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House of Commons Hansard #88 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was election.

Topics

Interparliamentary DelegationsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian parliamentary delegation of the Canadian section of the Inter-Parliamentary Forum of the Americas respecting its participation in the special parliamentary dialogue held prior to the fifth summit of heads of state and the governments of the Americas held in Port of Spain Trinidad and Tobago, April 16 and 17, 2009.

Criminal CodeRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-451, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (mischief).

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to introduce this bill to amend the Criminal Code.

This bill makes it an offence to commit an act of mischief in relation to property motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on religion, race, colour, sex, language or sexual orientation.

It is unfortunate that hate crimes have been committed in this country at community centres, religious institutions and educational institutions. The purpose of the bill is to take action against these crimes and to ensure that all Canadians are protected from such violence. The Canadian Jewish Congress, for instance, is in great support of this legislation.

I hope the bill will enjoy the support of my colleagues, as it does by my seconder, who I thank dearly, my colleague from Random—Burin—St. George's.

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

Competition ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Bloc

Robert Vincent Bloc Shefford, QC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-452, An Act to amend the Competition Act (inquiry into industry sector).

Mr. Speaker, I am here in the House today to respond to my fellow citizens' concerns about an issue that makes voters in my riding angry year after year.

Our role as members of Parliament is to listen to people. Many people in my riding have contacted me by phone, by email or during my many encounters with voters in my riding and across Quebec. I listened to what people had to say, and I decided to take action.

I decided to take action because of the shameless price-gouging by the big oil companies that affects us all.

Quebeckers recently found out that a large group of retailers was conspiring to fix gas prices on the south shore of the St. Lawrence. The investigation was conducted in response to complaints submitted to the Competition Tribunal.

Across Quebec, people found it highly suspicious that the price of gas at every retailer fluctuated in such a coordinated fashion just before long weekends and summer holidays.

Last week, CAA confirmed that gasoline retailers have a huge profit margin.

All this time, people have been held hostage. The bill I am introducing today will give the Competition Bureau true investigative powers.

Once my bill has made it through the approval process in the House, the Competition Bureau will be able to undertake its own investigations and hit oil companies where it counts, in their pockets.

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

Rural AirportsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I present a petition today from hundreds, virtually all of the residents from the communities around the Williams Lake and Quesnel who are demanding that services be restored to their airports.

Rural airports across Canada are receiving cuts through Transport Canada and through NAV CANADA to essential services required for businesses and basic safety for these communities.

It is an impressive petition. I hope the government takes it up and forthwith reverses these decisions to cut services to rural airports right across this country.

SuicidePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour today to present a number of petitions from over 700 people from British Columbia, Quebec, Ontario and Saskatchewan.

The petitioners call upon the government to enable prosecution of those who encourage or counsel someone to commit suicide by updating Canadian criminal codes to reflect the new realities of 21st century broadband access and to fund education programs to protect vulnerable youth and help them to protect themselves from online predators.

Library Book RatesPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have three petitions I want to present today.

Two of the petitions are from constituents who are looking at having the library book rate for public libraries expanded, that the rates be reduced and that the government support the private members' bill, Bill C-322, An Act to amend the Canada Post Corporation Act (library materials), which would protect and support the library book rate and extend it to our audio-visual materials.

Freshwater Fish Marketing CorporationPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by over 700 constituents with regard to the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation.

The petitioners call upon the House of Commons to amend the Freshwater Fish Marketing Act to allow for the dual marketing of fish species throughout the prairie region. This petition is largely supported by first nation and Métis fishers, as well as other commercial fishers throughout my riding.

Canadian Sikh AssociationPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Andrew Kania Liberal Brampton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present a petition on behalf of my constituents with respect to the 25th anniversary of the June 4, 1984 killings that took place in the Golden Temple and 38 other gurdwaras in the Punjab.

On behalf of the members of the Canadian Sikh Association and the constituents, I would like to submit this petition.

Canadian Sikh AssociationPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I see the hon. member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley is rising. The normal practice is for a member to be recognized once. He might have presented two petitions at the same time.

Is there consent to allow the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley to present another petition at this time?

Canadian Sikh AssociationPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Canada PostPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I apologize for presenting petitions twice.

The second petition contains signatures collected from virtually every resident of Queen Charlotte Islands, Haida Gwaii who are petitioning against the service cutbacks that Canada Post has since issued. We are seeing postal delivery times of three to four weeks to this collection of 5,000 people who live on the Islands. It is an incredible travesty and is hurting businesses and essential services throughout the region. It must be reversed. Canada Post works on behalf of all Canadians wherever they might live. It is unacceptable and the response from the Islands has been most extraordinary. I have never seen a set of petitions coming from Skeena of this size and magnitude.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

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

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Opposition Motion--Government PoliciesBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

October 1st, 2009 / 10:10 a.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

moved:

That this House has lost confidence in the government.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in this House today to announce formally that the official opposition has lost confidence in the government. This is a serious step and we owe an explanation both to this House and to the Canadian people of our grounds for doing so.

We have lost confidence in this government. We are standing up for those who have been abandoned by this government. I will try to provide some concrete reasons why we will no longer support this government.

First, the Conservatives have lost control of the public finances of our country. A year ago they were at the edge of deficit and by February they were at a deficit of $32 billion. Suddenly, four or five weeks later, it is at $50 billion. At the end of the summer they announced that the deficit was at $56 billion.

Who in the House can actually believe this figure will not climb somewhere near $60 billion by Christmas? This is a terrible record of failure and someone must stand up in the House and call it what it is: abject failure on the public finance management of this country. They have no plan to get us out.

All Canadians must understand that this deficit will hang around the necks of Canadians like a stone. It jeopardizes our capacity to provide adequate health care for Canadians in the future. It jeopardizes our capacity to help seniors and guarantee a secure retirement for our fellow citizens. It jeopardizes our capacity to help the unemployed. That is the first reason we cannot have confidence in the government.

The second reason is a question we need to ask ourselves. We have a $56 billion deficit and what do we get for it? Do we have some grand new project that renews the infrastructure of our country, makes us stronger and makes us more united? What we have instead is a reward program for the Conservative Party of Canada. Conservative ridings have benefited disproportionately from this stimulus expenditure and we have the figures to prove it.

Then there is the issue of actually getting the money out the door. We have seen the press releases and have heard the announcement that 90% has been committed but when we actually look at the stimulus funding that we can see on the ground, 12% has gone out the door. I was at a soy bean field in Burlington. The Conservatives wish us to believe that it is a car park. I am here to tell everyone that it is still a soy bean field.

There is worse than that. The government has used taxpayer money and spent six times more promoting its own inaction plan than it has to promote the public health of Canadians and warn them about the dangers of H1N1.

That brings me to the third issue, which is the protection of the public health of Canadians. With H1N1, every Canadian can see on television that in other countries people are already being vaccinated. We are still waiting for a plan. We are still waiting for the vaccine. It is the government's responsibility and it has not stepped up.

If people were to go to aboriginal communities and talk to the chiefs, as I did yesterday, they listen with disbelief as the health minister tells them that 90% of them are ready for the H1N1 epidemic. They know perfectly well that their nursing stations are not ready. What did they get from the government? They got body bags.

We are not finished. Across the country, cancer and heart patients are waiting for nuclear medicine and diagnostics because twice on the government's watch over four years it has failed to supply an adequate amount of nuclear isotopes for the Canadian medical profession. This record of failure is just not good enough.

As if that was not enough, when the Canadian health system is under constant relentless attack from our ideological friends south of the border, what do we hear from the other side of the House? There is total deafening silence. That is public health.

Let us look at what Conservatives have done in respect of Canadian technologies and jobs. The government has been in office for nearly four years and the litany of great Canadian companies that have gone under, been bought or been traded away is getting longer and longer: Nortel, Inco, Falconbridge, Stelco and Alcan. There has been no attempt to defend Canadian jobs and Canadian technologies.

We are now in the absurd situation of having a technological hub, which is a world leader in the Kitchener—Waterloo area, sitting there watching while Canadian patents and technologies developed at home are sold to their competitors. How are we to create the jobs of tomorrow unless we have a government that stands up for Canadian technology today?

We welcome public investment but we want transparent public reviews so Canadian workers and employers can know exactly what undertakings foreign companies give when they come to this country, so that we actually do have net benefit for this country.

Let me move to another area where the government has failed Canadians. It has failed to protect Canadians abroad. For those named Suaad Mohamud or Abdelrazik, it turns out that their passport is not worth what they think it is worth. They cannot count on the protection of the Canadian government.

This side of the House says very clearly, so all Canadians can understand, a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian.

Speaking of Canada overseas, the government, over four long years, has steadily diminished Canada's influence and weight overseas. Who in the world can take us seriously as a partner in climate change? We were missing in action at Bali, and we will be missing in action in Copenhagen if the government survives.

Who will actually listen to Canada on the climate change issue? We have had three ministers of the environment, three plans and no action. We have lost all credibility on this issue in the international arena. Who would vote for Canada?

Who would vote for Canada in the Security Council? We have held a seat there almost every decade since the founding of the institution. Who would vote for Canada in the Security Council when the Prime Minister of Canada cannot even bother to show up at the UN General Assembly?

Who in China or India will take seriously Canadian entrepreneurship, Canadian technology, Canadian products if the Prime Minister of Canada cannot even bother to show up to lead trade missions to open those markets to our Canadian entrepreneurs?

These are the kinds of failings that have made us, week after week, month after month, not just over the last year but over four long years, come to the conclusion that we cannot continue to support the government.

Is this a pattern of incompetence or is this a pattern of malice? It is a little of both but there is something else going on that needs to be called by its proper name. There is a deeper design here, a design to permanently weaken the capacity of the federal Government of Canada to help Canadians.

There is, on the opposite side of the House, what could be called the starve-the-beast ideology. We know where that ideology comes from but it is not suited to Canada. It will weaken and eventually it could change Canada beyond recognition.

This party stands against that ideology all the way down. We stand against it because we believe profoundly that if this ideology prevails in this country, it will permanently weaken the tissues that bind our society together, the health care system of which we are so proud, the care for the aged which distinguishes us as a civilized society, and the capacity of our society to provide security in retirement.

The government works on one plan and one plan only, starve the beast, lower expectations of government so far until Canadians cease to have any expectations of the federal government whatsoever. This is an unworthy way to govern this country, and we stand against it.

Canadians are not looking for a centralizing government. This party has a vision of a government that works with others; a government that reflects real Canadian values like helping others, and not every person for themselves; values like compassion and competence. Canadians are looking for a government that understands words like compromise, collaboration, compassion and respect. We are waiting in vain for a government that embodies these values.

It is not just the Conservatives' ideology. It is not just their policies. It is the way they conduct politics in this country, what they have done to our politics. All adversaries are enemies. We cannot run Canada that way. This is not a country that we can divide in that way.

All adversaries are enemies; all methods are fair; and all public money is available for partisan purposes. This is unworthy of the political traditions of this country.

When we have a little private moment among our friends at a fundraiser in Sault Ste. Marie, the real story comes out, which is that we want an election so that we can teach Canadians a lesson. That is not how I understand democracy. That is not how this party understands democracy.

We actually receive lessons from the public. We do not give them to the public. We do not use an election to teach left-wing judges a lesson. We do not use elections to teach women who help other women through the cycle of domestic abuse a lesson. We want to use elections to bring Canadians together, to rouse them to a higher purpose.

This kind of approach to politics will weaken and divide our country. It goes beyond that. There is a cynicism about politics which they cultivate through the ways in which they neglect and ignore their own promises. There is an indifference to their own promises, which is astounding.

The Prime Minister of Canada lives in an eternal present where he cannot remember what he promised to Canadians the day before and cannot remember what he will promise the day after. Income trusts: “I can't remember I ever made that promise”. Appointment of senators: “I can't remember I ever promised to reform the institution”. He cannot remember that he promised there would be no tax increases.

This party has discovered upon looking closely that the Conservatives have hidden a payroll tax of $13 billion in the weeds, and they do not have the guts to stand up and tell Canadians that is what they are doing.

We deserve better. We deserve a compassionate, creative, collaborative government that unites Canadians; one that does not divide them. A government that invites Quebeckers and francophones from across the country to be part of the process; a government that will govern instead of dividing Canadians with partisan games.

We are looking for a government that believes in telling Canadians the truth, a government that believes that growth does not just happen with a market miracle. It requires the focused strategic guidance of a compassionate and creative government.

We believe we are looking for a government that actually thinks it can be a leader, not a follower, in the great drama, the great challenge of global climate change. We are looking for a government that believes in the compassion and creativity of Canadians and wants to stand with them, not against them, and build a great country together. We do not have this government now and we cannot pretend any longer that we do.

Therefore we will stand up in the House and we will support the Canadians who have been abandoned by the government. We will do our job even if it does not.

Opposition Motion--Government PoliciesBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker--

Opposition Motion--Government PoliciesBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Opposition Motion--Government PoliciesBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, order. I know everyone wants to hear what the minister has to say but we cannot if there is too much noise, so I would urge hon. members to restrain themselves and we will hear the Minister of Transport, who has the floor.

Opposition Motion--Government PoliciesBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

John Baird Conservative Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Liberal Party gives a speech. It is quite a surprise to us when he says he can no longer pretend to support this government. He has obviously been pretending for some time, because it is some two or three years that the member opposite has been in this House and he has been actively supporting the government.

I would encourage him to look beyond the view from the terrace of his condo in Yorkville and to look at the real needs of people in this country. What Canadians have said very clearly, from coast to coast to coast, north and south, east and west, is that they do not want an early and opportunistic election.

Can the leader of the Liberal Party stand in his place and name one single Canadian who has told him they want a federal election at this time? Name one.

Opposition Motion--Government PoliciesBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's comments and the personal asides prove my point.

The tone of partisan aggression that serves his country so ill is perfectly represented by the hon. minister's remark.

I meet plenty of Canadians who are absolutely sick and tired of the government and who want a change.

Opposition Motion--Government PoliciesBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

John Baird Conservative Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Name one.

Opposition Motion--Government PoliciesBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

Bev Shipley Conservative Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Bob Rae.

Opposition Motion--Government PoliciesBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have a comment and a question for my hon. colleague, the leader of the Liberal Party. I know he is going to have difficulty hearing with all the heckling surrounding him.

The question on this very serious day is a very serious question that he has chosen to put forward. I looked at the motion. It described non-confidence in the government but did not present a reason. I suppose the speech that we just heard was an attempt to present the reasons and the narrative for this, but it seems my colleague, who has written so many books, still struggles to describe the why and the why now in his narrative on why the country would go to an election now.

Opposition Motion--Government PoliciesBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

Todd Russell Liberal Labrador, NL

Sit down, man.

Opposition Motion--Government PoliciesBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is very specific and I would ask my colleagues to calm themselves.

It seems to me that there is a specific moment, which he addressed a few times in his speech. I would like a specific commitment or a decision from him, around the issue of climate change, which we can all agree has been and will be a most serious and important consideration for this House and this Parliament over a number of years.

He has admitted in the past to his own government's failings in being able to achieve the goals that his party set forward to meet Canada's international obligations.

As we strive toward Copenhagen and an international agreement at this critical juncture, we have presented a bill to his party. It is now sitting in committee but we have no cooperation whatsoever from his party to move the bill forward which would instruct the government finally in law, with no wiggle room and no ability to backtrack, on the targets. It is a moment for him to stand and commit to this House that Bill C-311, the Copenhagen bill, a bill of such grave importance as he himself in his speech declared it to be, requires the full and immediate support of his party to be expedited, so that Canada, when it presents itself in Copenhagen in whatever form, has something firm and committed to the world, showing our true commitment, with no more false promises, no more empty solutions, but real commitments and targets.

Will he at least commit today, on such a serious matter, his full support for such an effort?