Mr. Speaker, the member for Edmonton—Strathcona is a very courageous voice in the House of Commons. She stands up for Albertan families and is the best member for Alberta bar none. There is no doubt about that. She is an amazing member of Parliament, one of the best in Canada, as well.
She makes a very important point that for many in the corporate sector, with tens of billions of dollars flowing offshore, tax freedom day is actually December 31st. They do not pay any taxes and the Conservatives are saying that is okay and if they owe a lot of money, they do not have to worry. The Conservatives will just let them get by. If they want to spend tens of billions of dollars in tax havens, they do not have to worry, because the Conservatives will let them get by. However, if a single mother in Burnaby—New Westminster gets behind on her taxes, not only will she have to pay her taxes, which would be fine for anybody across the country, she will have the Conservatives denigrating, attacking and disrespecting her.
They are the two-faced Conservatives. On the one hand, for ordinary families, the Conservatives going to make sure that they pay. On the other hand, if they are in the corporate sector and they want to send tens of billions of dollars offshore, the Conservatives say that is just fine and dandy. That is why they will be defeated in 2015. Canadians see that hypocrisy.
Agreed and so ordered. The hon. member for Edmonton—Strathcona.
Before we get on to the hon. member for Winnipeg North on resuming debate, it is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 38 to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Beauport—Limoilou, Health; the hon. member for Edmonton—Strathcona, Employment.
Resuming debate. The hon. member for Winnipeg North.
Mr. Chair, I share the opposition members' enthusiasm for the minister's performance here tonight. It has been great. We want to thank he minister for sharing his evening with us in such an effective way.
I also would like to acknowledge Mr. Dupont and Mr. Arora for the time that they have spent here tonight and the expertise that they bring on this file as well, and I know there are other people who have worked hard to present the natural resources case for this country.
I also want to acknowledge my colleagues who have spent the evening here with us. Most of them have spoken and have spoken extremely well. I think of the chair of the natural resources committee; the member for Vegreville—Wainwright; my colleague from Tobique—Mactaquac; my friend from Wetaskiwin, who spoke a bit earlier; the member for Saskatoon—Humboldt; the member for Yukon, who even sent a “hi” out to his mother there; and the member for Calgary Centre, who spoke so effectively.
I also want to acknowledge the member for Blackstrap, who has been here with us all night tonight because resources are important to Saskatchewan. She is an important member of the cabinet and an important member from Saskatchewan. It is great that she was able to be with us as well.
We have been talking about numbers all night tonight, and there are some numbers that I find a bit disquieting and intriguing. We have talked about the 630,000 jobs that are projected to be created by the oil sands over the next 25 years and the hundreds of thousands of other jobs that are going to be created by the resources sector across this country. Unfortunately, again tonight it seems that we have heard the New Democrats say one more time that they want to say no to those jobs.
It bothers me, when I come from a resource-based province, to hear that kind of thing. As I mentioned earlier, it seems that they oppose everything about natural resources. We heard the member for Edmonton—Strathcona, from Alberta, the province where the oil sands are so important, who came in here and opposed oil sands. We heard my colleague from Calgary Centre talk about the Kearl project and how those greenhouse gas emissions now are similar to what is being produced from regular oil production. Certainly the opposition members should be welcoming that news, but they do not seem to be willing to do so.
We have heard in the past how they have opposed offshore. They do not like offshore and the development of offshore. We hear how they do not like pipelines. Some of them do not like pipelines and some of them seem to. They keep changing their position. I had to appreciate my colleague this afternoon in what seemed to be grudging support for the west-to-east pipeline, although last week his leader changed his own position on that, so we wish them luck in trying to convince their leader that he actually needs to represent all of Canada and just not small interest groups in particular areas across this country.
We are concerned, as I read in a quote a bit earlier, that the NDP opposes all things nuclear. The New Democrats' leader was straightforward about that here in the House. He said that they are just going to oppose it. I can hear my colleague across the way saying that they of course oppose that, that they certainly do oppose that.
There is shale gas, the latest and greatest development around the world that is going to change the way energy is produced and used on this globe, and the New Democrats again come up dead against it.
We also see their opposition in so many ways to mining across this country. My colleague from Yukon and other colleagues from the north are particularly concerned about their opposition up there as they try to develop their economies and begin to get some of the same advantages that the rest of us have.
It was interesting to hear about the impact that the development of natural resources will have on our aboriginal communities. Those of us from the west, and particularly from Saskatchewan, know that we need to get our young aboriginal people involved in the economy and that probably the quickest and best way to do that is through the resource sector. It pains me to have to ask again why the New Democrats stand so strongly against that when it is so important in so much of our country.
At the natural resources committee today we were excited to hear from some folks from Montreal who were talking about the importance of the west-to-east pipeline and the re-reversal of that pipeline so that it can create opportunities in Quebec and further east, as far east as my colleague from New Brunswick. He looks forward to having some of those opportunities as well.
I wanted to talk about the New Democrats' great commitment to the carbon tax and the $20 billion that it would take out of Canadians' pockets. We have not mentioned much about that tonight, and they certainly do not want to bring it up anymore.
However, we look forward to continuing to be the government in this country, continuing to develop resources across this country, continuing under the great leadership of the Minister of Natural Resources, and being able to do that in spite of what the New Democrats want to do to our resource communities, our resource jobs and so much of our resource-based economy.
The hon. member for Edmonton—Strathcona.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak to the opposition day motion with really a sense of sadness, sadness because as the finance critic for the official opposition, I have sadly had a front row seat in watching the greater opacity, the greater lack of information by the government when it comes to financial matters. From its omnibus bills to its time allocations to its silencing of opposition testimony, it has become frankly a bit of a chill in Ottawa.
Now I think we get a sense of why some of that is. What we are debating now with this opposition day motion by our party, the NDP, is the misplacing of $3.1 billion contributed to the coffers of Ottawa by Canadians across the country. It is not just any amount of money. This money was put in the hands of the government in trust to be spent on public security and anti-terrorism measures. The fact that the government cannot account for this money, as witnessed by the Auditor General in his recent report, is frankly shocking, but it is in keeping with the general lack of reporting, the lack of transparency by the government.
It is a government that forced the Parliamentary Budget Officer, which was a position created in fact by the Conservatives and an officer who was put in place by them, Kevin Page, to go to court to try to get some of the information from budget 2012 in terms of how government was spending and which departments, programs and services were being cut by the government. Now we find that even the government does not seem to understand, or know, or be able to find monies that were put in its trust and for which it would be responsible.
Before I continue, I will be sharing my time with the member for Edmonton—Strathcona.
The motion we are debating today is really calling on the government to issue documents from 2001 to the present, to account for this money on natural security. That is when these funds were initially allocated and that this public security initiative was created. What we are calling for is all of the public security and anti-terrorism annual reports that were submitted to the Treasury Board Secretariat, all the Treasury Board submissions made as part of the anti-terrorism initiative, all the departmental evaluations of the initiative, all the Treasury Board database information established to monitor the funding, all of these records be public and made available to the House, in both official languages, by June 17.
That is all we are asking for, that this basic information about the dollars given to Ottawa by Canadians across the country for a very serious purpose, the anti-terrorism public safety initiative, that this money be made available and that the Auditor General be given the necessary resources to perform an in-depth forensic audit to find the $3.1 billion that is unaccounted for by the government.
At the same time as this money has gone astray, no one can find out where it is. Under budget 2012, the government has made significant cuts to public safety. A total of $687.9 million will be cut from public safety by 2015. To outline some of these cuts, $143 million to the Canada Border Services Agency, the CBSA, will mean the elimination of 626 full-time equivalents, including about 325 front line officers. A further 100 positions may be affected in the CBSA.
To put this into perspective, I come from the city of Toronto, the largest city in the country. Like other communities across the country, we have concerns about handguns that are illegally smuggled into our country and fall into the hands of youth, especially, as well as others. Far too many young people in our communities have died because of the illegal use of handguns that were smuggled into the country.
To think that the Conservative government would cut over 600 border security guards from patrolling our borders and at the same time it cannot account for if, whether or how it spent $3.1 billion is frankly shocking and I know it is unacceptable to the constituents in my riding of Parkdale—High Park and to Canadians right across the country.
The government is also cutting intelligence agents from the CBSA and sniffer dog units. Under budget 2012, it scrapped the Inspector General of CSIS, who was put in place to ensure accountability there. The government is also cutting almost $200 million from the RCMP. While it is making what I would call reckless cuts to public safety measures, at the same time it seems to have misplaced over $3 billion that was allocated to protect our public safety.
While we are hearing a lot of stonewalling from the other side on this issue, what we are calling for with this motion is for the government to stop playing politics with our public safety and our hard-earned tax dollars and just give the Auditor General the information that he needs to fully account for where this money has gone.
Was it properly spent or improperly spent? Let the Conservatives give us the documents so all Canadians can find out what happened to the money. That is all we are asking for. It is very simple and straightforward.
We are hearing a lot of stonewalling on the other side of the House. We are hearing that the Auditor General did not find that any money was misappropriated. He did not find that any money was misappropriated because there were no documents saying where the money was. There were no documents to tell if it had been spent, not been spent, if it had been turned back into a previous budget, put forward into a future budget or spent on public security. Did it go to the President of the Treasury Board's gazebo? Did it go to a fake lake in Toronto?
We do not know where this money went. It could be lost in loose change down sofas across the country. We have no idea. However, there are clearly some serious spending problems with the government and with the public safety and anti-terrorism initiative because the money was not monitored properly, may not have been spent properly and clearly has not been properly accounted for.
The Auditor General needs the documents to be able to track the money and to find out on behalf of hard-working Canadians. They do not get to say "I just lost a third of the money I was supposed to report" when it comes to tax time. They have to account for every penny. Therefore, the Auditor General has to get the documents he needs to properly account for $3.1 billion in missing funds.
We urge the government and all members in the House to support this New Democrat opposition day motion to give the Auditor General the information he needs and do the job we were elected to do on behalf of all Canadians.
Mr. Speaker, I want to first of all thank my colleague for her comments, and frankly for her amazing tribute to Raymond Taavel. I also want to thank her for the amazing tribute to her community of Halifax, the resilience of her community, the love for her community, the strength of her community, all of which we do not celebrate enough in this House when we talk about issues within our own riding boundaries.
I want her to know that the tragic death of Raymond Taavel was felt not just in Halifax, but indeed right across the country. I remember reading the story in the Hamilton Spectator. It touched a nerve. It left all of us feeling the loss, but also feeling the need to take concrete action.
I have to admit we were perhaps a little helpless in knowing exactly what needed to be done. I think there is an opportunity before us now to take that action. However, I think my colleague from Halifax is absolutely right; we cannot take that action in haste.
This is not an easy problem. It is a complex one. As my colleague from Edmonton—Strathcona has pointed out, we do need to hear from organizations like the Elizabeth Fry Society, and we need to hear from the John Howard Society. I would suggest that we also need to hear from our provincial partners.All too often in this House we march on as if the federal government were the only government that mattered. Consultation with our provincial partners, and in some instances municipal partners, seems to have become a bad thing somehow.
I think we would move forward in a much more positive way if we were to work collaboratively with other orders of government, and if we work together, in this case, with health experts.
I wonder whether my colleague could comment on whether she thinks the Nova Scotia government in particular might not have some very important things to say, as we continue collectively to want to pay tribute by doing the right thing now. They too shared the tragic loss of Raymond.
Mr. Speaker, in general we support this change to the Criminal Code. We support it at least going to second reading. It deals with the very real and perceived threats to the public that come from the not criminally responsible declaration by judges.
I say “perceived threats”, because part of what is driving this attempt to amend the law is to play upon the fears of Canadians. We think that should be left out of the debate. The other side is very good at playing upon Canadians' fear of crime, and fears generally. However, we need to look at this legislation in a clear and thoughtful way.
We need to look at this legislation and determine whether it is achieving a good public policy goal. Is it achieving it in a way that will not be a burden on the public or the provinces or the victims of crime? That is one of the very serious concerns we have about this legislation; it may in fact be a burden on portions of the criminal justice system, including the provinces.
As a review of what the system is now, there is a very small percentage of accused, and I am not saying criminals, who are actually found not criminally responsible in the course of their trial. We are told it is something like one in 100,000 individuals who are accused—not members of the public, but accused—and found not criminally responsible. That is an extremely tiny percentage. The Conservatives are spending a lot of time and effort in dealing with some perceived notions, some of which were created by recent events in the news and some of which are just general fears by Canadians. That very small percentage needs to be brought to the attention of both sides of the House.
By the way, Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time.
There are two basic definitions for individuals who are accused. Sometimes they are found unfit to stand trial, in which case we wait until they are fit to stand trial. Once they are at trial, if that individual was not criminally responsible by reason of a mental disorder at the time of committing the crime, that person can be, and sometimes is, declared not criminally responsible at the time of committing a crime. Therefore, rather than a prosecution, they are shifted into the mental health system.
The mental health system includes a review board. It includes judges. It includes mental health professionals. The mental health system, the review board and the judges determine when a person is not criminally responsible, at what point that individual is no longer a threat to society. If they are no longer a threat to society, at that point they can be given either a conditional or an actual discharge. They can also be sent to hospital, to be held and restrained in hospital, like a jail. We are aware of lots of them. It is those individuals the bill is attempting to deal with.
As I said, only one in 100,000 accused are actually not criminally responsible, and a smaller percentage are those individuals who end up in a hospital setting or in a mental health process.
The changes that are being proposed are by and large welcome, but they need discussion and analysis. We need the mental health and the criminal justice professionals in this country to advise us on whether these provisions would create unintended consequences or injustices in the system.
For example, one of the changes is that the review board must now move its analysis of not criminally responsible individuals and take public safety as their paramount consideration.
Is that a good thing, or is it now skewing, changing, or putting fetters, as the member for Edmonton—Strathcona said earlier, on the justice system? Is it in fact restricting the ability of an individual judge or the review board to consider matters fairly and reasonably?
We need more counsel. We need more advice from both the criminal justice system and the medical profession as to whether or not that is going to change the outcomes in a meaningful way that is more protective of the public. I do not know the answer to that question; it certainly sounds like it on the face of it, but maybe that change will in fact cause other problems.
The bigger change to this bill is the creation of a definition of “high risk”, which will now add to the panoply of definitions by which a significant threat to the safety of the public could be attached to an individual. Again, what is the purpose of this change? What is the end result of that change? It may be a good thing, but we need more advice, more counsel, and we need not to do it from a surfeit of fear.
We need to not take this new definition out of the context of what this law is attempting to provide in the first place. It is attempting to provide a system that not only protects the public generally but also provides the mechanisms and means to rehabilitate.
For criminals in the criminal justice system who are not found to be not criminally responsible—in other words, those who are criminally responsible—the purpose of the justice system is to make them into better citizens, but we find that the recidivism rate amongst those who are in that system is between 41% and 44%, so we are not doing a very good job of protecting the public with the regular criminal justice system.
In the not criminally responsible justice system, the recidivism rate is around 2.5% to 3%, so we are doing a good job there. We are finding that if individuals with a mental disorder are properly treated, those individuals can return to be productive members of Canadian society, which is what we ultimately want.
We need to examine both halves of the justice system, and whether or not we are actually doing a good job in it.
The third major part of this legislation is to indicate that victims are now to be a major part of the regime. The victims themselves have already suffered at the hands of the perpetrator, at the hands of the person not criminally responsible. With good intent, we are asking that the victims be notified when those individuals are discharged. The individuals who are being discharged could have a non-communication order attached to them if they are not allowed to deal with the victims. In addition, the safety of the victims needs to be taken into account when a decision is made about the release of an individual back into the public.
We think that portion of the bill needs a lot of attention. We agree that victims are by far the paramount consideration in any justice system legislation, but we do not spend enough time now looking after victims. I doubt that there is enough time, effort and money in the mental health resources of the provinces to give the victims of serious crime the help they need in getting over it. We should be looking at that as well.
We also understand that this is a very difficult issue for victims. What if victims do not want to have any reminders whatsoever of this individual? Do we put them in an awkward position of having to say “No, I do not want to be reminded”? They would actually have to be asked if they wanted to be reminded, and then they have to refuse to be reminded.
It is a very difficult position for the victims to be in. The victims would be in a position where they were not necessarily receiving the appropriate attention and help from the provincial medical system, but those victims would be asked for their opinion on this, and it might in fact be difficult for them.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to respond to the member for Edmonton—Strathcona. I am delighted that she asked to have an adjournment debate on this topic.
As part of enhancing the integrity of the real property and procurement process, Public Works and Government Services Canada is constantly reviewing and strengthening its measures to improve integrity.
In 2007, as part of the Federal Accountability Act and the federal accountability action plan, Public Works and Government Services Canada added a code of conduct for procurement to its RFP documents. The department also added measures to render suppliers ineligible to bid on procurement contracts if they have been convicted of fraud or if they have paid a contingency fee to a person to whom the Lobbying Act applies.
In 2010, Public Works and Government Services Canada added an offence to its list of measures regarding integrity, thereby rendering suppliers ineligible to bid on procurement contracts if they have been convicted of corruption, collusion, bid rigging or any other anti-competitive activity.
In July 2012, Public Works and Government Services Canada implemented additional measures to strengthen the integrity of its real property and procurement operations.
As a result of these measures, the department is strengthening due diligence, reducing the risk of fraud and improving its ability to manage risk.
Allow me to summarize. We have already put in place provisions allowing us to render ineligible bidders found guilty of one of the following offences: fraud against the government under the Criminal Code of Canada; fraud under the Financial Administration Act; corruption, collusion, bid rigging or any other anti-competitive activity under the Competition Act; and the payment of contingency fees to individuals covered by the Lobbying Act.
On July 11, 2012, Public Works and Government Services Canada extended the application of integrity provisions to its real property transactions, such as leasing contracts, and added six new offences that would render suppliers ineligible to do business with the department: money laundering, involvement in organized crime, income and excise tax evasion, bribery of foreign public officials and drug trafficking.
These measures came into force when announced and apply to all future PWGSC solicitations and real property transactions, which include leasing agreements, letting of space, and acquisition and disposal of crown assets. These measures will also allow the department to terminate contracts and leases with companies or individuals that are convicted before the end of their contract or lease.
We are very proud of the efforts made by our department to ensure accountability and integrity in the way we do business.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to respond to the hon. member for Edmonton—Strathcona. I am delighted that she asked to have an adjournment debate on this topic.
As part of enhancing the integrity of the real property and procurement process, Public Works and Government Services Canada is constantly reviewing and strengthening its measures to improve integrity.
In 2007, as part of the Federal Accountability Act and the federal accountability action plan, Public Works and Government Services Canada added a code of conduct for procurement to its RFP documents as well as measures to render suppliers ineligible to bid on procurement contracts if they have been convicted of fraud or if they have paid a contingency fee to a person to whom the Lobbying Act applies.
In 2010, Public Works and Government Services Canada added an offence to its list of measures regarding integrity, thereby rendering suppliers ineligible to bid on procurement contracts if they have been convicted of corruption, collusion, bid-rigging or any other anti-competitive activity.
In July 2012, Public Works and Government Services Canada implemented additional measures to strengthen the integrity of its real property and procurement operations. As a result of these measures, the department is strengthening due diligence, reducing the risk of fraud and improving its ability to manage risk.
Allow me to summarize. We have already put in place provisions allowing us to render ineligible bidders found guilty of one of the following offences: fraud against the government under the Criminal Code of Canada; fraud under the Financial Administration Act; corruption, collusion, bid-rigging or any other anti-competitive activity under the Competition Act; and the payment of contingency fees to a person to whom the Lobbying Act applies.
On July 11, 2012, Public Works and Government Services Canada extended the application of integrity provisions to its real property transactions, such as leasing contracts, and added six additional offences that would render suppliers ineligible to do business with departments: money laundering, participation in the activities of criminal organizations, income and excise tax evasion, bribing a foreign public official and drug trafficking.
These measures went into effect when announced and apply to all future PWGSC solicitations and real property transactions, which include leasing agreements, letting of space and acquisition and disposal of Crown-owned assets.
These measures will also allow the department to terminate contracts and leases with companies or individuals that are convicted before the end of their contract or lease.
Before moving on to questions and comments, it is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Edmonton—Strathcona, Public Works and Government Services; the hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie, International Cooperation; and the hon. member for Scarborough—Rouge River, Citizenship and Immigration.
The hon. member for Beauport—Limoilou for questions and comments.
It is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 38 to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Edmonton—Strathcona, Government Contracts; the hon. member for Haute-Gaspésie—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, Foreign Affairs; the hon. member for Ahuntsic, Public Safety.
Resuming debate, the hon. member for Okanagan—Coquihalla.
I cannot, but perhaps the member for Edmonton—Strathcona could. I would remind all members to please direct their comments to the Chair, not to individual members of the House.
Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate my colleague from Edmonton—Strathcona on a well-presented speech. She happens to be the very best MP in Alberta, bar none.
My question for the best MP in Alberta concerns the tax hike that apparently does not exist in the budget. The Conservatives have repeatedly said that there is no tax hike, but they have failed to tell Canadians that they will be paying taxes on parking at hospitals. That is a tax hike to me.
As we know, health care is expensive. Could you explain why the Conservatives are now going to tax Canadians who park at hospitals? Could you also tell me why the Conservatives are not telling Canadians about this tax hike?
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be sharing my time with the member for Trois-Rivières.
The budget tabled last week by the government raises a number of concerns for the future prosperity and sustainability of the economies of my riding of Edmonton—Strathcona, the city of Edmonton, the province of Alberta and Canada. It most certainly raises questions about how well the Conservative government has listened to Canadians about their future prospects. In sum, the economic action plan 2013 is rife with promises and a display of now defunct programs, but short on long-term vision, timely delivery of needed supports and missed opportunities.
The province I come from has a long history of leadership in energy. It is not just in energy resource extraction, but also in innovation and consultation in new energy ideas. The Alberta clean air strategic alliance has a long record of multi-stakeholder consultation and consensus in decision-making on cleaner energy standards. The concept of sound decision-making through consultation and consensus is one that is apparently foreign to the Conservative government.
Alberta industry and the public alike have long called for a dialogue on a cleaner energy strategy for the province of Alberta and for the country. Recently the premier of Alberta called on the federal government to endorse this concept. The concept of a more sustainable energy future has been endorsed by other well-known centre of right leaders, including Preston Manning and the late Peter Lougheed. However, on the so-called jobs, growth and, in very small print, long-term prosperity economic action plan, there is no mention in the budget and no dollars for action on a Canadian clean energy strategy. This is despite the fact that we still have in place, as far as I am aware, a Canada-U.S. clean energy dialogue.
Of note, the term “long-term” appears to have been added to the title in small print as a mere afterthought. The budget certainly seems to have given short shrift to a longer-term sustainable economy. There is no commitment or dollars for consultation with the public or the diverse energy sectors, let alone energy consumers, on a Canadian energy strategy. All of this is despite calls by a number of premiers, including Alberta's, despite calls by major energy sectors, including oil and gas, energy efficiency and renewable power sectors, and despite calls by existing and potential major economic players, including first nations.
Sound decision-making on allocation of taxpayers' money for energy projects requires consultation and a cogent plan. This budget also fails in recognizing the potential for substantial cost savings and job creation from investment in energy efficiency, and cost savings to families, business and to government. In fact, the Conservative government appears to have completely disregarded the potential for reducing its massive deficit simply by reducing its own energy use instead of cutting jobs.
By way of example, this budget allocates no dollars whatsoever to the return of the extremely popular ecoENERGY home retrofit program. It was brought back in 2011 for one year only. It was very popular, oversubscribed and then unceremoniously cut.
Here is what one of my constituents, a property manager, wrote to me. Mr. Tarek Merhej, vice-president of KARST Property Management, said:
I read your comments this morning in the Edmonton Journal relating to the ecoEnergy Program where you mentioned: “There's not even the return of the eco-energy retrofit program that helped homeowners make their houses more energy efficient and it is a sector where Alberta has shown leadership.” And I couldn't agree more. I was one of the many people I'm sure who were too late to take advantage of this program. I had selected my builder on large principle by the fact that their houses were Energuide engineered and rated but unfortunately by the time I had received my possession date, the program had expired. I have shared this disappointment with many and I simply wanted to thank you for speaking up as you do and demonstrating, as you put it so well, that “this budget shows a lack of understanding of Canadians' priorities.”
Energy retrofits, whether for homes, businesses or government facilities have huge potential for creating well-paying jobs. The Energy Services Association of Canada shows a tenfold increase in jobs per billion dollars spent between coal fire power and building retrofit. The Alberta Federation of Labour study forecasted 6,500 to 14,000 new jobs in just a two-year period from this sector. It also suggested that a good bridge in jobs between boom and bust years in the energy economy would be energy retrofitting.
It also reduces energy costs for homes, businesses and government. Approximately 15% of household costs are for heating. We have been told in committee that energy efficiency for commercial buildings can reduce energy consumption costs by 50%. It would also reduce pollution and carbon. BOMA, an association that works on buildings to increase their energy efficiency, reports that buildings contribute 20% to 30% of greenhouse gases in this country.
It would be good for business. Realtors and building owners advise that energy efficient buildings are in the highest demand for leasing. It would trigger private investment where governments adopt supportive policies or infuse matching supplementary grants.
Who has testified to this? The Energy Services Association of Canada, the Building Owners and Managers Association of Canada, or BOMA, and the Real Property Association of Canada, are hardly environmental radicals. All have testified in a current study before the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates on significant potential job creation and cost savings, for the federal government alone, through expanded energy efficiency.
Let me share a few of the examples that they have shared on projected savings. Before the Centre for Inland Waters was retrofitted, 50% of its operating budget was spent on energy and water, $1.5 million a year. Post the retrofit, it is projected to save $9.1 million. Due to an energy retrofit for CFB Halifax, it is achieving a guaranteed $1.4 million a year in savings. Place du Portage is being guaranteed an annual savings in energy bills of over $450,000.
A total of $43 million per year is projected from energy bills from the overall current federal retrofit program, and it could be more if a long-term strategy and commitment to seeking reduced energy costs for the 40,000 buildings that are owned or leased by the government was approached. That is hardly small potatoes.
Energy retrofits and energy efficient equipment manufacturing are important sectors in my constituency and deserve policy measures to support and foster their growth. Yet, there are no prospects for similar savings for homeowners or small businesses because this budget provides zero support for them.
The government, with great fanfare, announced its removal of tariffs on hockey equipment. Yet based on the estimated cost by Ottawa's Valiquette's sports, a one time purchase of hockey equipment for a child in midget or minor hockey costs about $1,000. The removal of the tariff would reduce that by about $180. Of course, that is a saving for those families who could afford to buy the equipment in the first place.
If support had been provided instead, or in addition, frankly, for home energy retrofit for an average middle-class home, that same value or more in savings could be gained each year, not as a one-off.
What about skills training that was talked a great about by the government? Indicative of the government's lack of comprehension of the global shift to investment in clean energy and energy efficiency, very little recognition is evidenced in this budget for the potential job market if targeted assistance were provided for skills training in this sector.
Few small firms can afford to pitch in the requisite $5,000 to match federal-provincial support. There is terrific potential for small energy audit and retrofit enterprises, including student jobs, and including for aboriginal communities and technical graduates or apprentices, but can they afford a start-up of $5,000? Then again, apparently neither the provinces nor territories have been consulted on the matching grant scheme anyway. Who has been consulted on the skills training or job creation priorities? The big question is, has the energy efficiency sector even been consulted?
With regard to the accelerated capital cost write-off, it is an excellent initiative if parallel measures are instituted to actually trigger the purchase and deployment of the equipment toward cleaner energy production or pollution abatement. Regrettably, the budget is limited in developing clean energy technologies, and we see no new measures to actually trigger the uptake of this equipment. Sadly, the budget allocates a mere $1 million this year for sustainable development technology. More is proposed for the future, but we will wait to see how the government pays down its deficit.
Sadly, in the budget, the key word for education is “commercialization”. There is no support for pure research. There is no backing off on firing scientists or shutting down of the renowned Experimental Lakes project, despite substantiated results in cleaner waterways arising from their research.
Infrastructure is the same story. Some money is coming forward, but not enough to actually address the rising infrastructure deficit. In sum, the budget is more about politics and short-term interests than a road map for long-term sustainable prosperity for all Canadians.
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to follow the member for Beauharnois—Salaberry, who gave a wonderful, detailed speech.
We have just begun to really delve into this bill that is more than 1,000 pages long. Bill C-48 is absolutely enormous.
As my colleague just said, we are talking about measures that should have been taken 10 or more years ago. Some of them go back as far as 1998. We have to wonder why the government took so long to introduce this huge bill in the House. Why did it take so long to address the 200 various sectors affected by previous budgets? Why did the government drag its feet on introducing these technical amendments in the House?
When we look at the size and scope of this massive bill, we are talking about areas touched throughout the tax system: changing how labour-sponsored venture capital corporations are treated and the transitional issues that arise from that; amending corporate taxable income allocation formulas; looking at the tax treatment of shares dealing with offshore investment fund property and non-resident trusts; dealing with taxation of foreign affiliates of Canadian multinational corporations, affecting legislation that touches both common law and civil law; avoiding anti-avoidance measures for specific leasing properties; clarifying rules on taxable Canadian properties; looking at housekeeping changes to the Excise Tax Act; clarifying the minister's authority; allowing for tax administration agreements; and putting in place coordinating amendments.
Many of these measures date from more than a decade ago. As my colleagues from Beauharnois—Salaberry and Edmonton—Strathcona mentioned earlier, the former Auditor General of Canada called the government on its complete absence of bringing forward all of the 1,000 pages of technical amendments that should have been brought forward years ago.
Commitments were made at one point. I am not going to criticize just the Conservatives. I am going to criticize the Liberals, as well.
Indications were made in the past that these types of technical amendments should be brought in on an annual basis. What the Parliament of Canada would be called upon to look through would be, basically, one-twelfth of what we are looking at today. On an annual basis, technical treatment would then be updated. That is a necessary part of our tax system. That would mean, as well, that we would avoid the kinds of loopholes that exist when the House of Commons passes budgets or measures are put into place and the technical amendments are never brought forward.
That is not what happened under the Liberals. We know now that the Liberals were simply unable to put in place an effective administrative structure for technical amendments. It has not happened under the Conservatives, either. This is something New Democrats deplore. Of course, we support these technical amendments, but instead of dealing with a yearly review that would allow those technical amendments to be brought in in a systematic way and on a timely basis, we are dealing with another massive Conservative bill of 1,000 pages that Parliament is being asked to scrutinize, because for over a decade, the work was not done.
This is symptomatic of why many Canadians consider the idea of Conservative administrative competence to be an oxymoron. We have seen this time and time again, whether we are talking about technical amendments that have not been brought in or massive budget bills that are thrown on the floor of the House of Commons without the government having any understanding of what the impacts are.
We saw last spring massive changes to environmental assessments and the National Energy Board. Charitable people would say that the government was simply unaware of what it was trying to do when it gutted 99% of environmental assessments in this country. That is what a charitable person would say. The government was simply incompetent. Many others believe that it was mean-spirited and deliberate. Even though the government pretended that it had no idea that it was gutting 99% of environmental assessments in this country, the government actually did understand that it was doing that when it threw those amendments forward. Either way, what we are seeing is administrative incompetence and mean-spiritedness of the highest order.
I am privileged to come from the political party that over the last 20 years, when it has been in power, according to the federal Ministry of Finance, has been the most effective at managing the nation's finances and paying down debt in various provinces. For the last 20 years, the fiscal period returns, year after year, have indicated that NDP governments are much better at balancing budgets and paying down debt. They are much better than their Conservative counterparts and much better than their Liberal counterparts, who seem to be even worse than the Conservatives, if people can believe that, in terms of balancing budgets and paying down debt. Fiscal period returns show that. We certainly have no lessons to learn from anybody.
I would say to the Canadian public that we always have to endeavour to be better and more transparent. We had the Leader of the Opposition stand in the House today and put forward an NDP bill to put in place a Parliamentary Budget Officer. What we believe in is a system of checks and balances, in terms of finance, to ensure that the public is aware that the figures we are putting forward are tested by an impartial third party. We believe in supporting our Auditor General's department and in actually enhancing the ability of the Auditor General to look at the nation's finances as well.
What have the Conservatives done? It is quite the opposite. By death from a thousand cuts, they have cut back on the Auditor General's ability to actually look at the nation's finances. They are seriously, in the most vicious, underhanded way, attacking the Parliamentary Budget Officer. They are systematically removing, and this is the only government in the western world doing this, the checks and balances the Canadian public depends on.
On our side of the House, not only are we better financial administrators, we also believe in the impartiality of a third party to ensure and verify that the financial figures put forward by a government are tested and are subject to those rigorous tests of checks and balances the Canadian public expects.
In my riding of Burnaby—New Westminster, what I hear most often from people who voted Conservative last time, because I still had about a third of the public in Burnaby—New Westminster vote Conservative last time, is that they voted for administrative competence, and they have gotten incompetence. They say that they voted for some kind of honesty on fiscal matters and have gotten exactly the opposite.
People who voted Conservative are now saying that what they got is the F-35 scandal, the continuous shame of Conservative senators trying to bilk the public and milk the public of every last dollar, pretending they live in provinces where they do not and trying to break the law in a couple of jurisdictions.
What former Conservative voters, because they are not going to vote that way in 2015, are telling us is that it is not what they voted for, but that is what they have gotten.
When we look back to Bill C-48, we can see that this is symptomatic of a much greater malaise. We have a Conservative government that is administratively incompetent, that is mean-spirited and that is unable to control the natural inclination of the Prime Minister to go after shiny baubles and pay whatever it takes, whether we are talking about the Muskoka spending of $1 billion or the $40 billion or more that would go into the F-35s or the ongoing scandal of Senate-gate, with 15 Conservative senators now trying to hide where they live to cover up their past indiscretions.
When we look at all of those things, what we see is symptomatic of why so many Canadians are saying that what they want to see, whether we are talking about a bill like this or any other government decision, is competence. They want to see a government that actually understands the impacts of what it is doing. They want to see a government that is not bringing forward 14 years of technical amendments, because it has been dropping the ball, systemically, for the last seven years.
In 2015, what Canadians will get is a government that is competent, an NDP government that will be submitting technical amendments on an annual basis, because that is what is right and proper for this House of Commons to consider.
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Edmonton—Strathcona for her work on the government operations committee.
It has become, sadly, a hallmark of the Conservatives that they lack accountability. They use massive omnibus budget bills to ram through legislative changes without proper debate, oversight and transparency. Clearly, they want to do the same when it comes to a budget and when it comes to the spending of taxpayers' dollars.
We believe that we need transparency and accountability. In fact, we have seen that the PBO's numbers have often proven right when the government's numbers have proven to be not worth the paper they are written on. I cite the F-35 procurement.
We need accountability and oversight. I do not know what the government is afraid of.
Mr. Speaker, I will share my time with my esteemed colleague from Edmonton—Strathcona.
It is with some pleasure that I enter the debate, because as I read out to the parliamentary secretary, the New Democrats, the official opposition to the government, have asked the House to confirm the government's commitment to follow the law. We have asked the government's commitment to actually begin and fully implement treaties and consult first nations before the government enacts laws that affect first nations.
For Idle No More and the concerns that have happened across the land on specific resource projects or any of those disruptions, the government only has itself to blame. Time and time again, the Conservatives say the words we hear in this place about consulting and respecting first nations' rights and title, then they bring in another law without consulting first nations' rights and title and wonder why first nations from coast to coast to coast rise up against the government and say that they expect and demand better.
I come from northwestern British Columbia, and 35% to 40% of the constituents I represent are from first nation backgrounds. Not only are the first nations a profound part of our history and culture, but a crucial and critical part of our future. First nations are informing the way that we work, the way that we live, the way that we think about our land and our communities. This is an important lesson the government would do well to serve.
I remember the Prime Minister visiting in his Challenger jet with all his security into the northwest at one point. He flew in for an exclusive fundraiser at a lake that was very nice. By some coincidence, the same day, the first nation territory was raising four totem poles. It was the first time they had done such a thing in almost a century.
Being a good parliamentarian, I extended an invitation to the Prime Minister through his office to say, “Why do you not come down? There is a feast happening. The first nations there will treat you with honour and respect, even if they disagree with your policies, because they know what honour and respect actually look like”. The response of the Prime Minister's office was, “Not a chance, ever”.
The Prime Minister went to his exclusive fundraiser while the first nations were raising four totem poles. While the extension of the offer and the invitation had come from the first nations themselves, the Prime Minister's office, and one would only assume under the direction of the Prime Minister, felt that it was not an appropriate way for a Prime Minister to spend his time.
There is a problem that happens too often in politics, and particularly with Parliament and first nations, where we only hear the negative stories, the hard stories, because there are so many of them. In first nation communities, we are all too familiar with the statistics and the realities of first nation people. We know about the elevated suicide rate. We know about the depression and the economic backwardness in which government after government has left first nations. We know that first nation students going to school this morning received one-third less funding than non-first nation students, students who do not live on reserves.
It seems to me that there is also an important conversation to have about the successes, and not the cherry-picked successes. The government likes to play favourites and say that all we have to do is free up property rights. Then places such as Kelowna, Kamloops, downtown Vancouver and the oil patch will be the examples that all first nations can use, because obviously all the reserves around Canada are situated on such absolutely high-value property as the ones outside of Kelowna or in the oil patch in northern Alberta. That is in fact not the case for the vast majority of reserves that the Canadian government saw fit to place first nations on. That is a fact.
The success stories that I talk about, coming from the northwest of British Columbia, are homemade success stories. They are success stories that pushed and fought and struggled against government doctrine, against the ignorance of the government of the day.
I think of the Haida First Nation, who fought on the line with the Government of Canada and British Columbia to defend their island of Haida Gwaii. They fought to establish a regime in which land management is a co-management process, where half of the boards on land management use in Haida Gwaii are Haida and half or non-Haida. They find ways as neighbours, as partners, to develop the land but not the way the Canadian and B.C. governments wanted to do, which was to strip-mine the soul of the island. They actually foresee a future in which our children have an opportunity.
I think of the Tahltan First Nation in northern B.C. faced with the prospect of Shell Canada, this government and previous governments wanting to drill for gas and frack at the very heart of the Sacred Headwaters of the Stikine, the Skeena and the Nass rivers, three of the most critical rivers in all of British Columbia. They wanted to drill and frack for gas at that very same place and had no ability to actually confirm that there would not be poisoned wells coming up everywhere.
The Tahltan First Nation, without any money, without big support and without any help from people in the government, stood up against one of the most powerful companies in the world and got it to see reason, to see that there are better prospects and better places to be. Just recently, Shell, against all odds and against the advice of the government, decided to forgo its leases in the Sacred Headwaters. The B.C. government finally came on side and said that maybe it was time to protect certain places, that drilling for oil and gas everywhere might not be such a great idea. It was the Tahltan First Nation that led that.
I think of the Kitsumkalum and the Kitselas nations that just recently signed a deal with CN. This was quite an amazing day. On a day just next to the day of national action for Idle No More, I was at an event in Kitsumkalum, just outside of Terrace, B.C. We stood on the railway track of a new railway spur, with the first nations in full regalia standing across the railway line in front of a train. They stopped that train. The RCMP and the broader community were in attendance. We were there to cut a ribbon because CN had negotiated with the first nations to have a revenue-sharing agreement to allow that rail spur to be built to a quarry that is now building jobs for the entire community.
It was somewhat ironic to see a model of what it looks like if the parties actually negotiate in good faith with first nations. All seem to benefit. I think of the Haisla First Nation that has stood up against the northern gateway even though money gets splashed around, even though the government tries to bully anybody who happens to have an independent thought on putting an 1,100-kilometre pipeline from Alberta to the port at Kitimat, and then driving 250 supertankers through some of the most narrow and treacherous waters in the world.
When the Haisla First Nation stood up, they said they were open for business but under their management. They were able to sign deals with resource developers on their terms. They will not be bullied. They lawyered up. They invested in their young people and got education going a generation, two generations, three generations ago, despite all the adversity of the residential school and the travesties that government after government set upon first nations.
I think of the Nisga’a signing the first modern-day treaty. They are still pleading with the government to actually have a relationship. The government talks about respect. It talks the talk but will not walk the walk. It will not even meet with the Nisga'a, who are a model for first nations across this country on how to develop a full first nation governance and constitution. The government simply washes its hands of the entire experience.
The Canadian government and the Crown's relationship with first nations is well documented as a dysfunctional relationship. I sat in the House as the Prime Minister welcomed in first nation, Métis, Inuit leaders to this place to express what I believed was a sincere apology to the first nation, Métis and Inuit people of Canada for the travesty of residential schools.
We can all agree, whatever our political persuasion, that when such a thing is prosecuted upon young people and families as an official policy of the Canadian government, generation after generation, there comes a time to face up to that reality and that history and apologize. An apology often means that behaviour will be corrected. If someone apologizes to me and they mean it, then I suspect that the thing that they did that brought on the apology will not be continued.
However, what was the very next thing the government decided to do? It was to cut the funding to the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, which had been established to help people deal with the effects of residential school experiences. That was the next thing it did after it apologized.
The Conservatives wonder, as they are attacking first nation leadership, why the first nations are so upset. Why will they not trust the government when it only wants to be friends? Yet time and time again when first nations come to the table with their hands extended to try to reason and negotiate with the government of the day, the government has other voices in its ear, other friends it would like to listen to first.
If there is some inconvenience for the oil companies in environmental assessments and first nation law, then it will try to shuffle those out of the way and create profound uncertainty in the resource sector. I have heard this, not from first nation leaders alone but from those in the oil and gas sector. They say that the government hands them, time and again, a poisoned chalice where they cannot acquire the social licence to build a project because the public watches the government in action, watches it strip down environmental laws, watches it treat first nations with total disrespect, calling them radicals and enemies of the state.
What do first nations and people who have any concern for first nations' rights and title, and the environment do? They stand up to that bullying. They stand up and resist and join hands, community to community, family to family, friend to friend. That creates the very uncertainty that the Conservatives think they are somehow not a part of, but they are implicated.
We must be allies in the true sense of the word. We must find a way to get over the arrogance and inability of Canadian governments, Liberal and Conservative, consistently down the line to listen and understand the realities of first nations. The government must not just talk the talk, but walk the walk. It means not bringing in legislation that overrides first nations' rights and title and the duty to accommodate and consult, or forcing first nations into courts and costing the Canadian taxpayer untold millions of dollars fighting court case after court case and making lawyers rich, when the Constitution and Charter of Rights and Freedoms clearly defines what is going to happen at the end of the day.
Now we find out from government lawyers in the Department of Justice that in fact the government consistently gets advice that legislation the Conservatives bring in will end up in court because it is fundamentally unconstitutional and would not pass a charter challenge. Thereby the government knowingly brings in things for politics that ultimately cost millions of dollars. It serves to make no one better, but helps the Conservatives score a cheap point for some photo-op for a minister they think is on the ropes again.
This has to stop, and it will stop when a government actually sits down, listens and attends that pole-raising ceremony and attends the feast with respect and humility as one does nation to nation. Until that happens, all of these kind words and sentiments of economic development and prosperity for one and all do not mean anything because they will not happen. The way they will happen is with respect, sincere friendship and finally the Canadian government, if we can imagine the day, acting as an ally to first nations rather than what it is.
Before we go on to questions and comments, it is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Edmonton—Strathcona, Food Safety; the hon. member for Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, Rail Transportation.
The hon. member for La Pointe-de-l'Île.
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Edmonton—Strathcona. Before I start, I would like to thank the member for Halifax West for reminding us of the Liberal-Conservative coalition during his speech.
I want to thank the member for Burnaby—New Westminster for moving this motion. It helps Parliament and Canadians have the debate that the Conservative government would prefer be kept behind closed doors with its well-connected friends. It is the kind of debate that Canada must have. Indeed, it is kind of debate my leader, as Leader of the Opposition, is ensuring we have now and Canadians will have in the next federal election.
Until last Friday at 5 p.m., I had thought the Black Friday sales for shoppers had ended on the day after American Thanksgiving, a few weeks ago. However, Communist China and Malaysia companies knew better. They especially knew where to go for a good sale on our natural resources. No matter what the government says, its actions tell everyone that Canada is for sale.
Imagine the delight of the communist China National Offshore Oil Corporation and Petronas. They find a country willing to sell its natural resources in a secret deal, whose conditions they do not need to divulge, with no public consultation and a green light to lay off workers, lower wages and whatever else they have up their sleeves to bring more petrodollars back home to their countries. They have to be laughing all the way to the bank.
People might think this was a comedy skit, if it were not so sad and serious. The Prime Minister of Canada looks Canadians in the eye and says that he has grave concerns about the sale to China and its increasing ownership of the oil sands. Then he approves the sale of the largest takeover ever, in his next breath.
The Prime Minister races to privatize state-owned companies, like Petro-Canada, and then turns around and welcomes state ownership by companies from communist countries. He is leaving Canadians, provincial governments, like Alberta, and investors wondering what exactly the conditions are for foreign investment.
We were treated to a spectacle this weekend of the Minister of Industry telling Canadians to ask the Chinese what was in the deal. Just imagine. Are there any environmental protections for Canada in this deal? “Ask Communist China” says the Canadian minister. Are there any commitments to keep current workforces in place? “Ask Communist China” says the Canadian minister. Are there any commitments to maintain existing wages? “Ask China.” The government probably needs a link on its government website to the Communist Chinese government for Canadians to know what is happening in their country.
Before 5 p.m. last Friday, I wanted to speak on this NDP opposition day motion. The Calgary Chamber of Commerce in the Prime Minister's home town and a large majority of Canadians are right; we need to clarify the net benefit test for foreign investment.
Why did I want to speak? I am the member for Nickel Belt, and that sits on the world's largest deposit of nickel. Most of my riding residents live in Greater Sudbury, a community that saw its Canadian companies of Falconbridge and Inco sold to Xstrata and Vale, and heard the government mumble like it was mumbling on Friday about net benefits for our workers.
I wanted to speak because I worked for 34 years for Inco and know a little about what actually happened in our community following the sale of our companies to foreign investors. Despite all the talk of net benefit to Canada and Greater Sudbury, we saw layoffs at Vale Inco and Xstrata Falconbridge.
When the Conservatives approved the sale of Falconbridge to Xstrata, they received assurance that there would be no layoffs or job losses for three years. Xstrata broke that promise, eliminating 686 permanent jobs. The Conservative government took no action.
After the takeover of Inco by the Brazilian giant, Vale, workers suffered through a long and bitter strike when the employer tried to cut wages. The Conservative government took no action.
I wanted to speak because I have now reintroduced in this Parliament five private member's bills that would amend the Investment Canada Act to ensure there would be transparency, accountability and public consultation, which are now lacking in these foreign investment deals. I will speak more about those bills in a few moments.
We can understand the skepticism of Canadians listening to the Minister of Industry's absurdity on the weekend that China could explain to Canadians the details of this sweetheart deal to CNOOC. That is the kind of nonsense we used to hear from the President of the Treasury Board when he was minister of industry.
Despite thousands and thousands of emails pouring in to the Prime Minister's office with the subject heading that Canada was not for sale, the government is selling off Canada's natural resources. Hundreds of those emails came from my own riding of Nickel Belt. Eighty per cent of Canadians know this kind of deal does not serve the interests of Canadians.
Friday's announcement brought bad news: there is nothing to clarify the “net benefit” test; there are no assurances that public consultations will be held with Canadians, who will bear the consequences of these takeovers; there are no assurances of mandatory disclosure of the guarantees given by investors or that they will be enforced in a transparent and responsible manner; there is no improved reciprocity for Canadian investors outside Canada; and there are no assurances that governments' records of interference in the activities of state-owned corporations will be reviewed.
Let us hear what commentators were writing this weekend about this deal.
Andrew Coyne wrote that it was all about politics and not policy. He said that the political balancing act was at the cost of total incoherence in policy terms.
Workers on the ground in Alberta know better. The Alberta Federation of Labour said the Prime Minister was saying what Canadians wanted to hear, while doing what they did not want and that these tough new conditions were no more than a public relations ploy.
The so-called unprecedented new rules to foreign investment are still largely behind closed doors for the industry minister's decision with no public input, filled with exceptions and still as ambiguous as ever.
If this is a line in the oils sands, as the front page of the Globe and Mail suggests today, it is pretty much an invisible and moving line. So much for protection for our strategic industries, especially from state-owned enterprises in emerging markets. We can do better as a country. In fact, we must.
We need the Investment Canada Act to work for Canada. The NDP recognizes the need for foreign investment and foreign trade when it works for Canada. We need to clarify the net benefit test, introduce parameters around reciprocity, improve the transparency of decisions and set specific criteria for state-owned companies to meet net benefit requirements in order to protect the Canadian economy for potential foreign government interference.
My private member's bill, Bill C-333, would require the responsible minister, on written application by a Canadian citizen, to disclose both the written undertakings by a foreign company in respect of its investment in a takeover and what Canada had demanded in return.
My private member's bill, Bill C-334, would require public consultation with representatives of industry and labour, provincial and local authorities and other interested persons. It would require non-Canadian investors to provide the Director of Investments with a surety that may be forfeited if non-Canadian investors failed to satisfactorily complete all of the undertakings they had made to the Government of Canada in connection with the investment.
The FIPA that this government signed with the Communists stipulates that once the Chinese takeover is complete, the company must be considered a Canadian company. Thus, once the FIPA has been ratified, CNOOC will have extensive rights that will allow it to increase its control over the oil sands, for instance, by buying up new oil leases. It is now clear that the Conservatives have failed to limit the influence of state-owned corporations in the oil industry.
This is no way to manage the economy. This confusion on rules, this secrecy, this failure to clarify rubber stamping and approval make a mess of things. We on this side are with the vast majority of Canadians who do not trust the Chinese state to run Nexen in the interests of Canadians. It will run the Canadian oil sands in the interest of its central party committee of the communist Chinese party that runs the country. We need a government in Canada that puts Canadians first.
The electoral district of Edmonton--Strathcona (Alberta) has a population of 99,267 with 75,254 registered voters and 211 polling divisions.
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