House of Commons Hansard #145 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was libya.

Topics

Anaphylaxis
Private Members' Business

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

moved:

That, in the opinion of the House, anaphylaxis is a serious concern for an increasing number of Canadians and the government should take the appropriate measures necessary to ensure these Canadians are able to maintain a high quality of life.

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank a number of individuals who have been behind the scenes working hard on this: Cindy Paskey, Chris George and Debbie Bruce from my area of the country. I know this is an initiative that has been worked on across the country but I want thank the people from NASK, which is in the Niagara region, for being such huge proponents behind the scenes and working so hard and tirelessly on behalf of this issue. It is an important issue and they have done a great job.

It is a great honour to begin debate on my motion on anaphylaxis, which reads:

That, in the opinion of the House, anaphylaxis is a serious concern for an increasing number of Canadians and the government should take the appropriate measures necessary to ensure these Canadians are able to maintain a high quality of life.

I must admit that I have been overwhelmed by the public reaction to this motion since it was added to the order paper back in June 2010. I have received an enormous amount of emails and phone calls and have had many people come up to me and thank me for bringing this very important issue forward for debate.

I have also been very encouraged by the support I have received from my hon. colleagues from across party lines who have voiced their support for this motion. I thank all parliamentarians who have spoken or written to me and all of those who took the time out of their busy schedules to attend the information luncheon I hosted back in December of last year.

I would especially like to thank the hon. member from St. Catharines who first introduced a motion on anaphylaxis back in the 39th Parliament, which ended before he had the opportunity to bring it forward for debate. He and his staff have been most helpful throughout this process.

Anaphylaxis describes the most severe form of allergic reaction. An anaphylactic episode is rapid in onset and, without immediate medical treatment, can sometimes lead to death. While the most common cause of these reactions is the ingestion of or contact with certain foods, they can also be caused by insect stings, medicine or even something as simple as contact with latex.

An estimated 1.3 million Canadians suffer or are affected with this condition, and that number continues to rise. Most of us know someone whose life has been affected by anaphylaxis. It is for these people that this motion is being brought forward.

It is for Carmen, whose daughter, Caitlin, has already been diagnosed with anaphylaxis and who has now been told that another daughter, Caroline, must wait eight months before being tested after having a horrifying episode while the family was dining out at a restaurant.

It is for Susan and her five-year-old son, Lucas, who she describes as her most loyal friend. Susan actually worries more about the milk allergy that afflicts Lucas than she does his potentially fatal congenital heart defect that he also has been diagnosed with.

It is also for Chris and his family who take their vacations by car rather than a plane so as to feel safer about avoiding a food allergy reaction that could prove deadly for seven-year-old David.

How can bringing forward such a motion and passing this motion help these and other families living with anaphylaxis? Perhaps my greatest goal with this motion is to increase awareness. Education tends to lead to more consideration from those who do not suffer toward those who do. I think about how it is now becoming common to be asked whether one has food allergies when being invited to weddings and other public events,and even smaller dinner parties with new friends. This would have seemed very strange 10 or 20 years ago, but as food allergy organizations have increasingly educated the public, we are seeing this type of consideration become more commonplace.

As the general public learns more about the grave dangers facing anaphylaxis sufferers, they can take and are taking more precautions in their daily lives, reducing that burden that, until recently, tended to lie solely with the affected person and their families.

Thoughtful Canadians are now asking about allergies before cooking meals for dinner guests. They are now packing lunches for their children that avoid some of the most common allergens. They are using more discretion in the snacks they choose to eat in public places where they might be sitting too close to someone with severe food allergies. This is very important in places like sports stadiums and classrooms but even more so on a plane or train where medical assistance may not be readily available should an anaphylactic attack occur. This type of consideration by non-allergy sufferers is becoming more commonplace and it is hoped that through greater awareness this level of thoughtfulness will only continue to increase.

To understand why this awareness and consideration is so highly sought by the anaphylaxis community, one must consider the fears that a parent of an affected child has on a daily basis. Let us imagine a father or mother who has seen first-hand their child having a life-threatening attack where, within minutes, their face and neck have swollen to become almost unrecognizable and the child struggles just to breathe.

Let us imagine that each day when the child goes to school the parent is left worrying whether that child will unknowingly come into contact with the trigger that could cause a similar reaction. It could be something as simple and innocent as another child sharing a snack that could cause a life or death situation. These very real and terrifying fears of a parent can never go away, but collective steps can be taken to help ease them considerably.

I have spoken with constituents who have a great deal more comfort because their child is in a school that has made it a priority to provide as safe an environment as possible. Food programs have been altered and alternative solutions found, making it less likely that children with food allergies will encounter their forbidden substance. While not all schools have been so accommodating, I believe that as awareness increases so too will the level of consideration and mutual level of respect that leads to the discovery of solutions agreeable to everyone.

Of course, such an outcome is more important at the schools level because 80% of children with anaphylaxis do not outgrow their condition. It is hoped that it might eventually become more commonplace to see this dialogue and mutual respect, leading to protective measures throughout Canadian society.

While raising awareness is a key motive for bringing forward this motion, it is also hoped that the passage of it will encourage further federal government action with measures designed to increase protection for those Canadians living with anaphylaxis.

However, before talking about what can be done, it is important to underline what has been done. With the announcement of the 2007 food and consumer safety action plan, our government signalled an ongoing commitment to develop policies and standards in support of these issues. I am very proud to be part of a government where these words have been followed up with action. Last month I had the pleasure to participate in a very important announcement concerning new food labelling regulations.

Our health minister announced new requirements for manufacturers to clearly declare all food allergens as well as gluten sources and sulphites by name in the products that they sell. This can either be in the list of ingredients or at the end of the list of ingredients using the word “contains”.

The regulations will also require that food allergens, gluten sources and sulphites that are sub-ingredients of food be declared on the product label. For example, if a bag of potato chips uses casein in its seasonings, milk will be required to be declared in the list of ingredients. The mention of milk can appear in brackets after the seasoning declaration in the list of ingredients or in the “contains” statement. Once these new regulations are fully implemented by August 2012, consumers with food allergies will benefit greatly by being able to more easily avoid foods that contain their specific and potentially deadly allergens.

However, more can be done, and going forward there are five key areas where stakeholders have asked the federal government to consider further action: One, initiating awareness campaigns; two, greater federal coordination on anaphylaxis matters; three, a long-term commitment to research; four, improved transportation safeguards; and five, improved allergen labelling.

I have already talked about why awareness is so important to the cause and certainly a nationally coordinated information campaign will go a long way toward educating Canadians. However, this recommendation is also important as there needs to be greater levels of knowledge and understanding among health care providers.

Health Canada can and should play a key role in providing accurate and targeted information to groups such as medical professionals, first aid and emergency training providers, child care workers, food service providers and to those who work in the hospitality industry. Consideration should also be given to establishing awareness initiatives for publicly regulated workplaces and public transportation vehicles, as well as public facilities.

Greater federal coordination is not only important in an awareness campaign but also to the programs and services that deal with distribution of information regarding anaphylaxis and food allergy information. To this end, Health Canada could consider creating a primary contact in order to coordinate federal departments and agencies in the combined response to the growing instances and risks associated with anaphylaxis. This contact would also develop communications channels across federal, provincial, territorial and municipal borders in order to coordinate intergovernmental health information.

It is important that all levels of government work together on this issue. I have been encouraged by municipal governments in my riding that have passed motions endorsing Motion No. 546. One of the benefits of working in coordination is that there are sometimes great ideas in one jurisdiction that could be considered by other jurisdictions, sooner rather than later. A prime example of this would be a private member's bill known as Sabrina's law that was enacted in Ontario and has received widespread praise for the positive effect it has had in the protection of students.

What Sabrina's law does in the province is threefold: first, it provides strategies to reduce exposure to allergens; second, it provides procedures to communicate to parents, students and employees about life-threatening allergies; and three, it provides regular training to deal with life-threatening allergies for teachers and staff. What happened to Sabrina was quite sad but the legacy of the bill has been good for the whole community.

Another important step that the federal government could take is a commitment to research. We, unfortunately, do not yet understand why the disease is becoming so prevalent, how to stop this upward trend or how to prevent food allergies from developing. It is incredibly important that we mobilize Canadian researchers to find ways to prevent this trend. A long-term financial and program commitment is necessary within Canada, and standardized and evidence-based guidelines for diagnosis, management and treatment of food allergy and anaphylaxis need to be developed.

The federal government can also lead the way by implementing new allergy safeguards for people making use of public transit that will reduce the risk of unnecessary and potentially fatal anaphylaxis attacks. The establishment of a transport policy that implements risk reduction for anaphylaxis passengers should be explored. Air travel especially should require airlines to consult with the anaphylaxis community to develop policies to effectively reduce some of the risks.

Small steps have been taken in this regard but I agree with anaphylaxis organizations that have said that more can be done.

While the airlines, quite rightly, do not want to infringe unnecessarily on the freedoms of other passengers, the safeguards that could be enacted are relatively minor and could be life-saving. Working together with both the airlines and other stakeholders means that the federal government could play a key role in negotiating policies that are both mutually acceptable and that greatly reduce the risk of severe reactions occurring during flights.

I will now talk about what could be done in the area of allergen labelling. As I mentioned earlier, I am very proud of the steps that our government has taken in this regard but there are some considerations as to what priorities might be going forward when it comes to labelling.

The first is that currently there are no regulations surrounding the use of precautionary allergen statements such as “may contain...”, or “processed in a facility that processes....” The danger of the lack of formal rules in this area is that people may have seen those warnings on so many labels that they may incorrectly assume that because they do not see it that the product is necessarily safe. That actually might not be the case but rather that the producer of the packaging has simply chosen not to include such a warning.

Another positive move to consider in this regard would be to consider the development of an allergy aware symbol that indicates that an item has been reviewed for the 10 major allergens.

Effective steps can be taken to make the lives of anaphylaxis sufferers safer and provide a degree of relief to them and their families. Our government and members from all sides of the House have started down the right road in this important cause. It was encouraging to witness this Chamber pass a unanimous motion to designate May as Food Allergy Awareness Month in Canada. This means so much to so many families coping with anaphylaxis.

I am, therefore, heartened by the response so far to Motion No. 546. I look forward to working together with all parliamentarians to see it passed and then acted upon in an effort to continue to improve the lives of anaphylaxis sufferers and their families.

Anaphylaxis
Private Members' Business

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I understand that the regulations are being put into place but I am concerned about the size requirements on the warnings. Many of us my age and older, and maybe some even younger, have difficulty reading the current labels on different products. We practically need magnifying glasses to read them. I just wonder whether any size requirements will be provided.

There is an 18 month phase-in period for these regulations. I wonder why it has taken so long to do that and where we are in the process of phasing in the regulations.

Anaphylaxis
Private Members' Business

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, one of the things that the government wanted to do was to get some consistency in labelling.

The starting process is getting the manufacturers and those that are putting things into foods to put it on the labels, so that when people start to look, they will know where to go and where to look for it.

In terms of the thought process and phasing-in, I think there was a compromise struck. I know that the challenge of phasing-in any new regulations is the effect it has on packaging and costs. It is fair to say that the 18-month phase-in period would give those who manufacture and produce these labels a chance to work out the existing packaging they have and phase-in the new packaging at a minimal cost and disruption to those organizations.

Anaphylaxis
Private Members' Business

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, I commend the member for his statement.

The recent labelling regulations announcement exempted brewers from the need for labelling. Can the member, as a member of the government caucus, explain the rationale and motivation behind that?

I know groups such as Anaphylaxis Canada are disappointed with that. Perhaps the member could tell us something.

Anaphylaxis
Private Members' Business

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned, most people who are affected are children. I do not think most parents are concerned at this stage that it is not on the beer labels.

However, we continue to work with and engage all interested stakeholders. We believe this is important. As we continue to move forward, we did not want this to be the holdup. It has taken some time to get this done. We wanted to move forward with concrete steps because we believe this is so important for our children.

Let us get this dealt with. As we move forward, we will have an opportunity to continue consulting to get that taken care of.

Anaphylaxis
Private Members' Business

11:20 a.m.

St. Catharines
Ontario

Conservative

Rick Dykstra Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the member for Niagara West—Glanbrook. He has done an incredible amount of work on this issue and moved it forward.

I am hoping he will receive the unanimous support of the House on this. It really is a motion that speaks to an issue that has perhaps been if not ignored at least not put in the forefront as he has done this morning.

I know there has been a lot of work from the local Niagara community, assisting him and us in terms of moving this forward. Could the member just comment on the importance of the support from a local perspective that certainly has the influence and outcome of meeting a national issue that has a national need and that has the support from a local community?

Anaphylaxis
Private Members' Business

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, I did want to highlight that even though there has been an amazing amount of work done at the local level, this is an initiative that goes from coast to coast.

One of the things I wanted to touch on before I go back to the great local support is that Canadian Anaphylaxis Initiative is an advocacy group that has moved forward all families to talk to all members from all parties. This is an initiative that has been moving forward from coast to coast, from B.C. all the way to the east coast.

It is always great having a local initiative talking to the importance of an issue. As members of Parliament, one of the things we find important when a new issue comes up is that we want to understand and be encouraged by the fact that local people are concerned with the issue.

It is with that in mind that I think NASK has done a great job informing not only the members here in Niagara but their counterparts across the country. Canadian Anaphylaxis Initiative has worked just as hard on this issue to coordinate efforts amongst all parties and all members to educate us, so that we could move forward with this initiative.

Anaphylaxis
Private Members' Business

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, I commend the member for Niagara West—Glanbrook for a very comprehensive statement on this issue. I rise in support of the motion that he has put forward and to raise some concerns about the exemption that the government has allowed in the regulations.

Obviously, the motion is self-explanatory. It talks about anaphylaxis as being a serious concern for an increasing number of Canadians and that the government should take the appropriate measures necessary to ensure that Canadians are able to maintain a high quality of life. I am assuming all members of the House would support that. I certainly stand in support of the motion.

There are approximately 1% to 2% of Canadians who live with the risk of an anaphylactic reaction. More than 50% of Canadians know someone with a life-threatening allergy. That is why, in principle, this is a very important motion and has my support. However, I want to voice some concerns with regard to the exemption the government has given to the brewery industry.

The government had promised to bring in new regulations with regard to food labelling in July 2008. Almost a year and a half later, in February of this year, the government announced that one sector if industry would be exempt from the new labelling regulations, which is the brewery industry.

As I said earlier in my question, groups such as Anaphylaxis Canada have raised concerns about the exemption of the brewery industry and I have a statement from Anaphylaxis Canada. I want to read two sentences from its press release of February 14 for the record. It commended the government, of course, and then stated:

After two decades of tireless advocacy by thousands of Canadians, our organization is very pleased to see the passage of important new regulations that will make food ingredient labels easier to understand. However, we are very disappointed by the federal government's decision to alter the regulations as proposed and provide a special exemption to the brewery industry.

I want to put that on the record because I believe the government should be moving faster to deal with that exemption, eliminate it if at all possible, and to do all of the other things that the member talked about in his statement. I do not believe I need to waste the House's time by saying anything more than that.

I rise in support of this motion. My friend made a very comprehensive statement, and I believe the House and all members must pay attention to it. It is a very serious condition, like many other conditions. The member has done an excellent job of putting it forward and I would encourage him to urge the Prime Minister to end the exemption of the brewery industry at the earliest possible time as Anaphylaxis Canada has requested.

Anaphylaxis
Private Members' Business

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Ève-Mary Thaï Thi Lac Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak about anaphylaxis, a condition that must be taken very seriously. Anaphylaxis is a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction. More and more Quebeckers and Canadians suffer from food allergies and approximately 4% of the population has one or more food allergies.

Motion M-546 aims to promote public awareness and to establish product standards to make life easier for people living with allergies. As I said, these allergies can sometimes be life-threatening. Living with an allergy-related health problem affects individuals and alters their quality of life. They live every day with worry. It is a daily battle. The allergies also affect family members, friends and other people in their lives.

I can share my own experience, since I have allergies to two medications: codeine and cortisone. These medications are found in many over-the-counter products. Every day when I take medication, I must be very careful to keep myself safe, since many other medications or products are made with codeine and cortisone derivatives.

My personal experience has shown me that it is not always easy to determine and identify which products contain these derivatives. As the hon. member said, it is important to remember that many children suffer from these allergies. It is also important to remember that they will have to deal with this issue their entire lives, even as adults, because these allergies do not go away and will always be part of their reality.

The Bloc Québécois and Quebec understand the importance of acknowledging food allergies. And so, on May 14, 2010, the Bloc Québécois voted in favour of a motion designating May as Food Allergy Awareness Month. The majority of people who suffer from allergies, suffer from food allergies. They must always be on the lookout, whether they are going to a restaurant or someone's house. It is a constant challenge for people suffering from food allergies because they must always be conscious of what they are eating. Allergies can appear in infancy or can develop at any point in a person's life. The most common allergies are to peanuts, eggs and milk—all basic food products.

Over 10 years ago, Quebec declared March 21 food allergy awareness day. Today is March 21. The purpose of this day is to increase awareness about the problems and issues associated with food allergies. It is important to educate the public and increase awareness about this affliction. Prevention is also a major issue and very important to any success that is achieved, since it helps increase the quality of life of those who suffer from these allergies.

We support today's motion, for the most part. As always, the Bloc Québécois studied the motion very carefully, and we concluded that it respects the values upheld by our party, the values of Quebeckers, and that it calls for compassion in particular. We therefore believe that the government should take the necessary steps to ensure that Canadians and Quebeckers who have these allergies can maintain a high quality of life.

However, these measures must be taken only in areas that fall under federal jurisdiction. Quebec and the provinces have exclusive jurisdiction over health and social services. The Conservatives won adoption of a motion recognizing the Quebec nation. Therefore, they must also respect the fact that certain matters fall solely under Quebec's jurisdiction.

In order to allow Quebec to fulfill its responsibilities regarding health and social services, the government must settle the $5 billion dispute it has been having with the Quebec government, for instance, by resolving the equalization issue once and for all.

In its 2007 budget, the Conservative government allocated money for equalization. The Bloc Québécois supported that budget at the time because it resolved, in part, the equalization issue. Nonetheless, it has not been resolved entirely. Quebec still has not been paid what it is owed.

Quebec is still waiting for compensation for harmonizing the GST and the QST, despite the fact that it is a nation and it harmonized its taxes a number of years ago, as a number of Canadian provinces have done. I think we were the first province to do so and we are still waiting for compensation. The Conservative government, including the Prime Minister, initially used Quebec as an example of harmonizing taxes. The government must compensate Quebec the way it has compensated the other provinces and adequately fund social programs.

The federal government can get industry to change its rules on labelling food allergens, as it did recently for gluten and sulphites.

When I was elected I sat on the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food with the hon. member for Richmond—Arthabaska, who does excellent work for our party in that area. We were studying food labelling. The government asked us to do our homework and set labelling standards for products entering Canada. Despite a consensus in committee, the government introduced an entirely different bill.

If we adopt a motion as important as the one being moved today, I invite the government to respect the will of the House and not repeat what it did with the labelling issue. It disregarded the report that had been presented in committee and it implemented unsatisfactory standards for all Canadians and Quebeckers. The government should work with the opposition and respect the will of the House when it comes to labelling.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, allow me to propose the following amendment, seconded by the hon. member for Richmond—Arthabaska:

That the motion be amended by adding after the words “the government” the following: “with respect to subjects under the legislative authority of the Parliament of Canada”.

I invite hon. members to support the Bloc Québécois amendment to the motion moved by the hon. member for Niagara West—Glanbrook.

Anaphylaxis
Private Members' Business

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

I must inform the hon. members that, pursuant to Standing Order 93(3), an amendment to a private member's motion or to the motion for the second reading of a private member's bill may only be moved with the consent of the sponsor of the item.

Therefore, I ask the hon. member for Niagara West—Glanbrook if he consents to this amendment being moved.

Anaphylaxis
Private Members' Business

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Agreed.

Anaphylaxis
Private Members' Business

11:35 a.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, this is an exciting day with motions and amendments. There is a lot going on here. People are working together. I am so pleased to work with the member for Niagara West—Glanbrook and to speak to and support Motion No. 546 asking that the House find that anaphylaxis is a serious concern for an increasing number of Canadians and that the government should take appropriate measures to ensure that these Canadians are able to maintain a high quality of life.

I applaud the member for this motion, but I also very much applaud him for his speech. So often we come to the House of Commons and hear feel good motions that look great on paper and do not really do anything or take any action. However, I was very impressed by his speech laying out real actions the government could take to fully realize the intention of this motion and to make the lives of Canadians better. It is an honourable motion and, without a doubt, has been received very well by the anaphylaxis community. I have met with members of this community and they are definitely in support of this motion.

As we have heard, anaphylaxis is a serious and sometimes life threatening allergic reaction. It can affect respiration as well as gastrointestinal and cardiovascular functioning. It is caused most commonly by food, although, as we have heard, there are a number of other triggers like insect stings or medicine, latex, or exercise. The most common food allergens are peanuts, tree nuts, seafood, egg, and milk products.

One may think that it would be easy to ascertain if a food contained nuts or a milk product by just reading the labels. However, labelling is not that simple. We have been pushing hard for changes to labelling and we have seen some changes recently, which have been a wonderful first step.

I was talking to a mom recently who has a child with an anaphylactic condition. She said that when she goes to the grocery store, she has a long legal size sheet of paper with all the possible wordings and names for all possible ingredients that could be in the foods, because the labels are not clear. We need really simple and clear labelling for people with anaphylactic conditions, and for everybody really. We need to know what is in our food.

According to Anaphylaxis Canada, approximately 1% to 2% of Canadians, or about 510,000 people, live with the risk of an anaphylactic reaction and more than 50% of Canadians know someone with a life-threatening allergy. I think everybody in this House knows someone like this, because the former member for Halifax, Alexa McDonough, had an anaphylactic condition, something that she always has to be careful of when she is out visiting with constituents and at dinners and community events, because it is a life-threatening allergy. It is clearly something that is of national concern.

It is worth noting that while anaphylaxis is usually diagnosed during childhood, it can also be something that develops later in life. There are so many challenges to living with anaphylaxis. Avoiding the allergen that causes a reaction is paramount, and people need to be constantly prepared for unexpected reactions.

What can we do? We did hear the member point out a list of things that we could do at the federal level to help people with anaphylactic conditions. I would like to add to that list because there are other ways that we can bring attention to this issue and make sure that Canadians are safe. First and foremost, I would say that we need better education and awareness for all Canadians whether they have an anaphylactic condition or not, including the parents of children living with anaphylaxis. We need better primary care and community care. I bring this up, knowing that 2014 is just around the corner, the year when we have to renegotiate the accord under the Canada Health Act. If we are to make sure that kids and adults with anaphylactic conditions can receive the immediate treatment they need, it is essential that we have good community and primary care across the country. With 2014 approaching, we really do need pan-Canadian consultations about the future of medicare in our country.

We need to consider food security and ensure that Canadians have access to nutritious, adequate, safe and appropriate food. Sometimes that means culturally appropriate food, and sometimes for people with anaphylactic conditions, “appropriate” means that they know what is in a food and whether or not allergens are in the food.

Of course, we need good inspection of food. We need label literacy for food and medication labels. We also need improved numeric skills to help people better understand food labels and dietary choices. This is not something that we automatically think of as an issue for new Canadians, but when we are doing settlement services, we need to ensure that there are those numeric and label skills and English literacy so that new Canadians can understand what labels are saying.

Finally, we need pharmacare. We absolutely need an affordable drug strategy. This is something that would help people with anaphylactic conditions, as well as Canadians around the country.

Without question, I think that over the last five years the Conservative government has not shown a lot of leadership on the health file. Some of the areas where we have not seen leadership relate directly to improving the lives of those living with anaphylaxis. Areas such as food inspection, particularly of imported foods, have not been sufficiently addressed. We heard about the total inaccuracy of the labelling of imported foods and the inadequacy of enforcement measures.

I have talked about poverty reduction, food security, primary care. These are all things that we need to look at and invest in.

Those with anaphylaxis, like all food-conscious consumers, rely on accurate labelling to make safe food choices. However, we know that reliance on labels can come with consequences when companies are not labelling properly.

Last year, it was reported that 6 out of 10 candies, baked goods and breads at the grocery store had labels that made inaccurate statements with respect to being sugar-free, low in fat, or 100% whole wheat. How can we rely on labels when we know that 6 out of 10 are inaccurate?

We have learned that the CFIA did target companies responsible for these labelling inaccuracies between 2006 and 2010 and suspected compliance issues, but it actually did not release the names of these companies for four years.

On top of publicly shaming the companies, which was a very good step, the CFIA could have removed products from store shelves or prosecuted a company, something that has not been made a priority, which has left customers and consumers without much protection from misleading information.

There has been change in this file in recent weeks. The federal government has begun to name food manufacturers that run into serious troubles with CFIA inspectors. This is a positive thing. The increase in labelling accountability is heartening, but we do wonder why there has been so much delay. We do absolutely welcome this kind of clarity in food labelling and the CFIA going after labellers to make sure labels are correct.

However, the government has done no favours to those with anaphylaxis and celiac disease because it has provided exemptions for brewers, something that one of my colleagues raised earlier. Breweries do not actually have to list the presence of glutens and glucosides in their products, nor the addition of other non-traditional ingredients in their specialized beers. That is something that consumers should have the right to know about.

We might think that beer is beer, that we can figure out that it probably has wheat in it or probably has something in it that we are allergic to. However, back home we have Garrison Brewing, and one of its ales is called Nut Brown Ale. It does not have nuts in it. However, we have seen beers from other microbreweries, in particular, that actually do have nuts or traces of nuts in them. For example, there is Chocolate Stout, where the chocolate may actually have been in contact with nuts. Therefore, we cannot say, “Well, it's called Chocolate Stout, and so there might be nuts in it”. What about the Nut Brown Ale? It does not have nuts in it.

Therefore, we just need clear labelling. We cannot rely on companies to put whatever they want on their labels and to call their products whatever they want.

I actually saw an interesting beer called something like Crustacean Crusty Ale or some such nonsense. It does not have shrimp in it. Don't worry, it has been tested and there is no shrimp in it.

I raised pharmacare, which is incredibly important. We need universal pharmacare. Too many times we hear of people going up to the counter at the pharmacy and seeing the cost of their prescription and just walking away, leaving it on the counter. This is something that is important to people across the country, whether they have anaphylactic conditions or not.

On that note, I am proud to support this motion. I am also proud to support the points that were raised in the speech that will help us actually fully realize better and safer conditions for people with anaphylactic conditions.

Anaphylaxis
Private Members' Business

11:45 a.m.

St. Catharines
Ontario

Conservative

Rick Dykstra Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak about an important issue for Canadians.

Food allergies affect approximately 1.2 million Canadians. Most of those currently affected are children. Sensitivity to sulphites affects approximately 200,000 Canadians, the majority of whom have asthma. Taken together, these conditions affect the health of approximately 1.4 million Canadians. For these people, it is crucial that they or their caregivers have the information they need to make the right choices about the food they eat. The consequences of eating the wrong food could mean potential life-threatening reactions, such as anaphylaxis. That is why I support Motion No. 546.

The member for Niagara West—Glanbrook who moved the motion accepted the amendment this morning, which shows his commitment to get the motion through Parliament, supported unanimously by all four parties in the House of Commons. It speaks volumes to the work he has done on the issue and the importance it has to Canadians and members in the House.

The motion calls on the government to address anaphylaxis as a serious concern for an increasing number of Canadians and to take the measures necessary to ensure that Canadians are protected and able to maintain a high quality of life. Right now, the only way that Canadians suffering from food allergies can protect themselves is to avoid the ingredients they know will make them ill. This continues to be an important challenge. That is why our government has placed a high priority on helping allergenic Canadians make informed food choices to avoid life-threatening anaphylaxis.

We rely on food labels to provide us with information about what we eat or should not eat. Strengthening ingredient labels on food, we have introduced new measures that require the use of clear language on food labels and the declaration of otherwise hidden allergens. The new measures, which were announced in February in Ottawa by the Minister of Health, ensure that labels of most prepackaged foods declare any food allergen, gluten source or sulphite in the list of food ingredients. They will also require that labels use plain and simple language that Canadians with food allergies, their families and caregivers will be able to understand.

These measures will also create more predictability for food processors and reduce the number of food recalls. Most important, they will help reduce life-threatening reactions, such as anaphylaxis, that may result from the consumption of the undeclared ingredients in packaged food.

The amended regulations will come into force 18 months from now and all prepackaged foods offered for sale from that time forward must comply. In the meantime, and a couple of members have mentioned this, we are certainly encouraging the industry to start making changes to improve food labels as quickly as possible. To the industry's credit, a number of companies have begun that process as we speak and will be completed much in advance of the 18-month timeframe.

It is anticipated that the enhanced labelling requirements will result in improved quality of life for individuals and families and reduce costs to the health care system. In addition to changes in how we label food allergens, work has been undertaken to evaluate the health risks posed by certain foods and to support the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's compliance activities by providing experts to conduct human health risk assessments of undeclared allergens. We are also new allergen-detection methods and generating various educational materials on allergens.

Health Canada maintains a world-leading food allergen method development program to address the lack of methodologies for the detection of low-level and undeclared allergens that are present in foods. This further supports the compliance and enforcement activities of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Anaphylaxis prevention is about raising awareness. To do this properly, there needs to be a better understanding of what anaphylaxis is, who it affects, how it affects them and how the impact of these reactions can be lessened. By acknowledging the seriousness of this issue, we are supporting the work of the Government of Canada and, more important, its partners. We have made and continue to make advancements in our understanding of the relevance and prevalence of severe food allergies and the attitudes and behaviours of those living with severe allergies.

A full picture of the health, social and economic burden of illness that food allergies represent in Canada is essential in being able to determine their scope and impact on Canadians.

In terms of anaphylaxis specifically, it is important that we are able to advance our knowledge of these types of reactions. If we can characterize these reactions, identify what triggers them and follow up with patients after they have suffered from such a reaction, we can begin the development of improved diagnostic approaches and therapeutic strategies that will contribute to reducing the incidents along with the morbidity and mortality of anaphylaxis.

Again, by supporting the motion, the Government of Canada and the House will reaffirm its commitment to this important area of work and demonstrate how we can work within the health portfolio and among our stakeholders in advancing our knowledge and understanding of key health issues.

Adoption of the motion will also provide an opportunity for the government and all in this place to reiterate that allergies are a serious public health issue that continues to challenge the health care sector, the food industry and the Canadian public.

I would like to take a couple of minutes to congratulate the Minister of Health who has worked on this issue and has ensured that this has not been left in the background, while other issues have come to the fore.

We attended an announcement at an Ottawa grocery store in early February on the whole aspect of food labelling, how it was going to work and the process that was going to be undertaken was announced. A retired individual who used to work in the ministry of health in Ottawa also attended.

The first thing she did at the conclusion of the announcement was speak to the member for Niagara West—Glanbrook. She thanked him and the minister for the efforts they had put forward in this regard. She also thanked the government for taking action on food labelling. She worked on this issue for the past 18 years, not only when she was with the ministry of health, but also after she had retired. Hearing her speak to the issue showed how time had gone by, but her efforts were not in vain.

Over the next 18 months, with this motion, the passing of the food labelling regulations and the advancement the industry has made in regard to food labelling, we will be on the right track.

If we look at the five issues brought forward by our partners and fellow Canadians who are concerned about this issue, the federal coordination of programs and services which, as we see the motion today, is the beginning.

With respect to an awareness campaign, there is no reason why, as members of Parliament and as a Canadian government, we cannot assist in that effort. In speaking to the motion today, all four parties have delivered speeches on it, which means a point of awareness needs to happen. All the members who spoke today referred to that.

With respect a commitment to research, as indicated in my speech, it important to continue to better understand anaphylaxis and its impact. The more we research, the more diligent we become, we will have better opportunities to find a way to beat this disease at a very early age, rather than individuals having to be concerned their whole lives about what they are eating.

We have improved allergy labelling, which is a huge concern within allergy circles and organizations in the country. The input they have had, whether it be, as the mover of the motion said, the assistance of individuals and groups locally or across this country, speaks to the issue. They all speak with one voice.

The fact that we have moved forward on labelling speaks volumes to where the government wants to move with respect to this issue.

Finally, with respect to the issue of transportation safeguards, there is no question that Canada is geographically large. We need to be concerned and we need to continue to work on those issues relating to transportation and food allergies.

Anaphylaxis
Private Members' Business

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, I highly support the motion and I congratulate the member for bringing it forward. As one of the members who wrote to the government saying that we needed action on this front, I am delighted to see it going forward.

It would be impossible for people to remember all the products. Anaphylaxis affects over one million people. It could cause death to some people if they ate the wrong products. As a result of the complexity of today's foods, the adding of additives and all kinds of things, one can never know for sure if a certain item is in a product unless that item is specifically labelled.

Our leader has talked about increasing labelling and inspection to make foods safer in Canada. He talked a lot about that in rural Canada. In that spirit, I definitely support the idea brought forward by our critic, that no company should be exempt, for any reason, because anaphylaxis is dangerous for some Canadians.

I definitely congratulate the member and I strongly support the motion.

Anaphylaxis
Private Members' Business

Noon

Conservative

Ron Cannan Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise to express my support for Motion No. 546, which was brought forward by the member for Niagara West—Glanbrook.

This is a big issue for my constituents of Kelowna—Lake Country, as we have heard from folks across the country. My niece and her daughter are celiac. I met with folks last week who were affected by this.

The motion is a great step forward, and I appreciate the leadership taken by the Minister of Health. I had the opportunity to be at the announcement that day along with my colleagues. I remember the smiles on the faces of Mr. George and his family with whom we have worked so hard over the years to bring this initiative forward. I believe consumers should have an informed choice. Labelling improvement and the regulations will help those Canadians suffering from anaphylactic reactions.

We perhaps do not realize how important this is to the approximately 2.8 million Canadians who suffer different allergic reactions to sulphites and other things. By doing this, we will be giving them a quality of life that they have not had an opportunity to enjoy.

It is also much more expensive when individuals who suffer allergic reactions go to the store with a shopping list on an 8.5x11 piece of paper of all the different potential chemical analyses, as my hon. colleague from the NDP mentioned. My niece said that she felt like a scientist when she went to the store. There is an additional cost and burden on young families. The motion would help provide more options for these people and would help bring down the cost. It also would help them with their food budget.

We are highlighting for the Government of Canada additional issues with regard to this specific issue, such as allergens, gluten sources and added sulphites.

On February 16, the regulations were published by Health Canada. These regulations will come into force on August 4, 2012, and require priority allergens to be clearly indicated on the label on the food either in the list of ingredients or in a separate statement that begins with the word “contains”. These labelling requirements will improve the quality of life for individuals and their families suffering from severe food allergies, celiac disease or sulphite sensitivity. By minimizing the risks associated with the consumption of undeclared allergens, gluten sources and sulphites, the government is maximizing the choice of safe and nutritious foods for those with dietary restrictions.

Until the new regulations come into force, Canadians can find additional information on what to look for on food labels to safely identify the presence of allergens, gluten sources and sulphites in Health Canada's pamphlet entitled “Common Food Allergies - A Consumer’s Guide to Managing the Risks”.

I thank my colleague and all members of the House for supporting the motion, as we continue to provide important regulatory and labelling changes for Canadians in order to provide them with a quality of life that they have been unable to enjoy.

Anaphylaxis
Private Members' Business

Noon

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Kelowna—Lake Country will have six and a half minutes left to conclude his remarks the next time the motion is before the House.

It being 12:04 p.m., the time provided for the consideration of private members' business has expired and the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the order paper.

The House resumed from March 7 consideration of the motion that Bill C-60, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (citizen's arrest and the defences of property and persons), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

Noon

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor has 10 minutes.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

Noon

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise to speak to this particular issue about citizen's arrest and the events that precede it.

We are here today to look at an amendment to section 494 of the Criminal Code. In my opinion, we are righting a wrong by doing this. I fully support this idea and fully support this bill.

There have been several episodes in history where this has been looked at and analyzed as a way of fixing an issue that has arisen due to one particular case that was featured in the city of Toronto. That was the story of David Chen. There has been a lot of media attention around this situation and his particular circumstance. If I may, I would like to talk about that very briefly.

In his security videos and from his own personal observations Mr. Chen noticed a particular individual time and time again stealing certain merchandise. The perpetrator was known in the area for having committed certain crimes. As a result, he appeared very suspicious.

The perpetrator went to Mr. Chen's place of business and stole a particular item. He then returned a half hour later only to be confined by Mr. Chen. The police moved in right away, but they went after Mr. Chen, not the perpetrator. As a result, there were several charges laid that we have talked about in detail. I will get to that in just a moment. The important fact is that Mr. Chen made the citizen's arrest after the incident had taken place. Therein lies the meaning of this particular legislation, and I am sure many Canadians would agree, that a certain period of time be allotted to act upon this or that there is a reasonable amount of time allotted wherein one can make a citizen's arrest.

The bill seeks to amend the Criminal Code to allow private citizens who own or have lawful possession of property to arrest a person they find committing a criminal offence on or in relation to that property within a “reasonable amount of time”. This power of arrest is permitted only in circumstances where there are reasonable grounds to believe that it is not feasible for the arrest to be made by law enforcement officials. Therein lies the other part of this, which is to say that in the case of Mr. Chen, which is the example we are using, he was put in a position where he was called into action. There were no peace officers there at the time. Therefore, in the absence of law enforcement officials, his judgment call was to make a citizen's arrest on that particular person he felt would steal something from his business. I imagine most of us would feel that his acts are justified.

As a result of this action, therein lies the crux of this particular amendment, which talks to the reasonable amount of time one has to do this. Currently, the legislation deals with the acts or actions one may take in making a citizen's arrest within a specific period of time. Therefore, the emphasis is on the particular amount of time that one has to make a citizen's arrest.

If a person, having witnessed a crime wherein the perpetrator has left the scene only to return, in David Chen's case it was 30 minutes, feels that he or she must take action, I believe the majority of Canadians feel that making a citizen's arrest at that time is indeed justifiable.

This has been an issue since I believe September 27, 2009, when the minister originally mused about it. As a result, almost two years later we are now looking at the legislation being tabled as we debate it in the House.

There does not seem to be a tremendous amount of debate here as the government put this bill forward and the Liberal Party and the NDP have endorsed it. Of course there have been private members' bills from the Liberal Party, by my colleague for Eglinton—Lawrence, and also my colleague from the NDP in the riding of Trinity—Spadina reflecting this issue.

As many people can imagine, there are some concerns around the term “a reasonable amount of time”.

Every time we talk about legal issues and legislation that makes an amendment to the Criminal Code, we always talk about and sometimes consider what is a reasonable amount of time and actions that are deemed to be reasonable in a court of law. Therefore it is open to interpretation.

Because we are at second reading of the bill and by accepting this in principle, it would now be sent to committee to find out what is a reasonable amount of time and to flesh out some of the parameters around this piece of legislation.

There is a certain amount of ambiguity that constitutes what is a reasonable amount of time between when an act of violence is committed and when a citizen's arrest is made.

We know that some police officers have raised concerns in the past about this legislation. We certainly look forward to hearing what input they bring to this and I will get to a few examples in a few moments.

Many months ago this issue was moved on when we saw the situation with David Chen. Private member's Bill C-547 was introduced by the member for Eglinton—Lawrence. We now find ourselves debating a government bill but two years ago we were dealing with all kinds of amendments to the Criminal Code. How this issue did not manage to pop up in the debate over the two-year period is slightly questionable.

The amendments that are being made, whether they be mandatory minimums, whether they be Internet crime and things we have seen over the last little while, especially when it comes to mandatory minimums, there has been a lot of debate in the House regarding amendments to the Criminal Code.

I am not a lawyer, but nonetheless I have heard from many legal experts who have said that the Conservatives could have done all of this in a much shorter period of time if they had done the amendments through, say, four, five or maybe even six bills as opposed to the 15 to 20, in that range, that we currently have. This could have been done two years ago, or the Conservatives could have accepted my colleague's private member's bill at the time. That probably would have been the most prudent way to go. Nonetheless, we find ourselves in the House today debating this legislation.

I look forward to what will be talked about at committee. I talked earlier about the ambiguity surrounding this. In the circumstances, we do have a legitimate concern to be addressed, but nonetheless, the principle of the bill is a sound one, which is the ability for citizens to make arrests. The situation with David Chen in Toronto is really an illustration of why we are debating this and why, I assume, most members of the House accept the bill in principle.

The incident of David Chen took place in October 2010. At that time there was a lot of debate and it received quite a bit of notoriety from coast to coast to coast. As a result of that, the debate became apropos of the times. Citizen's arrest is something we talked about. It has not been as publicized as it is now. The David Chen video tapes became news everywhere. I am from Newfoundland and Labrador and it was a big story there as well. It was featured prominently. It was not just a local Toronto story. Therefore, the issue gained that much more weight as a result of it.

The Criminal Code allows for a citizen's arrest as it stands right now. The amendment to section 494 would address that, but where an individual is caught in the act of committing a crime on a person or property and a citizen immediately detains the subject, therein lies the current state of the Criminal Code which addresses a citizen's arrest. The provision allows for an arrest to occur without having to wait for law enforcement to arrive on the scene. There are several examples over the years that would address this. Certainly an amendment to section 494 would address the situation regarding a reasonable amount of time. There is no doubt in my mind that a reasonable amount of time, which was illustrated by the David Chen case, perfectly justified a citizen's arrest. I believe the time was 30 minutes after the first encounter.

Therefore, in that particular case, it illustrates that a reasonable amount of time would be justified by this amendment. However, to put the parameters around this particular piece of legislation requires it going to committee and I look forward to hearing the debate on that.

The bill would also expand the scope of a citizen's arrest to allow for such detention to occur within a reasonable amount of time. It is not clearly defined what constitutes the reasonable amount of time, which will certainly be debated. The bill states clearly that no individual is entitled to use excessive force in the process of detention of another individual.

There have been other groups and stakeholders who want to discuss this as well and I am sure they will be given ample opportunity once they arrive at committee. I implore all my colleagues to support this bill in principle and send it to committee.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, I compliment my hon. colleague for having had the energy and eloquence to address some of the issues in Bill C-60.

He quite rightly pointed out that this is a bill that emanated from private members' initiatives, mine in particular, and the one by the member for Trinity—Spadina. It is important to say both parties because the Government of Canada—I am sorry, the Prime Minister's “SH” government responded with great tardiness. I notice that some people smile at that, but he wants it to be known as that.

It responded with great tardiness to a situation that was egregious. It was egregious because a repeated victim of theft by a convicted felon was penalized by the justice system. It is a government that constantly talks about its crime and justice agenda, but allowed Mr. David Chen and others like him to languish for the better part of 18 months while it did absolutely nothing.

Worse, it caused that individual to assume the costs of defending himself in court in order to prove something for the benefit of the government and the government mucked that up as well. Look at this piece of legislation. I wonder if my colleague would comment on that.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I think the member is a little angry. I want to congratulate him on his private member's bill. In the course of this debate a lot of it has been fleshed out over the course of time.

Another issue I noticed about this piece of legislation is we seem to have a little here and a little there when it comes to amendments to the Criminal Code. The Criminal Code seems to have garnered a lot of attention around here and in many cases justifiably so. The only problem I have is that sometimes we sensationalize these things to the point where they become overdone. Sometimes other pieces of legislation, whether it is with regard to crime or other social policy, get left behind, which is unfortunate.

My colleague talked about this particular piece of legislation and the principle by which we are accepting it. Senior police officers in Halifax have urged caution about the legislation. That is one thing we must bear in mind and that is why it should be sent to committee for further study. I look forward to that.

Again, I congratulate my colleague from Eglinton—Lawrence on his role in all of this.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

12:15 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, as the member is aware, parts of this bill mirror the bill tabled by the member for Trinity—Spadina trying to address what occurred to one of her constituents, the arrest of Mr. David Chen.

My colleagues, including the member for Windsor—Tecumseh, have raised concerns and I am wondering if the member supports the concern raised by my colleague in the House to the effect that members would like this bill to go to committee for consideration and discussion, but that there is the potential for expediting the amendments to section 494 to address what happened to Mr. Chen and clarify the issues on the occasion of a robbery and one's property is impacted.

Does he believe that we should be exploring the separation of additional provisions not raised in the Chen case dealing with provocation, justification and claim of right?

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the member questions me often and does it to great effect, so I look forward to her question each and every time.

I have two things. The NDP addressed the situation in Trinity—Spadina, which is a good illustration of where this happened. I used to live in Trinity—Spadina near where the incident took place, so I know the area well.

We had several renditions of this private member's bill, including from my own colleague, the member for Eglinton—Lawrence and, I think, from the member for Windsor—Tecumseh. My colleague, a former professor, also spoke to this.

--courts pay attention to what Parliament says when they look for direction in law.

I think that was from the Minister of Justice, and—

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

12:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order. I will have to stop the member there as he is out of time.

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Richmond—Arthabaska.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

12:20 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise today to speak to Bill C-60, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (citizen's arrest and the defences of property and persons).

I will summarize what the bill is all about. The bill amends the Criminal Code to enable a person who owns or has lawful possession of property, or persons authorized by them, to arrest within a reasonable time a person whom they find committing a criminal offence on or in relation to that property. Bill C-60 also amends the Criminal Code to simplify the provisions relating to the defences of property and persons.

More succinctly, the bill significantly broadens the notion of self-defence and slightly broadens that of citizen's arrest.

I have had the opportunity to review some of the speeches about Bill C-60. One of my colleagues also talked about this bill.

It will come as no surprise that the Bloc Québécois supports sending Bill C-60 to committee. Today, we have heard that the scope of the bill raises certain questions. I will talk about the notion of self defence a little later. There are many questions about the problems that could be created by Bill C-60.

A Liberal member said that when an event gets a lot of media coverage, parliamentarians immediately want to solve the problem, which is quite commendable. Everyone in the House undoubtedly acts out of good faith when it comes to solving a justice-related or other problem. However, we must ensure that the scope of these laws does not give rise to other problems. That is what we fear with Bill C-60.

Two members introduced private member's bills to address citizen's arrest. In the Toronto area, the owner of a convenience store took the law into his own hands and was arrested. The public believed that the arrest made no sense because the owner of the convenience store had acted in good faith to protect himself and his property.

Bills were introduced in this regard. Then, the Conservatives introduced a bill on the same topic but with a much larger scope that also addresses the issue of self-defence.

For the Bloc Québécois, defending oneself and one's property, within reasonable limits, is a fundamental right. We do not see any problem with this. It is already permitted by law, but the law is too restrictive. Mr. Chen's case is a good example.

Bloc members support a legislative amendment that would enable honest citizens to defend themselves, their property and others. However, we do not want to implement a populist approach reminiscent of the wild west. No one here was alive during that time, but we have all seen movies in which people take justice into their own hands. Clearly, we do not want violence to escalate in such a manner or we could find ourselves in a situation where the lives of individuals and groups are endangered.

As legislators and as people who want to defend their families and their property, we do not want to create other, more serious problems and we do not want to contribute to an increase in violence. Certain provisions in the current bill could give rise, in the short to medium term, to situations that neither the public nor the police would want.

Bill C-60 was introduced in response to the incident in Toronto that I mentioned earlier. A business owner was arrested and taken to court for catching and detaining a man who had robbed him. This arrest of an honest citizen, who had repeatedly asked for police help without any response, outraged the public.

Two private member's bills were introduced immediately following this incident, and then Bill C-60 was introduced. Bill C-60 includes the vision of the political parties that introduced the private member's bills to address the issue of citizen's arrest. The Conservative government introduced a bill that seeks to amend the self-defence provisions of the Criminal Code.

Questions are being raised about the changes to the Criminal Code. The deputy chief of the Halifax Regional Police urged the federal government to caution the public about making citizen's arrests, because we want to prevent well-intentioned individuals from committing crimes themselves. He also pointed out that an arrest carries risks that a citizen has little chance of responding to as well as a police officer can. It is not our job to take on the role of vigilante. However, out of necessity, there are some situations in which citizens must be allowed to arrest someone who is in the process of committing a crime or harming property, a loved one or even a stranger. We even have a duty to intervene when we see someone in danger. We cannot stand by and do nothing, even if there is clearly a risk in intervening. It could jeopardize the life of the victim or our own life. Necessary force must be used. The changes made to self-defence with Bill C-60 could cause problems. Some situations that are currently illegal could become legal. We are not convinced that this would be desirable for the well-being of the community. Some situations covered by Bill C-60 were discussed by those who spoke before me, but I would like to give some examples.

There is a spat between neighbours: John is unhappy because he lent Jim his lawnmower and has not gotten it back yet. So he starts to threaten Jim and his family. He may even go as far as to threaten to kill them. Jim does not want to take any chances and decides to kill John before he attacks Jim or his family. When Jim is arrested, he tells the police that he could not guarantee his own or his family's safety because of the threats they had received. This may seem like an exaggerated, ridiculous example, but if we just look at what happens in court or read a newspaper, we will see a number of similar examples where people are trying to justify what they have done, even if their actions are unforgivable. How does one prove that John truly endangered the lives of Jim and his family? It will never happen, because one person killed the other.

Or consider this scenario: someone steals a pack of cigarettes from a convenience store. The cashier has a firearm under the counter and if he pulls it out, any number of things could happen: he could accidentally kill the man who stole the pack of cigarettes just by pointing the gun at him; he could say to himself that the man is a thief so he is allowed to take the law into his own hands and he decides to shoot; or the thief takes off and the other man decides to shoot and seriously injures or kills him because he wanted to stop him. We do not know whether he intended to kill the thief or not, but we do know that he pulled the trigger. I would remind hon. members that the man stole a pack of cigarettes. The shopkeeper may also decide to kill him because he has been robbed too many times and the police do not act quickly enough. So he pulls the trigger and kills the thief.

In either scenario, society does not win. Indeed, there is always a delicate balance that must be struck between going too far—even if one's intentions are good in proposing reforms that could have a negative impact—and taking action to protect one's property, one's family or unknown individuals. A balance must be struck. There is no doubt that the Criminal Code does have some shortcomings at this time, as we saw with the example of the shopkeeper, but the committee needs to examine certain things much more thoroughly.

In closing, situations like this often come up. When I was a teenager and still living at home, thieves broke into my parent's house. I was in the basement with my girlfriend at the time, and no one else was home.

When I woke up, I heard voices, so I knew there was more than one thief in the house. To scare them away, I told them I had a firearm. They ran away, but I definitely would have had a problem if I really had had a weapon and had decided to fire on them when they were running away across the lawn. That is why we must not go too far.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

I have a few questions for my colleague, who gave a pretty thorough summary of the bill before us.

I wonder whether my colleague would find it strange, if not deceptive, that the government, which waited for 18 months after it promised David Chen that it would look at an egregious situation, comes forward with legislation that not only looks at the issue of reasonableness, which, by the way, was already addressed by the court as it dealt with David Chen's case, but adds on to it a whole series of extraneous items that it says are absolutely important and crucial to understanding the concept of reasonableness in a citizen's arrest situation.

I would like the hon. member to give us an indication of whether he finds that the government took so long in order to come right up face to face with the prospect of not having to deal with it at all. This bill will go to committee but we do not know if the committee will be heard. However, David Chen will have expended a lot of energy, a lot of resources and a lot of money.

Does the member not think that the government should reimburse him for what he did in order to upgrade the criminal court's case study of situations like his?

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

12:30 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question.

Let me come back to the famous delicate balance that is needed when it comes to self-defence. I concluded my speech rather quickly a moment ago, talking about my own experience.

The government is playing around with the issue of self-defence by removing the whole notion of necessity. Everyone knows we have the right to defend ourselves and that that is enshrined in the Criminal Code, but that only the necessary force can be used.

I want to come back to my previous example. The thieves were in my parents' house. I managed to chase them away by screaming “I have a gun”. It was not true, but they did not know that. Fortunately, they believed me. When I saw them running through the neighbour's yard, I noticed there were three of them. I was glad that I had not come out swinging and that I had not tried to fight with them. I was with my spouse at the time and I did not want to leave her alone.

However, if I had had a gun and had decided to shoot the thieves as they were running away through the neighbour's yard, I do not think I would have been using necessary force or that I could have argued that it was necessary to kill someone who had entered my parents' home. If the thieves had entered the room I was in and jumped me, or started hitting me or my spouse, I think I could have used necessary force in that case.

That is the difference. The problem lies in identifying what the government wants to do with Bill C-60.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, I must insist because the issue that caused the bill to come forward is essentially one of a citizen's arrest, in other words, the right of an individual to protect himself as well as his property but, most important, his property at this stage of the game. The government has come forward with legislation that unnecessarily deals with, as the member has noted, a series of issues even though the courts in the David Chen case addressed his issue, which was the reasonableness of the time and the continuity of the actions where, under any normal and reasonable expectation, someone would have found that David Chen actually did protect his property by using all the means available to conduct a citizen's arrest.

Under those circumstances, would he not think that the government is really trying to thwart the will of the courts?

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

12:35 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member has hit the nail on the head. He has been here long enough to know that the Conservative government always tends to adopt populist measures, especially when it comes to justice.

It was easy, especially given the bill he himself introduced and the bill introduced by the NDP, to move very quickly to resolve the problem in the Criminal Code. We see that. That is why we agree with sending Bill C-60 to committee. There are changes we can make without unravelling everything.

However, to introduce this populist measure is to suggest that this is what people want and that the government will move forward with it without considering the consequences. In wanting to resolve a situation involving Mr. X, in this case Mr. Chen, the government is using a bazooka when all it really needed to do was to make a very quick change by passing either the bill introduced by my colleague or the one—

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

Resuming debate.

The member for Don Valley East.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today to Bill C-60, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (citizen's arrest and the defences of property and persons).

The genesis of the bill was the arrest of Toronto grocer, David Chen, who apprehended a man who had previously stolen from his store. Mr. Chen was arrested and charged with forcible confinement after the perpetrator of the theft was caught outside his store by Mr. Chen who effected what, in his mind, was a citizen's arrest.

Under the current provisions of the Criminal Code, a citizen may make an arrest only when a criminal offence is being committed or has been committed and the alleged criminal is in the process of fleeing. Eventually, the court, after a lengthy period of time and a large public outcry, found Mr. Chen not guilty due to a reasonable doubt being identified by the judge.

As I look at Bill C-60, it tries to amend subsection 494(2) of the Criminal Code to enable private citizens who own or have lawful possession of property, or persons authorized by them, to arrest, within a reasonable time, a person who they find committing a criminal offence on or in relation to that property. This power of arrest would only be authorized when there are reasonable grounds to believe that it is not feasible in the circumstances for the arrest to be made by a police officer. It would also amend the Criminal Code to simplify the provision relating to the defence of property and persons.

We must be careful that the passage of this bill does not give the public the erroneous impression that individuals have the right to mete out any form of vigilante justice. The government has taken too long to introduce a bill on this issue, and when it came up with this wording, there are some issues around clarity. There is ambiguity. What are these things that need to be clarified? The ambiguity that is most concerning is what is meant by a reasonable amount of time between the act of violence that is committed on a personal property and when a citizen's arrest is made.

If this ambiguity is left unresolved it could lead others to inadvertently commit a criminal act. For example, let us say that we see someone breaking into our house or garage and stealling tools but we are not able to apprehend the person, if we were to meet that person next week in a park could we apprehend him or her then? What is a reasonable time? How does one get around it? If I see somebody breaking into my neighbour's house, what is my job as a citizen? Should I make a citizen's arrest? Where are the parameters? Those are the parameters of the citizen's arrest that are missing from this explanation or change to the act.

How do we ensure clarity? We need to have clarity so we do not have a repeat of what happened to Mr. Chen. Mr. Chen did what he thought was helping the police. He arrested the guy who was a repeat offender and because it was his personal property he thought he was doing the right thing. Unfortunately, the police arrested Mr. Chen and told him that he was doing the wrong thing.

I wonder how many of us would stop if we saw a theft taking place, take a picture and ensure the picture was correct so we could give it to the police do they could find the person. We know the police force is underfunded. It needs all the citizen help it can get. Where is this clarity that we are looking for? I know police officers have also raised concern about the legislation and I look forward to hearing those concerns. I would look forward to sending this bill to committee.

For a government that says it is a law and order agenda government, why did it take so long to bring about changes?

The member for Eglinton—Lawrence and the member for Trinity—Spadina both addressed this issue many months ago when they brought in a private member's bill. It was after they brought in the private member's bill that the government decided that it should get around to this issue as well.

I want the government to be smart on crime and to be alert on crime, not to make crime some election issue. These are crimes that affect citizens and that affect my daily life. I would like the government to clarify due process. How does the judge know what due process is? The judiciary should be given that clarity.

What determines a citizen's arrest? The police need to be given clarity so they do not repeat the mistakes that happened in Mr. Chen's case. If the police do not understand the interpretation of this bill, we will have another repeat of Mr. Chen's situation.

This is important for all of us. I will give an example that is very interesting. Spitting is not allowed on many streets, especially in Europe. People cannot spit on the street. Is spitting a crime? Do I take a picture? If I do take a picture, what do I do with it? How do I make a citizen's arrest? If I see a member's computer being stolen, what do I do about it? What is a reasonable time? When do I enforce it? As I mentioned, the police force does not have the wherewithal to arrive on time sometimes. It needs all the help it can get.

Therefore, when we are looking at making changes to that act, we should let the police do their justice job. If we are trying to apprehend a perpetrator and the perpetrator has a gun, what do we do? How do we protect ourselves? Yes, the police should do their job and, yes, the police cannot always be there, but when we are talking about citizen's arrests, let us be clear about what we want.

It is unfortunate that the government took so long. It is unfortunate that Mr. Chen had to go through this lengthy and costly legal process due to the ambiguity. I do not think the ambiguity has been clarified by what the government has introduced.

I hope the committee and its members will look at these concerns and that they will come up with a solution that provides clarity to the public, the police and the judiciary.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

12:40 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, I compliment my colleague on attempting to make the legislation relevant to the everyday experiences of ordinary citizens.

Mr. Chen was an ordinary citizen. He had the assurance of the Minister of Immigration that his situation would be rectified very quickly by the Government of Canada, or the SH government. He also had a similar assurance from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice.

By his own words, we have the Minister of Justice's account that in late 2009 the governments of the various provinces were already coming to a conclusion with regard to this and yet the government did nothing.

I wonder whether the member will comment on why it took two opposition bills in order to prompt the government to action?

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member's question brought me back to the fact that the Prime Minister went to Mr. Chen's store for electioneering purposes.

It was the member for Eglinton—Lawrence and the member for Trinity—Spadina who were the proponents of this private member's bill to move it forward.

I can only speculate that this was electioneering because if it was for the law and order agenda and I as a private citizen am not protected, it must be speculation time.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

12:45 p.m.

Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia
Manitoba

Conservative

Steven Fletcher Minister of State (Democratic Reform)

Mr. Speaker, I was listening with a little interest to what the member was saying and I reflect on her comment about the fact that the Conservative Party is tough on crime. We are tough on crime and that is why we have introduced this bill. This bill would take care of the people who wish to harm citizens or their property. We have introduced legislation to get rid of the three for one and two for one time served credits that criminals were taking advantage of. We have introduced laws that are tough on crime.

Would the member not just admit that the Liberal Party is soft on crime and would like to see as much leeway as possible given to the bad guys so they can escape prosecution? Would the member please state for the record that she is against prosecution?

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am quite amused by this. If there is a three for one credit, I have to wonder whether the senators who were charged with fraud in elections will be going to jail and what time they will serve.

When it comes to Conservatives committing a crime, why is it that the government absolutely refuses to put them in prison or ensures that due process takes place? Ordinary citizens who commit crimes are put wherever and the Conservatives think they are being tough on crime. But when it comes to the Conservative senators, members and ministers who are implicated in fraud in elections, where will they be going?

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite just raised a very important point, and that is that the SH government has no agenda for getting tough on crime. It does not have a reasonable approach to dealing with crime and promoting justice. In fact, there are no more resources being allocated for justice issues.

How can one be tough except by one's own wrath?

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, instead of investing in the police, who are underfunded and under-resourced, the government is creating mega prisons for unreported crimes. The government needs to invest in resources. The police need money, so let us invest in the right resources. Let us be smart on crime, not stupid on crime.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

12:45 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to stand today to speak to Bill C-60, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (citizen's arrest and the defences of property and persons).

The New Democrats are happy to support the bill, at least insofar as it would expand the legal authority for private citizens to make an arrest within a reasonable amount of time after they find that person committing a criminal offence.

It is important to understand that the bill would do three things: first, it would extend the time period from the present Criminal Code situation in which a person may make a citizen's arrest; second, it would amend the defence of persons provisions of the Criminal Code; and, third, it would amend the defence of property provisions of the Criminal Code.

It is the New Democrat Party's position that the first part of the bill is an appropriate amendment to our law that our party supports. With respect to the other two sections, we believe that those sections should be split from the bill or otherwise studied independently in committee prior to making any changes in that regard.

Again, the legislation would expand the legal authority for private citizens to make an arrest from the present situation which allows citizens to make that arrest if they catch someone in the commission of a crime; that is, any citizen of Canada can make a citizen's arrest lawfully under the Criminal Code provided that they make that arrest during the commission of that offence.

Canadians saw a spectacle last summer where a Toronto shopkeeper arrested a person who had come to his store on multiple occasions and stolen from him. His name was David Chen and the name of his store was the Lucky Moose. The thief returned to the store within a very close amount of time from having robbed it earlier, I think within the last day or two, and entered the store again. Mr. Chen had a videotape of this person, so identification was not an issue. Mr. Chen and his staff held that person until the police arrived.

What happened next is something that I think revealed the problem with the current law, which is that upon arriving at Mr. Chen's store, the police did not arrest the alleged thief, but arrested Mr. Chen and charged him with a number of offences, including unlawful confinement and other such, I think, completely unreasonable offences.

Of course, at the time, the police really had no choice but to do so because the law, as it currently stands, says that a person may only make that arrest during the commission of an offence. Since the thief had arrived at Mr. Chen's store not during the commission of the offence but within a day or two later, Mr. Chen was not within his rights, under the Criminal Code, to make that arrest.

The bill would also bring reforms to simplify or clarify, according to the government, the Criminal Code provisions on self-defence and defence of property, and clarify where reasonable use of force is permitted in relation to those issues.

The amendments to subsection 494(2) of the Criminal Code, on citizen's arrest, would authorize private citizens to make that arrest within a reasonable amount of time after they find someone committing a criminal offence that occurs in relation to property and the power of arrest would only be authorized when that person has reasonable grounds to believe that it is not feasible in the circumstances for the arrest to be made by a peace officer or, in other words, a police officer.

The legislation would also attempt to clarify, by cross-reference to the Criminal Code, that use of force is authorized in a citizen's arrest but that there are specific and concrete limits placed on how much force could be used.

In essence, the laws currently permit the reasonable use of force, taking into account all of the circumstances of a particular case and, of course, the current Criminal Code and the bill would continue to make it clear that a person is not entitled to use excessive force in a citizen's arrest.

There are very important considerations in the bill. A citizen's arrest is a very serious, potentially dangerous undertaking. Unlike a peace officer, a private citizen is neither tasked with the duty to preserve and maintain public peace nor, generally speaking, properly trained to apprehend suspected criminals.

In most cases, an arrest consists of either actually seizing or touching a person's body, with a view to detaining him or her, or by using words where the person submits to the arrest. Citizen's arrests made without careful consideration of the risk factors may have serious, unintended, physical or legal consequences for everybody involved.

When deciding if a citizen's arrest is appropriate, people should consider a number of factors, including whether a peace officer is available to intervene at that time, their personal safety or the safety of others, and whether that safety would be compromised by attempting an arrest. They should report information about the crime to police instead of taking action on their own wherever possible. They must have a reasonable belief regarding the suspect's criminal conduct and identity, and of course, they must turn over the suspect to the police without delay once an arrest is made.

I want to give credit where credit is due. My colleague from Trinity—Spadina, upon learning of Mr. Chen's situation, immediately went to work, as New Democrat MPs are renowned in the House for doing, by drafting a private member's bill, Bill C-565. The NDP responded to the situation before any other party in the House did.

My colleague drafted a bill that dealt surgically and precisely with the situation at hand. It could have been law today if the government had simply agreed to pass Bill C-565 by unanimous consent. In fact, all the parties could have done that. That bill would have expanded the time in which a citizen could make a citizen's arrest, which is all that is required.

The situation Mr. Chen faced was that he made an arrest after the commission of the offence and that is what put him in jeopardy. If we had amended the Criminal Code, we could have clarified that situation. The problem with the bill the government has put forward is that it goes beyond that. It purports to amend the sections of defence of property and persons in the Criminal Code, which are not situations that were required to be amended because of the Lucky Moose situation and which, of course, will slow down this legislation because now all parties in the House have to study carefully what those sections mean.

After my colleague drafted her bill, I was proud to second it. My colleague and I then toured small businesses in Vancouver Kingsway where I brought up the situation of Mr. Chen and the Lucky Moose to small business owners and asked their opinion. I also drafted a petition asking whether or not small business people would support my colleague's bill and there was overwhelming support.

The conversations I had with small business owners in Vancouver Kingsway made it clear that small business people are very concerned about theft, pilferage in their stores, the very slow response time of police, and the inability of police to deal adequately with the problem of shoplifting. These are hard-working store owners who employ thousands of my constituents and deserve to be better protected from those who would steal from them. I heard from small business people that their margins of profit are very thin and the difference between a small business owner making a living or not very often depends on the amount of crime, whether vandalism or theft.

I also met with the head of the Vancouver Chinatown Business Improvement Society and Tony Lam, and I heard their experiences. The shop owners in Chinatown in Vancouver tell me that their very existence is threatened by the crime experienced in the Downtown Eastside. They have to hire private security. They say that police are so over-stretched they are unable to respond. I want to talk for just a minute about that because part of the problem underlying this bill is the problem of over-stretched police.

I have met with police board representatives, police officers, chiefs of police, and with municipalities across this country. They tell me that the 2,500 police officer positions the government promised to create have not materialized. They have said that the $500 million in federal policing costs are being downloaded to municipalities. They told me that in order to make their streets safer, and ensure that citizens and businesses are protected, they need more community policing.

That is the underlying problem that this bill seeks to remediate. Citizens are now placed in the position of having to do what they pay taxes for, which is to get police to respond to crime. However, that does not happen when the government does not provide the necessary funding for long-term positions, does not target the money to provinces to create the positions, and does not create enough funds to hire the civilian staff necessary to support the police officers.

I am proud to support this bill and small businesses in this country, and to ensure they can protect themselves from crime.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hon. colleague is a lawyer and is accustomed to ensuring that precision is part of the presentation. He will recall that, on June 16, I presented a private member's bill to draw the government's attention to the fact that Mr. Chen's case was languishing in a stupor of indifference. The member for Trinity—Spadina followed that up the following September, still in 2010, weeks before Mr. Chen's case appeared in court for deliberation. Still there was no action by the government. Remember, the government says that it is tough on crime, but it is indifferent to victims.

Those of us who really wanted a balanced approach to life were looking for an indication that the government would deliver on its promises, promises made by the Minister of Immigration and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice. Even the Justice Minister, in his presentation, indicated that in the fall of 2009 he was already in consultation with the provincial attorneys general to do something, and did nothing. Does the member not find this all strange?

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, I give credit to the hon. member for Eglinton—Lawrence and commend him on his early action as well to draft legislation, again showing that the opposition was first off the mark in dealing with the situation of Mr. Chen and the Lucky Moose.

Absolutely, Canadians want a balanced approach to crime. Very often I think it is a fair comment to say that the government tries to reduce crime to simple sloganeering, to name calling and to simplification that really all Canadians utterly reject. Every member of the House is in favour of reducing crime in our country. Every member of the House is dedicated to ensuring we take care of victims. For one party in the House to constantly stand and accuse the other parties of not caring about those things is as dishonourable as it is dishonest.

We need to look at our law and make improvements where the law really requires it. I think this is a section of the Criminal Code that all parties can agree, and I think we all agree, that expanding the citizen's arrest provisions of the Criminal Code is necessary and is desirable to modernize this section to keep up with the expectations of Canadians in this important area.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the hon. member's intervention because, with his legal training, he has an insight into the way the law would work, from which other members of Parliament might benefit.

Trying to tap on his expertise, I would like to get his views on whether it has been necessary for this legislation, Bill C-60, to be as expansive as it has become. We were essentially trying to address the issue of a citizen's right to arrest, period, pure and simple. The government has unnecessarily burdened this debate with other issues that will take the public's attention away from a very small amendment to the Criminal Code.

In fact, it is an amendment that had been studied by various university law professors and had been worked on by those associated with Mr. Chen. I compliment Chi-Kun Shi and all her team of legal experts who provided the energy and incentive to Mr. Chen and gave him the courage to stand up to government, to speak truth to power and to ask for a change in law so citizens could be protected.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, the short answer to the hon. member's question is yes.

All that was required to amend the law in this case was to pass the essential amendment that my colleague from Trinity—Spadina and my hon. colleague from Eglinton—Lawrence proposed in their legislation, which is simply to extend the time period in which a citizen may make an arrest to a reasonable time within the commission of a crime.

The fact that the government tacked on unnecessary and complicating amendments, which have to do with sections of the Criminal Code that are not engaged by the Chen incident, that are not required to be amended in order to deal surgically with the situation at hand, does slow down the passing of this bill. It does make every reasonable member of the House have to pause and study the impact of those sections of the Criminal Code. Therefore, it is likely that the bill will not be passed as swiftly as it could have been had we just done what the hon. member's bill and my hon. colleague's bill would have done.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:05 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, to begin with, I must tell you that the Bloc Québécois will support this bill at second reading. The reason is quite simple: we very much want the bill to be referred to committee so it can be studied. In fact, as is their custom, the Conservatives introduce bills with titles that are sometimes misleading. In addition, we are familiar with their Republican-style approach, characterized by penalties, punishment and being tough on crime. Often, a simple bill goes beyond the issue it is supposed to resolve. That is what we are dealing with today.

The bill is called An Act to amend the Criminal Code (citizen's arrest and the defences of property and persons). In reading the bill, we realize that it goes too far. As I was saying, it errs on the side of punishment, ideology and rigidity. There is no flexibility in the Conservative ideology, which makes it difficult to try to find new ways of dealing with new behaviours in society. The Conservatives always have the same reflex: the response has to be far-reaching, people must go to jail, and rehabilitation is not possible.

So, you will understand that with this bill, like many other bills related to justice and safety, as the saying goes, the devil is in the details. When we take a closer look at these details, we see that the title of the bill before us does not necessarily reflect its content.

I would like to give examples of the Conservatives' lack of flexibility in their approach to crime, which focuses solely on punitive measures. There are many examples, one of which is Bill C-25 to amend the Youth Criminal Justice Act. This bill was considered heresy in Quebec because we believe that it is more important to focus on prevention, particularly when it comes to adolescents. We should not imprison them and thereby send them to crime school because, when they get out of prison, they will have indeed become true criminals. In Quebec, we want to do the opposite; we want to rehabilitate these offenders and give them a second chance. If you look at the statistics, you will see that Quebec has had the most success in this area. This not only benefits society, but it also saves money because it means that we do not have to spend money on prisons, as the Conservative government is preparing to do by making major investments in correctional facilities.

These are examples of the lack of flexibility we have a hard time accepting because we do not have the same type of society. And you know that the Bloc members try to reflect the reality and the vision of Quebeckers as much as possible. But these visions that come from the rest of Canada, especially from the Conservative Party, in no way reflect Quebeckers' wishes in terms of justice.

It is the same story with the bill to amend the regulations for certain drugs. Pursuant to this bill, a teenager who is caught smoking a joint will be thrown in prison and will be tried in court, instead of being rehabilitated so he can become someone who contributes to society instead of spending his life behind bars, becoming someone who will, upon release, commit other crimes and make his situation worse, at which point he will be beyond help.

The Conservative government is not on the right track with its approach. It has missed the train entirely, and that is why the committee must examine this bill together.

Another example is the appointment of judges. The Minister of Justice now has the majority on the committee that selects judges. That is an odd way of controlling justice. But the judiciary is one of the basic pillars of a democracy, along with the executive and the legislative branches. As soon as a government goes to extremes to control the judiciary, as the Conservatives are doing, it is not surprising that these pillars would weaken and that our society would become dysfunctional. Therefore, it is important for us to delve into this bill and to examine it in detail.

We are looking out for the concerns of Quebeckers. We want a balanced approach, without too much repression, based on today's realities, because we are no longer working with 19th or 20th century laws. This is the 21st century. We need a new approach, which Quebeckers have managed to implement in their justice system. We cannot see ourselves in what the Conservative government is putting forward.

We must avoid the huge trap the Americans have fallen into. Proportionally speaking, seven times more prison sentences are handed down in the United States than in Quebec. We think we are on the right track. Imitating the Americans will not resolve matters here; on the contrary. The government wants to build more prisons. This will probably mean more guards in secure environments. This all costs money, and we are anxious to see those details. In fact, the opposition has requested documents in that regard and I would remind the government that it is running out of time to produce those documents, if it wants to avoid being found in contempt of Parliament.

The Bloc Québécois looked at some interesting points. Our parole system makes no sense. It makes no sense that Norbourg's Vincent Lacroix is out of prison in an open environment, when he ruined the lives of about 9,000 people and stole over $100 million. He should have served a full sentence for his crimes, instead of being released on parole. The proof that we are in touch with reality is that Quebeckers do not agree that Vincent Lacroix should be almost completely free at this time.

People also want us to do more to fight organized crime, which would be easy to do. We simply need to confiscate more assets. Anyone who accumulates goods or money fraudulently would have it confiscated and those assets and money would be placed in a fund used to pay for the fight against crime. These are excellent ideas. Unfortunately, the government refuses to listen to them.

We also need to eliminate the provision regarding the double credit that is given for time served before sentencing. At present, offenders can simply ask their lawyers to delay their cases, since every day they serve before sentencing will count as double. That is a problem. Unfortunately, once again, the government refuses to listen.

Let us now talk about citizen's arrest. There is a change here, and the devil is in the details. It must happen within a reasonable time, but what is a reasonable time? There must be reasonable grounds. It must not be feasible in the circumstances for a peace officer to make the arrest. The person wanting to make the arrest must feel that no other options are available because the police are not there. This is a very arbitrary provision and should be more precise in order for progress to be made.

We must also ensure that things do not get out of hand. We do not want to encourage vigilantes like the ones Charles Bronson played in the 1970s. If someone tries to make off with a pack of gum, the convenience store owner must not take out a gun and shoot him. Who will determine the amount of force needed? I may be told that these are mere details, but it is important to consider them.

It is the same for self-defence. Necessity is no longer a requirement for using force when it comes to self-defence. It used to have to be proven that force was necessary. At present, someone could threaten my friends or family and I, in self-defence, could seriously harm them. These things need to be examined. And that is why the Bloc Québécois wants this bill to be passed at second reading. The incident in Toronto cannot be ignored. Citizen's arrests can take place as long as certain rules are followed, and these rules need to be established and studied in committee.

We will support Bill C-60 at second reading so that it can be studied in more detail in committee and so that we can chase the devil out of the details.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:10 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, I think that the members in the House need to pay attention to the Bloc member when he says that the devil is in the details.

This could have been a very easy bill to address had the government told everybody that it saw a problem with a specific element in the Criminal Code that it wished to address. It had unanimous support in the House. Witness the two bills by the member for Eglinton—Lawrence and Trinity—Spadina. However, the government has taken a position, and I hope my hon. colleague will comment on this, that the entire Criminal Code needs an uplift, needs sorting out and greater attention, but it has not made the case for this bill.

We are looking for government members and government ministers to convince the House and the general public why the bill needs to be accepted in all its complexity as presented to the House.

The hon. member has just made a compelling case for saying there are very important issues that need to be addressed. The business of citizen's arrest is one of them. It is a crucial one. It tips the balance toward the citizen on reasonable grounds on a case-by-case basis--

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Saint-Jean.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I agree with the hon. member.

Often when the Conservative Party tries to resolve one problem it creates others. In a way, that is what is going on with the bill before us today. The bills presented by the private members could have easily fixed the situation, but once again the government took advantage of an opportunity to interfere further in the details. Parliament as a whole, the committee and all the parties, have to rebalance this bill. The situation was not complicated: an individual and his employees arrested someone who was robbing his store. That individual was charged and he is the one who has to defend himself in court. People's perception is that criminals are better protected than victims. That would have been easy to fix, but the government has added all manner of detail and now we are also addressing self-defence. We are dealing with that because, once again, the Conservative government is going too far. Let us look at the details.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I was wondering what the hon. member would think about the following perspective, that lying behind this particular set of facts that gave rise to this amending legislation was a situation that involved common law defences and the statutorily written defences in the Criminal Code.

I always thought that the combination of the two was sufficient to deal with the actual case at hand. As it turned out, they were sufficient to deal with the case at hand because the charges against the individual involved were dropped or dismissed. In fact, they were not dropped but were proceeded with, which was the big problem, as they occasioned costs and all kinds of potential embarrassment to this citizen, this businessman.

However, I am just wondering if the hon. member would agree that the government is now going back and tinkering with the common law defences, because over half of this bill deals with the common law self-defence provisions. Will the tinkering not hurt the purpose of the bill, which was just to fix the one problem identified in the fact situation?

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, again, the hon. member is right. This is a common law issue.

The Conservative Party tends to make mountains out of molehills and ends up putting otherwise minor offences into the Criminal Code. That is what I would call rigid Conservative philosophy and Republican-style justice. It is not the answer. It is not necessary for this individual to be punished under the Criminal Code. On the contrary, the common law applies. However, the Conservative Party tends to twist common law matters into criminal law matters. I think this will create a society where things are not quite right. Hon. members are here to try to create balanced bills that resolve problems without making them worse.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, today I have the pleasure of speaking to Bill C-60, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (citizen's arrest and the defences of property and persons).

I would like to read a summary of this bill.

This bill seeks to amend the Criminal Code to enable a person who owns or has lawful possession of property to arrest within a reasonable time a person whom they find committing a criminal offence on or in relation to that property.

In general, advancing the cause central to Bill C-60 is a legitimate endeavour.

In many cases, the Conservative government puts up smoke screens and takes on the responsibility for finding a solution, whereas in many more cases they create the problem.

This was a real-life situation. However, it was members of the House who attempted to amend the law in order to ensure that citizens, such as Mr. Chen, would not have to go before the courts after legitimately protecting their property.

There was not enough security for his property. I am convinced that Mr. Chen legitimately wanted to protect his property and what he had earned through hard work. It was a huge economic loss for him. In some cases, depending on the situation, it could also be a sentimental loss.

I will get back to the smokescreen and the fact that the Conservatives like to take credit for solutions or let everyone think that they came up with them. However, once again, they have found ways to create additional problems rather than providing solutions.

I would like to acknowledge the extraordinary work done by the hon. member for Eglinton—Lawrence, who raised this point. I believe it is important to fully understand that member's efforts.

The hon. member introduced a private member's bill on June 16, 2010. He did so because he thought it was important to protect the people in his riding and throughout the country. He introduced the private member's bill to correct existing errors or, at the very least, improve the measures that were already in place.

Since early November 2010, the government and the Prime Minister have been repeatedly saying that this is one of their major priorities. This was not a major priority since a bill had already been introduced; a private member's bill was introduced by a Liberal member to move this issue forward. The member for Eglinton—Lawrence and his Liberal Party colleagues identified this priority long before the Conservatives did. The Prime Minister was likely asleep at the switch and someone woke him up to tell him that this was becoming a hot and important topic and that maybe he should pay special attention to it because he might gain some political advantage from it. As for my colleague from Eglinton—Lawrence, he introduced the bill in order to stand up for a cause and ensure that the people in his riding and elsewhere got the respect they deserved and were able to protect their property.

Despite the elaborate speeches given by the Prime Minister, ministers and Conservative members in November 2010, we still had to wait until February 2011 before they presented any amendments to the House, not only with regard to the specific point we are discussing today—the case of Mr. Chen for example—but also with regard to other situations.

Eight months went by between June 2010 and February 17, 2011, when the Conservative government made its big presentation.

This is surprising given the Conservatives' claim that they are champions of law and order—the reality is clearly different. When something happens in our country and someone tries to make things better for our constituents, the government takes eight months to react and present to the House, not a speech, but a concrete document on what it is offering to Canadian parliamentarians, those who make decisions for all Canadians.

Eight months earlier, my Liberal colleague for Eglinton—Lawrence had already found a way to improve the situation. The self-appointed champions of law and order said that it was not important, that the public was not really concerned with the issue and that they were not going to worry much about it. When things started to happen, when Mr. Chen's case came before the court in October 2010, the Conservatives saw that many people were paying attention to this issue and felt that it was important. It is normal for citizens to want to protect their property, whether we are talking about businesses or individuals, economic goods or property with sentimental value, or anything else.

My Liberal colleague had already identified the problem. This is where we see the Conservative government speaking double-talk. One day, it says it is here to protect the public, but when the time comes to do it, how much time does it take before it starts to do something? When it presented its bill in February, there was a panic because it could not prove to the public that it was the party that had identified the problem. Now this has to be dealt with overnight, when it could simply have given the credit to our colleague from Eglinton—Lawrence. He could then have had his private member’s bill passed easily and quickly. It was a very simple bill that contained what we expected to see. No one could have thought that they were going to get backdoored by the Conservative government’s bills.

The matter could have been dealt with very quickly in September, even before the court heard Mr. Chen's case in October. But no. The Conservatives always find a way to complicate things and give the impression that they are the great champions and saviours of the world. During that time, members working for the welfare of their constituents had already taken a position. That is the big difference between Liberal Party members and the Conservative government. The government wants to blow smoke and take the credit, while we are working for the welfare of our constituents.

I hope the government is going to learn a lesson from all this, and next time a member proposes an idea to meet the public’s needs, they will listen, regardless of political party. There is only one goal: to present or amend legislation so the public will have a better quality of life and a better structure to protect it.

We have seen smokescreens that did not produce much. A few years ago, in 2009, the Minister of Immigration said that the government would have to amend some of the regulations. It is fine for them to spend their time making speeches, but as long as there is nothing concrete, nothing is being done for the public. We have seen 2009, 2010 and part of 2011 go by, and the Conservatives still have not done anything. I would like to congratulate my colleague from Eglinton—Lawrence and thank him. His actions are the reason we have been able to understand the problem and find solutions.

I hope that the Conservative government will now open its eyes and ears, and come up with a solution.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, one of my observations about the current government is that it brings forward piecemeal amendments that are just a hodge-podge of little things here and there surrounded by fancy titles and are, in many cases, for what I call the retail side of politics.

All of this could have been accomplished with just a few amendments and some decent, indepth legislation that would have given us a greater idea of how we want to battle crime in this country. The government wants to be tough on crime but it is certainly not smart on crime. The comprehensive debate that we have had here comes down to a few adjectives here and there thrown about like they are substantial. In this particular case, it has taken way too long. I wonder if the member could comment on that.

I wonder if the member could also comment on just how lackadaisical this legislation seems to be despite the fact that it is well-intended and principled.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Newfoundland and Labrador for his comment and question.

Indeed, that is exactly the way things are. It has now become clear that the Conservatives are masters in the art of complicating the uncomplicated, when all Canadians want is results. And yet there are no results. As I mentioned, this could have been resolved in September. It probably could have been addressed in June, had there been the political will to do so, when my colleague from the Toronto region introduced his private member's bill. The matter could have been settled expeditiously on June 16. It was an important issue, but the Conservatives are masters in the art of complication. All the while, it is Canadians who pay the price and end up being not as well protected. It is not difficult to see where Liberal and Conservative Party members differ, and this is all the more evident when it comes to the Conservative government, which has a knack for making life complicated for itself and, ultimately, for Canadians.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, I could not let this pass without thanking my colleague from Madawaska—Restigouche for giving me such credit. I will return the compliment by complimenting his constituents on having such a great member of Parliament.

My colleague has pointed to a very important issue in this bill. There are three grave shortcomings in the legislation. First, Mr. Chen and others like him were victims of a criminal act. Second, they became victims of the law and the way it was applied. Third, they became victims of government indifference at their own cost in order to rectify an unjust situation.

Knowing that my colleague has been at the forefront of a movement in this place to bring to account both the government and its agents of Parliament, some of them have become agents of the government rather than agents of Parliament, and because he is familiar with hush money put aside for one particular individual, I wonder if he thinks that this might not be yet another case where the government, instead of putting forward hush money, it actually contributed to the cost of having had Mr. Chen proceed through the courts in order to establish the principle of a citizen's arrest under reasonable grounds.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, I would once again like to thank my Liberal colleague. Quite clearly, had the Conservative government got its priorities straight, rather than negotiating a half-million dollars in severance pay for the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner, it could have focused on coming up with solutions regarding Mr. Chen and his specific situation.

My colleague is right. Mr. Chen was battling a criminal. He then had to battle a particular piece of legislation and ultimately—and this is the worst part—contend with a government that deliberately threw a monkey wrench into the works with the aim of making the process grind to a halt, only to ultimately devise pretexts to get the ball rolling again.

However, as I said, instead of hammering out a half-million-dollar deal with the former Public Sector Integrity Commissioner, why did the government not instead focus on coming up with solutions for individuals like Mr. Chen?

Why did the government not choose to back my colleague, the member for Eglinton—Lawrence, to advance his cause? That would have benefited all Canadians, even though it was perhaps not advantageous for the Conservatives at the time.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:35 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am obviously pleased to be speaking today. This may be the last time we see each other before the upcoming election.

Bill C-60, as it is called by the government, has to do with self-defence and citizen's arrest. These are fundamental aspects of our everyday lives, but they can also involve diverse and extreme situations. How do we interpret legislation like this? How do we determine how far people can go in defending themselves and making arrests?

To give you a little background, the legislative summary of Bill C-60 states the following:

This enactment amends the Criminal Code to enable a person who owns or has lawful possession of property, or persons authorized by them, to arrest within a reasonable time a person whom they find committing a criminal offence on or in relation to that property. It also amends the Criminal Code to simplify the provisions relating to the defences of property and persons.

The bill significantly broadens the notion of self-defence and slightly broadens that of citizen's arrest. As I said earlier, the question revolves around the scope of these two notions, how this can be interpreted or how far people can go. Should we be setting the stage for abuse that is not prescribed and certainly not desired: abuse of the ability to defend oneself or abuse of the ability to make a citizen's arrest? Regardless, every person in our society should expect to have the full use of their property without having someone try to steal from them. That is obvious. Every person in our society should also expect to be able to move freely without worrying about being attacked and put in danger.

If someone tries to rob you, that is one thing. If someone tries to physically attack you, that is another thing. In these two cases, there are also elements that dictate how far we can go. That is why the Bloc would like to examine Bill C-60 in committee. It has to do with self-defence, which is a very sensitive and important subject.

For the Bloc Québécois, people have a basic right to defend themselves and their property within reasonable limits. This is already the case under the current legislation, but it is too restrictive. We are therefore in favour of a statutory amendment to allow honest citizens to defend themselves and their property or defend other people. However, we do not want to see an increase in the amount of violence in our societies. Quebec must not become the far west of old. Everybody would lose.

Some provisions are disturbing and could result sooner or later in situations that no one wants to see. We are therefore eager to study this bill in committee.

I am not a lawyer. I am not an expert in crime and certainly not a criminologist, but when this bill refers to defence of property or self-defence, certain things come to mind. For example, it was said that people could not use excessive force, or more force than necessary, to defend themselves or their property.

I have also heard it said that people could be prosecuted and sentenced for failing to assist someone in danger. When we speak about defending others, the following questions arise. What is excessive force when I am protecting my property? What is the extent of my responsibility to assist others in danger? There is my responsibility, but there is also my ability to do something. The context is important and must be specified, if we want to avoid excesses in either direction.

On February 17, the government introduced a bill broadening the concepts of self-defence and citizen’s arrest, especially to protect one’s property. This bill was in reaction to an incident that occurred in Toronto, where a shopkeeper was arrested and charged for having captured and detained a man who had stolen from him. The public was outraged by this arrest of an honest citizen, who had requested police help several times without always receiving it. In Toronto, and in Quebec as well, many people have the feeling—it is just a feeling, but it is an important factor nonetheless—that criminals are mollycoddled and the law does more to protect them than to protect honest citizens.

It is not surprising that the hon. members for Trinity—Spadina and Eglinton—Lawrence introduced bills to broaden the concept of citizen's arrest. However, these two bills only slightly broadened the notion of citizen's arrest whereas Bill C-60 substantially broadens the notion of self-defence.

As for citizen's arrest, Bill C-60 would amend the law to allow a property owner to make an arrest. Basically, a property owner would be given the right to arrest, within a reasonable time, a criminal who committed an offence, if the property owner has reasonable grounds to believe that it would not be possible for a peace officer to make an arrest under the circumstances.

Bill C-60 does not make many changes with regard to citizen's arrest, even though that is the pretext for the bill, but it makes sweeping changes with regard to self-defence. It takes away the requirement of necessity—the requirement of not killing an attacker unless absolutely necessary—and adds the possibility to defend oneself in reaction to a threat without defining what type of threat is likely to lead to legal violence. That is why I referred to determining the amount of force that can be used for self-defence and to the ability to defend oneself. Either way, we need to evaluate the ability to defend oneself as well as the force that can be used in these kinds of circumstances.

One potential concern about citizen's arrests is that the amendment could be misunderstood and things could get out of hand. In fact, Halifax's deputy chief of police has suggested that the federal government urge caution in the use of citizen's arrest. This is not only to ensure that a well-intentioned person does not commit a crime, but also to remind people that an arrest involves risks and that an ordinary person is not as likely as a police officer to be able to get control of someone who has committed a crime.

I would like to use the minute I have left to repeat what I said earlier, which is that everyone has the right to possess property without the fear of having it stolen from them by other people, and everyone should be able to live freely and without fear in our society. For this to happen, we need a responsible government that can ensure prevention, information and rehabilitation. This comes by integrating people socially and economically into society.

It was surprising that people did not resort to looting in Japan, which has suffered such terrible catastrophes, although that is often what happens here in North American society.

Thus, this happens through education, prevention and rehabilitation.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, during the debate a lot of concerns have been expressed about the concept of what constitutes reasonable time and reasonable force.

These elements tend to beg the question of how an ordinary citizen is supposed to understand the concepts involved, and there is a possibility that what we may in fact be doing is opening up a situation where people will simply understand that they can arrest someone without knowing or being able to make that judgment. When these incidents occur, they are usually instantaneous opportunities.

I wonder if the member has heard any of these concerns and the need for clarification of reasonable time and reasonable force in the legislation.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, the very essence of my speech was clearly about our concerns regarding the fact that the use of force is open to interpretation and regarding the reasonable time. I find it hard to imagine someone who is robbed, or the victim of an attempted robbery, spending the rest of his days trying to track down and arrest the robber, and physically defending himself under all kinds of pretexts.

We must be very careful about how this bill is implemented. Above all, the public must clearly understand that these interventions have time limits, of course, but also limits in terms of the amount of force that can be used, whether during a theft or a physical assault, very simply.

The Bloc has said so again and again: we want this bill to be examined in committee to measure its impact and the potential that the public could misinterpret what it is allowed to do.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the member for Sherbrooke because, just like the members for Richmond—Arthabaska and Saint-Jean, he got right into the details. They have shown the courage and the will to resolve the problem with the principle of this bill.

I want to ask my colleague from Sherbrooke a different question if I can. In this instance we have at least one individual who was engaged in court action to defend his person and property against the very court system that was put in place to defend him. All the while the government knew that he had a very solid position, as evidenced by the court in the month of October.

In fact, the Minister of Justice stood here in front of all his colleagues and said that in the fall of 2009 he had already reached an agreement with the attorneys general of all the provinces, including the province where Monsieur Chen had found himself before the court, that they would change the law in the same way that my colleague from Trinity—Spadina and I had already proposed.

Does he not think there should be a political willingness to do justice and to help the victim by reimbursing him for the thousands of dollars he had to spend?

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, obviously when a citizen is wronged and this results in significant expenses, everyone tends to think that they should receive some compensation. I would like to come back to the idea of necessary force, whether in the event of a theft or personal and physical attack.

Will we go so far as to consider someone innocent if they shoot a thief over a bag of chips? There are limits. We must create very specific limits. The use of force to protect property or to defend oneself against a physical attack remains a grey area and it must be clarified.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to stand in the House this afternoon to say a few words in this debate.

It is an interesting debate that I have been following very closely. It really blends in the issues that have been around a long time. First is the issue of self-defence. In other words, a resident of Canada has the basic right to protect his or her person, family or property and use whatever reasonable force is necessary, depending on the circumstances.

It follows in the continuum to the next issue of the right of someone to make a citizen's arrest. Generally, the law has been that a citizen's arrest is made during the commission of an offence. If we move along the continuum, we get into the whole issue of vigilantism, where someone or a group of people takes the law into its own hands. Of course, that principle is not supported in a free and democratic society.

This legislation arose from the case of Mr. Chen in Toronto. Certainly, no Canadian I have ever spoken to or heard from has expressed anything but support for Mr. Chen and the circumstances he found himself in. He obviously is a small business person who works hard, plays by the rules, pays his taxes and was the victim of a crime.

Unfortunately, he was not able to effect a citizen's arrest but did identify the victim. Lo and behold, a day or two after the commission of the original offence, the offender reappeared at Mr. Chen's place of business and the latter then effected a citizen's arrest. Unfortunately, at one point it looked as though he would be subject to sanctions from the authorities. Certainly every Canadian did not agree with that position, which was unfortunate, and the response has been overwhelming.

Since then, there have been a number of private members' bills and Bill C-60. This legislation would change the statute, but not substantially. Rather, it would broaden the statute and add the concept of a citizen's arrest being made not only on the commission of the offence but also on a reasonable time thereafter. Of course, that begs the question, which other members have spoken to, of what is a reasonable time.

At first blush, I believe most members of Parliament support this legislation, and I support it and its referral to committee. It is important to get this legislation to committee so that committee members can hear from some police officers, criminologists and experts who deal with this issue on a day-to-day basis.

It will be a very interesting debate in the committee and perhaps the committee will decide at the end of the day after hearing witnesses that the law does not require any changes, but it would appear now that there seems to be a fairly broad level of support for this particular initiative. I support it very cautiously, and I certainly will be deferring to others who are more knowledgeable in this area than I am and will be following the debate in committee very closely.

We get into this whole issue of what is reasonable. Do not forget that if anyone is ever charged with the offence of unlawful arrest, the Crown would have to be in a position to prove that offence beyond a reasonable doubt, which is an extremely high threshold. We could envisage all sorts of circumstances where a person or child was offended, assaulted or whatever, and then two weeks, three months or six months later, he or she decides to make an arrest without the powers, authority and respect that peace officers have.

That would lead to the next question of whether the person making the so-called citizen's arrest is entitled to use whatever reasonable force is necessary in the circumstances. Is he or she allowed to enter a private dwelling? Is he or she allowed to go to the person's workplace? There are some issues that will be given a full airing when the matter goes before the committee.

Again, it is extremely interesting. It is an issue that members should proceed cautiously on and whether the law requires tweaking or amendment, I believe, should be considered after the committee has had a good, long, hard look at this particular legislation.

As I said before, I will be voting for this legislation when it comes up for a vote at second reading and I will be following the issue extremely carefully before committee.

That basically concludes my remarks. I have summarized where I stand on the particular issue. It is an interesting issue that requires a little more discussion, review and analysis when it does go before committee.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate and respect the erudite position put forward by my colleague, who is steeped in law and has great courtroom experience. However, I want to take him to the other issue that has arisen as a result of Bill C-60.

He has followed the debate. He knows that the government did not act, as it promised, back in 2009. Then we found out in this debate that the Minister of Justice had actually struck an agreement with his provincial counterparts, including the one in the province where the David Chen case arose. The minister knew then that the case would not be decided negatively and waited while Mr. Chen ran up legal bills in the tens of thousands of dollars to protect his person and property. He knew that and wanted to ensure that the courts reinforced the decision that all the attorneys general had already struck.

I would like the member from Charlottetown to give his perspective on how expenses should be dealt with in all fairness when a private citizen is subject to the courts so that the government can accomplish its objective of testing something that it should already have done on its own and on which it already knew what the result would be. What is his view on that?

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, as the member for Eglinton—Lawrence indicated, this is an unusual set of circumstances. The member is quite right that this was apparently discussed by the Attorney General and his provincial counterparts previously and that there was an agreement made to do nothing. Then the incident with Mr. Chen arose and, of course, there was an overwhelming national outcry about his being sanctioned. It makes one wonder why the police officers or the crown prosecutors did not have the wisdom to see where this would lead and head it off at the pass. That, unfortunately, did not matter.

The member's question deals with restitution. I will leave that to the committee as it is a complicated area. It gets into whose responsibility is it. Is it Ottawa's or the provinces? We do not know all of the facts now, but I know Mr. Chen incurred substantial bills. The Canadian public certainly sympathizes with him and I believe it wants to see him get restitution, but we should leave that to the committee and let it have a full hearing on this very interesting and important issue.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

There will be two minutes remaining for questions and comments after question period. We will now move on to statements by members.

Democratic Development
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, on March 20, the whole world celebrated La Francophonie. Today we mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Unfortunately, the Conservative government has ignored these two events.

Canada has cut funding for Canadian organizations that work to promote democracy, and has abandoned the project that was to create an agency to promote democracy abroad.

In the current international context, African countries, including some that belong to La Francophonie, are most in need of help with creating and strengthening their democracies.

The government's lack of action suggests a withdrawal from the international Francophonie and a policy that discriminates against Africa, made worse by the removal of many African countries from the international priority list for assistance.

I am asking the Conservatives to stop this discriminatory policy and to free up the money required to respect the commitments that have already been made to democratic development.

Jean Neveu
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Paillé Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, he was “a force of nature, as if he came out of a Gilles Vigneault song.” He was a great citizen who was remarkably generous and tremendously approachable. He was a Quebecker who loved his country. That is how the president and CEO of Quebecor, Pierre-Karl Péladeau, described Jean Neveu, one of the builders of the company.

Jean Neveu was strong-willed, brave, genuine and sometimes even shy and uncertain. This is how people perceived this man who was so well loved and respected. I knew and worked with this great man.

He passed away quietly and suddenly but his passing caused a shock wave among his family, friends, colleagues and employees. Let us honour him in the House and let Doris, her children and grandchildren know how much we care.

Good-bye Jean. Say hello to Mr. P. for me.

Women of Vision
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, for the last 16 years, Edmonton's Global Television network has showcased local women of vision whose vision and leadership enrich our lives and community. One of the 2010 honoured women of vision is Edmonton—Strathcona resident and acclaimed writer, poet, and teacher, Shirley Serviss.

Shirley is a very special kind of poet. Not content with publishing award-winning poetry, she is Canada's first literary artist of Artist on the Wards, a unique arts therapy program. Over the past decade, the poetry lady, as she is dubbed, has pushed her cart and supplies through the wards engaging patients in the University of Alberta hospital in writing to ease the stress of their illness. Shirley writes poems on demand and encourages patients to write their own. Her third collection of poetry, Hitchhiking in the Hospital, was inspired by her work on the wards.

Shirley's efforts for others do not end there. She is leading Artists Urban Village, the Edmonton chapter of a national initiative for affordable housing and workspace to support the careers of low-income and aging artists. She is just one of the many extraordinary women of Edmonton.

Curling
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, a week ago Sunday, four outstanding curlers competed to win the National Men's Curling Championship held in London, Ontario. The win is a victory for all Canadians but particularly for those who hail from their home province of Manitoba.

Though a tough match, Jeff Stoughton led his team of Jonathan Mead, Reid Carruthers and Steve Gould to an 8-6 victory over Ontario's Glenn Howard. The Stoughton foursome shot 96% in the Brier final, the highest team percentage in the history of the championship game and the second highest in the history of the entire event. They made all Manitobans proud by making every big shot out there, giving Manitoba its record 27th Brier, the most of any province.

All Canadians can be proud of their efforts and those of all provincial teams who competed in this truly Canadian event.

I ask all members of Parliament to join me in congratulating Team Stoughton for a fantastic Brier win and to wish them success as they represent Canada at the World Men's Curling Championship in Regina from April 2 to 10.

Nowruz
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to wish all Canadians who are celebrating Nowruz all the best in the year ahead.

The passing of the vernal equinox is a sign of rebirth and awakening of nature, a moment of renewal that celebrates life. As we celebrate this time, we are given the opportunity to reflect and give thanks for past blessings and look forward to the hard work that we as members of Parliament will continue to do to help build a society that is inclusive of all its members.

At this time of renewal, I wish everyone a year filled with happiness and success. As members of Parliament, we should do everything we can to ensure that this new year provides opportunities for everyone.

I ask my colleagues in the House to join me in wishing everyone health, happiness and success for the new year.

[Member spoke in Farsi]

[English]

Ontario Expropriations Act
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, under Ontario's Expropriations Act, if the province takes away people's land it must pay them full, just and timely compensation. The province must pay the market value of the land, plus moving costs, et cetera.

However, if the government places restrictions on the use of people's land or requires them to make large expenditures to continue using their land as they always have, they get no compensation, even if compliance with the new rules financially ruins them. That is why MPP Randy Hillier and I have introduced identical resolutions in the Commons and at Queen's Park to extend these compensation rules to all actions of the Ontario government that devalue property by depriving landowners of the full use and enjoyment of their land.

If passed in both places, this resolution would add property rights for Ontarians to Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms and it would ensure that the costs of new rules intended for the benefit of all would be borne by all Ontario taxpayers and not just by the unfortunate landowners whose rights to use or enjoy their property have been restricted.

Aboriginal Affairs
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Yvon Lévesque Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

Mr. Speaker, given that this is nutrition month, it is shocking to learn that the government insists upon implementing the Nutrition North Canada program, which is at the root of the food crisis currently affecting isolated communities. The purpose of the program is to help give families access to healthy food. However, it has done the opposite by driving up prices.

The Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and the Minister of Health, who is an Inuk herself, have been blindly obeying their leader, while their colleague from Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean has been making a mess of things because he knows absolutely nothing about this issue.

The government led us to believe that it had got the message but it was all a sham. The government demonstrated its cynicism by restoring the items to the list of foods that will be subsidized until fall 2012, which only puts off the problem.

This government signed the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and yet it lacks consideration for Canada's northern communities. It is sad and, above all, shameful.

Japan
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Nina Grewal Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is with sadness that I offer my condolences to those who have lost friends and relatives in the Japan earthquake, its aftershocks and the tsunami. My thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by this terrible disaster.

I was born in Japan and spent my early childhood living there. My father worked in Japan for many years. The news of the earthquake, loss of life and destruction have left both of us heartbroken as we think of those many Japanese friends and their wonderful country.

Japan has been struck by this tragedy greatly and needs all the support it can get. I know that Canadians are very compassionate and are willing to help whenever possible. Already, the Government of Canada is doing its part but everyday citizens can also assist. The best way for Canadians to help is to donate money. I ask everyone to please do so now and to please be generous.

Libya
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week, the international community spoke with a united voice to take action to protect the Libyan people from the Gadhafi regime. Despite the UN resolution, Gadhafi has continued to kill his own people.

The Liberal Party of Canada has been calling for a no-fly zone since the Libyan crisis began as a means to live up to our responsibility to protect. It is a shame that Canada is not a member of the Security Council, as we could have then cast a vote in favour of this historic resolution.

In keeping with the Security Council resolution, the Liberal Party supports Canada's participation in this operation. However, Parliament must also have a say in this and other combat operations. We expect the government to consult Parliament on this decision. We also want the government's commitment to obtain Parliament's approval if it plans to extend this deployment beyond three months.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the brave members of our Canadian Forces as they embark on a dangerous mission in the defence of the people of Libya.

International Day of La Francophonie
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Sylvie Boucher Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, 41 years ago, in 1970, in Niamey, Niger, Canada played an active role in the founding of La Francophonie. In honour of that occasion, yesterday, on Sunday, March 20, Canada and the other members of La Francophonie celebrated International Day of La Francophonie.

French is spoken by more than 9.5 million Canadians and has played an important role in our history, our identity and our daily lives. As our Prime Minister often reminds us, Canada was founded in the language of Molière—in French.

French is still spoken in many communities in our country, from Acadians in the Maritimes, to Ontario and Saskatchewan. Of course, our language remains a strong symbol of our identity in all regions of Quebec, as in my riding, Beauport—Limoilou.

Salaries of CEOs
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, according to Maclean's magazine, in the 12 year period between 1995 and 2007 there has been a 444% salary increase for the highest paid CEOs in Canada.

The following are just a few examples of how profits of millions of Canadian shareholders were spent. In 1995, the CEO for the Royal Bank received $2.2 million and in 2007, it was over $44 million. In 1995, the CEO for Petro-Canada received $1.3 million and in 2007, it was $17 million. In 1995, the CEO of Air Canada received under $2 million and in 2007, the CEO for ACE Aviation, which owned Air Canada, made $43 million.

It is time that the millions of ordinary Canadian shareholders are protected from such outrageous executive compensation and that CEO compensation be approved directly by a two-thirds vote of the shareholders who own the companies.

Liberal Party of Canada
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, last week, the Liberals revealed that they have not dropped their plan to impose a carbon tax. Their spokesperson, the member for Kings—Hants, said:

A carbon tax is not a left-wing or a right-wing policy, it’s simply a sensible, pragmatic, courageous [policy].

We should make no mistake. The Liberal leader has a plan to raise taxes. He is openly calling for a $6 billion tax hike. He is demanding that this tax hike be included in the next budget or he will force an expensive and completely unnecessary election.

Now, he is bringing back the Liberal carbon tax on everything. However, Canadians should not be surprised. After all, the Liberal leader has been called the “father” of the carbon tax.

Sadly, the Liberal leader's high tax agenda will stall our recovery, kill jobs and hurt ordinary, hard-working Canadians.

In contrast, our government continues to focus on completing Canada's economic recovery and implementing our low tax plan for Canadian families.

Japan
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Jean Dorion Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebeckers, like all Canadians, share in the pain of the Japanese people as our friends in that nation have faced challenges over the past 10 days.

Since I have personal and family ties to this country, where I had the privilege of living for six years, on behalf of the Bloc Québécois—but I think this also reflects the sentiment of the House—I would like to offer our sympathies to the people of Japan and also express our admiration for their dignity and discipline in the face of these catastrophes. Japan has once again displayed its distinctive characteristics: solidarity, discipline and integrity.

To the people of Japan, its diplomatic representatives and to our citizens of Japanese descent, instead of wishing you good luck or wishing you well, I would like to share a saying in Japanese that reflects the importance of work in this country's culture: Ganbatte kudasai, or do your best.

Harriet Tubman
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, after meeting with stakeholders from the Salem Chapel in St. Catharines, one of the last stops on the Underground Railroad, over the disputed date of Harriet Tubman's date of birth, the issue has been resolved. The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada will honour Harriet Tubman with a plaque to commemorate her heroism for future generations of Canadians.

The plaque will now read: Born on a Maryland plantation, Harriet Tubman escaped slavery to become one of the great heroes of the 19th century. The most famous “conductor” on the Underground Railroad, she courageously led many of the people she rescued from American slavery on dangerous, clandestine journeys to safety and freedom in Canada. Tubman helped these black refugees settle after their arrival and played an active role in the fight to end slavery.

On May 27, I will proudly be joined by the members of the BME Church and my community to celebrate Harriet Tubman as one of Canada's leading abolitionists and a person of national historic significance.

Government of Canada
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, the government's ethical tailspin continues to spiral out of control.

Let us look at it by the numbers: two RCMP investigations in one week; two contempt of Parliament rulings in one day; four ATIP investigations into government members or their staff; four top prime ministerial insiders charged with breaking election laws; one half million dollar gag order for the Integrity Commissioner; two ministers who, amazingly, are still ministers even though one used public resources to fundraise for the Conservative Party and one misled Parliament; and one Prime Minister hijacking the Government of Canada name plate with his order to the public service to replace it with his own personal moniker.

However, the most important number is the millions, the millions of Canadians who are now beginning to realize just how bad this government is. They are tired of the scandals, the abuse and reckless waste. They know it is time we had a government that is there to serve Canadians, not the other way around.

Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Robert Sopuck Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal leader is again attempting to mislead Canadians about his job-killing, high tax agenda. Last week he inaccurately stated, when asked about the corporate income tax rate, “We have to maintain it at 18%”. As of January 1, Canada's business tax rate is 16.5%, cut from 18%. The Liberal leader knows this, but this is not the only instance of him making inaccurate statements.

Why is the Liberal leader misleading Canadians? The answer is obvious: he wants to hide the fact that his Liberal Party will raise taxes. He would much prefer if Canadians believe he will only freeze taxes “where they are now”.

The Liberal leader is misleading Canadians for his own political gain. This is clear evidence that the Liberal leader is a political opportunist. Indeed, the very definition of a liberal is someone who raises opportunism to the level of a principle.

The Liberal leader's high tax agenda will stall our recovery, kill jobs and set families back.

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore
Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the government faces two RCMP investigations at once, one of them about Bruce Carson's influence peddling right in the Prime Minister's Office, and four members of the Prime Minister's inner circle face accusations of election fraud that could result in jail time. As if that were not enough, a committee of the House has found the government in contempt of Parliament. This is an unprecedented cascade of abuse. The issue here is one of trust.

How can Canadians remain trusting of a government guilty of such flagrant abuse of power?

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, it will not come as any surprise to the leader of the Liberal Party that I completely reject all of the misleading premises in his question.

There is no member of the government who is under investigation for a criminal offence. Let me be very clear that this government is the government that acted very expeditiously to bring in the Federal Accountability Act, to clean up the ethical mess that we inherited from the previous Liberal government.

He was not in Canada to know exactly how bad the Liberal ethics policies were. Maybe he should look at the Federal Accountability Act and look at the great changes, especially, that the Prime Minister has ushered in.

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore
Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, Bruce Carson was at the centre of the government's inner circle and there he remains. This is a question of the judgment of the Prime Minister, who is guilty. The government is facing charges of election fraud, influence peddling and a scheme related to access to information. As if that were not enough, a committee of this House has found the government in contempt of Parliament.

How can Canadians trust a government that treats them, and the country's institutions, with such contempt?

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I guess the Liberal leader believes we do not need to have police to conduct an investigation. We do not need to have a court system. He will simply assign guilt as he sees it on the floor of the House of Commons.

Immediately after serious allegations were brought to our attention about a former member of the office, the matter was immediately referred to the RCMP, immediately referred to the Ethics Commissioner and immediately referred to the Commissioner of Lobbying. That was the right thing to do.

Let me be very clear that this government has brought in tough penalties for people who break the law. Anyone convicted of breaking the law will face the full force of Canadian law.

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore
Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives cannot deny the RCMP is crawling all over the government at the moment.

Conservatives also expect us to vote tomorrow for a budget without telling Canadians what their waste is going to cost: waste on corporate tax giveaways; waste on prisons; waste on jets, which they do not have accurate costing on for Canadians. Instead of telling Canadians the truth, they went out last week and spent millions of taxpayer dollars on government partisan advertising.

When is the government going to show some respect for taxpayers and a little respect for democracy?

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I do not agree with the Leader of the Opposition at all.

The Liberal Party can try to attack the government with political smears. It has become very good at it.

This government is focused on the priority of Canadians, on jobs, on the economy and on economic growth. That focus has helped create 480,000 net new jobs.

The Liberal leader has recently become a convert. Last week we learned he wanted to provide hundreds of millions of dollars to billionaires who owned hockey teams. He is going to have to explain that to Canadians.

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, Bruce Carson was illicitly using his government connections to finance the purchase of $400 million worth of water filtration units.

According to the contract witnessed by Mr. Carson, his fiancé stood to gain $80 million from the scam. Carson had inside information that could only have come from the Prime Minister's office, like, for example, who would be the next minister of Indian affairs.

Who in the Prime Minister's office was funnelling information to Mr. Carson? Have they, too, been referred to the RCMP?

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear at the outset that there is no information whatsoever to suggest that any individual or company obtained any contract from the government in any of these matters.

Any individual who breaks the law should face the full force of the law. Rather than assigning the job of enforcing Canadian law to the member for Beauséjour, we have referred the matter to the RCMP. We will let it take it from here.

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, we know that last fall Bruce Carson introduced his fiancée to the then environment minister, Jim Prentice; to the former human resources minister, Monte Solberg; and even to the Premier of Alberta.

What other ministers or government members have spoken with Mr. Carson and Ms. McPherson over the past year and a half? Has the government determined what information was given to Mr. Carson and Ms. McPherson? Did they provide this information to the RCMP as well?

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I think it is a matter of public record that the political staff in one office did have a meeting. It provided publicly available information. Let me be absolutely clear that no government funds and no government contract were awarded as a result of that meeting.

Sales Tax Harmonization
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec's finance minister, Raymond Bachand, said that negotiations between Quebec and Ottawa regarding harmonizing GST with sales tax are far enough along to conclude an agreement. He even sent a draft agreement to his federal counterpart on February 22. The ball is in the Conservative government's court.

Will the minister finally resolve the sales tax harmonization issue and include in the budget the $2.2 billion the federal government has owed Quebec for years now?

Sales Tax Harmonization
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable
Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, we continue to negotiate in good faith with the Government of Quebec and things are on track. Major progress has been made over the past few days, but once again, it is not over yet. Discussions continue and our budget will be brought down tomorrow.

Sales Tax Harmonization
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, things are on track, but the train left the station 19 years ago. It is high time for the government to take action. Things moved quickly for British Columbia and for Ontario. It is a matter of political will. That is what it boils down to. If it was done for the others, why is it not being done for Quebec?

Sales Tax Harmonization
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable
Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, the taxes are not fully harmonized and we will continue to negotiate in good faith. Things are on track and we will bring down our budget tomorrow. They have been here for 19 years and now they are pulling this out of a hat. Why? To have an untimely election that Canadians do not want, that is why. We will be taking care of the economy and creating jobs in our ridings in Quebec. We will be negotiating, not with those people, but with the Government of Quebec.

Shipbuilding Industry
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, right before a huge shipbuilding contract is about to be granted, the Conservative government has changed the invitation to tender specifications at the last minute in order to exclude the Davie shipyards.

Workers in Lévis cannot count on the Conservative member for Lévis—Bellechasse in this matter. He is complacently accepting the fact that his government is changing the rules at the last minute in order to disqualify the Davie shipyards.

Will the Minister of National Defence admit that the new rules concerning solvency are intended only to exclude the shipyard in Lévis and favour others, outside Quebec?

Shipbuilding Industry
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove
Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's question, but it is important for her to understand that it is standard for all government contracting that any company doing business with the Government of Canada be solvent. Davie is aware of that. The RFP states that very clearly and we have worked with all of the shipyards across the country, including Davie, to ensure they understand that.

Moving forward, the bid does not close until July. Davie has every opportunity to become solvent between now and then.

Shipbuilding Industry
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to a study by Secor Group, the Davie shipyards could generate economic spinoffs worth $2.1 billion and create over 2,700 jobs in Quebec. “...Davie is the only Canadian shipyard with the existing facilities to build the largest vessels...”

Why did the Minister of National Defence change the rules of the game at the last minute, if not to disqualify the shipyard in Lévis?

Shipbuilding Industry
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove
Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

As I said, Mr. Speaker, it is standard that all companies doing business with the Government of Canada be solvent. This has been made clear to all of the companies that are part of the bidding process for the national shipbuilding procurement strategy.

However, let me be clear that between now and when the bidding process closes, Davie does have an opportunity to become solvent.

Japan
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, it has been a difficult week on the international stage.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Japan as they struggle with the terrible situation that has befallen them. We would like the government to update the House on this situation. In particular, we have heard that there have been some problems at the embassy in terms of a lack of resources. Have those resources been increased?

What is the government doing to make sure that all of the consular services necessary for Canadians in Japan and the people caught in the danger zones in particular are being provided?

Japan
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary—Nose Hill
Alberta

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs)

Mr. Speaker, as the member opposite said, Canadians have been watching with shock and great sympathy the disaster and turmoil in Tokyo and Japan from the earthquake and the tsunami.

I can assure the member that our consular services have been working 24/7. Our emergency response centre has received thousands of calls. We have assisted citizens in leaving the worst affected areas. We will continue to support citizens in Japan.

Libya
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Libyan people are also facing grave danger, this time from their very own leader.

We support the United Nations' efforts to protect civilians.

As the Canadian military is currently involved in the operations in Libya, could the Prime Minister tell us what are the goals and objectives of the mission? Is humanitarian aid included in our goals and objectives? How is success to be defined when it comes to this particular mission? What are the rules of engagement that have been given to the Canadian pilots?

Libya
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, it would be difficult to answer all of those questions. I provided much of that information in a recent press availability.

I can tell the hon. member that we are there to comply with the resolutions that have been passed by the United Nations Security Council. We are there primarily to protect civilians on the ground in Libya from their own administration. We have clearly seen evidence in the past number of days, if not weeks, that Gadhafi has wreaked havoc on the ground against his own civilians.

We are there with an international partnership providing as much protection as we possibly can.

Libya
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, when a country becomes involved in military operations, it knows the start date but, unfortunately, it rarely knows the end date. Therefore, it is important to have objectives that are clear and understood by everyone.

Not only must there be an urgent debate by Parliament of the Libyan situation, but it is essential that we apply the lessons learned from the Afghanistan war and give Parliament a supervisory and oversight role.

Will the Prime Minister make that commitment?

Libya
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to confirm that we will be having a debate immediately after question period.

As well, I will take this opportunity to inform the House and Canadians that we now have conducted our first air operation in Libya. Four CF-18 fighter jets and two CC-150 Polaris refuelling aircraft departed Trapani, Italy this morning. They have since conducted patrols off the northern coast of Libya. I can confirm that they are now safely back at base.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, Bruce Carson is the consummate Conservative insider, a former chief of staff to the Prime Minister.

After he left the PMO in 2008, he began promoting water systems to be purchased by the Conservative government, generating profits for his fiancée of some $80 million.

It is publicly admitted that he met with the office of the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and with bureaucrats in the department.

How many meetings were there? Exactly who was in each meeting? What was on the agenda? When was the minister personally briefed on the outcome?

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Vancouver Island North
B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's Office did absolutely the right thing by turning these allegations over to the Commissioner of Lobbying, the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner and the RCMP.

I have never met with Mr. Carson regarding the H20 Global Group. My staff met with Mr. Carson on January 11 and provided publicly available information as did departmental officials. No contracts have been awarded to H20 Global Group.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, none of this passes the smell test. This regime cannot deny the intimate role in Conservative affairs played for decades by Bruce Carson.

Given his criminal record, how he ever passed a security check is a mystery. However, more recently, acting for a private vendor and standing to profit personally by $80 million, how did he get in the door of the current minister's office, what contact did he have with the previous minister, and how did he know of last year's cabinet shuffle in advance bragging that he had the new minister in his pocket?

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the member for Wascana seems to have come to conclusions.

What we have recognized is that they are very serious allegations. The moment we learned about these serious allegations we referred the matter to the RCMP, we referred the matter to the Ethics Commissioner, we referred the matter to the independent Commissioner of Lobbying.

It is our government that brought in these tough laws. We expect every Canadian to follow them. Those who do not should face the full force of law.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, many Canadians were, I think it is fair to say, shocked and surprised to discover that Mr. Carson, who was the acting chief of staff to the Prime Minister, had been disbarred, spent time in jail, had the highest security clearance and highest access to the Prime Minister and to all the affairs of every single department of government, and that he then left the government to head an institution which miraculously receives $15 million from the Government of Canada.

Can the minister please explain how all this happens?

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I think this individual's past has certainly been well known. It has been well documented not just before the courts but it has also been well documented in the Canadian media.

Let me be clear. When serious allegations were brought forward about this individual and his alleged contact, I think the government did the right thing and referred the entire matter to the RCMP, and referred the matter to the Ethics Commissioner and the Commissioner of Lobbying.

As a matter of first priority, it was our government that brought forward the Federal Accountability Act, which brought in these tough ethics rules. We expect every single Canadian to be held accountable when he or she breaks the law.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the fact remains that Canadians who did not know Mr. Carson were very surprised to hear about his past and his criminal record, to discover that he had access to the government's most important secrets, and to learn that, when he left the government, the organization he joined received a gift of $15 million from the government.

How did this happen? That is the question.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, let us be clear. This gentleman's past was a matter of public record. It had been written about in the mainstream press. That is not a surprise and it should not be a shock to anyone. I know the member opposite knows that to be the fact as well.

This government brought in the Federal Accountability Act, which imposed tough new lobbying and ethics rules. This government expects every Canadian to follow that act.

When the allegations were brought to our attention we immediately referred them to the relevant authorities. We expect anyone who has broken the law to face the full force of the law.

Champlain Bridge
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Transport is hard to follow. Last February, he said in all seriousness that the Champlain Bridge was completely safe and that he did not see any urgent need to repair it. Since that time, we have learned that, for several months now, his department has had reports from engineers confirming that the Champlain Bridge is unsafe.

How can the Minister of Transport claim that the bridge is safe when the reports from the Federal Bridge Corporation say that the bridge is at risk of collapsing? How can a bridge at risk of collapsing be safe?

Champlain Bridge
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Yellowhead
Alberta

Conservative

Rob Merrifield Minister of State (Transport)

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague for the question.

We take the safety of the Champlain Bridge very seriously. In fact, we have done more than that. Last Friday, together with the previous years since 2009, we have announced $380 million to ensure that it is not only safe today but it is safe long into the future. We can affirm that. I actually have a letter in my hand coming from the Federal Bridge Corporation that I would be pleased to table or give to the hon. colleague to be able to help her out. It tells us that the bridge is safe today, and with the investment it will be safe long into the future.

Champlain Bridge
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister is mistaken if he thinks that the band-aid solutions announced by his government will be sufficient to fix the Champlain Bridge, which, according to all the studies and reports published to date, is unsafe and has reached the end of its useful life.

What is the minister waiting for to listen to the engineers consulted by his department and announce the construction of a new bridge?

Champlain Bridge
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Yellowhead
Alberta

Conservative

Rob Merrifield Minister of State (Transport)

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to the bridge, as I said, it is safe and I have that affirmed by the Federal Bridge Corporation. As for the investment of $380 million, only somebody from the Bloc would see that as plaster and a minor amount of dollars to cover the repair. Those dollars will keep it that way long into the future.

When it comes to any future options with the bridge, we are waiting for a final report and we will look at those options as they come forward.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Freeman Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, a long-time aide to the Prime Minister, Bruce Carson, is under investigation by the RCMP because he allegedly engaged in illegal lobbying activities. In return for a 20% commission for his girlfriend, an escort, he promised to provide full access to the Conservatives. The Prime Minister said that he was surprised. Nevertheless, his aide was sentenced to 18 months in prison for fraud.

How can the Prime Minister be surprised by Bruce Carson's illegal practices when he tolerated this individual with a shady past as a member of his entourage for so long?

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, let us be very clear that when allegations were brought forward to the attention of the Prime Minister's Office, the matter was immediately referred to the RCMP, to the Ethics Commissioner and to the Commissioner of Lobbying.

The Liberal member earlier asked how could this individual outside of government know who was going to be the new minister of Indian and Northern Affairs. I remember watching the news the night before and it was Craig Oliver on CTV National News who I think had the scoop.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Freeman Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, on the heels of the Jaffer affair, here is another instance of illegal lobbying by one of the Conservatives' close associates. The Prime Minister promised that he would not allow individuals to use their time in government as a stepping stone to private lobbying. Nevertheless, that is what his former caucus chair and his advisor did.

Do these two examples not show that the Prime Minister has proven that he is incapable of controlling the greed of friends of the Conservative regime?

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I guess the member from the Bloc Québécois does not feel that we should have an investigation, does not believe we should have a trial and she herself will determine the guilt or innocence of any Canadian.

It is this government that wanted to reduce the influence of lobbyists and impose tough five-year bans on those of us in government for conducting lobbying. When any individual breaks the law, he or she should face the full force of the law. We felt so strongly about that issue that we wrote the law ourselves.

Access to Information
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, when Canadians hear of secretive, controlling governments that have political operatives, they likely think of other countries. Yet last week the Information Commissioner revealed that this was happening in Canada and the RCMP had to be called. We know she is studying other departments for interference in access to information.

How can we trust the Conservative regime when every week there is evidence of new abuses? How can we trust a government that hides information? How can we trust a government that does not believe Canadians have the right to know?

Access to Information
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, I am really going to miss the exciting vibrancy of question period and questions like this one. In fact, when it comes to information access, there has been a record number of requests this year both under the Privacy Act and under the Access to Information Act. As a matter of fact, over 75,000 of those requests have come in, which is a record, and the majority of those get answered within 30 days.

We are always working to improve those and hopefully with some good suggestions from my friend opposite, we may even be able to accelerate that process.

Access to Information
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the information commissioner has said we have “hit rock bottom”. Conservatives have been exposed for trying to hide information from Canadians. The Information Commissioner is undertaking a sweeping study of the abuses of the Conservative regime. We have a scandal-a-week government that is again being investigated by the RCMP for potentially criminal political interference.

How can Canadians trust the government when it is known to hide the truth?

Access to Information
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, anybody who looks at the numbers in terms of the sheer volume and importance of the information we have made available over the last year alone to opposition requests will see that it is at an all-time record high. Never before has the amount of information been released that we have released.

I would refer my friend to last week's announcement about open government. Some 261,000 data sets of information are now available to all Canadians. It is number two in the world for a government opening up data sets of information.

Access to Information
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians have rights with respect to access to information, and we will ensure that these rights are respected. The Information Commissioner has joined a long list of public officials who are investigating the Conservatives' schemes. The Conservatives always want to hide everything, which was evident when we tried to uncover the exorbitant costs of the F-35s and the megaprisons. Furthermore, a ministerial aide flouted the Access to Information Act and no one is taking responsibility.

Why do the Conservatives systematically refuse to come clean with Canadians?

Access to Information
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove
Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, when I received the Information Commissioner's report in February, along with its five recommendations, I immediately asked the department to implement all of them. They have been implemented fully already.

Access to Information
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, there are serious allegations of political interference by the government over access to information. The Information Commissioner had to investigate these allegations and now the RCMP is involved yet again.

Whether it is Canadians asking for information or the opposition requesting costs for megaprisons or $30 billion stealth fighters, the Conservative regime just will not come clean and give Canadians the straight goods.

Why do the Conservatives not respect the public's right to know?

Access to Information
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove
Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, with regard to the member's comments about the Information Commissioner's report, as I said, I received the report in February and immediately asked our department to implement all of the recommendations. All five recommendations have been fully implemented.

Justice
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, our Conservative government is a proud defender of the regions of Quebec. Unlike the member for the Plateau and his political party that is obsessed with urban issues, we care about the concerns of Quebeckers in all the regions.

Could my colleague, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice, explain to us what the government is doing to fight crime in all of the regions of Quebec?

Justice
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles
Québec

Conservative

Daniel Petit Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his excellent question.

As members know, our Conservative government understands the regions of Quebec and takes action on their behalf. That is why we introduced Bill S-10 to impose minimum penalties for individuals who sell drugs to our children near school grounds.

Unfortunately, the leader of the Bloc and his leftist urban elite are against that. They would rather see criminals out on our streets. Fortunately, our Conservative government shares the values of Quebeckers in all the regions. Our government continues to defend them and not to defend the rights of criminals, as the Bloc is doing.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, a new day, a new promise broken by the Prime Minister, who said that he wanted to clean up Canadian politics.

There is a well-known crook in the Prime Minister's inner circle. He wanted to make his girlfriend rich with money meant for first nations communities. The Prime Minister hired this man and trusted him.

How many other crooks does this government trust?

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I think it is a bit rich for the member to stand and talk about broken promises.

I have a good friend in Timmins, Ontario, who listened to election campaign commitments from this member, not in one election, not in two elections, but in three elections, where he made a solemn pact with the voters to stand in this place and vote against the wasteful long gun registry.

Finally, when his constituents needed him, he exposed an act of electoral fraud by breaking faith with his constituents. I do not need to hear about broken promises from this individual member.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, that answer speaks to the broken moral compass of the government.

In my riding, I have kids who have open sores on their bodies because of the treatment that they get on reserve. But instead of help, their misery is a jump-off point for a convicted fraudster and his gal pal to make millions.

The Prime Minister gave this guy an all access pass. He had the inside scoop on cabinet shuffles. Why would anybody believe a government that allows influence peddlers and convicted felons into its inner circle?

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, why would the member's constituents trust him? This is a member who committed massive electoral fraud, not once, not twice, but three times. Let me say, his constituents will be convicting him in the next election.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order.

Hon. members should refrain from suggesting any other hon. member has been engaging in fraud.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order, please.

“Fraud” is a different word. We have not heard that lately.

The hon. member for Chambly—Borduas.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, transitional measures were put in place in 2000, after the employment insurance economic regions were inadequately reconfigured. Certain regions, like the Lower St. Lawrence and north shore areas, have a blended unemployment rate, which was adopted in an effort to correct this error until the next reconfiguration. These transitional measures are now being phased out gradually.

Will the government renew the transitional measures until there is a fair reform of employment insurance?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, they are called transitional measures for a reason. They were extended to give unemployed workers an additional solution. The transition period has been extended until economic recovery begins.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is transitional until something better comes along. This “something better” has not come yet, and the government has extended certain pilot projects to buy time until the election. Instead of proposing piecemeal measures, the government should undertake a sweeping reform of the employment insurance system to increase benefits and make it easier to access the system.

Will the government use the budget to improve the employment insurance system and provide better support for vulnerable workers?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we have tabled three budgets that included measures to help workers and the unemployed. These measures include five additional weeks of employment insurance benefits, help for long-tenured workers and help for self-employed workers.

Yet these people who claim to defend the rights of workers and the unemployed voted against each of these initiatives. That is shameful.

Justice
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, after four months of stonewalling Parliament, the Conservative regime continues to hide the true costs of their U.S.-style prison bills. It is treating this Parliament and Canadians with contempt. Canadian taxpayers have a right to know how much these U.S.-style prison bills will cost.

How can Canadians believe anything in tomorrow's budget when the Conservatives continue to fudge the books, and hide the true costs and the real numbers?

Justice
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Provencher
Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, we make no apologies for investing in our prison institutions. Unlike the Liberals, we recognize the need to improve our facilities in order to make them modern and safe for our staff.

As I have mentioned on many occasions, the cost that we are investing is $2.1 billion over five years. That is $1.8 billion in respect of operating costs and $800 million in terms of construction costs.

Justice
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, that minister told Canadians that his prison bill would cost $90 million. Now he is talking $2.1 billion. Canadians cannot trust the government's numbers. It is a government that has spent Canada into a $56 billion deficit and now it continues to hide the true cost of its prison bills. The Conservatives are ignoring the Speaker's ruling. They are asking MPs to vote on legislation without telling us what the costs will be for Canadians.

How can we trust anything in tomorrow's budget when the Conservatives continue to fudge the numbers and hide the true costs from Canadian taxpayers?

Justice
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Provencher
Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, this is a member who prepared a document for the committee, a motion that was deficient. Then he comes to committee and attempts to remedy the situation, and not only does he attempt to remedy the situation by trying to insert things that were not in the motion, he deliberately misrepresents what people have said in the past.

The record is very clear about what I said. I told the member in committee and he still continue to come back to the House, deliberately misleading the House.

Justice
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. Minister of Public Safety knows that we cannot suggest that any hon. member would deliberately mislead the House. That is unparliamentary. We will deal with that after question period.

The hon. member for Outremont.

Sales Tax Harmonization
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative Minister of Finance has in his possession a seven-page document signed by the Quebec finance minister, Raymond Bachand. The document suggests solutions to all of the contentious issues being disputed by the Quebec and federal governments regarding compensation for sales tax harmonization.

What excuse will he come up with now for refusing to resolve this issue? Is it because he would rather announce it during an election campaign, rather than in the budget?

Sales Tax Harmonization
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, negotiations between Quebec and the federal government are going well. We are making progress, but both sides recognize that we still have work to do. We will continue negotiating.

Sales Tax Harmonization
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, the real reason the Conservatives are stalling is that they are afraid that the Bloc might actually vote for the budget in that case and that is the last thing they want.

There is nothing left to settle. It is all in the document.

Quebec's offer is entirely in accordance with established precedents. Only Quebec has never been compensated. The government's refusal has nothing to do with economics or legal matters; it is purely political. Anyone can create a problem and then try to pass himself off as a hero for putting out the fire that he himself started.

Quebeckers are not fools. The time to resolve this matter is now. What are they waiting for?

Sales Tax Harmonization
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I agree with the hon. member that now is the time to resolve the issue, but to resolve the issue, there has to be the type of detailed arrangements that were made with the other provinces that harmonized recently, and that in fact were made with the Atlantic provinces that harmonized some years ago.

These things cannot be done shooting from the hip or on the back of an envelope. They have to be done carefully to get to the conclusion that we all want.

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Mr. Speaker, this morning Bloomberg pointed out that thanks to Canada's economic action plan, we had the fastest growing economy with the lowest deficits in the G7. We are also the first country to recoup all job losses from the recession.

The praise continued:

Foreign investors rewarded the government with record purchases of Canadian bonds in 2010 and with the G-7’s best performing currency over the past two years.

The author also said he is very concerned about the opposition trying to force an unnecessary election.

Could the minister please inform the House if Canadians should also be concerned about an unnecessary opposition-forced election?

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I know the member shares my concern for Canada's economic recovery. Our government is focused on our low tax plan, keeping taxes low, and creating jobs for Canadians.

The opposition parties want to force an unnecessary election in order to raise taxes and kill jobs. While they are focused on opportunism and partisanship, we are focused on bringing forward the next phase of Canada's economic action plan, and creating jobs and growth.

Champlain Bridge
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the list of worrisome studies on the state of the Champlain Bridge keeps growing year after year. The only thing the minister has done is send a senator and would-be candidate to throw a bit of money into the potholes. In 2008, the engineering firm Oxand was already sounding the alarm, and a study had been done by Dessau the year before that. Now it is Delcan's turn to draw its own troubling conclusions.

If the minister is saying that the bridge will hold for another 10 years, will he agree to release all the reports on the diagnostic testing done by these three engineering firms?

Champlain Bridge
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Yellowhead
Alberta

Conservative

Rob Merrifield Minister of State (Transport)

Mr. Speaker, as I said before, the safety and security of the Champlain Bridge is a very important one. It is one we take very seriously.

Last Friday we announced a significant amount of dollars and together with the last two years, since 2009, $380 million has been allocated to make sure the bridge is not only safe but it stays that way long into the future.

I have just tabled documentation with regard to that and my hon. colleague can be assured that the bridge is safe.

Rights & Democracy
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, the new president of Rights & Democracy, Gérard Latulippe, has confirmed the new approach at the agency, which works in international development. Rights & Democracy will no longer be publicly criticizing certain of the government's political stands as it was able to do in the past. That is quite the statement: the Prime Minister has managed to silence Rights & Democracy.

Does the government realize that this statement by the new Rights & Democracy president is the clearest evidence that the Conservative government has successfully taken ideological control of this agency?

Rights & Democracy
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member talks about taking control, but I am simply talking about modernizing the approach used by Rights & Democracy. It is, as we all know, perfectly normal for the board of directors to address the direction of this agency. In that regard, the president and CEO shared his point of view and the new intentions of the agency.

Aerospace Industry
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, Diamond Aircraft, a leading manufacturer of private planes, has completed the expensive and sophisticated research and development to launch its new D-Jet and the next generation of private jets.

Diamond already has an order for 240 D-Jets, $20 million from the private sector and a $35 million loan guarantee from the Ontario government. To begin production and secure over 200 good jobs and the potential for 500 more jobs in London, Diamond needs a federal commitment.

Will the Minister of Industry approve a federal contribution for this job creating initiative?

Aerospace Industry
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I thank the members for Elgin—Middlesex—London and London West for their hard work and engagement on this file.

Our government was pleased to support Diamond Aircraft, with close to $20 million in financial support in February 2008 through our strategic aerospace and defence initiative. That was to support their R and D efforts.

This new request is a lot of money. Our government does not take this lightly, and we will be considering our options.

The Economy
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Paul Calandra Oak Ridges—Markham, ON

Mr. Speaker, since 2006 this Conservative government has focused on low taxes for Canadians.

In the first phase of Canada's economic action plan, the government delivered a strategic injection of temporary, timely, targeted stimulus into the economy through programs like work sharing, which helped Canadian families like the Nelsons and the Peters from my riding maintain financial security.

Could the Minister of State for Finance tell the House what time tomorrow the government will be letting the House and all Canadians know about the latest steps in our plan to create jobs, continue the recovery and improve financial security for Canadian families?

The Economy
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals clearly want to force an election. They want to impose higher and higher taxes on Canadians that would stall the recovery, kill jobs and set Canadian families back.

That is not what our economy needs or what Canadians want. We are focusing on what matters to Canadians, which is jobs and economic growth. We are focused on building on the 480,000 net new jobs created since July 2009.

We are going to continue our focus on creating jobs and growth for Canadians.

Japan
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order, please. Following discussions among representatives of all parties in the House, I understand there is an agreement to observe a moment of silence in memory of the victims of the earthquake in Japan.

I invite hon. members to rise.

[A moment of silence observed]

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, at your request, if I used any unparliamentary language in response to a question from the member for Timmins—James Bay, I withdraw it.

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Provencher
Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, if I used any unparliamentary language in the course of my response to the member for Kings—Hants, I withdraw that completely and unreservedly.

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I thank both hon. members for their generous compliance with the rules of the House following question period.

Access to Information
Routine Proceedings

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I have the honour to lay upon the table, pursuant to section 39 of the Access to Information Act, a special report by the Information Commissioner entitled Interference with “Access to Information, Part 1”.

Conflict of Interest Code
Routine Proceedings

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Pursuant to Section 15(3) of the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons it is my duty to lay upon the table the list of all sponsored travel by members for the year 2010 as provided by the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner.

Government Response to Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:05 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 response to 33 petitions.

Canadian Heritage
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the ninth report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage on the impacts of private television ownership changes and the move towards new viewing platforms.

I also have the honour to present, in both official languages, the eighth report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage on the Canada-European Union comprehensive economic and trade agreement, the anti-counterfeiting trade agreement, and issues regarding cultural diversity.

Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Candice Bergen Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 11th and 12th reports of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities in relation to Bill C-304, An Act to ensure secure, adequate, accessible and affordable housing for Canadians, and Bill C-481, An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Canada Labour Code (mandatory retirement age). The committee has studied both bills and has decided to report each bill back to the House with an amendment.

I wish to thank all of the committee members for their work and collaboration in the course of this process.

Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I wonder if the House would give its consent to revert to tabling of documents. I believe the Minister of Veterans Affairs has a document he wants to table. I did not see him at the time and failed to recognize him. Would the House agree to revert?

Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Agriculture and Agri-Food
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma
Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 109, I would like to table, in both official languages, the government response to the seventh report of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-food entitled, “Young Farmers: The Future of Agriculture”, which was tabled in the House of Commons on November 19, 2010.

Canada Business Corporations Act
Routine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-640, An Act to amend the Canada Business Corporations Act (remuneration of directors and officers).

Mr. Speaker, I am introducing an amendment to the Canada Business Corporations Act regarding the remuneration of directors and officers. It is called the Canadian shareholders act.

The shareholders act would make corporations more accountable to the shareholders of corporations by giving them a direct say in the salaries, stock options and other compensation to the top executives and officers of their companies. This amendment would provide for a special resolution as defined by the Canada Business Corporations Act, which requires a two-thirds vote of the shareholders for passing approval of top executive pay, which applies to the approximately 196,000 federally-regulated Canadian corporations.

We have seen an outrageous increase in top CEO pay since the 1990s, as well as over 400% increases of $10 million, $20 million, even over $40 million a year in a single decade. For years, investment funds and shareholder associations throughout Canada have been asking for greater accountability in executive remuneration for the sake of greater responsibility toward its shareholders' investments.

It is time that the government stands up for ordinary Canadian shareholders who depend upon their investments for their modest pensions, while top executive pay skyrockets shamelessly into the stratosphere of tens of millions of dollars. It is time for corporate responsibility to shareholders who own the companies and it is time for the Canadian shareholders act.

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

Income Tax Act
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Winnipeg South Centre, MB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-641, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (death benefit).

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce this bill today in the House and I thank my colleague from Cape Breton—Canso for seconding it.

The bill would eliminate income tax payable on a death benefit received under the Canada pension plan. I have heard from many constituents of the heavy burden that funeral costs place on their families and of their surprise when they find out that they must pay income tax on the $2,500 Canada pension plan death benefit.

In some cases, receiving this benefit can have disastrous financial implications, not only reducing the amount available to help with the funeral costs but pushing a beneficiary's income into a higher tax bracket or reducing eligibility for social assistance or the GST/HST tax credit. Making the CPP death benefit tax free is the right thing to do and the fair thing to do to support families as they mourn the loss of a loved one, and ensure that there is no financial penalty for receiving this payment.

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

Employment Insurance
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition from the town of Charlottetown, Newfoundland and Labrador about the best 14 weeks of an EI claim. Signatories signed a petition to make permanent the pilot projects that were installed through the EI system. They would like for this permanency to go beyond the normal expiration date, which is the end of June. A permanent program would certainly benefit seasonal workers, both businesses and those currently in the EI system.

I also have a petition from the area of Port Union. This one has particular relevance, given the fact that in the town of Port Union recently it was announced that the shrimp processing plant would not reopen this season. Therefore, these pilot projects would go a long way, extending beyond the month of June.

Animal Welfare
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Bill Siksay Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to table.

The first petition has been signed by over 550 Canadians from British Columbia and Ontario, including organizers Gwendy and Alfie Williams of Burnaby. The petitioners point out that we are obliged to protect other sentient beings from needless cruelty and suffering. Their particular concern is the use of electric shock as an animal training tool, a practice that they name as barbaric and unnecessary. They also point out that many experts have documented the use of electric shock as abusive and damaging to an animal's physical and psychological well-being.

The petitioners, therefore, call for a ban on the sale of electric shock devices for use on animals.

Citizenship and Immigration
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Bill Siksay Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to table a petition organized by people seeking justice for Mohamed Harkat and signed by over 400 Canadians from Ontario and British Columbia.

These petitioners are very concerned about the security certificate provisions of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act noting that they make possible indefinite detention without charge or conviction based on secret information, that detainees may never know of the information held against them, that an appeal can be denied, that the evidentiary standard is very low and that detainees are at risk of deportation to face torture or death.

Furthermore, the petitioners believe that the process is undemocratic and violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Canada's international human rights and refugee obligations.

Finally, they call for the abolition of the security certificate process, for open, fair and independent trials and for a guarantee that no one will be deported to face torture or death.

Public Transit Safety
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present three petitions.

The first petition is signed by Canadians who are calling on the Canadian government to recognize the growing incidents of violence against public transit, school bus, paratransit and city transit operators affecting their safety and that of the travelling public of Canada.

They request that the Criminal Code be amended to give further protection to the hard-working essential members of our community.

Child Pornography
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, the next two petitions are identical to the ones I presented previously in the House.

The petitioners call on Parliament to take all necessary steps to stop the Internet as a medium for distribution of repulsive victimization that is called child pornography.

Protection of Human Life
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, the final petition calls on Parliament to enact legislation to protect human life from the time of conception until natural death.

Take Note Debate
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

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

That notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, after routine proceedings this day, the House shall resolve itself into Committee of the Whole for a take note debate, pursuant to Standing Order 53.1; that the committee consider the following motion: “That this committee take note of the March 17, 2011 United Nations Security Council resolution approving immediate action to protect the civilian population in Libya and Canada's contribution to international efforts to enforce that resolution”; that, after four hours of debate or when no member rises to speak, the committee rise and that a minister of the Crown be permitted to rise on a point of order.

Take Note Debate
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

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

Take Note Debate
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Take Note Debate
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

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

Take Note Debate
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Take Note Debate
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

(Motion agreed to)

Take Note Debate
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Preston Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would ask for unanimous consent to return to reports from committees.

Take Note Debate
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Does the House give its consent to reverting to presenting reports from committees?

Take Note Debate
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Procedure and House Affairs
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Preston Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 27th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding the question of privilege relating to the failure of the government to fully provide the documents as ordered by the House.

Poverty
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Tony Martin Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to table a petition in the House that I am sure my colleagues will support. It is one of hundreds of petitions out there across the country right now in support of Bill C-545, An Act to Eliminate Poverty in Canada. I am happy to stand in support of this. It is an act that would go a long to bringing the federal government back into the game where eliminating poverty in the country is concerned and establishing a national anti-poverty strategy.

Health
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I bring forward a petition that calls upon the government to take some action with regard to health care.

Canadians want a national government that will insist on more accountability in health care, which means stable funding, national standards and much more. The health care accord is one of those agenda items that needs to dealt with. The petitioners call upon the government to take action on that very important issue to all Canadians. In part, this is what the petition deals with.

Poverty
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table two petitions today from my riding of Hamilton Mountain signed by residents who are profoundly worried and dismayed by the Conservative government's inaction on poverty reduction.

While the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development has rejected calls to develop a comprehensive and measurable poverty reduction strategy, the petitioners see hope in the NDP's Bill C-545, An Act to Eliminate Poverty in Canada. With nearly 3.5 million Canadians living below the low income cut-off, including 800,000 children growing up in poverty, it is time to show leadership.

The petitioners know that poverty is linked to poor health outcomes, social exclusion and lower life expectancy. They also know that poverty impedes the economic and social development of society as a whole. For all of these reasons, the petitioners call on Parliament to give swift passage to Bill C-545 and begin the implementation of a strategy for poverty elimination immediately.

I know the rules of this chamber do not allow me to endorse a petition but let me just conclude by saying that I am absolutely delighted to have had the opportunity to table this one in the House today.

Environment
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to present and table three petitions.

The first petition comes from residents of metro Vancouver who are very concerned about the proposed Enbridge northern gateway pipeline that would carry over 1,170 kilometres from Alberta to the coast of Kitimat, B.C., contributing to an expansion of the tar sands.

The petitioners call on the Government of Canada to immediately legislate the moratorium on offshore drilling and oil tanker traffic on B.C.'s coast. This has been a huge issue in British Columbia and there have been many petitions on this issue, so I am pleased to table this petition today.

Housing
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the second petition has to do with Bill C-304, An Act to ensure secure, adequate, accessible and affordable housing for Canadians. The petitioners call on the Government of Canada to play an increased federal role in housing and to create a federal housing program.

I note today that the bill was tabled in the House. There have been many petitions on this issue right across the country calling on Parliament to move on this bill swiftly because it is an urgently needed matter to provide accessible and affordable housing for all Canadians.

Aboriginal Affairs
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the third petition is from residents of the Vancouver area who call on the Government of Canada to renew funding for the Sisters in Spirit initiative phase 2, evidence to action, and to invest in an action plan for aboriginal women, which NWAC has developed, to stop the devastating number of missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls in Canada.

Disability Tax Credit
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition signed by 100 residents of the provinces of British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick. These are individual Canadians who are concerned about the current test for eligibility for the disability tax credit. For hard of hearing Canadians, the threshold for the disability tax credit is very high. Hard of hearing Canadians, if they understand a familiar person in a quiet setting, are ineligible for the disability tax credit.

Hard of hearing associations across the country, including the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association and the Canadian Association of Audiologists, support my Bill C-577 that would amend the Income Tax Act and set a more reasonable bar for access to the disability tax credit.

On behalf of these 100 hard of hearing Canadians from coast to coast, I submit the following petition in their name to change the disability tax credit eligibility so that it is reasonable and allows hard of hearing Canadians to access it.

Multiple Sclerosis
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table a petition signed by hundreds of Canadians from Ontario and B.C. They urge the Government of Canada to take immediate action in having chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency surgery, also known as CCSVI or liberation treatment.

It is evident that more and more Canadians are seeking this treatment in the hopes that their quality of life will be improved. They are encouraged by the thousands of Canadians whose quality of life has been improved since they have undergone the procedure abroad.

Multiple Sclerosis
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, I also have a petition to present from residents of my riding concerning CCSVI. The petitioners are not only family members of MS sufferers but are themselves MS suffers. They are saying to the government that it is time to give them hope and to stop sending them abroad. What is happening in this country is that those MS sufferers who have the wherewithal and financial means are leaving this country to get treatment when we should have a pilot program here.

As the family member of a father who suffered from MS and eventually passed away, I saw that he had no hope when he had it.

Today, we have hope for MS sufferers across this country and we are denying them based on the fact that we will not have a pilot project. That, in my view, is discriminatory and we ought to start the project, not yesterday but last week. Let us get on with it. We know the methodologies and we know the science. Let us move forward and give those who suffer from MS in this country the ability to hope once again that i they may have a better quality of life than they endure today.

Fisheries and Oceans
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to submit a petition signed by over 9,000 Canadians who express serious concern with the impacts on B.C.'s wild salmon coming from industrial open-net salmon farms. They are concerned that these operations intensify disease, privatize ocean spaces and threaten their sovereign rights to food security.

They, therefore, call upon the Government of Canada to take appropriate measures to get open-net aquaculture out of federal waters.

Multiple Sclerosis
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by dozens of people from Markham, Pickering, Oshawa, Montreal, Laval and Saint-Hubert.

The petitioners urgently call on the Government of Canada to accelerate a greater and broader participation of multiple sclerosis sufferers in a pilot testing and treatment by providing fast-track funding, to work immediately with the provinces and territories through the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies, and to take a leading role on the basis of this evidence and encouraging the swift adoption of a procedure in the territories and provinces.

Multiple Sclerosis
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, I also rise in the House today, along with a lot of my colleagues, to table a petition from more than 100 Canadians calling for federal leadership and action on the new treatment for multiple sclerosis.

With respect to multiple sclerosis, a high percentage occurs just outside and around the city of Edmonton. An increasing number of people are suffering from this disease. I am proud to say that the Government of Alberta has stepped up to at least follow up on these operations.

I encourage the Government of Canada to show leadership and expedite further testing and piloting of this intervention.

Multiple Sclerosis
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Bruce Hyer Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I also have a petition relating to enhanced treatments for MS under the CCSVI treatment regime.

Almost 100,000 people across Canada have MS. This comes at a time when most people are in the prime of their life. This special procedure was developed in Italy by Dr. Zamboni. We could and should be developing this procedure here in Canada so that our MS suffers have hope and do not need to go abroad.

Air Canada
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my petition is signed by machinists from the Air Canada overhaul base in Winnipeg. Over 500 full-time employees may be finding their jobs ending up in El Salvador.

Air Canada failed in its duty to comply with the Air Canada Public Participation Act by selling its overhaul bases to Aveos, formerly known as ACTS, in Winnipeg, Mississauga and Montreal.

On December 14, 2010, Air Canada counsel, at the transport committee in this House, claimed that Aeroman, the Aveos' subsidiary in El Salvador, could not do Air Canada maintenance in El Salvador. This is totally untrue as Aeroman performs maintenance on exactly the same aircraft that is overhauled in Winnipeg, namely the A320 series and the Embraer. The El Salvador shops can maintain 87% of Air Canada's fleet.

In a confidential J.P. Morgan information memorandum from February 2007, which attracted equity investors into the company, it detailed the expansion plan in El Salvador going from four to sixteen lines.

Aveos has four lines in Vancouver, four in Montreal, one in Toronto and five in Winnipeg, for a total of 14. In El Salvador alone, it will have 16 lines, more than all of Canada combined. San Salvador overhauls exactly the same narrow-bodied planes, the A320s, as Winnipeg and Montreal does.

In fact, page 28 states that the narrow-bodied aircraft can travel to Central America for service. The report states that the aircraft overhaul schedules are months and years in advance, so it is easy to schedule the work in El Salvador.

When we consider the machinists in Canada cost Air Canada about $90 an hour and in El Salvador--

Air Canada
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. member wants to give a brief summary of the petition. I submit that reading in a report is irrelevant. If he would like to give a brief summary of the petition, I would urge him to comply with the rules in that respect.

I assume he tabled the petition. I did not hear that but I will assume that.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 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, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 824, 830, 832, 834, 835, 837, 840, 841, 848, 852, 884, 885, 888, 889, 903, 905, 906, 914, and 916.

Question No. 824
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

With regard to the investigation and prosecution of all licensed Canadian sealers who were charged under the Fisheries Act or the Marine Mammal Regulations as a result of actions taken by the sealers during the 1996 harvest of a category of Hooded Seals known as “Bluebacks”: (a) how many licensed sealers were originally charged due to actions arising from the harvesting of this class of hooded seal; (b) what was the final year in which the prosecution of any sealer from this group concluded; (c) how many were convicted of any offence during the course of this prosecution and what were they convicted of; (d) what specific regulation or statutory provision were they originally charged with and what regulation or statutory provision were they convicted of; (e) what is the total cost of both the investigation and the prosecution of these charges, broken down by each department or agency involved in any aspect of the investigation or prosecution of these charges; and (f) what is the description of any changes made to the Marine Mammal regulations subsequent to the conclusion of these cases and originating from circumstances made clear during the course of this investigation and prosecution?

Question No. 824
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Egmont
P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), 75 individual fishermen were charged.

Regarding (b), the last two individuals’ violation files were closed on December 23, 2010. The files state the trials started on March 16 and 17, 2004 respectively. Charges were laid in November 1996.

Regarding (c), 65 individuals were found guilty and given an absolute discharge. One individual was found not guilty. Charges against nine individuals were withdrawn by the Crown.

Regarding (d), the individuals were charged and convicted pursuant to section 27 of the marine mammal regulations, which states: No person other than a beneficiary shall sell, trade or barter a whitecoat or blueback.

In response to (e), unfortunately, this information is not available as the information was never tabulated in that format. Departmental financial records such as travel claims would be shredded for such dated expenses, a lot of the fishery officers involved are retired and, in some cases, deceased. Salaries are part of integrated budgets and are not itemized in a manner that breaks out what portion is attributed to a particular investigation or prosecution. It would be very difficult to provide an estimate, taking considerable time to provide a crude or rough estimate, as we are dealing with a 14 year investigation, involving dozens of fishery officers and other departmental staff, such as scientists, policy and economics staff, etc. Also, the costs of prosecutions are not tracked by individual files within DFO.

In response to (f), no changes were made subsequent to the conclusion of these cases, i.e., in December 2010. However, there were changes made to the marine mammal regulations regarding humane harvesting practices in 2009, including to subsections 28(2), 28(3), 28(4), and section 29 as part of the implementation of the three-step process.

Question No. 830
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

With respect to railway shipping service in Canada: (a) what analysis has the government conducted on the impacts of rail shipment rates on the forestry, mining, agricultural and manufacturing sectors; (b) what analysis does the government conduct on the impacts of the lack of competition in the railway sector on remote and northern communities; (c) has the government begun drafting legislation and regulations for the railway service industry to address the recommendations of the Rail Freight Service Review Panel’s Interim Report; (d) what is the government’s response to the request by the Coalition of Rail Shippers to implement regulatory changes immediately; (e) what is the government’s position on appointing a facilitator to assist in negotiations between railways and shippers; and (f) when will the government provide a response to the final report of the Rail Freight Service Review Panel?

Question No. 830
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Yellowhead
Alberta

Conservative

Rob Merrifield Minister of State (Transport)

Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), what analysis has the government conducted on the impacts of rail shipment rates on the forestry, mining, agricultural and manufacturing sectors, the government’s capacity to analyze the impacts of rail shipment rates is limited by the lack of accessible data. The Canada Transportation Act requires railways to prepare publicly available tariffs that identify a rate for the movement of traffic. However, it is not clear the extent to which tariff rates are applied in practice since most rates in the forestry, mining and manufacturing sectors are established within confidential contracts. For example, in its submission to the rail freight service review, Canadian Pacific Rail indicated that confidential contracts govern more than 75% of its business. Within confidential contracts the rates can vary from published tariffs, as rates are negotiated in conjunction with related service commitments, ancillary charges, terms and conditions. The government does not have access to confidential contracts.

The transport of western grain is subject to the revenue cap provision of the Canada Transportation Act. Each year, the Canadian Transportation Agency examines whether the railways have complied with the legislation. The agency has just released its determination for the 2009-2010 crop year, finding that the revenues of both railways were below the amount allowed by the legislation.

In response to (b), what analysis does the government conduct on the impacts of the lack of competition in the railway sector on remote and northern communities, the government monitors and conducts analysis on freight rail transportation issues in Canada including issues related to shipper’s access to more than one railway. At present, the government is addressing concerns about rail freight service through the rail freight service review. The review consisted of six analytical reports to achieve a better understanding of the nature and extent of problems within the logistics chain, focusing on the performance of stakeholders involved in the rail-based logistics system, primarily the railways, particularly Canadian National Railway, CN, and Canadian Pacific Railway, CP, but also shippers, ports, shipping lines and terminal operators.

Phase two consisted of a panel of three persons who consulted extensively and received written submissions from over 140 different stakeholders from across the rail-based logistics chain. As noted in the interim report of the panel that led the review, there is a range of views as to the degree of competition and captivity that exists in the rail-based supply chain. At the same time, the research report entitled, “Analysis of Railway Fulfillment of Shipper Demand and Transit Times”, prepared by QGI Consulting, found that there were no systemic differences in transit time performance depending on shipper size, flow size, access to rail competition or core versus non-core railway origins.

The panel’s interim report, consultant analytical reports and stakeholder submissions are publicly available on the rail freight service review website.

In response to parts (c), (d), (e) and (f), the government will review the panel’s final report before deciding on next steps.

Question No. 832
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

With respect to carbon capture and storage (CCS): (a) what is the total funding amount that the government has committed to CCS since 2006; (b) how is this spending broken down by project and fiscal year (including future spending already committed); (c) what is the contribution from the private sector and from other levels of government to each project funded; (d) what are the expected greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions resulting from federal funding of CCS projects; (e) what is the projected rate of GHG reduction per dollar of federal funding invested; and (f) what GHG reductions have been achieved to date from CCS projects funded by the government?

Question No. 832
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable
Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), since 2006, Natural Resources Canada has committed approximately $1 billion to carbon capture and storage, CCS.

In response to (b), with respect to CCS, the annual breakdown of funding by project, including future funding that is already committed, cannot be released publicly as this information is protected due it being business and contractually sensitive information.

In response to (c), the contribution from other levels of government to CCS projects funded by the federal government is $1.7 billion.

As the amount of funding from the private sector to CCS project is commercially sensitive information, NRCan can not provide the requested information.

In response to (d), the expected greenhouse gas,GHG, reductions resulting from federal funding of CCS projects is approximately 4.7 million tonnes per year.

In response to (e), if the CCS plants are operated over a 10 year period, the minimum expected, then it is estimated that 57 million tonnes of CO2 would be captured resulting in a projected rate of 0.06 tonnes of C02 captured per dollar of federal funding invested. If the operations of the CCS plants are extended to 25 years, then 142.5 million tonnes of CO2 are estimated to be captured resulting in a projected rate of 0.16 tonnes of C02 captured per dollar of federal funding invested.

In response to (f), the Canadian Government has set an economy-wide target for reducing GHGs by 17% from 2005 levels by 2020. Globally, CCS has been identified by many organizations as one of the few technologies available for making significant reductions at existing large industrial point sources of emissions, at large fossil fuel processing plants, as well as at coal-fired electricity plants.

The projects currently being funded are large projects that are expected to start operations by 2013-2015. Therefore, Natural Resources Canada cannot provide the amount of GHG reductions that have been achieved to date from CCS projects funded by the government.

Question No. 834
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

With regard to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) investigation of the Caribbean-based investment fund known as St. Lawrence Trading Inc.: (a) does the CRA know the identities of all Canadians with investments in the fund; (b) does the CRA know the identities of the six prominent Canadian business families with holdings of as much as $900 million in that fund and, if so, what are they; (c) how many Canadians are involved in the St. Lawrence Trading Inc. fund in total; (d) what are the key reasons the CRA has been unable to obtain the information it needs to determine whether evasion of Canadian taxes has taken place; (e) what are the impediments to identification by the CRA of all those Canadians involved in the St. Lawrence Trading Inc. fund; (f) how much tax does the CRA estimate that Canadian individuals, who invested in the St. Lawrence Trading Inc. fund, have failed to pay; (g) how much tax does the CRA estimate that Canadian families with investments in the St. Lawrence Trading Inc. fund have failed to pay; (h) how much tax has been recovered from each Canadian individual and family that invested in St. Lawrence Trading Inc.; and (i) what is the estimated cost of the CRA’s investigation of the St. Lawrence Trading Inc. fund to date?

Question No. 834
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Fredericton
New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), the CRA can confirm that it has identified between 90% and 95% of the shareholders of St. Lawrence Trading Inc., SLT.

Regarding (b), as the confidentiality provisions of the Income Tax Act prohibit the CRA from disclosing either directly or indirectly specific taxpayer information, the CRA is unable to disclose the information requested.

Regarding (c), though the CRA cannot confirm at this time the number of Canadians involved, it can confirm that approximately 180 Canadian taxpayers have invested in SLT.

Regarding (d), the confidentiality provisions of the Income Tax Act preclude the CRA from disclosing either directly or indirectly specific taxpayer information. Furthermore, it prevents the CRA from commenting on matters relating to specific taxpayer cases. Therefore, the CRA is unable to respond to the question in the manner requested.

Regarding (e), when a company does not reside or carry on business in Canada, the CRA may have no authority to compel information from it if there is no tax convention or tax information exchange agreement signed with the relevant country.

Regarding (f), (g), and (h), as this matter is still ongoing, it would be premature for the CRA to provide any estimates or possible outcome as it relates to this review.

Finally, regarding (i), with respect to its actions relating to taxpayer compliance, these are undertaken by the CRA as part of its regular mandate. Therefore, as the CRA does not estimate its costs in the manner suggested by the question, it is unable to provide a detailed response.

Question No. 835
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

With regard to government monitoring of the working and labour conditions in oil sands areas: (a) what is the total amount of injuries reported or registered by the responsible government departments from 2006 to date; (b) what departments, agencies and commissions are responsible for monitoring working safety conditions in the oil sands; (c) how many inspections of the work safety conditions in oil sand production sites were conducted by each department, agency or commission from 2006 to date; (d) what are the major issues associated with working conditions at the oil sands production sites; (e) what types of injuries are common at the oil sands working sites; (f) from 2006 to date, what is the average crime rate in communities where oil sands production is going on; and (g) how much money did the government spend on monitoring and regulating safety conditions in the oil sands production sites, for each department, agency and commission?

Question No. 835
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Halton
Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), crude oil production from the oil sands is not an industry within federal jurisdiction.

In response to (b), (c), (d), (e) and (g), the monitoring of working safety conditions is under provincial jurisdiction.

In response to (f), crime rates in communities are outside the purview of the labour program’s mandate.

Question No. 837
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Ajax—Pickering, ON

With regard to the Canadian Firearms Program: (a) how many long guns have been seized since the inception of the long-gun registry and, of those seized, how many were registered and how many were unregistered; (b) how many long-guns have been seized from individuals as a result of a diagnosed mental illness or emotional instability and, of those, how many were registered and how many were not; (c) how many long-guns have been seized from individuals who have been charged with a violent or serious criminal offense, what were those criminal offenses, broken down by category and, of those, how many of the long-guns seized were registered and how many were not; (d) how many long-guns have been seized from individuals who have been charged or convicted of spousal abuse or domestic violence of any kind and, of those guns seized, how many were registered and how many were not; and (e) how many long-guns have been seized for other reasons than those mentioned above, what are those reasons, and how many of the seized weapons were registered and how many were not?

Question No. 837
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Provencher
Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, the database of the Canadian firearms program, CFP, also known as the Canadian firearms information system, CFIS, is legislated to retain specific records on firearms as outlined in the firearms records regulations, SOR/98-213. These records include applications for a firearms licence and registration certificates, registered firearms and revoked firearms. Where a firearms licence has been revoked, CFIS collects and maintains information concerning the reason(s) for revocation. The regulation, however, does not require the registrar to collect and maintain information on unregistered firearms, nor does it obligate public service agencies, e.g., the police, to report to the registrar when or why a firearm is seized. Therefore, CFIS could not identify seized firearms until the public agents firearms regulations, SOR/98-203, PAFR, came into force on October 31, 2008.

PAFR requires all public service agencies to report all protected firearms that come into their possession regardless of the firearms’ registration status. Protected firearm means a firearm that is in the possession of a public service agency and that is not for use by its public agents. However, reasons for the seizure of protected firearms by a public service agency are not included in the PAFR as a reporting requirement.

Although revocation of a firearms licence and/or registration certificate may lead to a seizure of firearms, seizure of firearms from a valid licence holder does not necessarily lead to a revocation of the firearms registration certificate and/or firearms licence. Therefore, the grounds for seizure may only be determined where a firearms licence is also revoked. Without revocation of a firearms licence, the grounds for seizure cannot be determined.

Although PAFR has improved upon reporting requirements and has been instrumental in expanding the range of information on registered firearms, the record is still incomplete in some areas. As a result, the RCMP response to this question draws on the available information that is reasonably complete.

CFIS has 10 predetermined reasons for revocation of a firearms licence: (i) court order or prohibition, (ii) domestic violence, (iii) drug offences, (iv) mental health, (v) potential risk to others, (vi) potential risk to self, (vii) providing of false information, (viii) unsafe firearm use and storage, (ix) violence, and, (x) other. In any given case, there may be more than one reason for a revocation.

The reference to long-guns in the questions is assumed to mean non-restricted firearms.

In response to (a), between the implementation of the PAFR on October 31, 2008 and January 4, 2011, 51,815 non-restricted firearms were seized by public service agencies and reported to the CFP. Just over 47%, or 24,246, of the seized firearms were registered or had previously been registered at the time of seizure.

In response to (b), of the 51,815 seized non-restricted firearms, 4,612 registered firearms were owned by individuals whose licenses were revoked due to public safety concerns. Of these 4,612 firearms, 207 firearms were owned by individuals whose licenses were revoked for reasons of reported mental health concerns. The CFIS is not configured to capture data beyond the predetermined reasons for revocation.

In response to (c), the CFIS is not configured to capture data beyond the predetermined reasons for revocation.

In response to (d), the 51,815 seized non-restricted firearms, 4,612 registered firearms were owned by individuals whose licenses were revoked due to public safety concerns. Of these 4,612 firearms, 108 were owned by individuals whose licenses were revoked due to reported domestic violence. The CFIS is not configured to capture data beyond the predetermined reasons for revocation.

In response to (e), of the 51,815 seized non-restricted firearms, 4,612 registered firearms were owned by individuals whose licenses were revoked due to public safety concerns. The reasons for revocation due to public safety concerns included: reported prohibition or court order, 3,887; reported potential risk to others, 547; reported potential risk to self, 399; reported unsafe firearms use and storage, 224; reported violence, 198; reported drug offences, 15; and providing false information, 3. The CFIS is not configured to capture data beyond the predetermined reasons for revocation.

Question No. 840
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Willowdale, ON

With respect to the ongoing process to acquire 65 Joint Strike Fighters (JSF): (a) which engine will the government be selecting; (b) what analysis has been conducted in terms of engine selection; (c) when was the analysis done; (d) what analysis has been done in regard to the maintenance of the stealth frame and what are the expected maintenance costs; (e) what is the expected cost difference per plane between acquiring the first quantity of JSFs under a Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) phase and the JSFs bought in the last year of acquisition; (f) will the initial JSFs purchased by Canada have the same operational capability as the later purchases or will they require upgrades; (g) what would be the cost to upgrade the first JSF acquired by Canada to the same level of capabilities as the 65th JSF acquired by Canada; and (h) will Lockheed Martin or the United States pay for any upgrades necessary to ensure that Canada’s first JSF has the same operational capabilities as the last one delivered to it?

Question No. 840
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), currently, two engines are being developed, the F135 by Pratt and Whitney and the F136 by General Electric/Rolls Royce. DND/CF expects to make a final decision on engine selection later this year. Canada will closely monitor the US Government decision-making process on whether or not to continue supporting the F136 as an engine alternative and assess the impact, if any, on Canada and the JSF program.

In response to (b) and (c), interaction with the two engine manufacturers has been ongoing for several years. Initial information on engine performance, cost, and potential industrial benefits was provided by the manufacturers of both engines, Pratt & Whitney and General Electric/Rolls Royce, to Canadian governmental officials in a series of meetings, briefings, and correspondence.

More detailed information was received in the 2008 to 2010 timeframe. Analysis of this information has been an iterative and ongoing process.

In response to (d), specific details on maintenance costs associated with the F-35 stealth capability are still being determined; however, these are not expected to be a significant part of the overall sustainment costs. While some specific maintenance equipment will be required to sustain the stealth capability, there are no associated maintenance requirements for dedicated and permanent infrastructure. Overall, we expect the cost of sustainment of the F-35 aircraft to be of the same order of magnitude as any current generation advanced fighter, roughly $250 million to $300 million Canadian per year.

In response to (e), based on current estimates, Mar 2010, provided by the multinational joint strike fighter program office for project costing purposes, the expected cost difference per plane between the acquisition of the first quantity of joint strike fighters under the low rate initial production, LRIP, developmental phase and the JSF aircraft bought in the last year of acquisition will be a decrease in cost by $11.1 million U.S., base year 2002. The term “base year 2002” indicates monetary amounts valued at 2002 inflation figures.

In response to (f), Canada’s purchases will be from several production runs of joint strike fighters. As the JSF project advances, each production run will deliver aircraft with greater capability from the production runs before. Continuously upgrading the aircraft to a common standard is integral to Canada’s and other partner nations’ participation in the JSF memorandum of understanding; as such, as Canadian JSF aircraft are upgraded in production, all other nations’ JSF aircraft will also be upgraded.

In response to (g), the next generation fighter capability project, NGFC, team continues to evaluate upgrade costs in consultation with the JSF program office. A rough order of magnitude cost estimate for upgrading the first JSF aircraft acquired by Canada to the same level of capability as the 65th aircraft acquired by Canada is $2.4 million Canadian and has been factored into the NGFC project costing. The cost of bringing all the previous aircraft to the common standard of the last purchased production run has already been factored into the project costs.

In response to (h), as per the JSF MOU, each individual partner nation in the JSF program will pay for any upgrades on their national aircraft fleets. As stated above, the cost of bringing all aircraft to a common standard has already been factored into the JSF project costs.

Question No. 841
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Beauséjour, NB

With regard to the government’s planned purchase of 65 F-35 aircraft and other purchase options made available for the government consideration: (a) when was the decision taken by the government to approve this purchase; (b) what was the quoted unit price given to the government at that time; (c) what was the maintenance and in-service support estimated cost over a period of 20 years at that time; (d) to what amounted the estimated industrial benefits to Canada at the time in terms of dollars and jobs; (e) what other purchase options were made available for the government's consideration; (f) what was the quoted unit price for each other aircraft option at the time; (g) what was the estimated cost for maintenance and in-service support covering a period of 20 years for each option at the time; and (h) to what amounted the estimated industrial benefits to Canada at the time in terms of dollars and jobs?

Question No. 841
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

The Government of Canada announced its decision to purchase the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighters, JSFs, as Canada’s next generation fighter on 16 July 2010.

The unit price of the conventional takeoff and landing variant, the F-35A, of the JSF is estimated in the mid-$70 million U.S. range. The $9 billion committed to this purchase includes not only the cost of the 65 aircraft, but also the associated weapon systems, supporting infrastructure, initial spares, training simulators, contingency funds and project operating costs. All of these items are funded through the Canada first defence strategy and the national defence investment plan.

The maintenance and in-service support cost for Canada’s fleet of 65 F-35A fighters is estimated to be of the same order of magnitude as any current generation advanced fighter, at roughly $250 to $300 million per year. The Government of Canada is continuing to work with its JSF project partners to minimize the cost of sustainment by studying various economy measures, such as the pooling of spare parts for the global F-35 fleet.

As a result of Canada’s membership in the joint strike fighter program, its participation in the 2006 JSF production, sustainment, and follow-on development memorandum of understanding, and the industrial participation plans signed with JSF prime contractor Lockheed Martin, the value of economic opportunities available to Canadian industry is currently estimated at approximately $12 billion for production, with additional opportunities for sustainment and follow-on development. Over 60 Canadian companies, universities, and research laboratories have already won JSF related contracts valued at more than $350 million Canadian, even as full production of the aircraft has yet to commence. This figure is a clear demonstration of the significant benefits the JSF program has, and will have, for Canada, and an impressive rate of return on the approximately $200 million U.S. invested in the JSF program by the Government of Canada since 1997.

The decision to purchase the F-35 was made following extensive and rigorous analyses carried out by experts within the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces. These experts studied a range of aircraft options and a range of procurement methods. Three advanced fighter aircraft with capabilities comparable to or better than the Canadian Air Force’s current CF-18 Hornet fighter were subjected to in-depth assessments using confidential information obtained from manufacturers, as well as data provided via government to government channels and through Canada’s participation in the joint strike fighter program. The conclusion of these studies, conducted between 2005 and 2010, was that only the F-35 met all of the mandatory requirements specified in the Canadian Forces’ statement of operational requirements. While the statement of operational requirements contains sensitive information and, like all such documents, cannot be disclosed publicly without redactions, a listing of high level mandatory capabilities has been released publicly and tabled with the Standing Committee on National Defence.

The Government of Canada is committed to providing our men and women in uniform with the best equipment possible so as to ensure mission success and their safe return. Given Canada’s commitments to the North American Aerospace Defence Command and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the F-35A will enhance the Canadian Forces’ ability to fulfil its three core roles of defending Canada, defending North America in cooperation with the United States, and contributing to overseas operations in concert with our allies and partners. As a cutting-edge, adaptable, and sustainable multi-role fifth-generation fighter, the F-35A will renew Canada’s manned tactical fighter capability for the 21st century, permitting the Canadian Forces to meet the known threats of today, as well as the anticipated and unanticipated threats of the future.

Question No. 848
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

With regard the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program, since the beginning of Canada’s participation: (a) what was the first evaluation of the acquisition cost-per-plane Canada would pay, (i) when was that evaluation made, (ii) based on what information was it made, (iii) who provided the government with that information, (iv) via what medium (e.g., conference, personal discussion,briefing note, etc.), (v) what is the name of the government document containing that evaluation, (vi) what is the topic of that document, (vii) which government members were provided with information; (b) for every subsequent re-evaluation of the acquisition cost-per-plane that Canada would pay and up to the government's current evaluation, (i) what was the new evaluation (ii) when was that evaluation made, (iii) based on what information was it made, (iv) who provided the government with that information, (v) via what medium (e.g., conference, personal discussion, briefing note, etc.), (vi) what is the name of the government document containing that evaluation, (vii) what is the topic of that document, (viii) which government members were provided with that information, (ix) as precisely as possible, what new information prompted the re-evaluation; (c) what was the first evaluation of the maintenance and repair cost-per-plane Canada would have to incur, (i) when was that evaluation made, (ii) based on what information was it made, (iii) who provided the government with that information, (iv) via what medium (e.g., conference, personal discussion, briefing note, etc.), (v) what is the name of the government document containing that evaluation, (vi) what is the topic of that document, (vii) which government members were provided with that information; (d) for every subsequent re-evaluation of the maintenance and repair cost-per-plane that Canada would have to incur and up to the government's current evaluation, (i) what was the new evaluation, (ii) when was that evaluation made, (iii) based on what information was it made, (iv) who provided the government with that information, (v) via what medium (e.g., conference, personal discussion, briefing note, etc.), (vi) what is the name of the government document containing that evaluation, (vii) what is the topic of that document, (viii) which government members were provided with that information, (ix) as precisely as possible, what new information prompted the re-evaluation; (e) what was the first evaluation of the total cost of Canada's purchase and maintenance of the planes and Canada's participation in the JSF program, (i) when was that evaluation made, (ii) based on what information was it made, (iii) who provided the government with that information, (iv) via what medium (e.g., conference, personal discussion, briefing note, etc.), (v) what is the name of the government document containing that evaluation, (vi) what is the topic of that document, (vii) which government members were provided with that information; (f) for every subsequent re-evaluation of the total cost of Canada's purchase and maintenance of the planes and Canada's participation in the JSF program and up to the government's current evaluation, (i) what was the new evaluation, (ii) when was that evaluation made, (iii) based on what information was it made, (iv) who provided the government with that information, (v) via what medium (e.g., conference, personal discussion, briefing note, etc.), (vi) what is the name of the government document containing that evaluation, (vii) what is the topic of that document, (viii) which government members were provided with that information, (ix) as precisely as possible, what new information prompted the re-evaluation; (g) what was the first evaluation of the date of delivery to Canada for the F-35s, (i) when was that evaluation made, (ii) based on what information was it made, (iii) who provided the government with that information, (iv) via what medium (e.g., conference, personal discussion, briefing note, etc.), (v) what is the name of the government document containing that evaluation, (vi) what is the topic of that document, (vii) which government members were provided with that information; and (h) for every subsequent re-evaluation of the date of delivery to Canada for the F-35s and up to government's current evaluation, (i) what was the new evaluation, (ii) when was that evaluation made, (iii) based on what information was it made, (iv) who provided the government with that information, (v) via what medium (e.g., conference, personal discussion, briefing note, etc.), (vi) what is the name of the government document containing that evaluation, (vii) what is the topic of that document, (viii) which government members were provided with that information, (ix) as precisely as possible, what new information prompted the re-evaluation?

Question No. 848
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (f), (g) and (h), in general, departmental plans are under constant review to ensure that the plans are current. It is normal procedure for the Department of National Defence, DND, to plan for replacement of its major weapon systems to maintain CF capabilities and to ensure that departmental objectives are in line with government objectives. Data from the joint strike fighter, JSF, program are complex and constantly evolving. As a result, evaluations of Canada’s participation in the program are iterative. Due to the complexity and number of iterative evaluations, it is not possible to identify each specific re-evaluation of project costing and/or scheduling data within the time available.

Evaluation of the next generation fighter capability options occurred in two phases: 2005 to 2008, and 2008 to 2010. The first phase was to “research the marketplace” and determine what realistic options might exist. The first phase provided sufficient information on the F35 to determine if it were a credible contender. This phase provided the rationale for entering the production, sustainment, and follow-on development memorandum of understanding, MOU, in order to preserve the JSF option. The second phase provided Canada with detailed capability and cost information on the aircraft options carried forward from phase one. A detailed costing, using specific Canadian Forces requirements, was first conducted in the fall of 2009 and refined in the spring of 2010. The costing was based on information provided during visits to manufacturers, manufacturer visits to Canada to speak to senior representatives of DND and other departments, and detailed government to government discussions.

In the specific case of the JSF, the multinational joint strike fighter program office, JPO, has been continually providing to all participant nations the evolving costs of both the aircraft unit flyaway cost and the cost of sustainment throughout Canada’s participation in the system design and demonstration MOU and the production, sustainment and follow-on development MOU. A formal costing conference with all participating nations is held annually. The JPO maintains a costing database that evolves as the programme moves forward. As refined or additional information becomes available, the costing undergoes further refinement. The unit cost of the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing version of the joint strike fighter using specific Canadian requirements is estimated in the mid $70 million U.S. range. Together with associated weapons systems, initial spares, infrastructure, and project management and contingency funds, the total acquisition cost for the F-35 is estimated at $9 billion. The estimated cost of sustainment for Canada’s fleet of 65 F-35s is $250 million to $300 million per year over 20 years. Further costing exercises will be conducted by DND as the JSF project advances. Canada has contributed $10 million for the concept demonstration phase, $150 million for the system development and demonstration phase, and has committed to providing $551 million for the production, sustainment, and follow-on development phase of the JSF program.

The first evaluation of the date of delivery to Canada of the F-35 was made during phase one of the next generation fighter capability options analysis during 2005 to 2008. This evaluation was based on the estimated life expectancy of the CF-18 Hornet and next generation fighter capability option information gathered during the first phase of options analysis referenced above. This latter information was provided to DND through contacts with industry and other air forces with whom the department and the Canadian Forces maintain relationships. These relationships facilitate the exchange of information so that DND and the CF can understand and analyze the development of military capabilities and provide recommendations to the Government on future CF capabilities. In the case of the F-35, the information would have been collected via discussions, conferences, the defence attaché network and open source material such as trade publications.

After the initial evaluation, the next generation fighter capability delivery requirements were re-evaluated in the next generation fighter capability statement of operational requirements, or SOR. The SOR identifies the capability, sustainment and delivery requirements for a CF-18 Hornet replacement. The re-evaluated date of delivery was based on the estimated life expectancy of the CF-18 Hornet, research on known world-wide fighter development and production programs, and information gained by participating in the JSF program under the 2006 joint strike fighter MOU as a partner nation.

Question No. 852
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

With respect to the contract awarded for sending letters to employment insurance offices about the 20 additional weeks of benefits announced in the new employment insurance measures for long-tenured workers: (a) was a call for tenders held for this contract and, if so, where and on what date; (b) what companies bid on the contract; (c) what is the name of the company to which the contract was awarded and on what date was the contract awarded; and (d) what is the total value of the contract?

Question No. 852
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), (b), (c) and (d), no contract existed for sending letters to employment insurance offices about the 20 additional weeks of benefits.

Question No. 884
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Kania Brampton West, ON

With regard to Recreational Infrastructure Canada projects in Manitoba: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

Question No. 884
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Blackstrap
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Lynne Yelich Minister of State (Western Economic Diversification)

Mr. Speaker, for parts (a), (b) and (c), please see the listing of RInC projects approved in Manitoba, as found on the Department of Western Economic Diversification Canada’s public website: http://www.wd.gc.ca/eng/11930.asp

In response to (d), all RInC projects must be completed by October 31, 2011.

Question No. 885
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Kania Brampton West, ON

With regard to Recreational Infrastructure Canada projects in Saskatchewan: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

Question No. 885
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Blackstrap
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Lynne Yelich Minister of State (Western Economic Diversification)

Mr. Speaker, for parts (a), (b) and (c), please see the listing of RInC projects approved in Saskatchewan, as found on the Department of Western Economic Diversification Canada’s public website: http://www.wd.gc.ca/eng/11931.asp

In response to (d), all RInC projects must be completed by October 31, 2011.

Question No. 888
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Papineau, QC

With regard to Recreational Infrastructure Canada projects in Alberta: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

Question No. 888
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Blackstrap
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Lynne Yelich Minister of State (Western Economic Diversification)

Mr. Speaker, for parts (a), (b) and (c), please see the listing of Recreational Infrastructure Canada, RInC, projects approved in Alberta, as found on the Department of Western Economic Diversification Canada’s public website: http://www.wd.gc.ca/eng/11928.asp.

In response to (d), all RInC projects must be completed by October 31, 2011.

Question No. 889
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Papineau, QC

With regard to Recreational Infrastructure Canada projects in British Columbia: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

Question No. 889
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Blackstrap
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Lynne Yelich Minister of State (Western Economic Diversification)

Mr. Speaker, for parts (a), (b) and (c), please see the listing of Recreational Infrastructure Canada, RInC, projects approved in British Columbia, as found on the Department of Western Economic Diversification Canada’s public website: http://www.wd.gc.ca/eng/11929.asp.

In response to (d), all RInC projects must be completed by October 31, 2011.

Question No. 903
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

With regard to Building Canada Fund projects in the Yukon: (a) what is the description of each project; (b) what is the expected cost of each project; and (c) what is the expected completion date of each project?

Question No. 903
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon
B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, a list of approved infrastructure projects funded by Infrastructure Canada in the north, the three territories, under its national programs can be found on our website at the following location: http://www.buildingcanada-chantierscanada.gc.ca/regions/quicklinks-liensrapides-eng.html.

Question No. 905
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

With regard to Building Canada Fund projects in Northwest Territories: (a) what is the description of each project; (b) what is the expected cost of each project; and (c) what is the expected completion date of each project?

Question No. 905
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon
B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, a list of approved infrastructure projects funded by Infrastructure Canada in the north, the three territories, under its national programs can be found on our website at the following location: http://www.buildingcanada-chantierscanada.gc.ca/regions/quicklinks-liensrapides-eng.html.

Question No. 906
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

With regard to Building Canada Fund projects in the Nunavut: (a) what is the description of each project; (b) what is the expected cost of each project; and (c) what is the expected completion date of each project?

Question No. 906
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon
B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, a list of approved infrastructure projects funded by Infrastructure Canada in the north, the three territories, under its national programs can be found on our website at the following location: http://www.buildingcanada-chantierscanada.gc.ca/regions/quicklinks-liensrapides-eng.html.

Question No. 914
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

With regard to responses to questions on the Order Paper, prepared by the ministries but sent to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) or the Privy Council Office (PCO) for review in 2009 and 2010: (a) what responses to questions on the Order Paper were reviewed by PMO or PCO staff; (b) what responses were amended or sent back to the ministries with suggestions for amendment; and (c) what responses to questions on the Order Paper were completely rejected by PCO or PMO with instructions to the ministry or ministries to rewrite or submit a non-response to the House?

Question No. 914
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the Office for the Coordination of Parliamentary Returns at the Privy Council Office, PCO, coordinates the government-wide process for producing and tabling responses to parliamentary written questions seeking factual information from ministers of the Crown relating to public affairs.

PCO seeks to assist the government in providing timely, complete and accurate responses to questions from parliamentarians and has prepared a “Guide to Producing Parliamentary Returns” to assist departments, agencies and other government organizations to prepare timely, complete and accurate responses.

Officials in PCO examine the Order Paper and Notice Paper of the House of Commons and the Senate on a daily basis for new questions. The text of each question is analyzed and, on occasion, clarification of a question may be sought from the parliamentarian who filed the question. PCO then determines, in consultation with departmental parliamentary return officers, which departments and other organizations in a minister’s portfolio will be assigned to respond to the question. In the case of complex questions assigned to many departments and other government organizations, PCO will often produce and distribute written instructions. These will state which organizations should answer parts of a question, provide advice on interpretation of the question, refer to relevant government policies, and, if needed, provide a template so that information is presented in a consistent manner. These instructions are tabled in Parliament with Ministers’ answers to the questions.

PCO has also produced, as requested by the Auditor General, a “Glossary of Terms for Parliamentary Returns” to help parliamentarians frame written questions in a manner that will assist them in getting the type of information they wish, and to help government institutions ensure there is a consistency of response. Many of the glossary items relate to financial and accounting terms used by federal government institutions.

PCO is responsible for ensuring compliance with the guidelines, for ensuring that there is a consistency of approach with respect to multi-departmental/agency responses, for quality control as far as practicable, and for ensuring the responses are formatted for tabling in Parliament and using appropriate parliamentary language. For responses to questions tabled in 2010, PCO in carrying out these responsibilities made or suggested that 275 discrete changes be made to proposed responses submitted to the PCO Office for the Coordination of Parliamentary Returns. Approximately two-thirds of these interventions were to address formatting issues, typographical errors, translation issues, or issues of parliamentary language. An additional 25% of the interventions were to provide greater precision, greater clarity, or additional information in the responses. In four instances, duplicate information was removed. In five other instances, PCO interventions were to suggest the privacy of individuals or companies be protected in accordance with government policy, i.e., that the principles of the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act be applied. For responses tabled in 2009, PCO made or suggested 41 changes to provide greater precision, greater clarity, or additional information in the responses. It was not possible in the time available to research the number of changes to address formatting and other similar types of matters in 2009.

Question No. 916
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

With regard to the G7 Finance Ministers' meetings in Nunavut: (a) how many Canada Goose parkas were purchased for the event; (b) who were the recipients of each jacket paid for by the government; and (c) what was the total cost of these jackets?

Question No. 916
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Saint Boniface
Manitoba

Conservative

Shelly Glover Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), for the February, 2010 G7 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting held in Nunavut, 40 Canadian-made parkas were purchased from Canadian manufacturer Canada Goose. Similarly, the Department of Finance previously provided jackets to participants when it hosted the G20 finance ministers meeting in October, 2000, as well as the western hemisphere finance ministers meeting in April, 2001.

In response to (b), parkas were provided to those involved in the event, including: officials from Canada, the Minister of Finance, Tiff Macklem, Associate Deputy Minister of Finance and G-7 Deputy for Canada, Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of Canada; from France, Christine Lagarde, Minister of the Economy, Finance and Employment, Christian Noyer, Governor of the Bank of France, Ramon Fernandez, Director of the Treasury; from Germany, Wolfgang Schäuble, Minister of Finance, Axel Weber, President of the Deutsche Bundesbank, Jörg Asmussen, State Secretary for the Ministry of Finance; from Italy, Giulio Tremonti, Minister of the Economy and Finance, Mario Draghi, Governor of the Bank of Italy, Vittorio Grilli, Director for International Financial Relations; from Japan, Naoto Kan, Minister of Finance, Masaaki Shirakawa, Governor of the Bank of Japan, Rintaro Tamaki, Vice Minister of Finance for International Affairs, from the United Kingdom, the right hon. Alistair Darling, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England, Michael Ellam, Managing Director, International and Europe, International and Finance Directorate; from the United States of America, Timothy Geithner, Secretary of the Treasury, Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve System, Lael Brainard, Counselor to the Secretary of the Treasury; from the European Central Bank, Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the European Central Bank; from Eurogroup, Jean-Claude Juncker, Prime Minister; from the European Commission, Joaquin Almunia, Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, Marco Buti, Director General of Economic and Financial Affairs; from the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director, John Lipsky, First Deputy Managing Director; from the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, President, Jeffrey Lewis, Senior Adviser and Head of the International Policy and Partnerships Group; from the Financial Stability Board, Rupert Thorne, Deputy to the Secretary General; and from the Government of Nunavut, John Quirk, Clerk, National Assembly, Karen Kabloona, Nunavut Territory Liaison. Surplus parkas were transferred to Crown Assets at Public Works and Government Services Canada.

In response to (c), $19,874.64. The total cost provided includes the cost of 40 Canada Goose parkas, as well as all taxes, shipping costs, and costs for ‘G-7 Finance Minister Meeting in Iqaluit’ logo patch and sewing of the logo patch.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 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, if Questions Nos. 818, 819, 820, 821, 822, 823, 825, 826, 827, 828, 829, 831, 833, 836, 838, 839, 842, 843, 844, 846, 847, 849, 850, 851, 853, 854, 855, 856, 857, 858, 859, 860, 861, 862, 863, 864, 865, 866, 867, 868, 869, 870, 871, 873, 874, 875, 876, 877, 878, 879, 880, 881, 882, 883, 886, 887, 890, 891, 892, 893, 894, 895, 896, 897, 898, 899, 900, 901, 902, 904, 907, 908, 909, 910, 911, 912, 913, 915, 917, 918, 919, 920, and 921 could be made orders for returns, these returns would be tabled immediately.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Question No. 818
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Willowdale, ON

With respect to the meetings between the Government of Canada, U.S. governors and members of the U.S. House of Representatives on U.S. protectionist legislation in a bid to defend Canadian companies: (a) how many meetings were held; (b) with whom, for each meeting; (c) what were the dates of these meetings; and (d) what is the content of the meeting minutes and correspondence?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 819
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

With regard to the Infirm Dependent Tax Credit, for each calendar year between 2004 and 2010: (a) how many people applied for the tax credit; (b) how many people qualified to receive a tax credit; and (c) what was the total amount granted for this tax credit?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 820
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

With regard to the Disability Tax Credit, for each calendar year between 2004 and 2010: (a) how many people applied for the tax credit; (b) how many people qualified to receive a tax credit; and (c) what was the total amount granted for this tax credit?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 821
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

With regard to the Eligible Dependent Tax Credit, for each calendar year between 2004 and 2010: (a) how many people applied for the tax credit; (b) how many people qualified to receive a tax credit; and (c) what was the total amount granted for this tax credit?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 822
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

With regard to the Medical Expenses Tax Credit, for each calendar year between 2004 and 2010: (a) how many people applied for the tax credit; (b) how many people qualified to receive a tax credit; and (c) what was the total amount granted for this tax credit?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 823
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

With regard to the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO), of which Canada is a Contracting Party: (a) what are the current Contracting Parties to the Convention on Future Multilateral Cooperation in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization, otherwise known as the NAFO Convention; (b) which of these Contracting Parties are known by Canada through its diplomatic relations to have ratified the revised NAFO Convention, as adopted by NAFO in September 2007; (c) which of these Contracting Parties are known to have informed the NAFO Depository or the NAFO Secretariat of their ratification, acceptance and approval of the revised NAFO Convention; (d) how much did Canada spend conducting enforcement of NAFO fisheries conservation measures in the NAFO regulatory area in each of fiscal years 2007-2008, 2008-2009 and 2009-2010, broken down by all departments and agencies; (e) how much did Canada spend on scientific research and fisheries stock assessment in the NAFO regulatory area on NAFO regulated species and on ecosystem research in each of fiscal years 2007-2008, 2008-2009 and 2009-2010, broken down by all departments and agencies; (f) how much did all other NAFO Contracting Parties spend on conducting fisheries enforcement of NAFO conservation measures in the NAFO regulatory area in each year from 2007 to 2010; (g) how much did all other NAFO Contracting Parties spend on scientific research and fisheries stock assessment and ecosystem research in the NAFO regulatory area in each year from 2007 to 2010; (h) how much did Canada contribute directly to the operation and management of the NAFO Secretariat in each of the fiscal years 2007-2008, 2008-2009 and 2009-2010; (i) how much did all other NAFO Contracting Parties contribute directly to the operation and management of the NAFO Secretariat in each year from 2007 to 2010; (j) using data supplied in response to subquestions (d) to (i) and using the newly adopted and revised contribution formula for the Contracting Parties adopted by NAFO, what would be an estimate of the Canadian financial contribution to NAFO in 2010 and 2011 and what would be the contribution of each of the other NAFO Contracting Parties in those same years; (k) which NAFO Contracting Parties have filed formal objections to any of NAFO’s management decisions in 2010 and for 2011, what was the original NAFO management decision being objected to and the nature of the objection from the Contracting Party, as well as specific details of the unilateral fishing plan taken by the objecting Contracting Party for each of the years 2007, 2008 and 2009; (l) how many Canadian citations, NAFO Contracting Party citations or NAFO citations have been issued against fishing vessels of Contracting Parties that were believed to be fishing contrary to NAFO requirements within the NAFO regulatory area, which of these citations resulted in convictions of these fishing vessels, which jurisdiction was responsible for prosecuting these infractions and what penalty was assessed as a result of these convictions in each of the years 2007, 2008 and 2009; (m) what was the total number of at-sea fishing days of NAFO Contracting Party fishing vessels operating in the NAFO regulatory area for NAFO regulated species, broken down by Contracting Party; and (n) what was the total number of at-sea fishing days within the NAFO regulatory area conducting on Non-Contracting Parties to the NAFO Convention in each of the years 2007, 2008 and 2009?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 825
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

With regard to the operations of Marine Atlantic Incorporated: (a) what was the total revenue collected by the corporation from commercial vehicle traffic resulting from cancellation penalties and late arrival fees in 2010; (b) what was the total revenue collected from commercial truck traffic resulting from the limited, special reservation allocation for commercial truck traffic; (c) what was the total value of refunds and customer courtesy fee waivers provided by the corporation due to scheduling issues and late departures or arrivals of its vessels; (d) what was the on-time performance of Marine Atlantic Incorporated’s ferries in 2008, 2009 and 2010 on each scheduled crossing for each ferry within its fleet; and (e) what was the total revenue resulting from drop trailer storage in the yards at North Sydney, Port aux Basques and Argentia, respectively?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 826
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Alex Atamanenko British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

With regard to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's programs AgriStability, AgriInvest, AgriRecovery and AgriInsurance: (a) what is the total amount of program funds dispersed to producers since 2004, broken down by program and (i) year, (ii) province and year, (iii) riding and year, (iv) sector and year, (v) commodity and year; (b) how many producers have made use of each of these programs since 2004, broken down by program and (i) year, (ii) province and year, (iii) riding and year, (iv) sector and year, (v) commodity and year; (c) broken down by program, province and year, for each year since 2004, what was the staff complement for each program; (d) broken down by program, province and year, for each year since 2004, what was the field staff complement for each program; (e) broken down by program and year, for each year since 2004, what was the ratio of program administration to producer funding; (f) broken down by program, what commodities are currently not covered by these programs; (g) broken down by program, what commodities have been added since each program's inception; (h) how much has been spent by each program on outside consultants since 2004, broken down by program and by (i) year, (ii) individual contract description, contracted company and amount; (i) for each program, what benchmarks are used to measure; (j) what benchmarks have been achieved, broken down by program and year, for each year since 2004; and (k) what benchmarks have not been achieved, broken down by program and year, for each year since 2004?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 827
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen Welland, ON

With regard to government expenditures in the communities of Niagara, on an annual basis and broken down by department, what is the amount spent: (a) in the ridings of Welland, Niagara West—Glanbrook and Haldimand—Norfolk from 2004 up to and including the current fiscal year; (b) in the former riding of Erie—Lincoln between 1997 and 2004; (c) in the former riding of Erie between 1993 and 1997; and (d) in the ridings of Niagara Falls and St. Catharines from 1993 up to and including the current fiscal year?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 828
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie Halifax, NS

With respect to the Muskoka Initiative on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health: (a) what is the total amount of funding dedicated to the initiative, broken down by destination country, project name and project duration; (b) how will the funding be monitored and tracked; (c) how much of the funding is new; (d) how much of the funding is existing, broken down by source; (e) what benchmarks are being used to evaluate the project; (f)what evaluations or reports exist about the project; (g) how much of the funding will be delivered bilaterally; (h) how much of the funding will be delivered through multilateral agencies; (i) how much funding will be delivered in partnership with civil society; and (j) what are the criteria for receiving funding?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 829
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Hull—Aylmer, QC

With respect to the distribution of jobs in the government and all federal organizations in the National Capital Region: (a) how many jobs were there on the Quebec side of the National Capital Region in 2010; and (b) how many jobs were there on the Ontario side of the National Capital Region in 2010?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 831
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

With respect to biofuels: (a) what is the total funding amount that the government has committed to programs supporting biofuels since 2006; (b) how is this spending broken down by program, recipient project (including project description) and fiscal year (including future spending already committed); (c) what is the contribution from the private sector and from other levels of government to each project funded; (d) what are the expected greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions resulting from federal funding of biofuel projects; (e) what GHG reductions have been achieved to date from biofuel projects funded by the government; and (f) how much energy has been produced by biofuel projects funded by the government?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 833
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

With regard to Crown corporations, agencies, boards and commissions: (a) what is the annual salary paid to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of each Crown corporation, agency, board and commission; (b) how many full-time equivalents have been working in the office of the CEO for each Crown corporation, agency, board and commission from 2006 to date; (c) how was funding spent on the operations for each CEOs office for each Crown corporation, agency, board and commission from 2006 to date; (d) what is the total amount of performance bonuses paid to each CEO of each Crown corporation, agency, board and commission from 2006 to date; (e) to what privileges and pension benefits are CEOs of Crown corporations, agencies, boards and commissions entitled; and (f) how much money did the government spend on retreats for CEOs and senior management of Crown corporations, agencies, boards and commissions from 2006 to date?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 836
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Ajax—Pickering, ON

With regard to federal lands in Pickering, Ontario: (a) what is the status of the Needs Assessment Study for a potential Pickering Airport, which Transport Canada (TC) commissioned the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA) to complete, and what are its primary recommendations; (b) will it be released to the public and, if so, when; (c) it there a way a Member of Parliament can obtain a copy of the study and, if so, how; (d) has the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities determined the government's official position concerning the proposal by the GTAA to develop an airport on federal lands in Pickering Lands and, if so, what is it; (e) if the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities has not yet determined the official position, when will he; (f) was Transport Canada made aware of the recent announcement made by the Sifton family, owners of the Buttonville airport in Markham, that the airport will close before the announcement was made in November 2010 and has Transport Canada been working with the Sifton Family on this matter; (g) how will this development impact decisions concerning federal lands in Pickering; (h) will the government agree to consult with the Member of Parliament for Ajax—Pickering and the community on any future demolition proposal before any final decision is taken; (i) what are the government's plans to preserve, restore and protect structures deemed as heritage structures by the City of Pickering or advisors to the City, including the houses located at 5050 Sideline 24, the “Richardson-Will House”; 840 Concession 8 Road, the “Stouffville Christian School”, 5413 Sideline 30, the “Century City”, 429 Concession 8 Road, the “Tran House”, 140 Concession 7 Road, the “Michell House” or “Perennial Gardens”, 5165 Sideline 22, 1095 Uxbridge-Pickering Townline, the “Hammond House”, 5245 Sideline 28, the "Hoover-Watson" House, 635 Uxbridge-Pickering, the "Worker’s Cottages", and the Bentley-Carruthers House, located at Concession 8/Sideline 32, which Transport Canada initially agreed to protect but boarded up in December 2010; (j) does the government have any plans to reinstate the Transport Canada Heritage Working Group; and (k) does the government have any plans to rescind the no-re-rental policy on residential structures and begin to re-rent residential properties when they become vacant?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 838
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Ajax—Pickering, ON

With regard to correctional programming provided by Correctional Services Canada (CSC): (a) what are the reasons that explain the sharp decrease in the number of inmates participating in the Living Skills Program since 2000-2001; (b) what are the reasons that explain the sharp increase in the number of inmates participating in the Violent Offenders Program since 2000-2001; (c) how many offenders who are required to participate in correctional programs refuse to participate, broken down by year, since 2000-2001; (d) what are the reasons that explain the sharp decrease in the number of inmates participating in the Substance Abuse Program since 2000-2001; (e) how many offenders are diagnosed on intake as having a substance abuse problem for which they require treatment; (f) how many inmates are otherwise believed by CSC to have an addictions issues; (g) what course of action does CSC take when an inmate diagnosed with an addiction refuses to participate in Substance Abuse programming; (h) what is the cost per inmate to participate in the Substance Abuse Program, broken down per year since 2000-2001; (i) how is CSC programming addressing mentally ill inmates and their associated behavioural issues; (j) on what basis does CSC decide which programs will be offered at which institutions; (k) how does CSC ensure that inmates will have access to the programs they need if all programs are not offered at every institution; (l) in light of the CSC statement that it “will not be expanding the types of programs offered to offenders,” how will CSC meet the diverse needs of the growing inmate population; (m) does CSC have plans to cut the number of programs available to inmates and, if so, which programs and when; (n) what is the Integrated Correctional Program Model, how is it administered to inmates and what current CSC programs will it replace; (o) what are the reasons that explain the increase of inmates participating in the Sex Offender Program in 2009-2010; (p) how many inmates, broken down by year since 2000-2001, have been evaluated by CSC and have been found to require sex offender programming and how many of those inmates have participated in Sex Offender programming, broken down by year since 2000-2001; (q) what is the cost per inmate to participate in the Sex Offender Program, broken down per year since 2000-2001; (r) what is the per inmate spending on correctional programs, broken down annually since 2000-2001; (s) with regard to other correctional intervention programs, broken down per year since 2000-2001, what is the per inmate spending each of the following programs: (i) Offender Case management, (ii) Community Engagement, (iii) Spiritual Services, (iv) Offender Education, (v) CORCAN Employment and Employability; (t) what is the Correctional Reintegration Program, what does it do and where is it available?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 839
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Ajax—Pickering, ON

With regard to the government’s support for victims of crime: (a) how do each of the following bills directly assist victims of crime: Bill C-4, An Act to amend the Youth Criminal Justice Act and to make consequential and related amendments to other Acts, Bill C-5, An Act to amend the International Transfer of Offenders Act, Bill C-16, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, Bill C- 21, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (sentencing for fraud), Bill C-22, An Act respecting the mandatory reporting of Internet child pornography by persons who provide an Internet service, Bill C-23B, An Act to amend the Criminal Records Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, Bill C-29, An Act to amend the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, Bill C-30, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, Bill C-31, An Act to amend the Old Age Security Act, Bill C-32, An Act to amend the Aeronautics Act, Bill C-35, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, Bill C-37, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act, Bill C-38, An Act to amend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, Bill C-39, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, Bill C-42, An Act to amend the Aeronautics Act, Bill C-43, An Act to enact the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Labour Relations Modernization Act and to amend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, Bill C-48, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make consequential amendments to the National Defence Act, Bill C-49, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the Balanced Refugee Reform Act and the Marine Transportation Security Act, Bill C-50, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (interception of private communications and related warrants and orders), Bill C-51, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Competition Act and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, Bill C-52, An Act regulating telecommunications facilities to support investigations, Bill C-53, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (mega-trials), Bill C-54, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (sexual offences against children), Bill S-2, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and other Acts, Bill S-6, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and another Act, Bill S-7, An Act to deter terrorism and to amend the State Immunity Act, Bill S-10, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, and Bill S-13, An Act to implement the Framework Agreement on Integrated Cross-Border Maritime Law Enforcement Operations between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America; (b) were victims groups consulted in the development of any of these bills and, if so, which groups where consulted, on which bills and what advice was given to the government; (c) broken down per year since 2000-2001, what programs specifically directed to victims of crime has the government funded, how many victims have been served by these programs and how are these services accessed by victims of crime; (d) what is the funding, broken down per year over the past 10 years and over the next 10 years, for grants and contributions for victims of crime; (e) what is the formal position of the government concerning the role that rehabilitation plays in reducing victimization; (f) what is the formal position of the government concerning the role that crime prevention programming plays in reducing victimization; and (g) what empirical evidence does the government have that mandatory minimum sentences will address the needs of victims of crime?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 842
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Beauséjour, NB

With regard to comments made by the Minister of National Defence at the House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence on September 15, 2010: (a) what companies, associations, ministries or groups own the copyright mentioned by the Minister in regards to the Statement of requirements for the replacement of the CF-18s; (b) did any aircraft manufacturer have any input of any kind into the drafting of this Statement of requirements and, if so, which ones; and (c) what is the official policy on Requirement documents published by the Department of National Defence and its accessibility to Members of Parliament?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 843
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Beauséjour, NB

With regard to the Employment Insurance pilot projects known as the “the best 14 weeks”, “working while on claim” and “additional five weeks”: (a) how much, by year, has each of these initiatives cost the government; (b) how many people, by federal riding, year and initiative, made use of these initiatives; (c) how many people, by federal riding, would have seen their Employment Insurance payment diminish without the existence of these projects in 2009; and (d) what would have been, by federal riding, the average difference between the Employment Insurance payment people did receive under these pilot projects and the amount they would have received if these pilot projects would not have existed in 2009?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 844
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Willowdale, ON

With respect to the discussions with the Republic of Panama concerning a double taxation agreement and a sharing of financial information, as well as discussions concerning an agreement to share financial information, what are (i) the details of the meetings, (ii) the dates, (iii) the details of the correspondence between the government of Canada and the government of Panama?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 846
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

With regard to Rights and Democracy, provided that if identifying an individual by name is impossible on privacy grounds, he or she would be identified by a number: (a) what are all the positions that were filled by appointments or contract awards made by the Conservative government since 2006, within or outside the organization, but which deal directly with the organization (e.g., private investigators), specifying at what time each position was created and what justified its creation; (b) where do those positions fit in the organization's hierarchical chart and, when outside the organization, what is their relation with the organization; (c) what criteria did the government use to select candidates for each of those positions, and how were those criteria determined; (d) who were the individuals or firms appointed to fill each of those positions; (e) who were the other individuals or firms that were interviewed or considered by the government for those positions; (f) which of the individuals identified in parts (d) and (e) have (i) held contracts awarded by, (ii) worked for, (iii) volunteered for, or (iv) run for a federal political party, identifying the position held and work done, the timeframe in which it took place and the name of the party; (g) which of the individuals identified in parts (d) and (e) have held governmental appointments in the past, identifying the position held and work done, the timeframe in which it took place, and the name of the appointing political party, Minister, or public office holder; (h) who were the Rights and Democracy employees who left the organization since January 2006, specifying at what date they were hired, what responsibilities they had within the organization, where they fit in the organization's hierarchical chart, at what date they left and the reason for their departure; (i) who were the individuals hired by Rights and Democracy, internally or as subcontractors, since January 2006, specifying at what date they were hired, what responsibilities they have within the organization, and where they fit in the organization's hierarchical chart; (j) which of the individuals identified in part (i) have held contracts awarded by, worked for, volunteered for, or run for a federal political party, identifying the position held and work done, the timeframe in which it took place and the name of the party; (k) which of the individuals identified in part (i) have held governmental appointments in the past, identifying the position held and work done, the timeframe in which it took place and the name of the appointing political party, Minister, or public office holder; (l) with regard to all the contracts awarded by the government since 2006 for studies, investigations or audits involving Rights and Democracy, (i) what were they, (ii) what was the value of each contract, and what was the objective of the study, investigation or audit, (iii) to whom was each contract awarded and based on what criteria, (iv) what was the process used to select the contract recipient, (v) what were the conclusions and recommendations of each of those studies, investigations and audits, (vi) when was each of those studies, investigations and audits made public, (vii) if a study, investigation or audit has not been made public, why, (viii) when was the government provided with the report on each of the studies, investigations or audits, and which government members were provided with the report or a briefing on the report; (m) what were the conclusions and recommendations of the Sirco investigation; and (n) what were the conclusions and recommendations of the forensic audit done by Samson Bélair-Deloitte & Touche?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 847
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

With regard to shoreline erosion: (a) what are all the studies undertaken, ordered or consulted by the government since 2000 to study or take under advisement the problem of eroding shorelines along the St Lawrence River; (b) for each of the studies referred to in (a), (i) who ordered it, (ii) who carried it out, (iii) when was it ordered and when was it delivered, (iv) what stakeholders, e.g., mayors, regional groups of elected officials, companies, lobbyists, etc., were consulted during its preparation, (v) to whom was it submitted; (c) for each of the studies referred to in (a), (i) what suggestions and recommendations were made in it, (ii) which of these suggestions and recommendations have been adopted by the government, (iii) what are the government programs dedicated to implementing the suggestions and recommendations identified in point (c)(ii), (iv) which suggestions and recommendations identified in point (c)(i) were rejected and why; (d) since 2006, for each fiscal year and for each riding bordering the St Lawrence, as well as for all ridings affected by shoreline erosion on the East Coast, identifying the federal program from which the funding came and listing the amounts by riding, by year, by program, by riding-and-year, by riding-and-program, by year-and-program and by riding-year and program, where possible, (i) how much did the federal government spend in that riding during the given year on the suggestions and recommendations identified in point (c)(ii), (ii) how much in total did the federal government spend in that riding during the given year to combat shoreline erosion; (e) how does the government explain differences between the answers to points (d)(i) and (d)(ii); (f) what studies are currently underway to enable the government to monitor the problem of the St Lawrence’s eroding shorelines?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 849
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

With regard to the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program, since the beginning of Canada's participation: (a) what are the criteria (operational requirements, contractual conditions, etc.) on which the government is selecting the F-35s as a replacement for the CF-18s; (b) when and by whom were those criteria determined; (c) what are the relevant studies which were conducted prior to determining those criteria, specifying the (i) dates, (ii) names of the studies, (iii) names of individuals requesting the studies, (iv) authors of the studies, (v) names of the individuals presented with the results; (d) before those criteria were determined, on the basis of what information did the government evaluate that the F-35 could satisfy Canada's needs; (e) since the beginning of Canada's participation in the JSF program, what were all the studies conducted that evaluated different fighter planes in relation to Canada's needs, specifying the (i) dates, (ii) names of the studies, (iii) names of individuals requesting the studies, (iv) authors of the studies, (v) studies which were used to evaluate the planes, (vi) names of the individuals who determined those criteria, (vii) planes which were considered in the study, (viii) names of the individuals presented with the results; (f) what is the operational availability of a fleet of 65 fighter jets; (g) what effect will a reduction in Canada's fleet of fighter jets have on operational capability, on Canada's ability to play its role within the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) and on the distribution of fighter jets across Canada's military bases; (h) how did the government determine that Canadian Forces needed 65 planes; (i) what is the formula used to determine the number of planes Canada should buy and who is the author of that formula; (j) for each of the variables in that formula, how was the value of that variable determined, specifying by whom, based on which criteria and how those criteria were determined; (k) what is the definition of a fifth generation fighter jet; (l) what is the history of the "fifth generation" appellation; (m) of the criteria identified in part (a), which ones can only be met by a fifth generation fighter; (n) which governmental officials were directly involved in the JSF competition; (o) does this competition satisfy the government's procurement guidelines, specifying which guidelines it satisfies, and which it does not; (p) how is such a competition different from a public tender; (q) what are all the types of incremental costs associated with maintaining a plane with stealth capability, compared to a similar plane without stealth capability (for example security of storage facilities, special training for pilots, maintenance of stealth capability elements, etc.); (r) what is the expected value of each of those types of incremental costs over the expected life of the F-35s, in Canada's case; (s) what is the sum of those expected values; (t) what is the current expected value of industrial benefits that will befall Canada's aerospace industry if the government buys F-35s; (u) what is the probability distribution which yields this expected value; (v) what is the reasoning behind this probability distribution; (w) expressed as a percentage, what proportion of those benefits identified in (t) is constituted by guaranteed benefits; (x) what are the guaranteed benefits; (y) what proportion of the benefits identified in (t) and in (x) would Canada necessarily forego if the government bought another fighter plane; (z) what is an itemization of the (i) expected, (ii) guaranteed benefits that Canada's industry would necessarily have to forego if the government does not buy the F-35, including dollar values and total sums; (aa) how has the government's evaluation of the information sought in (t) evolved since the beginning of Canada's participation in the JSF program; (bb) on what date did that evaluation change; (cc) what is the name and topic of the governmental document containing that evaluation and which government member was provided with the document; (dd) what is the new, detailed information which prompted the re-evaluation?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 850
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

With regard to the operation of the Canadian Tourism Commission for the past ten fiscal years: (a) what has been the government's contribution for each year; (b) what amount of money was earmarked for administration; (c) what amount of money was earmarked for marketing as a whole for (i) special projects, (ii) targeted countries or regions within an area, (iii) targeted events; (d) how much money was spent promoting specific special events within Canada such as the 2010 Olympics and what was the breakdown of how the marketing money was spent; (e) how is the efficiency of this marketing spending determined; and (f) what criteria are used to determine if a specific event, destination, or targeted country or area should receive marketing dollars?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 851
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

With regard to the government's lifting of the protected area designation of the Edehzhie area of the Northwest Territories, were any Members of Parliament, cabinet ministers, parliamentary secretaries, deputy ministers, director generals, or members of cabinet ministers' staff or parliamentary secretaries' staff lobbied by, or did they communicate in any way with, Olivut Investments, Lani Keough or any agents or lobbyists acting on behalf of either Olivut Investments or Lani Keough about opening the Edehzhie Candidate Protected Area for exploration or mining development?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 853
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

With respect to the Canada Revenue Agency's (CRA) Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Incentive Program for 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010: (a) by province, what is the percentage of approved applications; (b) by province, what is the percentage of approved applications in response to an appeal of a decision; (c) what is the waiting period, broken down by province, for assessment of (i) claims for refundable credits, (ii) adjustment of refundable credits as required by the claimant, (iii) claims for non-refundable credits, (iv) adjustment of non-refundable credits as required by the claimant; and (d) what is the waiting period for assessment of an appeal following receipt by the CRA of a claim, broken down by province?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 854
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Ottawa—Vanier, ON

With respect to the Roadmap for Canada’s Linguistic Duality 2008-2013, broken down by year: (a) what were the expenditures of each department involved; and (b) to what line item were these expenditures charged?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 855
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Ottawa—Vanier, ON

With respect to parliamentary officers, for the past 10 years, what were the expenditures of each officer, broken down by officer and by year?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 856
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Ottawa—Vanier, ON

With respect to language training, for each fiscal year from 2005-2006 to 2009-2010: (a) what were the government’s expenditures, broken down by administrative region, on the language training of public servants for the learning of (i) French, (ii) English; (b) what were the amounts, broken down by administrative region, paid out by the government to third parties for the language training of public servants for the learning of (i) French, (ii) English; and (c) what are the names of the third parties that received funding for this purpose?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 857
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

With regard to travel to Vancouver, British Columbia, by government officials and employees for the period January 1, 2009, to present: (a) what is the total number of room nights charged to the government; (b) which departments purchased accommodations in Vancouver during this period; (c) how many room nights were charged to each department; (d) in which hotels were government officials and employees accommodated; and (e) what, if any, standing contracts for hotel accommodations does each department hold and with which hotels?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 858
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Bruce Hyer Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

What is the total amount of government infrastructure funding, allocated within the constituency of Thunder Bay—Superior North in fiscal years 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 to date, identifying each department or agency, project and amount, including the date allocated?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 859
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Massimo Pacetti Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

With regard to the Italian-Canadian Advisory Committee of the Community Historical Recognition Program: (a) who are the members of the committee; (b) what criteria were used by the Department of Citizenship and Immigration to select the members; (c) what are the specific qualifications of each member as identified by the department; (d) are the members being compensated for their services and, if so, how much is each member being paid; (e) were any other individuals considered to serve on the committee and, if so, what are their names; (f) of the individuals considered to serve on the committee who are not currently on the committee, were any contacted by the department and, if so, what are their names and qualifications; and (g) were any of the individuals in (f) offered a place on the committee by the department and, if so, (i) what are their names and qualifications, (ii) what were their reasons for refusing the offer?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 860
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Massimo Pacetti Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

With regard to projects pertaining to the Italian-Canadian cultural community and the Community Historical Recognition Program (CHRP): (a) how many applications for CHRP grants and contributions related to such projects have been (i) received, (ii) accepted, (iii) rejected; (b) for each application that was approved, (i) what was the name of the applicant organization, (ii) how much money was given to the organization, (iii) what was the nature of the approved program or event; and (c) for each application that was rejected, (i) what was the name of the applicant organization, (ii) how much money did the organization request in its application, (iii) what was the nature of the rejected program or event, (iv) what was the reason for the rejection, (v) how was the rejection communicated to the group in question?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 861
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Massimo Pacetti Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

With regard to the Community Historical Recognition Program (CHRP): (a) how much money was spent informing the Canadian public about the application criteria for the portion of the program that pertains to the Italian-Canadian cultural community and how were these monies spent; and (b) were any monies spent advertising the portion of the CHRP pertaining to the Italian-Canadian cultural community through private organizations and, if so, (i) which private organizations (i.e., newspaper, radio station, community group, etc.) were contracted by the government for this end, (ii) how much money was spent by the government to advertise with each private organization?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 862
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Massimo Pacetti Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

With regard to the Italian-Canadian Advisory Committee of the Community Historical Recognition Program (CHRP): (a) how often has the committee convened itself to discuss applications and on what specific dates; (b) what internal procedures has the committee put in place to vet applications; (c) has the committee kept records of their deliberations and, if so, what are the contents of these records; (d) how much money has the government allocated to the committee to fulfill its mandate; and (e) what is the total cost to date that the committee has incurred in order to fulfil its mandate, including (i) the item-by-item breakdown of these costs, (ii) the expenses that were reimbursed by the government, (iii) the expenses that were rejected by the government and the reasons for rejecting them?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 863
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Guelph, ON

With regard to the following two Catalogue Numbers, A114-12/2009 (ISBN: 978-1-100-50445-2) and A114-12/2007 (ISBN: 978-0-662-49839-1), of the publication entitled “Rural Canadians’ Guide to Programs and Services”, a publication from the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Canada’s Rural Secretariat Branch: (a) when was each paper edition published; (b) when was each paper edition released for distribution; (c) were both publications available to the public and, if yes, what measures were implemented to make the public aware of each publication; (d) which companies were awarded the contracts to print each edition of the publication; (e) what were the amounts of the contracts for the printing of each edition of the publication; (f) which departments authorized the publication of each edition; (g) which departments authorized the contracts for the printing of each publication; (h) how many paper copies of each edition were printed initially; (i) have more paper copies been printed since the initial printing of these editions; (j) what was the total number of paper copies of each edition requested between (i) January 1, 2007, and December 31, 2007, (ii) January 1, 2008, and December 31, 2008, (iii) January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2009, (iv) January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2010; (k) what was the total number of paper copies of each edition distributed between (i) January 1, 2007, and December 31, 2007, (ii) January 1, 2008, and December 31, 2008, (iii) January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2009, (iv) January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2010; (l) what is the maximum number of paper copies of each edition that can be ordered by (i) an individual, (ii) a private business, (iii) a public organization, such as a public library, a university, etc., (iv) a person who holds public office, such as a city councillor, mayor or reeve, MLA or MPP, MP, etc.; (m) can the maximum number of copies in (l) be increased with the permission of departmental authorities and, if yes, who would authorize such an increase in the distribution of each edition; (n) what was the total number of paper copies of each edition distributed to each parliamentarian between (i) January 1, 2007, and December 31, 2007, (ii) January 1, 2008, and December 31, 2008, (iii) January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2009, (iv) January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2010; and (o) for each of the periods between January 1, 2007, and December 31, 2007, between January 1, 2008, and December 31, 2008, between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2009, and between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2010, identifying for each request which of the two editions was requested, what was the (i) name of each parliamentarian who requested paper copies of either edition, (ii) number of paper copies requested by that parliamentarian, (iii) date the request was made by that parliamentarian, (iv) number of paper copies received by that parliamentarian, (v) date those copies were received by that parliamentarian?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 864
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Etobicoke North, ON

With respect to mental health and suicide in the Canadian Forces (CF), including regular forces, reservists and veterans, as well as among Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) veterans: (a) what does history and research show from the First World War (WWI) and the Second World War (WWII), regarding the percentage of Canadian veterans who suffered some degree of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and how it might have impacted their ability to (i) hold down jobs, (ii) maintain relationships, (iii) overcome substance abuse, (iv) maintain their will to live; (b) how are suicides tracked for CF regular forces, reservists and veterans, including RCMP veterans, (i) has the tracking method changed over time (from 2000 onwards) for any of these groups, including name changes (e.g., suicide versus sudden death) and, if so, how, why and when, (ii) how are suicides tracked among veterans who may not be known to Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) and who may be under other types of care (e.g., in hospitals) or in homeless shelters, prisons, etc.; (c) what are the identified gaps in tracking for each of the identified groups and, for each gap, what action items (i) are planned (including predicted start and completion dates, and necessary funding), (ii) are being implemented (including predicted completion date and necessary funding), (iii) have been completed to address the problem; (d) how are suicides investigated for each identified group today and, for each group, for the years 1990 to the present (or years available), (i) what percentage of victims were known to either the Department of National Defense (DND) or VAC prior to the suicide, or to the medical, social-aid or prison system, (ii) what percentage had attempted suicide before, (iii) what percentage suffered from an identified Operational Stress Injury (OSI), including PTSD, anxiety, depression or substance abuse, (iv) what percentage suffered from acquired brain injury (ABI), (v) what, if any, relation was found between the number of traumatic events and suicide, (vi) what percentage were under mental health care counselling, (vii) what percentage were under addictions counselling, (viii) what percentage had been discharged for misconduct, (ix) what percentage had called the crisis help line in the month before the suicide, (x) what percentage had seen their physician in the month before the suicide, (xi) in what percentage of deaths might it have been possible to intervene, (xii) what percentage had experience with any of the suicide education and awareness programs, and screening and assessment, (xiii) what percentage had had follow-up care for suicide attempts, (xiv) what percentage had had restriction of access to lethal means; (e) do DND and VAC try to determine the trigger for a suicide and, if so, (i) what are the broad triggers (e.g., financial problems, relationship breakdowns, substance abuse, tensions with other members of the unit, traumatic event, etc.), (ii) is trigger information included in suicide prevention programs, (iii) is it possible to identify how military service might have generally impacted the mental and physical health of the victim and, if so, is it possible to reduce these impacts; (f) what are the suicide statistics for each identified group, namely CF regular forces and reservists, and veterans, including RCMP veterans, for the last 10 years, 20 years and, if possible, back to 1972, (i) broken down by gender and by five-year age group, (ii) for each group, how does the data compare with that of the general Canadian population; (g) for five-year periods, for the years 1972 to present (or years available), for every CF suicide identified, how many members of the CF were hospitalized, on average, for attempting to take their own life; (h) for five-year periods, for the years 1972 to present (or years available), for every veteran suicide identified, how many veterans were hospitalized, on average, for attempting to take their own life; (i) for five-year periods, for the years 1972 to present (or years available), what is the number of CF regular forces, reservists and veterans who died in auto accidents, and how much more likely is it that members who serve in Afghanistan will die in an auto accident or motorcycle crash than civilians; (j) how do DND and VAC report accidental drug-related overdoses, and for five-year periods, for the years 1972 to present (or years available), what is the number of CF members, reservists or veterans who died of accidental drug-related overdoses; (k) what, if any, mental health surveys have been undertaken by DND, particularly regarding suicide, (i) for what years, (ii) how many members were surveyed, (iii) what were the survey questions, (iv) what percentage of Air Force, Army, and Navy members had attempted suicide; (l) what, if any, mental health surveys have been undertaken by VAC regarding suicide, (i) for what years, (ii) how many veterans were surveyed, (iii) what were the survey questions, (iv) what percentage of former Air Force, Army, Navy and RCMP members had attempted suicide; (m) what, if any, surveys of health-related behaviours have been undertaken by DND, (i) how many CF members and reservists were surveyed and for what years, (ii) what were the survey questions, (iii) what percentage of Air Force, Army and Navy personnel showed dangerous levels of alcohol and drug abuse, such as abuse of pain killers; (n) what, if any, surveys of health-related behaviours have been undertaken by VAC, (i) how many CF and RCMP veterans were surveyed and for what years, (ii) what were the survey questions, (iii) what percentage of former Air Force, Army, Navy and RCMP personnel showed dangerous levels of alcohol abuse and the illicit use of drugs such as pain killers; (o) what percentage of CF members and reservists today have suicidal thoughts before seeking treatment and what percent have attempted to kill themselves; (p) what percentage of veterans today have suicidal thoughts before seeking treatment, and what percent have attempted to kill themselves; (q) how do DND and VAC explain any changes in the suicide statistics among any of the above groups in (f), (i) what specific practical steps have been undertaken by both DND and VAC to reduce the number of suicides for each identified group, (ii) how is success of these steps measured, (iii) what, if any, change have the identified steps made in the number of suicides; (r) how has operational tempo and number of tours impacted OSIs, particularly PTSD, as well as addictions, anxiety, and depression, and suicides for the groups identified, (i) what does research show the impacts of increased operational tempo and number of tours are, (ii) what recommendations are suggested by research to reduce these impacts, (iii) what, if any, steps has DND and VAC taken to implement these recommendations; (s) what, if any, health surveys have been undertaken regarding military service and physical demands on mental health (e.g., chronic pain, ABI, and sleep deprivation); (t) since the establishment of the 24-hour, seven-day-per-week suicide hotline, how many CF members, reservists, and veterans have been counselled, and how many suicides are estimated to have been prevented through the hotline; (u) how does DND reconcile its suicide statistics with those of Mr. Sartori, which are based on access to information requests, and what, if any, discussions have taken place with him regarding (i) the publication or presentation of his work, (ii) the implications of his work, (iii) what specific actions might be undertaken to reduce suicides; (v) what do CF members and reservists who seek mental health services risk (e.g., loss of duties, loss of security clearances and weapons, etc.), and how might these losses impact their career aspirations; (w) what specific efforts are being undertaken to reduce the stigma associated with a CF member or reservist seeking mental health help, (i) what, if any, efforts are being taken to review performance among officers, senior non-commissioned officers, etc., regarding mental health attitudes, (ii) what, if any, efforts are being taken to review military programs addressing mental health and suicide for quality and efficacy, (iii) are attitudes and delivery of mental health training and suicide prevention part of performance training and review and, if so, how important are they in the review, (iv) how often are people and programs reviewed; (x) what, if any, review has been undertaken of suicide prevention methods (e.g., mandatory mental health review every two years, confidential internet-based screening available any time) in the military of other countries for possible implementation in Canada; (y) what, if any, effort has been undertaken to interview CF members and reservists who have attempted suicide and their family members, (i) how many members and their families were surveyed, for what years, (ii) what were the survey questions, (iii) what were the results and recommendations; (z) what, if any, review has been undertaken of the DND's and VAC's efforts to prevent suicides among CF members, reservists and veterans, (i) how many were surveyed and what were the major findings, (ii) was trust measured and, if so, how, (iii) did members and veterans trust DND or VAC to help them, (iv) did members and veterans think suicide prevention training programs were successful and, if not, why not, (v) what percentage of servicemen and veterans came in for mental health help and, if they did not come, why did they not;

(aa) what, if any, review has been undertaken of veteran transition programs for mental health training and suicide prevention training, and will successful programs be implemented across the country; (bb) what, if any, thought has been given to skills-based suicide prevention training for families; and (cc) what, if any, thought has been given to DND and VAC partnering with Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to undertake a comprehensive study of military and veteran mental health and suicide, (i) what would a comprehensive study cost to identify risk and protective factors for suicide among members, reservists and veterans, and provide evidence-based practical interventions to reduce suicide rates, (ii) what factors could be included (e.g., childhood adversity and abuse, family history, personal and economic stresses, military service, overall mental health)?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 865
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Etobicoke North, ON

With respect to cuts in government funding to newcomer settlement organizations: (a) how does this policy reflect Canada’s commitment to cultural diversity; (b) what, if any, needs assessments of newcomers to Canada have been undertaken over the last five years, if none were undertaken, why not, and of those undertaken, (i) when were they undertaken, (ii) by whom, (iii) what were the results, (iv) what were the chief recommendations; (c) what was the detailed process undertaken to examine funding of newcomer settlement programs, which led to the government's cuts; (d) over the past five years, how much money did the government promise to invest in newcomer settlement services, by province and territory, and what amount was actually invested in newcomer settlement services, by province and territory; (e) how was the decision to cut $53 million from newcomer settlement organizations made, (i) what were all the procedural steps in the decision-making process, (ii) what stakeholders were consulted, (iii) which departments were involved in the decision-making process, (iv) what formulas were used, (v) how was it determined that 85 percent of the cuts were necessary in Ontario; (f) what percentage of the Ontario cuts to newcomer settlement organizations were made in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA); (g) how many newcomers arrived in Canada in each of the last five years, (i) how many newcomers arrived in each of the provinces and territories, (ii) how many people settled in each of the provinces, (iii) how many people settled in each of Canada’s ten largest cities; (h) what information does the government have regarding the movement of newcomers from one province to another or from one city to another in the newcomers' first three years after arrival in Canada; (i) from which countries did the newcomers arrive in each of the last five years and, for each country identified, (i) what are the official languages spoken, (ii) is English or French one of the country’s official languages; (j) what services are needed by newcomers to Canada and what services are provided by settlement organizations in Canada, by province and territory; (k) what, if any, research has been undertaken in Canada regarding gaps in services, by province and territory, and (i) when was the gap analysis undertaken and by whom, (ii) what were the results and recommendations, by province and territory, (iii) if no such analysis has been conducted, why not; (l) for each province and territory, (i) how many settlement organizations exist, (ii) what services do they provide, (iii) what populations do they serve, (iv) how many settlement organizations applied for federal funding, and (v) how many organizations that applied had their federal funding increased, decreased, or cut; (m) for each GTA constituency, (i) what percentage of constituency inhabitants are newcomers, (ii) what percentage of constituency inhabitants are not yet citizens, (iii) what percentage of constituency inhabitants are first generation Canadian born, (iv) how do percentages in (i) to (iii) rank nationally amongst the 308 ridings, (v) did any constituency's settlement organizations receive an increase or a decrease in funding and, if so, in what amount; (n) for each group given in (m) (i) to (iii), what major challenges do they face, including, but not limited to, family reunification, and language and job barriers; (o) how were organizations informed of any funding decision, (i) what reasons were given for a denial, (ii) were complete contact details given so that an organization could ask for further feedback, (iii) if so, what were those details, (iv) if not, why not; (p) what programs in the GTA (i) had their funding decreased, (ii) had funding cut entirely, (iii) will have to close down; (q) for each identified program in (p) (i) to (iii), (i) what are the specific reasons for denial, (ii) is the program an essential or unique program; (r) which schools in the GTA provided newcomer services, including, but not limited to, "We Welcome the World Centres", and which schools had their funding increased or decreased and by how much; (s) for each school identified in (r), what percentage of students are (i) newcomers, (ii) newcomers who do not speak English or French as their first language; (t) what, if any, research was undertaken to determine the impact of any decreases or cuts to funding for schools in (r) and what were the projected impacts on (i) student learning, (ii) student test scores, (iii) school performance in relation to other Ontario schools, (iv) socio-economic status of families, (v) tertiary education; (u) what, if any, plans have been developed to absorb the thousands of newcomer families who will be impacted by a loss of newcomer settlement services, by (i) province and territory, (ii) specifically, Canada’s ten largest cities; (v) is there an appeals process to funding-related decisions and (i) if yes, what is it, (ii) if not, why not; (w) what, if any, impact analysis was undertaken to determine the socio-economic impacts of cuts to newcomer settlement services on (i) clients, (ii) their families, and (iii) the economy of the GTA, and Canada, (iv) what were the results and recommendations of any analysis; and (x) by province and territory, as of January 1, 2011, (i) how many organizations had been informed of a funding decision, (ii) how many organizations were under review, (iii) how many were still waiting to hear about funding?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 866
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Yukon, YT

With regard to Aboriginal Healing Foundation projects, since the end of government funding: (a) what new programs were put in place by Health Canada to ensure the continuation of services to victims of residential schools; (b) from new programs identified in (a), what are the Aboriginal Healing Foundation projects and, for each project, what is the approximate number of clients it serves; (c) which Health Canada project is now serving each of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation clients by (i) territory and province, (ii) reserve or designated client target group, (iii) funds budgeted for each project and targeted completion date, (iv) total budget for each territory and province; (d) what programs administered by Health Canada ended and who were their clients served, in which territory or province and how much was spent; and (e) if programs have not been developed by Health Canada for some former Aboriginal Healing Fund projects' clients, as per the government mandate, why have they not been developed and when will they be developed and implemented?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 867
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Winnipeg South Centre, MB

With regard to criminal law amendments contained in legislation introduced in the 40th Parliament, Third Session, namely Bill C-4, An Act to amend the Youth Criminal Justice Act and to make consequential and related amendments to other Acts, Bill C-16, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, Bill C-17, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (investigative hearing and recognizance with conditions), Bill C-21, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (sentencing for fraud), Bill C-23A, An Act to amend the Criminal Records Act, Bill C-23B, An Act to amend the Criminal Records Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, Bill C-30, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, Bill C-39, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, Bill C-48, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make consequential amendments to the National Defence Act, Bill S-6, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and another Act, and Bill S-10, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts: (a) was a gender-based analysis of the impacts of the proposed amendments undertaken before the legislation was introduced in Parliament; (b) if yes to question (a), (i) when was this analysis conducted, (ii) by whom was the analysis conducted, (iii) which indicators were used to determine the gender-based impact of the legislation, (iv) what was the conclusion of the analysis regarding the gender-based impacts of the proposed amendment; (c) if no to question (a), (i) does the government intend to undertake a gender-based analysis of the amendments, (ii) when will this analysis take place; and (d) did the Treasury Board Secretariat require that a gender-based analysis of the legislation be completed before the bill was introduced in Parliament?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 868
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Winnipeg South Centre, MB

With regard to the government’s funding for crime prevention in Manitoba: (a) broken down by fiscal year since 2000-2001, what programs specifically directed at crime prevention has the government funded and what was the level of funding per program; (b) how many individuals participated in these programs, broken down by program and by year; (c) what is the formal position of the government concerning the role that crime prevention plays in reducing levels of gang violence and other types of crime; (d) what empirical evidence does the government have regarding the level of recidivism of individuals who have participated in crime prevention programs; and (e) what empirical evidence does the government have regarding the level of need for crime prevention programs?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 869
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Winnipeg South Centre, MB

With regard to federal funding for flood mitigation in Manitoba: (a) what flood mitigation and flood prevention programs has the government funded since 1996-1997, broken down by year; and (b) what is the government’s position concerning its role in responding to a future flood, including all aspects of coordination and cost-sharing with the Province of Manitoba?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 870
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Newton—North Delta, BC

With regard to family class immigration applications, what were the processing times for complete application packages for each different type of application, by country, for each calendar year or, if not available, each fiscal year between 2005 and 2010?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 871
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Newton—North Delta, BC

With regard to programs begun after 2005 to “support Canada's softwood industry, including fighting the spread of the pine beetle in western Canadian forests and helping communities struggling from U.S. softwood duties”, as stated on page 19 of the 2006 Conservative Party of Canada's Federal Election Platform, for each program: (a) what is its name; (b) what funds were allocated to it; (c) what funds for the program were announced in government press releases; and (d) what funds will it have spent between 2005 and 2011?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 873
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Markham—Unionville, ON

With regard to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's Economic Action Plan funding for affordable housing, for every project funded, what was: (a) the number of projects with a construction deadline; (b) the number of projects that were rescoped to meet the deadline; and (c) the number of projects that are not expected to be completed before the deadline?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 874
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Yukon, YT

With regard to the government's current negotiation of Comprehensive Land Claims Agreements and Self-Government Agreements with Canada’s First Nations: (a) for each negotiation, (i) with which First Nation is the government negotiating, (ii) what is the status of the negotiation, (iii) how does the First Nation claim compare with the government's position, including both parties' positions on land mass, boundary outlines and monetary requests, (iv) to date, how much time has been spent on the claim negotiation, (v) to date, what is the total cost of the negotiations of the claim, (vi) when are negotiations expected to be concluded; (b) how many of these claims are Canada's negotiators currently negotiating, and which ones are temporarily on hold and for what reasons; (c) in failed negotiations, will court settlements be necessary to resolve the claim and, if so, which claims are expected to end up in court or are already before the courts; (d) what has the government budgeted for comprehensive land claim negotiations; and (e) what has the government budgeted for comprehensive land claim settlement payments to First Nation communities with which they are now negotiating?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 875
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Brossard—La Prairie, QC

With regard to ecoENERGY Fund projects in Quebec: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 876
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Brossard—La Prairie, QC

With regard to ecoENERGY Fund projects in Newfoundland and Labrador: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 877
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

With regard to ecoENERGY Fund projects in Ontario: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 878
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

With regard to ecoENERGY Fund projects in Nova Scotia: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 879
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

With regard to ecoENERGY projects in the Northwest Territories: (a) what is the description of each project; (b) what is the expected cost of each project; and (c) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 880
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Brossard—La Prairie, QC

With regard to ecoENERGY Fund projects in Manitoba: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 881
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Brossard—La Prairie, QC

With regard to ecoENERGY Fund projects in New Brunswick: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 882
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Kania Brampton West, ON

With regard to Recreational Infrastructure Canada projects in Ontario: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 883
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Kania Brampton West, ON

With regard to ecoENERGY projects in Nunavut: (a) what is the description of each project; (b) what is the expected cost of each project; and (c) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 886
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Papineau, QC

With regard to Building Canada Fund projects in Prince Edward Island: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 887
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Papineau, QC

With regard to Recreational Infrastructure Canada projects in New Brunswick: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 890
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

With regard to ecoENERGY Fund projects in Prince Edward Island: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 891
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

With regard to ecoENERGY Fund projects in Alberta: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 892
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

With regard to Building Canada Fund projects in Ontario: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 893
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

With regard to ecoENERGY Fund projects in Ontario: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 894
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Alan Tonks York South—Weston, ON

With regard to Building Canada Fund projects in Alberta: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 895
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Alan Tonks York South—Weston, ON

With regard to Building Canada Fund projects in Saskatchewan: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 896
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Alan Tonks York South—Weston, ON

With regard to Recreational Infrastructure Canada projects in Nunavut: (a) what is the description of each project; (b) what is the expected cost of each project; and (c) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 897
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Alan Tonks York South—Weston, ON

With regard to Building Canada Fund projects in British Columbia: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 898
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Halifax West, NS

With regard to Building Canada Fund projects in New Brunswick: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 899
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Halifax West, NS

With regard to Building Canada Fund projects in Manitoba: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 900
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Halifax West, NS

With regard to Recreational Infrastructure Canada projects in the Northwest Territories: (a) what is the description of each project; (b) what is the expected cost of each project; and (c) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 901
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Halifax West, NS

With regard to Recreational Infrastructure Canada projects in Nova Scotia: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 902
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Charlottetown, PE

With regard to Building Canada Fund projects in Nova Scotia: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 904
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

With regard to Building Canada Fund projects in Newfoundland and Labrador: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 907
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

With regard to ecoENERGY Fund projects in British Columbia: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 908
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

With regard to ecoENERGY Fund projects in Saskatchewan: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 909
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Lise Zarac LaSalle—Émard, QC

With regard to the jobs created by the government's Economic Action Plan: (a) for each North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) designation used by Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey, (i) how many full-time jobs were created, (ii) how many part-time jobs were created; and (b) by NAICS category, how many (i) full-time jobs were filled by women, (ii) part-time jobs were filled by women?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 910
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

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

With regard to Recreational Infrastructure Canada projects in Newfoundland and Labrador: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 911
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

With regard to Recreational Infrastructure Canada projects in Prince Edward Island: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 912
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

With regard to ecoENERGY Fund projects in the Yukon: (a) what is the description of each project; (b) what is the expected cost of each project; and (c) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 913
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

With regard to Recreational Infrastructure Canada projects in the Yukon: (a) what is the description of each project; (b) what is the expected cost of each project; and (c) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 915
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

With regard to the tri-lateral meetings last year at the Wakefield Mill with Hillary Clinton: (a) how many days was the Wakefield Mill rented out; and (b) what are the total costs associated with hosting the event, including facility rental, security, hospitality, transportation, gifts, decorations, sound and video, media monitoring, overtime for government employees and gratuities?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 917
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Don Valley East, ON

With regard to Building Canada Fund projects in Quebec: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 918
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

With regard to Recreational Infrastructure Canada projects in Quebec: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 919
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Navdeep Bains Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

With regard to programs and grants provided by Citizenship and Immigration Canada for the settlement of new immigrants: (a) what are the names of the organizations to which the government has provided funding in the years 2005-2006, 2006-2007, 2007-2008, 2008-2009, 2009-2010, 2010-2011, 2011-2012; (b) what were the program guidelines in each of the years identified in (a); (c) how much funding did each organization receive in each of the years identified in (a); (d) where are the agencies that received funding located; (e) how much of the budgeted funds was not spent and, in the case of 2011-2012, what is the amount that has not been committed; (f) what was done with the unspent funds; (g) how many people did each of these agencies serve in each of the years identified in (a); and (h) what were the performance targets in each of the years identified in (a), identifying the agencies that met and failed to meet those targets?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 920
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Navdeep Bains Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

With regard to the Employee Innovation Program: (a) how many submissions have been received since the launch of the program; (b) what recommendations were made; (c) in which departments were the submissions made; (d) what is the status of these submissions; (e) how many of these submissions have been acted on by the government and, in each case, how has it been acted on; (f) how much money has the government saved because of this program; (g) have any of the adopted initiatives put forward through the program cost the government more money than the costs that would have been incurred had the changes suggested by the initiative not been adopted and, if so, what were those initiatives and their costs; (h) how many different employees have made submissions; (i) how many employees currently work on this program and what are their titles, roles and responsibilities; (j) what is the cost of this program for each of the budget years for which it has been announced; (k) how much did the program cost to set up; (l) does the government plan to extend the program; (m) who will review the program; and (n) what is the evaluation process for the program?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 921
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Navdeep Bains Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

With regard to the Public Appointments Commission: (a) what has been its annual budget for each year from 2006-2007 onwards; (b) how much of this money has actually been spent; (c) what has happened to the remaining funds; (d) how many employees work directly for the Commission; (e) how many employees work on the file in the Privy Council Office; (f) what is the breakdown in expenses for each of the years since its creation, including, but not limited to, staff, office space, travel, contracts, hospitality, etc.; (g) how many Commissioners does the Commission currently have; (h) who are these Commissioners; (i) how much are the Commissioners paid; (j) what is the breakdown for the Commissioner’s office budgets, travel expenses (transportation, hotels, per diems) and hospitality expenses for each year since the Commission’s creation; (k) what is the mandate of the Commission; (l) who does the Commission report to; (m) when was the last review of the Commission; (n) what are the roles, responsibilities and titles for each of the Commission’s employees; (o) what are the names of companies that the Commission has entered into contracts with since 2006; (p) what were these contracts for; (q) how much are these contracts for; (r) were any of these contracts tendered and, if not, were they sole-sourced; (s) how much has the Commission spent for telecommunications devices since 2006; (t) how much has the Commission spent for long distance calls since 2006; (u) what are the deliverables for the Commission; and (v) is there an evaluation process for the commission and, if so, what are the results of that process for each year since the Commission has been in operation?

(Return tabled)

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

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

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(House in committee of the whole on Government Business No. 12, Mr. Andrew Scheer in the chair)

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

3:30 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

moved:

That this Committee take note of the March 17, 2011, United Nations Security Council resolution approving immediate action to protect the civilian population in Libya and Canada’s contribution to international efforts to enforce that resolution.

Mr. Chair, thank you for spelling out the parameters of the debate, and colleagues, let me begin by stating how grateful I am that the members of this House have made it a priority to consider the important matter of Canada's ongoing military contributions to helping the people of Libya.

The government has been actively monitoring this situation since it erupted last month when, as part of a popular uprising, a wave that has spread across the Middle East and to North Africa, the Libyan people began their protest against Colonel Gadhafi's brutal regime.

At that time it was certainly our hope, along with others, that following the examples of Tunisia and Egypt, Colonel Gadhafi would submit to the will of the Libyan people and that positive change would be brought about peacefully and without foreign intervention.

It was hoped that he would heed the clear signals that came from the people of Libya, of their desire for change and to simply step aside. Unfortunately, as we are all now painfully aware, that did not happen. Colonel Gadhafi chose instead to ignore the legitimate demands of the Libyan population and to wage war on his own citizens.

Using the armed forces that are under his control, tribal militias loyal to him and even foreign mercenaries, Colonel Gadhafi has launched ground attacks and air attacks against rebel forces and defenceless civilians alike.

In response, Canada initially joined the international community in expressing its outrage, condemning these actions and calling for their immediate end, and I commend the Minister of Foreign Affairs for his leadership in that regard.

On February 26, the United Nations Security Council passed resolution 1970 in an attempt to halt Gadhafi's actions without resorting to armed intervention or threat of force. These resolutions froze the assets of Colonel Gadhafi, his family and top associates. It also imposed a travel ban on Mr. Gadhafi himself, an embargo on a shipment of arms to Libya and called on the International Criminal Court to investigate the possible commission of crimes against humanity by Libyan leaders.

The day after this resolution was passed, the Canadian government followed suit and in fact went further. We acted under the Special Economic Measures Act to institute a freeze on Libyan government assets in Canada and a ban on financial transactions with the Libyan government or any of its associate institutions or agencies.

Unfortunately, just as he had ignored the pleas of the Libyan people, Colonel Gadhafi boldly rejected the demands of the international community and pressed on with his bloody campaign. As the violence escalated and the situation grew increasingly unstable, this government sought to secure the safe evacuation of Canadian citizens from Libya. To do so, it called on the capabilities of the Canadian Forces, who responded quickly and professionally, launching Operation MOBILE in support of whole-of-government efforts led by the Department of Foreign Affairs.

In all, two C-17 Globemasters, two C-130J Hercules tactical transport aircraft and approximately 80 total Canadian Forces personnel deployed to Malta. Operation MOBILE saw the safe evacuation of 191 people from Libya, including both Canadians and citizens of other nations.

I visited Malta last week myself to personally thank the Maltese prime minister, the Maltese government, and citizens for their co-operation and assistance in this exercise, which without their assistance would simply not have been possible.

As it turns out, these evacuation efforts were only the beginning of the Canadian Forces response to the Libyan crisis. As the violence between Colonel Gadhafi's forces and the Libyan opposition continued to escalate, resulting in the senseless deaths of many Libyans and the needless suffering of many others, the international community then began to debate the possibility of some form of humanitarian intervention.

At the same time this government took steps to ensure that it was in a position to make a meaningful contribution to any UN sanctioned action and to forward deploy for any eventuality. To that end, on March 1 the Prime Minister announced the deployment of HMCS Charlottetown, and only a day after Commander Craig Skjerpen had her on her way from Halifax to the Mediterranean, taking with her a crew of 240 officers and sailors, as well as a CH-124 Sea King helicopter and an air detachment.

Charlottetown has since reached the Mediterranean, where she has joined Standing NATO Maritime Group 1, and working alongside with her NATO counterparts, Charlottetown is conducting surveillance, presence patrols, and stands ready to assist the international effort as required, including, if necessary, further enforcement of sanctions.

As we are all well aware, since Charlottetown's deployment, the UN Security Council has passed resolution 1973, authorizing all necessary action short of occupying Libyan territory to protect citizens in civilian populated areas.

Canada is an active member of NATO and supporter of the United Nations, and has responded quickly.

On Friday, March 18, the Prime Minister announced the deployment of CF-18 Hornet fighter aircraft—along with the necessary supporting personnel—to the Mediterranean region. Within mere hours of the announcement, fighter jets from 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron—or the Alouettes as they are known—were on their way, led by Colonel Alain Pelletier and supported by approximately 140 air force personnel from Canadian Forces bases Bagotville and Trenton.

These jets have since arrived in Trapani, Italy, and will very shortly be ready to join our allies and partners in the conduct of the operation—now dubbed ODYSSEY DAWN—to enforce resolution 1973. Between the presence of HMCS Charlottetown and the deployment of the CF-18s, Canada is in a strong position to play an active role in protecting the lives of Libyan civilians and enforcing both the no fly zone and the arms embargo mandated by the Security Council.

This is a sizeable operation, but certainly not one without precedence. The House will recall that Canadian CF-18 pilots enforced a similar no-fly zone during the Kosovo air campaign of 1999. In that mission, as part of NATO's Operation Allied Force, Canadian aircrews flew 678 sorties and logged over 2,600 flying hours from March to June of that year. They carried out a full 10% of NATO's strike missions against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia during that campaign.

It is safe to say the Canadian Forces are experiencing a similar challenge, but bring to task the experience having conducted this type of operation in the past, one similar to that which they are about to join. In fact, they already have very much established the reputation for conducting these types of operations extremely well.

Canada is not a country that seeks out violent confrontation. In fact, we have never invaded or attacked another nation in anger or without provocation. Canadians certainly do not like to see their sons and daughters put in harm's way. However, this government, along with the international community, cannot stand idly by, even now.

With nearly the entire world turning on him, Gadhafi continues to boast of his intent to continue his brutal campaign and his regime is simply not through, labelling any opponents as traitors and directing his forces to bomb and shell civilian population centres without mercy.

In this situation, we are compelled to intervene, both in a moral duty and by duty of NATO and the United Nations, which, as members would know, are two institutions that we helped found. In this situation, deploying the Canadian Forces is the right thing to do and I expect that Canadians and members of the House clearly recognize that fact.

Canada is very fortunate to be in a position to be able to respond. We are fortunate to have a well-equipped navy that can assemble the necessary crews, such as the Charlottetown, and set sail the day after it is called. We are fortunate to have an air force with capabilities at CFB Bagotville, Trenton, Cold Lake and others, and an air force that takes mere hours to deploy six highly-sophisticated fighter aircraft and the necessary support to depart for a theatre of operations nearly 7,000 kilometres away.

However, we are certainly fortunate, first and foremost, to have the dedicated professional men and women in uniform who are prepared to step forward and to step up, inspiring all Canadians. These individuals receive official notice of their deployment in many cases just hours before departure. It is their culture and their sense of duty.

This is why, working with all members, we hope to have a very inclusive and informed debate here. I want to thank our men and women in uniform, of course, and wish them a safe return. No one wants to see our personnel in harm's way any longer than necessary. Therefore, as this operation continues in the future, we will do our best to support them in every way possible.

We ask all parties of the House to support the Canadian Forces in this mission and join us in pursuing all measures necessary to ensure a quick resolution of the current crisis.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to say that we support the troops. Canada had a duty to participate in this mission. However, I do have some questions for my hon. colleague, the Minister of National Defence.

Obviously, Canadians are watching us and are thinking of the people of Libya who are suffering greatly right now.

We have seen human shields being used. Canada has carried out its first operation but there were no ground attacks. There were ground attacks by other countries. For example, France made 55 ground attacks.

What is Canada's position on human shields? When we adopted the resolution, Benghazi was already under siege. Must we carry out a military operation when the primary rebel stronghold is under siege? Will air attacks be enough? Does the government plan on sending in ground troops?

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

3:45 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Central Nova, NS

Mr. Chair, I should first indicate that, like all members here, we condemn any use of human shields and any other actions which are tantamount to war crimes that abuse and put at risk civilians in Libya or any other theatre of operation. It is fair to say that Mr. Gadhafi and his regime are on full warning as to the accountability and measures that will be taken to hold him personally accountable for any such actions.

With respect to the operations themselves, as the member would know having previously served in government, any and all measures will be taken to protect civilians on the ground. That was the case, certainly, during the Kosovo campaign. Suffice it to say that since 1999 there have been advances in technology that allow for greater fidelity, that is to say a greater understanding of the situation and the strategic targeting.

We, of course, will be working closely with our allies to share information and to see that this mission is carried out with the least possible impact to innocent civilians while at the same time enforcing that no-fly zone.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

3:45 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris St. John's East, NL

Mr. Chair, I, too, want to say how supportive we are of the fact that this debate has been brought before the House today. We have already agreed on a motion to be passed later on today. It is extremely important that this military action by Canada outside of our country be brought to the House at the first reasonable opportunity, with an opportunity for members of the House to debate it and to vote on the motion later on today.

I want to thank the minister for outlining some of the issues. I do have a couple of questions, and we will in the course of debate get to some of them.

The United Nations Security Council resolution, which we fully support, is about more than military support. We support section 4 and section 8 that deal with the protection of civilians and the no-fly zone.

The objective out of all of this is to obtain a ceasefire with the ultimate aim of necessary political reform. There needs to be a peaceful and sustainable solution to this problem, led first by a ceasefire with the use of envoys and representatives on the diplomatic side. I want to emphasize that at the outset.

We have jets there now that have already participated in the mission. I presume it must have been a surveillance mission because there was no engagement of ground forces.

Could the minister tell the House if the CF-17's and the Hercules that we have had there for a couple of weeks have been engaged in assisting with the humanitarian effort? That has been a consistent problem there. There are many refugees on both the border of Tunisia and Egypt. What role has the—

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

3:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Andrew Scheer

Order, please. I will have to stop the member there to allow the minister enough time to respond.

The hon. Minister of National Defence.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

3:45 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Central Nova, NS

Mr. Chair, I will answer the member's question directly on the use of the CF-17's. They were initially deployed for the purpose of evacuating Canadians and other allied citizens out of Libya. They have not, by reason of the instability and the volatility in Libya, been able to embark on any true humanitarian relief. One would hope, as the member has indicated, that the situation will improve and that we will in the future be able perhaps to deliver humanitarian aid. I share his concern with respect to the number of displaced persons now gathering at the border of Egypt and Tunisia. The Libyan people are certainly under severe pressure at this point from their own regime.

Regarding the missions that were flown earlier today, four CF-18 aircraft did take part in surveillance. This was the first mission, so it could be deemed a familiarization mission. They were supported by refuellers. They did not engage in any military acts whatsoever. They were not carrying ground ordinances; that is it was not a bombing mission per se. They were there to enforce the parameters of the no-fly zone and to participate with other international partners in carrying out those efforts that are consistent with resolution 1973.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

3:50 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore
Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Chair, I thank the minister for his statement. Could he clarify the chain of command for this operation? Is this a NATO operation, or a coalition operation or a hybrid operation? In what part of the chain of command is Canada inserted?

Could the minister also state the Government of Canada's position on the ultimate objective of this action? There is some ambiguity as to whether this is an action whereby the resultant objective is regime change or whether it is an action simply engaged in humanitarian protection. Given the ambiguity of this, could he clarify the government's position on those two points?

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Central Nova, NS

Mr. Chair, I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his participation in this debate.

The issue with respect to the chain of command or how this mission in fact is tasked is currently essentially under U.S.-led coalition. That is to say that there are participant nations, some of whom are still coming to the front, and those include some members of the Arab league.

With respect to how our military will be operating, the tasking of certain roles under the no-fly zone and enforcement of the sanctions are under that U.S.-led coalition. However, the control of Canadian Forces remains within the Canadian chain of command. Those in theatre report directly to the Chief of the Defence Staff who reports to me, and further up to the Prime Minister.

Regarding the issues with respect to the goals and the end gain, this is a very clear mission. Canada, our allies and the Libyan people want to restore peace and stability on the ground. We very much want to see a progressive approach to that, including the enforcement of the no-fly zone and the sanctions that are set out in the UN Security Council resolutions. In fact, this is our determination, with the international community, to bring about and enforce the no-fly zone and the embargo, to convince Mr. Gadhafi and his regime to abandon these attacks on civilians and relinquish power.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

3:50 p.m.

Liberal

John Cannis Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Chair, I think there is no question that every member in this honourable House and everyone throughout the country supports our men and women in uniform. However, when we ask some questions, the last thing we want to hear is that we do not support our military. I hope I will not get this back, given the question I am going to ask.

The minister is a dear friend. The current chair of the Standing Committee on National Defence, which I had the honour of chairing, is here. I heard first-hand the good work and the difficulty that our men and women had gone through over the past several years. However, we have an obligation when we come to the House to also ask questions on behalf of our constituents and the taxpayers. They are asking us what happened, saying that six or eight months ago Gadhafi was part of the club. They really do not know what happened. They ask what is going on with respect to Bahrain and why we are not going in there or other areas.

The minister was kind enough to talk about the conflict in former Yugoslavia that brought about Kosovo.

Canadians are asking these types of question. You might not have the answer right now, but I just thought I would pass on to you the type of discussions going on out there. I know what we are doing is right, though.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Andrew Scheer

I would just remind the hon. member to address his remarks to the Chair and not directly at other members.

There is only about 10 or 15 seconds for the minister to respond.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Central Nova, NS

Mr. Chair, I thank the member for Scarborough Centre who has a long-standing interest in defence matters, as a former chair. I think he makes a very good point. No one wants to have this debate digress into a partisan match. This is really about demonstrating unanimity behind the good work of the Canadian Forces and the diplomatic corps and eventually our efforts to assist directly through humanitarian aid the people of Libya.

With regard to some of the specific question the member has asked, we have not gone into other countries because we do not have the mandate. We do not have a legal authority under the UN Security Council resolutions nor, in some cases, have we been requested as was the case in Afghanistan.

What we are doing is watching the situation very closely. We have people in the other countries he has mentioned, Bahrain and Syria, and others within the region. We did participate in support within Tunisia and Egypt in the past. We are monitoring the entire region and we will continue to do so and continue to act as appropriate and continue to consult with the House, as we do in this instance.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Chair, I appreciate the opportunity to say a few words on behalf of my colleagues. I want to thank the minister and other members of the government for providing us with some information and background about this important mission and for giving us the opportunity to debate the motion this afternoon.

We have all been watching the events in the Middle East over the last several months with a great deal of not only interest but, indeed, profound concern for the fate of the people of the Middle East. If there has been one significant transformation in international politics over the last several years, it has been the realization that what happens to people within states is every bit as important as what happens to governments.

This transformation of international law has not been speedy and it has not been without problems and challenges, but its significance cannot be underestimated. The Security Council, in passing the two resolutions, one which called for the freezing of assets of Gadhafi and his family and taking other economic sanctions against Libya and, second, the agreement I think many people found to be surprising, given the membership on the Security Council, to establish a no-fly zone, is only really imaginable if we realize the point, which I will emphasize once more. What happens to people within states and around the world is every bit as important, indeed more important, than what happens to states and governments.

The so-called convention of 1648, the Westphalia convention, which says that sovereignty trumps everything, that national governments are the end game and that reasons of state will always prevail over other considerations, is, as we used to say in law school, no longer good law. That just is not the way it works. The way it works is that governments have responsibilities to their citizens and that the citizens of the world have some degree of responsibility for one another in the challenges they face.

This is not a loosey-goosey concept. This is not a concept that has no parameters or no particular meaning. I am very proud of the fact that the Liberal leader, the member for Etobicoke—Lakeshore, participated in the discussion that was led by the former foreign minister of Australia, Gareth Evans, in advising initially the Canadian government and then the United Nations on how to begin to create some new rules of the game, some new procedures which would give this responsibility to protect some real meaning.

It is important to emphasize that the responsibility to protect, which was ultimately adopted by the General Assembly in 2005 and which was, despite considerable controversy and debate that it might not persist for very long, reaffirmed by the General Assembly in 2009, really comprises several different elements. It is, first, a responsibility to prevent crises and harm, to do whatever we can within our means to prevent crises from happening. It is also a responsibility to react to crises as they take place and then it is a responsibility to rebuild.

These are not consistently applied. The world is not a perfect place. There are many instances which other members can raise. My colleague from Scarborough Centre has raised other examples where we ask about situations over here or in other countries.

Many commentators have made observations. I can refer people publicly to the one very eloquent cri de coeur from Mr. Rex Murphy, who we see on CBC television from time to time. He made a very eloquent comment on the fact that this so-called responsibility to protect doctrine was not consistently applied and therefore it did not mean anything. With great respect to Mr. Murphy, I think he is wrong. It does mean something.

The first thing it means is that we expect governments to protect their citizens. This is the test that Colonel Gadhafi has failed. Not only has Colonel Gadhafi failed to protect his citizens, but after 45 years in power we have had many opportunities over the years to see Colonel Gadhafi in action. We have had an opportunity to see the damage and harm that he can bring. We know that he was certainly an instigator of the Lockerbie bombing. We know that he was actively participating in the creation of Libya as a nuclear power.

We know that he responded to certain pressures from the international community and agreed to change his ways in certain instances. He abandoned, apparently to the satisfaction of the IAEA, any nuclear ambitions which he may have. We also know full well that he took certain measures with respect to directly sponsoring terrorist activities in other countries.

But the fact is that Colonel Gadhafi is still a dictator, meaning that he was not elected and he took power illegally by destroying the monarchy in Libya. He has been in power for over 40 years with the support of the Libyan army and, like any dictator, he rules by oppressing the population, killing anyone who opposes him, torturing people who have different points of view and insisting on as much power as possible for himself and his family. That is an absolutely corrupt way to run a country, but as we say, the world is not a perfect place. We know that there are dictators in the world who do not honour their moral, political and humanitarian obligations. It is difficult to say, but there are heads of state and situations that we do not like, that we want to change and that the world has tried to change. That is the case with Colonel Gadhafi.

As we have watched these transformations taking place in the Middle East, we saw the dramatic change in Tunisia, the dramatic change in Egypt, the demonstrations that are still under way in a number of countries, and many people will try to figure out why this is happening and how it is happening, but undoubtedly it came to Libya.

It came to Libya in a way that surprised many people and apparently certainly surprised Colonel Gadhafi. It was a movement of people that obviously had some military support from an army that was clearly divided and which led to the capture by that rebel army of a number of cities, a number of towns, many of which some of us had not heard of or heard from since we knew the battle names of the Second World War. When I saw on the news one night that Tobruk had been captured, one had a certain sense of historical resonance with respect to what that name and that battle signified.

It was Colonel Gadhafi's determination to take the life of his own people that led to the decision of the international community to respond and that provides us with the justification for the response.

Our own view is that this mission cannot be endless. It has to be focused. I am a little troubled by what I heard from the minister today about the ambiguity with respect to what the overall purpose of the mission is. I can say to the government that we will support the motion. We will support the determination. In fact we have supported for a considerable time the need for the world to be able to respond to situations such as the one we are facing in Libya.

I do not think any of us feels there is a military solution to this conflict. We obviously have to use hard power, which we are now using, in an effort to create the space for soft power to do some of its work. We need to continue to encourage negotiations. We need to encourage back channels. We need to encourage a political engagement.

I would say very strongly that we encourage the government in increasing its diplomatic capacity and diplomatic engagement in its effort to bring peace to a region which has not known a great deal of peace. In fact the peace that it has known is the peace of repression. The peace we would like to see is the peace of justice, the peace of democracy. That continues to be a major objective of foreign policy.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

4:05 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Chair, my colleague gave a solid overview of the concerns we all share around how we respect international law in keeping with our tradition of respecting sovereignty. It is important to note that there have been changes and they were not made just in the last number of weeks and months. These changes have evolved since the UN was created. It is important to note that because the UN has had many challenges over the years. One of them was how to reflect the idea of sovereignty and by the same token the notion of international law and international human rights.

There is a long list of oppression in Libya. Some very bizarre and troubling cases. One of the things that we need to deal with in this debate today is around parameters. I have a question with respect to what is embedded in the UN resolution, particularly on stressing the need to intensify efforts for a solution to the crisis which responds to the legitimate demands of the Libyan people. We have to make sure that it is not just military involvement.

Would my colleague agree with us that the government needs to be declarative on what other avenues it is going to explore when it comes to the diplomatic side of this equation?

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Chair, I ended my remarks by saying as clearly as I could that we need an effort that is both diplomatic and military. Frankly, we needed a military intervention for the simple reason that if we did not have it then Colonel Gadhafi would have had carte blanche to massacre thousands of his people, civilians as well as armed insurgents, and there would have been no way to apply pressure on him to respond differently. Of course we need to find other means of obtaining a degree of stability in that country. Nobody wants to see an endless mission.

I think what drove the Security Council to its conclusion was a sense that unless those measures were taken there was a genuine risk of an even greater outbreak of violence than the one that we are seeing as a result of the mission being undertaken.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Chair, I would like to thank the hon. member for his speech.

It is clear that, as a nation, we need to strike and do our job in this situation.

Given that my colleague is also the foreign affairs critic, I think we need to do as he said and make a diplomatic effort as well. The message that is coming across today is unfortunately one of ambiguity in terms of the ramifications. Things are happening in places other than Libya—in Egypt, Tunisia and Syria as well.

I would like my colleague to share his opinion about how this ambiguity could be cleared up, so that the entire Arab community can also play a role in helping the Libyan people get through this. How does the member see its role, both in military and diplomatic terms?

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Chair, I believe that the role of the Arab League is absolutely fundamental. It is crucial that the problem be acknowledged. Attempts were made to find a political solution. For days, weeks even, attempts were made to find a political solution through discussions with Colonel Gadhafi in order to reach a better outcome than the one referred to in his declaration, which stated that he would kill anyone opposed to his regime. He refused.

Not only did he refuse, but he insisted on continuing the fight and using violence against his own people. That is why the Arab League has insisted that the solution be an international one.

We need to redouble our efforts in partnership with the Arab League. I would like to suggest to the hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs that Canada immediately establish diplomatic relations with the Arab League in order to take part in the discussions and come to a more positive solution than the present situation.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Casson Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Chair, it is good that we are having this debate. We all have our concerns and questions and certainly we want to highlight the issues in Libya.

I appreciate the comments of the member opposite. We sat on the defence committee together some time ago.

To have a debate in the House like this today, considering some of the other debates that have taken place and some of the other antics that have gone on, it is good to get down to something serious where we can discuss and work toward a common goal.

The 1973 UN Security Council Resolution is many pages long. It delves into a lot of different areas and does indicate the protection of the people, to stop what is happening there. It goes on about the no-fly zone, ensuring the arms embargo, asset freezing, the whole issue. Then it gets into the humanitarian aspect of it.

I believe, and we have heard this from all today, that this is a necessary step, taking into account that all other avenues have failed. The last action we want to take is what we have to do, particularly flying over a foreign country.

Having said that, nothing else has happened. In the past, the only thing that Colonel Gadhafi responded to was a threat similar to this in his country and things changed after that.

Does the member think there is any salvation for the Gadhafi government or himself? Is this a point in time in the history of the world where he has to completely be removed from governing a country or governing a people?

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Chair, let me make it very clear. If the hon. member is asking the member for Toronto Centre would he be happier if Colonel Gadhafi were gone, the answer is absolutely yes.

However, it seems to me that the important point, and my understanding is, that even President Obama said that regime change was not the ultimate objective or the purpose of the mission.

We all have to understand that the decision as to what kind of government Libya will have has to be a decision by the Libyan people. The new government of Libya will not be imposed by a foreign invasion. That will not work.

What we have to do with this use of military intervention, of the hard power that we are using by the imposition of the no-fly zone, is to create sufficient political space that the people of Libya will actually have a chance to express themselves more fully and more clearly than they already have.

If I am being asked my own personal preference, the member is smiling, I can report to our television cameras, although they are not allowed to shine on his ebullient face, just to say that we are certainly not unambiguous in that regard. I think we are very clear.

However, I do not think it is possible for a UN resolution to say that the objective of the mission is the removal of the government of Libya. I do not think that is a possible statement to make in terms of the resolution itself.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

4:15 p.m.

Calgary East
Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Chair, I would like to correct a couple of things the member mentioned in the speech he made today .

He said that it should be a diplomatic initiative. I want to tell him that the Minister of Foreign Affairs was in Paris for a diplomatic issue and from Paris he went to Cairo to meet Amr Moussa of the Arab League. Therefore, I want to state for the record that the diplomatic initiative the member has called for is happening.

At the same time, it is important to recognize that this morning we had a briefing for all the foreign affairs critics. The Liberal defence critic was also there. The whole process was outlined. Although it is in its early stages, some of the concerns that have been raised here shall be resolved, such as who is in command and what is happening. These issues are in the initial and early stages but, as we were told in the briefing today, they will be addressed in a couple of days. Therefore, many of the questions the member has today will be addressed by this government.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Chair, the parliamentary secretary always does a great job at defending whatever the government either is or is not doing. I appreciate that is obviously part of some job description that I have not seen, but he is undertaking it with great determination.

I have as clear a sense of the itinerary of the Minister of Foreign Affairs as anybody does. I follow it with interest. I know that he was in Paris. I know that he was part of those discussions. I also know that he was talking to Amr Moussa.

What I suggested to the minister and the parliamentary secretary specifically was that we should aim to have official representation in the Arab League in Cairo as quickly as possible, that our ambassador in Egypt should be accredited to the Arab League so that we are able to communicate directly with all of the countries that are based in Cairo. At this very moment, we do not have that accreditation. It is something important for us to do.

Second, what I suggested was that our diplomatic effort at finding a solution and continuing to aim for a solution obviously has to be as muscular as our willingness to send the CF-18s to patrol the airspace--

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Andrew Scheer

Order, please. I will have to stop the member there.

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

4:15 p.m.

Bloc

Jean Dorion Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Chair, the Bloc Québécois supports Canada’s armed participation in the multilateral intervention in Libya. We support the troops who have been called on to participate in it. It is a perfectly legitimate operation since it is being carried out as a multilateral effort and its purpose is to protect the civilian populations.

While the Bloc Québécois supports Canada’s military intervention within this international undertaking in Libya, it also calls for extreme caution on Canada’s part. This intervention must not lead to human losses among Libyan civilians. That would be a gross violation of Security Council resolution 1973, which specifically provided that protection of civilians had to be the primary objective of the intervention.

We reiterate our belief that the federal government must consult parliamentarians concerning any deployment of troops abroad. Moreover, we condemn the immoral use of force by the Gadhafi regime against innocent people, and we believe that President Gadhafi's abuses of power must end. There must be an immediate ceasefire by the Gadhafi regime in relation to civilians and it must be honoured, as was not the case when the regime announced a ceasefire.

We have supported the measures taken by Canada to implement the two Security Council resolutions on Libya, including the asset freeze. We also applaud the decision by the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court to investigate actions committed in Libya that look like crimes against humanity. As well, we believe that Canada must pursue its discussions with the National Transition Council that the opposition has established in Libya. And we express our compassion for all our citizens of Libyan origin who are living through a troubled time, in view of the situation in their country of origin, and we stand with them.

We support the sending of CF-18s to Libya because that intervention is consistent with a value that is fundamental to Quebeckers: that military intervention must be carried out in a multilateral framework. The Bloc Québécois believes that military interventions should be undertaken with the approval of the UN, the organization that has the specific duty to ensure that alternative solutions are found to war. We are opposed to any unilateral action, that is, any action decided on by a single country or a small number of countries.

The Bloc is also against the notion of preventive war, in other words, a war instigated against another country because we suspect it of intending to wage war. Of course, in the absence of an established and imminent threat, a country cannot go to war against another country merely because it harbours misgivings in respect of that country.

Two principles that guide our position on any conflict in which Canada is called upon to participate are our opposition to any and all unilateral action and our disapproval of preventive wars.

Multilateralism is, quite logically, in Quebec’s best interests. Moreover, it is in the best interests of nations that are not superpowers, such as Canada and any future sovereign Quebec, that there be a multilateral organization to manage conflicts.

The air raids in Libya are authorized under Security Council resolution 1973, which authorizes member states to take any and all necessary steps for the enforcement of a no fly zone to ensure that aircraft cannot be used for the purpose of airborne attacks on the civilian population.

The Gadhafi regime has on several occasions in recent days used its aircraft to attack civilian populations. The Bloc Québécois is therefore of the view that action must be taken to protect the civilian population against the attacks launched by its own government, which, as I said earlier, are tantamount to crimes against humanity.

Of course, Parliament must be consulted before any troops are deployed abroad. That much is made clear in sections 31 and 32 of the National Defence Act. We recognize the government’s prerogative to place the Canadian Forces on active service, which is what it did over the weekend, but we believe that any such decision must be approved post-haste by the House in order for it to be legal. We must bear in mind that the government’s authority comes from Parliament.

Furthermore, it is clear that soldiers risk their lives on these overseas missions. These soldiers are Quebeckers and Canadians. They have families and friends. They are risking their lives in another country because Canada has asked them to be there. Any such decision on Canada’s part cannot be made without the blessing of its citizens, and the representatives of those citizens are the members of Parliament.

We also know that the rebel leaders in Libya called on the UN to impose a no fly zone. Ultimately, Libyans and Libyans alone can, and must, decide what their future will be, but it is clear that the Gadhafi regime has no intention of allowing this to happen.

There was resolution 1970 on February 26, which provided for the seizure of Libyan military equipment, the imposition of an embargo on arms sales to Libya, sanctions against certain individuals whose assets would be frozen, the creation of a panel to review the situation in Libya, and co-operation with the International Criminal Court in its desire to bring to justice the members of the Gadhafi regime who are accused of crimes against humanity.

There was resolution 1973 on March 17, which called for an immediate ceasefire, the creation of a no fly zone over Libya, and other similar measures. The primary purpose of all these resolutions is to protect civilians.

The resolution aims to impose a ceasefire between the Gadhafi regime and the civilian population. Its aim is not the invasion, division or dismemberment of Libya. A clear message is being sent to the Arab world: this operation is not another Western intervention against the Arab world or against Muslims. It has clearly defined limits. This is not another Iraq.

For all these reasons and in light of the Paris summit last Saturday—which confirmed the multilateral nature of this intervention with the presence not only of many countries but also of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Secretary-General of the Arab League and the President of the Council of Europe—we support the participation of the Canadian Forces in this operation.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Chair, we all share the concerns of what is transpiring in many countries around the world and certainly respect and honour our military for coming to the call when they are needed.

The member made one statement that bears some consideration. He referred to this as being a message to all Arab countries around the world.

I have received some communications from constituents over the past week and they raised the question about whether this was just the first step of a broader conflict and a broader engagement involving not just enforcing a UN resolution on a no-fly zone and the freezing of the assets of Mr. Gadhafi and his family, but also an indication that there is a potential that there could be on the ground military and there could be engagement in other hot spots in the Arab world.

I wonder if the member would care to comment on whether those concerns have been raised and whether he believes that the government has opened itself now to engaging in a much broader conflict.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

Bloc

Jean Dorion Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Chair, a very important element in the strategy of those who called this very successful conference in Paris—quite a coup for French diplomacy—was the participation of the United Nations, the Council of Europe and, most importantly, the Arab League. Over the weekend, the Secretary-General of the Arab League, Mr. Moussa, criticized certain specific aspects of the operation. In the end, though, the Arab League changed its stance and continued its support. This Arab League support is essential.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference, which includes 57 countries with Muslim populations, also condemned the actions of the Gadhafi regime. That is also very important. It is crucial, of course, for the diplomatic services of the countries involved in this operation to make every effort to convince the Arab world that this operation is not a Western intervention against the Arabs. It is an operation undertaken by the whole world to save Arabs and Muslims, in particular the civilian population of Libya. We are not there to overthrow the regime but to ensure it causes no further injury.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

4:30 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Chair, I was with my colleague from the Bloc and others in the briefing this morning by officials. One of the concerns we had was that this would not be an open-ended exercise. We wanted to ensure that we have parliamentary oversight, that we have a debate and that we vote on a motion.

Another concern is around ground troops. The member will know that one of the concerns we raised was about ensuring this would not be an opening for Canadian ground troops to be sent. We want to ensure that if there is any change in what we agreed to, it will come back to this place, to Parliament. Would he agree with that?

I also would like to know his party's position on the ground troops and on the kind of oversight there should be in terms of the mission itself.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

4:30 p.m.

Bloc

Jean Dorion Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Chair, I believe a resolution was tabled, with certain amendments proposed by the NDP. These issues are being examined at this time and we will likely decide in the next few hours or minutes the exact position we plan to take. Certainly, as things stand now, there are no plans to send ground troops. As for the rest, we will see whether everyone in the House agrees on how the operation is envisioned in the resolutions brought before us.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

4:30 p.m.

Calgary East
Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Chair, I thank the Bloc. It is a rare thing for somebody from the west to thank a separatist party. Nevertheless, those members were very co-operative in getting Bill C-61 through the House and is now in front of the Senate. The bill would freeze the assets of all the dictators who have stolen money. On that basis, I thank the hon. member for his party's rapid support. I want to tell those Canadians who are watching that there was unanimous support for that bill from all parties.

This morning we had a very extensive briefing by officials from both the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of National Defence. They discussed the legal aspects. They made it very clear what the resolution means. They made it very clear that no invasion was to be done. Invasion means occupying territory and that is not in the resolution. Protecting civilians is in the resolution and in rate cases protecting civilians requires ground troops.

The Bloc members made their position on this issue very clear. The UN resolution was extremely clear in stating that there will be no invasion. Today, President Obama said that removing Mr. Gadhafi was not the target, but rather it was about protecting civilians as the UN resolution states. It is quite clear that it is about protecting the civilian population, as the Prime Minister has also said.

I would like the hon. member to take that into account based on our briefing this morning.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

4:35 p.m.

Bloc

Jean Dorion Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Chair, as I said earlier, we understand that the goal of the mission is not to invade Libya, but rather to protect the people of Libya.

As for the government member's thanks to the Bloc Québécois, I would say to him that we accept all the thanks we deserve, and we believe that, usually, we deserve them.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

4:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris St. John's East, NL

Mr. Chair, I would like to put forth the notion that the United Nations Security Council, acting under chapter 7, makes what is in effect legally binding resolutions on all of its members, including, in this case, the Arab League which supported it.

Could the member comment on how important it is to act with a certain degree of restraint in order to ensure that the Arab League, for example, stays onboard with this and participates as much as possible since it is aimed at protecting Arab civilians?

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

4:35 p.m.

Bloc

Jean Dorion Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Chair, it is probably more difficult for Arab League countries to become involved. According to the most recent reports, only one country, Qatar, had in fact sent any aircraft to take part in the mission, but I do not know whether others have joined in the past few hours.

It is more difficult for them to become involved militarily, although diplomatic support is also extremely important. As I was saying earlier, we must win the support of Arab countries as well as that of the governments in question if we want to convince Arab populations that this operation is not against the Arab world, but rather only against the Gadhafi regime.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

4:35 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Chair, I will begin my comments by stating that New Democrats will be supporting UN Resolution 1973 and obviously the debate we are having here is how that will be done in Canada.

It is important to give a bit of an overview and timeline on how we got here. As we know, there have been tumultuous events in the North African-Middle East region. When it comes to Libya, some of the most recent events started in mid-January. There were political corruption concerns of civilians and protests in Benghazi, Bani Walid and other cities. There were protests in the streets on issues around the lack of housing and corruption.

In late January there was a significant event. Jamal al- Hajji, a writer, political commentator and accountant, called out on the Internet for demonstrations to be held in support of greater freedoms in Libya. He was inspired by the events in Tunisia and Egypt. On February 1, he was arrested by plainclothes officers and was charged on February 3 with injuring someone with his car, which was a trumped up charge. Amnesty International claimed that because al-Hajji had previously been in prison for his non-violent political opinions, the real reason for the arrest appeared to be his call for demonstrations.

In early February, Gadhafi met with political activists, journalists and media figures and warned them that they would be held responsible if they disturbed the peace or created chaos in Libya. The protests and confrontations then began in earnest on February 15. On February 17, the day of revolt was called for by Libyans and by February 21 Libya erupted into violence with Moammar Gadhafi's son threatening rivers of blood and deployed security forces on protestors and some who had claimed by that point the second biggest city, Benghazi.

In the initial crackdown, 250 people had died in Tripoli alone. There were reports of military aircraft firing on peaceful protestors in Tripoli. On Monday, these reports were backed up by Libyan diplomats who had turned against the leadership of Gadhafi. Amid the violence, there were also signs that some officials and troops were deserting the Gadhafi regime.

It was at that moment that my party, on February 22, made a statement that the Government of Canada must unequivocally express its support for the peaceful realization of the Libyan people's democratic aspirations. At the time we called on the Canadian government to use all its available diplomatic channels to help put an end to the Libyan regime's violent oppression.

On February 22, we called on Canada to work with international partners to bring the issue of a no-fly zone in Libyan airspace to the UN Security Council. We believed that was required on February 22. On February 26, when the UN Security Council passed the first resolution, Resolution 1973, which enacted sanctions, we pushed again for the Canadian government to engage our UN partners and others to push for a no fly provision.

We had welcomed the sanctions with regard to the Gadhafi regime at the time on February 26, but we were also very concerned and remain concerned about the response of the Canadian government, frankly, when it came to evacuation and the missed opportunity for humanitarian support. We believed at the time, and said so publicly, that Canada should advocate not only for the UN no-fly provision but also to help refugees on the borders of both Egypt and Tunisia. We also believed in the need to refer Gadhafi and the members of his regime to the Hague, the International Criminal Court, and that is something that has been put forward through the UN.

It was also noted at that time that the UN and the Arab League had been calling for a ceasefire. That was something we believed was important to note.

At the time, as was mentioned by some of my colleagues, other institutions were also speaking out. We heard from members the African Union, which is important to put that on the record. They were condemning the violence of Gadhafi. We also heard from the Organization of the Islamic Conference and, as we have already noted, the Arab League.

As we debate this motion, we must remember that it is not just a military engagement. We believe that there needs to be humanitarian support. We have heard from at least one minister that there is contemplation for humanitarian support. We would certainly encourage the government to make concrete plans and to let Canadians and the international community know those plans. We have lift capacity in situ.

We also believe there is an opportunity to engage with the Diaspora here. As has been noted before, we have had fundraising done primarily but not exclusively by Libyan Canadians. We have had Canadian Libyan doctors offer their support to help with a humanitarian mission. We think they need to be engaged. They have offered and we should take them up on that offer.

The government needs to be clear about the goals of this mission, which is what this debate is about and, presumably, what the motion will detail. We have been in conversation with the government and have asked for amendments to be made to the motion that we will be bringing forward to this House in a couple of hours.

I will go over some of the things that we would like to see. I have already mentioned the need to be very clear about what Canada's commitment to UN resolution 1973 is and what it is not. We have certainly let the government know this today. I will say publicly for the record that we will hold the government to account that this is not about deploying ground troops, that this is about supporting the no-fly zone and that there is no contemplation by the government to deploy ground troops. There is a provision for humanitarian efforts and rescue, which has been noted and is obvious, and that is something we understand.

Everyone needs to see and understand what we are committing to in the motion. We want the government to say that we will engage in all aspects of the UN resolution, such as the establishment of a ceasefire, finding a political solution that addresses the legitimate demands of the Libyan people, and ensuring Libyan authorities comply with all obligations under international law.

We would also like to see the motion highlight the role of the UN. The resolution puts the UN General Secretary in a coordinating role, which is very important. Canada's involvement should always honour that part of the resolution, that we are under the auspice and the coordination, ultimately, of the UN, not other organizations.

That is the only way to maintain confidence in this UN resolution, which means working with the UN and with the Arab League. We also want to see parliamentary oversight of this mission, which the government has accepted. We in the NDP wanted to see that done by both the committees of foreign affairs and defence. We want to see a short timeline for this mission, along the lines of a couple of months. If there is any need for further engagement, it must come back to this House so we can debate and vote on that.

Finally, we want to ensure that Canada's involvement is about supporting this resolution while ensuring we can do more on diplomacy. Perhaps in questions I can elaborate a bit more on how we might be able to do that.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

4:45 p.m.

Calgary East
Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Chair, I want to address one issue about which the NDP has talked. I have been debating with the member for almost a month on all the perils over there and the NDP comes out with a blanket statement on what Canada should do, without legal authority on all of these things. Now we have assumed the legal authority from the UN resolution which would authorize to do what we had been saying, and that was we would take all these actions in coordination with other international partners. At that time, I remember the member telling me that Canada must do this. The NDP says that Canada, for some reason now we are there, is a superpower in the world. We are not, but we need legitimacy which we have through the UN Security Council resolution.

At a briefing this morning, it was very clear that there would be no ground troops. The resolution does not authorize invading Libya. All it says is that the civilians be protected, which the hon. member rightly pointed out he supports. For him to stand and say that the NDP will hold the government accountable and this and that, no.

The hon. member should read the resolution. It is very clear and distinct. The Prime Minister has said it and we have said it, that the resolution says we will not invade Libya. We are there to protect. There are two resolutions, and that should be good enough. He has already said that the NDP members are supporting it, and for that I am thankful.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

4:45 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Chair, let me be clear about a number of things. First I said in my comments that after the events of February 17 and 21, on February 22 we were the only party that came out with regard to a no-fly provision through the UN. That is on the record and I think my colleague knows that.

It is very important that we understand what the limits of this are. With respect to my colleague, it is our job as the opposition to hold the government to account. That is what people pay us to do.In the motion we need to see that this will be done. I am glad the government has accepted our amendments for parliamentary oversight.

I want to be absolutely explicit about the Prime Minister's commitment to our leader and to us that there would be no ground troops, with the exceptions, as I said before, in terms of rescue and humanitarian concerns. At the end, it is important we note that.

Finally, I see the Minister of Foreign Affairs is here. I want to mention that we also use our diplomatic capacity. I should note that we have a Canadian citizen, well qualified, who can provide that role, a former member of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic States. I hope we would employ those diplomatic resources as well.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Chair, the member touched on a number of points. First, we understand that under sections 31 and 32 of the National Defence Act, the government has taken authorized steps and certainly with the authority of the UN resolution of 1973.

The member has made some demands as the previous questioner noted. One of the points was that he wanted to see this current mission complete within a certain period of time, I believe he said in two or three months. I suspect that Canada is not in the role right now to determine how long this may take. In fact, that leads to my question of what the authorized time frame is by the UN, under the National Defence Act, or under any auspices, whether it be even an agreement at the meetings that were taken up in Paris.

It is important for Canadians to understand whether we are in a well-defined mission, which will end at a certain term or whether this is open ended, depending on the developments as they occur.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

4:50 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Chair, one of the things we have asked for and the government has agreed to is what I laid out, and that will be in the motion. We did that because we wanted to have parliamentary approval and parliamentary oversight. That will happen with the provisions accepted by the government. The committee on foreign affairs and defence be seized with this.

The timeline of three months was simply because we needed to have some sort of timeline. We do not want to have what happened, frankly, with his government, when it came to Afghanistan, where we did not really have any timelines and we ended up with a conflict that had no boundaries. We need boundaries on this. We need to have understanding that this will not going to go on forever. Therefore, we believe the three months is reasonable. If it goes beyond three months, we need to know why and we need to have this issue brought back to Parliament so it can debated and so we can decide whether we continue with our military contribution.

Finally, it is important for all members to know that within the UN resolution itself, it is spelled out very clearly about notification by all members involved, before and after action is taken, reporting both to the UN General-Secretary and to the Arab League. Those are both very important provisions of accountability and something that we will monitor in terms of Canada's participation.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

4:50 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris St. John's East, NL

Mr. Chair, I thank my colleague from Ottawa Centre for his contribution.

Would the member comment on the concerns that have been raised about certain officials. We heard the minister of defence in the U.K., and we may have heard the minister of defence here today, talk about regime change in Libya. We may have our own private opinions about the fate of the leader of Libya. However, in the context of this binding resolution of the Security Council, we have an international consensus on the specific actions in resolution 1973.

Would the member care to comment on the possibility of loose talk about regime change, particularly from leaders, being detrimental to the cause and alienating the Arab League, which is very important and instrumental in this whole agreement taking place to allow international action at this stage?

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

4:55 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Chair, it is absolutely critical that we do not engage in rhetoric that talks about regime change and getting rid of leaders. We have to stay true to the Security Council resolution and to the provisions that have been made within the coalition. The last thing we want to do is upset the fragile stability. We know that some of the groups involved, the Arab League, for instance, could not defend partners saying things like “regime change”.

We have to be crystal clear. I urge the government and all ministers to check their rhetoric and to ensure that not only is it not said but that it is not implied.

If we are to be successful in activating resolution 1973 and resolution 1970, it means we all have to understand that it is about protection of civilians and not regime change.

I encourage the government to ensure that we do not engage in that kind of rhetoric and that we are crystal clear about what the mission is about and not engage in things that are outside the parameters and the boundaries of resolution 1973.

Finally, Canada has a role here. Not only should we engage in and be observers of the Arab League, but we should also use our own capacity diplomatically of involving those we know have the skills to go to the next step, and that is the diplomatic side. Right now it is a military focus. The next logical step is obviously a humanitarian and diplomatic one and that should happen right now.

I look forward to the comments of the Minister of Foreign Affairs on that and any update he has about the next steps diplomatically and the humanitarian aspects of the mission.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

4:55 p.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Chair, in just one month, Canada and Canadians have witnessed an historic change in Libya. It all started when the people of Benghazi, inspired by the recent developments in Tunisia and Egypt, took to the streets to stand up for their basic human rights. The courage these citizens showed in the face of atrocious acts of violence galvanized the entire country and the international community. Initial hopes that Colonel Gadhafi would accept the will of the people and allow them to be in control of their own destiny crumbled when he decided to attack his own people, thereby forcing the United Nations Security Council to approve a no fly zone in order to end the violence. Despite the many challenges to overcome, one thing is certain: a profoundly changed Libya will emerge.

As Gadhafi's forces were advancing to surround the heavily populated historic city of Benghazi, the fear was that the people of Libya who were standing up for their legitimate human rights would face a final bloody confrontation with a defiant and isolated dictator supported by mercenaries. Gadhafi has not only ignored the demands of the people, but he has also ignored those of the international community. He has ramped up the assaults and threatened his own people on television, promising he would attack them one house at a time and that he would be merciless toward some one million inhabitants.

Gadhafi has threatened the Mediterranean countries and any other country that opposes his madness. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 300,000 people have fled to neighbouring countries, including Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria and Niger.

Canada is very concerned about allegations that refugees are being prevented from leaving the country, in western Libya in particular, a region about which it is very difficult to get any information, and that vulnerable populations, including migrant workers, are being targeted.

Canada has taken a series of measures to press the Gadhafi regime to respect the rights of its citizens. On February 23, the United Nations Secretary General responded to the egregious violations of international and human rights law and called on the government of Libya to protect its own people.

On February 27, the United Nations Security Council passed resolution 1970, which condemned Gadhafi's actions, which by then included the killing of at least 1,000 people and the arrest, detention and torture of thousands more. The measures included a travel ban and an asset freeze on members of the government.

Canada's approach, in concert with the rest of the international community, has been to isolate the Gadhafi regime, cut it off from its financial resources, deprive it of its legitimacy and ensure that there will be no impunity for crimes against humanity committed against the civilian population and for violations of international humanitarian law.

Canada welcomes the decision by the Security Council to refer the matter to the International Criminal Court and the prosecutor's announcement that he has initiated an investigation.

As always, our first priority was the safety and security of Canadians caught in the conflict and we worked with our allies to ensure the safe evacuation of all those in need. During the early stages of the crisis, nearly 350 Canadians as well as numerous nationals of partner countries were transported from the conflict zone by road, air and by sea.

Then the Government of Canada responded to the Security Council's initiative by immediately suspending our diplomatic presence and by implementing our own sanctions in accordance with the United Nations Security Council resolution and the domestic Special Economic Measures Act. Our quick action to end all financial transactions with Libya prevented Gadhafi and his associates from immediately accessing more than $20 million in assets at Canadian financial institutions. Altogether, this move deprived the regime of more than $2.3 billion in resources located in Canada. Unfortunately these messages from the international community were not strong enough for the regime of Colonel Gadhafi.

Most recently, on March 17, a new Security Council resolution No. 1973 authorized the use of military force to bring the Libyan government into compliance with its international legal obligations.

UN resolution 1973 authorizes UN member states to “take all necessary measures” to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in Libya. This resolution, drafted and supported by the League of Arab States, does not—I repeat—authorize any foreign occupation. It sets out a solid mandate of protection, and Canada urges all member states to implement it.

The resolution also imposes a no-fly zone in Libyan airspace and authorizes member states to “take all necessary measures” to enforce compliance. However, the resolution does not affect flights whose sole purpose is to provide humanitarian aid or evacuate foreign nationals. The resolution calls on member states to implement these measures in accordance with Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations in order to restore international peace and security.

Canada has answered the call. It has notified the secretaries general of the United Nations and the League of Arab States of its intention to participate in the international efforts, and is in close contact with its allies in order to determine how its participation in these efforts can be as effective as possible.

Resolution 1973 authorizes international action and sets limits on the action. It specifically excludes any form of occupation force on any portion of the Libyan territory. Now this was a clear agreement between the sponsors of the resolution and the Arab League. The central purpose of the resolution is to end the violence, protect citizens and allow the people of Libya to shape their own future.

In closing, I want to reiterate that Canada has contributed $6.5 million to date to partners to help the people of Libya and those affected by the crisis, particularly those who have fled to neighbouring countries. Our contribution will fund essential food, water, shelter, medical supplies and evacuation assistance to those fleeing the violence.

Canada stands ready to provide further assistance to those who suffer as a result of the terrible humanitarian crisis unleashed by Gadhafi. We sincerely hope that Gadhafi does decide to step down.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Chair, the foreign minister intoned the historical nature of the changes that are occurring in North Africa and the Middle East over the last couple of months. The people of Egypt saw what was happening in Tunisia and they found their voice. They rose up and they overthrew a regime that had repressed them for decades.

We saw similar uprisings in a number of countries, including Libya. But it was not just the people learning. Dictators learned from what was happening in the Middle East. Colonel Gadhafi realized that he was facing regime change unless he used lethal force. That is what we saw. One of his sons said there would be rivers of blood.

Prior to this allied action, a number of regimes that are facing uprisings used lethal force against peaceful demonstrators, civilians, who after decades of oppression had found their voice. This happened in Bahrain, in Yemen and most recently in Syria.

Has our government spoken with officials or diplomats from those governments and stated clearly and unequivocally that Canada views the use of lethal force against peaceful civilians as unacceptable?

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Pontiac, QC

Mr. Chair, I want to reassure my hon. colleague that Canada has spoken out clearly on recent events, whether they be in Yemen or Bahrain. We condemn the violence in Yemen. We have expressed regret over the deaths and injuries to innocent civilians who are protesting peacefully in those countries. Canada has called upon the authorities in those countries to exercise restraint and to engage in peaceful and fulsome dialogue with other civil societies.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

5:05 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Chair, I thank the minister for his intervention and clarification on some points. I want to ask him a couple of questions about the next steps.

We have been concerned from the beginning around Canada's response on the humanitarian side. We have lift capacity there. The minister outlined in his speech the government's concern that we all share around the treatment of civilians and refugees.

I would like to ask the minister what concrete steps the government is going to take in terms of using the lift capacity we have on the humanitarian side? Have we engaged with those in the diaspora community, particularly Libyan Canadian doctors, who offered their services?

Up until Thursday the government had not spoken out on whether or not it would support a no-fly provision. We put that forward in our statement on February 22. I am wondering when the government decided to support the no-fly provision. Was it just after the UN resolution or had that determination been made before?

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Pontiac, QC

Mr. Chair, we have been extremely active on the diplomatic front. Last week I had the opportunity to travel to Europe to participate in the G8 foreign ministers meeting where this issue was discussed. I then proceeded to Cairo to meet Amr Moussa, the Secretary General of the Arab League on Wednesday. I had the opportunity of seeing him once again on Saturday in Paris.

What is important here is the coming together and the building of a consensus among the like-minded and the members of the Arab League, the African Union, the countries that participate quite actively on the UN Security Council.

The operation over the course of the last several days and indeed over the last couple of weeks has been to build that consensus to ensure that we put an end to the violence that is occurring and stop the bloodshed and make sure that the humanitarian assistance to provide shelter, et cetera, which I indicated in my speech a few moments ago is in the vicinity of $6.5 million, is available.

Members may recall my colleague, as well as the Prime Minister, indicated that the frigate HMCS Charlottetown was on its way. We deployed it specifically to help with the humanitarian deployment for Canada and to ensure that the 750,000 Egyptians who are caught in Libya do get help and aid as they try to transit back into their country.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Chair, I want to clarify two things.

One is that I indicated earlier in the debate that I thought it would be a good opportunity for Canada to establish formally its diplomatic relations with the Arab League, that there be an Arab League ambassador here in Ottawa, as well as for us to have official accreditation at the Arab League in Cairo. I wonder if the minister could comment on that suggestion.

The second is that I realize the minister was very careful in choosing his words at the end when he said that it would be our preference if Colonel Gadhafi were to step down. I can assure him it is certainly a preference that I share. I am wondering if we can be clear with respect to the so-called end game that we talk about. What would Canada regard as a successful mission or what would he interpret the UN would regard as a successful mission? How will we know when it is over?

We all realize that we do not necessarily have precise timetables, but it would be useful for us to know precisely what the objective is.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Pontiac, QC

Mr. Chair, I will take the first question under advisement and will be able to discuss it.

In terms of the end game, it is not up to Canada to decide who stays and runs which country. It is up to the people of Libya. It is up to those who are fighting to continue what Amr Moussa called the winds of change that are sweeping across the Middle East as well as North Africa, and to be able to make sure that the conditions to favour that do exist.

Therefore, it is not up to Canada to say this or that individual does not have the authority, legitimacy or the right to govern and be in place in such-and-such a country. It is up the population. It is up to the people. That is, indeed, what Canada is promoting in terms of foreign policy, fostering and promoting democracy, the rule of law and human rights. Those are the things we stand for and that we want put in place in those countries.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

Liberal

Jim Karygiannis Scarborough—Agincourt, ON

Mr. Chair, the minister mentioned that he travelled to Egypt. Not only are there problems in Egypt with Hosni Mubarak and what happened there, but throughout the years there were problems with the Coptic population which makes up about 10% of Egypt. On New Year's Eve there was a bombing outside a church and although Hosni Mubarak has left, there is still violence against the Coptic Christians. There was a church burned just a couple of weeks ago and 40 members of Parliament signed a petition.

I am wondering if we have said something to the Egyptians or if a diplomatic note has been sent to them. I am wondering what Canada has done and what the minister has done on the issue of the Coptic population and the difficulties that they face. We cannot let this go. Not even a press release was issued after the burning of the church.

Although its prime minister attempted to speak to them, as one of the nations stepping forward today saying we have a responsibility to protect Libya, we owe that part of the world and those people some sort of responsibility in sending a clear message not only about what happened with Hosni Mubarak but what is happening to them now. I am wondering if the minister could enlighten us as to what exactly he did.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Pontiac, QC

Mr. Chair, that is indeed an important question.

Everyone will recall that when we had the take note emergency debate on Egypt, I indicated that among the things we wanted the new authorities in Egypt to support was the whole question of religious freedoms. We have made that quite clear. I made that perfectly clear to its foreign minister, as well as its prime minister.

When I was there on Wednesday, I had the opportunity of speaking to authorities from the civil society and the youth I met all called upon the new way of looking at how this is going to be introduced. They certainly want a de-radicalization of the elements that have been creating difficulties in that country for so long.

We have been outspoken on this specific issue. The Prime Minister, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism and I stand for religious freedom. We have to remember that this party finds its roots in what John Diefenbaker and the bill of rights and religious freedoms stood for.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

Liberal

Jim Karygiannis Scarborough—Agincourt, ON

Mr. Chair, it is indeed a pleasure to rise on this issue. I had asked the Speaker a number of times before to have an emergency debate on this issue and I am glad we are doing it today.

I noticed the hon. minister did not answer the question that was put to him specifically about the Coptic situation, so there will be another time that we can talk about this.

Since the beginning of this year we are noticing one demonstration revolution after another in the Arab world, in the Middle East, and yet the western world is eyeballing this and a lot of our people are saying “responsibility to protect”, that we have to take some serious steps toward it.

What is happening in that part of the world is a certain something which was well overdue. We had presidents, prime ministers, dictators, most of them there for life, and a lot of them were single-party leaders and many of them were military supported. We had Hosni Mubarak in Egypt who was there for 32 years. We have Gadhafi who has been there for 41 years. The list goes on and on.

However, before I address the issue of Colonel Gadhafi and what is happening and what he is doing to his people, I wanted to look at the Conservative government, and if it is ready to handle the safety of Canadians abroad.

There was a protocol that was put in place after the tsunami in 2004-2005 in order to assist Canadians who were caught in natural or man-made disasters, as well as the countries where the disasters happened. The protocol was that number one we get Canadians out of harm's way, and there should be a blueprint that certainly responds to every need in a different way in order to make sure we address our citizens.

Communities that wanted to raise money in order to assist in those areas would be given a one-time charitable donation number, so they can assist them in raising money, matching dollar for dollar as has been done time and time again with money that was raised. That shouldn't be a knee jerk reaction: we do it for one country and we do not do it for another. We do it for Haiti and the Prime Minister goes out there and makes a donation, but we should offer this to all the communities that are trying to raise money, even for Japan today.

I noticed that we also had some money that was going to Libya. There are Libyan Canadians who want to raise money in order to help and assist in the surrounding countries, and yet they are not being given that opportunity. There are credible organizations. There's the Red Cross, Oxfam, and CARE. There are communities stakeholders such as Humanity First, GlobalMedic. The protocol also stated that we should assist people who had immigration files from those countries, people who were sponsoring spouses, dependent children, parents, and grandparents in order to get them out of harm's way. If people in Canada want to, there has to be the willingness as well as the means to invite people from that part of the world, certainly for them to be given that opportunity to come to this country until the calamity is over.

We have seen the disaster and what happened with the situation in Lebanon. The government's response back then was certainly dismal. Early this year we saw what happened in Egypt when the difficulties erupted. Evacuation of Canadians from Egypt was hastily done, at the very last minute. To my knowledge, Canada was the only country in the world that was asking its citizens to pay money to be evacuated out of harm's way. Never before have we had a government that actually asked people to pay for getting evacuated.

We saw what happened in Japan last week. Other countries are evacuating their citizens. I am told China has evacuated close to 30,000 of its citizens. The only thing Canada did was give two buses to move them out of harm's way.

Now let us see what happened in Libya. When the difficulties started happening and Mr. Gadhafi was starting to kill his people, Canada had the ambassador and one official there, and they were the first ones, after a couple of days, to leave. We hear stories of Canadians who were paying up to 2,500 euros in order to be smuggled to Malta. So again, the government has completely gutted evacuation protocol that was put in place. It is really not putting blueprints in order should our citizens need an evacuation or our assistance in a time of need.

Then we come to the R to P, responsibility to protect. We have seen commentator after commentator, newspapers and television saying that the western world had to do something. Finally, we have moved on and have the no-fly zone. I, for one, am supportive of this. I know that my party is. I know that nobody in this House would say that we should not be supporting the people of Libya or that we should not be making sure that Mr. Gadhafi is taken out of office so that his people could be protected.

However, the responsibility to protect, how we use it and when we use it, is something else that needs to be discussed. In Qatar, people are being killed. In Bahrain, it is the same thing. We also have to look at those areas.

One thing that we have to be careful about is that we need to know the end date of the mission. We need to know how long we are going to be there. We need to know if the no-fly zone works and what the next steps are going to be. We need to know the cost of this. We also need to be transparent with respect to what we are doing.

Those are my thoughts on this matter. I am supportive of the government's action; however, we also have to make sure that before the action is taken that the protocol that was put in place in order to assist Canadians in harm's way is paramount. We just cannot allow what happened in Japan, with the provision of only two buses to get our people out of harm's way. That is dismal and is something that we should not be supporting.

I am supporting the mission; however, I am calling the government to task on the way that they are handling Canadians abroad.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

5:20 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Chair, the member has really done a very good job of alerting the House to some of the issues.

The communications I have received reflect a humanitarian concern for innocent civilians. It goes to the heart of a question which many Canadians are still asking, and that is whether we are peacekeepers or peacemakers, and whether or not there is a proper balance when it comes to humanitarian needs.

I wanted to give the member an opportunity to say a couple more words about the dimensions of the problem, how many people we are talking about, the areas in the Arab world where we are experiencing these difficulties, and which have not had the kind of support from Canada that they deserve.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

5:25 p.m.

Liberal

Jim Karygiannis Scarborough—Agincourt, ON

Mr. Chair, I know that in his part of the world, he has one of the largest Coptic churches. We have seen the trouble that the Coptic community is facing in Egypt, and certainly has been facing for many years. Indeed, I share in the pain of his constituents that he, himself, has expressed from time to time with what is happening in that part of the world. I have seen the work that he has done, working with Copts, in order to make sure that the people's needs are represented.

One question that was asked was about the shift from peacekeeping to peacemaking. We have seen this with missions. I lost a member of my extended family, Sergeant Christos Karigiannis, in Afghanistan. We decided in this House to put soldiers in that part of the world.

It is very hard to know the difference between peacekeeping and peacemaking. There is a very fine line. Sometimes we overstep the bounds.

The Arab world is experiencing a call to democracy. The Arab world is changing the channel from dictatorship to democracy. New found means, be it Twitter or Facebook, and the social media are certainly working, calling people to take action and calling for democracy. Democracy is 2,510 years old. It was founded in the city of my birth, Athens, Greece. I find that it is best practised in this country, as we are going to see, in elections.

I encourage people in the Middle East to find democracy. I look forward to working with all colleagues in this House to make sure that we assist these people, and that we provide for them, not only money but the means in order for them to find democracy.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

5:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris St. John's East, NL

Mr. Chair, the member talked about the protection of civilians. I just wonder whether he finds any comfort in the fact that we now have a firm Security Council resolution that is binding on all member nations in these circumstances. I see it as an advance and perhaps something that could be a precedent of the change in international law, and that the bombing of civilians, for example, which occurred widely in World War II on both sides, would perhaps be no longer acceptable as a means of war.

Does he see that as some comfort and some advancement in the cause of international human rights, international laws of conflict, and humanitarian law?

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

5:25 p.m.

Liberal

Jim Karygiannis Scarborough—Agincourt, ON

Mr. Chair, I want to thank my colleague from Newfoundland, or the rock, as I refer to it.

Certainly, the bombing of innocent civilians should not be tolerated and wherever possible, that should be avoided, but when war starts, unfortunately heinous crimes do happen and heinous acts take place.

I want to assure my hon. colleague that I find a lot of comfort that the R to P, the work we are doing right now, has the United Nations resolution. I personally would not support action taken by a particular group unless it has the United Nations resolution behind it. However, as we are forcibly engaged in making sure that the United Nations resolution, in this instance, works, we should also make sure that other UN resolutions are enforced.

I could go ad infinitum. I could give my hon. colleague an example of the north part of Cyprus where we have resolution after resolution which is never brought into play. For close to 40 years Cyprus has been under occupation and nothing has been done.

Not only do we have a United Nations resolution that we support moving forward, but we should also have teeth in order to make sure that other United Nations resolutions in countries that are affected are also being protected.

Moammar Gadhafi is at the bottom of the list, and that is why it is comfortable for the rest of the people to say that they have to go in and really clean this guy out, although until yesterday, he was a friend and a player. However, other situations such as this also have to be addressed. We cannot pick and choose the leaders. We cannot say that he is on our bad list today and we will get rid of him. Everybody should be handled the same way. We cannot play around with people, and if people of one country are having R to P, then other countries should be given the same thing.

I am looking at the people of Burma and what happened in that part of the world after we had a couple of cyclones. We put on some pressure, but absolutely no enforcement.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Chair, I congratulate my colleague on his foresight. A couple of weeks ago, twice he requested an emergency debate on the situation in Libya. He foresaw that the situation there was quite different from what had happened in Tunisia and Egypt. Unfortunately, that debate did not take place, and finally we are having the debate at a time when we are in the midst of a war, in a war zone. I wanted to note that and note his foresight on this particular file.

Coming back to the issue he raised with the Minister of Foreign Affairs on the Coptic minority in Egypt, 10% of the population has been terribly attacked and at times terribly repressed.

Did the minister raise the issue of the Coptic minority, of minority rights, democratic rights, when he was in Cairo, either with Egyptian officials or with the secretary general of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, who is an Egyptian himself?

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

Liberal

Jim Karygiannis Scarborough—Agincourt, ON

Mr. Chair, I thank my hon. colleague for the comments he made about my request to the Speaker for two emergency debates.

Time and again, on the issue of the Coptic minority, we have asked the government to ensure that we push the government in Egypt for them to be protected.

There have been troubles in that part of the world for many years but lately, since 2005-06, those problems have been escalated. We had the killings of six Christians in Nag Hammadi. As they were coming out of the church from Christmas mass, somebody drove by and killed them with a machine gun. The Canadian government issued a press release and nothing more.

We had the problems on New Year's Eve. When officials of the government were contacted, they were trying to lowball the emergency of the situation of what was critical in Canada.

Then, after Hosni Mubarak left, we had the situation of the church being burned, people being killed and massive sit-ins by the Coptic community. Forty members of Parliament signed a letter asking for the minister to do something. The minister just put that letter on the shelf.

I asked the minister today if he had addressed that situation when he was in Egypt. We did not get a precise, clear answer. We got rhetoric and big words. The minister said that he and the minister of citizenship and immigration were trying to address this issue but I have yet to see concrete action.

The government has failed the Coptic Egyptians and the Coptic Egyptians in Canada in order to address the needs in that part of the world, not only to ensure that the Egyptian government of yesterday and today know what the wishes of its people are but has certainly not even provided assistance in order for this file to move forward.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma
Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Chair, I would like to join my colleagues and speak as part of this take note debate.

Canada is currently participating, with its allies and partners, in the military efforts deployed in support of the United Nations Security Council's resolution 1973. This resolution authorizes members of the United Nations to take the necessary measures, including imposing an arms embargo and no-fly zone, to protect the people of Libya.

Time was running out for all the Libyans who wanted to be rid of the unbearable burden of Gadhafi's dictatorship. As we saw over the past few days, Colonel Gadhafi's forces were regaining ground. We therefore feared the worst for all the courageous Libyans who had dared to defy the murderous authority of their current rulers. The actions taken by the Gadhafi regime in the past suggested that there could be massacres of opponents based in Benghazi, among other places. The situation required a rapid and determined response and, fortunately, the international community fully understood the urgent nature of the situation and responded.

Resolution 1973 opened the door for concrete action to help the Libyan people. And then 24 hours later, France convened a summit in Paris to bring together leaders of the international community, including the Prime Minister of Canada, who had resolved to take action to enforce resolution 1973—leaders of allied and friendly countries, the United States and Europe, and also the Arab world. The Prime Minister and his colleagues laid out the terms of their military engagement in Libya. The imposition of a no-fly zone will make it possible to put some limits on Colonel Gadhafi and reduce the violence raining down on the Libyan people.

This rapid and determined response also came from our Canadian Forces. In the last few days, the Canadian Forces have demonstrated an impressive state of readiness and speed of action. Even as the crisis began, in support of the efforts of the entire government, our military deployed two C-17 strategic lift aircraft and two Hercules C-130J tactical lift aircraft. Those planes were used to evacuate hundreds of Canadians and nationals of other countries who were fleeing the violence in Libya.

On March 1, the Prime Minister announced the deployment of the frigate Charlottetown to support efforts underway in the region, and barely 24 hours later it left the port of Halifax. On Friday, only a few hours after the Prime Minister made the announcement, six CF-18 fighter jets from the base at Bagotville were en route to Libya to support United Nations resolution 1973.

The Canadian Forces are ready to respond at any time, in all circumstances and with the speed and effectiveness that deserves our admiration. This is certainly not owing to chance. It is rather the result of exemplary dedication and true professionalism.

The men and women who wear the uniform of the Canadian Forces do so with pride, with enthusiasm and with passion. They ask for nothing more than to answer the call. They are among the best trained military personnel in the world.

Our military’s state of advanced readiness is also the result of the major investments the government has made in our Canadian Forces. The government is committed to modernizing the Canadian Forces to provide them with all the tools they need to perform the duties we entrust to them.

Almost three years ago, the Prime Minister and the Minister of National Defence announced the “Canada First” defence strategy, under which the government would allocate $490 billion to defence over 20 years. That long-term commitment to modernizing the Canadian Forces is already paying dividends. In recent years, we have announced a number of equipment purchases: transport aircraft and helicopters, new F-35 fighter planes, 24 of which are deployed at Bagotville, tanks, armoured vehicles, trucks and ground combat systems.

We have also invested heavily in defence infrastructure across Canada. Over the past year, the government has announced investments exceeding $750 million in the infrastructure of bases and wings from coast to coast, such as training areas, roads and a variety of other facilities that allow military bases to function as they should.

We have also made massive investments in the support of heath care services offered to members of the Canadian Forces: $140 million in a health information system that will help improve the care available to service personnel who need it, and $52.5 million to establish a legacy of care by delivering better support to seriously injured men and women coming home from Afghanistan.

These investments in equipment and infrastructure, as well as in support services and health care, have a considerable bearing on our military’s preparedness. For the members of the Canadian Forces in Gagetown, Edmonton, Esquimalt, Halifax, Trenton and Winnipeg, these investments mean more comfortable and more modern facilities, safer and more effective vehicles for the upcoming mission, enhanced care and perhaps even a speedier return to work. For the men and women based in Bagotville, the base our CF-18s took off from on Friday, these investments will have a tangible impact. The pilots and support staff who set off from Bagotville bound for Sicily and Libya have left a flourishing base behind them.

Over the last few years, our government has made major announcements regarding Bagotville. In 2007, we announced that the 2 Air Expeditionary Wing of the Canadian Forces would be based in Bagotville, thereby increasing the presence of the Canadian Forces back home. In 2008, I was with the Minister of National Defence when he announced that a $17 million contract had been awarded to rebuild one of the military base’s runways. Last fall, I once again accompanied the Minister of National Defence when he announced initiatives related to the establishment of the 2 Air Expeditionary Wing and the renovation of a section of the base’s health care centre, as well as the government’s decision to base the new F-35 fighter jets in Bagotville; excellent news that will guarantee the ongoing viability of the Bagotville military base for decades to come.

Finally, last month we announced the establishment of an integrated personnel support centre at Canadian Forces Base Bagotville.

A personnel support centre in Bagotville will link up with 24 other such canters across the nation in order to better respond to the needs of our military. The investments the government is making in Bagotville exemplify the investments it is making across the entire Canadian Forces. These investments provide our servicemen and women with comfortable amenities, support, modern work facilities, adequate tools and flexibility, all key elements in the rigorous preparation of a military force that must guarantee the rapid deployment of equipment and personnel, also crucial to the operational effectiveness of the Canadian Forces. The Canadian Forces members deployed in support of resolution 1973 can count on our government’s unconditional support. That is the very least we can give them; their mission will help save lives.

I would like to conclude by saying that our thoughts are with their family members. We all hope to see them back here in short order, and I hope to soon shake their hands on the tarmac at Bagotville.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

5:40 p.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Chair, my question is for the minister. We have heard the responsibility to protect, R to P, invoked a number of times. I was incredibly fortunate to have been at the United Nations six years ago when former Prime Minister Paul Martin gave a speech to the general assembly laying out this principle. To everyone's surprise, it actually passed the general assembly. It was an incredibly proud day for Canada.

Today we are invoking this responsibility to protect as being the principle that provides us with the mandate. In fact, it is two UN resolutions that give us the legitimacy of the allied actions that are taking place today to stop the bloodshed that has been unleashed by the Gadhafi regime against innocent civilians in Libya.

However, throughout the debates, we have also heard thanks given to the Arab League for its facilitation and its decision to support a no-fly zone.

What is the guiding principle? Is it the responsibility to protect mandate given by the resolutions at the United Nations? If the Arab League had not supported this no-fly zone and in fact the Gadhafi regime, as Gadhafi's son had said, unleashed rivers of blood in Benghazi during these days, would we be standing aside or would we have stepped forward, without the Arab League's facilitation, done the right thing and invoked the responsibility to protect in this circumstance?

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn Jonquière—Alma, QC

Mr. Chair, I want to thank my colleague for his comments and question.

I think we all agree we should act and the United Nations, the countries of the world, could not allow President Gadhafi to continue massacring his own people like that and doing what he was doing. In voting for resolution 1973, the members of the United Nations assumed their responsibilities. When we see a country, a president like President Gadhafi, doing something wrong, action must be taken.

I would like to remind the House what this commitment is:

[The Security Council] demands the immediate establishment of a ceasefire and a complete end to violence and all attacks against, and abuses of, civilians;

Stresses the need to intensify efforts to find a solution to the crisis which responds to the legitimate demands of the Libyan people and notes the decisions of the Secretary-General to send his Special Envoy to Libya and of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union to send its ad hoc High-Level Committee to Libya with the aim of facilitating dialogue to lead to the political reforms necessary...

It is extremely serious to see a president doing such things to his own people. In this situation, Canada must stand with the United Nations and support the group of countries that are willing to protect the Libyan people from President Gadhafi.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Chair, I would like to reiterate the expressions of appreciation by other members of the House for the fact that this discussion is occurring. It is the responsibility of Parliament to approve an initiative such as this and we appreciate the opportunity to come to Parliament to seek endorsement of this UN resolution.

I have a couple of specific questions for the hon. member regarding what has come down in Libya. One relates to the business interests of Canadians. The second has to do with other foreign nationals who have been abandoned or stranded in Libya.

My question about Canadian business interests is this. It has come to light that a number of Canadian businesses have been operating either in resource extraction or performing other operations in Libya. I am curious to know if the Government of Canada has been in consultation with them and whether there is any discussion about giving priority to their protection or priority to those enterprises.

My second question has to do with the stranding of other foreign nationals in Libya, particularly at the border, some of whom are trying to escape and in some ways have been abandoned by their own nations.

I had the opportunity to work with a lot of Bangladeshi. I hear there are many Bangladeshi who have been abandoned. Will Canada use any of its resources in a humanitarian way to help those people out of the country?

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn Jonquière—Alma, QC

Mr. Chair, when such a situation arises in the world, in particular in Libya, everything we do is aimed at protecting not only the Libyan people but also any person or Canadian who finds himself there or the representatives of any allied nation who might be there. Like the other allied countries, Canada is doing what it can to provide the necessary assistance to protect its own citizens and all others who may be there.

It is quite unusual that the Security Council of the United Nations has adopted resolution 1973 in order to act quickly to protect the Libyan people. I would like to remind the House again of the importance of this decision. As a parliamentarian and part of a team of elected members, I am glad to see the United Nations assuming this responsibility and making decisions so quickly. We are on the right path to ensuring that neither President Gadhafi nor any future president can attack his own people in this way to keep himself in power.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

5:50 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Chair, as a father with a son who has recently gone to Afghanistan, I am taking a heightened interest in the issues in this area.

We are supporting resolution 1973, primarily because it is a UN-supported resolution, unlike in past conflicts we have had. We are still in Afghanistan after almost 10 years. Therefore, there is a concern about the length of involvement because of our previous involvements. That is why we are insisting on parliamentary oversight and approval, which is absolutely a big plus.

Could Canada withdraw at any time or is there a time limit? At a certain point, if we get into this, after a few weeks or a few months, do we have the option of withdrawing our troops?

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

5:50 p.m.

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn Jonquière—Alma, QC

Mr. Chair, no one can predict how the situation might change over the upcoming days or weeks. We hope that President Gadhafi will leave the country quickly, stepping down and handing power back to the people, and that a democratic system will take root in Libya.

Having said that, Canada is a member of the United Nations, which will assess the situation as events unfurl. Our nation is a loyal partner of the United Nations, and it will live up to its responsibilities on the world stage when it comes to human rights and protecting the people of a nation that is currently being attacked by a president who is flouting every international rule in the book and violating human rights.

When an individual fires on his own people, the nations of the world must act to protect those people. And that is what Canada is currently doing with its six CF-18 fighter jets that have set off from Bagotville.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

5:50 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Chair, it is absolutely unbelievable to see the extent of the turmoil in the Arab world. We can see it now in Libya. It is harder to achieve democracy in some countries than it is in others.

After observing the democratic fervour in other countries such as Egypt and Tunisia, where the people rose up, the question on our lips was how the army would behave. How would the various dictators, many of whom have been in power for years or decades, conduct themselves? Would they demand that their army fire upon the people, given the military might at their disposal? We had our misgivings. In Egypt, the army instead took a passive stance. In Tunisia, admittedly there were skirmishes, but not of the same intensity as those in Libya. Libya is in a state of turmoil, and the international community has an obligation to its people.

People armed with Kalashnikov AK-47s facing old MiG-21s from the Russian armed forces are not engaged in a fair fight. The international community cannot sit back and say the people will prevail. The brutality of the Libyan regime is beyond what happened in Egypt and Tunisia. This is a dictator who will be stopped by nothing. He is not afraid of bloodbaths. Nothing will stop him in his efforts to hold on to power. At some point, the international community has to respond.

I am going to give a short review of the events because it is important to see how the methods the regime is using to hold on to power have escalated. The first demonstrations took place on February 17. On February 20 and 22 a number of diplomats and ministers abandoned the regime’s sinking ship.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

5:50 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Paillé Hochelaga, QC

Oh, oh!

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

5:50 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

I thank my colleague from Hochelaga for restoring order to the House. There does not seem to be a lot of interest in the speeches being made. I am grateful to my colleague for speaking up.

On February 26, resolution 1970 was adopted by the United Nations. That resolution recommended certain embargos so there could be no arms shipments to Libya. This was an effort to isolate the regime. That first step was important. Then there was a series of sanctions. The regime’s counteroffensive began on March 2 and 3. A lot of people say that military intervention must never be used against a dictatorial regime. But in this case, events have proved us right.

The regime was isolated diplomatically and sanctions were imposed on it. When sanctions are applied, Colonel Gadhafi is not the one who is deprived of anything, in his big tent in Tripoli. He is not the one who suffers, it is his people. When there is nothing to be done with a dictatorship, the only course left for us, if we do not want there to be a slaughter, is military intervention.

But it is not military intervention at any cost. The military intervention must be based on the international rules and must go through the United Nations. Canada refused to go with the Americans into Iraq because the UN had not got involved. Here, the UN has adopted two resolutions in a row and is calling on the international community to get involved.

This had been discussed for some time. Even though it was not easy to reach international agreement, a no-fly zone absolutely had to be established. Military doctrine demonstrates this: if you do not dominate in the air, you stand a good chance of losing the conflict. That is the first thing.

This is not a new military doctrine. It was used in Kosovo. Others before me have referred to this. At the time, Serbian and Croatian troops were playing hardball. NATO troops had to get involved. That is when the no-fly zone was imposed because, as I said, if one side is armed only with slingshots and is up against aircraft, they have no chance of winning the conflict. They are likely to lose and get themselves killed.

The international community understands this and decided to go ahead with the no-fly zone when it passed resolution 1973. The Paris summit was held and that is what happened.

A few hours after the Paris summit, military interventions undertaken by international forces began. The French were the first to strike. Resolution 1973 states that all necessary measures will be taken to enforce the no-fly zone. However, procedures also need to be established to protect civilians. France's first intervention, the attack on Libyan tanks, was meant to protect the people being threatened by the tanks. The attack was very successful. Immediately afterwards, about 120 Tomahawk missiles were launched, which struck Gadhafi's anti-aircraft defences. Indeed, if we send these planes into a no-fly zone without first destroying the anti-aircraft guns, we risk suffering losses. That is why this was done. This is a well-known military practice. Were other targets also hit? Probably.

This morning, in a much-appreciated briefing from the Department of Foreign Affairs, we were told that right now the focus would be more on reconnaissance work to determine exactly what is happening. Planes will obviously enter Libyan airspace. The no-fly zone is already being enforced. I think that if a Libyan plane decides to defy the international community, it will very likely be shot down within minutes. The no-fly zone is being enforced. I also think that it is important that it happen this way because we could not allow this slaughter to continue. The mission is called “Operation Odyssey Dawn”. Many nations are involved, including the United States.

The international and political aspects explain how this decision was made. It was a major one. Together, the African Union, the Arab League, the Islamic community, the European Union, the United States and Canada can all legitimately intervene. Of course, anti-Western forces such as Russia and China will voice their disagreement. But this disagreement is limited right now because everyone can see that things could not continue as they were.

I would now like to speak about the responsibility to protect, a new aspect of international law. It is relatively new, but there have been examples where the international community really reacted too late. I am thinking about Rwanda and about Bosnia and Herzegovina, particularly the Srebrenica region, where horrific massacres occurred. The international community hesitated to intervene and the damage was done. I think that, this time, the responsibility to protect was really taken into consideration and we intervened quickly.

I would like to close by saying that we must now be careful. Let us not say that everything is perfect. All of the forces in place must pay very close attention to civilian deaths because that is often what shifts the debate and causes unease. They must also pay attention to ground troops. For now, there are not supposed to be any. I think that it is better that way because they could be taken for people who are trying to occupy the area.

I really appreciated this morning's briefing. We ask that the Department of Foreign Affairs provide the opposition with weekly updates on what is happening in Libya.

I would like to thank the members of the House for listening so intently to my speech.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

6 p.m.

Edmonton Centre
Alberta

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Chair, I am pleased to have this opportunity to participate in this important debate about Canada's military activities in support of the Libyan people and about the flexibility the Canadian Forces bring to the mission. As the Minister of National Defence has stated, Canada has been closely monitoring developments in Libya since the crisis began weeks ago. When the situation deteriorated, the Government of Canada and the Canadian Forces acted.

Our men and women in uniform, as part of a larger whole of government effort to evacuate Canadians flew two C-17 Globemasters and two CC-130J Hercules to Malta. That evacuation was a very successful operation. We have also placed strong sanctions on Colonel Gadhafi's regime in response to the slaughter against his own people. We deployed the HMCS Charlottetown to the Mediterranean where she joined NATO allies and other international partners off the coast of Libya, ready to respond to events as they evolve. Now, in co-operation with several other countries we stand ready to enforce the provisions of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 if Colonel Gadhafi defies them.

The main objective of resolution 1973 is to protect civilian life. It calls for an immediate ceasefire and an end to all attacks against civilians. I will remind hon. members that the UN's responsibility to protect doctrine was a Canadian initiative. Facing the threat of military action, the Gadhafi regime has declared a ceasefire but the international community must be prepared to act should this declaration prove false. Trusting people like Moammar Gadhafi to keep his word has never yielded good results.

Resolution 1973 has clearly established the international community's parameters for action. Its main feature is the immediate establishment of a no-fly zone. It establishes a ban on all flights in Libya's airspace, with the exception of humanitarian flights or evacuation of foreign nationals, in order to stop further attacks on civilians and to enforce the UN arms embargo and sanctions. It authorizes in clear terms willing member states to take all necessary measures, including the use of force, to enforce compliance with the flight ban.

Our six CF-18s and approximately 150 Canadian Forces personnel supporting them are in the region to enforce the ban with our allies, such as the United Kingdom, United States, France, and partners like the League of Arab States which requested the no-fly zone. As the minister said earlier, we are in the process of defining the length and terms of our engagement, but we will enforce the no-fly zone for as long as it is required.

The CF-18, being an exceptionally versatile aircraft, is an excellent enforcement tool. CF-18s are high performance, multi-purpose fighters capable of both air-to-air and air to ground combat missions. Our fighter jets have conducted complex operations with our allies in the past. In 1990, Canada sent 24 CF-18s to Qatar to participate in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm, to thwart the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Coalition forces flew more than 1,000 sorties a day, and as a result of the coalition's undisputed air supremacy the entire campaign to free Kuwait was successful. Canadian air force pilots flew more than 5,700 hours and 2,700 combat sorties in both air-to-air and air-to-ground roles. My old squadron, the 416 Squadron Lynxes were part of the Desert Cats of that day and I was very proud of them.

From March to June of 1999, our CF-18s were actively involved in the NATO-led air campaign in Kosovo called Operation Allied Force. CF-18s took part in bombing missions, combat air patrols, and provided close air support, flying 678 sorties and logging over 2,600 combat flying hours, or 10% of all NATO strike missions and with only 2% of the NATO air assets.

This government knows that Canada's CF-18s under Colonel Alain Pelletier's leadership will be capable of doing whatever is needed to implement resolution 1973's no-fly zone. I know that our fighter pilots and support crews of the 425 Squadron Alouettes from Bagotville will make Canada proud once again. It is a good thing that we have fighters available at times like this.

We are similarly confident in the versatility of HMCS Charlottetown to support the resolution's call to enforce the arms embargo and sanctions against Libya. Our Halifax class frigates are very flexible platforms that have demonstrated their worth time and time again. They, along with our Sea King helicopters, can deliver humanitarian aid and assistance as HMCS Halifax did for Haiti following the January 2010 earthquake there. They counteract and engage submarines, ships, and aircraft. Our frigates have been conducting a wide variety of maritime interdiction operations since they were first commissioned. Following the 9/11 attacks, Canada's naval ships joined international coalitions, both under the U.S.-led operation Enduring Freedom and standing NATO maritime groups, to patrol the high seas for suspected terrorists and illicit materials. In the Mediterranean today, Charlottetown is ready for whatever challenges may arise.

One of the government's main priorities since first being elected has been ensuring that the Canadian Forces has the best possible capabilities and personnel so that it can take on the security challenges of today and tomorrow. This is one more example of not knowing exactly what will happen in the decades ahead and underscores the requirement to be equipped and ready for any eventuality.

Two months ago, no one could accurately have predicted what would be happening in Libya and in much of the rest of the Arab world right now. It is a testament to the training, skill and dedication of our men and women in uniform that they are ready, literally at a moment's notice, to deploy to another continent in support of those who need help. The members of the Canadian Forces have demonstrated that they can respond effectively to all types of situations at home and abroad, regardless of the mission at hand. It will be no different in Libya.

Libyan authorities have the responsibility to protect their population. I hope that the violence in Libya will come to and remain at a complete halt. If this does not happen and if the deployment of our forces lasts more than three months, then the Prime Minister will seek the approval of the House to extend Canada's commitment in Libya.

Let me conclude by reminding my colleagues that as Canadians we can all agree that the situation in Libya needs to improve as quickly as possible, and as Canadians, we can be proud of the leadership role we are playing with other like-minded states by deploying Charlottetown, six CF-18 Hornets, two CC-150 Polaris air refuelers and imposing substantial sanctions on Libya.

Our first missions were flown safely today. I hope that as Canadians we will continue to support our men and women in uniform as they go about their important work in harm's way. We can talk about supporting freedom or we can act to support freedom. Canada needs to continue to act and I thank hon. members of the House for supporting that action.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

6:10 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Chair, the previous speaker spent quite a bit of time talking about our military and how much we respect and honour them for their service to our country, and the parliamentary secretary has now told us a little bit about the hardware we are dealing with.

Canadians are asking about the conditions and the dimensions of this conflict. They are asking whether we are at war or in a humanitarian campaign, are we peacekeepers, are we peace makers. They are asking whether or not this is just the beginning of a broader conflict in the Arab world and they are asking questions about whether or not we are committed now already, whether it be pursuant to the UN 1973 resolution or the meetings in Paris.

Canadians want to be informed and it is important that the parliamentary secretary make an attempt to try to inform Canadians about the dimensions of the conflict presently in Libya.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

6:10 p.m.

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Chair, my hon. colleague's question is a good one. At this point it is largely speculation. We are taking this day by day, week by week as it unfolds. Where we want it to end up, in my view, is to have the Libyan people being able to decide their own future.

Right now our priority is protecting Libyan people from Moammar Gadhafi and his forces. We are doing that under the United Nations, which is the right place for that to happen. There was a strong vote in the Security Council to go ahead. Member states from the UN, some members of NATO, many members not from NATO, are all focused on the same thing.

We are there prepared to provide humanitarian aid as we are able and as required by the situation, but first and foremost, our job is to protect Libyan civilians from Moammar Gadhafi's forces. Where that will go, down the road, is speculation at this point. We will do whatever it takes to get the job done in consultation with the United Nations and our allies.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

6:10 p.m.

Conservative

James Lunney Nanaimo—Alberni, BC

Mr. Chair, I appreciate the remarks of the parliamentary secretary on this important debate about Canada's role as part of an international coalition to deal with what is going on in Libya and the protection of the Libyan people.

The parliamentary secretary is very well positioned to comment on the role of the CF-18s in this combat mission, having been a CF-18 pilot for many years. He also spoke about the Charlottetown. I had the privilege of being on a Halifax class destroyer this past September, the HMCS Calgary out of Esquimalt. We appreciate the teamwork of our Canadian Forces over there.

The member mentioned in his remarks about the responsibility to protect. That was a doctrine that Canada actually implemented. I wonder about two things: One, would he be able to comment on the role of the 140 Canadians deployed to support our six CF-18s over there and the two Polaris refuelers within the confines of what he is able to say? Second, would he comment on the responsibility to protect doctrine that Canada was responsible for helping to implement?

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

6:10 p.m.

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Chair, “responsibility to protect” are easy words. As I said in my remarks, we can talk about supporting freedom or we can act to support freedom. That is what we are doing along with our allies.

With respect to operating and what the folks over there are doing, the CF-18 has only one pilot, but it is a very complex piece of gear. It does require maintenance, support, weapons loading, and all of those kinds of things. While it may be the steely-eyed fighter pilot squinting into the sun who gets the glory, he or she could not do his or her job without at least 20 or so folks behind them, looking after the airplanes, personal gear, and so on.

It is a very busy operation. I have had some familiarity with those. It is a total team effort, from the private on the line to the fighter pilot flying the airplane.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

6:10 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Casson Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Chair, I would like to ask my colleague, a former member of the forces and a pilot as was indicated, a question about the process that goes on here.

It took a while for the United Nations to assess the situation and to come up with this resolution. The resolution is very complex, and it handles a lot of the situation as it unfolds, from the arms embargo to the no-fly zone, and on and on.

There was some concern expressed earlier about how the command structure works as this deployment unfolds, and as the sorties go on and increase in number.

I would like to ask the member if he is aware of how the actual command structure works, of who is making the decisions on what happens over there, and of what our boys and girls are going to be doing?

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

6:15 p.m.

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Chair, right now there is a coalition op centre. All of the taskings will come through that op centre. They will be assigned out to the various forces.

When we talk about command and control, the Canadian Forces always has command of Canadian Forces assets. So decisions in theatre, or target taskings, will come back to National Defence Headquarters for approval. Once that approval is given, then the control of the mission rests with the coalition op centre in theatre.

I would just point out that there are lawyers assigned, and no target is accepted by the Canadian Forces unless it has been vetted by a team of lawyers. Collateral damage and all the things that we are concerned about, including protecting civilians, are taken care of to the maximum extent possible.

It is a very complex, detailed operation that covers all kinds of aspects that people would not normally think about.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

6:15 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris St. John's East, NL

Mr. Chair, I listened with great care to the parliamentary secretary.

I have a little concern when I hear broad comments like: “We are doing what it takes to get the job done and we will continue to do that as time goes on”. I know that is a form of political rhetoric. We all engage in that.

However, I would like to ask him a question in the context of the mission itself following on the resolution. Resolution 1973 is very particular about its aims, spelling it out in one, two and three, including “with the aim of facilitating dialogue to lead to the political reforms necessary to find a peaceful and sustainable solution”. In other words, to give the Libyan people an opportunity to resolve their own political process through reform. I am a little concerned that the general talk could get us into trouble.

There are many questions about this operation that we could get into as time goes on, over the next number of days. However, for the purposes of today's debate and the resolution that is to follow, I wonder if the member is in a position to confirm on behalf of the government what we have been assured by the Prime Minister speaking to our leader, that the Canadian commitment is to use the CF-18s as part of the resolution, numbers four and eight, that it is essentially an air support mission that will not involve any troops on the ground, except in the case of rescue or humanitarian efforts, and that should the government desire to change that as time goes on that this will be brought back to Parliament for further debate, discussion, and a vote.

Can the member confirm that?

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

6:15 p.m.

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Chair, exercises are scripted, actual conflicts are never scripted. We are going in there under the aim of resolution 1973, which as my colleague said, has some specific aims. I did address that. The ultimate aim of this is to give the Libyan people the opportunity to determine their own future. We are committed to that. Sections 4 and 8 that my colleague talked about are with regard to the no-fly zone and being able to operate air to ground if necessary to stop Gadhafi's forces from hurting his own people.

With respect to the hopefully not long-term aspects of this mission, the mission right now is strictly an air mission. That is what we have committed to. Anything else would have to be discussed. I take the Prime Minister at his word. Obviously, I was not in the conversation the Prime Minister had with the member's leader, but I take him at his word. The Prime Minister is true to his word. If there are major changes to the mission, I am pretty sure we will come back to Parliament.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

6:15 p.m.

Blackstrap
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Lynne Yelich Minister of State (Western Economic Diversification)

Mr. Chair, the request from the Arab League, the United Nations Security Council resolution 1973, the meeting in Paris, and the formation of the immediate coalition and NATO action has been noted as being an unprecedented international determination. I would like the member to comment on that.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

6:15 p.m.

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Chair, it certainly is an important one. It is an important event in the history of the United Nations. It could be argued that the United Nations Security Council could have come to this decision sooner and that is a fair point, but the fact is it came to this decision by a strong vote of 10 to 0 to 5.

As far as it being unprecedented, probably not quite. We did the same sort of thing with Afghanistan and Kuwait. Leaders who were clearly operating outside of any norms of human decency and human rights, and behaviour were brought up by the UN with people willing to stand up for freedom. Canada, the United States, Great Britain, members of the Arab League, and many others were willing to not just talk about freedom but stand up and actually do something about it.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

6:20 p.m.

Liberal

Mario Silva Davenport, ON

Mr. Chair, over the course of the last few weeks, the people of Libya and many other states in Africa and the Middle East have taken to the streets in protest. People are demanding respect for their fundamental human rights as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was the first international pronouncement of human rights norms and freedoms, justice and peace, including the inherent dignity, and equal and inalienable rights of all humans.

The subsequent International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights further enhanced the ideal of free human beings enjoying civil and political freedoms.

These charters, covenants and other international treaties establish the foundation for a state's responsibilities to its citizens.

I thank the House for agreeing to such an important debate on Libya and for the world community hearing the cries of its people. Colonel Gadhafi and his regime have brought the full might of armed forces to bear on his people and have used paid mercenaries to crush his own people.

In February, the UN Security Council agreed to resolution 1970. This condemned Gadhafi's actions. It imposed a travel ban and assets freeze on those at the top of his regime. It demanded an end to the violence, access for international human rights monitors, and the lifting of restrictions on the media. It referred the situation in Libya to the International Criminal Court, so that its leaders should face the justice they deserve.

Gadhafi ignored the demands of UN Security Council resolution 1970, that it stop the violence against the Libyan people. His forces have attacked peaceful protestors and are now preparing for a violent assault on the city of Benghazi. Gadhafi has publicly promised that every home would be searched and there would be no mercy and no pity shown.

Human Rights Watch has catalogued the appalling human rights abuses that are being committed in Tripoli.

The transitional national council was the first to call for protection from air attacks, through a no-fly zone. This was followed by the Arab League.

On March 17, the UN Security Council, acting under paragraphs 7 and 8, adopted resolution 1973 by a vote of ten in favour to none against and five abstentions. The resolution demands the immediate establishment of a ceasefire and a complete end to violence and all acts against abuse of civilians. It establishes a ban on all flights in the airspace of Libya in order to help protect civilians and it authorizes member states to take “all necessary measures to enforce compliance with the ban”.

Crucially, it says in paragraph 4:

Authorizes Member States...acting nationally or through regional organizations or arrangements, and acting in cooperation with the Secretary-General, to take all necessary measures...to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack...including Benghazi.

The council authorized member states acting nationally or through regional organizations or arrangements to take all necessary measures to protect civilians under threat of attack in the country, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libya.

Resolution 1973 provides legal authority for the international community to use force to protect civilians.

It further demands that Libyan authorities comply with their obligations under international law, take all measures to protect civilians, meet their basic needs, and ensure the rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian assistance.

The foreign minister of France, Alain Juppé, said, “The situation on the ground is more alarming than ever, marked by the violent re-conquest of cities that have been released”. The Security Council could not stand by and “let the warmongers flout international legality”. The world was experiencing “a wave of great revolutions that would change the course of history”, but the will of the Libyan people had been “trampled under the feet of the Gadhafi regime”.

The resolution both authorizes and sets the limits of the international community action, and that of Canada. It specifically excludes an occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory.

Now that the UN Security Council has reached its decision, there is a responsibility for Canada to act with other nations.

The Security Council resolution 1973 is measured to restore international peace and security under paragraph 7 of the United Nations Charter.

As the member for Davenport, I am pleased that the overall will of this House is to support the UN Security Council resolutions.

States have a responsibility to deliver political goods, security, health and education, good governance and rule of law, to their people. Today the Libyan government has been outlawed by the international community as a failed state for no longer being willing to carry out these functions, as well as for massacring its own people. Libya has refused to meet a specific set of conditions, to respect human rights and adhere to the UN Security Council resolution.

The UN Security Council, in resolution 1973, has again confirmed the doctrine that sovereignty is a right that comes with responsibility. One cannot have sovereignty in the absence of responsibility and the doctrine of responsibility to protect. The Westphalia definition of state sovereignty no longer applies.

Afghanistan and Somalia have demonstrated the danger of ignoring failing or failed states. State failure not only presents considerable challenges for those states in decline or collapse, but also for the international system as a whole. Humanitarian challenges arise from the fact that states fail. We all remember too well the lessons learned from the acts of genocide in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Kosovo.

Libya leader Gadhafi is unwilling to safeguard minimal civil conditions of peace, order and security for his people. He has brought war, anarchy and destruction upon his people and has lost the legitimacy of governance both domestically and internationally.

Under international law, Libya has an obligation to protect its citizens and ensure that human rights are protected. If it fails under the new doctrine of responsibility to protect, in which the leader of my party played an important role in the drafting of that document, the UN will act in demanding an immediate ceasefire in Libya, including an end to the current attacks against civilians, which it said might constitute crimes against humanity. The Security Council has demonstrated these actions are no longer tolerable and I applaud the Security Council for this action.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

6:25 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Yukon, YT

Mr. Chair, I would like to make two comments.

First, on the responsibility to protect, I applaud, as the member did, the Security Council. I think it was Paul Martin who brought this in. It was a great move by the United Nations, but it had to be put into practice. I applaud the members of the Security Council who let this go through. It is a beginning for the world.

I thought today that this could give hope to other people who are downtrodden and think they may be run over by brutal dictatorships. The free world is watching. People of all races and religions are watching and will no longer let a government totally abuse its citizens.

My second comment is to thank a journalist, Kate Heartfield, who on March 3 in the Ottawa Citizen said, “The Burmese situation then was very similar to Libya's last Saturday–a popular uprising crushed by violence”.

I want to remind people in Canada and around the world that a very similar thing happened in 2007 when a cruel dictatorship mowed down innocent monks, perhaps even more harmless and helpless than in this situation. We should not forget the world has a responsibility in that situation as well.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

6:25 p.m.

Liberal

Mario Silva Davenport, ON

Mr. Chair, the responsibility to protect doctrine came out just a very short time before September 11, 2001. There is no question that it is an important document, which has become part of our international discourse and an important part of international law. That doctrine specifies the responsibility states have to their people and that if they fail to do so, there will be consequences.

This came out of the brutal situations that took place such as the genocide in Rwanda, Kosovo and so forth. It is a signal for the international community that action needs to be taken when there are violations of human rights and crimes against humanity being committed and that they are no longer tolerable. There cannot be complete sovereignty for leaders to do whatever they want with their own people.

This is an important doctrine that has been recognized and used internationally by all governments. I have to say one thing. I try not to be partisan, but I am saddened by the fact that the government has refused to use the words “responsibility to protect” and the importance of that doctrine. The doctrine is something of which all Canadians can be very proud.

It is not a Liberal thing. It is an international document in which Canada played a very important role, but we should not be afraid to use the language “responsibility to protect” and state the fact that this is very important international jurisprudence at the moment, in which Canada played a very important role.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

6:30 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Chair, throughout the debate, there has been a lot of commentary about some of the arrangements, the security deal, the aircraft, the military and all kinds of kudos. However, one thing that has not been talked about very much is the dimension of the problem and whether this is just a small part or a starting point where, throughout the Arab world, Canadians are concerned about whether we are making a broader commitment.

We have not heard much about things coming out of the Paris meetings. We have not had a full understanding of what the dimensions of the problem are in terms of Libya and how many innocent civilians have been slaughtered there and whether there is a report on the stability that has been achieved thus far, after a couple of days of sorties. There must be some news for not only the House but, more important, for Canadians so they understand that this is not a matter of talking about whether we are peacekeepers or peacemakers. It is a humanitarian mission with dimensions and full authorization under the UN resolution 1973 as well as under the National Defence Act.

Would member care to share with the House and Canadians the importance of this mission from a humanitarian standpoint?

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

6:30 p.m.

Liberal

Mario Silva Davenport, ON

Mr. Chair, my hon. colleague raises some very important legitimate questions. These are questions that we need the government to provide information on in a transparent manner.

As members, we take the issue very seriously when we make the commitment to deploy our men and women into harm's way. It is not an easy decision, but is the right decision and I fully agree with it. However, at the same time, we must ensure there is full transparency. The information my colleague is asking for regarding humanitarian challenges, long-term involvement and costs of the mission, all these things need to be brought before the House. At the end of the day, the House is responsible for acting upon the information that is provided in an accurate way by the government.

I fully agree with the questions raised by my colleague.

The humanitarian challenge is this. What we know from witnesses on the ground, from NGOs and other government officials who are still there, the situation in Libya is appalling. The Gadhafi regime is barbaric and willing to go to all costs to ensure its hold on power, including destroying its people.

The world community has acted in the right way yet in a difficult way. It is not easy to get the UN to agree on anything. I was pleased to see that even the permanent members, who have veto powers, acted in a responsible manner. It is a good step for humanity when the world community acts in unison. It is a good step for us all when the UN makes a decision under a chapter 7 mandate, which is very rare. It really makes up part of international law. The jurisprudence of the UN is so important for all of those who believe in international institutions, international law and the rule of law that is needed to safeguard the people who live in countries such as Libya.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

6:35 p.m.

Liberal

Gerard Kennedy Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Chair, could my hon. member elaborate on some things on which he has already touched.

I have constituents who, for example, are in refugee camps, Eritreans and those who are in harm's way. I wonder if it is not too early for the House to consider the other parts of the right to protect. What else are we prepared to do by way of repair, by way of prevention in areas that are not yet part of the battle that is manifesting itself and where civilians are in harm's way?

It is important, and might even be important to Canadians who today are hearing about this decision but who are not perhaps as knowledgeable about the risk that has been building, to know how we differentiate this from some of the things we have learned in Afghanistan and elsewhere, how we bring things together, the capacity of Canada not just to send planes but also to work on some of those other things.

For example, Canadians have advanced some refugees for determination by our country and the UN has asked people to be part of that. Is there some new capacity coming forward so we can work with some of that to truly keep people safe and to perhaps bring some of those refugees over on an expedited basis or deal with their needs in partnership with our military commitment?

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

6:35 p.m.

Liberal

Mario Silva Davenport, ON

Mr. Chair, the world community has learned that it cannot ignore failed states, collapsing states or states that have no respect for the rule of law. Eventually they do create a mass refugee crisis throughout the region and do have consequences, especially if left in a vacuum, without a government, for terrorist organizations. There are not only domestic consequences but international consequences as well.

Canada's commitment has to be many pronged. My hon. colleague is right. It is not just an issue of military force. We also have to figure out the second step not just in Libya but in surrounding countries in terms of what type of humanitarian assistance Canada is prepared to step up and lead. If we are to be true leaders, we have to lead on many fronts. We have to act on behalf of the humanitarian crisis that is taking place in Libya and many places around the region. However, the immediate crisis right now is in Libya, which is the focus of this debate in the House. It requires specific attention and warrants this important debate.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

6:35 p.m.

Calgary East
Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Chair, a few weeks ago, this House had an emergency debate on the situation in Egypt. At that point, some might have concluded that the way of change sweeping the Middle East and North Africa region had crested.

Anyone who thought we had seen everything we were going to see has been proven wrong. Last February, none of us imagined the situation we are in today in which it is necessary to deploy Canadian Forces in Libya under the authority of a UN Security Council resolution in order to protect civilians and enforce a no-fly zone. The terrible developments in Libya are a manifestation of the many problems that have faced the Middle East and North Africa for decades.

It began in December last year when Mohamed Bouazizi, a young Tunisian street vendor, desperate and frustrated by too many lost dreams and daily indignities, poured gasoline on himself and set it on fire. This act of despair struck a chord that resounds across the entire region to this day. Libya, like the rest of the Middle East, is experiencing a moment of profound transformation. Like the fall of the Berlin Wall in Europe, these events could have ramifications for decades to come.

Although Colonel Gadhafi has chosen to defy the will of his own people and the international community, other leaders have acted more wisely. Right now, Tunisia's new authorities are working to fulfill the promise of reform and prepare for the holding of the country's first truly democratic elections. In Egypt, citizens voted on Saturday in a referendum on the constitutional reforms that will lay the foundation for a new system, one that will be accountable and responsible to its citizens.

These present moments of great possibility for a region whose people have been deprived of freedom, dignity and opportunity. It is also a chance for western nations to support the forces of peaceful change. It is a great shame that Colonel Gadhafi has so brutally chosen to ignore the positive force of history and refuses to slake his people's natural aspirations for democratic change.

Most proponents of these movements are sincere in their quest for greater stability, democracy and prosperity in the region. As Colonel Gadhafi's response has demonstrated, however, such outcomes are far from guaranteed, and these transitions are tinged with danger. The international community must meet the challenge of ensuring that real reformers can have their voice heard and are able to advance their positive agendas.

The Middle East has long faced serious political, economic and demographic challenges. Almost a third of its people are under the age of 18. Many reach adulthood and find that there are no avenues for either economic success or political freedom. Unemployment for people under 25 is estimated at more than 30%, and the unofficial figures are much higher. Libya has one of the youngest populations and the highest youth unemployment in the entire region.

In Libya, although Gadhafi had many opportunities to take a different path, he chose to make Libya a police state, using fear and terror to crush all initiatives. The hopelessness and disenchantment of the population should be no surprise to him or anyone else.

The revolutions that began in Tunisia showcase another side of these brave and determined societies. The marchers in Tunis, Cairo and Tripoli were moved by the universal desire for good governance and better economic opportunities. They sought a chance to exercise the universal rights and freedoms that so many of us take for granted: the right of peaceful assembly, freedom of speech and respect for individuals.

In short, these brave revolutionaries want only the right to determine their own destinies. Contrary to the long-held rhetoric of Gadhafi, the world does not have to choose between corrupt autocrats and al-Qaeda.

As we respond to the challenges in Libya and elsewhere in the Middle East, we must be guided by our core values and principles. We support the universal right to freedom of expression, association and speech. Individuals must be able to exercise those rights without fear of harassment, reprisal, intimidation or discrimination.

Methods like those of Gadhafi who uses violence and intimidation against a civilian population and political opponents and threatening neighbouring states are unacceptable. Each country has the right to make political transitions that are deliberate, inclusive and transparent, characterized by the participation of women, minorities and people from all religious, economic and social backgrounds.

We must take concrete actions in support of our values if they are to have real meaning. My colleagues have spoken extensively about the measures we have taken in co-operation with international partners on Libya. We will continue to work with the international community to stop the violence against the Libyan people and we will also provide humanitarian assistance to help the innocent victims of Gadhafi's regime.

The developments in the Middle East and North Africa are extremely important. Each nation has a unique history and culture and, therefore, its own path toward sustainable democratic reform.

Canada and its partners are allies in the region and will continue to support the legitimate aspirations of the Libyan people to a future of democracy, human dignity and opportunities. Canada welcomes the helpful and decisive contributions of the United Nations, the Arab League and the African Union to resolve the crisis in Libya.

Future generations will look back at 2011 as a turning point in history. Although the Middle East and North Africa region face many challenges, this is one of those moments that come along very rarely. I am honoured to have the opportunity to discuss an issue of such significance in this forum.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Chair, members are becoming more and more informed about the conditions that are being faced right now.

However, not much has been said in the debate so far about the anti-Gadhafi forces. Quite frankly, I am not sure I know who they are, who they represent, who is funding them or what role they are playing now that the no-fly zone resolution has been passed by the UN. They are another player. Obviously they are equipped and they have been engaging the Gadhafi forces. This is a dimension that has not been talked about very much but it is relevant from the standpoint that Canadians would like to understand whether we are talking about an isolated case with Libya or if this is a sign of things to come in the Arab world generally.

Maybe the member could shed some light on that.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

6:45 p.m.

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Calgary East, AB

Mr. Chair, if the member had listened to my speech, I touched on all the points that he raised about what is happening in the Middle East and North Africa.

As Amr Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, said, “The winds of change are sweeping this region”.

Who are these people the member is talking about? They are ordinary Libyans, people who want a better future. They came out and demonstrated. I recall the events in Tunisia. The brave people in Tunisia and the brave people in Egypt felt that it was time for them to seek basic demands. That is how the movement started. Most of them expected that, like in Tunisia and in Egypt whose leaders left because of pressure from other people, their leader would leave as well. Wise councils in those regimes forced the dictators to go.

However, in Libya, Mr. Gadhafi is not going anywhere. It is shameful that he is killing his own people because he does not want to leave. He could have gone down in the history books as leading for 41 years. Has he done anything positive? No, he has done nothing.

However, the regime that he built, as one of our colleagues has said, the regime of brutality, is the reason that the world has come together. The world is not coming together to invade Libya. It is coming together to help the people of Libya, which is a key element of the resolution.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

6:45 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Chair, it is important that we talk today not just about the military aspect but also the diplomatic side. The parliamentary secretary obviously has some background in terms of what the government can do beyond the military provisions.

Many people are wondering what the next steps will be. Resolution 1973 talks about the importance of a panel coordinated through the Secretary General of the United Nations. I wonder if the government has any idea what Canada's role could be in that area. I mentioned to the parliamentary secretary that there are Canadians who have experience in this. Canadian Arabs have played that role. Is the government looking at engaging in diplomacy as being the next step of this equation?

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

6:45 p.m.

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Calgary East, AB

Mr. Chair, right now we are implementing the UN Security Council resolution for the no-fly zone. The member is right to ask what the next stage will be. Diplomacy will come up. Nobody is interested in dividing Libya. Diplomacy will become the key element in bringing everybody together.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs was in Paris and Cairo. We must remember the African Union is there as well. I represented Canada in Syria at the African Union meeting. The African Union has an important role to play in bringing about peace and stability. At the same time, we must, as the member rightly pointed out, mention the United Nations. The Secretary General has already appointed a special envoy to go to Libya.

The member is right. It will be a diplomatic offensive. Let us forget for the time being the military offensive. I agree that there has to be a strong diplomatic offensive to bring about what we really want to see, which is a peaceful, stable united Libya without the brutal regime that is there. We are witnessing that change in Tunisia and in Egypt.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

6:50 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Yukon, YT

Mr. Chair, I congratulate and commend the UN Security Council for its tremendous action. Some people do not realize how far some countries that sit on the Security Council had to go to allow the Libyan motion to go through. Those countries deserve the utmost commendation and congratulations. This is a great step for the world, a great step for humanity and a great step to show that the United Nations can work.

I want to make a point about what will happen post-Libya. If a similar crisis arises in the future, and I hope it never does, countries of the world, like Canada, that are involved in this great endeavour must be consistent. We have crossed the Rubicon. People will no longer be subject to frivolous, autocratic and irrational dictators who slaughter their own people. If this were ever to happen again, the world needs to be consistent. The world cannot back down from people in a similar situation who think the world is watching, who think the world will support humanitarianism and who think the world will support harmless people. The world cannot be inconsistent with this great exercise it is involved in today.

<