House of Commons Hansard #215 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tax.

Topics

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of the national anthem led by the hon. member for London West.

[Members sang the national anthem]

Proportional Representation
Statements By Members

February 27th, 2013 / 2:05 p.m.

Independent

Bruce Hyer Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, in 2011 most voters did not get what they voted for. Whether they favoured Greens, NDP or Liberals, they often received a Conservative MP due to our undemocratic voting system.

Most of the world's democracies have some kind of proportional representation. If we had fair elections, then Conservatives would have only 122 seats, the NDP 96, the Liberals 58 and the Greens would have at least a dozen. Canadians would have the Parliament they voted for, most likely a NDP-Liberal-Green government.

Only one of the candidates running for the Liberal leadership has a real plan for electoral reform, putting democracy before party politics.

I hope that Canadians will seriously consider the ideas of the member for Vancouver Quadra and that other candidates will also put their country before personal and political ambitions.

Scouts Canada
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, Scouts Canada held its day on Parliament Hill yesterday. Scouts from across Canada met MPs and senators to share their message of leadership, respect and community service.

I was honoured to meet Alex Killby from London, as well as Nhattan Nguye, Cody Dixon and Heather Eskritt. These young people reminded me of my days in Scouts. Although it was many years ago, I remember well the lessons taught about integrity and personal conduct and how to develop survival skills, technical skills and confidence. These principles of duty to God, duty to others and duty to self resonate today.

In my city of London we have 30 Scouts groups with more than 1,000 members and 400 volunteers, with service ranging from one to 60 years.

Just this past weekend London Scouting hosted a citizenship court welcoming 27 new Canadians, and 20 scouts received their pathfinder citizenship certificate.

Members may know that the Canadian General Council of the Boy Scout Association was incorporated by an act of the Canadian Parliament on June 12, 1914, so as scouting enjoys 100 years of service, let me on behalf of the House thank Scouts from across Canada for what they do to make London, Canada and our communities better.

Employment Insurance
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Saturday, I marched through the streets of Sherbrooke, alongside my constituents, to protest the employment insurance reform.

I made a speech and congratulated them on having the guts to take to the street to denounce this direct attack on our workers. The Conservatives are a threat to my region's economy.

This government wants to label the unemployed as good or bad. It is not as though they chose to lose their jobs; that is the reality, the up-and-down nature of seasonal work. This systematic labelling will erode seasonal industries and drive wages down.

I have a message for all Canadians. We need you if we are going to beat this reform. We will win the employment insurance fight today, and I can assure you that we will win the war in 2015, when we form the first NDP government in Canadian history.

Together, we shall succeed.

Inspirational Role Models
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, last week was a truly great week in my riding of Okanagan—Coquihalla.

On Friday morning I joined a very large and very excited group of students from Uplands Elementary School to have a live conversation with Canada's very own Chris Hadfield. Our conversation was carried out live through the ARISS amateur radio program. To say these students were very inspired by this experience is an understatement.

Later in the day I visited Summerland Middle School and had the honour to present Canadian Olympian Kristi Richards with a Diamond Jubilee Medal. The staff and students at Summerland Middle School have a very special relationship with Ms. Richards. Kristi is a talented young leader and is a positive role model to young people in my riding.

I believe we are stronger as a nation when proud Canadians such as Commander Hadfield and Kristi Richards so positively influence our next generation of young leaders.

Pink Shirt Day
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, today is pink shirt day in B.C. It commemorates an event in Nova Scotia, where a student was bullied for wearing a pink shirt. Fellow students wore pink shirts in support, and thus began a potent act of peaceful defiance.

There will be events across B.C. today. Firefighters wearing pink shirts will sell them to raise funds for boys and girls clubs, B.C. Place will be lit up with 6,000 pink LED lights and Vancouver's anti-bullying punk band Childsplay will perform.

Businesses, schools, media, athletes and celebrities will bring awareness to adults and youth that bullying can cause irreparable harm.

Trans and gay bullying is on the rise, as is the resulting suicide rate. The justice committee will hold final hearings today on my bill to make cyberbullies accountable, but it is only one small part of the action that we as parliamentarians must take to develop an anti-bullying strategy with education, prevention, accountability and rehabilitative components.

If people have a pink shirt, they should wear it as a quiet act of solidarity and defiance against bullies.

Home James Designated Driver Program
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

David Tilson Dufferin—Caledon, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to be recognizing an outstanding program that is saving lives in my riding of Dufferin—Caledon. Home James, launched last fall by the Community Designated Drivers Association, is a free designated driver program to reduce impaired driving in the community.

During the 2012 holiday season, Home James recruited an impressive 145 volunteers who provided 360 rides to 822 passengers, which resulted in $9,105.78 in donations that were later presented to local youth groups on January 17.

I congratulate this exceptional organization on a job well done. I include Stan Janes and Diane Tolstoy, as well as the many service clubs and sponsors who supported the program, such as Bolton Rotary, Palgrave Rotary, Bolton Lions Club, Bolton Kinsmen, True Blue Lodge, Knights of Columbus Holy Father Catholic Church, Baffo's and Tim Hortons.

Dominican Republic
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

José Nunez-Melo Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a moment to recognize the 169th anniversary of the independence of my home country, the Dominican Republic. Every year, over 800,000 Canadians visit this wonderful and prosperous country, located on the island of Hispaniola.

The Dominican Republic has strengthened its position and built the second-largest economy in the Caribbean, and Canada is one of its major trading partners. In 2012, Canadian exports to the Dominican Republic amounted to $128 million, and imports to Canada from that country totalled nearly $283 million.

I would also like to recognize the civic engagement and excellent conduct of Dominican nationals in this extraordinary country, Canada.

Happy birthday, Dominican Republic. Feliz cumpleaños.

Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Candice Bergen Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, tens of thousands of aboriginal women in this country are at a disadvantage when going through a divorce because they do not have the rights to real matrimonial property. Our government is correcting this situation with Bill S-2, which will not only give matrimonial property rights to women living on reserve but will also allow judges to enforce emergency protection orders in situations of family violence.

Shockingly, the opposition is not supporting this basic right for aboriginal women. They are putting political posturing ahead of these rights, rights that every other Canadian woman enjoys. This is shameful.

Our Conservative government will continue to stand up for the rights of aboriginal women. On this side of the House we do not just talk about supporting women: we take real action to make a real difference in the lives of women and to empower them during the most difficult situations, those of divorce or separation.

I call on all of the opposition to stop only talking about helping women and to actually do something by supporting Bill S-2.

Hiring of Veterans
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Eve Adams Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to highlight our government's actions to create jobs for Canadian veterans.

Each year, between 4,000 and 5,000 Canadian armed forces members leave the military at an average age of 37. These people are hard-working, well trained and the very definition of team players. By working with private and public sector organizations, our Conservative government is helping veterans transition into the civilian workforce.

Earlier this afternoon I was joined by Dr. Woolf, the principal and vice-chancellor of Queen's University, to announce that Queen's University will offer priority hiring to qualified Canadian veterans. I would like to thank Queen's for its support of veterans and the program for hiring veterans. Queen's is one of the oldest, most prestigious universities in our country.

Hiring a veteran just makes sense. I strongly encourage all Canadian businesses to join us.

Bullying
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Dany Morin Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, today I am wearing pink to show my support for Anti-Bullying Day. Even though the Conservatives voted overwhelmingly against my national bullying prevention strategy, I am continuing my cross-Canada “For the Kids” tour.

I have met many people from all over Canada who have been affected by bullying. They want the federal government to do its part. The government has failed to do its job. According to a study conducted by the WHO, Canada is ranked in the bottom third of developed countries when it comes to protecting its young people from bullying.

Before rising for the Christmas break, the Senate released its report on cyberbullying. The committee suggested that the federal government establish a coordinated national bullying prevention strategy. In short, experts on bullying are calling for this strategy, as are families and young people. The Senate has come to the same conclusion as the NDP.

After voting against bullying prevention, when will the government finally adopt a national bullying prevention strategy? Time is of the essence.

Anti-Bullying Day
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Joyce Bateman Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, today is national Anti-Bullying Day. Bullying is a sad and difficult issue that affects children and families right across the country.

Our government has taken strong action to combat bullying. Our government invests significantly in initiatives that promote awareness and cracks down on bullying. We created the walk away, ignore, talk it out and seek help initiative, which teaches our children to make positive choices when faced with bullying, peer victimization and conflict.

The RCMP operates the website DEAL.org, which offers resources to youth, parents and educators on bullying and cyberbullying. We invested to expand Cybertip.ca's capacity to address self and peer exploitation.

We encourage all Canadians to think about what they can do in their schools and their communities. By working with all parties, the provinces and Canadian families, we can stop bullying.

Housing
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Marie-Claude Morin Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, I had the opportunity to participate in the launch of the YWCA's Homes for Women campaign. Canada's housing crisis is obvious. We have more than 150,000 people who are homeless, and more than 150 million households have an urgent need for housing.

The housing crisis is obvious. We have more than 150,000 people homeless and more than 1.5 million households do not have access to affordable and safe housing.

It goes without saying that a large number of these households are run by women and that the rate of homelessness among women has been rising. That is why this campaign is needed.

I urge the government to let us make history, not only by supporting this campaign, but also by voting in favour of a national housing strategy this evening, so that we can ensure that all women have safe, adequate, accessible and affordable housing.

Science and Technology
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Robert Sopuck Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette, MB

Mr. Speaker, as a fisheries biologist, I understand and appreciate the importance of scientific research and innovation. That is why I am truly proud of the work of Canadian scientists and researchers.

Our government has provided over $8 billion in new science and technology funding since 2006 for state-of-the-art infrastructure, equipment and talent to make Canada a global leader in science and innovation.

Today, Canada's top researchers are in Ottawa to be awarded prizes from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council for their innovative ideas and groundbreaking research.

A recent study by the Council of Canadian Academies confirms our government's success, revealing that our scientific enterprise is growing, internationally competitive, well-respected and ranks fourth-best in the world. This is something of which all Canadians can truly be proud.

We are on the right track. Our government will continue our record support for science, even if the NDP continues to vote against it.

Sikh Summit
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the first Sikh summit was held in Ottawa and with it hundreds of faithful Sikhs arrived in the capital under the theme, “Preserving Our Past and Investing in Our Future”.

This group came to Ottawa with a message of peace and tolerance to give voice to the challenges faced by the Sikh community around the world. They participants also discussed the tremendous success and positive impact of their global humanitarian efforts and outreach, something that is to be admired by all of us.

Last night I was pleased to attend a dinner hosted as part of the Sikh summit and I was even more pleased to speak with many of the attendants afterwards.

On behalf of the Liberal caucus, I send a special note of thanks to Ranbar Singh, Hardayal Singh, Paul Minhas, Baljit Bawa, JP Mann, Preet Pal Singh and all of the others who worked hard to make the first Sikh summit a success.

I look forward to continuing in friendship with the United Sikhs throughout Canada.