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

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Questions and comments.

The hon. member for Peterborough.

Jobs and Economic Growth Act
Government Orders

10:40 a.m.

Peterborough
Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I want to correct the record. I am sure the member would not want to mislead folks in his riding and others.

He indicated that the government consistently voted against measures to improve the EI fund. As I recall, significant measures were brought forth last fall, $1 billion in new supports for employment insurance that built on other significant investments the government made to its economic action plan.

The NDP saw fit to support those significant improvements, but the Bloc Québécois members voted against the specific EI improvements. They voted against the economic action plan as well, which is investing billions of dollars in infrastructure in the province of Quebec.

The member should be open and clear about the voting record of the Bloc Québécois and how this government has improved EI and also made significant investments in the province of Quebec and, in fact, in every province and territory through the economic action plan. We see the results of that and they are significant: 6.1% expansion in GDP growth in the first quarter and another 24,000 jobs created this month.

I am sure the member would like to be accurate with his constituents and all of those who heard his speech.

Jobs and Economic Growth Act
Government Orders

10:40 a.m.

Bloc

Guy André Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative member is telling us that the Conservatives are helping unemployed workers. They have added five weeks with a bill that targeted specific individuals. But we have been calling for an older worker assistance program for how long? It would cost about $100 million for all of Canada, but the government does not have the money to support older workers or to improve the employment insurance system, when 50% of workers do not even have access to it.

Yet the Conservatives will spend $1 billion on security for three days. We are not asking for nearly as much to improve the employment insurance system. They are spending billions of dollars on military ships. They have the money to build up a great military force abroad, but when the time comes to help seniors and workers, they sit here and laugh in our faces. It is shameful.

Jobs and Economic Growth Act
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the Bloc member on his speech. I have a question for him about Canada Post, since he spoke extensively about the corporation. The Conservative government has already tried to make changes several times, with Bill C-14 and Bill C-44. This time, it included the changes in and Bill C-9, in this massive volume.

I would like the Bloc member to tell us what he thinks will happen to Canada Post if Bill C-9 is passed by the House of Commons.

Jobs and Economic Growth Act
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

Bloc

Guy André Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his question. I spoke about the fact that Canada Post is losing revenue because profits are going to the private sector and the losses are going to the public sector. That is how the Conservatives think and the Liberals are supporting them.

With this bill, Canada Post would lose its exclusive privilege, which will jeopardize its revenues and undoubtedly have other negative repercussions, such as the reorganization of rural mail delivery. Rural areas such as my riding of Berthier—Maskinongé are the most affected.

This partial deregulation is not necessary. Canada Post is currently making money and is providing a service to the entire community. We are not going to create private mini-corporations that will eventually fund the Conservative Party. It is possible that both the Conservatives and the Liberals are hoping for funding.

The most important thing is to ensure that all citizens are receiving services, especially the aging population in rural areas. People aged 80 or 85 have reduced mobility and no longer have nearby access to their mail because numerous post offices have already been closed. The government wants to keep taking profits away from Canada Post, and that would effectively reduce services.

In light of all this, we are against this bill. Once again, I am asking the Liberals to vote against this bill.

Jobs and Economic Growth Act
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

Peterborough
Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I am here today to speak about measures supporting the jobs and economic growth act and budget 2010 and against the NDP delay motions that are currently before the House.

The jobs and economic growth act focuses on the economy. My remarks 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 for tomorrow, specifically, support for the Rick Hansen Foundation and pathways to education Canada.

First, the jobs and economic growth act invests in the Rick Hansen Foundation.

The success of the Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Games is a source of pride for Canadians from coast to coast to coast and, most certainly, in the electric city region, Peterborough, Ontario. The games provided us all with an opportunity to reflect on what makes this country so special and the stories and events that have united us as a country. The games left us with many lasting images.

Many Canadians will never forget seeing Rick Hansen, a national hero, as he brought the Olympic Flame into BC Place during the opening ceremony. Mr. Hansen, who trucked across 26 countries to raise awareness and funds for spinal cord injury, truly inspires us all and represents the very best this country has to offer. It was only fitting that he be the one to escort the flame into the stadium as the entire world watched.

This year the Rick Hansen Foundation is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

Jobs and Economic Growth Act
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order with regard to the issue of relevance.

We are speaking about Bill C-9. The member is reflecting on the Olympics and the people in the Olympics. As much as I agree with his sentiments about the great games we had, we should really be speaking to Bill C-9.

Jobs and Economic Growth Act
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I am sure the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage is going to tie his remarks to the bill very shortly.

Jobs and Economic Growth Act
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, having sat on several committees where that member is the chair, I encourage you to consider that the member is not quite aware all the time what actually constitutes a point of order. In this case he is clearly wrong about calling a point of order. The Rick Hansen Foundation is specifically a part of our budget implementation bill and I will get to that. The member apparently has not read the budget, but I am going to tie this in for him.

This year the Rick Hansen Foundation is celebrating its 25th anniversary of the Man in Motion World Tour. To date, the Rick Hansen Foundation has raised over $200 million to address spinal cord injury in Canada.

Mr. Hansen continues to push toward finding a cure for spinal cord injury believing we are closer than ever. This government shares Mr. Hansen's vision. This is the tie-in for the member for Mississauga South, who will want to pay attention.

In year two of Canada's economic action plan, through the jobs and economic growth act, there is an investment of $13.5 million over three years in the Rick Hansen Foundation to strengthen spinal cord injury research and care in Canada. This funding will support leadership, operations and programs at the foundation as well as formalize and launch the Rick Hansen Institute, which is part of the budget.

The launch of the new Rick Hansen Institute is the centrepiece of the 25th anniversary campaign. This world-class institute will build on previous successes and federal support to strengthen Canada's international leadership in the field.

Planned activities include: expanding the existing spinal cord injury registry to include critical data from other countries and networks; supporting groundbreaking research including a study examining whether the spinal cord can be repaired by implanting cells from elsewhere in the body; establishing a global clinical trials network to accelerate the validation and implementation of emerging care and treatment strategies; and hosting a conference that will bring the world's foremost experts together to share best practices.

In short the institute will represent the next step in Rick Hansen's unrelenting quest to find new ways to improve lives and help find a cure for spinal cord injuries.

This investment, which is in the current budget bill, Bill C-9, also furthers the government's science and technology strategy by helping to build and sustain Canada's international research leadership in health and related life sciences and technologies.

This new funding provided in Bill C-9 will also support the foundation's efforts to raise awareness during the 25th anniversary campaign. This partnership will allow Rick Hansen to tell his story to a new generation of Canadians, inspiring them to make a difference.

Our government is proud to support the Rick Hansen Foundation, the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Man in Motion World Tour and the new Rick Hansen Institute. Investments such as this will not only cement our position as a world leader in health research but also have a real impact on the health and quality of life of Canadians across the country.

I have an uncle who has a severe spinal cord injury that he received in the workplace. This type of research is very meaningful to families. I can speak on his behalf in saying that this is something he supports emphatically.

Second and finally, the jobs and economic growth act invests in pathways to education. Our government has been committed to ensuring that Canadians reach their full potential, creating highly qualified people and the ideas that our economy needs to thrive.

Canada has one of the highest post-secondary participation rates in the world. However, a gap continues to exist between the post-secondary participation rates of youth from lower income backgrounds and those from higher income backgrounds. We do not accept that. Research shows that many of the barriers to participation are not financial and that some youth need other supports to reach their goals.

Our government is committed to ensuring that all Canadians have the opportunity to undertake post-secondary studies regardless of their background. With this aim the jobs and economic growth act provides $20 million for pathways to education Canada.

Pathways to education Canada is a unique program of early intervention and support for high school students that aims to help students overcome the barriers they may face in pursuing post-secondary education. This community-based volunteer supported program provides tutoring, mentoring, counselling and financial support to disadvantaged youth and to their families. It has an established record of reducing high school drop-out rates and increasing post-secondary enrolment of students from inner city high schools.

The new funding announced in budget 2010 will allow pathways to education Canada to partner with the private sector, other governments, and non-governmental organizations, and work with the communities to provide support to more disadvantaged youth in more communities. Every Canadian deserves the chance to reach his or her full potential and budget 2010, the jobs and economic growth act, is a big step in making this possible.

The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations praised budget 2010, the same budget which the NDP is delaying and stalling. The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations said the budget is “making intelligent investments to help students find their way into post-secondary education”. They also had special praise for our government's investment into the pathways to education program. They said:

$20 million for the Pathways to Education program is a valuable investment in "early intervention" that many researchers believe can help Canadians that have not historically attended post-secondary education in high numbers to attend college or university - low-income Canadians, recent immigrants, aboriginal Canadians, and youth whose parents attained low levels of education.

Through all of these measures and others, our government has created a budget that responds to the needs of our times while setting out the goals that our long-term prosperity demands. The global economy appeared to have stabilized in mid-2009 after undergoing a deep and synchronized recession. I think all members would acknowledge that it was the worst financial crisis seen since the 1930s.

However, with support from the extraordinary measures in Canada's economic action plan, the Canadian economy has started to recover. I mentioned earlier in a question that just this week Statistics Canada reported that there was growth of 6.1% in our GDP during the first quarter. That is outstanding. Just this morning Statistics Canada reported that 24,700 jobs were created in the month of May. These are encouraging signs. We have seen job creation in eight of the past 10 months.

This is what Bill C-9, the jobs and economic growth act, our budget 2010 implementation bill, is all about. I cannot for the life of me understand what is happening with the NDP. We must continue to provide the steady guidance that has allowed Canada to continue on the right track to recovery. I urge all members to continue to support the government in this work that is so vital to the people of Canada and their continued prosperity.

I ask that all members oppose the delay tactics that we see before the House today, get behind Canada, get behind their constituents and get behind the recovery. Let us all work together for a brighter future for this country.

Jobs and Economic Growth Act
Government Orders

10:55 a.m.

Liberal

Keith Martin Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, I cannot believe that the member so blithely disregarded the construct of this bill. It is partially a budget bill, but there are major parts of it that will significantly change the country, including the environmental checks.

If nothing else, the member has to see what is happening in the southern United States. He has to ask himself why on earth the government is simply abrogating its responsibilities on the environment and giving the checks and balances to the private sector when this model has been proven to have devastating results in other countries. This will be an abysmal failure. The government will wear it if anything happens.

Will the member at least take to his Prime Minister the notion to remove those sections of the bill that have nothing to do with the budget, but are substantive issues that will dramatically change our country? They should be debated in the House and committee, where we can bring the best ideas to craft a better bill.

Jobs and Economic Growth Act
Government Orders

10:55 a.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, in fact, these are specifically economic measures. When I talk to leaders in my community and people in the provincial government, they say that in the current system there are overlapping regulations and it requires environmental studies to be completed when studies have already been completed, often by the exact same firms. This is stifling Canada's economy.

We will not abrogate any responsibilities with respect to the environment at all. I am proud of the regulations that protect Canada's environment. We have the most stringent rules in the world when it comes to offshore drilling and the hon. member should know that. Perhaps he should speak to his own provincial government and municipalities about why they so strongly support the government in this regard and what we are trying to do.

This is about creating a stronger economy, more jobs, more growth and more hope. That is why this budget bill has been constructed in the way it has been.

Jobs and Economic Growth Act
Government Orders

11 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

As hon. members will know, it is now 11:00, so we will have to proceed with statements by members. However, there are three minutes remaining in the time allotted for questions and comment by the hon. parliamentary secretary, which we can take up when the debate on the matter is resumed.

Canadian Forces Day
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Conservative

Greg Kerr West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, on June 6, Canadians will commemorate the 66th anniversary of D-Day, the allied invasion of Nazi-occupied France that led to the end of the second world war.

Sixty-six years ago, on the beaches of Normandy, more than 15,000 Canadians and Newfoundlanders came together to reopen the door to freedom and democracy in France. By the time the sun had set that day, Canadian troops had progressed further than any other allied nation. History was made on D-Day, and so too were heroes. These remarkable Canadians knew their duty, and they did it well. Now it is our duty to remember, honour, and thank those who served.

It is fitting that the first Sunday in June has been declared Canadian Forces Day. The values our veterans fought for on the beaches of Normandy are the same ones our military men and women continue to defend today. I ask that we offer our thanks to today's brave servicemen and servicewomen as we remember the contributions of those who landed on the beaches 66 years ago.

On June 6, Canada remembers D-Day.

Lahore Mosque Attacks
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, last month, many Canadians and people around the world were horrified to learn of a terrible hate crime committed in Lahore, Pakistan. An unprovoked attack was committed by gunmen who invaded two mosques filled with Ahmadi Muslims offering Friday prayers. After the horror in the mosques unfolded, the attackers followed the injured into the Jinnah hospital seeking to finish their horrific killing campaign.

To those of us who have had the pleasure of knowing many within the Canadian Ahmadi community, these events seem especially tragic. The Canadian Ahmadi Muslim community comprises a group of devout, peaceful, family-oriented people, and when I think of this tragedy in human terms, I am saddened beyond words.

Like all Canadians, I am truly troubled by these events and extend my personal prayers to the Canadian Ahmadi community and to the families of those touched by the unspeakable events in Lahore.

Association francophone pour le savoir
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, Acfas, the Association francophone pour le savoir, held its 78th conference in Montreal from May 10 to 14. The theme of this year's conference was “Découvrir aujourd'hui ce que sera demain”, or discovering the future today. More than 6,000 francophone scientists, including 550 foreign researchers from 30 countries, had the opportunity to discuss and share their knowledge, in French. The conference was a great success thanks in part to the excellent work of the volunteers. It was considered one of the largest multidisciplinary gatherings of learning and research in the Francophonie.

This annual meeting brings together scientists from the fields of health and life sciences, physics, mathematics and engineering, the arts and humanities, and education. Acfas is a not for profit organization.

The next conference will be held for the first time at two universities, Université de Sherbrooke and Bishop's University.

As the critic for the Francophonie, I am proud to announce that the sciences are alive and well in French.