House of Commons Hansard #116 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was environment.

Topics

SECOND READING
Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, there is no seniors crisis. There is no need for the government to look at increasing the age for OAS from 65 to 67. The government knows that. The Parliamentary Budget Officer knows that. There is no justification for increasing the age of retirement in Canada from 65 to 67.

In the budget, the government says it will cut 19,000 jobs. Many of those jobs will be the types of jobs that provide services to vulnerable Canadians from coast to coast. That is the real impact this budget will have.

The government has chosen to bring in time allocation, and this is not the first time. We can talk about back-to-work legislation for unions at Canada Post. We can talk about Air Canada back-to-work legislation. We can talk about the pooled pension program and the Canadian Wheat Board. In endless legislation, the government has brought in time allocation to prevent legitimate, good, solid debate in the House of Commons. Instead, we have a minister who wants to pay $16 for a cup of orange juice.

The government's priorities are all wrong. When will the government bring in the type of legislation that will deal with our environment through the front door as opposed to the—

SECOND READING
Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

Eve Adams Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

In fact, Mr. Speaker, our priorities are squarely focused on the priorities of Canadians, average Canadians who are struggling to meet their bills, struggling to make their mortgage payments, struggling to ensure that their children can go to hockey practice or soccer practice. These are people who work every day and then sit in their car and commute back home. They are focused on putting groceries on the table. That is why we have reduced taxes in every possible way we can. That is why we want to ensure that money is left in the pockets of average Canadians to spend on their priorities.

I do not believe that we can tax our way to prosperity. I do not believe any government can do so. Our record speaks strongly to that. Our country is the most successful country coming out of this recession.

If the opposition members have serious concerns about helping Canadians, they would stand in support of the budget.

SECOND READING
Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to enter the debate, but not so pleased to see that we are again faced with time allocation, especially when we are debating a bill that is so big. All too frequently time allocation seems to be the habit of the Conservative government, which decides it will simply crunch everything in. This is not a four-page bill, as some of them are; this is 400 pages that impact not only the budget but a multitude of other agencies and regulations, and it will dramatically change many areas.

I would like to share my time with the hard-working hon. member for British Columbia Southern Interior.

In earlier comments the member for Fort McMurray—Athabasca talked about this tale. I believe the member for Ottawa South asked him to please explain what the tale was about. I do not mean the tail on a donkey; I mean the tale with “e”, which is more like Aesop's Fables. He talked about the NGOs and charitable organizations that are going to be impacted because of their charitable status and that foreign oil companies will get them to do their bidding, especially when it comes to his riding of Fort McMurray—Athabasca.

I had a quick peek to see which foreign oil companies he was referring to. They are BP p.l.c., which I believe is a British company; Chevron, which I believe is an American company; ConocoPhillips; Exxon Mobile Corporation; Imperial Oil; Korea National Oil Corporation; Nippon Oil; Royal Dutch Shell; and Sinopec, the state company of China. They are not actually donating money to charities to get them to engage in destroying our energy policy; they are mining the oil sands. Why on earth would they ever give money to other folks to stop them from doing the very thing they are doing?

There are more foreign national companies in the oil sands than one can count. That is okay; no one says that is a bad thing, but for the member to suggest that somehow foreign companies are trying, through the back door of an environmental group with a charitable status, to lobby to stop what is happening when they are indeed doing it is the height of incredulity. Who would believe it for a second?

Clearly it was a bit of a fable. Maybe it was a mixed metaphor. Maybe that is what it was. Maybe I just did not quite get the mixed metaphor about the foreign oil companies that are actually mining. Bless them, they are entitled to do that. This country is a trading nation, and they can come here if they play by the rules. It is a little unfortunate that the state oil company of China made sure it got a sweetheart deal to ship out raw bitumen and did not actually create jobs in Alberta for Albertans or, better still, in Sarnia for Ontarians. I leave that to the Conservatives to defend, because clearly that is not something we did.

I have heard from the other side that when it comes to OAS, we have this demographic bump, which I happen to be part of. I am at the tail end of the baby boomers. There are others in the House who are at the front end of the baby boomers, but we all know that there is this demographic bump. However, it is a bump; it is not forever. It is a bump. When we are finished with the bump and go back to the other end—a little piece beyond the bump, because we will all, unfortunately, meet our maker—that group will be gone, and we do not have another baby boomer group after that. Is the government now suggesting that once that happens, there will be no reason for the retirement age to be 67 and we will go back to 65 when that group is gone?

Clearly it is about planning for the demographic that existed and that everyone knew about. Back in the 1960s, everybody knew there was a demographic called the baby boomers. Now a plan should be put in place, and the plan does not need to include retiring at age 67. Most actuaries across this country have said that it is not needed, that it can be financed, that it can be done properly if we make the choice.

Over and over again I have heard my colleagues on the other side say there will be fewer people working to support seniors, as if seniors do not pay taxes. There is this misbegotten belief that when one becomes a senior, it is a tax-free holiday for the rest of one's life. That is not true. Seniors pay into the system like everyone else, but they are made to sound as if they are some sort of parasite on the system, drawing money out and not actually doing anything for the country. I find that a very difficult thing to swallow, because clearly these are the folks who built this great country; we should have respect for them, but I really believe that has not happened.

I would say to the government that there is no legitimate, logical, rational reason to go to age 67, but then again, that would not quite go with its policy, would it? Still, there is no need to go to 67. There is no need to do it and there is no sense in doing it. The government should leave the age at 65.

The one thing that is rational and logical and the one thing that absolutely will happen is that when seniors living in poverty get to the age of 65, they will live in poverty until they are 67 because of what the government is doing. That indeed will be the reality for them. However, that reality does not need to happen, and the government should prevent it from happening by amending the bill and making sure that the age is kept at 65. I would ask the government to do that.

One of the things in the bill reminded me of the days in the province of Ontario when we had a Conservative provincial government back in the 1990s, led by a premier called “Harris”. I remember a number of folks from that government because I get to see some of them here. There are cabinet ministers in this place who were cabinet ministers in that place. I believe in 1995, or it might have been the spring of 1996, one of the first bills that Mr. Harris created was an omnibus bill that changed regulations and the face of Ontario for the worse. It attacked the poor and went after everyone else. Now we see it again. It is déjà vu all over again.

SECOND READING
Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Gary Schellenberger

Who was the leader of that government before that?

SECOND READING
Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen Welland, ON

Actually, the leader of the government before that is now a Liberal. Things change in life. At some point in time, leaders decide to do other things.

One of the things that bothers me a great deal in the bill is about the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and people need to be concerned because things get hidden in the bill. On the surface of it, many aspects of this agency appear to be on their way to being privatized, which sets a dangerous precedent.

Sheila Weatherill, who was hired by the Conservative government to look at CFIA, said that part of the reason the listeriosis crisis broke out was that there were not enough public inspectors doing the work that needed to be done to keep our food safety system and keep our food safe. She recommended that be changed. To give credit to the government, it decided to make the change, but now it is going back on those changes.

The government is moving backwards. It would take us back to a place before the listeriosis crisis of 2008, a place where the food inspection system would not be as rigorous as it should be and would not live up to the standards that Canadians expect or think it is, which is even worse. When Canadians think they have a certain standard in place and it turns out not to be true, they lose faith in the system.

On the labelling piece, as it starts to unravel, if there is a complaint or health concern about a label, I am not sure who the contact would be, but I guess it would be a 1-800 number. People would call 1-800-something to say that they did not like the label. The response might be, “Are you validated to complain about that label?” Of course, the answer would be no, they are not validated, and therefore they would no longer have a complaint. If someone called CFIA, they would say, “Sorry, we do not do that anymore. We have handed that off.” Whom would we call for health and safety complaints about labelling and food? Would it be a call centre? Where would it be and how would it be staffed? Would it be staffed with folks who just follow a chart that says if the question is Y, answer X, or if the response is Q, make it a P? Who knows?

Clearly this government has rammed a whack of legislation into a budget bill and made it an omnibus bill, which it did not have to do. Oversight is needed, whether on environmental regulations, CFIA or the multitude of other things in the bill. The government could have brought the budget implementation bill, which would have taken care of the piece that it is required to do, and we could then have debated the other legislation piece by piece. We could have had an honest, open debate in a democratic fashion and not be faced with time allocation.

SECOND READING
Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, I admire greatly the work the member does in this House, particularly in the area of agriculture.

I know that the hon. member shared my concerns, and many Canadians' concerns, when the government snubbed its nose at existing law that required that it consult with farmers on the Wheat Board, and when the government snubbed its nose at the order of the court that it ought to obey the law.

The hon. member heard the member for Fort McMurray—Athabasca basically saying, and encouraging, that we should now spend millions of dollars for Revenue Canada to investigate the very organizations that are going to help small communities, first nations and Métis settlements to intervene in the review of major projects that might impact them.

As I have mentioned in the House previously, there actually is an obligation on the Government of Canada, a commitment, to provide advance notice of an opportunity for consultation, for anybody in North America who might have a concern with the proposed new environmental law.

I am wondering if the member shares my concerns about not just the content of this bill but the manner in which the government is bringing these matters before this House.

SECOND READING
Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague from Edmonton—Strathcona. I note her great work and the great career she has had in the environmental movement, working on behalf of all of us across this land. She deserves a great deal of credit.

The member is absolutely right about process. There is no reason to stuff this bill with environmental protection regulations that are going to be done away with. There is no excuse for it. There was no need for it. It is absolutely reprehensible that it has actually happened. It should not have occurred.

When it comes to the environment, one of the things I have learned, and I am not an environmentalist, far from it, is that the air we breathe around here moves from somewhere else and the water that goes through that stream moves from somewhere else. We cannot build a wall around that environment and say we are living in the bubble.

What is done here or over there will indeed impact where we are here. That is a troubling piece, when all of that impact can have not only a hemispheric piece, an interaction, but indeed a global piece. As we used to say, think globally, act locally.

At the end of the day, it is about how we act. It is not about how we have inaction. It needs to be action. This is about to bring us inaction, and that is not a good start.

SECOND READING
Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture

Mr. Speaker, as I listened to my colleague speak, he brought up the issue of food safety and I am very glad he did.

I believe the member is facing a dilemma, because he and his associates asked that we do more for food safety. I am happy to tell him what he probably already knows, that there is an additional $51 million in this budget for food safety, to enhance our food safety systems.

I am so interested in knowing exactly how this member will vote. I already saw how he voted on the budget, but as I told him during question period, he has an opportunity to redeem himself during these budget implementation votes. He can vote in favour of additional funding for food safety, just as he has been asking for.

How does the member respond to that?

SECOND READING
Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, I did not realize I had gone that far down the list that I needed to be redeemed. If I need redemption, I hope my hon. colleague will help me find it. It is probably a horse running in the fourth, but then again Fort Erie is closing the slots and that may actually do away with the raceway, so there may not be any horses there anymore.

It is abundantly clear, and this parliamentary secretary knows it, that this one-term funding that has been dropped in for this one budget year will disappear. He knows it and so does the minister. It will disappear. The budget will decrease, along with the agriculture budget, which got hit by 10%.

If anybody needs to redeem themselves, I would suggest it is my hon. colleague across the way and the minister who allowed the agriculture budget not to be trimmed but to have a meat cleaver taken to it. It had its arm chopped off to the tune of 10%-plus.

That is where redemption ought to be for farmers. It ought to be for that minister and that parliamentary secretary to stand up for farmers and fight to get that money back to make sure that farmers across this country are looked after, protected and well maintained. That did not happen through this minister and parliamentary secretary.

Kitchener Rangers
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Braid Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to congratulate and to pay tribute to Steve Bienkowski, winner of the Lions Club 2011 Citizen of the Year award for Kitchener—Waterloo.

Steve is the chief operating officer of the Kitchener Rangers and the impetus behind their ongoing success over the past decade. The Kitchener Rangers may be out of the playoffs, but they are still winners in our community.

Under Steve's leadership, the Rangers have become strong community partners, making important contributions to our region's economy and generous donations to local charities.

In addition, the team's emphasis on player participation in the community reinforces the hockey heritage of our region and provides role models for aspiring young players and fans.

Please join me in saluting Steve Bienkowski and thanking him for his outstanding contributions.

Randy Kapashesit
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to a great leader and a good personal friend, Randy Kapashesit, chief of MoCreebec on Moose Factory Island. The people of the James Bay are shocked that a leader who had so much vision was taken from us so suddenly.

Randy was an advocate for aboriginal equity. His vision for sustainable cultural and economic development for the MoCreebec people involved the building of co-operative housing and the immensely successful ecolodge on Moose Factory.

Randy also had an international vision. He worked with the United Nations North American Indigenous Peoples Caucus. He was planning for the 2014 conference.

However, Randy also loved music, ideas and people. Whenever we were in the presence of Randy, we knew we were in the presence of someone who was very profound and special.

I am deeply sorrowful that I cannot be there with his family and community as they say goodbye. However, on behalf of the New Democratic caucus, I would like to offer my sincere condolences to his partner Donna, his children Waseyabin and Ajuawak and the people of the Moose Factory region who have lost a great leader.

International Trade
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Bernard Trottier Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, international trade is truly a kitchen table issue. It means opportunities for Canadian business and for Canadian jobs.

More than 60% of Canada's annual income and the jobs of one in five Canadians are generated by trade. Canada's advantage is enhanced by strong people-to-people ties with countries around the world.

Canadian business, including those in my riding of Etobicoke—Lakeshore, applaud measures taken by our Conservative government, including the signing of trade agreements with Panama, Costa Rica, Jordan, Honduras, Columbia and Peru and the modernizing of free trade agreements with Chile and Israel; the pursuit of new trade agreements with the European Union, India, Japan, Morocco, Ukraine and the great trading nations of the Pacific rim; the beyond the border initiative to streamline trade with the U.S.A., our largest trading partner; the lowering of corporate taxes, making Canada a preferred country to establish headquarters and create jobs; and maintaining the lowest deficit and debt ratios in the G8, underpinned by the world's most stable financial sector.

We have expanded opportunities for Canadian businesses, Canadian young people and Canadian families.

Human Rights
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, this past weekend, I attended an event at Nathan Phillips Square, organized by members of Toronto's Vietnamese community, specifically the Vietnamese veterans.

The ceremony was intended to help commemorate and remember those who have given so much in the name of national service. It highlighted the differences that make us unique, but more important, it helped us to pay tribute to the qualities and the goals that unite and cause us to work co-operatively for a better tomorrow.

In effect, the ceremony called upon the Vietnamese government to respect basic human rights and it called upon Canada's government to redouble its efforts to show leadership on this issue. These are qualities that all Canadians can support.

Because of this, I would like to extend a special note of congratulations and thanks to all of those who work tirelessly to advance this positive message of peace, collaboration and justice for all.

2012 RBC Cup
Statements By Members

May 3rd, 2012 / 2 p.m.

Conservative

Bradley Trost Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, this Saturday, Canada's national Junior A hockey championship will commence in Humboldt, Saskatchewan. One hundred and thirty-three teams from 10 leagues make up the Canadian Junior Hockey League and all start their season with the goal of making it to the RBC Cup. These teams represent the best of hockey in small-town Canada, a place where people play for the love of the game.

This year, the tournament is being hosted by the town of Humboldt, whose Humboldt Broncos will show the Woodstock Slammers, the Soo Thunderbirds and the Penticton Vees the same thing they recently showed the Portage Terriers: how hockey is really meant to be played.

The Broncos, who have twice won the national Junior A hockey championship, are an active part of the community. They love their fans and Humboldt loves its Broncos. That is the key. The Broncos will defeat the Slammers, clobber the Thunderbirds, upend the Vees and embarrass the Terriers, not just with superior hockey skills, though that will soon be evident, but they will win the RBC Cup because they have the greatest hockey fans in the country, fans who will provide the heart necessary for victory.

Congratulations to Humboldt and its great volunteers for hosting the RBC Cup.

Mefloquine
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Francine Raynault Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to acknowledge the courage and determination of Sonia Scalzo, a constituent in Joliette who, for the past six years, has been working hard to raise awareness among Canadians about the military's use of the internationally controversial anti-malarial drug mefloquine.

The drug is meant to prevent malaria, but it can have serious side effects for some people, including hallucinations, anxiety and aggression.

The United States stopped systematically prescribing this drug to its soldiers in 2009, but we continue to administer it to our Canadian troops.

After Ms. Scalzo's lonely six-year battle and seven refusals by the Canadian Forces ombudsman to investigate mefloquine, I am joining her in calling for a thorough review of this important issue.

I want to thank her for her exemplary courage. Her tenacity is an inspiration to all the soldiers and military families who have been affected by mefloquine.