House of Commons Hansard #4 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was seniors.

Topics

Financial Statement of the Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, I congratulate the hon. member on his arrival in the House.

I want to discuss the high unemployment numbers that he talked about. I come from a riding that has above average unemployment. We have discussed pilot projects in the House for quite some time. One particular pilot project provides benefits for the best 14 weeks of employment, which calculates the best weeks a person has produced as opposed to the last 14 weeks, which would give them decreased benefits. The government talks about small business but, in rural Canada especially, this is one of the things small business is claiming that it wants and need but it has been extended for only one year.

We have a pilot project that has been going on for approximately five years, so the government should do it or get off the proverbial pot, as it were. In this particular instance, does the member believe that these pilot programs under employment insurance should be made permanent?

Financial Statement of the Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Madam Speaker, I had the opportunity in a former career to spend quite a bit of time in the hon. member's riding, in communities like Gander, Grand Falls and Windsor. It is a fantastic place with unbelievable people. The women and men in those communities are truly the strength of this country. I congratulate him for having the honour of representing those fine people.

What the government has done with the employment insurance system is truly a travesty. In this budget we have seen the government increase premiums while it is continuing to cut benefits.

While the numbers of unemployed are at record levels in this country, people in communities like Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, in communities like those of the member who asked the question, are not eligible for employment insurance or for programs that could be made available to help transition those people into meaningful work and to help those people subsist, pay for the food and the lodging that their families so desperately need while they are looking for work.

We, as the official opposition, will continue to fight for a better, more improved employment insurance system.

Financial Statement of the Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

NDP

Ryan Cleary St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Madam Speaker, not so many weeks ago, in the middle of the federal election campaign, I met a Newfoundland fisherman by the name of Paul Critch. Paul owns a 60-footer and she was tied up at Prosser's Rock boat basin on the south side of St. John's Harbour, the largest fishing port in my home province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Paul is about my age, maybe a couple of years younger, in his early 40s. He is strong and he is capable. We do not see as many such men on the wharfs these days I am sad to report. Paul Critch is also a fifth generation fisherman. We stood there on the wharf on the edge of the North Atlantic Ocean, about as far away from Ottawa as one can get in this country, a place that many federal bureaucrats, even those with DFO, probably cannot even imagine. We had a conversation about the fishery and where the fishery was headed.

Paul said that he named his boat Chelsea and Emily after his two daughters. Upon the birth of his second daughter, Paul said that his father remarked, “Thank God it is not a boy. A grandson would have to go into the fishery, and who wants that?”.

This is what Newfoundland and Labrador has come to in terms of our once great fishery, the greatest fishery in the world on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, the fishery that we presented to Canada in 1949.

Sixty-two years later and our commercial groundfish fishery for species such as cod and flounder are on their knees. They have been managed to annihilation. History of the Newfoundland Cod Collapse is the title of a book that was released in 2010. As the title indicates, managed annihilation contends that northern cod were administered into virtual extinction. I give members three guesses as to who did the administering.

We are supposed to run out of oil. We are not supposed to run out of fish. We have hit rock bottom. The time to rebuild is now. Better late than never.

It has been 20 years since the northern cod moratorium and commercial fishing was stopped off the shores of Newfoundland and Labrador for the first time in 500 years. It has been 20 years since the biggest layoff in Canadian history and what has been done? Nothing. Rebuilding is the furthest thing from the mind of the Conservative government. Rebuilding is a foreign concept.

I sat and listened to the Minister of Finance, the member for Whitby—Oshawa, Monday as he tabled his budget. I listened to every word. It is a wonderful thing to be able to hear a member of Parliament when he or she speaks.

I compliment the leader of the New Democrats, the leader of Her Majesty's official opposition, for his no heckling policy. Before this life, I worked as a journalist for almost 20 years. I have sat in the gallery of my home legislature and watched as politicians behaved like insolent children. It is not a pretty sight and it can be an embarrassing sight.

As I read this morning in the Ottawa Citizen:

We need passionate, even biting, debate in Parliament. What we don't need are childish insults and grandstanding.

Well done I say to the Leader of the Opposition and member for Toronto—Danforth.

I listened to the Minister of Finance when he spoke so proudly of the budget but I saw more of the same for my province. We have hit rock bottom but the Conservative government sees fit to pound us further into the ground. That will be enough of that.

Under program review, the Conservative government has seen fit to further cut the budget of Fisheries and Oceans Canada by almost $85 million. That will be $9.1 million gone this fiscal year, $18.9 million gone in 2012-13 and a further $56.8 million gone in 2013-14. That will be $84.8 million less for the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans to continue doing what little work it is doing today. On top of that, according to federal budget estimates, DFO's overall budget is almost $145 million less this fiscal year than last fiscal year, plus, as I have outlined, $87 million in savings targeted by the Conservative government in cuts to DFO.

To make matters worse, and, yes, they can still get worse, the Minister of Finance spoke in this chamber Monday about finding a further $4 billion in savings. Where is that $4 billion going to come from? From fisheries? As they say where I come from, “You can't get blood from a turnip”. The people of Newfoundland and Labrador, the fishermen of Newfoundland and Labrador have nothing left to give.

What I so dearly would have loved for the Minister of Finance to announce Monday was an inquiry into the fall of the Newfoundland and Labrador fisheries. The fisheries fell almost 20 years ago and they have yet to rise. The question is, why? The call for an inquiry is supported by my party, the New Democratic Party. Where does the Conservative government stand on an inquiry into the Newfoundland and Labrador fisheries?

John Crosbie once asked, “Who hears the fishes when they cry?” I can answer that: no one.

I have another question, a bigger one. Who hears the fishermen when they cry? The New Democrats hear the cry.

Do the Conservatives hear the fishermen when they cry, the few fishermen who are left?

I will continue to listen when members opposite take to their feet. The fishermen of Newfoundland and Labrador will be listening as well.

Maybe some day we will want our sons to be fishermen again and our sons will want to be fishermen.

Financial Statement of the Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, I welcome my colleague to the chamber. I have a question for him.

It is very difficult for our sons and daughters to be involved in the fishery these days. We are looking at a situation where most management decisions based on science are going to go through a pattern of quick decisions and last-minute decisions. The people who are serious about the fishery, not only in Newfoundland and Labrador but throughout the rest of the country, will be in a position where there is complete uncertainty, uncertainty for my riding and for his riding. Therefore, the government has to get serious about this. The cuts that the Conservatives talk about proves that this will be a bad situation that will become worse in the very near future.

My colleague has a point. Where is that $4 billion going to come from?

How badly will this impact the management decisions, particularly in science, in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans?

Financial Statement of the Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Ryan Cleary St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Madam Speaker, that is a very good question. Where is the $4 billion in cuts going to come from?

Until the Conservative government outlines where it plans on saving that $4 billion, the fishermen of Newfoundland and Labrador, the fishermen of eastern Canada, will all be on pins and needles, waiting for the axe to drop. That is not a way for fishermen to live.

We have a history in the Newfoundland and Labrador fishery of 500 years. Now it is to the point where the sons of fishermen no longer want to do what their fathers did, no longer want to take to the sea.

We need an inquiry for a number of reasons.

We need to investigate science. Where does science stand within the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans?

We need to investigate management, in particular. The management of the Newfoundland and Labrador fisheries has been a complete and utter failure. For proof, we need look no further than to the sea. There are few boats on the water and few fishermen on the sea.

We need to look into quotas. Who holds the rights to quotas of fish off the waters of Newfoundland and Labrador? Who is fishing the quotas? Are the boats that are fishing the quotas registered? If they are registered in Canada, who owns the vessels? Are they owned by Canadians?

We need to look into the marketing of the fish. Is the marketing being done by Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, by Canadians, or is it being done by foreigners?

I ask these questions but I do not expect answers. I do not think the Conservative government knows them. For the questions that I have asked in the past, I have not been given answers. I have been told that the answers may impact negatively on international relations, not Newfoundland and Labrador relations but international relations.

Financial Statement of the Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

The hon. member will have two minutes for questions and comments after question period.

Niagara Region Chief of Police
Statements by Members

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Madam Speaker, I rise in the House today to pay tribute to an outstanding constituent of Niagara West—Glanbrook, the Niagara Regional Police Service Chief of Police, Wendy Southall.

Chief Southall will be at Rideau Hall tomorrow to be invested into the Order of Merit of the Police Forces. Forty-three distinguished men and women from across Canada will be recognized tomorrow by Governor General David Johnston. Chief Southall will be one of only seven to be invested as an Officer of the Order.

Chief Southall began her policing career in 1970 in Toronto, joining Niagara Regional in 1982 and has risen through the ranks, performing with distinction in each of the many roles she has undertaken.

In her inaugural speech as chief of police in 2005, Wendy placed her number one priority on “keeping our streets safe in a cost effective manner with innovative changes”. She has always worked toward this goal and under her leadership the already low crime rate in the Niagara Region has been further reduced.

I thank Chief Wendy Southall for her service to our community and congratulate her on receiving this exceptional recognition.

Persons with Disabilities
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Manon Perreault Montcalm, QC

Madam Speaker, I wish to thank my leader and his team for their help and support, which have been so valuable, as well as the people of Montcalm for their support and their great vote of confidence. I can assure them that we will continue to work tirelessly to meet the needs of today's families.

I would especially like to share my election victory with all members of the Handami Association and all Canadians with disabilities. I fully intend to use this opportunity to increase awareness among the members of the House regarding the importance of social programs to combat isolation and to allow people with disabilities to play an active role in our society.

I truly hope that together we will find real solutions to improve the quality of life of all Canadians, including Canadians with disabilities.

Tobique—Mactaquac
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Allen Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, on May 2, the people of Tobique—Mactaquac did me the honour of electing me to represent them as their member of Parliament for the third time. I want to thank them for the confidence they have placed in me.

I want to express my appreciation to the many volunteers who worked hard for our team and the tremendous support from my family.

May was also bittersweet in that, on May 23, we said goodbye to our mother after a long battle with Alzheimer's. I remember back in 2003 when I first told mom I would be offering for political office, her immediately reply was that I was crazier than heck.

However, she stood by me and I know that the values she taught us, of hard work, honesty, integrity and commitment to family, friends and community, have played a major part in my success to date and the many positive relationships built in Tobique—Mactaquac since 2006.

Again, I thank the residents of Tobique—Mactaquac for their support, and I thank mom for all the special training she gave us growing up. There is a hole in our hearts with mom gone. We miss her and we love her.

Zero Force Cycling Team
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Sunday three extraordinary young men set off on a 7,200 kilometre bike ride across Canada.

Drew Steeves, Mitch Torrens and Laurent Gazaille, the riders of the Zero Force Cycling Team, are graduates of John Abbott College in my riding of Lac-Saint-Louis. They will spend the summer biking from Vancouver to Halifax to raise awareness and funds for Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire's child soldier initiative.

This is a fine example of young people helping young people. The three cyclists and the volunteers travelling with them are almost all under 20. They decided to do something to help the 250,000 children around the world who are forced to live in unimaginable brutality.

I invite all hon. colleagues to join me in wishing the Zero Force Cycling Team a safe and successful journey across our great land. Please visit www.cyclingwithzeroforce.com to link up with the Zero Force riders and join in their mission to end the child soldier crisis, perhaps by arranging to greet and welcome them as they pass through the members' communities.

The Economy
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, last Friday was the Logan Lake High School graduation in my riding of Okanagan—Coquihalla. My thoughts were certainly with those young students. Graduation is a special time with their hopes, dreams and aspirations all before them.

It is not lost on me that the work we will do in this 41st Parliament can have an important role in their future. If we are to succeed, these students will need jobs and a strong economy. However, often the policies that encourage economic growth and investment are opposed.

If we oppose economic growth and investment, are we prepared to accept increased taxes and debt or reduced services? Often we are not.

I ask that in this 41st Parliament we stay mindful of grandparents to be able to retire with dignity, mindful that we cannot leave an unpayable burden of debt to our children and mindful that now is our time as parliamentarians to work together to build a bright future for all Canadians.

Employment
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to start by thanking the people of Beauharnois—Salaberry for the confidence they showed in me on May 2. The people have chosen the NDP, a party that addresses their interests and works for families.

Since 2004, in Beauharnois—Salaberry, five major companies have closed their doors, leaving more than 2,200 people out of work. I am talking about Cleyn & Tinker, Huntingdon Mills, Gildan, Goodyear and Rio Tinto Alcan. What is more, the Lake St. Francis National Wildlife Area has had its budget cut by 60%. With an employment insurance system that is inaccessible to far too many people, making ends meet is not easy for many workers back home.

I am committed to making the creation of high-quality, full-time jobs my priority. The government has to convert its rhetoric into concrete measures for workers—

Employment
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Mississauga South.

Mississauga South
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Stella Ambler Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in the House to tell members about some of the great events that I was privileged to attend this past weekend in my riding of Mississauga South.

After the official opening of the Port Credit Farmers Market, I was delighted to attend an re-enactment of a citizenship swearing-in ceremony at the Canadian Pavilion of Carassauga.

The Mississauga rotary club's annual lobster festival followed, where about 750 guests cracked open thousands of claws and dipped 2,800 pounds of east coast lobster into vats of artery-clogging melted butter.

On Sunday, I attended Canoe the Credit, a fundraiser for the youth corps of the Credit Valley Conservation Authority. Its slogan, “Our Credit is Good”, sums up perfectly how we feel about this beautiful river. I would like to thank the young people for caring about water quality in our community.

As we can see, Mississauga South is a vibrant and energetic place to live. I feel immensely fortunate to represent the wonderful people of Mississauga South.

Slave Lake
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Earl Dreeshen Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, the town of Slave Lake, Alberta has been devastated by wildfires. Much of the town has been burned, including many homes and businesses. The outpouring of support from all over Alberta and the country has been appreciated. I am particularly proud of central Albertans who have volunteered their time and donated needed items.

Jo Dumont, the owner of Dumont Fitness in Red Deer, along with Shelley Boston and Tom and Jordana Simms helped to organize what they thought would be a small relief effort for Slave Lake. Soon after the word got out, the endeavour became a major project. The Red Deer gym became a hub for central Albertans to donate food, clothing and bottled water, eventually sending five semi-truckloads of goods from Red Deer to the Slave Lake area.

Central Albertans have a great history of helping their neighbours and pulling together when disaster strikes. I witnessed such community spirit first-hand after the Pine Lake tornado and it has been repeated again.

I would like to congratulate Dumont Fitness and all of the donors for helping the people of Slave Lake.