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Oct 21, 2014 at 07:55 AM

Welcome to my online office. I have set up this website to give you a chance
to interact with me directly and to learn a little bit more about my work to
Stand Up for St. Catharines in Ottawa. I hope you will take the time to read
my blog, check out the community calendar and look at the services available
through my Community Office. Most of all, I hope you will take the time to
communicate your ideas and concerns by commenting on my blog, voting for the
online polls or sending me an e-mail. This website is here for you, so
please share your thoughts and ideas.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Rick Dykstra

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage


Industry Minister James Moore Celebrates Closer Canada-Israel Research Ties
Oct 20, 2014 at 12:59 PM

Minister tours Munk Cardiac Centre facility that will test new cardiovascular pumps in lead-up to commercialization

Industry Minister James Moore today toured a new facility at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre that is central to a joint project with Technion university, based in Haifa, Israel, and that is working to develop new cardiac medical devices that could help improve the well-being of Canadian heart patients.

This important partnership will give Canadian and Israeli researchers and entrepreneurs the chance to take their valuable intellectual property and develop new products and services for the market. It will see Technion develop new cardiac medical devices, with the Munk Cardiac Centre conducting the testing on those devices, with the eventual goal of manufacturing these devices in both Canada and Israel.

This collaboration is an example of the kinds of work encouraged by the new Strategic Partnership agreement between Canada and Israel, announced in January by Prime Minister Harper, which committed to closer ties between the two countries on a number of high-profile issues, including scientific research.

The medical device sector is an emerging sector in the Canadian economy. It offers many great opportunities for new research, innovation and commercialization.

Quick facts

  • First opened in 1997, the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre has become Canada's premier cardiac centre. Each year, approximately 55,000 patients receive care.
  • In 2013, Canada imported close to $7.2 billion in medical devices and exported more than $2.0 billion.
  • The government is investing in innovation in manufacturing through initiatives such as the Advanced Manufacturing Fund and the Technology Demonstration Program.
  • In support of Canadian manufacturing, the government has negotiated trade agreements that will expand market opportunities and create jobs. It has also eliminated tariffs on machinery and equipment and renewed the accelerated capital cost allowance in 2013, which will give $1.4 billion in additional support to Canadian manufacturers that invest in machinery and equipment.
  • The government is focused on establishing the right conditions for success, lowering taxes, cutting the corporate tax rate from over 22 percent in 2007 to 15 percent today and removing the federal capital tax.

"It is a great privilege to tour this impressive facility. The work being done here at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre is at the leading edge of heart research, and the partnership with Technion university in Israel is a demonstration of the importance of stronger collaboration in order to make discoveries faster to get to markets sooner. I commend both organizations for their ground-breaking work, and I look forward to seeing their product on the market and improving the lives of Canadian and Israeli heart patients in the near future."
– James Moore, Minister of Industry


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Prime Minister of Canada participates in and answer session on the National Conservation Plan
Oct 17, 2014 at 12:00 AM

Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

On October 17, 2014, Prime Minister Stephen Harper participated in a moderated question and answer (Q&A) session in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, where he discussed the Government’s ongoing support for Canadian families living in rural areas and the hunting and angling communities in Northern Ontario and across the country.

The Prime Minister highlighted the different measures that the Government is taking under the National Conservation Plan to support hunters and anglers across the country. He announced that the fourth round for applications under the Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships Program (RFCPP) is now open and underscored the investments the Government has made under this program since its inception. He also announced that Environment Canada is now accepting applications for projects under the second round of the National Wetland Conservation Fund (NWCF).

About the National Conservation Plan

The National Conservation Plan (NCP), which was a commitment made in the 2013 Speech from the Throne, is one of the many initiatives the Government has undertaken to protect Canada’s natural heritage for the benefit of future generations. It provides a more coordinated approach to conservation efforts across the country with an emphasis on enabling Canadians to conserve and restore lands and waters in and around their communities, and making it easier for citizens living in cities to connect with nature. It also complements significant efforts, including creating new parks, protecting ecologically sensitive lands, protecting species at risk and their habitat, and improving water quality.

The NCP includes funding of $252 million, primarily over a five-year period (2014 to 2019) to secure ecologically sensitive lands, support voluntary conservation and restoration actions, and strengthen marine and coastal conservation. It also includes new initiatives designed to restore wetlands and to encourage Canadians to connect with nature close to home through protected areas and green spaces located in or near urban areas.

The NCP expands opportunities for partners, including municipalities, environmental interest groups, hunters and anglers, landowners and community groups, to take practical actions to safeguard the land and water around them in the three following priority areas:

  • Conserving Canada’s lands and waters: safeguarding and enhancing biodiversity and ecosystems through conservation and stewardship actions, including on working landscapes and seascapes.
  • Restoring Canada’s ecosystems: supporting the restoration of degraded ecosystems, which, once restored, provide habitat for wildlife and clean water, and are essential for the protection and recovery of species at risk.
  • Connecting Canadians to nature: leveraging existing successful initiatives to help foster an appreciation for nature, and building a “community of stewards” among Canadians of all ages.

The Plan recognizes the efforts of countless Canadians who are working to conserve and protect our natural world. It will encourage on-the-ground action and partnerships leading to tangible conservation results. Views from stakeholders across all regions and sectors helped to shape the National Conservation Plan, including input from three conservation-related studies by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development.

Progress under the NCP will be measured against a set of outcomes related to land and ocean conservation, restoration of lands and shorelines, opportunities for Canadians to experience nature, and access to improved information about Canada’s natural environment.

Building on the conservation measures announced in Budget 2014, the National Conservation Plan includes funding of $252 million, primarily over a five-year period (2014 to 2019) for a variety of conservation initiatives:

  • $100 million over five years to the Nature Conservancy of Canada to secure ecologically sensitive lands;
  • $37 million over five years to strengthen marine and coastal conservation;
  • $3.2 million over five years to support the development of a complete national inventory of conserved areas in Canada;
  • $50 million over five years to restore wetlands;
  • $50 million over five years to support voluntary actions to restore and conserve species and their habitats;
  • $9.2 million over five years to connect urban Canadians to nature; and,
  • $3 million over three years to Earth Rangers to expand family-oriented conservation programming.

About the National Wetland Conservation Fund

The National Wetland Conservation Fund (NWCF), which is part of the National Conservation Plan, supports projects that restore degraded or lost wetlands, enhance degraded wetlands, scientifically assess and monitor the health and functionality of wetlands and the species that use them, and encourage stewardship and wetland appreciation by a wide variety of partners to build support for future wetland conservation and restoration activities. The NWCF focuses on working landscapes.

Non-governmental organizations, Aboriginal organizations and communities, individuals, universities, conservation authorities, private corporations, as well as provincial, territorial and municipal governments and provincial Crown corporations can apply for funding. Eligible projects must take place on private land, provincial Crown land, or Aboriginal land across Canada.

Funding is variable and depends on the project. Typical funding ranges from $50,000 to $250,000, with a maximum amount available of $500,000 per year per project.

Environment Canada is now accepting applications for projects under the second round of the National Wetland Conservation Fund, specifically for projects that start after April 1, 2015. The application deadline is November 21, 2014. In future years, the deadline to submit applications will be posted when the call for proposals is open, but will normally be in November/December.

About the Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships Program

The RFCPP was developed to support projects led by recreational fishing and angling groups, as well as conservation organizations, aimed at improving the conservation of recreational fisheries habitat. The program supports the sustainability and ongoing productivity of Canada’s recreational fisheries by bringing like-minded partners together and pooling their resources to support the common goal of conserving and protecting Canada’s recreational fisheries. The partnership approach makes the most of joint resources, allowing results that would not otherwise be possible.

The RFCPP has a $25 million budget. Funds are allocated through a competitive process. Since its inception, the investments made under this Program total almost $11 million for more than 200 projects across Canada under its two first rounds. Economic Action Plan 2014 announced an additional $15 million investment. Projects submitted under Round III are in the final stages of approval and applicants will be advised shortly.

Activities that directly restore recreational fisheries habitat are eligible for RFCPP funding.

The program’s Application Guidelines provide detailed information on program eligibility, requirements and how to complete the Application Form. Both documents are found on the RFCPP Website.

About current initiatives

Since 2006, the Government of Canada has taken important steps to conserve and restore our country’s natural environment and connect Canadians to our rich natural heritage:

  • We have secured almost 4,000 km² of ecologically sensitive private lands.
  • We have added an area nearly twice the size of Vancouver Island to the network of federal protected areas, including:
    • a six-fold expansion of the Nahanni National Park Reserve in the Northwest Territories, considered to be a significant conservation achievement;
    • the world’s first protected area extending from the mountain tops to the sea floor (Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve and Haida Heritage Site); and,
    • one of the world’s largest freshwater protected areas (Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area); three National Wildlife Areas (Akpait, Ninginganiq and Qaqulluit) in Nunavut, protecting 4,554 km2 of marine, coastal and terrestrial habitats including the world’s sanctuary for bowhead whales; and three new Marine Protected Areas under the Oceans Act: Musquash Estuary in New Brunswick, Bowie Seamount off the coast of British Columbia, and Tarium Niryutait in the Beaufort Sea.
  • We have invested nearly $11 million under the Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships Program to support over 200 fisheries habitat restoration projects across Canada.
  • We have advanced work to create the first national urban park.
  • We have taken steps to improve water quality in the Great Lakes, Lake Simcoe, and Lake Winnipeg, rehabilitated recreational fisheries habitat, and are working to clean up contaminated sites.
  • We have supported partners in the delivery of hundreds of local projects to protect species at risk and their habitats, for example:
    • Under the Habitat Stewardship Program, we have invested over $96 million to support 1,557 local conservation projects, benefitting the habitat of 431 species at risk.
    • EcoAction provided more than $39.2 million to support 1,016 local biodiversity conservation and restoration projects in communities across Canada.
    • We have successfully expanded the population of Blanding’s turtles in Kejimkujik National Park and are assisting in the recovery of Garry oak ecosystems in Gulf Islands National Park Reserve and Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site.

Under the Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk program, we have invested over $25 million to support more than 710 local aquatic and terrestrial conservation projects, benefitting the recovery needs of 286 species at risk.

Associated Links

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World Class Tanker Safety System - New Measures
Oct 14, 2014 at 02:34 PM

New Measures to Strengthen Oil Spill Prevention, Preparedness and Response, and the Polluter Pay Principle

The Government of Canada announced, in May 2014, new measures that, once implemented, will help to achieve a world-class tanker safety system in Canada. These measures build on recommendations from the Tanker Safety Expert Panel and other studies, and have been informed by engagement with provincial governments, Aboriginal groups, marine stakeholders and internal analysis by federal departments and agencies. Together, these measures demonstrate the Government of Canada’s ongoing commitment to strengthen marine safety measures to protect the public and the environment.

Prevention Measures: Taking All Reasonable Measures to Avoid Spills in the First Place

Modernizing Canada’s Navigation System

Currently, mariners navigate Canada’s waterways using primarily visual navigational markers, such as buoys, lighthouses, paper nautical charts, and publications, as well as radar. The marine industry strongly supports e-navigation as it will result in better, more reliable navigational information, leading to increased vessel safety and more efficient operations. Under this initiative, the Canadian Coast Guard, the Canadian Hydrographic Service, Environment Canada and Transport Canada will begin the modernization of Canada’s marine navigation system by moving towards a system that will share real-time electronic marine safety information with mariners.

Specific measures include providing updated navigational information in a format that is integrated with vessel systems (such as electronic charts and other safety information); implementing leading-edge tools and technology to support the collection and sharing of this information to mariners (e.g., smart environmental weather buoys, and year-round lighted buoys on the St. Lawrence shipping channel). Another measure is to propose regulatory amendments to extend Automated Identification Systems carriage requirements to a greater number of vessels, which will enhance vessel monitoring by Canadian authorities and by other ships navigating nearby.

Preparedness and Response: Responding to and Cleaning Spills Quickly and Effectively

Area Response Planning

Consistent with the independent Tanker Safety Expert Panel’s main recommendation in its November 2013 report, A Review of Canada’s Ship-Source Oil Spill Preparedness and Response Regime—Setting the Course for the Future, the Government of Canada will work collaboratively with each of Canada’s four certified response organizations and other key stakeholders to develop and implement tailored response plans in four areas that have high levels of tanker traffic:

  • The southern portion of British Columbia;
  • Saint John and the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick;
  • Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia; and,
  • Gulf of St. Lawrence, Québec.

Oil spill preparedness activities in these areas will take into consideration geography, environmental sensitivities, traffic volumes, and ensure the appropriate spill cleanup equipment is in place and readily available. This initiative will draw on Aboriginal and marine stakeholder participation to strengthen spill preparedness and response plans. Lessons learned from these four areas will be used to refine area response planning models, and in the future, will allow the Government of Canada to consider options for implementing this spill-response planning approach in other locations across Canada.

Effective response planning requires an understanding of how certain materials, including oil products, behave if spilled into a marine environment. Preliminary scientific research conducted by Environment Canada (EC) and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) concluded that diluted bitumen can behave differently than other oils under certain environmental conditions. EC, DFO and Natural Resources Canada will undertake additional research and development into the pre-treatment of heavy oil products at the source; the behaviour of different formulations of heavy oil products when spilled in marine environments; and a variety of potential alternative response measures.   

Building Marine Safety Capacity in Aboriginal Communities

This initiative will assist Aboriginal communities to access training and equipment to allow for their participation in marine emergency preparedness. These measures will have inter-related benefits: they will support a strong safety system through Aboriginal participation; and provide skill enhancement opportunities. This activity reflects recommendations by the Special Federal Representative for West Coast Energy Infrastructure, Douglas Eyford, in his December 2013 report, Forging Partnerships, Building Relationships: Aboriginal Canadians and Energy Development.

Alternative Response Measures

This initiative would propose legislative amendments to lift legal prohibitions to using alternate response measures during emergencies, and to clarify the Canadian Coast Guard’s authority to use alternate response measures to reduce the environmental impact of ship-source oil spills. As noted by the Tanker Safety Expert Panel, mechanical recovery (booming and skimming) is the predominant spill response measure used in Canada. The panel also noted that there are a number of federal laws that currently limit the use of alternative response measures such as using spill-treating agents, even though using these tools can provide a net environmental benefit.

Liability and Compensation: Ensuring Polluters Pay

There are several sources of compensation for oil spills. Canada bases its liability and compensation regime for oil spills on the “polluter pay” principle. This means the polluter is always responsible for paying for the costs of an oil spill. If a ship causes a spill, Canadian law makes its owner liable for losses and damages. Therefore, Shipowners are required to carry insurance to cover their liability.

As well, Canada is a member of the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds, which administers two international compensation funds for oil pollution damages caused by persistent oil. The first is the 1992 Fund, and the second is the Supplementary Fund. Both hold levies collected from the oil cargo companies. Combined with the Shipowners liability coverage, these funds provide for approximately $1.2 billion in compensation for a tanker spill of persistent oil.

Additionally, Canada’s Ship-Source Oil Pollution Fund (SOPF) pays compensation for damages from oil spills in Canada from any type of oil and any type of ship. The SOPF was created in the early 1970s from levies it collects from oil cargo companies. The SOPF’s reserve is approximately $400 million. Its total liability for claims for any one spill is approximately $163 million.

Combined, the SOPF and Shipowners insurance funds can be used to cover up to approximately $1.4 billion to cover the damages from one oil spill. This is the most robust and comprehensive system in the world.

The Government of Canada will strengthen the “polluter pay” principle by enhancing Canada’s domestic SOPF by introducing legislative and regulatory amendments to:

  • Remove the per-incident limit to make the full amount of the Fund available;
  • Ensure that the SOPF is temporarily topped up to cover damages and clean up costs for a spill, in accordance with SOPF claims criteria, should further funding be required; and,
  • Ensure that damages and clean-up costs will be borne by industry and any requirement by the government to top up the Fund will be recouped from the industry through a levy.

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