- Get e-mail whenever he speaks in House debates
- Subscribe to feeds of recent activity (what you see to the right) or statements in the House
- His favourite word is environment.
Conservative MP for Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa (Manitoba)
Won his last election, in 2015, with 46% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Business of Supply October 17th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, with regard to the style of agreement that ultimately comes out of this, I am made aware of one of the political rules: the perfect is the enemy of the good. I think I would be happy with a good agreement. I hope that the government is not insisting on perfection here. Trade and trade negotiations are all about give and take. Unfortunately, in Canada with our geographic location and our proximity to the U.S., we are in many cases at the mercy of the U.S. We should ensure that world trade rules are abided by, and unfortunately the U.S. has a habit of flouting those trade rules, which is very unfortunate.
Again, I would urge the Liberal government to work very hard. We have not seen much in the last year. I was proud of our government's track record on this particular file, but again the importance of forestry to many rural communities in my constituency and across the country needs to be recognized by the current government.
Business of Supply October 17th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, perhaps I got a bit carried away: let us not carry this apolitical stuff too far, but I appreciate my hon. friend's comments.
One thing that I think has not been done is to focus on the consumers of Canadian softwoods in the U.S. If the U.S. lumber producers get their way, the price of houses in the U.S. will go up. I would suspect that the construction industry in the U.S. wants Canadian lumber to continue flowing across the border. So again, looking at the customers and the benefits that the U.S. gets from the lumber it buys from us, I think that would be a very good first step.
Again, I appreciate the member's comments. We all care about these forestry communities. They are beautiful places to be and wonderful places to live. I should make the point again, as someone who has spent an entire career in environmental conservation, that as was mentioned earlier, the conservation activities of Canada's forestry companies are second to none in the world. We have a world-class industry.
Business of Supply October 17th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to speak in favour of the critical motion before us regarding the lack of action by the Liberal government to secure a softwood lumber agreement.
It is conventional wisdom that the constituency of Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa is primarily an agricultural constituency. To a large extent that is true. However, in the northern part of my constituency I have significant forestry operations, such as spruce products. Louisiana-Pacific moved into the area some 25 years ago, creating 400 full-time jobs in an area where jobs were desperately required. Therefore, the forestry industry in my constituency is extremely important, and the issue across the country is too important for the Liberals to sit across the way, doing nothing, and putting the livelihood of so many Canadian families in my constituency and the rest of Canada in jeopardy.
The situation was possibly best summed up in a recent news article by Mr. Kevin Mason, managing director of ERA Forest Products Research, a Vancouver-based financial research company, who said, “It's going to be ugly. There’s going to be mill closures. It’s going to be messy.”
As many of us will remember, during the last dispute, over 15,000 jobs were lost in British Columbia alone, and the Canadian forest industry had to pay $4.5 billion in duties. With an economy facing sluggish growth to begin with and tax increases being posed by the Liberals, the lumber industry and the forestry industry in general need certainty and stability more than ever.
As has been said by previous speakers, this very important sector generates approximately 270,000 direct and indirect jobs in Canada, often based in rural and remote areas where good, high paying jobs are often very hard to find. A mill that employs 250 people in a small town can be the centrepiece of a local community's economy, and a closure can be devastating.
As members know, the previous softwood lumber agreement expired on October 12, 2016, and the Liberal government has failed to negotiate a new one. In fact, it waited a year, which is astonishing. This means that U.S. lumber producers can and likely will file legal action immediately. It also means that the Canadian export market could be looking at 30% tariff increases very soon. This is a heavy hit to the bottom line of our lumber export companies and will undoubtedly lead to the suspension of production, job layoffs, and even mills shutting down completely, all because the Liberal government is unable or unwilling to make the economy of rural communities a priority. I will come back to that later on in my speech.
An agreement needs to be put in place that will stabilize the forestry sector in every region of Canada. However, due to the Liberal government inaction, the official opposition has launched a task force to petition those affected for their recommendations. We must bring the Canadian industry together to develop a common position in these negotiations instead of pitting one region against another. This task force will consult with forestry stakeholders, especially those communities whose major employer is tied to the forestry industry.
Many Liberals may not understand how important a mill is to a rural or remote community, as well as the spillover effect it has across an entire region or a country. Recently, the Manitoba forestry industry was thrown into crisis when the Tolko mill at The Pas was threatened with closure, and it came very close. There are very encouraging signs from the Conservative government in Manitoba, led by Premier Brian Pallister, that there is possibly a deal on the horizon that will save that particular mill.
What people do not realize is that the forestry industry is not just about a plant in a town. Rather, the ripple effects of the forestry industry go right across an entire region. Tolko was a paper mill. The paper industry and the lumber industry are intertwined. One might think the pending closure of a paper mill would not affect a lumber mill. However, what happens in the forestry sector is that when a lumber mill mills a tree, it takes the lumber from inside the tree, and the slabs on the outside, which are the finest fibres of a tree, and chips them and sends them to a paper mill. Therefore, the closure of a lumber mill or a paper mill can affect each other very significantly. The potential loss of the Tolko mill has the potential to kill 1,500 forestry jobs, even though that particular mill supports 300 direct jobs.
I had the honour of working for the Pine Falls Paper Company back in the mid 1990s. It was a wonderful success story, but also a story of failure. What happened in the early 1990s is that newsprint prices went down dramatically and that particular mill at Pine Falls was an Abitibi-Price mill. Many members here, especially from Quebec, would know the Abitibi-Price company. It was a newsprint-producing mill.
The mill was threatened with closure in the early 1990s, so the workers got together with the Conservative government of the day under premier Gary Filmon and the workers themselves bought the mill. They took a pay cut and entered into profit-sharing agreements. Right about that time, I left the employ of the provincial government and joined the Pine Falls Paper Company as the environmental director. Therefore, I have had first-hand experience in the forestry industry and got to live in a forestry town.
There has been a lot of talk in speeches about dollars and cents, trade law, lawyers, and so on, but what is forgotten is the human side of the forestry industry. What I learned when I lived in Pine Falls is that the forestry industry has a very definite culture. Those towns are different, they are special, and they are valuable. Because a major employer is in a town—in this particular case there were 500 full-time jobs—there are ball teams and hockey teams, Rotary Clubs, the churches are full, and there is a thriving society based around that particular mill.
As the 1990s wore on, newsprint was being replaced with iPads, people were reading newspapers on computers, and the demand for newsprint went down. What happened, which was inevitable, is that the mill was sold to a company called Tembec. Tembec then decided to make the mill even more efficient and instituted a process that some members may be familiar with, thermomechanical pulping.
A thermomechanical pulping mill goes hand in hand with a lumber mill, and Tembec had a plan to downsize the workforce at the paper mill and increase the workforce at the lumber mill. As I said earlier, paper production and lumber production go hand in hand. In the late 1990s, it looked like the Pine Falls paper mill and the associated lumber mill were going to have a very bright future. Then the U.S. action against our softwood lumber exports hit, and hit very hard. The mill converted to thermomechanical pulping, but the lumber mill was not economically viable any more. Actually, it was not even built. The plans were shelved and that particular mill was ultimately closed down.
By that time, I had left the mill, but I go back to that community from time to time. It is a tragic sight. I see the empty space, the size of two football fields, where a thriving paper mill used to be. The town is still a beautiful place, but there is a certain melancholy about the place. It is desolate. There is not the activity there used to be. This is the human cost of the loss of a major rural industry.
I am not really that interested in playing politics with this, though I am a politician and as partisan as everyone else. I would urge the Liberal members opposite to think about the people and culture of these communities and how important they are to our country. We all think Canada was founded by the fur trade, which, to a large extent, it was, but the forestry industry was equally important in creating this great country of ours.
In conclusion, I would also note, as the previous speaker said, that our forests are managed well and in an environmentally sound way. I managed a wastewater treatment plant at a paper mill. We know what we are doing in the forestry industry in Canada. We need to get a softwood lumber agreement in place, certainly for the jobs, the dollars and cents, but, as important, for the people and cultures of Canada's forestry communities.
Criminal Code October 6th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to speak in favour of Bill C-230, an act to amend the Criminal Code regarding a firearm definition of “variant”, introduced by the great member for Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound. I would like to applaud that hard-working member for his great work to clarify this difficult and arcane issue and for his continued support for law-abiding firearms owners across Canada. I consider the member for Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound a mentor, and I have benefited greatly from his wisdom.
The previous Conservative government also implemented the Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act, which enhanced the safety of our communities while ensuring safe and sensible firearms policy and cutting red tape for law-abiding firearms owners.
The Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act made common-sense changes to protect public safety, such as making firearms safety courses mandatory for all first-time licence applicants and strengthening provisions to prohibit the possession of firearms for those convicted of domestic assault. These are tangible measures to protect public safety, and I am very happy to see my colleague continuing to pursue this common-sense solution as presented in Bill C-230.
Many Canadians may not be aware of the difficulties our current firearm classification system places on businesses, hunters, sport shooters, and all gun owners in Canada. However, it is part of a larger trend in overburdening law-abiding firearms owners for no reason, simply based on stigma, not fact. Thankfully, Bill C-230 seeks to clarify what a variant is and would lead to a more transparent classification process moving forward.
I am an avid outdoorsman. I enjoy hunting and fishing and living off the land. I have had a 35-plus year career in environmental conservation. I have been using firearms safely and responsibly for as long as I can remember, and there are millions of Canadians just like me.
Far too often Canadians who enjoy hunting or sport shooting are overburdened with red tape, and even attacked for taking part in the lifestyle they enjoy, which has been part of our heritage for hundreds of years. Thankfully, the previous Conservative government consistently stood up for law-abiding firearms owners, and we continue to do that today.
I will digress from my prepared remarks to reiterate my gratitude to the members yesterday who stood up and defeated Bill C-246 from all sides of the House, particularly from our side, the Conservatives, but on the Liberal side too. That was a victory for not only law-abiding firearms owners but also legitimate animal users, and it was one of my most precious times in Parliament to see that happen.
The legislation, Bill C-230, is common sense and is needed. It is common sense because it defines a term that is used 99 times without being defined. The term “variant” is used an incredible 99 times in the regulations prescribing firearms and other weapons, but has no legal definition, which obviously leads to confusion. It is absurd that we allow something as important as this to go undefined and remain open to ever-evolving interpretations.
We have seen this far too often recently, most notably the classification decision in 2014 regarding the Swiss Arms Classic Green rifle. This decision was made through the stroke of a pen of unelected bureaucrats and led to the RCMP reclassifying the Swiss Arms as a variant of the SG 540, a prohibited firearm in Canada.
Thousands of people who were perfectly law-abiding firearms owners who held non-restricted firearms licences, and I have a non-restricted firearms licence myself, were made criminals overnight by simply possessing a firearm that they could have legally owned for more than a decade. Fortunately, our Conservative government stepped in and provided amnesty for those firearms owners and passed the Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act, which allowed those rifles to be reclassified to non-restricted, as they should have been all along.
It is unacceptable to allow for such an arbitrary system to exist without the clarification needed to prevent thousands of Canadians from becoming criminals unwittingly.
Beyond that, some of the classification decisions we have seen in recent memory have thus been baffling. Take, for example, the case of the Mossberg Blaze-47. The firearm has an outer plastic shell that is bent aesthetically to look like an AK-47, which is of course prohibited, as it should be. However, the firearm is not even close to being the same. It does not have any of the same parts. It is not the same size. It is not the same calibre, and it has a different magazine capacity. The guts of the firearm, so-called, are the same as the Mossberg Blaze rifle, which is non-restricted.
The government of day, and all of us, actually like to talk about evidence-based policy. The way that firearms like these are classified is a perfect example of ideology trumping evidence.
Somehow the RCMP firearms program deemed that to be a prohibited firearm, since it is a variant of the AK-47. It is no such thing. This is simply false. It merely looks similar. Talk about judging a book by its cover. That is not how to classify a firearm. It must be based on facts, on function, on structure, and on operation, not by the way it looks. To use an automobile metaphor, we could take a Volkswagen bug and plunk a Corvette body on top of that bug, but it is still a Volkswagen.
Not only do we have incorrect classifications coming forward to begin with, and then classifications changing without reason, it can also take years for the classification determination to be made at all. Any member who has a firearm retailer in their riding, and I have a number of them, has undoubtedly been approached about the length of time it takes for businesses to be provided with a classification prior to importation. Most firearms in Canada are actually imported.
I have heard of it literally taking years for a decision, meaning that by the time a certain firearm is permitted, the firearm is no longer a new product. If any of us were running a business that sells firearms legally, or trying to decide what products to import for sale to our stores, we would understandably be irate if the government forced us to wait months and even years before we could move forward with importing the product. If we allowed government to delay the entry of other consumer products like this, we would just be getting the iPhone 4 this year. I hope that is correct, because I do not even know what an iPhone 4 is.
Thankfully, in 2015, the member for Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, when he was minister of public safety, took action on this problem, issuing a directive to the RCMP. That allowed for 180 days to evaluate a firearm, decide its classification, and issue the firearms reference table. This classification number is needed to import that model into Canada. I doubt that many would claim that 180 days to make such a decision would be particularly rushed, and it provided certainty to retailers that a decision would be made. Unfortunately, the current government has rescinded that directive, allowing for those decisions to be delayed as long as it sees fit, with no means of accountability.
The bill seeks to help the RCMP in this regard, as it would provide more structure and certainty as to what a variant is, and ultimately make it easier to classify that firearm. This is about certainty. This is about making it clear and transparent as to what the rules are. The bill is not attempting to alter the specifications of what is non-restricted, restricted, or prohibited. This is trying to clarify what we base the term “variant” on when classifying firearms within those streams. This is not about trying to get firearms.
Just because the Liberal government says this is at odds with how the RCMP have classified in the past does not mean that the RCMP have been doing it correctly. In fact, more firearms owners would argue that they have not been.
It is time to help clarify what a variant is, based on facts and on how the firearm functions, not based on anything else. I urge my colleagues to consider the flaws in the current system and get on board with this legislation to provide a definition of a firearm variant. Allow us to accurately and consistently classify firearms while ensuring we protect public safety and the rights of legitimate hunters and sport shooters.
Paris Agreement October 4th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, speaking of flatulence.
I used to be the environmental director at a paper mill, and in1989 the Brian Mulroney government, a Conservative government, implemented the pulp and paper effluent regulations. There is a place for regulations and there is a place for incentives. Regulations work in the case of point-source pollution. In the case of paper mills, the pulp and paper effluent regulations in 1989 forced all the companies, my own included, to spend $25 million on waste-water treatment plants. In some cases, regulations work.
I have been to Sudbury. I have met people there. I have seen the Sudbury miracle, so regulations work in some cases. In other cases, incentives work. When we try to regulate where incentives are the most appropriate, it simply will not generate any environmental benefits.
For my friend opposite, the New Democrats want all industry, pipelines, resources, and everybody shut down for some strange reason. I guess it is from the Leap Manifesto.
Paris Agreement October 4th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, I am astonished at that Liberal arrogance. To assume my constituents do not know the value of wetlands is deeply insulting. My farm has nine wetland areas on it. There are thousands and thousands of wetlands in my region. My people know what wetlands mean.
The difference between a Conservative and a Liberal is this. Measurement is important, but the Liberal thinks measurement is the be all and end all. We put money into actual programming through the national conservation plan. By the way, I should point out that back in 1986, the Brian Mulroney government started the North American waterfowl management plan, which continues to this day, and is the single-largest wetlands conservation program in the history of the world. We need no lectures on the value of the wetlands from a Liberal.
In terms of the member's first question, again Canada produces 1.6% of world CO2 emissions. We will do our part, but again the whole world has to act together to make a difference. Again, Canada's 1.6% is Canada's 1.6%.
Paris Agreement October 4th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Bow River.
Before I start my speech, I was interested in my Liberal colleague across the way saying that the Liberals wanted to eliminate carbon from our economy. It shows a lack of science understanding on the other side. I would suggest to him that he should look up the photosynthesis equation, which is the most important equation on earth, and the first element is carbon dioxide.
I rise in the House to speak to the proposed ratification of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change dealing with greenhouse emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance starting in the year 2020, better known as the Paris agreement.
The motion before us can be supported in one sense, but is significantly improved by our amendment to ensure we do not encroach on provincial and territorial responsibilities, and we must not raise taxes on Canadians. Therefore, I would support the motion as amended. However, it seems clear that the Prime Minister has no intention of seeking consent from or co-operating with the provinces in this regard.
Aside from the actual content of the agreement, what most Canadians will likely remember best from Paris is the return of Liberal excess and entitlement. the great junket cost taxpayers nearly $1 million. Canadians will also remember going forward that this is the agreement that the Liberals believe gave them the right to unilaterally impose a carbon tax on them.
That aside, we recognize that Canada must do its part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but not at the expense of seriously harming our own economy. I would also mention it is good to see that the Liberal government has adopted the greenhouse gas emissions reduction target set by our previous Conservative government, but it is how we get there that matters most.
I am very proud to represent the vast rural constituency of Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa in west central Manitoba. My riding is primarily agricultural and, in addition to producing grains and oilseeds, my riding is the largest producer of canola in the entire country. Our land supports thriving cattle and hog industries, and commercial forestry which supports many jobs in the northern region. My constituency is also blessed with vast tracts of natural habitats and numerous lakes that support hunting, angling and trapping, activities that are critical to our way of life and our thriving tourism industry.
My constituents have a deep commitment to conservation. They live with and among a beautiful environment with wildlife and there are dozens of wildlife and fisheries conservation organizations supporting many fish and wildlife enhancement projects every year. This is the kind of environmental conservation that does not get the recognition it deserves: good, honest people on the land doing good, honest conservation work that benefits the entire country. I am very proud to represent those people in my constituency.
As an example, wetlands are critical to my riding and to environmental conservation across the country. By way of example, many Canadians may not know that just one acre of wetlands gained or restored equates to roughly a full year of carbon emissions from 160 cars on the road. We never hear anything about landscape conservation from the Liberal government when it comes to climate change, although it is equally or more important than much of the activities it is proposing. Partnering with groups that promote wetlands conservation and restoration does far more than targets and frameworks.
However, by focusing so much on carbon emission reductions, the Liberal government is ignoring this very significant environmental opportunity and it is a major opportunity.
Aside from wetlands effectively sequestering carbon, they also purify water, conserve biodiversity and improve flood control. Our Conservative government, through our national conservation plan, supported significant wetlands and other habitat conservation programs that delivered multiple benefits for the same cost. I would urge the government to do the same.
Interestingly in the previous Parliament, the environment committee that I was a part of did a major study on Great Lakes water quality and the loss of wetlands around the Great Lakes was implicated in the decline of water quality in Lake Erie in particular.
Again, the government has an opportunity to spend money efficiently and deliver multiple benefits, and I am using wetlands conservation as an example, and in the case of the Great Lakes, improve Great Lakes water quality and sequester carbon and conserve biodiversity at the same time.
Now that is Conservative-style environmentalism. I know the Liberals are not really familiar with efficient conservation that delivers real benefits, but I would urge them to adopt that kind of conservation.
This is not to say that projects to expand wetlands to protect wildlife habitats are the only options when it comes to reaching environmental targets. However, we must avoid having our sole focus on mandating compliance and regulating businesses out of existence. There are many technological advances that have and will continue to be made to limit emissions and ensure sustainable development.
I wholeheartedly support advancements in clean technology development and innovation, especially in Canada's national resources and renewable energy sectors. However, government programs must deliver concrete and measurable results for businesses and the environment, and the key word being “measurable”.
Surely, it is not just the Conservatives who recognize that governments are notoriously bad at picking winners. We must not subsidize using taxpayer money in the hopes of innovating in these areas if it is not economically viable. Governments can play a role in investing and incentivizing to create a climate for investment, but we must not lose focus on what matters most, actual and real results for environmental dollars spent.
My riding is one that would be tremendously impacted by any federally-imposed carbon tax. How the Liberals cannot realize that a carbon tax will disproportionately hurt Canadians living in rural and remote areas is beyond me. How it will hurt agriculture is obvious. It takes a lot of energy to produce the food to feed our country, and the world. As one farmer said humorously, a Prius cannot pull an air seeder.
Farmers who are already working within margins can ill-afford to have the tax burden on their businesses and families increased. The fact is that people in rural areas will drive places even if a carbon tax is imposed on them. My constituents will not stop driving their children to school or sporting events. They will not stop going camping in our beautiful wilderness and national parks. They simply will not stop living. However, what they will do is end up paying more to the government coffers, with no beneficial effects on the environment. The Liberals are better off to give the carbon tax money to the conservation groups in my constituency that will do real good for the environment.
Where we live, we do not have mass transit. We cannot bike 30 kilometres every day to go to work. Many of my constituents live on modest incomes, and they will be deeply affected by these taxes.
As verified by the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy in its report on a carbon pricing policy for Canada, and I happened to have been a member of the national round table at that time, “Given income constraints, lower-income households are also less able to adjust their behaviour and spend on technology or energy efficiency measures in response to a price.” In other words, poor people will be hurt the most.
It is clear that the Conservative Party of Canada is the party of the working people. The people in my constituency and all of our constituencies exemplify that. The fact is that the Liberals need to realize that all they are doing is hurting the good, hard-working people who live in rural and remote parts of our country.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation estimates that a new carbon tax could result in the average Canadian family paying $2,500 more in new taxes per year. According to the PBO, Canadian incomes will decline 1% to 3% on average thanks to the Paris agreement. These findings are in addition to the tax hikes the Liberals have proposed.
The fact is that countries that implement policies to spur wealth creation generate the best environmental outcomes. To phrase it simply, getting rich is good for the environment, and the math proves that. Our environmental quality in Canada is the result of wealth creation policies, largely put in by Conservative governments, I might add. Increasing taxes on Canadians while their economies struggle is simply irresponsible.
It is also unfortunate that too many advocates of climate change mitigation like this fail to actually do the math on the environmental effects and get lost in their ideological beliefs. Take for example the Liberal steadfast support of wind energy. Advocates have also failed to mention that wind turbines can have negative effects on the environment and wildlife, not to mention local communities.
For example, one study concludes that of all wind energy facilities, about 368,000 bird fatalities occur every year. These things are Cuisinarts for birds and bats. It is also important to note that many of the bird species killed by wind turbines are SARA-listed species, and endangered bats are also victims of wind turbines.
In 2014, Australia abolished its carbon tax after it was proven harmful. The Ontario Liberal government has accepted its green energy failures.
I hope the Liberals will heed these warnings and adapt their means of achieving these targets away from taxation and regulations and toward partnerships with on-the-ground organizations and incentives for Canadian businesses and families. This is the key to both our continued wealth creation and sustainable economic growth and environmental protection.
National Seal Products Day Act October 3rd, 2016
Mr. Speaker, like the previous speakers, I am very pleased to support Bill S-208 to declare May 20 as national seal products day and to also support the work of the chair of the fisheries and oceans committee, the MP for Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame. He is a good chair of the fisheries committee, which I have the honour to be on, and I see great progress being made.
The bill recognizes the traditions, culture, and economic importance of the seal hunt. The seal hunt began hundreds of years ago and employed thousands of people, and does to this day. These people were and are some of the toughest people on earth who literally risk their lives to provide for their families.
This whole experience was captured in the book, The Greatest Hunt in the World by George Allan England who, in the 1920s, took it up himself to sail with the renowned Captain Kean and be part of a sealing crew. The book, illustrated with photos from the era, showed the men working on the dangerous ice flows harvesting seals to feed their families. Their courage was unbelievable.
I had the good fortune to fish in Labrador this summer, and most of our guides were also seal hunters who described to me the importance of the hunt to them and their families. Quite clearly the tradition lives on.
Bill S-208 should not be looked at by itself. The bill is part of the effort by thousands of groups and individuals to protect and defend a way of life that is very dear to many Canadians. Whether individuals are hunters, trappers, ranchers, anglers, commercial fishermen, or guides, they know that their livelihoods depend on the natural world and the products that mother nature provides.
Accordingly, I was very pleased that the previous government under prime minister Stephen Harper passed a bill presented by then MP Rick Norlock creating National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day, which passed with the unanimous support of all parties. I get the sense from the speakers today that Bill S-208 will receive the same level of support, which is very good for the hunting, angling, and animal use community that members from all sides of this Parliament support this way of life. This is a very strong signal that Parliament stands ready to support and defend all legitimate and traditional animal uses. For this, I and my constituents are very grateful.
However, the well-funded and organized animal rights lobby continues its war against rural communities, and this time it comes in the guise of Bill C-246, sponsored by the member for Beaches—East York. It was quite disappointing for me to hear my colleagues from the NDP say that it will be supporting the bill; and yet again, well-funded animal rights groups have mobilized to pass this very bad bill, which will threaten, according to multiple legal opinions, all animal use in Canada.
One of these animal rights groups that supports Bill C-246, Animal Justice Canada, says on its website that it is:
..working to enshrine meaningful animal rights into Canadian law, including the right of animals to have their interests represented in court, and the guarantee of rights and freedoms that make life worth living.
Another group, whose notorious initials I will not say, have said, “Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment...”.
So much for medical research. By the way, in terms of medical research, people think that these animal rights bills and issues like those we are talking about are all rural issues. They are not. Sixty per cent of cardiovascular research is conducted on animals; so again, all of the entire animal use community has an interest in all of these bills.
Here is a quote from the Animal Alliance, regarding Bill C-246:
The onus is on humane societies and other groups on the front lines to push this legislation to the limit, to test the parameters of this law and have the courage and the conviction to lay charges.
That is what this is all about; make no mistake about it. The animal rights groups have a deeply hidden agenda to eliminate all animal use.
These groups have made millions of dollars on the backs of poor, remote, and coastal communities, and they continue with their dishonest propaganda to this very day by implying that the commercial hunt for seal pups exists when it has been banned for many years.
The previous government conducted a study on hunting and trapping, and we had a number of witnesses who described the importance of the seal hunt, one of whom was Mr. Dion Dakins, chair of the sealing committee for the Fur Institute of Canada, and he made a number of critical observations. He noted that:
...sealing is important not only for economic purposes but also for non-economic purposes and as part of our cultural fibre, whether in an anglophone, a francophone, or an Inuit community where people rely on the resource and these animals for their very subsistence. It has been described as a time-honoured tradition and a way of life among Inuit, francophones, and anglophones, each group of which demonstrates very individual harvesting techniques and expresses cultural pride in the activity.
Mr. Dakins went on to note:
...for four decades seal populations have grown exponentially. Since the European Union ban on seal products in 2009, the annual Canadian seal harvests have fallen well below the DFO-established total allowable catches. [Seal] populations have risen to new heights.
This is was also described by previous speakers.
The economic contributions to the Canadian economy from sealing can be significant. They were around $70 million in 2005 and 2011. In 2012, Mr. Dakins reports that the seal hunt saved our fisheries approximately $360 million of seafood that otherwise would have been consumed by overabundant seal populations.
Northwest Atlantic harp seal eat 15 times more fish than the entire Canadian fisheries harvest and the true value of the meat of the hunt is not fully understood. A viable commercial sealing industry is an essential tool in a fisheries management conservation regime. Sealing is part of the solution, not part of the problem.
With about 10,000 licensed sealers in Canada, there is the ability to manage this valuable resource. The problem lies in the bans, which are basically dismantling the seal harvest. The behaviour of the EU in this is disgraceful and given what the previous speaker talked about in terms of the seal harvest in parts of the EU, the hypocrisy is almost overwhelming.
The Fur Institute of Canada takes an active role in defending the important role of sealers in our ecosystem. They are out there making a living. Up to 35% of an annual income can come from the seal hunt. The hunt happens during times of year when few other economic activities are possible. With decreased demand for the product because of the bans, times are tough economically for many families who rely on this industry.
It is highly regulated. Canadian sealing has among the highest standards in the world for animal welfare as was described to me by my seal hunting friends in Labrador.
In Canada, seal hunting is also an instrument for conservation. Our fisheries committee is conducting two studies right now on how to recover the severely depleted populations of north Atlantic cod and Atlantic salmon, as seals are implicated in the declines of those two very valuable species. Research is also being done, and I hope it continues, on the very valuable products that can come from seals and be part of a new seal market.
In summary, I am very pleased to support Bill S-208 and the people who make a living and sustain themselves by seal hunting. I encourage all members to show their solidarity with those communities and vote for the bill.
Business of Supply September 29th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, if the truth hurts, that is the way it is.
In terms of these arms sales, I agree with my colleague opposite that it is the workers in those industries who are truly important. The NDP members talk a great game about being the workers' party, but they are clearly the party of the elites. They want to see these people lose their jobs.
I would ask the member if they will go and ask the union to have those members eliminated from the union.
Business of Supply September 29th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, obviously these points need to be heard.
It is because of the anti-western stance by the left for decades and decades that Lenin called them “useful idiots”. It is because they quite clearly helped communism survive for many years.