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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

Oil Tanker Moratorium Act October 4th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I am proud that our government does extensive consultation on every initiative and every bill we put forward, unlike the previous Conservative government, which would cook up changes to bills in back rooms for political purposes, like with the Fisheries Act, and lay them out in a huge omnibus bill and never even talk to anyone about them.

Coastal first nations up and down British Columbia supported this moratorium. Coastal first nations all through the area of over 700 rivers, creeks, and streams that lead to salmon-bearing rivers were for a moratorium on the coast. I am proud that we listened to them. We consulted, and we listened.

Oil Tanker Moratorium Act October 4th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I worked on this issue as a core project in Vancouver Quadra from early 2009. Therefore, I want to also acknowledge all the constituents of Vancouver Quadra, the environmental groups, the communities, and the indigenous communities on British Columbia's coast that paid attention to the potential risks to our coast and supported the idea of banning crude oil tanker traffic, consistent with a policy moratorium that had been put in place in 1972 by a previous Prime Minister Trudeau.

Therefore, I would like to share with the members a press release I wrote in February 2011, after two years of work on this. It said:

Yesterday, Vancouver Quadra Liberal MP... announced that C-606, her private Members’ bill to ban oil tanker traffic off B.C.’s north coast, has been officially submitted to proceed to debate next month. “We are now one step closer to a legislated oil tanker ban on B.C.’s north coast--the only way to protect our oceans and communities from a catastrophic oil spill... If disaster were to strike in our northern coastal waters, B.C.--and Canada as a whole – would never be the same.

Bill C-606 legislates a crude oil tanker ban in the dangerous inland waters around Haida Gwaii known as Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound. The bill would not affect current deliveries of diesel and other oil products to local communities

The work to protect that area of the coast has been going on for a long time. The press release continued:

We’ve witnessed the Gulf of Mexico and Exxon-Valdez oil spills. It’s just not worth the risk...In perfect conditions, industry considers 15 percent recovery of oil a success, but a recent report by Canada’s Environment and Sustainable Development Commissioner raised serious doubts about the Conservative government’s ability to even respond to a spill.

This initiative is widely supported by British Columbians in all parts of the province. In fact, a press release I issued in March 2011 talks about a two-day campaign being kicked off to meet with Vancouver Island residents and stakeholders about Bill C-606, the bill to legislate a ban on crude oil tankers in B.C.'s dangerous northern waterways. It says that I would also be consulting with the northern communities, the community of Kitimat, where a terminal for an oil pipeline that would be transported through those waters for which it was planned, and that I would visit first nations, community organizations, local businesses, unions, and municipalities to reach out to those communities. Those early consultations made it very clear that “An oil spill would hurt our communities, our environment, our businesses, and our way of life. This is not a risk British Columbians can afford to take”, quoting from that press release.

I am talking about this because I want to acknowledge and thank some of the key environmental organizations that brought this issue forward to the Liberal caucus of the day. The four environmental organizations that were critical to this work, doing the research and encouraging us to move forward on this issue, were Dogwood Initiative, Living Oceans Society,, and West Coast Environmental Law.

This was a real priority. Why was it so important and why is it so important for a government that is committed to protecting the environment, a particularly sensitive environment in this case, while also protecting and developing a strong economy? It is because B.C.'s coastal economy in 2010 was estimated to have 56,000 jobs tied to clean coastal environments, jobs in fisheries, tourism, ecotourism, and recreation, film and television among them. It also was about a way of life for our coastal communities.

Imagine being in Hartley Bay, a remote coastal community, as I had the privilege to be, knowing that community's supermarket really is its freezers. The fishermen go and harvest the shellfish, the abalone, the mussels and clams, the salmon, and the halibut, and the residents eat that seafood throughout the year, as they have for a millennia. It is about a way of life, as well as an economy and an environment.

I came naturally to thinking about how we could protect our coastal environment from a devastating oil spill. I was a tree planter and reforestation contractor working on the north coast in my late teens and early 20s, and I came to know it well.

I also had the chance to travel up and down the coast as a minister of environment. Imagine being at the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary, this amazing and rich estuary, watching the grizzly bears feed with their families, as I had a chance to do. Imagine that being fouled with a crude oil spill, as happened in Alaska's estuaries with the Exxon Valdez oil spill? We could never go back.

Therefore, I and so many British Columbians were committed to ensuring that these dangerous waters would not be the location of a devastating oil spill. We are reminded by the Deepwater Horizon, the Exxon Valdez, and some of the other spills off our coast that human error and equipment failure are something one can never guarantee will not happen.

B.C.'s north coast is home to the Great Bear Rainforest and some of the world's most diverse ecosystems, including 27 species of marine mammals, 120 species of marine birds, and 2,500 individual salmon runs.

One of the big concerns after the Exxon Valdez example was the jobs that would be lost as well as the impact on the environment. I met with a woman who came to one of my meetings wearing the gumboots she wore when she went to clean up the Exxon Valdez spill up in Alaska.

I am so proud of our government and our minister for having done significant consultations throughout the province and for having discussed this with groups from the coast right through the interior.

I want to again thank my constituents for supporting me on this. I would like to thank our minister and our Prime Minister for delivering on this promise to British Columbia and to Canada to protect this very special part of our country.

Oil Tanker Moratorium Act October 4th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Davenport.

I am pleased and proud to be part of today's debate on Bill C-48, and to discuss implementing an oil tanker moratorium on British Columbia's northern coast.

It is important to remember that with the bill, the Government of Canada is honouring its promise to Canadians. By formalizing this moratorium and including marine safety, the government is delivering on its promise, as set out in the mandate letter from the Prime Minister to the Minister of Transport.

I want to thank our Prime Minister for his commitment to the oil tanker moratorium on the Pacific north coast. I also want to thank the Minister of Transport for taking his thoughtful approach in consulting widely on the bill and delivering on this commitment.

This is one of those times when it is very satisfying to be a member of Parliament.

Tree Canada September 27th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, Tree Canada is our country's leading national tree-planting charity, and I rise today on National Tree Day to offer my warm congratulations on the occasion of its 25th anniversary.

For 25 years, Tree Canada has been growing better places to live all across Canada, by planting and caring for trees in our communities, reforesting rural areas, and by celebrating the environmental, social, cultural, economic, and spiritual benefits of trees.

As a former tree planter and reforestation business owner, I was honoured to join Tree Canada president Michael Rosen and his staff, volunteers, and board in planting their 82 millionth tree in Ottawa near Parliament Hill this afternoon.

I would like to thank Tree Canada for what it does. I also thank the Minister of Natural Resources for being there.

Finally, I would like to thank the thousands of Canadian tree planters across the country for their hard work in restoring Canada's forests in communities and remote regions across the country.

Happy National Tree Day.

Access to Information Act September 26th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I must say, that was a rather surprising speech. The Conservative MP started by criticizing Bill C-58 in its entirety. He then talked about a number of other things that have nothing to do with today's topic. For the first time, the Access to Information Act will be extended to include the Prime Minister's and ministers' offices. This bill gives the Information Commissioner the power to order government information to be released for the first time. We are making substantive amendments that will have the combined effect of reducing delays. There are a number of initiatives in addition to the powers of the Information Commissioner.

Does the member not feel that granting powers to the Information Commissioner is an improvement to our current access to information regime?

Access to Information Act September 26th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, members of the opposition appear to want everything that every expert and academic has suggested for our access to information regime to be in this one bill, which, for the first time in 34 years, addresses the shortcomings. Does the member view the other approach, which is a step-by-step approach our government is taking, as a better way forward?

Access to Information Act September 26th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to the remarks of my colleague, who was a member of the previous government. That government actually gave political instructions to ministerial staff to block or delay responses to freedom of information requests that had already been accepted and fulfilled by the access to information secretariat staff. The moral high ground he seems to be taking in his speech is a little curious, given that.

I understand that he also has some measured comments about our bill. I would like to address the comments about frivolous and vexatious applications. First, it is important that our system works for everyone. Second, requests are increasing by 13% a year. Third, there are some requests that gum up the system and are not really intended to secure information.

As the member fairly pointed out, we know that the commissioner, the committee, eight provinces, and many countries have provisions for frivolous and vexatious requests. He criticized the fact that these decisions to accept or not could be made by the government. In reality, people who have their request denied on this basis will still be able to complain to the Information Commissioner, who has order-making powers.

Does the member think it is better to not do this and have an inefficient system, or is it better to actually remove some of these requests that gum up the system?

Access to Information Act September 26th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Saanich—Gulf Islands for taking the time to point out that there are a number of very important steps forward in terms of this legislation we are debating, Bill C-58. She is aware that this bill will go to a committee, where concerns she is expressing around powers of the Information Commissioner or issues around who defines vexatious applications will absolutely be discussed and ideas brought forward. Our government does have a record of entertaining and accepting amendments at committees.

I appreciate the balanced nature of her comments, but I take issue with her comments around proactive disclosure, for the reason that currently there is no requirement to proactively disclose briefing documents and the kinds of things we will be regulating here. As a result, if there was anything awkward, it could be pulled off the disclosure list. In fact, we know that the previous government exercised political interference, even with accepted applications that the department had fulfilled. It balked them.

To me, proactive disclosure means that people have to disclose those things. They can be counted on to do it, whether they are awkward or inconvenient or not. It is a big step forward.

Yes, things—

Access to Information Act September 26th, 2017

Madam Speaker, it is an honour to be back here debating this bill, and I thank the Conservative member.

However, I disagree with some of the things she was saying. I am extremely proud that our government is truly raising the bar on openness and transparency by revitalizing access to information.

By contrast, according to the Information and Privacy Commissioner, the Conservatives blocked all access to information requests to ministers' offices. Without authorization, they blocked and delayed responses prepared by public officials. After a decade of being negligent and obstructive, the party opposite is now painting itself as a champion of access to information.

Why did the Conservatives ignore this issue for 10 years?

Access to Information Act September 25th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, the member spoke of cynicism; I was struck by his choice of word.

The Conservatives knowingly restricted access to information when they were in power. The Information Commissioner conducted an investigation and concluded that political aides blocked or delayed requests without authorization.

Will the hon. member admit that the former Conservative government was not interested in transparency regarding access to information?