Mr. Speaker, the speech of the hon. member for Nickel Belt was a very eloquent on an important matter.
The member mentioned, again, the growing list of persons and nations who were concerned about the direction Canada was going in alleging that we were going to enact legislation to ratify the cluster munitions treaty. One of the many that stand out for me is the foreign affairs negotiator who negotiated on Canada's behalf at the international table.
I have had the privilege of working with some of these very high-calibre officials. They are used to sitting at the table, they are used to bending over backward and they are used to taking directions from the government. In many cases they may feel personally not just that the recommendation is reprehensible, but they do not think the wording being proposed will actually work. However, for one of these high-calibre officials to actually resign over the position of the Government of Canada is profound.
Could the member speak to the issue that even senior officials in the government's foreign affairs department have opposed clause 11, which the government members have insisted on keeping in the bill.
The time provided for private members' business has now expired. The hon. member for Nickel Belt will have three minutes to conclude his remarks the next time this bill is before the House. We will move on and this item will be dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the order paper.
Mr. Speaker, I heard the member speak a lot about the small business tax credit that was removed, or not included in this budget. It created a lot of jobs, especially in places like Nickel Belt and small communities. It kind of reminded me of the ecoENERGY program that was cut back in the previous budget. That also created a lot of jobs and helped many Canadians remodel their homes, so they could save a lot of energy.
I wonder if the hon. member could comment on those two issues that have been removed in this budget and previous budgets.
Just a reminder to hon. members to use the riding name of the member and not their actual name.
Presenting petitions, the hon. member for Nickel Belt.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House to speak to Bill C-5, an act to amend the Canada-Newfoundland Atlantic Accord Implementation Act, the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act and other acts and to provide for certain other measures.
I am pleased to speak alongside my colleagues in the NDP in the House on this important bill, a bill that New Democrats support. We want to particularly recognize the hard work that was done by provinces in conjunction with the federal government to establish this bill. We want to note that despite the federal government's refusal to implement recommendation no. 29 of the Wells Inquiry, Bill C-5 makes a positive and necessary improvement to the current offshore health and safety regime by placing safety practices into legislation.
We as New Democrats are proud to support Bill C-5, as we have been calling for this strengthened regime for several years. We will continue to work with Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador to further strengthen worker health and safety by working toward the creation of an independent, stand-alone safety regulator.
As well, we in the NDP support the collaborative efforts between the provincial and federal governments that produced Bill C-5. We believe that collaboration with provincial and territorial governments to produce such measures moves our country forward. This is definitely something that, sadly, the Conservative government does not do enough of.
We know that the federal government, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador will be passing mirror legislation through their respective houses. The provincial governments of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador have made a strong commitment to ensure the consistency of offshore regulation between the two jurisdictions.
Bill C-5 addresses long-standing gaps in legislation and regulation-making powers associated with occupational health and safety standards and their enforcement in Atlantic offshore oil development. The bill would amend the Atlantic accord to place the health and occupation safety regimes in legislation, which is extremely important. It is an important step forward that the NDP has called for in all relevant jurisdictions.
As I noted, however, the bill is not compliant with recommendation 29 of the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Helicopter Safety Inquiry carried out by the Honourable Robert Wells. Bill C-5 does not provide for either an independent stand-alone safety regulator or an autonomous safety division within the petroleum boards. NDP efforts to provide for a review of the bill in five years, which could reopen the possibility of an independent offshore regulator, were unfortunately voted down by the Conservative government at the committee stage.
From our side, an NDP federal government would work with the provinces to put forward such measures in order to further strengthen the health and safety regime for Atlantic offshore workers. Nevertheless, we support this bill, as it is clear that it is well past due and is an important victory for the labour movement, for the former NDP government in Nova Scotia, and certainly for the NDP in Newfoundland and Labrador. They have been advocating for a legislated offshore safety regime for many years.
As I noted during my questions, it is clear that Bill C-5 is very much focused on the reality in the Atlantic, particularly in Newfoundland and Labrador as well as Nova Scotia, where offshore developments are an integral part of the economy.
However, as we know, in resource extractive industries it is workers who do the heavy lifting and put their lives and safety at risk day in, day out to produce the wealth of our country. As someone who represents northern Manitoba, a part of the country that depends in large part on resource extraction and on mining in particular, I am fully aware of the immense risks that people who go underground or work in smelters and refineries live with every day in the work they do. They do that work to provide for their families, contribute to their communities, and give Canadians the wealth and revenue that are so important in going forward.
It is particularly timely that we are talking about this, as it has been just 10 days since the National Day of Mourning, a very important day for all Canadians. It is a day when we take the time to mourn those who have died on the job, those who have been in workplace accidents, those who have been hurt and incapacitated in so many ways.
It is also a day when we take the time to strengthen our resolve to fight for the living, to make sure that we are talking about and acting on how we can make workplaces safer, how we can support health and safety regimes, and how we can ensure that unions have the support and the backing they need when pushing employers to step it up when it comes to health and safety.
It is very clear that we have a lot of work to do on this front. In fact, today my colleague, the member for Nickel Belt, made a very moving statement honouring the memory of two miners who were killed on the job in Sudbury. It reminded us that yes, in Canada and in 2014, people die because of health and safety failures in their workplaces.
Despite the calls for action and despite the work on the ground to prevent these kinds of senseless deaths, there is a lot of work to be done. Sadly, corporations have been negligent in too many cases in our country when it comes to looking out for health and safety.
The NDP's argument has always been to stand in solidarity with workers, no matter what sector they work in or what part of the country they live in. We stand by them and fight beside them for regulations and laws that would hold employers accountable and would ensure that health and safety is not negotiable or a matter of choice, but is mandated and regulated.
We are very supportive of Bill C-5 because it would mandate health and safety for offshore workers in a way that would prevent loss of life and further tragedies like the one in the Atlantic some years ago.
It is clear that there is more to be done. We can build on the successes of Bill C-5 by continuing to fight for an independent offshore regulator.
It is also important to review this legislation and see how it is implemented and how it will serve the best interests of workers.
We are disappointed by the unwillingness of the government in committee to provide for these amendments to the bill. However, we do want to acknowledge the many people in Newfoundland and Labrador and in Nova Scotia who worked very hard to make sure that tragedies like the ones that they and their families lived through are prevented.
We all have something to learn and to strive for in ensuring that workplaces across the country are safe and that no one loses their life doing something as important as going to work.
The electoral district of Nickel Belt (Ontario) has a population of 89,377 with 71,107 registered voters and 205 polling divisions.
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