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House of Commons Hansard #108 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was farmers.

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 London West.

[Members sang the national anthem]

PeterboroughStatements by Members

December 1st, 2010 / 2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Conservative Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise today in recognition of Peterborough being recognized in a recent survey as the second happiest city in Ontario and seventh happiest overall in Canada.

Home to the world's tallest hydraulic liftlock and the Trent Severn waterway, Peterborough was nicknamed “electric city” when it became the first city in North America to light up electric street lights. That vibrance still drives our beautiful and industrious region to this day, whether in our factories, hockey rinks, performance venues or our outstanding post-secondary institutions.

What has always made me proud of my hometown is its heart and generosity. Nowhere in Canada is the expression that the greatest joy is the one that comes from giving on better display than in Peterborough.

Now the electric city region and Peterborough are happy to share our collective joy with all Canadians. In fact, once we re-establish passenger rail service between Peterborough and Toronto's Union Station, we will have connected one of Canada's happiest cities to Canada's least happy, according to the same survey.

Not to worry Toronto, Peterborough will be only too happy to share the joy along the Shining Waters Railway just as soon as the trains start running.

Oil Tanker TrafficStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday a remarkable coalition of B.C.businesses, first nations, environmental groups and fisheries representatives stood side by side with MPs in Ottawa, united in their call for a legislated ban on oil tanker traffic in the Pacific north coast waters.

The notable exception was the 22 Conservatives from B.C. who reject this urgent call, despite the fact that eight of every ten British Columbians support a ban. The government is evidently not in touch with the views of British Columbians. Nor is the government listening to business.

The B.C. Wilderness Tourism Association, representing more than 1,000 of the 56,000 businesses that depend on an unspoiled coastal ecosystem, came to support the ban.

This is not a radical new proposal. For decades governments banned tanker traffic in these dangerous waters. The Conservative government is threatening to break that trust with British Columbians by supporting a crude oil pipeline directly into the heart of one of the world's best-loved wilderness destinations.

Liberal members of Parliament stand with British Columbians in support of permanent protection for the waters surrounding our precious Haida Gwaii.

Guy RondeauStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, on October 29, many people in Huberdeau gathered to celebrate the fact that Dr. Guy Rondeau has been practising in their area for 50 years. A small ad that ran in Le Devoir led Dr. Rondeau to this small community in the Laurentians.

There were many pressing needs in this rural region in the 1960s, which meant that this doctor had to wear many hats. His main areas of expertise are surgery, pediatrics, psychiatry and gynecology.

In addition to wearing all of those hats, the doctor had this to say about his other duties: “I was often the ambulance, driving labouring women or victims of car accidents to the hospital. And I also made numerous house calls.” He likes to laugh about it now.

For all the patients he has taken care of, all the babies he has delivered, all the services he has provided and his outstanding dedication, I want to join the people of Huberdeau in wholeheartedly thanking Dr. Rondeau and his assistant and wife, Céline Tassé.

Charitable ContributionsStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Denise Savoie NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, Victoria has some remarkable museums and public galleries, such as the Victoria Art Gallery and the Maritime and Royal BC Museums.

Keystones in communities nationwide, such institutions employ about 25,000 people, receive 60 million visits a year and contribute $650 million in wages, but only 9% of their operational funds come from private donations. The NDP's proposed tax credit for charitable gifts would encourage more Canadians to invest in our heritage.

Another innovative solution is being proposed by the Canadian Museums Association. It is asking Ottawa to match private donations dollar for dollar up to $25 million a year.

I urge the government to back our Bill C-600 and partner with the Canadian Museums Association to give Canadian culture and the arts a more stable financial foundation.

Community Association for Riding for the DisabledStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Dechert Conservative Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to bring attention to CARD, the Community Association for Riding for the Disabled.

The therapeutic benefits of horse riding for those with disabilities have been recognized for over 3,000 years. Therapeutic riding and other safe, purposeful and supervised interaction with horses is medically recognized to benefit children and adults with almost any cognitive, physical or emotional disability. These riders gain meaning, joy and an immense sense of empowerment from their interaction with horses.

CARD is supported by the dedication and commitment of many volunteers. One such volunteer is Barbara Fogler. Barbara is an award-winning dressage rider, supporter of the Canadian Olympic equestrian team and webmaster of barnmice.com.

I would like to congratulate Barbara Fogler and the hundreds of other volunteers who have spent many hours assisting with the Community Association for Riding for the Disabled.

World AIDS DayStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Dhalla Liberal Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, today, worldwide celebrations are being held to commemorate World AIDS Day.

This morning I had the pleasure to join the co-chairs of the HIV-AIDS and TB caucus to host the first annual parliamentary World AIDS Day breakfast. It was an inspiring morning, with parliamentarians, organizations, advocates and survivors who had gathered to hear many heartfelt speeches.

This year's theme for World AIDS Day is universal access and human rights, a theme that all Canadians can support to ensure that human rights are protected and global targets are met for the prevention, the treatment and the care of HIV and AIDS.

I join all of the HAT caucus members to pay tribute to those who have lost their lives, to the 33 million men, women and children who are currently living with HIV and AIDS and also pay great admiration and respect for the thousands of volunteers, organizations and advocates who are giving people hope for a better future and a brighter tomorrow.

The EconomyStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Lee Richardson Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, last week, the international trade committee visited our counterparts in the European Parliament to promote new markets and a free trade agreement with the European Union. The reception we received made me proud to be a Canadian.

Canada is a recognized world leader. The vision and leadership of our Prime Minister has fostered new trade agreements, expanded Canadian markets and stimulated economic growth.

Recently the Wall Street Journal noted:

Under [the Prime Minister]'s leadership Canada has avoided the worst of the global recession and emerged with a vibrant banking system and a strong currency...

The Globe and Mail said:

Canada has won global praise for its economic outlook and its handling of public finances, which has drawn investors into the Canadian dollar, which puts [Canada's the Prime Minister] in a strong position to give advice.

Countries around the world have acknowledged and praised this advice and the direction of Canada's economic and foreign policies.

Folk Music AwardsStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the sixth annual Folk Music Awards gala was held on Saturday, November 20, in Winnipeg. Several Quebec artists were honoured, including Yves Lambert for his album Bal à l'huile, which won the traditional singer of the year award. Yves Lambert was, of course, one of the founding members of La Bottine Souriante and the Bébert Orchestre.

The ensemble of the year award went to Quebec's Le Vent du Nord for its album La part du feu. I should note that Yves Lambert and Le Vent du Nord are from the Lanaudière region.

To prove that I am not biased, I would also like to mention the songwriter of the year award, which went to a third Quebec artist, Francis d'Octobre, for his album Ma bête fragile.

I would like to take this opportunity to remind the government that awards do not pay the bills for artists and other creators, who are entitled to fair compensation for their work. That is why Bill C-32 needs major changes.

World AIDS DayStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Lois Brown Conservative Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, today is World AIDS Day, a time to remember those who live with and are affected by HIV and AIDS and to reflect upon those who have lost their lives to this devastating disease.

Our government has committed to a comprehensive long-term approach to HIV and AIDS in Canada and around the world. This year alone, we are investing over $72 million domestically in HIV and AIDS. As well, our government has provided more than $640 million over the past four years to help prevent the spread of the virus and provide support to those living with HIV-AIDS in developing countries.

In addition, the Canadian HIV vaccine initiative, led by our government along with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, highlights Canada's world-class HIV and vaccine research expertise.

I ask that members join me today in wearing a red ribbon to raise awareness and to show our support for those affected by HIV and AIDS.

Prime MinisterStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is the first time I have risen in this House to congratulate the Prime Minister. The Conservative caucus is very proud of the Prix de la noirceur that the Prime Minister received from the Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec.

When it comes to keeping people in the dark, the Prime Minister is in a class of his own, joined only by the grand master, Maurice Duplessis.

Journalists rewarded the Prime Minister for his life's work, which includes obstruction, muzzling journalists, prohibiting questions, deceit and intimidation, witch hunts in the public service and political interference in access to information requests.

The Conservative government has quite a record when it comes to keeping people in the dark. Their promises of transparency have gone up in smoke, and that smoke is shrouding the Prime Minister in darkness and obscurantism.

Consumer Product SafetyStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, today our government announced changes to the Hazardous Products Act. These new regulations will protect babies in their cribs, cradles and bassinets. Our government is committed to helping parents protect the health and safety of our children.

Canada's requirements for cribs and cradles are among the most stringent in the world. However, there is always rooms for improvement. At present, bassinets are not subject to any regulations in Canada, and that must change.

That is why our Conservative government introduced regulations today to strengthen requirements for cribs, cradles and bassinets. These new regulations deal with their construction, as well as their flammability, side height and pinching hazards. These regulations will make all cribs, cradles and bassinets sold in Canada safer. Our government puts Canadian families first.

Access to MedicinesStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, today is World AIDS Day, and in communities such as Hamilton, grandmothers are gathering in support of Bill C-393. The purpose of this bill is to ensure that life-saving medicines reach those who need them most. By simplifying the export of cheap, generic, antiretroviral drugs to the countries of sub-Saharan Africa, this bill literally could turn the tide of HIV-AIDS.

Sadly, a few weeks ago, the Liberal opposition teamed up with the Conservative government to gut Bill C-393. In committee, the Liberal-Tory coalition stripped the most critical element, the one-licence provision, from the bill.

While I try to avoid excessive partisanship, this is a profoundly partisan matter. There is no sugaring the pill: across Africa, people are dying from preventable diseases. Children are dying from treatable illness. They desperately need the medicines we have and they need them now.

I urge my Liberal and Conservative colleagues to do the right thing. There is no downside. By restoring the one-licence solution and passing the bill immediately, millions of lives can be saved. Brand-name companies will receive royalties for their intellectual property, and generic drug companies will increase their capacity and employment, all without costing Canadian taxpayers a dime.

Rarely do we as MPs have such personal power to save millions of lives. Let us use that power wisely.

Walk A Mile in Her ShoesStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra Conservative St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak about an innovative North American project that involves ending violence against women. In our united quest to end violence against women, the involvement of men and boys is significant.

Since 2001, men from across Canada and the United States have boldly stepped into a pair of stilettos to “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” to stop violence against women.

I respectfully request all of my colleagues to participate in this event in their communities. It is organized by the YWCAs across our country. YWCA Canada advocates improving the lives of women and girls. One of its top priorities is to stop violence against women.

Together, women and men, boys and girls, we can and will end violence against women and improve the quality of life for all Canadians in communities across the country.

Yes, Mr. Speaker, I have done the walk in my riding, and I did it in a pair of stilettos.

HIV-AIDSStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Luc Malo Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, the face of HIV-AIDS has changed dramatically in 20 years and, although treatment, particularly triple therapy, now allows those suffering from this disease to live longer, this epidemic is not yet a thing of the past.

According to the Institut national de santé publique du Québec, 18,000 people in Quebec are infected but 25% of them are unaware that they have an infection. In addition, one quarter of newly infected individuals are between the ages of 45 and 54, and, according to the Clinique médicale l'Actuel in Montreal, newly infected individuals over the age of 50 could represent close to 50% of its clients by 2017.

In order to change society's perception of this disease and reduce the isolation and stigmatization experienced by those suffering from it, phenomena that are only accentuated by the fact that these individuals are aging, this week, COCQ-SIDA launched a campaign entitled “And if I were seropositive?” involving four Quebec celebrities. The organization thus invites us to think about whether we would question the talent of these celebrities if we knew that they were seropositive.

The battle against HIV-AIDS is far from over. On World AIDS Day, it is more important than ever to raise awareness and focus on prevention of this disease so that we can finally put an end to prejudice.

Quebec Sports Hall of Fame InducteeStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Dryden Liberal York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week, Red Fisher was inducted into the Quebec Sports Hall of Fame. Red has been writing for an unbelievable 56 years, first for the Montreal Star, and now for the Gazette. He respects what he writes about and respects his audience. He has never made himself more important than the game he covers. When others have decided they have “been there, done that”, Red is still able and willing to get angered, to get excited, and to see something new.

He can be tough. At times he was not very impressed with me, but it was because he knew I could do better; and every time I could not find my own answers, I would wait for the morning paper to see what Red thought.

There is no hockey public in the world more knowledgeable than Montreal's. It is this public that sets the standard against which the Canadiens must compete and has been crucial to the team's success. No one has been more important in helping to sustain this standard than Red. Simply, day after day, year after year, Red is the best.

We congratulate Red and thank him.

Ferry ServicesStatements by Members

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Rodney Weston Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to say that yesterday this government announced an investment to extend ferry services in eastern Canada.

Our government understands the importance of these ferry services to the local communities and the economy. They are a vital link between our eastern provinces and are crucial to the economic health of the region. I am pleased that our government will assist in providing safe and effective transportation for the many people in these communities who depend on it. I am proud that we are supporting our eastern transport, trade and tourism industries.

In addition to yesterday's commitment, we have also made significant investments in the regional transportation system, including: substantial funding for the highway and road network in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and P.E.I; significant support for the Confederation Bridge; and further investments in regional air and other marine transportation services and facilities.

I am proud to say that this government is standing up for eastern Canada after years of Liberal inaction.

SeniorsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the same government that is spending billions of dollars on prisons and untendered fighter jets and is giving the richest corporations billions of dollars in gifts has also cut benefits to seniors. The Prime Minister denies the facts, but in an email sent on October 21, the minister defended the cuts made to the guaranteed income supplement for our most vulnerable seniors.

Why is the government going after vulnerable seniors? When will the Prime Minister fix this mistake?

SeniorsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, that is not at all the case. This government has been the most successful in increasing seniors' incomes in Canada. I am thinking, for example, of the historic decision to allow income splitting for seniors who receive pensions.

Unfortunately, the Liberal Party voted against these measures for our seniors.

SeniorsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we have two problems here: the heartlessness of the government and the refusal of it to admit in the House what it is doing.

The Prime Minister denies the facts, but in a message on October 21, the minister clearly commits to cutting the GIS. Poverty among seniors is increasing, yet the government is cutting benefits to the most vulnerable seniors in our population.

How can the Prime Minister justify these priorities to vulnerable Canadians?

SeniorsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Of course, Mr. Speaker, completely the opposite is correct. This is the government that has increased the age credit for our senior citizens. It has increased the pension deduction for our senior citizens. It has allowed the historic decision to allow seniors to split their pension income. It has allowed those who receive the guaranteed income supplement to earn even more money.

This government has an unblemished record of increasing benefits for our senior citizens. Unfortunately, in every single case, it has been the Liberal Party that voted against these benefits for our seniors.

SeniorsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is not denying what is plainly in writing in his minister's letter of October 21 and it is time for him to answer the question about the GIS.

The government refuses to help disabled Nortel pensioners. It is cutting the GIS. It seems to have money for prisons, it seems to have money for planes, it has the money for corporate tax breaks, but when it comes to finding support for seniors, suddenly it is out of dough. Why?

SeniorsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, guess what? Unlike the previous Liberal government, this government can equip our armed forces and can put criminals in prison and also support our senior citizens.

In terms of the particular matter the Leader of the Opposition raises, there was a court decision that was intended to reserve GIS for those who are the poorest and vulnerable. Some changes were made administratively in HRSDC that may have overreached that objective and the minister has made clear that she has cancelled those changes.

FinanceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Liberal Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, the record of the finance minister must feel like a recurring nightmare for those in Ontario who lived through his first kick at the can. His Harris government fired inspectors, leading to the Walkerton tragedy. He fired thousands of nurses. He closed more than 20 hospitals. He drove up deficits, saddling future generations with a mountain of debt. All he left of Ontario's cooked books was a smouldering ruin.

Why can the finance minister not see that this rerun of failed policies are hurting Canadians? How can the Prime Minister keep this two-time financial offender in his cabinet?

FinanceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure where the hon. member was in the 1990s. I know her leader was not in Canada. I did not realize she was not, either.

Do you know what happened in the 1990s, Mr. Speaker? The Liberal federal government decided that it would balance its budget on the backs of the provinces. Those of us who were working in the provinces at that time, including the member for Toronto Centre who has said this, suffered through those cuts to the provinces. What were the cuts in? They were in health care, education—