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House of Commons Hansard #75 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was seniors.

Topics

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

10:10 a.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I would like to correct the record. The member is putting erroneous facts on the record again. He indicated a $4 million cost for a specific project that was security related when in fact that cost was $144,000.

I wish that the member would wait for the Auditor General's assessment of the expenditures. I am looking forward to hearing what the Auditor General has to say about them rather than listening to the rhetoric of members opposite.

Airport SecurityOral Questions

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, after 10 years, it is time the government got serious about its oversight of the Victoria harbour airport.

Last week, a report from aviation expert, QualaTech-Aero Consulting, said that the airport did not meet Transport Canada's own standards. When he has been asked when the airport would meet Canadian aviation regulations, the minister has given vastly different timelines for action.

Could the minister finally tell the people of Victoria when their harbour airport will comply with both the existing and new water airport regulations?

Airport SecurityOral Questions

10:10 a.m.

Yellowhead Alberta

Conservative

Rob Merrifield ConservativeMinister of State (Transport)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member asked a specific question about a harbour airport. We take all of our harbour airports very seriously. Safety and security are important to us and they are the government's number one issue. We will be reviewing all of these in due course as we move forward.

I will take my hon. colleague's question under consideration.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

10:10 a.m.

Bloc

Jean Dorion Bloc Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, excavators have started work again on housing in Israeli settlements on the West Bank, which is weakening the peace process even more. The Palestinian president is even considering leaving the negotiating table if the moratorium is not extended.

The United States and France have taken a stance against the renewed colonization. Does the Conservative government not realize that by remaining silent, it is sanctioning an action that violates international law?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

10:15 a.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, Canada has not been silent. Quite the opposite, in fact. At the G8 summit, the Prime Minister and our government reminded our colleagues that the ultimate goal, of course, is to see two sovereign countries emerge in that region and to have them live side by side in peace and harmony. We have also strongly insisted that both parties pursue and continue their discussions, because that is the only way to achieve lasting peace.

Leader of the Liberal PartyStatements By Members

10:15 a.m.

Conservative

Dick Harris Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, while Canadians are concerned about the economy and jobs, the Liberal leader clearly has other priorities.

On Wednesday when Parliament was debating employment insurance, an important issue to Canadian workers and business, the Liberal leader bizarrely announced that the issue was the census, not EI. In the same week that Statistics Canada reported on the country's economic growth, the Liberal leader said that his priority was to make it easier to possess and use marijuana. The census, marijuana, it seems like everything is a priority for the Liberal leader, except the economy.

There is little wonder that the Liberal leader does not want to talk about the economy. His economic agenda includes increasing taxes on Canadian business, lowering the EI qualifying period to 45 days, increasing the GST back to 7%, and throwing in the Liberal leader's iPod tax.

There is quite a brain trust going on over there.

RussiaStatements By Members

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, in late August I introduced the leader of the democratic opposition and former deputy prime minister of Russia, Mr. Boris Nemtsov, at the Black Ribbon Day Conference at the University of Toronto's Munk Centre, hosted by the Central and Eastern European Council of Canada.

The following day Mr. Nemtsov and more than 100 democracy activists were arrested. Some were imprisoned using Soviet-style laws for participating in unsanctioned meetings.

Prime Minister Putin openly threatened the activists and established a new tenet of Putinism, stating, “You will be beaten on your skull with a truncheon. And that's that”.

Commenting on the west's silence, Russia's leading broadcast journalist, the exiled Evgeny Kiselev, lamented that the west “has traded the Russian democratic opposition for oil and gas”.

The Russian people are fighting for their constitutional rights of free assembly and of free media.

Will the Conservative government publicly and unequivocally condemn Mr. Putin's slide toward authoritarianism and his campaign of arrests of human and democratic rights activists in Russia?

National Order of Agricultural MeritStatements By Members

10:15 a.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, Ferme St-Ours inc., run by Chantal and Martine Bourgeois and Serge Lefebvre from Saint-Ours, recently won a gold medal from the Ordre national du mérite agricole. As president of the Fédération des producteurs d'oeufs de consommation du Québec, Mr. Lefebvre is well known for defending supply management.

Since 1993, Ferme St-Ours has specialized in table egg production, maple syrup production and crop farming, with an approach to farming that is rooted in innovation, respect and authenticity.

The Ordre national du mérite agricole also honoured 20 or so other farms including Les Vergers Denis Charbonneau Inc. in Mont Saint-Grégoire, which won a silver medal, and Ferme Tullochgorum SENC in Ormstown, which won a bronze medal.

On behalf of my Bloc Québécois colleagues, I want to congratulate the owners of Ferme St-Ours and the other recipients on these richly deserved honours. Quebec's agriculture industry stands out because of passionate people like these.

Veterans AffairsStatements By Members

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Madam Speaker, when we ask Canadian soldiers to put their lives on the line in combat or peacekeeping missions, Canada needs to ensure that when these men and women return home, they are properly supported, that we fulfill our obligations to them as they fulfilled theirs to Canada.

The government is offering only band-aid solutions to veterans and ignoring the clawback of benefits, inequities in the ranking system, and the closing of beds in veterans hospitals.

Shamefully, the government is closing half the veterans beds at London's Parkwood Hospital and downloading responsibility for modern-day veterans to the province.

Caregivers at veterans facilities across the country have the expertise and skill to provide the top-level and specific care that is required. The hospital provides the appropriate supports that give quality of life to veterans.

The recent announcement on the reforms to the veterans charter are only words. What veterans need is real action.

The only way the Department of Veterans Affairs can hope to regain any legitimacy is by allowing a full public inquiry into its treatment of veterans.

Decriminalization of MarijuanaStatements By Members

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Conservative Saint Boniface, MB

Madam Speaker, it is starting to make sense why the Liberal leader's team has endorsed the job-killing 45-day work year.

His star candidate from B.C., Ross Rebagliati, knows very well that working a little here and a little there, as he calls it, basically just being Ross, is enough to get by if the coalition has its way. Working 45 days a year gives someone a lot of time to sit around the couch.

A media headline this week indicated that the Liberal leader would reintroduce a marijuana decriminalization bill. There is no smoky haze here. The Liberals are very clear that they would decriminalize pot and advocate for a job-killing 45-day work year. The Liberals are really out of touch with Canadians.

Our government will not support this legislation that sends the wrong message to our kids about marijuana.

SeniorsStatements By Members

10:20 a.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Madam Speaker, today is Canada's first National Seniors Day, a day enacted to recognize the contributions made to society by seniors in every region of Canada.

While I am pleased to offer my appreciation to the millions of seniors who work hard every day to help build Canada, I would prefer to show that appreciation.

Canadian seniors continue to struggle. We hear that every day. Inadequate pension rates, low-income thresholds, unfair clawback rules and living expenses that are increasing faster than the payout rate are each contributing to less and less gold in one's golden years.

Seniors are not asking for a national day; they are asking for national action. It has now been 612 days since the government promised that kind of action and seniors are tired of empty promises.

Let us hope that in the spirit of seniors day, we will finally nudge the government to start showing, not just saying, that it cares about seniors.

Liberal PartyStatements By Members

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Madam Speaker, the Liberal Party leader's priorities are very clear. He wants to tax Canadians more so that people can get employment insurance benefits after working for just 45 days; he wants to hike taxes; and he also wants to decriminalize marijuana. Our government is trying to maintain the necessary and fragile equilibrium between supporting economic renewal and keeping the employment insurance program solvent.

We all know that the Liberal government literally raided billions of dollars from the employment insurance fund. Now that they are the opposition, the Liberals want to permanently increase premiums by 35%. That is not what Canadians want and, once again, the Liberals are not listening to them.

As for the Liberal-backed marijuana legislation, our government will never support a law that sends such a bad message to the youth of our country.

Granby International Song FestivalStatements By Members

10:20 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Madam Speaker, on Wednesday, the Festival international de la chanson de Granby was awarded the Prix du 3-juillet-1608 for its exemplary work defending and promoting French language and culture in America. This prize is awarded by the Conseil supérieur de la langue française and commemorates Samuel de Champlain's founding of Quebec City.

The Festival international de la chanson de Granby has been one of the largest promoters of francophone artists over the past 42 years. Through this festival, our artists and their songs are able to get wide exposure abroad because they receive the resources they need while seeking the goal of preserving the beauty of our language. This prize rewards the efforts put forth by the festival's organizers and participants.

On behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I would like to offer our congratulations on this prize and our best wishes for a futures as rich as the past.

SeniorsStatements By Members

October 1st, 2010 / 10:20 a.m.

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Madam Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise in the House to recognize today as the International Day of Older Persons and the proposed day in Bill C-40 to be Canada's National Seniors Day. In June the Minister of State for Seniors introduced Celebrating Canada's Seniors Act, which passed with the support of all parties in the House.

This Conservative government recognizes the important involvement of seniors in our communities and their valuable contributions to Canada as a whole. They are volunteers, mentors, business leaders and experienced workers.

When I think of a senior who volunteered all of his life in many capacities, I think of my long-time acquaintance and friend, Bob Burns of Estevan, Saskatchewan, who at 80 years of age still umpires ball.

On behalf of the Government of Canada and all Canadians, I would like to say a big thanks to the seniors of our country.

Commonwealth GamesStatements By Members

10:25 a.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Madam Speaker, I stand here to wish great success to our Canadian delegation at the Commonwealth Games starting Monday in India.

After the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games, I understand the substantial money, time and effort involved in hosting and on behalf of Canadians I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to India for hosting this year's games.

The first Commonwealth Games were held in Hamilton, Canada in 1930. Thus began a long tradition that has played out every four years since then. These events remind us that sports have an incredible unifying power because they bring people from all four corners of the world together.

Competitive sport has the power to deliver lasting benefits, transforming people, communities and cultures. I applaud our athletes' commitment and perseverance. They inspire our youth to reach further, push harder and achieve personal successes.

We wish our Canadian athletes the best of luck. Our hearts and minds are with them. May the games begin and may they win gold.

SeniorsStatements By Members

10:25 a.m.

Conservative

Dave Van Kesteren Conservative Chatham-Kent—Essex, ON

Madam Speaker, today Canada joins the international community to celebrate the United Nations International Day of Older Persons. October 1 is also the day designated in Bill C-40 to be Canada's National Seniors Day.

In my riding of Chatham-Kent--Essex, I have conducted a series of visits to seniors homes, where I converse with seniors in an exercise called “listening to seniors”. It is one of my most enjoyable functions, where a wealth of wisdom and advice is gleaned from our oldest and wisest citizens. We talk about the Canada they grew up in and the changes they experienced, good or not so good. They offer an abundance of great advice about where we ought to go and how we ought to get there.

I am thankful for our seniors and forever grateful to them for the Canada they have helped build. I treasure the time I have been able to spend with each one of them and look forward to our next appointment with “listening to seniors”.

Aviation SafetyStatements By Members

10:25 a.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Madam Speaker, last week Canadians who fly in and out of Victoria harbour learned that the government, through its lack of interest in safety, is putting their lives at risk. A report by QualaTech-Aero Consulting showed that despite 10 years of promises, Transport Canada has not taken any safety planning actions.

Victoria is the third busiest float plane base in the world. Transport Canada is the owner and operator, as well as the regulator. Despite this, the harbour airport does not even meet Transport Canada regulations. But get this: Without any safety plan in place, the minister has given the green light to the development of a mega-marina which will create major hazards to sailboat masts.

Over and over again the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities has learned how lax the government is when it comes to aviation safety. When will the minister take up his responsibility and protect Canadians who fly?

Right to VoteStatements By Members

10:25 a.m.

Conservative

Jay Hill Conservative Prince George—Peace River, BC

Madame Speaker, I rise today to remind Canadians of their democratic duty.

Never have I been prouder to be Canadian than when I helped to serve a hot Christmas dinner in 2006 to troops just coming off the front lines in Afghanistan, and again in the last election when I received an email from a commanding officer detailing how his troops were willingly accepting additional risks to deliver ballot boxes to those same front lines, to ensure that no soldier missed the opportunity to vote.

Compare these young Canadians, who are already putting their young lives on the line to bring democracy to a war-torn land, including extra risks in the name of democracy, with citizens back home in Canada who have become so apathetic, they cannot even be bothered to cross the street to vote.

There is no greater privilege than having the right to vote. People have died to preserve that right; indeed some people still are in some lands. I implore all Canadians to think about their choices and re-engage in the political process.

Billy DiamondStatements By Members

10:25 a.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bloc Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Madam Speaker, we were saddened to hear that Billy Diamond, a well-known aboriginal political personality in Quebec, has passed away.

He was a founding member of the Grand Council of the Crees of Quebec, serving as Grand Chief from 1974 to 1984. In 1975, he signed the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, which led to the construction of large hydroelectric dams on James Bay, on behalf of the Cree community of northern Quebec. He also represented the Quebec Cree and the Assembly of First Nations during the constitutional conferences of 1982 and 1983. He was also a businessman involved in various Cree businesses, including Air Creebec. In 1987, he was made a knight of the National Order of Quebec in recognition of his contributions and his legacy.

My Bloc Québécois colleagues and I salute Mr. Diamond's involvement. We wish to convey our sincere condolences to his wife, Elizabeth, and their six children.

Governor General of CanadaStatements By Members

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

Mario Silva Liberal Davenport, ON

Madam Speaker, on behalf of my colleagues in the Liberal caucus, I would like to salute Governor General designate David Johnston and his wife as they begin their new roles today.

Mr. Johnston has had an impressive career as an educator, legal scholar, athlete and university president of both McGill and Waterloo. Governor General David Johnston has inspired Canadians in the classroom and has brought international recognition to Canada's capacity for science, research and development. As a renowned academic and university leader, he has shown his tremendous dedication to post-secondary education and its role in building an innovative, highly skilled future for Canada.

We have full confidence that Governor General David Johnston will perform his constitutional duties with grace and dignity, acting within the principles of Canada's parliamentary democracy. We know he will ensure continuous and stable governance in a non-partisan manner and continue the tradition of the excellence established by his predecessors.

Doug KorpleinskyStatements By Members

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

Tim Uppal Conservative Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

Madam Speaker, it is my honour today to pay tribute to someone who is unfortunately no longer with us, Doug Korpleinsky. Doug was not only a dear friend to my family and me, but he was also a significant contributor to the Edmonton community.

For many years he coached hockey with the Knights of Columbus, teaching young men the importance of teamwork, commitment and hard work. A few of those players he coached even made it to the NHL.

He was an elected senator of the Edmonton Junior Chamber of Commerce, motivating individuals to create positive change in their community, in our businesses and in the world around us.

He also encouraged young people and people of various backgrounds to understand and get involved in politics, including myself.

Doug Korpleinsky made a profound impact in his community and with the people in his life. This proud Canadian will dearly be missed.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to his mother, Alice, and the rest of his family.

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Orders 104 and 114, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 15th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs concerning the list of members of committees of the House.

If the House gives its consent, I intend to move concurrence in the 15th report later this day.

Pope John Paul II ActRoutine Proceedings

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

Andrew Kania Liberal Brampton West, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-573, An Act to establish Pope John Paul II Day.

Madam Speaker, today I have the honour of introducing my private member's bill that I have entitled, “an act to establish Pope John Paul II Day”.

I am particularly moved to introduce the bill, being a proud first generation Polish Canadian and practising Roman Catholic. However, it must be remembered that the impact of this man, who has been granted the title “Venerable” by Pope Benedict XVI and is on his way to sainthood, goes well beyond his Polish roots or Roman Catholic faith.

Pope John Paul II is universally recognized as a leading figure in world history and a principle force behind the ending of communism in Eastern Europe. He bridged divides between the Roman Catholic Church and other religions. He visited 129 countries and attracted some of the largest crowds in history, such as over 5 million people in Manila in 1995 and over 800,000 in Toronto in 2002.

I will be asking for the support of my colleagues to designate each April 2, the anniversary of Pope John Paul II's death, as Pope John Paul II day across Canada.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Retirement Income Bill of RightsRoutine Proceedings

10:35 a.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-574, An Act to promote and strengthen the Canadian retirement income system.

Madam Speaker, since the Mackenzie King government first introduced the Old Age Pension Act 83 years ago, Liberals have fostered a long history of creating, enhancing and expanding pensions available to Canadian seniors. From old age security, to the CPP and the supplement, we understand the extreme importance of protecting and preserving pension security, adequacy and coverage for all Canadians.

Today I am pleased to present a bill called, “an act to promote and strengthen the Canadian retirement income system”, or as I like to call it, “the pension income bill of rights”. I am seeking to enshrine in law the notion that all Canadians have the right to contribute to a decent retirement plan and to be provided with up-to-date, unbiased and conflict-free information on their retirement savings. Too often financial illiteracy, inadequate opportunity and economic instability strip away the hard-earned savings of our seniors, and that must stop.

This is the first bill of its kind ever proposed to better protect our seniors and their nest eggs. I am proud to present it today.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

First Nations Financial Transparency ActRoutine Proceedings

10:35 a.m.

Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-575, An Act respecting the accountability and enhanced financial transparency of elected officials of First Nations communities.

Madam Speaker, I am proud to rise this morning to highlight the importance of this act. I thank the hon. member from Red Deer for his strong support on this matter.

The first nations financial transparency act is important for all first nations members across the country. It is important for all chiefs, councillors and all taxpayers. This act is about increasing the transparency and accountability of public tax dollars flowing to first nations. It will make public the salary and expenses received by chiefs and councillors in first nations communities. Currently this information is not publicly available.

This disclosure is already a reality for other elected officials in Canada and we believe first nations elected officials should be held to the same high standard. We trust first nations leaders will welcome this act as an important tool in helping deliver transparency and accountability to their constituents.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)