House of Commons Hansard #73 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was trade.

Topics

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of the national anthem led by the hon. member for Timmins—James Bay.

[Members sang the national anthem]

Agriculture
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Chris Warkentin Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, I stand in this House today to draw attention to the challenges being faced by many Peace Country farmers this fall.

Many Canadians have heard a lot about the flood conditions in parts of Alberta but have heard little in the media about the drought conditions in the northwest region of the province. In my tours of the driest areas of my constituency, I have come across some of the worst crop failures I have ever seen.

The drought this year comes on the heels of four years of poor crop yields that have already significantly impacted the financial stability of many producers. For this reason, we are very thankful for the announcement of assistance that will aid local farmers.

The announcement of an estimated $170 million that will be distributed through the agri-insurance, agri-stability and agri-recovery programs to Peace Country farm families came as a major relief and a much needed encouragement.

Peace Country producers, like all Canadian farm families, know they can count on this Conservative government to stand with them in times of disaster and in times of need.

Census
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, reaction about the census is extremely clear. We know that the list of organizations that disagree with the government's decision is growing every day. Here are some more: the Association des statisticiens et statisticiennes du Québec, the Canadian Bar Association, the Association des Soeurs du Canada, the Association canadienne-française pour l'avancement des sciences, the Association féminine d'éducation et d'action sociale, the Association francophone pour le savoir, the Association of Canadian Map Libraries and Archives—there are still more—the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, the Association of Educational Researchers of Ontario, the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada, Quebec's Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse and the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages.

And that is only a fraction, only some of the organizations that are furious with the government. I will stop there, but I could go on and on.

Jean-Guy Saint-Gelais
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

France Bonsant Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, Jean-Guy Saint-Gelais has a most impressive list of achievements. For the past few decades, he has been volunteering his time to work with youth and seniors, in addition to being a member of the board of directors of the Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, in Canada and internationally.

Mr. Saint-Gelais received the Quebec Lieutenant Governor's Seniors Medal and a certificate of achievement from the Quebec National Assembly, and he is well known by people in the Ascot neighbourhood of Sherbrooke for his dedication to Ascot's public health organization and to the newspaper Regards.

On behalf of the community of Compton—Stanstead, I salute all of the work Mr. Saint-Gelais has done, and thank him for the hundreds of hours he has invested in the well-being of his fellow citizens.

Seniors
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, this summer, I had the opportunity to knock on doors in various communities throughout my riding. One thing was clear: constituents, like Frank Rainville from Sturgeon Falls, are deeply anxious about their future and their retirement prospects, for good reasons.

The Conservative government can spare millions of dollars on television and billboard ads but can only spare a $1.50 increase to old age security, after a two year freeze.

Our seniors are facing mounting costs in every aspect of their lives. Whether it is their medication or the unfair McGuinty-Harper HST, life is becoming harder. Limited access to long-term care is adding insult to injury. Those who are fortunate to be employed are deeply worried about their pensions.

I am proud of the work of the NDP. We are listening and acting on their concerns.

With concrete plans, such as improving the Canada pension plan, increasing the guaranteed income supplement to lift seniors out of poverty, to lowering drug costs through a national drug strategy, we are fighting to ensure Canadians retire with dignity and security.

Human Rights
Statements by Members

September 29th, 2010 / 2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, an unimaginable evil is happening in parts of Africa. Body parts of people with albinism are being hacked off and sold to witch doctors with deadly results. They believe that the body parts of albinos have magical powers, capable of bringing riches. In one instance, a Tanzanian trader was caught with the head of an albino baby. He was to be paid for the head by its weight.

Under the cover of darkness, a group of vicious hunters in northwestern Tanzania charged into the room of another victim. Bib-i-ana's pale young body was pinned down and one of her little legs was hacked off as her sister screamed in horror.

Albinos are known as zeru zeru, meaning invisible, inhuman, a ghost. They are being hunted and sold to witch doctors for lucrative profits.

I ask each member of this Parliament to please help me and others to stop this horrific evil.

Census
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Dhalla Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, the list keeps on getting longer of Canadians who oppose the government's decision to stop the long form census: the region of Peel; the city of Brampton; the town of Caledon; the town of Halton Hills, the town of Milton; the town of Smiths Falls; the city of Fredericton; the city of greater Sudbury; the city of Hamilton; and the city of Kelowna.

There is also: the Canadian Catholic Council of Bishops; the Burlington Chamber of Commerce; the Transportation Association of Canada; the United Steel Workers; United Way of Canada; the Canadian Historical Association; the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association; the Canadian Public Health Association; the Chinese Canadian National Council; and the Canadian Association for Business Economics.

These are only a fraction of the people who oppose the decision. The consensus on the census is that Canadians do not agree.

International Day of Older Persons
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Maurice Vellacott Saskatoon—Wanuskewin, SK

Mr. Speaker, October 1 is International Day of Older Persons. This Friday, Canadians will celebrate Canadian seniors and recognize the important contributions they continue to make.

One in seven Canadians today is a senior. Today's diverse group of seniors assumes many different roles. Seniors are remarkable business leaders, devoted mentors, energetic athletes and exemplary volunteers.

Budget 2010 invested an additional $5 million per year in the new horizons for seniors program, bringing the total overall budget to $40 million. This additional funding will support projects that encourage seniors to volunteer and mentor other generations, as well as initiatives that aim to increase awareness of financial abuse.

The government also introduced several cost-saving measures, including pension income splitting, doubling the pension income credit, increasing the age credit and reducing minimum RRIF withdrawals.

Much still needs to be done. We will continue to work hard to meet the needs of Canadian seniors.

For strengthening our yesterday and continuing to shape tomorrow, let us honour Canadian seniors today.

Information Rights Week
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Freeman Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week is Information Rights Week in Quebec and Canada. Information rights are critical to any democracy because they tell us how healthy a democracy is and reflect the authorities' willingness to be transparent.

Since the Conservatives came to power, there has been widespread criticism about the government keeping too tight a lock on information and having a culture of secrecy. Examples of this are many: Parliament was prorogued to prevent access to the Afghan detainee file, many senior public servants who dared to criticize the government have resigned, organizations that criticized the government have had their funding cut, and a unilateral decision was made to scrap the mandatory long form census to make it easier for the government to impose its ideology.

I should also note that three ministers, including the Prime Minister's Quebec lieutenant, have been the subject of priority investigations by the information commissioner.

According to the commissioner, “delays threaten to render the entire access [to information] regime irrelevant”. This government has to drop its obsession with controlling information—

Information Rights Week
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Saint John.

New Brunswick Election
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Rodney Weston Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to congratulate premier-elect David Alward and his Progressive Conservative team on their decisive victory in the province of New Brunswick on Monday.

New Brunswickers have chosen an extremely talented team of MLAs to work for them at the Legislative Assembly in Fredericton.

This marks the first time in New Brunswick history that an incumbent government has not been re-elected to a second term.

On a more personal note, I have known Premier Alward since 1999 when we were first elected and served together in the provincial legislature. He is an honest, decent and hard-working individual whose passion and commitment for New Brunswick is unwavering.

On this side of the House, we look forward to working with Premier Alward and his team on issues important to New Brunswick.

Together, we will get things done and deliver for all New Brunswickers.

Census
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, the list of those whose advice to keep the long form census, which the Prime Minister rejects, continues to rise. It includes: Tom Flanagan, his former chief strategist and political plotter; Alex Himelfarb, former clerk of the Privy Council; the Canadian Jewish Congress; the Social Planning Council of Toronto; the Toronto Association for Business Economics; the Toronto Board of Trade; the Toronto Board of Health; the Toronto immigrant and employment data initiative; Toronto Public Health; Toronto social research data; Toronto Women's Housing Co-op; Transportation Association of Canada; United Way of Toronto; University of Toronto; Volunteer Toronto; West Hill Community Services; West Toronto Support Services; York Community Services. The list goes on.

Why does the Prime Minister not open up his ears to those who give him good advice?

Employment Insurance
Statements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Bernard Généreux Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, today, we have expressed our government's strong opposition to the plan by the Liberal leader's coalition for a massive, permanent increase to EI premiums to support a 45-day work year.

At a time when Canadians can least afford it the Liberal-NDP-Bloc coalition is proposing drastic changes to the EI program which would cost Canadians and Quebeckers more than $6.6 billion annually.

Working for just 45 days and collecting EI for the rest of the year is irresponsible and offensive to hard-working Canadians.

This initiative would cost Canadian taxpayers billions and result in a massive, permanent increase in payroll taxes that would hurt workers and small businesses.

The Liberals shamefully raided the EI surplus when they were in government to pay for their pet political projects.

Our Conservative Government believes that the best solution is to get Canadians back to work.

Canada Post
Statements by Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, successive Liberal and Conservative governments slashed social programs and it is now up to family members to pick up the slack when health care, long-term care and social services fail to deliver. Most often, it is women who become the de facto social safety net in this country and it is leaving them overstretched. The least we could do is ensure that government policies support a better work-family balance.

Sadly, Canada Post is adopting exactly the opposite approach by forcing regular letter carriers to work overtime. Not only does this undermine a healthy work-family balance, but it also threatens the health and safety of workers.

This summer, a woman letter carrier in Hamilton suffered heat exhaustion because of the extra hours on the job. Someone could get seriously hurt.

In these tough economic times, why would we allow a crown corporation to adopt a policy that is detrimental to existing workers and undermines new jobs for more Canadians? Why would Canada Post pay overtime rates to regular employees who do not want it when other employees would gladly do the same job for regular wages? Is Canada Post really just trying to deplete CUPW's strike fund before its collective agreement expires?

The Minister of Transport has responsibility for Canada Post. When will he take that seriously and defend the interests of hard-working Canadians against a crown corporation run amok?

National Defence
Statements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, our government's investment in the F-35 program is a win-win for the Canadian Forces and the Canadian economy.

The forces will benefit by replacing the CF-18, an aircraft that will soon reach the end of its useful life, and Canadians will benefit from well-paying, highly skilled jobs for decades to come.

However, do not just take my word for it. Yesterday, CEOs from major Canadian aerospace companies confirmed that this investment would create thousands of high-quality jobs and investment across Canada for years to come. In fact, CEOs warned that delaying or cancelling this program would be devastating for Canada's world-class aerospace industry.

Greg Yeldon, president of Esterline CMC Electronics, said it best:

We want all parties to support the government's decision because it is in the best interest of all Canadians.

We urge all parties to put Canadian jobs first, support Canada's economy and get behind this crucial project.