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House of Commons Hansard #123 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was report.

Topics

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

1:05 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

(Motion agreed to)

PensionsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

December 3rd, 2009 / 1:05 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Madam Speaker, as we are getting closer to the Christmas break, it is important to continually remind the government with regard to its responsibilities related to pensioners and, in particular, Nortel pensioners and those under Nortel who have disability benefits being taking away from them.

The petitioners call upon Parliament to amend the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act and the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act to protect the rights of Canadian employees and to ensure that laid off employees who are receiving a pension or long-term disability benefits during bankruptcy proceedings obtain preferred creditor status over other unsecured creditors. They also ask that the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act be amended to ensure that employee-related claims are paid from the proceeds of Canadian assets before funds are permitted to leave the country.

It is an important petition and I hope the government will heed the pleading of these petitioners.

Rural Post OfficesPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

1:05 p.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to present two petitions: one from the municipality of Saint Michel signed by 282 people and the other from the municipality of Saint Édouard signed by 229 people.

The petitioners are calling on the federal government to maintain the moratorium on rural post office closures because they believe that the post office plays a key role in the economic and social life of their region and their municipality. That is the reason they are asking the government to maintain the moratorium that is so important in their view.

Employment InsurancePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

1:05 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Madam Speaker, I am tabling a petition today that was signed by dozens of people from Saskatchewan.

The petitioners point out that they have paid into EI all of their working lives, but now that they need the safety net they themselves built, it is no longer there for them.

They therefore call for a comprehensive overhaul of the employment insurance system. Specifically, they call for a standardized 360 hours to qualify, an increased benefit period of at least 50 weeks, the elimination of the two-week waiting period, benefits at 60% of normal earnings based on the best 12 weeks and a bigger investment in training and retraining.

The petitioners are keenly aware that successive Liberal and Conservative governments diverted $54 billion of worker and employer contributions to EI and used that money to pay down the debt and deficit rather than used it to provide help for the involuntarily unemployed during economic downturns. That misappropriation only heightens the moral obligation for the government to restore the integrity of the EI system.

To that end, they call upon the government to respect the will of Parliament and act immediately on the comprehensive NDP motion that was passed in the House of Commons to restore the integrity of the employment insurance system.

Protection of Human LifePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

Leon Benoit Conservative Vegreville—Wainwright, AB

Madam Speaker, I am honoured to present this petition on behalf of petitioners who note that Canada is a country which respects human rights and in fact includes in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms the right to life. They note that it has been 40 years, since May 14, 1969, that Parliament changed the law to permit abortion in the country and that since January 28, 1988, Canada has no law at all to protect the right of unborn children.

Therefore, the petitioners call upon Parliament to pass legislation for the protection of human life from the time of conception until the time of natural death.

Air Passengers' Bill of RightsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

1:10 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Madam Speaker, my petition is a call to adopt Canada's first air passenger bill of rights.

The petitioners support Bill C-310, which includes compensation for overbooked flights, cancelled flights and unreasonable tarmac delays. The legislation is inspired by a European Union law. Air Canada already operates under the European laws for its flights to Europe. Why should an Air Canada customer receive better treatment in Europe than in Canada?

The bill would ensure that passengers would be kept informed of flight changes, whether there were delays or cancellations. The new rules would be posted at the airports and airlines would inform passengers of their rights and the process to file for compensation. The bill would deal with late and misplaced baggage. It would also require all-inclusive pricing by airline companies to be in their advertisements.

Bill C-310 is not meant to punish the airlines. If the airlines follow the rules, they will not have to pay a dime in compensation to passengers.

The petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to support Bill C-310, which would introduce Canada's first air passenger bill of rights.

Canada Post CorporationPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

1:10 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I am proud to present petitions signed by hundreds of Ontarians regarding the direction in which the government is taking Canada Post.

The petitioners, in part, call upon the government to instruct Canada Post to maintain, expand and improve postal services, as well to maintain the moratorium on post office closures. Most important, they call upon the government to withdraw Bill C-44, which would privatize Canada Post through the back door, and Canadians want no part of it.

Patent ActPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

1:10 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to table a petition that was organized by the Grandmothers for Grandmothers campaign who wanted to see Bill C-393 pass through the House to committee.

They are delighted with the results of the vote in the House last night. They urge all parliamentarians to continue working on the bill to ensure that necessary medications get to those countries that cannot otherwise afford them to deal with such horrible and deathly diseases as HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

On behalf of everyone in the House, I would like to thank the grandmothers again for their great work on this issue.

Fraser River SockeyePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

1:10 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, today I would like to present a petition with 187 signatures from across B.C.

The petitioners are calling on the government to take a look at what is happening on the west coast and the fisheries. The petitioners are asking Parliament to urgently call on the government to establish an independent judicial inquiry under the federal Inquiries Act that would fully explore all the facts, consult with scientists and stakeholders, and determine what went wrong with this year's sockeye run, and present a public report with binding solutions.

One of the things they underline here in their petition is that they want to ensure that this is done within a certain timeframe, and they have asked that this be done within six months.

Finally, they say that it has been since 2006 that the Conservative government promised to have an independent judicial inquiry, so they would ask that this be done with haste to determine what happened to the missing salmon.

International AidPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

1:10 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Madam Speaker, I am honoured to table a petition on the issue of AIDS in Africa.

The Canadian Grandmothers for Africa are calling for the House of Commons to immediately set a timetable to meet, by 2015, a 40-year-old promise to contribute 0.7% of our gross national income to development assistance; to contribute its share to the global funds to fight AIDS, TB and malaria with 5% of the funding needed for each of the next five years; and to make the legislative changes necessary for Canada's access to medicines regime to facilitate the immediate and sustainable flow of low cost, generic medications to developing countries.

As a representative who actually sat on the original hearings on this in 2002, it is very important that the petitioners see justice on this file because only one application for generic drugs has been sent to Africa and this is a solution that we can implement immediately for these petitioners who have submitted this petition.

AsbestosPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

1:15 p.m.

Conservative

Bruce Stanton Conservative Simcoe North, ON

Madam Speaker, I wish to table a petition here on behalf of a number of residents in my riding. They are seeking much more fulsome controls in respect to the use of asbestos in materials and products in Canada, and for a program to help the transition of asbestos workers in the communities in which they live.

International AidPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

1:15 p.m.

NDP

Bill Siksay NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to table a petition on behalf of Canadian Grandmothers for Africa, a national organization that has done great advocacy work regarding the situation of HIV-AIDS in Africa.

They are calling upon Parliament to immediately meet the long-term promise to contribute 0.7% of our gross national income for development assistance. They are also calling for strong Canadian support for the global fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. We know that Canada needs to strengthen its commitment there.

They are also calling for support for the kind of measure that this House passed last night to ensure that Canada's access to medicines regime facilitates a sustainable flow of lower cost generic drugs to developing countries.

International AidPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

1:15 p.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton NDP Churchill, MB

Madam Speaker, I have the honour to present a petition by the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign regarding the fight against AIDS in Africa and throughout the world.

Canadians from Alberta and Ontario are calling on the government to play a role in the fight against AIDS not only in our own country, but throughout the world. They want us to help communities by providing drugs and general support.

This also concerns the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Tuberculosis is a problem in a number of our first nations communities and in our own country. People are calling on the government to lead by example.

International AidPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

1:15 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Madam Speaker, I am very honoured to rise to bring forward this petition today on the need for a strategy to help those in sub-Saharan Africa and the rest of the third world who suffer from HIV-AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

I had the great honour of sitting with the member for Winnipeg North at the meetings to establish all parliamentary support to fight maternal mortality rates in Africa, and we made such great progress. I see the great progress the member for Winnipeg North has made in terms of fighting to access generic drugs, so that they can be used in situations where there is dire poverty in Africa.

The Chair will remember last night's vote, when we were able to vote on this as a Parliament. It was a very proud moment for me. This is exactly in the spirit of this petition and what the petitioners are asking for. They are asking for leadership from the Parliament of Canada, from the legislators of Canada, to understand the dire situation facing people in sub-Saharan Africa, who are dying from diseases like tuberculosis and malaria, who are suffering from HIV, and who do not have access to simple drugs that we take for granted in Canada.

The petitioners are calling on some very straightforward and simple steps to be taken by Canada to show leadership, that we set a timetable to meet by 2015 the 40-year-old promise to contribute 0.7% of our gross national income to development assistance; to contribute a fair share to the global fund to fight AIDS, TB and malaria; and to make the legislative changes necessary for Canada's access to medicines regime to facilitate the immediate and sustainable flow of lower cost generic medicines to developing countries. I think all members in this House would support such a motion.

International AidPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

1:15 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Madam Speaker, the petition I have, among many others, is actually signed by one of our former colleagues, the former parliamentary leader of our party, Bill Blaikie. He joins with many others who are calling for action in conjunction with the Canadian Grandmothers for Africa, which is a remarkable movement of grandmothers who have linked with grandmothers in Africa, who are facing the catastrophe of having lost their daughters and they are having to raise their grandchildren.

They are at the forefront of a campaign for international economic aid, particularly to achieve the 0.7% of gross national product to development assistance. They are also calling for Canada to contribute its fair share of the funding needed for the global fund to fight AIDS, TB and malaria for each of the next five years. This would be a lifesaving measure.

The petitioners are also calling for legislative changes, which we are happy to report are now moving forward to the standing committee to ensure that medications could be made available to the people who need them in Africa.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

1:20 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

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

Madam Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 487, 500, 501, 521 and 567.

Question No. 487Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

1:20 p.m.

Liberal

Siobhan Coady Liberal St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

With respect to Canada Health Infoway, for all contracts under $10,000 signed between January 1, 2001 and October 21, 2009, what is: (a) the vendor name; (b) the contract reference number; (c) the contract date; (d) the description of work, (e) the delivery date; (f) the original contract value; and (g) the final contract value if different from the original contract value?

Question No. 487Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

1:20 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, Canada Health Infoway is an independent, not-for-profit corporation, governed by a board of directors. Its corporate members are the 14 federal, provincial and territorial deputy ministers of health. The Canada Health Infoway board of directors is composed of two federal appointees, one representative from each of the five regions of Canada and four to six independent directors selected from the private sector.

Health Canada’s funding agreements with Canada Health Infoway contain accountability mechanisms to ensure prudent use of federal funds. Financial statements are audited annually. Independent compliance audits are conducted annually. Periodic compliance audits are conducted by Health Canada; one was recently conducted. Infoway submits an annual report and corporate business plan. Independent performance evaluations are conducted periodically; the most recent was completed in March 2009 and the next is to be submitted in March 2010. The Auditor General of Canada may at her discretion conduct performance audits. The most recent, tabled in Parliament on November 3, 2009, included a chapter on electronic health records and dealt with Canada Health Infoway.

Canada Health Infoway has informed Health Canada that in view of the commitments made to their suppliers, including non-disclosure undertakings, and given that the contents of the various legal agreements underlying the contracts include confidential pricing, financial, commercial or technical information furnished by their suppliers, and given that, in certain circumstances, the disclosure of such information could be perceived as potentially prejudicing the competitive position of their suppliers, Canada Health Infoway is not in a position to provide the specific level of detail that has been requested on a contract by contract basis.

However, Canada Health Infoway has provided the following information. One hundred fifty-five contracts under $10,000 were signed between January 1, 2009 and October 21, 2009. The total value of contracts under $10,000 that were signed between January 1, 2009 and October 21, 2009 is $586,036.

Question No. 500Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

1:20 p.m.

Liberal

Navdeep Bains Liberal Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

With regard to the government’s spending on tourism initiatives what are: (a) all programs government-wide that have a tourism component including those administered by agencies and crown corporations; (b) the total costs for each of these programs, and the breakdown of all expenditures for each fiscal year since 2004-2005; (c) the projected costs for the next 10 years; (d) the total number of employees (full-time, part-time and contract) assigned to each program; (e) the performance indicators used to measure the program’s success and the results of any performance assessments made since fiscal 2004-2005; and (f) the total number of businesses helped by each program, including total numbers as well as the detailed breakdown listing them by name, location and whether they are recognized as a small business by the government’s definition?

Question No. 500Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

1:20 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, with regard to the government’s spending on tourism initiatives, in response to (a), what are all programs government-wide that have a tourism component including those administered by agencies and crown corporations, the federal government has a number of programs, projects and initiatives which support the tourism industry in Canada. However, most of these programs provide assistance for Canadian businesses as a whole, not just tourism-related enterprises.

Since 2005-06, Industry Canada has published “Federal Contributions to Canadian Tourism”, an annual report which looks at federal government spending on the tourism industry. However, Industry Canada does not have an exhaustive list of all tourism support programs, since they are managed by other federal departments or agencies.

The report does, however, provide information on the status of a number of programs, projects and initiatives. For example, in 2006-07, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency invested over $12 million in 198 tourism projects through the business development program, and Human Resources and Skills Development Canada spent more than $2 million under its ready to work programs. It should be noted that a number of departments and agencies have broken down their expenditures using an analysis grid suggested by Industry Canada. This means that the information obtained by Industry Canada is not uniform and cannot be used to create a complete list of the programs, projects and initiatives in support of the tourism industry. The full report is available on the Industry Canada Web site.

The marquee tourism events program, MTEP, is the only program administered by Industry Canada that provides direct support for the tourism industry. The program was announced in budget 2009, to run for a two-year period, until the end of March 2011. The amount announced was $100 million over two years and about 15 people are assigned to the program.

In response to (b), what are the total costs for each of these programs, and the breakdown of all expenditures for each fiscal year since 2004-05, in 2005-06, the federal government spent $407.6 million on initiatives to support the tourism industry. The total was $404.2 million in 2006-07and it increased to $540 million in 2007-08. The amount for 2004-05 is not available.

In response to (c), what are the projected costs for the next 10 years, Industry Canada collects data on past years and does not make spending forecasts for future years.

In response to (d), what are the total number of employees, full-time, part-time and contract, assigned to each program, Industry Canada does not have any information with regard to the personnel assigned to any of the federal government’s tourism support programs, except for the program administered by Industry Canada mentioned in (a) above.

In response to (e), what are the performance indicators used to measure the program’s success and the results of any performance assessments made since fiscal 2004-05, Industry Canada does not have any information on the indicators used to evaluate the performance of the programs, other than the MTEP. The key indicators against which program results are measured for MTEP are the number of out-of-country and out-of-province tourists, the amount of tourism-related spending, and sustained or increased revenues for funded tourism events.

In response to (f), what are the total number of businesses helped by each program, including total numbers as well as the detailed breakdown listing them by name, location and whether they are recognized as a small business by the government’s definition, Industry Canada does not have any information on the number of businesses which have been helped by programs administered by other departments. Fifty-six businesses have received $45,574,742 assistance to November 5, 2009 from the MTEP. For a list of these businesses visit http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/dsib-tour.nsf/eng/qq00166.html.

Question No. 501Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

1:20 p.m.

Liberal

Navdeep Bains Liberal Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

With regard to the relationship between the Cabinet and the Crown, could the government indicate: (a) the number and frequency of meetings held between the Prime Minister and the Governor General as per her constitutional rights to be consulted, to encourage and warn, broken down by year since 2004-2005; (b) the number and frequency of meetings held between the Prime Minister and the Queen as per her constitutional rights to be consulted, to encourage and warn, broken down by year since 2004-2005; (c) a listing of all meetings held between the staff of the Prime Minister and the other members of cabinet and the Governor General’s staff, including dates and purpose, broken down by minister and year since 2004-2005; and (d) a listing of all meetings held between the staff of the Prime Minister and the other members of Cabinet and the Queen’s staff, including dates and purpose, broken down by minister and year since 2004-2005?

Question No. 501Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

1:20 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the Privy Council Office responds that two meetings between the current Prime Minister and the Governor General are public knowledge: September 7, 2008, preceding the dissolution of the 39th Parliament, and December 4, 2008, preceding the prorogation of the first session of the 40th Parliament. In addition, it is public knowledge that former prime minister Martin had a private meeting with the Governor General on November 29, 2005, preceding the dissolution of the 38th Parliament.

The information provided has been published or made publicly available. As a matter of law and constitutional convention, meetings between the Prime Minister or his ministers and the Governor General or the Queen are treated as confidences of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, and are therefore excluded under Section 69 of the Access to Information Act.

Question No. 521Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

1:20 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Liberal Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

With regard to the Economic Action Plan advertising campaign: (a) what is the total cost to the government of the GO Train advertisements which are wrapped around the outside of GO Trains in Ontario; (b) what contractors were used to produce and purchase this advertising; and (c) was the contract sole sourced or was there an open bidding process for the creative and ad purchasing contract?

Question No. 521Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

1:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, with respect to Transport Canada, the response is nil. With respect to Infrastructure Canada and with regard to the economic action plan advertising campaign, in response to (a), what is the total cost to the government of the GO Train advertisements which are wrapped around the outside of GO Trains in Ontario, the total cost incurred by Infrastructure Canada is $84,970. This includes $1,320 for creative design, $39,650 for the production of the decals and $44,000 for media placement for 10 weeks on one of Canada’s busiest commuter rail corridors.

In response to (b), what contractors were used to produce and purchase this advertising, Allard Johnson Communications Inc. of Montreal created the artwork and planned the advertising campaign. Cossette Media purchased the advertising space.

In response to (c), was the contract sole sourced or was there an open bidding process for the creative and ad purchasing contract, with regard to the creative contract, Infrastructure Canada undertook a national open bidding process for its creative advertising services.

With regard to the contract to purchase advertising space, under federal policy, Public Works and Government Services Canada is responsible for the competitive process to establish the contract for the Government of Canada’s agency of record, which provides advertising media placement. Cossette Media currently holds this contract.

Question No. 567Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

1:20 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

With regard to the Pickering Lands: (a) what is the status of the Needs Assessment Study for a potential Pickering Airport which Transport Canada (TC) commissioned the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA) to complete, will it be released to the public and when and, if it has been completed, what are its primary recommendations; (b) has the minister responsible for TC arrived at an official government position with regard to the proposal by the GTAA to develop an airport on Pickering Lands; (c) what are the current policies in the management of Pickering Lands, with regard to maintenance of buildings, including structures that are more than 100 years old, re-rental policies of homes and business structures once tenants move out; (d) with regard to Bentley House, what is the status of the GTAA’s tenancy and, if the GTAA vacates the premises, will the building be leased out to another business or organization; (e) is the application by Durham West Arts Centre to secure a lease, at little cost, to occupy Bentley House receiving serious consideration; (f) what factors are important in any application by a business or organization interested in leasing Bentley House; and (g) what is the announcement date for TC’s decision with regard to the GTAA’s airport development proposal?