House of Commons Hansard #75 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was seniors.

Topics

8:35 a.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

It being 8:35 a.m., pursuant to order made Monday, September 27, 2010, the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's order paper.

The House resumed from June 16 consideration of the motion that Bill S-210, An Act to amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act and the Auditor General Act (involvement of Parliament), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Federal Sustainable Development Act
Private Members' Business

8:35 a.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Vancouver Quadra, BC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to join the debate on Bill S-210, An Act to amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act and the Auditor General Act (involvement of Parliament). I am, of course, in support of this act. Its purpose is to amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act and the Auditor General Act so as to ensure the full involvement of both Houses of Parliament on these very important issues.

This bill would require that reports tabled to the House of Commons under the current Federal Sustainable Development Act by the Commissioner of Environment and Sustainable Development must be tabled to both Houses of Parliament. Currently, as written, the act does not require these reports to be tabled in the Senate, nor are they required to be referred to committees of the Senate.

The second part of the bill seeks to amend the Auditor General Act to enable the Auditor General and the Commission of the Environment and Sustainable Development to make more than one report in a year. For example, if a key issue comes up on which they wish to report after their annual report, under this amendment, this act to amend the Federal Sustainable Development and Auditor General Act, the Auditor General would have that power to make more than one report.

How did the requirement for this bill come about? The requirement to report to the Senate and Senate committees was in the original bill, as written. Amendments at committee were made to remove the Senate, one of our key Houses of Parliament. I would contend that the committee members who sought those amendments were making two key mistakes. The first mistake was to underestimate the challenge of sustainability, which is the challenge of our generation and of our century. The second mistake was to underestimate and undermine the importance of the Senate and senators in addressing these critical issues of sustainability and sustainable development.

I am pleased that those mistakes would be rectified by this bill. I hope all members of this chamber will support Bill S-210.

I consider this bill not simply to be a housekeeping or correction bill or a technical amendment. I consider it very significant legislation in that it would restore the Senate to its rightful position as being a very important body, an important group of senators who bring wisdom to the table, people who have addressed some of the very complex issue of our time over many generations. Currently, senators address issues as various and complex as equity for aboriginal people, accountability of government, budgets and fiscal management, Canada's role in the world, veterans, human trafficking, the health of Canada's democratic institutions, defence and security, human rights, immigration, official languages, combating poverty, the environment and health care. All of the important complex issues of our day are thoughtfully addressed by senators and the Senate chamber with a view to improving people's lives and making a contribution to the public good. So, restoring the role of the Senate is a very important aspect of this legislation.

Second, sustainable development, as I have named it, the challenge of our generation, is a hugely critical and complex issue. What do we mean by sustainable development? I will reiterate the most common definition. From the Brundtland report, known as “Our Common Future”, sustainable development is defined thus:

Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Sustainable development, using this definition, requires that we think of the world as a system and our part in it as a system where what we do impacts others and other places and other times.

When we think of the world as a system, we realize that what happens in Alberta with oil sands development can affect the Arctic. We realize that what we do today can affect future generations. It is that realization that drives so many Canadians to be thinking of how we can address this challenge of our times.

The people of my constituency, Vancouver Quadra, are very concerned and engaged in working to meet the challenges of our time with sustainable development. From Southlands to Kitsilano, to Shaughnessy, Kerrisdale and the Musqueam lands, from Marpole through Arbutus, through Dunbar around UBC to Point Grey, the people of Vancouver Quadra are educated and engaged. They care about the health of our democracy, the issues of the day and sustainability.

The challenge of stewarding water for future generations, for example, is complex and it requires both Houses of Parliament, the House of Commons and the Senate, and the Canadian people to thoughtfully address and meet the challenges and sustain water for our future generations.

For example, in Vancouver Quadra I received well over 1,000 letters, emails and postcards calling on me to assist with ensuring that our Pacific north coast inland waters will be protected from oil spills. This is not about stopping economic development. This is about sustainable economic development. It is about the 56,000 jobs in fisheries and tourism on the Pacific coast that depend on the environment being clean.

In response to this campaign, I have worked with a number of parliamentarians and the Liberal leader has committed to a permanent ban on tanker traffic, where, I might add, there has never been tanker traffic in that area and we want to keep it that way. There are other transportation routes for our products from Alberta to go east to Asia. Those transportation routes will be able to handle capacity for many years to come and, therefore, it is not worth the risk to our waters to have super tankers in those dangerous and vulnerable waters.

The challenges of stewarding biodiversity for future generations is complex and requires both Houses of Parliament, the House of Commons and the Senate, and the Canadian people to be thoughtfully engaged and meet the challenges of sustaining biodiversity for future generations.

Many people in Vancouver Quadra are concerned about the fisheries and salmon. Runs have been unpredictable and the trend lines have been down. Many top-notch researchers at UBC are addressing the issues of salmon and any people in Vancouver Quadra have come out to my town hall meetings to hear about their research. People in Vancouver Quadra and Marpole have worked for decades to protect the riparian areas of the Fraser River, which is an important salmon habitat. It is not about stopping development or salmon aquaculture. It is about creating sustainable economic development.

These issues are complex, whether it is water, biodiversity, climate change or the involvement of our first nations so that the gap between the achievement of first nations in education and health and non-first nations is closed and those communities are fully engaged in sustainable economic development. These are complex challenges.

We need both chambers, the House of Commons and the Senate, to give thoughtful reflection and address these complex issues for the benefit of Canadians. This bill is directed to ensuring that the Senate fulfills its important role of engaging Canadians to find solutions to these challenges of our generation.

Federal Sustainable Development Act
Private Members' Business

8:45 a.m.

Bloc

Richard Nadeau Gatineau, QC

Madam Speaker, the Bloc Québécois supports Bill S-210, which would allow the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development to present reports not only to the House of Commons, but to the highly useless upper chamber as well.

Our position is simple. The Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development's work is essential, particularly given that the Conservative government's record on the environment and sustainable development is far from spotless. Although the Auditor General Act currently provides for reporting only to the House of Commons, thereby excluding senators from this kind of process, we recognize that given the existing structure, the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development could present reports to the Senate as well. The Bloc Québécois does not recognize the Senate as a democratically legitimate institution—made up of friends of those in power, the Senate is anything but democratic—but until we achieve sovereignty, we have to work within this structure.

In his latest report, the commissioner stated that the government's progress—if one could call it that— toward providing guidance on greening government operations was unsatisfactory. We all agree that the Conservative government has thoroughly embarrassed itself on the international stage when it comes to the environment. Its targets are wishy-washy, repetitive, voluntary and open to interpretation.

Despite the fact that we are facing an international situation that will affect the entire planet, including Quebec and Canada, the Conservatives are taking the environment lightly and oppose any demonstration of environmental conscience. They are letting the oil industry ransack oil sands in Dene territory. These vile pursuits are ruining the environment and causing the whole planet to suffer. They are sucking oil out of the sands, polluting everything and destroying lakes by using them as waste-water dumping grounds.

I see my Conservative colleague nodding his head over there because I have obviously hit a nerve.

In short, the Conservative government's strategies cannot be effective because they are not results-focused. I can see that my colleagues agree.

We must develop a comprehensive, integrated plan. The environment is not something to be thrown in as a footnote to a report, just so the government can have a clean conscience, win votes from those who are environmentally conscious, and not cause too much trouble for the polluters. Polluters in this country are even being rewarded.

Although the government claims to be committed to being a leader in the area of the environment and sustainable development, it clearly lacks leadership in greening its own operations. When the time comes tackle all the things that can damage our planet's environment, the Conservatives' strategy is the equivalent of playing a hockey game without a goalie and with one less player on the ice. With the current provision, the commissioner only gives or lays his speech before the House of Commons.

It would not be such a terrible thing if our colleagues in the Senate, the pals of the government, Liberal or Conservative—it varies, depending on who is or has been in power—could do something else, other than play partisan politics. We know that basically, 11 out of 10 senators are appointed simply to be used politically in upcoming federal elections.

Members will recall the situation in Saskatchewan under the Conservative government. I know there are Conservatives on the other side of the House, although there are some who are not listening to the interpretation. What can I say. They do not want to learn; that is their problem, and a big one at that. About 15 ministers in the government of Grant Devine, a Conservative, ended up in prison or received heavy fines. We remember. Why did this happen? Because they cheated in their administration of public funds.

I lived in Saskatchewan, and I remember this Conservative minister who bought horse saddles on his expense account. It all came to a head, and on the day they wanted to fire their director general, he leaked the expense accounts of Saskatchewan Conservatives to get back at his corrupt party. I hope they are listening closely; they are tainted too. The judge asked why he had bought the saddles and charged them to his communications budget. He said that there was a big parade in his town once a year and he wanted his horses to have nice saddles, not small, $200 saddles, but $5,000 saddles. He added that he wanted the public to see that he had beautiful saddles for his horses. Can you imagine? He did not buy computers with his communications budget. He felt his purchase was a valid communications expenditure. He wound up in prison.

The other example I have is of the Saskatchewan Conservatives doing the same thing with computers. The computers were replaced every three months. They had new computers in their ridings almost every three months. Eventually, someone realized that these computers were ending up at an aunt's, a cousin's, a volunteer's or someone else's house. That is how the computers were replaced.

And that brings me to the Senate. Saskatchewan's deputy premier, Mr. Berntson, was appointed—

Federal Sustainable Development Act
Private Members' Business

8:50 a.m.

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Edmonton Centre, AB

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The diatribe about what happened in a provincial government years ago is hardly relevant to the issue of sustainable development. If the hon. member wants to rant and rave, I would ask him to do so outside the House. If he is going to talk about a private member's bill or anything else, he should try to stick to the topic, please.

Federal Sustainable Development Act
Private Members' Business

8:50 a.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

I thank the hon. member.

I would ask the hon. member to take note of the remarks.

Federal Sustainable Development Act
Private Members' Business

8:50 a.m.

Bloc

Richard Nadeau Gatineau, QC

I apologize, Madam Speaker. I realized that people were very interested in my speech and that some people were listening more attentively than I thought.

Coming back to the Senate, as everyone knows, we want the whole issue of sustainable development to also be brought before the Senate by the commissioner of sustainable development.

Sitting in the Senate are sometimes people like Mr. Berntson, who was deputy premier of Saskatchewan. He was also part of Grant Devine's cabinet. He was forced to resign and face the music. He was tried in a Saskatchewan court for his fraudulent spending and wound up in prison. From the Senate to prison. We certainly cannot say he went from one five-star hotel to another, but nevertheless, this gives an idea of the kind of people who sometimes make it to the Senate. Let the commissioner go and give her presentation to such people who are sitting in the Senate. Perhaps it will be worthwhile for the few people there who have a conscience, but for the pals of the government, that will not be the case.

We are in favour of abolishing of the Senate. We support the bill in question.

Federal Sustainable Development Act
Private Members' Business

8:50 a.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

The hon. member for Kitchener Centre for his final right of reply.

Federal Sustainable Development Act
Private Members' Business

8:55 a.m.

Conservative

Stephen Woodworth Kitchener Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to extend my thanks to my colleagues for their support on this bill. I am very grateful that the bill has been an example of non-partisan consideration, even if it is just somewhat of a non-controversial one.

I am also grateful to the Liberal Senator Tommy Banks for proposing the bill and for his efforts in drafting it and promoting it. I am grateful to him for trusting me, a member of an opposite party, to sponsor the bill in the House.

This is a significant bill, as the member for Vancouver Quadra said earlier. Perhaps it might have been controversial, except that the bill is a model for three principles, which I believe are highly important in the House.

First, it is about ideas, not about personalities. When a member insults the motives or the character of another member, an opponent, it only serves partisan purposes. It does not advance the interests of our great country. When a member proposes a good idea, such as Bill S-210, all Canadians benefit.

Second, this is about legislation, the proper function of the House. The idea that the House can micromanage the executive branch is a dangerous one which is harmful to the future of our country. When the House debates and proposes legislation, such as Bill S-210, it is fulfilling its proper function.

Third, Bill S-210 is an example of collaboration. If every member demonizes his or her opponents, it should surprise no one that Canadians get the message that all politicians are a bunch of crooks and that Canadians do not bother voting at election time. When we treat each other with respect and collaboration, as Senator Banks and I have treated each other in relation to Bill S-210, and as all parties do in supporting the bill, we elevate the standing of every member in the eyes of all Canadians.

I really hope this message, which is really quite heartfelt from me, is heard by all the members in this chamber and by everyone who might be watching this debate today. My thanks, again, for the support of my colleagues for the bill.

The amendments in the bill reinforce one of this government's most fundamental priorities, greater accountability and transparency. Our government is committed to improving reporting so Canadians are better informed about the state of the environment. As members will recall, this act requires a minister of the environment to monitor implementation of the federal sustainable development strategy and to report on progress every three years. To do this, the government draws upon data available through the Canadian environmental sustainability indicators, or CESI, initiative.

To deliver the kind of accountability and transparency that Canadians expect and deserve, we need greater flexibility that existing legislation provides. It is vital to recognize that sustainable development is not a goal to be achieved in the usual sense of the word. Rather it is an elusive, ever-moving target. Even if all of our environmental indicators suggest positive results, we cannot believe that the job is finished and simply move on. To do that would jeopardize the lasting impact of our work and impinge upon the legacy that we leave future generations. As a result, we must always stay attuned to the delicate balance between our social, economic and environmental priorities. We have to monitor our progress carefully and frequently and recalibrate our actions as required. That is why the amendments in Bill S-210 are so important.

Though a key stakeholder was conspicuously missing from those consultations, in the Senate, I have no doubt that given the opportunity, senators could offer analysis and share insights that would strengthen our draft strategy. That is why I am pleased that the proposed amendments before the House today would enable senators to review the draft strategy, in addition to any other reports generated by the act.

For all of these reasons, I ask every member of the House to join with me in a great example of unanimity and collaboration by supporting Bill S-210 today.

Federal Sustainable Development Act
Private Members' Business

8:55 a.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

Is the House ready for the question?

Federal Sustainable Development Act
Private Members' Business

8:55 a.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

Federal Sustainable Development Act
Private Members' Business

8:55 a.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Federal Sustainable Development Act
Private Members' Business

8:55 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Federal Sustainable Development Act
Private Members' Business

8:55 a.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

I declare the motion carried. Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development

(Motion agreed to, bill read the second time and referred to a committee)

Suspension of Sitting
Federal Sustainable Development Act
Private Members' Business

9 a.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

Given the time and the fact that the motion has been adopted, I will suspend the House until 9:30 a.m., as per the order.

(The sitting of the House was suspended at 9 a.m.)

(The House resumed at 9:30 a.m.)

Sitting Resumed
Federal Sustainable Development Act
Private Members' Business

9:30 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

It being 9:30 a.m., pursuant to a special order adopted the other day, we will now proceed with oral questions.

Government Spending
Oral Questions

9:30 a.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives' record of waste and incompetence is even more shocking than their record deficit. They have bought fighter jets for $16 billion and spent money on glow sticks, a fake lake and stuffed ducks.

When the economy was slowing down this summer, why did the government continue its spending spree? Why did it betray Canadian families?

Government Spending
Oral Questions

9:30 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, nothing could be further from the truth. This government has been focusing on the economy. It has been focusing on job creation. We have seen great success over the past 15 months. The Canadian economy has created some 430,000 net new jobs.

Canada's economic action plan has been a central part of that success. For the first time in my lifetime I see an unemployment rate substantially lower in Canada than in the United States, and that has happened because of good economic management by this government.

Government Spending
Oral Questions

9:30 a.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Governor of the Bank of Canada is warning Canadians to curb their enthusiasm for household debt. Families struggling to make ends meet have the same message for the reckless, borrow and spend Conservative government. The Conservatives are adding $100 billion, and counting, to the national debt.

Why can those characters not behave responsibly? Why have they squandered so much and achieved so little?

Government Spending
Oral Questions

9:30 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, we are running the most fiscally responsible government in the western world. All OECD countries look at the Canadian economy, look at the management of the economy by the government, with great admiration.

We have seen a tentative, fragile recovery beginning to take hold, but by no means are we out of the water.

We remain focused on job creation. We remain focused on the important priorities of Canadian families, and that is ensuring that they have jobs so they can provide for themselves. The dignity of a job is very important. We remain focused on the economy.

Government Spending
Oral Questions

9:30 a.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, the government obviously has been watching too many science fiction fantasies.

First the books must be balanced, and then taxes can be cut. A first-year economics student knows that borrowing to cut corporate taxes is boneheaded.

Why does the biggest borrowing, biggest spending government in Canadian history continue to make such lousy decisions? Why should struggling Canadian families pay for its incompetence?

Government Spending
Oral Questions

9:30 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, if the member opposite wants to take any lessons on the economy, he should take them from his leader.

Just the other day his leader called the Bloc Québécois' proposal to institute a 45-day work year and the accompanying 35% payroll tax increase fiscally irresponsible. One would think his caucus would follow its leader. However, later that day, the Liberals all trotted in here and voted for that Bloc Québécois proposal and the accompanying 35% payroll tax increase.

When the Liberal leader calls a bill fiscally irresponsible, his MPs should vote against it.

Ministerial Responsibility
Oral Questions

9:30 a.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, after denying allegations for months, late last night an assistant to the Minister of Natural Resources stepped down after he was caught meddling in access to information requests.

That is potentially criminal behaviour.

What is more, this practice was widespread in the minister's office. Documents show that a number of the minister's senior employees participated in this systematic, misleading and illegal withholding of information.

The minister cannot claim he knew nothing about this. Will he take responsibility and admit that he broke the law?

Ministerial Responsibility
Oral Questions

9:30 a.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable
Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Togneri did indeed tender his resignation yesterday and I accepted it. I immediately asked my colleague, the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, to refer this matter to the Information Commissioner.

Ministerial Responsibility
Oral Questions

9:30 a.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister cannot have it both ways.

Just a month ago, that government leader proclaimed:

The fundamental constitutional principle of responsible government...provides that ministers are the ones accountable to Parliament, not members of their staff

So when his staff broke the law by meddling in information requests, the minister is accountable.

Instead of throwing his assistants under the bus, will he stand up and take responsibility?

Ministerial Responsibility
Oral Questions

9:35 a.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable
Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Togneri tendered his resignation to me yesterday and I accepted it. As I said, I immediately asked the Minister of Public Works and Government Services to refer this matter to the Information Commissioner, which the minister confirmed to me this morning has been done.

Ministerial Responsibility
Oral Questions

9:35 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, to prevent Mr. Togneri from testifying before the committee about one particular violation of the Access to Information Act, the Minister of Natural Resources, then the Minister of Public Works, invoked ministerial responsibility, which he said is “that the Ministers are accountable not only for their own actions as department heads, but also for the actions of their subordinates.”

Could the minister tell us if this ministerial responsibility only applies when used to prevent accountability?

Ministerial Responsibility
Oral Questions

9:35 a.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable
Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Togneri offered his resignation yesterday, and I accepted. As for accountability, I have asked the Minister of Public Works and Government Services to take this file and send it to the Information Commissioner. She confirmed this morning that this had been done.

Ministerial Responsibility
Oral Questions

9:35 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to the Minister of Natural Resources, he is responsible for the actions of his subordinates. He hired Mr. Togneri as a political advisor. The very same Mr. Togneri accepted responsibility for serious mistakes that violated the Access to Information Act.

Will the minister abide by his own definition of ministerial responsibility and resign?

Ministerial Responsibility
Oral Questions

9:35 a.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable
Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, last night, Mr. Togneri tendered his resignation. I accepted it. Mr. Togneri no longer works for me. At my request, the file was forwarded to the Information Commissioner. I immediately asked the Minister of Public Works and Government Services to transfer the file, which was done. The minister confirmed it this morning.

Ministerial Responsibility
Oral Questions

9:35 a.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Natural Resources has claimed that his staff were not accountable before the parliamentary committee because he is responsible for their actions, based on the principle of ministerial responsibility. In committee, the minister said he is fully responsible for his employees' actions.

He should either act like a responsible minister, assume his ministerial responsibility and resign, or he is irresponsible and he should be sent packing, like his employee.

Ministerial Responsibility
Oral Questions

9:35 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I think the minister has taken the appropriate action.

The individual in question has submitted his resignation and the minister has accepted it. The minister has asked the Minister of Public Works and Government Services to transfer the file to the Information Commissioner so that she can do her important work.

Ministerial Responsibility
Oral Questions

9:35 a.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister chooses his staff members and is responsible for their actions. Mr. Togneri acknowledged making several serious mistakes in relation to the Access to Information Act and resigned. The minister showed poor judgment by hiring Mr. Togneri and by trivializing his transgressions.

Will he abide by the principle of ministerial responsibility and offer his resignation?

Ministerial Responsibility
Oral Questions

9:35 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, as the minister has told this House, the individual in question has offered his resignation, and the minister has immediately accepted it. He has also taken the other action of asking the Minister of Public Works and Government Services to refer the matter to the Information Commissioner so that she can do her work.

Seniors
Oral Questions

9:35 a.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, as seniors are discovering that they are not one of the government's priorities, today is the first ever National Seniors Day.

Look at what seniors are facing. Their medication costs are going up. Their heating bills are going up, thanks in part to the HST imposed by the government on so many people. Not only that, their basic living costs are rising faster than the cost of inflation.

Yet what is the reaction of the government? It is a few pennies per month.

My question is simply, when will the government finally institute a regular annual increase to OAS and GIS to keep pace or exceed the rate of inflation to help out our seniors?

Seniors
Oral Questions

9:35 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, we value the role that seniors play. They helped build this country. That is why we have initiatives that are important to them. This government has always been responsive.

When we hit some hard economic times and hard fiscal times, the one thing this government did not do was cut $25 billion from health care. We have been able to increase that transfer to the provinces by 6% a year to cover the important issues that matter to seniors.

We have also fully indexed the OAS four times a year. That has happened in this country since 1972.

Ministerial Responsibility
Oral Questions

9:40 a.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, this government has broken its election promises one after the other.

It has trashed its promises of improving accountability and transparency and putting an end to backroom scheming.

Instead, employees are sacrificed on the altar of transparency because ministers refuse to take responsibility.

How many political staff will be fired before the Prime Minister recognizes that it is his ministers who are responsible, and before he asks for their resignation when they—

Ministerial Responsibility
Oral Questions

9:40 a.m.

Liberal

Ministerial Responsibility
Oral Questions

9:40 a.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable
Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Togneri submitted his resignation last night, which I accepted. I immediately went to my colleague, the Minister of Public Works and Government Services to ask her to take the file and refer it to the information commissioner, which she did right away. The minister confirmed that this morning.

Ministerial Responsibility
Oral Questions

9:40 a.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government does not seem to understand the rules and traditions of parliamentary democracy, which speak about ministerial responsibility, not just the responsibility of the staff. That is the problem.

This is nothing new. We have seen disruption at committees, witnesses told they cannot testify, and now we see another staffer taking the fall.

Last spring, the government said that the buck stopped here with the ministers. We have to ask the question now, why has the Prime Minister not asked for the resignation of the Minister of Natural Resources in view of the blatant misuse of power? Or does the buck stop somewhere else now?

Ministerial Responsibility
Oral Questions

9:40 a.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable
Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Togneri submitted his resignation last night, which I accepted, and I asked the Minister of Public Works and Government Services to refer the file to the information commissioner, which she did immediately. The minister confirmed that this morning.

G8 and G20 Summits
Oral Questions

9:40 a.m.

Liberal

Siobhan Coady St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, the minister said yesterday that the excessive spending on the summit was for legitimate expenses. Seriously, $2 million for a fake lake exhibit, $4.4 million for a fence and $200 million for hotels, cars, snacks and glow sticks are legitimate expenses? This is out of control spending from a government with no control. The current government is the biggest spending, biggest borrowing government in the history of Canada.

How can the minister justify borrowing to buy for trinkets and treats for a summit on spending control?

G8 and G20 Summits
Oral Questions

9:40 a.m.

Provencher
Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I have been noticing with interest the manufacture of statistics by members opposite.

What I have indicated to the House is that I welcome the Auditor General's review of the bills. We have been very clear about that.

In fact, the head of the integrated security unit has stated:

I think Canada is one of the rare countries that has actually been transparent about the security costs.

G8 and G20 Summits
Oral Questions

9:40 a.m.

Liberal

Siobhan Coady St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, there is little wonder that for every dollar spent by the current government on the G8 and G20 it has only disclosed to Canadians about 15¢. Poor judgment meant poor costs. Poor control meant excess spending. This is the most spent on a G20 summit ever, anywhere. Spending of at least $1 billion has yet to be disclosed.

Canadians deserve answers now. So what will it be, proactive disclosure or wilful obstruction?

G8 and G20 Summits
Oral Questions

9:40 a.m.

Provencher
Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, unlike the Liberals, we actually wait for the bills to come in before we determine what the costs are.

The member, again, has simply made up another statistic, which is what she and her colleagues have been doing. For example, they indicated that an amount of money, $4 million, had been spent to drain a lake. In fact, the true figure was $144,000, which related to the development of security accommodations for the RCMP officers.

I understand that they do not support the RCMP, but we do.

The Economy
Oral Questions

9:40 a.m.

Liberal

Rob Oliphant Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I seem to be having a recurring nightmare: a borrow and spend government, slush fund spending--

The Economy
Oral Questions

9:40 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

The Economy
Oral Questions

9:40 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order, please. Members are not going to be able to hear about the nightmare if they do not listen. We will have some order, please.

The hon. member for Don Valley West has the floor.

The Economy
Oral Questions

9:45 a.m.

Liberal

Rob Oliphant Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, some of us are actually kept up at night, worrying about the fiscal management of this country.

We have a borrow and spend government, slush fund spending, tax breaks for the rich, burdens placed on the middle class, increased payroll taxes, and fiscal incompetence leading to a record-breaking deficit.

Last time, it was the dark ages of the Mike Harris government. Now his old finance minister is in charge of the public purse.

What assurance can the minister give that there is any difference this time around?

The Economy
Oral Questions

9:45 a.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the difference this time around is that we actually fared better than most during this global recession. In fact, we are in the best fiscal position in the G7. I know that upsets the Liberals opposite because they seem to focus on talking down the economy and making Canadians nervous about the plan that we have coming out of the recession.

With nearly 430,000 net new jobs in this country, that is leadership. That is what we are seeing.

The Economy
Oral Questions

9:45 a.m.

Liberal

Rob Oliphant Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, this party does not need to take any lessons from that party about fiscal management.

That is the party that blew a $13 billion surplus, increased federal spending by 18%, authorized over $1 billion for fake lakes and glow sticks, and has no control over spending on prisons, planes and self-promotion. It is déjà vu all over again.

Does the government really think it can borrow and spend its way into fiscal health without any good management?

The Economy
Oral Questions

9:45 a.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, talking about fiscal responsibility and financial responsibility, which go hand in hand, I believe it was the leader of the Liberal opposition who suggested to his caucus that it should not support a private member's bill that would increase EI premiums by 35%, that would cost $7 billion in the first year and that would kill jobs in Canada. Unfortunately that caucus must not have received the message because the Liberals, the Bloc and the NDP came in here and voted to raise EI premiums.

Quebec City Arena
Oral Questions

9:45 a.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, Mayor Labeaume is tired of waiting for the federal government and he has decided to go ahead with construction of a multi-purpose arena. The mayor of Quebec City points out that the federal government has until December 31 to announce its financial involvement, without which Quebec City's Olympic bid could be compromised.

Can the federal government confirm that it will fund up to 45%, as the Government of Quebec has promised to do, of construction of a new multi-purpose arena, in order not to jeopardize Quebec City's Olympic bid—

Quebec City Arena
Oral Questions

9:45 a.m.

Liberal

Quebec City Arena
Oral Questions

9:45 a.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable
Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, the National Hockey League and the Canadian Football League are calling for the construction of new facilities across the country and the renovation of existing facilities. Our position is clear: we are all big sports fans, but the private sector has to do its part. The role of the federal government is to show fairness across the country and to respect budgetary constraints.

Quebec City Arena
Oral Questions

9:45 a.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, the federal government did not hesitate to invest $500 million to boost Toronto's Olympic bid. What is good for Toronto should be good for Quebec City.

Accordingly, does this government intend to follow in the footsteps of the Government of Quebec and fund up to 45% of construction of a multi-purpose arena in Quebec City?

Quebec City Arena
Oral Questions

9:45 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, let us be very clear: if Quebec City becomes an official candidate for the Olympic Games, our government and all of Canada will support it whole-heartedly.

Long live Bonhomme!

Agriculture
Oral Questions

9:45 a.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, more than 10,000 agricultural jobs in Quebec have been lost in the past 22 months according to Statistics Canada. The UPA's chief economist, Charles-Félix Ross, says that one of the possible causes of this dramatic loss is that the farmers' safety net, particularly that provided through federal programs, has been shrinking.

Why does the government not change its agri-stability program to take production costs into account, as called for by Quebec's farmers?

Agriculture
Oral Questions

9:45 a.m.

Jonquière—Alma
Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, we are aware of the difficulties that the agriculture sector can face. I would like to remind the member that we have invested more than $2 billion to support our farmers since coming to power. In addition, with regard to the advance payment programs, pork producers, cattle producers, those who had difficulties with SRM, and slaughterhouses, in all these files we have been praised for providing rapid assistance to our farmers.

Agriculture
Oral Questions

9:50 a.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, there will be no praise for the 10,000 agricultural jobs lost.

Not only is the agri-stability program just a cut-and-paste version of the CAIS program, which did not work, but the agri-flexibility program has contributed nothing to Quebec's income stabilization program, despite the fine promises made by the Conservatives in the last election.

When will the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food finally put in place a real agricultural flexibility program that will include income support?

Agriculture
Oral Questions

9:50 a.m.

Jonquière—Alma
Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the member that this government is known as the one that is closest to farmers. That has always been the case for the Conservative Party. However, every time we put measures in place to support our farmers, whether in the budget or otherwise, the members of the Bloc Québécois rush to vote against them.

Of course, they envy us. They would like to be the ones respected by farmers; instead, we are. Why? Because we took action and made good decisions when they were in trouble. And we will continue in that direction.

Census
Oral Questions

9:50 a.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government has been the most divisive that we can remember. What irony then that the government has managed to unite Canadians against it. Ontario and Quebec are in this together. They said, “We believe that the decision by the federal government to eliminate the census long form was a mistake”.

Ontario and Quebec are pleading with the government to reinstate the long form census. What is the government's answer to Ontario and Quebec?

Census
Oral Questions

9:50 a.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont
Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as we have said all along, we do not believe Canadians should be threatened with jail time, fines, or both, should they choose not to answer private and intrusive questions. That is why we have made the long form voluntary and why we have committed to introduce legislation to eliminate the threat of jail time for all mandatory surveys.

The 2011 census and the ongoing labour force survey will provide the same level of demographic and economic information about Canada and Canadians as in previous years. We just hope the Liberals will give up their attempt to enforce this regime of fines and jail time.

Census
Oral Questions

9:50 a.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, apparently the hon. member did not hear the question about Ontario and Quebec.

Ontario and Quebec together represent two-thirds of the Canadian economy. They represent together two-thirds of the Canadian population. Maybe I need to quote again for the hon. member. Ontario and Quebec are saying, “We believe that the decision by the federal government to eliminate the census long form was a mistake”.

Again, Ontario and Quebec are pleading with the government to reinstate it. What is the government's answer to Ontario and Quebec?

Census
Oral Questions

9:50 a.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont
Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal member for St. Paul's has introduced a private member's bill. We are no longer surprised at the lack of respect that the member shows Canadian citizens, the same member who says that parents who do not put their kids in full-time daycare are sentencing them to a life in the prison system. Now she wants to fine them if they do not want to tell them how much housework they do, or how much time they spend with their kids.

It is time that the member and her party showed Canadians some respect.

Census
Oral Questions

9:50 a.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, once again, he completely avoided answering the question. It is not just municipalities, provinces and SMEs that will lose important information, but our cultural sector will as well. We will lose a lot of data that are absolutely essential. What is the average income of our artists? Which of our cultural programs work? Where should we invest money? Without that information, how will we help our artists and creators? We need that information. How will we support our culture? Yes, I said our culture.

Census
Oral Questions

9:50 a.m.

Peterborough
Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, as the member would well know, this government has supported arts and culture in our country, unlike the previous Liberal government. We have increased funding to the Canada Council for the Arts. In fact, we have increased funding for cultural spaces. We have invested in culture and diversity right across the country, from coast to coast to coast.

One thing is consistent. The member did not support any of it.

Census
Oral Questions

9:55 a.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is quite the magician. He snaps his fingers and hides all of the problems he does not want to see. The needs of francophone communities? Poof, they are gone. Investments in education and social housing? Poof, they are gone too. Poverty? Poof, it is gone. Now he is going to hide his record over the past five years. No census, no record. Poof, it is gone.

He must have a really terrible record to want to hide it like that.

Census
Oral Questions

9:55 a.m.

Peterborough
Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, it is tough to know where to go with that, but one thing we cannot make vanish is 13 years of corrupt Liberal leadership. That is why the Liberals are in opposition.

The other day the Liberal leader came out and stated the Liberals' position on EI was that it was financially irresponsible. Then they all stood and voted for it. That is what I guess one would call Liberal leadership. It is remarkable.

Justice
Oral Questions

9:55 a.m.

Conservative

Blaine Calkins Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, Monday's open mic night in Montreal, hosted by the Leader of the Opposition, shows just how out of touch he is with Canadians. During the event, he committed to reintroduce a bill to decriminalize marijuana for recreational use, but made no mention of what he would do to combat the serious drug traffickers and producers that threaten the safety of our communities.

Could the Minister of Justice please update the House on what our government is doing to deal with this very important issue?

Justice
Oral Questions

9:55 a.m.

Niagara Falls
Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I want to point out to the House that the Government of Canada does not support the decriminalization of marijuana in our country.

Let us see if we have this right. The Liberals want to go easy on people who get involved with drugs, but they want to crack down on people who do not fill out the census. What is it about the Liberal Party? When it comes to anything to do with the justice system or law enforcement, the Liberals always get it wrong.

Harmonized Sales Tax
Oral Questions

9:55 a.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, seniors are greatly worried about the coming winter. Many are on fixed income and are very worried about paying their bills. To add insult to injury, the government only gave a $1.50 increase to the old age security.

My question is for the Minister of Finance. Why has the government raised taxes on such a vulnerable people by charging HST on home fuel, hydro and other essentials?

Harmonized Sales Tax
Oral Questions

9:55 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, perhaps if the hon. member and members of his party had actually taken time to read our last few budgets, he would have known what we have done to help seniors, which is considerable.

To help them in financially difficult times, we increased the age credit limit not once but twice. We introduced pension income splitting. We also have made it possible for those who are on a guaranteed income supplement, GIS, to work more and not have those funds clawed back. It was seniors who built our country and we are aware of that.

Harmonized Sales Tax
Oral Questions

9:55 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, now those seniors are being hit by the HST and the minister does not want to answer that.

Three months after British Columbians rejected the Conservative-Campbell HST, the finance minister finally admits it is harming the economy, increasing the deficit and contributing to a drop in the GDP. The uncertainty surrounding the future of this tax is further harming B.C.'s economic recovery.

Will the government at least suspend the HST until the voters of B.C. can have their say in a referendum? Why will the government not listen to the people of British Columbia?

Harmonized Sales Tax
Oral Questions

9:55 a.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as all hon. members in the House know, that was a decision taken by the provincial governments in British Columbia and Ontario. I would encourage the hon. member to go back and speak to her colleagues in the legislature.

I have to once again remind hon. members of my recurring nightmare, and that is what happened on Wednesday evening when I saw all of those in opposition stand and vote to increase EI premiums for those who can least afford it. We are trying to create jobs. They are trying to kill them.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

9:55 a.m.

Bloc

Luc Desnoyers Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Finance announced a five-cent increase in the employment insurance premium rate. This could have been avoided had the government given back the $57 billion that has pilfered from the fund since 1990.

Why is the minister increasing premiums to be paid into a fund that was plundered for nearly 20 years, money that has yet to be returned? Is he planning to take unemployed workers' money to pay down his deficit again?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

10 a.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, that is funny math, and there is no other way to describe it. The hon. member voted for a 60¢ increase when we decided to reduce it by two-thirds to ensure that we would continue to grow jobs in our country.

Do not take my word for it; listen to the Retail Council of Canada. It said:

Retailers are happy the government has listened to their concerns and reduced the level of EI increases during a time of fragile economic recovery....We appreciate the government's leadership on this issue.

We wish the opposition would.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

10 a.m.

Bloc

Luc Desnoyers Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government announced that five pilot projects would end this fall and that it is raising premiums. Contributors will pay more for a system that gives them less.

Rather than increase premiums to finance its deficit, as the Liberals did in their day, will this government promise to improve the system so that every cent of that increase will go back to unemployed workers?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

10 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, during the recession, our government implemented a number of measures to help unemployed workers, including the five additional weeks and the program for long-tenured workers. What I do not understand is why the Bloc voted against all of these measures to help workers.

Potash Industry
Oral Questions

10 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, with respect to any possible takeover of the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan, what is the government's definition of net benefit to Canada?

Does the government agree that in this case, involving the biggest potash mining company in the world and the richest potash reserves in the world, all in Saskatchewan, it must be what is best of Saskatchewan that is front and centre?

Will the government commit to that and to complete transparency and enforceability in deciding this matter?

Potash Industry
Oral Questions

10 a.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont
Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the government is aware of this proposed transaction and will monitor the situation closely to determine how the Investment Canada Act applies.

The hon. member should be aware that the acquisition of control by a foreign investor of a Canadian business with assets of $299 million or more is subject to review, and. where a transaction is subject to review, the investor must obtain approval of the Minister of Industry prior to implementing the investment.

The minister will only approve applications for review where an investment demonstrates that it is likely to be of net benefit to Canada.

Potash Industry
Oral Questions

10 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, the government saying, “Trust us”, just does not work. One just need ask the victims of Nortel across the country or Vale Inco in Sudbury or U.S. Steel in Hamilton.

In 2008, the chairman of Australia's BHP said this:

Canada's policies are a worst-case scenario; Canada has lost more head offices than any other country; Canada has already been reduced to an industry 'branch office' and is largely irrelevant on the global mining stage.

Given that point of view from BHP, again I ask what the government's definition is of net benefit.

Potash Industry
Oral Questions

10 a.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont
Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, to correct the hon. member, this year Canadian international acquisitions exceeded the value of foreign acquisitions by a ratio of 20%.

The net benefit review process is rigorous. It involves consultations, as the hon. member knows, with the affected provinces and territories and other government departments as required.

In terms of net benefit to Canada, it is pretty clear that one thing that is of net benefit to Canada is the measures the government has taken in the economic action plan, measures that the Liberal Party has voted against every time.

Steel Industry
Oral Questions

10 a.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, U.S. Steel just announced it is shutting down its last Hamilton blast furnace, allegedly because of market conditions.

The company says that there are no plans for layoffs but what will sustain these decent, family-sustaining jobs when the plant is not producing any iron to make steel?

While the government is hiding behind a court case that has been dragging on for years, steelworkers need answers today about the future of their jobs and pensions.

When will the government ensure that there is a net benefit to Canadians before it approves foreign takeovers and stand up for steelworkers by acting to protect their jobs?

Steel Industry
Oral Questions

10:05 a.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont
Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, we are disappointed to learn that U.S. Steel will idle its blast furnace in Hamilton, but we are encouraged by the company's statement that it will not lay off staff as a result.

As Canadians would expect our government to do, we will continue to closely monitor the situation.

Steel Industry
Oral Questions

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, as you have heard, SteelWorkers 1005 and U.S. Steel were in contract negotiations when the company suddenly announced the closure of its last blast furnace.

We had Xstrata, Vale Inco and now U.S. Steel. Again and again, foreign companies are flaunting agreements signed with the government.

What action can Hamilton workers expect from their government beyond the current lawsuit, or is the minister just planning to sit this one out?

Steel Industry
Oral Questions

10:05 a.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont
Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I just answered that question. I will reiterate the fact that this year Canadian international acquisitions exceeded the value of foreign acquisitions by 20%, a ratio of 1.2 to 1.

In terms of the question as to what Canadians can expect from this government, Canadians can expect the same thing from this government that they have had for five years. It is the measures we have taken that have put Canada in the most enviable position of any country in the developed world.

Those measures, the steps that we have taken to get there, have been voted against by the NDP every time.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Rick Norlock Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Mr. Speaker, we have heard a lot of concern about the Bloc-NDP-Liberal proposal to create a 45-day work year. This plan would cost Canadians $7 billion annually and increase premiums permanently by a whopping 35%. This is irresponsible and downright offensive to hard-working Canadians. Our Conservative government is the only voice in Parliament to oppose this reckless plan.

Would the parliamentary secretary inform the House how the government is helping support jobs and standing up for job creators?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

10:05 a.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Northumberland—Quinte West for his role in our economic action plan's rollout.

Unlike the opposition, we are worried about creating jobs. That is why we reduced the recommended EI rate by two-thirds. That is the most important announcement Canadians have heard. Canadians heard it loud and clear. I want to remind members about some of those who actually applauded that, none of them in this House: the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Labour Congress--

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. member for Scarborough Centre.

G8 and G20 Summits
Oral Questions

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

John Cannis Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are stunned at the government's addiction to waste. At the G8 and G20 meetings, it spent $85,000 on snacks at just one luxury hotel; $300,000 on bug spray; and $2 million to rent cars, all that just for two days.

That money, for example, could have been used to fund the building of the first Greek Canadian community centre in Toronto or maybe help needy seniors.

Who authorized this mess? Who chose waste over the priorities and needs of Canadians? Why has the Conservative government turned its back on the Greek community?

G8 and G20 Summits
Oral Questions

10:05 a.m.

Provencher
Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, we are proud of the accomplishments of the G8 and G20 summits. Canada is leading the global economic recovery, as well as international efforts to aid developing countries.

As we have said from the beginning, these were legitimate expenses, the majority of which were for security. We have asked the Auditor General to look at these expenses as they come in. We look forward to her review.

As for infrastructure in the member's riding, I am wondering why he did not either ask or, in fact, even vote for them.

Veterans Affairs
Oral Questions

10:05 a.m.

Bloc

Guy André Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives have still not granted the main request of our veterans. The changes announced this week do absolutely nothing to change their situation. The lump sum payment does not cut it.

Will the government finally amend the veterans charter and restore the lifetime monthly pension for injured soldiers, as the ombudsman has called for?

Veterans Affairs
Oral Questions

10:05 a.m.

Jonquière—Alma
Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, over the past few days we have announced several measures to support our veterans, especially recent veterans. We plan to address lump sum payments next week.

What we have heard about the lump sum payment is that some people, although not everyone, were having difficulty managing the amount of money when they received it in a single payment. We are in the process of looking at that, and we will be making a positive announcement for our veterans in a matter of days.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, budget 2010 promised $10 million to address violence against aboriginal women. Six months later, there is still nothing from the government. Over 500 aboriginal women have been murdered or are missing. Women's organizations and aboriginal groups across the country have the solutions to stop violence against aboriginal women. What they need is the funding promised by the government.

The minister keeps telling us that the announcement is coming soon. Soon is not good enough. Will the minister tell us exactly when the $10 million will be released?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

10:10 a.m.

Niagara Falls
Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, this government is committed to ensuring that all women, including aboriginal women, are safe and secure regardless of the community in which they live. This is a pressing concern that cuts across many different sectors, including the justice system, public safety, police and gender issues, women's rights and aboriginal affairs.

The hon. member is right. The budget does have $10 million over two years to address this disturbing problem. The question I have for her is: Why did she stand in her place and vote against that $10 million if she is now so concerned about it?

Justice
Oral Questions

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal leader offers very few solutions when it comes to getting tough on crime. He panders to the drug users rather than joining our government in getting tough on traffickers and producers of drugs. On Monday, he said he would reintroduce a bill to decriminalize marijuana. This just shows that he values scoring political points over getting tough on the serious crimes that threaten the safety of our communities.

Would the Minister of Justice tell us what he thinks of the Liberal leader's recent announcement?

Justice
Oral Questions

10:10 a.m.

Niagara Falls
Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I do not think very much of it. This is exactly why we instituted the national anti-drug strategy. We did it to specifically discourage people from getting involved with drugs, but the Liberals obviously have a different approach.

This is why I always say that when it comes to standing up against criminals, standing up for victims and fighting crime in this country, there is only one party and one government that people can trust and it is this Conservative government.

G8 and G20 Summits
Oral Questions

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

John Cannis Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, here are some of the legitimate expenses the government talks about: $14,000 for glow sticks and $4 million to drain a quarry. The minister is so embarrassed that he is incapable of offering a decent response. Meanwhile, the government cannot find money to support legitimate needs for seniors, for students and for hospitals in my riding.

How can the Conservatives be so out of touch with reality, so incompetent, or is it that they just do not care how they spend Canadian tax dollars?

G8 and G20 Summits
Oral Questions

10:10 a.m.

Provencher
Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I would like to correct the record. The member is putting erroneous facts on the record again. He indicated a $4 million cost for a specific project that was security related when in fact that cost was $144,000.

I wish that the member would wait for the Auditor General's assessment of the expenditures. I am looking forward to hearing what the Auditor General has to say about them rather than listening to the rhetoric of members opposite.

Airport Security
Oral Questions

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, after 10 years, it is time the government got serious about its oversight of the Victoria harbour airport.

Last week, a report from aviation expert, QualaTech-Aero Consulting, said that the airport did not meet Transport Canada's own standards. When he has been asked when the airport would meet Canadian aviation regulations, the minister has given vastly different timelines for action.

Could the minister finally tell the people of Victoria when their harbour airport will comply with both the existing and new water airport regulations?

Airport Security
Oral Questions

10:10 a.m.

Yellowhead
Alberta

Conservative

Rob Merrifield Minister of State (Transport)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member asked a specific question about a harbour airport. We take all of our harbour airports very seriously. Safety and security are important to us and they are the government's number one issue. We will be reviewing all of these in due course as we move forward.

I will take my hon. colleague's question under consideration.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

10:10 a.m.

Bloc

Jean Dorion Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, excavators have started work again on housing in Israeli settlements on the West Bank, which is weakening the peace process even more. The Palestinian president is even considering leaving the negotiating table if the moratorium is not extended.

The United States and France have taken a stance against the renewed colonization. Does the Conservative government not realize that by remaining silent, it is sanctioning an action that violates international law?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

10:15 a.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, Canada has not been silent. Quite the opposite, in fact. At the G8 summit, the Prime Minister and our government reminded our colleagues that the ultimate goal, of course, is to see two sovereign countries emerge in that region and to have them live side by side in peace and harmony. We have also strongly insisted that both parties pursue and continue their discussions, because that is the only way to achieve lasting peace.

Leader of the Liberal Party
Statements By Members

10:15 a.m.

Conservative

Dick Harris Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, while Canadians are concerned about the economy and jobs, the Liberal leader clearly has other priorities.

On Wednesday when Parliament was debating employment insurance, an important issue to Canadian workers and business, the Liberal leader bizarrely announced that the issue was the census, not EI. In the same week that Statistics Canada reported on the country's economic growth, the Liberal leader said that his priority was to make it easier to possess and use marijuana. The census, marijuana, it seems like everything is a priority for the Liberal leader, except the economy.

There is little wonder that the Liberal leader does not want to talk about the economy. His economic agenda includes increasing taxes on Canadian business, lowering the EI qualifying period to 45 days, increasing the GST back to 7%, and throwing in the Liberal leader's iPod tax.

There is quite a brain trust going on over there.

Russia
Statements By Members

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Etobicoke Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, in late August I introduced the leader of the democratic opposition and former deputy prime minister of Russia, Mr. Boris Nemtsov, at the Black Ribbon Day Conference at the University of Toronto's Munk Centre, hosted by the Central and Eastern European Council of Canada.

The following day Mr. Nemtsov and more than 100 democracy activists were arrested. Some were imprisoned using Soviet-style laws for participating in unsanctioned meetings.

Prime Minister Putin openly threatened the activists and established a new tenet of Putinism, stating, “You will be beaten on your skull with a truncheon. And that's that”.

Commenting on the west's silence, Russia's leading broadcast journalist, the exiled Evgeny Kiselev, lamented that the west “has traded the Russian democratic opposition for oil and gas”.

The Russian people are fighting for their constitutional rights of free assembly and of free media.

Will the Conservative government publicly and unequivocally condemn Mr. Putin's slide toward authoritarianism and his campaign of arrests of human and democratic rights activists in Russia?

National Order of Agricultural Merit
Statements By Members

10:15 a.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, Ferme St-Ours inc., run by Chantal and Martine Bourgeois and Serge Lefebvre from Saint-Ours, recently won a gold medal from the Ordre national du mérite agricole. As president of the Fédération des producteurs d'oeufs de consommation du Québec, Mr. Lefebvre is well known for defending supply management.

Since 1993, Ferme St-Ours has specialized in table egg production, maple syrup production and crop farming, with an approach to farming that is rooted in innovation, respect and authenticity.

The Ordre national du mérite agricole also honoured 20 or so other farms including Les Vergers Denis Charbonneau Inc. in Mont Saint-Grégoire, which won a silver medal, and Ferme Tullochgorum SENC in Ormstown, which won a bronze medal.

On behalf of my Bloc Québécois colleagues, I want to congratulate the owners of Ferme St-Ours and the other recipients on these richly deserved honours. Quebec's agriculture industry stands out because of passionate people like these.

Veterans Affairs
Statements By Members

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen London—Fanshawe, ON

Madam Speaker, when we ask Canadian soldiers to put their lives on the line in combat or peacekeeping missions, Canada needs to ensure that when these men and women return home, they are properly supported, that we fulfill our obligations to them as they fulfilled theirs to Canada.

The government is offering only band-aid solutions to veterans and ignoring the clawback of benefits, inequities in the ranking system, and the closing of beds in veterans hospitals.

Shamefully, the government is closing half the veterans beds at London's Parkwood Hospital and downloading responsibility for modern-day veterans to the province.

Caregivers at veterans facilities across the country have the expertise and skill to provide the top-level and specific care that is required. The hospital provides the appropriate supports that give quality of life to veterans.

The recent announcement on the reforms to the veterans charter are only words. What veterans need is real action.

The only way the Department of Veterans Affairs can hope to regain any legitimacy is by allowing a full public inquiry into its treatment of veterans.

Decriminalization of Marijuana
Statements By Members

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Saint Boniface, MB

Madam Speaker, it is starting to make sense why the Liberal leader's team has endorsed the job-killing 45-day work year.

His star candidate from B.C., Ross Rebagliati, knows very well that working a little here and a little there, as he calls it, basically just being Ross, is enough to get by if the coalition has its way. Working 45 days a year gives someone a lot of time to sit around the couch.

A media headline this week indicated that the Liberal leader would reintroduce a marijuana decriminalization bill. There is no smoky haze here. The Liberals are very clear that they would decriminalize pot and advocate for a job-killing 45-day work year. The Liberals are really out of touch with Canadians.

Our government will not support this legislation that sends the wrong message to our kids about marijuana.

Seniors
Statements By Members

10:20 a.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro York West, ON

Madam Speaker, today is Canada's first National Seniors Day, a day enacted to recognize the contributions made to society by seniors in every region of Canada.

While I am pleased to offer my appreciation to the millions of seniors who work hard every day to help build Canada, I would prefer to show that appreciation.

Canadian seniors continue to struggle. We hear that every day. Inadequate pension rates, low-income thresholds, unfair clawback rules and living expenses that are increasing faster than the payout rate are each contributing to less and less gold in one's golden years.

Seniors are not asking for a national day; they are asking for national action. It has now been 612 days since the government promised that kind of action and seniors are tired of empty promises.

Let us hope that in the spirit of seniors day, we will finally nudge the government to start showing, not just saying, that it cares about seniors.

Liberal Party
Statements By Members

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Madam Speaker, the Liberal Party leader's priorities are very clear. He wants to tax Canadians more so that people can get employment insurance benefits after working for just 45 days; he wants to hike taxes; and he also wants to decriminalize marijuana. Our government is trying to maintain the necessary and fragile equilibrium between supporting economic renewal and keeping the employment insurance program solvent.

We all know that the Liberal government literally raided billions of dollars from the employment insurance fund. Now that they are the opposition, the Liberals want to permanently increase premiums by 35%. That is not what Canadians want and, once again, the Liberals are not listening to them.

As for the Liberal-backed marijuana legislation, our government will never support a law that sends such a bad message to the youth of our country.

Granby International Song Festival
Statements By Members

10:20 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Madam Speaker, on Wednesday, the Festival international de la chanson de Granby was awarded the Prix du 3-juillet-1608 for its exemplary work defending and promoting French language and culture in America. This prize is awarded by the Conseil supérieur de la langue française and commemorates Samuel de Champlain's founding of Quebec City.

The Festival international de la chanson de Granby has been one of the largest promoters of francophone artists over the past 42 years. Through this festival, our artists and their songs are able to get wide exposure abroad because they receive the resources they need while seeking the goal of preserving the beauty of our language. This prize rewards the efforts put forth by the festival's organizers and participants.

On behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I would like to offer our congratulations on this prize and our best wishes for a futures as rich as the past.

Seniors
Statements By Members

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Madam Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise in the House to recognize today as the International Day of Older Persons and the proposed day in Bill C-40 to be Canada's National Seniors Day. In June the Minister of State for Seniors introduced Celebrating Canada's Seniors Act, which passed with the support of all parties in the House.

This Conservative government recognizes the important involvement of seniors in our communities and their valuable contributions to Canada as a whole. They are volunteers, mentors, business leaders and experienced workers.

When I think of a senior who volunteered all of his life in many capacities, I think of my long-time acquaintance and friend, Bob Burns of Estevan, Saskatchewan, who at 80 years of age still umpires ball.

On behalf of the Government of Canada and all Canadians, I would like to say a big thanks to the seniors of our country.

Commonwealth Games
Statements By Members

10:25 a.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Vancouver Quadra, BC

Madam Speaker, I stand here to wish great success to our Canadian delegation at the Commonwealth Games starting Monday in India.

After the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games, I understand the substantial money, time and effort involved in hosting and on behalf of Canadians I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to India for hosting this year's games.

The first Commonwealth Games were held in Hamilton, Canada in 1930. Thus began a long tradition that has played out every four years since then. These events remind us that sports have an incredible unifying power because they bring people from all four corners of the world together.

Competitive sport has the power to deliver lasting benefits, transforming people, communities and cultures. I applaud our athletes' commitment and perseverance. They inspire our youth to reach further, push harder and achieve personal successes.

We wish our Canadian athletes the best of luck. Our hearts and minds are with them. May the games begin and may they win gold.

Seniors
Statements By Members

10:25 a.m.

Conservative

Dave Van Kesteren Chatham-Kent—Essex, ON

Madam Speaker, today Canada joins the international community to celebrate the United Nations International Day of Older Persons. October 1 is also the day designated in Bill C-40 to be Canada's National Seniors Day.

In my riding of Chatham-Kent--Essex, I have conducted a series of visits to seniors homes, where I converse with seniors in an exercise called “listening to seniors”. It is one of my most enjoyable functions, where a wealth of wisdom and advice is gleaned from our oldest and wisest citizens. We talk about the Canada they grew up in and the changes they experienced, good or not so good. They offer an abundance of great advice about where we ought to go and how we ought to get there.

I am thankful for our seniors and forever grateful to them for the Canada they have helped build. I treasure the time I have been able to spend with each one of them and look forward to our next appointment with “listening to seniors”.

Aviation Safety
Statements By Members

10:25 a.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington Western Arctic, NT

Madam Speaker, last week Canadians who fly in and out of Victoria harbour learned that the government, through its lack of interest in safety, is putting their lives at risk. A report by QualaTech-Aero Consulting showed that despite 10 years of promises, Transport Canada has not taken any safety planning actions.

Victoria is the third busiest float plane base in the world. Transport Canada is the owner and operator, as well as the regulator. Despite this, the harbour airport does not even meet Transport Canada regulations. But get this: Without any safety plan in place, the minister has given the green light to the development of a mega-marina which will create major hazards to sailboat masts.

Over and over again the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities has learned how lax the government is when it comes to aviation safety. When will the minister take up his responsibility and protect Canadians who fly?

Right to Vote
Statements By Members

10:25 a.m.

Conservative

Jay Hill Prince George—Peace River, BC

Madame Speaker, I rise today to remind Canadians of their democratic duty.

Never have I been prouder to be Canadian than when I helped to serve a hot Christmas dinner in 2006 to troops just coming off the front lines in Afghanistan, and again in the last election when I received an email from a commanding officer detailing how his troops were willingly accepting additional risks to deliver ballot boxes to those same front lines, to ensure that no soldier missed the opportunity to vote.

Compare these young Canadians, who are already putting their young lives on the line to bring democracy to a war-torn land, including extra risks in the name of democracy, with citizens back home in Canada who have become so apathetic, they cannot even be bothered to cross the street to vote.

There is no greater privilege than having the right to vote. People have died to preserve that right; indeed some people still are in some lands. I implore all Canadians to think about their choices and re-engage in the political process.

Billy Diamond
Statements By Members

10:25 a.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Madam Speaker, we were saddened to hear that Billy Diamond, a well-known aboriginal political personality in Quebec, has passed away.

He was a founding member of the Grand Council of the Crees of Quebec, serving as Grand Chief from 1974 to 1984. In 1975, he signed the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, which led to the construction of large hydroelectric dams on James Bay, on behalf of the Cree community of northern Quebec. He also represented the Quebec Cree and the Assembly of First Nations during the constitutional conferences of 1982 and 1983. He was also a businessman involved in various Cree businesses, including Air Creebec. In 1987, he was made a knight of the National Order of Quebec in recognition of his contributions and his legacy.

My Bloc Québécois colleagues and I salute Mr. Diamond's involvement. We wish to convey our sincere condolences to his wife, Elizabeth, and their six children.

Governor General of Canada
Statements By Members

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

Mario Silva Davenport, ON

Madam Speaker, on behalf of my colleagues in the Liberal caucus, I would like to salute Governor General designate David Johnston and his wife as they begin their new roles today.

Mr. Johnston has had an impressive career as an educator, legal scholar, athlete and university president of both McGill and Waterloo. Governor General David Johnston has inspired Canadians in the classroom and has brought international recognition to Canada's capacity for science, research and development. As a renowned academic and university leader, he has shown his tremendous dedication to post-secondary education and its role in building an innovative, highly skilled future for Canada.

We have full confidence that Governor General David Johnston will perform his constitutional duties with grace and dignity, acting within the principles of Canada's parliamentary democracy. We know he will ensure continuous and stable governance in a non-partisan manner and continue the tradition of the excellence established by his predecessors.

Doug Korpleinsky
Statements By Members

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

Tim Uppal Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

Madam Speaker, it is my honour today to pay tribute to someone who is unfortunately no longer with us, Doug Korpleinsky. Doug was not only a dear friend to my family and me, but he was also a significant contributor to the Edmonton community.

For many years he coached hockey with the Knights of Columbus, teaching young men the importance of teamwork, commitment and hard work. A few of those players he coached even made it to the NHL.

He was an elected senator of the Edmonton Junior Chamber of Commerce, motivating individuals to create positive change in their community, in our businesses and in the world around us.

He also encouraged young people and people of various backgrounds to understand and get involved in politics, including myself.

Doug Korpleinsky made a profound impact in his community and with the people in his life. This proud Canadian will dearly be missed.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to his mother, Alice, and the rest of his family.

Procedure and House Affairs
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Hull—Aylmer, QC

Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Orders 104 and 114, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 15th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs concerning the list of members of committees of the House.

If the House gives its consent, I intend to move concurrence in the 15th report later this day.

Pope John Paul II Act
Routine Proceedings

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

Andrew Kania Brampton West, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-573, An Act to establish Pope John Paul II Day.

Madam Speaker, today I have the honour of introducing my private member's bill that I have entitled, “an act to establish Pope John Paul II Day”.

I am particularly moved to introduce the bill, being a proud first generation Polish Canadian and practising Roman Catholic. However, it must be remembered that the impact of this man, who has been granted the title “Venerable” by Pope Benedict XVI and is on his way to sainthood, goes well beyond his Polish roots or Roman Catholic faith.

Pope John Paul II is universally recognized as a leading figure in world history and a principle force behind the ending of communism in Eastern Europe. He bridged divides between the Roman Catholic Church and other religions. He visited 129 countries and attracted some of the largest crowds in history, such as over 5 million people in Manila in 1995 and over 800,000 in Toronto in 2002.

I will be asking for the support of my colleagues to designate each April 2, the anniversary of Pope John Paul II's death, as Pope John Paul II day across Canada.

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

Retirement Income Bill of Rights
Routine Proceedings

10:35 a.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro York West, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-574, An Act to promote and strengthen the Canadian retirement income system.

Madam Speaker, since the Mackenzie King government first introduced the Old Age Pension Act 83 years ago, Liberals have fostered a long history of creating, enhancing and expanding pensions available to Canadian seniors. From old age security, to the CPP and the supplement, we understand the extreme importance of protecting and preserving pension security, adequacy and coverage for all Canadians.

Today I am pleased to present a bill called, “an act to promote and strengthen the Canadian retirement income system”, or as I like to call it, “the pension income bill of rights”. I am seeking to enshrine in law the notion that all Canadians have the right to contribute to a decent retirement plan and to be provided with up-to-date, unbiased and conflict-free information on their retirement savings. Too often financial illiteracy, inadequate opportunity and economic instability strip away the hard-earned savings of our seniors, and that must stop.

This is the first bill of its kind ever proposed to better protect our seniors and their nest eggs. I am proud to present it today.

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

First Nations Financial Transparency Act
Routine Proceedings

10:35 a.m.

Conservative

Kelly Block Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-575, An Act respecting the accountability and enhanced financial transparency of elected officials of First Nations communities.

Madam Speaker, I am proud to rise this morning to highlight the importance of this act. I thank the hon. member from Red Deer for his strong support on this matter.

The first nations financial transparency act is important for all first nations members across the country. It is important for all chiefs, councillors and all taxpayers. This act is about increasing the transparency and accountability of public tax dollars flowing to first nations. It will make public the salary and expenses received by chiefs and councillors in first nations communities. Currently this information is not publicly available.

This disclosure is already a reality for other elected officials in Canada and we believe first nations elected officials should be held to the same high standard. We trust first nations leaders will welcome this act as an important tool in helping deliver transparency and accountability to their constituents.

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

Criminal Code
Routine Proceedings

10:35 a.m.

Conservative

Earl Dreeshen Red Deer, AB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-576, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (personating peace officer).

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to introduce a bill to amend the Criminal Code. My bill would establish that impersonating a police officer for the purpose of committing another offence shall be considered by a court to be an aggravated circumstance for sentencing purposes.

My bill seeks to preserve the trust and respect for authority that we have for peace officers and to increase penalties for those who breach that trust to cause harm.

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

Procedure and House Affairs
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Hull—Aylmer, QC

Madam Speaker, I move that the 15th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs presented to the House this day be concurred in.

Procedure and House Affairs
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

10:40 a.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?

Procedure and House Affairs
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

10:40 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Procedure and House Affairs
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

10:40 a.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Procedure and House Affairs
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

10:40 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Procedure and House Affairs
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

10:40 a.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

(Motion agreed to)

Procedure and House Affairs
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

10:40 a.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

I would like to advise members that during petitions I will be very strict in ensuring that the presentation is very short given the time limits that we are facing today.

The hon. member for Labrador.

Employment Insurance
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

Todd Russell Labrador, NL

Madam Speaker, I am proud to present a petition today on behalf of my constituents in the communities of Port Hope, Simpson, Norman Bay, Red Bay, Charlottetown, St. Lewis, Goose Bay and Pensons Arm who call for a common sense approach to EI by extending the benefit period and reinstating the five weeks of additional benefits in high unemployment areas. They say that we should renew the best 14 weeks. They also say that they should be allowed to continue to earn up to 40% of the EI benefits. This helps the unemployed, the employers and the economy.

Preventive Withdrawal
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:40 a.m.

Bloc

Luc Desnoyers Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am presenting a petition signed by 891 people who want the government to make Quebec women governed by the Canada Labour Code eligible for preventive withdrawal.

Pension Plans
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:40 a.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition today signed by hundreds of people who attended my Canada Day barbecue this past July.

As members know, it is currently possible for someone convicted of killing his or her spouse to collect CPP survivor benefits and/or the death benefit. It is also currently possible for someone convicted of killing his or her spouse to collect survivor benefits and/or the death benefit under CPPD.

However, it is a long established principle in law that no one should be able to benefit from the commission of a crime and that principle must be enshrined in the eligibility criteria for government benefit programs.

The petitions are simply asking that the Parliament of Canada pass my bill, Bill C-527, which would amend the Canada pension plan to prohibit the payment of the survivor's pension, orphan's benefit or death benefit--

Pension Plans
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:40 a.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

The hon. member for Timmins—James Bay.

Copyright Act
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:40 a.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Madam Speaker, I have a petition signed by people from across Canada, from Montreal, Calgary, Ottawa and Waterloo, calling on parliamentarians to maintain the balance in the upcoming Copyright Act, the balance between the rights of creators and the general public, the people who are using the cultural products. Specifically, they are concerned about the use of technological protection measures, software that overrides the rights that Parliament will give to citizens to ensure there is a full balance in copyright and to ensure that when we have the Copyright Act come before us that it is done with full consultation and involvement of the general Canadian public.

Veterans Affairs
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:40 a.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen London—Fanshawe, ON

Madam Speaker, I have a petition signed by many people in my community who want the House of Commons to understand absolutely the essential nature of supporting our veterans so that we can ensure they have proper pensions and prevent their poverty.

The petitioners also demand that existing services, such as veterans hospitals, be mandated to serve modern day veterans, including the more than 200,000 members of the armed forces who have served in peacekeeping missions. They want Veterans Affairs to follow through on all the promises that it has made.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:40 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:40 a.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:40 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:40 a.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

It being 10:45 a.m., pursuant to order made Monday, September 27, 2010, this House stands adjourned until Monday next at 11 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 10:45 a.m.)