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House of Commons Hansard #98 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was prices.

Topics

EthicsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the member has apologized. The hon. member has done the honourable thing. I accept his apology.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, the minister responsible for the Canadian International Development Agency said in this House a few moments ago that the government's matching of private donations for Burma would be retroactive to the date of the disaster, May 2, but in fact CIDA's website says right at this moment that the start date is May 15, not May 2.

Obviously the government got caught making up policy as the minister goes along. I wonder if there would be unanimous consent to table a copy of the CIDA website which indicates that the information the minister gave is in fact not correct.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is there unanimous consent to table this document?

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 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, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 27 petitions.

Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Conservative Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-56, An Act to amend the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992.

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

Scrutiny of RegulationsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Liberal Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Joint Committee on the Scrutiny of Regulations in relation to its review of statutory instruments.

When the House adopted the Endangered Species Act and when it amended it, it imposed a very tight unobstructed timeline for a process to identify species at risk. An interpretation of the words of the statute by the Justice Department allows the interposition of what the committee felt was an unattended gap in the period of time within which a minister must act, an indefinite period of time.

The committee wishes to bring to the attention of both Houses of Parliament this interpretation. The committee also wishes to bring it to the attention of the Standing Committee on Environment in this House.

I also have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fourth report from the same committee. This is in relation to its review of statutory instruments.

In 1987 the committee recommended, and the government of the day accepted, that Indian band councils would be exempt from the application of the Statutory Instruments Act with respect to laws and rules adopted by Indian band councils. The recommendation was conditioned on the government also providing mechanisms to make those rules and laws adopted by Indian band councils available and known to those who would be governed by them. As things have evolved over the last 20 years, there has been no such mechanism put in place.

The committee wishes to bring to the attention of the House its recommendation that those mechanisms be put in place so those people governed pursuant to the Indian Act will be well aware of the laws which govern them.

Pursuant to Standing Order 109 the committee asks that the government provide a comprehensive reply to this report.

National Marine Day ActRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Wallace Conservative Burlington, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-549, An Act respecting a day to honour Canada’s marine industry.

Mr. Speaker, observance of a Canada marine day would honour Canada's marine industry past, present, and future. The marine industry holds immense prosperity for Canadians, especially in terms of transportation, jobs and recreational opportunities.

Canada is a marine superpower. The day would be incredibly important to the health of our economy. In many respects, the marine industry is the gateway to trade and the future of Canadian prosperity. Marine waterways form the primary line of trade with corridors that are linked to massive networks of rail, road and other transportation networks.

The bill would honour the role of the marine industry in the past, today and, more important, in the future.

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

Main EstimatesRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 81(4)(a) I would like at this time to designate Wednesday, May 28 for consideration in committee of the whole of all votes under Finance in the main estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2009 and Thursday, May 29 for consideration in committee of the whole of all votes under Foreign Affairs and International Trade in the main estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2009.

AsbestosPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

May 26th, 2008 / 3:15 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by thousands of Canadians who bring to the attention of the House of Commons the fact that asbestos is the greatest industrial killer the world has ever known, yet Canada remains one of the world's largest producers and exporters of asbestos. The petitioners further point out that Canada spends millions of dollars subsidizing the asbestos industry and even blocking international efforts to curb its use.

The petitioners call upon Parliament to ban asbestos in all its forms and to institute a just transition program for asbestos workers and the communities in which they live. They call upon Parliament to end all government subsidies of asbestos both in Canada and abroad. They also call upon Parliament to have the government stop blocking international health and safety conventions designed to protect workers from asbestos, such as the Rotterdam Convention.

Human RightsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Tina Keeper Liberal Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present two petitions today.

The first petition is on behalf of a number of Canadians from the Sandy River and Black River First Nations who have recognized that the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by an overwhelming majority and the government voted against it. Shamefully, this is the first time in history a Canadian government has voted against a major international human rights agreement at the UN.

The petitioners call upon the government to reverse its position and fully ratify the declaration and implement all the standards therein.

Jordan's PrinciplePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Tina Keeper Liberal Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am also pleased to present the following petition on behalf of a number of Canadians from the Sandy River and Black River First Nations who recognize that the right of health care for Canadian children should be universal.

The petitioners recognize that first nations children residing on reserves do not have the same access to health care services as all other Canadian children. They acknowledge that as a result of interdepartmental and interjurisdictional conflicts, critical health services continue to be delayed and denied to first nations children.

The petitioners therefore call upon the Government of Canada to address this ongoing travesty of justice and adopt Jordan's principle, which would ensure that health services would be provided to children within a timely manner.

Arts and CulturePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition concerning Bill C-10, which recognizes that the Criminal Code of Canada already contains provisions regarding pornography, child pornography, hate propaganda and violent crime, but recognizes also that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees freedom of expression and that the exercise of freedom of expression is essential to democracy in the creative process and to Canadian arts and culture and that the role of the Minister of Canadian Heritage should be to promote and defend Canadian culture and artistic freedom.

The guidelines for government funding for the cultural sector include film and video production and they should be objective, transparent and respond to freedom of expression. There should be no ability for the government, the Minister of Canadian Heritage or any office of the government to make subjective judgments concerning artistic content that limit freedom of expression. This type of censorship and denial of tax credits or production support may significantly hinder the making of Canadian productions.

Therefore, the petitioners call upon Parliament to defend Canadian artistic and cultural freedom, to rescind the provisions of Bill C-10 which would allow the government to censor film and video production in Canada and to ensure the government has in place objective and transparent guidelines that respect freedom of expression when delivering any program intended to support film and video production in Canada.

Unborn Victims of CrimePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have three petitions for the House today.

The first petition expresses profound concern regarding Bill C-484, the proposed unborn victims of crime act that conflicts with the Criminal Code because it grants a type of legal personhood to fetuses that would necessarily compromise women's established rights.

Violence against pregnant women is part of a larger societal problem of violence against women everywhere. Fetal homicide laws elsewhere have done nothing to reduce this violence because they do not address the root causes of inequality that perpetuate this violence.

The best way to protect fetuses is to provide pregnant women with the support and resources they need for a good pregnancy outcome, including protection from domestic violence.

The petitioners ask the Government of Canada to reject Bill C-484.

Consumer Price IndexPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is on behalf of Canadian seniors who well know that Statistics Canada made a major error in its calculation of the consumer price index, showing that rates for hotel and motel rooms had dropped 16.5%, while they had actually risen by 32.2%. This resulted in Canada's inflation numbers being underrated by half a percentage point since 2001.

This mistake is being paid for by anyone who benefits from the Canada pension plan, the old age security and the guaranteed income supplement. They have been underpaid by a compounded half a percentage point per year, losing benefits of over $1 billion.

The petitioners call upon the Parliament of Canada to take full responsibility for this error and take the required steps to repay every Canadian who has been shortchanged by a government program because of the miscalculation of the CPI.

Arts and CulturePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Finally, Mr. Speaker, I too have a petition from cultural groups and artists from across the country. They are very concerned about the provisions of Bill C-10.

The petitioners call upon the Parliament of Canada to defend Canadian artists and cultural expression, to rescind any provisions in Bill C-10 which would allow the government to censor film and video production in Canada and to ensure the government has objective and transparent guidelines that respect freedom of expression when delivering any program intended to support film and video production in Canada.

This is in support of all the artists in our communities who have so richly provided our communities with the cultural benefits of video and film.

Arts and CulturePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I present more petitions in opposition to Bill C-10.

As has been mentioned, these petitioners also call upon Parliament to staunchly defend Canadian artistic and cultural expression, to rescind any provisions of Bill C-10, which allow the government to censor film and video production in Canada, and to ensure that the government has in place objective and transparent guidelines that respect freedom of expression when delivering any program intended to support film and video production in Canada.

I am glad to also support these petitioners in this request.

Arts and CulturePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I am sure members are glad to hear the hon. member's views, but he knows it is out of order for him to say whether he supports petitions or not. I urge all hon. members to comply fully with the rules. Presenting petitions is not intended as an opportunity for saying one's support or not. It is just to present, and the hon. member I know knows that.

Arts and CulturePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, once again, I am reverting to that other place where it was allowed. I did not know that was not allowed here. I apologize and I will not do it again.

Arts and CulturePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I thank the hon. member very much for his penitence.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 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, the following question will be answered today: No. 240

Question No. 240Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

With regard to the recent decision to discontinue the Millennium Scholarship Foundation when it expires: (a) what is the reasoning behind this decision; (b) who was consulted internally within the Deparment of Human Resources and Social Development, within other federal departments and agencies, in addition to any stakeholders, regarding this decision; (c) how does the government intend to reconcile the issue of compatibility between the Quebec student assistance program, that is based on need, and the new federal grant program, that is based on income; (d) how will this impact on the government of Quebec's practice of opting out with full compensation; (e) was this issue of compatibility contemplated prior to the announcement of the 2008 federal budget and, if so, how; and (f) on what exact date did the government decide not to renew the Millennium Scholarship Foundation?

Question No. 240Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, in response to a) the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation, CMSF, was mandated to improve access to post-secondary education for all Canadians, but reviews of the CMSF found little evidence that it had achieved this. A decision needed to be made on the future of the CMSF as the ten year mandate to spend its original $2.5 billion endowment was coming to end. The government has decided that federal funds would be more effectively used via an upfront grant that targets assistance to students from low and middle-income families.

The Canada student loans program, CSLP, carried out five research studies of the CMSF to assess the Foundation’s performance, effectiveness and success in achieving its mandate. Concurrent with the CSLP research studies, the Office of the Auditor General, OAG, completed an audit of the foundation and the Treasury Board Secretariat, TBS, completed an evaluation of foundations as instruments for public policy.

In response to b) HRSDC consulted internally through a task team, that included representatives from legal services, communications and strategic policy and research, and executive committees. The director general of the Canada student loans program, CSLP, briefed the Department of Finance, the Treasury Board Secretariat and the Privy Council Office in the summer of 2007.

From the outset, the government recognized the importance of stakeholder input to the success of the CSLP review. As a result, stakeholders were involved from the beginning. An online public consultation was held to provide Canadians with a forum to contribute their views. Departmental officials worked with the national advisory group on student financial assistance to gather the views of all major interest groups, including student groups. As well, regular consultations were held with provinces and territories through the FPT policy working group on student financial assistance and the intergovernmental consultative committee on student financial assistance. Many concerns on the future of the CMSF were raised during these consultations with stakeholder groups. This input provided a wide range of issues to consider and helped shape the initiatives announced in budget 2008.

In response to c) The government will work with provinces and territories over the next year to implement these new measures and to ensure effective coordination with existing programs.

In response to d) Provinces that choose not to participate in the CSLP are entitled, under the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act, to receive compensation in the form of alternative payments if they operate programs which are substantially similar to the federal program. Currently, the province of Quebec, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut are entitled to alternative payments.

In response to e) Interactions with provincial programs, including Quebec, are always considered through consultations and analysis when contemplating policy changes to the Canada student loans program. The Government of Canada will work with provincial jurisdictions over the next year on the implementation of budget 2008 measures so as to ensure effective coordination.

In response to f) As mentioned initially, a decision needed to be made on the future of the CMSF as the ten year mandate was coming to an end. The results of the afore-mentioned reviews, undertaken to assess the CMSF’s performance, effectiveness and success in achieving its mandate, were examined and informed this government’s decision which was announced in budget 2008 on February 26, 2008.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 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, if Questions Nos. 231, 233, 236, 237, 238 and 239 could be made orders for returns, these returns would be tabled immediately.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is that agreed?