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

The House resumed from June 3 consideration of Bill C-9, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 4, 2010 and other measures, as reported (without amendment) from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 2.

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10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

When the matter was last before the House, the hon. member for Elmwood—Transcona had the floor. He has seven minutes remaining in the time allotted for his remarks.

I therefore call upon the hon. member for Elmwood--Transcona.

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10:05 a.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise for perhaps the last time on Bill C-9. The bill, as we have pointed out numerous times, is 880 pages long, which is quite excessive even for the government.

Governments in the past have resorted to omnibus bills to bring in measures that are largely unpopular. Measures they cannot get through any other way, they have stuck them in omnibus bills in the past, but this one will probably never be beaten because I have never seen one of this size, 880 pages. The government has thrown in all sorts of measures that it cannot get through.

The best example of that would be the issue of the post office remailers. The government has tried to get the bill through as Bill C-14. It failed. It tried Bill C-44. It failed again.

Now that it sees a weakness in the Liberal official opposition, it has decided to go for broke and throw everything into this vegetable soup essentially and bury the remailer issue in there, which is going to be the beginning of a deregulation process of Canada Post.

To combat this attempt by the government, we have tried to delete a number of the objectionable parts of the bill. As such, the amendments have been grouped into two different groupings.

We have so far dealt with Group No. 1, which is the air travellers security charges, environmental assessment, and EI funding. Now we are now dealing with the Canada Post issue, which I just spoke about, and the fire sale of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited in Group No. 2.

In terms of the Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, AECL, it is the largest crown corporation. This in itself, as I think everyone would agree, would merit a separate bill because this particular crown corporation has had over $22 billion put into building the company. There is a critical mass of expertise.

The government is bent, we believe, on selling and privatizing AECL probably to an American firm, and just at a time when the nuclear industry is starting to become popular again. In some parts of the world there are over 100 reactors being initiated on a global basis. This industry in Canada is well known as a world leader in this area.

As much as I do not condone the expansion of nuclear development because of all the associated problems with it and the timeline to get it up and running, we have Ontario interested in nuclear as well as Saskatchewan and I believe Alberta. Is the timing not perfect for a free enterprise Conservative government to take a company that we have put $22 billion into and basically sell it off at fire sale prices to the private sector? That is just typical of the way the Conservative government operates.

We have spoken at length about the remailers at Canada Post and where the government is headed with Canada Post.

The government announced last year that it was going to do an inventory of government assets. It was going to look at selling some of the assets, particularly looking at the deficit of $56 billion.

This is a perfect opportunity for the Conservatives to start assessing the asset base of the government and selling off buildings, the CBC, and other assets that the government owns.

We are really looking at neo-Reaganites and Thatcherites in reality. The Minister of Immigration claps at that. This is what a minority Conservative government is doing. Imagine what would happen if these guys had a majority government. They would not even have fire sales, they would just give the assets away, maybe even pay their friends to take the assets.

However, we find it very disturbing that in an environment where we had a worldwide recession on our hands, the banks of this country still managed to post a $15.9 billion profit. What does the government do? It rewards them with a reduction in corporate taxes trying to race to the bottom, trying to get down to 15%, so they will be at least 10 points below the United States.

The bank presidents are still at the trough. The president of the Royal Bank is earning $10.4 million a year and what do the Conservatives give to Canadians? They raise the air travellers tax by 50%, making it the highest in the world. This at a time when the Americans are charging a $5 tax. So we are going to be sending our travellers over to American airlines. Is that smart economics? But that is the Conservative government.

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10:10 a.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I have to refer to a wonderful quote that our hon. transport minister has been using and that speech I will suggest was pretty much fact free. All sorts of insinuations, accusations, fearmongering about things that have not even been talked about--

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10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Dick Harris Cariboo—Prince George, BC

And a lot of dreaming in Technicolor.

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10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Ted Menzies Macleod, AB

And even as the hon. member for Cariboo—Prince George says, dreaming in Technicolor. The member should be in the theatre rather than in the House of Commons delivering those sort of comments.

He spent a fair bit of time talking about AECL. We all know that has been a very difficult and challenging file for all governments to deal with. There is a future for nuclear. As much as I am surprised that the NDP members even comment on it because they usually run as fast as they can from any way of using nuclear energy to produce power in this country. Now they are suggesting that we should not do anything rational with it.

However, let me read one quick quote and I would like a comment. This is from Neil Alexander of the Organization of CANDU Industries, who should be a very knowledgeable individual. He says:

OCI has been a long-time and consistent supporter of the restructuring of AECL to achieve the objectives that are very clearly defined in Rothschild's investment summary. We agree that CANDU technology has to be properly capitalized to be successful, that the management team of AECL does need a significant injection of commercial capability, and that the sales team at AECL does need a much greater international outreach.

That is what we are trying to provide. Why will the member not support that?

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10:10 a.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, we want a public discussion and we want to debate that issue here in Parliament. We do not want it stuck and buried in an 880-page omnibus bill, which is what the Conservatives are doing. Not only that, but they bring in a closure motion. When they were Reform Party members a number of years ago, they were outraged at the Liberals bringing in closure in the House. They said they would never do it. So we see their principles are absolutely gone. They are bringing in closure when they said they would not.

They are sneaking this privatization of AECL through Bill C-9. They do not even have the courage to introduce it as a separate bill. They are not sharing this information with Parliament. They are not willing to have debate here in Parliament on that issue. This is just typical and another example of how the government operates in an environment of secrecy.

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10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, under the Canada Post Act there is a provision which refers to the exclusive privilege of Canada Post.

Bill C-9 introduces an amendment which says that the exclusive privilege would not apply to letters intended for delivery to an address outside of Canada. This is commonly referred to as the remailer issue that the member talked about.

Although there is a moratorium on rural post office closures, moratoriums are at the discretion of the government, and I believe that rural post offices would be at risk because of this change. I also believe that because of the contracting, the contracting of even urban postal outlets would further impair Canada Post.

I wonder if the member believes that this change would in fact impair, not help, Canada Post.

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10:15 a.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, the member for Mississauga South is very wise on this issue. He is absolutely correct. This is basically the thin edge of the wedge.

We are looking, as I said before, at a government here that is operating or thinking that it is a majority government when it is not. If the Conservatives end up with a majority government after the next election, watch out. In short order, we are going to see all of the things happen that we are suggesting are going to happen if a majority government ever does materialize over there.

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10:15 a.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am thankful for the opportunity to stand in strong support of the jobs and economic growth act, as well as in support of Canada's continued economic recovery.

Like my Conservative colleagues, I completely oppose the NDP's attempt to delay and threaten the jobs and economic growth act, which is a key component of Canada's economic action plan.

As demonstrated again this morning, Canada's economic action plan is working. Canada's economy is getting stronger. Each month, more and more Canadians, who only a year ago spent restless nights worrying about finding jobs, are now findings jobs and waking up to brighter mornings and, indeed, brighter futures after hearing the great words, “You got the job”.

I know the NDP likes to talk down the Canadian economy, businesses and workers as it preaches its doom and gloom economic defeatism, but the NDP needs to open its collective eyes. We have seen over a quarter of a million net new jobs created in this last year. We have seen job gains every month this year. Canada had record job growth in April. We saw Canada's economy, in the first quarter of 2010, roar ahead with 6.1% growth, the strongest quarterly rate of economic growth in a decade, as well as in the G7.

Both the OECD and the IMF are predicting our economic growth will lead all G7 countries both this year and next. Hope has replaced fear, the fear that we saw a year ago. Optimism has replaced pessimism. Canada is on the right track. If members of the NDP do not want to believe me, they should listen to what the OECD had to say about our country's economy. It stated, “I think Canada looks good - it shines, actually, Canada could even be considered a safe haven”.

Nevertheless, the global recovery is fragile and that is why Parliament's overriding priority must be fully implementing Canada's economic action plan, a blueprint to help create jobs, lower taxes and foster growth for an even brighter tomorrow. We cannot stop moving forward. We cannot delay Canada's economic action plan any longer, but the NDP's procedural delaying tactics would do just that.

We have debated the jobs and economic growth act in Parliament for nearly three months. We have heard over 50 speeches to date. We heard from over 50 witnesses in the finance committee. In that time, we heard some wild allegations. We heard some members criticize the act as far as being too ambitious as an 880-page document.

What is clear is that those members complaining about the size of the act have actually not even looked at it. If they had, they would soon realize that the action to make Canada a tariff-free zone for manufacturing makes up over one-half of the entire document, or 52% of the pages in this act, due to technical and legal requirements.

I know the protectionist NDP members voted against making Canada a tariff-free zone for our manufacturers and it irritates them that we are eliminating so many job-killing tariffs, but I am proud our Conservative government is making Canada a tariff-free zone for manufacturers in the G20. This will cut costs and paperwork for our manufacturers. This will make Canadian-made products more competitive here and abroad. This will create jobs for Canadians for years to come.

While the NDP may not like it, I am proud to stand behind the over 450 pages in this act that delete the tariffs exclusively dedicated to supporting manufacturers and the Canadians that they employ.

We have also heard some members, spurred by biased special interest groups, complain about a provision in the act that would literally save small businesses and the thousands of people they employ. These are the ones involved in the remailing industry across Canada.

I want to now take a moment to set the record straight so there are no misunderstandings. It is nonsense to suggest that this is about privatizing Canada Post. That is not this government's intention. If the NDP members do not believe me, they should listen to Canada Post CEO, Moya Greene, herself. She recently told a parliamentary committee:

However, I want to make it clear that the bill does not take away the exclusive privilege. It applies only to a tiny segment of the mail.

Private sector remailers, mainly small businesses, have been operating and competing with Canada Post for decades. Due to legal wrangling and recent court decisions, these small businesses are now threatened without quick passage of this act.

This is about saving small businesses and saving thousands of jobs, and nothing more.

We had the honour at the finance committee of hearing from Barry Sikora. Mr. Sikora is one of those small businessmen who have been involved in the international mail industry for decades. He has been employing people for decades and his business has been contributing to local communities for decades. He had a simple plea:

...my company employed 31 people. We're not a huge corporation; we're an average business in the printing industry. Now, because of this situation, we're down to 17 employees. Many of our customers have left us, and they have not gone to Canada Post for their foreign mail delivery needs; they have taken their business to another country. They have forced our industry to lay off long-time employees, and that's not a pleasant thing to do.

If this doesn't pass [the jobs and economic growth act], I'm out of business.

The NDP can wail, heckle and yell all they want over there but those are the Canadians for whom we are trying to protect their jobs. I do not care if the NDP members are not in touch with Canadians or with small businesses in this country but the least they can do is keep their mouths shut while we try to support them.

For those members who talk about delaying and defeating this act, I want them to go to classicimpressions.ca and click on the “about us” tab. They should look at the faces of those people who Mr. Sikora employs and whose jobs are at risk. Their futures demand that the NDP comes to its senses.

What is more, I will put in perspective what else is at risk in this act if it is not passed or if it is delayed: $500 million in transfer protection payments to the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Manitoba and Saskatchewan; $75 million to Genome Canada; $20 million for Pathways to Education to support disadvantaged youth; $13.5 million for the Rick Hansen Foundation; legislation to enforce debit and credit card industry code of conduct, vital for retailers and small businesses, again, in Canada; key income tax changes to attract foreign investment into Canada's venture capital and private equity industry; key reforms to federally regulated pension plans in Canada, such as requiring an employer to fully fund pension benefits if a pension plan is terminated; and many more.

The NDP delaying tactic would put at risk all of those measures, measures urgently needed to ensure that Canada's economic recovery continues. Canadians do not want that to happen. The risks are too high.

We need to work together as parliamentarians to ensure this act is adopted and adopted quickly for the benefit of our economy and the jobs of Canadians.

I therefore urge all members to support Bill C-9 and oppose the NDP's tactics to delay this passage.

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10:25 a.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to the parliamentary secretary's speech and I heard two elements in it that were so ridiculous that I must come back to them. He talked about tariff reductions. I certainly hope he has read the bill, because the Conservatives have a tendency not to read the bills that are before the House and it is the NDP that catches them on it.

The Conservatives have imposed a softwood lumber tariff, a self-imposed tax, on softwood communities across the country. Tens of thousands of jobs have been lost as a result of their irresponsible and incompetent softwood lumber sell-out. I just want to ask him how much of an increase that will be. We know the answer in this corner of the House, which is about a 10% increase, but I would like to hear it from his own mouth.

My second question concerns the HST, to which British Columbia has said no. We have had a massive petition campaign. Eighty-five provincial ridings have all said no to it. A referendum was held which the Conservatives have refused to recognize. They refuse to say on the record that it will withdraw the hated HST imposed on British Columbia.

Since Bill C-9 also has an increase and spreads the HST, could the parliamentary secretary reply to this question for once and for all: Will Conservatives respect the will of the people of British Columbia and say no to the HST?

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10:25 a.m.

Conservative

Ted Menzies Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure the gentleman is in the right House to be asking half of those questions. He should be in the B.C. legislature asking his premier.

I listened to that hon. gentleman filibuster for hours at the trade committee almost two years ago. When we finally came up with legislation that would settle the softwood lumber challenge that would give $5 billion back to the Canadian softwood lumber industry, an industry that was suffering, that hon. member fought tooth and nail, including reading from the dictionary, to stop us from putting the agreement in place, an agreement that would finally settle years of lawyers getting richer and loggers getting poorer.

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10:25 a.m.

Liberal

Keith Martin Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for my colleague along the HST line.

My riding is located on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. The HST that is going to go through will result in winners and losers. Oftentimes, the situation in B.C. is conflated with the Maritimes where an HST did go through but under an entirely different circumstance.

The government has a $1.6 billion incentive on the table but the provincial government can only have 5% flexibility in providing tax breaks. Would the member ask his government to allow the $1.6 billion to stay on the table for another year and allow the provincial government to expand that flexibility to provide tax breaks for those of modest means and for the four major sectors in my province, tourism, the service sector, home building and restaurant service associations? These sectors will be hit very hard, particularly at this time when the economy is under dire straits. People will lose their jobs because of entirely preventable situation.

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10:30 a.m.

Conservative

Ted Menzies Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, I might remind all hon. members that we are actually here to debate Bill C-9. The HST for any province is not referred to in this bill.

We treat all provinces equally. The previous government offered some provinces several years back the opportunity to harmonize their sales tax. They knew it was good for business, so they accepted that offer. The offer has remained open because this government respects provincial jurisdiction and it respects treating every province the same. Those questions are for the Premier of British Columbia and I would encourage that hon. member to address those questions to him.

We have heard many comments in this House about pensions. It is critical and time sensitive that we get this legislation passed because we have made improvements to the federally regulated private pension plans in the bill. We need this done by valuation day at the end of June. We need to have this bill passed to protect people's pensions.

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10:30 a.m.

Bloc

Guy André Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is with considerable interest, but also considerable concern that I rise once again today to speak to Bill C-9, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 4, 2010 and other measures. This enormous 880-page bill, with its more than 2,200 clauses, contains many different measures. I wonder if anyone has actually read this entire document, which has a lot to hide from the people. That is what I intend to speak out against during my remarks today.

Some might think that this bill contains only budget-related measures, but that is not the case. The Conservatives introduced a bill that is a catch-all for various measures and legislative actions that will make major changes to other laws, many of which have nothing to do with the budget. This will affect all Quebeckers.

It is important for Quebeckers to be aware that the Conservatives have the support of the Liberals despite the fact that I urged them to vote against this budget so we could rescue things like the Canada Post Corporation and recover the $57 billion in workers' and unemployed workers' money that has been misappropriated. That money will simply disappear if this bill is passed. I do not believe that the Liberals really intend to stand up and vote against this bill. Once again, true to form, they will act against the interests of working men and women, of Quebeckers and of society's poorest by supporting the Conservatives.

I believe that some Liberal members will vote against the bill, but there will not be enough of them to really register their dissatisfaction with Bill C-9. They tell the House that they are against this bill. They take part in the debates and ask questions, but when voting time comes, they do not show up. That is unfortunate because they know that this omnibus budget, Bill C-9, includes measures that will really affect the quality of life of Quebeckers and all Canadians.

The Conservatives know this. When I first came to the House, I noticed that, after a speech by an NDP member, they were laughing. This bill will privatize certain areas of Canada Post's activities and they are not taking seriously the harm that this will cause. We often say that the government is giving the profits to the private sector and the losses to the public sector. With this bill, that is what will happen to Canada Post, as well as to the unemployed, to our workers and to people who pay into employment insurance. Both workers and employers—who have been swindled, or robbed, of over $57 billion over the past few years—could see this practice continue if the bill passes.

Bill C-9 will permit letter exporters to collect letters in Canada and transport and deliver them abroad.

I listened to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance tell us about Moya Greene, who, he says, supported the initiative proposed in Bill C-9.

However, when that Canada Post representative testified before the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, she said that Canada Post has already lost $80 million so far because of that particular kind of privatization. If this bill passes, it is estimated that another $50 million in revenues will be lost if international remailing is allowed. That is a lot of money for Canada Post to lose.

What happens when Canada Post loses revenue? Inevitably, if Canada Post starts losing revenue, it will have to cut services.

So how will it cut services? My riding of Berthier—Maskinongé is mainly rural and when revenues decrease, Canada Post services are cut. It is usually rural areas where services are cut first.

And how are they cut? When the Liberals were in power, several post offices in my riding were closed. There is now a moratorium on post office closures, but several were closed then, including the offices in Saint-Édouard and Saint-Sévère. Those are some of the municipalities in my riding where post offices were closed.

At the time, people organized and demanded that their post offices be kept open, but the Liberals just said they could not afford to meet those needs and had to cut services. So Canada Post services were cut in these rural communities.

If Canada Post's revenue is reduced by $50 million, then postal service in rural communities will be cut again, unfortunately. Major urban centres receive far more mail and, according to a Canada Post study, urban postal service is often more profitable. This means that it often does not pay for Canada Post to deliver mail door to door in rural areas.

Yet rural residents pay tax and contribute to society, and they need services just like urban dwellers. The people of Quebec are very worried that this bill will mean the loss of rural mail delivery.

Maureen Green clearly stated that the corporation had already lost $80 million in revenue in recent years and would lose a further $50 million with this bill. That will mean the gradual privatization of Canada Post. It will be increasingly difficult for people to get their mail. They will have to make a considerable effort or go to another town, sometimes 15 or 20 kilometres away, to pick up a parcel. The government is going to do this to people who are 80, 85 and 90 years old.

I would like to come back to the issue of this bill and the employment insurance fund. The government took money from the unemployed and, with this bill, it is wiping out the $57 billion debt it owes them.

At the same time, even though it has a $57 billion surplus and is forecasting surpluses of $15 billion to $20 billion in the near future, this government has the nerve to vote against measures to improve employment insurance in general and eliminate the waiting period. It is continuing to build up a surplus in the employment insurance fund while reducing access to EI benefits.

It is shameful.

In closing, I would like to say a word about environmental assessment. How will the government be able to provide nuclear oversight if it further privatizes Atomic Energy of Canada Limited? The stakes are very high. If the companies the government creates become political party backers, how can they really provide more oversight and control over nuclear operations?

Those are my concerns. I would add that it is shameful, and to sit here and watch as this bill—

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10:40 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Questions and comments.

The hon. member for Peterborough.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Lloyd Hartley
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

NDP

Glenn Thibeault Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to a truly Canadian hero from my great riding of Sudbury, who passed away this past weekend.

Lloyd Hartley signed up to fight for our country in the second world war at the age of 16. He was a number one soldier, as the many medals he proudly wore demonstrate. Mr. Hartley was wounded in action three times and was given many roles of the utmost responsibility by his superiors.

Mr. Hartley was well known for his passion in his presentation of In Flanders Fields at Remembrance Day ceremonies. He was also a very active member of the War Pensioners of Canada and of the Royal Canadian Legion in Sudbury. Mr. Hartley and his colleagues met with me many times to talk about the importance of ensuring that our veterans, who served our country with honour, receive the benefits they so rightly deserve.

To his family and friends, our condolences. Let me articulate something I heard Mr. Hartley say often. “At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them”.

We will remember Mr. Hartley. May he rest in peace.

Foreign Affairs
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, some people living in the comfort and safety of western democracies find it easy to criticize those who must fight terror on the front lines on a daily basis. Maybe these critics would feel differently if they had to live next door to Hamas.

Terrorists in Hamas-ruled Gaza rained over 3,000 rockets and mortar bombs into Israeli communities in 2008. They target civilians and seek maximum loss of life. That is why the Jewish state blocks arms from entering the Hamas-controlled territory. Yet U.S. Vice-President Biden pointed out this week that Israel allows humanitarian goods to pass directly into Gaza.

Our government stands in solidarity with the one and a half million people of Gaza who suffer under the terror of Hamas.

We were also proud to host Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu this week.

Though we are blessed to live in the safety and comfort of Canadian life, we will always stand with those who confront terror every day.

Order of Merit of the Police Forces
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to rise to congratulate two eminent community members in my riding of Newton—North Delta. Both Chief Constable Jim Cessford of the Delta Police and Chief Superintendent Fraser MacRae of the Surrey RCMP recently received the prestigious Governor General's Order of Merit of the Police Forces.

All residents of Surrey and Delta have benefited from their years of service and successful strategies to reduce crime rates in Surrey and Delta. I ask all my colleagues to join me in congratulating Chief Cessford and Chief MacRae on this great honour.

National Unity
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Colin Mayes Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canada did not invent human rights. Human rights invented Canada.

People from nations all over this globe have come to Canada to escape oppression and religious discrimination and to enjoy the opportunity of free enterprise Canada provides. Truly, the three founding nations of Canada, the aboriginals, the francophones, and the anglophones, should be recognized as the nations that have placed the foundation stones for our freedoms and rights.

The Bloc wants to separate us as a nation, but the citizens of our nation are one in our patriotic love for liberty, freedom, the rule of law, and democracy. These principles are the mortar that unites us as one in the Canadian mosaic. One language or culture should not trump the other in our free society.

May we continue to serve all Canadians in this House with respect and gratefulness. I wish to thank past parliamentarians who drafted our rights and freedoms that we enjoy today and especially our men and women who defend them.

Canada Post
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

Guy André Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, with the Liberals as their accomplices, the Conservatives are threatening the viability of the postal service by including a thousand and one reforms in Bill C-9, the budget implementation bill.

Among other things, Bill C-9 contains a deregulation project to put an end to Canada Post's monopoly on international remailing.

The Conservative government is trying to fool the public by slipping this deregulation plan into an 800-page omnibus budget implementation bill. They are trying to privatize this corporation on the sly, without the public even realizing it.

The government is opening the door to the complete deregulation of Canada Post. The citizens of Berthier—Maskinongé and all of Quebec are opposed to this process.

I implore the Liberal members not to support this Conservative bill. They must all rise and vote against Bill C-9 to maintain universal, accessible postal service.

Firearms Registry
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Brian Jean Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, in a shocking display of political gamesmanship, the NDP joined forces with the Liberals and the Bloc Québécois to pass a motion to keep the long gun registry as is.

In November 2009, 12 NDP and eight Liberal MPs listened to their constituents and voted in favour of Bill C-391 to scrap the wasteful and ineffective long gun registry. Now they are trying whatever they can do to derail it.

The Liberal member for Malpeque voted to scrap the long gun registry in November. Will he now vote to keep it? Will he allow his vote to be whipped by the Liberal leader, or will he listen to the voices of his constituents instead?

Those 20 opposition MPs who did the right thing at second reading and voted to scrap the long gun registry will have to explain to their constituents why they allowed their party bosses to whip their vote and silence their voices.

When it comes to the long gun registry, MPs can either vote to keep it or vote to scrap it. It is that simple.

Aristides de Sousa Mendes
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, there are moments in the life of a Parliament when colleagues from all parties come together in common cause: to remember and to be reminded, to inspire and be inspired.

Such a moment occurred this week, when MPs commemorated the 125th anniversary of the birth of Portuguese diplomat Aristides de Sousa Mendes, and the 40th anniversary of his saving 30,000 people—12,000 of them Jews—with his visas for life in 1940, reminding us of the Talmudic/Koranic adage that whoever saves a single life, it is as if he or she has saved an entire universe.

This singular heroism of de Sousa Mendes, whose namesake grandson, Louis Philippe Mendes, is a resident of my constituency of Mount Royal, ennobles us all. He never received the honour he deserved in his life. May his memory serve as a blessing for us all.

The Economy
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, this morning, Statistics Canada reported that 24,700 new jobs were created in May, the fifth consecutive monthly increase. Continued job creation is more proof that Canada's economic action plan is working.

Since last July, Canada has created nearly 310,000 new jobs. Statistics Canada announced this week that the Canadian economy grew 6.1% in the first quarter of 2010, the highest quarterly growth rate in a decade.

Canada's economy is on the right track, but the global recovery remains fragile. That is why we must fully implement Canada's economic action plan.

While the opposition has plans to raise taxes and stall the recovery, our government is working hard to make our country a leader in jobs and growth.

Create Your Canada Contest
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize and pay tribute to Sam Unrau, the 2010 winner of the Create your Canada contest. This contest invited Winnipeg high school students to suggest their ideas for a private member's bill to make Canada a better place.

On Wednesday, Sam came to Ottawa to witness his Bill C-523 being introduced and given first reading in the House of Commons. Mr. Unrau, who uses a wheelchair for mobility, won the contest for his proposal that Canada conduct an accessibility audit of all federally regulated modes of transportation. Sam's thoughtful proposal seeks to create an environment in which people of all levels of physical ability can travel with dignity.

Our thanks go to Pauline Clarke, the Chief Superintendent of the Winnipeg School Division; Mr. Scott Gair, of Encore Music, for his generosity in providing airfare; Mr. Dave Taylor, Sam's excellent teacher at Argyle School; and all the students in Winnipeg who participated in the contest.

It was Sam's first trip to Ottawa, but I predict that Ottawa has not seen the last of this fine young man.

Ministerial Responsibility
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada has a tradition of ministerial responsibility. That means that cabinet ministers are responsible for what happens in their names and to Parliament.

Canadians expect the people in charge to account for their staff, and this situation is no different.

The tradition of ministerial accountability is as old as Canada itself. That is why Conservative cabinet ministers answer questions in question period, and that is why they appear before committees to answer for their offices.

The Liberal leader wants to do away with this tradition. Instead, he wants to import the foreign U.S. committee system that is used as a political weapon to bully, intimidate, and humiliate opponents, which is something we will not allow.

We hope that all opposition committee chairs will follow the rules and procedures rather than conduct kangaroo courts, as they have been doing.

Employment Insurance
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Robert Carrier Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives' penchant for stealing money from workers is outrageous. Among the plethora of bills that it would amend, budget Bill C-9 would wipe out the $57 billion that the Conservative government owes to the employment insurance fund. It used that $57 billion to pay down the deficit caused by its own poor management of public funds.

In addition, this government will increase employment insurance benefits by 15¢ in January 2011. That money will not go to improve the current system but to reimburse what the Conservatives have pillaged from the employment insurance fund.

The Conservatives are making the unemployed pay for their deficit. They are taking advantage of the fact that this omnibus bill, Bill C-9, is a confidence vote, and they have filled it with all sorts of reforms and measures. They know that the Liberals will never dare oppose it and trigger an election.

But we in the Bloc Québécois will side with workers and oppose Bill C-9.

Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics
Statements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Crombie Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the mystery of the missing PMO communications director continues. Dimitri Soudas, the 30-year-old spokesman for the unaccountable Conservative Prime Minister, has been evading a House of Commons bailiff all week long in an elaborate cat-and-mouse game, all so he can avoid being accountable to Canadians by answering questions before the Commons ethics committee.

Mr. Soudas has so flouted the law on parliamentary privilege that he has even barred the bailiff from the Prime Minister's office in Langevin Block. Clearly, Mr. Soudas needs to educate himself about the laws of this land. Parliament is the highest court in the country, and dodging a summons to appear before a parliamentary committee is in contempt of the law.

He also has no right to prevent a licensed bailiff from a parliamentary building, a bailiff who is only carrying out the duty he was assigned.

Mr. Soudas's boss, the Prime Minister, needs to instruct his employee to stop playing games, to stop thumbing his nose at the law, and to avail himself to the bailiff. He can run, but he cannot hide, and he can no longer be saved by the fire alarm. It is time--

Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics
Statements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. member for South Shore—St. Margaret's.

The Economy
Statements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Gerald Keddy South Shore—St. Margaret's, NS

Mr. Speaker, Statistics Canada reported this morning that 24,700 new jobs were created in May, the fifth straight month of job gains.

Canada's continued job creation is further proof that Canada's economic action plan is working. May represents the eighth month of job gains in the past 10 months. In fact, since July of last year, Canada has created nearly 310,000 new jobs.

With numbers like this, it is not surprising that the influential magazine, The Economist, recently called Canada “an economic star”. It is encouraging to see Canada's economy on the right track, thanks to our government's actions.

Nonetheless the global recovery remains fragile. That is why we need to fully implement Canada's economic action plan. I encourage all members in this chamber to support Canada's economic action plan.

G8 and G20 Summits
Oral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are rightfully angry about the skyrocketing costs of the G8 and G20 summits.

When the Conservatives first chose the industry minister's riding for the summit site, they knew full well that holding it there was a physical impossibility. Now they have had to bail out Toronto at huge expense to taxpayers. It is a billion-dollar boondoggle.

How do the Conservatives justify their obvious gross mismanagement?

G8 and G20 Summits
Oral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Oxford
Ontario

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite might be surprised to know that her leader, when he was in Huntsville not very long ago, said:

We want to make it very clear...when we are the government of Canada, the next G8 Summit will be held at Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville....

You heard it from me: the G8 Summit will be in this community when we form the next government.

That was from the leader of the official opposition.

G8 and G20 Summits
Oral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, it is amazing that, once we put in infrastructure, the Conservatives think that is a bad thing.

It is not just security costs that are out of control: $1.1 million for a sidewalk that is 84 kilometres from the summit site; and $400,000 to restore a vintage steamboat that will not be in the water until two weeks after the G8.

Why does the industry minister not understand? Canadians deserve better than having their money spent to buy his re-election.

G8 and G20 Summits
Oral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has her facts wrong. There is no funding from G8 funds for the steamship, unlike her allegation, but I will tell the House who did spend some money on some ships.

In 1995, for the G7 Halifax summit, then finance minister Paul Martin spent $300,000 on the Bluenose.

The Liberals spent money for infrastructure, gateway signage, marketing campaigns and a new community centre for Halifax. That is how they spent money for the G7 summit in 1995. They are speaking from both sides of their mouth.

G8 and G20 Summits
Oral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the only one speaking out of both sides of his mouth is indeed that minister.

It is not just steamboats, gazebos and sidewalks to nowhere. How about $270,000 from the G8 fund to buy a bandshell and new washrooms? The only problem is that those washrooms are located 20 kilometres away from the summit site. That is a long way to go when one has to go.

Given the Prime Minister's history of missing G8 photo ops, would the minister not agree that putting the new G8 washrooms 20 kilometres away from the summit site is poor planning indeed?

G8 and G20 Summits
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, it is well known that there are economic and tourism benefits for the whole region that are spent for as part of legacy funding. That is why the Liberals spent the money in Halifax.

One of the other things the Liberals did in Halifax, after the 1995 G7 summit was over, was spend another $3 million on projects in Halifax just to thank the people of that city. Yet here they are criticizing the G8 and the G20.

G8 and G20 Summits
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, it is not just the costs that are outrageous, but also the summit agenda.

Leaders the world over, including the Secretary-General of the UN, are calling on us to make the environment and climate change priority agenda items at the G20 and G8, but the Conservatives prefer to bury their heads in the sand and ignore the views of others.

How can they justify spending so much money when they are ignoring the major issues on the international stage?

G8 and G20 Summits
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas)

Mr. Speaker, first, let me say that world leadership does come with some inconvenience and some cost, but Canada is proud to have assumed the presidency and to host the G8 and the G20.

We will host the G8 Muskoka summit, which will be followed historically by the G20 in Toronto.

It is a full agenda. It is an agenda that has been approved by the other participating countries, and we look forward to hosting a historic summit.

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, no wonder the Conservatives do not want to talk about climate change at these meetings. They missed the mark on emissions reductions even worse than the billion-dollar G8 boondoggle.

A new Environment Canada report said that the Conservatives overestimated by 10 times the greenhouse gas reductions since they came to office. Not only that, there is zero oversight on a $1.5 billion climate change trust fund they dumped on the provinces.

Is there $1 billion anywhere that the government has under control?

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Langley
B.C.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, what are the facts? The facts are that for the first time in Canada, under this government, greenhouse gas emissions have stabilized and are going down. How much are they going down? They are going down by 2.1%. What happened under the previous Liberal government? The Liberals signed Kyoto and emissions skyrocketed to 26% above their commitments.

Now the opposition is pushing the NDP's Bill C-311 publicity stunt, which would throw Canada back into recession.

They did not get it done. We are getting it done.

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, when the Conservatives unveiled their plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the national round table on the environment, the Pembina Institute, Greenpeace and the Bloc Québécois criticized them for overestimating the impact their measures would have. We now have proof of how wrong they were since the 5 million tonne reduction in emissions for 2010 is 10 times lower than the 57 million tonnes the government had announced.

Will the government admit that it never intended to have a real plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions because it is in fact working for the oil companies?

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Langley
B.C.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, that is not true. Canadians are proud of the balanced action that this government is taking on the economy and jobs.

In the last three years, this government has negotiated the Copenhagen accord, harmonized our environmental targets with the Obama administration, introduced tailpipe emission standards for cars and light trucks, announced emission regulations for 15 categories of heavy trucks, and I could go on and on.

Emissions are coming down under this government. We are getting it done. What do those members not understand about that?

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, in addition to the fossil awards the Government of Canada won in Copenhagen, there is more evidence of the Conservatives' lack of interest in fighting climate change. In 2012, five years after the announcement of their so-called plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the plan will have had no significant impact on the increase in those emissions.

Do the Conservatives realize that their plan is just a sham, smoke and mirrors, and that it is high time that Canada came up with a real plan to meet its international commitments? Respect your international commitments.

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Langley
B.C.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, speaking of smoke and mirrors, I do not know what the member is smoking.

Emissions are going down. They have gone down 2.1% already. Under the previous Liberal government, with the support of the Bloc, emissions went up. That is not what Canadians want. That is not what the climate needs. We need emissions to go down. We have a target of 17% by 2020. It is aggressive. It is in harmony with the Obama administration in the United States.

We are getting it done. What do they not understand about that?

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, having read a report on climate change, we now understand why this government is making every effort to avoid discussing climate change at the G8 and G20 summits. In 2012, according to recent federal forecasts, Canada will exceed the Kyoto target by 30%. Canada is an environmental delinquent.

When will this government, a climate change denier, recognize that by pitting the economy against the environment it is compromising Quebec's sustainable economic growth?

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Langley
B.C.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, who does not believe in climate change? Maybe a party that voted against $6.7 billion in green infrastructure since 2005. Maybe a party that voted against $190 million for new funding for a clean and more sustainable environment.

This government is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It is already happening. Emissions have dropped 2.1%. We have aggressive targets.

We are getting it done. I hope that member will help us.

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the scientific consensus is clear. To avoid catastrophe, we must hold the increase in global temperature below two degrees, which requires a 25% to 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990. Reaching these objectives requires a co-ordinated, credible and effective plan.

To control the climate crisis, does the government intend to make the environment a priority at the G8 and G20 meetings, in order to set the stage for the Cancun summit, which is quickly approaching?

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Langley
B.C.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, this government is not just making the environment a priority at an international conference, it has always been a priority. We are getting it done.

What else have we been doing? We have allocated $100 million for the next generation renewable power initiative and an additional $80 million for the eco-energy retrofit homes program.

The fact is that since we became government the national parks system has increased by 30%. That is huge.

We are committed to a clean environment.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, Conservative confusion reigns over our mission in Afghanistan. The Prime Minister will not come clean on Canada's role in Afghanistan after the full withdrawal post-2011. His parliamentary secretaries and some Liberals are calling for an extension, instead of finding a path to stability and peace.

I will ask a very simple question. What is the government's plan post-2011 in Afghanistan?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas)

Mr. Speaker, there is absolutely no confusion on this side of the House about our position in Afghanistan. We have made it eminently clear that this government will respect the parliamentary resolution of 2008 and cease our military mission to Afghanistan in 2011. It will become a civilian and a development mission.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, without a plan, confusion will continue to reign. What we heard is no plan for the future.

The government should support negotiations and reconciliation in Afghanistan, and the neighbourhood. The government should be there to ensure those commitments are solid. We have not heard those commitments. There have been no dollars put on the table and no serious commitments.

We need to have a debate in this House of Commons on what is going to happen post-2011. We need to clear up the confusion.

Will the government join us in asking for all parliamentarians to have a debate in this House on Afghanistan post-2011?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas)

Mr. Speaker, let me very clear. For the past several months, despite foot dragging by members of the Afghan committee, we have been putting forward motions to consider the post-2011 mission in Afghanistan. We urge opposition members of the committee to participate and to forward their suggestions to Parliament.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I did not know Parliament was a suggestion box.

The lack of commitment to peace and human rights is not limited just to Afghanistan. We learned today the Conservatives have cut funding for human rights and protection of civilians under the global peace and security fund from $1.1 million down to a paltry $30,000.

Why is the current government cutting support for peace and human rights at a time when it is so fundamentally needed?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas)

Mr. Speaker, once again, my colleague has his facts wrong. I come back again to his suggestion that members of the Afghan committee should accept the motion put by the government to consider exactly and to discuss and debate the post-2011 mission, and to forward those suggestions to the government.

G8 and G20 Summits
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the people of Toronto are known for their hospitality, but the current government has taken advantage of the goodwill of Torontonians. By refusing to commit to paying for protest-related property damage, the federal government is acting more like an unruly house guest than a responsible senior government.

Why can the government find $1 billion to ensure its G8 and G20 photo op goes off smoothly, but cannot find the money to protect the businesses and ratepayers of Toronto from property damage?

G8 and G20 Summits
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Oxford
Ontario

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, in fact, this government is taking its responsibilities seriously. That is why we do have the security that is in place in the city of Toronto to host this summit.

I think if the member was watching the press, she would see the police forces that are going to be involved in that were actively out yesterday, indicating to the public just what is going to happen in the city of Toronto.

G8 and G20 Summits
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, residents and businesses in the city of Toronto are facing significant costs because of the G20 summit. Despite its out-of-control summit spending, the current government has refused to fairly compensate the people of Toronto, again, for things such as lost tourism revenue, city staff time, and property damage.

Does Toronto have to start building gazebos on Front Street, or steamboats to nowhere, to get fair treatment from the Conservative government?

G8 and G20 Summits
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas)

Mr. Speaker, as this House has been informed a number of time of times in recent weeks, the Government of Canada will in fact consider any costs associated with loss of business during the G20 summit.

At the same time, the expenses which will cover security precautions during the G20 summit are intended to prevent the damage which the hon. member anticipates.

G8 and G20 Summits
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, they can deny it all they want, but Canadians are not blind. They see what the Conservatives are up to and they are outraged.

Let the Conservatives explain why they are asking taxpayers to pay $100,000 for a gazebo located 100 km from the site.

Why are they paying $400,000 for a 1910 steamboat that will not even be in the water during the summit?

Why are they wasting Canadians' money?

G8 and G20 Summits
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the opposition Liberals seem to have steamboats on their minds.

The fact of the matter is, and let me state this for the record without fear of contradiction, that the steamboat is not being restored as the result of any G8 funding whatsoever.

They are wrong. Their research is wrong. They do not know what they are talking about. That is why they are in the opposition.

G8 and G20 Summits
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, $400,000 for a steamboat in the riding of the ShamWow minister is scandalous but there is worse: $275,000 in public money for washrooms and a stage located 20 km from the meeting site.

That will be a long walk to get to the washrooms. Everyone will miss the official photo this time.

Except for the Prime Minister's director of communications who can hide out there to avoid the bailiffs, who is going to use these washrooms?

G8 and G20 Summits
Oral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, again, as the hon. member knows or should know, always, when we host summits, we try to capitalize on touristic and economic benefits associated with hosting summits.

It is not any different in this case, as was the case in 1995 in Halifax. The Liberal government of the day spent money on infrastructure, gateway signage, marketing campaigns, a community centre, and $3 million spent after the summit was over. That is okay on the Liberal side, but it is not okay to capitalize on the summits to make sure we have more jobs and more opportunity for people here in Canada?

Committees of the House
Oral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's director of communications, Dimitri Soudas, is playing hide and seek with a bailiff who is trying to serve him a summons to appear before a House committee.

The question is, where is Dimitri? His attitude is not only ridiculous, it demonstrates his disrespect and that of his boss for Parliament and the Speaker of the House's rulings.

Instead of undermining the committee's work, would it not be better for the Prime Minister's director of communications to appear before the committee?

Committees of the House
Oral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Nepean—Carleton
Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the committee has ignored all rules of fairness by announcing the summons to the news media before it was even delivered. The committee knows the rules for summonses. The committee should follow those rules and respect the ancient principle of ministerial responsibility.

Committees of the House
Oral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives say that political staff should not appear before committees because of ministerial responsibility, as though ministerial responsibility were incompatible with staff testifying in committee.

Is the government aware that such logic would also mean that public servants could no longer testify in committee about a bill, a program or an expenditure?

Committees of the House
Oral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Prince George—Peace River
B.C.

Conservative

Jay Hill Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, this question or a reasonable facsimile has been asked many times in question period in this House. I have always answered the same, that we believe in ministerial accountability and responsibility.

Our ministers will not only be answering questions, as they do every day, in this chamber but at committee as well. Ultimately, it is they who are responsible for the actions of their staff and for their departments.

As to the hon. member's assertion about public servants, we are not talking about public servants and departmental staff. We are talking about political staff and they will no longer be appearing.

Forest Fires
Oral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Laforest Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec has criticized the Conservative government's bureaucratic attitude and is calling on the government to acknowledge that the Atikamekw communities of Manawan, Obedjiwan and Wemotaci are facing an extraordinary situation with these forest fires.

The assembly chief, Gislain Picard, is calling on the government to take action to respond to this situation, which is considered a humanitarian crisis.

Does the government realize that during a humanitarian crisis, the government must take appropriate action?

Forest Fires
Oral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Vancouver Island North
B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Clearly, Mr. Speaker, this is a tragedy for the affected communities and their members. Our officials have been working with the first nations and with the province of Quebec, which is primarily responsible for the required evacuations and related work.

We have been actively involved since the beginning with emergency measures. Our officials were on site this week. We will continue to be engaged with the safe and orderly return of residents to their communities, and for required disaster financial assistance.

Forest Fires
Oral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Laforest Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, the response of the parliamentary secretary proves that the Assembly of First Nations is right: this is a bureaucratic attitude.

The unexpected costs of these forest fires are adding up for local authorities. The band chiefs of Manawan and Obedjiwan have asked the federal government for help as they face this crisis. The Manawan band council, for example, is stuck with an unexpected $80,000 bill.

Can the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development assure the Atikamekw authorities that it will cover the unexpected expenses?

Forest Fires
Oral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Vancouver Island North
B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, the member knows that there are agreements in place which take care of all of these situations. This is no different than previous examples.

Contrary to media reports, we have been actively engaged in this emergency and the weather has now cooled. We can expect an orderly return to the communities.

Terrorism
Oral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has been characterized as the leading international sponsor and perpetrator of global terrorism, responsible for the commission of more than 100 terrorist acts spanning every continent, while engaged in the massive domestic repression of its own people.

Will the government list the IRGC as a terrorist entity and thereby sanction this epicentre of international terrorist threat and massive domestic repression?

Terrorism
Oral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas)

Mr. Speaker, this is a matter of ongoing concern obviously for this government. We continue to consider the possibility of such sanction.

Human Rights
Oral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government has been considering this for three years. The time has come to act.

On another matter, international law authorities and experts in genocide have determined that Iran has already committed the crime of incitement to genocide, prohibited under the genocide convention and international law.

Therefore, will Canada, as a state party to the genocide convention, undertake its mandated legal responsibilities to prevent such incitement and undertake the modest step of simply referring the matter of the state-sanctioned genocidal incitement to the UN Security Council for deliberation and account?

Human Rights
Oral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas)

Again, Mr. Speaker, Canada's words and actions at the United Nations and in other world bodies are very clear. We have censured the behaviour of Iran in these areas on any number of violations of human rights. We will continue to participate in international bodies working against these continuing violations by the Iranian regime.

Shipbuilding Industry
Oral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the defence minister made an announcement that took four and a half years to plan, about a shipbuilding policy taking 30 years to implement. So forgive us if we are just a little big skeptical.

Thus far, no specifics about joint support ships, nothing about Arctic patrol vessels. The only boat built is a showboat for Steamboat Tony.

What are the specifics, how many supply ships, at what costs, and when will this happen?

Shipbuilding Industry
Oral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills
Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Minister of State and Chief Government Whip

Mr. Speaker, our national shipbuilding procurement strategy will help us establish a long-term relationship with Canada's shipbuilding industry to renew Canada's federal fleet.

Just to cover some of the points that were mentioned by the opposition, the joint support ship project remains a key priority. The department is currently considering next steps and developing affordable options to replace the navy's current fleet of replenishment ships. Funding for the JSS project is identified within the departmental spending limits and the project will be moving forward this year.

Shipbuilding Industry
Oral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure which is the bigger farce: this or the fixed wing search and rescue. It is just becoming identified with no answers. It is a long-term answer that never seems to be coming.

Two years for the government to decide where to build the new ships. After that, we know next to nothing: joint supply ships, a four year wait and counting; steamboat for the industry minister paid for with G8 money, not delivered until after the summit. Priceless.

Can the government at least tell us, will it prioritize the building of the joint supply ships, which are so urgently needed in our coastal waters?

Shipbuilding Industry
Oral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills
Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Minister of State and Chief Government Whip

Mr. Speaker, I find it quite rich that this is coming from the Liberals, who are known for the decade of darkness. They allowed the ships to rust. Airplanes were in a state where they could not fly. Vehicles were rusting out. There was no money to the military. The manpower went down. Yet they are talking about procurement policies?

To answer the specific question, in terms of the Arctic offshore patrol vessels, the project is now in definition stage and the project continues to advance to meet first delivery in 2015.

The Economy
Oral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Stephen Woodworth Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the only economic policy the Liberals ever talk about is their plan to raise taxes. We now have independent confirmation that Liberal tax hikes would destroy 400,000 jobs. Canadians know lower taxes help create jobs.

That is why Canada's economic action plan is getting results. We have witnessed our plan fuel job creation and stronger economic growth.

Could the parliamentary secretary please inform the House about the latest news on the economic front?

The Economy
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Kitchener Centre for his work in the House and for helping us deliver the economic action plan, of which we are seeing results.

Statistics Canada today announced that we have created over 24,000 new jobs in the country in the month of May, the fifth straight month in a row. That is 310,000 new jobs since July of last year.

Canada's economic action plan is working. It is leading the way in the G7. This is no time for the opposition to delay the implementation of our budget bill.

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, for years, experts have questioned the government's estimates of how effective their climate change policies are. The evidence is in. Canada's climate change record is a disaster. In a report completed last month and hidden on the departmental website, Environment Canada admitted that emissions had been cut 10 times less than they were projected to be cut.

Despite a global consensus on the urgency of cutting greenhouse gases, Canada has no plan to substantially reduce greenhouse gases. When will the Conservatives join the rest of the world and actually get a plan tabled in the House?

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Langley
B.C.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, that question was asked about a half hour ago. Unfortunately, the member was not listening.

For the first time in Canada, under this government, greenhouse gas emissions have stabilized and they are going down. They went down 2.1%. Under the previous Liberal government, emissions went up 26% with the help of the NDP.

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is what a recession will do. The government projected a 52 megatonne drop and we had a five megatonne drop.

At the same time, that report also talks about the way the Conservatives are misspending money. They have a $1.5 billion trust fund for clean air. That fund, this report notes, is for the provinces. There is no way of knowing how the money is going to be spent and what results are being achieved. We have another boondoggle on our hands.

When will the government get serious about climate change, set real targets for greenhouse gas reductions and ensure that policies are in place to get the—

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Langley
B.C.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, what has the NDP proposed? Bill C-311, a publicity stunt on climate change, would drive Canada back into recession and isolate Canada internationally.

We are working with the Obama administration. We are working with our international partners. We are moving forward and are already seeing positive results. We have a cleaner environment, emissions are going down and we have more jobs in Canada. What do those members not understand about that?

Copyright
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative bill, which is meant to protect copyright, is deeply disappointing to creators, who want to see a levy imposed on MP3 players. This levy is simply a recognition of the work done by artists.

How can the government justify granting compensation to artists for copies made on blank CDs but not for copies made on MP3 players?

Copyright
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, our bill is for artists, for consumers and for Canadian industries. This bill is against unemployment and for jobs. The goal of this bill is to offer protection to artists in order to increase their creativity in Canada.

Copyright
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, there is no monetary compensation for artists in this bill. Sales of music CDs are in free fall and artists' revenues are slowly drying up. However, the appetite for music has not wavered and makers of MP3 players are still raking in huge profits. ADISQ, UDA, the Canadian Private Copying Collective and even the Union des consommateurs are calling for a levy on digital music players.

Why is the government denying creators their fair remuneration?

Copyright
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated a moment ago, there are a lot of protections to help artists to ensure they can create and grow in out country. However, we will not impose on consumers a new tax on their iPods, their BlackBerrys, their computers, their television sets to finance the Bloc's plans. We want to help artists, but we also want to help consumers.

Oil and Gas Industry
Oral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, for weeks we have asked clear questions on the tanker ban off the B.C. coast, but we have yet to get a clear answer from the government.

We ask this once more. Will the government continue to follow the 1972 tanker ban or will it risk damaging the pristine waters off our B.C. coast?

Oil and Gas Industry
Oral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Alberta

Conservative

Brian Jean Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, let us be clear. This government has no plans to reopen the exclusion zone on tankers travelling between Alaska and Washington state. Under this long-standing agreement, U.S. tanker ships are not allowed within 25 miles, at the minimum, of the B.C. coast. In 22 years we have had no issues of non-compliance.

Oil and Gas Industry
Oral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is not only its plans on the west coast. It is not only putting the west coast at risk, it is also putting the east coast at risk with changes to the regulations. New regulations say that plans for relief wells are no longer necessary to drill in our Atlantic waters. The offshore drilling board said that this was a Conservative government decision.

Why is it risking a Gulf of Mexico tragedy in Canadian waters?

Oil and Gas Industry
Oral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable
Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, this is completely untrue. Contrary to what we saw in the Ottawa Citizen this morning, let me quote appendix C of the Drilling Program Guidelines respecting drilling programs. It states:

Operators are expected to identify an alternate drilling installation for relief well purposes and provide a description of its operating capability, its location, contractual commitments, state of readiness...

It has not changed since 1990. That rule must be followed everywhere in the country and we expect our regulators to take appropriate actions to ensure workers' safety and the environment are protected everywhere—

Oil and Gas Industry
Oral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Hamilton East—Stoney Creek.

Pensions
Oral Questions

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada's municipalities have in the most significant way added their voices to the growing list of those calling for an overhaul of Canada's pension system.

Over 1,200 delegates, from across Canada, last week at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference in Toronto voted overwhelmingly to support an increase to GIS, an expansion of the CPP and a pension insurance system, the very same New Democrat measures that the House unanimously endorsed last year.

Will the government finally get serious about fixing the pensions crisis in Canada and implement the New Democrat pension plan?

Pensions
Oral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I will tell the House how serious this government has been about dealing with retirement income for Canadians, serious enough that we have consulted with Canadians. To the member's credit, he has contributed to that consultation, unlike the Bloc and Liberals who have contributed zero to the pension consultations. I am not sure if they do not care about their constituents, but this government does.

The finance ministers from the provinces and territories will be meeting this month with the federal finance minister. Those consultations will come together. That will be to the benefit of retirees in our country.

Pensions
Oral Questions

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to see the parliamentary secretary acknowledges that the New Democrats have worked on this file since the beginning of 2008-09. In the winter we had round tables with experts on pensions. We did our research for months and followed that with an opposition day motion that passed unanimously in the House. I have held over 30 meetings across the country, listening to the concerns of seniors.

New Democrats know what is needed and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities knows what is needed: an increase to GIS, an expansion of CPP and a pension insurance system.

Will the government drop the usual pat answers we get and help the NDP—

Pensions
Oral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance.

Pensions
Oral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, speaking of helping Canadians, I would think the hon. member would encourage his NDP colleagues to pass our budget bill. There is legislation in the budget bill that needs to be passed and needs to be passed soon. We are committing to fully fund the benefits of the pension plans that may be terminated. That is putting the pensions of Canadians in jeopardy. That is embedded in this bill. It is very important we get it done. Let us get it passed to help Canadians.

Firearms Registry
Oral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Rick Norlock Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, in committee, the member for Ajax—Pickering's motion to derail Bill C-391 and keep the long gun registry as is passed with the support of all opposition parties. This vote by the opposition parties proves that when it comes to the wasteful and ineffective long gun registry, the opposition is more interested in playing political games than doing the right thing and standing up for their constituents.

Could the parliamentary secretary update the House on the Conservative government's continued commitment to end the wasteful and ineffective long gun registry?

Firearms Registry
Oral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Oxford
Ontario

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his strong support regarding this wasteful and ineffective long gun registry. Unlike members across the way, I know he is standing up for his constituents. I hope the members for Malpeque and Yukon will follow his lead and do the same.

The choice is clear for all MPs, especially those Liberal and NDP members who voted for the bill at second reading. We either vote to scrap the long gun registry or keep the long gun registry. No more political games. The constituents of those 12 NDP and eight Liberal MPs deserve better. It is as simple as that.

Committees of the House
Oral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, Conservative staffers are running from the law. For days now, a bailiff has been trying to serve Dimitri Soudas, the Prime Minister's chief spokesperson, with a subpoena, but the Prime Minister's Office will not let the bailiff in the building.

Canadians work hard. They play by the rules and they expect their government to do the same. Why are the Conservatives acting like they are above the law?

Committees of the House
Oral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Nepean—Carleton
Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the committee has ignored all of the rules of fairness by announcing the summons to the news media before it was actually delivered. The committee knows the rules for summonses. The committee should begin to follow them. This is especially true of the committee chair.

On this side, we respect ministerial responsibility. We call on the Liberals and the other coalition parties to do the same.

Shipbuilding Industry
Oral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Bloc

Gérard Asselin Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec's shipbuilding industry is afraid it will be forgotten. The president of Groupe maritime Verreault pointed out, for example, that the repositioning expenses for repairing ships in Quebec puts Quebec at a disadvantage, given that repairs at the Irving family shipyards will incur little or no transportation costs.

Will the government eliminate the transportation expenses policy and ensure that Quebec gets its fair share of the shipbuilding contracts?

Shipbuilding Industry
Oral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière
Québec

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and to the Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased that the hon. member has given me the opportunity to remind the House that yesterday we announced our government's national shipbuilding procurement strategy. Our strategy will create over 75 million person-hours of employment and inject $35 billion into Canada's shipbuilding industry. It will bring predictability to the federal ship procurement process by relying on Canadian sources to meet the needs of Canadians and the requirements of the shipbuilding industry.

Health
Oral Questions

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, we know caffeine is an addictive stimulant. Canadian parents are always concerned about how much is in colas. Instead of helping the situation, Health Canada has opened the floodgates to allow high amounts of caffeine in all child-marketed soft drinks.

The government caved into the soft drink lobby. Canadians deserve to know who lobbied whom on this file.

Finally, will the Minister of Health reverse Health Canada's new rule allowing caffeine in all soft drinks?

Health
Oral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Colin Carrie Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, our main concern was to ensure the health and safety of Canadians before allowing the addition of additives such as caffeine to be included in all carbonated soft drinks for sale in Canada. Our health risk assessments conclude that there are no risks to consumers.

We are working with the industry to ensure labels identify all sources of caffeine so Canadians are able to make the best choices for themselves and for their families.

Committees of the House
Oral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Rod Bruinooge Winnipeg South, MB

Mr. Speaker, I understand the opposition wants to import the foreign U.S. committee system that is used as a political weapon to bully, intimidate and humiliate opponents by expecting junior employees to come before committee to account for their ministers.

Could the government House leader please tell the House how the government is responding to these tactics?

Committees of the House
Oral Questions

Noon

Prince George—Peace River
B.C.

Conservative

Jay Hill Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, as I have been saying repeatedly, we have a tradition of ministerial responsibility and we are upholding that. Our cabinet ministers not only answer questions in question period but they appear at standing committees to do that.

I would hope that all opposition chairs of these committees, rather than conduct kangaroo courts as they have been doing in the past, actually learn and apply the rules and procedures and not allow opposition MPs of the coalition parties to bully, intimidate and attempt to humiliate these junior political staffers.

Committees of the House
Oral Questions

Noon

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, Dimitri Soudas is not some demure, naive, vulnerable young staffer. He bullies the press gallery. He muzzles ministers. He speaks for the entire government. In fact, he is paid $150,000 a year to tell all of those ministers every day what they can and cannot say.

Why can he not speak for himself at committee? Why is the government muzzling its chief muzzler?

Committees of the House
Oral Questions

Noon

Nepean—Carleton
Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we have answered that question time and again.

I notice that the member forgot to mention the enormous job growth this country experienced in the last month. That is because he and the coalition parties do not want Canadians to know that through a popular measure of tax cuts and a broad economic action plan we have created over 300,000 jobs.

Now, the Liberal leader threatens all of that with plans to raise the GST, hammer businesses with higher taxes and kill jobs for Canadians. We will not have any of that.

International Co-operation
Oral Questions

Noon

Bloc

Jean Dorion Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Council for International Co-operation, the CCIC, was forced to hand out pink slips to two-thirds of its employees because its agreement with CIDA ended on March 31.

The CCIC, a coalition of about a hundred organizations working to end global poverty, appears to be the Prime Minister's most recent victim as he attempts to systematically muzzle all organizations that question Conservative policies.

When will the Conservative government stop using public funding as a political weapon to thank its friends and punish anyone who disagrees with it?

International Co-operation
Oral Questions

Noon

Durham
Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda Minister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, I want to be very clear. This government wants to ensure that its international assistance is actually helping those it is intended to help. This is about making good, responsible use of taxpayer dollars for the best benefit of those living in poverty.

This government has been acknowledged for fulfilling its commitment, unlike the previous government that made a commitment to the starving children of the world and did not fulfill that commitment after signing the food aid convention four years out of seven.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Questions

Noon

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of the past chairs of the Writers' Union of Canada.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Questions

Noon

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Government Response to Petitions
Routine Proceedings

Noon

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Saskatchewan

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 26 petitions.

Safer Railways Act
Routine Proceedings

Noon

Conservative

Jay Hill Prince George—Peace River, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-33, An Act to amend the Railway Safety Act and to make consequential amendments to the Canada Transportation Act.

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

Prison Farms
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition today signed by dozens of Manitobans calling on the government to stop the closure of the six Canadian prison farms. All six prison farms, including Rockwood Institution in Manitoba, have been functioning farms for many decades providing food to prisons and to the community. The prison farm operations provide rehabilitation and training for prisoners through working with and caring for plants and animals. The work ethic, the rehabilitation benefit and waking up at six in the morning and working outdoors is a discipline that Canadians can appreciate.

On Sunday, June 6, Margaret Atwood will join citizens of all ages and political stripes on a march to the Correctional Service of Canada, Kingston headquarters, where they will be posting their demands for saving and revitalizing Canada's six prison farms. There have been 16 months of public events, letters, petitions, delegations and parliamentary motions that have nearly unanimous support across the country and yet the federal government is charging ahead with its ill-considered plan to shut down the six prison farms.

Heritage dairy herds that provide milk for inmates and Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick are slated for disposal. The first sale is scheduled for Kingston's Frontenac Institution the week of June 21. This will be the death of the farms.

Therefore, the petitioners call on the Government of Canada to stop the closure of the six Canadian prison farm operations across Canada and produce a report on the work and rehabilitative benefits to prisoners on the farm operations and how the program could be adapted to meet the agriculture needs of the 21st century.

Animal Welfare
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

NDP

Glenn Thibeault Sudbury, ON

Madam Speaker, I am pleased today to present a petition on behalf of hundreds of residents of my great riding of Sudbury and other residents of northern Ontario who petition the Government of Canada to support the universal declaration on animal welfare.

These individuals believe there are scientific consensus and public acknowledgement that animals can feel pain and can suffer and that all efforts should be made to prevent animal cruelty and reduce animal suffering. I am pleased to present this petition.

Harmonized Sales Tax
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to add the names of 50 petitioners from Burnaby—New Westminster, along with several thousand of my constituents who add their voices to the 10,000 people in my riding who have signed the “rescind the HST” petition.

In all 85 provincial ridings in British Columbia the threshold has been surpassed to push for a province-wide referendum to rescind the HST. These petitioners have said that the impacts on small businesses would be far too serious to risk the HST, which was concocted by the federal Conservatives and provincial Liberals, and that the impact on ordinary citizens of British Columbia would be enormous.

For all those reasons, the petitioners ask the government to rescind the hated HST now.

North Korean Refugees
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle Nickel Belt, ON

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to present two petitions.

The first petition is from dozens of Canadians who are calling upon the House of Commons and the Government of Canada to support Motion No. 383 and vigorously participate in the international effort urging the government of the People's Republic of China to ensure the safe passage of North Korean refugees to South Korea.

With the tensions right now in South Korea and North Korea, this petition is very important.

Fishing Industry
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle Nickel Belt, ON

Madam Speaker, the second petition is also from dozens of Canadians right across Canada who draw the attention of the House of Commons to the fact that nine million sockeye salmon have disappeared during the summer's migration to the Fraser River, the lowest return in 50 years; that this crisis is similar in magnitude to the collapse of the Atlantic cod stocks; and that the Conservative Party promised in its 2006 platform to establish an independent judicial inquiry to determine the cause of the collapse of the sockeye salmon stocks on the Fraser River and has not yet delivered on its promise.

The petitioners urgently call upon the government to establish an independent judicial inquiry under the federal Inquiries Act that would fully explore all the facts, consult with scientists and stakeholders to determine what went wrong with this year's sockeye run and present a public report with findings and solutions within six months.

Guaranteed Income Supplement
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, today I am pleased to present a petition signed by people in Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie who feel that Bill C-516, An Act to amend the Old Age Security Act (application for supplement, retroactive payments and other amendments), which was introduced in the House of Commons on April 22, 2010, would correct the many problems associated with the guaranteed income supplement by increasing the amount of the supplement by $110 a month.

This is an important issue for seniors in my riding, and I am happy to present this petition.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.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

12:10 p.m.

The Acting Speaker Ms. Denise Savoie

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed consideration of Bill C-9, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 4, 2010 and other measures, as reported (without amendment) from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 2.

Jobs and Economic Growth Act
Government Orders

12:10 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

The parliamentary secretary had been speaking. Questions and comments. The hon. member for Mississauga South.

Jobs and Economic Growth Act
Government Orders

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Madam Speaker, Bill C-9 includes provisions that would change the laws of the land with regard to the environment.

Bill C-9 would pre-empt the five-year review that we were going to do of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. It also would allow the minister to dictate the scope of environmental assessments rather than allowing for the normal assessment process. It also would weaken the participation of the public in efforts to protect our environment.

Would the hon. member advise the House why he believes this weakening of our environmental laws in Canada is in the public interest?

Jobs and Economic Growth Act
Government Orders

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Peterborough, ON

Madam Speaker, obviously this government has worked very effectively on strengthening Canada's environmental protection.

I was part of the environment committee that completed a review of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. The member may not be aware of this, but that bill, under the previous Liberal government, was completely ineffective because of all the red tape and it was refined.

I am told now that President Obama is looking at the effective regulation in this country as a way to build environmental protection in the United States. That is our record.

Jobs and Economic Growth Act
Government Orders

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Rickford Kenora, ON

Madam Speaker, going around northern Ontario the past week or two, it is very clear that the mining sector is pleased with what this government is doing. They are concerned that they are not getting the support from MPs in other parts of northern Ontario.

I just want to ask the parliamentary secretary, who I co-chair the mining caucus with, if he can tell us what some of the specific things in this great bill would do for that mining sector and how we can help that important sector out in northern Ontario despite the lack of support from the members of Parliament across northern Ontario outside the great Kenora riding.

Jobs and Economic Growth Act
Government Orders

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Peterborough, ON

That is a great question. Obviously, Madam Speaker, we have done an awful lot for the mining sector, more than any government in recent history.

Of course, we have stimulated the mining industry by extending the mining exploration tax credit. We brought in a CCA writedown so they can depreciate their equipment faster. We have reduced the corporate tax rates, which are a tax on jobs. We have extended the super flow through for prospecting and developing across this country. We have eliminated tariffs on the importation of equipment needed for the mining sector.

The government is standing four-square behind the mining sector, and the NDP members, especially the ones from northern Ontario, which has some of the premier mining constituencies in the world, are holding up the bill, a bill that helps the mining sector. I cannot square it. It does not make a lot of sense.

Jobs and Economic Growth Act
Government Orders

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to participate in the debate at third reading on Bill C-9.

This is the budget implementation bill. Canadians would think that the budget implementation bill deals with items that were in the budget and in the throne speech. That is not exactly true. In fact, it is the basis of concern of a lot of parliamentarians and Canadians that buried in the budget implementation bill are a substantial number of significant items that have just been added to it. What the government has done, in fact, is to avoid its obligation to be accountable, to be open, to be transparent.

I remember giving a speech to a parliamentary forum in which I tried to define accountability. I try to apply this in most of the work that I see in the House, to see whether accountability has been achieved. I define accountability to say that one is accountable when one has explained or justified one's decisions or actions in a manner that is true, full and plain.

I do not believe the government has been accountable in Bill C-9. The budget implementation bill is really an omnibus bill, because it includes in it changes to an awful lot of pieces of legislation and acts in Canada that were never included in the throne speech, the budget speech, or in fact, in the budget document itself.

Why would the government do that? In my view, it is to seek to be unaccountable, to be less than transparent, to be less than open--

Jobs and Economic Growth Act
Government Orders

12:15 p.m.

An hon. member

Do you remember how to do it?

Jobs and Economic Growth Act
Government Orders

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Madam Speaker, the member knows I am the runner-up this year, so I am going to get a chance to get my speech.

But I congratulate him on the honour that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance received this week. He has a good speaking voice, too.

In any event, in this bill we know there are some items that were not pre-disclosed. It is an 880-page bill.

That bill went to committee, but if that bill includes a number of items that are not included or not part of the mandate or the discipline of the members who are at that committee, how could they possibly give it the due diligence? How could they possibly give it the attention? It is like having a dozen serious, detailed pieces of legislation all put into one bill and treating it as if it were one. That means the whole process of second reading, referral to committee and hearing of witnesses, report stage, third reading, all of these things, are done once. Yet in the budget implementation bill, there are items that in themselves could have been a separate bill and would have required substantial debate within the House at second reading, substantial review and due diligence activity at committee to ask the tough questions of the government, as well as the making of amendments at report stage, and then, of course, the rest of the legislative process.

The government has preempted that. It has preempted that process by including these pieces of legislation.

One of the big changes we have, as I referred to in a question earlier, is significant changes to the rules, the laws of Canada, as they relate to environmental assessments. Our environment committee would have liked to have had an opportunity to call experts and Canadians and to promote public participation in terms of significant environmental issues. Buried in Bill C-9 are provisions that would preempt the five-year review of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

That is a legislative review. It is something that we do very often.

As a matter fact, I have one coming to my ethics committee, hopefully early in the fall. It is a legislated, mandated review of the Lobbying Act.

These are important pieces of legislation and they are to be reviewed to ensure that they continue to provide the representation of the public interest.

Bill C-9 also allows the minister to dictate the scope of environmental assessments. It leaves it up to the minister, delegated authority, effectively, that the minister can truncate the scope of work that would be done. Environmental assessments are done because Canadians have said we need to know what will be the consequences of a variety of initiatives or projects that may take place.

This now gives the authority to the minister to limit the scope and the number of environmental assessments that will take place. Does it paint a picture? It is going to weaken the public participation.

We always talk about the importance of representing our constituents. Yet the government, through this ploy of an omnibus bill and throwing this in and not allowing the full amount of debate, has destroyed the opportunities that Canadians have to deal with important issues such as the environment.

The government does not have the environment as a priority. It thought that Kyoto was a socialist plot trying to transfer money from the rich to the poor. It embarrassed us at Copenhagen. It has no priorities and no plan on the environment, yet it is going further to weaken the legislative tools and the rights of Canadians with regard the provisions of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

That is not accountable. By burying it in this bill, it is not transparent. It is not plain, it is not open, it is not clear, it is not concise, it is not correct. It is wrong. The government boasts about accountability but does it with its fingers crossed behind its back. It does not want to be accountable.

As a matter of fact, the government is even ordering witnesses not to appear before committees, who have been summoned under the law to appear before those committees. It is telling them not to appear, because it does not want the committee and Canadians to hear what witnesses have to say about the obstruction of the Government of Canada in terms of the release of public information under the Access to Information Act.

Is that accountability? No. It is not accountable. In fact, it is promoting secrecy. It is promoting, “I'm doing it our way and we are not going to tell anybody anything”. This is the kind of attitude that the government has shown.

There are many other examples. We have Canada Post Corporation. One of the changes that is going to happen as a consequence of Bill C-9 is that buried in it is a little clause that is going to change the Canada Post Corporation Act to say that the exclusive privilege referred to in subsection 14(1), which is the privilege of Canada Post to collect and deliver the mail, does not apply to letters intended for delivery to an addressee outside of Canada.

Can we imagine the impact of that? Can we fathom the reason that the government would bury this amendment in a budget implementation bill?

Is there more? Of course there is.

How about Atomic Energy of Canada Limited? Its offices are located in the Sheridan Park research centre, a couple of hundred yards behind my home. It employs a very large number of engineers, technicians and experts. They work on projects, whether they be related to Candu or other reactors where we are dealing with the production of medical isotopes or whatever. Somehow the government believes it can take pieces out of AECL; it can privatize it; it can sell it off.

We do not have the confidence. The government is saying by this bill and how it has handled AECL that it does not care about AECL anymore. It does not care about how we are going to provide for medical isotopes. It does not care about the reputation of the extraordinary technological knowledge, experience and expertise we have in Candu reactors and AECL's future.

All the government cares about is that it can sell off an asset and get some capital injected by someone else, not by the government. Why? It is because it has destroyed the fiscal position of the country.

The Conservative government inherited a $13 billion surplus from the prior government in 2006, and now it has driven it down to a $50 billion deficit. It is going to go higher and unemployment is still going to go higher, notwithstanding the recent reports.

This is a government that is scrambling with the lamest of approaches to try to capitalize on asset sales or on disposing of other rights or authorities of the government, passing on future profits for cash today so that it can say it is getting the deficit down.

The bill should be defeated because the government has not been accountable.

Jobs and Economic Growth Act
Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Madam Speaker, I thank the House for allowing me the opportunity to show my shock at some of the comments, as I stated in the House earlier today, that are completely fact-free.

I know the hon. member is very active on committees, and I congratulate him on being elected by his colleagues in this House as the second hardest working member of Parliament, but he does not have the privilege of sitting on the finance committee where we heard from over 50 witnesses who talked about the benefits that are in this legislation.

However, I do know that he has had the privilege of sitting in many Parliaments before, so I would assume that he supported many budgets because his government put them forward. One example is Bill C-43 in 2005. It actually impacted more federal acts than this legislation, such as the Auditor General Act, the Asia-Pacific act, the Broadcasting Act, additional payments to the maritime provinces and Canadian environmental protection. I am sorry but there are just too many to mention them all.

I have a list of budget bills that the member sat through that were far deeper and far more omnibus, if he wants to use that word, so how does he justify complaining about this bill?

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
Government Orders

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
Government Orders

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
Government Orders

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
Government Orders

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?

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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1:05 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Crombie Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Madam Speaker, the member for Okanagan—Shuswap said that the government was attempting to legitimize remailers. Obviously, they were existing illegally and by imposing them into the budget bill does not really legalize them, but it does not make it right either. We know that Bill C-9 supercedes an upper court decision that confirmed Canada Post Corporation's exclusive privilege.

We know as well that deregulation will lead to compromised service in rural areas and in some urban areas as they close outlets. It will lead to lost jobs and increased costs. The government tell us that there is a service charter in place, a moratorium on closings in rural areas, so we should not worry about it. However, we know that if it had really meant it, it would have legislated the moratorium. Therefore, it is as worthless as the paper it is written on.

I do not even want to go toward AECL, which the member also referenced. This is proprietary technology that all Canadians should be proud of and a barnburner sale is going to take place. It will be the Avro Arrow of our generation.

As the member said, why is the government not willing to sever out these portions of the bill? Why is the government not willing to open up debate on deregulation and privatization to full disclosure and fulsome and mindful debate? Why will it not sever out remailers and AECL for a full debate?

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1:10 p.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle Nickel Belt, ON

Madam Speaker, the government does not want to split the bill to take out Canada Post and the AECL because it knows it will lose that debate. It has already lost it twice.

As far as remailers are concerned, as the critic for the Liberal Party for the post office, she knows full well that there are remailers existing in Canada that are doing it illegally.

Will the member support the NDP motion when it comes time to vote on this bill and defeat Bill C-9 so we can bring back a real budget that excludes all of the heinous issues that the Conservatives have put in this bill?

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1:10 p.m.

Bloc

Guy André Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, this morning, the parliamentary secretary told the House that everything was going well and that according to the OECD, Canada has had a major economic recovery, which means more revenue for the government. When the government has more revenue, it should be able to provide more support to those who need it most. The government is responsible for redistributing our collective wealth. It needs to provide more support to the unemployed and improve postal services instead of introducing Bill C-9, an omnibus bill that attempts to slip in reduced access to services. The government could be providing more services to the public, but it is doing the opposite.

I would like my colleague to say a few words about the Conservatives' philosophy. They are spending $1 billion on three days of security in Toronto, but they are not giving a dime to support the unemployed, seniors and the less fortunate in our society. What is more, they are not investing anything in the environment, which is supposed to be a top priority for the G8 and the G20.

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1:10 p.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my Bloc colleague for his good question.

He is absolutely right. The government is going to spend $1 billion to ensure the safety of the heads of state who are coming to Canada for three days and we do not know exactly why.

He raised another good point: employment insurance. The deregulation of Canada Post and the sale of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited are going to result in more layoffs. The private companies that are going to buy these corporations for just a few million dollars will want to make more and more profits and it is the workers who will be the first to pay the price.

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1:10 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

It being 1:15 p.m., pursuant to order made Thursday, June 3, 2010, all questions necessary to dispose of the report stage of Bill C-9 shall be put forthwith, without further debate or amendment.

The question is on Motion No. 3. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

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1:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

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1:10 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

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1:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

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1:10 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

All those opposed will please say nay.

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1:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

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1:10 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

In my opinion, the nays have it.

And five or more members having risen:

The recorded division on the motion stands deferred.

The question is on Motion No. 4. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

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1:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

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1:10 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

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1:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

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1:10 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

All those opposed will please say nay.

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1:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

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1:10 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

In my opinion, the nays have it.

And five or more members having risen:

The recorded division on the motion stands deferred and the recorded division will also apply to Motions Nos. 5 to 15.

Ordinarily at this time, the House would proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded divisions at the report stage of the bill. However, pursuant to Standing Order 45, the recorded divisions stand deferred until Monday, June 7, 2010 at the ordinary hour of daily adjournment.

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1:15 p.m.

Conservative

Ted Menzies Macleod, AB

Madam Speaker, I believe that if you were to seek it, you would find support for seeing the clock as 1:30 p.m.

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1:15 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House?

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1:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

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1:15 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

The House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business, as listed on today's order paper.

The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-395, An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act (labour dispute), as reported (with amendment) from committee.

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1:15 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

There being no motions at report stage, the House will now proceed without debate to the putting of the question on the motion to concur in the bill at report stage.

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1:15 p.m.

Bloc

Guy André Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

moved that Bill C-395, An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act (labour dispute), as amended, be concurred in at report stage.

Employment Insurance Act
Private Members' Business

1:15 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

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

Employment Insurance Act
Private Members' Business

1:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Employment Insurance Act
Private Members' Business

1:15 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Employment Insurance Act
Private Members' Business

1:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Employment Insurance Act
Private Members' Business

1:15 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

All those opposed will please say nay.

Employment Insurance Act
Private Members' Business

1:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Employment Insurance Act
Private Members' Business

1:15 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Pursuant to Standing Order 98, a recorded division stands deferred until Wednesday, June 9, immediately before the time provided for private members' business.

It being 1:19 p.m., this House stands adjourned until Monday next at 11 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 1:19 p.m.)