House of Commons Hansard #127 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was pay.

Topics

Social Security
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Foreign Affairs

I would also like to table a treaty entitled “Agreement on Social Security between Canada and the Republic of Macedonia”, signed in Ottawa on August 26, 2009.

Exchange of Information on Tax Matters
Routine Proceedings

December 9th, 2009 / 3:15 p.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Foreign Affairs

Finally, I would like to table a third treaty entitled, “Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in respect of the Netherlands Antilles on Exchange of Information on Tax Matters”, signed in Vancouver on August 29, 2009.

Finance
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

James Rajotte Edmonton—Leduc, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the sixth report of the Standing Committee on Finance in relation to prebudget consultations 2009, entitled “A Prosperous and Sustainable Future for Canada: Needed Federal Actions”.

I would like to thank the members of the committee for all their work, and the committee staff, the clerk, analysts, all the logistics people and the interpreters.

Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Guelph, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-491, An Act to amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 and respecting the On-Road Vehicle and Engine Emission Regulations (emissions labelling for vehicles).

Mr. Speaker, today I am pleased to table a private member's bill, An Act to amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 and respecting the On-Road Vehicle and Engine Emission Regulations.

To address greenhouse gases and pollution, Canada must have a focused policy for on-road emissions. This bill would contribute by ensuring that mandatory labels are placed on new vehicles in Canada that clearly show the amount in grams of carbon dioxide emitted by the vehicle per kilometre for both highway and city use.

Canadians must have the information they need to make environmentally conscious decisions when purchasing their vehicles. It is a selling point for consumers when a vehicle has lower greenhouse gas emissions. Importantly, the mandatory clear labelling of CO2 emitted by a given vehicle would foster competition between companies eager to offer the consumer greener and more efficient products.

I ask for the support of this House for this private member's bill.

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

Temporary Resident Visa Processing Requirements Act
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow Trinity—Spadina, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-492, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (denial of temporary resident visa application).

Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the hon. member for Burnaby—Douglas, this bill to amend the immigration and refugee protection regulations, aiming to bring more transparency to the visitor visa program.

The bill requires that a person, whose application for a temporary resident visa has been denied, be allowed to receive detailed reasons for the refusal, to have a subsequent application heard by a different officer, and to be able to resubmit a second application within a year without having to pay an extra fee.

The Prime Minister just returned from China, and Canada has obtained a destination agreement that would bring many Chinese tourists to Canada, but one in four Chinese tourists were turned down last year. Other than getting a form letter, they have no idea, and they have no way to find out, precisely why they were turned down. If their circumstances changed, they could be given another chance within a year.

That refusal disappointed over 17,000 Chinese visitors and 200,000 visitors around the world. That is a loss of economic stimulus for the tourism industry, and in some cases Canadians who want to reunite with their relatives are not able to do so. I hope the House will support my private member's bill.

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

Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow Trinity—Spadina, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-493, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (foreign nationals).

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to introduce a bill to reverse a draconian change brought in by the Conservative government in May 2008 by Bill C-50.

This change separated many families. My bill would ensure that all children and direct family members left overseas be granted a consideration on humanitarian and compassionate grounds when their Canadian parents want to sponsor them and bring them into the country as permanent residents.

The Christmas holiday season is quickly approaching. Many Canadians came from war-torn countries, both to escape refugee camps and find a safe haven in Canada. Some of these Canadians have left behind children in refugee camps and have been waiting for a long time, sometimes for many years, to bring them to Canada.

The law must be changed to bring these families together. Some of these children may not be admissible under the normal considerations because they might be sick or they may not have proper identification. I hope the House supports this private member's bill.

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

Year of the Métis Nation
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, there have been the usual consultations, and if you were to seek it, I think you would find unanimous consent for the following motion, which would be moved by me and seconded by the hon. member for Labrador. I move:

That, in the opinion of the House, the government should utilize next year, 2010, to commemorate the Year of the Métis in recognition of the 125th anniversary of the historic events of 1885 in Saskatchewan; and further, the government should recognize and celebrate the invaluable contributions of the Métis Nation across Canada which have enriched the lives of all Canadians, socially, economically, politically and culturally.

Year of the Métis Nation
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Does the hon. member for Wascana have the unanimous consent of the House to propose this motion?

Year of the Métis Nation
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Year of the Métis Nation
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. government House leader is rising on this point.

Year of the Métis Nation
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Jay Hill Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, I note that the seconder for the motion is not in the chamber. I would be happy to second it.

Year of the Métis Nation
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

If it is going to go on consent, I am not particularly worried about having a seconder, but I am sure if one is required for the Journals, we will put one in, but normally it just says, “By unanimous consent, it was ordered”.

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Year of the Métis Nation
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Year of the Métis Nation
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

(Motion agreed to)

Canadian Heritage
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I move that the third report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, presented to the House on Wednesday, December 2, 2009, be concurred in.

I will be sharing my time with the member for Hamilton Mountain.

This debate is very important and I will be looking to my colleagues in the Bloc Québécois and the Liberal Party to work with us to have a fulsome debate on the issue at hand. Following the committee report of November 26, 2009, the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage called on the Government of Canada to help facilitate, to the best of its ability, the establishment of a timely and equitable resolution to the labour dispute between the 420 employees of the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the War Museum who make up the Public Service Alliance of Canada, Local 70396, and museum management.

Today in the House our attention is drawn by the bitter cold and the snowstorm out there. I know from talking to colleagues in the hall that they are tired, they are looking forward to going home for the Christmas break, but here in the House we have to remember that we have 420 unionized employees who have been walking the picket lines for 80-some days, asking for a just settlement to the dispute that is happening at the Museum of Civilization and the War Museum.

This issue came before the heritage committee because we are talking about two of the key heritage operations in Canada. Any visitor who has ever come to Ottawa or Gatineau has gone to those museums.

As someone whose uncles fought with the Ontario Tanks at the Battle for Ortona, whose uncles were with the Cape Breton Highlanders all through the battles of Italy, and whose relatives who were on the convoys, going into that War Museum, it is very difficult to walk through those exhibits and not feel an extreme sense of emotion, and to sense the great pride that the staff and the researchers have put into that museum.

Likewise, going into the Museum of Civilization and walking through that first floor one sees the staggeringly beautiful and respectful architecture that shows all Canadians and visitors to Canada the incredible first nations history on British Columbia's coast, those first nations families who lived and fished there for centuries.

Further, of course, once one goes into other sections of the museum, and I have been through it so many times, the cultural history is unparalleled anywhere in this country. I always like to point out that it is not just the old history of Upper Canada and Lower Canada and their battles, but we can actually go into the Winnipeg Labour Hall where the founders of the Winnipeg General Strike met in 1919, one of the seminal moments in labour history. It is celebrated there. It is something that we teach our generations.

The situation for the people who do this incredible work is absolutely appalling. We see that the current practice, corroborated by the employer at the bargaining table, is to sever temporary employees immediately before they reach the threshold in the collective agreement to become permanent workers, and then they rehire them under a new contract three weeks later. So these employees continually start from the bottom in terms of salary when rehired, and they acquire no seniority.

We have a museum operation management there that does not respect the issue of seniority for people who are very skilled in what they do. These are national heritage sites. They do not just pick up people who work at McDonald's, and no disrespect to McDonald's workers, but these people who have not just a skill but a passion and a love for those museums are being treated as if they are disposable commodities on the labour assembly line.

We know that the Public Service Alliance represents the 420 workers there. The workers have no job security. The majority of jobs are being given out to contract companies. They are moving people through all the time. We look at the wage discrepancies between these two national museums and other museums in the country, and it is shocking.

We have security and cafeteria services that have been outsourced to private companies, undermining workers and their collective agreements. Then we see the CEO, Dr. Victor Rabinovitch. He makes 20% more than any museum CEO in the region.

We have to ask ourselves once again why the people at the top see themselves as entitled to so much more when the people who are doing the work are walking in the snow today, asking for arbitration. They are not asking for an outrageous sum. They are asking for arbitration. We know that Mr. Rabinovitch makes $236,200 a year, plus a performance award of up to $61,400.

As the heritage spokesman for the New Democratic Party, I ask the government, how could a man be receiving a performance bonus when he is denying the taxpaying citizens of this country, who paid for these services, the quality work that is needed? Sure, there are temporary workers. One can call them scabs, if you will. However, they should not be looking after world-class museum exhibits.

My uncles left the mines of Timmins and Cape Breton and their work on the railway, where they were bull-gang workers, and went and risked their lives in Europe. They went and fought for a principle. Knowing what my uncles and grandfathers believed, I certainly do not think they would want scab labour looking after the great historic war record of our country.

We are not asking the government to do anything extraordinary. We are asking the government to put pressure on management to come to arbitration. We have met with the PSAC workers. I have stood out on the picket lines with them in Gatineau. I stood with them with the great British rocker Billy Bragg, who was over from England. Billy Bragg took time out of his tour to come and sing for these workers. These are reasonable people. They are not asking for the moon. They are asking for the government to help them bring Mr. Rabinovitch and his gang to the arbitration table and let professional arbitrators settle this dispute.

We have heard the Minister of Labour claim that she is willing to facilitate if they are willing. That is not good enough. The money comes from the taxpayers of Canada. At the end of the day, the taxpayers and the Government of Canada are the employer who should be telling the management at the Museum of Civilization and the War Museum to get back to the table and settle this in a timely manner.

As someone whose family comes to Ottawa on a regular basis, I would find it very distasteful to try and invite someone and have to walk across a picket line. Nobody I know in the Timmins—James Bay region would ever cross a picket line and I do not think that visitors who come to see our world-class exhibits should have to be walking a picket line, not when there is such a reasonable position from the union on the table.

Let us bring this to arbitration. Let us settle this. Christmas is coming. These families give so much of themselves to maintain the best of our Canadian culture and history. They deserve a little bit of respect. The Museum of Civilization and our War Museum make such incredible contributions. They are the national centres for preserving, studying and presenting information about the human, social, cultural and military history of this country. This is the story of us. This is the story of where we come from.

The museums and public galleries in the national capital region are only part of the services the corporation provides to Canadians. They also extend the knowledge and resources across the country through publications, the use of artifact loans, travelling exhibitions, and an ever-expanding website. In order to do this, we need to have people who are committed to this, people who will bring a particular set of skills so that they present with accuracy but also with passion the story of Canada.

We look at the impact that they have in the region. There are over 1.8 million visitors a year. Approximately half, or about 900,000 visitors, are Canadians from outside the national capital region. On this cold winter day just before Christmas, we are asking for the government to work with us to call on the management at both of those museums to come back to the bargaining table, to meet under arbitration, and to let the arbitrator decide what is a fair and just settlement for these workers, who give so much of themselves to our country's heritage.