House of Commons Hansard #52 of the 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was ceta.


Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999Private Members' Business

5:30 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

When the House last took up debate on the motion, the hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader had six minutes remaining in the time for his remarks.

Resuming debate, the hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.

Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999Private Members' Business

5:30 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba


Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, it is with pleasure that I add to some of my earlier comments. I will do a very quick review.

Bill C-204 was introduced by the member for York—Simcoe. Given the summary of the bill, one could be somewhat skeptical of it, especially since it is coming from a member of the Conservative caucus. I do not know if the Conservatives had a discussion about this issue, especially the members who were sitting in government in 2010 to 2014, because the bill attempts to amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act to prohibit the export of certain types of plastic to foreign countries for final disposal.

The reason I started off this way is that a few years ago there was a huge issue in the Philippines. When Stephen Harper was the prime minister, there was a company that shipped all sorts of plastics, which it claimed to be garbage, to the Philippines. When the containers were opened, the waste did not have much to do with the recycling of plastics; there was just a lot of garbage. That is what it was. There were used diapers, and it was an actual mess when they unsealed the containers, with odours coming out. It became a diplomatic issue for us.

We can learn something from this: We need to recognize that it is not appropriate for Canada to be shipping garbage around the world to different places without proper checks in place. In certain situations, it should not happen at all, period.

In 2016, I believe, reflecting on the garbage or recycled plastics that were shipped under the Harper regime, we strengthened some of the guidelines to prevent those sorts of things from happening in the future. Diplomatically, it was raised at a fairly high level, and President Duterte indicated that he had serious concerns about the waste and wanted it out of the Philippines. Fortunately, we were able to find a place for the garbage and got rid of it here in Canada at a facility, where it was burned.

The point is that we recognize the need to look at environmental issues. When we look at specifics, the government already has a fairly comprehensive agenda to tackle the issue of plastic waste. This includes strengthening controls on plastic waste exports under the Basel Convention, for the control of transboundary movements of hazardous waste and recyclable materials. This is the type of agreement that governments around the world need to look at, support and then follow, because it is a great way to ensure that controls are not just between one, two or three countries, but widely accepted around the world.

Canada does play and has played a leadership role in recent negotiations for amendments. These amendments would reduce exports of non-recyclable, hazardous plastic waste to countries unable to manage them in an environmentally sound way. What I really like is the fact that as we continue to go forward and talk about this, especially but not exclusively with young people, we find that the environment is a huge issue. People have many different ideas.

As a government, we have been moving forward on this file in significant ways. I could talk about the emissions legislation to get to net zero by 2050. I could talk about the two billion trees we are committing to plant. Also, back in October, we indicated we would be banning plastics, in particular six items: plastic bags, straws, stir sticks, six-pack rings, cutlery and hard-to-recycle takeout containers.

I think the government has demonstrated its interest in moving aggressively and progressively on issues facing the environment, and we have to take into consideration plastics if we are going to deal with them. We are committed to doing this and have been working on it now for a number of years.

At the end of the day, as we continue this debate, members should feel comfortable in knowing they have a government that is progressive on the issue of plastics and our environment. We will continue to move Canada forward on this issue.

Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999Private Members' Business

5:35 p.m.


Kristina Michaud Bloc Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am always pleased to speak in the House in order to share what I believe is necessary to truly fight climate change, reduce greenhouse gases and protect the environment.

I thank my colleague from York—Simcoe for his work on the environment. In a way it is reassuring to see members of the Conservative Party truly concerned about the environment.

That being said, we see that, like his party, Bill C-204 is somewhat ineffectual. In fact, it shows that, regrettably, the Conservative Party does not want to stick its neck out when it comes to the environment, likely to not upset their base in western Canada.

The points I want to raise in this intervention show that the transition to green energy is not only essential, but may provide an extraordinary opportunity to create wealth and jobs. It is something to keep in mind for our friends in western Canada for whom the federal government would do well to do everything it can to protect thousands of jobs by steering them to a low-carbon economy.

Make no mistake: This bill is very important. Of course the Bloc Québécois supports a bill that prohibits the export of plastic waste for final disposal. Exported plastics destined for recycling should be properly sorted and labelled and definitely traceable. They should not be used for fuel in foreign countries, nor should they ever end up in the environment.

However, it would be utterly dishonest to not push this a bit further. As important as it is to prohibit the export of waste, we need to re-examine how we produce things in the first place, especially certain single-use products. Let me make this perfectly clear. We need to rethink the life cycle of materials in our economy. If the government really wants to take action on this issue and walk the green talk, it should transfer funds unconditionally—there can be no conditions whatsoever—to the provinces that, like Quebec, are already implementing a circular economy strategy and extended producer responsibility.

The federal government must act now to give Quebec recycling companies the means to recycle more complex plastic products. It appears that the limitation of Bill C-204 is that it does not go far enough. It does not address the fundamental problem, which, I believe, is how we produce things in general to ensure that we reduce our waste.

There is a very real and urgent need to reduce our production and consumption of single-use plastics. When I said that we need to rethink how materials circulate, it is important to understand that we need to transition to a circular economy. As a formality, let us take a little look back at what the circular economy is all about.

In short, it is a way to produce, trade and consume goods and services by optimizing the use of resources at all stages of the life cycle of goods and services. In a circular logic, the goal is therefore to reduce the environmental footprint while contributing to the well-being of individuals and communities. The circular economy has two main objectives: to rethink our methods of production and consumption in order to use fewer resources, and to protect the ecosystems that generate them.

How can we optimize resources that are already circulating in our societies?

There are three steps: using the products more frequently, extending the lifespan of the products and their components and giving new life to resources.

The circular economy proposes a number of strategies and business models that optimize the use of resources as long as we give priority to the shortest and most local routes. Whether from an economic, social or environmental perspective, the circular economy has many advantages and positive spinoffs. It makes it possible to create wealth by giving value to our raw materials, keeping our raw materials here, promoting the local economy and establishing successful companies.

The circular economy acts as a lever of economic growth by promoting the development of new business models and environmentally friendly technologies and products. That is a sustainable solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the environmental impacts of production and transportation.

In short, giving value to our raw materials at every step of their life cycle is a win-win situation. One person's waste can be transformed into useful material for others. For example, in Quebec, glass powder can replace up to 30% of the cement used in concrete thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20% and providing a great use for recycled glass.

Quebec has already committed, through RECYC-QUÉBEC and its recycling companies, to implement a production, exchange and consumption system based on the circular economy model. The federal government must provide more money to Quebec and the provinces to encourage them to do more. These initiatives are beneficial at all levels.

It is a cycle. We need to produce less and transform our waste into new products. We need to give them a second life here in Quebec and Canada instead of sending them overseas to be disposed of. The government has some responsibility here.

One way to produce less waste is to produce less single-use plastic.

This Liberal government had promised to ban single-use plastics, but that promise was deferred because of the pandemic. However, this pandemic has shown we must act urgently, as it has led to increased use of single-use plastics, despite the government's promise to ban then in 2021.

The list of COVID-19 plastic products, such as surgical masks, gloves, visors, disinfecting wipes and cutlery for takeout meals, has reversed the trend towards banning synthetic polymers.

In June 2019, Ottawa announced a plan to ban single-use plastic products in 2021. The ban unfortunately covers just six products: plastic bags, straws, stir sticks, six-pack rings, cutlery and food packaging made from hard-to-recycle plastics. That is all well and good, but there are a number of other products missing from the list. We are still far from the goal of achieving zero plastic waste by 2030.

I have to say that the Liberals' environmental initiatives are utterly inconsistent. The Prime Minister had the gall to announce millions of dollars to help protect biodiversity around the world only to authorize, just a few hours later, 40 exploratory drilling projects in a United Nations-recognized ecologically or biologically significant marine area.

To make matters worse, Ottawa also chose to expedite project approvals by abolishing the environmental assessment process in place up until now. Ironically, this is happening at the start of what the United Nations has named the decade of ocean science for sustainable development and at a time when there is a collective awareness dawning that 2021 is the year when we must not miss the boat on environmental protection. With announcements such as these, I can say that my planet is suffering.

This year, the current government has completely missed the boat when it comes to the environment. It had the opportunity to initiate a true green shift by making massive investments in the energy transition away from oil with money allocated for the economic recovery. It did not do so. It has understood nothing. The current health crisis and the environmental crisis are not mutually exclusive. Our government's failure to take action on the environment over the past decades and this pandemic are intertwined. We must recognize this and take action now.

The pandemic, just like increasingly mild winters, is a sign that nature is changing. This week, in the month of January, the temperature was -3°C in the Gaspé. Not only is there a connection between COVID-19 and nature, but the political decisions we are making connects them more closely. Failure to take action on the environmental front will lead to a world where potential epidemics will be part of day-to-day life. The issue is how will our societies manage these threats.

The problem is that this government is inconsistent. On the one hand, it is promising to plant two billion trees in 10 years; on the other, it is investing billions of dollars to expand the Trans Mountain pipeline. It wants to fight climate change, but continues to invest millions of dollars in oil projects. In March 2020, this very government stated with a straight face that the pipeline was consistent with the plan to fight climate change in Canada. This Liberal government does not see the environmental disconnect between expanding the oil industry and meeting greenhouse gas reduction targets. I am not making this up.

Non-recyclable plastic ends up in our waterways, decomposes, and ends up in our air and our food. This poses serious threats to human health. We have to think about the long-term impact of an excessive amount of plastic.

Until now, the government has rejected the idea of banning the export of plastic waste. It has opted for exporting plastic to be recycled. However, in June 2019, before being elected, the Liberal member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie said he was concerned about exporting plastic. He said the following:

In some cases, it is recycled, but not the way we might think. We know that China will use some of that plastic as fuel to meet its high energy needs instead of using other types of fuel.

The government's argument that we must not prevent materials from being recycled abroad does not hold water. The hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie has acknowledged that the current situation is akin to shipping our problems elsewhere. We can and, more importantly, we must do better. I sincerely hope that he will be able to convince his government of this.

Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999Private Members' Business

5:45 p.m.


Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a real honour to be rising today in the home of the Nuu-chah-nulth people on the unceded traditional territory of the Hupacasath and shíshálh people.

I am here, rising again to talk about plastics and the impact of plastics choking our ocean and the species that live in our marine economy. As someone from a coastal community, I can tell the House first-hand the impact it is having on our coastlines, and we have the longest coastline in the world.

This is an urgent issue that the Government of Canada needs to take even more seriously, and its obligation to the environment needs to be backed up with the words that were used at the United Nations in its commitments there, and also at the G7. When the government hosted the G7, it had a commitment for an ocean plastics strategy in the G7, a commitment around eliminating and reducing plastic pollution.

Bill C-204 is presented by the member for York—Simcoe, and I really appreciate his efforts on this bill and his enthusiasm. The House certainly knows the position of the NDP on plastics. In fact, this is my 87th time rising on the issue related to plastics. It is because it is an urgent issue, and we cannot take half measures to tackle this issue.

Back in 2017, I presented Motion No. 151 to the House. The motion was to develop a national strategy to combat plastic pollution. Thousands of Canadians reached out to their MPs to support this motion. We had many stakeholders from my riding and other coastal communities who rallied together to support the motion, which received unanimous support in the House, and I appreciate all members from all parties for supporting it.

I certainly want to highlight the work of my former colleagues Murray Rankin, Nathan Cullen and, of course, Megan Leslie, who have done really important work in relation to plastics. I want to thank the current members for Victoria, Vancouver Kingsway and Windsor West for their tireless efforts and work to protect our coastal communities from plastics.

It is because of this work that the government has made some efforts and steps in terms of banning certain types of plastics, such as grocery bags, straws and plastic cutlery. Those measures will come into effect this year. The government made commitments around derelict and abandoned fishing gear. This is a start.

However, we have a ton of work to do. When it comes to this issue being a priority for Canadians, a release that came out the other day from Oceana showed that a poll commissioned from Abacus Data found that 95% of Canadians are concerned about the impact plastic pollution has on our oceans. People across our country want to see real action when it comes to tackling this really important threat to our ecosystem.

When we go across the country, we hear concerns from people and hear stories about people seeing plastic washing up on their shores, but we do not have responsibility in place. There is still no extended producer responsibility.

The government is focused on a circular economy. The amount it is looking at reducing in its ban for this year of the six single-use plastics covers only a fraction of 1% of the amount of plastic that is currently being used. In fact, Canadians are laggards. In 2016, only 9% of plastics were recycled in Canada, while 86% ended up in the landfill, 4% was incarcerated and 1% was actually released directly into the environment, so we are not doing enough. We need to do a lot more here in Canada.

As well, we obviously need to stop the export of plastics abroad. The importance of today's bill is real, but it is also a half step. Honestly, we need to realize that we have signed on to the Basel convention, and we need to actually honour our agreement and commitment there.

In terms of this bill, in 2018 Canada shipped more than 44,000 tonnes of plastic waste to other countries because of our inability to recycle that plastic ourselves. Much of that plastic ended up in countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and Cambodia. We certainly know it ended up in the Philippines. As members know, I rose in the House back in 2018 on what became an international embarrassment, as our waste was sitting in Manila in the Philippines. They wanted it sent back to Canada, and for good reason. A lot of these developing nations do not have the capacity and the infrastructure to recycle and dispose of the plastic we have been sending there.

We have children living in plastic slums on the other side of the world because of plastic being shipped by Canada. We can find Canadian labels in most of these plastic slums, and in their rivers and waterways. It is something we should all be embarrassed about as Canadians. We need to take this very seriously.

We know that the Liberals have dismissed the idea of banning plastic waste exports. They have again signed onto the Basel Convention, but we know that there are loopholes and ways that plastic is escaping through the United States and other countries we are still shipping it to, so their strategy is not enough. The Liberals need to adhere to their international commitments.

We know that if we take action now, we are going to see results. This is what Ashley Wallis from Oceana had to say:

Canada has an opportunity to lead in the fight to end the global plastic disaster. There is public appetite for stronger federal action. Now is the time to meaningfully reduce plastic pollution production and use, including banning more of the unnecessary and harmful single-use plastics that are choking our life-sustaining oceans.

I could not agree more. I know that we are talking about banning the shipment of plastics, but we actually need to eliminate the unnecessary use of single-use plastics in our country. We need to, of course, stop shipping our plastics to other countries.

When it comes to the Basel Convention, clearly our country is not following through with our commitments. We need the government to listen to this. We would not be talking about this bill if Canada was actually honouring its commitment. We are a signatory to the original Basel Convention, which sets restrictions on shipping waste to the developing world, but we refuse to ratify parts of that agreement of stopping the plastic waste exports, because the government knows that it would not be in compliance of it. We want the Liberals to stop offering just words that they are committed and actually take real action on this.

Again, we have not heard the Government of Canada talk about extended producer responsibility and work with the companies that are creating plastics and redesigning it. I think of Nathan Cullen, who is now a B.C. cabinet minister. When he was the member of Parliament for Skeena—Bulkley Valley, he tabled a bill that would redesign packaging and ban the design of plastics that could not be recycled and reused.

The article on the Oceana release also cites:

Two-thirds of Canadians polled support expanding the ban to other harmful plastic products, including hot and cold drink cups, cigarette filters, and all forms of polystyrene.... These items—and many others—are commonly found littered in the environment...[including] our waterways, yet they are missing from the proposed ban list. This is despite recent scientific modelling confirming we need to significantly reduce plastic waste generation—not just increase recycling—if we want to have a fighting chance of curbing the fatal blow of plastic into our waterways.

We need to do this. I could speak all day on plastics, as members can imagine. Again, I see it first-hand.

I appreciate my colleague bringing the bill forward as his private member's bill. The more we talk about this issue the better, but we do need the government to stop talking on their end and take greater action. These lofty goals of banning six single-use plastics is going to make a difference of 1%. We are laggards.

We use more plastic per capita than any other developed country in the world, and that has to change. I know the government wants to create this circular economy idea, but that still means we will be doubling plastic use by 2035 if we continue on this trajectory. We need to reduce and eliminate our use of plastics. We need to obviously recycle what we have here in Canada, instead of shipping it overseas, and we need to honour the Basel Convention.

I want to thank my colleague. We will be supporting the bill to get to committee where we will be bringing forward amendments to improve this legislation. I hope the changes we will be bringing forward will be welcome.

Again, I want to thank him for bringing the bill forward, and I want to thank all of my colleagues in the House for talking about this very important issue, but let us take some action. Let us make some changes, so that children abroad are not living in plastic slums, because the plastic waste coming from Canada is choking out their waterways and their environment. They deserve better. The earth and the future deserve better.

Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999Private Members' Business

5:55 p.m.


Scott Aitchison Conservative Parry Sound—Muskoka, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a great opportunity to speak to this issue, and I want to compliment my colleague, the member for Courtenay—Alberni. He is clearly a leader on this issue and I appreciated his recognition of the member for York—Simcoe and his enthusiasm for this. He is generally a great guy.

This is not a partisan issue. I completely agree with the member for York—Simcoe when he describes it as a common sense way to improve what we are doing.

We have all heard this number, that 300,000 tonnes of plastic waste is collected in Canada and over one-quarter of that winds up getting exported to other countries, many of which we know cannot afford to deal with this plastic waste. We know that it goes to these countries and it is supposed to be recycled, but we all know, and we have heard the stories and seen the reports, that this plastic waste is sent to the a landfill or burned.

I can appreciate my colleague from Courtenay—Alberni talking about having seen it himself on the west coast of Canada. However, I have had the privilege and honour of travelling in my previous life. I have seen first-hand the impacts of Canadian plastic waste in the developing world in places like Southeast Asia. One of the most striking things about these beautiful places is that they are stunning landscapes and the people are lovely and wonderful, yet there is a constant flow of waste and plastic. We see it blowing around or being burnt as garbage. I can give a few examples.

I am thinking about my trip to Southeast Asia where I spent some time in Cambodia, which is one of the most remarkable countries in the world. What Cambodia has been through is truly remarkable. My friend and I were travelling from Phnom Penh, the capital, to Sihanoukville, which is a beautiful little coastal town where we would stay there for a couple of days. It took us several hours by bus to get there. The amount of garbage we saw along the side of the road was remarkable. Every few kilometres we would see garbage being burned, and it was mostly plastic. We would see children sorting through it and playing in it. It was a striking thing to see in a country that was so beautiful.

It occurred to us then that if every kid perhaps in the western world spent a week in countries like Cambodia, maybe they would think differently when they complained about something. When I think of it now, much of that plastic waste that was being burned came from Canada. It is shameful.

I had another experience in Nicaragua, which is another country where our waste goes. It is another great example. I was there to visit the Buena Vista Surf Club, an eco-friendly place off the grid. To get to it, I had to drive north of San Juan del Sur past the town dump, which was riddled with plastic and a constant burning of it. It was horrible to be surrounded by such natural beauty and see this waste, knowing so much of it came from our country.

We are all familiar with the 2019 Marketplace report on the village in Malaysia and the embarrassing story of that non-recyclable Canadian waste that the Philippine government sent back to Canada. I agree with my colleague from Courtenay—Alberni. We are paying lip service to the Basel Convention. It is embarrassing. We should be ashamed of ourselves. Our allies like Australia are leading by example, Australia with its recycling and waste reduction bill from 2020. It received royal assent and came into effect as of December.

The objectives of that bill are:

(a) to reduce the impact on human and environmental health of products, waste from products and waste material, including by reducing the amount of greenhouse gases emitted, energy and resources used and water consumed in connection with products, waste from products and waste material;

(b) to realise the community and economic benefits of taking responsibility for products, waste from products and waste material;

(c) to promote a circular economy that maximises the continued use of products and waste material over their life cycle and accounts for their environmental impacts;

(d) to contribute to Australia meeting its international obligations concerning the impact referred to in paragraph (a).

This should also be our objective.

Bill C-204 represents a truly unique opportunity for Canadian innovation to deal with our own waste. It represents an opportunity to support some of the existing innovative Canadian companies that are recycling and keeping plastic waste out of our landfills in Canada now and from going to places like Cambodia and Malaysia, companies like Cielo Waste Solutions in Alberta or Goodwood Plastics in Nova Scotia.

This represents an opportunity as well for Canadians to reduce their total waste. If Canadians saw how much waste we produce, instead of it being shipped away in other parts of the world where we do not have to think about it anymore, they would think more consciously about the waste we are producing.

It is also an opportunity for Canada to lead in the world by example as Australia is doing. It is an opportunity for Canada to stop polluting countries that can least afford to deal with our waste.

Bill C-204 is an important first step. I am a big believer in us getting this done. It is time for us to stop paying lip service to this issue of caring about the waste that we produce. We need to do something. I really hope all members in the House will support the passage of Bill C-204.

Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999Private Members' Business

January 28th, 2021 / 6:05 p.m.

Vaudreuil—Soulanges Québec


Peter Schiefke LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to talk about Bill C-204, an act to amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.

Issues around plastic and plastic waste are complex and multi-dimensional. Our government recognizes that plastic serves Canadians in many ways and plays an important role in the Canadian economy.

This pandemic has shown us that some plastics play a key role in saving lives and reducing disease transmission. However, end-of-life management of plastics continues to present major challenges. We must continue our work to reduce the quantity of plastic we send to landfills by reducing plastic waste overall, increasing plastic recovery in Canada and preserving its value in the Canadian economy.

The government believes that plastic waste should never be sent to other countries, where it ends up in unregulated landfills, local environments or the ocean. We applaud the Conservative Party's interest in tackling the growing problem of plastic waste, especially considering that the Conservatives have always opposed our government's efforts to tackle the problem. However, we do not support Bill C-204 because it is quite problematic as written.

First and foremost, our government will not be supporting this bill as we have a comprehensive agenda to achieve zero plastic waste and eliminate plastic pollution that includes action both domestically and internationally.

To stop problematic exports of plastic waste, Canada needs to begin at home. We need to reduce and better manage our plastic waste and ensure we export only clean and ready to be recycled plastics.

That is why our approach addresses the entire life cycle of plastic, and includes proposing a ban or restriction of select harmful single-use plastics, where warranted and supported by science; making producers responsible for their plastic waste; proposing the development of minimum recycled content requirements for products; investing in small and medium Canadian businesses and organizations, to advance innovative solutions; investing in sector-based and community solutions, to reduce plastic waste and pollution; advancing Canada's plastic science agenda by supporting research to better understand the value change, and the impacts, of plastic pollution on our environment; leading by example, in reducing plastic waste from federal operations; and, finally, working with industry to prevent and retrieve lost fishing gear and reduce plastic waste.

We are also taking action, through collaboration with provinces and territories, on this important issue through the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment. The government is working with all levels of government as well as with industry, organizations and first nations communities to mobilize and engage Canadians to reduce plastic waste and pollution, including by empowering Canadian households, businesses and institutions to use and recycle plastic responsibly.

In addition to our domestic action, we are also already tackling the issue of plastic waste internationally, which the hon. member's bill fails to recognize. We have taken important steps that will help prevent illegal exports, and will implement newly adopted international controls and transboundary movements of certain plastic waste. In fact, progress has been made to address this issue since Bill C-204 was introduced in February 2020.

Canada recently finalized its acceptance of amendments to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, to control the transboundary movement of non-hazardous and non-recyclable plastic waste. As such, as of January 1, 2021, exports of certain plastic wastes to parties to the convention are subject to the Canadian regulations, and require permits and consent from importing countries prior to being exported from Canada.

These controls will ensure exports of plastic waste from Canada only take place when the importing country determines it can manage the waste in an environmentally sound manner. This regime should reduce exports to developing countries and improve the quality of plastic waste that is traded for recycling plastic waste under the Basel Convention.

As part of accepting these amendments, Canada has also established an arrangement with the United States, which is a non-party to the convention, to ensure the continued environmentally sound management of non-hazardous wastes and scrap, including plastic waste traded between our two countries.

Furthermore, we are actively working to implement additional measures to prevent illegal shipments of waste overseas. As was expressed during the first hour of debate on this matter, this work includes activities such as communication of regulatory requirements to Canadian waste exporters, taking action against those who break the rules, and collaboration between all relevant departments and agencies, including Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Canada Border Services Agency and Global Affairs Canada.

A second reason the government will not be supporting Bill C-204 is that the bill is unlikely to effectively tackle problematic plastic waste exports because it does not cover plastics that are exported for recycling. This is a significant issue, as there is little economic incentive to export plastic waste across long distances for final disposal. As such, the bill would not cover plastic waste that is exported for the purposes of recycling, but that go to countries that are not in a position to effectively recycle mixed or contaminated plastic waste. By failing to control exports of contaminated or mixed plastics if they are exported for the purposes of recycling, the bill would not reduce exports of this plastic waste or create incentives for trade in clean and ready-to-recycle plastic waste.

The bill is also unlikely to be effective due to the contents of the list of plastic waste. The list contains many entries that would not commonly be considered plastic. For example, ethylene is a gas at room temperature and is not considered a plastic material. While it can be used as an ingredient in producing certain plastics, it has other unrelated industrial uses. In these cases where precursor substances that are used to make plastics are on the list, the bill would also capture non-plastic materials.

Another reason the government will not be supporting this bill is that, as mentioned by my colleague during the last debate on this matter, Bill C-204's proposed ban on plastic waste exports would likely put pressure on landfills in provinces and territories. This runs counter to our collaborative approach to achieving zero plastic waste and transitioning to a circular economy for plastics.

Our government firmly believes in taking concrete action to reduce plastic waste in pollution and we are doing so, but putting pressure on municipalities, provinces and territories, which this would do, is not an effective approach.

In closing, although the government is pleased that the member for York—Simcoe raised the important issue of plastic waste exports, the solution that he is proposing is not an effective one. The government agrees that it is important to address the issue of Canada's exports of plastic waste and will continue to implement its comprehensive strategies both domestically and internationally.

Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999Private Members' Business

6:10 p.m.


Julie Vignola Bloc Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, one of the reasons I ran for office was so that I could work to improve our relationship with the environment and help leave a sustainable planet for future generations.

Bill C-204 on the disposal of plastic waste is a step in the right direction. I will give an overview of the plastic waste situation, suggest solutions and close by talking about our moral, international, intergenerational and economic responsibilities.

Plastic waste is the other pandemic we are facing, and we are not the only ones. It is a problem for the entire world's flora and fauna.

I would like to give a few examples that show why we need to be responsible about our exports and imports and especially about our consumption habits. I am sure that it comes as no surprise to anyone here that there is a seventh continent, the plastic continent.

This continent is located in the North Pacific subtropical gyre. There is so much plastic waste in the North Pacific subtropical gyre that it has been nicknamed the seventh continent, the great Pacific garbage patch or plastic island. It is estimated that the area of this continent is between 1.4 million square kilometres and 2 million square kilometres. To give you an idea of what that means, I will tell you that the area of Quebec is about 1.7 million square kilometres and that of Ontario is about one million square kilometres, which means that this ocean of plastic is larger than Quebec or Ontario.

Scientists have recently realized that the North Atlantic gyre also contains a large amount of plastic. They even suspect that plastic can be found at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, which is 11,000 metres deep. According to National Geographic, there are more than five billion pieces of plastic in our oceans and rivers. Nearly 73% of the garbage on beaches is plastic waste. Plastic production has grown exponentially from 2.3 million tonnes annually in 1950 to 162 million tonnes in 1993 and 448 million tonnes in 2015.

By 2050, all seabirds will be ingesting plastic on a regular basis. Currently, 700 species of marine animals have already ingested plastic or have been caught in plastic waste. Only 9% of plastic waste is recycled and 12% is incinerated. Approximately 79% of this waste ends up in landfills or in the wild. Why would anyone want to export it? I say no, it is time to stop doing that.

I could go on and on, but there is one last statistic I really want to mention. Fully 40% of the plastics we use are used only once before they are tossed in the landfill or end up in the wild. Plastics have a lifespan of between 450 years and infinity.

Quebec and Canada are not beyond reproach. We have contributed to this disaster over the past 70 years. We have exported our waste to various countries, handing off responsibility for dealing with what we should have dealt with. By sending our trash to those countries, we have helped pollute vital bodies of water and jeopardized the lives of the people who depend on them and those trying to manage the waste as well as they know how. For example, right now, in a suburb of Accra, Ghana, waste covers an area of over 10 square kilometres, including a major river. People are burning the waste and are being exposed to arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury fumes on a daily basis for a measly two bucks a day. As far as I know, our waste does not go to Ghana, but waste we exported in the past has been handled just like this in other countries. The people in that country suffered the same consequences: pollution and toxic fumes. Why?

The reason is that they lack the necessary infrastructure or knowledge to deal with this waste properly. However, we have the knowledge and the ability to set up the infrastructure at both the provincial and municipal levels. It is time to stop offloading our responsibilities onto others.

When I rise in the House, whether to ask a question or deliver a speech, I try to offer some solutions. I know that they are not always heard, and I know that sometimes my suggestions come across as criticism, but it is important to listen.

Twenty-five years ago, when I was still in CEGEP, a man who had lost everything, his wife, his children, his home, his business, had the idea of starting a new business recycling recycled plastic pellets. He wanted to recycle something that had already been recycled. I remember he told me at the time that the plastic pellets were in our waterways and that he wanted to gather them and reuse them to make objects as strong as our grandmothers' Tupperware containers. People thought he was crazy. The banks refused to finance his venture, and he was even told to see a doctor because he might be bipolar. Where would we be today if he had succeeded?

Young people around the world are doing everything they can to rid the earth and bodies of water of plastic. There are floating garbage cans that suck plastic out of the water, boats that collect them, and more. These people are meeting a need. They are removing our garbage from nature. However, what will we do after that?

It is about time that we act responsibly, improve our recycling infrastructure here and, above all, stop offloading our problems onto our neighbours. It is all very well to stop exporting our plastic waste, but we should do something else besides burn or bury it here. We should listen more carefully to and support people like the gentleman I met 25 years ago. It is time to assume our leadership role. We should not fool ourselves. Even if we stop exporting our garbage, we must accept our responsibilities here.

According to National Geographic, only about 17% of our plastic waste can be processed. That means we need to find a responsible solution for processing the remaining 83% of plastic waste here. Quebec is not perfect, but it is working to create a circular economy with the help of Recyc-Québec and its recycling companies. A circular economy goes beyond traditional recycling. It is about reusing, making, repairing and innovating, and choosing renewable energy sources while using the product for its entire life cycle. In short, the goal is to get the most out of the resource and upcycle it into something new, such as park benches, clothing, carpets, toys, reusable water bottles, and so on.

Back home in Beauport—Limoilou, organizations like Mouvement pour une ville Zéro Déchet and Les Amis de la Terre and businesses like La Récolte and Le Vélo vert offer solutions to help people reduce their consumption to reduce their waste. Their ideas are gaining momentum, and the people of Beauport and Limoilou are becoming increasingly aware and engaged.

We, as parliamentarians, need to follow their example and be aware and engaged. This bill is a step in the right direction. I am not perfect, and neither are you. No one is. We are working together to improve our consumption and our use of plastics, particularly single-use plastics. We must not wait until we are perfect to take action. We need to act now and improve over time.

Let us be innovative and creative. Let us be daring. Let us reduce our consumption and buy intelligently so that we can reuse our purchases. Let us recycle properly and give credit to those who dare to do things differently. Most of all, let us stop exporting our own waste. We need to set an example. We have a moral and ethical obligation to our planetary environment and to future generations, who should not have to repair or maintain the planet because of our mistakes. We need to stop exporting our plastic waste. We also need to collectively think about how to manage such waste better so that we can turn an environmental disaster into a success and become an internationally recognized economic example. Let us export our knowledge and expertise, not our waste.

Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999Private Members' Business

6:20 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

We have a couple of minutes left in the time available.

Hearing and seeing no interest in resuming debate, I invite the hon. member for York—Simcoe for his right of reply. The hon. member has up to five minutes for his remarks.

The hon. member for York—Simcoe.

Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999Private Members' Business

6:20 p.m.


Scot Davidson Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, the matter before us tonight is straightforward. Canada should not be exporting its plastic waste for other countries to deal with. That is why Bill C-204 would prohibit plastic waste intended for final disposal from being exported to foreign countries.

The 44,000 tonnes of plastic waste our country is sending overseas each year is having a significant and detrimental impact on the environment. All too often this plastic ends up being illegally burned or dumped in landfills or in our waterways. This is affecting our air. It is affecting our oceans. It is threatening our very future. We can and must do better, but instead of doing better and doing the right thing, Canada has fallen behind. We are so far behind, we think we are in first place. While we are doing nothing, other countries are taking action. The United Kingdom and Australia are moving to implement stronger domestic laws to control the export of plastic waste. Additionally, 98 countries have ratified the Basel Convention's plastic export ban, something Canada still refuses to do.

It goes both ways. Many of the developing countries have been inundated with plastic from Canada and are now prohibiting these imports because of the negative impact these are having on their environments and their citizens. Bill C-204 would provide an opportunity for Canada to show global leadership and protect the environment. We are well positioned to do this. Not only do we have leading plastic-recycling capabilities, but Canadian businesses are also innovators. We are problem solvers, ready to make a difference in our circular economy.

In fact, Canadian industry has already developed made-in-Canada solutions to manage our plastic waste that can be utilized in so many different ways, including in construction and as fuel. With Bill C-204, our country could get behind these companies and support their efforts. Instead, Canada is exporting its waste to foreign countries. We should be leveraging this kind of innovation and making a difference right here at home. I truly believe that real, meaningful change does not come from Ottawa; it comes from Canadians. From coast to coast, Canadians know it is fundamentally wrong to be exporting our plastic waste, especially when we have the means to manage it here properly.

This is not a partisan issue. Members of all opposition parties have spoken in favour of Bill C-204, and last year the environment committee, including members on the government side, recommended that Canada implement a plastic waste export ban. That is why it is so disappointing tonight that the Liberals have indicated they will not be supporting this bill. They have done this while calling the export of plastic waste to developing countries beneficial, when clearly it is not. It is neither beneficial for us nor those countries, and certainly not for the environment.

Now it is time to adopt a better approach. With Bill C-204, we could finally ensure that our country will take responsibility for our own plastic waste. Over the past year I have had an opportunity to meet with environmental advocates, industry experts and others who are passionate about stopping plastic waste exports from Canada. I am grateful for their contributions and the contributions of my colleagues in the chamber tonight. I am certain that by working together we can see Bill C-204 proceed to committee. There, we can ensure that it accomplishes its objectives while being as robust and effective as it can be.

When considering this issue, I asked members to ask themselves what kind of country we want Canada to be. Do we want Canada to be the kind of country that shows leadership and does what is right, or do we want to be the kind of country that continues to avoid taking responsibility, because it is just too easy to keep plastic waste out of sight and out of mind whatever the consequences? Bill C-204 would be an opportunity to finally put an end to the export of plastic waste from Canada to foreign countries. As one member said, now is the time. Let us make this happen together.

Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999Private Members' Business

6:25 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The question is on the motion.

In the usual manner that we put the question to the House with our hybrid Parliament, if a member of a recognized party who is present in the House wishes to request either a recorded division or that the motion be adopted on division, I invite them to rise in their place at this time and so indicate.

I see the hon. member for York—Simcoe.

Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999Private Members' Business

6:30 p.m.


Scot Davidson Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I request a recorded division.

Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999Private Members' Business

6:30 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Accordingly, pursuant to an order made on Monday, January 25, 2021, the division stands deferred until Wednesday, February 3, 2021, at the expiry of the time provided for Oral Questions.

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

COVID-19 Emergency ResponseAdjournment Proceedings

6:30 p.m.


Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am disappointed that I have to come back here to talk about the plight of Wayward Distillery in Courtenay, as well as Dave, the owner, and his employees. They are true heroes. They stepped up to help Canadians. They basically pivoted their distillery to supply hand sanitizer at the height of the pandemic back in late March and early April. They supplied hand sanitizer to keep local police, health care workers, people in non-profits, and front-line service workers safe. They then carried on to donate tens of thousands of dollars of sanitizer to the community in the spirit of goodwill and with the understanding that we are all in this together.

In that spirit, I really cannot say enough about Dave, his employees, the sacrifice they made and the sense of urgency and seriousness they took, using their own supplies to help support making sure we were all safe in getting through this difficult period of time.

Dave and his employees were then engaged by a supplier to Loblaws to come up with a large amount of sanitizer for its workers. They were supplying those workers to make sure they were safe. They pivoted their business to stay afloat, keep the ball rolling and keep their employees employed.

Then, they found out, and we all found out, that the Government of Canada had procured hand sanitizer from countries around the world, including China. That hand sanitizer flooded the Canadian market and drove prices down. Little did Dave know, but the supplier had now outsourced a supply from somewhere else, including a foreign supply of hand sanitizer. It then suddenly cut off Dave's contract.

As we can imagine, when a company is supplying a high volume to local front-line service workers at a large chain like Loblaws, it has to order ahead of time. It cannot just order a few days ahead or a week ahead. Therefore, Dave ordered six weeks ahead worth of sanitizer before the contract was just cut off. The foreign sanitizer that flooded the Canadian market was cheap. It was less than the cost for Dave to even afford to get his to market. Dave is now stuck with hundreds of thousands of dollars of sanitizer.

I raised this question in December, and the Deputy Prime Minister referred me to her office and to her staff. In turn, they sent the regional director's contact to me, and Dave had a meeting with them. They took his contact information and said they would put it on a list, but they have not ordered any sanitizer and have not helped facilitate that to this day.

Dave is sitting on the sanitizer. Dave cannot collect the wage subsidy because, while he was selling sanitizer at cost, or even below cost, his revenue was going up, so that made him ineligible to apply for the emergency wage subsidy to support his employees. He was also excluded from the CECRA loan. Every step of the way, Dave has been excluded.

This is just another example of the government's procurement process. We need a federal procurement strategy that puts Canadians first. We hear the President in the U.S., Joe Biden, talking about an American strategy to source out local companies and keep jobs local. We are not doing that here in Canada.

The government has abandoned Dave and Wayward Distillery. If he goes out of business because he and his employees put Canadians first, it will be an absolute stain on Canada. These are heroes. I am urging the government to fix it, to fix the eligibility for its programs and to procure from Dave and the Wayward Distillery. They deserve much better. Canadians need to know that we are supporting those heroes who helped us at the beginning of this pandemic and who continue to be there for us.

COVID-19 Emergency ResponseAdjournment Proceedings

6:35 p.m.

Outremont Québec


Rachel Bendayan LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Small Business

Madam Speaker, I have travelled with my hon. colleague previously, certainly pre-pandemic, to Nunavut to visit and engage with small business owners. I know how dedicated he is to small businesses in his community and right across the country.

When I listened to the story of Dave and the Wayward Distillery, I could not agree more with my colleague. They are certainly the true heroes of this pandemic and, like so many entrepreneurs and small business owners, they are clearly adapting and doing the best they can in very difficult circumstances. I would like to respond in more detail, but this is the first time I am hearing of this particular issue and I would be happy to dig into it further.

The criteria that we have put in place have received very positive feedback from the entrepreneurs I have spoken to, but I can understand how, in Dave's case, not experiencing any revenue drop means that perhaps his company, in particular, is not eligible for some of our programs. I am always happy to go through the myriad programs that our government has put in place. There are many of them, as my colleague opposite knows. Without these programs, many Canadian workers and business owners would have already closed and lost their paycheques.

We have tried to adapt and adjust our programs along the way in order to respond to specific situations. I can think of numerous examples. The rent program is, of course, one of them. We heard from opposition members, from our own caucus and from entrepreneurs across the country that certain adjustments needed to be made, and the rent subsidy now is responding exactly to what entrepreneurs on the ground need. The program, as my colleague knows, covers 90% of rent and goes directly to the business owner, not the landlord.

Applications for that program opened very quickly. I understand that my colleague opposite originally asked about this, pointing out or very clearly criticizing the government for delays when, in reality, less than a week after we passed the legislation, it was effective. When it went to the Senate for ratification, the Senate was able to review and approve the legislation within, I believe, a single day. Right across the government, from members in the House, to the many people working behind the scenes as public servants, to senators, everybody is working in tandem to bring forward the support and assistance that we know small business owners need.

Let me continue to explain, in response to the member's question during question period, that the wage subsidy was continued until the summer. There was never, not ever, a gap in providing wage support to business owners. We moved quickly and we instituted that extension in a way that provided continuous support for all small business owners.

I hope my colleague knows that the federal government has been there since day one of the pandemic. The government is also committed to being there for as long as it takes. The government implemented—

COVID-19 Emergency ResponseAdjournment Proceedings

6:40 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Unfortunately, the time is up. The member has one more minute to answer the question.

The hon. member for Courtenay—Alberni.

COVID-19 Emergency ResponseAdjournment Proceedings

6:40 p.m.


Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague and friend. We talked and worked together to fix the rent program, although we were disappointed it was not backdated. There are gaps. We know that start-ups have been left out. We were concerned about the CERB clawback and the businesses that could go under as a result of that.

Dave is still not able to access these programs, because he did the right thing—

COVID-19 Emergency ResponseAdjournment Proceedings

6:40 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

I am going to interrupt the hon. member momentarily to see if interpretation is working.

We are getting the French translation now. We will continue with the hon. member for Courtenay—Alberni. If he wants to start at the top of the minute, that is fine too.

COVID-19 Emergency ResponseAdjournment Proceedings

6:40 p.m.


Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will start at the beginning. I want to thank my hon. colleague. We have worked together on a number of issues, including the commercial rent program. We were glad to see the Liberals fix the broken program, but we were also disappointed that they did not backdate it.

We know there are gaps in the programs for start-ups and there is a CERB clawback. There are people like Dave who helped Canadians and came to our rescue. They are now excluded from the programs because their revenue has gone up, even though they did not make proper profit.

We are hoping the government will work with these individuals and find ways to get them access to the emergency programs so that we do not lose the businesses that did the right thing. We really need a strategic, socially responsible and more sustainable approach to public procurement in Canada.

Sandra Hamilton, who lived in my riding, says that the heart of the U.K. recovery strategy is procurement and aligning policy objectives with the United Nations 2030 sustainability goals. It is really important that we marry up these things, do what other countries are doing and learn from other countries. I am hoping this will be applied to procurement when it comes to recovering from COVID-19.

COVID-19 Emergency ResponseAdjournment Proceedings

6:40 p.m.


Rachel Bendayan Liberal Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am always curious to see and hear what other countries around the world are doing, so that we can learn from them and use good ideas that may exist elsewhere. I hope to continue working with my colleague to see how we can further adjust the existing programs.

I also want to remind my colleague that just this Tuesday, the Minister of Small Business announced the new HASCAP program, and as of next week, small businesses will be able—

COVID-19 Emergency ResponseAdjournment Proceedings

6:40 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

I must interrupt the hon. parliamentary secretary because we are experiencing some gaps in interpretation. I should point out that this is in no way related to any issues with the wonderful work of the interpreters.

I ask the parliamentary secretary to finish her last few thoughts, and we will move to the next speaker.

COVID-19 Emergency ResponseAdjournment Proceedings

6:45 p.m.


Rachel Bendayan Liberal Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, I join you in thanking our incredible translators. I enjoy flipping back and forth from French to English. I hope it does not cause any anxiety in that respect.

I will finish by again thanking my colleague for raising these issues. He certainly has my commitment and that of every member of this government to continue to work hard to support small businesses, including those in his riding.

Canada PostAdjournment Proceedings

6:45 p.m.


Damien Kurek Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am rising to address a number of issues facing my region.

My question last year may at first glance seem a little strange. The retirement of postmasters would not normally be a national issue. However, for four post office locations, that brings the possibility of permanent closure. With closures, my constituents may not be able to access things such as prescriptions, e-commerce and financial services. On this issue more needs to be done, but I do appreciate that some steps have been taken.

There are real concerns related to how the Liberal government treats rural Canada. The Liberals' attitudes toward us are infuriating. It seems that at best it is indifferent, but more often than not it is downright hostile. An example of the indifference is that I hear regularly from constituents who are simply told by government departments to go to a local federal service location for help. In some cases that is more than 300 kilometres away.

Like service delivery, rural connectivity is a huge concern. COVID has made this more relevant than ever. Although steps have been taken to address early challenges in broadband programs, I speak to rural ISPs, communities and individuals who have shared that the program is simply not responsive to their needs. Failing to address this only adds to the division between rural and urban Canada at a time when there are already deep divisions across our country. That is where the hostility we face comes in.

Rural Albertans are dealing with an unprecedented increase in crime, something the Liberals have failed to address. While the last Parliament voted to study the issue, the Liberals failed miserably on any follow-through, which is the Liberals at their finest. While the provinces attempt to take action, the revolving door of the justice system, weak penalties, troubling recidivism rates, an evolving gang culture and increases in the smuggling of illicit drug are significant issues that demand action and are compounded by economic uncertainty. Rural Canada, and specifically rural Alberta, feels left behind.

My constituents are fed up with a Liberal government that is more concerned about punishing law-abiding firearms owners than fighting crime. On that front, Liberal policies are not only hypocritical, but dangerous. Criminalizing hunters, sportsmen, farmers and ranchers does nothing to help combat crime and emboldens the real lawbreakers. It is nothing more than a costly political move that is based on blind ideology. The evidence of this hypocrisy came yesterday, when the Liberal-NDP coalition voted against a Conservative measure to increase penalties against the real problem: smuggled guns and gang violence.

These ideological attacks against rural Alberta have escalated in recent months with the carbon tax, which will be $170 a tonne, more than three times what the Prime Minister promised the carbon tax would be. Now the Liberals say they have a national mandate to impose their tax. I can assure the Prime Minister he does not. He does not have that mandate in the region I represent, nor in Alberta. It is not only bad policy and bad economics; it is fuelling regional divisions that truly threaten to tear our country apart.

The government, unfortunately, seems to be ignorant to rural issues or is intentionally fuelling divisions in our country for political gain.

Canada PostAdjournment Proceedings

6:45 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba


Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I thought we were going to be talking about Canada Post. The member wants to talk about gun control and things of that nature. I guess he does not understand why Canadians do not support the need to have military assault-type weapons in our communities, but that is for another debate.

I want to thank the member for at least suggesting we would be talking about Canada Post. Our government understands that the services that Canada Post provides to Canadians and businesses are essential for our country and we are committed to safeguarding this iconic institution.

Canada Post has been connecting Canadians for more than 250 years. Its network of thousands of post offices across Canada serves as a vital link for many rural, remote and isolated communities, especially in our northern regions. We know that the services of Canada Post in those communities across the country are of vital importance to the well-being of Canadians and the Canadian economy. Even though more and more people communicate via email and social media, Canadians across the country continue to have a strong connection to letters and parcels from loved ones now more than ever. Every day, Canadians receive letter mail and parcels from across the globe.

As the country responds to COVID-19, Canadians turn to Canada Post to provide an important service. With people at home and businesses closed, the corporation saw a dramatic shift in what it was asked to deliver. Online shopping drove unprecedented growth in volumes of parcels.

Through the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada Post employees have been providing services to businesses that have helped keep our country going during these difficult and trying times. As Canadians across our country have stayed at home to help suppress the spread of COVID-19, they have become more reliant on the online shopping. Every day since the start of the pandemic, Canada Post has stepped up and continues to deliver all sorts of items purchased online over these past few months.

Since its very earliest days, our country's postal service has invested and evolved in order to meet the changing needs and expectations of Canadians.

This government is committed to a renewed vision for Canada Post so Canadians can continue to benefit from high-quality services at a reasonable price no matter where they live in our vast country. One could easily question the Conservatives on what they believe Canada Post's future would look like.

In opposition, I saw Stephen Harper, as prime minister, plant the seeds of doubt for the future of Canada Post. With this government, we have reaffirmed a commitment in the need for Canada Post. This pandemic over the last number of months has clearly demonstrated the critical role Canada Post plays for Canadians, not only pre-pandemic but especially during this pandemic.

I want to take this opportunity to extend my appreciation to our Canada Post workers who have done an absolutely fabulous job.

Canada PostAdjournment Proceedings

6:50 p.m.


Damien Kurek Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary's response emphasizes the ignorance that the government has toward rural Canada.

On January 21, we saw the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline. The Prime Minister gave up. He told us to move on and, like his father did decades ago, he flipped the bird to the west, while still expecting us to keep writing the cheques.

The evidence is clear that the Prime Minister has left rural Alberta behind. It seems like the Liberals are willing to use divisive national policies to drive a wedge between Alberta and the rest of Canada.

Anyone who hears this and simply claims that it is political posturing, I challenge them to come visit. They can hear for themselves the rising sentiment that I am told about daily, which is Alberta would be better off without Canada. That is heartbreaking. While the Liberals plan to silence their opponents and reimagine the economy based on flimsy ideology, I am glad to be part of the government in waiting that is ready to lead our country.