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Track Joyce

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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

Amendments to Standing Orders June 20th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I was shocked to hear the member say that he does not see any meaningful changes in Motion No. 18 because Motion No. 18 has a very key change to the timing of the budget and the estimates. As the member probably well knows, currently, the estimates have to be tabled on or before March 1, and the budget is almost always tabled after that, and so parliamentarians who are trying to scrutinize the government's intended spending have a disconnect because the estimates are reflecting the previous year's spending approvals.

This motion does address that. It addresses Standing Order 81. It puts the timing of the estimates six weeks later so the estimates can reflect the budget for this coming year's commitments by government and will empower parliamentarians to do their job in following the money. It is only one step in a longer process of estimates reform that is under way, but it is an important one.

Does the member not believe that it is important for members of Parliament to be able to follow the money and hold government to account?

Questions on the Order Paper June 16th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), the $545 million amount included in 2016-17 supplementary estimates (C) is made up of amounts set aside by departments for collective bargaining purposes, as well as an amount for the employer’s anticipated costs for collective agreements that were expected to be finalized in 2016-17. Roughly 75% of the funds are amounts that departments set aside in prior years.

As a result of the 2013 operating budget freeze, departments are required to absorb the cost of wage and salary increases that take effect in 2014-15 and 2015-16, and their ongoing impact. This also includes retroactive payments. To assist departments in managing these obligations, they were provided with the opportunity to reprofile--move forward to future years--funding from 2014-15 and 2015-16 to manage the costs for which they are responsible.

Wage and salary increases that take effect in 2016-17 and future years, along with their ongoing impact, are part of the employer’s anticipated costs and will be funded centrally.

At the time the 2016-17 supplementary estimates (C) were prepared, 12 tentative collective bargaining agreements had been reached, covering over three-quarters of represented public servants. However, not all of these agreements had been ratified by the bargaining agents and none had been signed by the employer. Funding was included in supplementary estimates (C) to provide sufficient capacity to address cash management pressures that might have materialized had the agreements been ratified and signed by March 31, 2017.

As collective agreements were not ratified and signed by the end of the fiscal year, funding was not allocated to departments and lapsed to the fiscal framework. As a result, funding for the same purpose has been included in the 2017-18 supplementary estimates (A).

With regard to (b), Treasury Board Secretariat vote 30, paylist requirements, is a central vote that is used by Treasury Board ministers to allocate funds to departments for costs related to parental and maternity allowances, severance pay; and adjustments to the terms and conditions of employment of the federal public service, including members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Forces, when these have not been provided from Treasury Board Secretariat vote 15 on compensation adjustments.

The entire amount requested for supplementary estimates (C) was for adjustments to the terms and conditions of employment of the federal public service to reflect new collective agreements, as described earlier.

Questions on the Order Paper June 14th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), in the current round of negotiations, settlements have been based on 1.25% annual economic increases. A number of groups represented by different bargaining agents have received additional amounts in consideration of the specific circumstances of the group.

In the context of the current round of negotiations, a ‘market adjustment’ has been used as an informal term to distinguish salary increases provided in response to group-specific circumstances from the pattern 1.25% annual economic increase. For example, a salary increase provided to address group-specific internal or external comparability issues or to address recruitment and retention pressures has been typically termed a ‘market adjustment’.

With regard to (b), the 2.3% market adjustment provided to the RCMP is a salary increase. The 2.3% increase was termed a ‘market adjustment’ to recognize that it was paid in addition to the 1.25% economic increases to align RCMP members’ total compensation with that of the eight police forces in Canada used for compensation comparability purposes.

With regard to (b)(i), the 2.3% market adjustment provided to the RCMP is pensionable, as it is a salary increase. ¸

With regard to (b)(ii), the 2.3% market adjustment provided to the RCMP will be counted in the calculation of benefits just as a salary increase would be.

With regard to (b)(iii), generally speaking, since the net effect of a market adjustment is the same as a salary increase, the process for rescinding a market adjustment would be the same as applying a salary reduction. However, there are no plans to rescind either the market adjustment or salary increases for RCMP members.

Should a bargaining agent representing RCMP members become certified, salaries and market adjustments, as key elements of the terms and conditions of employment, would need to be negotiated in the course of a collective bargaining process.

With regard to (b)(iv), there are none.

With regard to (c), in the case of the RCMP, it was determined that following the retroactive 1.25% salary increases effective January 1, 2015, and January 1, 2016, an additional 2.3% market adjustment was warranted to align RCMP compensation with what is provided to the eight comparable police forces in Canada. These comparators provide local police services for a large majority of the Canadian population. It was termed a ‘market adjustment’ to distinguish it from the 1.25% annual economic increases that have been included in settlements to date.

The 2.3% market adjustment is not a separate payment or allowance. It will be applied to members’ salaries in the same manner as the salary increases. The full amount of the market adjustment is pensionable and will be included in the calculation of benefits based upon the rate of pay.

Vancouver Quadra Constituency Youth Council June 9th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, this spring, the Vancouver Quadra Constituency Youth Council organized a public great debate. It was ably co-chaired by CBC's Chris Brown. Inside the packed Kitsilano Neighbourhood House, the high school students authored and debated four policy issues: one, when should the voting age be lowered; two, should it be illegal to hold cetaceans in captivity; three, should the safe third country agreement be rescinded; and, four, should university education be free?

They pitted themselves against some of the brightest minds in Vancouver in this debate: professors, lawyers, managers, and even a former Canadian ambassador. The students won a number of their debates with their poise, intellectual prowess, and a dynamism that would make everyone in the House proud.

I congratulate the members of the Vancouver Quadra Constituency Youth Council on a year of hard work. I look forward to sharing their input with our Prime Minister.

Cannabis Act June 6th, 2017

Madam Speaker, the federal government's role is to create the framework for legalizing this product. Many of the rules and regulations, including the kinds of taxes, will be up to the provinces and municipalities to determine and apply.

Cannabis Act June 6th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I am sorry whenever I hear about young people entering into the criminal justice system after being charged with simple cannabis possession. I will say three things about that.

First, that is what this legislation is designed to change. Second, if people assumed that immediately upon election, the government would rush into legalization, then it is incumbent on us as parliamentarians to make sure that the fallacy is corrected, and I invite the member to educate and communicate with her constituents. Third, our government was absolutely clear from the beginning that we would be legalizing cannabis, but in the meantime and until such time, the law is the law and it will be applied.

Cannabis Act June 6th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I appreciate that question from the member opposite because it gives me an opportunity to ask, who better to regulate and control this product? It is already being grown in houses up the Fraser Valley and in backyards throughout my province and other provinces. Who better to regulate and control it? Who better to educate the public? Who better than government to ensure that youth do not get access to this product?

Does the member believe that it is better for criminal gangs, for organized crime, to regulate and control cannabis? That is happening right now, and that is what we want to change.

Cannabis Act June 6th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I am honoured to rise today to speak in favour of Bill C-45, which our government introduced to legalize and strictly regulate cannabis consumption in Canada.

The cannabis bill represents a new approach to cannabis, one that puts public health and safety at the forefront, and will better protect young Canadians.

The current approach to cannabis just does not work. It has allowed criminals and organized crime to profit while also failing to keep cannabis out of the hands of Canadian youth. In many cases, it is easier for our children to buy cannabis than cigarettes.

Canadians continue to use cannabis at some of the highest rates in the world. It is the most commonly used illicit drug among young Canadians. In 2015, 21% of youth aged 15 to 19 reported using cannabis in the past year. That is one out of every five young people in our country.

Today it is regulated and controlled by organized crime. It is far better to have it regulated and controlled by government.

Too many of our youth see cannabis as a benign substance. They are often ill-informed on the harm that it can do, and are unaware that early use of cannabis increases susceptibility to long-term effects. Youth are especially vulnerable to the effects of cannabis on brain development and function. This is because the THC in cannabis affects the same biological system in the brain that directs brain development.

They are unaware that black market cannabis can be contaminated by mould, pesticides, and other more dangerous drugs. At the same time, too many young people today are entering the criminal justice system for possessing small amounts of cannabis, which could potentially impact their long-term opportunities. Clearly, there has to be a better way of educating and protecting our youth.

In Vancouver Quadra, in the second decade of the century, we were seeing regular violent attacks on our city streets, in my riding included, with bystanders being hurt, which was part of the competition for these profits among organized crime gangs. That is why in September 2011, I began working in Ottawa, within the Liberal caucus, organizing meetings and bringing expert speakers to Ottawa to advance the dialogue about cannabis prohibition and how legalization could address some of those serious problems. I have the privilege in Vancouver Quadra and Vancouver of working with former attorneys general and justice and health professionals in a coalition called Stop the Violence BC. We have common cause on legalization.

I would like to focus my comments today on the benefits of this legalization for youth, one of our government's primary objectives for Bill C-45.

I would first like to note that this legislation is just one piece of the overall approach to addressing cannabis use by youth.

Specifically, our government is trying to reduce cannabis use by youth, to restrict their ability to obtain the product, to provide them with better information on its health harms and risks, and to keep them out of the criminal justice system for possessing even small amounts of cannabis, as is possible today. This approach requires legislative and regulatory measures and support for public education and awareness. To this end, our government has begun a public education campaign, with a focus on youth and their parents, to better inform them about cannabis and its health harms and risks.

Considering all of these measures combined, I am confident that our government's overall approach will be effective in better protecting our youth from the potential harm of this mind-altering substance.

I would like to explain some of the specific measures in the cannabis act to help safeguard our youth.

As a society, we have learned much from the health and safety controls put in place for other potentially harmful substances, such as tobacco, alcohol, and prescription medications. Bill C-45 uses these best practices as a starting point.

At the outset, Bill C-45 prohibits the sale of cannabis to anyone under the age of 18 and prohibits adults from giving cannabis to anyone under 18. It also creates an offence and penalty for anyone caught using a young person to commit a cannabis-related offence. Any adult found guilty of engaging in these activities would face a jail term of up to 14 years.

To avoid the kind of enticements to use cannabis that we have seen in the past with tobacco, Bill C-45 would prohibit any form of cannabis that is designed to appeal to youth, such as gummy bears or lollipops. To further protect youth, cannabis producers or retailers would be prohibited from using any kind of packaging or labelling that might be appealing to youth, or to use any kind of endorsement, lifestyle promotion, or cartoon animal to promote their product, and the promotion and advertising of cannabis products would not be permitted in any place or in any media that could be accessed by youth.

We are taking the health and safety of our youth very seriously. Bill C-45 also includes authority to make regulations that could require cannabis to be sold in child-resistant packaging to protect our youngest ones from accidentally consuming this product.

Taken together, these measures constitute a comprehensive approach to protecting the health and safety of our youth.

In addition to protecting public health and safety, one of our government's goals is to avoid criminalizing Canadians for relatively minor offences.

Having a criminal record for simple possession of small amounts of cannabis can have significant consequences. Having a record can seriously impact opportunities for employment, housing, volunteerism, and travel.

The question we have to ask ourselves is do we want to continue to saddle Canadians with these burdens for the possession of small amounts of cannabis? Our government's response is an emphatic no.

For this reason, the proposed legislation sets out a 30-gram possession limit for dried cannabis in public for adults aged 18 and over, with strict penalties for adults who give or try to sell it to youth or who use a young person to commit a cannabis-related offence.

Bill C-45 takes a different approach to cannabis possession by youth, one that recognizes that in some circumstances, entering the criminal justice system can do more harm than good. Prisons can be known for turning a misguided person into a bad person, at great public expense.

Under Bill C-45, youth would not face criminal prosecution for possessing or sharing a very small amount of cannabis. Any activities by youth involving more than small amounts of cannabis, defined as over 5 grams, would be addressed under the provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Our government will be working with the provinces and territories to support the development of legislation in each jurisdiction that would allow law enforcement to confiscate any amount of cannabis found in the possession of a young person. This would allow authorities to take away any amount of cannabis they may have in their possession.

Let me be clear: the proposed approach to addressing youth possession of cannabis does not mean that such behaviour is acceptable or encouraged. It is not. Rather, it recognizes that a more balanced approach with a range of tools works better to reduce cannabis consumption among youth, which is exactly what we are aiming for.

We believe that this law strikes the right balance between avoiding criminalizing youth for possession of small amounts and ensuring that cannabis remains tightly regulated and controlled, just as Canadians wish it to be.

Questions on the Order Paper May 19th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), (b), (e), (f), and (g), data for the years 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 are available on the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat’s website at treasury-board-secretariat/services/ performance-talent-management /performance-management-program- executives.html.

The data for 2015-2016 will be published once they are finalized.

With regard to (c) and (d), the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat sets departmental spending limits for executive performance pay, calculated as a percentage of departmental executive payroll at March 31. Each department then has the flexibility to spend this budget, as long as individual payments do not exceed the following percentages established by the Treasury Board: up to 12% of base salary for at-risk pay and up to 3% of base salary for bonus pay for each eligible executive at the EX-01, EX-02, or EX-03 levels, and up to 20% of base salary for at-risk pay and up to 6% of base salary for bonus pay for each eligible executive at the EX-04 or EX-05 level.

With regard to (h), the directives on executive compensation and on the performance management program for executives set out the requirements related to eligibility for performance pay. All executives are assessed at the end of the performance management cycle on the extent to which they have achieved the objectives set out in their performance agreement and their demonstration of their key leadership competencies. Based on this assessment, each executive is given a rating on a 5-point scale, where 1 is “Did not meet” and 5 is “Surpassed”. Executives who obtain a rating of 2 or higher are eligible for performance pay. Ratings recommended by the manager of each executive are reviewed by the departmental review committee and approved by the deputy head. All performance pay decisions must be approved by the deputy head.

With regard to (i), only individuals who get a rating of “Surpassed”, meaning their performance was outstanding, and who receive the maximum percentage of at-risk pay are eligible for the bonus.

With regard to (j), executives whose performance rating is “Did not meet” are not eligible for performance pay.

Public Service Labour Relations Act May 16th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the words of my NDP colleague across the aisle and the personal stories that she mentioned.

Bill C-7 and our response to both the House committee and the Senate amendments would give labour relations and collective bargaining a regime that would allow RCMP members to stand up for their rights and to address issues of workplace well-being and harassment which, as the member has pointed out, are so critically important. Our government listened to the Senate, listened to members of Parliament from all parties, and expanded the issues which are now available for collective bargaining.

Will the member support this important piece of legislation?