House of Commons Hansard #101 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was police.

Topics

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, this morning, Statistics Canada informed us that the number of people receiving employment insurance benefits fell in August. But the situation is much more complicated. The number of recipients increased in New Brunswick and in Quebec. In Ontario and Saskatchewan, the decrease was caused by the fact that many workers reached the end of their benefit period.

In Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta, 40% of people are not eligible, and that number keeps increasing. What does the government plan on doing?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we have already done a lot to help those who have been unfortunate enough to lose their jobs. What we have already done is to add five additional weeks of EI benefits, which helped 300,000 Canadians this year. We expanded the work-sharing program, which is currently protecting more than 165,000 jobs. Furthermore, I remind members that we are trying to expand the support system for long-tenured workers.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, a representative from the International Union of Operating Engineers, who appeared before the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, recommended that apprentices be put in the same category as workers who receive special benefits. In short, he was asking that the new legislation encourage apprentices to continue learning their trades and pursue training, instead of penalizing them by making them ineligible for EI benefits. Bill C-50 penalizes apprentices.

Is the government prepared to amend Bill C-50 to avoid penalizing apprentices?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the one thing that we have done as a Conservative government is to encourage apprenticeships. We did that, right out of the chute, with our apprenticeship incentive grants of up to $2,000 for students who sign up in apprenticeship programs.

In our economic action plan we enlarged on that by providing the apprenticeship completion grant, so now students in the trades can collect up to $4,000 in grants to help them achieve their goal of skills in the skilled trades.

I would point out that the hon. member and all the members of his party voted against both those initiatives.

Justice
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Allen Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, we know that organized crime is flourishing with the advancement of modern technology and Canadians also recognize the violence associated with it.

Our government has implemented a comprehensive approach to combatting organized crime and gangs in this country. For two years, we have fought the opposition to pass identity theft legislation that will give police the tools they need to fight this lucrative activity.

I am pleased that our government's Bill S-4 has received royal assent and will soon be the law of the land. Could the Minister of Justice tell the House what this will mean for Canadians?

Justice
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Niagara Falls
Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the member is quite correct. Two years ago, we introduced Bill C-27, which was our first attempt to protect Canadians from the growing crime of identity theft.

We had to reintroduce this legislation and I have been calling upon the opposition for months to get this passed. I am pleased to say that we finally got it through the House and Canadians will be better protected from identity theft by giving police the tools they need.

There is only one party and one government prepared to stand up for victims in this country and it is this Conservative government.

Iran
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are witnessing, in Ahmadinejad's Iran, four distinct and interrelated threats: the nuclear, the genocidal, the terrorist and massive domestic repression.

What action will the government take to hold Iran to account? In particular, will the government sanction Iran's revolutionary guards, who are at the core of each of these threats, and its energy and banking sectors that create the capacity for this kind of violence?

I invite the government to adopt my own private member's Iran accountability act, which would address all these threats with corresponding remedies. Will it do so?

Iran
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, under this government, on Thursday of this week, Canada will table a strong resolution at the United Nations General Assembly that will continue to take Iran to task for its appalling behaviour in international affairs and the blatant disregard the regime carries out on its own citizens.

Under this government, we will finally stand up with everybody who is supporting us for human rights.

National Defence
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the journalist who made public the report on the deplorable conditions of Quebec's heritage military buildings said that he was told by the Department of Defence that the $100 million in renovations of La Citadelle have been postponed for ten years.

Does the minister responsible for Greater Quebec City realize that, given the unsafe state of the buildings owned by National Defence, a delay of 10 years will result in additional costs not to mention safety issues and will jeopardize valuable heritage buildings?

National Defence
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, this is of great interest to us. Of all the installations, La Citadelle is one of the historical sites that has the greatest heritage value to the department. We have planned significant work to restore and repair the structures in coming years. This will be in addition to the $20 million in work completed in the 1980s and early 2000s to restore various buildings and fortifications.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I wish to draw the attention of the members to the presence in the Senate gallery of crew and cast of the popular film De père en flic: producer Denise Robert, director Émile Gaudreault, comedians Michel Côté, Luc Senay, Patrice Coquereau, Joachim Tanguay and Clermont Jolicoeur, as well as board chair of Telefilm Canada, Michel Roy.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

October 27th, 2009 / 3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Cardigan, PE

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I am sure the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans would not intentionally mislead the House but I want to put a number of facts on the record.

What I have in my hand is a variation order from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans that came into force on September 2, 2009. These are just facts that indicate what the rules are. The department passed rules that helped eliminate the herring stock in the southern gulf and this must be stopped.

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I invite the hon. member for Cardigan to put notice of his question on the late show and he can have a debate on the subject then rather than raise a point of order which might get us into a debate now rather than on the late show when the rules suggest it be done. I know the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans would look forward to such a debate. I can tell from the enthusiastic listening of the hon. member's point of order.

Disturbance in Gallery
Privilege
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Prince George—Peace River
B.C.

Conservative

Jay Hill Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I rise today on a question of privilege in regard to the disturbance in the public gallery yesterday during question period. I charge the member for Toronto—Danforth with contempt for his involvement in this incident.

It has now become quite clear that the people who disrupted the proceedings of this House were guests of the leader of the NDP. That member booked room 237-C from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. yesterday prior to question period for the use of that group. It was set up, according to the parliamentary functions room request form, for theatre-style seating and standing microphones for questions and media feed, all provided by the House of Commons.

Conservative members of the environment committee happened to be meeting in the Commonwealth room, which is adjacent to room 237-C. Those members reported to me that they heard the group in room 237-C practising their chant very loudly. It was clear to all people.

We cannot allow members to misuse Parliament to aid in such obstruction. Obstructing members in the performance of their duties is a breach of our privileges, as we well know. Clearly, yesterday, during question period, this House was obstructed by the disturbance in the gallery. Question period was interrupted while security cleared the gallery.

The Canadian press reported that the NDP member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley stood outside watching after the protesters were ushered from the building and praised their disruptive tactics. He was quoted as saying, “It's pretty powerful, there's no doubt about it, young people getting this animated.”

This was not just a bunch of kids making a point. We had two constables that reportedly went to the hospital as a result of that group making its point. It was also reported to me that some members were uncomfortable and feared for their safety. Might I remind the Speaker that it is also contempt to intimidate or attempt to intimidate members of this House.

I would refer hon. members to Marleau and Montpetit at page 67 where it states:

There are, however, other affronts against the dignity and authority of Parliament which may not fall within one of the specifically defined privileges. Thus, the House also claims the right to punish, as a contempt, any action which, though not a breach of a specific privilege, tends to obstruct or impede the House in the performance of its functions; obstructs or impedes any Member or Officer of the House in the discharge of their duties;

Marleau and Montpetit goes on to state:

By far, the most important right accorded to Members of the House is the exercise of freedom of speech in parliamentary proceedings. It has been described as:

...a fundamental right without which they would be hampered in the performance of their duties. It permits them to speak in the House without inhibition, to refer to any matter or express any opinion as they see fit, to say what they feel needs to be said in the furtherance of the national interest and the aspirations of their constituents.

On page 84 of Marleau and Montpetit, it states:

Speakers have consistently upheld the right of the House to the services of its Members free from intimidation....

The precedent cited on that same page is from Speaker Lamoureux, who went further and suggested that members should be protected from “threats or attempts at intimidation”.

We must provide protection for the House, its members and its officers from improper obstruction or attempt at or threat of obstruction that interferes with the performance of their respective functions.

The leader of the protesters is the political events organizer of the NDP. His group gained access to the parliamentary precinct because of the leader of the NDP. The leader of the NDP provided a practice room for this group. The group was allowed to go from its practice to the galleries where it obstructed the proceedings of the House and intimidated some members.

In summary, Mr. Speaker, I would ask that you investigate this matter and report back to the House as soon as possible.