House of Commons Hansard #118 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Question No. 550
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the Chief Electoral Officer appeared before the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs on March 29, 2012, in regard to the allegations of wrongdoing during the 41st general election.

During his appearance, the Chief Electoral Officer indicated that Elections Canada received approximately 70 complaints during or immediately after the election, alleging various forms of improper telephone communications. The Chief Electoral Officer further indicated that close to 40,000 people have since contacted Elections Canada to express concerns. Of these contacts, over 800 were complaints alleging specific occurrences of improper or fraudulent calls across the country. As indicated by the Chief Electoral Officer during his appearance, providing further details on the complaints would risk interfering with the confidentiality and integrity of the Commissioner of Canada Elections’ ongoing investigation. Therefore, consistent with the spirit of the Access to Information Act, which recognizes the importance of preserving the confidentiality of the Commissioner’s investigation, Elections Canada is not in a position at the present time to provide additional information, including information specific to the Province of British Columbia.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

May 7th, 2012 / 3:30 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, if Questions Nos. 533 and 551 could be made orders for returns, these returns would be tabled immediately.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Question No. 533
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

With regard to the Market Basket Measure: (a) which government department is responsible for deciding how it will be calculated; (b) what changes were made to the calculation of shelter costs within the past three years; (c) who made the decision to change the calculation of shelter costs; (d) who was consulted on the decision to change the calculation of shelter costs; (e) what kind of evaluation was performed on the new calculation of shelter costs to ensure that it still represented a reasonable measure of the actual costs of housing; (f) when will the government review the shelter cost calculation again; and (g) what will be the process for reviewing the shelter cost?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 551
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Vancouver Quadra, BC

With regard to the Centenaries Program funded under the program authority of Western Economic Diversification (WD) and delivered by WD and Canadian Heritage: (a) what is the purpose, cost, and timeframe of all current, ongoing, or completed (i) programs, (ii) commitments, (iii) agreements, (iv) expenditures to commemorate the 100th anniversaries of the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, including, but not limited to, capital legacy projects as well as commemorative and celebratory events or any projects or programs transferred at any point to other departments for implementation; (b) what is the (i) source, (ii) partner, (iii) commitment, (iv) value, (v) timeframe of all funds leveraged from other funding sources in support of (a); (c) how did the government measure the success, effectiveness, and efficiency of all projects, programs, commitments, agreements, expenditures, and timeframes referred to in (a) and (b); and (d) what steps has WD taken to ensure that recommendation number one of the March 2010 Evaluation of the Centenaries Program, which is that “the department should ensure its corporate database captures relevant project recommendations and financial information in a timely manner,” be implemented?

(Return tabled)

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, I ask that the remaining questions be allowed to stand.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-38, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 29, 2012 and other measures, be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the amendment.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Françoise Boivin Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise on behalf of my constituents in Gatineau, but I am not proud to rise on Bill C-38, which should be extremely important because of what the budget contains. It is a huge document. The only bill I have ever seen that was bigger was Bill C-10, which was quite lengthy.

Bill C-38 is a hefty bill containing 753 clauses, only 51 of which have to do with taxes. The other 702 clauses set out a new way of governing. If that is not doing a bad job, I do not know what it is. That may be why the people of Gatineau are so fed up with this government.

Not a day goes by when I do not receive tons of messages via email, Facebook and Twitter from people in Gatineau who are fed up with the way the government does things: always acting without any transparency, in secret, without considering whether what they are doing makes sense or debating with the opposition to try to make the best laws here in Canada, and always trying to pull a fast one in big bills like this one.

The Conservatives are lucky to be in the majority with their big 39% of the vote because otherwise this bill would likely cause the same reaction as in 2008 when the Conservatives tried to slip into the economic and fiscal update two politically explosive measures, which had never been debated before: the abolition of public financing of parties and of the right to strike in the federal public service. It seems as though the Conservatives were not put off by the spontaneous reaction of the Canadian public on that occasion. The Conservatives do not give two hoots and believe that they have the majority with their impressive 39%, and they are trying to pull the same stunt yet again.

I certainly will not be encouraging the people in my riding of Gatineau to like this government any more than they do. They already tell me every day that they are not really happy with the government and that they are very much looking forward to 2015.

That being said, when you consider the overall impact of Bill C–38, it is enough to give you shivers down the spine. Moreover, I would ask the Conservative members to do more than simply rashly and blindly do what the first and second rows tell them to do. Indeed, they will have to explain in their respective ridings why particular ways of doing things have been instituted because Bill C–38 is going to affect a number of issues that are extremely important to Canadians.

By the way, for those who are not already aware of it, our debate is still subject to what I call a gag order. The government likes to call it a limited time for debate and boasts that it has allocated four long days for debate. The government has told us that the member who was finance critic before the end of the leadership race, the member for Burnaby—New Westminster, has already used up all the available hours.

But the fact is that it was not a filibuster. It was simply a demonstration of the fact that we used the only time the government allocated to us, whereas normally in this House members are given an opportunity to express themselves, not necessarily to their hearts content, but in keeping with the principles of representation. I thought that we were here to represent our constituents, but that does not seem to be the case. I consider myself lucky to be one of the chosen few who will be able to rise during the couple of days that the glorious Conservative government has allocated to us to speak about such an important bill.

If I were to put on my justice critic hat, I would say that there is even a chapter that applies to this in Bill C-38. I would not have a clue what it is doing there. Perhaps it is for economic, budgetary or other reasons? Not at all.

It would amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to eliminate the requirement of a hearing for certain reviews.

When you read this kind of thing in a budget implementation act, in Bill C-38, you wonder whether someone has made a mistake. You look at the printed pages and the computer screen in order to see whether some other sections or some other legislation has been mixed in with it. But no, this is really what Bill C-38, the budget implementation act, says.

In fact, it announces plans to review the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act. Bill C-38 also talks about implementing the Framework Agreement on Integrated Cross-Border Maritime Law Enforcement Operations between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America.

Just by themselves, these are all things that could take a some time to study and to determine whether this procedure is correct and in line with Canada's rules of law and natural justice.

Unfortunately, once again they are using the sledgehammers on us, just to satisfy their ideology that aims at reducing government with no other common thread than that of reducing for the sake of reducing and minimizing the things that they do not believe in. There will be changes to old age security, employment insurance and the Canada pension plan.

The people watching us know that we have talked a great deal about increasing the retirement age from 65 to 67, something that makes many people feel insecure, even those who are already in that age category and who will not necessarily be affected by the change. These people are well aware that if the government is now able to do this to the generation that is coming up behind them, nothing will prevent it from saying anything, any time, anyhow, and from changing the things on which they were once able to rely.

There is nothing that is certain in life any more, and this is perhaps the message I am sending to the people who are watching, and particularly to the voters in my riding who sent me here with 62% of the vote, unlike the Conservatives who received 39%, and who are pulling out their hair at hearing it said so often that it does not make sense. Is there anything that is untouchable in the opinion of this government? Are there rights that are not rights?

Another example is the Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act, which is being repealed. In Bill C-38, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 29, 2012 and other measures, the government has decided that the Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act will be repealed. This act was created in the 1930s to set wage standards and minimum hours of work for construction workers working on federally funded projects. Under the act, salaries are set in accordance with current industry norms, and hours are set according to provincial standards. Eliminating these minimum standards will allow employers to circumvent rates set by unions. Congratulations. This is yet another attack against those the government likes to call “big union bosses“.

I have some news for them. Thanks to all of that and perhaps to certain “big union bosses” and certain battles that have been fought over the past decades, children of a certain age have been prohibited from working, because it simply did not make sense. Pregnant women are no longer forced to continue working if their work becomes too dangerous. The government must stop painting people who fight for legitimate causes as brainless criminals who are doing this simply to upset the public. What upsets the public is when they see bills like this one, bills of this size, into which the government tries to slip all kinds of measures, because it cannot do so through separate bills, since it is afraid of attracting too much attention.

I will leave it to my colleagues to give plenty of other examples of things that will have a serious impact, for the examples I have given are merely small ones.

On behalf of the people of Gatineau, I say shame on this government for introducing this bill, which demonstrates its clear contempt for democracy and contempt for the most fundamental rights of the people of Canada.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

3:40 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech, which was very interesting.

I completely agree with the criticisms that the member has made of the budget implementation bill. I appreciate the stand the official opposition is taking that key laws must be removed and not passed all as one.

However, I am wondering if the member could help me as well. I know the Minister of Finance cannot, as stated in the House of Commons Practice and Procedure, include measures that were not mentioned in advance of the budget. I cannot find any reference in the budget to destruction of fish habitat laws, to changing the Species at Risk Act to allow the National Energy Board to permit destruction of species at risk, nor do I find any reference to changing the Navigable Waters Protection Act. How is it that those could even be purported to be part of a budget 2012 measure?

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

3:40 p.m.

NDP

Françoise Boivin Gatineau, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her question. I would have to say that I do not have an intelligent explanation for what the Conservatives are doing. Many measures in the bill are absolutely incomprehensible.

She gave some examples. but there are many others. We wonder how the government could be in favour of putting an end to the Kyoto protocol.

Just imagine: a single sentence in Bill C-38, the budget implementation bill, announces that the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act, Chapter 30 of the Statutes of Canada, 2007, is repealed, effectively killing the Kyoto protocol. That is what this government does after we entered into international agreements and gave our word as a country.

I want to tell the people who are watching—and I say this with no ill will, because it is the truth—to be careful when dealing with the Government of Canada, because its word is not worth very much.

With a government that is prepared to do something like that, it is any wonder that the budget said nothing about the measures my colleague mentioned, yet they showed up in Bill C-38, the budget implementation bill? Nothing in this House surprises me anymore. There are things that disappoint me every day, but nothing surprises me anymore.