House of Commons Hansard #54 of the 44th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was languages.


Canada Infrastructure Bank ActPrivate Members' Business

5:40 p.m.


Niki Ashton NDP Churchill—Keewatinook Aski, MB

moved that Bill C-245, An Act to amend the Canada Infrastructure Bank Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Madam Speaker, I am proud to rise in the House to speak to my private member’s bill, Bill C-245. It is a bill that would amend the act of the Infrastructure Bank of Canada, a bill that would use public ownership in the fight against climate change, and a bill that would give hope to communities like the one I come from, the ones I represent and the ones across our country that are already paying the price for climate change.

This bill would provide a new avenue for indigenous communities, northern communities and all Canadians to develop the infrastructure they need right now.

The climate crisis is on our doorstep, and what we are hearing back home in the north is alarming. The permafrost is melting and jeopardizing our municipal infrastructure. Thousands of people rely on temporary winter roads to receive deliveries of heavy equipment, but the season for using them is getting shorter and shorter. These communities need help dealing with climate change before it is too late.

Meanwhile, the Canada Infrastructure Bank has failed. Not a single project has been completed, and billions of dollars are sitting unspent.

As the UN Secretary-General said this week, time is running out. We must use all of the tools at our disposal to tackle the climate crisis. The bill I am proposing today is part of the solution.

This past September, I sat with the chief and council of Pauingassi First Nation at the hotel in Winnipeg where they had been evacuated. They were into the third month of their forced evacuation from wildfires raging in eastern Manitoba and northwestern Ontario. This was their third evacuation in four years. This time it lasted four months.

We sat in one of the hotel meeting spaces that had been converted into a makeshift school. The leaders and principal of the school shared their concerns. “These fires are only getting worse,” they shared. “We need support to keep our communities safe,” they said. Pauingassi is one of two first nations in Manitoba that, despite years of advocacy, does not even have an airport. They have no all-weather road and no airport. “We felt trapped,” they said.

Pauingassi lost community members during the time of the evacuation. Many community members were desperate to go home, and when they got home, they found hectares of their traditional lands devastated. Traplines were gone and cabins had burned to the ground. A way of life was under threat.

Last summer saw a series of devastating climate events. Perhaps the one that received the most attention was the burning to the ground of Lytton, in British Columbia. The excruciatingly high temperatures of the heat dome created the conditions of a fire that engulfed a village, a community, lives and livelihoods. As Edith Loring-Kuhanga, school administrator for Stein Valley Nlakapamux School in Lytton, said, “The extreme temperatures of 49°C-plus leading up to June 30 contributed to the Lytton Creek fire that destroyed the Village of Lytton in 25 minutes and burned many homes and businesses on IR 17, 18 and 22 of Lytton First Nation and the Thompson-Nicola Regional District. Our lives were forever changed on June 30. Nine months later, those who lost their homes continue to be homeless and struggle with high anxiety and PTSD as they continue to reconnect with their families, culture, way of life and the land.” To this day, Lytton is still waiting to be cleaned up and rebuilt.

Pauingassi, Lytton, Little Grand Rapids, St. Theresa Point, Shamattawa, Thompson, Iqaluit, Old Crow, The Pas, Fort Chipewyan, Prince George, Pinaymootang First Nation, Peguis, Inuvik, Uashat-Maliotenam and Happy Valley-Goose Bay: this bill is for all of our communities. These communities have been sounding the alarm on climate change for some time. They have been clear on what they need and what we need to mitigate and adapt, and they are communities that have been ignored. This must change. Time is running out.

Just this week, the IPCC came out with a damning report highlighting the absolute urgency needed to fight climate change. The report outlined the need to ditch fossil fuels. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described the report, but just as easily could have been talking about the Liberal government record on climate change, as a “litany of broken promises” and “a file of shame, cataloguing the empty pledges that put us firmly on track towards an unlivable world”. He said, “The jury has reached a verdict. And it is damning. We are on a fast track to climate disaster.”

There have been many reports and many words, but not enough action. The Liberals continue to maintain the anti-science fallacy that fossil fuel investments will pay for a clean-energy transition. The government has given more to oil companies than even the previous Conservative government could have dreamed of. We are, shamefully, the worst G7 country when it comes to GHG emissions, and at a time when we should be supporting the transition to green energy, dozens of northern communities in our country are running on dirty diesel.

Time is running out. We must act now. It is time that we commit to investing in indigenous and northern communities and all our communities in supporting their efforts for a just transition by supporting this legislation, because it is that important. The infrastructure needs are that important.

A recent report claimed that the infrastructure gap for first nations is conservatively estimated at $25 billion to $30 billion, yet many of the infrastructure needs we see are for projects between $1 million and $25 million. Bluntly speaking, slapping a profit requirement on Infrastructure Bank projects locks communities like the ones I represent out of these dollars. Do their infrastructure needs not matter?

Chief Owens of Pauingassi First Nation said, “We have already seen the effects of climate change over the last few decades. It’s real. I was surprised in conversations with Niki to even hear of Canada’s Infrastructure Bank. We’ve never heard of it. We’ve never been able to use it. Investments to connect us with the rest of the country or help us deal with fires we would like to see, and this bill would help with that.”

Chief Redhead is from Shamattawa First Nation, a community that as been failed by Canada time and time again. It deals with massive infrastructure gaps, a housing crisis, tuberculosis outbreaks as a result of the housing crisis and a recent COVID outbreak that was so bad that the military had to be sent in. In regard to this bill, he said, “One of the benefits of seeing this bill pass would be the ability to connect Shamattawa to the main hydro line. Right now we’re dependent on burning dirty diesel for the entire community. It’s 2022 and it’s time to bring communities like Shamattawa into 2022. I’d really like to see this bill pass and for all parties to support it so we can make real change in the fight against climate change.”

Chief Flett of St. Theresa Point has talked about the need for an all-weather road system to the Island Lake Region, given the melting ice roads and the chance to cut down on the carbon footprint that comes from an absolute reliance on air travel.

We have heard from leaders about water pipes breaking down in their communities because of melting permafrost, radio towers snapping because of the weight of record snowfalls, historic droughts and unpredictable flooding.

In discussions with indigenous, territorial and northern leaders, we repeatedly heard about how they want to move forward with mitigation and adaptation. We also heard how hard it was for them to access any federal dollars. Overwhelmingly, there was a sense that the federal government existed to serve the needs of the southern part of the country, if that.

In conversations with some of my Liberal colleagues in advance of today, I heard concerns that there are other federal institutions that can do this work, that can fund these type of projects, but the reality is that they are not. That is why so many of these communities are in such dire straits.

If we acknowledge that the need is great, if we acknowledge that current institutions are not getting the job done, why do we not use Canada’s Infrastructure Bank to do the job we originally wanted it to do? We cannot afford to wait in terms of climate, and we certainly cannot afford to wait when it comes to people. If not now, when?

It is clear that the Canada Infrastructure Bank is not living up to its promise. We are talking about a Crown corporation with a budget of $35 billion dollars that has yet to complete a single project in almost five years of existence. A recent PBO report said it would not even spend half its money. In the infrastructure committee study called for by my colleague, the MP for Skeena—Bulkley Valley, witness after witness made it clear that the bank in its current form does not and cannot work, yet when the bank was first established, many folks were excited. Robert Ramsay, senior research officer at CUPE, described the excitement when they thought that they were hearing about the creation of a public infrastructure bank that could invest in desperately needed infrastructure across the country. This has not been the case. The reality is that the bank is refusing to do the work that it promised to do.

At committee, the PBO reported that the Canada Infrastructure Bank had only approved 18% of the projects it considered, with one of the most common reasons given for rejection being that the projects themselves were not considered big enough. This bill would fix that. It would prioritize the infrastructure needs of the communities the bank claims to be working for.

The bank's privatization agenda has been a key part of the problem. There was a consistent feature of testimony at committee from witnesses, including Canadians for Tax Fairness, the Canadian Union of Public Employees and the Council of Canadians, that public-private partnerships, particularly ones that include private operators collecting revenues through user fees, inherently raised questions about which projects are selected. They questioned whether Canadians can be satisfied that an infrastructure project is being funded because it serves the greatest public interest and not because it offers the highest rate of return for private equity providers.

Mr. Sanger testified:

The only purpose that P3s fill is to engage in some off-book financing and provide private finance with lucrative low-risk investment opportunities that taxpayers will cover for decades to come. If these projects are really privatized, we will undoubtedly end up with some really inadequate infrastructure....

In Mapleton, Ontario, it took public outrage to stop the Infrastructure Bank from privatizing water services.

As Angella MacEwen, a senior economist at CUPE, said, “The most critical infrastructure needs in Canada aren’t ones that work with a profit attached to them. It’s basic infrastructure that is needed for communities to go about their daily lives. It should be publicly financed and publicly owned so it benefits the most people. I’m really excited to see this bill. This is what we’ve been asking for at CUPE and the broader labour movement: for the bank to move in this direction.

Along with its privatization agenda, there is a lack of transparency from the bank. At committee, Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux discussed the bank's refusal to share information, saying that the bank was probably less transparent than the Department of Infrastructure. He also pointed out that parliamentarians had yet to receive a full status update on the bank because the government has not kept track of information on all funded projects. This is obviously unacceptable.

Through this bill we are also calling on the bank to include first nations, Inuit and Métis voices in its governance. If we acknowledge that the greatest infrastructure gap in the country is within these communities, it is frankly inconceivable in 2022 and in an age of reconciliation that these communities do not have a say in what is happening on their land.

It is clear that the foundations of the Canada Infrastructure Bank must be rebuilt. We can do this work. We know that the fight against climate change requires bold collective action. It requires the leveraging of public investment in historic ways. Crown corporations are key tools in this fight. Our Crown corporations belong to us, the Canadian people, and they ought to be leading players in the fight against climate change. Today we can start with the Infrastructure Bank. The Infrastructure Bank can be the solution and not a tepid part of the problem. I urge my Liberal colleagues and indeed all members of the house to be part of that solution. The bank should be issuing green bonds, as many have called for. Let us let the CIB be a driving force in the fight against climate change, in the fight against the infrastructure gaps our communities face.

Rather than allocating public funds to be used by the private sector, which will prioritize profits, let us direct that money to the communities that are struggling to survive in the midst of a climate emergency. Let us use all levers of government and put them to work for the people. Let us create green jobs. Let us join forces with indigenous peoples who are experiencing the climate crisis firsthand. Let us identify all of the government's underperformers, like the Canada Infrastructure Bank. We need to do this for the survival of our planet.

My message to the Liberals is clear: If they want the Infrastructure Bank to live up to its promise, make these changes.

My message to all MPs in the House is clear: If they believe communities across our country deserve federal investment as they take on the climate crisis, vote for this bill. If they believe we need bold action to take on the climate emergency, vote for this bill.

Canada Infrastructure Bank ActPrivate Members' Business

5:55 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba


Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, over the years one of the things that I have learned is that the demand for infrastructure dollars far outweighs what the federal government and provincial governments could actually put together in any given fiscal year. I can recall years ago talking about the billions and billions of dollars for the city of Winnipeg alone for street reconstruction, and it was not all of the streets, just those that were in very high demand.

Does the member believe that even the combined public purses of federal, provincial, municipal and indigenous governments have enough in their budgets today to cover the costs of the infrastructure that needs to be built?

Canada Infrastructure Bank ActPrivate Members' Business

5:55 p.m.


Niki Ashton NDP Churchill—Keewatinook Aski, MB

Madam Speaker, I think we can all agree that, no, communities certainly do not have what it takes, but what we do know is that the federal government has incredible resources to do the work that needs to be done.

We saw during the COVID pandemic the extent to which Canada's federal government stand up and made historic investments, and certainly part of this was the work that we did in the NDP, to keep people in our communities safe in the face of this devastating pandemic, which is ongoing.

Climate change is the greatest threat we are all facing, so let us see that same kind of bold investment. Let us use our Crown corporations. Let us do everything we can to invest boldly and take the action necessary to fight the climate crisis. That starts with supporting our communities and with seeing federal leadership on that front.

Canada Infrastructure Bank ActPrivate Members' Business

6 p.m.


Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Madam Speaker, my read of the bill is that it advances a form of stakeholder capitalism. It is the idea that government should seek to promote the idea of corporations advancing green or other sorts of non-economic objectives through the marketplace.

I wonder, as a matter of description, if the member agrees that the bill is advancing a form of stakeholder capitalism and if she believes that we should be advancing stakeholder capitalism as a model.

Canada Infrastructure Bank ActPrivate Members' Business

6 p.m.


Niki Ashton NDP Churchill—Keewatinook Aski, MB

Madam Speaker, I want to be clear that this bill would reform one of our Crown corporations, which has a stated objective of addressing the infrastructure crisis in our country, an objective it clearly is not fulfilling. It is sitting on $35 billion, but has not produced any final results to show for it.

What we are saying is this: Let us leverage public investment, along with other levels of government and public institutions, to meet the urgent infrastructure needs, particularly in the face of climate change. Other countries do this kind of work. Canada is way behind, and it is time that we show leadership, including through the effective use of the Canada Infrastructure Bank.

Canada Infrastructure Bank ActPrivate Members' Business

6 p.m.


Xavier Barsalou-Duval Bloc Pierre-Boucher—Les Patriotes—Verchères, QC

Madam Speaker, I will have the opportunity to comment further on my colleague's bill later on, but when I listened to her speech and when we look at what the CIB really is and what my colleague wants to do with it, I have to wonder whether it is even possible. It is hard to believe that it is, and I wonder if this bill is not somewhat naive.

We will see where the adventure takes us, but it seems to me that a monster has been created, only it is not working and it is not going anywhere, and now there is a suggestion that we can make it palatable.

Canada Infrastructure Bank ActPrivate Members' Business

6 p.m.


Niki Ashton NDP Churchill—Keewatinook Aski, MB

Madam Speaker, let me be clear. This monster was created by the Liberal government. It is clear that the bank's very foundations need to be changed.

I believe this is not only possible, but necessary in order to tackle the climate crisis.

Canada Infrastructure Bank ActPrivate Members' Business

6 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba


Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, infrastructure is such an important topic. When we formed government, there was a significant commitment by the Prime Minister and the Liberal government, for the first time in a long time, to truly invest in infrastructure. I can recall standing in the House talking about historic amounts of money being invested in Canada's infrastructure, and I explained then why that was so important.

One of the features that were over and above the types of investments we were talking about was the idea of the Canada Infrastructure Bank. I believe the Canada Infrastructure Bank will be permanent and will continue on well into the future. Where I am a little disappointed, although not necessarily, and where I ask that additional consideration be given to the idea of this Crown corporation, is with respect to the issue of timing.

The member says, for example, that no projects are under way that have actually been finalized. However, when we do a quick Google search, there is a very quick find right away. We get the City of Brampton, for example. It looks like it will be able to conclude a deal for well over $400 million, which will see 450 zero-emission buses going to that community. I suspect that the Canada Infrastructure Bank is playing a critical role in that.

I think the government has demonstrated its willingness to look at ways in which we can build our infrastructure. Even when we passed the legislation, it was agreed back then that there would be a review of the process and what has taken place. That is supposed to be coming up in 2022, later this year. When we talked about this in its creation, a great deal of time was spent talking about trade and transportation and that infrastructure. Canada is a trading nation.

We talked about public transit, and Brampton is a good example of public transit. We talked about green infrastructure too. This government has talked more about green infrastructure in the last couple of years than the previous prime minister did in 10 years. We can take a look at some of the initiatives using the example of Brampton once again. Broadband connectivity is something on which we have put a great deal of emphasis and would anticipate.

My friend is from northern Manitoba, and I would like to think there are opportunities there. On the idea of clean power, Manitoba can be a great benefactor of clean power, whether it is our hydro developments that use our water or the wind power that is there, all of which take massive amounts of money to build upon. There is also an enormous number of indigenous projects, many of which, if they were acted on and could get financing commitments with infrastructure dollars, would provide more opportunities, whether in building or assisting with community development or even in economic trading opportunities.

I think all of us recognize the importance of infrastructure. That is why, if we go back to late 2015 when we took government, we will find that we had put into place a multi-billion dollar long-term commitment toward building Canada's infrastructure.

The question that I had posed to my friend opposite was with regard to just how severe the need for infrastructure dollars is today. The number of projects is, quite frankly, unbelievable. We have a serious infrastructure deficit. That is something that has not been created over the last few years. It is because of many years of what many would ultimately argue was neglect.

It also speaks to the number of projects, when we look at expanding Canada's economy and our communities and providing a better quality of life, whether in urban centres or rural centres. In other words, it is those new projects. When one thinks of infrastructure, not only is it redoing or rebuilding, it is also the new projects that are there.

There is no shortage of either. That is one of the reasons why, under this administration, we have seen historic amounts of money allocated in every budget this government has provided in the past six years. We have seen record numbers of projects in every region of our country. We have seen allocations going from Ottawa directly through to our municipalities, in the form of gas tax-type transfers.

Driving on some roads in Winnipeg North, I think about this. We see the pits that are dug in order to replace a road. I think of a street like McGregor, for example, or Salter or Selkirk. Those are huge cost factors. Much of the money provided comes from Ottawa to make those projects possible.

When I think of the city of Winnipeg, I think of the Chief Peguis Extension and how critically important that is to the city of Winnipeg, to the province and ultimately, I would argue, to our country. When we think of our international airport and CentrePort, and the hundreds of millions of dollars being invested and the future of thousands of jobs in that area alone, one gets a sense of just how important Chief Peguis Extension is.

That same principle, I am sure, could be argued in every one of my colleagues' constituencies. There is no shortage of ideas out there, or shortage of needs for infrastructure dollars. That is why, as a national government, not only are we providing those badly needed financial resources in historic amounts, but we are also working with municipalities and provinces and, in many ways, allowing them to establish the priorities. They are much more into the community, and they are establishing where those priority needs really are. We would like to be able to contribute wherever we can, whether directly or indirectly.

That is not enough. That is one of the reasons why we brought forward the Canada Infrastructure Bank as a Crown corporation: As a Crown corporation, there is no doubt that many projects would be able to attract additional financial resources, which will hopefully see more projects approved.

Recognizing that there is so much need out there, this government is committed to doing what it can to find financial resources so that we can start building our communities and our economy.

By doing that, we are supporting Canadians in a very real and tangible way, whether as a society in our growth or in our economic development. We are improving the quality of life for all Canadians in all regions.

Canada Infrastructure Bank ActPrivate Members' Business

6:10 p.m.


Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity this debate provides to discuss the important issue of stakeholder capitalism.

Fundamental to our current economic system has been the idea of shareholder capitalism, the idea that corporations exist for the specific and narrow purpose of maximizing value for their shareholders. I think it is important to acknowledge that there are legitimate criticisms of this shareholder capitalism model.

When companies only consider the interests of their shareholders, they may end up doing harm to non-shareholders. Questions of morality and long-term sustainability are part of the equation in shareholder capitalism insofar as they impact a company's reputation and bottom line, but insofar as they do not impact the bottom line, they are excluded from consideration. Maybe that presents a problem.

Historically, we have tried to address these harms associated with shareholder capitalism through law, regulation and tax policy, which force companies to internalize social costs. Needless to say, those efforts are never perfect. One increasingly popular response to the potential problems with shareholder capitalism is the proposed alternative model of stakeholder capitalism. I will argue today that stakeholder capitalism is dangerous. It exacerbates the problems of shareholder capitalism and creates new problems of its own.

Stakeholder capitalism is the idea that we should pursue an economic system in which companies seek to maximize value for all stakeholders instead of just their own shareholders. On the face of it, the idea that companies should concern themselves with the social good instead of their own bottom line is obviously intuitively appealing to many people, but we need to go beyond the superficial, nice-sounding platitudes that usually shape the defence of stakeholder capitalism to understand the substantive implications of this radical shift in thinking.

To start with, it is important to understand the history of the idea. Stakeholder capitalism is a new name, but not a new model. In fact, the process of early European colonization was generally affected through large monopolistic companies that were granted charters to trade exclusively in certain areas, partially in exchange for commitments to undertake certain other non-economic actions that were perceived to be in the interests of the home state.

The Hudson's Bay Company and the East India Company were early examples of stakeholder capitalism at work. These companies acted like governments when they were in the field, and they were protected in their undemocratic exercise of political authority by the fact that they took into consideration the interests of their chosen or assigned stakeholders. Of course, they did not take into consideration the interests of all stakeholders, but neither do their modern equivalents.

Today one of the most prominent proponents of stakeholder capitalism is the World Economic Forum founder Klaus Schwab. Stakeholder Capitalism is his most recent book, and it is explicitly endorsed in the Davos Manifesto. Here in Canada, Mark Carney is a leading advocate and his book Values makes similar arguments to those made by Schwab. Schwab, Carney and the NDP member proposing this bill today have every right to advance a particular set of proposals about how they believe our economy should change, but we should talk about the fact that these ideas have significant unseen consequences.

Generally speaking, though not always, the proponents of stakeholder capitalism come from the political left. The political left has a long track record of critiquing shareholder capitalism, but has generally done so in the context of a broader critique of corporate power. That critique has been that corporations should not be too powerful because they can use their position of power to exploit workers and to push agendas that may be contrary to the democratic will of the people. This is actually a potentially good critique, and many modern conservatives would embrace it, adding as well that too powerful corporations can often use their power to subvert and undermine the market itself.

Conservatives and past versions of left-wing parties have both critiqued powerful monopolistic corporations, but have disagreed about solutions. Left-wing parties have critiqued capitalism itself and pushed for greater state ownership, while conservatives have sought pro-competition and other forms of regulation to ensure that private enterprise can do its job without any single private company having enough power to distort the market or undermine the common good.

Today the parameters of the economic debate have dramatically changed. Today many on the left no longer critique corporate power itself, but simply argue that corporations should be asked to champion progressive or woke causes. The political left now seems fine with large and powerful corporations as long as those corporations are talking about climate change, racial inequality, and trans rights. The left is no longer talking about the problems of corporate power, but about how to use corporate power.

It is very telling that Bill C-245, the bill we are debating tonight and a bill proposed by someone who is arguably one of the most left-wing members of this chamber, is about using corporate power instead of limiting corporate power. She is demonstrating that shift in the thinking of left-wing parties. In particular, Bill C-245 proposes to use the Canada Infrastructure Bank, a Crown corporation, as an ideological tool to shape the kinds of investments that are made in the private sector and to do so with non-economic objectives in minds. This is what stakeholder capitalism has been all about since the colonial era, the use of corporate power to advance ideological objectives that are distinct from shareholder interests.

I believe that modern conservatism must strongly make the case against the kind of stakeholder capitalism championed by this bill and others.

Modern conservatism must take up the arguments against corporate power and recognize that centralized corporate power can be just as dangerous when wielded on behalf of stakeholders as it can be when wielded on behalf of shareholders. We have to defend workers and defend one person, one vote democracy against the idea that corporate power brokers should be the ones defining collective values. This is not an unquestioning defence of shareholder capitalism, which requires appropriate control. It is simply a recognition that the prevailing concept of stakeholder capitalism is worse.

Broadly speaking, I would make three arguments against stakeholder capitalism.

First, an emphasis on stakeholder values is often done insincerely as a branding exercise to mask a lack of real and substantive action on genuinely important issues. It could be used as a basis for claiming that public interest or anti-monopoly regulation is not necessary, even while not moving substantially on the values that are claimed. On this point, I would like to challenge all corporations that have said Black lives matter to say the same about Uighur lives. The NBA, among many others, has figured out that campaigning for racial justice in America is good for their bottom line and campaigning for racial justice in China is bad for their bottom line. However, those who only campaign for racial justice when it is good for their bottom line are not really for racial justice.

Mark Carney, whom I referred to earlier, got himself into hot water for making and then walking back the dubious claim that the half-trillion dollar asset management firm where he works is net zero. I think some members of the House would call that greenwashing. The prevalence of hypocrisy and its potential to distract from real action is one important critique of stakeholder capitalism.

The second critique is that, even when corporations are sincere about championing certain values, encouraging them to identify and then act in the best interests of stakeholders gives companies too much power to make decisions about the common good that they do not have the mandate to make and that are outside of their expertise.

The House decided at one point to ban corporate and union donations to political parties. Why? It was because we determined that corporations should not have a privileged ability to shape public conversations about the common good by funding certain candidates over others. It was recognized that corporations' being able to throw their weight around in politics has a distorting effect on decision-making. However, what is the point of banning corporate and union donations to political parties if we then allow and even encourage those same corporations to use their unique privileges to advance political positions in other ways, by requiring their employees to take courses on progressive ideology, pushing investments toward certain kinds of enterprises or enjoying the privilege of limited liability while participating in explicitly political activity?

I believe that decisions about the goods that a society pursues should be made through democratic competition and debate, not through corporate-directed stakeholder consultations that perpetuate corporate interests and power, even when well intended. The goods that a society prioritizes should be selected on a one person, one vote basis, not on a one share, one vote basis. Even the most generous-hearted corporations necessarily reflect the power of shareholders and management to aggregate feedback from their chosen stakeholders as they make decisions.

A society in which large corporations identify stakeholder values and then push those values is functionally much less democratic than a society in which collective social priorities are identified through open and transparent democratic debate. Again, the corporatized nature of European colonialism should point us to the risks of excessive and unconstrained corporate power, even when corporations are supposed to be responding to certain non-economic, stakeholder-driven imperatives.

My final concern with the stakeholder capitalism model is about the way that it enables government to use corporate action to advance its objective, which is very clear in this bill. Those with regulatory power over corporations can achieve a great deal through the power of suggestion. Corporations understand that they are less likely to face hostile regulation if they are on the same page as governments when it comes to non-economic matters.

If the government tells social media companies to regulate speech or tells banks to deny banking services to certain kinds of people, then it is very much in the interest of those corporations to be helpful. Governments are doing this sort of thing more and more. Stakeholder capitalism provides the intellectual tool kit for governments to ask corporations to use their corporate power in a particular preferred way. In the process, by using corporate power to their advantage, governments can exercise far more power over people's lives than they would otherwise. When the government acts directly, it is subject to scrutiny and accountability mechanisms that do not apply to private corporations. By acting through corporations and using the power of suggestion, governments can achieve preferred outcomes with less scrutiny and accountability.

In general, a world in which political and corporate leaders establish common values and use corporate power alongside state power to push them is less democratic than one in which business sticks to business and common values are identified through democratic debate and advanced by regulators through transparent regulation. In the process, we must preserve a healthy skepticism of corporate power and recognize that a functioning capital system is one in which no single player dominates the field.

Instead of using the Canada Infrastructure Bank to push so-called stakeholder values, Conservative believe that we should eliminate the Canada Infrastructure Bank, which has been a failure by any standard. This so-called bank already represents a perverse structure for combining government and corporate interests because it involves the taxpayer assuming the risk associated with private investments.

The genius of a market system is that private actors must bear risk in proportion to their potential gains. The only thing worse than socialism is a policy that privatizes gains while still socializing losses—

Canada Infrastructure Bank ActPrivate Members' Business

6:20 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

I did try to give the hon. member a signal and I did allow for a little bit more time, but I was not sure when the hon. member was going to end.

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Pierre-Boucher—Les Patriotes—Verchères.

Canada Infrastructure Bank ActPrivate Members' Business

6:20 p.m.


Xavier Barsalou-Duval Bloc Pierre-Boucher—Les Patriotes—Verchères, QC

Madam Speaker, today we are debating Bill C-245, introduced by my NDP colleague. To begin with, this bill deserves to be debated at the very least.

Bill C‑245 amends the Canada Infrastructure Bank Act. Before explaining why we might want to amend that piece of legislation, we should perhaps start by understanding what the Canada Infrastructure Bank is and where it came from.

The Canada Infrastructure Bank was created in 2016 through legislation introduced by former finance minister Bill Morneau. The idea was to get money from the private sector to finance infrastructure that would normally be public infrastructure.

Former finance minister Morneau came from the high finance world of Bay Street. It is no coincidence that the head office of the Canada Infrastructure Bank is in Toronto, as is the head office of the family-owned and highly profitable Morneau Shepell.

The government had some interesting discussions with all kinds of groups, superwealthy people and global figures in high finance, telling them that it could put lots of public money at their disposal, so they could complete more infrastructure projects and earn more profits. They found that interesting.

When the government saw how happy they were, it thought it had done a great job and could earn plenty of money by making lots of investments. It had some delusions of grandeur. The government thought the whole world was going to come and invest here, that all of our beautiful infrastructure would be privatized with public money, thereby filling its coffers. It was ready to brag about all the investments this would generate. That was basically the idea.

The government then handed out $35 billion for these folks to invest in all kinds of projects. It hoped to get four to five times the amount invested from the private sector, so a $35-billion investment would have generated $175 billion in private investment.

It was a dismal failure. Here we are in 2022, still waiting for that influx of cash from the private sector. Meanwhile, federal infrastructure continues to disintegrate. In the regions, there are ports where boats can no longer be moored, reservoirs that no longer hold water, military bases with dilapidated buildings and crooked, rusty fences. That is the state of federal infrastructure in this country.

Instead of investing where money was needed, the government decided to give money to the private sector, which would then go find great projects. That whole idea, giving the private sector money to go find great projects, never really materialized.

What actually happened was that public organizations took the money from the Canada Infrastructure Bank to invest in projects. In Quebec, we saw things like the Caisse de dépôt et placement investing in the REM light rail project and other projects at the Montreal airport or the Port of Montreal.

There were also projects with cities and public transit agencies to fund buses. Some regions got funding for Internet access, and even irrigation networks in Alberta got money. All those projects seem to make sense.

Why create the Canada Infrastructure Bank to fund projects that essentially could have been carried out and funded in other ways? It is because, originally, the Canada Infrastructure Bank was supposed to fund the private sector. There is something a bit schizophrenic there. What is actually happening is not what was supposed to happen.

At the end of the day, I would say I am a bit pleased about this, but not too much. I think that the Conservatives, on the other side of the House, are very frustrated and disappointed because they would have preferred the former PPP Canada Crown corporation that was kind of the predecessor to the Canada Infrastructure Bank. PPP Canada did not have the fancy title, but it had the same objectives, namely to privatize the country's infrastructure. The Canada Infrastructure Bank goes even further: instead of privatizing only federal infrastructure, it aims to privatize all infrastructure.

The Canada Infrastructure Bank targets all infrastructure, municipal and provincial, no matter where it is. We cannot forget that. What it means is that instead of funding projects that are in the public interest, the bank funds projects that have the potential to make money for the private sector. The public interest is no longer the priority. The idea of an infrastructure project that should serve the public good is being distorted.

This bank seriously lacks transparency. It is a nice Crown corporation, and when it starts a project, poof, all is settled. It is as though it becomes a federal project, bypassing all provincial, municipal or environmental laws. It does what it wants, how it wants, and when it wants. The private sector loves that too.

There is clearly a lack of transparency. What is worse, this organization is not subject to the Access to Information Act. We have no idea what goes on there. Information about executive compensation is secret. No one knows who gets paid how much. Basically, we only know that people are well paid.

Not that long ago, the Parliamentary Budget Officer spoke about this at committee. He stated that even his enquiries went unanswered. It is not just MPs or the public that do not get any answers from the bank. Even the Parliamentary Budget Officer cannot get an answer. He should have access to any information he needs, but that is not the case.

The excuse the bank gave him for not providing any information was that it was confidential commercial information. However, the Parliamentary Budget Officer is authorized to receive confidential information. The bank is refusing to disclose confidential information to an organization that is authorized to receive it. That is quite something. Given that the PBO has this authorization, if he were to receive the information, he would go through it and not publish anything that should not be disclosed. He would use his judgment to avoid compromising the security of this information. He would maintain its confidentiality, but it seems that the bank sees things differently. Clearly, the government agrees with the bank, because it has never forced the bank in any way to provide the requested information.

That brings me to the NDP's bill. I hope I have enough time to unpack that. The goal of the NDP's bill is to eliminate the private sector from the Canada Infrastructure Bank's mission. That could work. The bill would also have the bank receive unsolicited proposals. That means it could get slightly out-of-the-box proposals from people who think their project is a good idea, which the bank would then have to assess the merits of. That could work too. The bill states that priority should be given to northern projects, projects put forward by indigenous nations, infrastructure projects aimed at mitigating or adapting to climate change, and projects that are not harmful to the environment. Those are all good things. We see no problem there. The bill states that the membership of the board must include three people representing the interests of the Inuit, first nations and the Métis, respectively.

Another interesting aspect is the requirement to annually submit a report to the minister on the bank's activities and investments to give an account of what is happening there. At the moment, we do not know. It is a state secret, apparently. We do not know what goes on at the bank at all, except when it makes a public announcement. The report would also be tabled in Parliament once a year.

We do not see much in the bill that really concerns us, that really makes us want to tear our hair out. On the contrary, it could make this monster a little less awful. That is part of the problem, though. That is what the NDP does not understand. The Canada Infrastructure Bank is basically a huge federal intrusion into provincial jurisdictions. Some 98% of public infrastructure is provincial or municipal infrastructure, and the bank is sticking its nose into that, instead of just transferring money or cutting taxes. No, the federal government just has to stick its nose into everything. That is the fundamental problem with this bank.

This is a centralizing government that is always trying to impose its vision, to wade in where it is not wanted and mix things up even further, add stakeholders and complicate matters.

Every dollar in that bank is one dollar too many, and we will continue to fight against it.

Canada Infrastructure Bank ActPrivate Members' Business

April 6th, 2022 / 6:30 p.m.


Bonita Zarrillo NDP Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Madam Speaker, last fall, devastating rain and floods in British Columbia exposed how dependent we are on public infrastructure for the free movement of goods and people. Stable and robust public infrastructure ensures access to employment, food, medicines and the essentials that keep us and the economy running. The inability to easily move in and out of the Lower Mainland of B.C. for just a few weeks had a harrowing impact on people, businesses and industry. As livestock and crops were lost, so too was infrastructure. Sections of major connector roads were washed away, bridges destroyed and dikes failed, due to a lack of adequate maintenance and upgrades. This was the reality of just one extreme weather event.

Last year, B.C. was just another canary in the coal mine for Canada and the world with floods, droughts, heat domes and wildfires all happening in the same year within kilometres of each other. These incidents of communities losing so much is because of climate change. Black swan events are no longer a rarity, and they highlight the urgency of addressing climate change now.

Monday's report from the IPCC on climate mitigation was clear that limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels is all but out of reach without massive and immediate emissions cuts. While the federal government focuses on targets 10 and 20 years out, it is missing the other side of the equation: our local communities. People are suffering now on the front lines of climate change.

Across Canada, the past generation of public infrastructure is failing and is in urgent need of upgrading. New infrastructure must be built to specifications that will withstand today's and tomorrow's climate realities. However, local governments are struggling to fund these competing priorities with their limited tax base. They rely on other levels of government to assist through unpredictable grants, but what they really need is long-term, stable and predictable investment from the federal government to build the next generation of resilient infrastructure.

This reality is magnified in northern and indigenous communities. These are some of the hardest hit by the effects of climate change, and they have been left to fend for themselves after decades of inadequate federal investment and even the most basic of infrastructure. This long-standing inequity in infrastructure investment has led to a chronic lack of housing, inadequate water and waste-water treatment plants and a dependence on diesel with no access to other energy resources.

These communities have been abandoned for far too long.

As my NDP colleague, the member for Nunavut, said yesterday, in her riding there is a need for 3,000 homes, but the government has only committed to building 100. That is 100 homes in a territory that needs 3,000.

The current infrastructure funding model is obviously not working for indigenous and northern communities. The way the federal government allocates limited infrastructure funds to indigenous and northern communities, often on a year-by-year basis, has never been appropriate. This leaves them at a disadvantage and unable to do critical, long-term planning.

Indigenous and northern communities have waited too long for safe housing, clean water, broadband, public transportation and reliable roads. In places like St. Theresa Point in northern Manitoba, for example, the community is isolated and inaccessible by land 80% of the year. As Chief Flett tells us, their community needs more public infrastructure to enhance community services and to ensure all-weather access. Without public roads and publicly funded infrastructure to move goods in and out all year round, we can imagine what the price of food and other essential goods is in that community.

It is time for federal infrastructure to live up to the times, and the NDP have solutions. One of them is to reinvent the Canada Infrastructure Bank to make it work for people living on the front lines of the climate crisis.

The Canada Infrastructure Bank was set up to build infrastructure, yet in five years it has built none. Zero projects have been completed. The Parliamentary Budget Officer has noted that the CIB is not meeting its own goals. Other critics have said that privatizing infrastructure projects through private-public partnerships does not work for workers or communities because these projects are focused on investor profits.

The Infrastructure Bank adds no value to communities today. It is broken. Based on a failed P3 model, the bank cannot attract the investments it promised. This Crown corporation is currently being run under a model that has been proven to cost governments and people more.

Bill C-245 would use the Infrastructure Bank for good. By removing the for-profit corporate cronyism and instead investing in public infrastructure, this is an opportunity to make immediate and critical infrastructure investments across Canada, with a focus on indigenous and northern communities. We need investments in housing, roads, clean energy and water and waste water plants, all while fighting against climate change. This bill would ensure that decision-makers from first nation, Métis and Inuit communities are on the board so that infrastructure projects meet the needs of their communities. This bill would also increase transparency, with regular reporting so that the $35 billion in the CIB goes to projects that support communities facing the climate crisis instead of padding the pockets of wealthy Liberal insiders.

The House has the opportunity right now to commit to indigenous and northern communities that it will harness a public ownership model for the next generation of infrastructure. When this bill is enacted, it will finally put the Canada Infrastructure Bank to work, something that has not happened since its inception.

The power of a reinvented Canada Infrastructure Bank will explicitly support climate change adaptation and mitigation in the most underfunded communities, the communities most at risk of climate change. With this bill, the Infrastructure Bank would be more equitable and transparent and would ensure that indigenous and northern communities can plan for the long term with stable, reliable infrastructure funding. It would ensure the $35-billion Canada Infrastructure Bank lives up to the times.

Canada Infrastructure Bank ActPrivate Members' Business

6:40 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

The time provided for the consideration of Private Members' Business has now expired and the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the Order Paper.

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

The EconomyAdjournment Proceedings

6:40 p.m.


Stephanie Kusie Conservative Calgary Midnapore, AB

Madam Speaker, I come to you today from the beautiful riding of Calgary Midnapore.

Further back, I asked the finance minister to stop pretending to convince Canadians that all was well with the economy. What she does not seem to understand still is that the majority of Canadians simply do not see it that way.

What Canadians do see is that their families cannot afford the same groceries that they used to, and that they will have to squeak in just one more trip back and forth to pick up the kids from school before having to buy another tank of gas. Canadians are looking to the government to provide solutions.

Sixty-eight per cent of Canadians are concerned that they may not be able to afford gasoline, and 60% of Canadians are concerned they might not have enough money to feed their families. Cooking oils are up 26.5%. Electricity is up 8.2%. Oranges are up 9.4%. Cooking appliances are up 9.4%. Meat is up 11.7%. Bakery products are up 5.7%.

Only 16.3% of Canadians share a positive outlook on future finances six months from now. The statistics do not lie, and despite what the government says in the House, Canadians are not stupid.

The Prime Minister tried to defend this today, saying that he thinks the Conservatives believe that the government is doing too much. That is just not the case. The government is doing the wrong things. It is not doing the right things. It is making its decisions based on ideology and vote-grabbing, as we saw with the recent Liberal-NDP coalition.

The government tried to say it was providing day care, when this exact system has been absolutely trouble-fraught in Quebec. I have had many people tell me that it does not address the needs of single people, seniors and those who have already had their children go through the system. Canadians are not stupid.

The government will try to blame the pandemic on supply chains, when it sent our own PPE across the ocean. It will try to blame it, and we will hear it in the response, on Ukraine, when the government has done nothing but support undemocratic regimes and dictators around the world. It could have done so much more in an effort to prevent all of this. Canadians are not stupid.

In fact, we hear arrogance every day from the government and we hear ignorance every day from the government. The government is entirely out of touch. It is all that we hear in the House. Despite what it says, Canadians are not stupid.

Now, we have an NDP-Liberal coalition. In HUMA last week, they could not tell me how much a dental program would cost. They could not tell me how much a pharmacare program would cost. They could not tell me what the housing initiatives would cost. We can do nothing but prepare for that in the budget tomorrow. Canadians will see nothing but spending, which achieves so little to help them with their cost of living.

Let us hear what the response is. Regardless of what it is, Canadians are not stupid.

The EconomyAdjournment Proceedings

6:45 p.m.

Outremont Québec


Rachel Bendayan LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question. I must admit that it was quite interesting.

I would have to agree with my colleague from Calgary Midnapore. Canadians are not stupid, absolutely not. That is why Canadians understand that the inflation we are seeing here at home, while concerning, is not a made-in-Canada problem. It just is not. Anybody who reads the newspaper or knows the facts knows that.

Our inflation here in Canada is lower than the G7 average and lower than the OECD average. It is even lower than the G20 average. It does not mean that it is not an issue that needs to be tackled, absolutely not. However, when the member claims that this is something that was somehow created by our government and she seems to equate that with our support of dictators, despite the fact that we are supporting the Ukrainian people and the fact that we have been sending arms in order to support the tremendous effort of Ukrainian civilians fighting for their lives and for democracy, I must admit her argument is entirely disjointed. Canadians who are not stupid see that.

I would also like to get to the heart of the matter and that is the general view of Conservative colleagues that somehow the extraordinary spending that was required during the pandemic was the wrong thing to do. I would remind the member opposite that we went into the pandemic with the best fiscal balance sheet in the G7 and that today, after that spending, we still have here in Canada the best fiscal balance sheet in the G7. That is because it was the right thing to do.

Tomorrow we are expecting the budget and I do look forward to all of the members commenting on what is in that budget, but I am very comfortable saying that it is about affordability because the Minister of Finance, me and our entire government are concerned about affordability.

We always have been, which is why the Canada child benefit is indexed to inflation. It is why so many of our programs to support seniors, to support vulnerable Canadians, are indexed to inflation. What does that mean? It means that Canadians actually receive a more generous amount of support from the federal government when inflation increases. That helps them put food on the table. It helps them put a roof over their heads. I will not apologize for that.

We also know that we need to be fiscally responsible, and I think the budget will speak for itself on that matter.

The EconomyAdjournment Proceedings

6:50 p.m.


Stephanie Kusie Conservative Calgary Midnapore, AB

Madam Speaker, I will turn to an article from David Akin. It says:

“Canadians are in many parts of this country, really, really feeling the pressure, especially people with more precarious employment, women, people with kids at home—people who are under real pressure as a result of what they see as an unplanned, rising cost of living that they’re now having to manage,”...“And they’re looking to this budget for a signal from the government that they got it and that they’ve got some ideas about how to deal with it.”

...A majority—53 per cent—listed “help with the soaring cost of every day needs due to inflation” as one of their three top priorities. That was followed with 45 per cent listing “lowering taxes” as a top priority and 40 per cent telling the pollster that “greater investments in healthcare” ought to be a priority.

It concludes that the previous issues of idealistictness “now have a lower priority according to...polling.”

Polling is one good thing that the government is good at following, but tomorrow I hope they remember that Canadians are not stupid.

The EconomyAdjournment Proceedings

6:50 p.m.


Rachel Bendayan Liberal Outremont, QC

Madam Speaker, as a woman from Quebec, I have to say that, frankly, my colleague's comment about child care was very surprising and disappointing. Our government made it a priority to bring in a Canada-wide child care program so that women can decide whether they want to have a career, which is the decision that I, my colleague and all women with both a family and a career have made.

I would also like to say that my colleague was completely off base when she said that it did not work in Quebec. It did work. The facts are there to prove it. I unfortunately do not have time to get into the details, but my colleague should have done her homework before speaking in the House.

TransportationAdjournment Proceedings

6:50 p.m.


Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Madam Speaker, there is a situation in Union Bay on Vancouver Island in my riding. Baynes Sound, which is located on the east coast of Vancouver Island, is a 40-kilometre-long channel and is responsible for half of B.C.'s shellfish production. It is part of a 14-hectare provincial shellfish reserve. It is also the last major herring spawning ground in the province and is recognized by DFO as an ecologically and biologically significant area. It is also under immense pressure.

In December 2020, a ship-breaking operation moved into Union Bay, where rusty vessels, ferries, barges and old U.S. survey boats are cut up and recycled for scrap metal. Ship-breaking is an important industry. As we can imagine, we want to get rid of derelict and abandoned vessels and we want to make sure that we do the right thing and recycle huge amounts of steel, but it is also one of the most hazardous industries in the world.

Astonishingly, Canada does not have any ship-breaking regulations, and as a result, companies can quickly set up operations and begin dismantling vessels before regulators are even aware of their activity. Transport Canada says regulations are being considered and should be ready in the next three to five years. As we can imagine, that is not good enough. Canada could adopt the most stringent international regulations now if it wanted to.

Much of the world's ship-breaking happens in countries with poor environmental and labour laws. About 70% of international ship-breaking happens on the shores of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, making up about 90% of the industry's gross tonnage. Around 12% of Bangladesh's ship-breaking workforce are minors aged 14 to 17 years old. In the ship-breaking yards, minors often work at night because they have school during the day, earning three dollars a day. We need to be more responsible for all our waste, including vessels at end of life and ensure that human rights violations are not taking place.

We have a robust ship-building industry emerging here in Canada that we need to invest in, and we could take on a lot of ship-breaking here too. It could be a huge opportunity, in fact.

The risks of ship-breaking are huge. These old ships can contain asbestos, heavy metals like mercury and lead, polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs, carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, contaminated bilge water and ballast water containing sediment and bio-organisms. These toxins affect both employees and their families because things like asbestos can be carried home on clothing, and we know what these toxins can do to the environment.

The industry often suffers fatalities as a result of falls, fires, explosions and falling debris. An NGO website, Shipbreaking Platform, lists 429 deaths and 344 injuries just since 2009, but that number is likely much higher due to the under-reporting by these companies.

There are three international conventions regulating ship-breaking: the Basel convention, the Hong Kong Convention and the EU Ship Recycling Regulation. The Basel convention was ratified by Canada in 1992 and is intended to stop developed countries from shipping hazardous waste, including old ships, to developing countries. It provides recommendations on procedures, processes and practices to ensure safe and environmentally sound practices, as well as advice on monitoring and verification of environmental performance.

It has been difficult to apply the Basel convention to ships going for breaking, and shipping companies often falsely deny that ships are intended to be scrapped and instead claim they are going to repair yards. Canada feeds into this toxic trade economy by allowing commercial fleets, like BC Ferries, to sell vessels internationally. These shipping companies need to be more responsible.

TransportationAdjournment Proceedings

6:55 p.m.

Ottawa Centre Ontario


Yasir Naqvi LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to stand on behalf of the Minister of Transport.

The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of safe and environmentally sound practices for the dismantling and recycling of ships. We are aware of concerns raised about ship recycling activities being conducted in Union Bay on provincial land.

In Canada, responsibility for regulating waste management, including ship-breaking, is shared amongst various levels of government. Canada has a strong safety and environmental record for ship recycling. To ensure its continued leadership, Transport Canada is exploring, in partnership with provincial and territorial governments, whether there may be ways to enhance Canada's ship recycling rules. This includes examining requirements under the European Union's ship recycling regulation and the 2009 Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships.

Ship-breaking is recognized as the most environmentally sound method to dispose of ships at end of life, as most of the ship's materials can be reused and repurposed. Of course, this assumes that ships will be recycled in a safe way, ensuring workers are well protected and that no hazardous materials escape into the environment.

In Canada, there are rules at all levels of government that ensure ship recycling activities are done in a safe and environmentally sound way.

At the federal level, there are existing laws and regulations that prohibit the release of pollutants into the marine environment, which apply to vessels that are located at recycling facilities. The passage of the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act in 2019 also strengthened responsibilities and liabilities for owners to properly manage their vessels at end of life. Further, it prohibits vessel abandonment. This complements investments the government is making to enhance vessel recycling options, particularly with respect to vessels constructed in fibreglass.

Provinces and territories, for their part, are responsible for the protection of workers and occupational health and safety at ship recycling facilities. They also regulate the handling, storage, transportation and disposal of hazardous waste produced when recycling a ship. Provinces and territories also regulate and authorize waste management operations such as landfills and recycling activities.

Local governments also have a role to play. They establish collection, recycling, composting and disposal programs within their jurisdictions. They are also responsible for land use and zoning within their jurisdictions.

With respect to the ship recycling facility in Union Bay, the approvals to conduct ship recycling fall under provincial and local powers since the facility is located on provincial land.

TransportationAdjournment Proceedings

6:55 p.m.


Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Madam Speaker, around the world, they have taken leadership. I hope the government decides to do the same.

Canada needs to do that. Canada needs to prepare a list of certified ship-breaking yards. It needs to do extensive background checks of ownership, including by FINTRAC. Comprehensive and meaningful pollution insurance coverage needs to be in place, and all new sites need to meet rigorous multijurisdictional rules, led by Canada.

Canada must adopt and enforce the EU ship recycling regulation, and help those long-term reputable ship-breakers with grants and loans to transition to this new standard. Even Bangladesh has EU-compliant ship-breaking facilities. Each vessel must prove that it is a lifelong Canadian vessel, not imported to Canada under some obscure clause. All non-Canadian vessels need prior, written consent from the minister for importation.

We hope there will be some action from the government.

TransportationAdjournment Proceedings

7 p.m.


Yasir Naqvi Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, Canada is a leader when it comes to protecting our coasts and waterways.

Recent investments in coastal protection through Canada's oceans protection plan, the strengthening of the Canada Navigable Waters Act and the implementation of the Wrecked, Abandoned and Hazardous Vessels Act show our government's resolve towards protecting our waterways.

One way we continue to show this commitment is through ongoing work with our provincial and territorial partners to explore opportunities for further enhancements to the ship recycling rules across various jurisdictions. This includes examining requirements under the European Union's ship recycling regulation and the 2009 Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships.

We are also exploring solutions to increase the recyclability of ships in Canada, including through innovative research into the recycling or reuse of fibreglass vessels. There is more work to be done, and we will continue to do so.

Climate ChangeAdjournment Proceedings

7 p.m.


Laurel Collins NDP Victoria, BC

Madam Speaker, this week, the world’s top scientists gave us a clear warning. Without immediate and bold action, the world is headed toward climate disaster. The UN Secretary-General had harsh words for countries such as Canada. In announcing the new IPCC report, he said, “The truly dangerous radicals are the countries that are increasing the production of fossil fuels. Investing in new fossil fuel infrastructure is moral and economic madness.”

Just this afternoon, the Liberal government did just that: It approved Bay du Nord. It is a new oil project that will lock in carbon emissions for decades. The Liberals are rubber-stamping oil projects as Canadians are dealing with the effects of devastating flooding, climate fires and extreme heat.

Canadians know that the climate emergency is here. They are scared. They are angry, and they have every reason to be. I am scared and angry, too. I am worried about the future for my daughter. I am worried about the world we are leaving for future generations.

There is still hope for a livable future, but it is now or never. The status quo is not working. If we continue this way, even with all of the policies announced, the world is on track to warm by 3.2°C this century.

The impacts would be catastrophic. Our best hope for a livable planet is to keep warming below 1.5°C. All pathways to 1.5°C involve rapid and deep greenhouse gas emissions reductions in all sectors. The IPCC is clear. Without immediate action, hitting that target will be impossible. The government is failing to act.

The most infuriating part is that we have the solutions. We know what needs to be done. We have the tools. Clean energy technology is available, and the costs have gone down dramatically. Renewable energy is now cheaper than even coal.

Not only are the Liberals failing to act, but they are throwing fuel on the flames of the climate emergency. The government spends 14 times more on subsidies to fossil fuels than on renewables.

For seven years, the Liberals have been heading in the wrong direction. When it comes to emissions reductions, Canada has the worst record of any G7 country, and instead of phasing out fossil fuel subsidies the Liberals increased them, handing out billions more to profitable oil and gas companies.

Instead of helping communities and workers meet the challenges created by the climate crisis, they spent billions on a pipeline. Instead of capping oil and gas emissions, the Liberals announced a few days ago that they would increase production by 300,000 barrels a day.

Their new emissions plan is also heavily dependent on big oil and implementing carbon capture technology: a fairy tale told by profitable oil and gas companies to justify more production and more subsidies. As these companies rake in record profits, the Liberal government plans on giving them $50 billion as a tax credit.

That $50 billion could support workers and create jobs in the low-carbon economy. As it turns out, Canada even lobbied the IPCC to increase the importance of carbon capture in the text. Who are the Liberals working for: big oil or Canadians?

There is no time left to delay. How can they justify approving Bay Du Nord? How can they justify adding fuel to the flames when our planet is on fire?

Climate ChangeAdjournment Proceedings

7:05 p.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba


Terry Duguid LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Madam Speaker, I agree with the hon. member for Victoria that the recent IPCC report is a stark reminder of the impact of climate change. As climate impacts intensify, it is only becoming more obvious that moving to a clean, net-zero economy is critical to protecting the well-being of Canadians and communities and securing Canada's economic prosperity. That is why Canada has set an ambitious and achievable emissions reduction target of 40% to 45% below 2005 levels by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050.

The scientific and economic imperative to reduce emissions is clear. As countries and businesses around the world race to transform their operations to net-zero emissions, it is critical that Canada be a leader and not be left behind. To create good jobs, grow a strong economy and build a brighter, healthier future for everyone, enhanced climate action in our country is needed today. From transportation to the oil and gas sector to heavy industry, agriculture, buildings and waste, every sector in all regions has a role to play in meeting Canada's 2030 climate target.

The 2030 emissions reduction plan, or the ERP, is the Government of Canada's next major step in taking action to address climate change and create good, sustainable jobs in Canada. The ERP is more than just about achieving incremental GHG emissions reduction to reach Canada's 2030 target. It is also about putting in place foundational measures to ensure that Canada's future is not only carbon-neutral, but also makes energy alternatives more affordable and creates new sustainable job opportunities for workers.

The ERP is a road map that goes sector by sector to highlight measures needed for Canada to reach its ambitious and achievable emissions reduction target of 40% to 45% below 2005 levels by 2030, and net-zero emissions by 2050, in a fair and affordable way. The ERP includes $9.1 billion of new federal investments in climate action, which will be advanced tomorrow in budget 2022. For example, the plan makes it easier for Canadians to switch to electric vehicles by committing $1.7 billion to expand the iZEV purchase incentive program for light-duty vehicles and make zero-emission vehicles more affordable.

We all agree there is no time to waste. The work before us requires strong collaboration and partnership with all levels of government, indigenous partners, industry, civil society and all Canadians to implement the concrete climate action under the ERP. The government recently released a discussion paper on achieving a net-zero electricity grid by 2035, and another on reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by at least 75% by 2030. Soon there will be another on capping emissions from the oil and gas sector at a pace and scale needed to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Of course, we will be following this up with action.

I look forward to working with the hon. member and her colleagues to address the climate crisis and build a more prosperous and clean economy for all Canadians.

Climate ChangeAdjournment Proceedings

7:05 p.m.


Laurel Collins NDP Victoria, BC

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for his answer, but he failed to even mention Bay du Nord. He also failed to address a key point, which is that we need to reduce our emissions, not increase them. We need to decrease production, not increase it.

Under the Liberals, we have the worst record of any G7 country when it comes to emissions reduction. How can the Liberals claim that approving a project that will increase production, resulting in emissions equivalent to 100 coal-fired power plants running for an entire year, fits into their climate plan and is consistent with their climate commitments?

People in Newfoundland and Labrador and across Canada need the government to address the climate crisis and its impact on people and their communities. They need reliable family-sustaining jobs. How can Canadians trust that the government is serious about tackling the climate crisis when it is increasing oil production?