House of Commons Hansard #41 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was pfos.


Employment Equity ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec


Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, allow me, as Minister of Labour, to table the 2005 annual report of the Employment Equity Act.

Criminal CodeRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Provencher Manitoba


Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-19, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (street racing) and to make a consequential amendment to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act.

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

Canada Airports ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Pontiac Québec


Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

AfghanistanRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta


Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to announce today that Canada is strengthening its support for the reconstruction of Afghanistan.

As I said on May 17 when this House voted to extend Canada's mission in Afghanistan, our government is helping the people of Afghanistan to rebuild their shattered nation. We are doing so and we are committed to doing so for three reasons.

First, because our national security is at stake. As North Americans learned on September 11, 2001, terrorism is a menace to us all. It is a global phenomenon and it must be confronted wherever we find it, at home or abroad. We were unmistakably reminded of this by the recent arrests of a number of people charged under Canada's Anti-Terrorism Act.

Second, we are doing this because we are determined to demonstrate Canada's leadership on the world stage and to show that we will pull our weight in United Nations missions.

Third, we are doing this because the government and the people of Afghanistan have asked us to help them, and it is in the nature of Canadians to share the peace and prosperity we have achieved with countries torn by war, poverty or natural disaster.

A great deal has been accomplished since Canada and its coalition partners, comprising 35 countries, decided to help the Afghan people stabilize security and 60 nations began the task of rebuilding this country. For example, in the last election, some 12 million Afghans registered to vote—the vast majority for the first time in their lives.

In addition, 3.5 million refugees have been relocated; some 5 million children—a third of them girls—are enrolled in primary school; 120,000 Afghan women have benefited from microcredit to start up their own businesses; vast quantities of heavy arms, ammunition and mines have been turned in, cantonned or destroyed.; and 11,000 villages have been rebuilt in the countryside .

Canada's financial commitment to supporting this important work stands at over $1 billion over 10 years. Budget 2006 set aside $100 million for this year alone, but more needs to be done. That is why I am pleased to announce today one more contribution to the rebuilding of Afghanistan, namely, that Canada will provide $15 million to the Asian Development Bank to help Afghanistan rebuild the country's rural irrigation systems, systems damaged by years of conflict.

This is a major initiative. For centuries, the Afghan people have been using traditional irrigation methods to grow their food.

Up to 80% of their agricultural production depends on irrigation, and over half of the national economy depends on agriculture. Thanks to Canada 's contribution, a number of irrigation systems will be rebuilt, which will stimulate food production and will help local farmers to grow other crops than poppies which when processed end up on our streets in the form of illegal drugs.

Canadians should be very proud of this country's work in support of the reconstruction of Afghanistan. They can be proud of the courageous personnel of the Canadian Forces, who are working with allied troops, Afghan police and members of the Afghan National Army to enhance security in this country. They can be proud of our diplomats and development workers, who are cooperating with Afghan officials to lay the groundwork for a better life for the people of Afghanistan by providing clean water, mine-free roads and reliable energy sources, and by building more schools and health care facilities.

By establishing major institutions such as an independent human rights commission, they are also helping the people of Afghanistan to build their country's democratic infrastructure.

Today's announcement represents one more building block in this work and one more step in a journey we are taking with our allies and the Afghan people to establish a peaceful, prosperous and democratic Afghanistan, an Afghanistan that will never again serve as a safe haven for international terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda, an Afghanistan that can take its rightful place in the community of nations. This is an important mission, one that our country is proud to be part of.

AfghanistanRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.


Bernard Patry Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, as you know, our main objective in Afghanistan is to support the Afghan people so that the country becomes stable, democratic and self-sufficient.

We worked with other countries, the United Nations, NATO and various international organizations to provide the security and stability necessary for the implementation of multilateral and bilateral development programs in Afghanistan, to ensure a systematic reconstruction of that country and to rebuild its economic, political and judicial institutions.

The former government committed significant resources of over $600 million toward achieving these objectives through coordinated investments in development assistance, defence and diplomacy. We are extremely pleased that the government has maintained this commitment. However, several questions arise concerning today's pledge to provide $15 million to the Asian Development Bank to assist in rebuilding Afghanistan's rural irrigation.

We do not know whether this $100 million comes from the current budget for Afghanistan or is new money.

There are few details of the breakdown of the money contributed to the Asia Pacific development fund. How much of the money will be going toward construction costs, salaries, transportation or security? Is the Asia Pacific development fund already running this project or is this the first contribution?

The House still has not received details from the Minister of International Cooperation as to how this $100 million is going to be spent this year and how much is going to Kandahar versus the rest of the country. In addition, it is not clear if this initiative will be accomplished in conjunction with a larger agricultural reform program. Although this is alluded to in the speech, what is the exact relation of this program to the ongoing poppy elimination initiatives?

The Prime Minister made reference to Canada's international reputation. First, he stated that this announcement is part of, and I quote him, regaining the trust of our allies. Given Canada's leadership on the world stage and in particular in Afghanistan, it is not clear that we ever lost the trust of our allies.

Second, the Prime Minister refers to “pull[ing] our weight in United Nations missions”. Again, it is unclear as to when this was not the case. It is this very commitment in Afghanistan that the Prime Minister and the Minister of National Defence have referred to when asked about the United Nations call for western military engagement in Darfur. The government has been unable to provide the international community with assurances that it has both the capacity and the political will to pull its weight in Darfur.

AfghanistanRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.


Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is rather unusual for a Prime Minister to make a ministerial statement in this House to announce that $15 million will be provided to the Asian Development Bank. I am glad to hear the news, however, because it means, at least I hope it does, that the Prime Minister realizes now that the multinational intervention in Afghanistan will fail if it is limited to military actions. It is important to give the Afghan people hope and to show them that they can achieve peace and prosperity.

The Prime Minister spoke about children, including over a million young girls, who are now going to school. This is tangible progress that is very encouraging. The Prime Minister also spoke about the women who have received microcredit loans. This is another step forward that we must commend.

The Prime Minister mentioned how important it is for Afghan farmers to have effective irrigation systems, particularly to help them substitute other crops for poppies, and he is right to emphasize this point.

The growing of poppies, which are used to produce heroin, is a blight on the Afghan economy and too often provides a source of funding for warlords. But to reduce poppy growing, we have to offer alternatives to Afghan farmers, in a country that is still largely geared to that industry. We have to develop other crops, use poppies for medicinal purposes and offer legitimate outlets for producers. For example, poppies are used in drugs such as codeine. I therefore urge the government to continue its efforts in this area.

While I applaud the government's reconstruction efforts and the fact that the Prime Minister recognizes the importance of aid, I am concerned when I hear the reasons he gives.

The Prime Minister tells us that it is important to help the Afghans, primarily in order to combat terrorism. That is a short-sighted perspective. Does the Prime Minister not realize that helping the Afghans is important in itself, as it is necessary to help people everywhere who are facing problems of extreme poverty? Does the Prime Minister feel that Canada has to help poverty-stricken peoples only in order to combat terrorism? That sort of thinking seems to me particularly disturbing. Let us not wait for terrorism to find fertile ground in which to grow. Let us tackle poverty and the absence of democracy precisely in order to prevent terrorism from developing. To take the Prime Minister at his word, we would have to wait for a terrorist threat before helping countries in difficulty. That is absurd and disturbing.

The second reason cited by the Prime Minister is that we have to regain the confidence of our international allies. Does that mean that Canada has lost the confidence of its allies? What allies are we talking about? I do not see how Canada has lost the confidence of its allies, unless as a result of Canada’s refusal to participate in the war in Iraq. The Prime Minister must understand that a sovereign country can and must make decisions on its own, based on its own interests and its own values. And if it has to disagree with a friendly, neighbouring country, it can disagree with all due courtesy and respect.

Finally, the third reason cited by the Prime Minister is the fact that the Afghan government and the Afghan people are asking for our help. That is a good reason. Canada is helping the Afghans because they are asking for its help. This is also the case with many countries. I am thinking for example of Haiti and numerous African countries.

So I ask the Prime Minister to reflect upon the significance of his own statements and act accordingly by increasing Canadian international aid. The Prime Minister says that Canada will put its full weight behind the United Nations missions. One of those missions is to combat poverty in the world.

I challenge the Prime Minister to adopt a credible and rigorous plan whereby Canada will allocate 0.7% of its GDP to international aid. Nothing can justify terrorism, but we have to realize that injustice, corruption and poverty are the fertile ground of violence and terrorism. If we attack these scourges at their very root we will build a fairer world, one that is less violent and more prosperous.

AfghanistanRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.


Dawn Black NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, we welcome this announcement of additional funding for development assistance to Afghanistan.

As the leader of the New Democratic Party has stated before in the House, our party and our caucus stands unequivocally behind development assistance to the people of Afghanistan.

We are encouraged by this small commitment that the Prime Minister has made today and we ask the Prime Minister to assure Canadians that Canada will continue to work closely with the Asian Development Bank, and ensure that Canada will seriously consider contributing to the additional rural development needs identified by the bank.

However, this contribution of development assistance must be compared to the price of the military commitment we have made in Afghanistan. Along with the billions of dollars spent on the counter-insurgency campaign against Taliban remnants, Canada has sadly lost the lives of courageous young men and women. We must always keep the human cost front and centre in all our discussions about our role in Afghanistan.

After a hasty debate and vote, Conservatives and many Liberals approved the new two year mission in Afghanistan, a counter-insurgency mission, with little idea of the cost of this mission or its effectiveness.

Unfortunately, in the House and at the defence committee, we have not had open or genuine debate on all of the aspects of our mission in Afghanistan. The debate has been constrained and in the defence committee, the debate was curtailed. We would like to see genuine debate from the government and engagement with all Canadians about our role in Afghanistan.

We, along with most Canadians, stand in favour of assistance to the security, peace and development of Afghanistan. The development assistance announced today is a small step on the path to achieving those goals.

Employment Equity ActRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec


Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, 20 years ago, Madam Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella, sole commissioner and author of the 1984 Royal Commission on Equality in Employment, paved the way for workplace equality. Her theories on equality and discrimination served as the basis for jurisprudence concerning human rights in Canada. They also had repercussions in several other countries, including New Zealand and Northern Ireland.

In January 1985, in response to the Abella report, the federal government of the day, of which I was a member, adopted Bill C-62, an act respecting employment equity. The purpose of the act was to achieve equality in the workplace so that no person shall be denied employment opportunities or benefits for reasons unrelated to ability and, in the fulfilment of that goal, to correct the conditions of disadvantage in employment experienced by women, aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities.

Employers subject to the legislation have four obligations: first, to collect information on the presence of members of designated groups in their workforce; second, to analyze underrepresentation of designated groups in each occupational group in their workforce; third, to review their employment systems, policies and practices to identify employment barriers; and last, to prepare a plan describing how they intend to eliminate barriers and adopt positive policies and practices for hiring, training and promoting persons in designated groups.

As well, in relation to the obligations of employers who are subject to this act, and in relation to the consolidation of the information received, I had the honour, a few minutes ago, of tabling the 2005 annual report on employment equity, in both official languages, pursuant to section 20 of the Employment Equity Act. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Employment Equity Act. Here in this very chamber, as a member, I spoke in favour of the Employment Equity Act when it came into force in 1986. I was proud to be part of the team in the Conservative government of Brian Mulroney, which was going to be an historic turning point in the development of the labour market and the Canadian employment mosaic. I continue to strongly support the full participation of all Canadians in our economy and in the advancement of our society, working together with my prime minister.

The findings in this most recent report, which I tabled a few minutes ago, show that there has been undeniable progress, since the four designated groups—women, members of visible minorities, aboriginal people and people with disabilities—are now better represented in the labour market.

If we compare the findings in this report and the figures for this year with the figures for 1987, we see that there has been progress in the representation of members of the four designated groups. It has grown by 38.3%. Women’s share has risen from 40.9% to 43.4%; for members of visible minorities, the numbers rose from 5% to 13.3%; for aboriginal people, from 0.7% to 1.7%; and for people with disabilities, from 1.6% to 2.5%.

Clearly, we have made progress in the area of employment equity since this act came into force 20 years ago. At first, some employers were afraid that the strategy was hard to define and complex to implement, but over the last 20 years we have succeeded in making workplaces responsive to the needs and concerns of all employees, women or men, regardless of their culture or physical characteristics, and we continue to make progress in that direction.

We know that if we give women, members of visible minorities, aboriginal people and people with disabilities equal opportunities in the labour market, we can not only strengthen Canada by achieving the objectives set out in the Employment Equity Act, but also take measures that are in fact sound management practices, and make the workforce more productive and more competitive.

As well, we have learned that diversity in our workplaces makes us strong. This means that our work on eliminating discrimination and promoting equity in employment has borne fruit.

At this point, I would like to salute the ongoing effort and commitment of employers to guaranteeing equity, inclusion and equality in the workplace in all federally regulated sectors. The numbers show that we, government and employers, have made consistent progress. But we still have challenges to meet. We recognize that we have to continue working to bridge the gaps that exist in respect of the four designated groups.

We are determined to stay the course, our objective being to reach a level of representation that reflects the available workforce in those groups. We will therefore continue to ensure that Canadian workers have equitable access to job opportunities, based on their skills and their representation in the Canadian population.

In recent years, the Employment Equity Act has also facilitated the realization of many other goals aimed at making workplaces fair, equitable and accessible for all Canadians. However, workplaces are evolving and we must ensure that they adequately meet current needs. Hence the importance of the five-year review of the act, which will take place shortly, and the review by the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills Development, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities.

As Minister of Labour, I can certainly promote equity in the workplace through legislation, but I am convinced that changes in workplaces really happen when we pool our efforts. Although legislation is important, it is employers who can make the most effective changes. They are dedicated to employment equity and can make things happen. I therefore encourage employers to continue their efforts in this direction.

We know that by promoting diversity and inclusion in our workplaces, we are creating not only better workplaces but also a better Canada. This is why the government is so firmly committed to the principles of employment equity.

In closing, as Minister of Labour and a member of the government that passed this act 20 years ago, I would like to assure the House that I am determined to advance the cause of equity so that all Canadians may actively contribute to their workplace. If I were to sum up the past 20 years of employment equity, I would say that there were some shortcomings, but that we have made real progress, we are heading in the right direction and, together, we must continue to meet the challenge of employment equity for women, visible minorities, aboriginals and people with disabilities. I thank all employers for their efforts to that end.

Employment Equity ActRoutine Proceedings

10:30 a.m.


Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, not only are we in favour of tabling this report but we, the Liberals, governed during the last 13 years and did our job. What I find sad, unfortunately, is that back in 1994, when we wanted to improve the Employment Equity Act, the Reform Party, which corresponds to the current Conservative Party, voted against it.

They have a right to change their minds. I know what a progressive fellow my colleague, the Minister of Labour, really is. I hope that, in addition to congratulating employers, he will take his responsibilities seriously, because the federal government has a responsibility. When it comes to equity, employers must try to proved a better workplace environment, while also trying to make a profit. The government has the important task of ensuring that there actually is a decent environment that is conducive to good relations between workers and employers.

It is everyone’s responsibility to show that we champion equity in all regards, whether in respect of aboriginals, minorities, people with disabilities or young people.

We were also proud, as the government at the time, to be able to model this pursuant to successful negotiations. In this regard, I want to congratulate the then minister and Treasury Board president. She did outstanding work to ensure this kind of equity between public employees and our government.

Much remains to be done. We live in an aging society. Some situations are considered all too often to be isolated cases when they are actually increasingly frequent. We have to find better ways of reconciling work and family. For example, when family members are sick, there should be a way to ensure some peace of mind on the home front and thereby ensure this equity.

I do not like hearing the minister say that he is pleased with the employers. It is pretty obvious that it is everybody's business, not just the people who hire. It is the government's business and it is our business as members of Parliament. It also a matter of culture, not just legislation. When we talk about aboriginals, visibility minorities, youth and elderly people, we need to show the example. Our role as members of Parliament is to show the example.

We trust everybody but as legislators we should not only promote legislation but every time we have an occasion we should change the laws because they are living things.

Equity is an ongoing issue. We must always be vigilant to ensure Canadians have a decent quality of life, and quality of life means that we need to find a way to fight against the fact that there are still women who, with the same competence and the same skills, receive a salary that is inferior to that of men. We need to work on that.

The official opposition will work on this, especially during the sessions of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities.As our official labour critic, I offer my help to the labour minister. However, I think that he should take his responsibilities more seriously and not just rely on employers.

I was also rather concerned that he thought it was acceptable for a 12-year-old to work at McDonald's. My 13-year-old daughter does not sell McNuggets; she eats them.

We have to work together to find a solution. We cannot always make the excuse of jurisdictional issues. We have to assume our responsibilities. I am sure that this is not what the minister wanted to say. We will have to work together.

The official opposition is proud to support this report. We know that during the 13 years of Liberal government, we always worked to provide people with a decent environment. Much remains to be done. It is not a partisan issue. We will work together with the government.

Employment Equity ActRoutine Proceedings

10:35 a.m.


Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois is delighted with the way the Employment Equity Act has been enforced.

As the minister said, there is still work to be done. I will refer to his words from time to time in my address: “—we have to continue working...” “[we must] advance [the file]”, “...I [therefore] encourage employers to continue their efforts”, and “...but we still have challenges to meet—”.

I must say that he is quite right. There is still much to be done before the situation becomes truly equitable for certain groups, namely women, aboriginals, persons with disabilities and visible minorities.

This act was passed 20 years ago, and still things are not all resolved. We are all headed in the right direction, but we feel there is still a lot to be done to reach our objectives. We will all agree that the advances testify to the openness of employers towards groups that were discriminated against, and that sometimes still are.

The Bloc Québécois values diversity, inclusion and respect for differences, as we know. Administrative measures and laws are nevertheless necessary. At present, most of the laws tend towards equity, but not everything has been resolved. There are still a few laws to tie up, such as the one on preventive withdrawal. We feel, though, that these laws provide the catalyst for changing behaviour. It is important for them to exist and to be properly enforced.

As I have already said, there are still obstacles to overcome, notably with regard to women, who naturally are the ones most involved in raising children.

In Quebec, the Government of Quebec has made genuine efforts to eliminate these obstacles, for instance, by putting in place a network of quality daycare centres, at $7 a day, and by providing better parental leave, which enables women to combine work and family more easily.

Preventive withdrawal legislation also enables pregnant women whose working conditions are not healthy for their fetus or for them to stop working and receive compensation that is considerably better than that offered under federal legislation.

The current government plans to cut $850 million in transfers to Quebec and give $1,200 directly to families. This will never compensate for all the work done by Quebec in connection with daycare centres.

Many obstacles remain for the target groups. The Bloc Québécois has been interested in this situation for a long time. In fact, it has proposed bills designed to enable women who work for an employer under federal jurisdiction to take advantage of genuine preventive withdrawal when they need it, and has also proposed measures aimed at better protecting workers from psychological harassment.

In closing, I will say that, as far as employment equity is concerned, laws must exist. As I mentioned earlier, this is the catalyst for changing the sorts of behaviour that should now be improved.

Employment Equity ActRoutine Proceedings

10:35 a.m.


Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak in the House today on behalf of the New Democrats in response to the minister's comments as a result of the tabling of the Employment Equity Act annual report. I certainly agree with what the minister said. We have learned that diversity in the workplace makes us strong. This is the 20th anniversary of this important legislation.

I agree with other members who have said that to have legislation that lays out clear objectives and goals to ensure that the federal government is a major employer but also a federally regulated employer are actually meeting obligations for employment equity but diversity in the workplace is something that is important. It is not just something that can be done on a voluntary basis through goodwill. It has to be an established practice with rules, regulations and consequences. That has basically been what the Employment Equity Act has been about.

I was fortunate to participate in the previous five year review at the HRSDC committee. It was an interesting process and I learned a lot of things. One thing I learned is that, in actual fact, some of the private sector employers have done very well, like banks and airlines, because they have actually recognized from a business point of view the importance of having diversity in the workplace. Having women, visible minorities, aboriginal people and persons with disabilities in the workplace actually provides them with a better capacity to serve a diverse population, their own clientele. It was quite remarkable to see that large, federally regulated employers were making great advances.

Advances have also been made by the federal government in its very strict requirements about meeting obligations. However, a lot of work still needs to be done. This issue requires constant education within the workplace. There are still barriers, stereotypes and things that discriminate against visible minorities, women, persons with disabilities and aboriginal people. We must be constantly vigilant. It cannot just be an annual report. We need a process within the workplace to deal with systemic discrimination and the barriers that exist.

I would point out that there are some things that are very concerning. For example, as a result of some studies we know that approximately 25% of applications to the federal government are from visible minorities. However, the appointment rate is at about 10%. We also know that the number of people who leave is much higher.

There are some real issues in terms of what happens, one, in terms of people being hired and that barriers still exist and, two, what happens to people once they are within the public service with regard to promotions and discrimination that may not be overt but which is what we consider to be systemic discrimination.

The other thing that will be very critical in this review is to ensure there is a meaningful role and dialogue with unions that represent their members in the workplace. This was an issue in the last five year review. PSAC and other unions are dedicated and committed to employment equity and it is important to ensure they are fully involved in this review, in this process and in the ongoing practice of the implementation and enforcement of this act.

Employment equity, in its broadest terms, also deals with the issue of pay equity. I would note for the minister that we are still waiting to see the long awaited pay equity legislation. We know a report was tabled two years ago. This is a huge issue for women within the public service and women generally. We want to ensure the pay equity report is implemented by way of legislation because it is a critical component of employment equity.

Finally, in a broad policy context, as the member from the Bloc raised, if we want to talk about women's participation in the workforce, we need to address the issues of what it means to face a lack of child care accessibility and extraordinarily high child care costs.

We cannot divorce these issues. They are integral to the equality of women in our country. They are integral to employment equity. If our workplace is to be truly diverse and represent a qualified work pool, then we have to provide the resources and the supports that allow women to fully participate in the workforce.

Those are just some of the issues that we would flag. We are glad the report has been tabled. We look forward to the review at the committee and we will participate fully in it. We hope to strengthen and improve the federal government's employment equity act and make it a real tool of leadership that employers can follow to ensure there is fairness, justice and equity in the workplace.

Interparliamentary DelegationsRoutine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.


Bob Mills Conservative Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, two reports of the Canada-United States Interparliamentary Group.

The first report is “The Emergence of Cross-Border Regions Between Canada and the United States”, Ottawa Round Table, hosted by the policy research initiative, Privy Council Office and the Canada-United States Interparliamentary Group, held in Ottawa on March 6 and 7.

The second report is on the participation of Senator Jerry Grafstein, co-chair of the Canada-United States Interparliamentary Group, at Great Lakes Day, held in the United States Congress, Washington, D.C. on March 16.

Official LanguagesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.


Guy Lauzon Conservative Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present, in both official languages, the first report of the Standing Committee on Official Languages.

Pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(f) the committee has considered the matter of the application of the Official Languages Act to ACE Aviation Holdings Inc. following the restructuring of Air Canada.

Canada PostPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.


Andy Scott Liberal Fredericton, NB

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure to present a number of petitions with regard to rural mail delivery.

The petitioners state that Canada has traditionally supported home delivery across the country in a timely and efficient manner. Many Canadian seniors, people who are sick and shut-ins, face significant obstacles to transportation.

The petitioners from Rusagonis, Royal Road, Marysville, Douglas, Lincoln, Noonan and McLeod Hill, in and around my constituency, call upon the House of Commons and the minister responsible for Canada Post to maintain the traditional mail service instead of implementing changes, causing people to travel long distances from their homes to receive their mail.

Child CarePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.


Mike Allen Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36 I am pleased to present a petition from 30 people from the beautiful riding of New Brunswick Southwest.

The petitioners ask the minority Parliament to work with the provinces and territories to provide funding to build high quality, accessible, affordable, community-based child care and to ensure fair and effective income support programs for Canadian families.

AutismPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.


Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table a petition in the House today, which I support, that is signed by more than 150 people from my constituency of Hamilton Mountain.

The petitioners request Parliament to call upon the government to amend the Canada Health Act and corresponding regulations to include IBI/ABA therapy as medically necessary for children with autism and that all provinces be required to fund this essential treatment for autism.

They also call upon the government to create an academic chair at a university in each province to teach IBI/ABA treatments to undergraduates and doctoral level students so Canadian professionals will no longer be forced to leave the country to receive academic training in the field and Canada will be able to develop the capacity to provide every Canadian with autism with the best IBI/ABA treatment available.

Child CarePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.


Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present today a petition signed by a number of people from Saskatchewan, noting the agreements entered into in April of 2005 between the Government of Canada and the province of Saskatchewan, together with other provinces, with respect to early learning and child care.

The individuals, who have signed the petition, obviously support those agreements. They support a national system that increases child care spaces.

They call upon the Government of Canada to honour the agreements that were in place in 2005 and to provide, therefore, the full funding.

Child CarePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.


John Maloney Liberal Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36 I have two petitions to present.

The petitioners acknowledge that 84% of parents with children are both in the workforce, that today 70% of women with children under the age of six are employed and that child care as a consequence is an everyday necessity.

The petitioners call upon the Prime Minister and the government to honour and acknowledge the early learning and child care agreements with the province of Ontario.

Child CarePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:50 a.m.


Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure to present two more petitions from people in my community.

The petitioners are concerned about the government's plan to kill the national child care deal. They are also concerned about the inequity of how the universal child care allowance will be distributed and that it will disproportionately helps people who need it the least in many cases.

I am pleased that my boss, the hon. Leader of the Opposition, will be in the riding of Dartmouth—Cole Harbour meeting with some of these people this weekend.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:50 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan


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

Mr. Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 19 and 24.

Question No. 19Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:50 a.m.


John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

With regard to the government’s fiscal and economic policy: (a) how much per year does the average person earning less than the basic personal exemption pay in GST; (b) how much money per year would the average person earning less than the basic personal amount save from a one percent reduction in the GST; (c) how much does the average person earning $200,000 per year pay in GST; (d) how much have the average and median personal incomes, before federal tax, increased since 1993; (e) how much have the average and median personal incomes, after federal tax, increased since 1993; (f) how much have the average and median family incomes, before federal tax, increased since 1993; (g) how much have average and median family incomes, after federal tax, increased since 1993; (h) how much less or more tax did a person earning the median income in Canada pay in 2005 versus 1993 after adjusting for inflation and wage increases; and (i) how many jobs were created in Canada between 1993 and 2006?

Question No. 19Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:50 a.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario


Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the answer is as follows:

a) On average, individuals with total income less than $8,500 would have paid $315 in GST in 2007 had the tax rate stayed at 7%.

b) If an individual would have paid $315 in GST at 7%, the one-percentage point reduction would reduce his/her GST by $45, on average.

c) On average, those with $200,000 income would have paid $6,285 in GST in 2007 had the tax rate stayed at 7%.

The responses to questions a) to c) were estimated by Finance Canada using the Statistics Canada Social Policy Database and Model.

d) to h) The information necessary to answer these questions can be found in the Statistics Canada publication: Income Trends in Canada (Catalogue no. 13F0022XIE), which is available at the following web-address:

i) This information can be found in the Statistics Canada publication: Labour Force Historical Review 2005, (Catalogue no. 71F0004XCB), which is available at the following web-address:

Question No. 24Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:50 a.m.


Ken Dryden Liberal York Centre, ON

With regard to government compensation to all victims who received blood tainted with Hepatitis C: (a) how many people are currently receiving compensation; (b) how many people have already received full compensation; (c) how many people are waiting for compensation; (d) how long will it take for all victims to receive compensation; and (e) what is the current status of negotiations between the government and the representatives of the class action suit?

Question No. 24Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

June 15th, 2006 / 10:50 a.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario


Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Health and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, the answer is as follows:

a) Compensation to those infected by hepatitis C through the Canadian blood system has been provided by numerous sources. Approximately 6000 individuals were compensated through the federal/provincial/territorial agreement reached in 1999 to compensate those infected from January 1, 1986 to July 1, 1990. Individuals infected outside this window have received compensation through the insolvency of the Red Cross and depending on the province, from their provincial governments.

b) There is no definition of “full compensation”. One way to interpret full compensation is when the Courts have approved compensation packages as being in the best interests of the class and fair. The 1986-1990 class has received a generous compensation package and approximately 6000 individuals have received it.

c) If this is intended to mean those who are waiting for compensation from the federal government, the exact class size would be determined through the eligibility criteria of a final settlement agreement.

d) The Government of Canada fully intends to proceed with its commitment to provide compensation to those infected with hepatitis C through the blood system. Discussions are taking place with counsel representing those infected before January 1, 1986 and after July 1, 1990. Much work is taking place at the present time to make progress on a settlement and a compensation arrangement. Given that this is a negotiation, no firm date can be given as to when a final agreement will be reached, but the government is committed to compensating the class as quickly as possible.

e) Both parties in the negotiation have agreed that the substance of the discussions would remain between them, and stay at the negotiating table. I must respect this agreement but I can assure you that significant work is underway at the present time to make progress on a final settlement agreement. Discussions are taking place and we will compensate the class as quickly as possible. The most recent negotiating session was held May 24-26, 2006.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:50 a.m.


Tom Lukiwski Conservative Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

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