House of Commons Hansard #44 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was cards.

Topics

Opposition Motion--Finance
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Vancouver Centre, BC

Madam Speaker, the member makes some very good points. She stated that she supports the intent of the motion but that some of the pieces within the motion, she feels, are not necessarily supportable or the implementation of the motion is not necessarily supportable.

Could the member perhaps give me two specific examples of pieces that she feels are not necessarily supportable in terms of their implementation?

Opposition Motion--Finance
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Vancouver Quadra, BC

Madam Speaker, the House is calling on the government to introduce comprehensive legislation similar to an act that was introduced in the United States. We need to be mindful that we are not the United States. We have a different situation in Canada. It is not a mild recession, which is what the finance minister, surprisingly enough, called it. One of my concerns is that the government does not seem to know whether it is a severe or mild recession. However, we cannot assume that actions taken in the United States are the right ones for Canada.

Opposition Motion--Finance
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse Windsor West, ON

Madam Speaker, we do know that many of our industries are, in many respects, highly compatible with those in the United States. This is just a vehicle to get to a solution and the solution needs to be one that respects consumers. If any amendments come forward, we would welcome the debate of them.

The heart of the matter is whether the member believes that Canadians are being well served by credit card practices today. Does the member not think that credit card companies have too much control in a period of time when the Bank of Canada interest rates are low but consumers are paying through the nose, sometimes up to 30%? This is hurting the Canadian economy and it is hurting a number of different Canadians as they try to make ends meet because, through no fault of their own, they have lost jobs over the last number of years. I would like her opinion on that.

Opposition Motion--Finance
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Vancouver Quadra, BC

Madam Speaker, a number of speakers have talked about the very high interest rates and whether the credit card companies and their banking partners have too much power. I think there is every indication that they do.

What is missing in this motion, from how I read it, is any concern about business and the costs on the small business community of some of the practices, such as the fees charged and the risk of debit card costs going through the roof. I think, from the earlier NDP member's comments about business and corporate elite, the NDP does not appear to have very much concern or appreciation for the difficulties that small businesses are facing. They are corporations, too. It does not mean they are bad. They are our parents, our families and our friends and therefore we need to address the concerns of the business community as well.

Opposition Motion--Finance
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Madam Speaker, I know the member, who gave a great speech, comes from a vibrant retail sector in her riding and has government experience. I want her to elaborate, if she would, on how this motion does not address issues of the point of sale, the commercial retailer who sometimes must judge whether the credit rating of the customer will affect what fees that he or she will need to pay to the credit card companies, which is ridiculous.

Opposition Motion--Finance
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Vancouver Quadra, BC

Madam Speaker, I received a phone call from a grocer in my community who sells organic products. The store is called Choices Markets, which is where I shop. The business owner said that the key business challenge and the key concern the store had right now was the power of the credit card-bank partnership to cost the business potentially more than the margin it makes on its sales. The stores that sell food to people need to make money but if their costs keep going up 1% or 2%, they will need raise the price of the food to consumers or go out of business. Raising prices is very hard for consumers to pay at this very difficult time.

Opposition Motion--Finance
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Vancouver Centre, BC

Madam Speaker, I rise to support a well-intentioned motion. The motion has some very key components, to which other members have spoken, but I suggest that some of it does not really pertain to the Canadian environment, especially the mention of the credit card accountability responsibility and disclosure act of 2009, American legislation that does not pertain to Canada.

As members well know, the Canadian banks and financial institutions that control much of the credit card fees, et cetera, have been pretty stable in Canada because the Liberal government set out in 2001 to ensure that there were strong regulations and that we had good control. Had it not been for the Liberal government of the day ensuring that we had good control and good regulation of financial institutions, we might have had the same problems that we see in the United States and in other parts of the world.

We do have some pretty good regulations in place that are making banks accountable. We have credit card databases and profiles of clients and credit cards to look at how the system is working and how people are accessing credit. At the same time, while this is not particularly pertinent to the solution, the ideas that are being brought forward by the motion are worth thinking about.

One of the things most heinous that we see today is that many Canadians are in debt. In my part of the world, in Vancouver, British Columbia, buying a small 1,000 square foot condominium is enough to crush a small family. We have young families with university and college educations who are making what, at one time, people used to consider a reasonable income, both making say $70,000 or $80,000 each. A couple with a small child who buys a $500,000 condominium in my riding will not be able to afford to pay the mortgage if one of them loses their job. Those are some of the points that I would like to bring forward as I support the intent of the motion.

Opposition Motion--Finance
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

The hon. member may continue her comments after question period.

Claudette Taschereau
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Beauce, QC

Madam Speaker, a few years ago, Citizenship and Immigration Canada created the Citation for Citizenship Award to honour exemplary individuals who help newcomers integrate into the community.

In Beauce, one of these exemplary citizens, Ms. Claudette Taschereau, was awarded the Citation for Citizenship Award.

The work done by Ms. Taschereau has been remarkable. She understands the difficulties and problems faced by new immigrants. But she has also witnessed and appreciated the richness of their invaluable contributions to the community and decided to do everything possible to make things easier for them.

Ms. Taschereau embodies the values of tolerance, fair-mindedness and acceptance. Congratulations to Ms. Taschereau, she is a citizen of the world and we are proud of her.

National Volunteer Week
Statements By Members

April 23rd, 2009 / 2 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Charlottetown, PE

Madam Speaker, as we mark National Volunteer Week, I have the pleasure of representing a riding where volunteerism is a fundamental value.

This year, Prince Edward Island is honoured to host the Canada Summer Games. This event would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of thousands of engaged volunteers. The islanders who have signed up to volunteer for these games will be taking part in a very significant event for all of Prince Edward Island.

Today I want to take this time to shine a spotlight and recognize the hard work of our volunteers who have been working to make these games happen. These volunteers are ensuring that the 2009 Canada Games will, indeed, be an unforgettable and successful experience for all involved. I also want to encourage all islanders to get involved with the Canada Games and be part of this summer's marquee event.

I would like to invite all my hon. colleagues to join us on Prince Edward Island this summer for the games.

Communication Games
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Nadeau Gatineau, QC

Madam Speaker, the 13th Jeux de la communication were held in Montreal in March. More than 300 students from nine universities in eastern Canada participated in competitions in 13 different categories. This was the first competition for the delegation from Université du Québec en Outaouais, which was very successful and won nine awards.

UQO was first in debating with Patrick Robert-Meunier, second in social communication with Jean-François Morissette and Michael O'Farrell, third in journalistic interviewing with Laurie Trudel and fourth in television news with Karine DeFoy.

Furthermore, the UQO delegation was given special mention on five occasions by the other universities.

The Bloc Québécois and I congratulate this delegation from Université du Québec en Outaouais on its fine performance.

Birds are Back Celebrity Challenge
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie Halifax, NS

Madam Speaker, yesterday Canadians and people around the world celebrated Earth Day. In that spirit, I would like to highlight an exciting event taking place back home that brings attention to the rich biodiversity of Nova Scotia.

The Birds are Back Celebrity Challenge pits Nova Scotian public figures against one another in a race to find and record the province's birds returning for spring.

Birds are on the front lines as our climate changes. The Ecology Action Centre in Halifax has organized Birds are Back to bring attention to the risk these that incredible creatures face with increasing pollution and a warming climate.

I am in this game to win. So far I have caught a glimpse of a grackle and a robin and I look forward to seeking out the piping plover when I head to Crystal Crescent Beach this weekend.

I wish my fellow contestants luck, and I commend the EAC for this important initiative. Happy birding.

Canadian Blood Services
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Rodney Weston Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to raise an issue that is of great concern to the province of New Brunswick.

On March 31, Canadian Blood Services announced its plan to close and remove the provincial blood services centre in Saint John, New Brunswick and to consolidate it with a new facility to be built outside of the province.

This plan was approved more than a year ago and there has been no consultation with the medical community whatsoever. I have met with the physicians from the Saint John medical community and I heard them loud and clear. They have stated that it is absolutely essential that the CBS centre in Saint John be maintained and that they will not be able to continue their current programs without it.

The CBS centre is critical for an integrated health care system in New Brunswick. The closure of this centre in Saint John will seriously jeopardize the quality of health care for the citizens of our provinces.

This is totally unacceptable. This decision by Canadian Blood Services and the provincial and territorial ministers must be reversed.

Automotive Industry
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Bramalea—Gore—Malton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I receive calls every day from concerned residents about how the government's negotiations will affect the Chrysler plant in my riding. If the Government of Canada is prepared to contribute billions of dollars to save the struggling auto industry, why have we not heard any details?

More than 8,000 CAW jobs will be affected and workers want to know what the plan is to save their jobs. The CAW is under pressure to make steep wage cuts at Chrysler and have been warned that operations in Canada will close if the union does not agree to cut hourly labour costs.

In order to qualify for government financing, Chrysler has a deadline of one week from today to provide a revised restructuring plan that would allow it to keep operating.

My constituents want to know what the government is doing to facilitate the negotiations and save their jobs.

United Way of Canada
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Gord Brown Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, United Way of Canada-Centraide Canada holds its annual conference in Ottawa and Gatineau over the next three days.

Next to governments, it is the largest funder of the voluntary sector and social services in Canada, raising upward of $480 million each year, money that is reinvested in local communities to support programs and services directed at improving the social conditions of Canadians. About 900 staff and over 200,000 volunteers make this happen.

With the global economic crisis, United Way-Centraide is doing more with fewer resources, both financial and human. Despite this difficult reality, Canada's 119 agencies work locally to strengthen their communities. Since the first community collectives formed in Toronto and Montreal in 1917, United Way-Centraide has become dedicated to its task.

I wish to recognize the hundreds of members and thousands of volunteers of the United Way-Centraide Canada and it gives me great pleasure to wish the delegates a very productive conference.