Personal Data

New Democratic Party
Nanaimo--Cowichan (British Columbia)
Birth Date
July 7, 1952
consultant, human resources consultant, manager

Parliamentary Career

June 28, 2004 - November 29, 2005
  Nanaimo--Cowichan (British Columbia)
January 23, 2006 - September 7, 2008
  Nanaimo--Cowichan (British Columbia)
  • Deputy Whip of the N.D.P. (February 27, 2006 - October 16, 2007)
October 14, 2008 - March 26, 2011
  Nanaimo--Cowichan (British Columbia)
  • N.D.P. Deputy Caucus Chair (November 12, 2008 - January 19, 2009)
  • N.D.P. Caucus Chair (January 20, 2009 - January 27, 2011)
May 2, 2011 - August 2, 2015
  Nanaimo--Cowichan (British Columbia)
May 2, 2011 -
  Nanaimo--Cowichan (British Columbia)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 345)

June 16, 2015

Ms. Jean Crowder (Nanaimo—Cowichan, NDP)

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-694, An Act to amend the Navigation Protection Act (Nanaimo River and Koksilah River).

Mr. Speaker, I am introducing this private member's bill today to add the Koksilah and Nanaimo rivers to the Navigation Protection Act, because rivers on Vancouver Island are in trouble. Like most rivers on the west coast of North America, our rivers are suffering from drought conditions. A smaller than normal snowpack this winter meant very little spring freshets that feed these rivers.

The Koksilah River was once known for its run of steelhead, but overfishing in the 1980s nearly extirpated them from the river. Now impacts from logging, agriculture, and low summer flows continue to endanger its recovery. Along with the Cowichan River, the Koksilah drains into the Cowichan estuary, an important intertidal area that hosts migratory waterfowl, abundant eel grass beds, and the occasional otter. If summer flows are too low, the spawning salmon must be captured in Cowichan Bay and transported upriver to their spawning beds.

The Nanaimo River flows 78 km from its headwater on Mount Hooper to the Strait of Georgia. While it is celebrated as a great recreational river, it also provides drinking water to 86,000 residents. However, the surface water is only part of the story. The Cassidy aquifers are near the terminal end of the river. While the river recharges the aquifers during the high spring flows, the opposite happens in the late fall when the cool groundwater from the aquifers helps recharge the river, providing ideal conditions for salmon runs.

Sadly, there is no federal protection for either of these rivers, even though they both provide fish habitat for the west coast's iconic salmon. That is why I propose that these two rivers should be added to the list of those protected by federal legislation under the Navigation Protection Act.

I want to thank my seconder, the member for New Westminster—Coquitlam. I also want to thank the member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca for his very strong support of the bill.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Navigation Protection Act
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June 11, 2015

Ms. Jean Crowder (Nanaimo—Cowichan, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, just this week, the House adopted an important code of conduct for members recognizing the seriousness and unacceptability of sexual harassment in our workplace.

Yesterday the Speaker of the Senate confirmed that Senator Meredith is now under investigation for workplace sexual harassment and bullying.

Harassment of any form should not be tolerated in Parliament. Does the government agree that everyone working for the House and the Senate is entitled to a workplace free of harassment?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Labour
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June 4, 2015

Ms. Jean Crowder (Nanaimo—Cowichan, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, my colleague is very familiar with the nutrition north program and its failures.

I point out that other Canadians from coast to coast to coast are paying to attention to this. In fact, in my riding of Nanaimo—Cowichan, the B.C. founder of Helping Our Northern Neighbours, Jennifer Gwilliam from Shawnigan Lake, has started a program there. The group is gathering food and shipping it at its own expense to northern communities that are desperate for good, safe, nutritious food at an affordable price.

For any of us who have been fortunate enough to either live in the north or travel in the north, we recognize clearly that our northern neighbours simply do not have the same access to food.

Good nutritious food is very important for an individual's overall health, well-being and longevity. Could the member comment on how he sees the lack of safe, affordable food impacting the health outcomes of people living in his riding?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Business of Supply
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June 2, 2015

Ms. Jean Crowder (Nanaimo—Cowichan, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has called on the government to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Justice Murray Sinclair has described it as “the starting point for reconciliation”, but the Conservative government has steadfastly refused to implement the declaration, has voted against our bill, and has spent hundreds of millions of dollars fighting aboriginal rights in court.

Will the government listen to the commission, and will it finally implement the United Nations declaration?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Aboriginal Affairs
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May 6, 2015

Ms. Jean Crowder (Nanaimo—Cowichan, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I want to begin by acknowledging many of my colleagues and also members from the Liberal Party who are speaking up in support of this important piece of legislation. I have to admit to feeling some frustration after listening to the Conservatives outline a program that is clearly not working. If it were working, I would not have to stand here in this House and propose a piece of legislation to deal with the problem.

Throughout Canada there are hundreds of derelict vessels, both on coastal waterways and on inland waterways, and this is a problem for many members in this House from coast to coast to coast. I am baffled as to why the Conservatives will not support this first step, and I acknowledge it is a first step. In my brief period of time I want to tackle a couple of concerns that they raise.

First, there seems to be four main areas where the Conservatives say they cannot support the bill. The first one, they say, is that this would force the Coast Guard to deal with every derelict vessel, which would adversely affect their operational capacity. If they had read the bill, they would understand that I included a provision that would allow the minister to set out in regulations the circumstances where the receiver of wreck was not obligated to take measures to deal with a derelict vessel. By doing so under the regulatory process, that would allow the public to have a say in when they think vessels should be dealt with by the government.

Clearly, the intention of the bill is not to have the receiver of wreck, the Coast Guard, deal with absolutely every derelict vessel, but we already know the problems that provincial governments and municipalities are having, which has been ably outlined by members like the member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, how difficult and complex it is for other levels of government to deal with this and that we do need some clear definitions about when a derelict vessel needs to be apprehended.

Second, the Conservatives say that the Coast Guard is not a stand-alone department. It is part of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, so it cannot be made a permanent receiver of wreck.

Actually, under the act and the regulations as they currently stand, the minister can designate any entity or individual as a receiver of wreck. The status as a stand-alone entity does not matter because the power to designate still resides with the minister. The bill does not change the ability to have the minister designate a receiver of wreck.

Third, the Conservatives are claiming that the cost of dealing with derelict vessels will now be borne by the government and ultimately by the taxpayer. That is nonsense. We have already seen that the government is already having to pick up expenses. Again, the member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca pointed out the $40,000 that was spent in cleaning up a vessel, and then an additional $100,000 had to be spent in dealing with the derelict vessel when it had been torched and otherwise dismembered.

Nothing in the bill removes the obligation on the owner of a vessel to pay for its disposal. That is why the receiver of wreck must take all reasonable steps to contact owners before taking action, because those owners are responsible for paying the cost. As currently happens, every effort is made to track down the owners and have them pay for those costs, but we also know there are many cases where it is simply not possible to identify the owner. They are deceased, out of the country or whatever.

It still is incumbent upon the owners to be responsible. If we wait for all derelict vessels to become navigational or environmental hazards, the cost of dealing with them goes up. Again, we have seen that in cases. The longer a vessel remains derelict, the more costly it becomes to remove it. By giving a receiver of wreck the ability to contact the owner upon observing a wreck, this legislation may help prevent vessels deteriorating to such a point that the removal or disposal becomes a costly burden.

Finally, the government is proposing a public relations exercise that will tell owners about their responsibilities. I have to say, many owners already recognize that there is a life cycle issue with vessels, but part of the problem is, there is nowhere to recycle these older vessels. Again, my colleagues have pointed out, there is actually a business opportunity in recycling these vessels.

I am hoping that some members of the government will recognize that these derelict vessels are serious problems in their own riding and that they will actually have the courage to stand up and support Bill C-638 so that we could take the very important first step in dealing with a problem that the government has ignored for the 11 years that I have been elected.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Canada Shipping Act, 2001
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