House of Commons photo

Track Joyce

Your Say

Elsewhere

Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word is rcmp.

Liberal MP for Vancouver Quadra (B.C.)

Won her last election, in 2015, with 59% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply February 23rd, 2017

Madam Speaker, as I have already said, our government is committed to improving the openness of information. We have already used a number of tools and taken a number of steps to achieve that. We will continue this project because our objective is to make information more open and transparent for Canadians.

Business of Supply February 23rd, 2017

Madam Speaker, those who are paying attention to the issue of climate change and the chaos that we risk internationally because of its impacts, with the floods, the fires, and the droughts, like the member who asked the question, understand the kinds of devastation that are already occurring through long-term historic droughts that are driving populations out of their homes and farms. There are so many impacts I cannot even begin to list them. There are local impacts and international impacts. There are impacts on security and defence. There are great economic impacts and risks that have been identified by respected international bodies and experts over years, if not decades, so we know it is time to act and end the kind of game playing that we are seeing from the Conservative Party.

Business of Supply February 23rd, 2017

Madam Speaker, as I mentioned in my remarks, the pan-Canadian framework is about empowering the provinces and territories to have their own plans, so the impact of pricing carbon pollution, whether it be about stimulating the clean energy economy, whether it be about strengthening the clusters of innovation in academia, or whether it be about reducing poverty by returning proceeds of pricing carbon to lowest income Canadians, that will be up to the provinces to decide.

Frankly, this is just more effort to cover up the fact that the Conservatives have been attacking taking action on climate change as long as I have been in the House with alarmist claims that are counterproductive to the future of the country.

Business of Supply February 23rd, 2017

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak to the motion of the member for Carleton today.

I do have to say it is unfortunate to witness the Conservative members continuing alarmist attacks on pricing carbon pollution. It takes me back many years. It takes me back to 15 years ago, when I was British Columbia's environment minister and that was the argument of the day.

As we know, British Columbia's experience after having implemented a price on pollution 10 years ago is that, in most of the years since, emissions have dropped while the economy has grown; in fact, grown faster than anywhere else in the country.

I do encourage the members opposite to notice that the world has moved on from these kinds of arguments and that even many members of the business community and industry support the opportunity that pricing carbon creates for innovating and growing our clean energy economy.

I would like them to notice that the international community has moved on and has come together to commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to ensure that warming stays below 2° centigrade, and hopefully 1.5° centigrade.

Moreover, in the current Liberal government's pan-Canadian framework, it will be up to the provinces and territories themselves to decide what tool to use to ensure that greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, and as to the funds that are raised through whatever mechanism they use, it will be up to the provinces and territories to determine how they are returned to their public.

I will use my opportunity to speak to this motion to discuss its aspect around open and transparent government. That is one of the key themes of the motion, and it is one of the key themes of this government. That vision comes from the top.

In his mandate letter to the President of the Treasury Board, the Prime Minister stressed the importance of these values for Canadians. He said:

We have also committed to set a higher bar for openness and transparency in government. It is time to shine more light on government to ensure it remains focused on the people it serves. Government and its information should be open by default.

All of the cabinet ministers got that same message in their mandate letters.

The fact that Canadians, members of Parliament, citizens, and the media can see these letters and hold the government to account is the proof in the pudding of our Prime Minister's commitment. It sets the tone for a more modern, open approach to government.

In fact, our guiding principle is that government information belongs to the people it serves and should be open by default. Open by default means publicly releasing government data and information to Canadians, except in limited situations, which we all understand are for reasons such as privacy, confidentiality, and security. It also means ensuring, wherever feasible, that requesters receive information in modern and easy to use formats.

Let me be clear. We are facing a cultural shift in this government's way of doing business. We are talking about reversing the onus.

Instead of asking individuals to justify why they should have the information, the onus is increasingly on the government to provide it except if there are privacy, confidentiality, or security reasons not to.

Rather than wait for Canadians to go looking for the information they want, we make that information easier to find by making our operations more open and transparent.

Access to information is a good example of that.

Last May, we waived all fees for these requests for information, apart from the $5 filing fee. These fees were waived to enhance Canadians' access to government information.

We intend to introduce legislation that will bring forward other important improvements to the act. It is our hope that the House will pass this legislation. Then, after our first round of commitments has been enacted, the President of the Treasury Board will begin the proposed first full mandatory five-year review of the act in 2018.

The access to information review is a major component of our third biennial plan for open government.

This plan was released last July after extensive in-person and online consultations. It is part of our international relationship with the Open Government Partnership and its 75 members.

The President of the Treasury Board announced that Canada will take a leadership role to improve transparency and open government worldwide. In December, he announced that Canada would adopt the international Open Data Charter, and Canada is a candidate for a seat on the Open Government Partnership steering committee.

These are key parts of our international commitment to openness and transparency, and they will support strategic partnerships with governments and civil society organizations here and around the world. The shared global principles expressed in the Open Data Charter reflect our ongoing commitment to ensure government data is open by default.

For example, we are expanding and enhancing the government's open data and access to it. The government has a massive store of raw data that can transform how public servants make decisions, how people interact with government, and how organizations innovate.

We believe it is essential to make as much information as possible available to the public, charities, and so on. We have made a lot of progress, as people can see when they visit open.canada.ca.

We will do even more. We will increase the diversity, timeliness, and quality of this data. In addition, we have committed to streamlining requests for government information from citizens, including their own personal information. To that end, we will be creating a simple central website where Canadians can submit such requests to any federal institution.

It is hard to fully grasp just how much an open government could improve the world. That is why Canada has committed to providing open data training to governments and civil society groups in developing countries, for example.

That is why in last year's budget we doubled existing resources for open government initiatives. Beyond our new open government plan and its 22 commitments we are also fostering more open debate and more free votes in Parliament. We are working to reform the budgets and estimates processes to help parliamentarians hold the government to account. In fact, we are also inviting our subject matter experts in government, including scientists, to speak publicly about their work.

In closing, let me emphasize that open and transparent government puts government data in the hands of citizens as a vital resource in a digital world. It helps ensure the integrity of our public institution and strengthens trust in democracy. It stimulates innovation. It stimulates public engagement. We will continue to champion it for Canadians.

Controlled Drugs and Substances Act February 14th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, our government sees the need for continuous improvement. We are proposing measures in Bill C-37. The minister brought forward a six-point action plan in September 2016. We cannot stop and say this crisis is fixed as long as people are dying on the streets from these horrendous illicit substances. Our government will continue to act on this issue.

Controlled Drugs and Substances Act February 14th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I thank my NDP colleague for his question.

We want a framework that prevents Canadians from dying accidentally because of illegal drug use. The provinces and communities have work to do. Bill C-37 must not be the end of the story. This is a very important initiative that will remove obstacles and support Canadians' health and safety.

Controlled Drugs and Substances Act February 14th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I take the member's expressions of care and compassion around the victims of this crisis in good faith but it was his government that over 10 years set up roadblocks in the guise of community consultation that prevented many communities from being able to go forward with safe consumption sites that would have saved lives in their communities.

I am pained to hear that a clause is deemed a reason to not support this important law that needs to go ahead quickly as a foundational building block to save lives.

Controlled Drugs and Substances Act February 14th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak in favour of Bill C-37, an act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

As we have heard from other members in the course of this debate, the illegal production and trafficking of controlled substances continues to be a significant problem in Canada. Our government is profoundly concerned about the current opioid crisis and the growing number of opioid overdoses and tragic deaths across the country.

Today, I will speak to the human aspect of this crisis, as well as some of Bill C-37's proposals to help address the health and safety risks associated with the diversion of drugs from the legitimate supply chain to the illicit market, one important source that contributes to this public health crisis in Canada.

It is critical that we ensure our drug control legislation, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, or CDSA, is modern, effective, and can better protect the health and safety of Canadians. This is an urgent priority for me and for our government.

In that respect, on December 12, 2016, the Minister of Health introduced Bill C-37 in the House of Commons. This bill supports our government’s commitment to drug policy that is comprehensive, collaborative, compassionate, and evidence-based, and which balances both public health and public safety for Canadians.

As you are all aware, this bill proposes significant changes related to supporting the establishment of supervised consumption sites as a key harm reduction measure. It also contains important elements which aim to ensure that controlled substances used for legitimate purposes are not being diverted to the illicit drug market.

We must work tirelessly to ensure that controlled substances used for legitimate purposes are not diverted to the illicit drug market, where they are deadly and have led to hundreds of tragic accidental drug overdose deaths, 914 last year in my province of British Columbia alone. That is 80% more than the previous year, fentanyl being the major contributor to this awful statistic.

The 914 are actually not statistics; they are people and they are us. There were 914 people who died in British Columbia from overdose deaths last year. They are human beings. Each life, in its own unique way, is interwoven with families and communities. They are mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, and sisters. They loved others and were loved, they belonged, they shared their aspirations, and they inspired their friends. They were people, like each of us, who, in their own way, enjoyed their lives, work, and challenges, who were powerful, contributing, and recognized, who were moved to make the world a better place. They are human beings.

Donald Charles Alexander Robertson, known as Alex by his friends, was caught off guard by this crisis. He passed away just over two weeks ago due to an accidental death caused by the opiate fentanyl. I chatted with Alex the evening before. He was a close friend and work colleague of my son Erik over many years. His life was interwoven with ours, his community with our community. In the words of my son Erik, Alex really was an amazing, capable, wise, joyous, humble, grounded, passionate, brilliant young man. He was an innovator and emerging leader who loved and was loved by many. His memories, teachings, and legacy will inspire many of us for decades to come.

Let us not detach ourselves in this debate and lose sight of the humanity of this crisis in the quotation of statistics. The victims of the fentanyl crisis, they are us. I want to express my deep condolences to Alex's parents and his sisters, Chrissy and Leslie, to his extended family, friends and co-workers. I hope the passing of Bill C-37 will be one plank in the foundation that we need to build to help eliminate the unintended exposure to deadly illicit opioids and the harm they cause over the years to come.

I would now like to focus specifically on how Bill C-37 would modernize Canada's legislation to reduce the risk of controlled substances like fentanyl from being diverted from legitimate producers, importers and distributors and secured by the black market. The measures being proposed to address gaps in Canada's drug framework are designed to respond to this evolving opioid crisis.

First, while targeted amendments have been made to the Controlled Drug and Substances Act since it came into force in 1997, the provisions of the act have not kept pace with the quickly evolving licit controlled substances industry and the illicit drug market. Many of the legislative amendments being proposed in Bill C-37 will modernize the CDSA to strengthen law enforcement. They also enhance the government's ability to monitor and promote compliance of the regulated parties who handle, buy, sell and transport controlled substances as legitimate products every day.

These improvements will bring the CDSA into alignment with other modern federal legislation designed to protect public health, and these changes will reduce the risks of these drugs being diverted from the legitimate supply chain to the illicit markets that are creating havoc in the lives of the accidental victims. Professional tools are proposed within the framework of the CDSA to improve the government's ability to incent compliance with the requirements for safe and secure procedures and practices under the CDSA and its regulations.

Second, Bill C-37 would establish the legislative framework to support the development of an administrative monetary penalty scheme, or an AMP. Once the new monetary penalties are in place, it will allow Health Canada to fine a regulated party for a violation of the provisions of the CDSA or its regulations, as defined in the regulations required to bring the scheme into effect.

Third, Bill C-37 proposes amendments which would allow military police to be designated as a police force under the CDSA. Currently, military police are not afforded the same protections as other law enforcement agencies in terms of handling controlled substances under the Police Enforcement Regulations.

In the proposed provisions of Bill C-37, military police could be designated as a police force, in their respective areas of jurisdiction, which would allow them to exercise a full range of investigative tools in the course of the investigation of drug-related crime.

These kinds of enforcement mechanisms are important to save lives.

A fourth aspect of the bill includes improving inspection authorities under the CDSA to bring them in line with authorities and other federal regulations.

Currently Health Canada inspectors are only able to inspect sites where authorized activities with controlled substances and precursors are taking place. Under Bill C-37, new authorities are being proposed to allow Health Canada inspectors to enter places where they have reasonable grounds to suspect that unauthorized activities with controlled substances or precursors are taking place.

There are many more aspects to the bill to better control substances, like fentanyl, which are potentially dangerous chemicals. It is urgent that the bill go forward for public health and safety. Bill C-37 is a comprehensive package with many other aspects that have been debated today and in the previous days.

There is more to be done but this is an important step along the way. It will make the CDSA a more comprehensive and compassionate act that encourages timely compliance, deters non-compliance, and ultimately contributes to the government's objective of protecting the health, safety, and the lives of Canadians, valuable lives, the lives of people like a bright, fun, caring 29-year-old man his friends knew as Alex.

Henry Charles February 10th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to stand in the House today to remember Musqueam Elder Henry Charles who passed away January 28 early in the morning.

Henry Charles was a member of the Musqueam Band. He grew up on traditional territorial lands, adjacent to the University of British Columbia, that were home to the strong, united Musqueam people for thousands of years.

Henry Charles was a pioneer in recognizing the importance of preserving Hun'qumi'num', the local Musqueam language. As a native historian, storyteller, and official Musqueam speaker and greeter, Mr. Charles's effort to preserve and revitalize his traditional language celebrates his community's unique world view and preserves its traditional knowledge for future generations. He forged connections between storyteller and listeners that promoted literacy, the love of language, and intercultural understanding and appreciation between indigenous and non-indigenous people alike.

Beloved husband, father, grandfather, Henry was an exemplary elder and he will be dearly missed by all.

Business of Supply February 9th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I would like to know how the hon. member can say that the government misled Canadians when we presented that platform in good faith.

All of the Liberal members discussed it. The Prime Minister and the former leader of our party presented this in our platform in good faith.

Why is this being called misleading? It was in good faith—