House of Commons Hansard #4 of the 40th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was economic.


Resumption of debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

12:50 p.m.


Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Why is the Prime Minister the biggest spender in Canadian history? Federal expenditures have increased by more than 14% in two years and billions of dollars were spent in the six months before the election was called so arbitrarily .

Why did the Conservative Minister of Finance, against the advice of an overwhelming majority of economists, decide to lower the GST, reducing federal revenues by $11 billion per year? Under the previous Liberal government, that money was used to fund programs in the areas of health care, day care, the environment and seniors' care.

Why did the Conservatives eliminate the $3 billion contingency reserve—the buffer in the event of an economic crisis? This money could have been used to help Canadians in trouble, to create jobs, to stimulate the economy, and to ease seniors' retirement worries without incurring a deficit.

The throne speech said:

Canada will use its experience in developing a strong model of financial regulation to help lead the world in the repair and strengthening of the international financial system.

The question is: Why is Canada not using its experience, having been an architect of the “responsibility to protect” model, to help lead the way in the protection and repair of the international human rights and humanitarian system?

For example, I am referring to the genocide by attrition in Darfur, where 400,000 have already died, where four million are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance, where the violence, including the indiscriminate bombing and burning of villages, sexual violence and assaults on humanitarian aid workers continues unabated, where the culture of impunity mocks arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal Court, and where both the Darfur peace process and the comprehensive peace process are in danger of unraveling, threatening not only the stability of Sudan but its nine neighbouring countries.

I am not saying that the government is unaware of the Darfur tragedy, or that the government has done nothing, but it has not yet identified it as a priority. The best evidence of this is that, yet again, and not unlike the last Speech from the Throne, neither the word “Darfur”, nor the word “Africa” are mentioned in the throne speech, let alone addressed in terms of the commitment and action of which the throne speech otherwise speaks.

This is not a partisan problem. To put it simply, while the international community dithers, Darfurians continue to die. I would hope that the government would show the necessary moral, political, juridical and diplomatic leadership within the international community to ensure that the required concrete action is taken. To that end, I have introduced the Sudan accountability act today, a private member’s initiative, that I hope the government will support if not adopt as its own.

The throne speech, as its predecessor, makes eloquent mention of our shared values: democracy, freedom, human rights, the rule of law, and the need for international leadership to protect these values. It also contains reference to an important initiative: the establishment of a new, non-partisan democracy promotion agency.

However, it ignores the most compelling international concerns of today, as in the case of Darfur, and the corresponding assaults on these very fundamental values, as in the case of Ahmadinejad’s Iran. There is no mention in the throne speech of the state-sanctioned incitement to genocide in Ahmadinejad’s Iran. I say Ahmadinejad’s Iran because I am not referring to the Iranian people, nor to the many publics in Iran, who are themselves the objects of a massive, domestic repression of human rights, and I say this as we mark the 20th anniversary of mass killings and massive domestic repression in Iran.

This flagrant omission remains particularly disconcerting. As I mentioned in a speech last week at McGill University, on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the genocide convention, the enduring lesson of the Holocaust, and the genocides that occurred thereafter in the Balkans, Rwanda, and now Darfur, is that these genocides occurred not only because of the machinery of death but because of a state-sanctioned ideology of hate.

This teaching of contempt, this demonizing of the other, this is where it all begins. As the Supreme Court of Canada recognized, the Holocaust did not begin in the gas chambers, it began with words. Tragically, Ahmadinejad’s Iran, in violation of the prohibition against the direct and public incitement to genocide, in both the genocide convention and the treaty for an international criminal court, exhibits all the precursors to genocide that have led us down that road in the past.

Accordingly, and I repeat that this is not a partisan issue, the Canadian government should be a world leader in combating the crime of incitement to genocide and the culture of impunity that attends it, and should refer this matter to the United Nations and its agencies in order to ensure that Ahmadinejad’s Iran will be held to account.

Let me move now to identify a number of domestic priorities that reflect not only the concerns of my constituents but Canadians as a whole.

First, is the question of health care, which received passing mention in the throne speech, but is a crosscutting concern in my riding, if not in the country as a whole, and can be expected to accentuate in an economic meltdown. In particular, we need to be concerned about the decline of health care professionals, where one in five Canadians do not have access to a family doctor, where the shrinking supply of doctors and nurses is adversely affecting all forms of health care: primary care, home care, palliative care, emergency care, and the like.

Accordingly, may I recommend that the government invest, as we the opposition suggested, in a one billion dollar doctor and nurses medical resource fund to alleviate not only the shortage of health care professionals but the attending and prejudicial fallout for the health care system as a whole, while protecting our right to health care as a fundamental human right.

Second, the economic meltdown could be expected to adversely affect the most vulnerable amongst us, especially children and the poor, and particularly children living in poverty. Forty years ago we stated that poverty in this country was a national disgrace. Twenty years ago Parliament adopted a resolution to make poverty history in the year 2000, yet there is only perfunctory mention of poverty and the plight of the poor and no undertaking in the throne speech of making poverty history on the international level, or poverty reduction on the domestic level as a government priority.

Accordingly, may I recommend that the government and Parliament adopt, as a matter of principle and priority, the 30-50 policy as proposed by the Liberal Party in the last election, to reduce poverty by a third and the incidence of poverty in children by one-half in the next five years.

Third, on the issue of immigration, while we support the government's intention to streamline the process of foreign accreditation, the immigration system as a whole continues to fail newcomers to this country, including, in particular, those in my riding and elsewhere who seek to form a new life in Canada with their families and loved ones.

Accordingly, I urge the government to repair and reform the immigration system in a systemic way. As the member of Parliament for Mount Royal with, arguably, the best riding office on immigration matters in the country, we would be pleased to share our experience, expertise and recommendations for best practices with the government as it embarks on immigration reform and I have conveyed that to the newly appointed Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism.

Fourth, on the matter of the justice agenda, the only justice priority in the throne speech appears to be that of crime control. The objective of safe streets and communities are the shared aspirations of all Canadians and the common objective of all parliamentarians and parties.

The more important point, however, is that the justice agenda should not only be about combating violent crime, which objective we share, but it should include as a priority the protection of the vulnerable: women, children, aboriginals, minorities and the poor. The test of a just society is how it protects the most vulnerable among us.

There is no reference to the imperative of equal justice and equal access to justice. There is no mention, for example, of women's rights. There is no mention of the need to restore the court challenges program, which was a bulwark in the promotion of equality rights and minority rights. There is no reference to the need for a national and comprehensive sustainable legal aid plan in civil and criminal matters, all the more warranted in a time of economic adversity.

I close by saying that the government's throne speech, which contains some important initiatives, is diminished by the absence of any reference to these priorities, domestic and international, and we trust that the government will incorporate them in this 40th Parliament for the advancement of the public good and for Canadians as a whole.

Resumption of debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

1 p.m.


Keith Martin Liberal Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, congratulations on your new position. I want to ask my friend and colleague a question. He has been a comrade in arms in dealing with some of the most egregious human rights abuses around the world.

He mentioned the issue of Darfur. Does he not think that the Sudan should be dealt with as a whole country approach? The comprehensive peace agreement in the south is going to collapse and if or when that collapses, which is the likely situation, that will result in a conflagration that will make Darfur look small by comparison.

I would also like to ask him whether or not he thinks that the government should address the issue of the Congo? The eastern Congo is the world's worst humanitarian disaster. It is the largest mass killing of civilians since the second world war. Seven million people have died in the last decade and 1,000 people are being killed day in and day out, dying frequently from entirely preventable causes.

I would like to ask my friend whether he believes that the government should step up to the plate: take on the responsibility to protect an obligation to act and formally engage the African Union and the United Nations to support assets on the ground; support and provide assets to the recent increase in 3,000 troops for MONUC, the peacekeeping force in eastern Congo; and lead an international movement to produce an on-the-ground Congolese-led reconciliation process to deal with the grassroots grievances over land and resources that have not been addressed but are a major driver in the death and destruction taking place in that country?

Resumption of debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

1 p.m.


Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, I agree fully that we are dealing with Darfur as a specific, compelling item of concern but in the context of Sudan as a whole, and that is why I mentioned that the two peace processes, both the Darfur peace process and the comprehensive peace process, are now in a coma and in danger of unravelling, and can thereby prejudicially affect the nine neighbouring countries.

This brings me to the second point and the second part of my hon. colleague's question. As I mentioned in my remarks, not only was there no reference to Darfur and Sudan in the Speech from the Throne but there was no reference to Africa as a whole. Africa is an abandoned continent in the Speech from the Throne at a time when it is in desperate need of leadership by the government and the international community.

Reference was made to the Congo, again one of the more compelling human rights and humanitarian concerns in the world today where we should exercise our responsibility to protect, in concert with the international community. There are other places in Africa, which my colleague knows because as he mentioned, we have been comrades in arms in this regard: Zimbabwe, Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea, with threatening hunger and poverty as well.

Therefore, I would call on the government to take a lead with respect to the global financial system, to use our experience as a model in that regard, to take the lead with respect to the global unravelling of human rights and humanitarian law, particularly in Africa, and take a lead using the responsibility to protect principle in that regard as well.

Resumption of debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

1:05 p.m.


Keith Martin Liberal Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to ask my colleague, an expert in international law, a question with respect to Afghanistan, the government's leading issue. The government has understandably put in a lot of assets on the military side, but what is needed I believe in Afghanistan is an Afghan-led grassroots reconciliation process to deal with the intertribal conflicts that have affected the country for years.

As well, I would like to ask whether he believes that our government should do the responsible thing and work with other countries to produce a regional working group that involves India, Pakistan and Afghanistan to make sure that all these countries are on the same page to address the insurgency coming from the tribal lands in western Pakistan.

Resumption of debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

1:05 p.m.


Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would concur with both those recommendations by my colleague. We do need a grassroots reconciliation plan and process in Afghanistan. We need as well a regional working group that, in concert with this grassroots movement, can attend to the compelling issues in Afghanistan which are not only of a military character but which are clearly of a compelling developmental and humanitarian character.

Resumption of debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

1:05 p.m.


Blaine Calkins Conservative Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is with tremendous honour that I rise today in the House of Commons to debate our newly re-elected government's Speech from the Throne.

First, I would like to congratulate you, Mr. Speaker, on your personal re-election and also on your appointment to the Chair. The people of Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock have chosen their member of Parliament very well and I know that we have chosen you very well to sit in the Chair, representing all of us in this chamber.

I would also like to thank the voters in the great constituency of Wetaskiwin for sending me to Ottawa for this, my second term. It was truly an honour and a privilege to serve them here in the 39th Parliament and I humbly accept their faith in me to serve once again here in Canada's 40th Parliament.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the campaign workers, all the donors and everyone else who helped make my campaign so very successful. It is their hard work, their determination, coupled with their firm belief that a Conservative government implementing sound economic principles is best suited to govern this country, and all of those volunteers make it possible for all of us here in the House to be here today.

I also want to thank the Prime Minister for his excellent leadership in the 39th Parliament. I know Canada is very well served by his strong leadership at this difficult, global economic time.

Last, I want to acknowledge those most dear to me, as they are the ones who sacrifice most for me to be here, and that is my wonderful wife, Barbara, and my children, Eryk, Kasandra and Krystian. I know they are watching right now and I love them.

To emphasize how much a family means to me, it is the primary reason that I sought office in 2006. I came here to correct what appeared to me as a gradual devaluing of families in Canada.

As the 2005-06 campaign started, I was the sole income earner for our family by choice , because my wife and I believe that one parent should be home to look after the children. Many other Canadian families feel the same way. However, it was really hard to make ends meet. The tax burden was high and there was an inherent unfairness in the tax system that seemed to punish rather than reward families.

Since we took office in 2006, there have been great strides made in our country to correct these inequities. We have seen direct support to parents with small children through the choice in child care allowance. This is great for families in the many small communities in the constituency of Wetaskiwin, such as Alhambra, Condor and Withrow which would never have the benefit of a federal child care facility.

We have seen an end to the spousal allotment differential, known as the marriage penalty, making the work of a stay-at-home parent of equal value in the eyes of the tax system to that of a wage earner. We have seen a $2,000 per child tax credit applied, among other family friendly initiatives, such as the children's fitness tax credit.

At the time of the October 14 election, the average Canadian family was better off by over $3,000 a year in tax savings, compared to the 2005 tax year and before. Now, as promised in the last election campaign and reiterated in the Speech from the Throne, our government will improve the universal child care benefit and increase access to maternity and parental benefits under the employment insurance program for parents who wish today to access these services.

We promised during the campaign and now in the throne speech to help families caring for a loved one with disabilities by expanding upon our previous commitments, such as the registered disability savings plan.

The Speech from the Throne also outlined our government's plan to help first time home buyers deal with the financial hurdles they face when buying that all important first home for their families. This is good for our construction industry right across our country. These are just some of the family friendly measures that send a clear signal to Canadian families that a Conservative government respects and appreciates all that they do in raising their families.

We believe that families are an essential building block of our society. The government's role is to protect and empower families and the commitments of the throne speech do just that.

From Rocky Mountain House to Gwynne and from Breton to Alix, the constituency of Wetaskiwin is home to hard-working, honest Canadians who believe they can make their own way in the world. All they ask for is a fair and level playing field to compete. They are farmers, entrepreneurs, small business owners, oil field workers, forestry workers and construction workers. They know the value of hard work and they take pride in their self-determination.

In the last Parliament, we pledged to revamp farm income programs to respond to the needs of farmers in a rapidly changing economic environment. We tried over the past two years to provide western Canadian farmers with the freedom to make marketing choices that best meet their farm and business needs. However, the opposition parties, most of whom are not from western provinces, interfered with that progress and access to some of the best spot prices for wheat and barley are now nothing more than a heartbreaking memory of lost market opportunities.

However, there is good news. After the October 14 election, more Conservatives were returned to the House and we are committed to ensuring freedom of choice for grain marketing in western Canada.

Furthermore, our tax policies now leave more hard-earned money in the pockets of farmers and business owners when they sell their assets because we raised the capital gains exemption by a quarter of a million dollars. The Speech from the Throne adds to this great policy initiative by indexing the lifetime capital gains exemption and ensuring that people's investments in property and other assets maintain as much tax exempt value as possible to ensure a better retirement when it comes time for individual Canadians to sell their property.

There is much more good news on the horizon. Farmers and manufacturers need to have markets for their products. The Speech from the Throne reaffirms our commitments to continue to push for access into new markets and create a level playing field for Canadians to take advantage of further opportunities.

We will work with the new administration in the United States on the current economic turbulence and to strengthen our trade relationships so that we can emerge from this crisis as stronger nations.

We signed several free trade agreements since we took office in 2006 with several European and South American countries. However, this is not the time to rest on our laurels. The government will seek opportunities for trade with the European Union and further engagement in the Americas and the Pacific Rim.

The world needs more of Canada. It needs more of our products, our expertise and our know-how and an aggressive move to new bilateral trade deals will position our hard-working producers, exporters and service providers with a wider and more level playing field, thereby boosting and stimulating our economy.

If we are to build a stronger economy and rise like a phoenix from the ashes of this economic crisis, then the government must be involved in providing the infrastructure and transportation backbone necessary for economic growth and expansion.

Our government is committed to expediting the building Canada plan so that communities, large and small, can build and modernize their infrastructure. Communities in Alberta have already seen the benefit of our government's infrastructure initiatives.

The constituency of Wetaskiwin benefited well from the Canada-Alberta municipal rural infrastructure fund. In Alberta we affectionately know this as CAMRIF. The residents of Wetaskiwin county will have a reliable waste management system and safer, more efficient roads that will play a vital role in improving the economic and environmental efficiencies at Mulhurst, Lakedell, Winfield and West Buck Lake.

Road construction and upgrades in the country will improve safety and enhance the response times for emergency vehicles. In the beautiful town of Millet, the construction of paved roadway , curb and gutter, storm sewer, sidewalk and street lighting project will lead the way to the new Middle School and support residential growth.

More than $1.3 million were invested by the federal government in the historic town of Lacombe to improve the quality of life of residents by making their environment cleaner, encouraging growth and providing more recreational and business opportunities for local residents.

In Lacombe county, the upgrading of Aspelund Road will improve safety for drivers, support increased traffic and better enable industry and farmers who use the road to deliver products and services on a year-round basis. I very much enjoyed driving down that new Aspelund Road in the last campaign. It looks great.

The small hamlet of Mirror used its CAMRIF funds to construct a new outdoor multi-use facility that will provide more recreational opportunities for their young people. Provinces and municipalities across Canada will now be able to count on predictable, flexible and long-term funding to address their infrastructure needs.

However, as we move forward to strengthen our roads, bridges and infrastructure, we also must assure the people living in our communities that we will also make those same roads and streets safer.

The constituents of Wetaskiwin will be pleased with the government's plan to take tough action against crime and to deal with criminal activity fairly, swiftly and effectively.

Our government is committed to protecting Canadians from violence brought on by guns, gangs and organized crime.

While moving to protect communities from young people who pose a danger to our society, we will also help youth make good choices.

The Four Nations of Hobbema has received considerable media attention for the violence that has plagued its communities but little attention has been paid to the remarkable community cadet program that has an enrolment of over 900 young people. In fact, Saturday marks the third anniversary of the Hobbema community cadet corps, the largest native cadet program in Alberta and perhaps the world. The program emphasizes native culture, sports, a healthy lifestyle and, most important, requires cadets to stay in school. It has proven to be a very effective crime prevention initiative, so much so that school attendance has improved, there are fewer bullying issues, fights and other complaints.

The members of the Hobbema cadets are discovering that there is an alternative to gangs, drugs and violence. Thanks to this innovative program, they are on the road to becoming responsible future leaders who will ensure the traditions and values of their heritage are upheld in a safe and vibrant community.

I was in Wetaskiwin on Remembrance Day and I met a young fellow from the cadet program who had just enlisted in the Canadian armed forces. He was proudly going from hospital to various nursing homes along with a contingent of other military people from CFB Edmonton and also with the RCMP. He was very proud of the progress that he has made. He reflects very well on the good people in those communities who are working hard to ensure their young people have a future.

That is an example of the kind of program that will help Canadian youth make those good choices for their future. I hope that future will see them take on leadership roles in their bands and their communities as we move forward.

Our young people are the leaders of tomorrow. They will benefit from our plan to strengthen Canada's democratic institutions.

Our government plans to reintroduce legislation that will link the number of seats in the House of Commons for Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia to their growing population. Representation by population is a fundamental principle that we have in this country and it is time for more Albertans to take their rightful place in the House of Commons.

Canadians across the country deserve to have fairness in representation and this legislation would restore the principle of representation by population in the House of Commons while protecting the seat counts of other provinces as so enshrined in our Constitution.

My home province of Alberta has experienced unprecedented growth over the last decade. The strength of our energy sector has attracted newcomers from across Canada and around the globe. The 2006 census showed that Alberta's population had almost tripled in the past 50 years. In the first quarter of 2008 alone, numbers showed that the population had grown by another 14,500 people.

In the throne speech, Her Excellency reiterated this government's commitment to work with the provinces to remove barriers to internal trade, investment and labour mobility by 2010. We are already benefiting from that in Alberta with the great relationship that we have with British Columbia, and now we are engaged in discussions with Saskatchewan. It is called TILMA, the trade investment labour mobility agreement. Reducing these interprovincial barriers is a very important step in further enhancing our economic ties. We have enough issues with international trade. We do not need to create issues in internal trade.

Our government will continue to support Canadian researchers and innovators in their quest to develop new ideas by investing in new world-class research facilities.

We will also support the traditional industries that are the backbone of our communities and we will provide help for workers in transition.

Earlier this summer, the competition policy review panel provided a report entitled “Compete to Win”. This report put forward several policy recommendations aimed at making Canada a more attractive destination for talent, investment and innovation.

The Speech from the Throne indicates our intention to listen to those recommendations by expanding opportunities for Canadian firms to benefit from foreign investment and knowledge while taking steps to safeguard consumers and our national security.

Greater competitive intensity in Canada will have the effect of better products, lower prices, more jobs and higher earnings, stronger companies and an overall stronger economy.

We also recognize, however, that in these challenging economic times some jobs will be lost and older workers, particularly those who live in vulnerable communities, will need job training and new skills to remain part of the changing workforce.

While the oil sands in the northern areas of Alberta are the most popular destination for newcomers to our province, southern communities like those in the constituency of Wetaskiwin are also experiencing growth in technology, investment and new business opportunities to support that growing energy sector.

That is why the Pacific gateway is so important to Alberta. The expansion of existing corridors will be important to our long-term economic growth. Canada's Asia Pacific gateway and corridor initiative will ensure the quick and easy movement of goods produced in the heartland of Alberta, like our world famous beef, wheat, malt barley, canola and other products, through British Columbia and ultimately to the lucrative South Pacific and Asian markets. The development of the Pacific gateway and the signing of new free trade agreements will provide opportunities to the many producers, processors and manufacturers in the constituency of Wetaskiwin.

As I mentioned earlier, from Eckville to Calmar and from Warburg to Clive, the constituency of Wetaskiwin is home to hard-working, law-abiding Canadians. I know they will be heartened to hear that our focus will be on stronger penalties for those who use guns in the commission of crimes, not at criminalizing law-abiding firearms owners, farmers and hunters.

I know they want us to continue with prudent spending and keeping focused on our tax plan that gives Canadian businesses an economic advantage around the world. I know they are heartened to hear that Canada will not engage in any discussions regarding the bulk sale of our freshwater.

I know they will be pleased that we will continue investing in and promoting green technologies that keep our environment clean and our economy strong. I know they are optimistic about the potential for new markets abroad and expanded markets here at home, such as we have created with biofuels and the use of wood biomass as an energy source.

I know they can see that we are the envy of the G-7 for our strong economic fundamentals, low taxes and well-regulated banking system. I want to ensure all the constituents of Wetaskiwin that we will devote all of our energy to addressing the challenges that they, their families and their businesses face both today and in the future.

Thanks to the strong leadership of our Prime Minister and the sound fiscal management plan and agenda outlined in the Speech from the Throne, Canada will emerge from this period of global economic instability stronger than ever before.

Resumption of debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

1:25 p.m.


Brian Murphy Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, I have worked with the member for Wetaskiwin before on various committees and I appreciate his insight on various matters.

One issue that I know must be important to him, as I think his background is in computer technology, is the need for reform of our Copyright Act, which was in process in the last Parliament. Obviously, since the Speech from the Throne is a guideline and not a fleshed-out document as to what the actual budget and program of the government will be, I want to ask him for his thoughts on the government direction in this regard.

Connected to it, with respect to the cultural and arts side of things, I want to hear from him on what the government proposes in the field of arts of culture because it was hardly addressed in the Speech from the Throne. He must know, as I do, one does not have to be from a big city to understand that the impact of cuts to arts and cultural groups across Canada is profound. It is not a deleterious effect just to the artists and the gala-goers. It has a very bad effect on the people who are in the entertainment industry, the bars and restaurants, and in the carpentry and other trades who are so dependent on the arts and cultural sector.

What are his thoughts on where the government is going in this regard?

Resumption of debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

1:25 p.m.


Blaine Calkins Conservative Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, let me congratulate my colleague across the way on his re-election. I know he had an interesting night on election night. It is certainly good to see him back in the House.

He asked me about my expertise and knowledge in the information technology field as it pertains to copyright reform.

We could go on and on about the WIPO treaties and the need to be part of an international organization or part of a greater picture that takes a look at how we do this copyright reform because, frankly, media comes from all over the world. We are not the makers of all the media and we are not certainly the listeners and users of all the media, so we have to ensure we get along in the international sandbox, so to speak.

In the last session, we brought forward legislation that would have improved our current copyright regime immensely. We would have had time-shifting. I believe we cannot even legally do that today. Under the current laws, we cannot tape something earlier and watch it later. That is actually a violation of the current law. Therefore, we would have accounted for that and allowed that time-shifting.

Then there is format-shifting. When I taught at Red Deer College, I taught computer systems technology. All the time I saw many young kids walking around with their iPods. They would rip some music, or a movie or whatever the case might be, which is illegal behaviour. We would have allowed for that format-shifting to happen. That would have been a significant improvement. Canadians would have been much better off today had that legislation gone through.

As for what is going to happen, we will have to leave it up to the Minister of Industry to come forward with legislation. I know it is addressed in the Speech from the Throne. We will have to take a look at what that legislation looks like. We plan to deal with the issue. I would encourage the hon. member to wait and take a look at the legislation when it gets here.

Then he talked about arts and culture. The reality is quite different from what he said. We have increased funding to arts and culture. In fact, I spoke eloquently about the needs of families. One of the things I liked most about our last campaign was the fact that we would use the tax system to promote the advancement of arts and culture for our young people by giving the same tax advantage families have for sports, so they could write off those piano lessons and those dance lessons. Those things are very important. That would be a great use of arts money in our country.

Resumption of debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

1:25 p.m.


Robert Carrier Bloc Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to my Conservative colleague's speech. I did not get any sense that his speech or his description of the throne speech responded in any way to the current economic crisis being felt by all Canadians.

In the previous Parliament, I introduced a bill concerning seniors. All members have seniors in their ridings—even in Alberta, at least I hope so. Our seniors are going through a difficult time and living in precarious situations. In Quebec alone, 40,000 people do not even receive the guaranteed income supplement, even though they are entitled to it, because the government is not telling them about it and is not automatically registering them. Across Canada, that number is 135,000 people. These are people living on very low incomes. Even those who do receive the infamous guaranteed income supplement are living below the poverty line. We are talking about a segment of the population who are really having a tough time, over and above the current crisis that affects everyone. I had hoped that the throne speech would correct this situation.

In the previous Parliament, when that bill was being voted on here, all Conservative members voted against it. That is why I had hoped, considering the current difficult situation, that the government would change its stance and do something for this segment of the population, at least.

I would like the member to explain his government's profoundly insensitive attitude towards seniors.

Resumption of debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

1:30 p.m.


Blaine Calkins Conservative Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to dissolve any of the suggestions in the member's question, that this government is not sensitive to seniors. I have a large number of seniors in my constituency. On numerous occasions, whether I am in the coffee shop or whether I go to a lodge, they tell me that they appreciate the measures our government has taken. They appreciate the fact that we have increased and streamlined applications for GIS. GIS is something for which they have to qualify. My hon. friend talks about entitlements, but I guess that is the way they do things, that everything is an entitlement. GIS is something for which people have to qualify. I know Canadians who have good representation do get access to those services they need.

We have increased the amount that Canadian seniors can work for without having their guaranteed income supplement clawed back. We increased that from $500 to $3,500. It means seniors who choose or want to work have more room in their GIS clawback area to go back and contribute to our society and not lose those benefits so quickly.

We have introduced pension income splitting, and this is a wonderful thing. I know I have already mentioned this, but pension income splitting is a great thing for my constituents. They are very happy about it. Now when it comes to seniors needing to protect their savings, starting January 1, we have a great policy coming forward in our tax system, the tax-free savings account. This is going to be one of the most important vehicles for investors to hold onto their savings. I am really looking forward to all the great news that is going to come out of the implementation of tax-free savings accounts across our country.

Resumption of debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

1:30 p.m.


Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, congratulations on your appointment. I would also like to congratulate the member for Wetaskiwin on his election.

The hon. member mentions chipping away or eroding family structures and presents income splitting as one solution to that problem. However, this leaves behind individuals. What about single mothers or persons with disabilities? What about individuals trying to get by? Has the hon. member considered these individuals who would be left behind?

How can the member stand behind a throne speech that continues tax cuts to large corporate winners and ignores the opportunities to use those taxes to invest in Canadians? The 1% GST reduction was about $6 billion, which would be enough to fund post-secondary education for every student in Canada.

Why have we not seen a throne speech that invests in people, both individuals and families, who are the backbone of any strong economy?

Resumption of debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

1:30 p.m.


Blaine Calkins Conservative Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, I do not know what throne speech the member listened to or read, but it certainly does not describe the one I heard the other day, which offered a vision of hope and encouragement for Canadians. I spent a lot of time in the post-secondary education system as a faculty member and as a student. I know very well how disrespected I was by previous governments. I could not claim textbook expenses. With the Conservative government, students can do that now.

We have increased transfers to the provinces. My province of Alberta was never treated the same as other provinces across the country until a Conservative government was elected in Ottawa. Albertans never even received their fair share of per capita transfers for health and for education, and now we do. That is a great thing for Canadians.

The member highlighted single mothers with disabilities. Of course we care about all people and all segments of society. This is why we have that registered disability savings plan for families or single people. In fact, we are going to extend it so even people outside organizations can contribute to these savings plans for our children and for our future.

Resumption of debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

November 21st, 2008 / 1:35 p.m.


Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, I am splitting my time with the hon. member for Halifax.

I am pleased to be here again after 20 years of absence from the House of Commons. Actually yesterday, the 20th of November, was the 20th anniversary of my involuntary retirement from federal politics, but I have not been idle since then. I have spent about 16 of the last 20 years in the House of Assembly in Newfoundland and have had five successful elections to that assembly.

I want to first of all thank my wife, Ann, and our children, Amelia, Sarah and John, for their support in my decision to attempt to come back to federal politics. I am pleased to say that the voters of St. John's East gave me full support. I want to thank them, my supporters, and my campaign workers for making this an extremely successful election for me. I also want to congratulate all the other members, either returning members who have proven to their constituents that they deserve to be re-elected or members new to this House.

We do share here, despite our party differences, a great deal of collegiality. We share the honour and privilege of representing our constituents in this House. I expect there will be a great deal of collegiality, but also some competitiveness, as we each pursue arguments about the best way to build a better Canada.

I should also add that our party was successful in getting the support of 34% of Newfoundland and Labrador. That is a considerable level of support, and I wanted to make sure hon. members here and people watching at home knew that. I understand that 34% is almost enough to get a minority government in Canada. The current government has a little better than that, but not much.

I want to say that the people of Newfoundland and Labrador have shown great wisdom in providing this level of support to the New Democratic Party of Canada. I thank our leader for leading that support in that election.

As a result, I am here not only to represent and speak up for my supporters in St. John's East, but also to try to play a role in representing the people and issues of Newfoundland and Labrador in this House of Commons.

I also want to congratulate my other colleagues from Newfoundland and Labrador who succeeded in the last election. We will have many issues to raise in this House of Commons because many issues of great importance to Newfoundland and Labrador are in the federal sphere.

Let me mention the important and significant Atlantic accord, which is designed to ensure that the people of Newfoundland and Labrador are the principal beneficiaries of their offshore oil and gas reserves. Our party fully supports that position, and we condemn the fallbacks from that position that were practised by the Conservative government, contrary to the promises it and the Prime Minister of Canada made in various election campaigns.

We want to see the full implementation of that accord. Our support for it is in writing from our leader, and when our leader puts something in writing, we can count on him to follow through in support of those issues.

I hope to play a role in this House as the deputy energy critic for the east coast. We have a tremendous level of development of oil and gas and of other forms of hydroelectricity in the Atlantic region. My appointment by our leader is emblematic of our recognition of the important role our energy plays in the Canadian energy supply. Newfoundland and Labrador produces some 40% of the Canadian requirement for crude oil, and hon. members may not be fully aware of that fact.

I also will have roles as an ACOA critic and for national security, very important matters that I understand will be discussed in this session of the House.

There are many issues of great importance. I could list a whole series of issues of great importance to my riding in particular and to Newfoundland and Labrador generally.

We want to see action on issues such as affordable housing. This issue is particularly important in my riding, where the Canada Lands Company is redeveloping some 80 hectares of land. We want affordable housing to be a significant part of that mix. We need to have a national housing plan or affordable housing programs to help do that. Those did not come forward in the speech, but we will continue to fight for those things.

As a province we are also very interested in seeing the transfer to the province of the Hibernia share that the Government of Canada now holds. This is something that was never intended to be a windfall to the Government of Canada. Rather, that was its share of getting that project going. The Newfoundland and Labrador government did its share as well, by giving a permanent holiday for sales tax and through other concessions it made to get the project going.

It would be fitting to have that share transferred to the province on terms agreeable to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. I think some discussions have been under way in that regard.

I cannot end my remarks without making reference to the recent developments on the fiscal front. Newfoundland and Labrador has been slated to enter that magical world of “have” status over the next months. I regret that our neighbours in Ontario seem to have gone the other way, if only slightly and if only for a short period of time. I do not envy them that.

It is very important that we all know it is a fiscal measure and it is a significant part of our constitution.

I cannot help but remark on the concerns expressed by the opposition leader in Ontario, Bob Runciman. He talked about the concept of being poor cousins to Newfoundland being hard to swallow.

What was hard to swallow was being told by the Prime Minister that Atlantic Canadians suffered from a culture of dependence, that somehow we were the product of failed regional development policies. Imagine if I said that Ontario's problem was the result of failed regional development policies like the national railway or the St. Lawrence Seaway or the auto pact. That is not the kind of talk we need. We need to understand that nobody needs to feel inferior because the fiscal situation of their province has changed.

We have a great country. It has an equalization formula that applies equally to all parts of our country. It applies to Quebec, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick and, yes, even Ontario.

We are pleased to be part of an economic change in our province. The price of oil makes a big difference. It is all the more important that commitments like the Atlantic accord be followed, because we will need to have that support while we continue to develop our prosperity.

We do have other projects to go forward, such as the Churchill Falls project. That project will very likely require the support of the Government of Canada, at least in the form of loan guarantees.

If hon. members want to understand the importance of this step to the people of Newfoundland, I would encourage hon. members who are computer literate to use one of the search engines, perhaps Google, to look up the words “Yes, we have”. Those three words will lead you to a website showing a little video put together by a private company. It puts a speech given by Premier Danny Williams to music.

It will give you an idea of the kind of passion and pride that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians feel having taken this step. The step is fiscal, but it is psychological as well. Looking at that video might give people some insight into the way we Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have sometimes been made to feel because of our economic situation. I certainly intend to play a role in trying to change that as much as I can.

We are here from Newfoundland and Labrador as equal participants in Confederation. We have lots to say about what needs to be done in this country and for our province.

Resumption of debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

1:45 p.m.


Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, our newly rejoined colleague and my friend from Newfoundland served in the House for a brief time with my mother in 1987. It is good to have him back.

I would also like to underline the importance of what he said, that when we look at our country, we do not pit one region against the other, but we acknowledge it is a federation. Implicit in that is that we share resources to ensure all Canadians are looked after and supported when they need it. However, the government has turned its back on one area, and my colleague from Halifax talked a bit about this. It is fine to talk about income splitting, but what about those who struggle on their own?

My question for my colleague from Newfoundland is about seniors. Specifically, does he see the importance of raising the OAS to help seniors out at this time to benefit not only seniors but local economies as well?

Resumption of debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

1:45 p.m.


Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, I was proud to be elected in 1987 on the very same day as the hon. member's mother was. I am very proud to have known her and served with her in the House of Commons. I know all hon. members share in our condolences to him on the loss of his mother at the beginning of the election campaign this year.

The question is an important one. I do not even think the word “poverty” was mentioned in the speech. We all know the people who will be most affected by a recession. We are not fearmongering, we are just talking about the projections of what will follow the kind of financial crisis we have. We expect there to be some sort of recession. Some places are already in a recession. However, the people who are most hurt by that are the ones who are already in poor circumstances.

We had the advantage of a series of economists, including from the CAW and the Conference Board of Canada, appear before our caucus on Wednesday. One thing we were told was that if we raised the OAS, that alone could significantly reduce, in fact possibly eliminate, poverty for our seniors. That is something I think we should do. It is more important than corporate tax cuts.

Resumption of debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

1:45 p.m.


Nicole Demers Bloc Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, congratulations on attaining the enviable position of Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole.

I listened closely to my colleague's speech. I would like to congratulate him on his election. He seems to be a very wise man. I would like to ask him a question about the Speech from the Throne. If I understood correctly, my colleague said that he wanted people in the regions to be treated equally, in both Quebec and Canada. I assume that he wants equality for all women in Canada and Quebec as well.

I would like to know what my colleague thinks about the fact that, in the Speech from the Throne, there was no mention of women, not one mention of the decisions that should be and should have been made to ensure that women also have every necessary opportunity to survive this economic crisis. As we know, the economic crisis is even more challenging for the most vulnerable among us because they have even less of a chance of making it through. I would like to hear his opinion on this.

Resumption of debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

1:45 p.m.


Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, the throne speech is as important for what is not in it as for what is in it. Poverty is omitted, equality for women is omitted as are many other things, specifically with respect to women, things that we would support. One of the fundamentals for ensuring a more equal society is a full national universal child care program that would deliver the goods. This would be a foundation for greater equality for women and greater participation in all measures of our workforce, as well as provide economic stimulation and plenty of jobs that will be needed.

Resumption of debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

1:50 p.m.


Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to be here in the House in the 40th Parliament as a new member representing Halifax. May I start with a heartfelt thank you to the people of Halifax who have placed their trust in me as their member of Parliament.

I also wish to recognize and thank Alexa McDonough, who represented my riding at the federal and provincial levels for more than 30 effective and passionate years.

I have to say, as I am making my inaugural speech, that I feel a very heavy responsibility as I struggle to find the words that will focus the attention of the House on the urgent situation facing the communities that I represent.

We are a riding with a highly mixed urban community as well as fishing villages. We have very diverse and multicultural backgrounds. My constituency is made up of people who are coping with the everyday difficulties of life. It has struck me that the pomp and pageantry of this magnificent House seems very far removed from the realities of everyday life in Halifax.

With the highest density of students of any city in Canada, Halifax has residents struggling with monumental student debt and uncertain futures. We have the legacy of Africville, with members of the African Nova Scotian community still contributing their vibrant and active sense of culture throughout our city despite their unanswered calls for recognition and reparations.

We have thousands of seniors who are finding it more and more difficult to do simple things, such as paying their heating bills. We have Mi'kmaq people still looking for concrete commitments to improve their lives after the ray of hope which was the residential school apology.

We have the communities of Spryfield, Fairview, Harrietsfield and Ketch Harbour. Each are unique and each have a strong sense of community.

We also have a strong military presence in our city with many families who have loved ones on the base, overseas in Afghanistan, or at sea. Our military families live with the terrible uncertainty the war in Afghanistan has brought about and the lack of support which seems to await our veterans after their military service has ended.

Over the past number of years I have worked with individuals who heat with their ovens or heat only one room of their home at a time because they cannot afford fuel. Their choice is between heating their home or feeding their kids. They choose between heat or eat. They know they should insulate and upgrade, but they cannot afford the initial costs. There was nothing for them in the throne speech.

I listened very carefully to the throne speech. I listened for words of concrete action to be taken. I was hopeful that I would hear decisive action on the issues facing Canadians.

I hoped I would hear a plan to restore confidence in pensions which many seniors now feel are uncertain. There was no reassurance there; only promises on Senate reform and nuclear deregulation.

I hoped to hear about a real industrial strategy. Nova Scotian manufacturing industries are hurting. We continue to lose workers to the west. The reality is that under successive Liberal and Conservative governments, the Canadian economy has lost its innovative edge. Instead of grasping new opportunities, Canada is more reliant on the broken U.S. economy and more dependent on resource extraction. We are more than just the hewers of wood and the drawers of water.

The NDP recognizes that diversity and productivity are the basis for an effective economic strategy. The NDP understands that the opportunities of the green economy must be grasped quickly. Most important, our party sees the security and competence of people as the backbone to any economy. This must be our priority. I did not hear the throne speech make these things the focus of our collective efforts here in the House of Commons as I had hoped.

Halifax is home to some of the premier research institutions in Canada which are waiting for a real strategy for innovation in the knowledge based green economy of the future. These are the economic results that I want to see. These are the economic results that Nova Scotians want to see. These are the economic results that all Canadians want to see.

I had hoped to hear about a creative new federal environmental policy to deal with catastrophic climate change. Listening to the throne speech I was thinking about my riding with its wind, waves and tides and contrasted it to this government which has decided that Canadian energy must come from nuclear or fossil fuels. In our province we know that the consequence of remaining dependent on fossil fuels is ever-increasing energy costs. The consequence of the government's plan is to continue to see money taken out of our pockets and handed over to the fossil fuel executives, while the benefits of the green economy pass us by.

The Halifax transit system is bursting at the seams. When new services have been added, people in Halifax have responded by using sustainable transportation.

Some say that high gas prices will force people to take the bus, but Sambro, a fishing community in my riding, does not even have a bus. Fishers in my riding deserve as much service as the rest of us.

We need more buses and ferries and bike lanes, not more greenhouse gases, not more radioactive uranium tailings, not more spent nuclear fuel warehouses who knows where.

The world has developed a quick consensus around the need for economic stimulus. We do not need to waste more money on failed solutions such as corporate tax cuts and nuclear plants. We need to create jobs throughout Canada.

In Halifax I have seen how jobs can be created in an energy efficient industry. These jobs can be created throughout the country in every community. This is where we need to direct our efforts and our creativity, creating jobs by tackling the twin crises of international finance and climate change.

Economists are calling for investment in infrastructure. In the throne speech I had hoped to hear about strong investments in public transit and affordable, efficient housing.

Housing is infrastructure. Transit is infrastructure. Building both would create jobs, reduce greenhouse gases and work toward poverty elimination. I did not hear the government seize upon these opportunities.

I also had hoped to hear recognition of arts and culture as part of our economy. Halifax has wonderful arts and culture communities that export film, music, theatre and dance, which create jobs in our city. There was no mention of this vital aspect of our culture and our economy.

I had hoped for so much from the throne speech. I had hoped to hear a commitment to act against violence against women by attacking the root causes of violence, or to hear about a national child care program, or new post-secondary funding, or a commitment to international aid.

I had hoped to hear about a spectrum of supportive housing investments, or about a plan to strengthen education in first nations communities, or for any indication that the government might finally abandon its continued march to reduce the taxes of its supporters and wealthy corporations, even when it admits it will be running a budgetary deficit.

I had hoped, and I was disappointed.

However, as New Democrats, we believe that we can bring hope and change not only to the House, but to Canadians who believe in the progress of nations.

I watched with genuine excitement as our friends in the United States elected a president who campaigned on hope and possibility. I was struck by the fact that Canadians voted overwhelmingly by over 60% to reject the milquetoast Conservative approach to the economic crisis when serious action is needed.

Canada needs bold action for the economy. We need a stimulus package that invests in the real economy of people. We need to protect people's jobs. We need to protect their savings, their homes and their pensions. We need the government to deliver real results.

While I was hopeful that the Speech from the Throne would signal a plan for this kind of action, it instead signalled to me that the Conservative government is content to continue on with the same legislative program that over 60% of Canadians opposed on October 14. This is why I must stand today and oppose the Speech from the Throne.

The people of Halifax can count on my hard work and tireless efforts to ensure their voice is heard in Parliament, and so can the millions of Canadians who voted New Democrat.

I will end with a quote from the 1996 UNICEF “Progress of Nations” report:

The day will come when the progress of nations will be judged not by their military or economic strength, nor by the splendour of their capital cities and public buildings, but by the wellbeing of their peoples: by their levels of health, nutrition and education; by their opportunities to earn a fair reward for their labours; by their ability to participate in the decisions that affect their lives; by the respect that is shown for their civil and political liberties; by the provision that is made for those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged; and by the protection that is afforded to the growing minds and bodies of their children.

The people of Halifax expect and deserve no less, and I am honoured to represent and fight for their interests in the House.

Resumption of debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

1:55 p.m.


Keith Martin Liberal Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate our hon. friend from Nova Scotia on her win. It is a big honour to be here at any time, especially as a first term member of Parliament.

I would like to ask her, apropos her comments, about some of the critical issues affecting our citizens, whether they live in Nova Scotia or on the coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

We have seen a collapse of fisheries stocks on both the east and west coasts. Does my colleague believe the government should convene an urgent meeting of stakeholders for the commercial fishery, sport fishery, individuals involved in conservation, as well as first nations groups in order to come up with a concrete action plan to address the collapse of our fishery stock?

My second question is with respect to children. Would my colleague and her party support our initiative to have an early learning headstart program for children? Daycare is a huge problem facing parents across our country. Would she work with us and put pressure on the government to adopt a national daycare program for children?

Resumption of debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

2 p.m.


Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, with regard to the fisheries, we do have fishing villages in my riding, one of which is Sambro, where Sambro Fisheries is located.

I have talked with the people in the fisheries and asked them what is going on and what needs to be done. They are pretty unequivocal. They are hook and line fishers. They actually have to bait a hook and put it out. They are against dragnetting and bottom trawling, full stop. They want us to enact the UN moratorium.

We need to meet with the stakeholders and have a concrete action plan. Who better to inform us than people who are actually making their livelihoods from fisheries in a responsible and sustainable way?

With regard to the early learning head start program, I actually had the opportunity many times to visit the aboriginal head start program in downtown Halifax, the Mi'kmaq Child Development Centre. I have seen first-hand the impact that early learning and head start programs can have on children's learning. We definitely support these actions.

Resumption of debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

2 p.m.


Robert Carrier Bloc Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I would like to welcome our new colleague from Halifax. We are glad she is here.

Several times during her presentation, she talked about her hope for the government or for government action. She hoped the government would take various actions. That is our hope, too. I hope she will nurture her hopes long enough to see actual results. With this government, it is very difficult to get real results.

I would just like to make one point about affordable housing. One of her hopes was that the government would invest in housing. Canada has the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, which has amassed an $8.4 billion surplus. That money is tucked away and is not being used.

What does she think of a government that does not invest such a surplus in response to public demand?

Resumption of debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

2 p.m.


Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question. I cannot answer it in French, though.

With regard to social housing, Halifax has a lot of programs that are funded by CMHC, programs that are funded by federal money to look at housing, to study housing, to think about housing and hold round tables about housing, but housing is not being built.

A new affordable housing program has been launched in Halifax. We are very excited about it. It has eight units, but eight units are not enough. When there is any kind of surplus, we need to be investing in affordable housing.

As I said earlier, this is infrastructure. It creates jobs. It reduces poverty. If we build these homes to be energy efficient, we actually could combat climate change with the building of affordable housing. It is win, win, win.

Resumption of debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

2 p.m.


Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the member on her election and her speech. She made a comment that throne speeches are known not only for what is in them but what is excluded from them. She mentioned that international assistance was missing.

I would like to point out it is clearly included in the throne speech and also in the previous budgets. Canada has reiterated its commitment to double our international assistance to $5 billion by 2010-11. Also, the development work that is going on in Afghanistan is a clear commitment to international assistance.

The final point I would like to make is that this government is committed to untie the foreign aid for the years after 2012-13. I would like to know why the member indicated that there is nothing in the throne speech that--

Resumption of debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

2:05 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

We can have a short answer from the member for Halifax.

Resumption of debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

2:05 p.m.


Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, what is in the throne speech is clearly not enough. We need to meet our millennium development goals. We need 0.7% of contributions to these goals in foreign aid. For every $10 spent on Afghanistan, less than $1 is spent on aid. We need to put that money into aid.