House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was tax.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Mississauga East—Cooksville (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2019, with 34% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Committees of the House June 2nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak to the health committee's report, “Marijuana's Health Risks and Harms”, and how this Conservative government is addressing the problem of youth smoking marijuana.

I would first like to thank the committee for its excellent work on this issue, and especially for the detail that the report offers regarding the lasting and serious harms that come from smoking marijuana. This report makes it clear for all to see that the Liberal leader's plan to make marijuana more available to kids is irresponsible and disturbing.

The Liberal Party wants to legalize marijuana, making it even more accessible to young Canadians. This is irresponsible and completely ignores the scientific evidence regarding its health risks and harms. The serious and lasting health risks of smoking marijuana are irrefutable. The rate of marijuana use among youth in Canada is already twice the rate of use among adults. The committee also found that Canadian youth age 11 to 15 are among the highest users of marijuana compared to their peers in other countries. Evidence suggests that Canadians are also not as well informed about the risks of smoking marijuana as they are about other illicit drugs. These statistics are alarming, and this Conservative government is concerned about the harmful effects of marijuana on youth.

Unlike the Liberal leader, we do not support making access to illegal drugs easier. Marijuana is dangerous, and it is irresponsible for governments to communicate that it is somehow safe and normal for kids to smoke it. Research has already shown that marijuana is harmful to the lungs and brain. The Liberal leader wants to make smoking marijuana a normal, everyday activity for kids and have it sold in stores just like cigarettes and alcohol. The Liberal leader has chosen to ignore the serious and lasting health effects of smoking marijuana, which the health committee has painstakingly detailed in the report before the House today. Marijuana is illegal and is so for a reason. Its lasting and serious health effects cannot be understated.

That is why our government's anti-drug approach through the national anti-drug strategy is working to stop Canadians of all ages, especially kids, from smoking marijuana. Since the launch of the strategy, its drug treatment funding program has provided funding for 29 projects across Canada. Concerning problems related to smoking marijuana, we are also helping with efforts to treat dependency for those people who have serious addiction problems.

We are also providing $1.2 million to the Nova Scotia government for a project entitled “Nova Scotia's strengthening treatment systems project” to increase the uptake of treatment practices by addictions workers. A key target group for these projects are those suffering from concurrent mental health and substance use disorders. This client group suffers from two serious health problems: illicit drug use, like marijuana; and ongoing mental health concerns. The Liberal leader ignores these vulnerable individuals when he attempts to normalize the smoking of marijuana and its lasting and serious health risks.

Our government is also providing $1.2 million to the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health to undertake its project implementing evidence-informed practice in Saskatchewan's addiction treatment program. This project is working toward improving its standardized treatment practices across addiction and mental health sectors. When addiction is coupled with problems such as anxiety and depression, the related challenges are compounded for clients as well as the professionals in charge of their care.

The good news for my colleagues is that the rate of kids smoking marijuana in Canada is actually trending down, thanks to this good work. According to a Canadian drug-use monitoring survey's most recent report, marijuana use by youth has dropped by almost 30% since 2008 and by 45% since 2004. The same report noted that, while 20% of youth smoked marijuana in 2012, 70% of youth drank alcohol.

The Liberal leader's plan to make marijuana available in stores, just like alcohol and cigarettes, would mean increasing the rate at which youth smoke marijuana to the same rate at which they consume alcohol, almost tripling its use.

The president of the Canadian Medical Association said:

Any effort to highlight the dangers, harm and potential side effects of consuming marijuana is welcome.

We know that work needs to be done to reduce the rate at which our kids smoke marijuana, but the Liberal leader is choosing to ignore the advice of experts, showing once again that he is just not ready for the job. The Liberal leader's own MPs are even on the record defending illegal marijuana storefronts in B.C. and elsewhere. His refusal to condemn these illegal operations, which are regularly caught peddling marijuana to kids, should not surprise anyone. These storefronts are the Liberal vision of Canada.

Make no mistake, storefronts selling marijuana are illegal under this Conservative government and will remain illegal, and we expect the police to enforce the law. A marijuana store on every street corner fits perfectly with the Liberal leader's on-the-record statements defending the dangerous home grow ops in Canadian neighbourhoods, which this Conservative government is fighting in court to shut down.

The irony of the Liberal plan to legalize marijuana is that it would in no way reduce the rates of youth smoking marijuana or, indeed, the illegal drug trade. Expert witnesses who contributed to this report by the health committee actually spoke to this point at length. I will quote Dr. Harold Kalant, who said:

...I would point out that the hope that legalizing would eliminate the black market would be true only if it were sold legally at a lower price than the black market. If you do that, the use is likely to increase greatly.

However, this expert's testimony conflicts with the Liberal vision of Canada, so its leader will pay it no mind. Dr. Kalant offered further thoughts on the subject, which I will highlight here before I conclude. He said:

...the use of cannabis for pleasure comes at a cost, and society must ponder whether the pleasure is worth the cost. ...society as a whole must give careful thought to changes in policy that could increase the number and severity of health problems caused by use by its more vulnerable members, which, as I have pointed out, means its younger users.

The Liberal leader asserts that our government's work, which actually shows results in stopping kids from smoking marijuana, is a “hyper-controlled” approach. He cannot even agree with the actions being taken against home growers. He wants to make smoking marijuana an everyday activity for Canadians and completely ignore its serious and lasting health risks. He ignores the risks that the home grow ops put on communities.

The Conservative government is making significant progress on the complex issue of drug addiction. We all have a role to play and a contribution to make. Our government believes in collaborating with our key partners in these efforts. We applaud the work being done and support these efforts by our partners in undertaking research and knowledge brokering, by making intelligent policies, crafting important legislation, and providing funding where appropriate.

The Conservatives' approach to stopping kids from smoking marijuana is working. It is the right public health message to send to Canadian families, and above all, it is responsible.

Again, I want to thank the Standing Committee on Health for undertaking this work and for this insightful report on marijuana's health risks and harms. My hope is that the Liberal leader takes this report seriously and takes the time to listen to the medical experts who agree with the former president of the Canadian Medical Association, who said, “especially in youth, the evidence is irrefutable—marijuana is dangerous”.

Elimination of Partisan Government Advertising Act June 1st, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like the member to respond to the following findings of the Gomery report. The report states:

The Commission of Inquiry found:

Clear evidence of political involvement in the administration of the Sponsorship Program....

A veil of secrecy surrounding the administration of the Sponsorship Program and an absence of transparency in the contracting process....

The use of the Sponsorship Program for the purposes other than national unity or federal visibility because of a lack of objectives, criteria and guidelines for the Program.

Deliberate actions to avoid compliance with federal legislation and policies....

Certain agencies carrying on their payrolls individuals who were, in effect, working on Liberal Party matters.

The existence of a “culture of entitlement” among political officials and bureaucrats involved with the Sponsorship Program, including the receipt of monetary and non-monetary benefits.

Safe and Accountable Rail Act May 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am very passionate about technology, improvements, and the implementation of research and technology in the railway industry. My first degree after I graduated from high school was railway technician. I was an intern on a steam locomotive, and I know how far we have come.

There are technological innovations that can be implemented and used for railway safety, whether that be electronics or other devices, and some are used. I mean, we have a very advanced railway system in this country. However, there are new things that can be used that would not only enhance the safety but also make the work of those people the member mentioned much easier and more effective. I think that the corporations, railways, will and should implement these new technologies, new innovations and new inventions to the system to make it safer and better.

Safe and Accountable Rail Act May 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member opposite for his question. I am not sure exactly what he is suggesting.

I guess the safest measure would be for the trains not to move and then we would not have any dangerous situations. However, in order to transport goods, the trains have to move, but lowering the speed would improve safety, which is one of the measures that has been taken. We have to look at all the factors that can cause accidents and look at all the factors to improve safety, which include speed, technical requirements and new requirements for tanker cars. All put together, this would greatly improve safety.

Even driving in a car at a very slow speed, one may get into an accident. Therefore, I think we have to be reasonable in how we look at this issue.

Safe and Accountable Rail Act May 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege for me to speak today in support of Bill C-52, the safe and accountable rail act.

This bill is an essential milestone in the government's ongoing work to strengthen railway safety. I would like to use my time to demonstrate to this House all the hard work we have collectively accomplished with regard to railway safety.

In November 2013, the public accounts committee tabled its seventh report that contained an examination of railway safety oversight related issues. The report's five recommendations followed similar railway safety oversight themes that were outlined in the 2013 fall report of the Auditor General of Canada.

Similarly, the Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities completed an in-depth review of the Canadian regime for the safe transportation of dangerous goods and the role of safety management systems across all modes of transportation.

Before proceeding, I would like to thank the members of both committees for their thorough exploration of these issues, which serve to further enhance transportation safety for all Canadians. I would also like to thank the witnesses for participating and providing their invaluable knowledge and insight. These railway safety and transportation of dangerous goods studies and recommendations are important considerations to further enhancing the national transportation system. Let me assure the House that the safety of Canadians remains this government's biggest priority.

As such, it is important to review the many activities and measures that our government has taken to strengthen railway safety, transportation and movement of dangerous goods.

Following the tragic derailment in Lac-Mégantic in July 2013, our government took decisive action to ensure the safety and integrity of our railway system. The Minister of Transport directed Transport Canada to issue an emergency directive to railway companies. This included requiring a two-person minimum for locomotive crews on trains carrying dangerous goods. We also imposed stricter rules for securing unattended trains, and companies importing or transporting crude oil were also directed to conduct classification testing of that oil.

In January 2014, our government also launched a comprehensive review of the current liability and compensation regime for federally regulated railways. The goal was to ensure that a polluter pays and that there are resources available to compensate potential victims, pay for cleanup costs and ensure that taxpayers are protected. Input received from stakeholders during the review informed the development of the strengthened liability and compensation regime for federally regulated railways included in this bill, Bill C-52, the safe and accountable rail act. The regime includes enhanced insurance requirements for railways and a supplementary shipper-financed fund for incidents involving crude oil or other designated dangerous goods. In addition to addressing liability and compensation, we also introduced strengthened oversight and enforcement under the Railway Safety Act.

Additionally, to provide emergency planners and first responders with information to assess risks in their communities and to plan and train for emergencies, last fall we directed railway companies to share with municipalities and first responders data on dangerous goods being transported. I am happy to report that communities across Canada are now receiving this data from railway companies.

While Canada has one of the safest and most efficient railway systems in the world, we know that we can always do more and we are committed to restoring the public's confidence in our railway system. In addition to the actions I have already noted, we have taken further measures to enhance the safety of railway operations and the movement of dangerous goods, and we will continue to do so.

I can assure members that we are well advanced on implementing each recommendation the Transportation Safety Board has made. As I stated, our government is committed to restoring confidence in our railway system.

We will continue to work closely with stakeholders, including municipalities, provinces and officials in the Unites States to assess what more we can do to enhance safety.

In April 2014, our government announced measures to address initial recommendations from the Transportation Safety Board into the derailment in Lac-Mégantic. First, we ordered the immediate removal of the least safe tank cars from dangerous goods service. We also introduced new safety standards for DOT-111 tank cars and required those that do not meet these new standards to be phased out. I am pleased to say that the new safety standards for DOT-111 tank cars were published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, in July 2014. A detailed update was published on March 11, 2015, outlining the new specifications for the TC-117 tank cars that go beyond any requirements proposed for improved TC/DOT-111s. These improved tank cars would be the only option for newly built cars for the transportation of flammable liquids as soon as October 15, 2016. An aggressive phase-out program starts to remove legacy DOT-111s carrying crude oil two years from now and allows only fully retrofitted and TC-117 compliant tank cars 10 years from now.

On train speeds, we require railway companies to slow key trains transporting dangerous goods and introduce other improved operating procedures. For example, we are requiring railways that transport dangerous goods to permanently address route planning and risk analysis.

We also require emergency response assistance plans for tankers, including single tank cars carrying crude oil, gasoline, diesel, aviation fuel and ethanol. These plans have been reviewed and approved. As of September 20, 2014, there are now expert teams ready to respond to any petroleum spill, if needed. A task force has also been created to bring key groups like municipalities, first responders, railways and shippers together to strengthen the emergency response capacity across the country.

As members may recall, the Transportation Safety Board released its final report and recommendations regarding Lac-Mégantic in August 2014. The government officially responded on October 29, 2014.

First, the board recommended that Transport Canada require railway companies to put in place additional physical defences to prevent runaways. To this end, the Minister of Transport issued an additional emergency directive and ministerial order to implement significant changes to improve train securement and require railway companies to meet standardized brake requirements. The board's second recommendation emphasized the need for regular and thorough audits of railway safety management systems. In response, Transport Canada has revised its inspection and audit plans to allow for the increased frequency of safety management system audits, and allow for full audits to be completed on a three- to five-year cycle.

In addition to its two recommendations, the Transportation Safety Board also issued two safety advisories on mined gas and flammable liquid classification and on short-line railway employee training. These are being addressed as well.

Following the July 2013 Lac-Mégantic accident, we immediately required classification testing of crude oil. We also required emergency response assistance plans for specific flammable liquids and ethanol.

In July 2014, our government introduced a regulatory amendment that provides authority for our inspectors to conduct a more thorough verification of classification of dangerous goods. This amendment means that industry must now prove the results of its testing.

To wrap up, I will speak about employee training. We are requiring railways to submit training plans to the department for review. In 2015, the department will also carry out targeted audits to determine specific gaps in industry training plans. The results will help us determine what new or improved requirements are required for a strengthened training regime.

Our government remains committed to further strengthening railway safety for all Canadians. We will continue to take concrete action going forward.

I would like to ask all of my colleagues to support this bill and vote for it.

Taxation May 14th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, our Conservative government is focused on the priorities of Canadian families. That is why we introduced the family tax cut and the universal child care benefit, which would put more money into the pockets of every Canadian family. This is in stark contrast to the NDP and Liberal plans to raise taxes for all Canadians.

The Liberal leader even said that “benefiting every single family is not what is fair”. Maybe the Liberal leader believes it is fair to pick one family over another family and somehow not be fair to all families who helped the budget balance itself.

We believe it is fair to benefit every single family and provide opportunities for all Canadians. We will make sure that families receive those benefits. We make no apologies for helping all Canadian families and we understand that benefiting every single family is, indeed, fair.

Business of Supply May 11th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I also visit the long term care facility that is in the member's riding where many veterans spend their days now when they have to be cared for.

I would like to stress that I have a lot of respect for veterans and I always have. I remember my grandfather. I was very young when he passed away. I remember he was missing his right arm. He lost it in the first war. Where I grew up, every family was affected by the Second World War, like families in our country. We should all stress very strongly, especially for my generation and younger generations, for us born after the war, that we have to understand and admit that what we enjoy today, all our freedoms and our great country, we owe to those who went and fought. Someone from almost every family in Canada went to Europe and fought for the freedom that we, who were born after the war, enjoy today.

The hon. member mentioned that there were some service cuts, et cetera. Actually, our government restored some services that had been deeply cut in 1990s by the previous government and we enhanced many services.

The member also mentioned the closure of service centres. We should give the new system, the contact points that have been established at Service Canada, a chance to work, to see if they work for veterans. If they need improvement, we will improve them, but we have to move with life. Things change in life. Technology changes. The way people communicate changes. Therefore, delivery of services also changes. Let us give it a chance.

However, I think there is no disagreement on any side of the House that we have to support veterans because of their service to all of us and to our country.

Business of Supply May 11th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am very honoured to rise today to speak to our government's commitment and dedication to providing veterans and their families with the support they need and deserve. That is why we introduced the Support for Veterans and their Families Act and included these measures in our economic action plan 2015.

This important legislation will put new benefits and services in place to improve the health and well-being of those seriously injured during service. These are improvements the NDP members have pointed out the need for. These are advances the Veterans Ombudsman, veterans and their advocacy groups have called for. These measures also address the very recommendations the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs made in its report “The New Veterans Charter: Moving Forward”.

As a member of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs, I can attest to the extensive consultations and review we undertook to ensure our recommendations were sound and addressed the very concerns of veterans, their families and the groups that represented them.

The legislation will not only improve the new veterans charter, but it explicitly outlines the government's commitment and dedication to providing veterans with the help they need to successfully transition to civilian life in a purpose statement.

This purpose statement will be included in the new veterans charter so that this existing and important legislation recognizes and fulfills the obligation of the people and Government of Canada to show just and due appreciation to members and veterans for their service to Canada. I think we all agree this is very important and is obviously why we are having this debate today.

My colleagues on this side of the House have already spoken at length about some of the measures in the economic action plan, including the retirement income security benefit, family caregiver relief benefit and critical injury benefit. That is why in addition to the new measures introduced, we are putting more resources where they are needed to ensure service excellence.

Everyone knows case managers and the front-line service they offer are vitally important to veterans who need their services. That is why the minister announced last month that more than 100 permanent full-time case managers would be hired to improve one-on-one service. Veterans and their families experiencing complex mental health and transition needs will have them addressed more quickly and efficiently.

These additional resources, combined with a more balanced approach to managing the workload of the case managers, will help reduce the current ratio of 40 case-managed veterans to one case manager down to 30 case-managed veterans for each case manager. This will lead to better service and ultimately better outcomes for veterans. It also means veterans will be able to access the services they need quicker.

To ensure balanced caseloads, all case managers will have their caseload constantly assessed, adjusted and balanced so their time and attention is given appropriately to the needs of seriously ill or injured veterans.

It is absolutely critical that veterans as well as the Canadian Armed Forces members who are released right now from the military know they will continue to be well served and their needs met efficiently and with care, compassion and respect.

Our government has also committed the financial resources for the department to hire more than100 new disability benefits staff, both temporary and permanent. Hiring more employees whose job it will be to evaluate disability benefit claims means veterans and their families will have faster access to disability benefits, health care and mental health treatment.

Since becoming minister in January, the Minister of Veterans Affairs has consulted with veterans across the country to ensure we implement changes that will greatly benefit those who have served our country and their families. This has resulted in fundamental improvements required to the many systems, services, supports, benefits and programs provided or delivered so veterans can served better. Everything we do to support veterans is now “veteran-centric”, meaning everything we do centres around what is best for the veterans.

We are striving for service excellence and ensuring that veterans are treated with care, compassion and respect. That is why the minister has asked that options be examined to consolidate all Veterans Affairs benefits so they only have to access one single, clear and easy to understand benefit system. This action alone can have a dramatic impact on reducing stress on the injured soldier as he or she transitions to civilian life.

The improved way that veterans and their families are cared for and served did not only begin this year. Our government also took action last year in response to the recommendations of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs by announcing the addition of a new operational stress injury clinic in Halifax. We also announced that the OSI satellite clinics in St. John's, Chicoutimi, Pembroke, Brockville, Kelowna, Victoria and the Greater Toronto Area would be expanded to speed access to mental health services for those with mental health conditions. These clinics play a key role in providing specialized assessment, diagnosis and treatment services for veterans and their families living with operational stress injuries.

In fact, to support them by the end of the year, veterans and Canadian Armed Forces members will have access to an established network of 26 operational stress injury clinics. Access is also being expanded to seven military family resource centres across the country as part of a pilot project. Traditionally, the services and programs offered through the centres have only been available to still-serving members of the military. Up to 1,200 medically released veterans and their families may now take part over the course of the pilot, giving them access to a wide range of services to help smooth some of the challenges they face as they transition to civilian life.

A mental health first aid training course designed especially for veterans and their families will help them better understand the various kinds of mental health conditions and their impact. A veteran or his or her family member will then be able to respond earlier when someone they care about is in crisis. New research funding will ensure that we have the information we need to develop policies and programs grounded in good science and research to support better mental health treatments, faster recoveries and better outcomes for veterans, serving members and their families.

We are making real and significant progress. We will continue to work each and every day to improve the programs, benefits and services that Canada's veterans and their families need and deserve.

Instead of playing political games, I urge all members of the NDP and the House to support the measures included in the support for veterans and their families act and in the economic action plan. It is the right and honourable thing to do for veterans and their families.

Taxation May 7th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Liberal Party plans to replace our government's family tax cut with a family tax hike. He admits he will take away the tax-free savings account expansion and take away income splitting for families. The Liberals are ideologically opposed to lower taxes and, if given the chance, will raise taxes on middle-class seniors, middle-class workers and middle-class small businesses.

Our Conservative government has delivered low taxes and benefits directly to families. The Liberals want high taxes and huge debt. Canadians know that it is our Conservative government that they can count on to lower taxes for the middle class.

Canada Shipping Act, 2001 May 6th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak to Bill C-638, which would amend the Canada Shipping Act.

I would like to provide the House with an overview of the current provisions under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, pertaining to wrecks and their cleanup. I would like to speak to the history of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, and how it has evolved over the years to further enhance the safety of navigation in the marine environment, and Transport Canada's plan for a proactive solution to the issue of abandoned vessels and wrecks.

As members are aware, Transport Canada's role under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, is vast in nature. The Canada Shipping Act is Canada's principal legislation governing safety in marine transportation and recreational boating, as well as the protection of the marine environment. It applies to Canadian vessels operating in all waters and to all foreign vessels operating in Canadian waters, including recreational boats, cruise ships and large tankers. The act promotes the sustainable growth of the marine shipping industry without compromising safety and is responsive to the needs of Canadians in the global economy.

Transport Canada plays a large role in the administration of the provisions under this act, including the receiver of wreck functions under part 7. In addition, the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, represents a greatly updated and streamlined version of the old Canada Shipping Act, including enhanced safety provisions and better protection for the marine environment, with more focus on owner and operator responsibilities, ultimately strengthening the requirements for spill prevention and spill preparedness.

In this vein, Transport Canada continues to work closely with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans on the administration of the provision under part 8 of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, pertaining to ship-source pollution, including prevention and response regimes, in Canadian waters.

As previously stated, the current federal government regime for the removal, disposal and destruction of wrecks in Canadian waterways is Transport Canada's responsibility under the receiver of wreck provisions of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, part 7. The receiver of wreck functions are administered by Transport Canada navigation protection program, which is also responsible for the removal of obstructions to navigation, including wrecks in Canada's major waterways.

It is important to note that under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, the receiver of wreck may deal with a wreck, generally speaking, when the owner is unknown and if the person who reported the wreck finds and takes possession of a wreck in Canada, or brings a wreck into Canada. In addition, the role for the receiver of wreck is to try to locate the owners of wrecks within a reasonable time period, which is 30 to 90 days, depending on the circumstances. If, within that period of time, the owner is not known, the receiver of wreck may authorize the removal, disposal or destruction of the wreck by a third party.

Currently, under part 7 of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, the receiver of wreck assesses each wreck on a case by case basis to determine whether action is required. Due to technical considerations, such as location, depth, size, or condition of the wreck, the most appropriate response may be to leave the wreck in its current location and, if applicable, remove pollution threats.

A review of Bill C-638 raises concerns regarding some of the proposed provisions.

Bill C-638 would require the receiver of wreck to take action on every wreck, including the requirement to take reasonable measures to locate the owner of the wreck, regardless of its location and condition.

Our government understands the importance of the issues surrounding abandoned and wrecked vessels, but the proposed bill focuses solely on the remediation of wrecked vessels and does not include requirements for vessel owners to prevent a vessel from becoming a wreck.

Be assured that Transport Canada has made efforts to research existing programs that deal with derelict and wrecked vessels, including the Washington State derelict vessel removal program. Washington State program officials shared what they learned about their experience in the initial implementation of a remediation program. It was concluded that remediation without prevention can have unintended consequences, such as encouraging vessel owners to abandon their unwanted vessels, relying on the federal government for their disposal.

Today, the program's success is attributed to measures to increase the accountability on the part of the owners of vessels and robust enforcement and engagement with partners.

I would like to reiterate that the Government of Canada recognizes that vessels of concern, including abandoned vessels and/or wrecked vessels, can pose marine navigation hazards, public safety risks, environmental threats and economic costs. In response to this issue, Transport Canada, in partnership with other federal departments such as the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, is currently examining the gaps in the existing system to deal with these types of vessels.

Together, we will build an approach that will focus on prevention. It is important that owners take responsibility for the full life cycle of their vessels. This is why Transport Canada will develop and implement a public outreach strategy targeting vessel owners, advising them about responsible vessel ownership and life cycle management. As mentioned previously, prevention is key in achieving a positive end result.

In closing, the current Canada Shipping Act, 2001 regimes for receiver of wreck and pollution prevention and response continue to effectively deal with those abandoned vessels and wrecks that have an immediate safety and environmental impact. Bill C-638 is intended to address all vessels, including those that do not pose a risk to navigation safety or the environment. The bill would impose mandatory measures to deal with all wrecks at the cost of taxpayers, instead of placing the obligation where it belongs, with vessel owners. It is for these reasons that the government does not support Bill C-638.

We are confident that our government's proactive approach to educate vessel owners on the prevention of abandoned vessels and wrecks will assist in addressing the broader issue of vessels of concern and wrecks in Canadian waterways. Furthermore, we will continue to work with international partners in support of a global vessel life cycle management approach to dealing with wrecks.