House of Commons Hansard #172 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-45.

Topics

Jobs and Growth, 2012
Government Orders

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Merv Tweed Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is probably not for me to give advice to the opposition as to what it may or may not do, but I can give another example.

There are ditches that run alongside our roadways that, in the spring, have water in them for about eight days. By definition, those are termed navigable waters. It was never meant to be, never intended to be, never talked about when they thought about building roads or intersections, but over time the act has overtaken every definition. If someone can float something in a ditch or, as one of my colleagues said, in my glass of water, it could be termed a navigable water and that is what we are trying to correct with this bill.

Jobs and Growth, 2012
Government Orders

5:05 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, the member said employment insurance was there for people to find jobs and opportunity. I found opportunity in 1972. I came from a family of 11 people, who left home and went to work in northern Ontario. Is that what the member is saying, that everybody has to leave Atlantic Canada to work in the west? Is that what he is saying?

The minister clearly said that is not what she wants. She did not want people to travel more than an hour from home. She said she did not want to hurt the seasonal industry or workers, yet the member is saying people should go find jobs. I would like the member to clear that up. Is he saying the same thing as the minister or is he going his own way?

Jobs and Growth, 2012
Government Orders

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Merv Tweed Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, if the member wants to check the record, I spoke about the older generation. I spoke about my father, who, as an employer, dealt with people who were looking for work. The definition at that time was that it was a bridge to carry people from the job they just lost to their next job. I am not disagreeing with what the minister said. I am just saying that in days gone by that was the way it was.

Now we are saying one hour. I drive an hour to work. You probably drive more than a half hour to work. It is not unthinkable that people would do that. If there is an opportunity an hour away, we would encourage people to consider that job.

Jobs and Growth, 2012
Government Orders

5:05 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Joe Comartin

The Speaker only drives about 15 minutes to work and I would again remind members to please direct their comments to the Chair.

Questions and comments, the hon. member for Winnipeg North.

Jobs and Growth, 2012
Government Orders

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question to my colleague across the way is in regard to the Environmental Lakes Area and the need for that research station. It has played a critical role in terms of coming up with scientific information that ultimately improves the quality of our lakes and waterways.

My question to the member is this. Why does he believe the government has seen fit to cut that research, which is so critically important to Canada?

Jobs and Growth, 2012
Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Merv Tweed Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, a government dealing with taxpayers' money and big issues has to make choices.

The member will note that we made a huge investment in the lakes north of Winnipeg because that became our government's priority. We have made an investment and commitment to clean up those lakes, which, long term, benefits me because I am upstream. The water that we are going to continue to send into those areas will be better and create a better quality of life for the people who live around those lakes.

Jobs and Growth, 2012
Government Orders

October 30th, 2012 / 5:10 p.m.

NDP

Nycole Turmel Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, last spring, the Conservatives invoked closure to have the House vote on Bill C-38. The bill contained 425 pages and amended approximately 70 laws and regulations.

Many Canadians and media outlets decried this way of doing things. Even the National Post, generally considered a right-wing newspaper, called into question the Conservatives' approach. This fall, just a couple of months after Bill C-38 was passed, the Conservatives are at it again and have introduced yet another mammoth bill, Bill C-45.

Bill C–45 contains 445 pages and amends 60 Canadian laws. Together, these two bills contain approximately 870 pages and thousands of measures that are, in many instances, unrelated to each other.

I have an important question to ask my colleagues opposite: at what point does all this become undemocratic? Where will it all end? While they are at it, the Conservatives could very well convene Parliament only once per session and invoke closure to introduce and pass one single gigantic bill, and then shut down Parliament. Why not? This is a relevant question, if you look at it in the cold, hard light of day.

Canadians are wondering in whose name the Conservative party is acting when it garnered fewer than 40% of the vote. The Conservatives seem to forget that our parliamentary system is democratic, and should remain so, and that it attributes importance to public debate on proposed legislation, policies of public interest, and the conduct of the executive branch. This notion is crucial, and is part and parcel of democracy.

Democracy is not simply about the electoral process, it is an ongoing process. Once elections have been held, members have the duty and obligation to monitor the government's activities on behalf of all Canadians. They are duty bound and obliged to closely review all legislation that is introduced in Parliament and express varying points of view that must be voiced and defended in the public sphere.

If this is not possible, then I wonder what purpose the members we elect serve. What kind of democracy is it when the majority prevents elected opposition members of Parliament from doing their job? It is completely unacceptable that things would work this way in this Parliament. It is truly unacceptable.

If the government wants to govern autocratically, it should say so openly. The government should tell Canadians that it thinks that winning fewer than 40% of the popular vote entitles it to flout our democratic traditions. We will see how Canadians react to this. That is exactly what this government is doing.

The Conservatives are governing as if the most elementary rules of the democratic process did not exist. They are behaving like there is no need to be accountable to Canadians, and like they have no duty and obligation to be transparent. I believe—and I am choosing my words carefully—that the way the Conservatives are behaving is scandalous.

The Conservatives' actions demonstrate a flagrant lack of respect for our institutions and a democratic tradition that has existed in this country since its founding.

If Bill C-38 and Bill C-45 only made minor technical changes, it would be a different story. We could perhaps live with that. We are not necessarily against omnibus bills. It is possible to conceive of certain situations where they may be useful. For example, when it comes time to make minor technical amendments to certain pieces of legislation. But that is not what the Conservatives are proposing.

Bill C-38 was an attack on old age security, employment insurance, and federal health transfers, and plunged us back into the stone age in terms of environmental regulation.

Bill C-45 does the same thing. We completely oppose this bill at second reading. We believe that the bill further weakens environmental protections, guts the Navigable Waters Protection Act, amends the Canada Labour Code, and takes aim at public service pension plans.

Jobs and Growth, 2012
Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Joe Comartin

It being 5:15 p.m., pursuant to an order made Thursday, October 25, it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of the second reading stage of the bill now before the House.

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

Jobs and Growth, 2012
Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Jobs and Growth, 2012
Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Joe Comartin

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

Jobs and Growth, 2012
Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Jobs and Growth, 2012
Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Joe Comartin

All those opposed will please say nay.

Jobs and Growth, 2012
Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Jobs and Growth, 2012
Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Joe Comartin

In my opinion the nays have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Call in the members.

And the bells having rung:

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

Vote #486