House of Commons Hansard #93 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tax.

Topics

Canada Labour Code
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma
Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, I want to remind members of the important changes that were made to the legislation in 1999, just seven years ago.

It is extremely important to maintain a balance. It is maintained with that bill, which was adopted in 1999 and allows the use of replacement workers. However, they must not be used to undermine the union's representational capacity. In addition, on returning to work, striking employees go back to where they previously worked in the company.

Marriage
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Belinda Stronach Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, I support equal marriage because I believe in a Canada where rights are safeguarded, liberties are protected and all Canadians are treated equally under the law, but I also support it because it is the right thing to do. We are talking about people, our friends, our neighbours, our fellow citizens, people who love each other and want to spend their lives together.

I am asking anyone from the government side to stand up today and answer if we are revisiting this because that party believes that equal marriage has in any way had a negative impact on our society.

Marriage
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Niagara Falls
Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, I think we have been very clear all along. We promised Canadians in the last election that we would revisit this issue. It is an issue that touches all members deeply. I am very proud to be part of a party that is going to have a true free vote on this. Can the hon. member confirm that for her party? I do not think so.

Marriage
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Belinda Stronach Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, we will be having a free vote on this, but the Minister of Justice has said that if the vote fails, he has a backup plan.

The issue of equal marriage has been debated and voted upon in this House many times and we are about to vote on this issue again. The Prime Minister and his government owe it to Canadians to state definitively today, is this the last time?

Marriage
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I can only observe that we will have a free vote. We said this was a matter of personal conscience. I note that the Liberal Party has gone from believing this was a question of fundamental rights on Monday to now saying it is a matter of a free vote and personal conscience today. We have been consistent all along.

I know the member for Newmarket—Aurora has strongly held views. For instance, she has strongly held views on the citizenship of her leader. I know she will always helpfully convey those views to him.

Marriage
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to quote the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works. I quote, “If the government is going to get involved and deny gays and lesbians the right to marry, it should do so on the basis that there is public harm in allowing gay marriage. I have read about everything there is to read on this and I do not think there is any public harm in doing this”. That is an interesting point.

Does the Prime Minister have any evidence that there has been public harm since gays and lesbians have been allowed to marry, and if so, can he share it with the parliamentary secretary and this House?

Marriage
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Niagara Falls
Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, we have evidence that members of the Liberal Party have changed their position on this many times. I notice the Leader of the Opposition supported the traditional definition of marriage in 1999. He has changed his mind. He has changed his mind a couple of times this week.

What we do know is we had a terrific debate in the House of Commons, a respectful debate and we will get the opportunity to vote on the motion after question period.

Marriage
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Vancouver Centre, BC

Funny, Mr. Speaker, I could have sworn I heard the Prime Minister say he was in favour of less government intrusion in the lives of Canadians. Yet here he is putting the state back into the bedrooms of the nation.

Given that he has no problem breaking his income trust promise, no problem breaking his appointment of senators promise, no problem breaking his floor crossing promise, why does the Prime Minister insist on keeping a promise that would contravene the charter and take away the rights given by Parliament to a minority group?

Marriage
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Niagara Falls
Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and this government have been true to their commitment to Canadians to have a vote on this. The member asked what the Prime Minister was clear on. What the Prime Minister is clear on is that the Liberal Party should not be governing this country. We have been very clear on that all the way along.

Liberal Party of Canada
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Daniel Petit Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have learned that the new Leader of the Opposition, during the recent Liberal Party leadership campaign, received a $50,000 loan from Rob Bryden, who was appointed the leader of his transition team. This represents a Liberal act of cronyism to which we have become accustomed.

Can the President of Treasury Board explain in this House how the federal accountability act will deal with this culture of entitlement?

Liberal Party of Canada
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, we must examine the actions of the Liberal Party. The Liberal Party and its candidates accepted over 139 cheques for more than $5,000 each in the last eight months. The new leader of the Liberal Party accepted loans totalling over $400,000 and placed one of these individuals in charge of his transition team. It is true that the new Liberal leader learned about politics from Jean Chrétien.

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, StatsCan knew years ago that it was applying a botched formula for inflation. Its mistake is being paid for by everyone whose income is tied to the CPI. StatsCan says going back in time would create economic chaos.

What about the chaos that its errors wreaked on seniors living on fixed incomes? They are increasingly becoming part of this country's homeless. A retirement in poverty is not a life lived with dignity and respect.

Will the Minister of Finance admit that the government has shortchanged seniors to the tune of over $1 billion for CPP and OAS alone and will he return that money to the seniors who have a right--

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. Minister of Human Resources and Social Development.

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately Statistics Canada does take a retroactive look, but fortunately the adjustment was very small and that adjustment is being incorporated with the regular updates to OAS and the GIS.

Homelessness
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Tony Martin Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, speaking about homelessness and the vulnerable, winter is here. Thirty-two thousand people in Toronto, 4,779 children, stayed in a shelter last year. In Calgary 3,400 people live in a shelter and four people have died. In Vancouver, 2,174 people live on the streets, including 22 families with children. There are 700 homeless people in Victoria.

In 1998 our large city mayors declared homelessness a national disaster. In view of this alarming and tragic reality in our country, will the government declare a state of emergency?