putting their own lives at risk, all the while reporting on the atrocities of the world to whomever would listen. They became the face of humanity at a moment when humanity forgot those on the small sliver of land called Mullivaikkal.

I am honoured to welcome to Parliament Hill today Dr. T. Varatharajah and Mrs. K. Kanadasamy, members of the medical team, whose courage, valour and heroism have left their Tamil nation and all of humanity forever in their debt.

HousingStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, most Canadians dream of owning a home, but the Liberals' mortgage rules are keeping many of these individuals out of the market.

Owning a home, of course, comes with a sense of pride, a sense of accomplishment and a sense of joy. It is an honour for Canadians to have a permanent place where they get to build a life.

However, more and more young Canadians are finding it very difficult and are reporting that they are giving up on the dream of home ownership. They are struggling to afford daily necessities, let alone be able to save for a down payment. To make matters worse, the current government has implemented a mortgage stress test that makes it extremely difficult for first-time homebuyers to get into the market.

Canadians build wealth by owning a home. It is very key. By blocking millennials from this opportunity, the Liberals are keeping them from being able to build equity and create a life for themselves, enjoying the stability of a home.

The Conservatives are committed to ensuring that Canadians in all regions of the country are able to afford a home, to realize their dream. We will continue to implement policies that will serve Canadians well and help regular Canadians get ahead.

Brain Tumour RegistryStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Bill Casey Liberal Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, in 2006, I was asked for help by the families of two young boys, who each had been diagnosed with brain tumour.

Working with the Canadian Alliance of Brain Tumour Organizations, we developed private member's Motion No. 235, which called on the government to help develop a national brain tumour registry.

Tomorrow, the brand new Brain Tumour Registry of Canada will be launched for the first time to ensure every brain tumour in Canada is counted and studied.

When the motion was passed by the House in 2007, young Brandon Dempsey and his mother Jennifer were in the gallery. Sadly, Brandon passed away in 2012, but I am very pleased that his mother is back in the gallery today.

I want to recognize Matthew MacDonald of Truro and Brandon Dempsey of Amherst, two young Canadians who did not survive their brain tumours. Without their courageous fight and the determined support of their parents, the Brain Tumour Registry might not have been created.

I also want to recognize my assistant, Lorne Berndt, for his tireless efforts, and all the brain tumour community which helped developed the national Brain Tumour Registry.

RamadanStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Salma Zahid Liberal Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, every year Muslims across the world take part in Ramadan. As we fast from dawn to sunset for the next month, we take the time to reflect on ourselves, our actions and our values.

The month of Ramadan is a time of patience, empathy and compassion. It is a time when we grow closer to our families, friends and community. We open our hearts and strive to give back to our community through charity and volunteerism. We share these values as Muslims and Canadians who work every day to make our country a better place.

In my riding of Scarborough Centre, Ramadan brings people together. Our multi-faith council, which regularly brings community members of different faiths together, will be hosting a multi-faith iftar, or the breaking of the fast.

I am proud to be part of the Muslim community in Canada, a community that contributes to the diversity that makes Canada strong. I would like to wish everyone observing this month Ramadan Mubarak.

Government PoliciesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker,

It is three and half years in and Canadians now realize.
The Prime Minister is just not as advertised.
With his hand on his heart, he promised reconciliation.
Instead, he is pitting first nation against first nation.
On softwood and the economy he said “just trust me”.
Yet investment and companies continue to flee.
There are no savings left for those rainy days.
As the bank account has been drained by his sunny ways.
He jets off to exotic locations on vacations,
Offending our neighbours and many foreign nations.
He bought Loblaws their fridges and freezers and such.
Even though he promised to be there after the fires
Aside from photos and selfies he really has not given us much.
Our fire-damaged fridges and freezers replacement, we paid.
His fake environment plan, just a carbon tax raid.
“Let the debate reign” said the Papineau PM.
“It's not about us; it's all about them.”
Seventy-one times he has shut down debate.
Another Liberal promise broken by this date.
All was forgotten after the ballots were cast.
But all is not lost.
This October, Canadians can ensure it is his last.

President of CroatiaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Bratina Liberal Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, the diversity of our great country creates historic events, and for Canadians of Croatian descent, today is such a day. Today our Governor General will host Her Excellency Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, President of the Republic of Croatia, at Rideau Hall. This marks the first official state visit of Croatia's head of state since the declaration of its independence in 1991.

It is a tribute to the thousands of Croatian immigrants, such as my father and grandparents, who have contributed to the success of Canada at every level, from common labour to arts, science, politics, sports and perhaps most importantly, as great neighbours and citizens.

President Grabar-Kitarovic has made a remarkable impact on the world scene since her election and currently holds the Chair of the Council of Women World Leaders. So many Canadians have received a warm welcome visiting our beautiful homeland, which we call Lijepa nasa domovino, that we can now say to her excellency, dobro dosla u Kanadu, welcome to Canada.