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House of Commons Hansard #44 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was cards.

Topics

Opposition Motion--FinanceBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Madam Speaker, I received a phone call from a grocer in my community who sells organic products. The store is called Choices Markets, which is where I shop. The business owner said that the key business challenge and the key concern the store had right now was the power of the credit card-bank partnership to cost the business potentially more than the margin it makes on its sales. The stores that sell food to people need to make money but if their costs keep going up 1% or 2%, they will need raise the price of the food to consumers or go out of business. Raising prices is very hard for consumers to pay at this very difficult time.

Opposition Motion--FinanceBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Madam Speaker, I rise to support a well-intentioned motion. The motion has some very key components, to which other members have spoken, but I suggest that some of it does not really pertain to the Canadian environment, especially the mention of the credit card accountability responsibility and disclosure act of 2009, American legislation that does not pertain to Canada.

As members well know, the Canadian banks and financial institutions that control much of the credit card fees, et cetera, have been pretty stable in Canada because the Liberal government set out in 2001 to ensure that there were strong regulations and that we had good control. Had it not been for the Liberal government of the day ensuring that we had good control and good regulation of financial institutions, we might have had the same problems that we see in the United States and in other parts of the world.

We do have some pretty good regulations in place that are making banks accountable. We have credit card databases and profiles of clients and credit cards to look at how the system is working and how people are accessing credit. At the same time, while this is not particularly pertinent to the solution, the ideas that are being brought forward by the motion are worth thinking about.

One of the things most heinous that we see today is that many Canadians are in debt. In my part of the world, in Vancouver, British Columbia, buying a small 1,000 square foot condominium is enough to crush a small family. We have young families with university and college educations who are making what, at one time, people used to consider a reasonable income, both making say $70,000 or $80,000 each. A couple with a small child who buys a $500,000 condominium in my riding will not be able to afford to pay the mortgage if one of them loses their job. Those are some of the points that I would like to bring forward as I support the intent of the motion.

Opposition Motion--FinanceBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

The hon. member may continue her comments after question period.

Claudette TaschereauStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Conservative Beauce, QC

Madam Speaker, a few years ago, Citizenship and Immigration Canada created the Citation for Citizenship Award to honour exemplary individuals who help newcomers integrate into the community.

In Beauce, one of these exemplary citizens, Ms. Claudette Taschereau, was awarded the Citation for Citizenship Award.

The work done by Ms. Taschereau has been remarkable. She understands the difficulties and problems faced by new immigrants. But she has also witnessed and appreciated the richness of their invaluable contributions to the community and decided to do everything possible to make things easier for them.

Ms. Taschereau embodies the values of tolerance, fair-mindedness and acceptance. Congratulations to Ms. Taschereau, she is a citizen of the world and we are proud of her.

National Volunteer WeekStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Madam Speaker, as we mark National Volunteer Week, I have the pleasure of representing a riding where volunteerism is a fundamental value.

This year, Prince Edward Island is honoured to host the Canada Summer Games. This event would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of thousands of engaged volunteers. The islanders who have signed up to volunteer for these games will be taking part in a very significant event for all of Prince Edward Island.

Today I want to take this time to shine a spotlight and recognize the hard work of our volunteers who have been working to make these games happen. These volunteers are ensuring that the 2009 Canada Games will, indeed, be an unforgettable and successful experience for all involved. I also want to encourage all islanders to get involved with the Canada Games and be part of this summer's marquee event.

I would like to invite all my hon. colleagues to join us on Prince Edward Island this summer for the games.

Communication GamesStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Nadeau Bloc Gatineau, QC

Madam Speaker, the 13th Jeux de la communication were held in Montreal in March. More than 300 students from nine universities in eastern Canada participated in competitions in 13 different categories. This was the first competition for the delegation from Université du Québec en Outaouais, which was very successful and won nine awards.

UQO was first in debating with Patrick Robert-Meunier, second in social communication with Jean-François Morissette and Michael O'Farrell, third in journalistic interviewing with Laurie Trudel and fourth in television news with Karine DeFoy.

Furthermore, the UQO delegation was given special mention on five occasions by the other universities.

The Bloc Québécois and I congratulate this delegation from Université du Québec en Outaouais on its fine performance.

Birds are Back Celebrity ChallengeStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Madam Speaker, yesterday Canadians and people around the world celebrated Earth Day. In that spirit, I would like to highlight an exciting event taking place back home that brings attention to the rich biodiversity of Nova Scotia.

The Birds are Back Celebrity Challenge pits Nova Scotian public figures against one another in a race to find and record the province's birds returning for spring.

Birds are on the front lines as our climate changes. The Ecology Action Centre in Halifax has organized Birds are Back to bring attention to the risk these that incredible creatures face with increasing pollution and a warming climate.

I am in this game to win. So far I have caught a glimpse of a grackle and a robin and I look forward to seeking out the piping plover when I head to Crystal Crescent Beach this weekend.

I wish my fellow contestants luck, and I commend the EAC for this important initiative. Happy birding.

Canadian Blood ServicesStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Rodney Weston Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to raise an issue that is of great concern to the province of New Brunswick.

On March 31, Canadian Blood Services announced its plan to close and remove the provincial blood services centre in Saint John, New Brunswick and to consolidate it with a new facility to be built outside of the province.

This plan was approved more than a year ago and there has been no consultation with the medical community whatsoever. I have met with the physicians from the Saint John medical community and I heard them loud and clear. They have stated that it is absolutely essential that the CBS centre in Saint John be maintained and that they will not be able to continue their current programs without it.

The CBS centre is critical for an integrated health care system in New Brunswick. The closure of this centre in Saint John will seriously jeopardize the quality of health care for the citizens of our provinces.

This is totally unacceptable. This decision by Canadian Blood Services and the provincial and territorial ministers must be reversed.

Automotive IndustryStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Liberal Bramalea—Gore—Malton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I receive calls every day from concerned residents about how the government's negotiations will affect the Chrysler plant in my riding. If the Government of Canada is prepared to contribute billions of dollars to save the struggling auto industry, why have we not heard any details?

More than 8,000 CAW jobs will be affected and workers want to know what the plan is to save their jobs. The CAW is under pressure to make steep wage cuts at Chrysler and have been warned that operations in Canada will close if the union does not agree to cut hourly labour costs.

In order to qualify for government financing, Chrysler has a deadline of one week from today to provide a revised restructuring plan that would allow it to keep operating.

My constituents want to know what the government is doing to facilitate the negotiations and save their jobs.

United Way of CanadaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Gord Brown Conservative Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, United Way of Canada-Centraide Canada holds its annual conference in Ottawa and Gatineau over the next three days.

Next to governments, it is the largest funder of the voluntary sector and social services in Canada, raising upward of $480 million each year, money that is reinvested in local communities to support programs and services directed at improving the social conditions of Canadians. About 900 staff and over 200,000 volunteers make this happen.

With the global economic crisis, United Way-Centraide is doing more with fewer resources, both financial and human. Despite this difficult reality, Canada's 119 agencies work locally to strengthen their communities. Since the first community collectives formed in Toronto and Montreal in 1917, United Way-Centraide has become dedicated to its task.

I wish to recognize the hundreds of members and thousands of volunteers of the United Way-Centraide Canada and it gives me great pleasure to wish the delegates a very productive conference.

Armenian CommunityStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Bloc Laval, QC

[Member spoke in Armenian.]

Mr. Speaker, five years ago, on April 21, 2004, the House of Commons passed Motion No. 380, presented by Ms. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral, the then Bloc Québécois member for Laval. That motion finally recognized the historical reality of the Armenian genocide of 1915.

Tomorrow, a number of members of the Armenian community will gather on Parliament Hill to mark the 94th anniversary of that genocide, the first of the 20th century.

We continue to support the Armenian community in its desire to see this reality acknowledged by the entire international community, and we hope that the Turkish government will shortly accept responsibility for this event, so that the victims' descendants can begin the process of healing.

In the meantime, the Bloc Québécois members remember with them and, as always, extend their total support.

AfghanistanStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Ben Lobb Conservative Huron—Bruce, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pride that I rise in the House today to recognize a few of my constituents who serve in the Canadian armed forces in Afghanistan: my lifetime friend Ryan Crawford, Justin Lyon, Cameron Bruce, James Kirk, Kieran Kirk, Damon Arbour, Chris Farrish, Judd Beasley, a family with two generations of service, Mike Lassiline, and Mike's grandfather, Leonard Fisher, who served in Italy during World War II, Brendon Dinning and let us not forget his older brother, Matthew Dinning, who also served in Afghanistan and paid the ultimate price on April 22, 2006.

I would like to also recognize the communities and legions in Huron—Bruce for their continued support of our troops.

These courageous individuals and their families should be honoured for their service and the sacrifices they have made. I admire them for putting their lives on the line to allow us to live in this great nation.

Global Youth Service DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Dhalla Liberal Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow marks the beginning of Global Youth Service Day. It is the largest celebration of youth volunteerism in the world. Youth are the future of our communities and our country.

Over the years, this celebration has brought together more than 40 million young people from over 120 countries who are committed to giving back to their community.

In particular, I want to commend and congratulate the youth from Brampton-Springdale Youth Advisory Council. BSYAC is for youth and by youth who are working to develop and design solutions on issues like youth violence and drugs. Most recently, they held a forum to stop youth violence. It was attended by teachers, parents, principals, Peel police and many community leaders, everyone working together to make a difference.

Young people in our community are making a real difference in the lives of the residents of Brampton—Springdale. Let us use Global Youth Service Day as an opportunity to spread the message. The ideas, the passions and the dreams of young people have the power to make a difference. Young people are the future of our country.

Child traffickingStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Daniel Petit Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec, like the rest of Canada, is faced today with crimes against the most vulnerable members of our society: our children. We have a duty to protect our citizens by using all of the tools available to us to protect families, and especially the children who represent our future.

Nevertheless, the Bloc voted against the interests of Quebec youth by voting against Bill C-268, thereby turning its back on basic human values.

The Bloc was the only party to vote against that bill, the purpose of which is to impose a minimum sentence for offences involving the trafficking of persons under the age of 18 years.

Yet they boast that they are defending the interests of Quebeckers. Will the under-18s be sacrificed by the Bloc? Turning their backs on youth protection, that is the Bloc way.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, this morning several MPs were excited to meet a wonderful author by the name of Alanna Mitchell, who wrote a fabulous book called Sea Sick, which is about the state of our oceans around the world. I personally want to thank the member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca and the parliamentary conservation caucus for putting this on today.

Our oceans are in a serious state. All parliamentarians, all citizens of Canada and, in fact, the world must take a new approach to the repair and to the rehabilitation of our oceans. Without our oceans, there would be no life on the planet.

To understand the current state of our planet, I highly recommend that every Canadian get a copy of Alanna Mitchell's book Sea Sick.

All of us want to thank Alanna Mitchell for bringing this to the attention of the House of Commons. We wish her success.

Hopefully the world can act to protect the safety of our oceans.

Liberal Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Conservative Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, as the world faces a daunting financial crisis, Canadians know that their Conservative government is a sound manager of the economy. They know we would never raise economy-killing taxes. In fact, our economic action plan has already reduced taxes by a further $20 billion.

Unfortunately, the Liberal Party has another plan. Just last week the Liberal leader and member for Etobicoke—Lakeshore said, “We will have to raise taxes”. The Liberal plan is to raise taxes on all Canadian families.

The Liberals said that they would reverse the 2% GST cut that this Conservative government made. Then they said that they would bring in a job-killing carbon tax. Now they are openly talking about broad, wide-sweeping increases to taxes across the board.

Canadians have a right to know this. What taxes are the Liberals proposing to raise? How much are they going to raise them? Which Canadians are going to be targeted and forced to pay those taxes?

Robert Fowler and Louis GuayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, over four months after they were kidnapped in Niger by an al-Qaeda faction, Robert Fowler and Louis Guay were freed following negotiations orchestrated by the governments of Mali and Burkina Faso. However, the talks that led to their release remain secret.

Mr. Fowler, former Canadian ambassador to the United Nations and UN special envoy to Niger, and Mr. Guay were kidnapped on December 14 some 50 kilometres from the capital, Niamey.

This story has a particularly happy ending, as Malian authorities have confirmed that the two Canadian diplomats are in good physical and mental condition.

The Bloc Québécois salutes these two men for their courage. We hope that they will be reunited with their families and friends very soon and that they will get all of the help they need to recover from their ordeal.

Robert Fowler and Louis GuayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am sure my colleagues are as delighted as I am to learn that two kidnapped Canadian diplomats have been released unharmed.

Following their disappearance several months ago, they had to deal with one of the most harrowing situations imaginable.

We are especially happy for the families and loved ones of these two men. There is no telling the amount of anxiety they must have lived through until news of their recovery was confirmed.

A special envoy for the United Nations, Robert Fowler is well known as an outstanding diplomat of the kind which makes Canada's international reputation so proud.

The high praise that Louis Guay, Mr. Fowler's assistant, has received for his professionalism does our country a great honour internationally.

We can never thank these two men enough for the sacrifice they have made.

Let us hope that they will benefit from some much deserved rest once they have been reunited with their loved ones.

TaxationStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Lois Brown Conservative Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, the list of destructive Liberal policies is getting longer and longer every day. We will soon be able to write a book about these and the chapter on terrible economic policies would be a very long one.

The Liberal leader announced just last week, “We will have to raise taxes”. We thank the Liberal leader for his honesty. Now we know the Liberals want to impose a tax hike on Canadian families during a global recession. We know that they want to increase the GST. We know that they want to impose a job-killing carbon tax. We also know that they want to take away the universal child care benefit.

The Liberals and their leader seem to like taking money out of Canadians' pockets. Would the Liberal leader stand up in the House today and finally come clean with Canadians? Which taxes would the Liberals raise? By how much would they raise them? Who would be forced to pay these higher taxes?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, this was not a good morning for a Conservative government in abject denial. A Federal Court judge has just ruled that the Prime Minister is legally obliged to immediately press the United States to return Omar Khadr to Canada. We have been telling the Conservatives to do so for years. The American process was deeply flawed. Now the courts have said so too.

Will the Prime Minister confirm that he will comply with today's ruling of the Federal Court?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, for years this government has been continuing exactly the same policy that the previous government had. The facts in our judgment have not changed. We will be looking at the decision very carefully and obviously considering an appeal.

The EconomyOral Questions

April 23rd, 2009 / 2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, this morning the Bank of Canada confirmed its pessimism concerning the Canadian economy. Some 380,000 jobs have been lost. The economy will contract three times faster than originally predicted. The central bank is revising its monetary policy and, for the first time, is including a contingency plan.

Will the Prime Minister do likewise and revise his budget, which is already outdated?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, with interest rates near zero, several central banks have been looking at new options. The Bank of Canada is pursuing the course set by other central banks.

Clearly, we are in the midst of a global recession. However, the International Monetary Fund is saying that Canada's performance will be better than many other countries. There is no need to raise taxes, as the Liberal Party is proposing.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, Canadians will remember this Prime Minister's egregious record. First, these Conservatives increased personal income taxes by nearly a billion dollars. Then they slapped a 31.5% Conservative tax on retirement savings and income trusts. Then they sunk the nation into deficit during boom times, so that there was nothing left when the recession hit and killed 300,000 full time jobs.

Could the Conservatives at least agree to fix the EI system to be a little more generous to its victims or would that make the system too lucrative?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

First, Mr. Speaker, to be clear, this government has cut personal income taxes in every single budget it has brought forward.

In spite of the opposition of the Liberal Party, this government has cut taxes for our retirees, including income splitting for our pensioners, and in spite of the fact that the Liberal Party opposed it. This government was running surpluses when times were good so we can afford to intervene in times like these.

Let me tell the House this. No matter how many distortions of fact the Liberal Party tries, no one is going to buy its plan to raise taxes.