House of Commons Hansard #51 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was infrastructure.

Topics

Fisheries and Oceans
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

1 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, this subject matter is certainly of interest to me. It is an important issue.

As a matter of fact, the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans has gone before the liaison committee to request funding for all members of the committee to visit small craft harbours on the east coast. They are doing some work and looking into these problems.

I wonder if the member could advise the House whether the motion before us now is in fact going to address the substantive issues and problems that the committee seeks to identify on its trip to the east coast.

Fisheries and Oceans
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

1 p.m.

Conservative

Larry Miller Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am going to be honest with the member. I am not aware of all the issues that he referred to, but if they are related to some of the neglect and whatever that has been going on as far as repairs, I would like to say that they were. However, without having further knowledge on that, I cannot speak to it.

Fisheries and Oceans
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

1:05 p.m.

Bloc

Gérard Asselin Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary has said from the start that the government is managing priorities. Now, in 2008, it has to manage priorities, because the wharves and harbours have not been maintained for 15 years.

It is like someone who wants to save money to pay off his mortgage, but who lets his house go to ruin. The roof and basement leak, but his priority is not to maintain his house, but to pay off his mortgage.

That is more or less what the Conservatives are doing. Even though they have a budget surplus, they are not maintaining federal infrastructure. Airports, harbours and wharves belong to the federal government.

My question is for the member. If Fisheries and Oceans Canada has no money to maintain small craft harbours, should we ask the department responsible for helping developing and war-ravaged countries, the Department of International Cooperation, for money to build roads on the lower North Shore and maintain our wharves?

Fisheries and Oceans
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

Larry Miller Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am not really sure there was a real question asked. I noticed that the member talked about paying down the debt and that is something this government believes in. The NDP has never seen a surplus that it would love to spend, the Liberals have never had one they did not spend, and the Bloc will never get a chance to spend money. This government and this minister will put money in the right place to address it. That is what this motion is all about and I urge him to support it.

Fisheries and Oceans
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Andrew Scheer

There are about three or four minutes remaining in the time provided for consideration of this motion.

The member for Manicouagan.

Fisheries and Oceans
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

1:05 p.m.

Bloc

Gérard Asselin Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today during the debate on small craft harbours. We all know the terrible state that regional harbours are in. I have the good fortune to represent the people of the North Shore, in a riding that spans 1,350 kilometres along the north shore of the St. Lawrence and the Gulf, and is divided into 74 municipalities, including aboriginal reserves. We are taking about a major investment of $400 to $600 million to safely reopen the wharves and small craft harbours, primarily on the North Shore.

The federal government's only investment so far was for the installation of a sign, about 18 by 24 inches, that says: Dangerous wharf. No trespassing. What we have in our ridings are houses of cards and crumbling infrastructure. Fishermen, shippers and users of these wharves cannot safely be on them.

I have had to intervene a number of times, during the time of the Liberals as well as the Conservatives. But as I said, we are helping developing countries build roads and create infrastructure, but unfortunately, we do not even maintain our own infrastructure. It is not a matter of money; it is a matter of bad faith on the part of the government, which does not invest in its own facilities.

There was a port divestiture program. The problem is that there is no money in the program. The government would like to hand these harbours over to the harbour authorities or the municipalities, but unfortunately, no one is interested in acquiring a white elephant or a house of cards. It takes money. We know there is a municipality in Quebec that would like to acquire a harbour infrastructure. This has to be done through an order in council, and the municipality does not necessarily have the means to maintain, manage and operate these wharves.

I was jokingly saying that the federal government helps developing countries build roads and infrastructure, but, unfortunately, it does not even maintain its own infrastructure. We see that with harbours and also with airports.

Do you know how the federal government settled the deficit at the Baie-Comeau airport? It closed the control tower, eliminated the airport fire fighters and removed parking security.

At the time, the materials used for building the harbours were not protected by breakwaters. There is a dredging problem, a safety problem for loading and unloading, and problems launching the boats. We are asking the government to maintain its own infrastructure and the wharves. It is the federal government's responsibility and property.

On the North Shore, in the large riding of Manicouagan, and mainly in the Lower North Shore, there are no roads. The only access to these towns is by water in spring and summer, and everything comes in and goes out by boat.

The federal government did not just build these wharves on the North Shore on a whim; it built them out of necessity. There was a growing desire to use the seaway. Perhaps if it were used more there would be fewer transport trucks on the road, which would be better for the environment, and our infrastructure could be used. It is hard to use the seaway without the necessary harbour infrastructure.

What we are asking for is very simple: that the federal government use money and maintain its own facilities.

Fisheries and Oceans
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

1:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Andrew Scheer

It is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put the question necessary to dispose of the motion before the House.

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Fisheries and Oceans
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

1:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

On division.

Fisheries and Oceans
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

1:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Andrew Scheer

(Motion agreed to)

Income Trusts
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

February 14th, 2008 / 1:10 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present this income trust broken promise petition on behalf of Ms. Janetta Lavery, who remembers the Prime Minister boasting about his apparent commitment to accountability when he said that the greatest fraud is “a promise not kept”. The petitioners remind the Prime Minister that he promised never to tax income trusts, but he recklessly broke that promise by imposing a 31.5% punitive tax, which permanently wiped out over $25 billion of the hard-earned retirement savings of over two million Canadians, particularly seniors.

The petitioners therefore call upon the Conservative minority government to admit that the decision to tax income trusts was based on flawed methodology and incorrect assumptions; second, to apologize to those, particularly seniors, who are--

Income Trusts
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

1:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order. The hon. member for Mississauga South knows he cannot read the text of the petition but can just give a brief summary. It sounded like he was reading the terms of the petition. I will allow the hon. member for Mississauga South a very brief time to sum up the petition and then we will move on.

Income Trusts
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

1:10 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is what the petitioners are calling for: the first is to admit that it was flawed methodology; the second is that the government should apologize to those who were hurt by it; and finally, it should repeal the 31.5% tax on income trusts.

Manufacturing Industry
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

1:10 p.m.

Liberal

Mario Silva Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present this petition of great importance to millions of Canadians who are both directly and indirectly affected by the manufacturing crisis. In the past five years alone, over 250,000 hard-working Canadians have lost their jobs in layoffs, and plant closures have crippled the manufacturing sector. At the same time that these Canadians are struggling, the government is awarding massive public contracts to foreign companies at the expense of our homegrown industries.

This practice cannot continue. Canada needs to develop its own manufacturing plans, similar to those in the United States that protect and give assistance to this vital sector. We must remember that the manufacturing sector is vital to Canada's economic infrastructure and industrial stability. I urge my fellow members to stand with me and these petitioners as we develop a strategy to help Canada's manufacturing industry.

Security and Prosperity Partnership
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

1:15 p.m.

NDP

Denise Savoie Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition on behalf of residents in Victoria who are asking that the government declare the SPP null and void because, in their opinion, it violates the peremptory norms of international law related to true security. These norms are intended to promote and guarantee human rights, to enable socially equitable and environmentally sound employment, to ensure preservation and protection of the environment and so on.

They reason that because Canada has signed agreements that commit the country to these objectives, signing the SPP would run counter to these, and Canada should therefore not now sign agreements and adopt regulations that run counter to these principles.

Security and Prosperity Partnership
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

1:15 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, a number of petitioners from right across British Columbia, and in fact from ridings of all three of the parties that represent British Columbia, are also expressing great concern over the government's progress on the SPP, the security and prosperity partnership. They find that the more they know, the more they fear.

They are asking the government to bring it to public attention and public debate in this place, which would be a novel concept for the government, and also to cease and desist any further agreements until such a public discussion has happened, which is a very reasonable and democratic perspective.