House of Commons Hansard #101 of the 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was pandemic.


Support of Oil and Gas SectorPrivate Members' Business

5:15 p.m.


Greg McLean Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Madam Speaker, I thank all my colleagues for showing up for the second half of my speech, which exalts the benefits of the oil and gas industry to Canada as a whole. I will be less animated this time because I have heard so many negative reports from my colleagues on the other side of the House about the oil and gas industry, which has been the lifeblood of this country for decades.

It has contributed so much toward our lifestyle and toward our support for social programs. It has been an industrial driver. It has led to many industries in Canada. That is really clear today when we look at what we are dealing with with Line 5, which I will remind members of the House originates in western Canada.

Its source is in western Canada. It then traverses down through the United States to Superior, Wisconsin. Line 5 then continues from there to go through the United States, through both parts of Michigan and back into Canada at Sarnia, where it delivers 540,000 barrels a day of oil and other petroleum products for the benefit of Canada. Ontario uses a lot of that, and some of it goes to the refineries in Quebec as well.

A number of secondary industries use the oil as well for manufacturing, so there are plastics that are manufactured and there are petrochemicals. The backbone, the industrial part of our country, depends on that supply line. The logistics are there, and we have built a whole national manufacturing industry around this Canadian resource. It has benefited the whole of the country to such a great degree, not just counting our social programs, which I spoke about last time.

I will say one thing that I have heard again this week, this time from the Minister of Infrastructure, was that this is a subsidized industry. I will inform all of my parliamentary colleagues here that is complete balderdash. The minister is famous for saying that, if you repeat a falsehood many times, people will eventually begin to believe it.

That was a falsehood as this is an industry that contributes approximately $24 billion of economic rent to this country on average. It does receive tax credits, just like every other industry with the same types of technological advancement that benefit Canada, and this applies to every other industry as well.

Let us talk about clean technology. Of the $2 billion in clean tech investments, $1.5 billion occurs in the oil and gas sector. It is very forward looking. Think about the solutions to greenhouse gas emissions that are dependent upon reducing our CO2 emissions. That happens in this industry. This is an industry that is responsibly spending money and finding new technologies that will benefit the environment and this country.

We are working against misinformation here, but I will stand with pride on an industry that has benefited this country for decades and should continue to do so. We will continue to monitor it and make sure that we are adding value throughout the piece. I am very proud of my colleague from Edmonton Manning for bringing this piece forward.

Support of Oil and Gas SectorPrivate Members' Business

5:20 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba


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

Madam Speaker, I probably could have come up with a few questions for the member, all related to some of the comments Conservatives have raised, time and again, to try to portray the federal government as not responding to the needs of the Prairies, or to a certain degree Atlantic Canada, with respect to this particular industry. This is obviously not the case.

The motion before us seeks, in essence, to recognize the importance of Canada's oil and gas sector, while at the same time disputing the feasibility of more sustainable options and ultimately removing tax and regulatory barriers to the sectors that are responsible for expansion.

I think what needs to be done, right at the beginning, is to recognize the important role energy workers have played in Canada, both historically and today. The member is right when he says that, from a historic perspective, it is an industry that has contributed immensely to where we are as a nation today. One of the reasons Alberta was able to contribute so much over the years to equalization was its oil and gas revenues. The revenues that provinces like Manitoba received through equalization payments ultimately provided us with opportunities to pave roads or provide health care to our citizens. I recognize the many contributions from past generations of revenue to the central coffers that was redistributed to different provinces so that we were able to provide that type of social programming.

Where I really give the credit is to those energy workers. They helped to build this country, and they will be the same people who will help to lower emissions, build additional renewable energy capacity and meet our climate goals. I really do believe that. Canada's energy workers understand the reality of climate change.

I find it interesting nowadays, when we talk about the economy and the environment, to try to figure out where the Conservatives fall, particularly on the issue of the environment. It was not that long ago that the Conservative party had its annual general meeting where they, in essence, denied climate change as a reality. Members can imagine Conservatives from across the country coming together and denying it, and saying it is not a reality. A couple of weeks later, after a few somersaults and backflips, the Conservative party now supports a price on pollution. I have found it very interesting to watch, based on many of the comments from Conservatives in the past.

I suspect that even with this particular resolution, the motion that we are talking about today, had it not been for the leader of the Conservative party reversing his position on the price on pollution, I am sure we would have heard more Conservatives, as they have in the past, criticize us as a government for the price on pollution. I can appreciate that the Conservative way of thinking seems to be about four or five years behind on certain issues, and I would suggest to members that this is one of those issues.

When I think of the oil and gas industry, there is a huge difference between the government of the day, the Liberal party, and the Conservatives, the Bloc, the NDP and, to a certain extent, the Green Party.

We have always argued that we need to take into consideration the environment, indigenous issues, consultations and working with other stakeholders to make things work, so we can in fact deal with both the industry and the environment. We saw some fairly encouraging signs of that when we got the Trans Mountain project, which shows that governments can make a difference, just like the B.C. NDP government did on the LNG project.

It is the only the NDP in opposition in Ottawa that tends to say no to natural resource development. While in government, both the NDP in Alberta and in B.C. recognized what we did, which is that there is value there. We need to work with industry, stakeholders and indigenous leaders to have that balance. The national government has been very successful.

At the same time, it is really important that we understand the issue of climate change and the environment. Canadians are very concerned about it. At the end of the day, we cannot have one without the other. If we compared Canada's energy sector to energy sectors in other countries, we would find that Canada, through technology, development and so forth, is doing exceptionally well.

We are very fortunate to have all kinds of options. In my home province of Manitoba, for example, we have Manitoba Hydro, which is renewable, clean energy. There were some negatives we had to get over, such as the flooding that was caused as a direct result of some of the dams that were created, but it is renewable energy. The potential that has for Manitoba is quite significant.

Working with provincial jurisdictions and others on how we can continue to build on renewable energy is really important. I think Canadians want us to focus some attention on that, but it does not mean we have to neglect other areas.

I always find it interesting when the Conservatives, particularly from Alberta, say that they are the only ones who can truly represent energy workers when, in fact, they did not build or see any pipelines go to tidewaters. There was nothing in the 10 years of Stephen Harper. All they continued to see was the market go south, 99%-plus from when Stephen Harper became prime minister to when he left office.

Under the Liberal administration, we are saying that we need to diversify. Not only do we need to diversify, but we also need to have a process in place to protect the environment and ensure proper consultation is done on all projects. If that does not happen, then chances are it will not fly anyway.

At the end of the day, we need to continue to work with energy workers. They are part of the solution. The energy sectors in the Prairies and Atlantic Canada have a very important role to play, not only from a national perspective but from an international perspective as well.

We could potentially share some of the technologies and the methodology that we use with other jurisdictions, which would make the world—

Support of Oil and Gas SectorPrivate Members' Business

5:30 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

We have to resume debate.

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Repentigny.

Support of Oil and Gas SectorPrivate Members' Business

5:30 p.m.


Monique Pauzé Bloc Repentigny, QC

Madam Speaker, first off, is this 2021? I only ask because, after reading Motion No. 61 moved by my colleague from Edmonton Manning, I wonder if I travelled back in time.

This motion echos the language of another century. It illustrates the deep divide between a green, progressive Quebec that is ready to deal with climate change and an official opposition that, unsurprisingly, is digging in deeper and deeper in oil.

What part of “climate emergency” does the Conservative Party not understand? The Bloc Québécois is firmly against this motion, but I do not have enough time to raise every argument I have against this motion from top to bottom, so I will limit myself to paragraphs (i) and (iii) of the motion.

Paragraph (i) calls on the House to recognize that:

(i) replacing oil and gas with more environmentally sustainable options is not technologically or economically feasible;

I would like to come back to what a former Saudi oil minister said in 2000, “The Stone Age did not end for lack of stone, and the Oil Age will end long before the world runs out of oil.” That is where we are right now.

By saying the transition is not feasible, the motion flatly denies the growth potential of renewable energy in Canada. It is just not true for Quebec, for Canada or for the rest of the world. It is so off the mark that I want to point out that the renewable energy sector has grown at an unprecedented rate, according to the International Energy Agency's 2020 report. According to the IEA, “Last year, the increase in renewable capacity accounted for 90% of the entire global power sector’s expansion”.

Earlier this week, Le Devoir reported on massive wind farms under construction in China. We may have legitimate complaints about China, but it has made huge strides in beginning its transition while maintaining its economic growth.

In the United States, the Biden administration has given the green light to the Vineyard Wind project, which will include 84 turbines producing 800 megawatts and supplying power to 400,000 households. By 2030, wind power projects that are currently under way could supply enough energy for 10 million households.

This transition is not only technologically feasible, it is already under way and is economically necessary. I do not want to dwell on that, so I will simply say that countless investment funds understand this already.

If the Conservative Party is determined to remain in the last century with this unfortunate and backward point of view that will deprive future generations of access to economic progress and prosperity, that is their choice. Just because the Conservatives refuse to consider the immense progress of renewable energy technologies and to recognize their potential does not mean that they do not exist. Willful blindness does have its limits.

Quebec's innovative and creative society, rich in clean energy and renewable resources, is eager to contribute to the post-pandemic world. Where do the Conservative members from Quebec stand on this issue? Do they not have a responsibility to promote the regions they represent? Repeating the same message over and over again, just with different wording, does not make it any more true.

Paragraph (iii) of the motion calls on the House to recognize that:

(iii) Canadian oil and natural gas are produced with the highest environmental standards in the world, and domestic producers are global environmental leaders and responsible corporate citizens;

Here is the truth. Even if Canadian producers complied with the highest environmental standards, we are talking about the standards set for their industry, which is an undeniably polluting industry. Complying with environmental regulations is not a moral accomplishment, nor is it an act of good corporate citizenship; it is a requirement.

Sure, producers make an effort to mitigate some environmental impacts by using technology that improves efficiency. However, the problem remains that greenhouse gas emissions associated with these industries are the primary source of emissions in Canada. These industries, from production all the way to the end use of this resource, account for 81% of our total emissions.

Even more worrisome, the technologies to make operations more efficient simply allow for increased production. There is not a single technology that is capable of reversing the very nature of this industry, which will forever be incompatible with the Paris targets. I remind members that the signatory states to this agreement committed to preventing the climate catastrophes that are threatening life as we know it now, not just for polar bears or belugas, but for humans as well.

Greenhouse gas emissions have reached troubling levels. Greenhouse gas emissions directly produced by energy industries have increased by 38.5% since 1990. In 1990, oil and gas emitted 106 megatonnes of CO2 compared to 195 megatonnes in 2017. In 1990, oil sands operations emitted 15 megatonnes of CO2, while in 2017 they emitted 81 megatonnes.

I remind members that Canada has 0.5% of the world's population and is responsible for 16% of all carbon emissions. I think that the worst phrase I have ever heard is “green oil”. I even am disgusted putting those two words together. The Canadian industry began using another phrase because “green oil” drew outrage. Now we hear “the greenest oil in the world”. No. The oil sands are an environmental disaster that has resulted in clear-cut forests, destroyed landscapes, air pollution and the contamination of water tables. All these sad realities and many others have been well documented.

You cannot develop the third-largest oil field in the world and think you are doing the planet a favour when it comes to climate change. That is not how it works. The Bloc Québécois will repeat this as long as it takes: The government must stop subsidizing fossil fuels. Our position reflects what Quebeckers want. We are proposing that we create wealth and avoid generating even more greenhouse gases.

The Bloc Québécois believes in the principle of a just transition. This involves recognizing that it would be unjust to expect workers and their families to make this transition happen overnight, especially since they are the primary victims of the crisis in the energy sector and of the challenges associated with climate change.

Our leader, the member for Beloeil—Chambly, has said more than once that the obscene amounts of public money, billions of dollars, invested in Trans Mountain should be put towards helping the workers out west through the transition and establishing geothermal, wind and clean energy sources in these areas. The parliamentary secretary was just saying that Trans Mountain shows that government can make a difference. That is true, but only if it acknowledges its mistake.

In a study published in March, Simon Fraser University confirmed that the pipeline will put taxpayers close to $12 billion in the hole. The facts are clear. The government must abandon the pipeline and invest in renewable energy. Even BP, Total and Shell are more lucid than the government. Believe it or not, given shrinking demand for oil, these industries and companies are moving their investments over to green energy.

As the saying goes, a fault confessed is half redressed. Is there any hope that the government will admit it made a mistake and start walking its constant talk about fighting climate change for real? The government loves to use the word “leadership”, it really does, but true leadership shows in actions, policies and responsible legislation. A government embodies leadership when it has the courage to make tough decisions and stick by them.

I still believe that the Conservative Party is not some monolithic organization. Conservative MPs are ready to consider that climate change is the challenge of the century. However I will tread with caution in these considerations because, apart from withdrawing from the Kyoto protocol, the 10-year reign of a Conservative government resulted in the review of the environmental assessment process for the sole purpose of reducing barriers for oil projects, major cuts to climate research, the muzzling of government experts preventing them from speaking publicly on topics related to their expertise, and, now, this motion asking members of the House to celebrate the existence of the fossil fuel industry. Members will forgive the play on words, but it is high time Conservative members pulled their heads out of the tar sands.

I will close with the following words, which are just as important. The current government should stop saying one thing and then its opposite. It should seize, immediately and firmly, the opportunity presented to it, namely to be responsible, diligent and consistent regarding its commitment to put climate action at the centre of all its governmental and environmental decisions.

Other countries have done it. What is the Canadian government waiting for?

Support of Oil and Gas SectorPrivate Members' Business

5:40 p.m.


Rachel Blaney NDP North Island—Powell River, BC

Madam Speaker, I am virtually here in the House today to speak to Motion No. 61, which was put forward by the member for Edmonton Manning. It is entitled “Support of oil and gas sector”. There is no doubt that fossil fuels have brought wealth to our country. I believe that this motion is based in concern, a very real one, about the workers in this sector. It is a concern that I share.

With respect to the great benefits we have received because of this sector, I hope that all members of the House are ready to recognize and accept that it is time to find a new path forward. The reality of climate change is that it is happening across the planet. It is changing our world in a way that scientists are telling us about again and again. There is no time to wait. It is time to move forward and be progressive.

I hear all too often from the Conservatives in this place that Canada has just a tiny portion of emissions compared with those of other countries. That is simply not the case, and I am working for a country that I want to see as a leader and an innovator in facing the worldwide climate crisis.

Recently we conducted a study at the committee of indigenous and northern affairs on food security in the most northern communities of this country. Again and again, we heard testimony from those communities that the impacts of climate change are at the top of the list. The environment in their communities is changing so quickly that there is absolutely no time for them to adapt, and with the high cost of food, this reality is leaving people behind and hungry.

This motion has eight substantive parts. Today I will address several of them.

First, the motion states:

(i) replacing oil and gas with more environmentally sustainable options is not technologically or economically feasible

That is simply not true. These statements are frustrating to me. There was a time when the technologies of today did not exist. They exist now because of the significant investment of visionaries who saw the world in a new way. The reality is those people are here now, and technologies that are more sustainable are developing quickly. Investments are happening, and it is high time the Government of Canada increased its support to innovation.

I am also frustrated by this comment because of the simple reality that we are talking about a non-renewable resource. That means it will end. The Conservative vision seems to believe that we will still be here, on this planet, if we keep using this resource in the way we are today. I do not agree with this idea and I say this confidently, knowing that most scientists in the relevant fields keep saying repeatedly, in so many different ways, that this is happening, that the climate crisis is here and we fundamentally have to change. The fact that Canada, the government, is not listening is terrifying to me. It is time for bold solutions and investing in a future that leaves our children with a planet that is livable.

All too often when we discuss the shift to a low-carbon reality, Conservatives repeat that it cannot be done, that it is too expensive or that people in Canada do not believe in or stand to support it. Whenever I hear this, it makes me think of a leader I greatly admire, who once told all Canadians “Do not let them tell you that it cannot be done.” What I hear is that the people of Canada expect us to do this. They are becoming more and more disappointed and cynical about feeble government responses to climate change.

Options that are more environmentally sustainable are technologically feasible. The electrification of Canada's vehicles is happening. It is happening faster than was expected. Even the most optimistic experts could not have imagined the progress we are seeing. The results are in: A KPMG survey found that 70% of Canadians want their next car to be electric.

Conservatives admitted this in their late and somewhat confusing plan to fight climate change. I am still a little concerned about their membership voting on whether or not climate change is real, when scientists have been very clear, repeatedly. I am also concerned about the other reality, that Conservatives are unclear on their position regarding climate change and what is happening in our environment. Hopefully, we will see some clarity soon.

Canada knows that to fuel electric vehicles we need non-emitting, clean electrical sources. Already, 80% of Canada's electricity is non-emitting. Renewable solutions like wind and solar projects, combined with utility-grade storage and strategic renewal of our electrical grid, can be built to fill in the difference. These solutions are economically feasible. Wind and solar are the cheapest energy sources on the planet.

Even with this knowledge, Canadians watch as both Conservatives and Liberals throw billions of dollars at the fossil fuel industry, building more and more, larger and larger pipelines in a desperate attempt to pump oil out of the ground faster, right at a time when the oil demand is predicted to decline. The demand must decline, and decline rapidly. As countries look to live up to the Paris targets, it must decline if we are to halt the horrific impacts of climate change. The cost of this inaction is in the trillions of dollars.

Second, the motion says, “Canada's energy needs require the use of oil and gas to heat Canadian homes”. Energy efficiency in our homes and buildings in Canada is one of the lowest-hanging fruits in the fight against climate change. If Canada invested in a serious program to retrofit buildings, reduce energy consumption and change building codes to ensure that new buildings use little to no energy, we can easily get rid of a quarter of our carbon dioxide emissions. The technology is there. Again, Canada needs to ensure that the investment is supported.

The motion also states, “Canadian oil and natural gas are produced with the highest environmental standards in the world”. There is no doubt that most domestic oil and gas producers are doing their very best to reduce their industrial emissions. Yes, we have some of the highest environmental standards in the world, which Canadians expect. This does not change the fact that the oil sands will require an investment of over $200 billion to rehabilitate. This is very concerning, as no company has put that sort of money aside to do this work. In Canada, we see companies abandoning idle wells, and billions of taxpayer dollars will be spent to clean them up.

This motion also states that Canadian resources create Canadian jobs. Our country was built on natural resources. That is why I brought forward Motion No. 53, “Principles for a sustainable and equitable future”. The history of Canada is one rich in resources and the extraction of resources. The reality is that things are changing, and as they change, workers need to be at the core of the solutions. My motion addresses this by asking for workers to be supported during the change and that resources flow from the federal government to all ridings in this country.

Most high-resource industry areas are in rural and remote areas in Canada. Significant wealth has come out of those regions, and when resources change or are limited, they area often left behind. My motion addresses these concerns. While we recognize that addressing the climate emergency is a priority, we also have to make sure that solutions are local and that the potential jobs that are there are invested in to support our workers.

This motion also speaks to the fact that first nations communities receive some income from these projects. This cannot be taken lightly, especially as we must all recognize in this place that where we sit has created legislation for well over 100 years to assure that economic marginalization continues in first nations communities.

As we face the climate crisis, the energy transition is key, and working with innovation and first nations communities must be at the very core of every decision made. We need measures in this country that look at sustainability and support everyday workers, and measures that address fairness and not giving so much power to big corporations that take money and leave Canadians holding the costs of fixing things and workers without a job. The motion does not address this; therefore, I cannot support it.

Support of Oil and Gas SectorPrivate Members' Business

5:50 p.m.


Chris Lewis Conservative Essex, ON

Madam Speaker, today I rise in the House to speak to this important motion introduced by my colleague and friend, the MP for Edmonton Manning.

I stand in support of Canada's oil and gas sector. I stand on behalf of families in my riding of Essex and the many workers in the energy sector across Windsor and Essex, whose jobs are in jeopardy because of Governor Whitmer's intended closure of the Line 5 pipeline.

Before I get into the issue of Line 5, which is important to my riding, my region, my province and Canadians in Quebec and the east, as well as to the border issue, and the significant contributions of Canada's oil and gas sector as a whole, please indulge me as I share some personal news.

Last weekend I received a promotion, not in this House, but something much more important than that. I went from being a father of three to a father of three and a grandfather of one. As tradition has it in my family I am now known by this precious little boy as “Pip”. My grandson, Levi James Lewis entered the world on May 8. He is the first-born son of proud parents Cody and Grace. As other grandparents in this House can attest, there is no feeling like it. When I left for Ottawa on Sunday he was still in the hospital. Our first meeting was virtual. I can hardly wait to get home to wrap my arms around him.

Now I will get back to the important issue of the day.

With the intended closure of Line 5 much is at stake, not just in the present, but also in the future. As the current government prints money, deficit spends, accumulates massive debt and jeopardizes key industries such as our oil and gas sector, will the next generation be able to provide for their family, own a home or even buy a car?

For over six decades, the Line 5 pipeline has delivered crude oil and other petroleum products across Wisconsin and Michigan to Sarnia through the Straits of Mackinac. In all that time, the pipeline has operated efficiently and responsibly. It has never experienced a leak. The pipeline is tested regularly with the latest and most advanced technology available. Recent inspection reports show that Line 5, from an engineering and integrity perspective, is like new and in excellent condition. Nevertheless, Enbridge has been working on a plan to reroute the pipes through a tunnel beneath the bedrock of the straits.

According to The Daily Mining Gazette:

The Line 5 crossing features an exceptional and incredibly durable enamel coating, and pipe walls that are three times as thick—a minimum of 0.812 inches—as those of a typical pipeline.

It further states:

...renowned for the Hoover Dam [the builder] built Line 5 in an area of the Straits that would minimize potential corrosion due to lack of oxygen and the cold water temperature.

Built in 1953, this feat of engineering, Line 5, currently has 540,000 barrels a day flow through it, providing half of all the supply of light crude oil, light synthetic crude oil and natural gas liquids in Ontario and Quebec. That is a lot of households that rely on this ready supply of crude for their basic needs. While they put the highest value on the importance of protecting our waterways, particularly the magnificent Great Lakes, which just so happen to be in my backyard, they support measures to preserve our environment for future generations. Shutting down this pipeline will have catastrophic consequences in the near future not only for the workers whose livelihoods will be jeopardized, but also for those citizens, communities and industries that are dependent on this pipeline for an affordable supply of energy.

To put it in real terms, this oil heats homes and businesses, fuels vehicles and powers industry. This includes fuelling Ontario's airports, including the Pearson International Airport. As the airline industry makes a comeback, the last thing it needs is fuel shortages at exorbitant costs. Small businesses left in tatters because of the pandemic cannot afford another hit. Workers and their families need the stability these well-paying jobs provide. Many farmers use propane to heat homes, barns and commercial greenhouses, as well as to dry the grain. Sourcing propane elsewhere could drive the costs of agriculture production up, along with the cost of food for Canadian families.

Aaron Henry, the senior director of natural resources and sustainable growth at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, describes Line 5 as “probably one of the most critical pieces of infrastructure for energy use in Central Canada”. Further, shutting down this pipeline will not reduce the demand: It will only shift the transport to other modes, by truck, rail or ship, with potentially more risks.

The Minister of Natural Resources told the House that “it would take 800 rail cars and 2,000 trucks in Canada alone to move an equivalent amount of petroleum products”.

There is a tendency among environmentalists, in their surrogate legislatures, to minimize the importance of the oil and gas sector and to magnify its supposed negatives. I know that it is fashionable to do so, but I view such tactics as counterproductive as Canada moves in the direction of a greener economy. If we are going to move certain industries to zero emissions, such as the auto sector, we need to root our goals in reality. To do otherwise is to create unnecessary hardship and suffering and to risk energy poverty instead of substantial growth.

Even though ideological opponents of the oil and gas sector are loath to admit it, the revenues from the oil and gas sector provide significant revenue to government coffers. These revenues facilitate transfer payments that benefit all Canadians and allow Canada to afford the social programs upon which all Canadians depend. As well, our technology is among the cleanest and most advanced in the world. We should be capitalizing on that as part of our contribution to our green global initiatives.

The current government's record on the oil and gas industry is among its saddest legacies. It alleges support for Line 5, the minister describing it as non-negotiable, but the government has done little to demonstrate that support. I was encouraged to hear the minister say in QP today that Canada has worked with several provincial ministers of energy to file an amicus brief with the Michigan court. That is commendable, and good news indeed. However, the urgency and importance of keeping Line 5 open for business needs effort on several fronts, not just last-minute court briefs. It also requires political will.

Has the Prime Minister called President Biden? Has he made the case directly to the President for upholding the 1970 treaty with the U.S. that guaranteed the uninterrupted transit of crude oil across the border? In January 2021, the leader of Canada's Conservatives and the official opposition stated:

Enbridge Line 5 is an essential part of our Canadian energy supply chain. The results of the cancellation are clear: immediate and alarming fuel shortages across Ontario and Quebec, increased truck and rail transportation of oil, increased fuel prices, and greater environmental risks.

He went on to say:

[The Prime Minister] and his government need to ensure this vital infrastructure link remains uninterrupted and jobs are not lost. Canada can’t afford another Liberal failure like Keystone XL.

In February 2021, he urged the acting American ambassador to Canada to tell Washington to preserve the Line 5 pipeline to the United States. He appealed to the Americans' self-interest, saying correctly that shutting down Line 5 would have a negative economic impact on both countries.

To wrap up, so far the current government's approach to Line 5 looks a lot like its approach to Keystone XL in November. It is praying for the best and hoping the worst does not come to pass. That is not leadership. Canada needs real action to secure our future.

Today, the leader of the official opposition again raised the issue in the House, saying, “Tomorrow, the Governor of Michigan was to shut down the Line 5 pipeline that is critical to the Canadian economy. After months of inaction, this morning, mere hours before the deadline, the Liberal government failed again”. These are legitimate questions. The Conservative leader has exemplified true leadership in the defence of Line 5.

In closing, I wish to thank again my colleague, the MP for Edmonton Manning, for introducing this motion and giving me the opportunity to speak to the importance of Line 5. Thousands of Canadians are depending on the government taking action.

Support of Oil and Gas SectorPrivate Members' Business

6 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

The member for Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia.

There are seven minutes remaining before the right of reply.

Support of Oil and Gas SectorPrivate Members' Business

6 p.m.


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

Madam Speaker, it is obviously always a pleasure to speak on behalf of the Bloc Québécois and my constituents in Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia.

Honestly, I do not even know where to start after reading the terms of the motion. I am certainly not the first to do this, but I still want to use these seven minutes to break down this motion together.

The member for Edmonton Manning is calling on the government to recognize that “replacing oil and gas with more environmentally sustainable options is not technologically or economically feasible”.

I see a huge problem right there, because we have many reasons to believe that the opposite is true. It is possible to replace oil and gas with more environmentally sustainable options and it is technologically feasible to do so. In fact, this is already being done in Quebec and in other places. Furthermore, scientists say that oil is a finite fossil fuel energy resource and that we will eventually need to learn to live without it.

Many have already replaced this energy source with electricity produced by wind energy, for example, which is a renewable energy. Wind will always exist, but the same cannot be said for oil.

I would even add that I find it absolutely deplorable that a company like Enercon has to close its Matane plant because wind energy is not valued as much as oil is. I find it absolutely deplorable that a company like Marmen, also in Matane, has to lay off more than half of its employees because it has no work to offer them. The company is not getting enough contracts to produce wind turbine blades because our governments do not place enough value on renewable energy projects.

Instead, the federal government continues to provide subsidies to the oil and gas industry, knowing full well that it will never meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets if it continues to do so.

For the benefit of those who say it is not economically feasible, I reiterate that there are several indications to the contrary. Last June, the International Renewable Energy Agency, an intergovernmental organization with 161 member countries, reported that more than half of the renewable energy capacity added in 2019 was cheaper than any other available option on the fossil fuel side.

The best part of all this is that solar and wind energy prices are going to continue to drop dramatically, which means there is a golden opportunity here to stimulate the economy while doing good for the environment.

With all due respect, the first item of this motion simply does not hold water. It is not only possible but actually necessary to replace oil and gas with greener options, and this is feasible, both technologically and economically.

I would add that the energy transition we must make is fundamental. We must change the ways we produce and consume energy to eliminate our dependency on oil. We can move to a low-carbon economy by replacing fossil fuels with renewable energies. By stating that the transition is impossible, the motion clearly denies the growth potential of renewable energy in Canada. That is just not true, for Quebec and for Canada.

Coming back to the economic argument, it has to be said that the oil and gas industry is primarily responsible for pollution, which is very costly. Greenpeace estimates that it costs approximately $50 billion a year. Besides the economic cost, there is also a cost in terms of human lives. Air pollution contributes to the premature death of approximately 21,000 people in Canada every year.

Therefore, we absolutely must not deny the fact that burning fossil fuels impacts our health and our economy. Decarbonizing the economy helps reduce the economic costs associated with non-renewable energy.

Renewable energy sources are definitely profitable, according to Desjardins and the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, who are increasingly investing in them. The Desjardins Group announced in 2020 that its 17 SocieTerra funds and portfolios would completely move away from oil and pipelines. The investment in fossil fuels went from 5% to 0%. That speaks volumes. Even investment firms think it is time to walk away from oil.

That being said, on top of wind power, hydro and solar power both have a future in Quebec, as do geothermal energy, offshore wind power, tidal power, bioenergy and forest biomass.

In Quebec, the more we power our industries and transportation with our own clean energy, the less we need to import oil and gas, which will do wonders for our trade balance. We will be less dependent on oil and we will pollute less.

I realize that this motion contains several elements and that I will not be able to go over all of them in detail. I certainly had a lot to say on this point. If I may, I would like to quickly address the third part of the motion, which asks the government to recognize that “Canadian oil and natural gas are produced with the highest environmental standards in the world, and domestic producers are global environmental leaders and responsible corporate citizens”.

My colleague from Repentigny said it best, in her brilliant way. According to her, the truth is that even if oil and gas producers meet the highest environmental standards, they are meeting the highest standards set for their industry, which is still a polluting industry. Complying with environmental laws is not a great moral accomplishment, but rather a requirement.

The oil and natural gas producers of Canada are heavily publicizing their measures to minimize environmental impacts, and that is the same talk we hear from the Conservative Party. Even if producers are making efforts to mitigate certain environmental impacts or if they invest in technologies to improve efficiency, the fundamental problem remains: greenhouse gas emissions associated with these industries are the biggest source of Canada's emissions and they are incompatible with meeting our Paris targets and reaching the Liberals' much desired net-zero by 2050.

It is unfortunate to have to say it, but the main objective of producers remains to produce more, to sell more and to export more. I am perhaps in agreement with the part of the motion that says “using Canadian resources creates Canadian jobs”. Indeed, harnessing the power of water to produce hydroelectric energy creates many jobs for many Quebeckers.

The Conservatives often forget that the oil industry is not the only job creator. If renewable energy sources were developed more and if we moved away from fossil fuels, it would certainly create jobs for people who might have lost theirs in another sector.

I also want to say a few words about the fifth point of the motion, which asks the government to recognize that “First Nations involved in Canada's oil and gas industry experience significant and profound positive economic effects, including higher rates of employment, higher incomes, and improved health and educational attainments”.

I assume that the first nations' deep attachment to their lands and the fact that building a pipeline on their lands without their consent is completely unacceptable was purposely omitted. The Conservatives seem to have quickly forgotten about the Wet'suwet'en nation's opposition to TransCanada's Coastal GasLink project since 2010. Their resistance came to a head last January, when the Wet'suwet'en feared a violent repression by the RCMP after an escalation of tensions surrounding the pipeline. I would not be so confident about claiming that first nations fully support of the oil and gas industry. I think we should ask them first.

As for the part of the motion that says that “Canada's oil and gas industry from Western to Atlantic Canada is essential to the well-being of the nation and should be celebrated”, I would just like to note that journalist Andrew Nikiforuk's book Tar Sands was published in French with the subtitle “Canada's shame”. The tar sands certainly do not deserve to be celebrated.

I will close by saying that the Bloc Québécois believes Quebec's future lies in ending our dependence on oil, using our electricity in our transportation, increasing the development of our renewable forest resources, and trying to develop a zero-emission plane.

Balancing the economy and the environment is not a constraint. Rather, it is an opportunity to create wealth. With all due respect to my Conservative colleagues, I think they should start considering this angle instead of clinging to an energy source that belongs in the last century and that is going to disappear one day anyway. That is the only way we will meet our greenhouse gas reduction targets and contribute our share to the global effort.

Support of Oil and Gas SectorPrivate Members' Business

6:10 p.m.


Ziad Aboultaif Conservative Edmonton Manning, AB

Madam Speaker, before I begin my final remarks, for God's sake, can anyone tell me what the Bloc Québécois Party stands for?

Today is the last hour of debate on my private member's motion, Motion No. 61, before it goes to a vote next week. It has been a pleasure and an honour to present this motion and to listen to the discussion on it in this place.

I know that I have said before that this motion would call on the House and the government to support our oil and gas industry. I know that I have also said before, and I am happy to say again, that this industry deserves our support. It creates jobs for Canadians, for men and women from coast to coast to coast. These are jobs for Canadians of all stripes and creeds. It also puts food on the table and puts kids through school. It is an industry that I am happy to throw my support behind.

However, that is not all it does. It is also a massive source of government revenue from resource royalties and taxes. It provides a stream of revenue in the billions of dollars to our provincial and federal governments. Right now, while we are fighting a global pandemic, with deficits in the range of hundreds of billions of dollars, these are revenues we need so that we can fund health care programs and schools and support Canadians during the pandemic, which has brought so much hardship to all of us.

Just as importantly, not just to present but to the future Canadians, this industry has been at the forefront of developing green technologies and carbon capture technology. Our oil and gas industry is a world leader in green technologies and innovation, and just as importantly, it is a world leader in environmental preservation and restoration.

Our oil and gas sector needs our support more than ever. Not only is it under attack from special interests groups, but it is now under siege from the American Democrats' green strategy. Keystone XL was shut down by President Biden and now Line 5 is at risk thanks to Michigan's governor, Gretchen Whitmer. This line supplies oil and gas for essential public infrastructure, such as Toronto Pearson International Airport. If Line 5 is shut down, all Canadians from coast to coast to coast will feel the economic downturn, as gas prices will rise drastically across eastern Canada.

I would like to think the choice on how to vote on this motion is rather obvious. Our oil and gas industry does so much for Canadians and for Canada. There are few other industries that provide the triple whammy of good, well-paying jobs for Canadians, revenues to help fund programs in health care and education and an industry-wide commitment to help combat climate change. Our oil and gas sector is an industry that has done so much to help Canadians, directly or indirectly, and it is the reason that hundreds of thousands of Canadians are able to support their families.

As I said in the speech that I delivered when I introduced Motion No. 61, this is an industry that has done so much to support Canada. I think it is time that Canada, the House and this government support it. That is why I am asking that all of my colleagues support this motion, so that we can stand in support of one of Canada's most important industries.

Support of Oil and Gas SectorPrivate Members' Business

6:15 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

It being 6:18 p.m., the time provided for debate has expired.

Accordingly, the question is on the motion.

If a member of a recognized party present in the House wishes to request a recorded division or that the motion be adopted on division, I would invite them to rise and indicate it to the Chair.

Support of Oil and Gas SectorPrivate Members' Business

May 13th, 2021 / 6:15 p.m.


Bob Saroya Conservative Markham—Unionville, ON

Madam Speaker, I request a recorded vote.

Support of Oil and Gas SectorPrivate Members' Business

6:15 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

Pursuant to order made on Monday, January 25, the division stands deferred until Wednesday, May 26, 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.

Public SafetyAdjournment Proceedings

6:20 p.m.


Tako Van Popta Conservative Langley—Aldergrove, BC

Madam Speaker, on April 26, I posed a question to the Minister of Public Safety about gun safety and the answer I received missed the mark, so I am very grateful to have the opportunity for this follow-up question.

I was prompted to ask that question last month in response to a gangland-style shooting in broad daylight in my community of Langley, B.C. A man was shot and killed in front of the Langley Sportsplex where my grandkids play hockey, so it hit pretty close to home to see that on the six o'clock news that evening. It was reported that it was the third such gang-related killing in B.C.'s Lower Mainland in a period of a few weeks.

Fast-forward a couple of weeks and I am sad to report that the murders, in broad daylight, in crowded places in the Lower Mainland, continue, the most recent being this past Sunday, Mother Day's, at Vancouver International Airport. The Vancouver Sun reported that fatal shooting was the 10th in the Lower Mainland since the middle of April. People in B.C. are very concerned and, no, this not about supporting gun manufacturers, as the minister sarcastically suggested in his answer. My only concern is keeping our streets safe and I am supported in that by people in my constituency of Langley—Aldergrove, including the many hunters and sport shooters who live here. They, of all people, law-abiding citizens and lawful gun owners, want fewer, zero, illegal guns on our streets.

In his answer, the minister said that three ways that criminals get access to guns are being examined. They are smuggled across the border, they are stolen from lawful gun owners or they are criminally diverted, where people buy them legally, sell them illegally, or “straw purchasing”. I thought I would fact-check the minister's answer and I was surprised to learn in the process that we do not really know the source of gun crimes because Canadian law enforcement agencies are not required to track this in any meaningful, consistent or reliable way and they do not always share this information.

There is not even a consistent definition of what a crime gun is. Is it a gun used in violent crime or is the definition so broad to also include guns, for example, owned by lawful gun owners who inadvertently allow their licences to lapse? This is a very important question because the answer could make the data we gather either very useful for developing policy or completely useless. Where is Canada in this data-gathering process?

According to the CBC about a year ago, May 2020, “Statistics Canada has started a project to increase the amount of information collected on guns used in crime.” It is a good thing, of course, because we need good, reliable data, but I was quite surprised to learn that we are just starting that project.

In the same article, a professor at the University of Toronto, Dr. Lee, who studies gun violence, is quoted as saying:

It's important to determine the origin of crime guns because any attempts at legislating the sale and flow of firearms has to recognize that the United States is a global supplier of firearms....We just simply don't know how many guns are Canadian in origin versus American in origin.

This is my follow-up. Toronto's chief of police said that 80% of crime guns were smuggled into the—

Public SafetyAdjournment Proceedings

6:20 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

Public SafetyAdjournment Proceedings

6:20 p.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec


Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Langley—Aldergrove for his comments today. I had the pleasure of sitting with him on the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.

This is a very important issue and a reminder that every incident of gun violence in Canada is one too many. We really must do everything we can to combat this type of violence, which we have certainly seen too much of, and our government is determined to fight it.

However, with respect to what the member just said about the theft and diversion of legal firearms, I would like to set the record straight and remind the House that the chiefs of police of Edmonton, Saskatoon and Regina have all said that this is one of the most common forms of diversion of firearms from the legal to the illegal market.

It is also fair to say that, when the Conservatives were in power, their deficit reduction action plan slashed funding for the RCMP and the Canada Border Services Agency. They cut the human and technical resources dedicated to fighting gun violence in Canada.

It is equally fair to say that, at every opportunity, the Conservatives voted against more funding for our security agencies and police forces, funding that was intended to better equip them so they could combat diversion and smuggling, which is how weapons get into Canada and end up being used in violent incidents.

Lastly, it is fair to say that, if we look at the Conservative leader's stance on firearms, it is eerily similar in every way to the gun lobby's.

Let us look at what the government has done and continues to do to address gun violence in Canada.

Starting in 2018, we began investing more than $327 million in the provinces, territories and local police forces to better equip them for law enforcement and prevention activities. We have invested in the RCMP and the Canada Border Services Agency to repair the damage done by the previous government, with its decade of austerity and cuts, precisely where it has the greatest impact on our police forces, in the fight against gun violence. Again in 2018, the Conservatives stayed true to form and voted against these reinvestments in our police forces, including the RCMP.

In the 2020 fall economic statement and in Bill C-14, we committed $250 million over five years to municipalities and indigenous communities to help them invest in upstream prevention and intervention programs to reduce the risks of gun violence. Again, the Conservatives voted against that.

In budget 2021, we went even further. On top of the $250 million in the fall economic statement, the government made a commitment to invest an additional $312 million over five years starting in 2021-22. After that, there will be $41.5 million to protect Canadians against gun violence by continuing to support the work of the RCMP and the CBSA.

I hope that this time, the hon. member for Langley—Aldergrove will support that. I have only spoken about investments, but we did not stop there. I remind the House that our government tabled Bill C-21, which increases prison sentences for smuggling and illicit trafficking of firearms from 10 to 14 years.

I think this sends a clear message to judges about the importance we attach to these crimes. I hope the Conservatives will support the bill. The bill has a much wider scope, but I unfortunately do not have enough time to go over all the ways in which it helps combat gun violence in Canada.

Public SafetyAdjournment Proceedings

6:25 p.m.


Tako Van Popta Conservative Langley—Aldergrove, BC

Madam Speaker, it does not answer the question of the source of gun crimes in Canada. We need that information. With that information lacking, we will not be able to develop good policy. Therefore, I will restate the question.

How many guns? What percentage of guns used in homicides or attempted homicides in Canada come from these three sources: smuggled, stolen or diverted? Is the Toronto chief of police correct when he says that the vast majority are smuggled into the country and not sourced from lawful gun owners?

We need that information so we can have good, data-driven decision-making in keeping our streets safe.

Public SafetyAdjournment Proceedings

6:25 p.m.


Joël Lightbound Liberal Louis-Hébert, QC

Madam Speaker, we know that there is no miracle solution. We have to work on all fronts and give the CBSA more resources to fight smuggling. We need stricter storage measures, as we are proposing in Bill C-21, and we must continue to make new investments like those we have made to prevent gun violence upstream. I am thinking in particular of the investments I mentioned in my first response.

By fighting all these facets of gun violence, we will reduce the number of cases of gun violence in Canada. That is certainly our government's objective.

I would like the Conservatives to be less “tough talk and no walk” and finally start supporting these new investments in our law enforcement agencies. These investments are helping us curb smuggling and armed violence and provide our police forces with the right tools in terms of both human resources and technology.

HousingAdjournment Proceedings

6:30 p.m.


Tamara Jansen Conservative Cloverdale—Langley City, BC

Madam Speaker, as we all know there are two things in life that are inevitable: death and taxes. Unfortunately, as the government has been overspending on poorly targeted pandemic programs, and plans to continue to add enormous amounts of debt over the next five years, higher taxes in the near future are inescapable.

As the Liberal government looks around for ways to raise funds that are not printed by the Bank of Canada, it seems they are now gazing longingly at the equity Canadians have in their homes. What other reason would explain the CMHC-sponsored study with Generation Squeeze, which explicitly stated in its charter that, “There is an inequitable and uneven playing field for younger and older generations in the housing market, one that is hindering current Government of Canada goals to create affordable housing opportunities for Canadians”?

According to its charter, which states that a key source of that hindrance is “tax policy that privileges home ownership and shelters housing wealth, especially in principal residence”, Canadians who own homes are targeted. I had an opportunity recently to question CMHC and Generation Squeeze at the finance committee about this study, and they had some interesting things to say. Although they stated they were not specifically studying a home equity tax, they “encourage a focus on a bit of a tax shift. How might we focus on the 9% or 10% of homes that are valued above $1 million in Canada? How could we ask those homeowners to contribute more?” Mr. Kershaw from Generation Squeeze went on to say, “this is something that I think is gaining momentum among a range of parties federally, and with good reason. A tax shift would talk about how we want to raise more revenue for the governments”.

With this study, the government is failing to acknowledge that homeowners pay a huge portion of their income and taxes to three levels of government before they can even save for a down payment. There is no acknowledgement of the costs of owning a home, such as maintenance, repairs or insurance, let alone any renovations that enhance the value of that property. Canadians who take on the risk and responsibility of home ownership should not be penalized for doing all that hard work.

In actual fact, the government has done the most of anyone to worsen the situation around housing affordability. It has been inflating housing prices in all sorts of different ways. I live down in the Fraser Valley, and we know that three levels of government red tape adds hundreds of thousands of dollars to the costs of new homes by way of zoning regulations, development charges and housing limits. The C.D. Howe Institute did a study and said these things add $644,000 to the cost of a home in Vancouver. There is also the hidden tax of quantitative easing.

Easy, low-interest, printed money has fuelled the rise in housing prices. That was a government policy decision, so from where I sit, I think the government has done enough damage to housing affordability already. We need less red tape and less government interference, not more.

I have some questions for the member opposite today. Will he unequivocally state that no new punitive taxes on homeowners will be introduced by the Liberal government? Will he agree that the problem of housing affordability is in part caused by his government's reckless monetary policy and red tape across all levels of government?

Will his government commit to making it easier to increase the housing supply in this country by addressing these two problems?

HousingAdjournment Proceedings

6:30 p.m.

Spadina—Fort York Ontario


Adam Vaughan LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families

Madam Speaker, let me begin by unequivocally answering the question: No, there is no contemplation, no desire and no will to tax people's primary residence. The capital gains tax is not being touched by this government and will not be touched by this government. It is the third time the member opposite has received that answer. Maybe this is the lucky time it lands.

In terms of what our government is doing to create affordability, the zoning issue she talks about and the provincial guidelines she talks about are beyond our jurisdiction. We can talk about what we are doing to make housing more affordable for Canadians, whether they choose to rent or whether they choose to own.

Let us begin by talking about home ownership. We have put in a vacant homes tax to try to chase out of the market speculators who buy homes but do not allow people to live in them. We have put in beneficial ownership requirements and rules in place to make sure that money laundering is chased from the Canadian market and takes that speculative forced inflation out of the market.

We have provided support for first-time homebuyers. In fact, we just recently announced new measures to deal with the riding and geography the member represents in the Lower Mainland and Victoria in B.C. and in Toronto to increase the capacity of that program and to increase the threshold to make sure those two particular urban regions are addressed through the first-time homebuyers program.

We have also taken steps to make sure that we move toward providing supply through the national housing strategy, a $70-billion program, which provides a lot of new market rental housing, a lot of deeply affordable housing, including the rapid housing initiative, which recently produced close to 5,000 units of new housing. It has also done things like block financing for Habitat for Humanity and provide $58 million in funding to provide low-income home ownership opportunities for Canadians looking to purchase their first home.

What did the Conservatives do with every single one of those measures? They voted no, no, no and no, and then no one more time just for good measure. What does that do? It protects the status quo. It protects the market as it is, which is interesting because the Conservatives effectively created this market. When the member for Carleton was minister for housing and I was in opposition, we sat there and watched him brag about how unregulated the housing market was. He bragged about it. The unregulated housing market has created a speculative bonanza that is driving first-time homebuyers out of the dream of owning a home.

It is Conservative policy that got us here, and the worst policy was when Jim Flaherty double-crossed the Prime Minister, double-crossed his caucus and cancelled all the income trust. The one he did not do was the real estate income trust sector, and that has galloped into the housing market and has driven inflation so that housing is beyond the reach of most Canadians. When the Conservatives stand up here and protect the status quo, the status quo is a market that they have designed and delivered to Canadians, and that is the housing crisis we inherited as a government.

When I was a journalist covering Parliament Hill, Stephen Harper once told me that if I wanted to talk about housing in Parliament, I should read the Constitution first, because there was no federal responsibility toward housing. That is why I put down my pen and I picked up an election sign. I planted it in the front lawns of the communities I represent, including a lot of condominiums with first-time homeowners who are renting right now, and I got to work on the national housing strategy, providing federal leadership on this program for the first time in over a decade.

If the member opposite was serious about housing, and I do not really think she is, if she was serious about helping Canadians make the choices they want to make, and I really do not think she is, she would start supporting the federal housing policy proposed by the Liberal government, instead of protecting the status quo designed and delivered by the member for Carleton, by former Prime Minister Stephen Harper and by former finance minister Jim Flaherty.

The member joined a party that has walked away from housing, walked away from the needs of Canadians looking for housing, whether to rent or to own, and now she is trying to pretend that there is a tax to be worried about. I will say it one more time to her, for the fourth time: This government has no plans to change the capital gains tax exemptions for primary residences—none, not one bit, not at all, never.

I do not know what CMHC has hired to do as a study. What I can say is that the government has made a very firm decision, a very clear decision. We will not be introducing a tax on someone's principal residence to change the exemptions for the capital gains tax. It is not going to happen on our government's watch—

HousingAdjournment Proceedings

6:35 p.m.


HousingAdjournment Proceedings

6:35 p.m.


Tamara Jansen Conservative Cloverdale—Langley City, BC

Madam Speaker, I wonder, then, why anyone would put a quarter of a million dollars of taxpayers' money into a study about the problem of housing wealth if they are not planning to tax that wealth, which is supposedly getting in the way of housing affordability. Will he agree that the problem of housing affordability is, in part, caused by the government's reckless monetary policy and the red tape across all government levels? When will the government stop confusing subsidized housing and housing affordability?

HousingAdjournment Proceedings

6:35 p.m.


Adam Vaughan Liberal Spadina—Fort York, ON

Madam Speaker, when we provide leadership on housing at the federal level, we have to provide leadership across the full spectrum of Canadians' housing needs. Yes, some people are looking to buy, some people are looking to rent and some people need supports to live in the housing they have acquired because of a whole series of challenges. These could be medical, or they could have to do with income challenges or with what part of the country one lives in.

Our government has focused on giving Canadians support regardless of what choice they want to make for themselves. We are focused on making sure there is a housing system that meets their needs and recognizing their human rights to access a housing system that does meet those needs. That is our government's investment.

In terms of the conversation the member had about a study being done. I recognize that the party opposite has trouble with science. I recognize that it has trouble with universities and colleges. I recognize that most of the Conservative governments in this country are gutting public education here, there and everywhere.

If she is worried about what we study as opposed to what we do, it is probably because she is worried about education. If she is worried about education, she might want to join a party that actually fights for public education and investments in the public education system—

HousingAdjournment Proceedings

6:40 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

The hon. member for Bow River.

Public Services and ProcurementAdjournment Proceedings

6:40 p.m.


Martin Shields Conservative Bow River, AB

Madam Speaker, speaking about COVID, there is an institution in my riding that we call the weekly newspapers. They are Brooks Bulletin, Chestermere Anchor, Strathmore Times, Vauxhall Advance, Taber Times, Vulcan Advocate, Bassano Times, Milo Can Opener, Rocky View Weekly and Three Hills Capital.

What does all this have to do with COVID? These weekly newspapers are the ones that cover those things in the community, so people know what is happening with COVID in their community. They also know what is happening with the municipal government, what is happening in schools, clubs and associations and the cultural activities in their communities.

At one time a few years ago, there was government advertising that went to weekly newspapers. It used to go to weekly newspapers. Now where does it go? The Prime Minister and the Minister of Canadian Heritage complain about the social media giants, Google and Facebook, but that is where the government is putting its advertising dollars. They are taking Canadian taxpayer dollars and putting it in the social media giants, so the weekly newspapers in Canada, like those in my riding, are getting one-third of 1% of what they used to get.

These are the papers that are highly read. The percentage that are read in the communities, whether it is print, online or both, is huge because they are covering things in their local community. That is where people are getting their information about COVID in their communities, not from the social giants.

However, the federal government now complains about the social giant media and it wants to tax them, but if it had spent those taxpayer dollars in the weekly newspapers in our ridings, those weekly newspapers would not be going out of business. They are providing that media in our local communities, which is critical.

The local daily newspapers are not in my riding. Those big daily newspapers are not going to cover all of those local communities in my riding. The weeklies do. The government has shifted our taxpayer money to the foreign social media giants, the Facebooks and the Googles. That is where it has put our tax dollars.

If we want to protect our culture in our rural communities, then we should be putting advertising dollars in those weekly newspapers, which pro bono support the cultural activities in our communities. However, the government prefers to put its advertising dollars, which comes from Canadian taxpayers, outside our country. They then want to tax them back. That is hypocrisy. We need those advertising dollars in our ridings.

There is another group I have talked to which includes Judith Coates, Nancy Wilson, Vicki Penrod, Brenda Slater, Carol-Ann Drummond, Laurie Umscheid, Shelly Neal, Jolene Williams and Brandy Macdonald. Who are they? They are our travel agents and our travel advisors.

Our MP for Calgary Midnapore has really done an excellent job of talking about the support for our airline industry, but this subsector is brutally suffering as well. They have lost their commissions because the airlines clawed them back, so they lost commissions for a year. Now they are not getting anything for another year. This is a brutal aspect of the travel industry, and it needs support.