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House of Commons Hansard #85 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was countries.

Topics

Nova Scotia Fruit Growers' AssociationStatements by Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I had the great pleasure of delivering to this House four boxes of Nova Scotia Honeycrisp apples.

These apples were supplied by the Nova Scotia Fruit Growers' Association, which has been promoting Nova Scotia fruit since 1863. From its beginning, the Nova Scotia Fruit Growers' Association has ensured the advancement of agriculture in our area. The association was a leader in establishing the Wolfville School of Horticulture in 1894, and the Kentville Experimental Farm in 1910.

Nova Scotia apples have been displayed by the association at many world exhibitions and were praised and rewarded for their fine quality.

Presently the association continues to play an important role in the lives of Nova Scotia apple growers and the apple industry. Today the association's goal is to create an economically viable and sustainable Nova Scotia tree fruit industry.

I, and I am sure all members of this House, thank the Nova Scotia Fruit Growers' Association first, for the great work it continues to do, and second, for its absolutely delicious Honeycrisp apples.

The LEED Rating SystemStatements by Members

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Bloc Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, construction of the Tour St-Martin in my riding is slated to begin next spring. This 11,985 square-metre, eight-storey building will be the first LEED-certified office building in Laval.

The LEED, leadership in energy and environmental design, rating system is based on “five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water efficiency, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.”

In the Tour St-Martin, amenities such as showers will be installed so that walkers and cyclists can get their day off to a good start. In addition, “the building will be equipped with geothermal technology and devices for water and air energy recovery.”

The contractors involved in this project will be working towards LEED silver certification. My Bloc Québécois colleagues and I wish them well in this endeavour.

Human SmugglingStatements by Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Conservative Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, on Monday in Vienna, I delivered a speech at the 10th United Nations conference against transnational organized crime. I had the opportunity to reaffirm the government's commitment to combatting human smuggling.

This goes hand in hand with the bill introduced by the member for Kildonan—St. Paul, which has been given royal assent. The member has worked relentlessly on this issue.

As well, yesterday our government introduced a bill that targets those who prey and abuse our immigration system through illegal human smuggling activities.

Let me be very clear: legal migration enriches us all. Canada is determined to maintain trust in its regular immigration and refugee systems, ensuring they work effectively and fairly for everyone. Their manipulation by criminal networks will not be tolerated.

Our government will continue its fight against human smuggling and protect the integrity of our immigration system.

Monument to the Fallen SoldierStatements by Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Crombie Liberal Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I was honoured to join the Canadian Museum of Hindu Civilization for the unveiling of its memorial monument to the fallen soldier.

Donated by the families of Shylee and Ajit Someshwar, Christine and Bhupinder Khalsa, and Jaya and Vasu Chanchlani, the monument is designed to show the heroism of Canadian soldiers, particularly those who lost their lives in Afghanistan.

This stunning and humbling monument, shaped as a maple leaf, is carved in black granite and imperial red granite, sourced from India. Standing tall next to the statue of Mahatma Gandhi, the monument is dedicated to the Canadian armed forces for their exemplary service as peacekeepers all over the world.

Ms. Shylee Someshwar summed it up best when she said:

The Indo-Canadian community's involvement speaks of its dedication to the causes Canada supports. It's our humble way of saying - we care, we belong and we truly appreciate.

I highly recommend that all residents of the GTA and visitors passing through take time to visit this important monument.

Human SmugglingStatements by Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, human smuggling is a criminal enterprise that happens around the world. Smugglers are paid to help people enter Canada illegally. This practice is fundamentally unfair to legitimate refugees who are patiently waiting to begin new lives here in Canada.

Yesterday the Minister of Public Safety and the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism announced legislation to crack down on criminals aiming to profit from Canada's generosity. Human smuggling is a serious criminal offence that puts human lives at risk and benefits only criminal organizations.

With this bill, our government is sending a clear message: we will not tolerate the abuse of our immigration system by human smugglers and we will do everything we can to keep Canadians safe and secure.

Canada will remain compassionate towards immigrants. We have a proud tradition of welcoming refugees, but we must protect our borders, which is exactly what this bill will do.

HealthStatements by Members

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to share with the House the heroic efforts of the citizens of Castlegar, B.C.

Not long ago they learned that the only ultrasound machine in our health centre was scheduled for permanent removal to another location at the end of the month.

With the closure of the Castlegar Hospital a few years ago by the IHA still fresh in their memories, this was the straw that broke the camel's back. They were absolutely determined to reject any further erosion of their medical services.

Two days ago, more than 300 concerned and angry citizens, seniors, youth, medical professionals, elected officials and many others, marched down the main street of Castlegar to deliver a strong message to the provincial government.

Many also worked tirelessly to convince the IHA to suspend the removal of the ultrasound equipment until a full community consultation has taken place.

Hopefully the IHA and the provincial government will work with our community not only to retain the ultrasound machine but also to expand and improve hospital services in Castlegar.

I thank the citizens of Castlegar and congratulate them.

ImmigrationStatements by Members

October 22nd, 2010 / 11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Jim Abbott Conservative Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday our Conservative government listened to 55% of Canadians who think human smuggling is unacceptable. Our action will ensure Canada's immigration laws are respected and that criminals are sentenced properly.

The proposed bill to prevent human smugglers from abusing Canada's generosity will make it easier to prosecute human smugglers and will implement mandatory minimum sentences for those convicted of this serious offence.

The proposed reforms reflect our government's strong commitment to fight the scourge of human smuggling through stronger criminal laws.

The bill has received glowing praise from cultural groups across the country. The United Macedonian Diaspora stated yesterday that they were pleased to see the government taking strong action to deter human smugglers from coming to Canada's shores and abusing Canada's generosity.

Our government is sending a clear message to human smugglers: the abuse of our immigration system will not be tolerated.

Employment InsuranceStatements by Members

11:15 a.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, when a person wants to have a dog put down they say the dog was violent. When a government does not want to vote for a bill, it exaggerates the economic impact. That is what the government did with the Bloc Québécois' Bill C-308, which it estimated would cost $7 billion.

Last year, the Liberals and the Conservatives set up a puppet committee to restore the 360-hour threshold for employment insurance eligibility. At the first opportunity to vote in favour of this measure included in Bill C-308, they turned their backs on the workers.

Today, we are debating Bill C-280, which would fill in some of the gaps that Bill C-308 sought to remedy. That is why the Bloc Québécois is voting in favour of the bill. We hope the Conservatives and the Liberals will follow suit and that they will not use cost as an excuse again, because the costs, which are estimated at $2 billion—

Employment InsuranceStatements by Members

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. member for Westmount—Ville-Marie.

InfrastructureStatements by Members

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are being stubborn and irresponsible with the March 31 deadline.

This policy is causing major problems. It is artificially inflating the cost of many projects, and is jeopardizing a ton of others, for example, 2-22, the flagship building of Montreal's Quartier des spectacles.

Let us look at a riding like Compton—Stanstead, where major PRECO projects are in jeopardy in East Angus, Weedon and Martinville, not to mention the Pat Burns Arena, which the Prime Minister himself announced.

According to the Fédération québécoise des municipalités, one-third of the projects are in jeopardy because of this ill-advised policy. That is why the Quebec National Assembly has unanimously called on the federal government to finance the projects that have been announced, regardless of their completion date.

The Conservatives must reconsider this decision and stop being so ridiculously stubborn.

ImmigrationStatements by Members

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, our government has a long and proud tradition of welcoming newcomers. Last year alone we welcomed almost one-quarter million new immigrants to this country.

Through the Balanced Refugee Reform Act introduced last year, we committed to resettle 2,500 more refugees and increased their funding by 20%. It is obvious that Canada is a generous and compassionate country, but Canadians are not naive and are not pushovers.

Yesterday our government introduced the preventing newcomers from abusing Canada's generosity bill. This tough but fair bill would give law enforcement officials the tools they need to crack down on human smugglers and ensure the safety and security of Canadians.

The Peel Tamil Community Centre released a statement yesterday congratulating our government on this bill stating, “We are pleased to see the Government taking...action to deter human smugglers”.

Cultural groups across the country are congratulating and thanking our government for introducing this important bill. Why are the opposition parties so quick to criticize what so many Canadians think is an important and necessary policy?

Potash IndustryOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, to the notion of selling off Canada's vital potash industry, putting half of the world's reserves into the hands of a single foreign company, the Premier of Saskatchewan has been very clear. The answer is no.

Even before the government heard the premier's advice, the Prime Minister tainted the process. He maligned Potash Corporation as non-Canadian.

How can anyone now believe the federal regulatory process will be fair when the Prime Minister, who brags about making all the rules, is so blatantly biased?

Potash IndustryOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I say to my friend from Wascana that the Prime Minister just pointed out the fact that some 51% of the shares of this company are held by non-Canadians.

The government is undertaking a very rigorous review process, and I will commit that the government will only approve the deal if it is of net benefit to Canada.

Potash IndustryOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, 53% of the world's richest reserves of potash are in Saskatchewan. This strategic resource is crucial to farmers, to food production and feeding a hungry world. Its value has only begun to rise.

“This is not a normal market transaction”, says the Premier of Saskatchewan.

Never before in history has a takeover bid involved so much of something as strategic as potash. Why is the government so dismissive of what is so important to Saskatchewan?

Potash IndustryOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the government has taken the issue incredibly seriously. There is a rigorous review under way. As I said, we will commit that we will only approve the deal if it is of net benefit to Canada.

As for the people of Saskatchewan, they can count on a very strong team of Saskatchewan members of Parliament forcefully representing them in the government caucus.

Potash IndustryOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, the industry minister says he is neither the head waiter to Saskatchewan nor the butler for BHP, but we do know that he is the handmaiden to the Prime Minister and he will do what he is told.

The Prime Minister's taint and bias are unmistakable. He will impose his opinion on Saskatchewan, no matter what, and the premier says that puts jobs, investment and public revenues at risk, $5.7 billion.

When this deal goes sideways, who will pay the bills for a bad decision these Conservatives pushed down Saskatchewan's throat?

Potash IndustryOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the last time the people of Saskatchewan were asked who they wanted to be Prime Minister, I think they spoke very favourably to the custodianship of this Prime Minister.

Let me say this to the member for Wascana. The government is undertaking a rigorous review of this request, and we will only approve it if it is of net benefit to Canada.

The House and the people of Saskatchewan can count on this government always doing what is best for Canada.

Government SpendingOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Liberal Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a choice: megaprisons even though crime rates are dropping and fighter jets without a bidding process but with sky-rocketing costs, as we know now, or the Liberals' choice to help Canadian families.

How can the minister look Canadian families in the eye and defend his choices?

Government SpendingOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Proudly, Mr. Speaker, because we have made sure that Canadian families have jobs. That is the most important thing to Canadians. If they do not have a job, they cannot support their family. It is that plain and it is that simple.

There are 420,000 Canadians who now have jobs who did not in July 2009. That speaks volumes.

Government SpendingOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Liberal Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Governor of the Bank of Canada has confirmed that household debt is one of the biggest challenges facing the Canadian economy.

One of the biggest contributors to household debt is the cost to families of home care and of looking after our elderly and our sick.

Why is the government choosing to spend money on megaprisons and on unaffordable tax cuts instead of helping Canadian families with the burden of home care and of helping look after our elderly and our sick?

Government SpendingOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

As I have said, Mr. Speaker, that is our priority, to help Canadians.

All of us in the House remember what happened in the 1990s. The Liberals, trying to balance their deficit, passed that debt on to the provinces and the municipalities through cuts in transfers, somewhere around $25 billion in cuts.

We continue to increase social transfers to the provinces by 3%. We continue to increase health transfers to the provinces by 6%. It is their choice how they spend that money.

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the company awarded the contract to renovate West Block here on Parliament Hill was not qualified. Observers were surprised to see the small company, once run by the Hells Angels, on the short list of eligible companies. In fact, apart from the $140,000 paid by LM Sauvé to a Conservative supporter, that company was not qualified to do the work.

Will the government admit that the process of awarding contracts is tainted, and that this mess is the result of partisanship and favouritism?

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, the company to which the member is referring has no contractual relationship with the Government of Canada. In fact, this is a dispute between two private entities.

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the proof that this company was not qualified is that it went bankrupt. If not for its connections to a Conservative lobbyist, it would never have been given the contract. Since then, a bond company that has funded the Conservatives has taken over the work, but problems persist. At least three subcontractors have not been paid.

Does the government realize that by awarding contracts based on a company's political stripe rather than its qualifications, it is responsible for the current mess in the West Block?

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated, this company has no contractual relationship with the Government of Canada. The dispute that she is talking about is a private dispute between two entities.