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House of Commons Hansard #173 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was post-secondary.

Topics

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

6:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

6:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

6:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

All those opposed will please say nay.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

6:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

6:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

In my opinion the nays have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Call in the members.

And the bells having rung:

The division on the motion stands deferred.

The House will now continue with the remaining business under routine proceedings.

AfghanistanPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

6:10 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bloc Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to table a petition sent to me by students at the Laplume de Sorel-Tracy school.

The petitioners are against war, and particularly against sending soldiers to fight in Afghanistan. They claim that this causes Canada to lose billions of dollars and endangers the lives of the Canadians who are sent there. They also say that this contributes significantly to polluting our planet. They hope that the House of Commons will take another look at this issue and change its mind about the war.

Visitor VisasPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

6:10 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table a petition today on behalf of the citizens of Hull—Aylmer about visa requirements for citizens of the Republic of Poland.

The undersigned residents of Canada wish to draw to the attention of the House of Commons the fact that Poland, a member of the European Union and NATO, is using biometric passport technology, a secure passport identification system. Furthermore Canadian citizens no longer require visitor visas to visit Poland.

The petitioners are calling on the government to remove the visa requirement for visitors of Poland to Canada.

Status of WomenPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

6:15 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions that I have the privilege to table.

The first petition is urging the federal government to provide funding for programs supporting women's issues for advocacy and research, and for organizations working to end violence, poverty and discrimination. The petitioners make the point that in an era of huge surpluses the government should be putting more money into such programs, not cutting from such programs, and that supporting women in this manner will also result in supporting children who are our future.

Drugs and PharmaceuticalsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

6:15 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the second petition with many signatures that I have the privilege to table today is one that is addressing the failed access to medicine regime that was put in place two and a half years ago, supposedly intended to allow drug companies in Canada to produce and export cheaper versions of brand name drugs to developing countries where people are suffering with HIV-AIDS. Yet not a single pill has flowed from that supposed Chrétien legacy bill.

Therefore, the petitioners are urging the government to reform that law and to review the obstacles in the legislation preventing the drugs going to those who most desperately need them in developing countries, particularly sub-Saharan Africa

Income TrustsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

6:15 p.m.

Liberal

Massimo Pacetti Liberal Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to present a petition on the broken promise on income trusts. This petition is presented on behalf of Bruce Benson from Calgary, Alberta.

He recalls that the Prime Minister was bragging about his so-called commitment to accountability when he stated that there is no greater fraud than a promise not kept.

The petitioners remind the Prime Minister that he promised never to tax income trusts but that he shamelessly broke his promise by imposing a punitive tax of 31.5%, which wiped out $25 billion that more than two million Canadians, mainly seniors, worked so hard to save for their retirement.

Therefore, the petitioners are calling on the government to admit that the decision to tax income trusts was based on flawed methodology and incorrect assumptions, to apologize to those who were unfairly harmed by this broken promise and to repeal the punitive 31.5% tax on income trusts.

AsbestosPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

6:15 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to present a petition from literally thousands of Canadians from Newfoundland to B.C. to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, pointing out that asbestos is the greatest industrial killer the world has ever known.

Yet, Canada remains one of the largest producers and exporters of asbestos in the world. Canada still allows asbestos to be used in construction materials, textile products and even children's toys. Canada spends millions of dollars subsidizing the asbestos industry and blocking international efforts to curb its use.

The petitioners are calling on Ottawa to ban asbestos in all its forms and institute a just transition program for asbestos workers, to end all government subsidies of asbestos both in Canada and around the world, and to stop blocking international health and safety conventions designed to protect workers from asbestos, such as the Rotterdam convention.

Free Trade with KoreaPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

6:15 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am tabling petitions signed by hundreds of people who are opposed to the signing of a free trade agreement with Korea if an assessment of the real impact of such a plan is not made. Today, we know the position of the minister, namely that the plan will move forward and the agreement will be signed. Unfortunately, we do not know the content of the agreement and the petitioners are opposed to the signing of such an agreement if it will not benefit the economy.

Income TrustsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

6:15 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I present this income trust broken promise petition on behalf of Mr. Grant Johnson of Brandon, Manitoba, who remembers the Prime Minister boasting about his apparent commitment to accountability when he said that the greatest fraud was a promise not kept.

The petitioners remind the Prime Minister that he promised never to tax income trusts and then he recklessly broke that promise by imposing a 31.5% punitive tax which permanently wiped out $25 billion from the hard-earned retirement savings of over two million Canadians, particularly seniors.

The petitioners call upon the Conservative minority government to, first, admit that the decision to tax income trusts was based on flawed methodology and incorrect assumptions; second, to apologize to those who were unfairly harmed by this broken promise; and finally, to repeal the punitive 31.5% tax on income trusts.

Pet Food SafetyPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

6:20 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present to the House today.

The first one is 18 pages and it contains the signatures of Torontonians who love their dogs and cats and are worried about the safety of pet food.

The petitioners were astounded to find out that the Canadian government plays no role in inspecting, monitoring or regulating pet food sold in Canada. They note that it is irresponsible of the federal government to wash its hands of ensuring pet food safety as half of all Canadians own pets.

The petitioners call upon the Canadian government to regulate pet food.

CyclingPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

6:20 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, the next petition, which is close to 200 pages, comes from over 3,000 Canadians from cities coast to coast, like Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto and Halifax.

The petitioners want the federal government to legitimize cycling as the preferred means of transportation and to make it a part of the solution to climate change.

The 3,000 Canadians want the federal government to offer a tax credit to bicycle commuters similar to that offered to public transit users; set up a program similar to Britain's cycle to work initiative, that the employer purchase a bike and claim the tax back from the government and sell the bike to the employee at a tax free price; offer tax incentives to employers who set up bike lockers and showers for employees; and the removal of the GST from bikes and bike accessories.

Last weekend many parts of southern Ontario experienced smog days. The time for action is now.

Canadian ForcesPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

6:20 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, the petition I am presenting is as a result of recent events relating to friendly fire incidents in Afghanistan and, because of these unfortunate incidents, the integrity, professionalism and reputation of members of the Canadian Forces has been called into question.

The petitioners, therefore, call upon the Minister of National Defence and the Prime Minister to take immediate action to ensure that members of our Canadian Forces be given the full respect they deserve, are not treated as common criminals and that all efforts be made by the Canadian government to protect the reputation, livelihoods and mental health of these individuals when such incidents occur.

Income TrustsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

6:20 p.m.

Liberal

Roy Cullen Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present this income trust broken promise petition on behalf of a gentleman from Kelowna, British Columbia. Mr. Johnson remembers the Prime Minister boasting about his apparent commitment to accountability when he said that the greatest fraud was a promise not kept.

The petitioners remind the Prime Minister that he promised never to tax income trusts and then he recklessly broke that promise by imposing a 31.5% punitive tax which permanently wiped out about $25 billion of the hard-earned retirement savings of over two million Canadians, particularly seniors.

The petitioners, therefore, call upon the Conservative minority government to, first, admit that the decision to tax income trusts was based on flawed methodology and incorrect assumptions; second, to apologize to those who were unfairly harmed by this broken promise; and finally, to repeal the punitive 31.5% tax on income trusts.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

6:20 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 ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

6:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

6:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

Canada Elections ActGovernment Orders

6:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

When we were last discussing Bill C-31 there were six minutes left in debate for the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. Unfortunately, there are only five minutes left in debate and he has the floor.

Canada Elections ActGovernment Orders

6:25 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, when I last spoke to this issue, slightly more than three hours ago, I was talking about the five general categories of amendments that the Senate brought forward on Bill C-31. I dealt with the one amendment that we wish to oppose and we will be sending it back to the Senate for its consideration. That dealt with the timing of the coming into force provisions of the bingo cards.

The Senate had suggested a 10 month period of time be given to Elections Canada to develop these bingo cards for the use of all parties and candidates. We are suggesting that it should be done and could be done in six months.

There are two other general areas of amendments that the Senate had suggested. One deals with the use of birthdates on the election lists themselves. This was a hotly debated point of contention in committee. Members of the New Democratic Party and members of the Conservative Party opposed this but it was an amendment brought forward by a member from the Bloc Québécois, supported by the Liberals.

That amendment was to put not just the birth year but the birthdate, day and month, as well as the birth year on the election documents in an attempt to better determine whether or not someone purporting to be a voter actually was the voter. The thinking behind this amendment was simply to say that if someone came into a voting station saying that he was, for example, John Smith, age 51, but that he clearly looked 20 or 30 years old, the deputy returning officer and the scrutineers would be able to challenge the right of that voter to exercise his vote because they would be able to point to the fact that he was clearly not the age that was specified on the forms.

However, as well-intentioned as that might have been, there were some really serious concerns about privacy laws. Therefore, when it got to the Senate, members of the Senate, and I will name one in particular, Senator George Baker, a Liberal senator, said that they had to fix the mess because it was a travesty of privacy considerations. He blamed members of the government for bringing this amendment forward to the Senate and he stated quite unequivocally that they had to fix the mess.

I would like it to be put on the record, as several of my colleagues have already done, that it was not the Conservative Party in committee that recommended this change. It was the Bloc and Liberal members who recommended that birth years and birthdates be placed on election documents. It was one of those amendments that we quite vociferously opposed, as well as members of the New Democratic Party.

I think it is quite disingenuous for Senator Baker to start blaming the government for an amendment which we had no part in crafting. I think Senator Baker would be well advised to check with his own colleagues on that side of the House, for whom he seems to not have much respect since he does not really listen to any of their advice or instructions. However, he should check with members of his own party before he starts making claims and allegations dealing with amendments to this particular bill.

Finally, the last provision of the amendments brought forward by the Liberal senators deals with penalties for misuse of election documents or personal information. This is something we wholeheartedly agree with because, if anyone, whether it be a member of one political party or whether it be an election official, chose to give some of the confidential information contained in election documents to anyone outside of the election confines, they should be penalized and punished.

Originally, we had proposed in the bill that penalties of either one month in jail or a fine of $3,000 or both would be a satisfactory and an appropriate punishment for people who misused personal information. The Senate examined this provision and came back with an even stronger provision stating that it should be one year or $5,000 or both if anyone were caught misusing personal information during the election process.

We wholeheartedly agree with that amendment, as we agree with 10 other amendments. It is only the one, the time for coming into effect of the bingo cards, that we disagree with.

In conclusion, let me say that once again Bill C-31 deals with integrity of the voting process, something that all people in Canada should applaud. I hope this House tonight will approve that bill.

Canada Elections ActGovernment Orders

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

It being 6:30 p.m., pursuant to order made earlier today, all questions necessary to dispose of the motion relating to the amendments made by the Senate to Bill C-31 are deemed put and a recorded division deemed requested and deferred to 6:30 p.m. today.

Conflict of Interest and Ethics CommissionerRoutine Proceedings

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

Pursuant to order made earlier today the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion concerning the appointment of Mary Elizabeth Dawson as Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner.

Call in the members.