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House of Commons Hansard #118 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was fraud.

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 Sackville—Eastern Shore.

[Members sang the national anthem]

PensionsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Russ Hiebert Conservative South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale, BC

Mr. Speaker, I continue to hear from constituents about Bill C-428, the private member's bill from the Liberal member for Brampton—Springdale.

My constituents are outraged about a Liberal bill that would raise taxes to give a pension to someone who has only been a resident of Canada for three years. They want to know how the Liberals could justify raising taxes to give a pension to someone who has done little or nothing to earn it.

While the Liberals will have to answer for this in the next election, the Conservatives already have good news for Canadian pensioners. Our Conservative government's Bill C-9, which passed in July, reforms our pension system and has made the retirements of millions of Canadians more secure. Now employers can contribute more to workers' pensions and pensions are better protected in law.

While the Liberals are busy scheming to raise taxes, the Conservatives are working hard to improve the lives of Canadian seniors.

Armenian Canadian CommunityStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Liberal Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to commend the work of the Armenian Canadian community in its efforts to preserve and celebrate Armenian history and culture.

Today, unfortunately, marks the fifth anniversary of the destruction of thousands of intricately hand-carved khachkars, stone crosses, erected between the sixth and seventeenth century, a significant loss of history and culture felt by people of Armenian descent around the world.

Too often, religious, ethnic and geopolitical disagreements lead to actions that are hurtful to others. We cannot change history but we can and must use its lessons to move forward.

Canada has been built on immigration from all over the world and we are now the most successfully pluralistic society on earth. We should be a beacon for how tolerance and respect for others and for all of our differences are fundamental to living in harmony.

In that spirit, I encourage my friends in the Armenian Canadian community as they continue their hard work in preserving and promoting Armenian history and culture.

Germain BeauregardStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Ève-Mary Thaï Thi Lac Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, during the closing ceremonies of the 175th anniversary celebrations for the municipality of Saint-Damase, Germain Beauregard was honoured for his commitment to the municipality by council members and the mayor, Germain Chabot.

In addition to being a great advocate for Quebec and a staunch sovereignist, Mr. Beauregard is an outstanding writer and historian and has penned exceptional memoirs. A committed member of Saint-Damase's heritage committee, he publishes his writings and stories in the municipal newspaper for all to enjoy.

The municipal council has also been able to count on his support in numerous projects including research for naming streets; naming the Place de la fabrique park; creation of historical plaques for a number of municipal buildings; and, more recently, naming the new André-Jarret-De-Beauregard bridge.

I, too, would like to acknowledge his significant contribution to the community, and I want to sincerely thank him for his commitment to promoting the region's history.

The EconomyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, as a new member of Parliament, I introduced bills to protect Pacific wild salmon, ban dangerous oil tanker traffic off B.C.'s north coast, improve child safety by strengthening the Criminal Code and help workers who suffer from cancer by increasing medical EI. I brought national attention to the funding gap that continues to plague the long-delayed Evergreen Line.

However, while there may be talk of an economic recovery, people in my riding are still struggling. Personal credit card rates continue to soar. Seniors tell me that they must choose between groceries and prescriptions. Students are saddled with record high debt loads, with fewer well-paying jobs on the horizon. Families are now burdened with increased costs, thanks to the newly implemented harmonized sales tax.

As we deliberate on the upcoming budget, I ask that all parliamentarians make life more affordable for all Canadians.

JusticeStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, today, eight bills introduced by the Conservative government are becoming law.

One of those bills is the Sustaining Canada's Economic Recovery Act, which implements key budget measures to promote job creation and economic growth.

We salute the passage of bills designed to protect Canadian consumers, make our streets and our communities safer and improve living conditions for Canadians and their families.

We want the opposition coalition to support our bills to eliminate pardons for sex offenders, to repeal the faint hope clause for offenders convicted of murder and to prevent human smugglers from abusing our immigration system and the generosity of Canadians.

Despite obstruction by the opposition coalition this fall, we have achieved remarkable results for Canadians throughout this session, and I congratulate my colleagues in the Conservative Party of Canada.

CensusStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Lise Zarac Liberal LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I recently learned about another negative consequence of the Conservative government's decision to scrap the long form census used by Statistics Canada.

The Comité de gestion de la taxe scolaire de l'île de Montréal uses the information compiled by Statistics Canada every five years from the long form, five-year census to produce its poverty map.

This poverty index is used to take a contextual approach rather than an individual approach, and therefore helps avoid the stigmatization and branding of children from underprivileged areas. Furthermore, this poverty index helps determine the annual allocation of funds to the various school boards for remedial measures in underprivileged areas.

The Conservative government does not always seem to realize just how much its decision to scrap the census will affect all levels of Quebec and Canadian society.

Forestry IndustryStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, the forestry industry in Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke has a long and proud history of providing jobs in the working forest.

This industry is in transition. County sawmill and logging operations are in need of new solutions to replace lost markets. Using Ontario wood to produce power fosters local jobs in the forest and reduces our dependency on fossil fuels. More important, the money stays in our local communities.

By providing a market for underutilized, lower value wood, we are able to grow a better forest for future generations. A healthy investment environment is key to reviving Ontario's forestry sector.

Ontario needs to increase the feed-in tariff rates for bioenergy power projects to attract investors. Ontario is far behind when it comes to combined heat and power operations compared to the U.S. and Europe.

I am pleased to work with the Minister of Finance to ensure that Canada continues to provide the proper investment climate, including competitive corporate tax rates.

The opposition coalition's plan to increase business tax rates would kill the industry before it gets back on its feet. The time has come to support an industry, forestry, that has been a mainstay for rural families for generations.

ImmigrationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Thierry St-Cyr Bloc Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, on December 4, 2000, the General Assembly of the United Nations declared December 18 to be International Migrants Day. The UN also invited “[m]ember States, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations...to observe International Migrants Day through the dissemination of information on the human rights and fundamental freedoms of migrants”.

Let us hope that this day will be one of reflection for the Conservative government, which always demonstrates a hostile and discriminatory attitude toward those who come to Canada seeking refuge and protection. Bill C-49, which has been tabled in the House, is a striking example. The government is creating two categories of refugees by treating them in a discriminatory manner and presuming that they are acting in bad faith.

The Bloc Québécois will continue to push for a fair and equitable approach that will make it possible to control migration flow without reneging on our international commitment to offer protection to those fleeing persecution.

Renewable FuelsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Preston Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government is committed to homegrown renewable fuels production for many reasons.

I was recently told of a constituent of mine who embraced his boss to thank him for giving him a permanent, well-paying job in the middle of a recession after being laid off as an auto worker. His new job is at the IGPC Ethanol plant in Aylmer, Ontario.

I tell members this because biofuels not only offer new markets for farmers and a new source of clean renewable energy, but also new jobs for our cities and towns. This is especially the case in my riding of Elgin—Middlesex—London, which is home to the IGPC farmer owned co-operative plant that creates local jobs, produces clean burning ethanol from local corn and provides much needed economic activity for this rural area.

That is why I am pleased to stand in the House today as the federal renewable fuels standard officially comes into force. This will result in two billion litres of biofuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel. This standard is good for the environment, good for agriculture, good for the economy and good for Canada.

David DibbonStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Siobhan Coady Liberal St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, it is with sadness that I inform the House of the tragic passing of Dr. David Dibbon, the Dean of Education at Memorial University. He was taken from us by cancer at the early age of 52.

Prior to joining Memorial University, Dr. Dibbon had a long career in the public school system. As principal of Bishop's College, one of the provinces largest high schools, he was recognized on many occasions for his innovative leadership.

Dr. Dibbon received the Distinguished Principal of the Year Award from both the Canadian Association of Principals and the Newfoundland School Administrators Association. In 2009, he was honoured with the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers Association's Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the teaching profession.

As well as being fondly remembered as a teacher, he was also known internationally as a researcher in the areas of innovation and change in education, organizational learning and educational leadership.

I ask all members of the House to join me in recognizing and paying tribute to the work and life of Dr. David Dibbon. He left a lasting legacy.

Government LegislationStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, today eight bills introduced by our Conservative government will be passed into law. This fall our Conservative government's first priority was the economy. That is why today we are pleased to see the sustaining Canada's economic recovery act become law. The legislation implements key measures from the jobs and economic growth budget.

Our government is also delighted that other key legislation will become law to protect Canadian consumers, make our streets and communities safer and improve the lives of Canadians and their families.

While we have made some progress, much more remains to be done before the current parliamentary session ends in the next few days. We call upon the opposition coalition to support our legislation to eliminate pardons for sexual offenders, repeal the faint hope clause for convicted murderers and combat the abuse of Canada's immigration system by human smugglers.

We need to work together to continue to pass legislation that will benefit and protect all Canadians.

Status of WomenStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, 2010, like all years, has had its ups and downs, but when it comes to women's equality, 2010 has shown to be disastrous.

A budget promised to address violence faced by aboriginal women in Canada waited for more than six months before the announcement that 40% of the funding would not even help aboriginal women, nor the Sisters in Spirit that first identified the tragedy.

A G8-G20 focus on maternal and child health saw the government turn back the clock on women's rights, denying them choice and reproductive freedom. We saw a general lack of concern for women's safety, as was witnessed when the government played political games with gun control and the long gun registry. We witnessed countless arbitrary funding cuts to women's organizations across the country. Furthermore, Canada's capacity to understand the realities of vulnerable women has been further reduced by eliminating the mandatory long form census and the questions on unpaid work.

I urge all members of the House to challenge the government and restore women's equality, especially for those who have been silenced.

JusticeStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Conservative Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, today the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics released the report, “Police Resources in Canada, 2010”. The study found that police officer strength was at its highest point since 1981, the steady increase of female officers continued and 2009 saw the largest annual increase in constant dollar expenditures on record.

Our Conservative government has always stood up for police officers and is giving them the tools they need. Take it from me, if we want to be truly tough on crime, we need more than police dollars. We need strong laws and strong voices, like our new member of Parliament, the member for Vaughan. We need strong laws, like the ones that the Liberal coalition has opposed and continues to stall, such as bills to eliminate pardons for dangerous offenders, repeal the faint hope clause and end house arrest for serious criminals.

The fact that only three of our crime bills have passed over the last year is a disservice to justice and to victims. When will the Liberal-led coalition support our efforts to get tough on crime and make our streets and communities safe?

Electrolux Plant ClosureStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Roger Gaudet Bloc Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, more than 1,200 people in the Lanaudière region got some sad news just before Christmas. Electrolux unexpectedly announced it would be closing its factory in L'Assomption by 2013. The economy of the entire region will be affected.

The Bloc Québécois is already in solution mode. The hon. member for Repentigny is on site and working hard with all the political and economic players in the area to explore possible avenues for saving the plant and the jobs.

The stakeholders will meet again in January for an update on the situation. At that time, if we need to call in the federal government, we will, but only in its own areas of jurisdiction.

We stand in solidarity with the workers in L'Assomption.

Christmas GreetingsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, to all my colleagues in the House of Commons, the people living in the riding of Charlottetown and Canadians from coast to coast to coast, I would like to extend my best wishes to each and every one for a very special season.

Christmas is a few days away and this joyous season helps us all to rekindle happy memories with family and friends. We should remember to take time to enjoy those very special people in our lives during this busy and sometimes hectic time of year.

At times like this we should always take time to pause and reflect on the true meaning and significance of Christmas. I am very much looking forward to spending my holiday with family and friends in Charlottetown. Returning to Charlottetown helps me rediscover how truly fortunate I am to serve the residents of Charlottetown and work with and for them on a daily basis.

My message for all Canadians is that their Christmas season and new year be filled with peace, health, happiness, serenity and joy.

ChristmasStatements By Members

December 15th, 2010 / 2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Nina Grewal Conservative Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Mr. Speaker, Christmas is fast approaching and tales of political correctness fill the air as many seek to remove all that is Christian from Christmas.

Nativity scenes are banned, holiday trees replace Christmas trees and references to God, Christ and the Lord are cast aside, leaving us with just another meaningless, consumer-oriented holiday. The spirit of Christmas should not be taken out of Christmas. Non-Christian, new Canadians or immigrants are not offended and do not want to be protected.

Every year thousands of all faith gather to celebrate the Chinese New Year, Vaisakhi, Diwali and more. We accept and respect each other's beliefs and traditions. Therefore, let us not strip Christians of their identity and faith and let us not abandon the traditions of religion.

I wish my Christian friends a happy Vaisakhi and they wish me a merry Christmas and we all celebrate together. Let us celebrate Christmas as it is and as it should be.

New MembersRoutine Proceedings

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I have the honour to inform the House that the Clerk of the House has received from the Chief Electoral Officer a certificate of the election and return of Mr. Robert Sopuck, member for the electoral district of Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette.

I have the honour to inform the House that the Clerk of the House has received from the Chief Electoral Officer a certificate of the election and return of Mr. Julian Fantino, member for the electoral district of Vaughan.

Robert Sopuck, member for the electoral district of Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette, introduced by the right hon. Stephen Harper and the hon. Vic Toews.

Julian Fantino, member for the electoral district of Vaughan, introduced by the right hon. Stephen Harper and the hon. Jim Flaherty.

HealthOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, Canadians wait for hours in hospital emergency rooms and patients languish in the hallways. The Canadian health system needs help, but the government has ignored the issue for four or five years.

The Prime Minister has said that he would like to scrap the Canada Health Act. He has rejected all our suggestions for helping families to care for their loved ones at home.

How can he expect Canadians to trust his government to protect our public health care system?

HealthOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this government works with the provinces to maintain and improve our health system. The former Liberal government reduced provincial health care transfers by 25%. Those are the facts. As for this government, it has increased provincial health transfers to record levels because we believe in the Canadian public health system.

HealthOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, everything the government is spending had already been approved in 2004 by the Liberal government.

The federal-provincial accords run out in 2014. The government has no record on public health. There has been no federal leadership on this issue for five years.

The Prime Minister is heard to muse about how he would like to get rid of the Canada Health Act and he says that any plan to bring help to families to look after their loved ones at home is reckless.

How can Canadians trust the government to defend public health?

HealthOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, when that party was entrusted with the health care of Canada it dramatically slashed transfers for the health care system, which did enormous damage.

It is this government that increased those transfers and has worked with the provinces to make sure that our health system is fully funded.

Since the Leader of the Opposition made this personal, let me be clear. I and my family depend on and have always used the public health care system of Canada. I wonder if the Leader of the Opposition can say the same thing.

HealthOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

I can make that commitment, Mr. Speaker.

Let me correct some facts. The government has not put a dime of new money into public health care, not a red cent of new money. Every cent that the government has committed to public health care since 2006 was booked in 2004 by the Liberal government.

The government likes spending money on prisons, planes, photo ops, and waste on the G8 and G20 summits but not a red cent of new money--

HealthOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order. The right. hon. Prime Minister.