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House of Commons Hansard #14 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was goods.

Topics

Canada Not-for-profit Corporations ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Alan Tonks Liberal York South—Weston, ON

Madam Speaker, I listened to the member, and I know the House has a great deal of respect for the member, in particular for the subject matter on which he has spoken.

The Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism, and there is a great deal of respect for that secretariat as well, has brought in legislation on the Canada not-for-profit corporations act. From time to time, when we deal with the link between bureaucracy and the grassroots organizations in our communities, we are always cognizant of many of the points that the member has raised. I am quite taken when he says that volunteering represents the values that strengthen civil society.

This bill is going to committee. The member has already indicated that he has a private member's bill, and I know he has put a great deal of research into it. He has linked the bureaucratic regime and the capacity that is necessary for non-governmental organizations, NGOs, to meet the criteria embedded in this bill. Would he and his party be prepared to bring forward suggestions at committee that would alleviate the kind of stresses he has indicated, and I believe he is correct? The stress will be in excess of the capacity that non-governmental organizations in my riding already have. They are experiencing a huge amount of problems.

Would he be prepared to put forward suggestions to committee in order that the bill could come back and address some of the major concerns he has raised?

Canada Not-for-profit Corporations ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Madam Speaker, the member is right. There is an opportunity at committee to bring forth a number of different amendments. My concern is whether the government will have any interest to allow them. That is why I decided today to hold the line and send the Conservatives a message. We are extremely unhappy that they even initiated it without any thought or even a gesture of support for those organizations having to go through such a process. In fact, it will even be stressful for them to examine and analyze the bill to determine how their local organization will be affected and then to get a lobby going on the Hill to have a presentation to make changes.

I agree with the member. If this bill goes forward, I will propose a series of different amendments. This corner of the House will also demand extensive consultations with not-for-profit organizations to be inclusive of how they deal with the current climate.

However, my concern in general, even right now, is that as we move toward that process, it will be taxing on organizations. If this is passed, I need to ensure that my not-for-profit organizations get copies of the bill. I know they will have to go to their board members with it. If they are lucky enough to have a lawyer on their board, that member will have to examine it and get back to the board. They will have to focus on those things as opposed to what is important right now. Sometimes it is just outright survival. There are groups that are clinging on right now will not even have the opportunity to get involved in the lobbying. They will be too busy surviving and later on, they will have a surprise at the end of the day.

Canada Not-for-profit Corporations ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to hear from our member for Windsor West, and I fully endorse his comments on the bill. I, too, am very disturbed that the government did not choose to come forward with a much larger package.

Since becoming elected last October as a member of Parliament, I have had organization after organization approach me looking for assistance because of the bureaucracy and red tape the government has imposed on them. These organizations serve the disabled. One organization had been a charitable organization for 20 years, but it missed one filing deadline and had its charitable status taken away. We have organizations that serve the Latin American communities. These are groups of new Canadians that, instead of making a lot of money in Alberta like a many other people, are dedicating their time to volunteer organizations. They are being harassed by the red tape of CIDA because they missed one deadline. Organizations like Preserve Agricultural Land in Alberta was founded simply to tell people the value of preserving agricultural land and it was denied charitable status.

Would the member please address the bigger issue of how we deal with charitable status and enable people who help Canadians to raise funds?

Canada Not-for-profit Corporations ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Madam Speaker, that is important to recognize and I thank my colleague for the question because it touches upon a subject that I did not have time to address.

The bill further complicates the grassroots organizations that are trying to get together to form a social movement for education, literacy, anti-poverty, and a whole series of different initiatives. It could be agriculture, the preservation of land, or the environment. A number of groups that will try to get together will have further complications to do so under this bill and that is an issue.

It is important to contrast what we are seeing from the government with regard to not-for-profit organizations and charities versus the business sector, the government's pal. We know from the national survey of not-for-profit and voluntary organizations that 48% of organizations said they had difficulty obtaining funding from other organizations, including government. There is no surprise there. Some 20% said this problem was serious. The same proportion of organizations said that they had difficulty obtaining funding from individuals, although only 13% said this problem was serious. Finally, 42% of organizations said they had difficulty earning revenue. We know that is the current environment right now.

We have a budget that is going to be passed that does not do anything at all for not-for-profit organizations, not a single thing. It does not increase the amount of money people will get back nor does it provide any type of new supports or structures. The evidence is out there and in members ridings people know that they are losing organizations. They know that a number of them are being taxed when they try to get people information or actual work. Turning our back on the community is wrong right now.

Canada Not-for-profit Corporations ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Glenn Thibeault NDP Sudbury, ON

Madam Speaker, I too had the opportunity to work in the not-for-profit and charity sector for a number of years. I want to commend the hon. member for his speech and for bringing forward several of these issues. Maybe he could speak to what he has been able to discover, in the legislation and sledgehammer of bureaucracy in the budget, when trying to recruit new board members. We know how difficult it is to find volunteers. I would ask the member to explain the impact on all of these not-for-profit organizations and charities.

Canada Not-for-profit Corporations ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Madam Speaker, the question from my colleague is an important one right now.

Every not-for-profit organization spends a lot of time trying to recruit board members. Not-for-profit organizations need board members for a variety of reasons. They need people in accounting, they need lawyers, they need people who are connected to the community in different capacities to be able to raise funds. They need people who can deal with social policy. They want to make sure they have somebody who is going to be good with the people the organizations represent and being an advocate for their boards.

The organizations are now going to have to shift their vision to how they are going to educate their current board members under this 170-page document and how they are going to implement a strategy to shift it. It is going to require an extensive shift and a business operational plan. At the same time, they are going to have to recruit board members. It is going to be extremely confusing and more and more difficult to bring board members online, in my opinion, at this particular time because people are concerned with a lot of other issues right now.

It is actually a sledgehammer approach and one that is very much focused on the Robert's Rules of Order way of bringing that in. Our gift to charities this year is that they are getting more rules of order and more things to learn, and by the way, we are not going to help them with it. We are not going to provide them with new tax incentives. We are not going to reward their volunteers and we are not going to improve their facilities or provide some type of stimulus. We are going to let them do this on their own. I say, good luck.

By the way, if they want to lobby us, they should come to Ottawa because back in the year 2000 we did some consultation, eight years ago, and that will be our justifiable reason that we can do it on the Hill as opposed to what we should be doing, which is hearing from Canadians and their communities on how their charities are dealing with the current economic problems and how their communities are going to deal with cutbacks to services and the increased capacity necessary to deal with the social problems around a failing economy. That is what the government should be focused on.

OshawaStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Madam Speaker, I am proud to stand before the House today representing the great citizens of Oshawa. I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude and appreciation to them for re-electing me for the third time this past fall.

The people of Oshawa have been hit hard by this downturn and need the stimulus in the budget to pass. I am extremely disappointed in the NDP, who have irresponsibly voted against the budget and its measures to assist those hardest hit in my community.

However, I am extremely proud to say that the citizens of Oshawa provide our city with a renewed spirit of optimism and strength during this difficult time. I am confident that the ingenuity, determination and character of Oshawa's best will ensure that Oshawa will emerge stronger than ever.

I would also like to take this opportunity to honour the memory of an outstanding Oshawa citizen, community leader, volunteer, and a dear friend, Kevin Campbell. We will miss Kevin, especially during these tough times.

I call upon younger community leaders, in Kevin's memory, to step forward and bring together the spirit, optimism and strength of our great city.

World Winter GamesStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Liberal Newton—North Delta, BC

Madam Speaker, today I want to honour our Canadian team of special Olympics athletes who are currently competing in the 2009 World Winter Games.

In particular, I want to recognize four amazing athletes: Justin Fong, Marc Theriault, Alexandra Magee and David Boudreau, all from my riding of Newton--North Delta. In fact, Justin Fong came in first in his alpine intermediate super G event which took place this past Tuesday.

I want all members of the House to join me in wishing our special athletes the best of luck in the final two days of competition.

International Child Soldier DayStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Ève-Mary Thaï Thi Lac Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, on this International Child Soldier Day, it is estimated that there are 300,000 such soldiers in the world. These children are used as fighters, messengers, porters, cooks or often, if they are girls, as sexual slaves. Some of them are forcibly recruited or kidnapped. Others join up to escape poverty, mistreatment and discrimination.

Canada is a signatory of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as the Optional Protocol on Child Soldiers, which bans combatants under the age of 15.

Unfortunately, while this convention requires signatories to promote the rehabilitation and reintegration of child soldiers, the Conservative government has not yet repatriated Omar Khadr, who was 15 years old at the time of his arrest.

On this International Child Soldier Day, it is imperative that Canada at last respect its international commitments.

Legal AidStatements by Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Dawn Black NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to express my concern over cutbacks to legal aid that are adversely affecting people in my communities, particularly women, children, and the most vulnerable.

Legal Services Society of B.C. has announced it will be closing its family law clinic and firing 38 staff as a result of a funding shortfall. This will further weaken a legal aid system already in crisis after it was cut back by 40% by the provincial Liberal government in 2002.

This became a national embarrassment last November when the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women released a report that highlighted the lack of government support for legal aid, particularly in B.C., which was severely impacting the ability of those living in poverty to access legal services. The UN report also condemned the cancellation by this Conservative government of the court challenges program.

While Canada was once a global leader in social justice and equality, the actions of Liberals and Conservatives, both provincially and federally, have severely tarnished--

Legal AidStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Calgary Northeast.

Guyanese CommunityStatements by Members

February 12th, 2009 / 2 p.m.

Conservative

Devinder Shory Conservative Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, in my riding of Calgary Northeast we are blessed with incredible cultural diversity and strong community-minded organizations.

Today I want to officially congratulate the Guyana Canada Cultural Association of Calgary on the purchase of its new building in Calgary Northeast. Led by President Percy Mootoo and his dedicated team, the association gives back to the community through volunteer work, financial contributions to worthy causes, and bursaries for students pursuing higher learning. I congratulate Mr. Mootoo and the association for leading by example.

I also congratulate the Guyanese community in Calgary, throughout Canada, and around the world on the celebration of Guyana's upcoming 39th Republic Day on February 23rd. The history of our two countries, our multicultural diversity, and our friendly and ever-strengthening bilateral relations are all reasons to be proud of our relationship, to celebrate, and to be hopeful for an even brighter future.

JusticeStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, today marks the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth, and it is 150 years since he published his theory of evolution in the seminal book The Origin of Species, which has contributed so much to our understanding of the natural world and human behaviour.

Social scientists have used Darwin's theories to better understand the root causes of crime. It is one thing to understand those causes though and it is another to take action. In my community of Vancouver Quadra, people are deeply concerned with the recent crime wave being described as an all out gang war. Six gang shootings in one week and at least seven homicides since late January in greater Vancouver. This is unacceptable.

The Liberals are deeply concerned. The Conservatives, for political reasons, defeated their very own crime bills through prorogation and other procedural means.

I call for an evolution of Conservative priorities on crime. It is time the Conservatives put the public good above their own partisan gain.

Food Freedom DayStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

David Sweet Conservative Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to thank all the farmers in my riding and across Canada who work hard, day in and day out, to ensure Canadians enjoy the highest quality, most abundant food supply in the world.

I salute our growers and producers today because today is Food Freedom Day in Canada, the day when average Canadians have earned enough income to pay their grocery bill for the entire year. We thank our farmers for the risks they take and the great care they give to raise the food we are so blessed to receive on our tables.

I would be remiss if I did not also acknowledge that too many Canadian families rely on food banks to enjoy the goodness of our bounty.

The weekend after next I will be participating in the annual Ancaster Community Food Drive in my riding and I urge all members of the House to also be mindful of those in need today and every day as we recognize our farmers for their great work.

Quebec Film IndustryStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Roger Pomerleau Bloc Drummond, QC

Speaker, Quebec films are the runaway favourites in the competition for the 29th Genie awards. This week, we have learned that Quebec practitioners of the cinematographic arts have alone captured 41 of the 71 nominations.

Despite this domination by the Quebec film industry, it has a dark cloud hanging over it. Producers and directors are worried. Director Charles Binamé, who brought us Séraphin: heart of stone and American trap says, “The word culture is not in the Conservatives' vocabulary...We sense that we are being punished by the federal government...This country has a heritage and culture minister who has never read a book in French and has never seen one of our films”.

As for Denise Robert, producer of Everything is fine and The barbarian invasions, she adds. “Quebec is guilty of being too talented. We are being forced to cut the pie into smaller and smaller pieces ”.

It is imperative for this Conservative government to stop penalizing the artists of Quebec.

Genie AwardsStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton Conservative North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, the nominees for the 29th annual Genie Awards were announced Tuesday by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television.

British Columbia films, such as Carl Bessai's Normal, are among the nominees, as are B.C. film professionals Janice Blackie-Goodine and Greg Middleton, who are among the many talented nominees.

The films The Necessities of Life and Everything is Fine dominated the selection. Passchendaele, Fugitive Pieces, Amal and Mommy is at the Hairdresser's each garnered six nominations.

The Genie Awards take place here in Ottawa April 4 at the Canadian Aviation Museum. Events featuring the Canadian film industry will occur in the days leading up to the awards.

As the member of Parliament for North Vancouver, home of much of Canada's film production industry, I wish to congratulate all the nominees.

Olympic Winter GamesStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Keith Martin Liberal Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, today marks the one year countdown to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. We look forward to joining Canadians from across our country as we cheer on our superb athletes and celebrate their achievements.

Although the B.C. government and the Olympic committee organizers are working very hard to make this international event a huge success, this Conservative government refuses to disclose how much it will spend on security for the games. The B.C. government needs this information now to complete its own budget and security preparations.

Is the federal government hiding from the Canadian people because the cost of security is now projected to be at least five times greater than previously estimated, or is it because the RCMP may not be able to provide extra staff, now that the government has torn up their wage agreement, further compromising their national manpower deficit in this, one of the finest police forces in the world?

The Conservative government must stop hiding and provide B.C. with the facts and resources to ensure we can have top notch games.

Quebec Winter CarnivalStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Sylvie Boucher Conservative Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, from the earliest days of the French colony, the inhabitants of New France traditionally got together to celebrate, shortly before Lent. That tradition remains alive and well to this day.

Quebec, the snow capital of the world, is once again celebrating the joys of winter this year with Bonhomme Carnaval. Many activities are planned, such as the magnificent night parade, which took place last Saturday. The Carnaval de Québec is now the largest winter carnival in the world and is ranked third among the top carnivals. Our Prime Minister attended once again this year.

I would like to commend the excellent work of the carnival's organizers and congratulate its president, Gisèle Bourdeau.

Best of luck to the sexiest man in Quebec, Bonhomme Carnaval.

Citizenship and ImmigrationStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on behalf of my constituents, Mikhail Lennikov, his wife Iriana and his 17-year-old son, Dmitri, to urge the government to stay their deportation to Russia on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

Mr. Lennikov was allowed into Canada with his family for a fresh start after he had voluntarily notified Canadian authorities that he was recruited 25 years ago by the KGB against his will. As if he had a choice in a totalitarian state.

The Lennikovs were recently ordered to leave Canada on the grounds that somehow he could constitute a security risk.

Mr. Lennikov's spotless record of 11 years in Canada demonstrate that he is not a threat. The case for his deportation simply cannot be based on fact or even contemplated for his 17-year-old son, Dmitri, who sees the deportation to a country that he hardly knows as “a final nail in the coffin”.

The Lennikovs have been a credit to our community. I urge the Minister of Public Safety to stop the Lennikov deportation and allow this family to stay in Canada where they now so clearly belong.

Human RightsStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Conservative Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canada remains deeply concerned about the human rights situation in Iran.

Reports yesterday that seven leaders of the Baha'i community, who had been detained without access to legal counsel, have now been charged is very troubling. Addressing the persecution of religious and ethnic minorities, such as the Baha'i in Iran, has been a consistent priority for Canada.

The adoption of the Canadian-led resolution on the human rights situation in Iran by the UN General Assembly in December again signalled the international community's ongoing concern. It calls on the Government of Iran to respect fully its human rights obligations.

Canada will continue to raise our concerns about the Baha'i and human rights more generally directly with the Government of Iran.

Michèle DemersStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, we were dismayed to learn yesterday of the sudden death of Ms. Michèle Demers, president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada.

A social worker by training, she became politically active as a shop steward in 1982 while working at the veterans' hospital in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue. In 2005, she became the 50th president of a union that represents 55,000 members. She was re-elected in December 2007.

Throughout her career, this union activist championed the right to collective bargaining, funding of the sciences for the public good—especially in connection with food safety and hazardous products, union-management consultation and dialogue and the renewal of the public service.

For all those involved in defending the rights of workers, Michèle Demers will remain a source of inspiration who set an exceptional standard.

InfrastructureStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Lise Zarac Liberal LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, a new report has confirmed that the Prime Minister was not able to provide the money promised for infrastructure, calling into question the promises made in his new budget.

We have it on good authority that since the start of the new fiscal measures, Quebec's municipalities have not received any news or details about the Conservative government's infrastructure projects. The government is proposing to finance 50% of the work, leaving the rest of the bill to the provinces and municipalities, which have already approved their 2009 budgets.

What is more, even though the infamous Building Canada plan was implemented in September 2008, eligibility criteria have yet to be outlined. Canadian municipalities are still in the dark concerning this government's intentions. The government's attempts to shed light on the subject have been deplorable. Meetings between federal ministers and municipal authorities are being cancelled at the last minute without any explanation.

We must continue to hold this government accountable.

Olympic Winter GamesStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

John Weston Conservative West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, February 12, 2009 marks the one year countdown to the official opening ceremonies of the 21st Olympic Winter Games.

In exactly one year, Canada will welcome the world. Canadians from every corner of our country will be able to participate in this once in a generation opportunity as we showcase our athletes, artists, culture and heritage.

Today, in Whistler, the Minister of State for Sport unveiled the made-in-Canada torch that will be carried across our country. Communities from coast to coast to coast will be able to welcome and celebrate this record-setting journey.

Olympians, like Jennifer Heil and Clara Hughes, are a few of our Olympic champions. Just last weekend our Canadian athletes won an amazing 28 medals, including 14 gold.

Among the exciting new signature venues is the Richmond Oval.

Thanks to the government's strong support for elite athlete development and increased investment in sports infrastructure, I am certain that the 2010 Canadian games will be a smashing success.

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, President Obama visits Canada next week and Canadians want to know what the Prime Minister will be doing to defend vital Canadian interests, such as jobs in the auto sector, for example. The government has been idling for months waiting for the U.S. assistance package.

Will the Prime Minister tell the president, as he should, that the U.S. auto rescue package must not suck jobs and product mandates out of our industry?

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is not a question of dictating outcomes to the United States. It is a question of Canada coming to the table as a partner. We have indicated that we are willing to do that in collaboration, as the hon. member should know, with the Government of Ontario.

We have been working hand in glove with the American administration and with our Ontario counterparts for some time now to ensure that, as this industry is restructured, Canada maintains its vital part of the North American automobile industry.