House of Commons Hansard #97 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was crime.

Topics

Canada Elections Act
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Don Davies Vancouver Kingsway, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-594, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act (voting hours).

Mr. Speaker, I rise to introduce a bill that I believe will improve democracy by expanding access to voting in Canada. This bill would expand the hours of voting in federal elections from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. in every province and territory.

First, this is an important measure to standardize voting hours across the country. For example, currently voters in British Columbia vote between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., whereas voters in Ontario have until 9:30 p.m. to cast their ballots. Most important, the bill would improve the ability of every Canadian to exercise his or her democratic choice.

Voter turnout in federal elections has been declining steadily since the mid-1980s. In the most recent election, voter participation hit an all-time low of 58.8%. More Canadians did not vote than cast ballots for the Conservatives and Liberals combined.

There are many reasons for declining turnout but one of them is certainly the barriers people face to voting. Canadians lead lives that are busier than ever. There are single parents and families with two working parents. There are seniors who must rely on others to get them to the polls.

Our democracy is valuable. It is worth protecting. Expanding voting hours is a small but important step and I hope all members of the House will support it.

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

Passport Fees
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my petition, signed by dozens of Canadians, calls upon the Canadian government to negotiate with the American government to reduce the United States and Canadian passport fees. The number of American tourists visiting Canada is at its lowest level since 1972. It has fallen by five million visits in the last seven years, from 16 million in 2002 to only 11 million in 2009. Passport fees for an American family of four could be over $500 U.S. While 50% of Canadians have passports, only 25% of Americans do.

At the recent legislative conference that I attended, representing 11 border states from Illinois to North Dakota, a resolution was passed unanimously, and it reads as follows:

RESOLVED, that [the] Conference calls on President Barack Obama and [the Canadian] Prime Minister...to immediately examine a reduced fee for passports to facilitate cross-border tourism; and be it further

RESOLVED, that [the Conference] encourage the governments to examine the idea of a limited time two-for-one passport renewal or new application;

To be a fair process, the passport fees must be reduced on both sides of the border. Therefore, the petitioners call upon the government to work with the American government to examine a mutual reduction in passport fees to facilitate tourism and, finally, to promote a limited time two-for-one passport renewal or new application fee on a mutual basis with the United States

Employment Insurance
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, my petition concerns EI reform and the pilot projects that exist as of today and which will continue through until June. However, after June it becomes a big mystery as to whether they will be maintained or not, and certainly a mystery for many people in my riding because, if they are maintained, it will mean a lot for local and regional economic development.

We are still dealing with the ravages of hurricane Igor. I recently visited the Port Union and Trinity Bay North area where we discovered that many people are deficient in the number of weeks required to receive EI benefits. Therefore, we are also calling for a program to be put in place by the local agency, ACOA.

In the meantime, this petition does concern the pilot projects, as outlined, that they should be permanently maintained. These names come from the areas of Twillingate, the New World Island area, and working in the plants, such as around Cottles Island, as well as Comfort Cove.

VIA Rail
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Bruce Hyer Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Madam Speaker, day after day, week after week, I continue to receive more and more petitions relating to reviving Superior passenger rail. Today I have several dozen more, wanting passenger rail service restored to the north shore of Lake Superior and to Thunder Bay. These are citizens in Marathon, Schreiber, Terrace Bay and other communities across the north shore, including Thunder Bay.

The VIA Rail route along the north shore of Lake Superior was cut over two decades ago, despite being VIA's busiest route. The petition is not necessarily related to VIA, but to any passenger rail service that will work to restore our local economy and to provide a vital transportation link across the north shore.

Cutbacks to passenger bus service and the cost of fuel across our widespread region make it even more important that we restore this passenger rail. It is also one of the most efficient ways to travel and it will be integral to reducing pollution, especially harmful climate change.

I am very pleased to introduce this petition today to restore passenger rail to the north shore.

Seeds Regulations
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Don Davies Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to introduce a petition signed by dozens and dozens of citizens of British Columbia who support Bill C-474, a very important piece of legislation introduced by my colleague from British Columbia Southern Interior.

This petition draws to the attention of the House that the approval of genetically engineered seeds in Canada, which are not also approved in our export markets, can cause economic harm to Canadian farmers, as we saw with the 2009 contamination of Canadian flax with GE flax disease that resulted in closed European and other export markets.

The petition notes that unexpected and unwanted contamination from GE crops can result in economic hardship for farmers as a result of lost or uncertain markets and low prices.

The petition calls upon the government to amend the seeds regulations to ensure that any potential problems with GE seeds can be dealt with in an appropriate and responsible manner to protect farmers and our agricultural industry, both in this country and in our export markets.

I would urge all members of the House to take note of this petition and act accordingly.

Children's Health
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow Trinity—Spadina, ON

Madam Speaker, I have four petitions. The first petition is with regard to children's health and nutrition.

The petitioners note that the average 12-year-old boy is 14 pounds heavier today than in 1981, and that girls on average are 11 pounds heavier. They note that 26% of Canadian children aged 6 to 11 and 28% of teenagers are overweight or obese. Once children and teenagers get accustomed to eating unhealthy food, it is difficult to reverse this pattern.

Therefore, the petitioners are asking the Government of Canada to support my children's health and nutrition initiative, which would provide a daily nutritious meal of locally grown food to all school-aged children in Canada under the age of 18. This would combat childhood obesity, teach children about healthy eating and provide school-aged children a daily nutritious meal when they are in school.

G20 Summit
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow Trinity—Spadina, ON

Madam Speaker, the second petition is from my constituents and it is with regard to the G20 summit compensation.

The G20 summit, which was held in the downtown core that encompasses numerous residents and businesses, was held during the peak period of summer and many businesses suffered losses and significant property damage. As well, the proposed security area stopped customers from accessing some businesses.

The petitioners are asking the Government of Canada to compensate businesses for any property damage and loss of business because of the G20 summit.

Employment Insurance
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow Trinity—Spadina, ON

Madam Speaker, the third petition is from all across Canada and it is with regard to unemployment insurance.

The petitioners note that the so-called recovery still means that a large number of people are unemployed. It is important to have a social safety net to help regular Canadians through tough times and therefore reforms to the EI rules need to be made.

The petitioners suggest eliminating the two week waiting period, reducing the qualifying period to a minimum of 360 hours of work, allowing self-employed workers to participate in the plan, raising the rate of benefits of 60%, basing benefits on the best 12 weeks in the qualifying period and encouraging training and retraining.

Retrofit Homes Program
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow Trinity—Spadina, ON

Madam Speaker, the last petition is from constituents in my riding who are very excited about the eco-energy program but note that the eco-energy retrofit homes program will be cancelled by March 2011.

They note that the eco-energy program has proven economic benefits to Canadians, that it has realized significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and that the decision to cancel the program threatens the entire industry of professional and associate renovation contractors across Canada.

The petitioners want the immediate reinstatement of the ecoEnergy retrofit homes program so that they can make a meaningful commitment to support the future of energy efficiency and green jobs in Canada.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

10:15 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, if Questions Nos. 405 and 418 could be made orders for return, these returns would be tabled immediately.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

The Acting Speaker Ms. Denise Savoie

Is it agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Question No. 405
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Brossard—La Prairie, QC

With regard to requests for financial assistance made by communities affected by the forestry crisis under the Temporary Initiative for the Strengthening of Quebec’s Forest Economies (TISQFE): (a) how many requests for financial assistance have been made since the initiative’s commencement on June 17, 2010; (b) how many requests for financial assistance have been made (i) by each of the 17 targeted communities listed under the TISQFE, (ii) for each of the five programs covered under the TISQFE; (iii) by each of the 17 targeted communities for each of the five programs covered under the TISQFE, (iv) for each of the three initiatives covered under the TISQFE, (v) by each of the 17 targeted communities for each of the three initiatives covered under the TISQFE; (c) how many requests for financial assistance have been made by (i) small and medium-sized enterprises, (ii) small and medium-sized enterprises in each of the 17 targeted communities listed under the TISQFE, (iii) small and medium-sized enterprises for each of the five programs covered under the TISQFE, (iv) small and medium-sized enterprises for each of the three initiatives covered under the TISQFE; (d) how many requests for financial assistance have been made by non-profit organizations (i) in each of the 17 targeted communities listed under the TISQFE, (ii) for each of the five programs covered under the TISQFE, (iv) for each of the three initiatives covered under the TISQFE; (e) how many requests for financial assistance have been made by tourist establishments (i) in each of the 17 targeted communities listed under the TISQFE, (ii) for each of the five programs covered under the TISQFE, (iii) for each of the three initiatives covered under the TISQFE; (f) of the requests submitted for the authorization of the Regional Director, how many did the Director approve, and how many did the Director reject; (g) of the requests submitted for the authorization of the General Director for Regional Coherence, how many did the General Director approve, and how many did the General Director reject; (h) of the requests submitted for the authorization of the Vice-President for Operations, how many did the Vice-President approve, and how many did the Vice-President reject; (i) of the requests submitted for the authorization of the President, how many did the President approve, and how many did the President reject; (j) of the requests submitted for the authorization of the Minister, how many did the Minister approve, and how many did the Minister reject; (k) in cases where financial assistance was granted, what was the amount granted to each requestor (i) in each of the 17 targeted communities listed under the TISQFE, (ii) for each of the five programs covered under the TISQFE, (iii) for each of the three initiatives covered under the TISQFE; and (l) what was the total amount of all financial assistance granted under the TISQFE in each of the (i) 17 targeted communities, (ii) five programs, (iii) three initiatives covered under the TISQFE?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 418
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

With regard to the government's financial assistance to the provinces and territories through the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements (DFAA): (a) what is the total amount paid out by the government since the DFAA program began in 1970; (b) what is the total amount paid out each year to each province and territory since 1970; (c) what was the total amount paid out to the province of Quebec as a result of the Saguenay flooding in 1996; and (d) what was the total amount paid out to the province of Manitoba as a result of the Red River flood in 1997?