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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

Democratic Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Madam Speaker, I listened to the Bloc Québécois member and, although I found that he stated his position articulately, I disagree with that position.

I have a question for the member. He stated that the provincial division of Quebec in the House of Commons was guaranteed 25% of the seats. I want to know where in the Constitution that is indicated.

If we look at the preamble of the 1867 act, it says that Canada's Constitution should be similar in principle to that of the United Kingdom. In the Westminster Parliament in the House of Commons in the United Kingdom, representation by population is a fundamental principle. Section 51 talks about proportionate representation. In other words, the provincial divisions represented in the House of members should be proportionate to their populations as part of the Canadian whole.

In section 1 of the charter talks about a free and democratic society and section 3 talks about the right to vote. We cannot have a proper right to vote if an individual's vote does not count in the same way that votes in other parts of the country count.

What part of the Constitution guarantees Quebec 25% of the seats in the House?

Democratic Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the Conservative member for his question, which allows me to provide clarification.

He is correct. This information is not found verbatim in the Constitution. However, in any legislative forum like ours, conventions develop over time. If he rereads the speeches and discussions that have taken place—we can provide him with some—he will see that there is a convention under which this minimum is respected.

That being said, he is right about the written text. Years ago, the rule of fair play also existed but we do not invoke it today because it has been broken so often here in the House. We saw an example of this earlier when a member tried to prevent me from being asked a question.

Democratic Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Madam Speaker, I invite the hon. member to show some trust. Just because the bill is bad and sets Quebec back does not mean that it is an attack on Quebec and all Quebeckers.

I believe that this bill sets Quebec back in terms of representation simply because the bill is ill-advised. This does not mean that we have it in for Quebeckers. I think the Conservatives simply did not do their work properly.

That being said and given that the bill has a negative effect on Quebec's representation, are we currently working on an amendment that will at least give Quebec the number of seats corresponding to its proportional representation?

Will the hon. member work with us to pass a bill that will strengthen and improve the Conservative bill so that it is more favourable to Quebec?

Democratic Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Madam Speaker, this question is important enough that we should not improvise. That approach was never suggested to us, yet the member for Winnipeg North spoke so eloquently about it earlier.

The opening part of my colleague's question worries me a bit. Often people tell someone they are taking something away for their own good. That is what it sounded like he was saying.

I know that was not his intention, but they are taking something away and saying that it is for our own good. But the feeling in Quebec is unanimous: it is not for our own good.

Democratic Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Carrier Bloc Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague from Chambly—Borduas for his great speech about how Quebeckers feel about this bill.

He underscored the question of the Quebec nation, which was recognized here in the House of Commons in 2006. I was one of those who was proud to see that, for once, our Parliament officially acknowledged that Quebec forms a nation within this large country called Canada.

I would like him to elaborate on whether it is important, given the date when the nation was recognized, that its political weight within Canada be maintained in terms of the proportion of members in the House of Commons.

Democratic Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from Alfred-Pellan who does an excellent job for his constituents in this House and at home, I am sure.

The question might surprise some people, those who think it goes without saying, and therein lies the nuance of my colleague's question. We always have to repeat this over and over. There is a world of difference between recognizing a nation in a motion and recognizing a nation de facto through actions. To date, we have seen nothing in this Parliament since the 2007 recognition that would suggest that the members who voted in favour of that motion would like to give it any concrete expression. One member was even honest enough to admit that he was against it. It was the member across the floor. We were insulted and angry, but at least he was honest and consistent. He has not changed his perspective. But what were the others thinking, those who voted in favour of it?

Notice of time allocation motionDemocratic Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of the Environment

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I apologize to my colleague in the House of Commons.

Given that the second reading amendment moved to Bill C-12, An Act to amend the Constitution Act, 1867 (Democratic representation), earlier today makes it virtually impossible to send Bill C-12 to committee without the use of time allocation, I would like to advise that an agreement could not be reached under the provisions of Standing Order 78(1) or 78(2) with respect to the second reading of Bill C-12, An act to amend the Constitution Act, 1867 (Democratic representation).

Under the provisions of Standing Order 78(3), I give notice that a minister of the Crown will propose at the next sitting a motion to allot a specific number of days or hours for the consideration and disposal of proceedings at this stage.

Second ReadingDemocratic Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Madam Speaker, I do not think anyone in this chamber or any Canadian watching this could possibly miss the irony of the speech we just heard.

On this side, we believe, to the greatest extent possible, that the vote of every Canadian should carry equal weight. The irony is if the Bloc party had its way, it would have no representatives in the House at all.

How can the member stand and say that it is fair for a member in a riding like mine of 120,000 would have the same weight as a member in a riding of 35,000?

Second ReadingDemocratic Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

The hon. member for Chambly—Borduas has 30 seconds to answer the question.

Second ReadingDemocratic Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Madam Speaker, I will try to answer in 30 seconds if my colleague over there would actually listen, because if we were to apply what he said, one province would end up with one member instead of the four it has now. Some provinces, like Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, have greater representation. That is fine for geographic representation. He has to be consistent with his logic. If he had paid attention to my speech, he would have understood that there are two options: geographic situations and specific cases like those of the Quebec nation and the issue of the French language.

Second ReadingDemocratic Representation ActGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

The hon. member for Chambly—Borduas will have two minutes left for questions and comments when debate on this bill resumes.

Community PolicingStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Lois Brown Conservative Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Madam Speaker, Armand La Barge, one of York Region's greatest communities leaders, has retired. He leaves behind a stellar 37-year policing career with York Regional Police, the last 8 of them as chief. His contribution to our region is immeasurable. Under his watch, York Region has become one of Canada's safest communities. His legacy is reflected in the actions he has taken toward improving the quality of life in our community. He took community policing to new heights. York Region now has a chief's youth council, a youth opportunities and leadership camp and the community safety village.

Armand La Barge will be remembered for his passion, his professionalism and his tireless dedication to his community. Under his leadership, the motto “deeds speak” has spoken loudly.

I invite all my colleagues to join me in congratulating Armand La Barge on a job well done.

Military FamiliesStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Madam Speaker, Rob Gasgoine is back at the rink and at the gym with his kids.

Major Robert Gasgoine was serving as officer commanding the tactical air control party in Kandahar since April, part of his exemplary 24.5-year military career.

We all know the tremendous sacrifices made by our serving CF personnel and their families. Spouses like Kathy manage their families, keep their jobs, keep the crazy schedules, drive their kids to everything and stay optimistic and productive, all the while waiting for the family to be reunited again. This is done with little complaint.

I know all members of this House will join me in thanking all of our Canadian military families and wishing them a fabulous and well-deserved Christmas. For those who are currently serving, we pray for their safe return and hope they have a wonderful Christmas together next year.

To the Gasgoines, to Rob, Kathy, Josie, Malcom, who is playing some great hockey these days, and Clara, it is great to see them together for Christmas. We thank them and all military families for what they do for Canada. And it is great to see Rob back at the rink.

Informal CaregiversStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to commend the invaluable work done by informal caregivers. With the vital care they provide, these people support their loved ones when they need it most. Informal caregivers look after an ill or disabled child or parent with generosity and compassion. Caregiving involves huge sacrifices and can have a serious impact on caregivers' income, health and professional and social lives.

At this time of the year, my Bloc Québécois colleagues join me in paying tribute to caregivers for their courage. We invite all the members of the House to work together to find solutions that will reduce the burden on informal caregivers, while respecting the jurisdictions of the provinces and Quebec, of course.

Canadian Wheat BoardStatements by Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Madam Speaker, the outcome of the recent Canadian Wheat Board directors' election proved once again that farmers are overwhelmingly committed to maintaining a strong Canadian Wheat Board. Four of the five successful candidates are strong supporters of the CWB single desk marketing advantage.

I hope this House will join me in congratulating Stewart Wells, John Sandborn, Allen Oberg, Kyle Korneychuk and Henry Vos.

Farmers have made it pretty clear that they do not appreciate the Conservative government's relentless attacks against their venerated marketing board.

I would suggest that it is high time the government showed some respect for prairie grain farmers. It can start by immediately dropping the gag order prohibiting the board from advocating for the single desk; instructing our negotiators to take the wheat board off the table in the Doha negotiations; making it abundantly clear to the EU that our board will not be traded away in CETA; and moving quickly on the CWB's latest initial prices request.

I urge the Prime Minister to get off the farmers' backs once and for all and let them make their own decisions.

Holiday WishesStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Conservative Calgary East, AB

Madam Speaker, as we wind down this year, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the constituents of Calgary East for the support they have given to me throughout the year.

I have had the honour of representing Calgary East for nearly 14 years. Although 14 years have passed, I am still as committed to defending the interests of and representing my constituents as when I was first elected in 1997.

I wish to recognize all the volunteers who have worked tirelessly to improve their community.

I would also like to thank my countless friends and supporters from all across the country who have assisted me in performing my duties.

As I reflect on this year, I would like to also thank my staff in Calgary and Ottawa. Their dedication has enabled my office to meet the expectations of constituents and Canadians alike.

I would also like to extend my appreciation to my family who have shown patience and understanding for me, in particular my wife, Neena.

I would like to wish happy holidays to all, merry Christmas and happy new year to all.

Mount Allison UniversityStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, the fall session for university students across the country is ending.

In my riding of Beauséjour, students from Mount Allison University are finishing their exams and preparing to hand in their term papers.

Those students have the opportunity to study at one of the best universities in the country.

This was proven when Mount Allison University in Sackville was once again named Canada's top primarily undergraduate university. I say once again, because it is the 14th time in the past 20 years it received this prestigious award.

I know many members of the staff and the faculty and I know how proud they are of the work they do.

This award confirms what many of us already know. Mount Allison University has outstanding students, world-class professors, staff and researchers and a well-deserved reputation for excellence.

To Robert Campbell, the President of Mount Allison University, and to the Chancellor, Peter Mansbridge, I say congratulations for a job well done.

TaxationStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Leon Benoit Conservative Vegreville—Wainwright, AB

Mr. Speaker, most Canadians know that lowering corporate taxes leads to more companies expanding, new businesses moving to Canada and therefore to more jobs for their children, friends and neighbours.

That is why this government has lowered these taxes by more than 30%.

Lower personal taxes leaves more money in the pockets of Canadians to pay down debt and, who knows, maybe even buy some Christmas presents.

That is why our Conservative government has lowered personal taxes by more than $3,000 per year for a family of four.

Why then is this opposition coalition proposing higher, job-killing corporate taxes and higher personal taxes, including a $75 iPod tax? That would be some Christmas present.

Is it that they are not in it for Canadians; they are just in it for themselves? Or is it that they simply cannot kick their addiction to big spending?

Canadians should be very careful that they do not accidentally end up with this job-killing group of pick-pockets after the next election.

Bill C-288Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, on May 5, 2010, Bill C-288, to give new graduates a tax credit was passed by a majority of the members of the House of Commons. For the second time in less than three years, it has reached the Senate.

However, it has been debated only twice since it got there. Bill C-288 would help thousands of young students who want to study and stay in the regions, some of which are experiencing economic difficulties.

The Conservative government is taking advantage of the fact that it controls the Senate in order to control its work. For the Conservative government to oppose such a measure is one thing, but recommending that the Senate block debate on Bill C-288 is unacceptable.

The Conservative government must drop its contemptuous attitude toward the will of democratically elected parliamentarians and immediately authorize debate on Bill C-288 in the Senate.

Sterling R. LyonStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is with great sadness that I rise today to acknowledge the passing of the Hon. Sterling R. Lyon, former premier of Manitoba.

This distinguished Canadian proudly served the people of Manitoba for over than 40 years. His remarkable career saw him succeed in many diverse roles, notably as a crown attorney, a member of the legislature, an attorney general, a leader of the opposition, a premier and a judge of the Manitoba Court of Appeal. Sterling fulfilled all of these roles with great leadership and accomplishment.

Among other things, Sterling will be remembered for his firm belief in fiscal responsibility and prudent public investments. Over the years, his achievements and legacy have benefited his constituency, his province and all those who were privileged to work with him. His compassion and commitment to public service make a strong example to our youth in Manitoba and across the country.

I wish to extend our thoughts and prayers to his family, as well as the Manitoba PC caucus and party members at this time. I offer them our sincerest condolences as they mourn his passing and celebrate his remarkable life.

Multiple SclerosisStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, the scientific evidence is mounting regarding CCSVI. More clinical trials are about to begin in the United States, and Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Newfoundland are taking action. More important, neurologists are quietly admitting that their patients are improving.

Canada needs clinical trials for CCSVI that are undertaken in multiple centres across our country, and Canada should be tracking the progress of Canadian MS patients, who felt forced to seek liberation treatment overseas, in a registry for efficacy, improvements in quality of life and side effects. Very quickly, we could have more answers regarding patients' progress at one, three, six months, et cetera.

More important, no Canadian should be denied follow-up care here in Canada. It is unconscionable, unethical and clearly a breach of “do no harm”. Cancelling of appointments and mandatory tests, denial of treatment and threatening of patients must stop.

2010 in ReviewStatements by Members

December 16th, 2010 / 2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Alice Wong Conservative Richmond, BC

Mr. Speaker, 2010 has been Canada's year.

We had the Vancouver Olympics and Paralympics, Canada's games. Our athletes won more gold medals than any country has ever won at a winter Olympics.

We hosted back-to-back gatherings of the G8 and G20.

We took the lead on child and maternal health, fiscal consolidation and deficit reduction, and financial sector reform. We made real progress, with Canadian solutions leading the way.

On Canada's 143rd birthday, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth was joined here on Parliament Hill with 100,000 Canadians.

What I am most proud of is our government's success in steering our country through the worst global economic crisis since the second world war. Canada's economic action plan is creating jobs and strengthening our communities.

What a great year it has been for Canada, our gold medal country.

The Salvation ArmyStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Glenn Thibeault NDP Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, on streets and in shopping malls across the country, a very familiar sound is being heard, the trademark bells of the Salvation Army's annual Christmas kettle campaign.

The campaign helps the Salvation Army provide direct, compassionate, hands-on service to more than 1.6 million people in Canada each year. Of course this important campaign would not be possible without the help of thousands of volunteers who donate their time to collect donations at kettles across Canada. Next week I am happy to do my part and help ring the bells at a kettle in Sudbury.

Local businesses in my riding of Sudbury have also been instrumental in raising awareness and funds for the cause. One of Sudbury's radio stations, KICX 91.7, is hosting its annual nickel drive radiothon tomorrow. It will be auctioning off donated items, with 100% of the money raised going directly to the Greater Sudbury Salvation Army.

Many thanks to KICX and other community partners who make Christmas a little brighter for those in need.

2010 in ReviewStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, what a great year it has been for Canada.

At the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, Alexandre Bilodeau from Quebec started the ball rolling, and our Olympic and Paralympic athletes won more gold medals than any other country in the history of the Winter Olympic Games.

Canada hosted the G8 and G20 and was proactive with its maternal and child health initiative as well as in financial sector reform, where it proposed Canadian solutions that inspired the whole world.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II celebrated Canada's 143rd birthday here in Ottawa, with more than 100,000 Canadians.

But what I am most proud of is the success of our Conservative government in guiding the economy through one of the worst financial crises since the second world war.

The economic action plan was extended from October 31, 2010, to October 31, 2011, and will thus continue to create jobs.

2010 was an exceptional year. Congratulations to the architects of this success. Merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Use of Wood in Federal BuildingsStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Bloc Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, all the Conservative members, including those from Quebec, voted against Bill C-429 regarding the use of wood in federal buildings, thereby turning their backs on Quebec and its forestry industry. Unfortunately, although they unanimously supported our initiative in the past, the Liberals and New Democrats were split on the issue.

The Quebec Conservative members are not only unable to defend the interests of Quebec but they also do not understand the needs of Quebec or its regions.

It is disappointing to see all the Conservative members oppose Bill C-429, a green initiative that would have helped Quebec's forestry industry get back on track and helped to improve the government's poor track record with regard to energy, without the need for any new investments. However, the forestry industry and its workers can count on the Bloc Québecois, which will not give up. The electoral reckoning is not far off.