House of Commons Hansard #117 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was housing.

Topics

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

Conservative

Costas Menegakis Richmond Hill, ON

Madam Speaker, it is the responsibility of any government to ensure it is very mindful of how it spends taxpayer dollars and at the same time ensure essential services are not compromised in any way. Streamlining operations to better serve the Canadian public does not of necessity mean a lack of interest in providing support for those essential services.

I would urge the hon. member to really read what is in the budget. It actually provides for a faster, quicker, more effective way of providing the very services to which she is referring.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

Liberal

Ted Hsu Kingston and the Islands, ON

Madam Speaker, my hon. colleague spoke about the scientific research and experimental development tax credit, and I have a question about something in the streamlining of that tax credit that appeared in the budget document.

The eligibility for capital expenditures, for example, if an individual wanted to buy a big piece of equipment to start to do some work for the company, would be eliminated from the tax credit.

Why did the government choose to completely eliminate the eligibility of capital expenditures for the scientific research and experimental development tax credit? It seems very strange that one would completely eliminate it when it is so important for many companies in my riding and in the riding of my hon. colleague.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

Conservative

Costas Menegakis Richmond Hill, ON

Madam Speaker, we can pick and choose any segment of the budget we like or do not like, what is in there and what is not in there. The fact is that our government has clearly displayed, since it took office in 2006, a definitive focus on reducing taxes for the large corporations so they can have enough money to invest in their businesses to create jobs and growth and to invest in the infrastructure they need within their operations.

We are also very mindful of what is happening around the world in other economies and in other nations, and it is very important for us to work toward balancing our budget.

There are measures in the budget that are focused on ensuring that we balance Canada's budget in the mid-term. We are projected to do that by the year 2015, possibly 2016. That is our focus. That is the focus of the budget.

I think the hon. member would agree that reducing the corporate tax rate from 22% to 15% goes a long way in providing the very necessary funds companies need to invest in the infrastructure of their businesses in his riding, in my riding and the ridings across this nation.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, it is with pleasure that I am afforded the opportunity to speak today on this important piece of legislation.

Allow me to start off by talking about how the government has made the determination to incorporate within the budget debate massive amounts of legislation that should be stand-alone legislation. I say that because Canadians need to be aware that the government is using the back door of budget debate to bring into effect legislative changes that will have a profound impact on issues like our environment. This is, indeed, unprecedented and we need to hold the government accountable for a wide variety of issues.

Today, we are talking about the budget bill. We should actually be talking about budget expenditures. There are many things we could be talking about with regard to the budget, but the government brought in other issues and incorporated them into this budget debate, which I would argue is ultimately undemocratic. This majority mentality of the Conservative government has absolutely no respect for the proper procedures that must be followed to ensure there is some sense of due diligence with regard to legislation.

If the government wants to do Canadians a service, one thing it should do today is send a very clear message that it did make a mistake and it is going to take out the substantial pieces of legislation that it was going to try to sneak through by putting them in this budget debate.

Let me put it in perspective. In this budget debate, we are going to be talking about passing legislation that should have been brought in as separate pieces of legislation, bills that will have profound impacts on the environment, as I say. Also, the government has said that not only is it going to bring in all the other legislation through the budget debate but it is also putting limitations on how many days members are going to be able to speak on the bill. It is sneaking legislation in through the back door of the budget and then putting a limit on how long individual members of Parliament are going to be able to contribute to that debate.

I suggest that if Canadians only knew how the majority government has been behaving since it was awarded the majority, there is no way Canadians would ever give the government another majority. Time will go by relatively quickly, there will be another election and Canadians will be reminded of the attitude and arrogance of the government in dealing with legislation and changing the laws of Canada. Members need to highlight that.

As I say, there are other things. We are supposed to be debating a budget bill and yet there is a great deal of frustration in terms of the impact that this legislation is going to have on the environment, for which there should have been separate bills that would then have been debated in the House and sent to committee, where witnesses from across Canada would participate on the environmental changes, for example, that this bill would put into place. I say shame on the government for not doing the right thing and introducing separate legislation.

Let me talk about the budget. Canadians from coast to coast were upset when the Prime Minister, from overseas, made his decision that he wants to change our seniors pension programs. There were tens of thousands of seniors and others across this land who signed petitions, emailed, telephoned, made presentations to individual members of Parliament and, I suspect, wrote to the government, who all said what the government was doing was wrong with regard to the whole pension issue.

Canadians appreciate and feel passionate about the OAS, our CPP and our guaranteed income supplement. Those are the foundations of our pension programs, and I must say these are foundations that were set many years ago from Liberal administrations. However, that aside, I can tell members there are many Canadians who are very suspicious of the current government when it comes to those fundamental social programs that help identify us as Canadians, that help provide support for our seniors in their retirement years. The backlash was significant.

I believe that ultimately because of that backlash the government did back down on a number of initiatives it was going to take against our senior population here, to the degree that the Conservatives are ultimately pushing one, and there is no backing down on that one. That is, they are going to increase the retirement age from 65 to 67.

We within the Liberal Party have come out against that policy announcement. In fact, the Liberal Party is committed to reversing that position, because we believe Canadians should have the ability to determine whether or not they want to retire at age 65, and postponing it to age 67 is just wrong. It is not an issue of a crisis situation as the government tries to imply. We know that the Government of Canada, not only today but well into the future, can afford to provide those types of pension programs for our seniors and as people approach the age of 65.

Those are the types of issues that are important to Canadians. Those are the types of issues we need to be talking about during the budget debate.

Another important issue for people, not only of Winnipeg North but I would ultimately argue for all Canadians, is the issue of health care. The government has turned a deaf ear to the needs of health care across this country. We have waiting lists for emergency services. When I say waiting lists, I mean we have people who are still in hallways, waiting to be admitted into emergency services.

A couple of years ago, we had someone who was sitting in emergency in a tertiary health care facility, that is, the number one hospital facility in the province of Manitoba. That person sat in a chair for more than 30 hours, and for a good part of that 30 hours the individual had already passed away. Unfortunately, had that individual been given the attention he needed, he would have been alive today. I am not saying it is because of the current government that the individual passed away; there is a lot of shared responsibility there.

However, I will suggest that health care is a critically important issue that Canadians want their federal government to address. They expect the federal government to play a leadership role in providing adequate health care and ensuring there is going to be a healthy health care system for the generations to come.

Paul Martin and Jean Chrétien established the health care accord, which guaranteed a base funding level of health and that the base funding of health care would increase. That is important. Let us take the issue of health care dollars flowing to the provinces and look at the Canada Health Act, which was put into place by a Liberal administration but receives all-party support from what I understand. I believe all political parties today inside the House support the Canada Health Act.

However, let us take a look at the Canada Health Act and the money Ottawa transfers over to the provinces. Between those two, Ottawa does have a role to ensure we have health care standards from coast to coast, to ensure we have adequate health care services provided to all Canadians. I believe that the Conservative government has dropped the ball on the issue. It has turned a blind eye. This health care accord is expiring. The Conservatives have not had discussions or health care meetings to look at ways in which we can improve upon the need to renew the health care accord. There is a sunset to that health care accord.

Where is the leadership coming from Ottawa? There has been none. We need leadership. We need all political parties to get onside.

One of the New Democratic Party leadership candidates in Quebec talked about how the Province of Quebec should have the ability to administer health care and Ottawa should just hand over the money. I would suggest we need to have that debate, and the budget debate is a good place to have it.

Ottawa has the sole responsibility to ensure that there is a national standard, that there is a national program—

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

11 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

Order, please.

The hon. member will have five minutes of questions and comments when we return to the bill.

Tibet
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Conservative

Joe Daniel Don Valley East, ON

Madam Speaker, on behalf of the Tibetan community in Don Valley East, I rise to highlight the persecution of the Tibetan people.

The Dali Lama was in Ottawa last week and once again spread his great message of peace, calling for a productive and respectful dialogue to address the legitimate grievances of the peaceful people of Tibet.

Since 2009, numbers of Tibetans have sacrificed themselves as a call for the return of peace to their country and for freedom from persecution inside Tibet.

I encourage all members of the House to support the call for leadership regarding the Tibetan issue and to support a multilateral forum in response to Tibet's desire for freedom and justice.

Employment Insurance
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

NDP

Laurin Liu Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Madam Speaker, the Conservative budget will be very hard on the unemployed, particularly those who work in seasonal industries. Pilot projects involving best weeks, maximum earnings exemptions and five additional weeks of benefits will be cut back or eliminated entirely to reduce payments to unemployed workers.

I am especially worried about the government's plan to withhold employment insurance from unemployed workers who turn down jobs that do not match their qualifications or their region of residence.

Instead of focusing on job creation, the Conservatives have decided to attack unemployed workers. According to a Segma poll in my riding, half of the people feel that the employment insurance system does not meet the needs of unemployed workers.

The people of Rivière-des-Mille-Îles have clearly expressed their opinion: employment insurance must meet workers' needs, just like it used to.

Cystic Fibrosis
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett St. Paul's, ON

Madam Speaker, May is Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month.

Cystic fibrosis is the most common fatal genetic disease affecting Canadian children and young adults. Today approximately 4,000 Canadians are living with the disease, and people are living longer than ever with cystic fibrosis.

I am pleased to celebrate the extraordinary work of Cystic Fibrosis Canada, a national health charity with 51 volunteer chapters. The organization has its sights set squarely on finding a cure and on helping people and families affected by cystic fibrosis cope with their daily fight and realize their full potential in Canadian life.

In spite of advances in cystic fibrosis research and care, there is no treatment. Every week in Canada, another two children are diagnosed with the disease.

I ask my colleagues in this House to join me and the thousands of Canadians fighting this devastating disease by learning more about cystic fibrosis and by raising awareness at the grassroots level, in our communities and online. I invite members to visit cysticfibrosis.ca.

Heart and Stroke Fundraising
Statements By Members

May 4th, 2012 / 11 a.m.

Conservative

Ray Boughen Palliser, SK

Madam Speaker, it is $58,109 and counting. I am proud to say that the residents of Moose Jaw are taking part in a 36-hour fundraising mission to “Give in a Heartbeat”.

I am talking about the sixth annual CHAB Family First Radiothon, which aims to raise more than $200,000 to purchase life-saving equipment for heart and stroke patients at the Moose Jaw Union Hospital. This equipment will not only be more portable but will also provide more data and better emergent care. Better care for cardiac and stroke patients is welcome, as heart disease costs the Canadian economy more than $20 billion every year.

I am proud to be part of a community that unites behind a common goal to give in a heartbeat for friends, family or neighbours who may need heart or stroke care.

Calgary Zoo
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Calgary Centre-North, AB

Madam Speaker, for more than 75 years the Calgary Zoo has offered visitors from around the world the opportunity to experience and interact with wildlife right in the heart of our city.

Recently I had the pleasure to meet with Clement Lanthier, Rick Harland and Dr. Malu Celli and visit the newest exhibit at the Calgary Zoo, the penguin plunge. This wonderful exhibit allows visitors to experience multiple penguin species up close and in their natural habitats, which include massive diving pools and natural rock formations.

The Calgary Zoo has created an environmentally sustainable ecosystem, continually recycling fresh water, removing deposits and ensuring the penguins have the safest of homes.

The penguin plunge will be a main attraction for the zoo's 1.2 million annual visitors and will raise awareness of polar regions and this magnificent and really cute species.

I encourage all Canadians to visit this world-class exhibit and take the penguin plunge.

National Volunteer Week
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

NDP

Djaouida Sellah Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Madam Speaker, April 15 to 21 was National Volunteer Week. I would like to commend the dedication of two people in particular from Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert.

For the past 20 years, Alice Daigle has been a dedicated volunteer at the Laflèche seniors' club in Saint-Hubert. She began spending time there before she was even a senior herself, as she went with her husband.

Also, for over 34 years, Roger Jolin has been volunteering at the Saint-Bruno horticultural and ecological society, and for over 18 years as a member of the Saint-Bruno beautification committee and at the Charles LeMoyne Hospital.

I would like to thank Ms. Daigle and Mr. Jolin for their commitment. I would also like to congratulate all volunteers in Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert on their efforts to make the world a better place.

Netherlands Liberation Day
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Dave Van Kesteren Chatham-Kent—Essex, ON

Madam Speaker, May 5 is celebrated every year in the Netherlands as Liberation Day, and each year they honour the more than 7,600 Canadians who made the ultimate sacrifice in defence of what matters most to our great country: peace, freedom, democracy and the rule of law.

These brave men and women served with pride and conviction to help liberate the Netherlands 67 years ago. Their courage and sacrifice not only helped liberate the Netherlands but also led to victory in Europe.

Today we remember not only the brave individuals who served during the Second World War; we also pay tribute to the men and women who are serving our country today.

We honour those who sacrificed so that we can live in peace and freedom today. We honour those who are currently serving our country to help build a better future for countries around the world.

Let us pay tribute to their bravery, their service and their commitment to our great country.

Diamond Jubilee Medal
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Chris Warkentin Peace River, AB

Madam Speaker, this year Canadians celebrate the 60th year of our Queen's reign.

The Diamond Jubilee is an historic event for our generations to reflect on the past and to set a vision for the future.

As part of this year's celebration, the Governor General, joined by our government, announced the creation of the Diamond Jubilee medal. This award will honour the Queen's service to all Canadians by honouring Canadians who serve. Canadians from coast to coast will be honoured for their contributions to our communities and to our country.

I am proud to represent some of the Canadians most deserving of this award. Peace Country residents serve their neighbours, communities and country without any expectation of recognition. This selfless giving has done a great deal to build our communities into great places where we can live, work and raise our families.

I call on Peace Country residents to reflect on the people who have transformed our communities by their selfless giving and nominate them for this prestigious award. Let us celebrate this exciting year by thanking those who have contributed so much to the Peace Country's past, present and future.

Organ Donation
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Madam Speaker, 1,264 Quebeckers, including 16 children, are waiting for an organ transplant. In Quebec, the child who has lived the longest with an artificial heart is a courageous young man in my riding of Brossard—La Prairie. His name is Vincent Lambert and he is 15.

Last week, during National Organ Donor Week, Vincent and his family urged Quebeckers to simply sign the back of their health insurance card and to talk to their loved ones about organ donation. By signing our cards, we all have the power to save lives.

Organ donation is an incredible gift that can change lives and give hope to many people who, like Vincent, are waiting for a transplant.

I urge all Canadians to sign their donor card and to spread the word.

I invite you to tweet #AHeart4Vincent.

Vincent, we all hope you will get a new heart as soon as possible.

Russell District Women's Institute
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Madam Speaker, I rise in the House to honour women across my riding who unite to serve their communities in many different ways.

In particular I would like to highlight the Russell District Women's Institute, which celebrates its 80th anniversary this year, and its member districts.

Over the years, the local districts have introduced educational programming and social events that unite and inform our residents. Their ROSE program is well known for engaging the public on topics relevant to rural life.

Tomorrow I will join members of the Russell Village district as they celebrate their own anniversary of 75 years. This marks years of community support and efforts to promote personal growth.

I would like to congratulate three special members, Mrs. Staal, Mrs. Bols, and Mrs. Hueweyer, for their great achievement of having been members for 50 years. These women are leaders in our community who are setting an example for future generations, and I wish them every success.