House of Commons Hansard #121 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was judge.

Topics

Motions in amendment
Strengthening Aviation Security Act
Government Orders

5 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my information is that there are approximately 100 flights from Canada going over United States territory per day, but there are approximately 2,000 American flights going over Canadian territory per day.

I would like to ask the member whether the government made any attempt at reciprocity here. If the Americans are asking us for information, did we say that we would provide them with the information provided that they would provide us with the information on all of their passengers? If that is the case, I would like to see the effect that demand would have on the American carriers, because it would not be long before there would be a lot of pressure on United States legislators from American airlines and American passengers who might be equally upset about this issue.

I would like to ask the member if the government made any effort to get any--

Motions in amendment
Strengthening Aviation Security Act
Government Orders

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order, please. I am just going to stop the member there to allow the hon. member for Edmonton—St. Albert a chance to respond.

Motions in amendment
Strengthening Aviation Security Act
Government Orders

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am not exactly sure what the relevance of reciprocity is.

What is relevant about this piece of legislation and what this piece of legislation attempts to remedy is the problem--or the reality, let me say--that Canadian carriers would have to circumvent the entirety of U.S. airspace if they were travelling to a third country such as Mexico or Cuba or any of the Caribbean countries. They would have to take an indirect flight route so that they could avoid the entirety of American air space, because the tenets of international law make it quite clear that the U.S. authorities can require this information or prevent Canadian airlines from entering that space.

So the purpose of this legislation is to correct that and to provide the Canadian travelling public with a safe but also cost-effective and direct route to its ultimate destination and to comply with the requirements of the U.S. secure flight program.

Motions in amendment
Strengthening Aviation Security Act
Government Orders

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, I heard the member for Edmonton—St. Albert mention the exemption for flights originating and ending in Canada. However, my constituents of Newton—North Delta and I are deeply disappointed that the current Conservative government was unable to secure an exemption for all Canadian flights in its negotiations with the Americans.

Through you, Mr. Speaker, why could the government not convince them that Canadian security clearance standards already ensure the safety of our flights?

Motions in amendment
Strengthening Aviation Security Act
Government Orders

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am not privy to the reasons that the U.S. transportation department was not satisfied. What I do know is that this is what it required. I also understand the realities of international law. International law says that the U.S. can ask for these lists.

The reality is quite simple. If this bill is not passed, Canadian carriers flying to, for example, Caribbean destinations will have to circumvent U.S. air space, at great cost, at great inconvenience and at a huge waste of fuel. Nobody wants to see that, and there is no reason to do it.

Motions in amendment
Strengthening Aviation Security Act
Government Orders

5:05 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, I too am pleased to have a chance to speak to Bill C-42, which was portrayed by the government with such urgency to us on the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities in the fall when we had witnesses in front of the committee with many unanswered questions about it.

On the face of it, this bill seems pretty simple. It seems it is just changing a couple of lines in the Aeronautics Act. However, this bill has many more ramifications. What we have seen from the government is a failure to address the ramifications prior to putting the bill forward. I am glad we have managed to insert a review clause into the bill for this legislation, because we are entering completely uncharted territory with the release of this information to the United States in the form we are taking. We are asking Canadians who are not visiting the United States, who are not setting foot on United States soil, to give up their information to a foreign country. That is what we are doing with this bill.

Canadians will give up their information, but they will give up more than their information. They will give up the opportunity for the United States to take on more information about them.

How does that work? We heard testimony about the passenger name record. Most of the information accessible to Canadians will be transferred. It will not simply be names and passport numbers and dates of birth; we will be giving the United States the opportunity to examine the full passenger name record. This is a very serious business, because it brings in much more information. We have heard many examples in the media over the past months of individuals whose information has been used in a manner that has caused them to have difficulty when trying to enter the United States. We have set up a system that can create much discord among passengers who are travelling over the United States.

I am not going to speak a lot about the human rights issues. I will leave that to my colleagues, who are pretty confident and pleased to take on that task, because all Canadians should understand what has happened. However, I would like to speak to some of the aspects of the bill that we dealt with at committee in trying to mitigate the issues that have surrounded this bill.

My colleague from Edmonton—St. Albert talked about the great exemption that was given to Canadians over the issue of domestic-to-domestic flights. It is an exemption that on the face of it seems rather odd: the U.S., very concerned about its airspace, is allowing an exemption for passengers who are going to undergo fewer security proceedings than they would on an international flight. A Canadian getting on a flight in Halifax is certainly subject to a lot less scrutiny and procedure under aviation regulations than one flying from Halifax to Puerto Vallarta. Why would the U.S. give this exemption?

I think we heard the answer later on, towards Christmas, when it was revealed that the government is planning a perimeter security deal with the United States. If we have a perimeter security deal with the United States such that we are passing all information at all times to the United States, it does not matter to the U.S. whether the information is collected for domestic-to-domestic flights, because with the perimeter security deal we can be sure the U.S. will get all the information it requires on all the flights in Canada. That is something that I think was not very well laid out, but we are still waiting for the results of it.

We see that the Prime Minister is heading off to the United States at the end of this week to speak with President Obama about the perimeter security arrangements, so I am sure that some of these aspects will come to light. Is it an exemption? No, it is part of the U.S. plan to extend the perimeter security arrangement.

Even with the perimeter security arrangement, the U.S. needs to have the information on international flights coming into Canada because they are flights coming across a common perimeter between the two countries. If we follow the logic of the United States, it still needs this deal.

What is the aspect of perimeter security that we are supposed to deal with in this particular bill? It is pretty straightforward: if a plane is flying into Canada or the U.S. from another country, information is going to be given to the U.S. government.

What does the U.S. government do with that information? We heard testimony in committee that the U.S. is not stopped from sharing that information with any other country. When that information is given to the U.S., it is its business to deal with as it sees fit. There is no indication from the Conservative government that it put any restrictions on that information.

When the NDP tried to move an amendment as a last-ditch effort, it was ruled out of order. The amendment was to try to understand how we could save information on passenger name records so that information that is really no one's business would be kept in Canada. Because most of the servers that contain the information are in the United States, once the U.S. has the passenger name records, it will have full access to all of that information under its laws.

Regardless of what Canada gives the U.S., as long as the passenger name records are provided, all the information is open. That was given in testimony. Once again, the government did nothing to limit access by the United States to information about Canadians.

My colleagues on the government side talk about the time restriction of seven days for the U.S. to have the information. In this modern computer age, seven days is quite a long time to deal with information. It can do with it as it sees fit. If it destroys the particular information that comes from the Canadian source within the United States, that information will certainly be recorded in other fashions over that time, and within the seven days it could be shared with every other country in the world. Once again, because Canada did not put restrictions on the sharing of information, once this information is let out of the bag, it is gone. It is out there and available to everyone if the United States so chooses.

Why did the European Union stand up on this particular issue? Why did the European Union say it had trouble with these arrangements made for overflights? Why did it say that? Did it say that for no apparent reason? No. It was because the EU does not suffer the overflight issue as much as we do. It is not as big an issue to the EU because the EU does not have as many flights. However, it certainly has concerns in terms of the information, personal liberty and privacy rules in those countries, and we should have the same in Canada.

Because the bill was presented in such a simple and naive form in the committee, the number of issues not dealt with in this bill is astounding. The government negotiated for years and years on this issue; could it not come up with a better bill than this? It is disgraceful. It is disgraceful that the government could put that much effort into its negotiations and come up with a bill like this, with no protection for Canadians and no limitations on any of the issues. The issues were quite clear and should have been very clear to anyone involved in any negotiation with any other country on this type of issue, and they were.

The government's plan for a perimeter security arrangement with the United States is going to open up more information than perhaps any Canadian would want. Canada is still a sovereign country. After any more years of Conservative government, I hope that we will remain as sovereign as we are, that Canadians will have some redress and that they will be respected by the government.

NDP members are supporting this amendment because there will be a review of this bill, but supporting this bill goes against the very nature of my party's desire to protect the rights of Canadians.

Motions in amendment
Strengthening Aviation Security Act
Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, there are still some significant concerns about this bill that can only be addressed through diplomacy.

The passenger data transferred will be subject to the United States patriot act. This has been confirmed by the Privacy Commissioner. This means that this information can be used and shared for purposes other than aviation security, such as immigration law enforcement authorities at home and abroad.

Does the hon. member or his constituents have concerns about this issue?

Motions in amendment
Strengthening Aviation Security Act
Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, my colleague's question raises another point that was debated quite a bit in committee. The government and the Minister of Public Safety, who presented in front of us, said, quite dramatically, that this information would be used for no other purpose. Then we get letters and information from the United States itself saying that it will use it for whatever purposes it deems necessary.

This bill would do nothing to protect the privacy rights of Canadians. It would do nothing to limit the use of this information in another country. It would do nothing at all in that regard. The government has failed in its mission and in its responsibility to protect the rights of Canadians.

Motions in amendment
Strengthening Aviation Security Act
Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, when I asked the government why it did not try to negotiate with the United States and demand reciprocity given that 2,000 American flights fly over Canadian airspace per day and only 100 Canadian flights fly over American airspace, the answer I received was that the Americans would take the information from our 100 flights a day and store it all in a multi-million dollar computer system. However, for us to take the information from the Americans on 2,000 flights a day would create a huge cost to our government for a similar computer system.

It sounds to me as though the government has decided that the cost is the issue here. The government is prepared to give the Americans the information because they are prepared to pay for the computer system but we do not think the information is important enough for us to fund a computer system to handle the information.

It seems to me that we just have very poor negotiators on the government side. They seem to simply be rolling over for the Americans in this situation. All they had to do was try for reciprocity and the Americans would have conceded issues because there would be a lot of pressure coming from American passengers, American airline workers and American airlines themselves. If they had to provide all of this information to Canadians there would be a revolt going on in the United States right now and a lot of pressure would be put on elected officials down there to back off on this demand. The government is clearly not negotiating in a very effective way.

I wonder if the member would like to comment on that.

Motions in amendment
Strengthening Aviation Security Act
Government Orders

5:20 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, the government's negotiation tactics were remiss because it went into this without taking that stand.

The government had the opportunity as well, under the U.S. legislation, to stand up to the U.S. and tell it that we were doing a good enough job with security on those flights and that we were doing enough analysis of the passengers that we are able match up to what it is doing, and, within the U.S. legislation, if that were the case, an exemption would be granted.

We heard various comments from government members at committee that this would cost billions of dollars. I rejected that. What we are doing with aviation security now can match up to the United States and can provide it with the surety that what we are doing is adequate.

Motions in amendment
Strengthening Aviation Security Act
Government Orders

5:20 p.m.

Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to speak to Bill C-42, Strengthening Aviation Security Act. I worked on this bill as a member of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities last fall.

Everyone recognizes that the world changed forever on September 11, 2001. Security procedures across the board have tightened from an unprecedented commitment to prevent such terrorism from ever happening again. Yet we must not sacrifice our freedom or our privacy in this battle. The previous Liberal government ensured that we maintained this balance as we must today.

One response in the United States was the secure flight program, which requires airlines to submit passenger information to the U.S. government prior to boarding. The information could include: name, date of birth and gender, passport data and flight information. It is then run against a watch list and passengers are approved or rejected for boarding or receive additional screening.

Secure flight has been in effect for all U.S. bound flights for some time now and the American government is now seeking to extend it to overflights, such as when a flight goes from Vancouver to Mexico by flying over the U.S. Bill C-42 would allow airlines to transmit the information required to comply with secure flight to the United States government.

I am deeply disappointed that the Conservative government was unable to secure an exemption for Canadian flights in its negotiations with the Americans. Why could the government not convince them that the Canadian security screening standards already ensure the safety of our flights? It is not as if we are a lawless nation that is unknown to our American cousins.

Nevertheless, there is a hard truth about this debate. The crux of the issue is that the American government has jurisdiction over its own airspace. If it requests this information, it is within its rights under international law.

However, that does not mean that we roll over. Our duty as Canadian parliamentarians is to ensure that Canadian interests are protected. In committee, we did just that and introduced key amendments to defend Canadian travellers.

First, we required that travellers be notified that their personal information will be transmitted to the U.S. government. Strangely, the only thing requiring passenger notification in the first draft of the bill was an American law. That simply was not good enough for Canadians.

Second, we required that this bill be reviewed in two years and every five years thereafter. Times change and priorities change. We should not lock in these rules without recourse. Perhaps a different government will be better able to give the Americans confidence in our own security screening procedures.

Third, we have restricted the transmission of passenger data to the United States alone. The Conservatives wanted to open the doors willy-nilly for any other country to receive Canadians' private data in the first draft of this bill. We will not give legislative consent to sharing of our personal information to third world despots.

Those amendments would ensure that the legislation is able to secure Canadians' privacy, at least within Canadian legislation.

The real challenge is not in our laws but in the practices of the American government. There are still significant concerns that can only be addressed to diplomacy.

Earlier, the hon. member for Western Arctic said that this bill would do nothing to protect the privacy of Canadian passengers. First, the passenger data transmitted will be subject to the United States patriot act. This has been confirmed by our Privacy Commissioner. This means that this information can be used and shared for other purposes than the aviation security, such as immigration and law enforcement authorities at home and abroad. That was a key concern for some of the witnesses who came before the committee.

The Privacy Commissioner also confirmed that non-residents would have very little protection or recourse with respect to their personal information. In other words, it is American rules and policies that remain a serious cause for concern. In particular, they must strengthen the procedures for the management of passengers and improve the redress program for passengers who wrongly end up on the no-fly list.

The Conservative government rode into power five years ago claiming that it would bring our relationship with the Americans--

Motions in amendment
Strengthening Aviation Security Act
Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order, please. I will inform the hon. member that he will have three minutes left to conclude his speech the next time the bill is before the House.

It being 5:30 p.m., the House will proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's order paper.

The House resumed from October 21, 2010, consideration of the motion that Bill S-203, An Act respecting a National Philanthropy Day, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

National Philanthropy Day Act
Private Members' Business

5:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Crombie Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to rise today to contribute to the debate on Bill S-203, the National Philanthropy Day bill. I supported my hon. colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour in the previous incarnation of this bill as Bill S-217, introduced by retired Senator Grafstein, but sadly it died on the order paper when Parliament was prorogued.

Bill S-203 is not a new bill. It has been on the order paper in the Senate since 2005 and I have followed its fate with great interest. I am pleased to see it finally make its way through the parliamentary process once again.

Under the bill, November 15 would be established as a special day for philanthropic associations across Canada. National philanthropy days are already held in every region of Canada, involving thousands of citizens every year. This day was initiated at the grassroots level, and continues to grow, led by individual charities and organizations such as the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Canada will lead the world if Parliament adopts the bill and recognizes National Philanthropy Day on November 15.

Barely a facet of Canadian society has not been touched by philanthropy in some way, from children's causes, health care, the arts, et cetera.

According to Imagine Canada, Canadians collectively donated $10 billion to charitable causes in 2007, and that number has grown today. In the spirit of philanthropy, over two billion volunteer hours were donated. Sixty-five per cent of teenagers volunteer as a result of the requirement of high school service hours, representing the highest level of involvement of any age group, and immigrant groups also give larger annual donations on average. Twenty-five per cent of Canadians provide 80% of the value of all donations.

Philanthropy, however, is more than donating money. It is also about the gift of time through volunteerism, passion, selflessness and spirit. It is about what is in our hearts, not necessarily what is in our bank accounts. Many philanthropists are not donors in the tradition sense, but are champions, advocates and volunteers. Philanthropy, as a whole, helps build strong communities and active civic participation by bringing people together to serve a common goal.

Imagine Canada's research, in its “Philanthropic Success Stories in Canada”, describes philanthropy as that which: one, is risky and does not back a sure winner; two, tackles an unpopular issue, such as HIV-AIDS, homelessness, or mental illness; three, is not done for personal glory or for recognition; four, does not have any strings attached; five, is pioneering, innovative and often ahead of the curve; six, addresses the root cause or causes of a problem; seven, draws on the expertise of those who are working in the field; eight, engages and inspires the wider community; nine, demonstrates a long-term commitment; and ten, acts as a spark or a catalyst for lasting social change.

In my career, prior to being elected as the member Mississauga—Streetsville, I was a passionate community activist and fundraiser. I believed in the merits of philanthropy and its ability to make a change and an impact in our society. I have raised money for many worthy charities, organizations and causes, all of which were unable to meet the growing demands of their budgets through government grants or subsidies and had to turn to individuals and corporate donors for support. These included my children's schools when school boards and provincial governments could not adequately meet the need for sports equipment, new technology, or textbooks and also Arts Umbrella, a visual and performing arts institute on Granville Island in Vancouver. I also worked for the Ontario Brain Injury Association, the Brain Injury Association of Canada and Mississauga's Credit Valley Hospital, where we helped build a regional cancer centre, an ambulatory care centre and a new maternal care centre.

I continue to assist causes I believe in, because it is the right thing to do, and I derive a great personal satisfaction from contributing to causes which help friends and help build a stronger and healthier community at large.

Nationally, the achievements of philanthropy are diverse, spanning all aspects of society such as health, housing, education, social services, the environment, and international issues, including aid and development, which demonstrates the widespread impact that philanthropy has both in Canada and abroad.

Let me illustrate some of the examples of how philanthropy has helped our community in some very profound ways.

Both individual philanthropists and foundations are active in fostering innovation. For example, philanthropist and businessman, Alan Broadbent, has been recognized for many of the organizations that he has helped found, including the Maytree Foundation and the Caledon Institute of Social Policy. Both of these organizations were mentioned for their influential work in finding innovative and efficient means of addressing emerging social problems.

One of the victories that Caledon had achieved in the implementation was the national child benefit, a significant step toward addressing child poverty in Canada. Some consider this initiative to be the most promising reform since medicare.

Through the work of community foundations, philanthropy has had a significant role in building strong and vibrant communities. Established in 2001, the Community Foundation of Mississauga is one of more than 155 community foundations in Canada. It serves Mississauga and offers people a variety of ways to make a difference in their community. A record year, 2010 had grants totalling over $700,000. A few areas that were supported include children and youth at risk, the environment, heritage preservation and community building. Because community foundations are attuned to the needs of the community, they are capable of addressing local issues in creative ways.

Further, philanthropy has had an important influence in the development of Canada's health care system, including its hospitals, community-based health services and even in medical breakthroughs. Philanthropy often creates organizations for populations that are not adequately serviced by traditional programs and services of the health care system, such as Mississauga's Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care, founded by Dr. Joseph Wong. The Yee Hong Centre provides care that is culturally and linguistically appropriate for Chinese seniors.

In addition to creating and sustaining hospitals and various specialized health care services, philanthropy raises awareness of a number of health care issues and generates funds for research. Perhaps the most recognizable achievement of this kind is Terry Fox's unforgettable Marathon of Hope, which taught Canadians about cancer and continues to raise significant funds for cancer research, some $23 million plus to date.

Many medical advances depended on philanthropic funding, such as the discovery of the gene that caused cystic fibrosis, found thanks to financial support of donors to help charities like the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Canada. One of the most famous Canadian contributions to medicine, Banting's discovery of insulin, had philanthropic roots.

In education and in the arts, philanthropy has aided public education, literacy efforts, funded university programs, supported university work in research and development, financed buildings, research chairs and scholarships, built unique cultural institutions and supported artists. We have philanthropy to thank for Canada's wealth of first-class universities and a vibrant arts community.

Before the depression, social assistance was provided predominantly by the church. One of the earliest social services umbrella organizations in Canada was the Community Chest. It was a product of various religious charities banding together. This organization later became known as the United Way of Canada. Today, and for many years, philanthropy is heavily involved in providing social assistance.

A shiny example of social assistance only a philanthropic organization can provide is Habitat for Humanity, which prides itself on not receiving any government funding. In fact, I had the pleasure of cutting the ribbon on the first Habitat for Humanity home built in Mississauga by the community for a worthy family that otherwise would never have had a home.

The most highly regarded philanthropists are not those who donate vast sums of money. Rather, it is those who take on risk and tackle unpopular issues, give selflessly of themselves, their time, money and spirit, make a long-term commitment to the cause and have no expectation of recognition or return on their investment. Sometimes philanthropists are wealthy benefactors, but there are also volunteers and advocates who champion it. It is difficult to imagine a part of society that has not been touched in some way by philanthropy.

The reason people volunteer is obvious: they want to help others by giving back to their community while making connections and gaining experience. I speak personally when I say that they gain a sense of personal satisfaction and fulfillment when they learn new skills, meet new people and feel appreciated or recognized in doing so. For others it is about leaving a lasting legacy. Active citizenship is the bedrock of our healthy democracy and creates resilient communities. Charitable giving and volunteering are crucial to our society and all aspects of Canadian living.

National Philanthropy Day has the support of many volunteer organizations, including Imagine Canada, the Philanthropic Foundations Canada, Community Foundations of Canada, the Voluntary Sector Forum, the Canadian Association of Gift Planners and the Canadian Bar Association. That is why I support this private member's bill and call on all parliamentarians to support it as well.

National Philanthropy Day Act
Private Members' Business

February 1st, 2011 / 5:40 p.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the National Philanthropy Day act. My riding of New Westminster—Coquitlam and Port Moody had benefited greatly from all forms of philanthropy. Lester M. Salaman, a leading author and professor on civil society says philanthropy is “the private giving of time or valuables…for public purposes”.

Canadians are generous with their time and money. The Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating reports that a majority of Canadians give. The reports says 23 million Canadians or 84% of the population over the age of 15 made a financial donation to a charity or non-profit in 2007. The common reasons for donating include a feeling of compassion for those in need, wanting to help a cause or wishing to assist the community.

The report also indicates that 12.5 million Canadians or 46% of the population donate their time through volunteering. In 2007 Canadians volunteered 2.1 billion hours, the equivalent of 1.1 million full-time jobs.

I will now highlight some of the good work of people and organizations in my riding. A personal hero of mine and an inspiration to many, Terry Fox, exemplified philanthropy. In 1980, after losing his leg to cancer, Terry, a Tri-Cities resident, began his cross-Canada marathon to raise awareness and money for cancer research. His legacy has resonated with millions of people around the world for over 30 years. Over 300,000 people took part in the first Terry Fox Run, which raised $3.5 million. Today the Terry Fox Run is the largest single day fundraiser for cancer research in the world. The Terry Fox Foundation has raised over $500 million to date.

The Coquitlam Foundation in my riding supports creative targeted philanthropy aimed at building a vibrant, sustainable and healthy community. I attended its gala fundraiser last October and was proud to give to an organization that has contributed so much to our community.

In 2009-10 the Coquitlam Foundation provided grants to numerous local organizations, including the Place des Arts Society and the ArtsConnect Tri-Cities Arts Council. The Coquitlam Foundation is a wonderful example of what can be accomplished through philanthropy.

For decades the rotary clubs have played a major role in raising money for community organizations and groups, such as Meals on Wheels and PoCoMo Youth Services Society. This past year, the rotary clubs of Port Moody, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Coquitlam Sunrise collected 11,740 pounds of food and $2,300 for SHARE community food bank. They also volunteered their time for Operation Red Nose.

In 1946 the New Westminster Lions Club was founded. Since then, it has donated over $2 million to the community. Some projects it has contributed to include the first renal dialysis for the Royal Columbian Hospital, a grand piano for Massey Theatre and scholarships to New Westminster Secondary School students.

Faith organizations have always been an important part of charity and raising funds. Our Lady of Fatima in Coquitlam held a dinner fundraiser to help those affected by the earthquake in Haiti. St. Barnabas Anglican Church in New Westminster offers several programs for those in need, including a community lunch every Thursday. Queens Avenue United Church and Holy Trinity Cathedral also participate in free weekly meal programs. The Khalsa Diwan Society organizes food drives to serve people in my riding, as well as the downtown east side of Vancouver.

It is always inspiring to see children and young adults raise money or items for important causes. We see it every year, especially at Christmas. This past year, Port Moody Secondary students donated over 2,000 pounds of food for the SHARE food bank in the Tri-Cities. Baker Drive Elementary in Coquitlam participates in a hamper drive every year.

Mundy Road Elementary, also in Coquitlam, held a Christmas craft fair, donating all funds to sponsor a family over the holidays. When Haiti experienced its devastating earthquake, the grade 6-7 students at École Glenbrook Middle School and Herbert Spencer Elementary School in New Westminster organized a fresh carnation and cookie fundraiser to help the people of Haiti.

The generosity of students helping those in need is truly inspiring.

People often associate philanthropy with people like Bill and Melinda Gates, who have donated millions to global health initiatives, or Bono, who raises money to help fight AIDS in Africa. These are very noble initiatives and should be applauded. However, philanthropy also occurs in every corner of our communities through donations of time and energy, which can often be the greatest gift one can give.

I would also like to recognize those who donate their time and energy working to help people in need. Individuals commit themselves to causes and organizations and provide such a valuable service. I would like to mention my friend and New Westminster resident, Judy Ross. This past year she was named the hardest working volunteer in the New Westminster NewsLeader's A-list for her work with the Fraser River Discovery Centre and the Royal City Farmers' Market.

I think of the volunteers with the Senior Services Society in New Westminster, those who willingly give of their time to grocery shop for seniors who cannot do for themselves any longer, volunteer drivers who assist the elderly with their doctors appointments, et cetera.

I have referenced SHARE Family & Community Services a number of times in my remarks. SHARE, a non-profit community based organization, assists thousands of families and individuals in the Tri-Cities. It operates a food bank, addiction services, English practice groups and family resource centres for new parents. While it receives some government funding, it relies heavily on the generosity of individuals and local businesses. Many of SHARE's programs depend on dedicated volunteers.

Fraserside Community Services in New Westminster plays a key role in building community. Through funding from provincial and federal governments and generous donations from companies, labour groups and individuals, Fraserside provides opportunities to many Royal City residents. It run first step, a program designed to increase the level of self-reliance to people with multiple barriers. It also operates one of the few emergency shelters geared toward families, as well as provide housing for those with developmental disabilities and mental health issues. It is always looking for volunteers who play a critical role in day to day operations at Fraserside.

There are countless volunteers who care for our environment, such as the Como, Coquitlam River and the Hoy/Scott Watershed Society, our waterways, our local creeks and rivers, and the flora and fauna they support. Volunteers run salmon enhancement programs and many community events that raise awareness of the importance of stewardship in our community.

Another hard-working volunteer organization is the Burke Mountain Naturalists, which promotes the awareness of natural beauty in the Tri-Cities and has been instrumental in the preservation of much of the green space we enjoy in the northeast sector. I know the work that those volunteers perform to keep our community healthy and sustainable.

There are so many organizations in my community performing great work. From the Gogos who raise money for African grandmothers and the children in their care, to organizations that care for our local youth, such as KidSport and the Children of the Street Society. There are people who volunteer their time with the Special Olympics. There are those who help the homeless, such as the Tri-City homelessness task group and the New West homelessness coalition. There are several organizations that promote local heritage, like the Port Moody Station Museum, the Coquitlam Heritage Society, the Mackin House Museum and the SPARC organization that is dedicated to the preservation of antique radios in Canada.

We have important community organizations that host large-scale community events like the Golden Spike Days Society, the Société francophone de Maillardville and the Hyack Festival Association.

Philanthropy comes in many forms and is such an important part of our Canadian fabric. Whether it is donating money or time, Canadians are generous and often want nothing more than a good feeling in return.

Today I spoke of philanthropy in my community and I know it occurs throughout our country. The bill is about recognizing the work, compassion and generosity of countless Canadians who make our communities a better place to live.

I support Bill S-203 and I hope all members of the House will as well.