House of Commons Hansard #123 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was rights.

Topics

Human Rights in Tibet
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise to congratulate His Holiness the Dalai Lama upon receiving the prestigious Templeton Prize in London today. This prize honours a living person who has made an exceptional contribution to “affirming life's spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works”, recognizing the Dalai Lama's great involvement in the just causes of our time and the encouragement of scientific research and inter-religious harmony and co-operation across the globe.

I recently met with the Dalai Lama here in Ottawa at the Sixth World Parliamentarians’ Convention on Tibet, where His Holiness reaffirmed his desire for dialogue with Chinese authorities and for their respect for Tibetan autonomy and identity in accordance with Chinese law, and this against a backdrop of increased Chinese repression of Tibetans, leading to the self-immolation of more than three dozen monks.

I trust that all parliamentarians will join me in congratulating His Holiness on this most deserved prize and call for an end to human rights abuses in Tibet, the protection of religious and ethnic rights therein and the release of political prisoners.

New Democratic Party of Canada
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Clarke Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, the NDP leader continues to say things to one part of the country he will not say in others. The three western premiers have called out the NDP leader for his criticism for responsible resource development.

Premier Wall called the NDP leader's policy divisive.

Premier Redford said, “I always think it's better for people to comment once they have the information than before they do”.

Premier Clark just called the NDP leader's policy goofy.

The NDP leader is trying to pit Canadians against each other instead of supporting sectors of the economy that create good, high-paying jobs.

The no development party's anti-jobs, anti-growth agenda wants to block development of Canada's natural resources. While we are trying to work with the provinces and territories on job creation and opening markets, the NDP leader is calling for higher taxes and job-killing regulations, and he opposes opening up new markets for Canadian resources.

Simply put, Canadians cannot afford the NDP leader's dangerous economic experiments.

The Senate
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, the triple-E Senate is just the latest in a string of Conservative Party principles jettisoned over the side in the interest of political expediency. Who says so? Premiers Christy Clark, Brad Wall and Dalton McGuinty and Roger Gibbins of the Canada West Foundation say so.

Despite election promises, the Prime Minister has abandoned real reform and undermined accountability by stuffing the Senate chock full of Conservative hacks and flacks and bagmen.

The party president, the campaign manager, the chief fundraiser, even the Prime Minister's press secretary and the whole Conservative Party war room is now doing partisan work on the public payroll, and it is a disgrace.

Never mind triple-E. This is a triple-U Senate, unelected, unaccountable, undemocratic, and it is an expensive waste of $90 million a year.

The Conservatives got rid of the penny but left in place an even more outdated and obsolete Canadian institution. It is not a help; it is a hindrance to democracy, beyond repair, beyond reform and should be abolished.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Robert Goguen Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, in an open letter, the hon. member for Vancouver Kingsway maintains that RCMP officers who were protecting the public during the G20 conducted illegal searches, committed acts of violence against civilians and committed one of the worst civil rights abuses the country has seen in decades.

Again, the NDP is making baseless accusations.

Today, the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP confirmed that the hon. member was wrong and found that the RCMP acted reasonably and appropriately at the G20.

I would like to give the hon. member an opportunity to apologize to the hard-working men and women of the RCMP who protect the public for taking the word of anarchists and extremists as fact.

It is becoming a pattern. That same member associates with the hard-line anti-Canadian group No One Is Illegal—

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order. Oral Questions. Questions Orales. The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

The Budget
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the budget implementation bill is over 400 pages long and it puts more and more power in the hands of the executive and Conservative ministers.

More and more decisions will be made by the executive behind closed doors, without any parliamentary oversight. One man spoke out against such an abuse of power in the past:

We will protect the democratic prerogatives of this House...against the excesses of executive powers...The people express their wishes as much through the opposition as through the government.

Why are the Conservatives now renouncing a principle that was once expressed by the Prime Minister himself?

The Budget
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, this Prime Minister, this Minister of Finance and this government are focused like a laser on the economy. They are focused on economic growth and job creation, not on partisan games.

When we presented an economic action plan, a plan for long-term economic growth, what did the NDP do to show respect for Parliament? It engaged in an 11-hour filibuster, making a mockery of Parliament, making a mockery of parliamentary debate and virtually almost stopping the Liberal Party from being able to represent its constituents.

We will continue to focus on jobs. That is why we are pleased with the more than 50,000 net new jobs created just last month.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are abusing their executive power, particularly as they go about eviscerating environmental protection.

The Conservatives are eliminating the independent environmental assessment process, dismantling the agencies that do that work, and preventing individuals from participating in and being represented at public hearings. The worst part is that even if the Conservatives do not get support for what they decide in advance, they can ignore assessments and approve projects regardless of the risks.

How can the Conservatives justify such offensive action when there is no need for it? Why are they hiding it in a budget implementation bill?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I will tell you what the budget does have something to do with. It has to do with creating jobs, creating a climate where there are more jobs, more hope and more opportunity. That is exactly what our economic action plan does. We will maintain strong environmental protections. At the same time, these environmental studies have to lead to conclusions. That is why we brought forward to Parliament some proposals for debate in the House of Commons, to discuss them. What did the NDP do when that happened? It spent 11 hours filibustering it, showing utter contempt for all members of this place.

We are going to continue to focus on the priorities of Canadians, jobs and economic growth, so people can provide for themselves and their families.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Leader of the Opposition

The problem, Mr. Speaker, is that a minister can change the conclusions of the experts on environment even if the dangers are very real. That is the problem.

Equally worrisome is the Prime Minister's proposal for employment insurance, hidden in the bill: open-ended powers to rewrite the rules for EI with no parliamentary oversight. Ministers would decide what qualifies as suitable employment for an out-of-work teacher or an unemployed nurse, and if they do not like it, tough luck. They will be kicked off EI if they do not take the first job that comes along.

Why include this Trojan horse in this oversized budget bill? Why are Conservatives hiding from Canadians this unprecedented state power over what people should do for a living?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, what the government has done is provide the proposal to Parliament to actually help people get back to work. That is exactly what we are doing. We are presenting measures before Parliament so they can be debated and discussed. This will ensure we can move forward on long-term economic prosperity. That is why we have seen the creation of 750,000 net new jobs over the past two and a half years. That is a record of real leadership.

The NDP's response to the budget was to engage with one member speaking for three full days. Shame on the New Democratic Party.

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, in addition to using their Trojan Horse to slip their employment insurance amendments through unnoticed, the Conservatives are going to make major cuts in old age security. Canadians will have to work two years longer and will lose $12,000 in retirement income. We know that the Conservatives want to save money at the expense of seniors, but we did not know how far this went.

The question is simple: how much will they save by cutting old age security?

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, what we are doing is ensuring that the old age security program has a future. There will be no changes for anyone before 2023. At that time, the age of eligibility will gradually rise from 65 to 67 years, in order to maintain the old age security program.

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, answers like that are just disrespectful to Canadians.

The OAS cuts are perhaps the single most important measure in the budget, and the government cannot even say how much it is going to cost. If I rephrase the question, maybe it will help the minister.

Conservatives keep claiming this is about sustainability and that is why they are hell-bent on cutting OAS. How does the minister know that her cuts will make OAS sustainable when she cannot even do the math to tell us how much these cuts will cost?

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, what we are not going to do is what the NDP is doing, and that is to fearmonger.

Let us look at the facts. The facts are that no one who is receiving OAS or GIS will see any cuts. There will be no cuts for those who are receiving it. There will be no change for anyone prior to 2023, at which time we will gradually increase the age of eligibility from 65 to 67.

OAS is paid out of the current year's tax funds. That is what we have to go by. That is why we have to make sure it is there for future generations.