House of Commons Hansard #5 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

The Environment
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands
Saskatchewan

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, we are proud of the $10 billion investment that our government has invested in clean energy and a cleaner environment. We are proud of the eco-energy program. It is helping thousands of homeowners across the country make their homes more efficient and it has helped small businesses across the country as well.

We are very proud of the significant investments that we continue to make in clean energy, which is supporting renewable energy development across this country.

Champlain Bridge
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Champlain Bridge is an infrastructure that is vital to Quebec's economy. Experts found that there is an urgent need to replace it and to include a sustainable transportation system for the future. Yet nothing is being done. There is no money in the budget for this and there is no plan. Everyone is wondering when the needs of the south shore will be met.

When will the government finally announce the construction of a new bridge that includes sustainable transportation, such as a light rail system?

Champlain Bridge
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, our government is well aware of the importance of this file to the greater Montreal area.

First, I will ask the hon. member to carefully reread the budget. In fact, $228 million has been allocated for bridges in the Montreal area. So, if the future of the Champlain Bridge is so important to him, he should vote in favour of the budget.

International Trade
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, today politicians of the European Union passed a motion calling on Canada to drop the World Trade Organization challenge against their unfair and improper ban on Canadian seal products. We also know our challenge at the WTO regarding seal products is about protecting and advancing the financial security of Canadians.

Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade please tell the House if Canada intends to back down on this challenge?

International Trade
Oral Questions

June 8th, 2011 / 3 p.m.

South Shore—St. Margaret's
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Gerald Keddy Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, first of all, allow me to congratulate the member for Kildonan—St. Paul on her re-election to this House.

Canada's position on seals is a completely separate matter from ongoing negotiations with the European Union over our comprehensive economic trade agreement. Furthermore, the EU ban on virtually all Canadian seal products is inconsistent with the EU's international trade obligations. That is why the Canadian government has initiated the WTO dispute settlement process and we will be moving ahead with our WTO challenge.

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, a family in my riding is at risk of being deported in one week if the Minister of Immigration does not intervene. Four years ago, members of the Castillo Olivares family fled their home country of Mexico, where they were the victims of violence and their lives were being threatened. They have three children who have integrated well here, and the parents are employed.

In light of the urgency here, why is the minister refusing to use his discretionary power to allow them to remain in the country?

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Calgary Southeast
Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney Minister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the hon. member on her election.

Under the Privacy Act, the minister is not authorized to comment on specific cases. That said, we have an extremely fair process for asylum seekers that has a number of levels of appeal, including the ability to apply to become a permanent resident on humanitarian grounds. I imagine that this family has gone through all of those steps, but our system must treat every case fairly, and that is what we are doing.

Canada Post
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

Maria Mourani Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canada Post has rejected the union's latest offer to settle the dispute and as the pressure tactics continue, the government's silence on the matter is worrisome.

Does the minister responsible for the Canada Post Corporation not realize that with his silence he is condoning the actions of Canada Post, when he should instead be sending a clear message that the government also expects a negotiated solution, which is the only way this public service might be enhanced, including in small communities?

Canada Post
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Halton
Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, indeed we have been there. We have had mediators at the table with the two parties encouraging them to resolve their dispute. Oftentimes the best results to these situations of dispute are found between the parties.

We are very frustrated that it is continuing on, so we have put more effort and emphasis on making sure that the parties themselves know the importance of this matter to the Canadian public.

I have met with the president of Canada Post and with the president of the union. We continue to encourage them to get a deal done.

Income Tax Act
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-201, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (travel and accommodation deduction for tradespersons).

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to reintroduce this bill on behalf of Canada's building and construction trades as well as their indentured apprentices for the third time since I was first elected.

The building and construction trades have been lobbying for this bill for over 30 years and it continues to be one of the key priorities at each and every one of their legislative conferences.

In every Parliament the government has made vague promises of progress to come, then each Parliament ends without concrete action. The time to rectify that situation is now.

The ask is simple: allow tradespersons and apprentices to deduct travel and accommodation expenses from their taxable income so that they can secure and maintain employment at a construction site that is more than 80 kilometres away from their home.

At a time when some regions of the country suffer from high unemployment while others suffer from temporary skilled labour shortages, this bill offers a solution to both. Best of all, it is revenue neutral for the government because the cost associated with the income tax cut is more than made up by the savings in employment insurance.

Now that the Conservatives have a majority in the House of Commons there are no more excuses. The government can and must support this bill and act unequivocally to support Canada's building and construction trades.

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

Income Tax Act
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-202, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (death benefit).

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to introduce a bill today that would address a longstanding grievance for widowed Canadians. In short, it would make the CPP death benefit tax-free.

As it stands now, receiving this benefit can have disastrous financial implications for the surviving spouse. Most obviously, of course, it reduces the amount of money available to cover funeral expenses. More importantly, however, it may push the survivor's income into a higher tax bracket thereby potentially having a negative impact on eligibility for social assistance or the GST/HST tax credit. At $2,500 the CPP death benefit is already inadequate, but by making it a taxable benefit the government is adding insult to injury.

Instead of imposing a financial penalty on grieving spouses, I call on all members of the House to do the right thing, the fair thing and the compassionate thing by passing my bill at the earliest opportunity so that we can support families as they mourn the loss of their loved one.

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

Income Tax Act
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-203, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (in-home care of relative).

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to reintroduce a bill that I brought forward in the last Parliament, which would make a profoundly positive difference for thousands of Canadians who are the primary caregivers for their spouses.

In many ways, my bill is a fitting complement to the government's enhanced family caregiver tax credit that was announced in its recent budget. Despite the newly increased amount, it still remains the case that spouses are excluded from receiving this benefit. Frankly, that is outrageous.

Every conceivable relative of a person living with disabilities can apply, including a child, grandchild, brother, sister, niece, nephew, aunt, uncle, parent or grandparent. Not included is the one person who is most likely to provide care on an ongoing basis, the spouse. That is patently unfair and undervalues the caregiving that spouses provide every day of every week of every year.

A quarter of Canadians provide informal care to a family or friend with a serious health problem every year. More than 75% of these caregivers are women. The Canadian Caregivers Association estimates that caregivers contribute $5 billion of unpaid labour per year to the health care system, which represents an enormous savings to federal and provincial governments.

Making spouses eligible for the caregiver amount is a small step forward. It would send a strong signal that the federal government recognizes the exceptional contribution that spouses make as caregivers and would provide a new support for them to help a loved one who is in need of care to live with dignity and as much independence as possible.

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

Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Region of Northern Ontario Act
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle Nickel Belt, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-204, An Act establishing the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Region of Northern Ontario.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to table An Act establishing the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Region of Northern Ontario. This bill would deliver to northern Ontario an independent economic development agency free of political interference.

Every region in Canada has its own independent agency, including southern Ontario. Yet the government refuses to treat northern Ontarians equally. Under the act, 10 northern Ontario ridings would be serviced by this independent economic development agency.

I urge the government to take this bill and make it its own.

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

Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Region of Northern Ontario Act
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I seek the unanimous consent of the House to adopt the following motion: “That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, when the House adjourns on June 16, 2011, it shall stand adjourned until Monday, June 20, 2011. That, on Thursday, June 16, 2011, the hours of the sitting of the House and the order of business shall be as provided in the standing orders for a Friday, with the stipulation that any notices can be filed no later than 6:00 p.m.”

Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Region of Northern Ontario Act
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Does the minister have the unanimous consent of the House to propose this motion?