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            • MPnews news Canada election: Ottawa West—Nepean - Globalnews.ca
              Sep 24, 2019 10:29 am> |
              • MPnews news Canada election: Ottawa West—Nepean - Globalnews.ca
                Sep 24, 2019 12:00 am> |
                • MPnews news Canada election: Ottawa West—Nepean - Globalnews.ca
                  Sep 22, 2019 8:30 pm> |
                  • MPnews news Canada election: Ottawa West—Nepean - Globalnews.ca
                    Sep 22, 2019 12:00 am> |
                    • MPnews news MP Anita Vandenbeld takes tips from the Tim Hortons caucus: Delacourt - OurWindsor.ca
                      Vandenbeld was elected last fall in Ottawa West—Nepean, territory that was dominated for more than a decade by the well-known former foreign affairs minister John Baird. She actually ran against Baird in 2011 — unsuccessfully — but her future ... read more
                      Aug 12, 2016 7:38 pm> |
                      • MPnews news Money no guarantee of success in 2015 federal election: Almost half of top 100 spenders lost, analysis finds - National Post
                        Source: Elections Canada. Top 10 Conservative spenders, based on expenses counted as part of candidates' spending limits (*denotes winner). Stella Ambler (Mississauga-Lakeshore): $221,077.62. Abdul Abdi (Ottawa West—Nepean): $203,049.92.and more » read more
                        Apr 03, 2016 1:35 pm> |
                        • MPnews news Who were the top spending Conservative candidates in the fall federal election? - TheChronicleHerald.ca
                          Stella Ambler (Mississauga-Lakeshore): $221,077.62. Abdul Abdi (Ottawa West—Nepean): $203,049.92. Larry Maguire* (Brandon—Souris): $202,921.60. John Weston ... Ed Holder (London West): $195,701.45. Dean Drysdale (Cloverdale—Langley City): $194,990 ... read more
                          Apr 03, 2016 12:13 pm> |
                          • MPnews news Who were the top spending candidates in the fall federal election? - TheChronicleHerald.ca
                            ... Islands): $215,092.00. Murray Rankin*, NDP (Victoria): $214,728.52. Lloyd Longfield*, Liberal (Guelph): $211,040.55. Abdul Abdi, Conservative (Ottawa West—Nepean): $203,049.92. Larry Maguire*, Conservative (Brandon—Souris): $202,921.60. Paul ... read more
                            Apr 03, 2016 12:12 pm> |
                            • MPnews news Rookie MP Anita Vandenbeld celebrates birthday, 1st day of 42nd Parliament - CBC.ca
                              For years, Anita Vandenbeld says her birthday wish was to become a member of Parliament. How appropriate, then, that the rookie Liberal MP for Ottawa West—Nepean would be celebrating her birthday on the same day Canada's 42nd Parliament officially ... read more
                              Dec 03, 2015 4:18 pm> |
                              • MPnews news Ottawa West—Nepean profile: Conservative candidate Abdul Abdi - MetroNews Canada
                                Abdi arrived in Canada from Somalia at 14 years old. ... Abdi is in an interesting spot; he's a first-time candidate running for the party that has held the riding since 2006, trying to hold it for the Tories after cabinet minister John Baird left ...and more » read more
                                Oct 04, 2015 3:43 pm> |
                                  • MPndpblog Jack Harris 1537 post Anti-terrorism Act, 2015

                                    Mr. Speaker, I would like to indicate at the outset that I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Victoria.

                                    Bill C-51 is now before us so that we can debate something that is of great importance to the people of Canada. I think its short title is the “anti-terrorism act, 2015”. There is a real question as to what it is really about.

                                    In fact, The Globe and Mail, one of the oldest and most prominent newspapers in Canada, says:

                                    On close inspection, Bill C-51 is not an anti-terrorism bill. Fighting terrorism is its pretext; its language reveals a broader goal of allowing government departments, as well as CSIS, to act whenever they believe limply defined security threats “may”—not “will”—occur.

                                    That is a pretty fierce condemnation of a piece of legislation by what purports to be a serious government interested in dealing with terrorism.

                                    Let us make no mistake. Terrorism is a real threat and everyone agrees that public safety is a top priority for any government. However, Canadians do not have to choose between their security and their rights. This is in fact a false choice presented to the people of Canada by the current government and by the Prime Minister.

                                    When the member for Ottawa West—Nepean was announcing his retirement as foreign minister, he quoted John Diefenbaker that "Parliament is more than procedure—it is the custodian of the nation's freedom.”

                                    I believe that is right. What we are doing here today on this side of the House is what we can and must do as parliamentarians to protect the freedoms of Canadians, because that is the issue here. The issue is that we need to have concrete measures that would keep Canadians safe without eroding our freedoms and our way of life. Unfortunately, time and time again, the current Prime Minister and the current government is putting politics ahead of principle.

                                    Once again, The Globe and Mail stated, on February 1:

                                    Under the cloud of fear produced by his repeated hyperbole about the scope and nature of the threat, he [the Prime Minister] now wants to turn our domestic spy agency into something that looks disturbingly like a secret police force.

                                    Canadians should not be willing to accept such an obvious threat to their basic liberties.

                                    Where does that come from? It comes from the provisions in the bill itself, which would give additional powers to CSIS that it does not already have and, arguably, does not need; and which would allow for information-sharing broadly between 16 government departments. The bill does not specify this would be limited in nature. It would cause problems that have been described and outlined by many prominent citizens—former prime ministers, former leaders of political parties, academics, legal expects, former justices of the Supreme Court of Canada—all of whom have condemned the legislation as going too far and giving unnecessary and dangerous powers to government agencies with a profound lack of parliamentary oversight.

                                    The government's position on oversight is that we already have enough, that we have a robust system. We do not. We do not have any system of oversight for the Canada Border Services Agency. We have an appointed body, SIRC, that deals with CSIS, but it is not an oversight agency. It says so itself in its most recent report and it makes the distinction between oversight and review. It says it is a review agency that looks at things some time after the fact. It does not have oversight on a continuous basis over what is going on in the moment on the day. Therefore, it is not an oversight agency. It says so itself and recognizes that oversight is a different value and is required.

                                    Its provisions have been put before the House to provide the kind of oversight that we could use, oversight that some of our Five Eyes friends have over intelligence. Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America have robust parliamentary or congressional oversight with the power to know what is going on and to keep an eye on things.

                                    This has been rejected outright by the government. There was private member's bill, Bill C-622, that would have modernized a piece of legislation that was before the House in 2006, a piece of legislation that arose out of the committee that you, Mr. Speaker, sat on, along with the current Minister of Justice, who said at that time that this would be a desirable, necessary, and important measure to be undertaken. That bill died on the order paper, but Bill C-622, which proposed modernizing that legislation to some extent—which I am not saying we agreed with entirely—was before the House and was defeated by the government at second reading.

                                    Also before the House is Motion No. 461, a motion that I presented to the House on October 24, 2013, calling for a special select committee of the House, like the one the Speaker and the Minister of Justice sat on, to devise the best and appropriate form of oversight by Parliament that might be required given the change in circumstances since 2004 and the experiences of other jurisdictions, for us to devise the best system for our Parliament.

                                    Although it was offered up for debate, the government House leader refused to allow it to be debated, saying there was no necessity for any more oversight than already in place. That flies in the face of all the experts, the academic experts and people who have studied this time and time again, such as lawyers, judges, former leaders, and former prime ministers, who have all said that parliamentary oversight must be present in a system that protects the rights and freedoms of individuals in this country when we are dealing with this kind of legislation.

                                    The bill is is extremely intrusive. It gives significant police powers, including the power to disrupt activities. I heard the Minister of National Defence—who all of a sudden is the spokesperson for Public Safety, as I do not know what happened to the Minister of Public Safety, who seems to have disappeared off the map since the new Minister of Defence was appointed—say several times over the weekend in various interviews that “No, no, no, we're giving powers to the judiciary, not to CSIS”. That is wrong. The power to disrupt in section 42 of the bill would be given to CSIS directly. It would only be when CSIS decided that whatever it wanted to do would actually violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that it would have to go a judge, and the judge supposedly would be allowed to tell CSIS that it could break the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

                                    I do not think that is constitutional. I do not think a judge can have a licence by legislation to violate the Constitution of Canada, which is what the bill would allow. That is how bad this legislation is. that in itself is enough to say that the bill is bad, wrong, unconstitutional, and cannot be supported. I will leave it at that.

                                    • MPconblog Rob Nicholson 92 post Foreign Affairs

                                      Mr. Speaker, the renovations to Canada House are a testament to the enduring relationship between the United Kingdom and Canada. We can all be very, very proud of that.

                                      I will tell members something else I am proud about. I am very proud that the member for Ottawa West—Nepean, a privy councillor and an outstanding foreign affairs minister, was there to open this house on behalf of Canada.

                                      • MPconblog andrewscheer 154 post Resignation of Minister

                                        If the House would indulge me, without repeating all the very kind words that have been said, I want to pay my greatest respects to the outgoing Minister of Foreign Affairs.

                                        In 1995, when he was first elected at the very young age of 25, I remember riding the bus to school and reading the article about this new member of the provincial Parliament from Ottawa West—Nepean, and I followed his career with great admiration and can say that I have very much enjoyed working with him in the House. He did not always make my job in the Chair easy, and members will miss his perambulations around the chamber during question period and other debates, and miss him for many other reasons as well.

                                        I want to pass on my best wishes for the future to the outgoing minister.

                                        • MPlibblog Marc Garneau 636 post Resignation of Minister

                                          Mr. Speaker, I will not repeat everything that my colleague from Ottawa Centre said about the minister. I agree with all of it. On behalf of the Liberal Party, I thank the minister for his two decades of service to Canada.

                                          I thank him for his important contribution to Canada. I also thank him for serving the people of his riding, Ottawa West—Nepean.

                                          As parliamentarians, we develop a bit of an instinct to know when some of our colleagues, perhaps, one day, lose the sacred fire, and the passion begins to wane. This is a very demanding profession.

                                          However, I think this is why we were all so surprised to find out last night that the member was leaving us. If there is one person in this chamber whose passion never seems to have abated for one second, who always had fire in his eyes and who still has fire in his eyes, it is surely he. I think we were all completely taken aback to find out last night that he had made the decision to leave us.

                                          The public knows the member to be ultra-partisan, having sometimes been called a bullhorn. He has done that job very well. I have had the privilege of also discovering the member whom the public knows less well.

                                          The minister is approachable. We have conversed about a variety of subjects. He has always found the time to listen, and he has listened sincerely. I believe that particular trait is what I will remember about the minister for years to come.

                                          I thank him for inviting the member for Ottawa Centre and me to join him last September to go to Iraq. That was a very important moment in foreign policy, and to have allowed us to join him demonstrated what is often lacking in this place, and that is putting down the gloves in the national interests and putting away partisanship.

                                          The member for Ottawa Centre knows the member better, but this trip allowed me to know him in a way I did not know him before. It is one thing to operate in this chamber, where there is always the requirement for a certain formality and, let us face it, we are on different sides of the House.

                                          When we went to Iraq together, I saw I side of his personality that I did not know very well before. Frankly, when one is on the front line, with the Kurdish army on one side and the Islamic State on the other, when one is talking to a family of refugees in a refugee camp, one behaves differently, and aspects of one's personality come out that do not usually come out in the House.

                                          I thank the member for allowing me to see that side of him. Again, I am still trying to understand why he is leaving, but he has a bright future ahead of him and all of us wish him the very best because I think there are also still some great things that he will accomplish in his life.

                                          I thank him for his service to this country, on behalf of the Liberal Party of Canada.

                                          • MPconblog John Baird 1295 post Resignation of Minister

                                            Mr. Speaker, let me start by saying how overwhelmingly optimistic I am about the future of this country, optimistic because over the past nine years, I have seen the stature of our country grow in the eyes of the world. The world has seen and come to know and to count on Canada's strength, strength created by sustained economic growth and by our enduring values, strength through our commitment to freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. Simply put, the world has seen, in fact the world continues to see, the best that Canada has to offer.

                                            When I joined my good friend Mike Harris back in 1995, I was perhaps just a little naive, driven by ideology, defined by partisanship, at the age of 25. I quickly learned, though, that to make a difference, to really make a difference, one cannot be defined by partisanship, nor by ideology. One needs, instead, to be defined by one's values. I believed then, and I continue to believe, that government has to be there for people and that through hard work, it can be a force for good.

                                            When each of us chooses to enter public life, we do so united in one simple desire, the desire to leave behind a better country, a better province, and a better community and to pass on to the next generation a better place than the one we inherited from those who came before us.

                                            Today, after serving 10 years in provincial politics, 10 years here in federal politics, in 10 ministerial portfolios, and with more grey hairs than I choose to admit, I can step back and say that we have an Ottawa that is vibrant and strong, a province whose future is bright and hopeful, with strong health care and an innovative and resilient workforce, and a country that is the best in the world. We led the G7 in job creation, and we have been a beacon of dependable light in a world that is ruled by far too many dark and stormy seas.

                                            Today Canada stands tall in the world, united with our allies and partners in the fight against terror, side by side with the only liberal democracy in the Middle East, with strong relationships in the Arab world, firm in our objection to militaristic expansionism in Eastern Europe, an expanded diplomatic footprint in Asia, and strong trade ties that will create lasting prosperity for generations to come. Canada stands tall in the world.

                                            Last night I spoke to the Prime Minister and informed him that I was standing down from cabinet. I expressed my intention not to run in the next general election in the new riding of Nepean. I also expressed my intention to stand down as member of Parliament for Ottawa West—Nepean in the weeks ahead.

                                            I will miss this place very much, and many of the people in it, on all sides, but the time has come for me to start a new chapter in my life.

                                            If the House will indulge me, I would like to extend my profound gratitude and admiration to a few individuals who really made a difference for me.

                                            I wish to thank my family for always being at and on my side. It is never easy to see one's son, grandson, brother, or uncle under the public's microscope. Not only have they been my strength during the difficult times, they have kept me grounded during the good ones.

                                            To the Prime Minister, in 2005, when I was a younger, somewhat thinner, provincial MPP, when many others counted him out, I believed in this Prime Minister, and I continue to believe in him today, all these years later. There is no better person to lead our country into its 150th year. He is one of our country's great leaders. I leave genuinely humbled to have enjoyed his confidence and truly honoured to have served with him, profoundly grateful to have sat in his cabinet all these years, and immensely proud of what we have been able to accomplish together for all Canadians. I am also distinctly privileged to count him as a friend and a mentor. I wish him and our party continued success for many years to come, and I look forward to campaigning for him and my colleagues in our party in the upcoming general election.

                                            To all of my friends in this place, for a Canadian there is nothing more meaningful and nothing more special than to sit in the benches of this sacred House and to serve with all of them. I am grateful to them for their friendship, for their counsel, and for their wisdom.

                                            John Diefenbaker once said that Parliament is more than a procedure; it is the custodian of the nation's freedom. There is no greater honour for a Canadian than to serve in this place, no greater honour than to serve the people who place their trust in us.

                                            To my staff, past and present, it is said that behind any successful minister are great staff, and that is truly the case for me. I want to thank all of the staff and security in the House of Commons for their continued service to our democratic traditions.

                                            To the public service in all the portfolios I have served in, and to our diplomats abroad, I leave with the feeling that my political career has been one of success in delivering real results for Canadians from coast to coast to coast. I thank all of them, from the bottom of my heart, for standing by my side and for their valued contributions to our country.

                                            Finally, and most importantly, I thank the people of Ottawa West—Nepean, the people of Nepean, and the people of Ottawa. I am grateful for their continued trust, their vision, and their community. Their support over these past 20 years means more than I can ever convey in words. Being foreign minister was a tremendous experience, but I never took their trust for granted. I never forgot about our city. Every day I was reminded that it was they who put their trust in me and gave me this incredible opportunity. I was always committed to our people and its future.

                                            I am so grateful for the volunteers in countless campaigns and riding associations, anyone who believed in me, in our party, in our government, and most importantly, in our message.

                                            I stand before the House with many emotions. I am optimistic about Canada's future as a country. I am optimistic about my future and the opportunities that lie before me. At the same time, I am very saddened to leave this place behind. I am saddened to leave behind those for whom I care so deeply. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve my country, proud of the legacy of our government, and honoured to have had the opportunity to stand in this place.

                                            May the true north stay strong and free, and may God bless Canada.

                                            • MPconblog John Baird 197 post Nááts’ihch’oh National Park Reserve Act

                                              Mr. Speaker, I want to respond to the issue of mining. One of the challenges is that when there are mining sites, with approved investment and a lot of capital put in, and we want to create or expand a national park, taxpayers will be required to buy out the mining rights. The families in Ottawa West—Nepean, which might be seniors on fixed incomes or families with two kids, would have to reach into their pockets to buy out the mining rights.

                                              The second thing that would happen is that all the people who work in the mine would lose their jobs. That is why it is so tremendously important, particularly in the far Arctic, to preserve the best and most important parts of our country, these natural wonders, before there is mining there, before there is any destruction and before there are any problems. That way we can avoid this problem in the future.

                                              That is why it is so important to get bills like this passed, so there is no new mining in areas that we want to protect.

                                              • MPconblog John Baird 300 post Business of Supply

                                                Mr. Speaker, I represent a constituency, Ottawa West—Nepean, which has one of the fifth or sixth highest percentages of seniors. There is a good number of elderly women, many of whom do not have a defined benefit pension and rely on the public system. This is an issue that I follow very closely.

                                                We could say that there is a certain attractiveness to expanding the Canada pension plan, but I say to the member opposite that it always comes down to how we are going to pay for it. Can Canadian employers afford to take on a not insignificant increase in payroll taxes? We know from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business that payroll taxes are the toughest on employers and on creating new jobs for small businesses and medium-sized enterprises in particular.

                                                What do we say to the average Canadian worker, someone who is middle class and maybe making $35,000 or $40,000 a year, struggling to make ends meet? Their hydro bills are going up, particularly in Ontario. They are facing a tough go. Not all Canadians or Ontarians have the money to pay these increased payroll taxes, which they would be required to pay. It is not an issue of whether it is a payroll tax or a contribution, they do not have any cash in their pockets to put out. This is the case for many of the people that I represent.

                                                While the idea has certain attractive elements to it, does the member not concede that there are far too many Canadians who simply do not have the money to be able to make increased contributions because they are having a tough time making ends meet today?

                                                • MPconblog WoodworthMP 3122 post Expansion and Conservation of Canada’s National Parks Act

                                                  Mr. Speaker, it is indeed my privilege today to rise in this House for the purpose of expressing my support for Bill S-15 and, in particular, for taking the action necessary to protect Sable Island as a national park reserve under the Canada National Parks Act.

                                                  Throughout this debate and subsequent examination of Bill S-15 by a committee of the House, we are being asked to preside over an historic event: the creation of a new national park.

                                                  This is a unique opportunity for all the members of this House. In effect, we are being asked to make a clear and conscious decision to protect Sable Island for all time. We are being handed the opportunity to pass on to future generations this iconic island with its famed wild horses and important wildlife habitat. We are providing to our children a legacy of a natural area and all its inherent stories for them to enjoy and to pass on to the next generation.

                                                  It might seem at first glance that this is a rather short and inconspicuous piece of legislation, but in reality this is the key to ensuring that Sable Island will, as the dedication clause in the Canada National Parks Act states, be dedicated to the people of Canada for their benefit, education and enjoyment and be maintained and made use of so as to leave it unimpaired for the enjoyment of many future generations.

                                                  I stand in this House in support of making that decision by speaking in favour of Bill S-15.

                                                  I can only imagine standing on the beaches of Sable Island, wondering how this island came to be. I can imagine asking how it is that in the midst of the Atlantic Ocean, perched on a lonely outcrop of the continental shelf, this sandbar survives all the ocean can pound it with.

                                                  How is it that so many ships came to their last port of call on Sable Island as one of hundreds of shipwrecks? How is it that horses and endangered birds survive on this desolate outpost of dunes and sparse vegetation? What sheer idealism moves some of the current residents to spend months out here, guarding this island on behalf of all Canadians?

                                                  I look forward to the initiatives that Parks Canada is going to undertake to share the rich story of Sable Island and to answer these and other questions.

                                                  Perhaps a more direct question to consider this evening as we debate the proposal to protect Sable Island under the Canada National Parks Act is how we got to the point of designating Sable Island as a national park forever.

                                                  Early conservation efforts regarding Sable Island were merely targeted and reactive. As we have heard, the government passed regulations as long ago as 1961 to protect the horses of Sable Island from being removed from the island. These were called the Sable Island Regulations, and they specifically protected the island through restrictions aimed at controlling access and controlling certain types of activities.

                                                  In the late 1960s, the Department of Transport put an end to plans to remove mineral-rich sands from the surface of this island, even after the entire island had already been staked.

                                                  The story goes on. A more forward-looking conservation approach to Sable Island was first adopted in 1977, when Sable Island was designated as a migratory bird sanctuary under the Migratory Bird Convention Act. The purpose of this designation was to protect migratory birds, including their nests and eggs, a very important thing to do.

                                                  However, a migratory bird sanctuary in itself does not protect the other wildlife species or their habitat on Sable Island. In addition, the regulations only apply when migratory birds are actually nesting, so they are not an effective conservation tool for the rest of the year.

                                                  Things continued to develop and, more recently, specific areas of the island have also been designated as “critical habitat” for the endangered roseate tern under the Species at Risk Act.

                                                  Then, in 1998, working with the Province of Nova Scotia and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Environment Canada's Canadian Wildlife Service prepared a key document entitled “Conservation Strategy for Sable Island”. The overall goal was to set a framework for the preservation of the physical integrity and biological diversity of Sable Island. I note that it was initiated under a former government.

                                                  It was observed that the island had been used by humans for over 400 years and that this use had in fact changed the island, permanently altering its pre-contact ecosystem, yet it was time to develop a conservation strategy to define the environmental limits within which future activities should proceed.

                                                  In brief, the essence of the strategy was to protect the existing terrain from human-induced destabilization and to conserve the island's flora and fauna. That was 1998.

                                                  Of particular interest to our debate tonight is the part of the strategy dealing with the legal designation of Sable Island. The authors of the document observed that while the application of the Sable Island Regulations and the Migratory Birds Convention Act,

                                                  ...have been relatively effective in protecting Sable Island, there are many parts of the island's natural environment which, at present, do not receive adequate protection under the law.

                                                  As a result, the strategy wisely recommended that enhanced legal protection should be sought that provides more comprehensive protection to the island's natural value. That is what we have been moving toward all of these years.

                                                  Finally, in June 2008, under the present government, work to designate Sable Island as a federal protected area was first announced by the hon. member for Ottawa West—Nepean. At that time, he announced funding under the health of the oceans initiative to maintain a year-round weather station on Sable Island.

                                                  I believe it is worth recounting the words of the hon. member from that day. This is what he said:

                                                  We believe that it is in the best interest of Canadians to ensure that Sable Island is preserved for generations to come.... Today's announcement is further proof of our Government's commitment to protecting and preserving our environment in Atlantic Canada.

                                                  These were prescient words, because with that announcement the journey to this very evening and to Bill S-15 was under way.

                                                  It was in 2009, as the Government of Canada and the Province of Nova Scotia were discussing progress on the protection of Sable Island, that the idea of protecting the island as a national park was first introduced.

                                                  In January 2010, the two governments signed a memorandum of understanding, an MOU, respecting the establishment of a federal protected area on Sable Island in the province of Nova Scotia. Finally, after all those years, a government was willing to move.

                                                  Recognizing that Sable Island possesses national significance, the two governments agreed to work together to determine if Sable Island should be protected as a national wildlife area under the Canada Wildlife Act or as a national park under the Canada National Parks Act.

                                                  By the terms of the agreement, the governments appointed a task force for the purpose of recommending which type of federally protected area should be embraced. This was going to be a well-thought-out process.

                                                  It is important to note that from day one of the process, the MOU between the two governments was clear that:

                                                  ...no recommendation regarding the potential designation or creation of a federal protected area for Sable Island will have an adverse impact on Canada's or Nova Scotia's interest in offshore petroleum resources including those in the Sable Island area....

                                                  It was clear from the start that, no matter what type of protected area was recommended, it had to take into account the existence of the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resource Accord Implementation Act, a mouthful, but really something that took precedence over all other federal legislation in this region, previously negotiated with the province, and of course it had to also take into account the role of the offshore petroleum board itself.

                                                  What came next in this rather fascinating history of development? It was on Earth Day, April 22, 2010, that the Canada-Nova Scotia Sable Island Task Force recommended to the Government of Canada and the province of Nova Scotia that Sable Island should be designated as a national park under the Canada National Parks Act. In comparing the two types of federal protected areas, the task force concluded that the national park designation would convey a number of additional public benefits.

                                                  First, as a national park, Sable Island would be protected and presented within a national network of national parks and would be recognized as one of Canada's premier natural and cultural icons.

                                                  Second, while petroleum resources would remain available to industry offshore, a national park places a stronger emphasis on the protection from exploitation and development of non-petroleum resources found in the subsurface of Sable Island.

                                                  Next, as a national park, the designation brings a stronger emphasis to the conservation and preservation of archeological and cultural resources, also an important factor.

                                                  Finally, the diversity of program objectives required in a national park, which include protection, visitor experience and engagement with stakeholders, would better serve to maintain a year-round human presence on the island.

                                                  In its conclusion, the task force noted something that many associated with Sable Island have come to learn, and that is the strong appreciation and passion and depth of interest that citizens share for the future of Sable Island. It was also clear through the work of the task force that all the sectors were committed to achieve a renewed future for Sable Island.

                                                  Perhaps that speaks to what we are trying to accomplish with Bill S-15, and that is a renewed future for Sable Island.

                                                  In May 2010, the two governments announced their decision to undertake consultations and to negotiate an agreement for the designation and protection of Sable Island under the Canada National Parks Act.

                                                  We might ask what the public thought of this idea, turning Sable Island into a national park. This is quite an important consideration as we consider the merits of Bill S-15. During the summer of 2010, Parks Canada held three open houses in Halifax, where more than 200 people attended. Many took the time to have in-depth discussions with Parks Canada staff and to submit written submissions, online submissions, emails, letters and telephone messages in response to Parks Canada's web page, newsletter and advertisements.

                                                  Members will be astounded to learn that Parks Canada received more than 2,800 responses, including 235 detailed submissions. As Parks Canada observed in its report on these consultations, the volume and quality of responses Parks Canada received are testament to the strong link that many Nova Scotians and Canadians across this country feel for this very special place. Furthermore, the agency noted, “Sable Island and its isolated sand dunes hold a special place in the hearts and minds of Canadians”.

                                                  Nova Scotians, among whom I have my roots, feel a particular tie to Sable, as it figures prominently in their history and looms large in their imagination.

                                                  The passion and great interest Canadians have in Sable Island was evident in the submissions Parks Canada received from across Canada and even from abroad expressing support and highlighting ideas, concerns and vision for the future of Sable Island as a national park.

                                                  What were the views of Canadians on the idea of designating Sable Island a national park? What did they have to say?

                                                  Well, in general, Parks Canada reported that Canadians support the proposed national park designation. They feel it is important to maintain the ecological integrity and protect the cultural resources of Sable. They are interested in visitor experience opportunities on the island that, however, are limited in scope and scale and well managed. They want off-island experiences and educational opportunities. Canadians are also seeking careful management of natural resources, including petroleum. Last but certainly not least, they are concerned about wildlife management.

                                                  Buoyed by the strong support that the consultations revealed for protecting Sable Island as a national park, officials moved to complete the negotiation of a memorandum of agreement for a national park at Sable Island. The next step in this great story is that on October 17, 2011, our Minister of the Environment and the minister responsible for Parks Canada joined with the hon. Darrell Dexter, Premier of Nova Scotia, in signing the national park establishment agreement.

                                                  Bill S-15 seeks to put into legislation many of the elements of that 2011 national park establishment agreement, including some very important things, which I will mention.

                                                  First of all, there would be a ban on drilling from the surface of Sable Island out to one nautical mile. Second, there would be a restriction of surface access rights for petroleum-related activities to only four very limited and very specific activities. Finally, there would be a requirement for the offshore petroleum board to consult Parks Canada should it consider authorizing even any of those four very limited activities.

                                                  In recognition of the Province of Nova Scotia's ongoing interest in the future of Sable Island, the establishment agreement also provides for a Canada-Nova Scotia committee to enable the province to provide input and advice respecting the operation of the national park reserve. In addition, subject to reasonable conditions, Parks Canada would permit Nova Scotia to continue to carry out environmental, climate change, weather and air monitoring programs on Sable Island as well as scientific research.

                                                  As we bring to a close this first part of the journey to renew the future of Sable Island, it is important not to forget those whose personal and professional dedication to this island has left us with this marvellous opportunity.

                                                  I am thinking of those officials at the Canadian Coast Guard, the Meteorological Service of Canada and the Canadian Wildlife Service, who for decades watched over Sable Island for the rest of us.

                                                  I am also thinking of those individuals and organizations, such as long-time resident and volunteer guardian, Zoe Lucas, as well as the Green Horse Society and the Sable Island Preservation Trust.

                                                  I am thinking of the Province of Nova Scotia and companies like Exxon Mobil, which have acted in the public good by always keeping conservation of Sable Island in the forefront of their actions in this region.

                                                  I call on this chamber to thank the Province of Nova Scotia, which on May 10 of this year gave royal assent to its bill amending the legislation to put into place the legislated ban against drilling. It now rests with this chamber to complete our work so that both governments would be able to give effect to their respective acts, thereby finally protecting Sable Island in law under the National Parks Act.

                                                  I also want to mention that Parks Canada will continue its work with the Mi'kmaq of Nova Scotia.

                                                  In conclusion, I am very proud to have had the opportunity to speak in favour of Bill S-15 and to put on record my support for renewing the future of Sable Island as a national park reserve under the Canada National Parks Act.

                                                  • MPconblog Royal Galipeau 1447 post Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 1

                                                    Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to address the House this afternoon about the merits of economic action plan 2013.

                                                    I would like to especially thank the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister for La Francophonie for his kind words at the beginning of his speech.

                                                    Although the worst of the economic crisis seems to be behind us, the government's priority must continue to be the economy and job creation. In that regard, economic action plan 2013 is right on the mark.

                                                    When the recession struck the best country in the world in 2008, the government responded with a bold plan to invest in our infrastructure. The city of Ottawa and the district of Ottawa—Orléans have benefited greatly from this economic stimulus program.

                                                    We need only consider the construction of an east-west light rail in Ottawa, a total investment of $2.1 billion, $785 million of which is from the federal taxpayers through the building Canada plan and the federal gas tax fund.

                                                    What is more, this capital investment, which is the top and only priority of the City of Ottawa, will create 20,000 jobs a year until 2018.

                                                    I would like to take this opportunity to salute the member for Ottawa West—Nepean and Mayor Jim Watson and councillors Rainer Bloess, Bob Monette, Stephen Blais and Tim Tierney for their leadership in advancing this file.

                                                    We can also point to the investment of nearly $25 million for the first two phases of the Ottawa River action plan and of $6.7 million for the extension of the Hunt Club Road to Highway 417.

                                                    Thanks to the infrastructure improvement fund announced in January 2009 to help kick-start the Canadian economy, the people of Ottawa—Orléans have seen the delivery of 11 projects that directly affect them, at a value of over $11 million.

                                                    With an economic recovery that was lagging due to economic instability in other countries, the government understood that it had to meet the demands of municipalities and move ahead with another plan for long-term investment in Canada's infrastructure.

                                                    What economic action plan 2013 is proposing is $53 billion over 10 years.

                                                    Even though construction of Ottawa's light rail began only last week, elected officials and employees are already working on plans to expand it—even as far as the eastern end of Orléans.

                                                    This important project is close to my heart, and it could be supported by the building Canada plan and the community infrastructure improvement fund.

                                                    As you all know, linguistic duality is one of the values of this country that I cherish the most.

                                                    The French and English languages are integral to our history, our identity and our future. They are a treasure that must be defended.

                                                    This is a value dear to the hearts of the wise electors of Ottawa—Orléans, where about 30% of the population is French-speaking.

                                                    That is not to say that this value is not also important to the English-speaking residents of Ottawa—Orléans. When they come to settle there, they know that one of their immediate neighbours is going to be French-speaking and they regard this as an asset. They regard linguistic duality as an asset.

                                                    The government shares this way of thinking. In addition to supporting the spirit of Bill C-419, the language skills act sponsored by the member for Louis-Saint-Laurent, the government has slightly increased the envelope of the roadmap for official languages, which stands at over $1.1 billion for 2013-18. This represents the most far-reaching investment in official languages in our history—an increase of 40% over the previous government's plan.

                                                    The new road map will continue to support the learning of English and French as second languages and will continue its support for minority school systems so as to foster the development of citizens and communities.

                                                    In an interview with L'Express, Ottawa's French-language weekly newspaper, Marie-France Kenny, the president of the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadiennes du Canada, said:

                                                    We are happy; this will provide important leverage. For us, it's a real feat for the communities, the minister and the Prime Minister to have managed to maintain funding under the roadmap. For us, it is proof of the importance attributed to linguistic duality and the hard work that has been done in our communities for a year and a half to make our priorities known.

                                                    The Minister of Canadian Heritage promised to listen to Canadians before renewing the road map. He toured the country, organizing 23 round tables, in two of which I participated. He delivered the goods.

                                                    A little earlier, I was saying that job creation had to continue to be the government's priority. Small and medium-size enterprises are the engine of the Canadian economy. SMEs are the backbone of the Ottawa—Orléans economy. Businesses such as SURE Print, Lacroix Source for Sports in Orléans, the Massage and Treatment Clinic and Cuisine & Passion have come to set up shop.

                                                    It is my pleasure to recognize André Lacroix, who has owned Lacroix Source for Sports for 40 years. A terrific businessman, he is equally effective at giving back to the community, and he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

                                                    These companies are very well represented by the Orléans Chamber of Commerce and its dynamic team, with its president, Dan Levesque, its board of directors and its executive director, Jamie Kwong.

                                                    In addition to reducing income taxes and cutting red tape, the economic action plan is proposing to expand and extend the hiring credit for small business for one year.

                                                    This measure, which has proven its worth in recent years, should benefit 560,000 SMEs.

                                                    Furthermore, we are going to increase the lifetime capital gains exemption from $750,000 to $800,000, and then we will index it. This positive measure will improve the return on investment in small businesses by making things easier for entrepreneurs who want to pass on the family business to the next generation of Canadians.

                                                    The fate of our soldiers and veterans is very important to me. These brave people have sacrificed so much that our country can enjoy the benefits of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law. We owe our freedom to them. I see them often, especially when I go to my weekly Saturday breakfast at the Royal Canadian Legion in Orléans.

                                                    Economic action plan 2013 contains measures to support these important people.

                                                    We are suggesting an investment of $1.9 billion over seven years to ensure that our disabled, ill or aging veterans and their families receive the support they need.

                                                    We are also proposing to double the reimbursement ceiling for the funeral and burial program. It is the least we can do to offer dignified funeral services for those who have lost their lives defending our country.

                                                    Families and communities are not being left behind. We are proposing to invest $1.9 billion over five years to create more affordable housing and to combat the unfortunate phenomenon of homelessness. We would also like to support families who want to adopt a child by granting them tax relief.

                                                    Economic action plan 2013 is a reasonable plan that will help our country prosper in spite of these uncertain times.

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