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House of Commons Hansard #46 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was relationship.

Topics

Opposition Motion--Canada-United States BorderBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is going to be significant. NEXUS is a good example where we actually have NEXUS lanes that do not even have staffing or NEXUS lanes at certain times where the staff are pulling every vehicle aside and actually checking them which defeats the whole purpose. There are also NEXUS lanes where people cannot get their car to because there is not enough space in the physical part of the actual border. Therefore, a lot of work needs to be done.

On the reciprocal point, which I did not get a chance to get into and it is really important, the government really has not woken up to this yet. We have the summer coming which is a challenge. I know right now that border and customs availability is diminishing and we are going to have longer lineups coming into Canada which is going to create a significant problem.

Before we would have students at certain border points that were trained and were part of the border process, interviewing people entering the country. Those positions are being eliminated as well and there has not been a backfill of them. Therefore, we have a significant problem coming up with not having the proper customs facilities at the border points and it is being raised by businesses already.

Opposition Motion--Canada-United States BorderBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Rob Oliphant Liberal Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his statements and his discussion which I think is adding to our motion today. However, not only are there physical border cities but increasingly we recognize that every city in Canada with an international airport is also a border city and that the lineups at airports are significant as well. The cross-border traffic of business people as well as tourists are also of a concern. I am wondering if the member could comment on that.

Opposition Motion--Canada-United States BorderBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is an interesting and important part that has not had a lot of discussion but it too is critical especially at international airports.

If we do not have the staffing component there, it can be quite frustrating for the tourism industry. Interestingly enough as well, and I shared this with my American colleagues, now that Canadians are being forced to get a passport they are also choosing other destinations. Before, they chose to go to the United States, but now Canadians are making other changes because when one has a passport one is looking at travelling the world versus just the United States.

I have been hammering away with this message to them and they are taking an interest in that, especially the members from Florida and California who before relied upon that captive audience.

The hon. member is right. If we do not have that reciprocal staffing component by the United States and Canada and we do not have the monitoring of it, its diminishment will create problems. I also hear many complaints at different times on how the staff at border facilities are being treated at these airports. There is a critical component and now with air travel diminishing there will be the temptation to lower the amount of staffing at these facilities.

I hope that is not the case. Business travel as well as other travel is there. That is why I believe we should be making sure that we reinforce the civil service as opposed to taking it away. If we do, more people will get frustrated and stop taking trips, business or personal travel, and will find other means. I think that diminishes opportunities.

For all that is said about web conferencing and so on, there is still nothing like the human to human conversation and a meeting together in a business environment. That is still really important. I view this as very critical for our future. It connects us to the rest of the world. If we do not have that capability, if people pull back out of frustration, we will lose another opportunity.

Opposition Motion--Canada-United States BorderBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, recognizing that the government has dropped the ball and failed to promote NEXUS or cheaper passports, I would like to ask the member what he thinks the government should be doing in the short run to make up for past failures and to get more passports into the hands of people who need them at a much lower cost than currently is available?

Opposition Motion--Canada-United States BorderBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, NEXUS is really important. Some large businesses do have successful ventures with it, but some of the medium and smaller businesses have a more difficult time finding the time and the process to go through NEXUS.

I would like to see a government program that is based on a certain time period to roll out an aggressive approach to get people to sign up with NEXUS and facility management, to help people re-enroll, and also to get through the process. We could also have a waiving of the fee, or a partial waiving of the fee. There needs to be that assertive approach to move forward.

That would be very helpful especially when we look at some of the medium-sized businesses that have not fully engaged in NEXUS or that do not have the capability to follow through because they have cut back so much or they are just basically run by one or two operators. To me that would be one of the things that we could do in the short-term that would be very advantageous. It would not only move that individual customer's border material through but would also ensure that it opens up lanes for other people, and that is a combination.

That is something I have been pushing any of the levels of government to do since we have had this program because we hear from different people in the constituency and also across the country that they would like to do NEXUS, but they cannot find the time, or they do not want to go through the paperwork, or they do not even know whether it would be worthwhile. This is one of the things we have to sell them on that because I think it is worth it for us all.

TourismStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Norlock Conservative Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Mr. Speaker, as Canadians face the challenges of the worldwide economic slowdown, many folks may be changing their vacation plans this summer. Why do they not choose Canada's beauty for their summer holidays?

In my neck of the woods there are many wonderful sights to see and lots of things to do, not more than an hour and a half from downtown Toronto.

Northumberland—Quinte West is perfectly situation between Toronto and Montreal, and provides a myriad of vacation choices for people of all ages and economic means.

Northumberland's rolling hills are full of great places to stay the night, while people fill their days visiting museums, artist studios and many wonderful shops and restaurants.

In Quinte West the fishing on the Trent River and the Bay of Quinte are unmatched in Ontario, and if someone just needs to get away for the day, why not choose one of the beautiful beaches on Lake Ontario or Rice Lake?

I invite all my colleagues and their constituents from across Canada to come to Northumberland—Quinte West this summer to experience its wonderful natural attractions and very friendly people.

Leadership InitiativesStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to pay tribute to an inspirational boy in my riding of Richmond Hill, Bilaal Rajan who, at the age of 12, has demonstrated leadership beyond his age.

Since he was four years old, he began raising awareness on various children's issues and throughout his life already, he has been appointed as a child ambassador for UNICEF Canada. He founded Hands for Help and recently published a book, Making Change: Tips from an Underage Overachiever.

Last week, in celebration of International Volunteer Week, he spearheaded the barefoot initiative, where he walked barefoot for a week to understand what it would be like to walk in another child's shoes. In developing countries, children walk for miles in their bare feet every day to fetch water or go to school.

It is vital that we have young people like Bilaal who can voice their concerns and participate in these positive initiatives. His actions are truly inspiring and remind us here in Canada and across the globe that we are never too young to make a difference. It can be done one step at a time, barefoot or not.

Martin GrayStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Laforest Bloc Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate Ms. Isabelle Saint-Hilaire, guidance counsellor at Val-Mauricie secondary school, who has invited the famous Franco-American Jewish writer, Martin Gray, to speak to the students of her school today.

As an adolescent, Martin Gray experienced the horrors inflicted by the Nazi regime. Later, his wife and four children perished in a forest fire. He became a writer to give his life purpose. Mr. Gray has received more than 800,000 letters from people who told him that his story has renewed their sense of purpose.

Prior to the arrival of Mr. Gray, all students were required to read For Those I Loved, discuss it in class and prepare questions for the speaker, who said that he is delighted to visit Shawinigan.

Congratulations to Martin Gray for his message of courage and hope and kudos to Isabelle Saint-Hilaire for this remarkable initiative.

Health CareStatements By Members

April 27th, 2009 / 2 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, nothing is more important to Canadians than their family's good health, so it is understandably frustrating that we must fight the same battles again and again to beat back new attempts to undermine medicare. We are suffering from privatization creep.

This month, the member forWinnipeg North joined me in addressing a packed hall of constituents angry about proposed cuts to health care. I promised to share these fears with the House.

Services are being delisted and de-insured. Cuts are being made to pharmaceuticals and vision care. Seniors are forced to buy health insurance. Expanded private medical clinics are drawing doctors away from our already understaffed public health care system.

Canadians expect the federal government to respect the underlying principles of universal health care, the very principles that are envied by other nations.

Health care may not be front page news these days, but it is certainly top of mind for my constituents and likely for many Canadians who have lost their jobs, their income and their health plans.

The government must implement the long promised universal pharmacare, spend more on senior care, and extend, not slice, coverage. It is not a question of whether we can--

Health CareStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

The hon. member for Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre.

Identity TheftStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Conservative Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to congratulate the government for introducing its recent legislation to combat identity theft in Canada.

Organized crime and modern technology are changing the criminal landscape with new and rapidly-evolving technologies, making identity theft easier than ever. It has become a more serious problem for Canadians than ever before.

In 2004 I introduced a private member's bill to target this very problem. That bill would have made it an offence for a person to be in possession of or to transfer, without lawful excuse, any information or document that could be used to identify another person.

I commend the government for Bill S-4, which will help in combating the complex and serious problem of identity theft. I call on all parties to support this important piece of legislation that stands to benefit all Canadians.

Arts and CultureStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, B.C. has taken over Ottawa in a bloodless coup and the citizens love it.

From April 21 to May 3, British Columbian artists, singers, musicians, actors, dancers, vintners and chefs will hit the boards and the art galleries, the libraries and the pubs bringing with them some of the most innovative and avant-garde talent this city has ever seen.

People should see the critically acclaimed aboriginal musical, The Ecstasy of Rita Joe, or BIOBOXES and the Wen Wei Dance. or listen to Jim Burns, Ndidi Onukwulu and Alex Cuba, or view exhibits by Marina Roy, Abbas Akhavan and Brendan Tang.

If that is not enough to fill people's soul, they can drink exquisite B.C. wine, taste delicious Pacific cuisine and be mesmerized by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

Though we are young, the diversity of our arts and culture in B.C. shimmers with innovation and fusion bands, like Delhi 2 Dublin and DJ Spoon, testify to that.

Ottawa is agog with delight. Events are packed. I urge members to go and be a part of the B.C. scene. It is a happening event.

Warren GoldringStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Goldring Conservative Edmonton East, AB

Mr. Speaker, a descendant of five Goldring brothers who arrived in Upper Canada from England in the 1820s passed away April 14.

Warren Goldring epitomized all that Canadians aspire to. In 1957 he founded AGF, American Growth Fund, stewarded today by his son Blake. Warren was Ernst & Young's Ontario Entrepreneur of the Year for 2002 and recipient of the Queen's Jubilee Medal.

Warren Goldring continued the belief in education of his father, who was Toronto's Director of Education. Warren's interest in national and international issues led him to sponsor the Goldring Chair in Canadian Studies at the University of Toronto, support the Canada Institute at Washington's Woodrow Wilson Center and be the founding director of Operation Dialogue to support Canadian nationalism and unity.

Distinguished business leader, author, visionary and avid trout fisherman, Warren Goldring lived a truly full life. He leaves his wife, Barbara, and his children, Blake, Jane, Bryce and Judy, and 11 grandchildren. His contribution to family and country will long be remembered.

CopyrightStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Roger Pomerleau Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, illegal downloading is hurting artists. They get nothing for their work, while Internet service providers benefit from it.

The Copyright Act does not contemplate the impact of new technologies, such as the Internet, and it should be amended as quickly as possible. Everyone deserves to be compensated for their work, so we must ensure both that creators receive their due and that consumers can take advantage of this new way to access their work.

Bill C-61, which the Conservatives introduced in June 2008, demands no accountability from the industry. Instead, it attacks consumers, who pay Internet service providers for access.

In honour of World Intellectual Property Day, which was yesterday, the members of the Bloc Québécois will ensure that the new Copyright Act is fair and does a decent job of protecting creators' work.

Victims of CrimeStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Sylvie Boucher Conservative Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is National Victims of Crime Awareness Week and this year's theme is “supporting, connecting, evolving”. It presents a perfect opportunity to raise awareness about victim issues and about the programs, services and laws in place to help victims of crime.

I know one party in this House that will not be taking part in the events to mark this national week, and that is the Bloc Québécois. For purely ideological reasons and because of its narrow-mindedness, it systematically refuses to support any motion or bill that could help victims of crime. The Bloc votes for criminals and against victims.

Barely a week ago, the Bloc voted against Bill C-268, which would establish minimum sentences for people convicted of certain offences committed against young people, particularly, sex-related offences and trafficking of children. That is unacceptable.

The Bloc has the interests of criminals at heart, not the interests of Quebeckers.

Search and RescueStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the safety of those who make their living on the sea is an ever-present concern and a personal priority for me.

The recent tragic loss of 17 lives in a helicopter crash en route to offshore oil operations off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador has returned the question of the need for a dedicated search and rescue unit to be located in St. John's, to the forefront of public awareness.

Recommendations made in the wake of the 1982 Ocean Ranger inquiry included the introduction of such a dedicated helicopter, fully equipped to search and rescue standards to be operated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

I ask the government to take action on the issue and begin by conducting a full review of the search and rescue coverage in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. A review is the appropriate first step to ensuring the continuous and comprehensive coverage needed is in place to safeguard those who work on the sea.

TaxationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Chris Warkentin Conservative Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, $20 billion of additional tax cuts by the Conservative government will leave more money in the hands of Canadians. It will assist to help the economy to grow during these tough economic times.

However, the Liberal Party has a plan for dealing with the economic situation as well. It plans to raise taxes on Canadian families. The Liberal leader recently said, “We will have to raise taxes”.

Anybody with a basic understanding of economics knows that cutting taxes, like our Conservative government is doing, encourages economic growth, while raising taxes, like the Liberal Party is pushing for, discourages economic growth. This is not the time to be discouraging economic growth.

Canadians have a right to know how many taxes the Liberals want to hike, how much they will raise them by and which Canadians they will go after to get more money under the new Liberal tax grab.

Northern Ontario CommunitiesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Tony Martin NDP Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, my riding of Sault Ste. Marie, like many places, is facing hard times with this recession: layoffs, questions about pensions and belt-tightening. While we work hard to recover, I was reminded while attending a number of events this past weekend of the resiliency of our people and our communities.

Friday night, a full hall turned out for the United Way volunteer recognition banquet. Saturday night, the city's highest honour, the Medal of Merit, was presented to four recipients: Celia Ross, Patti Gardi, Dennis O'Reilly and Don Watson, and the Police Association honoured its retirees at a dinner.

Tonight, in Sudbury, Sir James Dunn music teacher, Mark Gough, will receive the Best Engineer award at the sixth annual Northern Ontario Music and Film Awards. Another nominee is fellow Saultite, Rusty McCarthy.

As New Democrats work for real solutions to this recession, I also want to celebrate the resiliency of our people and those making outstanding contributions.

Firearms RegistryStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Bradley Trost Conservative Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, the NDP MPs who all campaigned passionately against the long gun registry failed their constituents last week.

For example, NDP members representing the Western Arctic and Timmins—James Bay say that they want to end the gun registry when they are back home but here in Ottawa they cannot help but feel the pressure of their own NDP leader and colleagues and decided to sit on their hands and continue punishing rural Canadians, duck hunters and farmers.

Canadians should know that these MPs tell their constituencies what they want to hear when in their constituencies and then come to Ottawa and do the exact opposite.

NDP members for the Western Arctic and Timmins—James Bay may have avoided the wrath of their party leader but now their constituents know that on issues that matter their MPs cannot be counted on to stand up and vote.

National Victims of Crime Awareness WeekStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, National Victims of Crime Awareness Week runs from April 26 to May 2 this year. It is a time to reflect on victims' issues and the programs and measures that are in place to help their families and friends.

That is why I would like to take this opportunity to call on all the members of this House to support Bloc Québécois Bill C-343. Like the legislation already in force in Quebec, this bill would amend the Canada Labour Code so that relatives of victims of crime could receive financial support for up to 52 weeks, which would give them time to work through their grief and get on with their lives.

If passed, this initiative, which is supported by the Murdered or Missing Persons' Families' Association of Quebec and its chair, Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu, would provide an opportunity for this government to set aside political partisanship and show sensitivity, compassion and solidarity towards the friends and families of these victims.

Atlantic Ballet TheatreStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Atlantic Ballet Theatre, based in Moncton, New Brunswick, grew from the dream of one woman, Susan Chalmers-Gauvin, in 2001. Since then, it has toured the world to critical and audience acclaim. In fact, the troupe just got back from rave reviews in Brooklyn, New York.

Atlantic Ballet Theatre performs nationally and internationally and is known for its high level of professionalism. It is also the only professional ballet company in Atlantic Canada. The company is committed to forging ties with the community, especially young people and seniors.

They have created seven full feature works and over twenty shorter works. Now the company is looking forward to the future with optimism.

The arts are a gauge for where our citizens are in mind, spirit and body. This is why we all need to do what we can to support arts organizations like the Atlantic Ballet Theatre. Its commitment to artistic excellence moves us all and creates a better society for everyone.

The EconomyStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Wallace Conservative Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, our Conservative government understands Canadian families. Our Conservative government delivers results for Canadian families.

With our economic action plan, we are reducing the tax burden on Canadian families. We are providing stimulus spending that will create jobs. We are helping Canadians who are hardest hit by this global recession.

In contrast, the Liberal Party has promised to impose a job-killing carbon tax, to raise the GST and to end the universal child care benefit. In a pattern of announcing policies that will hurt Canadian families, the Liberal leader recently said, “We will have to raise taxes”.

We appreciate his honesty but Canadians want to know how much this new policy will cost them. The Liberal leader should stand in this House and tell Canadians which taxes the Liberals will raise, by how much they will raise them and who will be forced to pay these higher taxes. Canadians deserve to know.

HealthOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are worried about swine flu. There are six confirmed cases in Canada: four in Nova Scotia and two in British Columbia. Two Quebeckers may be infected and other cases might be confirmed shortly.

What measures is the government proposing in response to this situation?

HealthOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, before I answer the question, I would like to offer my sympathies to people in Mexico on the impact of the earthquake. My thoughts and prayers go out to them.

Canada is well positioned to deal with this issue. We have a national plan for disease outbreaks and we are following it. I am having regular discussions with our international partners, including Margaret Chan, who is the director-general of the World Health Organization; the U.S. Secretary of Health, Charles Johnson; and Jose Cordova, the Mexican health minister.

I have also spoken with my provincial and territorial colleagues over the weekend, our counterparts across Canada, and provided them with updates on the situation. Our departments are working very closely together. We have--

HealthOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. Leader of the Opposition.