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House of Commons Hansard #98 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was senators.

Topics

Enhanced New Veterans Charter ActRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn Conservative Jonquière—Alma, QC

moved for leave to introduce bill C-55, An Act to amend the Canadian Forces Members and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Act and the Pension Act.

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

Interparliamentary DelegationsRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian delegation of the Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association respecting its bilateral visits to Cotonou, Benin, and Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, from September 5 to 12, 2010.

Interparliamentary DelegationsRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian delegation of the Canadian Group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union concerning its participation in the parliamentary panel within the framework of the World Trade Organization Public Forum 2010 and the 22nd session of the Committee of the Parliamentary Conference, held in Geneva, Switzerland, on September 16, 2010.

Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with DisabilitiesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the eighth report of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities in relation to Bill C-343, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code and the Employment Insurance Act (family leave). The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House without amendments.

I also have the honour to present, in both official languages, the seventh report of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities in relation to the committee's study of the federal contribution to reducing poverty in Canada.

This study started during the 2nd session of the 39th Parliament. The committee, over the years, has held numerous meetings across the country and has finally completed its work.

Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee is requesting that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.

I wish to thank all the members of the committee, past and present, from both sides of the House, for their hard work, contributions, support, and collaboration during this long study. I also want to thank the committee staff, past and present, for its professional and excellent support.

National Brain Health Education and Awareness Month ActRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-595, An Act respecting a National Brain Health Education and Awareness Month.

Mr. Speaker, five million Canadians are living with a neurological condition today. This bill would designate the month of March as National Brain Awareness Month in order to help raise awareness about neurological disease and injuries.

Designating the month of March as National Brain Awareness Month would educate the people of Canada to enhance their understanding of brain health, including brain diseases, disorders and injuries. It would ensure that brain health research was fully funded and that preventive measures, treatment and support were universally accessible. It would confirm the government's commitment to improving the quality of life of all persons who live with a brain condition and of their families and informal caregivers.

It is my hope that hon. members will support the bill. It is my hope that the introduction of the bill will help raise awareness about brain health, the need for a national brain strategy and lay the foundation for that national brain strategy to which our party has already committed.

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

Passport FeesPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I present a petition signed by dozens of Canadians. The petition calls on the Canadian government to negotiate with the United States government to reduce the United States and Canadian passport fees.

The number of American tourists visiting Canada is at its lowest level since 1972. It has fallen by five million visits in the last seven years alone, from 16 million in 2002 to only 11 million in 2009.

Passport fees for an American family of four could be over $500 U.S. In fact, 50% of Canadians have passports but only 25% of Americans have passports.

At a recent Midwestern Legislative Conference of the Council of State Governments, which comprises the 11 border states from North Dakota to Illinois and three Canadian provinces, the following resolution was passed unanimously:

RESOLVED, that the Midwestern Legislative Conference of The Council of State Governments calls on President Barack Obama and [the Canadian] Prime Minister...to immediately examine a reduced fee for passports to facilitate cross-border tourism; and be it further

RESOLVED, that [the Conference] encourage the governments to examine the idea of a limited time two-for-one passport renewal or new application.

To be a fair process the passport fees must be reduced on both sides of the border. Therefore, the petitioners call on the government to work with the American government to examine a mutual reduction in passport fees to facilitate tourism and to promote a limited time two for one passport renewal or new application fee on a mutual basis with the United States.

Employment InsurancePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, I am rising to present a petition once again about the EI pilot projects started in 2005 for areas of unemployment higher than 10%. There were three pilot projects. One allowed people to earn up to 40% of their income before being clawed back. Another was the extension of five weeks. The third one, which will affect most of the people not just in my area but in all areas of the country affected by areas of high unemployment, is the best 14 weeks option.

In that option people can use their best 14 weeks on which to base their benefits from employment insurance as opposed to using the last 14 weeks. This means that people can now work two or three days a week when asked without being penalized when it comes to their benefits because it actually ruins their average. By using the best 14 weeks it means that over that longer period of the winter, especially for seasonal workers, they get to achieve more benefits and therefore the system can eliminate disincentives for work.

This is for the employees in many areas of Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor as well as the entire province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Canada Post CorporationPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Conservative Beauce, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to present a petition from the people in my riding of Beauce. They are calling on the Government of Canada to maintain the moratorium on closing rural post offices. They are also asking that the government enable Canada Post to maintain, enhance and improve postal services.

I am pleased to present this petition.

Use of Wood in Federal BuildingsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Bloc

Gérard Asselin Bloc Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I am presenting a petition in the House in support of Bill C-429, which I introduced in June 2009. The petitioners note that the bill would provide immediate assistance to forestry companies and would also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The use of wood in federal buildings will help our businesses develop new secondary and tertiary products and find new markets for our products. Furthermore, timber products are alternatives to energy-inefficient products and products that require a lot of energy to produce. They can also be a green alternative to energy-intensive construction materials.

The petitioners are calling on the government to pass Bill C-429, which would promote the use of wood in repairing and constructing federal buildings.

Canada Pension PlanPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table a petition that is signed by people from all over the greater Hamilton area in support of my Bill C-527. Members can imagine how outraged people were when they discovered that it is possible for someone convicted of killing his or her spouse to collect full CPP and CPPD survivor benefits and/or death benefits.

They believed, as I did, that it was a long-established principle in law that no one should be able to benefit from the commission of a crime and that principle must be enshrined in the eligibility criteria for government benefit programs.

The petitioners are calling on Parliament to immediately pass Bill C-527, which amends the Canada pension plan to prohibit the payment of a survivor's pension, orphan's benefit or death benefit to a survivor or orphan of a deceased contributor if the survivor or orphan has been convicted of the murder or manslaughter of the deceased contributor.

Protection of ChildrenPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present a petition signed by constituents of mine from Pierrefonds—Dollard concerning the protection of children. The petitioners are calling on the Parliament of Canada to take all necessary steps to prevent children from being exploited on the Internet through the distribution of child pornography. I fully support their opinion, just as I strongly oppose child labour.

Canada-U.S. Border CrossingPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, I present a petition signed by residents of the province of Saskatchewan who draw to the attention of the government the following: The Canadian port of entry, Big Beaver, at the southernmost point of Highway 34 along the Saskatchewan-Montana U.S.A. border is scheduled for closure in April 2011. This historic cross-border commerce corridor is still intrinsic to the economic health of the Big Muddy district and southern Saskatchewan in general. This area's remoteness requires that residents on both sides of the border be able to access and share as neighbours the business services, the goods and emergency services, health, fire protection, law enforcement, offered within a 150 mile radius of the Big Beaver port.

Therefore, the petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to refrain from the closure of the Canadian port of entry, Big Beaver, and signed the petition in favour of keeping it open.

HousingPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to present three petitions.

The first petition is signed by residents in the metro Vancouver area. They are calling on the federal government and Parliament to work with all levels of government to ensure secure, adequate, accessible and affordable housing for all Canadians. They are also asking that new moneys go beyond the 2009 budget and that Parliament ensure the swift passage of my private member's bill, Bill C-304, An Act to ensure secure, adequate, accessible and affordable housing for Canadians.

G20 SummitPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is also from folks in Vancouver, Burnaby and the Lower Mainland. They are very concerned about the harmful and anti-democratic actions of the government and the police during the G20 summit that took place in June. They are calling for a public inquiry. They are very concerned about the mass detention and mass arrests of people in Toronto who were legitimately protesting.

They are also calling for law reform to ensure that the Criminal Code provisions relating to breach of the peace, unlawful assemblies and riots are brought into line with constitutional standards.

Middle EastPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by people in the Toronto area, Mississauga, who are very concerned about Canada's policy concerning the Middle East. They want to see us return to a more even-handed policy on the Middle East, including the bringing of pressure upon the State of Israel to stop all settlement expansion in the occupied territories, including expansion in East Jerusalem, as well as insisting upon the removal of the wall in occupied territories, and to stop the siege of Gaza in order to allow for reconstruction and the return of hope for the people of Gaza.

Public Transit SafetyPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Gerard Kennedy Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour of presenting three petitions today.

The first petition regards the safety of our transit employees. This petition, signed by 270 Canadians, raises concerns about the alarming statistic that up to 40% of bus operators have been assaulted while on the job. Of course, that means an assault and danger not only to the operator, but to passengers, as well as the public in the vicinity of the vehicle.

The petitioners are calling on the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada to provide stronger protection under federal laws.

These Canadians provide an invaluable service to the public. I submit this petition in their name and in agreement.

Food Security and SovereigntyPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Gerard Kennedy Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is signed by more than 200 students and faculty of the Bishop Allen School. They draw the attention of the House to some staggering facts about the cost of biofuels, the connection with food shortages and the risk of millions of families going hungry. A World Bank report showed a 75% increase a few years ago and food prices were in some way connected to biofuels development and their related consequences.

The petitioners call on the House of Commons and the Government of Canada to take a leading role in the principle of food sovereignty, a right to adequate food for all.

Canada PostPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Gerard Kennedy Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, the third petition is in regard to the closure of public post offices. The petitioners are concerned that far too often post offices are closed with little notice, leaving local business without the necessary infrastructure to grow and leaving the surrounding communities in limbo.

The petitioners call on the Government of Canada to instruct Canada Post to maintain and improve its network of post offices and develop a uniform and democratic way of deciding what changes are to be made to this network.

I had the recent experience of helping an outlet to stay open in my riding and I would say that some instruction from the government would be in order.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

November 17th, 2010 / 3:20 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, Question No. 403 will be answered today.

Question No. 403Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

With regard to the total budget reserved for the Temporary Initiative for the Strengthening of Quebec’s Forest Economies (TISQFE): (a) what amount of the total budget is reserved for the fiscal years (i) 2010-2011, (ii) 2011-2012, (iii) 2012-2013; (b) of the total amount reserved for the 2010-2011 fiscal year, what amount does the government project will be allotted to each of the (i) 17 targeted communities listed under the TISQFE, (ii) five programs covered under the TISQFE, (iii) three initiatives covered under the TISQFE; (c) of the total amount reserved for the 2011-2012 fiscal year, what amount does the government project will be allotted for each of the (i) 17 targeted communities listed under the TISQFE, (ii) five programs covered under the TISQFE, (iii) three initiatives covered under the TISQFE; and (d) of the total amount reserved for the 2012-2013 fiscal year, what amount does the government project will be allotted for each of the (i) 17 targeted communities listed under the TISQFE, (ii) five programs covered under the TISQFE, (iii) three initiatives covered under the TISQFE?

Question No. 403Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, in response to part (a) (i), 2010-11, $49 million; (ii), 2011-12, $25 million; and (iii) 2012-13, $25 million.

In response to parts (b), (c) and (d), we are unable to answer the questions regarding the amount of funding set aside for 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13, since our funding allocations are not based on the established criteria, i.e., “the 17 targeted communities, the five programs and the three initiatives”.

Instead, projects submitted are evaluated based on merit, according to the terms and conditions of the initiative and the available budgets in the 12 business offices involved in the delivery of the TISQFE.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, if Question Nos. 397, 398, 399, 400, 401, 402 and 404 could be made orders for returns, these returns would be tabled immediately.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is it agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Question No. 397Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

With respect to initiatives and programs run by the Department of National Defence (DND) and Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) in relation to veterans’ health and welfare: (a) what are the issues affecting (i) Canada’s traditional war veteran population, (ii) Canadian Forces (CF) veterans; (b) for each group of veterans in (a), how many cases were there per identified issue, per year, over the last five years; (c) for each group of veterans in (a), what changes have occurred in the issues over the last five years; (d) for CF veterans, what key issues are anticipated following the withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2011, and for each anticipated issue, what are the (i) challenges, (ii) changes necessary to VAC, (iii) actions taken to date; (e) what recommendations, if any, have been made to improve the quality of life for veterans identified in (a) and what steps, if any, have been taken to address these recommendations; (f) what specific measures are being taken to ensure that VAC (i) responds quickly to emerging research, such as the possible link between combat and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and combat and dementia, (ii) implements research recommendations in a timely manner; (g) what are the categories of injuries sustained by the Canadian troops in Afghanistan; (h) what specific rehabilitation is provided for each injury category, by region; (i) what reviews of rehabilitation procedures have been undertaken, by date and region; (j) for each injury category identified in (g), what percentage of veterans are able to return to civilian work; (k) what specific measures are undertaken by region to help veterans normalize to civilian life; (l) what specific measures are used to ensure veterans returning from Afghanistan are informed of veterans' benefits; (m) what is the process for acquiring the help of a case manager; (n) what are the specific steps a veteran needs to take following a release or a medical release in order to gain access to (i) financial benefits programs, (ii) health benefit programs, (iii) rehabilitation programs, (iv) other program; (o) what are the rules regarding the privacy of veterans’ medical files, specifically (i) who has clearance to review medical files, (ii) what checks and balances exist to prevent a veteran’s file from being shared, (iii) what, if any, reviews have ever been undertaken to ensure privacy; (p) how is “benefit of the doubt” defined by VAC and the Veterans Review and Appeal Board (VRAB); (q) what specific criteria are used to assess “benefit of the doubt”; (r) what monitoring is undertaken to ensure that the “benefit of the doubt” concept is interpreted correctly by VAC and VRAB; (s) how do legal advantages compare for workers’ compensation board (WCB) cases and veterans’ cases; (t) what are the specific steps a survivor or dependent need to take following the death of a CF member; (u) in the event of the death of a CF member, is a case worker assigned; (v) what is the average time from the death to receipt of payment for (i) death benefits, (ii) supplementary death benefit, (iii) pensions, (iv) any support for a dependent's education; (w) what was the government’s response to the 2009 report, “Serve with Honour, Depart with Dignity”, and for each of the seven issues of concern, does the government accept or reject the concern, and what, if any, action has been taken to date for each of the concerns; (x) how many CF members are expected to become veterans following deployment to Afghanistan by quarter for each of the years 2011 and 2012; (y) what, if any, increases in case managers are required for the same time period and, if increases are required, when will case managers be hired and trained; (z) what, if any, specific decompression measures will be undertaken for veterans in Canada and who will oversee them; (aa) what, if any, follow-up is undertaken with veterans, and at what time intervals; (bb) what analyses are planned and over what timeline, to ensure that (i) CF and VAC programs are working well together, and what measures will be used to assess the interrelationship, (ii) veterans know what programs they are eligible for, (iii) veterans are applying to these programs and what measures will be used to monitor progress, (iv) veterans are in good health, including economic, financial, and mental health, and how will each be monitored and reported, (v) veterans are not suffering from such difficulties as alcohol or drug abuse, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), family loss, financial or home loss, and legal problems without the benefit of care, services, and support, (vi) veterans who enter either the criminal system or become homeless are tracked and given the support they require, particularly if they have suffered either PTSD or a traumatic brain injury; (cc) what percentage of the Estimates is needed for both DND and VAC, by year and for the next five years, to ensure returning CF members have the necessary programming and field staff; (dd) what, if any, actuarial analysis has been undertaken regarding the present values of benefits through the New Veterans Charter (NVC), compared to the actuarial present values of benefits under the Pension Act and for what groups of veterans does the NVC produce lower actuarial present values; and (ee) what are the advantages and disadvantages of the lump-sum payment?