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House of Commons Hansard #168 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was finance.

Topics

Extension of Sitting HoursRoutine Proceedings

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the member about this backlog of legislation causing this debate today. It is the tip of the iceberg and a symptom of a much larger problem. The member is my colleague on the justice committee. I want to know if he sees it the same way that I do.

It seems to me that another problem underlying this is the poor drafting of legislation that has come forward and also legislation for which there has not been consultation. At meeting after meeting of the justice committee and other committees I have been to, witnesses have come forward from outside Parliament, non-partisan witnesses, saying that they have never been consulted on the bills dealing with their interests and the areas on which they are experts.

We have ended up with bills that do the exact opposite of the objectives of the government and of all the members of Parliament. For instance, in regard to the objective of reducing crime, certain bills actually would have increased crime. We heard an example from the Minister of Indian Affairs. For a bill that was only nine words in an operative clause, it has taken 20 days, a significant amount of that time used by Conservatives, to ask witnesses questions. We found that almost all the witnesses had the same seven or eight objections. There were things that could have been fixed had consultation occurred.

Does the member agree with me that some of this unnecessary backlog causing this motion is due to a very poor system of bringing up legislation? It seems to have changed from the regular system in government. It is a bit of an esoteric point.

Extension of Sitting HoursRoutine Proceedings

4:50 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will actually take issue with my friend. I do not think it is esoteric at all. I think it is fundamental to how legislation should be prepared, drafted and presented to committee.

We see it repeatedly in both of the standing committees that I sit on, where the government has I think in many respects let its ideology, its hardcore, right wing ideology, overcome practical common sense when it is drafting legislation. We see it repeatedly. We have moved any number of amendments to justice bills, not only to make them better, I think, but to actually just make them workable on the street.

I am always amazed, quite frankly, at the lack of advice. I do not want to target the current justice minister so much as the prior justice minister, who refused to take advice from officials in justice who have a great deal of experience. Because he refused to do that, repeatedly we had legislation in front of the committee that required amendment. I think the point my friend from the Yukon is making is a very good one.

Extension of Sitting HoursRoutine Proceedings

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

John Godfrey Liberal Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am quite inspired by the speech by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment. We support extending the hours of Parliament, because that will give us an opportunity to consider Bill C-30, Canada's Clean Air Act. I want to pick up on what the member for Wascana said. The time has come to consider the debacle of the Prime Minister's speech at the G-8 meeting last week in Heiligendamm. Extending the hours will give us an opportunity to correct the situation. Now we may finally have time to study Bill C-30.

In the wake of the G-8 meeting, Canada's problem is the lack of consistency between the Prime Minister's international statements on climate change and the reality of the domestic regulations on industry proposed by the government about six weeks ago to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Bill C-30 has had a curious history. It was originally proposed by the government in October, with a series of regulations. Then, it was attacked from all sides: by NGOs, the media, economists and all three opposition parties. The government withdrew the bill. Then it was sent after first reading to a legislative committee chaired by the member for Edmonton Centre.

To everyone's astonishment, the process worked very well in the case of BIll C-30 and produced an extensively amended bill that was stronger, more coherent and more ambitious. What has happened? Once again, the government is refusing to present Bill C-30 and is instead substituting weak, empty regulations under the existing legislation, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.

The parliamentary secretary has spoken several times today about the importance of taking the work of parliamentarians seriously. He was suggesting that one of the arguments in support of prolonging the hours of Parliament was to allow a report to be made concerning the activities of a group of parliamentarians, of which I was one, when they took part in a meeting before Heilingendam in Berlin of legislators from the G-8 plus five countries.

However, as I indicated in a previous intervention, while that is important work and while the results of that visit are worth knowing and those discussions should be referenced, how can that compare with the work which many of us, including the parliamentary secretary, put in on Bill C-30?

The hours and hours of debate, the hearings, the extra sitting hours into the evening and all of the work which went into it with the highly successful result under the skilful leadership of the member for Edmonton Centre, to whom we must give credit for helping to get this much improved clean air and climate change bill through.

Surely, the member for Edmonton Centre, even though he is on the government side, would love to see the fruit of his work honoured after putting all that effort into it.

This is a good reason to extend the House sitting hours. The government has now twice failed to bring forward a meaningful climate change plan. The regulations that were proposed instead under CEPA, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, are a complete ecofraud. There are, as the Pembina Institute has pointed out in a very thoughtful piece of analysis, at least 20 loopholes in the entire package that undermine any claim that can be made about greenhouse gas reductions. Until these loopholes are plugged, I can give but a brief example. Pembina says:

In reality, the regulatory framework’s effect on emissions cannot be known with any certainty, because (i) its targets are expressed in terms of emissions intensity, not actual emissions; (ii) we do not yet know how targets will be defined for new facilities; (iii) “fixed process emissions” are exempted but have not been fully defined; and (iv) some of the “compliance options” that companies can use to meet targets will not result in immediate emission reductions, and some may not result in any real emission reductions at all.

That is simply an example of some of the 20 loopholes. The government has misrepresented to Canadians about what this plan will actually achieve. There will be and can be no absolute reductions by 2012 and no absolute reductions by 2020. Not a single government official, when summoned before the environment committee, could guarantee that the so-called plan's claims could be met and it is clear that little analysis has been done. The analysis that has been done was shrouded in secrecy and not a single, independent expert has been called in to verify the so-called plans claims.

Indeed, a leading German investment bank, Deutsche Bank, has produced an extensive report on the subject and it comes to exactly the same conclusion. It says in plain language:

We do not think the Government's alternative plan will succeed. Setting aside the Kyoto target of an absolute reduction of 6% in emissions over 2008-12 against the base year of 1990, the Canadian Government has published a plan that re-defines its GHG emissions-reduction targets.

The turning the corner plan takes 2006 as the base year instead of 1990 and imposes reductions in the intensity of Canadian industry's emissions rather than reductions in the absolute level of emissions.

That means that the redefined targets are much less ambitious than the Kyoto targets. Yet, because the turning the corner plan allows for the offsetting of emissions at what we think is too low in price to incentify investments in new low carbon technologies, we think that even these much less ambitious targets will probably not be achieved. In short, under current policies we would expect Canada's industrial greenhouse gas emissions to continue rising over 2006 to 2020.

The point is further reinforced by a document from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research entitled “Climate Change Policy and Canada's Oil Sand Resources: An Update and Appraisal of Canada's New Regulatory Framework for Air Emissions”, with the same conclusions. Tomorrow, just to put the final and fourth nail in the coffin, the C.D. Howe Institute will be releasing a detailed and critical analysis of the turning the corner plan.

In other words, four major studies continually make the same point that the plan that is on the table now will not do the job and that we need to get back to Bill C-30.

What do we have after 16 months? We have something that is worse than nothing at all, because we have created tremendous uncertainty that will prevent industry from making the rational, long term investments that are necessary for deep greenhouse gas reductions. After 16 months, all we have on the table is a shell, not a single regulation and no promise of regulations for up to 18 months for greenhouse gas reductions, and nothing until sometime in 2010 for smog.

The former government's project green, as has been noted by the Deutsche Bank, not only would have created certainty for industry, but it would have produced almost seven times the reductions proposed by the current government's plan.

Certainly, we need a better plan in place before we break for the summer. Therefore, government should bring Bill C-30 back to the House, so that we can get on with it.

Extension of Sitting HoursRoutine Proceedings

5:05 p.m.

Langley B.C.

Conservative

Mark Warawa ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I found the comments actually disappointing from the member. He accompanied me and others, a total of six of us, who went to Berlin.

Talk about ecofraud, we had 13 years of a government that promised Canadians that it would do something and it did absolute nothing. Talk about ecofraud, when greenhouse gas emissions went up and they should have gone down. Talk about ecofraud.

I would like to ask the member this. He was there. He heard from the international community that our plan is very similar to Japan's. It is well respected. It is a plan that is effective, that will result in absolute reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020. We are right on international targets. Hopefully the member can get it.

Would he report to the environment committee what he learned? Hopefully he learned something. Will he report to the committee?

Extension of Sitting HoursRoutine Proceedings

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

John Godfrey Liberal Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, let me do two things.

First of all, let me respond to the hon. member. I heard no members present in Berlin, from other legislatures, say anything of the sort about the Canadian plan. First of all they did not understand it. Second, they did not ask. Third, everybody who has looked at it and has understood it says it is a fraud, so we got no such international endorsement from other legislatures at all. I think what we got was disappointment that Canada has not been more ambitious.

Second, let me take advantage of this moment to ask the House for unanimous consent to put forward a motion that in view of the interest in Bill C-30, that within the hours that will be extended, the House consider Bill C-30.

Extension of Sitting HoursRoutine Proceedings

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Liberal Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member was talking about extending the hours and we are prepared to stay as long as it takes to debate those issues, including Bill C-30 that he was talking about, but there are also many other important pieces of legislation at hand here.

If we clear the slate the way the Conservative government wants to, the government is under no obligation to honour and respect the bills on Kyoto and Kelowna. We know the government has difficulties with honour and respect. As we saw with the Atlantic accord, the words trust and integrity mean so little to the government.

I would ask the hon. member this. Does he feel there are other single pieces of legislation that Canadians should be concerned about, given the government's stubborn, bullheaded approach to governing?

Extension of Sitting HoursRoutine Proceedings

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

John Godfrey Liberal Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, one piece of legislation which should be certainly the concern of this House is the private member's Bill C-293, which deals with Canada's official aid position and CIDA, and which is also in the Senate. It would guide the work of CIDA in the future in ways which would pick up on the themes of fighting poverty, which have been so important to everybody in this House.

Extension of Sitting HoursRoutine Proceedings

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Conservative Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I spent time with my hon. colleague from Don Valley West on the committee that dealt with Bill C-30 and we got along quite well. I came to the conclusion a long time ago that an expert is someone who agrees with one's beliefs and if that person does not agree, the person is obviously not an expert.

Why did all the leaders in the G-8 have so much praise for our Prime Minister and Canada's position of leadership and the only people who seem not to be able to praise it are the people on the opposite side of the House?

Extension of Sitting HoursRoutine Proceedings

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. My understanding was that the member asked for unanimous consent for a motion. I would like the Chair to ask for that to see if any party actually objects.

Extension of Sitting HoursRoutine Proceedings

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I did not hear the hon. member move a motion.

Extension of Sitting HoursRoutine Proceedings

5:10 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

It was my understanding that the member asked for unanimous consent that Bill C-30 be added to the extra hours of debate.

Extension of Sitting HoursRoutine Proceedings

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Is there unanimous consent for the hon. member to propose this motion at the time?

Extension of Sitting HoursRoutine Proceedings

5:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Extension of Sitting HoursRoutine Proceedings

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

There is no consent.

The hon. member for Don Valley West can respond to the question. There are about 30 seconds remaining for him to respond to the question from the hon. member for Edmonton Centre.

Extension of Sitting HoursRoutine Proceedings

5:10 p.m.

Liberal

John Godfrey Liberal Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I take as our primary duty as legislators to consider pieces of legislation that have actually been put together through the work of people like the member for Edmonton Centre as the chair of that committee which logged all of those long hours.

It seems to me that our first duty as parliamentarians is to consider government bills that the government has asked us to rewrite after second reading. I acknowledge once more the skilful work of the member for Edmonton Centre. It seems to me that ought to be our top priority, to bring back Bill C-30.

Extension of Sitting HoursRoutine Proceedings

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

It being 5:11 p.m., pursuant to Standing Order 27(2), it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of the motion now before the House.

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Extension of Sitting HoursRoutine Proceedings

5:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

On division.

Extension of Sitting HoursRoutine Proceedings

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I declare the motion carried.

(Motion agreed to)

EmploymentPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

June 11th, 2007 / 5:10 p.m.

Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Liberal Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I am honoured to table a petition in the House signed by residents of the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. This petition, which is signed by over 450 residents, draws attention to the loss of 800 Air Canada service personnel jobs in greater Vancouver and the scaling back and cancellation of support programs for workers and families by the Conservative government.

Residents are calling on the government to protect the security of workers' pensions and ensure access to their employment benefits, to work with the B.C. government to protect the aerospace sector and to address the issue of outsourcing our manufacturing jobs to foreign low cost facilities.

TransportationPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a petition from constituents in Langley, British Columbia.

They have asked that the House of Commons direct its relevant ministers to provide federal government funding and support in developing a long range 50 year master transportation plan for the Lower Mainland, assisting Langley in determining whether alternate and safer routes for the bulk and container traffic that travels through Langley is warranted, that the federal government provide adequate funding for railroad separation projects and potential alternative routes and for assisting Langley to secure efficient, workable and affordable transportation systems that include light rail at surface levels with gross capacity, as required.

Consumer Price IndexPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

5:10 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table another two petitions today that arise out of my national campaign to fight for fairness for ordinary Canadians, in particular for seniors who were shortchanged by their government as a result of an error in calculating the rate of inflation. The government has acknowledged the mistake made by Statistics Canada but is refusing to take any remedial action.

The petitioners call upon Parliament to take full responsibility for this error which negatively impacted their incomes from 2001 to 2006 and to take the required steps to repay every Canadian who has been shortchanged by a government program because of the miscalculation of the CPI.

It is a privilege to table these petitions on their behalf.

Income Tax ActPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

5:15 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am starting to get embarrassed by having to rise yet again to table three more petitions on the urgent need for this House to pass my bill, Bill C-390, which would allow tradespeople and indentured apprentices to deduct travel and accommodation expenses from their taxable incomes so they can secure and maintain employment at construction sites that are more than 80 kilometres from their homes.

At a time when communities like Hamilton have lost over 11,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector, it is essential that the government take concrete action to assist workers in securing decent-paying jobs.

It makes no sense for tradespeople to be out of work in one area of the country while another region suffers from temporary skilled labour shortages simply because the cost of travelling is too high.

Hundreds of workers from Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia have signed these petitions. All they are asking for from their government is a little bit of fairness. Surely they deserve that much.

Age of ConsentPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

5:15 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Liberal Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a number of petitions to present.

The first petition essentially calls on the government to enact legislation to raise the age of sexual consent from 14 years to 16 years of age.

HomelessnessPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

5:15 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Liberal Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, the other petition I have calls on the federal government to maintain federal homelessness funding for the next five years and that it be at least at the same level of funding, adjusted for inflation, for the same type of programs, especially those that strengthen and extend existing local capacity as was provided through the national homelessness initiative.

PassportsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

5:15 p.m.

Bloc

Yvon Lévesque Bloc Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebeckers are no longer surprised to see Ottawa acting like a banana republic and ignoring them or even harming them, as was the case with the softwood lumber crisis. However, they are full citizens and deserve respect as long as they are stuck in the Canadian system.

So I am honoured today to table a petition signed by more than 1,000 people from the beautiful area of Abitibi-Témiscamingue and northern Quebec, which reads as follows:

We, the undersigned, constituents of the riding of Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, would like to draw to the attention of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada—

THAT the processing delays to obtain a passport are unreasonable and drawn out. The citizens of Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou do not have access to expedited service when they submit a passport application, and must travel more than 420 km to the closest Passport Office—

Mr. Speaker—