House of Commons Hansard #49 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was regulations.

Topics

Taxation
Oral Questions

April 30th, 2009 / 2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Daryl Kramp Prince Edward—Hastings, ON

Mr. Speaker, in November 2004 the Liberal leader called himself “a tax and spend Pearsonian Trudeau Liberal”. During the 2006 Liberal leadership race, he said, “We've also got to have popular, practical, believable policies that may involve some form of carbon tax”. Last December he said, “I'm not going to take a GST hike off the table”. This month he said, “We will have to raise taxes”.

Does the government agree with the Liberal leader when he says, “We will have to raise taxes”?

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton
Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, last night on CBC the Liberal leader announced that he is a tax and spend Trudeau-Pearson Liberal who loves country music. That is the first of its kind of species.

No one is accusing the Liberal leader of wanting to raise taxes. We are just reading his own words, “We will have to raise taxes”. He has a right to take that position, but also a responsibility to answer the questions: which taxes, how much will they go up, and who will have to pay?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

Mr. Speaker, I gave the Minister of Human Resources Development advance notice of my question.

After the parents of Trooper Kyle Ricketts was denied income benefits if they went to the side of their critically injured son, injured in Afghanistan serving with the Royal Canadian Dragoons, the minister's spokesperson announced that the Ricketts case had been resolved and they would get their benefits. She also said she would ensure there were legislative changes to prevent this from ever happening again.

The minister failed on the first count. Benefits were not only denied to this soldier's parents, but they will have to pay the money back. Her promise to the parents of a critically injured soldier was a deception. Was her promise to change the EI act a deception as well?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Souris—Moose Mountain
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, we commend Trooper Ricketts for his bravery and we sympathize with his situation. Service Canada officials have made every attempt to contact the Ricketts family to clarify this situation.

I will not get into the specifics of this case, but if the member really cares about the issue, he would come and see me or the minister directly about the issue. He would not be trying to play on the backs of the family and the soldiers to try to score cheap political points.

Transportation
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday morning Aérocentre YHU Longueuil announced a $20 million investment over three years to develop a new airport terminal at the Aéroport Montréal Saint-Hubert Longueuil (AMSL). In 2007, AMSL applied to the federal government for a grant to renovate and lengthen the Saint-Hubert runway in order to accommodate larger aircraft.

The matter has been studied at length for two years. It was even a Conservative election promise.

The minister just stated that he was prepared to consider the matter. What is he waiting for to make an announcement?

Transportation
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I have been minister for five months, probably for the same reason she took five months to ask me the question.

Veterans Affairs
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, Robert Shankland of Winnipeg was a World War I hero, who received the Victoria Cross and other medals for his great service to his country. Now 93 years later, those medals are going to go on an auction block for cash. These medals should be in a place of honour and not on an auction table.

Would the government now do the right thing to do two things: make sure those medals do not leave the country, and more importantly, bring in legislation which prevents the sale of all medals given to all our heroes. That is not currency they have hanging from their chest, those medals are wonderful decorations for the great service they did. Will the minister--

Veterans Affairs
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. Minister of Veterans Affairs.

Veterans Affairs
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

New Brunswick Southwest
New Brunswick

Conservative

Greg Thompson Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I agree that Robert Shankland was a Canadian hero and served his country well, there is no question about that.

We do have a number of measures in place to ensure that medals of historical significance do not leave the country. But, at the end of the day, as other governments have grappled with this as well in terms of the selling of these medals, it is really a balancing of interests between the Canadian public and the rights of owners. We are cognizant of that and we will do our best.

Agriculture and Agri-Food
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Hoback Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, our farmers are facing real, tough issues. The U.S. has enacted discriminatory labelling rules, the EU and South Korea are breaking WTO rules by not allowing our beef into their markets, and input prices are all over the place. Yet, what is the National Farmers Union protesting today? Yes, the rights of criminals and convicts. We saw it working with the U.S. protectionists earlier this year and now it is prisoners.

Could the Minister of Agriculture tell the House what he thinks the priorities of farmers are?

Agriculture and Agri-Food
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, this is an exciting new direction for the membership drive for the NFU. Of course it does require a captive audience since it really does not represent any farmers. While it is busy lobbying for criminals and bad guys, we are out there building a new set of rules and regulations for farmers that will benefit them domestically and in the international marketplace. We are opening new markets for our farmers. We are getting the job done.

Agriculture and Agri-Food
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

It being Thursday, I believe the hon. member for Wascana has a question.

Business of the House
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the government House leader could inform the House what his business plan is for the coming week.

I would also draw to his attention that as of today, I have notified his office, together with the other party leader's offices in the House, about the opposition's selection of two departments to be invited to the committee of the whole to defend their estimates in the House during the month of May. This is all pursuant to Standing Order 81(4)(a). Those two departments are the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

I wonder if the government House leader could give some indication when he would intend to schedule the two sessions of the committee of the whole for the estimates of these two departments to be examined here.

Business of the House
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Prince George—Peace River
B.C.

Conservative

Jay Hill Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased that today we have already completed the second reading stage of Bill C-6, consumer product safety. We expect to conclude debate on the third reading stage of Bill C-11, human pathogens and toxins. At least, it is the hope of the government to see that bill move along.

Following Bill C-11, it is our intention to call Bill C-3, arctic waters, which is at report stage and third reading. It would be nice to see that bill move along as well and get over to the other place.

As we all know, the House is not sitting tomorrow to accommodate the Liberal Party convention. This will certainly give government members the opportunity to be back in their constituencies doing lots of hard work.

Next week, we will continue with Bill C-3, arctic waters; the second reading stage of Bill S-2, the customs act; and Bill C-4, not for profit, which was reported back from committee on April 23.

Adding to the list are two bills that are at second reading: Bill C-28, the Cree-Naskapi bill, and Bill C-26, auto theft.

I would just respond to the opposition House leader, who referred to the two departments that will be called before the chamber for committee of the whole: Fisheries and Oceans and Agriculture and Agri-Food. Of course, we will be scheduling those debates in good time and within the Standing Orders.

Resignation of Member
Routine Proceedings

3 p.m.

Independent

Bill Casey Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to announce that this is my last day. I understand that I have served as a member of Parliament for 6,149 days. I just sent my letter of resignation to the Clerk and she sent me a letter back thanking me for it.

I want to say a few words and thank some people. I owe so much to this place and I want to take a few moments to acknowledge that.

Mr. Speaker, you and I were first elected in 1988 and we became embroiled in the free trade debate right away. A lot has happened in the chamber since that time. We have been involved in so many debates and had many great days. Some days were not quite so great, but they were all wonderful, interesting and rewarding. I am very glad to have had every single one of them.

I want to say how proud I have been to be a member of Parliament in this place. I have been proud to represent the constituents of Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley and I want to thank them all very much for supporting me for so long, 6,149 days.

I want to thank all those who worked to help me get elected. It was a job to get me elected but somehow they managed. I appreciate the campaign teams that worked so hard.

I have been here through three speakers and eight leaders, nine counting myself. I have served under five prime ministers. Every one of them has been interesting and has taken a different approach to politics. It has been a learning experience for me and every single one of them has taught me something. I have learned a lot about myself since the time I came into the chamber. I cannot say how grateful I am for those lessons.

In fact, I have been here so long I realized today I have my own traditions. One tradition is that every time I walk down the halls, I look at the ceiling and arches, and think what a wonderful building and place this is. If people have never looked at the ceiling, they should. They should go to the Hall of Honour and try to figure out how the artisans could have ever put it together. It is absolutely a work of art.

There is not a day in my life here that I do not look at that ceiling. I am sure people wonder what I am doing, but I marvel at it. I know, Mr. Speaker, you are an expert cabinet maker and can put boards together, but I cannot. I do not know how the Hall of Honour was ever put together.

Another tradition is that every day when I leave the House, I walk down the driveway, and I cannot help it, I stop, turn around, look up at the Centre Block and ask, how could I be so lucky to work in this incredible building with incredible people?

I have yet another tradition that maybe some members do not share. Sir Charles Tupper's portrait is over the door through which we all come and go. Every day of my life here, I stop and say, “Hi, Sir Charles”. Sir Charles is my predecessor. He was prime minister in 1896. I was very young at the time but I feel like I know him because his portrait is there. When I was in caucus, his picture was on the wall. I always check to see how he is doing. He lived right across the street from my house. His house is still there, as well as the house I grew up in. I always felt a close attachment to Sir Charles Tupper. It is one of my traditions.

Every day that I am here I tell myself how lucky I am to work here. However, it is not just luck. An awful lot of people help all of us stay here. An awful lot of people help us do our jobs.

The one that helps me the most is my wife, Rosemary. Many members know her and know she is a wonderful woman. She has supported me and helped me through thick and thin. She stood behind me through everything. I want to tell her how much I appreciate her being with me through this. I hope she is watching.

I also want to thank her mother, Geraldine MacSween. She lives in Antigonish and her apple pies will solve any problem.

I want to thank my three children, Michael, Holly and Allison. They are all young adults out there helping people or running their businesses. I am very proud of them. They have made it through this but they pay a price when we, the members of Parliament, are away from home so often. We pay a price and they pay a price. It is a big challenge for them, and our children and spouses deserve a lot of credit.

I am absolutely sure that this business is more challenging for spouses than it is for the members. We see the good things. All they see are the bad things. A lot of good things happen here and I am so proud of that process.

I have to thank my staff, which keeps me out of trouble and in line. They do my work for me and help me get my job done. Sandra, Marie, Lorne, Bonnie and Sandi are wonderful staff, the best staff on the Hill. I want to thank my former employees, especially Nancy Baker, who kept me out of trouble for 10 years. I will always remember her for that.

I want to thank you, Mr. Speaker. You have been a wonderful Speaker. You are always there for us. You do not always give me the decision I want, but you always give me a decision. It is always fair and just and I agree with every one.

I want to thank the Clerk and the Table Officers who have been so good to me. They have always helped me with my questions, questions I should know the answers to and I do not, but they always help me anyway.

We owe a great debt of gratitude to the people who help us do our jobs, the people who clean our offices and serve our food here in the lobbies, the pages and especially the security guards who know us all by name. They make us feel at home and they make us feel like a really big part of this. I thank all of them.

I want to thank all the members of Parliament from all parties who have been friends with me, supported me and helped me. Last year when I had a serious health issue, I received cards, messages and phone calls from every corner of the House, and I appreciated that so much. The first card I received in the hospital was from you, Mr. Speaker, and that impressed everybody. I appreciated that so much. The second card was from the Clerk and the Table Officers. I thank all of you for that.

I received cards from every leader in the House, even the Conservative leader. Some members may not be aware of this, but we differ sometimes on certain things. However, he took the time to write me a note, and I very much appreciated that. I am sorry he is not here to hear that, but I appreciated the fact that he took the time to do write.

I want to take a minute now to tell the House a story about a member of Parliament who saved my life, and I am not exaggerating.

We all remember our colleague, Chuck Cadman. Chuck Cadman died of malignant melanoma. He did not have it diagnosed early enough to treat it. About a year after that, his wife hosted a clinic on the Hill. She had volunteer dermatologists come in and examine members of Parliament or anybody on the Hill who was interested in having a skin cancer screening.

I wanted to go, but could not because I had a conflict with my foreign affairs committee. However, for the first time in 16 years, the foreign affairs committee ended early, so I went. I did not think I had anything wrong with me. I just went. I was there for about five minutes and the dermatologist, Dr. Jim Walker, said, “You have malignant melanoma”. I had the same thing Chuck Cadman had. I had no idea. I had no symptoms. I was in the hospital the next day.

I only had that early detection because of the efforts of Chuck Cadman's wife, and I owe her so much. She is now the member for Surrey North, so I thank her for her efforts.

I tell this story because I received a tremendous benefit out of that. I would not be here today if she had not done that. I tell this story so maybe some day a member will say, “Maybe I'm not too busy to get that check-up. Maybe I won't put the committee before the screening. Maybe I'll go get a check-up”. I urge everyone to do that. The only reason I am here today is because she had that clinic.

I want to say, again, how very proud I am to be a parliamentarian and I am proud of this system. People do not give this system nearly the credit it deserves. It does work. It works better than it looks. I want to give one example of how it works, one of dozens and dozens of examples.

About a month ago, I raised two questions in question period concerning my riding and the rising sea levels because of climate change. The questions were answered, but after I received the answers, the Minister of the Environment invited me to meet with his deputy minister. He went through all the documentation that supported the issue and immediately put the steps in place to address the situation. That process is in place now. That is just one example and there are many more.

What people saw was the 35 second question and 35 second answer. They did not see the meeting with the minister and the deputy minister. They did not see the plan. They did not see the decision. Therefore, when something happens in the House, there is always a reaction, more than people see.

If I can leave members with one piece of advice, I urge them to try to find a way to let people know that positive things happen in the House. Yes, we have the opposition and the government, but we are not enemies. We are political opponents and we are all here for the same reason. Every member of Parliament has a purpose in being here. Every member of Parliament has a vote. We should try to improve the image of this place because it is better than people think.

I will now pass on to my final closing. Although it is really sad to be leaving today, I am very lucky to have a new job, which I start tomorrow. My new job is as the representative of my province of Nova Scotia in Ottawa. I get to represent the province and promote its strengths and its attributes. It will not be hard because Nova Scotia is the best place to live. It is the best place to start a business. It is the best place to go to school. It is the best place to go on vacation. Therefore, the job will be easy for me because Nova Scotia is clearly the best of everything.

I invite every member of Parliament to come to Nova Scotia to see all that we offer. If members cannot come to Nova Scotia, come on over to my new office at 350 Albert Street, have a little glass of Jost wine from Malagash, Nova Scotia and have a taste of Nova Scotia.