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Bill C 221 Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act VideoMy Bill C-221 Environmental Restoration Incentive Act - Challenges and solutions
It also sets out a requirement for the Minister of Finance to make an assessment respecting the implementation of possible tax incentives for the closure of oil and gas wells.
Available on the House of Commons website at the following address:. Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:.
Short Title. Short title. Income Tax Act. Closure of oil or gas well tax credit. Report to Parliament. For that reason, I will not be supporting the bill and do not recommend that it be sent forward to a legislative committee for its consideration.
Tracey Ramsey NDP Essex, ON. Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to rise today to speak in support of Bill C , also called the safe and regulated sports betting act.
I would like to thank my hon. It is an important piece of legislation. It seeks to delete paragraph 4 b from the Criminal Code, which explicitly prohibits wagering on any race, fight, or single sports event or athletic contest.
The bill may sound familiar, and for good reason. It was previously introduced by my friend, Joe Comartin, the now retired member for Windsor—Tecumseh.
He did more than just introduce it, though. His bill was debated in this place, passed in a vote at third reading, and sent to the Senate.
Unfortunately, it languished in the Senate for years before dying on the Order Paper with the dissolution of the 41st Parliament.
It is shameful that the Senate did not do its job and that it prevented the passage of legislation that was passed by elected MPs in the House.
Therefore, I thank the member for Windsor West for choosing to reintroduce his former colleague's bill and for his continued work serving his community in the region of Windsor-Essex.
Betting on sporting events is not illegal in Canada. What this bill would do is make betting on a single event legal. Right now, individuals are required to bet on at least two events.
In Ontario, the minimum is three. This so-called parlay system is under the jurisdiction of the provinces, as is all operating, licensing, and regulating of legal gambling.
Bill C would simply allow for single sports betting to come under the purview of the provinces as well. The safe and regulated sports betting act is very relevant to the people who live in my riding of Essex.
A large employer and attraction in our region is the world-class Caesars Windsor casino. People come from all over southwestern Ontario and the American Midwest to visit Caesars, both for its entertainment purposes and to enjoy the many other tourist attractions of the Windsor-Essex region.
Local residents know how much Americans love coming over to Caesars. All anyone has to do is look at the border traffic on any weekend in Windsor.
Americans choose to come to Windsor-Essex even though Detroit casinos may be more convenient for them. They like coming to Canada, especially now with the lower dollar.
The legislation before us today would give casinos like Caesars a competitive advantage over their competition south of the border.
This is good for Canadian jobs, tourism, and economy. Currently, only Las Vegas, Nevada, offers legal single sports betting in North America.
Think about that. If people want to place a legal wager on the Super Bowl, the Grey Cup, or a Stanley Cup finals game, the only place they can do so is Las Vegas.
There is tremendous economic opportunity here. Gaming is the largest sector of the entertainment industry. Other border regions with casinos would similarly benefit.
Many communities stand to gain from this new source of revenue that would be returned, in part, to the community. It has been estimated that allowing single sports betting could create direct jobs at Caesars Windsor.
This is huge for my region, which has stubbornly high unemployment rates. Over the past decade alone, it has lost well over 10, good manufacturing jobs.
The region needs new opportunities. This is why my colleague's bill has widespread support, including from the city of Windsor, the city of Niagara Falls, the Canadian Gaming Association, and the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce.
A delegation came to Ottawa earlier this year to encourage parliamentarians to support this bill. Representatives came from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Labour Congress, the Canadian Gaming Association, and others.
Despite the bill's broad support, the government has said it opposes Bill C because it could potentially have negative impacts on those who struggle with gambling addictions.
This is a serious concern and something to which I am very sensitive. Addiction is a serious problem, one that can destroy the lives of people and families in our community.
Let us not underplay that. However, I do not see any evidence put forth by the government to support its claims that Bill C would encourage gambling problems.
It is important to note that single sports betting already happens in Canada, but it is illegal and unregulated. It is operated by illegal offshore gaming companies or organized crime rings.
These are unregulated and unsafe venues. Yet, every day, people hand over their credit card information to these offshore websites and incur big amounts of debt.
These organizations will not hesitate to prey on the vulnerable and they do not help to provide services that benefit the public.
Simply continuing the prohibition on single sports betting, as the government seems to favour, will do nothing to stop these organizations from profiting off of Canadians.
According to reports by the Criminal Intelligence Service Canada, bookmaking exists in all regions of Canada, and gambling, including sports betting, is used as a funding tool for organized crime.
A legal and regulated single sports betting industry would undermine the client base of illegal gambling venues. Legalization would not only reduce their profits by providing customers with a legal alternative, but it would also protect law-abiding citizens.
For those who currently participate in single sports betting by dealing with criminal groups, a regulated industry would provide a safe alternative.
This safe alternative would be of greatest benefit to those suffering from an addiction to gambling. As I have said, we need to support those who need our help, and continuing this prohibition on single sports betting impairs our ability to do this.
Instead of being exposed to the opportunities and services available to them in a safe, legal, and regulated environment, those suffering from gambling addiction are forced to interact with predatory and criminal enterprises.
This is dangerous to their personal safety and financial health, and also detrimental to their ability to heal. Do members think organized crime groups are contributing money to anti-addiction efforts, supports, or services?
Of course not. The provinces do this. Measures are in place to support people with gambling addictions.
In Ontario, there is a Responsible Gaming Resource Centre operated by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.
The one in Caesars Windsor is open seven days a week between 10 a. These centres provide people with information about community services available to help them fight addiction and also help them learn about safe gaming practices.
According to the website rgrc. There are other resources available to those who wish to seek help with their addiction.
These include Ontario's self-exclusion program, where individuals can request to be denied access to OLG facilities; and also the playsmart.
It is incredibly important to have a strong network of services to support people with these addictions. Bill C would not legalize something that does not already happen.
Single sports betting happens every day in Canada. What we are talking about here is providing the opportunity for the provinces to be able to regulate and co-ordinate in a safe environment.
We know and believe that moderation is the key to responsibly enjoying other forms of gaming. This principle should be applied to single sports betting.
Let us take the money out of the hands of criminal groups and put it to work for our communities. Providing a safe and legal environment for Canadians and providing the vulnerable with better addictions services absolutely deserve all of our support.
I want to encourage my colleagues to give serious consideration to supporting this bill at second reading.
I urge all members to vote in support of the safe and regulated sports betting act. Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby South, BC.
Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak to Bill C , an act to amend the Criminal Code on sports betting, put forward by my colleague, the MP for Windsor West.
Before I start, I would like to say a few things about the MP for Windsor West. I cannot think of a better champion for his or her community than that MP, the dean of the NDP caucus.
Not only is he a voice of reason in our party and in the House, but he is also a tireless defender of his community. This bill shows he has a deep understanding of how his region works, the needs of his region, and is prepared to put forward positive ideas and proposals to make the local economy better.
This bill, in brief, proposes to modernize the Criminal Code to allow provinces to regulate single-event sports betting.
In doing so, the member argues, in putting his bill forward, that it would add economic benefit to not just his community, but many Canadian communities, and reduce the influence of organized crime.
I will speak a bit about those two points. I am supporting the bill for a different reason, which I will share shortly. The bill would allow for wagering on the outcome of a single sporting event, and many Canadians are probably confused that we do not already have this.
This is a throwback law that has been in place for a long time, and in a lot of people's views, unnecessarily. There has been a shift in how betting laws are regulated in Canada.
The federal government has decentralized a lot of this control to the provinces over the years. Provinces are currently responsible for operating, licensing, and regulating all legal forms of gambling, including the lottery schemes.
This is really because each region, each province, has individual needs and, of course, different cultures for gambling and related events.
Perhaps there are different views among the populations that have to be reflected in provincial laws, which makes sense. It is not as if we do not have unregulated betting at all.
It is handled by the provinces. There was too much regulation at one point, and now we are kind of reaching a point that we have decided that the provinces will take care of all of this.
Therefore, each province determines the type, amount, and location of gaming activity that is available in their jurisdiction, which seems right to me.
Since , gaming facilities have been established in most provinces, offering a diverse range of options, including slot and video machines, card games, and games of chance such as Roulette and Craps.
In greater Vancouver, we have seen a kind of flourishing of the gaming industry, but a moderate flourishing. When this started, a lot of people thought it would be a very bad and intrusive industry that would change the very nature of our communities.
However, it does not seem to have had that impact, although it has had both positive and negative impacts. The key is that at least it is regulated now.
At least the provincial governments get a significant amount of revenue from these industries. Not only provincial governments but municipalities and charities also receive a significant benefit from gambling.
Gaming is one of the oldest activities in the world. It is proper to regulate it, again, much like marijuana. It is something that happens, and government involvement is important.
Also, it would lead us to recover some of the revenue so we could help support things like addiction services and counselling when people have trouble with these activities.
Oversight in this industry has been decentralized to the provinces, but the Criminal Code still applies to some aspects of the gaming industry, including single-event sports betting.
Therefore, if this proposed law were in place and single-event sports wagering were permitted, each province would determine how and if it would be implemented.
It is not like passing this law would all of a sudden open up single sports betting right across Canada.
It would still be up to the provinces to decide if they were going to allow it and what the laws would look like in each province.
The public is not losing control of this industry or oversight of this industry, it is just being decentralized to the provinces, who, I would say, are in better shape to make decisions about those more localized communities.
We heard some arguments today about the economics of this industry. Gaming is an important contributor to the Canadian economy.
It is the largest segment of the entertainment industry, and supports more than , full-time jobs, with another , indirect jobs.
It is nothing to sneeze at, and it is something to take very seriously. I am glad my colleague from Windsor West has brought the bill forward.
It allows us to have these kinds of debates. Again, it puts pressure on the government to consider if, indeed, we are regulating this industry in the correct way.
The reason why single-event sports betting is important is that it would give the Canadian gaming industry an edge over the American gaming industry.
In British Columbia, where I am from, although there are local casinos, most people talk about going to Las Vegas. Lots of British Columbians fly to Las Vegas to bet down there.
One reason is single-event sports betting, which is allowed in Las Vegas but not in British Columbia. One could imagine the reverse flow of residents and gamers if this were allowed in British Columbia, starting here with this law and then regulation by the province.
It would reverse the flow of that money. That is an important consideration. We all know we are in tough economic times. This would be important. Now in Vancouver, with a fairly robust economy, maybe this would not make a huge difference, but in some communities along the border, this would make a difference, especially from what I am hearing from my colleagues in Windsor.
No other states have legalized single-event gaming operations, so this would give Canadian gamers an edge. My colleagues have said it very well, that this is occurring.
These betting activities are occurring, but mainly illegally in Canada. What this allows us to do is capture the revenue that we are losing.
Again, the government has made the same claims about legalizing marijuana, saying that when it is an illegal substance it is only dealt with in an illegal way and all the profits remain in the hands of organized crime.
That is why they are arguing they should legalize marijuana. It would allow the government to regulate and capture this revenue. The same case could be made for single-event sports betting.
We have heard opposition from the other side, and we have heard a number of Liberals say that they are not going to support the bill.
They have in the past, and I am hoping that they again reflect on what they are denying Canadians by voting against the bill. In terms of organized crime and the effects of organized crime in this area, illegal sports wagering includes both illegal bookmakers and illegal Internet betting companies operating in North America.
I am not a huge fan of gambling. It may seem strange to say that after this speech but I have talked to my constituents. I opposed a mixed martial arts bill that came from the Senate in the last session.
However, I voted for it because my constituency told me loud and clear that this was what they wanted. The same applies to this bill.
I have talked to a number of people in my constituency, elected officials and local residents. They have said they want me to support the bill, and that is what I am doing.
I am standing up today to support my colleague from Windsor West and his private member's bill. I hope everyone here in the House will as well.
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleagues on all sides for taking part in this debate. What takes place next is a simple process.
It is about whether this House has the courage to tackle organized crime in the most significant legislation that will be proposed in this House of Commons for this session of Parliament.
It is clean and simple. We send this to committee to be studied, examined, and brought back here for a final vote. Let us look at the facts carefully.
The bill was already in previous Parliaments. It went through with Liberal, Conservative, and NDP support. It was stymied in the Senate and had to re-emerge here.
If the bill does not make it this time and we do not get it to committee, it becomes another four years, unless it is introduced by the government, having to eat crow.
What do we have in the meantime? Organized crime will get the biggest single corporate tax cut from the government.
They will get the resources. Canada is a laggard in terms of accountability. Very little of that is recovered by governments. If we vote for the bill right now, we give it a chance to go to committee.
Let us hear from the experts that are for it. Let us hear it from the experts that are against it. Let us hear about one sentence in the Criminal Code that, in my view, would increase accountability, tourism, and jobs and would give us more reason to tackle other organized crimes, because we would unplug them from their single most profitable source of revenue.
That would mean new revenue for health care, education, gaming addiction, and other elements. The OWA has a good track record of generating employment in the service sector by cleaning up orphan wells.
The OWA estimates that the loan has supported the cleanup of approximately wells and created jobs. This proves that federal support to help clean up orphan and inactive wells is helping to stimulate employment and economic activity in the energy sector, and ensures that it can continue to support middle-class families and communities.
We have listened to the concerns of landowners, municipalities and indigenous communities that want to make sure that the polluter-pay principle is strengthened and that their voices are heard.
I want to thank the Government of Alberta for working with us and for listening to their concerns. Appropriately cleaning up well sites will prevent methane leakage and ensure that the sites are remediated and returned to their original state.
This fund will primarily provide repayable contributions to firms to make them more competitive, reduce waste and pollution and, most importantly, protect jobs.
Right now, many energy firms are experiencing a cash crunch, so they do not have the funds to invest in technologies to reduce emissions or fix methane leaks.
The fund will allow for this kind of work to be done and create jobs that people need during this difficult time.
Through the wells and the methane initiative, we estimate that we will maintain more than 8, jobs across the country. Just because we are in a health crisis does not mean we can neglect the environmental crisis.
When the Prime Minister announced support to help clean up orphan and inactive wells in April, he also announced that Export Development Canada was increasing its financial capacity to support Canada's small and medium-sized oil and gas companies.
This added capacity is available to eligible companies so they can access the liquidity they need to keep their operations running and support their employees during this crisis.
Many businesses have already taken advantage of the program. The added business support is being provided through various financing and insurance solutions, including risk-bearing guarantees for loans obtained through the company's bank and guaranteed by the EDC, and through EDC's bonding and accounts receivable insurance products.
This commercial support is aimed at bringing liquidity into the market and helping Canadian companies during the crisis. We know that the second wave is even harder for those who get hit, and that is why our response needs to be targeted and effective.
Small and large businesses create jobs, drive our economy and make our communities stronger. The government will continue to do whatever it takes to support them.
These measures are part of the Government of Canada's comprehensive economic plan to help Canadians and businesses through this period of uncertainty.
We will continue to monitor this evolving situation closely, and we will take additional actions as needed to protect our health and safety and stabilize the economy.
I want to thank you, Madam Speaker, and I thank again the hon. Madam Speaker, this will come as no surprise, but I do not see how my party can support this bill, especially since it flies in the face of one of the guiding principles of environmental policy, namely the polluter pays principle.
This is miles away from that principle. Before I begin, I want to set the record straight. My colleague argued that this is not support for the oil industry because it is not a subsidy but rather a tax credit.
It amounts to six of one and half a dozen of the other, since this provides more financial support to one of the industries that already receives the most in Canada.
Getting back to what I was saying, it would be difficult for us to support this bill because it flies in the face of one of the guiding principles of environmental policy, namely the polluter pays principle.
As everyone knows, it is up to businesses to cover these kinds of costs. The forestry industry did so in Quebec by paying for the remediation of sites where it operates.
I do not see why it should be any different for the oil and gas industry. There is something about this bill that surprises me.
It seems to me that a typical Conservative would think that businesses must be the ones to bear the risk. It seems like that is part of the Conservatives' ideology.
However, in this bill, they are trying to socialize the risks without socializing the profits. Businesses do not want to assume the environmental risk because it would cost too much, so it would be up to the government to do so; yet, it is the businesses that would benefit from the profits.
I think there is a contradiction there. A red light should have gone off for a typical Conservative. Simply put, this bill would fund what is likely the most environmentally damaging industry in Canada rather than funding the energy transition.
We need to take the energy transition into account in today's discussion, and I think that massive support for the oil industry harkens back to another era, especially today.
That is a lot of money. I would like to maybe come back to that and say what bothers me the most about this bill. There is a number that I like to quote and that keeps coming up.
I therefore do not see why Quebeckers should have to take responsibility for the environmental fiasco currently happening in Alberta. My colleague told the Liberals that they have done nothing for the oil sector.
That is amazing. Just for fun, I asked research services to find out how much was invested in oil and gas between and If they did any more it would be obscene.
Allow me to make a comparison. In my opinion, these are not direct investments. My colleague tells us that it is not Alberta's responsibility to cover the entirety of the cost of capping the wells.
However, it should be noted that the oil sands are causing other types of adverse consequences that some of our Conservative friends might not want to hear about.
As an example, let's talk about the famous Dutch disease that is well documented by many economists. When the Canadian dollar rises, Quebec's manufacturing industry completely falls apart.
From to , that industry lost 55, jobs with the currency rise caused by the Canadian extractive industry. I am told that Alberta takes on the lion's share of the risk and that Quebec and the other provinces should take a bite out of it.
However, if I add up everything I just mentioned, it seems like we have already taken more than a bite and we are starting to get full. We are losing out to this very troublesome industry.
We could propose solutions, since orphan wells are a significant environmental concern. However, before we come up with a solution, we must set the conditions for its implementation.
If the government adopts a policy of closing wells, the first condition must focus on an energy transition. This policy must not become a type of subsidy for an industry that has already gotten too much.
We need to focus on the polluter pays principle, and nothing will convince me that tax credits would help us achieve this.
That is certainly not the case. We also need clear regulatory measures that do not perpetuate the problem we are seeing now.
Ultimately, this policy must be consistent with Canada's greenhouse gas reduction targets. In my opinion, companies should be responsible, in all cases.
I do not see why oil companies should not have to pay a security deposit before embarking on an oil sands extraction project, as is the case in the mining sector.
Let me touch on what I think is the major issue. Members will recall Teck Resources' Frontier mine project. Why would we continue to invest in this lame duck?
It would be completely irresponsible, especially from an environmental perspective. In conclusion, orphan wells are obviously a real problem, but it is not up to taxpayers to foot the bill.
It is certainly not up to Quebec taxpayers to do so, because they have paid the price in past years. I think we can justify spending public money to deal with the orphan well problem, but only if certain conditions are met, as I said earlier.
I do not think a bill like this one will put us on that path. Madam Speaker, I am happy to rise today to speak to Bill C , a private member's bill tabled by my colleague for Lakeland.
Bill C would provide a tax credit to qualifying corporations for expenses incurred for the closure of an oil or gas well. The bill would also require the Minister of Finance to assess whether the implementation of a flow-through share program would increase private sector funds available to close oil or gas wells.
I will cut to the chase and say that I do not think that the bill before us is the way forward. The NDP believes in the polluter pays principle, and that is theoretically the way the well drilling system is set up right now.
Companies are obliged to clean up their wells when they become inactive. Providing incentives for companies to not break the law is a waste of taxpayers' money.
Despite what the member said, it is a textbook case of an inefficient subsidy. It flies in the face of government promises that date back to the Harper era to end subsidies to the fossil fuel sector.
However, I would also admit that the bill does have the good intention of dealing with the significant problem of inactive wells across Canada, especially in western Canada.
Right now, there are 91, inactive oil and gas wells in Alberta, 36, in Saskatchewan and 12, in British Columbia, and these are the wells that Bill C is seeking to address.
These wells are not cleaned up. When the companies that own them become insolvent, they become orphan wells and the taxpayer is on the hook to pay for the cleanup.
That scenario has played out again and again. There are more than 2, orphan wells in Alberta right now, in B. Members can do the math: It is a big bill for taxpayers to deal with orphan wells, and the bill could get bigger.
The Alberta Energy Regulator has predicted that the number of inactive wells in Alberta could easily rise, could easily double, to , over the next 10 years, and so it is a serious problem.
I would agree with the member on that. We cannot leave these wells and do nothing. There are impacts on the environment, as they will leak methane into the air and contaminants into the ground.
There is an impact for landowners and farmers who receive lease payments while these wells are active and even when they are inactive.
Until they are cleaned up, those lease payments are made, but, increasingly, oil companies have simply informed landowners that they will not be making lease payments, with no discussions, no negotiations.
Many Canadians wish they had that kind of power over their landowners. Landowners have had to take companies to court to make them live up to their obligations.
The Alberta provincial government has told oil companies that they do not have to pay municipal taxes during these tough times, but there is no compensation given to local governments that are already struggling through COVID.
Municipalities have not only lost a valuable tax base, but many have been left with contaminated sites that they cannot afford to clean up; and the member for Lakeland mentioned one of these, and so development opportunities are squandered.
Clearly, the problem is that companies do not have the ability to pay for cleanup. We all know that times are very difficult in the oil patch.
One could argue that companies did not see this downturn coming and were caught unaware by these tough times. Companies were not saving for the future then.
They were not cleaning up their wells then. Will this proposed legislation help fix the problem? Would it incentivize companies to live up to their obligations so that taxpayers are not on the hook?
When companies drill a well, they know that they are going to have to clean it up once it has stopped producing.
When it is producing, they should be putting aside those funds for that obligation. The problem is, many of those companies are not doing this.
They are not planning for that rainy day, and they have not been doing this for years. The regulators are partly at fault for not properly ensuring that companies do this.
Regulators should be putting limits on how long a well can remain inactive before it must be cleaned up. Only the B. Regulators could create a steadily rising inactive well fee, such as we see in California, that could go into a fund to help orphan well cleanup.
That bond would be a small amount compared to the price of buying drilling rights and actually drilling the well.
However, these regulatory solutions are largely in provincial hands, as the member for Lakeland mentioned. I am not a tax accountant, but it seems logical that if a company did not put away enough money to cover legal obligations and now is not making enough profit to cover those costs, a tax break will not fix things.
Tax writeoffs only work when enough money is being made to have to pay some tax. If tax credits are being provided to cover these costs, then it is the taxpayer who is funding these activities.
The idea of creating a flow-through share structure to encourage people to invest to clean up oil wells does not seem like a good idea either.
Flow-through shares are used extensively in the mining industry to encourage investment in mine exploration and mine development.
That is obviously a risky investment, so it makes sense, if we are to develop our resources, that we should provide incentives to investors to help companies at that critical stage.
However, cleaning up oil and gas wells is not a risky business. Companies' investors know years ahead of time that they will have to do it, and they have a pretty good idea of how much it is going to cost.
Providing incentives to corporations or investors is completely inappropriate at this stage. This is a straight subsidy to the fossil fuel industry.