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  • Her favourite word is liberals.

Conservative MP for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo (B.C.)

Won her last election, in 2015, with 35% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Foreign Investment in Canada June 21st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister assured the House that his government had done its due diligence regarding the billion-dollar takeover of B.C. care homes by murky Chinese ownership. Now the company chairperson is in prison and investigators are looking into allegations of corruption and economic crimes.

If the company dissolves, who will gain control of our seniors care facilities? Are seniors in my riding going to find out that their landlord is the People's Republic of China?

National Aboriginal Day June 21st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, today is the 21st annual National Aboriginal Day, which next year will be called “National Indigenous Peoples Day”. It is an opportunity to honour the rich traditions, heritage, and diverse cultures of the Inuit, Métis, and first nations peoples in Canada.

Growing every year, celebrations will be held across Canada. For many, including in Ottawa, it started with a sunrise ceremony on this summer solstice. As the sun came up, there was a smudging ceremony, prayers, and then an opportunity to enjoy the dancing, drumming, and singing. It was a very special start to the day.

I encourage all Canadians to participate in the celebrations today and to learn more about the immense contributions of indigenous peoples to Canada.

In 1910, the chiefs from the B.C. Interior wrote then Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier. In their words, they stated, “What is ours will be theirs, and what is theirs will be ours. We will help each other to be great and good.“

May we all inspire to reach their vision for Canada as we move forward together.

Indian Act June 20th, 2017

Madam Speaker, my colleague said we simply need to ask for an extension. I think the government deserves lots of criticism on this particular file. I think there is lots of room where things could have and should have been done better, but there was an extension requested and the government was given five months. To be frank, the five months did not allow the opportunity to do the work that needed to be done.

Certainly, we heard from the officials that the bill did go beyond Descheneaux and added a number of other circumstances. They indicated that all known sex-based inequities have been dealt with in the bill.

I am not convinced about simply asking for an extension, if it is five months, when there is a proposal that the next phase happen over 18 to 22 months. I do not think we would have an alignment with an extension that would be granted and really the time to do the necessary work that has to be done.

Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Act June 19th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I have already complimented the very important YESAA process in Yukon. It has done an admirable job and I know it took it a long time to get there. My point is simply that in the House we would never have consensus on 76 recommendations. We have 72 of 76, and that is a very strong method forward, and it is doing excellent work.

As I indicated earlier, what we have here is one area where there might be legitimate concerns and three areas where the concern is that it was in the legislation, but it is not actually what it is stated.

Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Act June 19th, 2017

Madam Speaker, the member has said that timelines are in place locally and he does not have an issue with it. Why then is he concerned about having it in the actual legislation? That just makes no sense. To enshrine it in legislation is perfectly appropriate.

Again, what I am hearing is a lot of argument against process. The essence of the bill is to remove four items. In fact, we should leave three items in it because it would be better for Yukon. The arguments I am hearing have not convinced me otherwise, that this is an argument about people being unhappy with the process, but not about the implications of the legislation.

Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Act June 19th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to stand this evening to talk to Bill C-17, an act to amend the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act and to make a consequential amendment to another act.

I want to note that I have only had the privilege once in my life of going to the Yukon, and what an incredibly beautiful part of our country. As we celebrate Canada's 150th, I encourage anyone who has the opportunity to go up there, to paddle the rivers, or just enjoy the beautiful history and scenery. It truly is a unique and wonderful part of our country.

I also want to note that as a British Columbian, when I went up there I really did appreciate how the Yukon seemed to have a very good, collaborative process in terms of having solved many of its outstanding land claims issues, having a comprehensive process in place. Contrast that to British Columbia, where we still have a lot of work to do to get to the same place.

It is interesting. I am hearing about four amendments, and I am hearing a lot of process concerns. We did not talk about it quite long enough. However, I am not really hearing good arguments about those four elements.

First, I want to make a special note. This was legislation that was enacted in the last Parliament. It has been in place for a couple of years now. I have not heard of any difficult stories coming out of the Yukon in terms of the way the legislation has been established. There has been unhappiness with elements of it, but I have not heard of any challenges in terms of what it has done to move projects forward.

I have heard of a lot of challenges with the uncertainty of the time frames and the fact that people do not know what the government is going to do. It is important to note that the government actually introduced this piece of legislation over a year ago. I think it was in June 2016. If we look at how much of a priority it is for the government, the legislation was introduced well over a year ago and here we are, in the final stages of 2017, before we rise for the summer, and all of a sudden there is now some kind of urgency to it.

We did not have the first debate in the House on this legislation until April. Again, what the government is trying to do in the final days of Parliament is to get legislation through the House, and through committee with hardly any witnesses and hardly any time. There is not really the opportunity for the due diligence that we are responsible for as parliamentarians.

The government is trying to move it through quickly. In terms of the time management and of its record for moving legislation through Parliament, the government has a strong majority and has moved fewer pieces of legislation forward than Conservatives did in a minority government.

I forgot to note at the start that I will be sharing my time with the member for Foothills. Although I would love to speak for 20 minutes, he has a lot of good things that he would like to say as well.

We have a government that is trying to rush things through at the end of Parliament, because it has actually had a bad time management, parliamentary management system in place. It is spending lots of time debating motions that could have been done through ministerial statements. It has been ineffective in terms of what the government says are priority pieces of legislation with important time frames.

The bill before us is going to do four things in terms of the environmental assessment process. I am going to talk a little about each one. I know there was a discussion for five years around the review of ESA. There was an agreement on 72 elements, and there were four elements that perhaps there was not consensus on. I think having consensus on 72 out of 76 elements is pretty darn good. Any municipal government would be pleased to have kind of consensus, in terms of moving forward.

If we had, in this House, agreement on 72 pieces of legislation out of 76, we would have a pretty darn good record. The fact that perhaps there was not as fulsome a discussion as some groups might have wanted on these few elements, I do not think necessarily means that there has not been an important process and good rationale.

First, with respect to time limits on the review process, I heard my colleague from the NDP say time limits do not matter. Time limits do matter because companies and capital investments travel, and they go where they are wanted. If there is uncertainty, or if they know they are going to have to potentially wait 20 or 30 years before getting a yes or a no on moving a project forward, they are going to take their capital and spend it in other places. Therefore, having certainty around time limits is an important and logical step. It has been done, and has been well received in most of the provinces in the rest of the country.

It is interesting that they are complaining about the time limits, but they say we are meeting those time limits anyway, so we do not need it in the legislation. However, in challenging projects, perhaps people might need a little push in terms of having a time limit. As with many people, when they know a paper is due and they have a time limit, it is easier for them to get the work done than when it is open ended and they can turn in the paper whenever they want.

On the concerns about the time limits, especially when they are meeting them anyway, especially when it is consistent across the country, I will use British Columbia again as an example. There is a start process. They might say it is 18 months, but lots of times they put a halt to the process because there is something they need to deal with. I know that even a process that might have an 18-month time frame from submission to when they are supposed to get an answer can often take three or four years because there are certain elements that can trigger a halt in the process. Therefore, it is really not a good argument to suggest that time limits would be inappropriate in this piece of legislation.

Second, on exemptions from reassessment when an authorization is renewed, unless there is significant change, there can be a very minor change in a project. To suggest that they have to go through a fulsome, robust environmental assessment process is simply red tape, time consuming, and inefficient in terms of dollars. I would suggest a very appropriate insertion that says when there are minor changes they do not have to do a major review. It is not an area that is particularly troublesome, nor do I think in general people should be troubled by that.

Third, regarding the ability for the federal minister to provide binding policy direction, I agree we could have some debate on that. Perhaps that is one area where I could argue on both sides. I will concede that although one and two are perfectly appropriate, perhaps we could have a discussion on three.

The fourth one is the ability of the federal minister to delegate powers and duties. That is what we are doing across the country. In the provinces, they are saying, “Get out of our business. You live a long way away. Let us take over. Let us be responsible for making our own decisions in our own communities.”

It is unfortunate that I had the one-minute warning, because I have lots more to say. On the process, we had full consensus on 72 out of 76 recommendations. We have three that are very rational and reasonable, and one on which perhaps there could have been different decisions. I look forward to any questions.

Indigenous Affairs June 19th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, it has been 18 months, and they are doing nothing to enforce a law that is on our books. Her excuses have never held water.

Let me read from the court judgment, which states:

There is no evidence before me as to the political or economic reasons why Onion Lake has refused to provide and post specified information. There is, for example, no evidence that Onion Lake's commercial interests would be negatively affected.

Will the minister follow the direction of the judge, or is she going to force more band members to plead their cases in front of the courts, yes or no?

Indigenous Affairs June 19th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, last week the courts ruled that Onion Lake Cree Nation must post its financial transparency information in accordance with the First Nations Financial Transparency Act. This is a great victory for Charmaine Stick and those across the country. We now have a judgment that clearly states the minister was irresponsible and wrong in not enforcing the act.

Will she commit today that she will empower band members and that no other people will have to take their band to court for transparency, yes or no?

Indigenous Affairs June 19th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, last week a Saskatchewan court ruled that Onion Lake Cree Nation must publish its financial information in accordance with the First Nations Financial Transparency Act. The case was filed by Charmaine Stick, a courageous band member from Onion Lake. The minister's excuses for not enforcing financial transparency have never held water. One of her feeble reasons was that publishing the books would hurt the band's economic interests. However, the judge said otherwise. He stated:

There is no evidence before me as to the political or economic reasons why Onion Lake has refused to provide and post specified information. There is, for example, no evidence that Onion Lake's commercial interests would be negatively [impacted]....

The Conservatives will continue urging the Liberals to reverse their irresponsible decision to gut the First Nations Financial Transparency Act. No other band member should have to go to court for access to basic information.

I congratulate Charmaine. This is an important victory for band members across Canada.

Questions Passed as Orders for Return June 16th, 2017

With regard to First Nations financial transparency: (a) which bands, leaders, communities and organizations did the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs consult with between November 4, 2015, and May 3, 2017, broken down by (i) date, (ii) location, (iii) name and title of the Indigenous group or community, (iv) attendees, (v) recommendations that were made to the Minister; (b) with regard to the consultations in (a), by which criteria did the Minister decide which bands, leaders, communities and organizations to consult with; and (c) what are the details of the discussion questions brought to each meeting?