House of Commons Hansard #23 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Jobs and Economic Growth Act
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the hon. member.

During her speech, the member for Laval said that the budget that is about to be implemented completely ignored half of the population, since it does not do anything for women.

Not only does it have nothing for women, but the budget also ensures that women will no longer be able to achieve pay equity through the courts. My colleague's party is once again prepared to vote against implementing the budget, but not to actually defeat it. The Liberals will abstain from voting, as they did for the budget itself.

How does my colleague explain such deceitful behaviour to his constituents? How does he explain that today, his leader introduced Bill C-471, which aims to provide pay equity for women, but will then see to it that this equity is not enforced?

Jobs and Economic Growth Act
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, my colleague and I have a history. We have worked together on many issues in the House, particularly on inequalities. I put forward a bill on helping people to get through illnesses by giving them EI.

The gist of my comments today were about what is happening in Atlantic Canada and what is happening in Cape Breton, but there is no doubt about it. We do not need preaching by any party on how we believe in the charter of rights and the rights of every individual. We stand up again and again for them, and I will continue to do that.

The member knows that I will continue to work with him to push forward against any inequalities in this country.

Jobs and Economic Growth Act
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to my hon. colleague. He is a Liberal, but I cannot be too mean to him because he is from Cape Breton Island. My family had to leave Cape Breton to work in the gold mines in Timmins. Those immigrants built an amazing resource that has succeeded all across northern Canada. It was built by hard-working people. We have built industries that are the envy of the world.

Then the Conservative government came along. The last time it did anything with industry was the Avro Arrow. It saw these great mines like Falconbridge and Inco and said, “Let's sell them out to some corporate raiders and let's not get any kind of commitments”, because it believes blindly in the power of capital.

We have seen a devastation in our regions because of the lack of understanding on the government's part that there is a difference between foreign investment and foreign takeover.

We have always supported foreign investment because it has built industry, but what we are seeing under the Conservative government, which is in Bill C-9, is a change in the rules on oversight with foreign takeovers. We are leaving industries like our northern mining industries, the oil sector and telecommunications open to foreign takeovers that are undermining our ability as Canadians and as regions to maintain good, strong jobs in this country.

I would like to ask the hon. member from Cape Breton, would he not work with us to stop this turnover and deregulation move by the government against our regional industries?

Jobs and Economic Growth Act
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is too bad that my colleague's family left Cape Breton and went from the coal mines to the gold mines but they are welcome back any time. Our Liberal caucus will be in Cape Breton and he is welcome to come this summer to join us and have a few brews.

More seriously, the mining industry is very important to Canada. We went through a major transition in Cape Breton where we had a government-owned mine and it did not go so well. However, now it is coming back again. We have Xstrata investing in Cape Breton. Xstrata is one of the top mining companies in the world.

Sometimes there is a balance. The government cannot be too in control of mining. It has to be the watchful eye in investment and environmental rules, but there has to be that in between where we allow investment from other countries and multi-corporations to come in. We would have no coal industry in Cape Breton if Xstrata had not stepped up to the plate and invested millions of dollars into our region.

Therefore, there is a balance and I think the Liberal balance is the right balance. There is too much free enterprise in the Conservative Party and the NDP does not have enough, so we are right down the middle.

Jobs and Economic Growth Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-9, the budget implementation bill.

I would like to begin by saying that the Bloc Québécois will vote against this bill because it widens the gap between the rich and the middle class and the poor. This bill does not meet the Bloc Québécois' expectations or those of the people.

The Bloc Québécois is the only party that really did its homework. We consulted people in all regions of Quebec. My colleague from Hochelaga made it his mission to travel to every single region to meet representatives, opinion leaders and organizations.

The Minister of Finance ignored the economic statement we presented even though it laid out options for additional resources for the government without compromising the social safety net. In our statement, we suggested that the wealthy should contribute more via a 2% tax increase for those earning $150,000 or more per year and a 3% tax increase for those earning $250,000 or more. Higher taxes on high-income earners would bring in $4.8 billion in additional revenue for the government.

The same applies to tax havens. There are still too many companies, organizations and individuals who use tax havens to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. That is additional money the government could have collected.

Instead, the government chose to adopt measures that affect the middle class and low-income earners and to chip away at the social safety net and existing social measures, including a very precious means of communication, Canada's postal system. The subject barely came up here today, but the government began the process to privatize the Canada Post Corporation. That is unacceptable because the Canadian postal system plays an important role in society in general.

In this budget, the government is also seeking to subject credit unions like the Desjardins Group to federal authority. Initially, that would be voluntary. The government always introduces voluntary measures to soften up those concerned about the status of these institutions, but it wants to gradually bring such institutions under a Canadian entity exclusively. That is totally unacceptable.

Another serious issue is that the government wants to make plundering the employment insurance fund official. This diversion of funds over the past 14 years, first by the Liberal Party and then by the Conservative Party, represents more than $57 billion.

When the Supreme Court ruled on how the employment insurance fund is used, it recognized the fact that this money belongs to the contributors. The government can use it for other purposes, but it still has to understand that the money belongs to the contributors.

They are preparing to make this theft official by changing how the fund is administered, and the Liberals will be their accomplices. The Canada Employment Insurance Financing Board will become the employment insurance operating account, and the fund will start all over again at zero. It is as though this diversion of funds never happened. Doing this would allow the current government to make use of the employment insurance fund surplus from 2012 to 2015, to the tune of $19 billion. The $57 billion will be erased with a single vote in the House and the Liberals will be the accomplices. I hope that my Liberal colleagues realize that they will also be accomplices in the future diversion of $19 billion.

Those who support the unemployed—the major unions, unemployment organizations and, of course, the unemployed themselves—have always been unanimous. They all agree that the system no longer corresponds to their reality. It is no longer helpful or inclusive, it is exclusive. More than 54% of the people unemployed today cannot receive benefits.

Yet these people contributed to an employment insurance fund, which is basically insurance should they have the misfortune of losing their jobs. They put money into this fund specifically to be able to receive benefits to continue supporting their families and meeting their obligations if they lose their jobs.

People need to know that voting for Bill C-9 constitutes, in my mind, a serious economic crime against people who have lost their jobs. Not only would this deprive workers of an income, but it would also mean depriving their families. This also puts an economic burden on a certain region, or even on the provinces. Quebec will be left to take care of these people through a last resort measure: social assistance. There is something wrong with this picture.

In closing, women are those most affected: over 67% of women are excluded. This morning in the House, the Liberal Party leader introduced a bill on pay equity, which we will support, because we simply cannot oppose such a measure. However, it is a hypocritical bill, because they will say here today that they oppose Bill C-9, but they will not show up to vote against it. Yet that bill will make it impossible for women to ask the courts to recognize their right to pay equity.

That is why we will vote against the bill. We invite all our colleagues to do the same.

Denare Beach Winter Festival
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Clarke Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, recently it was my pleasure to attend the 32nd annual Denare Beach Winter Festival, which shows the true meaning of small-town northern Saskatchewan spirit. I had a wonderful time at all the activities and enjoyed the opportunity to meet with many constituents.

During the auction, I met one special constituent, Mr. Joel Olivier, a man to whom I would like to refer as the bidder. The bidder kindly raised the price of a set of binoculars I was bidding on during an auction, so I returned the bidder's favour on the next item in which he was interested: a signed Bobby Clarke print. Despite our friendly rivalry, I would like to let it be known that the bidder and I were able to enjoy a delicious pancake breakfast the next day.

I want to thank the bidder, his father Ephat Dorge, his son Ethan, and all who worked to organize this fundraiser for the Denare Beach Recreation Board. I look forward to attending the 33rd annual Denare Beach Winter Festival as this is a prime example of northern communities' pride and participation. Job well done.

Terry Fox
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Todd Russell Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, on this day 30 years ago, Terry Fox stood next to St. John's harbour about to embark on his Marathon of Hope across Canada. While his run ended prematurely in Thunder Bay, the journey he began continues to this day in Terry Fox Runs around the world. From New York City to Kuala Lumpur, from Dublin to Abu Dhabi, Terry's inspirational legacy has spawned a global movement that has raised over $500 million for cancer research.

Stride by stride, town by town, Terry's heroic run showed not only the strength of one man's will to conquer a disease, but the strength of the human spirit to inspire a nation and the global community to action. Terry once said, “I just wish people would realize that anything's possible if you try; dreams are made possible if you try”.

His dream, his miracle, was to run across Canada to raise money to fight cancer. He showed us all that dreams and miracles are not only possible, but within our reach. It is up to each of us to try. For Terry, we owe nothing less than that.

Nuclear Security
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Washington nuclear security summit opens today. It will be attended by some 50 countries including Canada, which is being represented by the Prime Minister. Since the purpose of this meeting is to agree on ways to safeguard nuclear material that could be used to develop a nuclear bomb, it is important to question just how credible Canada actually is when it comes to nuclear security.

The non-proliferation of nuclear weapons is at the very heart of the debate at this summit. Canada recently concluded an agreement on the sale of CANDU reactors with India, a country which has not signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

Clearly, Canada is more interested in selling its CANDU reactors than addressing security issues.

How does this Conservative government intend to defend its position, which is indefensible considering that Canada is a signatory of the non-proliferation treaty? It is indeed important to address the problem of proliferation of weapons, but it is important that the commitments made in Washington are not made hypocritically.

Poland
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the tragic event on Saturday, which saw the president of Poland, Lech Kaczynski, and 95 other passengers die in a plane crash near Smolensk, Russia. The group had been on its way to a memorial service in remembrance of the massacre of Polish military officers by Soviet secret police 70 years ago in the Katyn forest.

Over the last century, the Polish people have suffered from a long list of tragedies, including the Nazi invasion in 1939, the deportation and murder of Jews from the Warsaw ghetto, the Katyn massacre, and the loss of independence under the Soviet Union. Adding to that list was Saturday's dreadful plane crash, which not only claimed the life of the president, but also the lives of many family members of the victims of the Katyn massacre as well as a cross-section of Poland's political, military, business and religious leadership.

It is my hope and belief that with this most recent tragedy, the strength and character of the Polish people will sustain them through the difficult days and weeks ahead as it has so many times in the past.

On behalf of my constituents, my party and all Canadians, I offer my deepest condolences to the people of Poland and the worldwide Polonia.

National Parks and Marine Conservation Areas
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Schellenberger Perth—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to acknowledge the presence of a world-renowned environmentalist and true humanitarian, Dr. Jane Goodall.

When the Minister of the Environment met Dr. Goodall at the WILD9 convention last November, Canada and the world were celebrating the expansion of Nahanni National Park Reserve. Since then, our government has continued its active work toward the permanent protection of vast expanses of water, wetland, tundra and boreal forest across Canada, from the Mealy Mountains of Labrador to Lancaster Sound in Nunavut and to Haida Gwaii on the Pacific Coast.

From the birth of Canada's first national park to 2006, Canada established a system of national parks and national marine conservation areas covering 277,000 square kilometres. Our government has protected 45,000 square kilometres and has taken action to expand that by another 40,000 square kilometres. This represents an increase of an area larger than Austria.

Welcome, Dr. Jane Goodall, to Ottawa.

The Holocaust
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Dryden York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, in 1933 there were nine million Jews in Europe. Half a generation later, six million had perished in the Holocaust, others had fled for their lives, and only a few hundred thousand were left.

The incalculable loss, fathers, mothers, grandparents the children never had. Children, so full of learning, so full of possibilities, never the chance to live their lives. A next generation never born, and a next.

The incalculable loss to the Jewish people; the incalculable loss to all of us.

For us, never to forget the Jews and the Jewish people. But for us, too, never to forget how easy it is to push to one side any group of people, to separate, divide, cut off, then to demonize, hate and destroy.

The Holocaust happened then and there, but the Holocaust is a forever story for all of us.

Never again, and always to remember.

Alberta's Lieutenant Governor Designate
Statements By Members

April 12th, 2010 / 2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, last week the Prime Minister announced that retired Colonel Donald Stewart Ethell will serve as the next Lieutenant Governor of Alberta.

Colonel Ethell had a distinguished 38-year career in the Canadian Forces. His duties included serving as director of peacekeeping operations at national defence headquarters and as chief of staff and deputy force commander of the multinational force and observers during the 1990-91 Persian Gulf war. He is one of Canada's most decorated soldiers as well as a champion for veterans and the welfare of those in the world's most vulnerable nations.

Colonel Ethell is Canada's most experienced peacekeeper. He was deployed on 14 peacekeeping missions, including service in Cyprus, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Israel, Central America and the Balkans.

Colonel Ethell is committed to issues that are important to Canada's veterans. He is a committee chair on the Veterans Affairs Canada-Canadian Forces Advisory Council. He is also the national president of the Canadian Association of Veterans in United Nations Peacekeeping.

I am honoured to have known Colonel Ethell as a colleague and friend, and shortly will be able to call him His Honour, the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta.

I know he will do all Albertans proud. I wish him and his family all the best.

Aluminum Industry
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, on April 15, a delegation representing the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean area will attend the Rio Tinto annual shareholders' meeting in London. This delegation, comprised of the economist Marc-Urbain Proulx, union leaders Alain Gagnon and Marc Maltais, and myself, will voice the historical claims of my region with regard to the development of the aluminum industry.

Rio Tinto currently uses clean energy drawn from a watershed whose value is increasing. However, despite the extraordinary incentives from which the company has benefited, the level of employment in aluminum production has dropped 40% in 30 years, according to the economist Marc-Urbain Proulx.

Given that the partnership between my region and Rio Tinto is not an equitable one, the delegation will ask the corporation to provide more support to the aluminum industry.

I would also like to point out that the Conférence régionale des élus will be attending this meeting for the first time.

Leader of the Bloc Québécois
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc leader spent last week touring the country to promote sovereignty.

His message is as simple as it is disturbing: Canada must separate from Quebec.

Unable to convince Quebeckers to separate from Canada, the Bloc leader is now saying that it is in Canada's interest to separate from Quebec.

To make sure people got his point, he even invited the province of Newfoundland and Labrador to leave Canada and become an independent country.

Clearly, the Bloc leader's priority is not the economy and jobs.

His priority is to stir up pointless old quarrels and divide a country that has never been as united as it is today.

While the Bloc leader is gallivanting about the country, we are working to stimulate the economy.

The Conservative government's solid, stable economic leadership is good for Quebeckers.

Battle of Vimy Ridge
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, this weekend Canadians commemorated the famous 1917 Battle of Vimy Ridge. Not far up the road from Vimy is the also famous battleground of Passchendaele, the town of Ypres and Menin Gate. A memorial at that gate pays tribute to all the Commonwealth soldiers who died at Ypres, including nearly 7,000 Canadians.

Every day at this site since 1927, the local Belgian population performs a memorial ceremony to thank those who gave their lives to secure liberty. Since 1954, the bugler at this daily ceremony has most often been Mr. Antoine Verschoot. He will turn 85 this June, but still he plays his bugle daily to thank the Canadians and others who made the ultimate sacrifice for him.

Today, we in the Canadian House of Commons say our thanks to Antoine Verschoot and to his seven current fellow buglers for their endless devotion to their Canadian liberators.