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Question on Nurtrition North program
Question Northern Issues
Question to minister on confrontation with aboriginal people
Question on regulatory measures
Question on Yukon first nations invitation
Question on outstanding issues under Bill S-6
Question on nutrition north
Question Why do communities get no subsidy
Question reviewing the community eligibility status
Question on annual reviews ?
Question on Nunavut Marine Council Request
Question on recommendation from Nunavut Impact Review Board
Question coming from Nunavut
Question on government responsibility
Question on Nunavut planning board's funding request
Alberta Election
National Day of Mourning
Question on Northern Development
Question on National Defence
Question on Bill S-6
Question on Food Crisis in northern Canada
C-51 Anti-terrorism Act, 2015
Parliamentary Precinct Security
Bill C-44 Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act
Native Communications Society of the Northwest Territories
Arctic policy failures
about the Nutrition North Program
 

Question on Nurtrition North program

May 27, 2015

Mr. Dennis Bevington Former MP Northwest Territories:

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General has shown that the nutrition north criteria are not fair or accessible. They are not even based on current needs.

Forty-six isolated fly-in northern communities are out in the cold, without access to nutritious and affordable food. Will the government commit today to working with all northerners to develop a sustainable solution to food insecurity?

The minister can start by including these 46 communities in the nutrition north program.

Hon. Bernard Valcourt (Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, I cannot help but add that if they were able to impose this carbon tax, it would be even colder. The cost of food would go up, and the cost of hunting everything in the north would go up.

We have accepted the recommendations of the Auditor General, and we are currently examining eligibility criteria. We are collecting data from the communities in the north, and we will review the eligibility criteria.

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Question on Nunavut planning board's funding request

May 13, 2015

Mr. Dennis Bevington Former MP Northwest Territories:

Mr. Chair, recently regulatory boards in Nunavut got a budget increase after years of asking.

However, the government has refused to support the Nunavut planning board's funding request for the final round of technical and public hearings to develop the Nunavut land use plan.

Without a land use plan, we will not see the kind of development the government wants to go ahead with in Nunavut. Why has the minister turned down this request?

Hon. Bernard Valcourt (Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, CPC):

Mr. Chair, simply, we are continuing to work with the Nunavut Planning Commission to manage Canada's funding requirements and the commission's funding needs.

I am optimistic that through open communication, Canada and the commission can ensure that it receives the support it requires to implement its obligations under the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement.

That is the position of the government.

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Question on government responsibility

May 13, 2015

Mr. Dennis Bevington Former MP Northwest Territories:

Mr. Chair, for the minister with respect, the minister's department funds CanNor.

He is responsible for it as well and the government is responsible for what it is does in these projects.

Hon. Bernard Valcourt (Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, CPC):

Mr. Chair, the minister responsible for CanNor is the hon. member for Nunavut.

I am sure she would be pleased to answer any questions the member has in regard to CanNor.

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Question coming from Nunavut

May 13, 2015

Mr. Dennis Bevington Former MP Northwest Territories:

Mr. Chair, this is another question coming from Nunavut. Six years after they were purchased, the materials for Gjoa Haven 29 metre bridge to span the Swan River sit gathering rust.

The materials were bought with federal funding in 2009 through the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency's community adjustment fund, but no funding was provided to actually construct the bridge.

How could this project have been approved without including construction costs, and will the minister ensure that Gjoa Haven has the funds needed to actually build the bridge?

Hon. Bernard Valcourt (Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, CPC):

Mr. Chair, with all due respect to the hon. member, this is a CanNor issue.

That is where he should be directing his question.

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Question on recommendation from Nunavut Impact Review Board

May 13, 2015

Mr. Dennis Bevington Former MP Northwest Territories:

Mr. Chair, this week the Nunavut Impact Review Board recommended that Resources Canada's proposed uranium mine near Baker Lake should not proceed.

Will the minister accept this recommendation from the board or will he ignore the interests of the people in Nunavut and reject the board's recommendation?

Hon. Bernard Valcourt (Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, CPC):

Mr. Chair, what the minister will do is receive the recommendations of the board, look at them diligently and then make a decision.

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Question on Nunavut Marine Council Request

May 13, 2015

Mr. Dennis Bevington Former MP Northwest Territories:

Mr. Chair, last summer the Nunavut Marine Council sent a letter to the minister demanding a full scale strategic environmental assessment of Baffin Bay and Davis Strait before any seismic testing was allowed.

Without such a strategic investment, local communities would not support future oil and gas development the letter said.

Why did the minister refuse this request?

Hon. Bernard Valcourt (Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, CPC):

Mr. Chair, as in the Beaufort Sea, Canada has indeed a strategic interest in advancing oil and gas exploration in the eastern Arctic where no exploration rights have been issued since the seventies.

As early as 2012, the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development officials made public commitments to undertake a strategic environmental assessment to inform a ministerial decision around whether, when and where oil and gas companies might be invited to bid on parcels of land for exploration rights in Baffin Bay and Davis Strait under the Canada Petroleum Resources Act.

That commitment has already been made and it will take place.

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Question on annual reviews

May 13, 2015

Mr. Dennis Bevington Former MP Northwest Territories:

Mr. Chair, what part of “annual reviews” does the minister not understand?

They would allow these very important changes to be made to these programs and these communities could be allowed to get some subsidy for their food.

Why is the minister talking about reviews that are going to be done in the future, when the program has been in place for four years?

Hon. Bernard Valcourt (Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, CPC):

Mr. Chair, the government has indicated its commitment to improving this program. Just last fall, we announced a further investment of over $11 million into the program.

We believe as a government that northerners should maintain a direct voice in the nutrition north program, which is why we enlist the advice of local community members to help guide the direction of that program.

I have asked the advisory board to consider how we can improve the program. My understanding is that it is discharging its responsibility with diligence.

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Question on reviewing the community eligibility status

May 13, 2015

Mr. Dennis Bevington Former MP Northwest Territories:

Mr. Chair, the minister knows full well that the Auditor General showed that the department had committed to reviewing the community eligibility status for these communities on an annual basis, but it has not completed annual reviews. These communities remain unsatisfied.

Why has the minister's government not completed these reviews?

Hon. Bernard Valcourt (Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, CPC):

Mr. Chair, as we have already indicated, the department will complete the first phase of a detailed review of all isolated northern communities to better understand the challenges they face due to isolation in accessing perishable nutritious food in the final half of 2015.

Remote communities in the three territories and seven provinces were examined, including their year-round access to approximately 30 supply centres, and recommendations on community eligibility will be developed.

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Question Why do communities get no subsidy

May 13, 2015

Mr. Dennis Bevington Former MP Northwest Territories:

Mr. Chair, of course the answers should follow the general delivery of the questions. That is the procedure we have in this committee.

Why do communities like Fort Good Hope, Northwest Territories; Fort Chipewyan, Alberta; Tadoule Lake, Manitoba; and Deer Lake, Ontario get no subsidy when they are isolated, remote northern communities where people require the food subsidy?

Hon. Bernard Valcourt (Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, CPC):

Mr. Chair, that member is confused. On the one hand he says that the program does not work, and then he says that we should bring it to other communities. He should make up his mind as to whether or not the program works.

The fact of the matter is that we have already indicated that we are examining the criteria for admissibility under the program in order to reflect the needs issue, which the Auditor General indicated in his report and which we have accepted as a recommendation.

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Question on nutrition north

May 13, 2015

Mr. Dennis Bevington Former MP Northwest Territories:

Mr. Chair, I will move on to nutrition north.

The first question I have for the minister is this: how did the department determine which communities were eligible for the new nutrition north program? What factors were considered?

Hon. Bernard Valcourt (Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, CPC):

Mr. Chair, the first communities that were accepted under nutrition north were those that were using the existing food mail program, which we changed because this government was of the view that the taxpayers of Canada should not subsidize transporting tires and Ski-Doo parts to the north.

Rather, we were and are of the view that we should promote the consumption of nutritious food, which is what this program does.

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Question on outstanding issues under Bill S-6

May 13, 2015

Mr. Dennis Bevington Former MP Northwest Territories:

Mr. Chair, a simple yes or no would have been sufficient for the first nations in the Yukon, but I see we are not getting that. The minister jumped all over the place and ended with some platitude about perhaps meeting with them.

Can the minister just simply say yes or no? Will he meet with the first nations of the Yukon to try to deal with the four outstanding issues under Bill S-6 or will he not?

Hon. Bernard Valcourt (Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, CPC):

Mr. Chair, as I have indicated, the consultation process has taken place. The provisions of Bill S-6 are clear. They have the total and strong endorsement of the Government of Yukon, which speaks on behalf of Yukoners.

The first nations still voice their opposition to a few amendments, but as I indicated, I am ready to work out with them how we can implement those in a full spirit of co-operation and of respect for the umbrella agreement.

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Question on Yukon first nations invitation

May 13, 2015

Mr. Dennis Bevington Former MP Northwest Territories:

Mr. Chair, would the minister be willing to accept the Yukon first nations invitation to work with federal and territorial officials to address the four areas of concern that they expressed to the Senate standing committee on September 25, 2014, in Ottawa and the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development on March 30, 2015, in Whitehorse?

Is he willing to sit and work with them to try to solve some of these issues?

Hon. Bernard Valcourt (Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, CPC):

Mr. Chair, consistent with normal consultation procedures, the draft legislative proposal was shared with the first nations on a confidential basis and with all stakeholders prior to its introduction.

There have been comprehensive and substantive consultations with Yukon first nations in respect of all of the proposed amendments contained in the bill. Consultation on the amendments took place in May and November 2013 and again on a revised proposal in February and April 2014. A final consultation session was held in Whitehorse on May 23, 2014, to share the final form and substance of the legislative proposal.

That said, I remain always willing to talk with first nations to see how we can ensure the proper development of Yukon to the benefit of all Yukoners.

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Question on regulatory measures

May 13, 2015

Mr. Dennis Bevington Former MP Northwest Territories:

Mr. Chair, the minister's efforts in both the Northwest Territories and Yukon have led to court actions, which are going to likely result in considerable delays and uncertainty in these two territories about the development of the resources that the government seems to want to push forward as quickly as possible.

When he wants to increase investor certainty, why has he chosen to take these actions, which to most people in the North do not make any sense at all and are not required at all?

Hon. Bernard Valcourt (Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, CPC):

Mr. Chair, it is funny to hear the member talk about the provisions of Bill S-6, which he now opposes.

Yet, when we passed Bill C-15, which also contained regulatory measures for the Northwest Territories, he voted for it. He has to make up his mind.

Either he is for it or against it.

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Question to minister on confrontation with aboriginal people

May 13, 2015

Mr. Dennis Bevington Former MP Northwest Territories:

Mr. Chair, in the Northwest Territories, the Tlicho and Sahtu Dene governments have already initiated court action over the Conservatives' creation of the environmental super board to replace regional boards created through the land claim agreements. Yukon first nations say they will do the same as soon as Bill S-6 is passed.

Why does the minister believe that confrontation with aboriginal people in areas where they have a very responsible relationship with their existing governments is better than co-operation?

Hon. Bernard Valcourt (Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, CPC):

Again, Mr. Chair, this does not hold water or facts.

The granting of this injunction was not based on a decision of merits by either the Canadian or Tlicho's legal positions. The merits of each party's argument will be dealt with at trial.

We are committed to ensuring that the regulatory regime of the Northwest Territories continues to function smoothly. We will focus our efforts on ensuring that the land and water boards in the Mackenzie Valley continue to effectively and efficiently assess land and water applications before them. As this matter is before the court as we speak, I cannot comment further.

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Question Northern Issues

May 13, 2015

Mr. Dennis Bevington Former MP Northwest Territories:

Mr. Chair, I would like to address my questions to the minister. I will start with northern issues.

The minister, in his dialogue with first nations in Yukon, indicated that the government does not consider first nations governments. Is the minister holding to that position?

Hon. Bernard Valcourt (Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, CPC):

Mr. Chair, that is completely ridiculous.

First of all, the member was not present at that meeting.

Had he been there, he would have seen this minister take the umbrella agreement and point to the definition of government in the agreement.

That is simply what I indicated.

The umbrella agreement, if the member does not know, indicates that government means either the Government of Canada or the Government of Yukon.

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Alberta Election statement

May 07, 2015

Mr. Dennis Bevington Former MP Northwest Territories:

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the people of the Northwest Territories to congratulate Rachel Notley and the NDP on their election victory as a strong, stable, majority government for Alberta.

The people of the NWT have a special relationship with Albertans. We regularly travel, trade, play and work in Alberta. Edmonton is our city for medical services, post-secondary education and all manner of supply and services. The NWT and Alberta share an ecosystem with northern Alberta included in the Mackenzie River watershed. Northerners, including my parents, came from Alberta.

I salute the premier-elect and her Notley crew for running a marvellous campaign full of trust and change. Northerners will look forward to working with this new, exciting government. I am sure she will continue the productive relationship between Alberta and the NWT.

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National Day of Mourning

April 28, 2015

Mr. Dennis Bevington Former MP Northwest Territories:

On this National Day of Mourning, it is important that we all take time to recognize and respect the memories of those that have lost their lives in the pursuit of earning a living to provide for themselves and their loved ones.

Over the years in Canada's North, we have seen many workers lose their lives in the workplace.

Through the efforts of Unions to raise safety standards; our Governments to pass appropriate legislation; and through our educational institutions and responsible businesses practices, we have seen considerable progress in ensuring that the work environment is better and safer for all workers.

But the job is not finished and vigilance must be maintained. A death or an injury the workplace affects us all. So, I encourage everyone to keep up their efforts in this regard and to continue to remember those who have passed.

Sincerely,

Dennis Bevington

Member of Parliament, Northwest Territories

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Question on Northern Development

April 20, 2015

Mr. Dennis Bevington Former MP Northwest Territories:

Mr. Speaker, the Rangers need action, not words.

During the Conservatives' turn at the helm of the Arctic Council, they moved away from its mandate of research, environmental protection, and co-operation to one of resource exploitation and confrontation with our Arctic neighbours. The Conservatives' failed domestic northern strategy has resulted in less food security, a higher cost of living, and the trampling of aboriginal rights.

When is the government going to bring in policies that actually support northerners and not just make a few large southern companies rich?

Hon. Leona Aglukkaq (Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, I look forward to hosting the Arctic Council ministerial meeting this Friday in Iqaluit.

The member opposite issued a statement that misrepresents the economic situation in the north. Each year between 2010 and 2013, both the economy and the number of jobs across the north increased, and growth was supported by the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency in more than 900 projects that created jobs and opportunities for northerners.

In the meantime, the member opposite, from the Northwest Territories, has rejected important projects that would benefit northerners, not just the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk highway, which supports economic development and opportunities for northerners. This just once again shows how disconnected the member—

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Question on National Defence

April 20, 2015

Mr. Dennis Bevington Former MP Northwest Territories:

Mr. Speaker, a report by the chaplain for Joint Task Force North shows that there have been a significant number of deaths of Rangers and junior rangers over the past three years.

The Rangers shoulder the important burden of protecting our north, carrying out their duty in Canada's harshest environment. Can the minister tell us how many of our brave Rangers have died and what Canadian Forces mental health services are available to our eyes and ears in the north?

Hon. Julian Fantino (Associate Minister of National Defence, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, the government has led efforts in support of the Canadian Rangers, our eyes and ears in the north. The Rangers demographic faces the same health challenges faced by the northern communities they represent. Our government has taken action to provide additional medical resources for Rangers deployed in the north.

Canadian Rangers who are injured during active duty have access to a suite of benefits and services provided by the Canadian Armed Forces, and any other health care needs are the responsibility of the provinces or the territories where they reside. We will continue to support our Rangers in all of their needs.

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Question on BIll S-6

March 12, 2015

Mr. Dennis Bevington Former MP Northwest Territories:

Mr. Speaker, another flawed bill and another long and wasteful court fight with first nations: that is where the minister is going.

It is not just first nations that have a problem with the legislation. In a letter sent to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development last fall, the president of Casino Mining expressed concerns about the “negative impact this is having on the territory’s mineral industry”. The Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon is also opposed.

Why pursue a bill that will not stand up in court and is opposed by both first nations and businesses? Where is the certainty in that?

Hon. Bernard Valcourt (Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, the member can choose a few quotes, but the fact of the matter is that industry, the Yukon government, the Nunavut government, NTI, and all of these groups support this legislation, because for the first time, this Conservative government has taken steps to level the playing field so that those resources in the north can be exploited for the benefit of northerners.

This would change the regulatory system to attract investment and create jobs and long-term prosperity, which is our objective.

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Question on Food Crisis in northern Canada

February 25, 2015

Mr. Dennis Bevington Former MP Northwest Territories:

Mr. Speaker, there is a food crisis in northern Canada, and the Conservatives misled Canadians about fixing it.

Just before the Auditor General's report, the Conservatives claimed there would be an extra $11 million in the nutrition north program. Including that money, the yearly total is what they have been spending since the program started.

Why did the Conservatives mislead Canadians and northerners about the money in this program, and where is the $7 million extra needed for the 50 communities that are not included in the program?

Hon. Bernard Valcourt (Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member cares to look at the estimates, which are estimates, he will see that there is increased funding for nutrition north, as was announced earlier, and we are going to continue our campaign to engage with northerners to continue to improve that program.

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C-51 Anti-terrorism Act, 2015

February 23, 2015

Mr. Dennis Bevington Former MP Northwest Territories:

Mr. Speaker, I am glad to have the opportunity to speak to this bill, though many of my colleagues in the House who would also like an opportunity to speak to such an important bill that mixes security and freedom will not have one because we are under time allocation.

Bill C-51 makes it very clear that the Prime Minister meant what he said when he remarked that we would not recognize Canada when he got through with the bill. The party of one will make sure that this country is not the same after his reign is finished. We will not recognize Canada after Bill C-51 is made law and used for many years. We will not recognize what this bill can do to Canada, including today when we stand to speak about a couple of jihadist threats that have potentially occurred in Canada and speak about the bill in that regard. We will not recognize what the bill would do to Canada because it will come in the actions of CSIS over many years, as CSIS uses its new powers to work in Canadian society and, through Bill C-44, in various ways abroad to change the very nature of Canadian society.

The Conservative Prime Minister has demonstrated time and again that disagreement is not something he tolerates or understands. In fact, we heard the former Public Safety minister Vic Toews call environmentalists eco-terrorists in 2012. The current finance minister, in his time as natural resources minister, basically made the same kinds of remarks.

We live in a world where we know that we have to balance the environment and the economy and where those questions require debate, disagreement and, many times, civil confrontation. Now there would be a new set of rules. It is hard to think that that type of interaction could in any way be a threat to national security when we talk about how we are balancing what we do in this country between the environment and the economy, but that is quite clearly laid out in this bill. It underlies this bill.

This bill would likely create even greater divisions and alienation in our society than exist now. That is generally what happens when there is more authoritarian and secretive behaviour in society, with more opportunities for collusion under the law to take out the people who are not liked or the people who are somehow thought to be threats to Canada.

When one views the government's actions and words of concern about environmentalists, it is understandable that many Canadians are starting to speak up about Bill C-51. Yes, the initial poll showed that a lot of Canadians liked the idea of security against terrorism; but did they understand what was in the bill, and are the Conservatives allowing them to understand that by continuing this debate in the House of Commons? No, they are not. They are closing the debate down because they know darn well that as this debate continues and things come out, others will ask for a better bill and a better understanding of the nature of what the Conservatives are proposing.

To be specific, Bill C-51 threatens our way of life by asking Canadians to choose between their security and their freedoms. It asks Canadians to choose, but the Conservatives do not actually ask Canadians; they simply put this bill forward, apply closure, and send it through committee in very little time. That is what will happen.

A bill like this should take time. We should be at it for months, maybe a year, getting the bill right. We do not have any rush. After Air India, we did not change anything for many years. We did not have significant problems. We are not having significant problems today.

Bill C-51 was not developed in consultation with other parties. That is very much the case. This thing was brought up in a very big rush after October 2014, as we heard commentators from the Conservatives Party say here today.

The bill irresponsibly provides CSIS with a sweeping new mandate without equally increasing oversight. Actually, there is no oversight; there is review, and we need to keep those separate. There is the Security Intelligence Review Committee, which is not an oversight committee but a review committee that looks at things the agency has done long after it is finished. Oversight says more immediacy. The Conservatives say that a judge will do that, but only if CSIS takes it to a judge. In many cases, they may not.

I want to talk about threat disruption, which is an interesting subject. When we think of groups that may be formed to do something the government opposes, like environmental action, CSIS might say, “Then if they might do something unlawful in the future, perhaps we should get involved right now to deal with threat disruption. Maybe we should put a CSIS member into that organization. Maybe we should undermine the organization first before it becomes a problem”. That would fit under the law. That is called threat disruption. If we disrupt something before the unlawful action is taken, how can anyone prove there was unlawful action? This works both ways. We can disrupt people now because we think in the future they may do something wrong.

The bill does not provide anything to make our society work better. The bill does not do anything to build communities, to build understanding—absolutely nothing. It is all secretive. It is all behind the scenes. There is nothing here that says we have a job to do in our society to bring people together.

When we look at the promotion of terrorism, how can we judge that? How can we judge the promotion of terrorism? What is incitement to terrorism? Is it someone saying that their son or daughter has been injured, that they are angry about it and that they do not like what the government has done. Is that incitement to terrorism? What is being suggested in this?

Quite obviously the government has made the bill so large that it simply cannot answer those questions today. How will we answer them in the future? It will only be through the actions of what happens here. If we have oversight by parliamentarians, we may have a chance to control some of the bill going forward. If we do not, then we will rely on non-elected individuals to determine what the bill does, and that is simply wrong.

Why do we not deal with this in a better fashion than what the government has proposed to do? Why did we go in this direction? The party of one is responsible for this. The Prime Minister would not come into Parliament and stand to speak to the bill. He chose to do it somewhere where he did not have anyone to criticize him, to ask him questions. Why would someone make such a large effort to promote the bill without that type of commentary in the House? I really find that wrong-headed, but it is more the style of this Prime Minister, the party of one.

Clearly, we oppose the bill. We will continue to oppose the bill because it is not done right. It will not protect Canadians. It will affect their rights in the future. We do not understand exactly how it will affect their rights, but it will do that without the proper oversight of parliamentarians.

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Member of Parliament Dennis Bevington speech on government Motion 14; RCMP leading operational security on the Hill

February 16, 2015

Mr. Dennis Bevington Former MP Northwest Territories:

Mr. Speaker, I am rising to debate the motion before us and the amendments that have been made to it.

Of course, the NDP is not opposed to the idea of an integrated security force operating in the parliamentary precinct. That is an idea that most of us have a good feeling about and think would improve the general security of the place. However, the problem is what has happened here to start with and then looking at the details of the motion.

To start with, when we have an opportunity for parliamentarians to make the rules for Parliament, there should be a process that engages parliamentarians and not a process that comes from the Prime Minister's Office. That is not appropriate for dealing with the rules that govern us as parliamentarians. We all understand that, but the Conservatives seem to be willing to go along with the idea that a party of one gets to make the choices in this House of Commons for all of us.

What we have before us is a motion that calls on the Speaker to “invite without delay, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police...”

Therefore, once the motion is passed, the Speaker has his orders. He is going to invite, without delay, without discussion, the RCMP to lead operational security. That is the essence of what is happening here. Everything else around it is on qualifications that may or may not come into play. However, that is what will happen from this motion, which is what we are here for today.

We talk about the privilege of the House and the continued employment of our existing parliamentary security staff, but those are things that can or may be put into place, or they may continue in one way or another. However, it is that the RCMP would take over and lead operational security for this parliamentary precinct. That is what is going to happen.

How do we feel about the actions of the security team in October, which is what has driven the party of one, the Prime Minister, to put forward this motion?

We all saw what happened. We all have our ideas about what went wrong or right on that day. We can look back and ask ourselves if the people in our security service within this House, many whom have worked here for many years and recognize every one of us, were the most important element in what happened on that day. I think we can say yes. We saw what happened outside of the grounds.

We could say that there are technical issues outside of the grounds. Why do we not have electronic locks on the main doors in this place? Why do we not have secondary barriers on the roads leading up to this place? What are we doing about the people on two-wheeled vehicles who roar up the Hill? Nothing. We do have some technical issues on the grounds around Parliament that we need to deal with. We obviously have problems with access to the buildings when someone can walk in without anyone stopping them.

There are issues that need to be dealt with, but they are not issues that need to change the way that Parliament is run and the way parliamentarians take care of themselves. These are technical issues. They are issues that should be worked on by security experts who can put them in place, who can make sure that procedures outside the grounds and inside the House are adequate for our protection and respect the nature of Parliament. We do not need to change the relationship to do that.

My concern about the grounds goes back to an incident in September 2011, when members of the RCMP, in response to the Keystone pipeline protest, put up massive barricades. They shut down the main stairs leading up to the middle of the parliamentary grounds. They positioned people on tops of buildings. There was a crowd of 1,000 people, and they were very concerned about controlling it.

As a member of Parliament, I wanted to access the stairs. I told the RCMP that I wanted to stand on the stairs and talk to people in the crowd. The officers told me I could not do that. When I asked the officers under what authority were they doing this, they said the authority was in a book in the House of Commons. I told them to get the book. When they opened it, they apologized and told me to stand where I wished.

Those RCMP officers did not understand the relationship of parliamentarians to Parliament. Some of them are here for a year or two; some are here maybe a bit longer. They are not like our security staff. They do not understand the nature of Parliament and the parliamentarians who work here and represent Canadians within this building.

We do not want to see that change. We do not want to see the relationship we have with this building change over technical issues that should be fixed and can be fixed.

When I was transport critic in the last Parliament, I spent time on aviation security. It was clear that once security rules are put in place, they stay in place, whether they become rather insignificant and meaningless later on.

We went through a process in transport committee and we heard from many witnesses. When we begin locking the cockpit door of an airplane so that no one can enter it, it changes the nature of what can go into the cabin. An individual cannot open a properly locked cockpit door with a pair of scissors. Threatening someone in the cabin is then like threatening somebody anywhere else. Threats were made, so rules were finally changed.

The Israelis laugh at some of the things that we do here. They have the best security system in the world, but we get into a fixed position about what we think security is and we are then not adaptable to the changes that can take place.

We do need to adapt, but we cannot throw out the baby with the bath water. We cannot make this Parliament less than it is. This is our watch. We are standing this watch. This is the watch that all of us in this Parliament represent at this time. What we do here to change the rules for how our Parliament behaves is important. It cannot be done simply at the whim of the party of one. The party of one does not have the right to do that to us in this Parliament. We all know what the party of one means here, and no one could deny that.

The differences between the RCMP and the security people in the House are really quite apparent. The security people here look on this as their career. They learn to work with us. They know each other and all of us personally. They understand how this place works when we are here and when we are somewhere else.

What is the likelihood of the RCMP understanding that? RCMP officers have a couple of years on the Hill and then move on. Some rookies from Regina might be brought in and put to work on the Hill. What kind of guarantee is that of the total understanding of the relationship of parliamentarians to Parliament, of respect for the people who work in here, of understanding our job and our authority within the House? There is no guarantee.

This is a dangerous place to go. We do not need to go there. We should go back and put this in front of a group of parliamentarians. We should come together and make an agreement among ourselves. We are not far away. Two amendments have been made to the government's motion, one from the opposition and one from the third party. We are not far apart. Let us bring them together. Let us put this together in a good fashion.

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Member of Parliament Dennis Bevington speaking on Bill C-44 Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act

January 30, 2015

Mr. Dennis Bevington Former MP Northwest Territories:

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Rivière-des-Mille-Îles. I am speaking today to Bill C-44, a terrorism bill. However, before I get into the more technical aspects of my speech, I want to talk a bit about the threat of terrorism in Canada.

I have heard my colleagues across the way describe the events of last fall as being one of the most egregious terrorism acts that we have seen in Canada, but I do not think it actually deserves that title. The most egregious act of terrorism that occurred in Canada was Air India in 1985. It was a very tragic occurrence. CSIS at the time was tracking the terrorists, and we did not have very good oversight over CSIS and its operations then. For many years, Parliament was unable to get to the bottom of it, and required quite extensive action on the part of government to do that. What we saw in 1985 was a large act of terrorism, in which hundreds of people were killed. That is, in my mind, the primary event of terrorism in Canada in the time I have been here.

We have seen other acts of terrorism. We have seen it in the Alberta gas fields, where people have blown up gas wells on numerous occasions. We have seen acts of terrorism on the west coast against hydroelectric facilities. Terrorism has shown up in Canada quite often over the course of our lifetimes.

Only today do we see this kind of knee-jerk reaction to incidents for which we have much difficulty understanding as pure terrorism, because the individuals involved had mental and social issues. They may well have been influenced by ideology from one ethnic group or the other, but they were not driven or coerced by that. They acted on their own and in some ways acted haphazardly and in a way that suggested they were simply emotional outbursts. To me, that is not the same type of thing as a carefully planned and executed destruction of an airliner, killing hundreds of people. That is truly a definition of, if not terrorism, the relative degree of importance of the acts that take place.

It is unfortunate that in the events we have seen in the last few months, we now will make decisions about the way we run Canada that we did not choose to make in 1985 or at other times when we were faced with acts that we could justifiably call terrorism. Therefore, why are we doing it now? Why are we taking these actions now? What is the larger threat that we see and perceive that will curtail more human rights and the basic freedoms we have in Canada, those that we have worked very hard to maintain? What are we doing?

With the latest bill, we would increase the powers of Canada's spy agency. We are offering it up as another international body to engage in espionage and spy on other countries. We have created this situation in the law. Clause 8 of the bill calls for enabling “the Service to investigate, within or outside Canada, a threat to the security of Canada or to perform its duties and functions under section 16”. The important words are “outside Canada“. Now we will give our intelligence service more latitude to pursue its objectives outside of Canada.

Section 21 of the act asks that we also give the agency the ability to act without regard to any other law, in other words, any other law of another country. We are asking our intelligence service to open up the opportunity to spy on other countries, to disregard the laws that other countries might have toward their citizens and pursue our intelligence system in that regard. We are taking a step to a more confrontational approach to other nations based on one single perceived threat of ISIL, or al Qaeda, or those foreign agencies that we see as being the prime international threat to the stability of the world right now.

We are on a fairly slippery slope and this is simply the first piece of legislation that the government is coming forward with, and we are going to see some more. We were given public notice of another bill today, and I have not had the opportunity to review it. However, certainly we are moving in that direction. It is something that we have to take very seriously. It is not simple. It is not simply to jump on the bandwagon and let us go after increased surveillance abilities our intelligence service overseas. Within Canada we will see our intelligence service taking other kinds of actions which would not have been permitted in the past.

Is the threat of that significance why we need to move in that direction? I would argue that after the larger incident of terrorism that occurred in 1985, we made some changes to our airport security system. We did some things to help reduce that threat. We did not really provide that same coordination within the country that perhaps was required. I think we are all in favour of greater coordination between our protective services. However, at that time, we did not see the need to give our intelligence service these types of powers to take out of the country. Yet we have seen incidents far less serious than that which are now driving us in that direction. Why? Is it simply by politics?

That is a concern that we all have on this side of the House, that we are moving ahead with restrictions of the rights and privileges of Canadians based on the political necessity of creating this threat in the Canadian political process. It is unfortunate that we would then choose to change our laws, laws that have been in place for a long time.

In some ways, politics is important in terms of our international relationships. When we see a Canadian foreign minister abroad being pelted with eggs and shoes, that is an unusual occurrence for Canada. Perhaps we should look at the politics of what we are doing rather than simply looking at ways that we can intervene militarily. We have moved away from a Canadian position of enlightened centralism into one that picks sides. That is the greatest threat to Canadian security in this day and age.

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Member of Parliament Dennis Bevington’s statement in the House of Commons on Native Communications Society of the Northwest Territories

January 30, 2015

Mr. Dennis Bevington Former MP Northwest Territories:

Mr. Speaker, this weekend the board of the Native Communications Society of the Northwest Territories meets to decide whether to shut down a northern institution that provides daily Dene language programs through the Northwest Territories.

NCS is in this position because of a fight over funding with the Conservative government, which caused their station to lay off most of its staff in July, cut all local programming, and limit broadcasts to pre-set music. This is jeopardizing radio station CKLB, which has been on the air for 30 years.

I have also heard that the Inuvialuit Communications Society came close to shutting down due to funding delays and that the Aboriginal Voices Radio Network has had funding problems as well.

The two objectives of Heritage Canada funding for aboriginal radio are to ensure availability of significant amount of radio and television programming and to contribute to the protection and enhancement of aboriginal languages and cultures.

Aboriginal media gives a voice to Canada's first peoples to tell their stories and preserve their language and cultures. Petty funding delays endanger this vital fabric of Canada.

Will the minister get this together immediately?

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Member of Parliament Dennis Bevington’s question on Arctic policy failures

January 30, 2015

Mr. Dennis Bevington Former MP Northwest Territories:

Mr. Speaker, nutrition north is working so well that average Canadians now are sending food parcels to needy northern families. However, nutrition north is just one of the ways the government's narrow-minded policies have failed northerners.

The government's so-called streamlining of environmental protections has led to lawsuits with first nations, which have increased uncertainty for development. Internationally, the government has chosen confrontation over co-operation in the Arctic.

When will the government realize that its northern policy is harming us in the north rather than helping?

Mark Strahl (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development):

Mr. Speaker, no government has done more for the north than this Conservative government. We have invested, whether it is in the Canadian High Arctic Research Station in Cambridge Bay, which that party voted against; whether it is taking down the long gun registry, which was an offence to northern Canadians and aboriginals living in the north—we have dismantled it and they will bring it back; or whether it is standing up against an NDP carbon tax, which would increase the cost of everything in the north.

We will reject that and continue to deliver for northerners, as we have done since taking office in 2006.

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Member of Parliament Dennis Bevington questions the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs about the Nutrition North Program in the House of Commons

January 27, 2015

Mr. Dennis Bevington Former MP Northwest Territories:

Mr. Speaker, the nutrition north program is another failure and symbolic of the Conservatives' failed Arctic policies. Now the minister's department has put out a tender for a consultant to help him out with nutrition north, not now but next fiscal year.

The reality is that parents across northern Canada are going without food and elders are scavenging in the dumps.

Canadians in southern Canada have begun sending food to northerners through organizations like Helping our Northern Neighbours.

Why are the Conservatives delaying action on this immediate crisis?

Bernard Valcourt (Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development)

Again, Mr. Speaker, the government is indeed taking action. We indicated to the House and to northerners that we would implement all of the recommendations of the Auditor General.

The fact remains that the NDP may grandstand and try to make political points and play politics with the fate of northerners, but the fact is that the results are clear.

Since the implementation of the nutrition north program, perishable and nutritious food shipped to northern Canada has gone up by 25%. The cost of a food basket for a family of four has gone down by $110 per month. That is quite a significant achievement.

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available as Acrobat PDF about the Nutrition North Program question