House of Commons Hansard #56 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was post.

Topics

Jobs and Economic Growth Act
Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Madam Speaker, the member says that it was okay to do something wrong because somebody else may have done something he did not like.

One of the points that the member made was that the finance committee had 50 witnesses. The committee looking at the changes to the Environmental Assessment Act would have had 50 witnesses itself. The committee dealing with the changes on the Canada Post remailers would have had 50 witnesses itself. The committee dealing with the changes proposed with regard to Atomic Energy of Canada would have had 1,000 witnesses because it would have deserved it. That is the difference. The member just thinks that one committee can do it all.

The Conservatives may have talked about the subjects, at least by title, but they never had a real debate where there was due diligence in holding the government to account because they handled this bill as an omnibus bill rather than being accountable to Canadians.

Jobs and Economic Growth Act
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12:25 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to bring the member's attention to a situation that is occurring in my riding with respect to the environment. Brascan, a Brazilian company, is draining the Mississagi River, affecting the water levels and destroying access to Rocky Island Lake, and it is in the process of doing the same to Tunnel Lake. This is threatening the survival of the tourist industry and is affecting the main stem of the river.

Through this bill, the Conservative government is abandoning some of the triggers needed to perform a federal environmental assessment. The government calls it streamlining but we call that coded language taking away public rights of property, reducing responsibilities of corporate entities and endangering the good of the public.

I would like to hear my colleague's comments with regard to the government trying to take away environmental assessment in this bill.

Jobs and Economic Growth Act
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12:25 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Madam Speaker, the member is quite right. She gave a very good example of how the government has absolutely abrogated its responsibilities with regard to important environmental assessment elements. That leads straight to the issue of accountability.

On the environment, the government is pre-empting the scheduled five-year review of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. The bill would allow the minister the discretion to dictate the scope of environmental assessments. Even if we had any work done there, it would not necessarily be done in a fulsome way that would permit public participation, which is the third element and one that is so important.

Canadians care about the environment. The Conservative government does not care about the environment, which is why we need strong laws that promote public participation and input into the controls, the regulations and the processes that happen in terms of matters that affect Canada's environment and our children's future.

Jobs and Economic Growth Act
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12:30 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Mayes Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to rise and support a stronger Canadian economy through the jobs and economic growth act, Bill C-9. Indeed, that is why I am opposing the delay motions introduced by the NDP.

The jobs and economic growth act and budget 2010 are an integral part of Canada's economic action plan that has been successfully strengthening our economy and helping to create jobs. Recent job gains illustrate that Canada's economic action plan is working. The month of May represents eight straight months of job gains in the past 10 months. Since July 2009, Canada has created over 300,000 new jobs. Both the OECD and the IMF have predicted that Canada's economic growth will lead the G7 by a wide margin this year.

The jobs and economic growth act helps continue that focus on the economy. My remarks today will centre on two sections of part 22 of this important bill. Part 22 outlines key investments to help bolster our economy for today and tomorrow; specifically, support for the Canadian Youth Business Foundation and Genome Canada.

First, the jobs and economic growth act invests in the Canadian Youth Business Foundation. Since taking office in 2006, this government has been committed to supporting Canadian businesses and entrepreneurship. Let us be clear. When businesses succeed, Canadians succeed. Businesses create jobs, generate prosperity and serve as the lifeblood of the Canadian economy.

However, it is not enough to support the business leaders of today. In order to maintain the quality of life that Canadians enjoy, we need to invest in the business leaders of tomorrow. This is even more important given the uncertain global economic times. Canada's economic action plan recognizes the importance of encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit of Canada's youth, taking targeted measures to encourage youth and create jobs while securing our long-term economic growth.

Year one of Canada's economic action plan invested $10 million in the Canadian Youth Business Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that provides financial support and mentorship to young Canadians who want to start their own businesses. The Canadian Youth Business Foundation has taken a unique and innovative approach to support young entrepreneurs. The foundation assists in matching young motivated Canadians with experienced volunteer business mentors and provides them with access to the capital they need to get their ideas off the ground.

This unique approach has helped more than 3,500 young entrepreneurs create more than 16,900 jobs since the Canadian Youth Business Foundation was founded in 1996. Given this impact, it is not surprising that the foundation was awarded top honour at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress this year. As well, the Canadian Youth Business Foundation is helping engage young Canadians in the G20 meetings that our government is hosting this June in Toronto.

The Canadian Youth Business Foundation is organizing a G20 youth entrepreneur summit, which will allow young Canadians the opportunity to meet with successful entrepreneurs, prominent business leaders and government officials and participate in identifying key actions that governments can take to unleash the potential of our youth. Entrepreneurship in all G20 countries is of great importance.

Hosting the G20 this June allows Canada the opportunity to show leadership on the world stage as member nations define the path forward after the largest global recession since the second world war. I am encouraged to hear that our leaders of tomorrow will make their voices heard as we host the world in Toronto.

Given the foundation's success to date, I am happy to note that the jobs and economic growth act builds on our investment in year one of Canada's economic action plan by providing an additional $10 million to the Canadian Youth Business Foundation. This support will enable an estimated 500 new Canadian businesses to launch over the next year, generating approximately 2,500 new jobs and $63 million in revenues within three years.

New funding for the Canadian Youth Business Foundation announced in budget 2010 will help young entrepreneurs like Jessica Williamson, who, with the help of foundation support and mentor Al Norman, opened the doors of Hoopla Clothing, a retail activewear store in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, with resounding success.

The Canadian Youth Business Foundation is supporting young entrepreneurs like Jessica, who have great potential to generate innovative ideas in Canada's communities from coast to coast, in addition to serving as role models for young people and inspiring them to consider entrepreneurship as a career option. Clearly, this investment in the Canadian Youth Business Foundation is one that will pay dividends now and in the future.

The jobs and economic growth act also invests in Genome Canada. Science and technology have been and continue to be fundamental priorities of this government. As we move toward an ever more global economy, it is clear that research, innovation and highly qualified people will be the key to Canada's future economic prosperity. This government's long-term economic plan, “Advantage Canada”, recognizes the need to create the best educated, most skilled and most flexible workforce in the world right here in Canada.

Our long-term science and technology strategy, “Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada's Advantage”, further outlined our plan to make Canada a world leader in science and technology through significant investments in people, knowledge and entrepreneurship. To date, this government has backed its words with action. Through budgets 2006, 2007 and 2008, our government has provided an additional $2.2 billion in new funding for science and technology initiatives between 2005-06 and 2009-10.

Canada's economic action plan built on these investments by providing an unprecedented $4.9 billion in additional funding for research infrastructure, research, highly skilled people and commercialization. This unprecedented investment in science and technology explains why Canada ranks first among the G7 countries in terms of expenditures on research and development in the higher education sector as a share of our economy. This is an achievement that all Canadians can be proud of.

However, this government is not content to rest on its laurels. Budget 2010 continues the momentum of previous budgets, providing over $1.4 billion in new investments to support science and technology in Canada.

Genome Canada is one beneficiary of this significant new investment. Genome Canada is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to developing and implementing a national strategy in genomics and proteomics research for the benefit of all Canadians. In other words, Genome Canada is decoding the language of our genes, giving researchers a better understanding about the foundation of life.

The research performed by Genome Canada, such as genomics research, has outcomes in the areas of human health, the environment and natural resources. Genome Canada has received significant support from our government. This funding has supported over 130 large-scale collaborative projects among academic, private sector, government and international partners.

Recognizing the work performed by Genome Canada, year two of Canada's economic action plan through the jobs and economic growth act is investing $75 million—

Jobs and Economic Growth Act
Government Orders

12:40 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

Order. Perhaps the hon. member can complete his comments in questions and answers.

The hon. member for Mississauga--Streetsville.

Jobs and Economic Growth Act
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12:40 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Crombie Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Madam Speaker, the government has taken a cowardly and immoral approach to enacting such profound policy shifts as deregulation of Canada Post and privatization of AECL. It is cowardly because it buried these profound policy shifts into this omnibus bill without giving it fulsome debate in the House, and thoughtful and mindful consideration at committee.

AECL will be sold off for barnburner prices. It is proprietary technology that has made all Canadians proud. Instead, it is going to become the Avro Arrow of our generation with lost technology, lost jobs and lost opportunities.

With Canada Post, deregulation is going to lead to compromised service, lost jobs and increased costs.

Why will the government not agree to give these items, deregulation and privatization, the fulsome debate that they deserve, that Canadians deserve to hear?

Jobs and Economic Growth Act
Government Orders

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Mayes Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Madam Speaker, concerning the budget allocations and Canada Post, the fact is that there were talks with the chair of Canada Post and a full agreement with Canada Post to implement these necessary changes to allow the remailers to continue business and provide jobs for all those people who work in the remailing sector.

As far as AECL, it is kind of interesting that for a number of years, this was neglected by the previous government. There needed to be a plan for the future. This budget reflects that we are going forward to ensure that AECL has a future, that we are able to put it into this century and make it as it was in the past, a leader in providing nuclear energy not only to Canada but the world.

Jobs and Economic Growth Act
Government Orders

12:40 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Madam Speaker, I am sure the government would agree that important questions such as what Canada's policy should be with respect to developing nuclear power, with all the attendant jobs, high technology jobs and investment that Canadians should or should not make in this project, is something that is worthy of a full parliamentary debate.

We note that AECL is one of the largest crown corporations. Canadian taxpayers have invested some $22 billion over the course of its life. We are talking right now about potentially a sale of this crown corporation for approximately $300 million if we sell it now.

With respect to Canada Post, it is of course Canada's largest employer of the government with 70,000 employees, and important services to many communities, including rural communities, are at stake when we talk about reducing the services of Canada Post in any regard.

Would the government not agree that these are important, critical subjects that ought to be debated fully by parliamentarians in this House, so that we can make a considered, intelligent and thorough move going forward in these important areas, and not just put them in a budget bill that gets passed, yes or no, along with many other pedestrian economic issues?

Jobs and Economic Growth Act
Government Orders

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Mayes Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Madam Speaker, regarding the member's question about Canada Post, the fact is that remailers have been in operation for a number of years. There needs to be some clarification to legitimize their operations. They employ people. They create jobs with their business and there is no reason why they should not be allowed to operate. That is incorporated in our budget, as clarification, and it is supported by Canada Post, so I do not think there is any argument that there needs to be a review.

The fact is that those people who are involved in the industry and also Canada Post have been negotiated with and feel that this is the best solution, so we just implemented that in our jobs and economic growth bill.

As far as the government's investments in research, we have proven that we have invested many dollars in research. For a fellow British Columbian, it is really interesting that our B.C. caucus talked to the chancellors of the University of Victoria and of UBC, and they were very complimentary on the way our government has invested in research in those faculties and those universities. The member should get behind what we are doing as far as research is concerned.

Jobs and Economic Growth Act
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12:45 p.m.

Liberal

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

No, please, Madam Speaker, I would implore my colleagues to hold their applause until the end. I want to talk about my Conservative colleagues.

I am honoured to stand here today to talk about this particular piece of legislation, but I want to put this into context as to where we have been over the last little while. It is called the jobs and economic growth act, but by another name, we call it the budget implementation act.

Just a couple of years ago, regarding the budget implementation bill, there were certain details regarding fiscal payments equalization regarding my province of Newfoundland and Labrador. I remember the common expression at the time was that the devil is in the details. There lies the devil, and in the budget implementation act at the time, there was something in there that was not transmitted prior to that. Now the theme has carried on over and over again.

I will begin with one example that is relevant from this morning. On the front page of today's Globe and Mail the headline states:

Tories to launch plans for telecom shakeup

The article talks about some of the details of the impending announcement next week and states:

The government is expected to launch consultations on scaling back foreign-inv2estment limits--changes that could shake up the future of Canada’s $41 billion telecom industry. Telecom sector sources anticipate the process could be kicked off as early as Monday.

Therein lies a piece of legislation that will be debated, that will be talked about for quite some time, witnesses called, maybe in excess of 50 witnesses at that time. Here we are at the budget implementation process or, as it is being called, jobs and economic growth act, and it is included here. Within the over 800 pages, we find that there is a section about amending the Telecommunications Act to allow foreign satellite carriers to be considered a common carrier.

It is the process that already has begun without telegraphing as such, and again we go back to the devil in the details, except now the Conservatives have become more brazen about doing this by allowing certain subjects and certain headings, and talking about initiatives that they propose over the next little while. They say that there have been over 50 witnesses, but as my hon. colleagues from Mississauga—Streetsville and Mississauga South also pointed out, we could have called in at least 50 or more witnesses on each and every subject that we see here.

My hon. colleague from Mississauga—Streetsville talked about AECL and did it rather passionately. She talked about a fire sale of assets. If we think about it, that is exactly what will happen. We have this wonderful entity that is truly a Canadian entity that is about to be sold off. The only thing the Conservatives forgot to mention is that if we call within 10 minutes, they will give us a peeling knife as well.

There are so many things in here that could be described as slipping under the cover of night and stealth by operation. Let me just bring up a few of these issues in the House. The first one and the biggest one, and I will get to that later just to give members a heads up: Employment Insurance Act changes, that is really something; GST and financial services; as I mentioned, AECL; medical expense tax credits; softwood lumber; and pensions.

Here is what is being proposed in this particular implementation about pensions, and this is what it says, “Increases the maximum insolvency ratio for a pension plan from 110% to 125%, allowing for more overfunding”.

How generous is that? To a certain degree, it is a measure by which we will make an improvement, but here is another measure.

Just a few days ago we voted on a private member's bill in the House that talked about bankruptcy and insolvency. That is the issue where the Conservatives are going to throw in pensions. That is what we have to talk about, topics such as bankruptcy and insolvency for the sake of pension security.

Right now, given the downturn that we have just had, when the stocks went down, a lot of the securities, for example, the pension that is very popular in my riding regarding AbitibiBowater retirees, lost 30% of their value, and yet not a word about this as to how this situation could be dealt with.

Nortel was in the same situation. We had all these private pensions that were losing value and the government never brought in the vision by which how we were going to address this in the near future. The only passing comment was at the very beginning when our beloved Prime Minister said, “It's a good time to buy”.

Again, I go back to, if we call within the next 10 minutes we might even get a better deal on another piece of stock. But here we have what I thought was going to be a little bit of vision if we go beyond what has already been telegraphed when it comes to pensions, and we did not see it.

Remailers is another big situation, as my colleague from Mississauga South pointed out. We could have had 100 witnesses come and speak about that issue alone, which is a fundamental change in how we do business here in this country.

Regarding environmental assessments, my colleagues from the NDP have talked about that quite a bit and I wholeheartedly agree with them in this particular case. There have been some changes that were asked for. Here is the one little tidbit I am going to put out to the Conservatives that I agree with. I have received a lot of feedback about these environmental assessments from municipalities and from the province. However, do not take this sort of thing and slip it under the radar as the government has been trying to do.

I think a fulsome debate about this would have been warranted because there is a balancing act here. We do not want to be bogged down in red tape when it comes to infrastructure, and I agree, but at the same time we certainly do not want to look past our own responsibilities for ensuring that we have a clean environment.

Interest rates for over-contributions to the Canada Revenue Agency are also in this bill, certainly something that could trigger a fulsome debate in the House.

Finally, if we are talking about the intent of the bill and all that is in this omnibus piece of legislation, I want to point out to the Conservatives how they may want to at times practice what they used to preach.

There was a situation in 2005, and I remind my hon. colleague from northern Alberta because he was not here at the time. We had a budget debate in the House and I remember we had signed a huge agreement regarding the Atlantic accord, but there were changes in legislation that needed to be made to put it forward and ensure it came into force. To do that it was part of the budget implementation act at the time.

Trust me, because I was there, and I remember my two Conservative colleagues from Newfoundland and Labrador as they vehemently, and I mean vehemently, argued against including this change within the budget. The words that they used were “under cover of night, under the radar, slipping it in at the last moment”. These are all the words that I just brought out, so really I am being repetitious for the Conservatives. I am using their own argument. My goodness, I could probably qualify to be their spokesperson, although I would have to get a minister to represent me, but that is beside the point.

In this situation, if we start practising this way of dealing with legislation, where everything is put into one omnibus bill, what happens to the debate in the House? I enjoy debating in the House. I enjoy coming here because that is what we are paid to do, but yet, if we try to undermine it each and every time by undermining the process by which we debate, then we will find ourselves in a great deal of trouble.

We are in a minority Parliament and in this case we must behave responsibly for our constituents and for Canadians in general. To do that, this runs counter to what we are here for in this minority Parliament. It is almost like we want to just keep wedging each other to the extreme.

By coming out with these issues and clashing over them without any way of providing debate among the parties, it has undermined Parliament in a minority situation. In 2006, when I was elected to a minority Parliament, I thought we may even find ourselves in a level of maturity that would have increased in Parliament. Would that not be a novel idea?

However, in some instances, there were some flashes of brilliances, not only from us but everybody in the House, where we actually came to an agreement. We decided in a responsible manner to govern the country expediently given the times. We had just come out of a recession.

However, expedience is not at the price of debate. We have so many things jammed into Bill C-9 that it is untenable.

Jobs and Economic Growth Act
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12:55 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Madam Speaker, the current government is lowering corporate taxes to 15% for the big banks, which happened to make $15 billion in profits in 2009, and that is during a recession. CEOs of the big banks are earning up to $10.4 million. Meanwhile, Canadian air travellers are facing a 50% increase in the air travellers security charge, making Canada the highest taxed in the world, surpassing even Holland.

The government is clearly now the new best friend of the U.S. air carriers because the security charge will be five times higher in Canada than in the United States. The government is forcing Canadians to fly with U.S. carriers rather than our own carriers.

Does the member think that makes any sense?

Jobs and Economic Growth Act
Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I am glad he brought this up. Within the bill is the air travellers security charge and the onerous expense placed on individual travellers.

One of my favourite moments of how we get caught up in a bind and we go back on our own word was when debated the proposed levy from CDs onto MP3s. The Conservatives called it the iPod tax, but that is not true. The member for Peterborough said, eloquently, that it did not matter what we called it. He said that we could call it a fee, or a levy, but it was a tax, and a tax was a tax was a tax.

However, what is in Bill C-9? An air travellers security charge. Is it a levy by another name? Is it a fee by another name? No. According to the member for Peterborough, a tax is a tax is a tax, and this one is really big, as my hon. colleague pointed out.

Jobs and Economic Growth Act
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12:55 p.m.

Bloc

Guy André Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Madam Speaker, I listened to my colleague's speech on Bill C-9. As he said, the Liberals and the Conservatives have co-operated to some extent to deal with the crisis that has been going on for the past year.

Does my colleague believe that the Conservatives are going a bit too far with Bill C-9? With this omnibus bill, they are trying to privatize Canada Post and blatantly steal money from the unemployed.

The Conservatives are saying that there is a surplus and that the economy is healthy. If there is an economic surplus, the government could provide more support for seniors, the poor and workers. It does not have to privatize Canada Post. It could improve postal services and restore the services that have been cut in recent years.

Why do the Liberals not stand up and vote against this bill and send the Conservatives packing, instead of supporting them as they are now doing?

Jobs and Economic Growth Act
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1 p.m.

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, I am glad he raised the issue of employment insurance. He says that Bill C-9 would close the old employment insurance account and would clarify some provisions. It is possible that the government could raise employment insurance premiums over the next while by 35%.

I would like to know what happened to the people who were unable to qualify for EI and the measures by which they could benefit from in an economic downturn. The Conservatives decided to extend the weeks entitlement at the end of the benefit period. The problem with the people who could not qualify. It was as if the government was trying to create EI benefits for the least amount of people possible to qualify. It like starting at ground zero and trying to make our way up, but not too far, as long as there is a cap on it. I do not see how that is becoming generous within the EI system.

We were in a situation where those people could not qualify at that time because the government did not create benefits for them. The problem with that is during the next downturn, that will not happen.

Jobs and Economic Growth Act
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1 p.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle Nickel Belt, ON

Madam Speaker, I rise to speak in support of splitting Bill C-9, the government's latest Trojan horse bill.

Once again, the two core issues at hand are transparency and accountability. It seems that every time we turn around, we find this secretive Conservative government trying to sneak things past Canadians. It is almost as if it is allergic to transparency and accountability. Shine the light and the government will run for cover.

This allergy is quite severe. The Conservatives have sneaked into their budget implementation bill clauses that would permit them to sell Atomic Energy of Canada Limited for a mere pittance and weaken Canada Post's ability to provide universal affordable service to Canadians.

On the first issue, the sale of AECL, it is important to note that while the government is busy bragging about its supposed fiscal prowess, it wants to sell a publicly owned corporation, which has benefited from $22 billion of public investment, for possibly a few hundred million dollars. It is the Mulroney era all over again, ballooning deficits, mismanagement and poor public policy. Once again, secrecy surrounds this issue. We need public consultation and we certainly need more substantive debate on the merits or risks of selling these crown corporations.

I call on my Liberal and Bloc colleagues to support the NDP in an attempt to remove these heinous elements from Bill C-9. A budget bill should be about the budget, point final, as we say in French. Why is the government so opposed to acting in the best interests of Canadians? We have seen this behaviour when it comes to foreign investment in Canada as well.

That is why the NDP proposed three key ways of strengthening the Investment Canada Act: one, lowering the threshold for public review; two, holding public hearings in affected communities when a Canadian company is being sold; and three, publishing the reasons for the government's decision to approve a takeover, as well as the conditions that a foreign company must meet in order to get federal approval.

The decision to sell AECL cannot be taken lightly. We are talking about nuclear technology. As signatories to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, we have committed to do our part in preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and nuclear fuel. We have also committed to ensuring nuclear technology does not get into the wrong hands. We know that India is a nuclear superpower today, in part, because it bought several nuclear reactors from us and used that technology to develop nuclear weapons.

Surely, keeping AECL as a crown corporation would give Canada greater control over how and what we do with civil nuclear technology. Should we not have a more substantive public debate on this issue? We believe that the risk of selling this corporation warrants much more debate and separate legislation.

The second element noteworthy of discussion is the removal of Canada Post's exclusive privilege to collect, transmit and deliver international letters. Denis Lemelin, president, Canadian Union of Postal Workers, stated the issue perfectly when he presented to the Standing Committee on Finance on May 11. He said:

In Canada, letter mail is regulated for a reason. Canada Post has an exclusive privilege to handle letters so that it is able to generate enough money to provide affordable postal service to everyone, no matter where they live in our huge country. This privilege includes both domestic and international letters.

We know that Canada Post is already forgoing revenues to illegally operating international remailers. If we erode Canada Post's exclusive privilege with respect to international mail, there is no doubt the remailing business will grow in Canada and Canada Post will lose more of its international letter business.

A significant portion of my riding of Nickel Belt is made up of dispersed rural communities. Each community is rich in its cultural makeup and traditions. Each community is a gem. I am so honoured to represent these communities. My riding is a perfect representation of Canada as a whole. We have so few people relative to the size of our geography and, as a result, there is a cost to ensure that all Canadians have relatively equal access to mail service.

Canada Post serves a purpose that we deem important to us and to our communities. The government's move to undermine Canada Post's exclusivity in the area of international letters is the beginning of the deregulation of Canada Post. It is betraying the wishes of Canadians and it is jeopardizing that corporation's fiscal capacity to deliver mail remotely at a reasonable cost.

In addition, the government's own strategic review of Canada Post found that there was virtually no support for deregulation. The December 2008 “Strategic Review of the Canada Post Corporation: Report of the Advisory Panel to the Minister” noted:

There appears to be little public support for the privatization or deregulation of Canada Post, and considerable if not unanimous support for maintaining a quality, affordable universal service for all Canadians and communities.

In fact, municipalities were especially adamant in their opposition to deregulation. Five hundred and forty-three of the 653 municipalities that made submissions during the strategic review of Canada Post said that they opposed deregulation. Another 26 municipalities said that they were concerned. Only one municipality supported deregulation.

Municipalities oppose deregulation because they understand the nature of our country. Rural and remote parts of our country account for over 90% of our land mass but only one-fifth of our population. We have a unique characteristic in that we need to equip our public postal corporation with the fiscal capacity to serve these regions at a fair cost to the citizens.

Here we have an instance where the company does not want it, the workers do not want it, Canadians do not want it and even municipalities do not want it. What does the government do? It sides with the remailers and their lobbyists. It does not have the gumption to bring it in a stand-alone bill. It sneaks it into the budget bill. What a disgrace. It can still do the right thing and split this bill. It is not too late.