House of Commons Hansard #24 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was insurance.

Topics

Opposition Motion -- Employment Insurance
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Todd Russell Labrador, NL

Madam Speaker, I certainly will use my six minutes after question period.

I want to thank the member for bringing forward this motion and spurring debate on what is an important program, a needed program. It is a program that helps many families, individuals and communities within our country. I also want to thank the member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, who has been a strong advocate for EI reform. I also want to thank the Liberal caucus which has been supportive of EI reform not only today but in past years. From 2000 to 2005 the Liberal government made major overhauls of the EI system to help Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

Many people in my riding, which is primarily a rural riding, depend on EI to pay their bills, to send their kids to school, to heat their homes and to buy food. This is a reality in the riding of Labrador. Many people in my riding are disappointed in the Conservatives' approach to EI reform, if it can be called reform. All they have done is tacked on five weeks. Some would say that is a move in the right direction, but it does not go far enough. It does not meet the needs of Canadians who are in more trouble today than they have been in a generation.

We have to remind people of the attitude of the Conservatives in the past. They called EI nothing but a welfare system. They said that EI was only a handout to people. We have to remind Canadians of what the minister said not too long ago, that the EI program was too lucrative. I think the attitude of the Conservative government permeates the fact that they have taken so little action on EI reform. Many groups and communities across the country say that EI reform is one of the best ways to stimulate the economy.

When the minister talks about EI being too lucrative, I would like her to go to the communities in Labrador where the average EI payment in many places is $350 every two weeks. Can that be called too lucrative? Is that meeting the needs of Canadians? Not one person in this House would dare stand up and say that was too lucrative. I know hundreds of families and individuals who are in that particular situation and it is not good.

This program is an insurance program. People pay into it and they expect help when times are tough. That is why I and the Liberal Party are supporting this particular motion.

Opposition Motion -- Employment Insurance
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I hesitate to interrupt the hon. member, but it being two o'clock, we have to move on to other items. When we resume debate on this matter, he will have a good seven minutes remaining to conclude his remarks.

It being two o'clock, we will now proceed with statements by members.

Violent Crime
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are shocked and dismayed at the recent wave of gangster violence in British Columbia.

Previous Liberal governments all but ignored the problem of violent crime, but there is good news. Last week Canada's Minister of Justice tabled two new laws which tackle organized crime and get tough on serious drug criminals. These build on our Conservative government's Tackling Violent Crime Act, which imposed mandatory prison sentences for gun crimes and made it much tougher for repeat gun criminals to get bail.

Last week the opposition parties suddenly got religion and claimed that it wanted to get tough on crime. Sadly, these johnny-come-latelies to the crime issue talk tough at election time but then obstruct, delay, water down and even oppose our efforts to protect Canadians.

Canadians expect more from these born again crime fighters. When will Liberal and NDP MPs finally protect the victims of crime and start standing up for Canadians?

Ted Patey
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in the House to pay tribute to and honour a fellow Newfoundlander, Ted Patey of Badger, who passed away on December 6, 2008. He was 66 years old.

He was known as a cheerful sports reporter across the province, who hosted a popular sports program in the 1980s for nearly 400 episodes. His most memorable event was the play-by-play commentary for the 1991-92 Herder Memorial championship hockey series that was won by his beloved Badger Bombers. In 2006, he was inducted into the Newfoundland and Labrador Hockey Hall of Fame. The same year he was awarded a lifetime achievement award from the town of Badger for his outstanding dedication, love and support of the town. Ted took great pride in his community and was always there to lend a helping hand.

In April of this year, a heritage park will be named and dedicated to his many accomplishments in the town of Badger. It will be named the Ted Patey Heritage Park.

Ted's legacy will be long remembered in his hometown of Badger. Ted Patey will be greatly missed by his family, his town, his province and his many friends.

Louise Fourtané Bordonado
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, today I want to pay tribute to an exceptional person, Louise Fourtané Bordonado. Although she is leaving active municipal politics, her hard work on numerous committees has left an indelible mark, for example on the members of the Table de concertation de condition féminine des Moulins.

In 1999 this woman of compassion who stood by her word, who encouraged women to run for office while she was vice-president of the Comité national d'action politique des femmes du Parti Québécois, decided to practise what she had been preaching and dedicated herself to the service of her fellow citizens. Her contribution will serve as an example for many amongst us.

On behalf of women from the Moulins area, I would like to thank Mrs. Bordonado for her 10 years as municipal counsellor for Mascouche and wish her the very best in her future endeavours.

Status of Women
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, women and men around the world are recognizing International Women's Day as a time to celebrate women's social, political and economic achievements.

Sadly, women across the world still suffer extreme poverty, violence and violations of their basic human rights. In Canada, lack of attention to women's rights by successive governments has left equality rights in tatters.

The government has cut funds to Status of Women Canada and removed the word “equality” from its mandate; eliminated the court challenges program; failed to make investments in child care; failed to invest in affordable housing; failed to make employment insurance accessible to more women; failed to improve the lives of aboriginal women; and failed to address violence against women.

Disturbingly, the Conservative government is now revoking pay equity laws in Canada and removing pay equity protection under the Canadian Human Rights Act for federal employees. New Democrats will continue to fight for equality and oppose the government's agenda to turn back the clock on women's rights.

We invite all Canadians to join us in celebrating International Women's Day and to speak out on the issues that matter to all women.

Dutton & District Lions Club
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Preston Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, our communities are better places because of them; projects are planned, buildings are built, parks are designed, youth are assisted and seniors are housed through them. Yes, I am speaking of service clubs.

I had the pleasure of participating in a wonderful event, the grand opening, a house warming so to speak, of Caledonia Two, a beautiful seniors housing project in friendly Dutton, Ontario. The stars of the show? Members of the Dutton & District Lions Club. With their help, this project succeeded through tough times. It was led by Clare Oldham, whose vision and drive would not let the project fail, and the committee, led by Bob Purcell, which kept the fundraising on track.

This lions club, even while working on this major project, continued its other great work in the community. At every event in the western part of Elgin, people will find hard-working lions club members on fundraising duty. I will admit to eating the occasional great burger prepared by them.

I salute the Dutton & District Lions Club. Our community is better because the lions club is part of it.

Special Olympics World Winter Games
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Cardigan, PE

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I rise in this chamber today to pay tribute to an outstanding Prince Edward Island athlete.

Stratford native Michael Morris, who lives in my riding with his mother, Judy, has just returned home from participating in the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games, which were held in Boise, Idaho in February, winning two bronze and a silver medal.

Michael has been skiing since he was a youngster and his list of accomplishments over the last few years would make any Olympian proud. He became involved in Special Olympics not for the competition, but for the friendship with other intellectually disabled athletes.

Michael is an inspiration to us all. I know he is proud to be a Canadian and I know how proud he is to carry the Canadian flag at the games.

Once again, I would like to pass my congratulations on to Michael Morris for his triple medal finish at the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Boise, Idaho.

Canada Post
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Maurice Vellacott Saskatoon—Wanuskewin, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise to celebrate the hard work of the 137 Canada Post employees at the postal plant on 51st Street in Saskatoon, across from my MP office. Those good workers contribute to making Canada Post one of the most trusted federal institutions in the eyes of the Canadian public. I congratulate them on their achievement over many years in making adjustments to transform and enhance the quality of service delivery.

Every day millions of Canadians rely upon Canada Post workers to help them communicate, send and receive payments, advertise and ship their products. We commend Canada Post for directly investing in the future of its employees. A new state of the art mail processing plant has been announced for the Winnipeg International Airport.

I also commend the contribution of Canada Post employees, customers and suppliers in my riding for helping the newly formed Canada Post Foundation for Mental Health reach its 2008 $1 million fundraising goal.

It has been a long and brutal winter and so, for our postal carriers, especially my postal carrier Robert Winslow, we look forward to warmer and sunnier spring days to do their important work in connecting us across the country and around the world.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Statements By Members

March 5th, 2009 / 2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is the Somali woman who became a Dutch citizen and, following the assassination of director Theo Van Gogh, a member of the Dutch Parliament. She wrote the screenplay for the late director's film entitled Submission, which denounced the harm done to a woman in the name of religion. A fatwa was then issued against Ms. Hirsi Ali's life.

While in Montreal this week, she gave a lecture on multiculturalism, which has been official policy in Canada since 1982, but not in Quebec, which chose interculturalism instead. Ms. Hirsi Ali criticized multiculturalism harshly, saying that the policy exempted minorities from obligations that everyone else has. She stated that Quebec's interculturalism, which calls on immigrants to undertake a moral engagement with the Government of Quebec, is more appropriate because immigrants can acquire a better understanding of the host society's values, such as secularism and gender equality.

This government could learn a lot from Ayaan Hirsi Ali's perspective on Canadian multiculturalism.

John Lundrigan
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Tilly O'Neill-Gordon Miramichi, NB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to a former member of the House, John Lundrigan, who recently passed away at the age of 70.

John served in the House for the riding of Gander—Twillingate from 1968 to 1974. He would later go on to serve in Newfoundland and Labrador's House of Assembly for the electoral district of Grand Falls—Buchans, serving as a cabinet minister in the government.

One notable story of John's time in the House has become legendary. In February 1971 John was speaking in this chamber when the then prime minister, Pierre Trudeau, made, in John's and many other's opinions, a rather unparliamentary remark. Of course Trudeau would argue he never said such naughty language, and so the fuddle duddle scandal was born.

On behalf of all of us, we give our condolences to John's family and friends. He will certainly be missed.

International Women's Day
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, International Women's Day is Sunday, March 8. It is a time to celebrate the political, social and economic achievements of women past, present and future.

Indeed, women have made great strides in the past century, but as we celebrate today, we still have a fight before us. Only 21% of members of this chamber are women, women still earn only 70¢ on the dollar of what men earn for work of equal value and 80% of unpaid caregiving in our country is done by women who are continuously in and out of the work force to care for sick loved ones and to care for their children. Women are the victims of time poverty.

We have watched as the government removed equality from the mandate of the women's program, closed 12 of 16 regional offices for Status of Women and cut off at the knees funding for research and advocacy. More recent, the government launched its ideological attack on women's human rights by removing their right to pay equity.

Women have a long history of coming together to fight injustices and I stand with those women here today to strive for a better future for women, for true equality.

Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Daryl Kramp Prince Edward—Hastings, ON

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Liberal Party says this about expelling Newfoundland separatist-leaning Senator George Baker from caucus: “That's too ridiculous to discuss”.

What is ridiculous is the fact that the leader of the Liberal Party opposite is apparently okay with a member of his caucus, the longest-serving Liberal parliamentarian, talking about forming his separatist political party and potentially seeking its leadership.

To me, as a proud nationalist, this is not only a question of leadership, but a question of principle. The Liberal leader has come back to Canada and he either cannot or will not answer a pretty basic question about whether it is appropriate for someone who condones the creation of a separatist party to be in the Liberal Party.

Will he show his true patriot love today by tossing that senator out of the Liberal Party?

Benjamin Miguel
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise to honour and pay homage to a special person who recently passed away in my riding. Mr. Benjamin Miguel was a respected and much loved leader in the Filipino community. He met his end as he lived his life: with strength, courage and dignity.

As the New Democrat spokesperson for multiculturalism, Mr. Miguel's life allows us to reflect on the outstanding contributions of the Filipino community to Canadian society. This community is filled with hardworking and proud men and women, people who celebrate life and create culture.

Their courage, fortitude and dreams of building better lives for their families are an inspiration to us all. From the monthly birthday celebrations of the New Era Society to the community development of the Circulo Ilonggo Association to the charity work of Alpha Phi Omega, the Filipino community in British Columbia is active, creative and vibrant.

In Canada's multicultural fabric, the Filipino threads are woven deeply. I would like to convey our deepest sympathies to Mr. Miguel's family. May his life inspire the sons and daughters of the Filipino community and indeed all of us to honour his legacy and make him proud.

Opposition Parties
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the opposition members on the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage voted against a motion condemning groups that promote violence and racism. The Liberal-NDP-Bloc coalition is still very much in effect and is protecting such groups.

The Liberals and New Democrats preferred to keep the status quo in this new coalition of intolerance, a coalition whose survival depends once again on a partner whose main objective is not to build a stronger, safer Canada. The Liberals are demonstrating that they do not care much about national unity. I would remind this House that 80% of the advertising revenue of the newspaper Le Québécois comes from the Bloc Québécois.

I am disappointed that the opposition members on this committee are unable to oppose these extremists and unable to defend Canada.