House of Commons Hansard #113 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was cuts.

Topics

Opposition Motion—Health and safety of Canadians
Business of Supply
Government Orders

6:05 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, on its face, the issue of consolidation of facilities may seem to be a way of saving money. However, in reading the budget and listening to the debate, I cannot figure out how it is going to save money.

I ask the hon. member for Medicine Hat this. If we take a quarantine facility, with its scientists, virologists and the expertise that has existed there for decades and we move that function to Summerland, would the 1,000 virus-free trees that have been developed there for studies, for fruit and vineyards, and that is a part of the intellectual capacity and scientific ground that is available there, also move? Is there new money going to the Summerland facility? These viruses must be studied and quarantined and must be done at a world-class level.

Opposition Motion—Health and safety of Canadians
Business of Supply
Government Orders

6:05 p.m.

Conservative

LaVar Payne Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the member from the opposition is an independent individual. We are relocating a number of scientific areas into greater areas of expertise and more modern facilities to ensure that all of the services we provide through inspection agencies such as Agriculture and Agri-food Canada are the best in the world.

Opposition Motion—Health and safety of Canadians
Business of Supply
Government Orders

April 30th, 2012 / 6:10 p.m.

Conservative

Ben Lobb Huron—Bruce, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have heard two questions from the opposition while I have been here. One was with respect to jobs and where the station would be moved. The other was from a member, a former minister of a previous government, who asked about the composition of a bag of manure. Neither related to food safety at all.

The only people I have heard talking about food safety tonight are the members on the government side. Would the member from Alberta give us a few more updates on what this government is doing with respect to food safety for Canadians?

Opposition Motion—Health and safety of Canadians
Business of Supply
Government Orders

6:10 p.m.

Conservative

LaVar Payne Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Huron—Bruce is a colleague of mine on the agri-food and agriculture committee.

We are protecting the safety of individuals. There has been a number of questions with respect to whether we are cutting inspectors. The answer is we are not reducing staff or cutting programs that would impact the health and safety of Canadians in any manner. We are returning inspectors to the provinces where they belong, under provincial jurisdiction, and rightly so as they are responsible for that.

I would also add that our agriculture minister has been outstanding in terms of what he has done to try to open markets for Canadian farmers, cattlemen and hog producers right across the country and around the world.

Opposition Motion—Health and safety of Canadians
Business of Supply
Government Orders

6:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

Before I call the hon. member for Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, I will let him know that I will have to interrupt him at 6:15 p.m., about three minutes into his speech, because that is the end of government orders for today.

The hon. member for Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor.

Opposition Motion—Health and safety of Canadians
Business of Supply
Government Orders

6:10 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, indeed, I am nothing if not life interrupted. I want to thank the House for allowing me to speak at this time.

I want to address some of the issues brought up by the member for Medicine Hat and the downloading of services, which is rich considering the Conservatives condemned the Liberal government for so many years, saying that we had downloaded services to get rid of a deficit. However, now we hear the same sort of language, but that is okay when it is switched around.

I want to get into public safety and talk about one of the issues on the east coast, and that is both sub-centres for search and rescue. One is in Quebec City and the other St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. It is such a shame at this point with the amount of money and efficiencies created, which was illustrated by a good question from my colleague for Saanich—Gulf Islands, who, for the record, is not an independent. She represents the Green Party.

I would like to talk about the east coast and this measure. The efficiencies created by this do not come near the deficiencies created in the realm of public safety. The government has taken two operations that function extremely well and are vital in a chain of command for search and rescue on the east coast of our country and has moved them to Halifax and Trenton. I am not saying that there is anything wrong with the establishments in Halifax and Trenton, but the problem is with local knowledge that is tapped into it, not to mention the language barriers in Quebec City. Local knowledge, which is vital and has been talked about by bureaucrats, experts, members of the Coast Guard and DND, has been completely ignored.

We had no indication that this was coming. We could not foster a larger debate on this because we never knew this would be cut. However, there was some debate on it this morning in a private member's motion when a lot of these points were brought forward, especially from Newfoundland and Labrador.

In support of the motion, we need to look at the folly of some of these decisions that are made under the guise of efficiencies created and the money that we save. I am alarmed by the idea that putting Canadians at risk is so easily dismissed in this debate.

Let us flashback to 2004-05 when I first arrived here. We talked about creating efficiencies in the department, and I was a backbencher on the government side then. However, the opposition, most notably the Conservatives, were vehement in their defence of public safety.

Yet we have this the debate now. One wonders, if the Conservatives felt that efficiencies would be created, why they would shut down debate. We were at a stage back 2004-05 when the Conservatives wanted to foster the debate. Now, god forbid, if we bring up public safety, whether it be food inspection or search and rescue, all of a sudden we find ourselves in a position where we are not allowed to discuss it.

Just this morning, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence said that response times for search and rescue were not a conversation for this place, but a conversation for the bureaucrats or the people involved in the department. There is no doubt that it is a big conversation they need to have, but why can we not discuss in the House?

We support this motion for the sake of public safety. That is the debate we should have here and that is why I encourage all members to support the motion.

Opposition Motion—Health and safety of Canadians
Business of Supply
Government Orders

6:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

It being 6:15 p.m., it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of the business of supply.

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

Opposition Motion—Health and safety of Canadians
Business of Supply
Government Orders

6:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Opposition Motion—Health and safety of Canadians
Business of Supply
Government Orders

6:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

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

Opposition Motion—Health and safety of Canadians
Business of Supply
Government Orders

6:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Opposition Motion—Health and safety of Canadians
Business of Supply
Government Orders

6:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

All those opposed will please say nay.

Opposition Motion—Health and safety of Canadians
Business of Supply
Government Orders

6:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Opposition Motion—Health and safety of Canadians
Business of Supply
Government Orders

6:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

In my opinion the nays have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Call in the members.

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

Vote #185

Business of Supply
Government Orders

6:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

I declare the motion lost.