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House of Commons Hansard #18 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was billion.

Topics

PensionsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

That concludes question period for today. I believe the Minister of National Defence is rising on a point of order.

National DefencePoints of OrderOral Questions

3 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I would like to clarify the remarks I made in question period on Thursday, May 4. My remarks were in response to a question about Norad's information sharing. The maritime aspect of the agreement will give Norad access to data that has been shared between security and defence agencies in North America for several decades. This applies to all Canadian and U.S. waters, including internal waters. Therefore, Canadian internal waters in the Arctic archipelago would also be covered by this agreement.

This is nothing new. We already share this type of information with the U.S. The Norad agreement will allow us to better manage this activity. In no way will this provision weaken our sovereignty. Any decision about action in Canadian internal waters will remain Canada's alone.

Emergency Management ActRoutine Proceedings

3 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-12, an Act to provide for emergency management and to amend and repeal certain Acts.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Employment Insurance ActRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-263, An act to amend the Employment Insurance Act (elimination of waiting period).

Mr. Speaker, first I wish to thank my colleague from Beauséjour for supporting this bill.

Today, I am proud and honoured to introduce this bill, which will help improve the lives of seasonal workers. The purpose of the bill is to eliminate the two-week waiting period that precedes payment of employment insurance benefits. After taking into account the best weeks in previous years, these changes to the Employment Insurance Act will enable seasonal workers to receive employment benefits more quickly.

For several months, I have been working hard in order to introduce this bill in the House of Commons so that the employment insurance system can best meet the needs of seasonal workers.

We are at the first reading stage and I hope that the government will support workers by passing this bill. This program is of vital importance in my riding.

I am therefore very proud of my efforts on behalf of the citizens of Madawaska—Restigouche.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Education Benefits ActRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-264, an Act respecting education benefits for spouses and children of certain deceased federal enforcement officers.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to introduce a private member's bill entitled an act respecting educational benefits for spouses and children of certain deceased law enforcement officers. This initiative was originally the vision of a former member of the House, Janko Peric, of Cambridge, Ontario. Mr. Peric introduced a similar bill during his tenure. I hope we will see him back in the House to continue his fight for public safety initiatives.

The bill would provide for educational benefits of a financial nature to the surviving spouse and children of federal enforcement officers who die from injuries received or illnesses contracted in the discharge of their duties. The bill mirrors legislation that currently exists in the province of Ontario.

In light of last year's tragic deaths of four RCMP officers in Mayerthorpe, Alberta, I would hope that colleagues from all sides of the House will lend their support to this worthy initiative. We owe it to the families of those who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving and protecting us.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Employment Insurance ActRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-265, An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act (qualification for and entitlement to benefits).

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce a bill concerning the best twelve weeks. The Liberal Party had a chance to pass a bill for workers who were short work weeks and found themselves falling into what is known as the seasonal gap.

The best twelve weeks will help seasonal workers. This bill also proposes 360 hours. I am pleased that the member for Vancouver East is seconding this bill. I hope that all members of the House of Commons will support it.

In Canada, only 33% of women who pay employment insurance premiums are eligible to receive benefits. The $49 billion that disappeared from employment insurance coffers were contributed by workers. In Canada, only 38% of working men are eligible for employment insurance.

This bill will bring justice to Canadian workers. The Liberals could not do it, but I hope that this Parliament and its minority government will succeed in passing this bill.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Taxpayers' Bill of Rights ActRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-266, An Act to confirm the rights of taxpayers and establish the Office for Taxpayer Protection.

Mr. Speaker, I rise to give first reading to my private member's bill entitled, an act to confirm the rights of taxpayers and establish the office for taxpayer protection.

The purpose of the legislation is to confirm the rights of taxpayers and provide a fairer balance in dealings between taxpayers and the Canada Revenue Agency. It would establish an office for taxpayer protection, headed by an officer of Parliament to be known as the chief advocate. The role of the office would be to assist taxpayers to assert the rights enumerated in this enactment.

When a taxpayer provides reasonable explanations, the burden of proof would be on the Minister of Revenue to show that the tax is to be paid.

The legislation is a direct genesis of a policy passed at a Conservative Party of Canada policy convention in March 2005. I ask all members to support the legislation.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Labour Market Training, Apprenticeship and Certification ActRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-267, An Act to provide for the establishment of national standards for labour market training, apprenticeship and certification.

Mr. Speaker, as a journeyman carpenter myself, a tradesman, I am especially pleased to rise today, also in conjunction with the annual conference of the Canadian Office of the Building Trade Council, to introduce a bill about the skills shortage crisis that we face as a nation.

Apprenticeship is the most natural way to communicate craft trade skills from one generation to the next and yet for years and years the federal government has ignored apprenticeship as a training strategy and we are facing this skill shortage crisis today as a result.

The bill seeks to establish national standards for apprenticeship curriculums, standardize entrance requirements and school to work transition measures so that apprentices do not wait until they are 28 years old to join a trade. They can do it right out of high school. It also seeks to encourage more apprenticeable trades. Whereas Canada only has 40 or 50 apprenticeable trades, Germany has 400. We should be going in that direction if we are to meet the skills shortage demands of the future.

I am very proud to present the bill and hope it has broad support from all members of the House.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Heritage Lighthouses Protection ActRoutine Proceedings

May 8th, 2006 / 3:10 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-268, An Act to protect heritage lighthouses.

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to speak to a bill that other members of Parliament from other parties have spoken to over the previous years, as well as Senator Carney in the Senate.

Our lighthouses on the west coast and in the far north are beacons of light and hope and we should not allow that very important part of Canada's heritage to fall apart.

We believe that working through community groups and communities throughout the country we can preserve and protect these lighthouses for many generations to come. They tell the story of ancient mariners and the keepers and their families who held the light when the fog and weather was bad.

I know the bill will have great support, not only through our offices but scattered throughout the House and throughout the country. We hope for a speedy passage of this very important legislation.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Employment Insurance ActRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

moved for leave to introduce C-269, An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act (improvement of the employment insurance system).

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in this House today to introduce a bill that my colleague from Chambly—Borduas has put a great deal of work into, a bill designed to improve the employment insurance system. The bill provides for reducing the qualifying period to a minimum of 360 hours of work, lengthening the benefit period, increasing the weekly benefit rate to 60%, cancelling the waiting period, increasing the maximum yearly insurable earnings to $41,500 and introducing an indexing formula.

Whether they are in my riding of Laurentides-Labelle, the rest of Quebec or the rest of Canada, workers deserve our respect and our commitment. The Bloc Québécois is listening to Quebeckers, as it has done since it was first elected in 1993, and is attuned to their priorities.

Unfortunately, thousands of people have been hard hit by the cuts and the mission change made to employment insurance by the Liberal and Conservative governments. The Bloc Québécois will try again to correct this situation in order to give those who were left out of the Conservative budget the respect they deserve.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Child CarePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure to present today, as I have most days in this sitting, a petition from people in Nova Scotia who are very concerned about the government's plan to kill child care.

Many of the names on this petition are Arcadian, representing the Acadian community of Nova Scotia who saw great hope in the early learning and child care agreement. In fact, it would have provided support for Acadian students. Sixty three per cent of Acadian students who go to French school show up for grade primary without the understanding of the French language that they should have. This would have helped to support that and now, unfortunately, it has been killed by the government and they wanted to express their concern.

Human RightsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to introduce two petitions on behalf of constituents in my riding of Nepean—Carleton.

The first petition calls on the Government of Canada to take a strong stand in favour of human freedom and against the oppressive conduct of the Communist regime in Beijing. By standing up firmly against the oppression and abuse of the Falun Gong practitioners, the government would affirm Canadian values of human liberty and respect for human rights.

RwandaPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I present the second petition on behalf of some of my constituents who are calling for peace in Rwanda and for redress for the crimes against humanity that have happened there in recent times.

Citizenship and ImmigrationPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Simard Liberal Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, this weekend I had the pleasure of participating in a panel discussion on the plight and challenges of refugees in Canada. Today I am pleased to table a petition calling upon Parliament to significantly increase the number of refugees that Canada accepts annually and to lift barriers that prevent refugees from reaching Canada.

The petition also asks Canada to provide international leadership on the refugee issue and speed up the process to integrate newcomers into Canadian society.

Citizenship and ImmigrationPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Mario Silva Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition stating that undocumented workers play a vital role in Canada's economy, are usually employed in highly skilled jobs and needed professions and that their removal will significantly damage Canada's economy. The petitioners state that many undocumented workers have built homes and lives in Canada and that many have Canadian born children who would be unfairly burdened by the deportation of their parents. They go on to state that many undocumented workers' lack of citizenship stems from bureaucratic barriers as opposed to lack of desire or eligibility for Canadian citizenship.

Therefore the petitioners call upon Parliament to immediately halt the deportation of undocumented workers and to find a humane and logical solution to their situation.

Citizenship and ImmigrationPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I remind hon. members that reading petitions is not permitted under the rules. While I would not accuse the hon. member for Davenport of reading, it sounded suspiciously like it to me. Brief summaries of petitions are what are required under our rules and I know the hon. member for Davenport would want to set a marvellous example in that respect for all others.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, I would ask that all questions be allowed to stand?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that this House approves in general the budgetary policy of the government, of the amendment and of the amendment to the amendment.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Before question period began the hon. Minister of Human Resources and Social Development had the floor for questions and comments. There are two and a half minutes remaining in the time allotted for questions or comments to the minister.

I call on the hon. member for Mississauga South.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, one of the elements of the child care issue was the proposed tax credit for corporations. I believe it is $10,000 for a corporation to establish child care spaces.

Since child care in itself is a provincial jurisdiction with regard to setting regulations and standards, I wonder if the minister could explain to the House how these spaces that may be created by these companies come under some sort of a regulatory framework with appropriate standards rather than becoming simply glorified babysitting.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is absolutely right. The provision of child care services does fall within the provincial jurisdictions and that is where the standards are maintained and where compliance has to exist.

We believe that the role of the federal government is to make resources available to parents so they can improve and access their choice in child care. We are providing $1,200 a year so parents can access whatever form of child care they need. We are also creating spaces so if parents need to access them they have that option.

Obviously, being a provincial jurisdiction, each province will be responsible for ensuring that its unique standards, whether they are formal, informal or going so far as accreditation, will be met. Anyone creating spaces under this program will necessarily have to follow the rules of the province in which they are located.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, in my riding of Hamilton Mountain the budget is being greeted with trepidation and reservation. Voters in my community remember only too well the minister's record when he was part of the Harris government in Ontario whose budgetary policies gutted health care in our province.

The Conservatives threatened to close the Henderson Hospital, jeopardized access to home care and did nothing to address the unprecedented shortages of family doctors in our community. In fact, they laid the foundation upon which Premier McGuinty is now building his P-3 hospitals and justifying the privatization of health care.

I had hoped that the Minister of Finance would have learned from his mistakes in Ontario and not repeated them here. However this budget did nothing to expand public home care which not only impacts the most vulnerable families in our community, but is directly linked to opening up beds in our acute care system.

The budget did nothing to reduce wait times for surgeries which would have meant investing in training and skills, upgrading for health providers, particularly nurses and nurse practitioners. The budget did nothing to act on the recommendation of the provincial premiers by enacting a national drug plan which could have saved Canadians $2 billion a year. This budget is simply a missed opportunity.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Finley Conservative Haldimand—Norfolk, ON

Mr. Speaker, there were several inaccuracies presented by the hon. member.

For starters, there was money involved in the budget to meet one of our top five priorities. That is working with the provinces to reduce wait times. The hon. member should know that is a provincial issue, but we want to help with that.

The member should also understand, in issues such as home care, that too is a provincial jurisdiction. She mentioned cuts in health care funding under Mike Harris. If she wishes to check the facts, Mike Harris actually increased health care funding in Ontario from roughly $16 billion to $28 billion while in office. If that is what she calls a cut, I want more cuts such as that.