House of Commons Hansard #52 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was farmers.

Topics

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

It being Wednesday, we will have the singing of the national anthem led today by the hon. member for Newmarket—Aurora.

[Members sang the national anthem]

University of Ontario Institute of Technology
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is a reason that Oshawa is considered one of the fastest growing cities in Canada. Oshawa boasts some of the most impressive post-secondary institutions in Canada that will help create the jobs of tomorrow today.

Nowhere is this more evident than at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. In Oshawa, UOIT has created the perfect storm in the name of innovation. Recently, the Automotive Centre of Excellence was officially opened in the midst of a raging Arctic blizzard. This world-class facility includes one of the largest and most sophisticated climatic wind tunnels in the world. This tunnel can create temperatures from -40°C to 60°C and is able to assimilate conditions like driving in the middle of an Arctic blizzard. This is where the next generation of electric and alternative fuel vehicles, green energy technology and products will be discovered, tested and validated.

UOIT will help lead Oshawa into the future.

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome the new vice-chancellor, Dr. Tim McTiernan.

Poverty
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to highlight an issue that touches far too many people in Canada: child and family poverty.

It has been over 20 years since the House unanimously adopted an NDP motion to eradicate child poverty and yet, in 2011, the statistics are appalling: 639,000, nearly one in ten Canadian children, live in poverty today; and 52% of all single mothers with children under six live in poverty.

Having a full-time job is often not enough. One in four Canadians working full time earn less than the poverty rate. One in three poor children have at least one parent who works full time.

Canadian children, seniors, families and youth all are experiencing levels of poverty that are simply unacceptable in a nation as wealthy such as ours. This is an intolerable situation that demands action from all elected officials, but especially from our federal government.

Today, I call on the government to join provincial and territorial governments, first nations and civil society to develop a national poverty reduction strategy. We cannot, we must not and we should not wait any longer.

John Rhodes Scholarship Dinner
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Bryan Hayes Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, I recently attended the John Rhodes Scholarship dinner in my riding of Sault Ste. Marie in honour of Dr. Lou and Mae Lukenda.

Dr. Lukenda is a dentist, philanthropist and citizen extraordinaire. He donated the Windsor Park Hotel to Algoma University, which has been converted into a student residence, assisting the recently accredited university to grow and prosper. He also donated a corporate office he owned to our sister city of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, for conversion to its new city hall.

When our local OHL team, the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, were in danger of being moved from Sault Ste. Marie, he bought the team, preserving a high level of athletic competition, an economic benefit for Sault Ste. Marie.

He excelled in dentistry for 38 years and as a distinguished member of the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario, Dr. Lou and Mae Lukenda have increased the well-being of many who live in my riding through their philanthropy, civil engagement and professionalism. They have demonstrated what it means to be good citizens.

I congratulate Dr. Lou and Mae Lukenda and thank them for truly serving their community.

The Environment
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, in 1987, Canada took a leadership role at the Vienna Convention, which phased out ozone destroying CFCs. Studies show that without it most of the ozone layer would have been destroyed by 2065, a catastrophe.

This week, the ninth meeting of parties to the Vienna Convention is being held in Bali, Indonesia. Our commitments to ozone monitoring and science will be questioned, given that Environment Canada's ozone scientists have received letters saying that their positions are in jeopardy.

Next week is the Durban climate change conference. The International Energy Agency says that rising fossil fuel energy use will lead to irreversible and potentially catastrophic climate change.

Will the government remember that we have a moral obligation to our children and grandchildren and honour it by meeting scientifically defensible greenhouse gas targets?

We are thankful for the action the world took in 1987 and we need to be similarly courageous now.

Justice
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Anders Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to putting real criminals behind bars. Canadians who have been a victim of a crime should not be recriminalized by the criminal justice system. That is why our government has introduced Bill C-26. This legislation would bring much needed reform for Canadians to defend themselves, their property and arrest the perpetrators.

Last year, Joseph Singleton, a resident of Alberta, while trying to protect his property, was charged with assault. Rather than being supported, his brave act to defend his home and his family has caused him more harm than good. Mr. Singleton had to go through the complex and lengthy court system to clear his own name.

There should be no more innocent victims who are penalized for defending their property. Bill C-26 would help police and judges to determine who the actual criminals and victims are and will prevent similar cases. Canadians would now have the fundamental right to protect themselves, their family and their property.

Child Poverty
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, it has been another tough year for Canadian families. However, thanks to the Occupy Movement, unprecedented media attention has finally been brought to the growing gap between the rich and the poor.

The disparity between the top 1% of income earners and the other 99% affects us all. Unequal societies are more likely to become dysfunctional. Health care costs rise while productivity is lost. And, it is children who are hurt the most.

Twenty-two years ago this month, Ed Broadbent introduced a landmark motion to end child poverty by the year 2000. His motion received unanimous support in this House but, over two decades later, the number of children living in poverty today is at almost the same level as it was in 1989.

In fact, out of the 24 richest nations in the world, Canada ranks 17th in caring for its children in poverty and 38% of food bank users are children. There are more food banks in Canada today than there are McDonald's. One in nine Canadian children live in poverty.

This holiday season I urge all members to support their local food banks and the United Way, but, frankly, if we want to give true meaning to the spirit of Christmas, then we need to act here in Parliament to end poverty now.

Lorne Reznowski
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Rod Bruinooge Winnipeg South, MB

Mr. Speaker, a constituent of mine, a retired University of Manitoba professor, Dr. Lorne Reznowski, passed away on November 9, and I would like to reflect on his important contributions to Canada.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Dr. Reznowski worked with both Social Credit Party leaders, Robert Thompson and Real Caouette, and later became leader himself while the party still had MPs in the House of Commons.

As a strong opponent of Prime Minister Trudeau's policies, Dr. Reznowski correctly predicted that the 1969 omnibus bill would bring Canada into a demographic crisis within his lifetime. Of course, he was right on this and on so many other issues related to the social policies of that era.

His strong beliefs are summed up in a quote from the 1980-81 Who's Who in America:

I firmly believe that one should never compromise his principles no matter what the immediate gain may be. I don't believe those principles should be swayed by Gallup polls or opinion surveys. My principles are not rooted in the prevailing secular humanism but in the Christian tradition.

I extend my heartfelt condolences to the Reznowski family.

Prostate Cancer
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, several years ago, I lost a great friend to prostate cancer and it sorrows me to this day to think that it may have been preventable.

He is my motivation for participating in movember again this year. Along with thousands of other men, I have boldly made a challenge to my peers and have asked them to take the risk seriously and get their prostate checked regularly.

The month-long movember campaign has broached this subject with humour because too many men still do not get it.

Prostate cancer is highly treatable and death often avoidable but it requires men to take responsibility, drop their modesty for a few minutes and get checked annually. A few minutes of caution is worth avoiding a shortened life of regret.

I applaud those participating in movember on both sides of this House and around the world. By having some fun being serious, we are helping to save lives.

Finally, I would like to appeal to all women to encourage the men in their lives, their husbands, brothers and fathers, to get checked regularly. Their support and encouragement may just be the final push needed to have their loved ones take responsibility for their health. Together, we will fight this awful disease.

Praxède Lévesque-Lapointe, Woman Farmer of the Year
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Jean Rousseau Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, last month, Praxède Lévesque-Lapointe was named woman farmer of the year by the Fédération des agricultrices du Québec for her hard work with female shea butter producers in Burkina Faso. In the small town of Bury, she and her husband were pioneers in running an organic sugar bush; producing organic raw milk cheese; raising endangered animal breeds; and lastly, importing, processing and marketing shea butter derivatives—all on the family farm.

The impact this partnership has had on the quality of life of female producers in Burkina Faso is very important to the survival of the villages and is also essential to the emancipation of these African women. This award recognizes this farmer's perseverance, courage and innovation over the years with her late husband, Daniel Lapointe. Praxède Lévesque-Lapointe is deserving of our admiration because she is an example of entrepreneurship and humanity at its best.

Taxation
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Wai Young Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals are back at it again with one of their favourite policies: tax everything.

Just yesterday the member for Vancouver Quadra tweeted about her desire to see European-style carbon taxes here in Canada. The member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville also recently advocated for a global carbon tax. If the Liberals had their way, Canadians would be paying substantially more for gas for their cars, for electricity for their homes, and for everything else that they buy. These are just more reminders of the Liberals' hidden agenda of imposing a massive new tax on everything if they ever got their chance.

The interim Liberal leader recently called for the end of tax credits for children, transit users and workers. The Liberals continue to call for higher taxes on job creators despite the current global economic uncertainty. The Liberal Party still has no new ideas other than higher taxes for Canadian families, just like their friends in the NDP.

Violence Against Women
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Lise St-Denis Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, violence against women comes in many forms. This violence is increasingly being seen and recognized in the form of physical injuries, rape, kidnapping and murder.

But the subtle, everyday violence that is expressed through contempt and hurtful comments is not so easily spotted. Women who suffer this verbal violence pay for these insidious attacks with their psychological well-being.

To increase women's self-confidence, we need to remain vigilant in the face of situations that prevent them from gaining that confidence. We need to encourage education programs to address the reactionary attitudes of some when it comes to women in the workplace and in society in general. Violence is not just found on the front page of the newspaper; there is also the verbal violence that attacks our self-esteem and kills our dreams. My words—

Violence Against Women
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The hon. member for Mississauga—Brampton South.

Eid on the Hill
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Eve Adams Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, later today hundreds of Canadian Muslims will come to Parliament Hill for the first annual Eid on the Hill event. They will be hosted by the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism. They will be here to talk to members of Parliament and to celebrate the many achievements of the Muslim community in Canada.

My riding of Mississauga—Brampton South has a very large Muslim community. Muslim Canadians enrich our culture and our lives in academia, arts, business and many other fields. That is why I am so proud that tonight the Prime Minister of Canada will be welcoming Muslim Canadians to our nation's capital. I cannot wait to join them.

Homelessness
Statements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the House that homelessness in Canada continues to be a problem.

I am appalled to see this government refuse to implement a viable, long-term plan to address this problem, which affects all of our communities, both socially and economically.

Earlier this month, I attended a huge rally in Montreal organized by RAPSIM. Not one representative from this government bothered to show up at this event, at which RAPSIM's 90 member organizations were able to discuss the pressing needs that exist in the fight against homelessness.

Unfortunately, the number of homeless people is not diminishing. This fact must be recognized and appropriate action must be taken.

We need to fulfill our responsibilities. I urge the government to act diligently to address this unacceptable situation, which has an impact on all Canadians.

Firearms Registry
Statements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Hillyer Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians gave our government a strong and clear mandate to end the wasteful and ineffective long gun registry, and that is exactly what we are doing. Every reasonable person knows that we cannot end the registry without destroying the records. The record is what the registry is.

Today big union boss and NDP leadership candidate Brian Topp told us the real reason the NDP wanted to keep the records. He said he is willing to overthrow the will of Canadians in the last election and use the records to reinstate the long gun registry. The leadership candidate from Skeena—Bulkley Valley threw cold water on this conniving proposal. I wonder if he will receive the same gag order that was imposed upon the two NDP members who did not vote with their party's bid to keep the registry.

That party is disunited and cannot be trusted. There are gag orders on MPs who listened to their constituents and leadership candidates who talk about overthrowing the will of the Canadian people. The NDP is not fit to govern.

Official Languages
Statements By Members

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Élaine Michaud Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, no one can contain the divisions in the ranks of the Conservatives. A growing number of them are finding the courage to criticize the immoral and disrespectful decisions of the Prime Minister. Yesterday, the hon. member for Ottawa—Orléans expressed his indignation and publicly criticized the shameful appointment of a unilingual anglophone Auditor General. The hon. member called it a mistake. He added, and I quote, “Canada's linguistic duality is essential to the very survival of the country”.

He is not the only one to say so. Before him, Conservative Senator Housakos, who is close to the Prime Minister, spoke out against this appalling appointment. Let us hope that these pleas give the Conservatives from Quebec the courage to stand up to a Prime Minister who never misses an opportunity to divide the country.

The Conservatives claimed they wanted to defend Canada, but they spend their time hiding behind their controlling leader. They have become exactly what they despised: politicians who are out of touch with reality.

New Democratic Party
Statements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, NDP members let their partisanship stand in the way of helping Canadian families and our economy.

That is why the NDP voted against helping the manufacturing sector stay strong, against helping small business hire more people, against new help for families, like the family caregiver and children's arts tax credits, and against the volunteer firefighter tax credit.

The NDP's anti-Canada agenda is even more alarming. At home the NDP oppose measures that are creating Canadian jobs. Then NDP MPs go abroad and attack Canada. In doing so, the NDP sides with a small group of radical activists and with its public sector union bosses against private sector union workers.

Canadians gave our Conservative government a strong mandate to stay focused on what matters: creating jobs and economic growth. The NDP's anti-Canada agenda is another worrying example that the ineffective, disunited NDP is unfit to govern.

Justice
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer
Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Justice put on quite a performance for his Quebec counterpart. When Jean-Marc Fournier asked for the studies that justify the Conservatives' repressive and regressive approach to justice, the Minister of Justice spoke about personal impressions.

Can the Prime Minister table the scientific studies that prove that maintaining the goal of long-term protection and restricting the publication of young offenders' identities are detrimental to public safety?

Justice
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, in tackling crime the government is pursuing the mandate given to us by the Canadian people. I understand very well that there are different opinions in some provinces. However, several provinces support these measures, including the NDP governments of Manitoba and Nova Scotia.

Justice
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer
Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the NDP moved the amendments suggested by the Government of Quebec. The amendments are based on facts, namely, that rehabilitation has proven to be successful and that the crime rate is declining in Canada. However, the Conservatives put ideology before the facts and before science.

I am again asking the Prime Minister to table the scientific studies that prove that their approach will reduce crime and rehabilitate offenders. Let him table the studies.

Justice
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government will continue to carry out its mandate and to ensure that the crime rate continues to decline across the country. It is up to the NDP to explain why there is one position in Quebec and another in Nova Scotia and Manitoba.

Justice
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer
Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Conservatives defeated amendment after amendment, and rammed through their prisons agenda.

Their short-sighted approach is simply not justified. Even the Department of Justice has shown that strict mandatory sentences do not work. They did not work in the United States. In fact, the U.S. is now backtracking.

Why does the Prime Minister refuse to listen to crime experts, the provinces, and the opposition?

Justice
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we are pursuing the mandate given by the Canadian people who do expect there to be serious penalties for, for instance, sexual predators and drug traffickers. That is what the Canadian people expect from their government. Frankly, that is what even many provincial governments support, including the NDP Government of Manitoba and the NDP Government of Nova Scotia. Maybe the Leader of the Opposition should speak to them to get some further information.

Justice
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are speaking out by the thousands against the government's wrong-headed prisons agenda.

We have heard from public safety experts, criminologists, bar associations, prosecutors and the provinces that the government's approach is ineffective, counterproductive and costly. New Democrats have offered solutions to fix this broken crime bill, but the door to reasonable debate seems to be closed.

Why is the government opposed to reasonable evidence-based policy?

Justice
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Niagara Falls
Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, we have based this bill on the recommendations, first of all, of the Nunn report and what we have heard from across this country and from provincial attorneys general from all political parties.

The bill goes after those individuals who sexually prey on children. It goes after drug traffickers. I cannot understand why that is always such a problem for the NDP. Could the hon. member please explain that to the House?

Firearms Registry
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, it is not just the misguided crime bill that has the out-of-touch government in hot water; it turns out the government's proposed legislation to kill the long gun registry has legal problems of its own.

Yesterday, the Information Commissioner and the Privacy Commissioner confirmed that the destruction of registry data risks contravening not one, not two, but three Canadian laws.

When will the government stop putting political motivation ahead of good public policy? Will it commit to preserving this data and respecting Canadian law?

Firearms Registry
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Provencher
Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, perhaps the member has not understood. We are changing the law. Claims that our legislation breaks the law simply do not make any sense in that context.

Our legislation will destroy the records which are increasingly inaccurate and unreliable, and become increasingly so over time. If given the chance, the opposition would once again use this data to target law-abiding citizens. We will not support the creation of the long gun registry through the back door.

Employment
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the latest Statistics Canada figures show that Canada has 578,000 fewer full-time jobs than in August 2008. Now the Auditor General is slamming the Conservatives for spending $47 billion of tax money on a jobs plan without keeping track of the jobs. He says that the government cannot prove how many jobs were created with the $47 billion.

How could the Conservatives use GPS to track action plan signs and not bother to track how many jobs were created? Are the Conservatives more interested in signs than in Canadian jobs?

Employment
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that since the end of the recession in July 2009, the net new job count in Canada is almost 600,000 jobs. The IMF and the OECD have looked at this. They have credited Canada with the best job growth in the G7 since the end of the recession.

I know the member for Kings—Hants does not believe in international assessments. We do and we are proud of our record as looked by the international organizations.

Employment
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, Canada has 578,000 fewer full-time jobs than before the recession. The Conservatives have spent $47 billion to supposedly create jobs, but the Auditor General is saying that the Conservatives cannot prove how many jobs were created.

How can a government be more interested in counting its action plan signs than in counting jobs created?

Employment
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Not only was the economic action plan in its first phase effective, Mr. Speaker, but in its next phase we have the budget items that the Liberals voted against. They voted against flowing $1 billion in federal funding to provinces and territories for infrastructure 2011-12. They voted against helping manufacturers by extending the capital cost allowance for two years. They voted against renewing EI pilot projects to help the unemployed. They voted against extending work sharing and against the hiring credit for more than half a million small businesses in Canada. That is the Liberal record.

Employment
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, we voted against a government and a finance minister who has missed every deficit target they ever set. We voted against a government that thinks it is fair to deny low-income Canadians the same kind of benefits it has offered other Canadians. We will continue to vote against a government with this level of economic incompetence and disinterest in helping working Canadians who need a hand during these difficult times.

The Muskoka minister was the one driving the G8 gravy train, wasting tax dollars on luxury hotels, fake lakes and gazebos. We know this based on municipal government documents. With—

Employment
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order please. The hon. member is out of time.

The hon. Minister of Finance.

Employment
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, not only do we have the view of the IMF that Canada is actually doing quite well, not only do we have Forbes magazine rating our country, Canada, as the best country in the world in which to invest, not only do we have that, but we have the Canadian people who, on May 2, had an opportunity to express their view at the ballot box with respect to the Liberals' economic policy, and we know the result of that. They are sitting way down in that corner.

G8 Summit
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the President of the Treasury Board claimed that he was not involved in picking projects for the legacy slush fund. Documents the NDP has now obtained show this is simply not true. According to his own office, he was personally involved in selecting projects.

We asked the minister at committee if he would table the documents that were sent to his office. At committee the minister said “sure”. He said it. Will he table the documents now?

G8 Summit
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, indeed, I answered a total of 75 questions at both the government operations committee and the public accounts committee of this chamber. I answered all those questions fully and completely and to the best of my ability. The record is very clear that I had no determinative role. I had a recommendation role, as a local member of Parliament, but the decisions were made by the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.

G8 Summit
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we could count the number of times he has not answered the questions put to him in this House.

The member for Parry Sound—Muskoka claims that he had no part in eliminating the famous 33rd project. That is untrue. At least three documents prove that and contradict what the member is claiming. He also claims that the applications sent to his constituency office on handwritten forms were never looked at. Once again, the documents obtained contradict that claim. His own second-in-command announced two of the refusals to municipalities herself.

Will the Conservatives finally accept the gravity of the situation and launch a full parliamentary inquiry, as suggested by the Auditor General?

G8 Summit
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated at committee, and as was backed up by various government officials at Transportation and Infrastructure and at Industry Canada, the documentation that was in my purview was forwarded to the Auditor General, who had access to all documentation. The officials indicated where there was documentation and where there was not. All those questions have been answered at committee, and I stand by my responses.

Airline Safety
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, while the Conservatives are cutting back on public airline safety and security, they are blowing $5 million a year on private jets that mostly sit empty. Government-paid pilots fly them around empty just to keep their licences. This is a new low, or should I say a new high, in wasting taxpayer money.

Instead of burning millions of dollars on jets no one needs, why will the government not invest in inspectors and mechanics to keep Canadian passengers safe?

Airline Safety
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the safety of our planes is very important. I totally disagree with what the MP said at the beginning of her question. Our government has significantly decreased the use of government aircraft. Transport Canada has already sold eight of its aircraft and we are always reviewing options to ensure that we are using tax dollars as efficiently as possible.

Airline Safety
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, we are talking about the nine aircraft that are sitting empty and they are burning cash like jet fuel.

Government airline safety inspectors have been cut. Airlines are left to inspect themselves and the government just takes them at their word. That is a recipe for disaster.

Why is the government more interested in funding empty private executive jets than in keeping our skies safe for Canadians?

Airline Safety
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the safety of Canadians when they fly is an absolute priority for Transport Canada. Canada has one of the safest aviation systems in the world and we are very proud of it.

As I said before, Transport Canada already sold eight of its aircraft and it will continue to review all the options for the best way to use the tax dollars of our country.

Airline Safety
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jamie Nicholls Vaudreuil-Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, rather than trying to sell us an aircraft that does not work, the Conservatives should focus on doing a better job of managing those we already have.

Transport Canada's nine Citation aircraft are either being flown with no passengers on board or sitting on the ground, at a cost of $5 million a year. Even the Canadian Taxpayers Federation is criticizing this poor management.

This government is going to save money by cutting services for families. Why not get rid of these useless aircraft instead?

Airline Safety
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier, our government has significantly decreased the use of government and Transport Canada aircraft. We have sold eight of these aircraft and we will continue to review all the options because we always rigorously manage the tax dollars of this country. For us, it is not a matter of instilling fear about airline safety. Canada has one of the safest aviation systems in the world. We will continue.

Airline Safety
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Jamie Nicholls Vaudreuil-Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives have a real love affair with jets.

First, the Minister of National Defence was using Challenger jets for personal reasons, and now a lot of money is being spent to fly senior federal officials around in Citation jets when they could very well take commercial flights. Canadians have had enough of the Conservatives breaking the rules that everyone else has to follow.

Will the government finally set an example by reducing its own spending?

Airline Safety
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, in the previous question, the hon. member said that planes were flying around empty, and now he is saying that they are being used to transport public servants. He needs to get his facts straight.

These planes are used for the benefit of Transport Canada and for the benefit of security. We have sold eight of these aircraft. We will continue to very rigorously manage Canadians' money. In particular, we will continue to ensure the safety and security of air travel in this great country.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General's report clearly indicates that the Department of National Defence does not have a comprehensive view of its military procurement processes.

We are now learning that the F-35 communications system will not be compatible with the systems used in other fighter jets and by troops on the ground.

My question is simple, and I hope that the minister will answer it this time. When will the government finally launch an open, transparent bidding process to replace the CF-18s?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Vaughan
Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino Associate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, contrary to the member's misrepresentation of the facts, I am pleased to correct the record. Canada is scheduled to receive its entire delivery of F-35 aircraft equipped with the ability to locate and communicate with aircraft, ships and ground forces. This means that all Canada's F-35s will not only be capable of operating overseas the moment we get them, but will be able to communicate with other aircraft and know where friendly ground units are well in advance of deployment on operations. Our plans continue to be on track.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is crucial to the safety of our troops on the ground that a fighter jet be able to communicate with them. This is no joke.

This situation again shows that the government does not know what is happening with this file. With the communication, safety and durability problems with the F-35s, this government is putting our soldiers' lives in danger.

When will the government finally stop defending its program and unveil its infamous plan B?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Vaughan
Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino Associate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, that is just absolutely idle rhetoric. In any event, the member opposite is engaging in fearmongering about the importance of the F-35 program, a program that is critical to managing Canada's sovereignty, supporting our military men and women and creating aerospace jobs for Canadians, in spite of the chirping from across the aisle.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is not just about another procurement boondoggle, this is about the safety of our troops. We ask a lot of our troops and we in the House in return owe them the very best chance to return home safely to their families. However, the government continues to rush headlong to purchase a fighter jet that cannot even communicate with the ground forces it is supposed to support.

When will the government stop playing politics with the safety of our troops? When will it admit it made a mistake and put this contract out to tender?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Vaughan
Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino Associate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, there was a competition with respect to the F-35. The issue is that the F-35 won out over other aircraft. It is the fifth generation, the best we can provide to our men and women to enable them to complete their missions and to return safely at the end of those missions.

Justice
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is not just Minister Fournier who felt shortchanged yesterday at his meeting with the Minister of Justice, it is all of Quebec. What Minister Fournier and Quebeckers are asking is that our rehabilitation model, which has proven its worth for 40 years, be protected.

My question is simple. Is the Minister of Justice prepared to make amendments to ensure not just the immediate protection but also the long-term protection of our society? That is what we want.

Justice
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe
New Brunswick

Conservative

Robert Goguen Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice was very pleased to meet with Minister Fournier yesterday. In these talks, they continued to discuss a very important factor: rehabilitation in the criminal process. We will continue to work with Minister Fournier. We accepted one of his three amendments, and by working with Quebec, we will truly find the solution. We know that Quebec focuses heavily on rehabilitation. Judging by the number of Liberals here, perhaps they need to focus on rehabilitating their party.

Justice
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, we miss Brian Murphy and Claudette Bradshaw a lot. They focused on the people rather than on demonstrating their arrogance as the Conservatives have been doing.

The reality is that right now we have immediate safety. We are in favour of immediate safety, but if there is no long-term safety, then there is no rehabilitation. The Conservatives have not conducted any research and they do not have any expertise. What Quebeckers and Canadians want is for amendments to be made so that the system works. In the days of Brian Mulroney, this minister agreed that the Quebec model should be protected. How did he become such a dinosaur?

Justice
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe
New Brunswick

Conservative

Robert Goguen Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, the people of Quebec support the safe streets and communities bill. Every day, they wait for these important measures to be implemented to protect them. Quebeckers and this party understand what safety means. The word safety is not part of the Liberals' vocabulary.

Justice
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice has obstinately refused to counter the sensible, documented arguments made by Quebec's justice minister with anything but his own prejudices. Those arguments show that Bill C-10 will cause an avalanche of costs without reducing crime. Given the justice minister's position, I am wondering if this government still has a Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.

If so, I would ask that minister to rise in this House and tell us if he at least tried to explain to his colleague, the justice minister, what co-operative federalism means.

Justice
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe
New Brunswick

Conservative

Robert Goguen Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, contrary to what Minister Fournier may have misinterpreted, Bill C-10 was based on Justice Nunn's report and—

Justice
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The Chair has recognized the hon. parliamentary secretary and he has the floor.

Justice
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe
New Brunswick

Conservative

Robert Goguen Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, as I was saying, BIll C-10 was based on an important study prepared by Justice Nunn. That study led to amendments to the legislation that protects the public from young offenders. This legislation targets only violent and repeat offenders. This is a small percentage of the population—between 3% and 4%.

Poverty
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, the evidence keeps mounting. The government is failing Canadian families. Campaign 2000's annual report card shows that 1 in 10 Canadian children still live in poverty. Household debt is at an all time high, while low and middle income families have to work more hours just to get by.

As a country, we need to do better. What is the government going to do to make life more affordable for Canadian families struggling just to make ends meet?

Poverty
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we have done an awful lot. It is too bad that the NDP members did not actually support any of our efforts to help struggling Canadian families. For example, they did not support the $100 a month in universal child care benefits for parents of children under the age of six to help them choose the child care that the family needed.

The NDP members did not support the introduction of the working income tax benefit to help poorer families get over the welfare wall so they could work and look after their families. Nor did they accept any of the tax cuts that we brought in, so that families could enjoy, on average, $3,000 a year more in their pockets instead of the government coffers.

Poverty
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, what the NDP voted against was keeping seniors in poverty. We voted against inaction on child poverty and we voted against the short-sighted policies of the Conservative government.

The reality is that most families need to work two jobs just to make ends meet, yet nearly three million children do not have access to regulated child care. An affordable high quality child care program can pay for itself. Just look at Quebec.

Why will the government not move forward on a real national child care plan that actually reduces child poverty? Why will it not act?

Poverty
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we did that. It was one of the very first things we did back in 2006. We introduced the universal child care benefit which is $100 a month to parents of each child under the age of six, so that they could choose the form of child care that best meets their needs. Maybe they live in the city and want to access traditional day care, for which we helped create over 100,000 new spaces.

We also gave them the choice that if parents wanted to stay at home and raise their own child, they could do that. If they wanted the child to stay with granny, they could do that. They are the experts on child care and we support them.

Persons with Disabilities
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Manon Perreault Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to the Campaign 2000 report released this morning, Canada has failed to fulfill its obligations towards underprivileged children and families. Children with disabilities are particularly affected. One parent in four cannot work because of having to care for a child.

When will this government decide to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which recognizes the right to a decent standard of living for everyone?

Persons with Disabilities
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud that our government ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In addition, we have implemented a number of measures to help them.

For example, we introduced the registered disability savings plan to help families plan for the future of their family members who are disabled. We also modified and made major reforms to our Canada student loans program to help the disabled have access to the skills and training they need for the jobs of the future.

We are--

Persons with Disabilities
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order, the hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot.

Affordable Housing
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Marie-Claude Morin Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to Campaign 2000, some 750,000 Canadian children under 15 are living in unsanitary housing. The problem is more acute among aboriginals. Canada is the only industrialized country that does not have a national affordable housing strategy.

It has been 20 years since the House unanimously adopted a resolution to end child poverty and not a single measure has been taken. Only the NDP has made concrete proposals. What is the government waiting for to follow through?

Affordable Housing
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, it is the NDP that has done nothing to help people who need affordable housing. For example, under our economic action plan, we provided funding to more than 14,000 projects to build and renovate affordable housing. The NDP members are the ones who voted against that measure. We also provided funding to help in the construction and renovation of affordable housing for aboriginals and seniors. The NDP voted against that measure.

Justice
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Kyle Seeback Brampton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, our government believes that polygamy has no place in modern society. Polygamy inevitably leads to the exploitation of women, sometimes even young girls, who are given no other choice. This is unacceptable to Canadians and to our government.

We have already raised the age of consent from 14 to 16 and currently have legislation before this House that would crack down on a wide variety of child sexual offences.

Could the minister please update the House regarding the decision from the B.C. Supreme Court on this issue?

Justice
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Niagara Falls
Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, needless to say that the B.C. Supreme Court has upheld the prohibition against polygamy. Polygamy has no place in modern society and the prohibition is consistent with Canadian values, the charter and the Canadian Bill of Rights.

In our view, polygamy is harmful to society, to those involved with it, particularly to women and to children born within polygamous families.

Again, we are very pleased with the decision today.

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, warning signs of mismanagement are mounting at Citizenship and Immigration. Excessive backlogs and wait times, cuts to successful programs, and a failure to address pressing labour needs are well-known. However now the Auditor General finds that officials lack the training they need, the manuals are out of date, and they are using 50-year-old health screening standards. Most glaring, they are missing a quality management system, even though one was first recommended in 2000.

Taking 11 years to even start quality control is unacceptable.

Could the minister explain his failure to Canadians?

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Southeast
Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney Minister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, we have accepted the Auditor General's recommendations and have already been working with all the relevant agencies to improve practices in this respect.

However, when it comes to immigration security screening, our government is moving forward with biometric visas, so that we can obtain biometric data and fingerprints on people, foreign nationals, seeking to enter Canada in order to check them against a security watch list. The NDP opposes that.

Our government has taken real action to start reducing the big backlogs in immigration that we inherited from the Liberals. Guess what? The NDP opposed every measure that we have taken.

If we had followed the advice of the NDP, the total immigration backlog would now be 1.5 million rather than going down. We are taking action to improve--

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order, the hon. member for Saint-Lambert.

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Sadia Groguhé Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, blaming the Liberals is easy, but it is not an answer. The minister bragged that he could finally apply the recommendations made in 2000. Why did they wait so long?

Border officers do not know whether or how their system is working. Their training has been reduced to the minimum and they do not have access to the basic tools. Most decisions are not reviewed and basic mandatory examinations are not always done.

When will the minister accept responsibility for his mistakes?

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Southeast
Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney Minister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier, we have accepted the Auditor General's recommendations and have taken the necessary action. We are working with the relevant agencies.

That said, when it comes to immigration security screening, our government is moving forward with a biometric program to identify foreigners who could pose a threat to Canada. Unfortunately, the NDP is opposed to this initiative that would protect Canada. It is even opposed to our bill to reduce the immigration backlog we inherited from the Liberals.

Telecommunications Industry
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, reports today say that the government is moving to allow more foreign ownership in our telecommunications industry. The Telecommunications Act states that one of its very purposes is to promote the ownership and control of Canadian carriers by Canadians.

When is the government going to stop making foreign corporations its priority and instead put Canadian consumers first?

Telecommunications Industry
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable
Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis Minister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind my colleagues that no decisions with regard to the upcoming spectrum auctions and foreign investment have been made yet.

For the benefit of the member across the way, let me reiterate that in budget 2011 our government committed to an examination of foreign investment rules in the telecom sector. Our aim is to create better choices and lower costs for consumers. When we make decisions on how best to meet these targets, we will announce them directly and clearly.

Telecommunications Industry
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, as usual, the government is saying that increased competition will lower prices, but international experience shows that the correlation between the number of competitors and price levels is very weak, especially in the telecommunications sector.

Telecommunications are part of Canada's strategic infrastructure and this government is prepared to hand part of it over to foreign interests based on uncertain expectations in terms of pricing.

Instead of threatening the domestic ownership of such crucial infrastructure, why does the government not directly help protect consumers from industry abuses, as Quebec did with cell phone contracts?

Telecommunications Industry
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable
Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis Minister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, for the benefit of the member opposite, I would like to reiterate that, in the 2011 budget, we committed to studying the rules surrounding foreign investment in the telecommunications sector. The goal is to offer consumers more choices and lower prices. When a decision is made, one that fulfills these objectives, we will make a direct, clear announcement.

Allow me to say that, unlike the members opposite, we will not propose a tax hike of $10 billion. That would kill the economy. That would drastically increase costs and there would be no more jobs in Canada.

Canadian Wheat Board
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives cut off debate on the Canadian Wheat Board in the House twice and they tied the committee's hands behind its back. They tried and failed to pre-emptively cut off debate in the Senate. They ignored the farmer vote. They are deaf to farmers' voices. They have taken their clout away, and now $200 million of their hard-earned dollars and put our national food sovereignty in jeopardy.

Could the minister tell the House if he gave a second thought to how he is disfiguring western provinces and rural life with his ideological steamroller?

Canadian Wheat Board
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, there is a reason why we cut off debate when that is all we get. That is the quality of debate.

We have three of the provinces affected by the Canadian Wheat Board area onside with us. They are looking forward to rural development. We have already seen announcements in small town western Canada that will add development and value-added to Wheat Board crops.

We are on the right track. We are balanced and buoyed by the farmers in the Wheat Board area, and by the provinces affected as well.

The Environment
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of the Environment has twice denigrated reporters when his position is challenged. But clearly the real problem is the news reader across the way.

I have the briefing note which says there is no duplication in Canada's ozone monitoring networks, which means they cannot be optimized and streamlined, only cut. Answers to an order paper question, signed by the minister, also say there is no duplication.

Will the government finally admit there will be cuts to the ozone program?

The Environment
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I reject all of the assumptions of my hon. colleague yet once again.

I would also, again, suggest that she use more reliable research than that to which she has made a practice of using.

Environment Canada will--

The Environment
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

The Environment
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The member for Etobicoke North has asked the question. The minister has the floor.

The hon. Minister of the Environment.

The Environment
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, once again, Environment Canada will continue to monitor ozone. The World Ozone and Ultraviolet Radiation Data Centre will continue to deliver world-class services.

The Environment
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Laurin Liu Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to the National Energy Board, oil sands production is expected to triple by 2035. Canada's 21st century economy cannot be based on the oil sands alone. Compared to other G20 countries, Canada ranks near the bottom in terms of clean energy investment. Instead of seizing the opportunity to be among the best, this government is simply twiddling its thumbs.

Will the government get out of the sandbox and follow the example set by the rest of the world?

The Environment
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my hon. colleague on the good news of future prosperity driven by the development of the oil sands. I would remind her that Environment Canada administers and enforces any number of acts and regulations which impose requirements on the oil sands. We conduct inspections and participate in environmental assessments. In July, I brought in a new monitoring program for water, air and biodiversity.

The government is balancing jobs and protecting the environment.

The Environment
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the world is watching Canada's oil sands and it does not like what it is seeing. The European Union is considering penalizing Canadian oil and the U.S. just backed down on Keystone, in part because of our total lack of action on climate.

We live here. It is Canadian land, air and water at stake. Our major trading partners are speaking up, but our government remains silent.

Why is the government not worried about the health, safety and prosperity of all Canadians?

The Environment
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence
Ontario

Conservative

Joe Oliver Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, the NDP members keep talking about the environment. Do they not understand that building--

The Environment
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

The Environment
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

As I have asked on previous occasions, could members please hold their applause until the minister is finished answering. I think that would allow for a better flow for question period.

The hon. Minister of Natural Resources.

The Environment
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Oliver Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, does the NDP not understand that building Keystone would reduce U.S. imports of Venezuelan heavy crude, which is comparable in GHG emissions to oil sands. Blocking Keystone would not reduce emissions, but it would kill Canadian job prospects.

Why is the NDP favouring Venezuelan jobs over Canadians jobs?

Infrastructure
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Lawrence Toet Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, this week the Auditor General released a second report that gives our government strong marks for the delivery of Canada's economic action plan. During the global economic recession, Infrastructure Canada played a key role in stimulating our economy to create jobs for Canadians right across the country.

Can the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities please inform the House about the Auditor General's findings as to how Infrastructure Canada administered the infrastructure stimulus fund under the economic action plan?

Infrastructure
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question. We are proud of the fact that the Auditor General confirmed that Infrastructure Canada delivered the infrastructure stimulus program effectively. The employees of Infrastructure Canada and development agencies across the country did an enormous amount of work. Under very tight deadlines, they worked diligently and professionally to oversee the completion of thousands of projects across the country, and we owe them our thanks. Congratulations to the entire team.

Health
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Auditor General pointed out failures in Health Canada's drug review system that the government had pledged to fix back in 2007. Because of the government's failure to act, Canadians wait years to find out, if they find out at all, whether their drug is safe and effective. Because of government's failure, the health of every Canadian has been put at risk.

Why was this process not fixed five years ago? Why should Canadians believe that the minister will fix the process now when the government has known about it for so long?

Health
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Nunavut
Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq Minister of Health and Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

Mr. Speaker, our government agrees with the Auditor General's recommendations and findings.

Work is already under way to address the recommendations outlined. My department is making improvements on how Health Canada responds to reports concerning products that are on the market.

Again, the health and safety of Canadians is a priority for our government. We are putting the processes in place to ensure that the products on the market are safe, efficient and reliable for all Canadians.

Public Safety
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Sylvain Chicoine Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, a few days ago, the chair of the Security Intelligence Review Committee was forced to resign because of questionable financial transactions. We have learned that another committee member, the former Quebec health minister, Philippe Couillard, is also serving as an advisor to the Government of Saudi Arabia.

Can the Minister of Public Safety explain how the organization responsible for overseeing CSIS will ensure that its committee members are truly independent and free of conflict of interest?

Public Safety
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Provencher
Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, our government takes the security of the information relating to Canadians' national security very seriously.

Dr. Couillard practised for years as an internationally recognized neurosurgeon. He also happens to be a member of the International Advisory Board, Ministry of Health, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This involvement predates his appointment to SIRC, and was fully disclosed.

We do not believe this to be any sort of conflict of interest.

Firearms Registry
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Jay Aspin Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians gave our government a strong mandate to end the wasteful and ineffective long gun registry once and for all.

It is obvious to my constituents that ending the long gun registry means destroying the records. There is obviously no distinction between the records and the registry. They find it concerning that the opposition has put such a focus on their desire to keep these records on law-abiding hunters, farmers and sport shooters.

Could the minister please tell this House why he wants to destroy the records, and why he believes the opposition is so keen to keep them?

Firearms Registry
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Provencher
Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his hard work on behalf of his constituents on this matter.

It is impossible to scrap the registry without scrapping the records. Canadians find it unacceptable to hear people like big union boss and NDP insider leadership candidate Brian Topp suggesting that the will of Canadians in the last election be overthrown and the long gun registry be reinstated some time in the future.

I was pleased to see the leadership candidate from Skeena—Bulkley Valley reject that idea, and I hope he has the courage to stand up for his constituents to ensure—

Firearms Registry
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup.

Asbestos
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

NDP

François Lapointe Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, a growing number of Conservative MPs are questioning the government's position on asbestos. The government is making them betray their own conscience and support an industry that exports disease. The Asbestos mine recovery plan is not working and the mine in Thetford Mines has closed down its operations. Tomorrow morning, no one in Quebec will be paid for handling asbestos—absolutely no one. The minister's broken record is not creating any jobs.

Will he finally realize that an economic diversification plan is urgently needed to create jobs for the people in his region?

Asbestos
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable
Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis Minister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, for more than 30 years, the Government of Canada has been supporting the safe use of chrysotile asbestos and recent scientific studies show that chrysotile fibre can be used safely in a controlled environment at the national or international level.

Justice
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Bloc

Maria Mourani Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, by ramming through Bill C-10 on the Criminal Code, the Government of Canada is going to impose its values on the Government of Quebec and stick it with the bill as well. Quebec's National Assembly is currently debating whether the Government of Quebec should take action to establish its own criminal code.

Will the Prime Minister respond to Quebec's requests related to the Criminal Code, if Quebec asks him to?

Justice
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe
New Brunswick

Conservative

Robert Goguen Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, it will absolutely not be necessary for Quebec to create its own criminal code. I would like to invite the hon. member to carefully read Bill C-10 because it is designed to protect both Canadians and Quebeckers. That is what the people asked us to do and that is what we are doing.

Justice
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

That concludes question period for today.

Presence in the Gallery
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of the winners of the 2011 Governor General’s Literary Awards: Patrick deWitt, Phil Hall, Erin Shields, Christopher Moore, Cybèle Young, Donald Winkley, Perrine Leblanc, Louise Dupré, Georges Leroux, Martin Fournier, Caroline Merola, Marise Warda, and Charles Foran.

Presence in the Gallery
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Presence in the Gallery
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

The Chair has notice of a question of privilege from the hon. President of the Treasury Board.

Standing Committee on Public Accounts
Privilege
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, it has come to my attention that certain changes were made to the evidence of the meeting of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts on November 2, 2011, including my testimony. Members of the NDP opposition have alleged that I made those changes. I did not, nor did anyone in my employ. These baseless and outrageous allegations form a serious breach of my privilege, which is impeding my work as a member of this House and as a minister of the Crown.

Mr. Speaker, I respectfully ask that you review this matter to determine how and why these changes were made and that you provide assurances to this House as to the reasons for any changes to the official record of this place. The suggestions from the opposition regarding any role by me are absolutely false, and I look forward to your attention to this matter.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I believe you will find all the necessary information in my letter that I provided to you before question period.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Standing Committee on Public Accounts
Privilege
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I will go to the member for Windsor—Tecumseh on the same point.

Standing Committee on Public Accounts
Privilege
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is coming as news to us. We would want the opportunity to review or perhaps see the letter that he has forwarded to your office so that we can see whether we will take a position on this given the accusations that we are now hearing from him that we have made accusations against him. That is all new to us and we would like the opportunity to respond.

Standing Committee on Public Accounts
Privilege
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I look forward to the intervention from the member or anyone from the NDP if they do choose to make comments on this matter.

The hon. member for Vancouver Quadra on a point of order.

Question Period
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member for Vancouver South made a false statement about my social media communications and I would request that the member retract her remarks and correct the record. None of my tweets have referred to a carbon tax.

While she is at it, perhaps she could ask her colleague, the Minister of the Environment, why the government is such a dismal failure on the issue of climate change?

Question Period
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Question Period
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order, please. As I mentioned, question period has already concluded for today.

The hon. member for Etobicoke North on a point of order.

Question Period
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I asked the Minister of the Environment a question and cited a response to an order paper question signed by the minister himself. The minister's response was that I should use more reliable sources. The minister's answer suggests that the minister's order paper response is wrong and has misled the House.

To give him the benefit of the doubt, I suppose the minister either misled the House in his order paper response or he is misleading the House now--

Question Period
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I am sorry but I have not heard anything to this point that is a point of order.

Question Period
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Massimo Pacetti Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

She is getting to the point.

Question Period
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Vancouver Centre, BC

She is not finished.

Question Period
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I would ask her to quickly make the point so the House can move on.

Question Period
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would ask you to remind the minister of the importance of honestly answering both order paper questions and oral--

Question Period
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I still have not heard anything that is a point of order.

The hon. member for Westmount—Ville-Marie on a different point.

Standing Committee on Public Accounts
Privilege
Oral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, following up on what the member for Windsor—Tecumseh said, would it be possible for the Liberal Party to also have a copy of the letter that is in question that was mentioned by the President of the Treasury Board?

Standing Committee on Public Accounts
Privilege
Oral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I understand that both the NDP and Liberal members may wish to make comments on the point raised by the President of the Treasury Board. The Chair will hold off on making a decision until they have the opportunity to obtain more information.

Afghanistan
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report entitled, "Canada's Engagement in Afghanistan, Quarterly Report to Parliament", for the period between April 1 and June 30.

Government Response to Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

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 responses to eight petitions.

First Nations Financial Transparency Act
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Penashue Labrador, NL

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-27, An Act to enhance the financial accountability and transparency of First Nations.

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

Interparliamentary Delegations
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Goldring Edmonton East, AB

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian parliamentary delegation of the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association respecting its participation in the meeting of the Standing Committee of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region held in the Komi Republic of Russia, September 28 and 29, 2011.

Interparliamentary Delegations
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Bruce Hyer Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian parliamentary delegation of the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association respecting our participation in the fourth part of the 2011 Ordinary Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe held in Strasbourg, France, October 3 to 7, 2011.

Among the issues that I joined in debating and addressing there included abuse of state secrecy and national security internationally, human rights and the fight against terrorism, protection of privacy and personal data on the Internet and online media, and controlling child prostitution and child pornography.

In addition, I and the member for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel met with the Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

I am pleased to submit this report.

Government Operations and Estimates
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates in relation to its study on the effectiveness of the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises, OSME, and the Canadian Innovation Commercialization Program.

Therefore, pursuant to Standing Order 109 the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.

Defence of Canada Medal (1946-1989)
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-354, An Act respecting the establishment and award of a Defence of Canada Medal (1946-1989).

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to be able to reintroduce this bill for the establishment and award of a defence of Canada medal for the men and women who served in the defence of Canada during the cold war. This act represents the hard work and vision of one of my constituents, retired Captain Ulrich Krings of Elliot Lake, who presented me with this proposal shortly after I was elected in 2008.

Its purpose is to formally honour the people who defended Canada from within Canada for the period from 1946 to 1989. As such, it is intended to be awarded to individuals who served in the regular and reserve forces, police forces, emergency measures organizations, as well as civil organizations, such as St. John Ambulance, all of whom were concerned with the protection of Canada from the threat posed by the countries behind the Iron Curtain.

This medal will recognize the support of the men and woman who gave countless hours to Canadians as they trained and prepared in case of an attack on Canadian soil, which fortunately never took place.

Their service to our country came at a time when we became aware of how fragile peace can be and how vulnerable we may become to advances in weapons of warfare. This medal would give something back to all those who worked in those years to keep us safe and prepared.

I thank my colleague from Thunder Bay—Rainy River for his continued support on this bill and for seconding this item for a second time.

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

Canada Elections Act
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies Vancouver Kingsway, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-355, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act (voting hours).

Mr. Speaker, I rise to introduce a bill that I believe would improve democracy by expanding access to voting in Canada. This bill would extend the hours of voting in federal elections from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. in every province and territory.

This is an important measure to standardize voting hours across the country. For example, currently voters in British Columbia vote between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., whereas voters in Ontario have until 9:30 p.m. to cast their ballots.

More important, this bill would improve the ability of every Canadian to exercise his or her democratic choice by extending the time period in which to cast a ballot.

Voter turnout in federal elections has been declining steadily since the mid-1980s. In the most recent federal election, voter participation was only 61%. There are many reasons for declining turnout but one of them is certainly the barriers people face to vote. Canadians lead lives that are busier than ever. There are single parents and families with two working parents. There are seniors who must rely on others to get them to the polls.

Our democracy is valuable. It is worth protecting. Expanding voting hours is a small but important step and I hope all members of the House will support it, with special thanks to my colleague, the member for Hochelaga for seconding this.

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

Federal Law–Civil Law Harmonization Act, No. 3
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

He said: Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties, and I believe you would find consent for the following motion. I move:

That, notwithstanding any standing order or usual practices of the House, Bill S-3, A third Act to harmonize federal law with the civil law of Quebec and to amend certain Acts in order to ensure that each language version takes into account the common law and the civil law be deemed to have been read a second time and referred to a Committee of the Whole, deemed considered in Committee of the Whole, deemed reported without amendment, deemed concurred in at the report stage and deemed read a third time and passed.

Federal Law–Civil Law Harmonization Act, No. 3
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Does the hon. government House leader have the unanimous consent of the House to propose this motion?

Federal Law–Civil Law Harmonization Act, No. 3
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Federal Law–Civil Law Harmonization Act, No. 3
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Federal Law–Civil Law Harmonization Act, No. 3
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Federal Law–Civil Law Harmonization Act, No. 3
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

(Motion agreed to, bill read the second time, considered in committee of the whole, reported, concurred in, read the third time and passed)

Bill C-10
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Denise Savoie Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition signed by over 100 constituents of Victoria who are expressing concern over Bill C-10 for two reasons.

They state that the costs have not been properly assessed and that the costs would fall to the provinces and would impact effective prevention programs. They are also concerned about the breadth and scope of the bill and they ask that the bill be divided so that it can be studied more attentively and more closely.

Falun Gong
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Garry Breitkreuz Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour today to present a petition that urges the Canadian government to continuously use every possible channel to call for an end to the persecution of the Falun Gong in China. This petition comes from Canadians right across this country.

Falun Gong is a peaceful and beneficial spiritual practice centred on the principles of truth, compassion, forbearance and a set of five meditation exercises. Falun Gong has been the most severely persecuted group in China since July 1999 when the Chinese Communist Party launched an eradication campaign against Falun Gong practitioners. The policy to destroy their reputation, bankrupt them financially and eliminate them completely has led to the arbitrary detention and torture of hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners for their beliefs.

The UN Special Rapporteur on torture reported that 66% of the victims of alleged torture and ill-treatment in China were Falun Gong practitioners. The cruelty and brutality of these alleged acts of torture defy description. More than 3,448 practitioners have been verified as having been tortured to death.

Free and democratic nations have a responsibility to condemn crimes against humanity wherever they occur. Therefore, the petitioners urgently call on our government to continuously use every possible channel to call for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong, especially at meetings with top Chinese leaders and at international fora and help rescue—

Falun Gong
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I would stop the member there and remind all members that in order to accommodate all the people who are rising, the member is supposed to give a brief summary of the petition.

The hon. member for Random—Burin—St. George's.

Search and Rescue
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition against the closure of the Marine Rescue Sub-Centre in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador.

This petition has been signed by close to 100 members of the Canadian Marine Advisory Council, which is Canada's leading consultative body for all issues affecting maritime safety in Canada. These are members who come from every province in our country and some from our territories. They say that the decision to close the Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre in St. John's is irresponsible, in fact a reckless decision, because it puts in jeopardy the lives of those who earn their living at sea and even those are vacationing on tour ships. They say we need to ensure that the centre continues to operate. We need to be able to take advantage of the local knowledge, the history and the skill set of the employees who work at the centre. The petitioners call on the government to rescind this reckless decision, change its mind and say we have to keep this open.

When a body like the Canadian Marine Advisory Council says that we should--

Search and Rescue
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order. I see a lot of members rising to present petitions, so again I am going to ask all hon. members to provide a brief summary so that we can accommodate everyone trying to present petitions.

The hon. member for Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Larry Miller Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure today to stand and present a petition from approximately 30 constituents from across this country asking for the government to de-fund the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. They point out that the Government of Canada funds the CBC by a sum of $1.1 billion per annum and that the vast amount of funding the government gives the CBC gives the CBC an unfair advantage over its private sector competitors. They call on Parliament to end public funding of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Asbestos
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to stand today to introduce a petition signed by literally thousands of Canadians, who call upon Parliament to take note that asbestos is the greatest industrial killer that the world has ever known. In fact, they point that more Canadians now die from asbestos than all other industrial or occupational causes combined, yet we remain one of the largest producers and exporters in the world. Therefore, the petitioners call upon Parliament to ban asbestos in all of its forms and institute a just transition program for asbestos workers and the communities they live in; to end all government subsidies of asbestos, both in Canada and abroad; and finally, to stop blocking international health and safety conventions designed to protect workers from asbestos, such as the Rotterdam Convention.

Canadian Wheat Board
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to submit a petition signed by hundreds of western Canadian grain and barley farmers concerned with the government's ideological plan to kill the Canadian Wheat Board without first holding a plebiscite of its membership as it is required to do by section 47.1 of the Canadian Wheat Board Act. Western Canadian farmers' livelihoods are at risk should they lose the clout of the Canadian Wheat Board to set the best prices for their grain, negotiate fair treatment from the railways and lower transportation costs, which are among the many services it provides. The petitioners demand that the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food honour their wishes as expressed democratically through a plebiscite.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

Devinder Shory Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, I stand today to present a petition of behalf of Canadians who are concerned about the funding CBC receives from the federal government. The petitioners ask the House to create a level playing field and cut the advantage CBC has over its competitors.

Multiple Sclerosis
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition regarding chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency, or CCSVI. There is a long history of abnormal vasculature in MS, which was described by Cruveilhier in 1839 and later by other researchers, including von Rindfleisch in 1863 and Putnam in 1937. There is extensive literature examining such areas as venous stenosis, cerebral hydrodynamics and venous hypertension, inflammation and cerebral plaques, vascular damage to nerves and reduced perfusion. The petitioners call for the Minister of Health to consult experts actively engaged in diagnosis and treatment of CCSVI to undertake phase III clinical trials on an urgent basis in multiple centres across Canada and to require follow-up care.

The Environment
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a second petition regarding the atmospheric ozone layer, which is critical to life on earth. We need both upper- and lower-level monitoring using both Brewer methodology and ozonesondes. A senior Environment Canada bureaucrat who publicly defended the federal government's plan to cut funding and eliminate redundancy within the country's ozone monitoring programs privately approved a briefing note that concluded there was in fact no duplication in the network.

The petitioners call upon the Minister of the Environment to develop a plan to ensure the integrity of the ozone monitoring program and to commission a report to assess the adequacy of Canadian contributions to the global observing system for climate in support of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Canadian Wheat Board
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I rise to submit a number of petitions signed by Western Canadian grain and barley farmers concerned with the government's ideological plan to kill the Canadian Wheat Board without first holding a plebiscite of its membership as required by section 47.1 of the Canadian Wheat Board Act. Clearly the minister was afraid to hold a vote because he knew he would lose it, just as pro-single desk farmers won every board of directors election.

Western Canadian farmers' livelihoods are at risk should they lose the clout of the Canadian Wheat Board to set the best price for their grain, negotiate fair settlement from the railways and lower transportation costs, which are among the many services it provides.

The petitioners demand the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food honour their wishes as expressed democratically through a plebiscite.

Republic of the Fiji Islands
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today in the House to present a petition signed by hundreds of people from all over British Columbia calling for the establishment of a high commission in the Republic of Fiji Islands.

The Republic of the Fiji Islands is a member of the Commonwealth. Canada has a very active Fijian Canadian population numbering 100,000 strong. It is a very active population that travels for business and tourist reasons back to Fiji. As the petitioners point out in this petition, the current situation causes inordinate delay and inefficient service for tourist, visa, business and immigration issues for both Canadian and Fijian citizens.

The petitioners note that the United States, Australia, New Zealand, China and India, among other countries, all have embassies or high commissions in Fiji and that this is an overdue service for Canadians of Fijian decent.

I would also like to thank Vince Sharma, who has done a great job in collecting these signatures from all over British Columbia.

Transportation in Labrador
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I present this petition on behalf of many residents in Labrador, primarily in Mary's Harbour and Forteau.

They call on the federal government to fund the Trans-Labrador Highway, as it is a vital transportation lifeline for Labrador communities. It provides access to generate economic activity and to obtain health care and all other pertinent public services. In particular, they are calling for more funding to provide for much-needed improvements to the highway, including phases two and three of the Trans-Labrador Highway.

Advertising Flyers
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

Sean Casey Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a petition signed by about 100 residents of Saskatoon. They call upon Parliament to request that the federal Minister of the Environment consider bringing in legislation to require all unsolicited admail and flyers to be produced using easily recyclable hemp paper; phasing in of the use of only hemp paper in the production of all flyers; and, especially in the distribution of flyers, compliance with all “no flyers” signs at private residences at all times, with the exception of election material during elections and material from charities and local community events.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Saskatchewan

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Bill C-18--Time Allocation Motion
Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers
Government Orders

3:35 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

moved:

That in relation to Bill C-18, An Act to reorganize the Canadian Wheat Board and to make consequential and related amendments to certain Acts, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration of the report stage and one sitting day shall be allotted to the third reading stage of the said bill and, fifteen minutes before the expiry of the time provided for government business on the day allotted to the consideration of the report stage and on the day allotted to the third reading stage of the said bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of the order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the stage of the bill then under consideration shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.

Bill C-18--Time Allocation Motion
Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers
Government Orders

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Pursuant to Standing Order 67.1, there will now be a 30-minute question period. I would invite members who wish to participate in the question period to rise in their place so that the Chair could have a certain idea of how many people would like to participate so we can adequately allocate the time.

If we keep questions to about a minute and answers to about a minute, we could accommodate more members. The opposition members will get preference from the Chair, although the Chair will recognize some members of the government.

The hon. member for Windsor--Tecumseh.

Bill C-18--Time Allocation Motion
Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers
Government Orders

3:40 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Madam Speaker, I am getting really good at this. This is the eighth time in this session of Parliament; there was one before the summer break, and now there have been seven more since September. The Conservatives are clearly going to break the former Liberal government's record, as I am sure has been their intention.

However, it took the Liberal government 122 sitting days to use time allocation and closure nine times. The Conservatives are at eight now. We can see, given the legislation still coming, that they are going to break the record in roughly 40 to 45 days; after that, they will probably set all-time records forever and ever.

I have here several pieces of paper that contain extensive quotes from members of the government as well as from current and former cabinet members of the government. I think I have about 15 quotes. In each one of them, the Liberal administration through the 1990s and the early 2000s is castigated for using time allocation and closure. It shows a very high level of hypocritical conduct on the part of the government to try to justify using time allocation when historically it has criticized other governments so many times for doing so.

I wonder how the government House leader can possibly justify the Conservatives' conduct, especially on a bill as important as this one.

Bill C-18--Time Allocation Motion
Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers
Government Orders

3:40 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Madam Speaker, it is precisely because the bill is so important that we need to move it through. The industry, farmers and consumers around the world need certainty and clarity that the bill is going to pass. They need to start preparing for next spring's planting. All of the inputs went into the fall rotation already. They are getting ready to own the product, finally, that they are going to put in the ground. It is all about certainty and clarity. We make no apologies for expediting this bill to ensure that farmers, processors and shipping industries will be able to count on the changes that are coming.

Bill C-18--Time Allocation Motion
Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers
Government Orders

3:40 p.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton Churchill, MB

Madam Speaker, I think many Canadians would be shocked to see what the government is doing. Throughout the debate on Bill C-18, in fact there has been a lack of debate and a lack of interest from the government to actually listen to farmers by allowing them to vote.

However, what is most shocking about the Conservatives' motion for closure today is that in the past they themselves, including the Prime Minister, have spoken against the very tactics they are using today to stop debate, muzzle Canadians and prevent hearing the real questions that they have to hear.

If I may, I will quote the Prime Minister. In 2002, he stated:

We have closure today precisely because there is no deadline and there are no plans. Instead of having deadlines, plans and goals, we must insist on moving forward because the government is simply increasingly embarrassed by the state of the debate and it needs to move on.

How applicable is it today?

I represent the people of Churchill. They know that there is no plan for the money that has been committed to their community. We would like to know the details on the jobs that people are afraid of losing. What about farmers who are worried about what is going to happen over the next six months and, when it comes to young farmers, over their lifetimes? Where are the plans? There are none. The government, to boot, is willing to stop Canadians from being heard.

Bill C-18--Time Allocation Motion
Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers
Government Orders

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Gerry Ritz Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Madam Speaker, I wish the member well in her NDP leadership aspirations. I know we all look forward to the day she will be sitting in the front row.

That said, we certainly do have a deadline. It is August 1, 2012. That is the beginning of the next crop year. Farmers are well versed in what that means to them in moving forward into marketing their own wheat, durum and barley. They are looking forward to it.

When it comes to a plan, we have certainly outlined that plan. Farmers, the industry itself--I met with the grain symposium group here yesterday--and everybody from the farm gate right through to port and beyond, as well as some of the sellers from around the world, are excited by this. Last night the only people missing to hear the positive message we are getting from the full industry as to what is required were representatives from the opposition.

The full indistry says we are on the right track. We will work with them to flesh out some of the other details that are required moving forward. However, the basic road map, the plan, is there, including the plan for Churchill. Often I have stood in question period and explained to the member opposite, and I will say it very slowly, that it is $5 million a year for five years to give them exactly what they have now.

The mayor of Churchill, Mike Spence, is saying this is fantastic; he says there are challenges, but that the bill gives them the opportunity to look ahead and start to diversify the Port of Churchill to build a solid future. He is on board with us. I am not sure why his MP is not.

Bill C-18--Time Allocation Motion
Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers
Government Orders

3:45 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Malpeque, PE

Madam Speaker, the whole issue around Bill C-18 is almost unbelievable, the invoking of closure and shutting down debate.

First of all, farmers thought they had the right to a plebiscite under section 47(1). The government denied them that right by bringing in new legislation that basically destroyed the right to a vote. Then it prevented farmers from having a voice by putting closure on the hearings and limiting debate at the legislative committee to five minutes per clause.

That goes against everything we believe in a democracy. People should be able to speak. There should be hearings on the bill in western Canada so farmers can have a voice. In fact, we have a minister that I maintain has violated his oath of office in terms of how he has approached this particular bill.

There are lots of issues here. There are producer cars and short-line rails that the minister has not offered any answers on. How is the grain car allocation going to work to get grain into the ships on time without the Wheat Board?

None of those questions have been answered. This closure motion denies the right to have those issues debated in the House, where they should be debated.

Bill C-18--Time Allocation Motion
Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers
Government Orders

3:45 p.m.

Conservative

Gerry Ritz Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Madam Speaker, what the member for Malpeque has always done well is seed dissent. He was very good at that when he was leading the NFU and nothing really has changed.

On some of the issues that he talks about, of course, the basic tenet of democracy is having one's say, not necessarily having one's way. Certainly everybody has had their say on this for decades. I have not heard anything new in this debate, absolutely nothing, in the last 10 days, 10 weeks, 10 years.

When the member talks about producer cars, he should know, and farmers out there understand, that these are guaranteed under the Canada Grain Act. They are administered by the Canadian Grain Commission. That is not going to change. If farmers decide they want to use a producer car, they will phone the same number they always did. They will fill it with their own product and ship it to port. Mission Terminal has facilities in both Thunder Bay and Vancouver. It is now buying close to 50% of the producer cars. It is using producer cars as its bricks and mortar on the Prairies.

When it comes to short-line rail, one of our short-line rails in central Saskatchewan should triple in size seeing there is huge potential for it to do more.

When it comes to grain logistics, the same folks who load canola and ship it through the system will now be able to do that exact same thing with their wheat, durum and barley. They know how to do it. They do not need advice from the member from Prince Edward Island.

Bill C-18--Time Allocation Motion
Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers
Government Orders

3:45 p.m.

Conservative

Garry Breitkreuz Yorkton—Melville, SK

Madam Speaker, one question farmers in my riding have asked me is, what it is they need to know between now and when marketing freedom comes into effect on August 1, 2012. They want to know because they need market certainty and they need to make economic decisions in the new year before planting begins.

I tell producers in my riding that they would be able to forward contract wheat and barley sales for delivery after August 1, 2012. I tell them that grain companies, end users and the Canadian Wheat Board would be able to offer farmers contracts for delivery after August 1, 2012. I also tell them they would be able to buy and sell futures contracts on wheat and barley with delivery dates after August 1, 2012. The Winnipeg Commodity Exchange has announced plans to offer new Canadian wheat and durum contracts if the legislation is passed. I also tell producers in my riding that they would be able to deliver grain in storage for later sale to the CWB before August 1, 2012.

Could the minister tell the House, if the bill is not passed immediately, what the economic impact would be for farmers?

Bill C-18--Time Allocation Motion
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3:45 p.m.

Conservative

Gerry Ritz Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Madam Speaker, the short answer is that it would have a very negative impact on farmers.

Farmers in western Canada have been marketers extraordinaire when it comes to the world stage and domestic use. Right now they are denied a choice in where and how they market, the timing and price, the ability to pick at their best bottom line advantage.

What the member for Yorkton—Melville outlined is absolutely true. As soon as this bill receives royal assent, futures and contracting will begin to take place for delivery after August 1, 2012, including the new Canadian wheat board entity, which will be there. The choice will be up to the farmer whether he or she wants to market through the existing Canadian wheat board structure or on his or her own.

Bill C-18--Time Allocation Motion
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Government Orders

3:50 p.m.

NDP

Alexandrine Latendresse Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Madam Speaker, what is being denied farmers right now is a choice and a voice for everybody who wants to defend it right now.

I am sorry, but I simply cannot believe that the government is presenting another time allocation motion. I cannot believe that it wants to shove this down our throats again.

I want to read another quote.

For the government to bring in closure and time allocation is wrong. It sends out the wrong message to the people of Canada. It tells the people of Canada that the government is afraid of debate, afraid of discussion and afraid of publicly justifying the steps it has taken.

It was the Minister of Public Safety who said that.

How can the government tell us once again that we are not entitled to represent people who have concerns, who are wondering how this could be happening and who do not agree with the measures the government wants to take? It is our job to defend them and speak on their behalf. Once again, the government is silencing us. It is not worried about people, farmers or the decision the farmers have made. It is denying them the right to vote on this issue and that is the end of it. I cannot understand that. It is completely unacceptable.

Bill C-18--Time Allocation Motion
Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers
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3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Gerry Ritz Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Certainly, Madam Speaker, everyone has a right to speak in this place, and of course the hon. member just exercised that right. However, rather than actually bringing forward an issue that farmers may want to talk about, she just did a little rant about her own personal space being violated.

Certainly we identify with that and we take that to heart, but at the end of the day, we put our strength and effort on this role by and in place of the farmers who will be affected. That is who we represent.

There are a number of us who have our roots in the farming community. Our families and our friends are still there. When I want to talk to farmers, whether I give them a vote or not, all I have to do is go home on the weekend and drive down my road. I can talk to any farmer I want to at any time. Without exception they are telling me to get this done. We need certainty. We need clarity. We need to move on. We need to look at the future. We need the same rights and privileges as farmers have in the rest of Canada.

Why does the opposition want to hold back western Canadian farmers? That is the part I find untenable.

Bill C-18--Time Allocation Motion
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3:50 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Guelph, ON

Madam Speaker, what confounds me is that the minister pledged in March, before the election, that he would not act arbitrarily, that he would listen to farmers. He said it in Minnedosa. It was reported in the Manitoba Cooperator. What did he do? As soon as the election went by and the Conservatives received 39% of the vote--that is it, 39%, which is not a majority of voters--he ignored the farmers. He ignored the very plebiscite the farmers were forced to have of their own, the majority of whom supported the board.

I ask the minister, why the betrayal of farmers who have come from out west, farmers who rely on the Wheat Board? Fragmented, the Wheat Board shall fail, and he continually denies it. Why the betrayal?

Bill C-18--Time Allocation Motion
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3:50 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

I will limit questions and comments to one minute to give everybody the opportunity to speak.

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3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Gerry Ritz Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Of course, Madam Speaker, I am proud to stand here on behalf of the farmers from my constituency and from western Canada who gave us a strong majority mandate on May 2.

We campaigned openly on this in a number of campaigns and no less in the last election in the spring.

We got direction from the farm groups in western Canada who stand with us and were at the symposium last night, as well as three out of the four provinces that are involved in the Canadian Wheat Board area.

With the exception of Manitoba, which has about 10% of the Wheat Board crops, the other provinces stand with us, so I am not doing this arbitrarily.

I believe in democracy. We saw democracy in action on May 2. We are seeing democracy in action here. We will all have a vote on this later today. Members opposite are more than happy and more than willing to stand up and vote against this should they so desire. At the same time, they will have to explain to western Canadian farmers why they want to pick and choose and allow certain farmers to market a certain way and not others. I cannot understand that conundrum.

Bill C-18--Time Allocation Motion
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3:50 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway Beaches—East York, ON

Madam Speaker, were this just about Bill C-18 and this one time, that would be harmful enough to democracy and offensive enough to the democratic tradition of this institution and this country, but when the Liberal government previously had an addiction to closure, the members across the way were most offended by that practice. The Minister of Public Safety said most expressively at the time:

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister of Canada swung an axe across the throat of parliament. While committee members had an opportunity to speak to Bill C-36, members of all parties in parliament lost the ability to express the concerns of Canadians.

If the bill was the right thing to do, why did the Prime Minister do the wrong thing by invoking closure?

I return that question to the government. If it is doing the right thing, why does it keep invoking closure?

Bill C-18--Time Allocation Motion
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3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Gerry Ritz Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Madam Speaker, I have no idea what piece of legislation the member opposite is talking about.

In this case, what we owe western Canadian farmers, the industry in western Canada, shippers and everybody else is certainty and clarity as to what is going to happen.

We have a lot of international marketplaces that are watching this with quite a bit of interest. I have had calls from buyers around the world asking if they will still have access to the top quality and consistency of Canadian grain. My answer is simple, absolutely. It is farmers in western Canada who provide that quality and that consistency, not the Wheat Board.

The Wheat Board has been a selling agent. That is all. It has actually been a buying agent, not even a selling agent. The vast majority of the slippage that we have seen in wheat, durum and barley is because of the single desk. Farmers cannot make a good return on that, so they have stopped growing it. We need to reinvigorate that. We need to get that back into our rotations, and continue to feed a growing and hungry world.

Bill C-18--Time Allocation Motion
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3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Chris Warkentin Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, I happen to represent a significant number of wheat and barley farmers, and they are very concerned.

As a matter of fact I returned to the office the other day, and there was a message from Gary. The message was simply to please call Gary; he is upset about the Canadian Wheat Board.

I called him. I assumed he was going to be frustrated about a whole host of things. I was curious as to what his opinion was with regard to the changes at the Canadian Wheat Board. He said that we had talked about the Canadian Wheat Board some time ago. I said that I was sure that we did. He asked, “Why are you giving the Canadian Wheat Board another eight months to limit my freedom?”

It is important that the minister clarify why it is important that this be an orderly transition, and that we give certainty not only to the markets but also to people like Gary so that he can make decisions with regard to the next number of months as he plans his crop rotations for the coming year.

Bill C-18--Time Allocation Motion
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3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Gerry Ritz Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Madam Speaker, the existing Canadian Wheat Board will stay in play until August 1, 2012. That is the right time to make the transition to the free market.

What will happen at that point is we will actually have the existing Canadian Wheat Board winding down its operations, still able to sell, still able to fill marketplaces, should it so desire. The new entity, the optional entity, will be spooling up, contracting, offering futures, moving forward, making sure it has farmers' grain to market and fulfill that great Canadian brand that is out there all over the world.

At the same time industry will be ratcheting up its buying power and moving forward. This is great. We will have more than one person bidding on our grain. There will be a number of them. What that does is it drives the price up.

The quality and consistency are still there, guaranteed by the farmer. Now we are going to have other people bidding to sell our product. That is only going to take things higher. That is great.

Bill C-18--Time Allocation Motion
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Government Orders

3:55 p.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault Sherbrooke, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak about another time allocation motion introduced by the Conservative government.

In the past, the Conservatives were very angry when the Liberals did the same thing. However, now that they are in power, the Conservatives are doing it just as much as the Liberals did before them. I would like to quote the current Prime Minister who, at that time, said:

I fear the longer I am here the reason it does some of this is it really ultimately wants to rush committee stage of these bills.

Committee stage is where the public and affected interests get to express their views on the bill to indicate where amendments should be made and where parliamentarians and other expert witnesses are able to go over the clause by clause of a bill to suggest...amendments.

That is what we have been wanting to do for a long time, and I think it is a shame that the government is once again trying to move things too quickly. We agree that Parliament must act but the members who represent their ridings must also be given time to speak and make suggestions.

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3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Gerry Ritz Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Madam Speaker, what I find perplexing is no one has the inability to speak. We all have that ability.

We have an opportunity here where the minister of the day is before the House of Commons for 30 minutes. Members can ask questions and make comments, keeping them short and precise, and all they can do is complain about procedure and process.

The procedure and the process that we are going to put in place is to make sure there is certainty and clarity in the grain industry in western Canada. We are going to put this legislation through. We are going to get it through in a timely fashion to give that certainty and clarity to the complete industry, right from the farm gate on through to loading it on the ships and getting that top-quality product out there in the world.

Bill C-18--Time Allocation Motion
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Government Orders

4 p.m.

NDP

Marc-André Morin Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, the question I have to ask myself about this government is how can it always be so sure that it is right? Personally, I think there is a problem when someone is always sure that they are right. That is a common characteristic of all dictators throughout history. Alexander the Great, Napoleon Bonaparte and Stalin come to mind. I could name others, but it might become a little insulting.

These people were always convinced that they were right. They could not tolerate any discussion or criticism. If the Conservatives admire these people, they should look closely at their history. They would soon see that Alexander the Great was not so great, not even in height, for he was five foot three. When his lover died, he allegedly drank himself to death.

Bill C-18--Time Allocation Motion
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Government Orders

4 p.m.

Conservative

Gerry Ritz Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Madam Speaker, it sounds like it sucks to be Alexander the Great and Andron. It is just a bad combination, and one is going to fall down.

We are talking about ensuring that western Canadian farmers have the clarity and certainty they require to plant the crops they are going to need, ensuring they have the ability to market those crops at the time, place and price of their choosing so they can build their own solid business case and their bottom line. They have proven to us over and over that they can do that with other commodities like canola.

What convinced us that we were on the right track was campaigning hard on this. We had a general election on May 2. Canadians sent us back to this place with certain issues they wanted covered. One of them was to move away from the single desk of the Canadian Wheat Board, move to it as an optional entity to ensure it was there for farmers who wanted to continue to use it.

The address will stay the same. The appointed directors will stay the same for continuity. The Wheat Board will continue to offer marketing for those farmers who choose to use it. Those farmers who do not want to use that single desk, who feel they are held back by it, who want to value-add to their product or market it in their own way will be able to do that too. It is the best of all worlds.

Bill C-18--Time Allocation Motion
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4 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, with all due respect to the hon. minister, the motion before us is not a question period for the minister on the substance of the bill. It is a motion to limit debate. My comments, like those of other hon. members, are to that subject.

When I first started to come to this place, it was a great privilege to see sitting at that table an honorary table officer, Stanley Knowles, who served in the House and was a great parliamentarian. He said in 1965:

The whole study of parliamentary procedure over the years, indeed over the decades, has been an endeavour to find a balance between the right to speak at as much length as seems desirable, and the right of parliament to make decisions.

I suggest that hon. members on the government benches have not struck the right balance, that when you invoke closure and time on debate over and over again, you lose legitimacy not only in the eyes of the opposition parties, but in the eyes of those people who elected them as members of Parliament.

I ask them to please allow proper debate on the bill.

Bill C-18--Time Allocation Motion
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Government Orders

4 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

I would ask all hon. members to direct their comments through the Chair.

Bill C-18--Time Allocation Motion
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4 p.m.

Conservative

Gerry Ritz Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Madam Speaker, we have done just that. I have not heard anything different in the last 10 minutes, the last 10 days, the last 10 weeks, the last 10 months, the last 10 years on the debate around the Canadian Wheat Board.

We are following the mandate that we were given on May 2 to come here and use whatever parliamentary means, which we are doing, to ensure this would get through the House and move on in a timely way to give clarity and certainty to the complete industry in western Canada.

That is exactly what we were sent here to do and that is exactly what we will do.

Bill C-18--Time Allocation Motion
Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers
Government Orders

4 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Merrifield Yellowhead, AB

Madam Speaker, the questions from my hon. colleagues across the way concern debate on the closure motion. That is what we are debating right now.

For the information of members, I had the privilege of serving on the legislative committee on the Wheat Board. Time was allocated to the committee. There were 64 clauses. If opposition members wished to debate any of the amendments that were put forward, they were allowed to debate them. The time was allocated and we did not use up all of the time. Why not? Because there were not enough amendments to utilize all of the time. That drives right to the question.

This legislation is important to farmers. It is not about destroying the Wheat Board; it about allowing farmers an option. They would have the pool option or an alternative option. We will not throw them in jail just because they move their product to an alternative source. I wonder if the—

Bill C-18--Time Allocation Motion
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Government Orders

4:05 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

Order, please. The hon. Minister of Agriculture.

Bill C-18--Time Allocation Motion
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Government Orders

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Gerry Ritz Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

The member for Yellowhead is absolutely right, Madam Speaker. Farmers will still have the option of a Wheat Board. It will still be at the same address and it will probably still have some of the same marketers, analysts and sellers that it has had all along to create the continuity.

It has a tremendous brand and the brand is based on the quality and consistency that farmers supply to all of the entities that sell the product. The Wheat Board has slid dramatically backward in the last few years. We are down to less than 15% of the global demand. We used to be above 25%. We have lost that, but what we have maintained is the brand, the quality and consistency that only Canada can supply.

We need more of that. We need more options. Some of the number one buyers from the Canadian Wheat Board, flour mills like Warburtons in Britain, have asked us, now that we are getting rid of the single desk, if it will be less prescriptive and if they can try some different menus and ways of grinding, and we are saying absolutely. We have tagged them out with Earl Geddes at CIGI and we will start to move more product to Warburtons.

Bill C-18--Time Allocation Motion
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4:05 p.m.

NDP

Mathieu Ravignat Pontiac, QC

Madam Speaker, I am trying to understand why this government is so anxious to end this debate. I consider myself to be a reasonable person, as are the majority of my colleagues. Either the Conservatives are concerned that Canadians might change their opinions at some point if we continue to debate and that things will change for this government, or they are so anxious to make this happen for their constituents, in their specific situation, that they are trampling on the democratic rights of the representatives of every other citizen in Canada.

I do not understand why their tune has changed either. The Minister of Public Safety said—

Bill C-18--Time Allocation Motion
Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers
Government Orders

4:05 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member, but I have to give the minister time to answer the question.

Bill C-18--Time Allocation Motion
Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers
Government Orders

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Gerry Ritz Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Endless debate accomplishes nothing, Madam Speaker. People watching this are concerned that we are wasting valuable time when there are other pieces of legislation that need to be moved forward. I know in the member's riding of Pontiac people are concerned about Bill C-10. They want to see that moved forward. They want to see an end to the long gun registry. They want to see those bills back before the House.

What we are doing is expeditiously moving forward legislation to give certainty and clarity to western Canadian farmers. I know the member for Pontiac supports farmers in his riding and I hope he will do the same for the farmers in mine.

Bill C-18--Time Allocation Motion
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4:05 p.m.

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, the minister talked about the single desk. There seems to be a philosophical ideological twist against the idea of single desk. Speaking of which, would he recommend to his cabinet colleagues that the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans get rid of the single desk at the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation in Manitoba?

Bill C-18--Time Allocation Motion
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Government Orders

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Gerry Ritz Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Madam Speaker, I welcome the question from the member for Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, the great. It is a tremendous question.

Absolutely. The provinces themselves are railing against that. Saskatchewan has asked for an opt out of the freshwater fish. It is planning to exercise that early next year. The provinces support moving toward open marketing, whether it is the Freshwater Fish Marketing Board or the Canadian Wheat Board. The Saskatchewan government stands with us, looking toward building a future for the fishers and farmers of Saskatchewan. I am proud to represent them.

Bill C-18--Time Allocation Motion
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4:05 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

It is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 38 to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Random—Burin—St. George's, Fisheries and Oceans; the hon. member for Malpeque, Foreign Affairs.

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

Bill C-18--Time Allocation Motion
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4:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Bill C-18--Time Allocation Motion
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Government Orders

4:05 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

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

Bill C-18--Time Allocation Motion
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Government Orders

4:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Bill C-18--Time Allocation Motion
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Government Orders

4:05 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

All those opposed will please say nay.

Bill C-18--Time Allocation Motion
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Government Orders

4:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Bill C-18--Time Allocation Motion
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4:05 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Call in the members.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #63

Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers
Government Orders

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I declare the motion carried.

Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers
Government Orders

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The member for Burnaby—New Westminster came in after the vote started. The member is not a new member. He should know the rules and his vote should be discounted.

Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers
Government Orders

4:50 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, the NDP agrees.

Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers
Government Orders

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I am sure the record will reflect that.

I wish to inform the House that because of the proceedings on the time allocation motion, government orders will be extended by 30 minutes.

[Disturbance in gallery]

Taking of Photographs in Chamber
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4:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Before moving on to government orders, I understand there are a few points of order.

I will go first to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources.

Taking of Photographs in Chamber
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4:55 p.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands
Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, I think that taking photographs in the House is not allowed. I wonder if the member for Malpeque would like to address that issue and perhaps erase the pictures he was taking with his own cellphone.

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4:55 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I did take a picture. The sign up in the gallery was the absolute truth in terms of some of those things that the minister—

Taking of Photographs in Chamber
Points of Order
Government Orders

4:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Taking of Photographs in Chamber
Points of Order
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4:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order, please. I believe there have been previous rulings about taking pictures. I did not see the hon. member for Malpeque but he has indicated that he did take pictures. I would ask him to respect the rules of the House.

The hon. member for Malpeque.

Taking of Photographs in Chamber
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4:55 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I will erase the picture.

Taking of Photographs in Chamber
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4:55 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills
Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Minister of State and Chief Government Whip

Mr. Speaker, the member for Surrey North also took photos and ran out of the House.

Taking of Photographs in Chamber
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4:55 p.m.

An hon. member

Chicken.

Taking of Photographs in Chamber
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4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

He is guilty of the same offence.

Taking of Photographs in Chamber
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4:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order, please.

The hon. member for London West on a new point.

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4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have been in this House now for just over three years and we see various types of conduct. What I just witnessed troubled me. Clearly, all sides have various perspectives on an issue. It is absolutely our privilege to have those differences and to speak to them, sometimes with great enthusiasm. However, what troubled me today was what I witnessed: members of the opposition applauded with a standing ovation the folks from the gallery who had a different view.

Here is my concern, and I say this for the benefit of newer members. We have had situations in the past when security staff have cleared individuals from the galleries who caused mischief in this House. Those individuals put the security staff at risk and put them in the hospital.

I do not believe that encouraging this kind of conduct is appropriate. I would ask that members hold their own views but do not respond to situations such as that in the gallery. That is not acceptable.

Disturbance in Gallery
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4:55 p.m.

NDP

Jamie Nicholls Vaudreuil-Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is rich, coming from the government that always talks about freedom of expression and last night introduced a bill—

Disturbance in Gallery
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4:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Disturbance in Gallery
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4:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order, please.

The hon. member for Acadie—Bathurst.

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4:55 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, I have been in this House for fourteen and a half years and I have never seen a government put time allocation on a speech in the House and the democracy of our—

Disturbance in Gallery
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4:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Disturbance in Gallery
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4:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order, please.

Is the hon. member for Scarborough Southwest rising on a point of order?

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4:55 p.m.

NDP

Dan Harris Scarborough Southwest, ON

I most certainly am, Mr. Speaker.

The Minister of State and Chief Government Whip, a few moments ago, while attacking one of our members, made a comment as to whether the member was here. The government whip should know better than to comment on whether someone is here. Furthermore, the members around him were calling that member a chicken, which I believe is unparliamentary, and is now being applauded.

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4:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I understand that when these types of disruptions occur, it evokes many responses from members.

I would say that the member for London West raises a good point about not encouraging that type of behaviour from the galleries. One day, you may agree with what is being said in terms of the disruption, the next day you may disagree. I think it is important, if we are going to continue to debate in an orderly way, that members respect, and certainly members of the gallery respect, the existing rules regarding behaviour in the galleries.

The Chair has tolerated some back and forth on this because I understand it affects members and gets people very excited but I do think we need to move on.

I see the member for Ottawa—Vanier is rising so I will recognize him. I do hope it is a point of order and not continuing a debate about the merits of what just took place.

Disturbance in Gallery
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5 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, when we say things we should be careful to not include everyone if that is not the intent.

I agree with what the member for London West said, but not with the way he said it. He insinuated that every member on this side applauded. That was not the case. I think he should be very careful about what he says, because I might raise a question of personal privilege.

Disturbance in Gallery
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5 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will respond to that. There were clearly a number of members directly opposite me who did not stand up for that. For any member who did not respond by sitting down, and not responding to the actions in the gallery, then I applaud them. They are examples that we can all look to. If that particular member was one who did not stand, I acknowledge that that was the appropriate action.

The House resumed consideration of Bill C-18, An Act to reorganize the Canadian Wheat Board and to make consequential and related amendments to certain Acts as reported with amendments from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 1.

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5 p.m.

Blackstrap
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Lynne Yelich Minister of State (Western Economic Diversification)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be here to participate in this debate today on a very important piece of legislation that our government believes will position Canadian farmers well with their businesses to capture the marketing opportunities that are open to them.

Western grain farmers want the same marketing freedom and the same opportunities as other farmers in Canada and around the world. Western Canadian grain farmers have what it takes to succeed in an open market. They have shown this very clearly in recent years with the tremendous growth of the canola and pulse industries. The government wants to give wheat and barley farmers in Western Canada the same freedom to market their products as farmers in the rest of Canada because we know this will create new opportunities for them and put more money in their pockets.

The marketing freedom for grain farmers act will give western Canadian wheat and barley farmers the freedom to market their grain as they choose. It will open up a world of possibilities for them, unlocking the economic potential of the prairie grain sector by removing the requirement that they market wheat and barley for the Canadian Wheat Board.

Many farmers have said that the monopoly of the Canadian Wheat Board has prevented them from getting the best prices for their grain. Jason Ranger, a farmer from Saskatchewan, said that one of the big issues with the Wheat Board is that there is a huge lack of transparency and they cannot see the price that it is selling their wheat. When passed, this legislation will allow western Canadian wheat and barley farmers the freedom to make decisions based on what is best for their business.

On November 9 four picketers were outside my riding office in Saskatoon protesting Bill C-18. James Findlay, an 88-year-old gentleman who lives in my riding, dropped by my office and let me know that he had approached those picketers. He told them that he was a World War II veteran that fought for Canada and fought for freedom. Mr. Findlay asked the picketers what they had done for Canada. He said he was not saying that because he thought he was better than that generation, he was just securing the liberties for which his generation fought. The poorly timed protest to prevent freedom for western Canadian wheat farmers was not lost on this veteran.

I would like to take a few moments to outline some of the key features and timelines with respect to the transition once the bill becomes law and the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly no longer operates as a monopoly. Once Parliament passes the act, western Canadian wheat and barley producers will be able to forward contract wheat and barley sales for delivery after August 1, 2012. As well, grain companies, end users and the Canadian Wheat Board will all be able to offer farmers contracts for delivery after August 1, 2012, and western Canadian producers will be able to sell future contracts for wheat and barley with delivery dates after August 1, 2012.

I am pleased to say that the Winnipeg exchange has announced its plans to offer new Canadian wheat and durum contracts if the legislation is passed. After that date of August 1, 2012, western Canadian farmers will be able to deliver wheat and barley to any domestic or export buyer. Export licences will no longer be required. At the same time, a new voluntary check-off will be put in place to support research and market development and it will be collected at the point of sale.

The new wheat board will have the ability to buy wheat and barley and pooling arrangements, but other details such as terms of delivery and requirements for prior contracting will be communicated by the wheat board as it develops its plan for operating voluntarily. The 2011 and 2012 pool accounts will be closed in the usual way and final payments should be issued by the end of 2012.

Farmers and members in the grain value chain have also expressed concern about the ongoing availability of producer cars as well as the overall grain handling and transportation system in a marketing freedom environment. I would like to address this issue.

The government is in agreement with recommendations made by the working group on marketing freedom. Through this group the government heard from more than 50 organizations and received 20 written submissions from representatives from all aspects of the grain value chain.

The working group recommended that the reform of Canada's grain marketing approach must be aligned with and supported by the modernization of the Canada Grain Act and the Canadian Grain Commission, as well as timely implementation of the government's response to the rail freight service review. That makes sense.

The working group also recommended that the government give market forces every opportunity to work, which we are very pleased to do.

Contractual arrangements between terminal operators and non-terminal companies have worked successfully for other crops. We expect that facility owners will actively seek arrangements for additional grain volume and profitability.

To address anti-competitive behaviour, the government is considering a range of options, including working with the value chain to monitor any anti-competitive behaviour or systematic issues should they arise. The grain value chain will also continue to have access to long-standing tools, including the Competition Act and the Competition Bureau.

The marketing freedom for grain farmers act will not cause a change to the current state of access to producer cars.

The right to producer cars is set out in the Canada Grain Act and the Canadian Grain Commission allocates these cars to producers. We will continue to protect this access.

It is important to point out that most producers have used producer cars but only if the returns are higher than if they were to deliver directly to a primary elevator. Currently, only about 4% of western Canadian grain shipments are shipped by producer cars.

Short line railways and inland terminals will continue to play an important role in getting western Canadian wheat and barley to both domestic and international markets.

Members of the House will be interested to know that when the government's response to the rail freight service review is fully implemented, it will give producer car shippers the ability to establish service agreements with the railways, promoting more predictable and efficient service.

As we announced in March 2011, the government is implementing its response to the rail freight service review with a view to improving the performance of the entire rail supply chain.

We will initiate a quick facilitation process with shippers, railways and other stakeholders to negotiate a template service agreement and streamlined commercial dispute resolution process. We have recently appointed a facilitator to lead this important work.

As well, we will table a bill to give shippers the right to a service agreement to support the commercial measures.

Our government will also establish a commodity supply chain table to address logistical concerns and develop performance metrics to improve competitiveness. We will do this by involving supply chain partners that ship commodities by rail.

In collaboration with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Transport Canada will lead an indepth analysis of the grain supply chain to focus on issues that affect that sector and help identify potential solutions.

We have announced a crop logistics supply chain. This will be a forum for the agricultural value chain to consider the performance of the supply chain for all crops and to exchange views and information on issues arising from the transition to marketing freedom.

We will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to ensure an orderly transition to a system that will allow western Canadian wheat and barley growers to market their wheat in the way they think is best.

Sylvain Charlebois said, “The end of the monopoly will benefit the Western agricultural economy as a whole”. Our government agrees. The end of the monopoly will benefit the western agricultural economy as a whole.

Our government is committed to delivering on our longtime promise to give western Canadian grain farmers the marketing freedom they deserve.

Last week a gentleman by the name of William Cooper attended a formal agriculture committee hearing held in my riding of Blackstrap. The topic was “How young farmers cope”. Witnesses had to be under 40 years of age. The observation that William Cooper made was, “Every witness under 40 year noted that 'They would not include CWB grains in their 2010 rotations because there was no way to manage risk'. They were talking over $200.00 per acre input costs at seeding time and had to have contracts on a portion of their acres, which they could achieve by seeding canola, oats, peas, or feed grains contracted with Pound-Maker feedlot or ethanol plant. Their bankers understand contracts but they do not understand the CWB pool return outlook”.

The other interesting item was that the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly discourages value-added investments. Stats Canada reported--

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5:10 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

Order. The hon. minister of state's time has lapsed. Perhaps she will be able to add remarks during questions and comments. Questions and comments.

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5:10 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington Western Arctic, NT

Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for her speech on this very difficult subject.

The minister of state did talk a lot about the transportation system. Working on the transportation committee in the past and talking with the various producers in western Canada, it became clear that size matters with the railways, that the opportunities to move grain, or other agricultural products, effectively and efficiently in western Canada are linked directly to volume. The opportunities for small producers have turned out to be not so good

The minister of state talked about all the wonderful things that the government is going to try to do to improve the rail service agreements. How can she guarantee success in this regard for those small farmers who are going to be on their own?

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5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Lynne Yelich Blackstrap, SK

Madam Speaker, that was addressed in my speech, about the producer cars and such.

If the member's concern is about the farmers selling their grain, like ours is, there are many farmers who will find their markets. One of the areas that I was starting to talk about was the value-added investments.

For the first time in western Canada, a pasta plant—

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5:10 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

Order, please. Could I have some quiet while the minister of state is speaking. I would ask members to please take their conversations outside to the lobby, if they wish to continue them.

The hon. Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification.

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5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Lynne Yelich Blackstrap, SK

Madam Speaker, I want to thank the member for his concern. I did address the rail, as I said.

The concerns of farmers being able to sell their grain and getting their price will all work well when there are value-added investments, such as the one that was just announced in Regina, all private money building a pasta plant.

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5:10 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Wascana, SK

Madam Speaker, the minister in her remarks spoke a bit about value-added processing.

I wonder if she could explain to the House what several value-added processors or proposed processors mean when they say that they must negotiate grain prices directly with farmers rather than through the Canadian Wheat Board, because they, the processors, need to get lower grain input costs in order for their operations to be profitable?

What exactly do they mean by the importance of negotiating directly with producers to get a lower price for grain? That is good from the processors' point of view, not so good from the farmers' point of view.

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5:15 p.m.

Conservative

Lynne Yelich Blackstrap, SK

Madam Speaker, I spoke about that.

Pound-Maker was one of the companies. I know that member knows who Pound-Maker is. That is one that will be taking advantage of the cheaper grain. I would assume it is going to be better for the farmers because they do not have to pay for the freight to go all the way to the ports now. The farmers will be able to deal directly with the processor.

I know that farmers in my area will be paying $1,400 to $2,000 in freight rates to get their product to port. Sometimes those costs escalate and also are rejected.

It is a very important part of the whole marketing freedom process. Farmers will be able to sell directly and negotiate their price, not be price takers as they have been under the monopoly of the Canadian Wheat Board. Farmers will have that freedom. They will get their dollars.

I am surprised that that member would ask this question because he is from Saskatchewan. He knows, more than anything in the world, what it means to Saskatchewan farmers. Of course, he must not represent farmers when he is in this particular Chamber.

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5:15 p.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton Churchill, MB

Madam Speaker, today and the few days that we have spent talking about Bill C-18, I believe will be remembered as the days where the Conservative government stood up for big agri and against the wishes of so many farmers across western Canada. These farmers have asked for the most fundamental of actions: the right to vote. In fact, it is not only farmers who have asked for it, it is in section 47.1 of the Canadian Wheat Board Act.

Many government members come from a part of the country where so many people depend on agriculture, have been part of building the Canadian Wheat Board and have benefited from the work of the Canadian Wheat Board. Why is the government refusing to listen, in many cases, to its own constituents?

Is it because a plebiscite that came out at the end of the summer indicated that 62% of western grain growers actually wanted the Canadian Wheat Board to exist? Is it because the Conservatives are afraid of opposition from people on the ground? Is that why they rammed through legislation, not just here in the House, but also through the technical committee?

Why is the government so afraid to listen to the voices of the people across western Canada? Why is it is so afraid to listen to its own constituents, some of whom have spent days on Parliament Hill asking the government to take some time, to see the analysis and to be heard on the insecurities they have about something as fundamental as their livelihood?

When asked about the analysis, researchers indicated that it was not there, that there was no plan. Many of the people I represent in Churchill are extremely unsure about their job security. They talk about having to leave and uproot their families. They know that as the last shipment of grain goes through, their livelihoods are immediately at risk. They have not seen a plan. Officials at all government levels have indicated a similar position and people are left in chaos and with a great deal of uncertainty as they go forward.

The same is applicable to farmers across Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. So many have contacted not just members on our side of the House, the NDP, but members on the other side of the House as well. Many were told by their own members of Parliament that they were too busy to meet with them and many did not get their calls and letters answered.

At the most fundamental level, those members of Parliament were sent here to represent the interests of their constituents. However, today, in voting to finish debate so quickly on Bill C-18, the theme has been to stand against farmers, to stand against the recognition that we need to hear from the very people who are most affected by the legislation. People have said that there is no hurry and they want to take the time.

We have heard the minister talk about goals and deadlines. Whose goals and deadlines are these? They echo the messages from Cargill and Viterra, the largest argribusiness corporations here in Canada and around the world. Those are the deadlines that the government is working on. It is not listening to the voices of farmers and western Canadians.

There are so many questions that must be asked as the government rams through this legislation.

I asked a question in committee and I will ask it again today. What about the contingency fund that is made up of money from farmers? We have heard that the government will take this money and hand it to the institution it is creating, instead of giving it back to the very farmers to whom it belongs. Yet more questions , but no answers. Will the money go as severance or will it go toward the parcelling off that would inevitably take place by large agribusiness corporations?

There are so many questions, but the lack of answers indicate that farmers are not being heard. The money that they have invested year after year will not be given back to them.

What does this legislation mean to so much of what the agricultural economy involves in western Canada, to the Port of Churchill, through which so many tonnes of Canadian wheat has gone around the world; to short line rail that is not just critical for the movement of grain, but also the connection that communities need across rural western Canada; the future of inland terminals and the kind of infrastructure that dots the prairie landscape;and the future of so much infrastructure that is not just about livelihood, but is essentially about livelihood, but it is also about the future of rural families and rural communities across western Canada?

The government, in acting the way it has on Bill C-18, in its vigour to dismantle an institution that has shaped the economy and the social landscape of prairie Canada, in showing such contempt for the important institution of the Wheat Board, it is showing contempt for western Canadians and their voices.

At what point will much of Canada also realize that this is about all of us. We are seeing this increasingly happen as the government moves time allocation on issue after issue to which it feels many Canadians are opposed.

As Canadians across the country see the kind of contempt that the government has shown to the collective work that farmers have done through the Wheat Board, they know that tomorrow this might also mean other marketing boards, that the day after that it might also be the future of our public broadcaster, the CBC, and that the day after that it might also be the future of an institution that is so critical to us, medicare.

Why does the government not believe that Canadians ought to come together to make the kind of decisions that matter to us in terms of our livelihood, the future of our families and the future of our communities? What do the Conservatives have against listening to the very people they claim to represent, western Canadians? Why do they not allow time in this debate? Why do they not allow a vote for western farmers? Why do they not allow for the proper research to take place as to what would happen once the Wheat Board is dismantled?

Why do the Conservatives not answer the questions as to how our fate will be so similar to that of Australia where month after month the livelihood of farmers has suffered as a result of the loss of the Australian wheat board, and where their once proud brand has taken a beating because it is now no longer an Australian brand, but belongs to Cargill and other global corporations that have a piece of the pie?

Is that where the government wants to take our country, to give the hard work of farmers, that important question of who produces our food, that has allowed it to be the best wheat in the world and to throw it away and hand it over to corporations such as Cargill that will not be reinvesting in our communities the way farmers who have been involved in running the Wheat Board have, that will not be investing in the Port of Churchill and that will not be investing in short line rail and the kind of infrastructure that our rural communities need?

Even in our urban centres we know that losing the Wheat Board means real loss, for example in Winnipeg and the loss of jobs that will occur there once the Wheat Board is lost.

There are so many questions that remain unanswered but there is one conclusion. The Conservative Government of Canada, which claims to speak for western Canadians, has, today, failed them. We need a government in this country that represents all regions of Canada.

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5:25 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Merrifield Yellowhead, AB

Madam Speaker, I listened to the comments of my colleague and absolutely nothing could be further from the truth.

She asked why we were not listening to farmers. We are absolutely listening to farmers. We are not throwing farmers in jail anymore the way that previous governments have because they took their grain, their product, and tried to get the best value they possibly could for it.

In recent years, since that incident took place, farmers have been speaking with their seed drills every spring. They seed a crop for which they get world price. That world price is paid for Canola, mainly on the prairies, which has now outstripped wheat as the number one commodity of choice. Why? It is because they are getting world price for it. Why? It is because it is outside the Wheat Board's mandate.

The study, on which we heard testimony in committee, and my hon. colleague was there and heard it, too, showed that farmers today are subsidizing the Wheat Board and the single desk by somewhere between $400 million to $600 million a year.

My hon. colleague asked why we as government are moving this along. It is because farmers need that freedom of choice.

How can my hon. colleague stand in her place and advocate for farmers when she really does not have many farmers in her riding, not like the rest of the prairies. She should respect what happened on May 2, which is--

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5:25 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

Order, please. I would like to give the hon. member time to respond and many other members want to ask questions.

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5:25 p.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton Churchill, MB

Madam Speaker, given the discussions we have had at committee, I would ask the member and his colleagues why they are so afraid to give farmers the chance to vote. Fundamentally, why will the government not follow legislation and allow western Canadian producers to have a say in the future of the institution that they built? It is a simple question. Not only is there a failure to answer, but instead we see the ramming through of legislation in an unprecedented manner. The altering of the prairie economy fundamentally tied in history to agriculture, is being changed in a matter of weeks without proper research and without listening to the voices of western Canadian farmers, some of whom the member represents, as do I. I also represent the people of Churchill.

As a proud western Canadian, I want to see a government that will actually listen to the voices--

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5:25 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

Order, please.

Questions and comments, the hon. member for Malpeque.

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5:25 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Malpeque, PE

Madam Speaker, I enjoyed the remarks of the member for Churchill. Between the member for Churchill and the member for Yellowhead, it is the member for Yellowhead who is absolutely wrong.

One of the key points the member raised is that there are so many questions that remain unanswered. There are a lot of unanswered questions. I have here the remarks from the Australian wheat board which was somewhat similar to Canada's at one point in time but is now gone. Jock Munro, a farmer, said:

We estimate we have lost $4 billion as growers since the wheat industry was deregulated three years ago.

The loser is definitely the Australian wheat grower, and the winners are the huge companies that control the logistics chain and are end users themselves.

Why has the government not abided by the vote? Why has it not held hearings? Why have we not investigated the Australian situation, which was similar to ours, before we go down this road that could be an absolute disaster for western farmers?

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5:30 p.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton Churchill, MB

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Malpeque for once again raising the example of the Australian wheat board, which the government has failed to look at in terms of where the fate lies for western Canadian growers as the Wheat Board is dismantled and as big agribusiness takes over. Farmers lose out. Farmers' families lose out. Rural communities lose out. Many communities the Conservatives claim to represent will see a negative impact as a result.

To add insult to injury, the Conservatives will not even do the due diligence of allowing farmers to have a say in the future of an institution that they created, not even the decency to allow farmers' voices to be heard.

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5:30 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Jean Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to rise today to support people within my constituency, people who are affected by things. It is not often we can say that we have somebody directly affected by something that is talked about by opposition members who really do not represent the people they pretend to represent. We recently heard a member from the Liberal Party, who has no effect whatsoever on his riding because he is from Prince Edward Island. It is unfair to put onuses on one part of the country and have the other part of the country not required to follow that law, as is the case in this instance.

However, I want to talk about the future, my future, my children's future and Canada's future, which is so important. I do not want to talk the past, as the previous speaker did.

Our government's top priority is clearly the economy. We have one of the best performing economies in the world. The agriculture industry plays a very vital role in that. We recognize that on this side of the House. That is why we want to, and need to, give farmers freedom, freedom to decide what to grow and freedom to decide to whom to sell it. That is what we are doing with this legislation.

We believe all Canadian farmers should be able to position their businesses to capture the marketing opportunities that are available to them. This is clearly available to almost all types of businesses in our country, whether it be a fast food restaurant or some type of service. Canadians can decide who to sell to and from whom to buy the product. That is not the case in this instance.

This debate is so often cast as a generational issue, with the older farmers wanting the security of the Wheat Board and the younger farmers eager to harness new technology and go it alone. While there is definitely some element of that, there are just as many farmers at retirement age who see the open market for wheat and barley as a new door of opportunity, an opportunity that was not given to their fathers. This will keep the next generation on the farm.

As most Canadians know, farms are closing their doors because they cannot be competitive on the international stage. This bill, this opportunity to give marketing freedom, is the opportunity that farmers have wanted in western Canada for decades.

According to the 2011 CWB producers' survey, “76 per cent of the younger generation of farmers surveyed want something other than the status quo, a monopoly”. That is from the Winnipeg Free Press, dated July 29.

It is clear that young farmers want the opportunities that were denied to their fathers. I have heard across my constituency, because I actually represent farmers who are affected by this legislation, that they want marketing freedom. These young, business-orientated entrepreneurs are the future of agriculture. That is why I want to talk about the future. Young farmers are ambitious, they successfully market their other crops across the world and they want this chance today. They need new solutions, not old rhetoric from the opposition and not restrictions, not the status quo. They want new opportunities.

There is no doubt that agriculture faces a major succession challenge over the coming decade, and I have heard it clearly. I have heard from farmers that they have to decide whether they can afford the gas to go to church on Sunday rather than pay their hydro bill. On the campaign trail in northern Alberta, they clearly indicated to me that they wanted choice, that they wanted marketing freedom.

According to the last agricultural census, the average age of farmers in Canada is 52. I come from a community where the average age is 29. We do not have a lot of seniors in Fort McMurray. If the average age is 52, then we have a large dilemma coming, especially because Canadian farmers feed the world. More than 40% of those farmers surveyed are over 54, while less than 10% are under 35. Those are astonishing statistics. Clearly, our government is taking action because we see the future and the future is not what is current.

Despite all of these challenges, however, Canada must capitalize on the entrepreneurial spirit of these young farmers. They are entering the sector with their innovative ideas and their new ways of doing business, and they have clearly shown this. Our government is absolutely committed to helping these young people take over the farm.

Opposition members ask us why we are limiting debate. It is because we have been talking the same language for decades on this side of the House. Clearly, our young farmers want choices. They want to have the opportunity that other farmers have, whether it be in Ontario, southern British Columbia or P.E.I. They want the choices that are given to other Canadians across our country. They have been denied those choices for many years.

The Minister of Agriculture said, “handing over the farm must not be seen as a form of child abuse”. That sounds pretty draconian, but the truth is many of us in the west, many of the farmers in the west especially, feel this has been the situation. We cannot tolerate that on this side of the House.

As a farmer from Manitoba recently wrote to the hon. Minister of Agriculture, “Our twenty-two year old son is more encouraged than ever to be part of agriculture, thanks to the actions and the proposed legislation of [this] government”.

No matter what age, western grain farmers want the same marketing freedom and opportunities as other farmers in Canada and around the world. Clearly, if our farmers have those opportunities, they will not just compete, they will succeed. They will do better than their competition because we have a competitive advantage in our country, not just in our vast farmland but also in the people who run those farms, the younger people, the next generation of farmers. They want to be able to position their businesses to capture the marketing opportunities that are open to them. Our government, our Prime Minister and our minister will clearly make sure that happens.

One key way we are opening doors for our young people is through this legislation. It is interesting that in a university class of future farmers in Saskatchewan not just 60% but almost all of those young farmers favoured moving away from the single desk to give them choice. Choice is opportunity and they want that opportunity. Why not? Young farmers do not need single desks; they need many options, just like other entrepreneurs have.

This bill, which I am so proud of and which was one of the pillars that I ran on in my very first election in 2004, will give them that opportunity. Marketing freedom will allow grain growers to market based on what is best for their own businesses and help them make that decision.

Brian Otto, the president of the Western Barley Growers Association, said:

With a commercial market place, young farmers will have the tools to manage their risk and create wealth, for themselves and for their communities. We will finally have an environment that will attract young people back to the farm.

I hear some talk from a member from P.E.I. on the other side who has constituents who are not affected by this legislation. Clearly, he is not listening to what my farmers tell me and those farmers represented across this caucus.

We have already seen some encouraging signs, not just signs from this government. We have seen an overview by Agriculture and Agri-food Canada which indicates a younger generation of farmers is on the horizon and that younger generation sees clearly the actions of this government and are very pleased.

The overview reports that close to 8% of farmers are young farmer enterprises and they actually perform better than other farmers in Canada. That is amazing, but it is a good hope for the future. These are managed solely by farmers between the ages of 18 and 39. They tend to be well-distributed across farm types, size and province and because they have more opportunities, they are likely to have higher profit margins to share with their families, a higher share of on-farm family income and higher gross farm revenues. Young farmers are our future in more ways than one.

As well, a survey by Farm Credit Canada found that young producers, age 40 and under, felt their farm or business was better off today compared to five years ago. Over 80% were optimistic about the future success of their farm or business over the next five years.

Creating a successful farming operation is more than just the Wheat Board and more than just control mechanisms by outdated opposition members. It is clearly about planning, expanding, diversifying and meeting the needs of a community in the world today for the future of tomorrow.

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5:40 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, as I have said in the House before, my grandfather farmed for 36 years on the border of Alberta and Saskatchewan. He was a lifelong Conservative, and a proud one, but he also was a lifelong supporter of the Wheat Board.

One of the prime differences between the two sides of the House is over the question of whether farmers support the government's action. The government has pointed to the results of the May 2 election as somehow being a mandate given to it to dispense with the Wheat Board. There are farmers like my grandfather who may vote Conservative for certain reasons, but want like heck to keep the Wheat Board.

There is an easy way to resolve this. If the government thinks it has the support of the farmers of the country, it should put it to a vote by the farmers of western Canada. I will respect the result of that vote in the House. We will know one way or the other.

This is a simple question. Will the government let the farmers decide? If you are so confident that you have the support of the farmers of this country, put your money where your mouth is, let them vote and let us will live by the result. That is what you do in a democracy, is it not?

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5:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

I would remind hon. members to direct their comments and questions through the Chair.

The hon. member for Fort McMurray—Athabasca.

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5:40 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Jean Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, there was a vote. It is called a majority. The majority of Canadians said that they wanted us to decide what would happen with farmers and the Canadian Wheat Board. I will not interfere in the business of the member's constituents and I would prefer he did not interfere in the business of my constituents.

Do members know how many phone calls and letters I have received in the last six months asking to keep the Wheat Board? Zero. I represent 30% of the geographic area of Alberta and I have received zero letters and phone calls. Maybe they will start because people will hear me today, but I doubt it. This is clearly before the people. They want the Canadian Wheat Board to offer choices and we will offer that freedom from the Canadian Wheat Board's monopoly.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:40 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, the member for Fort McMurray—Athabasca loves to attack members who are not from the Wheat Board area, but I have spent many years in the Wheat Board area and I hear from wheat growers every day.

The key point is this. He said that other Canadians were not under the Canadian Wheat Board. However, with other marketing institutions, whether it is in Quebec, the Ontario Wheat Producers' Marketing Board, whatever it may be, those people were given a vote on their marketing institutions. Canadian Wheat Board producers have in legislation, under section 47.1, the right to that vote and the government has denied them that right.

Why will it not allow a vote of western producers? Is it because it knows it will lose and it wants to steamroll over them, just like a dictatorship? Is that what is wrong, that it does not want to admit in the House—

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

Order, please. We are getting short on time and the hon. member needs time to respond.

The hon. member for Fort McMurray—Athabasca.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:40 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Jean Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, I know the member wants to believe he is right. I know that because he is a good member and he has been around here for a long time. I do not want to decide on where growers in P.E.I. sell their products, whether it be potatoes or wheat. He referred to an Ontario wheat board. Farmers have a choice as to whether to join that wheat board. That is exactly what we will offer to farmers in western Canada. We will offer them the choice of a strong Canadian Wheat Board or other strong options.

We are interested in one thing. We are interested in what is best for them as they tell us. They have told me clearly. That was one of the top 10 priorities I ran on and they told me it was a priority.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

It being 5:45 p.m., pursuant to order made earlier today it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of the report stage of the bill now before the House.

The question is on Motion No. 1. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

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

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

All those opposed will please say nay.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

In my opinion the nays have it.

And five or more members having risen:

The recorded division on Motion No. 1 stands deferred.

The next question is on Motion No. 2. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

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

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

All those opposed will please say nay.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

In my opinion the nays have it.

And five or more members having risen:

The recorded division on Motion No. 2 stands deferred.

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

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

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

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

All those opposed will please say nay.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

In my opinion the nays have it.

And five or more members having risen:

The recorded division on Motion No. 3 stands deferred.

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

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

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

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

All those opposed will please say nay.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

In my opinion the nays have it.

And five or more members having risen:

The recorded division on Motion No. 4 stands deferred.

The next question is on Motion No. 5. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

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

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

All those opposed will please say nay.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

In my opinion the nays have it.

And five or more members having risen:

The recorded division on Motion No. 5 stands deferred.

The next question is on Motion No. 6. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

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

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

All those opposed will please say nay.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And five or more members having risen:

The recorded division on Motion No. 6 stands deferred.

I shall now propose Motions Nos. 7 to 11 in Group No. 2 to the House.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

moved:

Motion No. 7

That Bill C-18, in Clause 14, be amended by replacing line 36 on page 7 with the following:

“9. (1) The board consists of fifteen directors,”

Motion No. 8

That Bill C-18, in Clause 14, be amended by replacing lines 38 to 42 on page 7 with the following:

“(2) All the directors are elected by the producers in accordance with the regulations. The directors must designate, also in accordance with those regulations, a president from among themselves.”

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

moved:

Motion No. 9

That Bill C-18 be amended by deleting Clause 45.

Motion No. 10

That Bill C-18 be amended by deleting Clause 46.

Motion No. 11

That Bill C-18 be amended by deleting Clause 55.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

The question is on Motion No. 7.

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

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

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

All those opposed will please say nay.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

In my opinion the nays have it.

And five or more members having risen:

The recorded division on Motion No. 7 stands deferred.

The next question is on Motion No. 8.

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

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

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

All those opposed will please say nay.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

In my opinion the nays have it.

And five or more members having risen:

The recorded division on Motion No. 8 stands deferred.

The next question is on Motion No. 9.

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

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

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

All those opposed will please say nay.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

In my opinion the nays have it.

And five or more members having risen:

The recorded division on Motion No. 9 stands deferred.

The next question is on Motion No. 10.

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

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

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

All those opposed will please say nay.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

In my opinion the nays have it.

And five or more members having risen:

The recorded division on Motion No. 10 stands deferred.

The next question is on Motion No. 11.

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

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

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

All those opposed will please say nay.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

In my opinion the nays have it.

And five or more members having risen:

The recorded division on Motion No. 11 stands deferred.

The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded divisions at report stage of the bill.

Call in the members.

Report Stage
Points of Order
Government Orders

6:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

The question is on Motion No. 1.

(The House divided on Motion No. 1, which was negatived on the following division:)

Vote #64

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I declare Motion No. 1 defeated.

The next question is on Motion No. 2.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:35 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, if you seek it, I believe you will find agreement to apply the results on the previous motion to the current motion, with the Conservatives voting no.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Is there unanimous consent to proceed in this fashion?

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:35 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, NDP members will be voting yes.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:35 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal members will be voting yes.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:35 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Mr. Speaker, the members of the Bloc will vote yes.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:35 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Green Party supports our own amendments. We vote yes.

(The House divided on Motion No. 2, which was negatived on the following division:)

Vote #65

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I declare Motion No. 2 defeated.

The question is on Motion No. 3.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:35 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, if you seek it I believe you would find agreement to apply the result of the vote on the previous motion to the current motion, with the Conservatives voting no.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Is there unanimous consent to proceed in this fashion?

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:35 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, the NDP votes yes.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:35 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals vote yes.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:35 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Mr. Speaker, the members of the Bloc will vote yes.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:35 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Yes, Mr. Speaker.

(The House divided on Motion No. 3, which was negatived on the following division:)

Vote #66

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I declare the motion defeated.

The next question is on Motion No. 4.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:35 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, if you seek it I believe you would find agreement to apply the result of the vote on the previous motion to the current motion, with the Conservatives voting no.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Is there unanimous consent to proceed in this fashion?

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:35 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, the NDP will be voting yes.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:35 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, Liberals will be voting yes.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:35 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Mr. Speaker, the members of the Bloc Québécois vote yes.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:35 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Green Party votes yes.

(The House divided on Motion No. 4, which was negatived on the following division:)

Vote #67

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I declare Motion No. 4 defeated.

The question is on Motion No. 5.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:35 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, if you seek it I believe you would find agreement to apply the vote on the previous motion to the current motion, with the Conservatives voting no.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Is that agreed?

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, NDP members are voting yes.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, Liberal members are voting yes.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are voting in favour of this motion.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Green Party votes yes.

(The House divided on Motion No. 5, which was negatived on the following division:)

Vote #68

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I declare Motion No. 5 defeated.

The question is on Motion No. 6.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, if you seek it I believe you would find agreement to apply the vote on the previous motion to the current motion, with the Conservatives voting no.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Is that agreed?

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, the NDP is voting yes.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, Liberals are voting yes.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc is voting yes.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am voting yes.

(The House divided on Motion No. 6, which was negatived on the following division:)

Vote #69

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I declare Motion No. 6 defeated.

The question is on Motion No. 7.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, if you seek it I believe you would find agreement to apply the result of the vote on the previous motion to the current one, with the Conservatives voting no.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Is that agreed?

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, NDP members are voting yes.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, Liberal members are voting yes.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc votes yes.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

I am voting yes, Mr. Speaker.

(The House divided on Motion No. 7, which was negatived on the following division:)

Vote #70

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I declare Motion No. 7 defeated.

The next question is on Motion No. 8.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, if you seek it I believe you would find agreement to apply the vote from the previous motion to the current motion, with the Conservatives voting no.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Is that agreed?

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, NDP members are voting yes.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal members are voting yes.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois is voting in favour of the motion.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Green Party votes yes.

(The House divided on Motion No. 8, which was negatived on the following division:)

Vote #71

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I declare Motion No. 8 defeated.

The next question is on Motion No. 9.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, if you seek it I believe you would find agreement to apply the vote from the previous motion to the current motion, with the Conservatives voting no.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Is there unanimous consent to proceed in this fashion?

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, NDP members are voting yes.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal members are voting yes.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois is voting in favour of the motion.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Green Party is voting in favour of the motion.

(The House divided on Motion No. 9, which was negatived on the following division:)

Vote #72

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I declare Motion No. 9 defeated.

The question is on Motion No. 10.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, if you seek it I believe you would find agreement to apply the vote from the previous motion to the current motion, with the Conservatives voting no.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Is that agreed?

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, the NDP is voting in favour of the motion.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal members are voting yes.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois is voting in favour of the motion.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Green Party votes yes.

(The House divided on Motion No. 10, which was negatived on the following division:)

Vote #73

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I declare Motion No. 10 defeated.

The next question is on Motion No. 11.

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Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, if you seek it I believe you would find agreement to apply the vote from the previous motion to the current motion, with the Conservatives voting no.

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6:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Is that agreed?

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6:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

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Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, NDP members are voting yes.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal members are voting yes.

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Government Orders

6:45 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois is voting in favour of the motion.

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Government Orders

6:45 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Green Party votes yes.

(The House divided on Motion No. 11, which was negatived on the following division:)

Vote #74

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I declare Motion No. 11 defeated.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:45 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

moved that the bill be concurred in.

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Government Orders

6:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

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Government Orders

6:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

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6:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

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

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Government Orders

6:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

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Government Orders

6:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

All those opposed will please say nay.

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Government Orders

6:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

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Government Orders

6:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And five or more members having risen:

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #75

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I declare the motion carried.

It being 6:54 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's order paper.

Canada Water Preservation Act
Private Members' Business

6:50 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

moved that Bill C-267, An Act respecting the preservation of Canada’s water resources, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Canada Water Preservation Act
Private Members' Business

6:50 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would request unanimous consent of the House that I might have the honour of co-seconding Bill C-267 put forward by the hon. member for Lac-Saint-Louis.

Canada Water Preservation Act
Private Members' Business

6:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to be named as a co-seconder?

Canada Water Preservation Act
Private Members' Business

6:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Canada Water Preservation Act
Private Members' Business

6:50 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to put my bill and the debate we are launching tonight into some context by referring to a couple of facts and a couple of quotes from eminent individuals.

While there are alternatives to oil, there are as yet no reasonable alternatives to water. That is fact number one.

Fact number two is that Canada holds 20% of the world's fresh water. The United States, on the other hand, has--

Canada Water Preservation Act
Private Members' Business

6:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

Order, please. In fairness to the hon. member for Lac-Saint-Louis, I would ask that all hon. members who need to carry on conversations to please take those conversations out to their respective lobbies.

The hon. member for Lac-Saint-Louis.

Canada Water Preservation Act
Private Members' Business

6:55 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will start over. I would like to put my bill and the debate we are launching tonight into some context by referring to two facts and quoting two eminent individuals.

The first fact is that, while there are alternatives to oil, there are as yet no reasonable alternatives to water. The second fact is that Canada holds 20% of the world's freshwater. The United States has one-tenth of Canada's water but nine times our population.

At a conference in Peterborough not long ago, Robert Kennedy Jr. said, in reference to the United States:

We are in the midst of a water crisis that has no end in sight, and the place people are looking to solve it is Canada.

If you talk to the engineers and the planning and policy makers in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Phoenix and Las Vegas...they'll say, “Well we don't have to worry about this because we'll just get the water from Canada”.

The second quote is from Citi Bank chief economist, Willem Buiter, who declared in July 2001 his belief that the water market would become larger than the oil market in this century. He said:

I expect to see in the near future a massive expansion of investment in the water sector, including the production of fresh, clean water from other sources (desalination, purification), storage, shipping and transportation of water. I expect to see pipeline networks that will exceed the capacity of those for oil and gas today.

Water is not oil. It is a unique natural resource because of its life-sustaining qualities for humans, the environment and the economy. Water drives our economy, whether it be agriculture or the modern products of the computer age. Water is in high demand to allow those industries to grow and prosper.

I think a little history is in order to give a little more context to my bill.

The first proposals for exporting Canada's freshwater date back to the 1950s and 1960s. These involved the grandiose schemes for redirecting the natural flow of some of Canada's rivers toward the United States and other parts of Canada. In fact, in 1951, the U.S. bureau of reclamation undertook an extensive study called, “United Western Investigation”. The goal was to expand irrigation through the diversion of North American rivers.

In 1959, the GRAND Canal project proposed to build a dyke across James Bay to separate it from Hudson Bay, turning the resulting reservoir into a freshwater lake whose water would then be pumped southward into the Great Lakes and parts of the United States and Canada.

In 1964, the North American Water and Power Alliance project proposed damming the major rivers of Alaska and British Columbia to divert water into the Rocky Mountain Trench to create a 500 mile freshwater lake running the length of British Columbia.

In the 1990s, a series of more modest water export proposals made surprising and significant headway in three provinces, namely, British Columbia, Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador, before being halted by governments responding to negative public reaction.

Despite the reversals of earlier attempts to sell Canada's water abroad, and in the face of public opinion that today still solidly opposes bulk water exports, calls to export Canada's freshwater have not subsided, surprisingly. Rather, they may be said to have increased, at times backed by studies by respected think tanks, I would add mostly conservative think tanks, that often combine the language of the human right to water as a means of adding moral impetus and justification to the traditional economic reasons for favouring bulk water exports.

I will give an example. In 2008 the Montreal Economic Institute published a report called “Freshwater exports for the development of Quebec's blue gold”. The report claimed:

Fresh water is a product whose relative economic value has risen substantially and will keep rising in the coming years. It has become a growing source of wealth and an increasingly worthwhile investment opportunity.

In June 2010 the Fraser Institute released a report entitled “Making Waves: Examining the Case for Sustainable Water Exports from Canada”. The report concluded that the myriad of federal and provincial statutes and regulations effectively banning water exports should be eliminated.

That is obviously the tenor of some of the reports that have come out of conservative think tanks in the last few years. We see a trend. We have the grandiose schemes of the 1950s and 1960s. Many of these are not particularly practical because of the cost and the damage to the environment. Then we see, in the second stage, in the 1990s, more modest projects involving tanker ships, projects that actually gained the support of three provincial governments. Then following prohibitions on water exports in the provinces, we still see think tanks proposing the idea and backing up their proposals with economic analysis.

In order to fully explore this issue, we have to refer to the North American Free Trade Agreement. It, of course, changed the trading environment in North America and raised questions about whether water would some day be traded within that common market. In order to fully grasp the implications of NAFTA for Canada's ability to control its fresh water, it is necessary to focus on three principles that are in the agreement: the principle of national treatment, the principle of investor rights, and the principle of proportionality. These principles govern and constrain the actions of signatory countries to the agreement.

National treatment could mean, depending on interpretation, that the consumers of one country must have access to the same goods or products as consumers in the other country. In other words, one country may not ban the export to the other country of goods or products already being traded within its domestic market.

The notion of investor rights means that a country cannot directly expropriate the interests of a foreign investor or take actions such as regulations that effectively diminish the earnings from and, hence, the value of an investment, actions that would be considered tantamount to expropriation.

Let us take the example of a hypothetical foreign corporation with a permit to ship water within Canada. If this were to occur, it could argue that a prohibition on shipping water to the United States devalues its investment. Afterward, an arbitration tribunal might agree and invoke the rights of U.S. consumers of water, for example, American farmers and consumers of farm products, to benefit from Canada's water in the same way as Canadian farmers and consumers of agricultural products do.

I would like to digress before explaining the meaning of the principle of proportionality by mentioning that the federal Conservative government made a very unwise decision recently in regard to a case brought to a NAFTA tribunal by AbitibiBowater, which is a Canadian firm incorporated in Delaware with sizeable U.S. assets.

The firm closed its pulp and paper mills in Grand Falls, Windsor, Newfoundland and Labrador, and then wanted to sell its assets, including certain timber harvesting licences and water use permits. As the House will recall, the Newfoundland government moved to re-appropriate these rights as they were originally contingent on production. AbitibiBowater sidestepped the Canadian courts and challenged the Newfoundland government under NAFTA's investor protection provisions.

In this particular instance, a foreign company asserted its right to Canada's water and the matter was headed toward deliberations in a NAFTA tribunal. The Conservative government settled out of court and gave the company $130 million and essentially created a private right of a foreign corporation to Canada's water.

Now, there are already foreign claims on water. That makes it more likely that a corporation could argue that its investor rights are being infringed upon if that corporation is not allowed to do what it wishes with the water for which it has a permit.

Finally, I wish to speak about the principle of proportionality. If we were ever to export our water in bulk, it would be difficult to prohibit those exports once they had begun. Proportional sharing means that if we were to apply an export tax or levy, for example, on a product that is sold outside Canada, thereby reducing the amount of exports of that product, we would have to take similar action in Canada to proportionately reduce the domestic consumption of that product or natural resource.

It is interesting to note that two types of natural resources were exempted under NAFTA by the previous Mulroney Conservative government. One of them unfortunately is not water. The Mulroney government did not have the foresight to exempt water from the proportional sharing clause in NAFTA. Timber and unprocessed fish were exempted. Proportional sharing does not apply to those two natural resources, but unfortunately it applies to water.

We have a problem. There is a great deal of uncertainty about what NAFTA means with respect to Canada's right to control its water sovereignty. Nine of our ten provinces have laws for the time being that prohibit the export of water from their jurisdictions. New Brunswick does not have a law but does have a policy against bulk water exports from its jurisdiction.

If NAFTA were to be superimposed on the complexities of the Canadian federal system, that uncertainty would continue because any one of those provinces could lift their ban on bulk water exports at any time. If more pressure builds from think tanks and interest groups or entrepreneurs in different provinces, one could see a day come when there would be pressure to lift those bans.

We need what is called federal backstop legislation and that is what my bill is. It is called the Canadian water preservation act. Its primary goal is to prohibit the removal of fresh water in bulk from what one aquatic basin in Canada to another, and I define bulk as over 50,000 litres per day. The interbasin transfer of water by any means would be prohibited, including but not limited to, pipeline, tunnel, canal, aqueduct or water bag. The basic contours of the basins would be negotiated with the provinces and would be the object of regulations.

What I am saying is that if we cannot take water from one basin and bring it to another and another, and so on until it crosses the American border, then we cannot export Canada's water and we are protecting the environment at the same time.

The bill would not apply to boundary waters because the Chrétien government had the foresight and the wisdom to protect boundary waters such as the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River and Lake of the Woods from bulk water removal and bulk water exports, in 2001 when it amended the International Boundary Waters Treaty Act.

Canada Water Preservation Act
Private Members' Business

7:10 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada has a federal water policy that has been in place since 1986 calling for the banning of bulk water exports. It is the only one we had so it must be still in place.

The most recent statement on the matter was made in the Speech from the Throne in 2008 when the current government, in its minority form, pledged to put forward legislation to ban bulk water exports.

Does the hon. member expect the support of the government in ensuring that this important legislation gets passed? As he noted, under NAFTA, if we let any water get exported to the United States, we can never turn that tap off again.

Canada Water Preservation Act
Private Members' Business

7:10 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, indeed, the 1987 water policy that was put forth by the Conservative government of the day clearly stated that Canada should bring in legislation to prevent bulk water exports. The government then, in its throne speech in November 2008, said it would do so, that it would prohibit exports by prohibiting interbasin transfers. It did not follow through on its own throne speech promise because it introduced watered-down legislation that did not ban interbasin transfers, as it had promised in the throne speech.

I would very much like the members on the other side to see the wisdom of this legislation, to see that it is consistent with their own statements, and support the legislation. However, I am not that optimistic.

Canada Water Preservation Act
Private Members' Business

7:10 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, my friend has mentioned various trade agreements: the Canada-U.S. trade agreement and NAFTA. I wonder if he has any concerns about exposure of our water supply in the CETA discussions and negotiations.

Canada Water Preservation Act
Private Members' Business

7:10 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I do and in other regards, not only in terms of how CETA would apply to potential future exports. It is very difficult to know what is in CETA because the government is not telling us what it is negotiating, so I will not be very specific in my answer.

When it comes to CETA, I am more concerned about the fact that, if Canadian municipalities decide to give a contract for the management of their municipal drinking water systems, they would be forced to allow foreign water companies to bid on those contracts, whereas now they can invite a foreign company to bid, but they are not required to have a European water company bid. I am a little concerned that we could be giving up control of municipal water systems to European multinationals. I am very concerned about CETA, but again, the government has not told us what it is up to.

Canada Water Preservation Act
Private Members' Business

7:10 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North
Alberta

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-267 seeks to prohibit the removal of water in bulk from major drainage basins in Canada. Unfortunately, the bill is fraught with redundancies. I will spend my time today discussing why. I will start by giving the House a sense of the federal role in the shared management of our waters as it applies internationally and domestically. It is a role that is designed to respect both federal and provincial jurisdictions.

Canada's Constitution makes it a province's responsibility to manage natural resources within its boundaries. However, it does not explicitly assign responsibility for water management to either the federal or provincial government. Therefore, traditionally we have shared this role.

At the federal level, we have a long history of bilateral co-operation with the United States to manage boundary and transboundary waters through a set of treaties and agreements that have been mentioned here tonight, like the Boundary Waters Treaty. This treaty, with the International Joint Commission that it created, has successfully promoted co-operative solutions to shared water issues with the United States for more than 100 years.

Under the Boundary Waters Treaty, the federal government supports the International Joint Commission by providing expert technical and engineering staff to oversee the flow of water in these basins. The commission also engages experts from other levels of government from both sides of the boundary. It creates the structure for the federal, provincial and state agencies to work together in the best interests of the people from both countries.

Additionally, when Canada, the United States and Mexico ratified the North American Free Trade Agreement, they declared that it created no rights to water in its natural state.

Beyond the international dimension, the federal government also takes an appropriate role with the provinces in overseeing the apportionment of water that flows from one province to another, such as with the Prairie Provinces Water Board. The federal government acts as a neutral third party in making sure that the terms of the master agreements on apportionment are followed.

I would also like to note, and this has been discussed here previously tonight, that the federal government has already undertaken specific action to ban bulk water removals from waters that are within our jurisdiction.

Specifically, the Minister of Foreign Affairs is responsible for the administration of the International Boundary Waters Treaty Act. For over a decade, that act has prohibited bulk water removals from the Canadian portion of the boundary water basins. These are basins that contain the lakes and rivers that form or run along the international boundary.

In putting in place these protections, the federal government has always been mindful that it is a provincial responsibility to manage water within a province's territorial boundaries and this is as it should be. In keeping with these shared responsibilities, it is important to underscore how active our provincial and territorial partners have been in putting in place the measures to be sound stewards of our water resources. Over the last 10 years, all the provinces have put in place laws, regulations or policies that prevent the transfer of water between basins, or outside their boundaries, and in some cases, both.

Therefore, the bill is an unnecessary incursion into provincial jurisdiction.

The former leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, the hon. member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, has questioned the constitutionality of this legislation at committee, a significant issue that is associated with the bill.

Bill C-267 would place the issue of bulk water transfers, domestically and internationally, wholly within federal jurisdiction. This is a departure from the federal government's traditional jurisdiction and raises constitutional issues. In particular, there are concerns whether it can be supported by a federal head of power, particularly given its focus on waters other than transboundary basins.

Similarly, it is unlikely that Parliament could rely on peace, order and good government to legislate in this case. The bill does not meet the national concern part of this test. In particular, there is no provincial inability to address the issue.

On this point, federal incursion into water management wholly within provincial boundaries, as proposed by the bill, would be duplicative and an intrusion on provincial jurisdiction. It would also imply that, without additional federal government oversight of the provincial protections already in place, the provinces would open the floodgates to bulk water diversion projects. This simply does not align with all the evidence to date of strong provincial actions to prohibit such removals, contrary to the alarmist nature of the member opposite's speech.

Additional redundancies relate to a law passed by the United States that explicitly prevents the removal of water from the Great Lakes basin.

This brought into force a political compact that was developed by the eight Great Lake states in 2008. When this occurred, the governments of Ontario and Quebec also signed a side accord with these eight states which adopted the same principles.

Let me conclude by summarizing the key flaws and redundancies contained in the bill. Bill C-267 would place the issue of bulk water transfers, domestically and internationally, wholly in federal jurisdiction. This is a departure from the federal government's traditional jurisdiction and raises significant constitutional issues. We do not want to federalize every drop of water in Canada, nor should we. We respect the role and the jurisdiction of the provinces with regard to the sustainable management of our water resources.

Robust protections already exist at the federal and provincial level to prevent the removal of water in bulk and there is, therefore, no justification for the federal government to act in prohibiting the transfer of water within the territory of a province. Also, we look forward to continuing the long-standing co-operative relationships we have established with our provincial, territorial and U.S. colleagues to continue our shared efforts to sustainably manage our water resources. As such, I encourage members not to support this bill.

Canada Water Preservation Act
Private Members' Business

7:20 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, I will keep it pretty short because other colleagues would like to speak to this bill.

The member for Lac-Saint-Louis should rest assured the NDP will support this bill to get it to committee because it is really important for us to discuss some key issues.

The NDP has been strong on water issues for quite a long time. In 1999 we had a fantastic motion banning bulk water exports, and it passed this House with debate. We have a long history when it comes to water issues.

I appreciated my colleague's explanation about NAFTA and proportionality and how it is linked to exportation. That cleared up a lot of questions I had.

At committee I would like to hear from some folks about a few issues.

First, one thing about the bill is it appears that bulk water removal is limited through diversion only and would not apply to removal by, say, pumping water into a ship or a truck. Therefore, I want to ask questions, explore that issue and hear from witnesses about that.

The other piece that is interesting, and is missing, is the fact that there is a specific exception for manufactured water products, including bottled water, so it would be great to explore that at committee. I would like to see what the implications would be of having that exception specifically written into the legislation.

A technical detail that I would like to explore with witnesses is the fact that the bill gives government very wide regulatory powers and it includes the ability to redefine the scope of exceptions through regulations and make regulations for other exceptions. I feel that is overly broad. That could allow the government to rewrite the act through regulatory powers. We would want to see if in fact this broad regulatory scope does not actually undermine the legislation. If we find that it does, perhaps we could introduce some amendments.

The final piece I would like to discuss at committee is the fact that there is actually no definition, or guidance given to the governor in council on what constitutes a major drainage basin. The effectiveness of the bill, or the power of the bill absolutely depends on what is the definition of a major drainage basin. In theory, the governor in council could write a definition such that none of our waterways or drainage basins constitute major drainage basins. I would like to hear what witnesses have to say about it.

Those are things we can deal with at committee. That is why we have committee. That is part of the exciting legislative process here in Parliament. I look forward to voting for this bill. I hope it does get to committee so we can explore those issues.

Canada Water Preservation Act
Private Members' Business

7:20 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise this evening to speak to Bill C-267, An Act respecting the preservation of Canada’s water resources, put forward by my good friend and colleague, the member for Lac-Saint-Louis.

I believe that all too often we take water for granted. It is something that is all around us, easily accessed, and few of us give it a second thought. Last week, in the face of the ongoing state of emergency in Attawapiskat, my party brought forward a motion calling on the government to take immediate action to ensure safe and clean running water for all Canadians and, in particular, on first nations reserves.

In this year's government-commissioned national assessment of first nations water and waste water systems, a national roll-up report, it was revealed that after examining 97% of all first nations water and waste water systems, 73% of all water systems on reserves were either a high 39% or a medium 34% risk to human health. Thankfully, that motion received unanimous consent of all parties in the House and we now wait impatiently for it to be acted on.

Not only must we keep water safe, but it is essential that we preserve this precious resource. Canada holds 20% of the world's fresh water. To place that in perspective, as was indicated by the member for Lac-Saint-Louis, the United States has one-tenth of our fresh water resources with almost nine times our population. The United States and the rest of the world covet our water supply.

There are those in Canada, industry and otherwise, who simply lack the necessary commitment to the conservation of our water supply. The false notion that water is an entirely renewable resource is far too prevalent and we need more awareness of the issue. Even our Great Lakes system is seen as an endless water supply. Few realize that only 10% is renewable.

Climate change is not only diminishing our own fresh water supplies but creates shortages in countries without the same natural resources as Canada. Take, for instance, countries in sub-Saharan Africa and India that face water depletion issues every day. Since the 1950s, proposals to export our fresh water to the United States have abounded, making bulk water exports an issue of profound national concern.

The Liberal Party believes the issue of bulk water exports is one of profound national concern and I am disappointed, as are most Canadians, that the Conservative Party does not, as expressed by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment, and has proven that its former commitments to end bulk water exports are merely more hollow words.

We need to take action and this bill brought forward by my colleague takes appropriate, much needed steps to keep water in its home basin or in its ecosystem. This bill would also have the coincidental result of effectively prohibiting the wholesale movement of water to areas outside Canada's borders by, without limitation, tunnel, canal, pipeline, water bag or aqueduct.

It is especially timely as the calls to export Canada's water have increased in recent years. A previous Conservative government failed to secure Canada's right to preserve its fresh water within its national boundaries under both the Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement and then the subsequent North American Free Trade Agreement, and we can only imagine what is secretly being done under CETA.

The present government has not, by any measure, shown it is willing to fight for Canadian natural resources as it kowtows to U.S. protectionism and gives away our competitive advantages, like the Canadian Wheat Board, and puts our supply management at risk.

The proposed Canada water preservation act is a necessary measure to backstop our fresh water. The bill would prohibit the removal of fresh water in bulk from one aquatic basin to another by any means. The bill would also accomplish another environmental goal, insofar as it would prevent the spread of invasive species from ecosystem to ecosystem. Take, for instance, the ravages caused by invasive species like the zebra mussel or the Asian carp. Moving water from one basin to another takes species from their natural basin and introduces them into a foreign environment, often with surprising consequences.

While all the provinces currently prohibit the export of water in bulk by establishing a national treatment for the issue of water exports, we signal not only that this is a vital pan-Canadian issue but also that it addresses the political realities of changing governments, province to province.

This bill builds on earlier efforts by a previous Liberal government to ban the export of water from the Great Lakes and freshwater bodies under joint federal-provincial jurisdiction.

We on this side hold steadfast Canada's water sovereignty, more so in the face of growing calls from conservative-minded bodies to export our fresh water. This is precisely why my colleague, working with the program on water issues at the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs, has tabled this legislation to close the door to bulk water exports. The time to act is now. Already, conservative think tanks are advocating for the privatization and corporatization of water.

In August 2008, the Montreal Economic Institute published a report that states:

Fresh water is a product whose relative economic value has risen substantially and will keep rising in the coming years. It has become a growing source of wealth and an increasingly worthwhile investment.

Meanwhile, last June the Fraser Institute called for a complete elimination of the provincial statutes and regulations prohibiting the bulk export of water. We should be frightened.

Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians put it very well when she noted in her book Blue Covenant:

Imagine a world in 20 years in which no substantive progress has been made to provide basic water services in the Third World; or to create laws to protect source water and force industry and industrial agriculture to stop polluting water systems; or to curb the mass movement of water by pipeline, tanker, and other diversions, which will have created huge new swaths of desert.

I have said many times in the past that at the dawn of civilization, battles were fought over wells. I am afraid that in the future, if we do not act now, wars will be fought over lakes, and these wars will be much more devastating.

In October, I was pleased to attend in my riding of Guelph a launch for the Wellington Water Watchers' “Walk for Water”. The Wellington Water Watchers are not only doing a great job with the preservation, conservation, and restoration of our water resources, but they are tireless advocates and work diligently to increase awareness of the issues surrounding what many would consider our most precious resource. They know very well that water is among the most multi-faceted of public policy issues. It is ubiquitous and cross-jurisdictional. Water touches every aspect of life and society, including the economy. All levels of government are involved in protecting and managing this most precious of our resources.

Water is clearly a fundamental human right. This is a moral fact. No human being can live long without potable water. Contaminated drinking water kills over two million people annually around the world, the majority of them children. A lack of water for sanitation also undermines human health throughout the developing world.

It is our duty to ensure that our fellow human beings, wherever they may live, have affordable access to the water they need. This can be achieved only through conservation and by protecting the quantity and the quality of our water. Among the most complex of all water issues is the recognition and codification in international law of the human right to water.

We are today at the beginning of the road toward meaningful recognition of the right to water. The non-binding resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in July 2010 was a crucial step toward the goal of establishing a human right to water that hopefully can result in all people around the world having access to water that they require for survival and dignified living. Unfortunately, Canada abstained.

Having one of the largest supplies of fresh water in the world, we must accept our place as a leader on the issue of water conservation and be mindful of the need to protect this valuable resource. Canadians have a real need to preserve our water and respect its place in the environment. Doing nothing leaves us with a clear and present danger of the wholesale movement of water. Protection of our natural resources is imperative.

I urge all my colleagues on both sides of the House to make the preservation of our water resources paramount and to support the bill when it comes to a vote.

Canada Water Preservation Act
Private Members' Business

7:30 p.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-267, the Canada water preservation act.

This private member's bill seeks to foster the sustainable use of Canada's fresh water, and in particular, to prevent the removal of bulk water from major river basins in Canada.

Canada's New Democrats have long called for a ban on bulk water exports, which we see as a key component of a national water policy that would establish clean drinking water standards and strong environmental protection for Canada's freshwater systems.

While there are parts of the bill which I believe should be addressed and possibly amended at committee stage, I support the bill passing second reading. I encourage my colleagues on both sides of the House to do the same.

It is time for Canada to adopt a ban on bulk water exports. Water is a precious, renewable resource, but this resource has its limits.

While many Canadians may believe that Canada has an overabundance of water, this is a common misconception. If one actually looked at Canada's renewable water supply, one would see that Canada holds 6.5% of the world's renewable fresh water, not the 20% figure that is often touted. Furthermore, Canada ranks well below Brazil and Russia and has approximately the same amount of supply as Indonesia, United States and China.

Over one-quarter of Canadian municipalities have faced water shortages in recent years. While 72% of our country's population is concentrated within 150 kilometres of the United States border, most of our major river systems flow northward, creating a further disparity between supply and demand.

Furthermore, we know that the very real threats posed by climate change will only compound the challenges of managing Canada's renewable fresh water.

Indeed, the time is now for Canada to formally ban bulk water exports and to firmly oppose the notion that water in its natural state is a tradeable commodity.

For too long our federal government has left the door open to bulk water exports.

Looking back, 1993 was a significant year in the debate over water management. The North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA, fundamentally changed Canada's ability to control domestic water policy. For example, under chapter 11, foreign businesses have the ability to sue for damages when they believe they have been harmed by local rules. This is exactly what happened in British Columbia after the provincial government, a New Democrat government, I might add, implemented legislation in 1995 prohibiting the bulk export of water. As a result, under chapter 11, a California-based company filed a claim for $10.5 billion in damages.

This case highlights the threats posed to Canadian communities, and even democracy, when Canadian water is regarded as a tradeable commodity.

Water has often been up for negotiation under the security and prosperity partnership. There is a strong push toward North American energy integration, which includes water.

In 2007, Canadians were infuriated to learn their government was planning to undertake secret negotiations with the United States on the issue of bulk water exports. Because of the public outcry the government backed down on the negotiations, and the then minister of the environment, the hon. member for Ottawa West—Nepean, stated:

The Government of Canada has no intention of entering into negotiations, behind closed doors or otherwise, regarding the issue of bulk water exports.

I hope this remains the case today, because Canadians are still overwhelmingly opposed to Canada allowing bulk water exports. In fact, 66% of Canadians expressed support for a ban on bulk water exports. This is why in 1999 the House of Commons adopted a New Democrat motion to place an immediate moratorium on bulk water exports and to introduce legislation to formalize a ban.

In 2007 the House adopted an NDP motion calling on the federal government to initiate talks with its American and Mexican counterparts to exclude water from the scope of NAFTA.

In 2010 members of the House will recall that the government introduced its own legislation to ban bulk water exports under Bill C-26. While the bill was inadequate for a number of reasons, it did not progress beyond first reading.

Again, Parliament has an opportunity to formally adopt a ban on bulk water exports. As I have already stated, the time is now. By continuing to leave the door open, we leave our environment, our economy, and most important, our people vulnerable to unnecessary risk.

As Andrew Nikiforuk stated in a 2007 publication, “Exporting water simply means less water at home to create jobs and less water to sustain ecological services provided by rivers and lakes necessary for life”. He talks about the concept of virtual water, which is the water used to support the export of other Canadian products, such as cattle, grain, automobiles, electricity, wood, and of course, oil.

In addition to industrial uses of water, Canadians' personal use must also be taken into account. Unfortunately, Canadians rank as one of the highest per capita users of water in the world. While Canadians have an individual responsibility to limit wasteful consumption of water, this alone is not enough.

As I previously mentioned, over one-quarter of Canadian municipalities have faced water shortages in recent years. Many aboriginal communities in particular have faced immense challenges in securing stable, sufficient access to safe drinking water.

This week the member for Timmins—James Bay drew national attention to the state of emergency declared three weeks ago by the Attawapiskat First Nation. Access to clean drinking water is one of the many grave issues this community faces.

Canada cannot afford to be negotiating the export of our water. It is time to start taking care of Canadians first. This means adopting a national water policy that protects our water from bulk export, that sets clean drinking water standards, and that establishes strong environmental protection of Canada's fresh water.

I call on the government to respect the will of Parliament as expressed in 1999 and 2007, and to respect the opinion of the majority of Canadians by lending its support to the legislation banning the bulk export of water.

Canadians recognize the value of fresh water and are not prepared to allow water to be traded away, as we do with other resources.

I will be voting in support of Bill C-267. I urge all members of the House to do the same, so that it can be given a thorough examination by the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development.

Canada Water Preservation Act
Private Members' Business

7:40 p.m.

Liberal

Sean Casey Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise to speak in support of the bill by my colleague from Lac-Saint-Louis, who very kindly attended my riding of Charlottetown not very long ago. We had a very well-attended town hall on water. This is a very important issue right across the country, from coast to coast. The attendance and the participation at that town hall on water and the diversity of the discussion were testament to that. We also had a screening of the Maude Barlow documentary in my riding to fuel the discussion. This is truly a matter of national interest.

I am interested to hear the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment take the position on behalf of the government, especially considering the stance of the government in the past and, in particular, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The government has steadfastly claimed that Canada's fresh water is already well protected from the threat of export under NAFTA. However, the governing party has not always taken that position. The current Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the MP for Calgary East, when in opposition, openly argued that NAFTA failed to protect Canada's fresh water from export and that consequently the only way to safeguard Canada's water sovereignty was to reopen the agreement to include a blanket exemption for water.

Specifically, speaking to a debate on Bill C-15, which is the predecessor to Bill C-6 on boundary waters, on October 20, 2000 in the House of Commons, the current Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs said:

The Canadian Alliance believes that Canadians should retain control over our water resources and supports exempting water from our international agreements, including NAFTA.

He reiterated those comments during subsequent debate on Bill C-6, on April 26, 2001.

In another policy reversal, the Conservative government, after previously arguing that Canada's water was sufficiently protected from the threat of export, announced in its November 2008 throne speech that it would bring in legislation to ban all bulk water transfers or exports from Canadian freshwater basins. As an earlier incarnation of Bill C-267, already tabled as a Liberal private member's bill, the government possessed a model for its own subsequent legislation.

However, in May 2010, it opted instead to introduce Bill C-26, again to borrow the pun used by my friend, a watered-down legislation that only addressed bulk removals from transboundary waters. According to water policy experts at the Program On Water Issues at the University of Toronto's Munk Centre for International Studies, while Bill C-26 effectively prohibits most bulk removals of water from transboundary rivers, it does not address the most plausible threat to Canadian water resources from inter-basin transfers.

As a practical matter, it seemed highly unlikely that Canadian water resources would be threatened significantly by proposals to remove water from a transboundary basin within Canada. The more likely scenario would be the transfer of Canadian waters from a basin that was neither a boundary nor a transboundary water into a transboundary river flowing from Canada into the United States for export to the United States. Such proposals would not be prohibited under the legislation.

Additionally, the definition of “transboundary waters” in the IBWTA, the International Boundary Waters Treaty Act, is narrow. It refers only to waters flowing in their natural channels across the border. It does not include other means of accomplishing inter-basin transfers across the international border, for example, a pipeline or a canal from waters that are neither boundary waters nor transboundary waters.

While a transborder pipeline from transboundary waters would fall under the prohibitions, as a practical matter, it is difficult to conceive a scenario involving a proposal to divert water by pipeline from a transboundary river in Canada southward to the United States.

The environmental justification for this bill can really be summarized with three main arguments. In essence, this bill aims to limit the manipulation of surface water in order to protect the environment. For many, however, the question will be why we must prohibit, for environmental reasons, large scale interbasin water transfers. It is because of the Conservatives' many reversals of policy on bulk water exports. If it were a gymnast, we would be forced to give it a 10 out 10 for its skilful and repeated flips on the issue.

Ecosystems need freshwater to survive and be healthy. The International Boreal Conservation Science panel, composed of leading scientists from Canada and the U.S., has said:

Canada has the unrivalled opportunity to protect the world's largest intact freshwater ecosystem and the responsibility to enact sound conservation and sustainable development policy to safeguard the boreal forest.

A recent report by the panel stated:

...more water diversion occurs in Canada than in any other country in the world. ...with significant impacts to wildlife, the ecology and aboriginal communities.

Many argue that it is time for Canada to inventory its water resources to better gauge the amount of its renewable water supply is "surplus" and available for sale. However, this may be easier said than done.

Brian Anderson states:

Scientists have only begun to understand the complexity of the world's largest freshwater ecosystems. Interactions between man, current diversions, and the tangled web of life dependent on these ecosystems may be imperilled by large diversions of lake water.

Similarly, the Council on Hemispheric Affairs points out that the replacement rate of water reserves is impossible to calculate, making it more difficult to know how much water Canada could afford to sell abroad, putting aside the negative environmental impacts of taking water outside its basin.

In summary, the Canada water preservation act prohibits the removal of freshwater in bulk, which is defined as over 50,000 litres a day from one aquatic basin in Canada to another. The interbasin transfer of water by any means, including but not limited to pipeline, tunnel, canal, aqueduct or water bag, would be prohibited.

Basin contours would be negotiated with the provinces and territories and be included in subsequent regulations. This bill adopts an environmental approach to banning bulk water exports. It is primarily concerned with ensuring the health of ecosystems and preventing the spread of invasive species that can occur when water is transferred outside its home basin. The bill prevents water from being moved from one basin to another within Canada and eventually outside the country for export. It does not apply to boundary waters as defined under the International Boundary Waters Treaty Act that I referred to earlier.

I support the efforts of my friend from Lac-Saint-Louis on this important matter. It is something that we hear frequently from our constituents about. I would urge all members of the House to support this bill as well.

Canada Water Preservation Act
Private Members' Business

7:50 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise and speak in favour of Bill C-267, an act respecting the preservation of Canada’s water resources.

I congratulate my colleague from Lac-Saint-Louis. He is a pioneer and a driver of the issue of protecting Canada's water.

We sometimes take water for granted. We can turn on a tap and access clean and abundant water. We have the impression that Canada is a vast country with the best freshwater supply on the planet. We need to fight to ensure those things are true. The member for Lac-Saint-Louis has made members in Parliament and people in his riding and across Canada aware of the fact that we cannot rest assured that our water supply is safe.

The member for Charlottetown spoke very convincingly about the bill. He understands and has explained the elements of it. I will take a different approach in my remarks this evening.

I want to reflect on the words of one of our premier water experts in Canada, Dr. Karen Bakker, who is a professor at the University of British Columbia in my riding, and also the editor and partial author of Eau Canada. Dr. Bakker spoke in Vancouver Quadra recently about our myths about Canada's water. I have spoken about that before, but it is worth repeating because this is the century of water.

In this 21st century humanity needs to pay attention to the fact that water is a top concern. There are enormous threats to our water, everything from climate change to industrial use to overuse. Complacency is the biggest threat. Dr. Bakker talked about the myths about water, that we do not need to be concerned about it. I have referred to those myths in speeches before.

I want to acknowledge my colleague for being clear that water is one of the top threatened resources that cannot be replaced in any other way and that we must protect it. This bill is important in that regard.

Canada Water Preservation Act
Private Members' Business

7:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

The hon. member for Vancouver Quadra will have seven minutes remaining when the House next takes up this bill.

The time provided for the consideration of private members' business has now expired and the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the order paper.

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

7:55 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, I am rising tonight to speak to the issue of what is happening within the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and a question I put to the minister on Monday, October 17, with respect to trying to get a handle on exactly what is being proposed in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans with respect to cuts and the implication these cuts have, not only in terms of the department itself but also to the industry as a whole.

The question I put to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans at the time had to do with the fact that Conservatives were shutting down the Fisheries Resource Conservation Council and closing down the Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre in St. John's, doing away with any in-depth science and research and really not moving forward in getting input from fishers, who really should be involved in these decisions because they are the experts and can bring so much to the debate with respect to the future of the industry.

The decision to shut down the Fisheries Resource Conservation Council will mean the loss of important science and the loss of that invaluable input from our fishers. Both are essential in rebuilding our fishery.

The Conservatives recklessly shut down the FRCC, the advisory council that was created with a goal of partnering scientific and academic expertise with an open and comprehensive consultation process with stakeholders.

Through this reckless decision, the government has chosen to wilfully ignore the experience of fishers in developing Fisheries and Oceans policy. Deliberating sidelining the very experts who fish daily disrespects the years of successful evidence-based partnership between the government and fishers. Under the former Liberal government, the Fisheries Resource Conservation Council focused on long-term conservation strategies. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians know best that conservation is an integral aspect of fisheries policy and essential to ensuring the fishing industry's continued success.

The FRCC ensures that fishers' advice and knowledge would be considered in the council's recommendations. Clearly, the Conservative government does not see the value in listening to the experts on the water and their advice with respect to conserving our fish stocks to protect the fishing industry.

The fisheries minister continues to speak out of both sides of his mouth with respect to this issue. He and his government claim they support fisheries science, yet every decision they make, including closing down the FRCC, represents a direct attack on science.

First the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans risked the lives of those who use the sea to make a living, including fishers and those who work in the oil industry, by recklessly taking a decision that will close the Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre in St. John's. Now he wants to take the fishers out of the industry. His reference to an industry that is “probably broken” really speaks volumes in terms of where the minister is. He needs to get his head around the industry itself and how best to move forward to rebuild the industry.

The whole idea of cutting a council like the FRCC, the whole idea of not engaging scientists and the whole idea of not engaging fishers in particular speak volumes in terms of the handle that the minister and the government have on the industry. It is a resource-based industry and a renewable industry. If it is given the proper leadership and if we work with all of the stakeholders and partners in the industry, we can rebuild it, but at this point in time, I am again calling on the government to look at what it is doing in terms of the cuts it is making within the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

7:55 p.m.

Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission
B.C.

Conservative

Randy Kamp Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, I always welcome the interventions from my colleague, the member for Random—Burin—St. George's. She works hard for her constituents.

I appreciate the opportunity to respond and outline for the House how Fisheries and Oceans Canada is moving forward with improvements on how the department operates, where it deploys its resources and how it manages its science and regulatory duties. Together these changes will transform the department, helping it to more effectively deliver on its mandate and drive new approaches that respond to current and future needs.

The hon. member has raised specific concerns about the closure of the Fisheries Resource Conservation Council. I will respond to that for a moment or two.

As the member knows, the council was founded in the early 1990s in the wake of fishery closures in Newfoundland, starting with northern cod in 1992. In the past, it provided advice to the department and to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. However, proactive stakeholder engagement is now a permanent feature of the department's policy and program development. In fact, since his appointment, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans has travelled to every corner of our country to meet with those directly involved in the industry and hear first-hand how the government can support its economic growth.

Additionally, the department has established strong sustainability frameworks and consultative processes for managing important species, which means that much of the work that the council has done is no longer required.

We have a responsibility to spend taxpayer money prudently and where it will do the most good. I hope my colleague will agree with this idea. We must ensure that government programs are efficient and effective and that they achieve the expected results for Canadians.

In fact, it has been nearly two decades since the Government of Canada conducted a comprehensive system-wide review of all operating and program spending. Given the current financial environment globally, within Canada and within government, it makes sense to carefully assess all expenditures and, if warranted, set a new direction.

Deficit reduction is an opportunity for renewal and transformation; we need to take advantage of this opportunity to take a hard look at ourselves to find better ways to do things, and that is what we have been doing.

Like all departments of government, we want and need to emerge from this review process as a stronger, higher-performing institution that is nimble, connected, engaged and ready to face new challenges. We need to ensure that the services we are delivering meet the many new demands of the 21st century.

We have been focusing on what our core business should be. The effects of this process in the long term will be positive, helping us to improve the quality and relevance of our programs.

While the FRCC has historically served an important role, activities have been replaced by other approaches. Contrary to the hon. member's claim that we are gutting the department, we are in fact bolstering it through sound financial decisions. Over the past five years, the department's budget has increased by 20% from $1.4 billion in 2005-06 to $1.8 billion in 2011-12. Our government also injected over $440 million through Canada's economic action plan for the department to complete repairs in small craft harbours and other projects.

Canadians will continue to see changes in how the department operates over the next several years, but I can assure the House and this member that our decisions will follow discussions with affected stakeholders to ensure transition occurs sensitively and sensibly. The department's business and practices will be characterized by clear rules consistently applied, bringing predictability and stability to stakeholders.

8 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, I thank the parliamentary secretary for his acknowledgement at the outset that I do indeed work hard on behalf of my constituents. That is a different tune from when I put the question a couple of weeks ago.

What really concerns me are the bodies such as the Canadian Marine Advisory Council. This is a consultative body to Transport Canada. It is consulted on anything to do with marine activity. However, we had a meeting here in Ottawa a couple of weeks ago, and a petition was signed by close to 100 members of that body saying that the decision to close the Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre in St. John's was the wrong decision. They were not consulted on that, yet here we have a marine entity that is being shut down, and that puts people's lives at risk.

If the member is saying that the minister is travelling around getting input from stakeholders, how is it that the very body that is responsible for providing advice on anything marine was not even consulted on a decision as major as closing down a rescue centre?

8:05 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Kamp Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member does work hard on behalf of her constituents, but I think on this issue she has it wrong.

We are implementing changes that will enable us to advance our goals for a viable market group and business oriented and sustainable Canadian fishing industry, safe and acceptable waterways and effectively managed and protected aquatic ecosystems. If she really wanted to work hard on behalf of her constituents, she would join us in this work.

We are focusing fully on our core mandate. We are modernizing our program and policy approaches, and we are transforming how we do business on behalf of Canadians.

Focusing on the future is the only option. We cannot afford to continue with the old way of doing business. We are committed to ensuring that government programs are efficient, effective and achieving expected results for Canadians.

8:05 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, on June 16, more than five months ago, I asked the Minister of Foreign Affairs a direct and straightforward question: When did he or his government intend to begin doing their job and secure the release of New Brunswick potato farmer, Hank Tepper? Mr. Tepper has been held by the Government of Lebanon, on behalf of the Algerian government, in a Lebanese prison. He has been there since March of this year.

For eight months he has been jailed in that Lebanese prison. What has he been accused of? A load of potatoes he was exporting to Algeria was found to have ring rot. It is really because of a commercial transaction that he sits in a Lebanese jail.

Mr. Tepper has been involved in the export of potatoes for a number of years. His livelihood depends on his exporting the highest quality potatoes he can.

Every MP in this place, on this side of the House or on the other side, who represents a rural riding with farmers involved in the export business has been asked to intervene from time to time when something goes wrong in a distant port or destination, or with quality, or a ship is stopped at a dock, and politics takes over. However, one would never know that by the government's behaviour in this case.

The role of this government, or any government, is to defend Canadian citizens aggressively, diligently and without reservation. In this case, the Government of Canada has failed and failed absolutely. Every farmer involved in the export business of his or her products abroad should pay careful attention to the inaction of the government in this case. In fact, every Canadian should be worried. If someone travels on foreign soil and gets into trouble and carries Canadian citizenship, is the government going to be there for that person when he or she needs it? We have seen example after example, and this is a prime one, where the government has basically left people on their own. That is not what we expect from the Government of Canada.

From the beginning of this sorry matter the government has maintained a deafening silence. The Department of Foreign Affairs, beginning with the minister, has decided to leave Mr. Tepper to his fate. The Prime Minister is more concerned, it seems, about getting a photo op with the United States president than ensuring that a Canadian citizen has the benefit of the aid his office could provide by contacting the Lebanese authorities directly.

While the government and its MPs, especially those representing rural ridings, sit on their hands, Hank Tepper's neighbours have demonstrated their support once again. A rally in Grand Falls, New Brunswick was attended by more than 400 people, all there to support Mr. Tepper and his family. It was pointed out during that rally that the Conservative government was quite prepared to intervene in the internal affairs of Libya, yet it refused to intervene with a serious diplomatic initiative on behalf of this Canadian citizen detained in a country that has not accused him of anything, other than it doing the work for Algeria over this commercial involvement.

I ask the parliamentary secretary, when is the ambassador going to show up at the door, or when is the Minister of Foreign Affairs going to show up at the door in Lebanon and demand that Mr. Tepper be brought home to Canada and, if necessary, face justice here?

8:10 p.m.

Calgary East
Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, this government remains concerned and active in Mr. Tepper's case. We know this is a very difficult situation for Mr. Tepper and his family. I understand the concerns raised by the member across. However, due to privacy concerns, I cannot share details of Mr. Tepper's case.

The responsibility to provide consular services to Canadians detained abroad rests with Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Since first learning of the arrest and detention of Mr. Henk Tepper in March 2011, the department's consular officials, both in Beirut and Ottawa, have provided Mr. Tepper with continued assistance and support as per the department's established service standards. This includes conducting regular visits to Mr. Tepper in custody, monitoring his health and well-being and maintaining regular contact with Mr. Tepper's lawyers in Lebanon. Consular officials in Ottawa are also in contact with Mr. Tepper's family in Canada and are providing assistance as required. Moreover, Canadian officials have been engaged with senior Lebanese officials on this case.

It is important to underline that the Government of Canada cannot interfere with the judicial process, including extradition proceedings, of a sovereign country, just as we would not accept it if a foreign country interfered in our own judicial process. The member across was in the government and he is very well aware of this.

The simple fact is that Canadian citizens are not exempt from local and international laws by virtue of their Canadian citizenship. The Government of Canada cannot override the decisions of the local and international authorities. What Canada can do is provide effective and appropriate consular services to those detained abroad. Canada's consular services are provided 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through a network of more than 200 offices in over 150 countries around the world. Currently, there are close to 2,000 Canadians detained abroad.

Under the Vienna Convention, Canadians who are detained abroad must be advised by foreign authorities of their right to consular assistance and notification. Our aim is to make initial contact with a detained Canadian within 24 hours. In the case of Mr. Tepper, as I have outlined, we have been assisting him in this case.

Therefore, the role of the Government of Canada, as in the case of Mr. Tepper, as in all cases of detention abroad, is to ensure that he is safe, treated fairly and afforded due process within the local laws and international laws.

8:10 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, if anybody has not been granted due process, it is Mr. Tepper. The parliamentary secretary says that the government remains concerned. That is not good enough. The parliamentary secretary says that consular services are involved. That is not good enough.

What needs to happen is an initiative from the highest reaches of the Canadian government to ensure that Mr. Tepper is brought home. The parliamentary secretary said that I should know that the government cannot get involved in legal matters in that country. I understand that, but the Minister of Foreign Affairs or the Prime Minister can make a phone call directly to the government of Lebanon to bring this man back home. They can do that.

For the government to basically leave a man on his own, a Canadian citizen, over a commercial transaction is absolutely wrong. The government can, indeed, do better.

8:10 p.m.

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, as I have just said, due to privacy concerns I cannot give any details of this case. However, I can tell the hon. member that we are, as I have stated, in contact with Lebanese officials at the highest level, from Canada as well, asking for a fair and transparent system.

As he has said, it is important to understand that we cannot interfere with the judicial process. However, I can assure him and Mr. Tepper's family that this government will be completely engaged on this file.

8:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m. pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 8:14 p.m.)