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House of Commons Hansard #119 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-12.

Topics

Environment and Sustainable DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fourth report of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development respecting the request for an extension of 30 days to consider Bill C-469, An Act to establish a Canadian Environmental Bill of Rights.

Environment and Sustainable DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Pursuant to Standing Order 97.1(3)(a) a motion to concur in the report is deemed moved, the question deemed put and a recorded division deemed demanded and deferred until Wednesday, February 2, 2011, immediately before the time provided for private members' business.

Veterans AffairsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by a number of veterans who live in my riding or in my region who make regular use of the Liaison Centre at the Ste. Anne's Hospital for veterans in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue in my riding. They are very concerned about the future of the centre, especially given rumours, which are quite firm, that the present government aims to transfer this last veterans' hospital in Canada to the provincial health authorities.

I would like to present this petition on their behalf today.

SeniorsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure to present a petition in this House on behalf of seniors who would like to see improvements made to the guaranteed income supplement, the spouse's allowance and the survivor's allowance. They would like to see automatic enrolment for the guaranteed income supplement, spouse's allowance and survivor's allowance; an increase to the guaranteed income supplement of $110 per month for people who live alone and an increase to the survivor's allowance of $199 per month; full, unconditional retroactivity; and a six-month extension of the guaranteed income supplement and the spouse's allowance following the death of one of the beneficiaries in the couple. Many of our seniors who live below the poverty line are in desperate need. I am pleased to present this petition to the House on their behalf.

Human RightsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10 a.m.

NDP

Bill Siksay NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to table a petition this morning signed by 74 members of Huron-Perth Presbytery of the United Church of Canada, people associated with the presbytery and people from the local communities that they represent.

These folks are respectfully asking Parliament to pass Bill C-389, my private member's bill that would add gender identity and expression as prohibited grounds of discrimination in the Canadian Human Rights Act and to the Criminal Code provisions on hate crimes and sentencing.

These folks are very concerned for the situation of transgender and transsexual Canadians and they believe that Bill C-389 would go a considerable distance toward helping Canadian society fight discrimination against transgender and transsexual Canadians and their social exclusion.

JusticePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I am saddened to table a petition collected in my riding of Etobicoke Centre and by Saint Leopold Mandic Croatian Church in Ottawa related to Boris Cikovic, a teenager who was gunned down in my riding by thugs trying to rob him.

This is a difficult time of year for Boris' parents and his many friends, and for the Bosnian Croatian community in Etobicoke where he lived and where his promising young life was snuffed out by a bullet that terrible day on October 3, 2008.

Including these 70 petitioners, over 1,200 petitioners in my riding have urged the government to pass my private member's Bill C-537. This bill would make offences involving firearms automatically tried by a Superior Court. It would also make bail conditions tougher by forcing those accused of crimes involving firearms to have to demonstrate in court why they should not be detained in custody before trial.

The individual charged with the murder of my constituent allegedly refuses to co-operate by naming his two accomplices and is out on bail. Boris' parents, Vesna and Davorin, struggle daily knowing they may actually be passing their son's murderer in their own neighbourhood.

Animal WelfarePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have three petitions to present.

The first petition calls upon the government to pass legislation to amend Canada's federal animal cruelty legislation. The petitioners strongly feel that our current federal animal cruelty laws are grossly inadequate and do not offer effective protection for animals in this country.

The petitioners are calling upon the Minster of Justice to introduce government legislation amending the Criminal Code provisions on animal cruelty.

Aboriginal AffairsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, the second petition has to do with the Sisters in Spirit initiative. This is a petition to the House of Commons pointing out that for the past five years the Native Women's Association of Canada, the Sisters in Spirit initiative, has worked to identify root causes, trends and circumstances of violence that have led to the disappearance and death of aboriginal women and girls. The Native Women's Association of Canada released a report called, “What Their Stories Tell Us”, which provided evidence that 582 aboriginal women and girls have gone missing.

The petitioners are calling upon the Government of Canada to develop an action plan for aboriginal women.

The final petition is about the stolen sisters. The petitioners are calling upon the Government of Canada to ensure the Native Women's Association of Canada receives sufficient funding to continue its important work of protecting women through its Sister in Spirit initiative.

Multiple SclerosisPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present two petitions.

The first petition has to do with MS patients. I have been asked to present this on behalf of any number of MS patients in my riding and the petition has been signed by individuals who support those MS patients.

The petitioners have said that there is some degree of urgency to this. I know for a fact that there is an urgency because I have witnessed constituents of mine having to travel in order to avail themselves of vascular scans and the resulting surgery. The petitioners are asking that this be made available in Canada and that follow-up treatments for MS patients be made available in Canada.

One of the issues right now is that when MS patients return to Canada after having had to travel to other countries for the treatment, they are not eligible or invited to be part of any kind of program for follow-ups.

The petitioners are asking the Government of Canada, through the Minister of Health, to have a look at this.

Canada PostPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is on behalf of the residents of Burgoynes Cove and surrounding area and it concerns the closing of the post office in Burgoynes Cove. According to the government, there is a moratorium on the closure of post offices in rural Canada but this says otherwise.

In fact, Canada Post put in place roadside mail boxes, which it said were to be a temporary measure. It also did a survey when many of the residents were either working or away. It was held in the middle of the summer, in July, when many were on vacation. There were some underhanded tactics employed to find a way to close down a rural post office, which is of vital importance, especially to seniors, or to anyone who needs to avail of a postal service.

The petitioners are asking the government to look at this issue and instruct Canada Post to reverse that decision.

Multiple SclerosisPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle NDP Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by hundreds of Canadians who are concerned about the 55,000 to 75,000 Canadians who live with multiple sclerosis. The petitioners are calling upon the Government of Canada to accelerate a greater and broader participation of multiple sclerosis sufferers in pilot testing and treatment and provide fast-track funding for surveillance, research and the dissemination of findings.

The petitioners also call upon the Government of Canada to work immediately with the provinces and territories through the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies to help obtain advice and evidence-based information for the effectiveness of CCSV1 without delay. They also want the federal government to take a leading role on the basis of this evidence and encourage a swift adoption of procedures in territories and provinces.

Preventive WithdrawalPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Bloc Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure to present a petition signed by 576 petitioners from the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers; the Maison Simonne Monet-Chartrand in Chambly; Teamsters Quebec, local 1999; the Agriculture Union; CUPE of Dorval; the Royal Canada Mounted Police; and the Quebec City Integrated Proceeds of Crime. This fifth petition adds to the others already presented for a total of 5,230 signatures. These petitioners are calling on the Government of Canada to develop an administrative agreement with the Government of Quebec giving all pregnant women in Quebec the right to access the preventive withdrawal program offered by Quebec's occupational health and safety commission.

Animal WelfarePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Rob Oliphant Liberal Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, this morning I rise to present a petition on behalf of the residents of Don Valley West and other parts of Toronto who are concerned about the animal transportation regulations.

The petitioners urge the House of Commons to amend the animal transfer regulations under Canada's Health of Animals Act to be consistent with findings of the EU scientific committee on animal health and welfare to reduce transport time for pigs, poultry, horses, calves and lambs to eight hours and twelve hours for cattle, sheep and goats, and to ensure adequate enforcement of these regulations.

The petitioners ask that these amendments be passed quickly.

Aviation SafetyPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition on behalf of hundreds of Canadians from across the country who are calling for a commission of inquiry into aviation safety.

The petitioners are concerned about the reduction in traditional oversight and inspection methods by Transport Canada and the delegation of those responsibilities to aviation companies via the safety management systems.

The petitioners are concerned as well that Canada may no longer be compliant with our obligations to the international aviation organization under the Chicago convention. They are worried that the travelling public may be in some danger as a result.

The petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to initiate a commission of inquiry to be headed by a Superior Court judge.

Mining IndustryPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to bring forward the voices of the people of Thompson and Manitoba. Today I would like to present petitions on their behalf calling for the federal government to stand up for Canadians and Canadian jobs.

On November 17, Vale announced devastating news that it was planning to shut down the smelter and the refinery in Thompson. This announcement means the loss of over 600 jobs and a devastating impact on the community, the northern region and our province of Manitoba.

The people of Thompson are saying that the federal government must stand up for them. Not only did the Conservative government allow the foreign takeover by Vale, it also gave the company a loan of $1 billion just two months ago.

The people in Thompson and Manitoba are asking that the government stand up for Canadians rather than foreign companies. They are asking that the government work with all stakeholders to save the 600 jobs at the Thompson Vale smelter and refinery.

Multiple SclerosisPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to table a petition today signed by hundreds of Canadians with respect to MS and CCSVI treatment, otherwise known as liberation therapy.

Across Canada 55,000 to 75,000 Canadians are living with MS. The disease frequently appears at a prime age when people are most economically active or when they are either starting or supporting a family.

The petitioners point out that the treatment that Dr. Paolo Zamboni has demonstrated of narrowing the major veins of the brain known as chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency can be detected by ultrasound and that this procedure is available in Canada.

The petitioners also point out that Canadians view MS as an issue of national importance and are aware of the major social, financial and medical impact of the failure to provide fundamental support, remedial diagnosis and crucial treatment.

The petitioners call upon the government to accelerate a greater and broader participation in pilot testing of MS sufferers. They are also asking that the government work immediately with the provinces and territories through the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in health. They are also asking the government to take a leading role on the basis of this evidence.

Many people who suffer from MS are very hopeful for this procedure and would like access to it. They do not want to be discriminated against because of their illness.

AfghanistanPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by Canadians calling upon the government to end Canada's military involvement in Afghanistan.

In May 2008, Parliament passed a resolution to withdraw the Canadian Forces by July 2011. The Prime Minister, with the agreement of the Liberal Party, broke his oft-repeated promise to honour the parliamentary motion, and furthermore, refuses to put it to a parliamentary vote in the House.

Committing 1,000 soldiers to a training mission still presents a danger to our troops and an unnecessary expense when our country is faced with a $56 billion deficit. The military mission has cost Canadians more than $18 billion so far, money that could have been used to improve health care and seniors' pensions right here in Canada.

Polls show that a clear majority of Canadians do not want Canada's military presence to continue after the scheduled removal date of July 2011. Therefore, the petitioners call on the Prime Minister to honour the will of Parliament and bring the troops home now.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Ensuring Safe Vehicles Imported from Mexico for Canadians ActGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

Conservative

Diane Finley Conservative Haldimand—Norfolk, ON

Ensuring Safe Vehicles Imported from Mexico for Canadians ActGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

Fort McMurray—Athabasca Alberta

Conservative

Brian Jean ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today to speak to Bill S-5, which is an act that would amend the Motor Vehicle Safety Act and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. This would actually allow used vehicles from Mexico that are less than 15 years old to be imported into Canada.

These amendments are very important because they would enable the Canadian government to meet our obligations, as a country, to the North American Free Trade Agreement and create greater choice in the Canadian vehicle market while maintaining the high safety and environmental standards that Canadians expect.

In order to facilitate the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement with respect to vehicles, the Motor Vehicle Safety Act had to be amended in 1993 to enable the Canadian government to establish a regime to regulate and monitor the importation of vehicles under the purview of the Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement.

These changes actually resulted in the creation of the Registrar of Imported Vehicles. These changes to the act provided Canadians with more options in the vehicle market.

Following the implementation of the earlier Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, the North American Free Trade Agreement was signed in 1992. The goal of the North American Free Trade Agreement was, of course, to eliminate barriers to trade and investment between the United States, Canada and Mexico. The agreement came into effect January 1, 1994, which created one of the world's largest free trade zones in the world. That is correct and, in fact, it laid the foundations for strong economic growth and increased prosperity for Canada and Canadians as well as the United States and Mexico.

Since the agreement came into force, the North American Free Trade Agreement has demonstrated how free trade actually increases wealth and competitiveness, delivering real benefits to families, especially here in Canada, to workers, to manufacturers and to consumers who have more choice, more competition, lower prices and a better selection.

It is important to honour the commitments defined in this agreement, as well as to actually deliver on the commitments of the result of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

While this agreement was signed in 1992, the automotive provisions did not come into effect until January 1, 2009.

Now, as with the Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement, importation of used Mexican vehicles would begin with older vehicles and gradually expand, over the next 10 years, to include all used vehicles.

Again, I would like to underscore that neither the North American Free Trade Agreement requirements nor the proposed amendments to the Motor Vehicle Safety Act and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 affect the importation of new vehicles built specifically to Canadian standards, nor used vehicles that are over 15 years of age and are, thus, not subject to those standards.

Similar to what occurred under the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, the existing importation provisions in the Motor Vehicle Safety Act and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act need to be updated to comply with NAFTA, which makes sense, and to comply with some of the more strenuous provisions in NAFTA to which we have agreed.

Changes to these acts are necessary in order to implement a regime for regulating and monitoring used vehicles originating from Mexico, since the coming into force date of the North American Free Trade Agreement automotive provisions has obviously just passed almost two years ago.

There is, as a result, a heightened need to amend these two acts so that Canada becomes compliant with its trade obligations and is not subjected to a potential challenge under the North American Free Trade Agreement, which obviously would not benefit our country, our consumers or, generally, Canadians, nor would it benefit United States consumers.

Therefore, I appreciate the co-operation of all members here and all parties to get this bill through.

I want to stress, however, that the government's commitment to the health and the safety of all Canadians would not be compromised at all by these changes. Road safety and the environment are, as members know, matters that the Government of Canada treats extremely seriously. Only vehicles that meet these very high standards we have set for motor vehicle safety and the environment would be allowed into the Canadian fleet.

The government is committed to the goal of making Canada's roads the safest in the world, which includes, by extension, the need to keep our vehicles safe. Our road safety program that emanates from the Motor Vehicle Safety Act is actually based on mandatory performance-based regulations and safety standards and an industry self-certification program to attest that those standards are being met.

We conduct research to enhance the level of safety provided by regulations and we conduct independent compliance testing to verify that the safety standards are, indeed, being met. We hold manufacturers to account in this country. The government's job is to do that, and we are making sure that Canadians remain safe on the roads.

Vehicle safety is, of course, a key component of road safety, as I mentioned. The physical attributes of a vehicle work in conjunction with road infrastructure and with user behaviour to create a systems approach to minimize the number of road collisions and their impact on our society. Nothing has gone further for road safety in this country in the last 30 or 40 years than Canada's economic action plan, our answer to the world economic decline. Rehabilitated roads and investments in new roads certainly keep people safer because of less congestion and less wear and tear, et cetera, on vehicles themselves.

I have met with Transport Canada several times, and I can assure everyone that it is researching and developing new safety standards almost on a daily basis. It is investigating these things. For example, the department itself carefully studied the safety potential of electronic stability control, which of course, has been the rage in the news over the last several years. It did this for all new light vehicles sold in Canada and conducted a cost versus benefit study.

Based on the results from our studies, a new Canada motor vehicle safety standard was proposed, which would require such a system be installed on prescribed vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of 4,536 kilograms or less and manufactured on or after September 1, 2011. This is a big step toward the safety of our vehicles.

For people who are interested, this proposal was published in the Canada Gazette, part I, in March 2009. Based on stakeholder submissions, a final regulation was published in the Canada Gazette, part II, in December 2009. The implementation of this Canadian safety standard will reduce the number of collisions in which the driver loses control of the vehicle.

Once fully implemented, it will save hundreds of lives. That is correct. It will save hundreds of lives and prevent thousands upon thousands of injuries to Canadians on a yearly basis. It is great news, indeed, for Canadians and this was done in conjunction with Transport Canada to make sure Canadians stay safe on our roadways.

Our national road safety plan, road safety vision 2010, encompasses a large number of road safety program areas. Specific targets developed by federal, provincial and territorial governments include decreases in the number of road users killed or seriously injured and an increase in the rate of seat belt use and proper use of child restraints. Of course, everyone knows what we are doing as far as child safety goes.

I am pleased to note that we have indeed achieved significant success in reducing death and injuries on Canadian roads. By 2007, the number of deaths from unbelted occupant fatalities was reduced by almost 15% and the number of road users killed in crashes on rural roads by more than 15% when compared with deaths during the 1996-2001 period. The 2008 deaths and serious injuries tolls were 18% and 22% lower, respectively. That is great news and speaks to the hard work that Transport Canada does.

Even as the road safety vision 2010 plan is nearing its conclusion, the government continues to support this initiative and its successor plan, called road safety strategy 2015, and will work with its partners to continue to improve the safety of Canadian roads.

This government is getting it done for Canadians, keeping Canadians and roadways safe and looking to the future in partnership with the specialties of Transport Canada, et cetera. We are getting the job done.

Ensuring Safe Vehicles Imported from Mexico for Canadians ActGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the parliamentary secretary could give the House and Canadians an idea of how it comes about that we have to import these automobiles to fulfill our NAFTA obligations.

What other options were available to us in order to technically do it? Is there a shortage of used cars, or even vintage cars, in Canada that would justify this particular provision to meet NAFTA requirements?

Ensuring Safe Vehicles Imported from Mexico for Canadians ActGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

Conservative

Brian Jean Conservative Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, as the member is aware, we have had a free trade agreement with the United States and Mexico for some time.

As part of our obligation on the signing of that free trade agreement, it became necessary as of January 2009 to implement these laws to conform with our obligations under NAFTA.

I do want to make it clear, however, that notwithstanding this particular law and our implementation of the law itself, we are not in any way sacrificing the safety standards that we have on our roadways in Canada. In fact, under our current existing law and for it to continue, all imports of vehicles will be required to comply with the high safety standards that Canada expects from its car manufacturers. Indeed, we will not allow vehicles to be brought into the country that do not comply with those safety standards, even with this new law.

Ensuring Safe Vehicles Imported from Mexico for Canadians ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the parliamentary secretary if the government has any studies with respect to how many cars are projected to be imported.

We are starting out with cars that are 10 years old and older. To be honest, I do not really think there are going to be very many involved in this category. However the phase-in over the next few years, up to 2019, when one-year-old cars will be allowed in, may offer greater numbers of vehicles.

To that end, I would also like to ask whether or not the government has done any consulting with motor dealer organizations across the country to, at a minimum, at least inform them of and keep them updated up as to the implementation of this particular measure?