This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #52 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was efficiency.

Topics

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of the national anthem led by the hon. member for Brossard—La Prairie.

[Members sang the national anthem]

World Red Cross Red Crescent DayStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Conservative Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in honour of World Red Cross Red Crescent Day, and also to mark the centennial anniversary of the passing of the Canadian Red Cross Society Act. It was 100 years ago this month that an act of Parliament established the Canadian Red Cross to serve Canadians in accordance with the Geneva conventions.

For 100 years, Canadians have had their own national society focused on emergency response, first aid and water safety training, community health, family reunification, and other services here at home, as well as humanitarian aid around the world.

This government is proud to support the work of the Red Cross movement, from helping fight diseases like malaria in Africa and providing hurricane response in Haiti, to aiding civilians in regions of conflict like those in Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.

We pay tribute to the thousands of Red Cross volunteers and staff who are dedicated to helping those made vulnerable by disasters and other humanitarian tragedies.

Child SoldiersStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, on April 25, an organization called Invisible Children hosted events to bring attention to one of the most neglected humanitarian emergencies in the world today, one where 30,000 children have been abducted to fight as child soldiers. For the past 23 years, the children of Uganda have been both victims and armed soldiers, forced into activities of rape, torture and murder.

International events took place in over 100 cities around the world to highlight the infamy in Uganda. At the Legislative Buildings in Winnipeg, over 150 young people from the Winnipeg area came out to add their voices in the hope of bringing attention to the defenceless children of Uganda. Individual refugees spoke to their own experiences as child soldiers.

I stand here today in this House to support the members of Invisible Children and to congratulate them on their successful event and their efforts to bring attention to what is happening in Uganda.

The Government of Canada must speak out and call for a change in Uganda.

Angus AutopartsStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

France Bonsant Bloc Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, I never tire of singing the praises of the businesses and entrepreneurs of my region, and rightly so, for the Eastern Townships abound with innovative businesses. One of them, Angus Autoparts, was recently honoured at the regional chamber of commerce's 23rd Reconnaissance Estrie gala with an award in the retail business category.

This company is located in East Angus, in the heart of my riding, and has been run by the Blais family for the last quarter century. In 2000, ownership of the family business passed to Isabelle Blais, the daughter of its founder, and she has taken it to new heights.

In accepting her award, Ms. Blais made a point of encouraging and congratulating all women who are entering non-traditional areas of entrepreneurship. Today it is my turn to congratulate her in the House.

Bravo to Isabelle Blais and all her team at Angus Autoparts.

Canadian Red CrossStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the Canadian Red Cross as it celebrates 100 years of service.

This organization is renowned for dealing with crucial issues to women in our society: health care, violence and sexual exploitation.

I would like to highlight one project in particular, implemented by the Canadian Red Cross, called ENLACE, in Nicaragua. The project fills in health care coverage gaps, including family planning, immunization and pre- and post-natal care. The Red Cross works closely with women, volunteers and residents of isolated communities to improve their health care. The ENLACE project also works toward gender equality.

As the MP for northern Manitoba, a region with many women living in poverty, a lack of health care services and high rates of infant mortality, I recognize the need to heed the initiatives taken on by the Red Cross and strengthen such programs in first nations and rural communities in our north.

Congratulations to the Canadian Red Cross as it continues to provide important services here and abroad. One hundred years and counting.

JusticeStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Conservative Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, last weekend in Edmonton, 14-year-old Cassandra Williams tragically passed away from an overdose of ecstasy. At a youth party at the West Edmonton Mall, she ingested 18 doses of this illegal drug. This shocked her tiny body so badly that her heart simply stopped beating.

Sadly, this tragedy was completely avoidable.

I would like to commend the hon. Minister of Justice for introducing Bill C-15, a bill which will keep criminals who deal drugs in public places frequented by young persons, such as the West Edmonton Mall, where they belong. In jail.

I encourage all members of the justice committee, on which I serve, to approve this bill expeditiously, and all members of this House to support this very important legislation, so that we can keep criminals, such as the one who sold Cassandra the lethal amount of ecstasy, where they belong. In prison.

World Red Cross Red Crescent DayStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Glen Pearson Liberal London North Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is World Red Cross Red Crescent Day. As a firefighter and a humanitarian worker in numerous countries around the world, I have had the good fortune to have worked with the Red Cross Red Crescent societies and have witnessed how their actions have saved more lives than any of us can count.

From their humble beginnings in 1863 in Italy, the organizations have grown to include 187 national societies, 300,000 staff and over 100 million volunteers worldwide. They are the largest humanitarian organizations in the world. They have greatly assisted Canada in our own efforts to make this world more humane and just.

I know I speak on behalf of all members in the House as we congratulate the Red Cross Red Crescent organizations on this very special day. I have seen them work. I have seen the lives they have saved. I have personally been made more compassionate by their service, as have we all.

Multiple Sclerosis Awareness MonthStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Ted Menzies Conservative Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am proud and honoured to rise today in support of MS Awareness Month and to help kick off the annual MS Carnation Campaign, an initiative which over the years has raised over $45 million to fund MS research and services.

Today, volunteers from the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, MPs representing each political party, and I have been pinning carnations on members of Parliament to help raise awareness of multiple sclerosis.

Canada has one of the highest rates of MS in the world. Between 55,000 and 75,000 Canadians have MS. Most often diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 40, it is a disease that affects the entire family and society as a whole.

The MS Society works to find a cure for multiple sclerosis and enables people affected by the disease to enhance their quality of life.

I encourage all members of the House and all Canadians to support the society's efforts to make a difference for people living with this disease. By working together, we will end MS.

Annual Press Freedom AwardStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Investigative reporter Daniel Leblanc has been awarded the annual Press Freedom Award. This past Sunday was World Press Freedom Day.

The award, presented by the Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom, honours his remarkable determination to protect his confidential source, known as Ma Chouette, who enabled him to lift the veil of secrecy surrounding the sponsorship scandal and eventually led to the Gomery Inquiry. That same determined silence has led to his facing contempt of court charges, with a potential fine and a year in prison.

The Globe and Mail journalist took advantage of the awards ceremony to reiterate that a relationship of trust exists between him and his source and that no one can make him breach that confidence, since such sources are the very foundation of investigative journalism, which is of such great service to democracy.

I encourage everyone to sign the on-line petition on the Bloc site in support of this reporter, Daniel Leblanc, calling for him not to be sentenced for a criminal offence.

Seal HuntStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Gerald Keddy Conservative South Shore—St. Margaret's, NS

Mr. Speaker, last night, in response to the European Parliament's vote against our seal hunt, our Conservative government called for a take-note debate, where we hoped all four political parties would be able to come together and discuss this important issue as one united voice.

Unfortunately, Canada's Parliament is not one united voice. It turns out that a Liberal senator wrote a letter to every member of the European Parliament, encouraging them to vote against Canadian sealers.

Yesterday, anti-seal groups were even lauding the efforts of Liberal Mac Harb for his part in convincing the EU to vote against our sealers.

To add insult to injury, Liberal Mac Harb is now calling Canadians barbaric for supporting the seal hunt and is publicly saying Canada should not appeal to the WTO.

Canadians should know that this Conservative government will vigorously defend our seal hunt and our sealers.

International AidStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, today, the Women for African Grandmothers generously gave each member of Parliament a symbolic friendship pin. This gift is a gentle reminder to keep the promises made five years ago to get affordable medicines to developing countries in need, the Jean Chrétien pledge to Africa.

It reminds us of our duty to contribute to the global fund to fight AIDS, TB and malaria.

However, since the adoption of the CAMR legislation, only one shipment has been produced and sent to Africa in the past five years.

There are already 13 million African children who have lost their parents to HIV-AIDS and this number continues to grow.

I am proud to recognize this important campaign and call for the political will needed to do everything possible to ensure that Canada can deliver on its pledge to Africa by getting life-saving drugs to those in need.

Pork IndustryStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Larry Miller Conservative Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, many of us just came from a Canadian pork barbecue and enjoyed some top-notch, safe Canadian pork with hundreds of other parliamentarians and ambassadors from around the world.

I would like to thank the Canadian Pork Council and the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food for organizing the barbecue so everyone could see and taste our excellent and safe Canadian pork. I know the pork producers from my riding of Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound and those across Canada produce the safest pork in the world.

During the BSE crisis of 2003, borders were shut down for political reasons and not on the basis of science. We do not need the same thing happening to the pork industry. We do not need misleading information and fearmongering about the safe consumption of pork. The science is clear: Canadian pork is safe. Countries from around the world need to keep their borders open to pork.

We all need to show our support for the pork industry. Today, Canadians did just that.

Employment InsuranceStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle NDP Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, I stand today for the 700 Xstrata workers who were laid off in Sudbury. They have been abandoned by the government before and now they are worried that they will be abandoned again.

With weeks left to work, many are looking at a very uncertain future. Will they have to sell their homes? Will they have to move away? Will the EI system they have been paying into be there for them when they need it? What does the future hold for them, for Sudbury and for communities across Canada?

They are concerned, and so far the government has offered no answers. I understand their concern. Employment insurance is broken and the government will not fix it. Jobs are few and far between and retraining is only part of the solution. Those Xstrata workers and communities like Sudbury need long-term solutions and an economic strategy to revitalize mining and build long-term sustainable growth.

Those Xstrata folks worked hard, they played by the rules and they deserve a helping hand. They deserve better from the government.

Liberal PartyStatements by Members

May 6th, 2009 / 2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Conservative Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party and taxation go hand in hand. The Liberal leader's penchant for disclosure in recent years reached new heights a few weeks ago when he said, “We will have to raise taxes.”

We are now certain that the Liberal leader has revealed part of his fiscal agenda for the future.

Since we came to power more than three years ago, we have done everything we can to ease the Liberal tax burden on Canadians. Canadians suffocated under layer after layer after layer of taxes piled on by the Liberals during their too-long time in office in recent years. But we have cut taxes for all segments of society.

A Liberal government means red ink on our tax bills and higher taxes, red ink on our heating bills and higher heating costs, and red ink on our grocery bills and watching our savings vanish.

World Red Cross Red Crescent DayStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, today, we in this House mark World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day. This organization, which is the largest humanitarian network in the world, with tens of millions of volunteers, was created by Henry Dunant. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Red Cross and the 150th anniversary of the international movement.

The 2009 campaign, whose theme is “Our world. Your move.”, is intended to raise awareness of the challenges we all face, from armed conflict and mass displacement to climate change and the global economic crisis. The Red Cross and Red Crescent want to inspire people, as individuals, to make a move and do something to help others, because “All can, in one way or another, each in his own sphere and within his own limitations, do something to help the good work forward,” as Mr. Dunant said.

This is “a call for hope supported by action”.

World Red Cross Red Crescent DayStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, has it really been 100 years already?

A century ago, the parliamentarians who came before us passed the legislation that established the Canadian Red Cross Society, which today also operates under the name of Red Crescent. The Red Cross was already active in Canada prior to that, but under the aegis of the British Red Cross.

I invite my colleagues to think about the countless Canadians who have benefited from the support, security and comfort provided by the Red Cross under the most difficult circumstances. We only need to skim through the newspaper to read about any number of disasters that our citizens face every day. The Red Cross might not always make the headlines, but there is an excellent chance that, in most cases, it is there.

If there is a need for clothing or temporary shelter for people forced out of their homes in the middle of the night because of fire or flood, the Red Cross is there.

On behalf of all my colleagues and all Canadians, I would like to express the profound gratitude we owe to all the staff and volunteers who work for the Red Cross and Red Crescent, and I hope they will continue to be there to provide relief for centuries to come.

Liberal Party of CanadaStatements by Members

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Earl Dreeshen Conservative Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, our Conservative government is taking action during this global recession. With our economic action plan, we are reducing taxes on Canadian families, creating jobs and helping Canadians who are hardest hit by the global recession. We have a plan and that is what Canadians want in a government.

The Liberals have an agenda. It is a road map to economic failure. They want to increase the GST, end the universal child care benefit and impose a job-killing carbon tax on Canadian families and businesses. Most disturbing of all is when the Liberal leader himself announced that he “will have to raise taxes”.

The Liberals' road map to economic failure is not the way to help Canadian families and not the way to help the economy. They are still hiding the details of their tax hikes from Canadians. Will the Liberal leader stand in the House and tell Canadians which taxes he will raise, by how much he will raise them and who will be forced to pay these higher taxes?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, there are 58 regional eligibility thresholds for employment insurance, but this country is facing a national crisis during which we need a single national eligibility threshold. We recommend that all regions of the country have a 360-hour threshold.

Does the government really intend to go on vacation this summer without having resolved employment insurance issues?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I think it is very telling that in the run-up to the preparation for this year's budget we asked the Liberal Party and the Liberal leader for their ideas on what should be done to help Canadians who were going through layoffs in these challenging times. We received nothing in response, nothing from the Liberals.

The very first day after his coronation officially as leader of the Liberal Party, what did the new leader come forward with? An idea borrowed or stolen from the NDP.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the members on the opposite side of the House seem to want us to do their job. We are asking them to do their job.

The minister likes to point out places where enough people are out of work that it has become a little easier for them to get EI. This means the government seems to think that the EI eligibility problem will solve itself as more people lose their jobs. What kind of a solution is that? How long will it take for the government to act on this file?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Let us face it, Mr. Speaker, the last time action was taken on this file, prior to us improving it, was when the Liberals introduced the program in 1996, and they gutted it at all acknowledged sources.

We are cleaning up their mess. We have extended it. We have added an additional five weeks of regular benefits. As well, we have expanded it so people can actually not need EI. They can stay in their jobs through a work sharing program, which is now protecting 93,000 jobs right across the country.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, a 360-hour national standard of eligibility will help Canadian families that have lost their jobs. It will provide immediate stimulus to the economy.

When the Minister of Finance said just last night that he was willing to consider our proposals on EI, was this for real or was it just a case of when the cat is away, the mice will play?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we did ask the Liberals for their opinion several months ago. What did we receive? Zero. That is what we got from them in terms of looking for ways to help Canadians. We knew they were going to need help and we offered it to them.

We have provided substantial improvements in access to EI, in benefits for those who are unfortunate enough to lose their jobs. However, all the Liberals can come up with is borrowed ideas. That is their idea of leadership. We do not buy it.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Monday, the Minister of National Revenue shut out people in need. In response to the Liberal proposal to reduce the employment insurance eligibility requirement to 360 hours, the minister said, “We are not open to that idea”. Yesterday, however, when someone pointed out that the Minister of Finance's own wife, Christine Elliott, had warned him about this, he said that he was open to suggestions for improving the employment insurance program.

Canadians deserve better. Who speaks on behalf of the government, the National Revenue minister of bits and pieces or the Minister of Finance?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, let me give a few quotes. “The five week extension of benefits is a step in the right direction” and “Retraining is an excellent way to diversify our labour force and grow the economy”, and those are two things we are doing. Who said that? The Liberal member for Cape Breton—Canso.

Who said this, “budget 2009 is strong on training?” It was the Liberal member for Markham—Unionville.

“The additional training will be beneficial for workers in those industries hardest hit, such as manufacturing and forestry, as they prepare for careers in other sectors”. Who said that? The member for Kings—Hants, a Liberal again.