House of Commons Hansard #22 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was billion.


Jobs and Economic Growth ActGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.


Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, I know the member wants to talk about fisheries, and we are on opposite ends of the country. The east coast has slightly different issues than the west coast around fisheries, but we have a common interest in preserving our fisheries.

The member will be well aware of the fact that on the west coast the Fraser River Sockeye run this year was absolutely decimated. The member for Sackville—Eastern Shore has consistently called for investments in conservation, in enforcements and in habitat restoration.

Could the member talk a bit about what he sees as being aspects of protecting our fisheries, both on the east and west, that were absent from the budget implementation act?

Jobs and Economic Growth ActGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.


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

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for bringing up the issue.

One of the elements that was being used, I think successfully in some cases as long as there was buy-in, was the marine protected areas. In B.C. there are a couple of good models. PNCIMA I think is the northwest area for ocean management that does a really good job with that.

I came here in 2004, and I think it was 2004-05 when we did the study on the sockeye salmon around the Fraser. What a devastating situation. We have fluctuations in stocks on the east coast, in crab, lobster and shrimp. The declines in the stock for British Colombia is absolutely stunning when we look at the numbers. Where do they go? Where do they come from?

Some of the models that I think work out well are the international models between the United States and Canada, where they are looking at doing this.

I would love to have more time on this question, but the final point is that there has to be a conversation between the bureaucrats of DFO and the local fishers of British Colombia and also the native groups as well. That is a big problem out there. I think there is a lack of discussion and an incredible lack of understanding. Granted I am from the east coast. It is an observation of mine. It might be naive, but I would implore all members of Parliament from British Columbia, despite their colour of party, to get involved in facilitating a discussion among those levels, the government, the native groups and the local fishers and their groups, whether it is recreational or commercial. It is a conversation that has to be fulsome and has to take a great deal of time.

Jobs and Economic Growth ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.


Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague's opinion and get his comments on the lack of vision, the shortsightedness, within the budgetary document and in recent announcements that cutbacks have been made to ACAP, the Atlantic coastal action program. ACAP is a not-for-profit agency that funds and operates a number of different environmental projects throughout Atlantic Canada. I know the member's home province of Newfoundland and Labrador has a similar agency.

In my community, ACAP has provided an opportunity for homeowners to have an eco-energy audit done on their homes and thus be able to apply for an energy retrofit, and there was funding assistance for the energy retrofit program. That program is one that has ceased. It will not be funded going forward. It is one that has brought a great deal of benefit to our community, to about 3,500 homes within our area alone. It has had a tremendously positive impact on the environment and provided cost savings for those who need cost savings, when we look at the high energy costs in our province.

I would like to ask my colleague, the member for Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, what type of impact he is hearing from the people back home on these cutbacks and how this is going to impact on the operation of the ACAP facility in Newfoundland.

Jobs and Economic Growth ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.


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

Mr. Speaker, over the past two years I think this ACAP situation has been ongoing, whether it was below the radar or not. To say I am not shocked by this goes to the heart of the matter. It has been talked about for the past couple of years, but yet the justification has been very limited.

What ACAP does is that it provides us with the information in an era where there is a lack of science, not just for the fishery but also for the oil and gas industry. There is an organization in Newfoundland called One Ocean that does fantastic work.

However a lot of the groundwork by these organizations is done by government-funded organizations like ACAP. What we have to look at certainly on this side of the House is support for this organization that provides the information that enables other groups, whether it be private or public or government-owned, to do their jobs.

The member did bring up at the beginning a lack of vision. When it comes to our regional economic development agency, I speak of ACOA. We always call it ACOA but for the benefit of the House it is Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, similarly based on other economic development boards across the country, organizations such as those in the west and in Quebec and FedNor in northern Ontario.

What used to take place were five-year plans regarding economic development and stimulus for the smallest communities. So communities would get funding for a five-year period and once that lapsed they would get funding for another five-year period.

What we are seeing right now is a year-over-year funding renewal that really does not give these organizations a place to seriously invest in long-term achievements, and that becomes a problem.

Therefore I thank the hon. member from Cape Breton for his question.

Jobs and Economic Growth ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.


Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-9, the jobs and economic growth act. As the member for Outremont, our finance critic, has indicated, the New Democrats will be voting against this particular piece of legislation.

When pieces of legislation come before the House, we have responsibilities as members of Parliament to give them full consideration. Although we do support pieces of this legislation, there are other pieces of it that we are fundamentally opposed to. The Conservative government has decided to jam into this piece of legislation things that should properly be considered by other parliamentary standing committees and should have stand-alone legislation.

We have items around Canada Post and the environment that should be stand-alone pieces of legislation. The appropriate committees could deal with those in depth, call the appropriate witnesses and give them the kind of study and due diligence that we have a responsibility to do as members of Parliament. Based on that fact alone, because there are aspects around the environment that we simply could not support, New Democrats are in a position where we have to say no to this piece of legislation.

There are particular aspects of Bill C-9 that are very troubling for my constituents of Nanaimo—Cowichan. I want to touch on a couple of them. One is that there are more changes around softwood lumber. We know that the softwood lumber agreement has had a devastating impact on different parts of the country. Certainly in British Columbia, our forestry sector has undergone a number of changes over the past several years.

The softwood lumber agreement, as it was agreed to by the Conservatives, has eroded the resource industry and forestry industry in Nanaimo—Cowichan and other parts of British Columbia. I would strongly urge members of the House to very carefully review that part of the budget implementation act to see what kinds of effects it would have on their communities.

I know other members have talked about the employment insurance aspect of this piece of legislation, but this is going to take the roughly $57 billion of surplus and wind up that employment insurance account. We know that, in many parts of this country including Nanaimo—Cowichan, there are many workers who have exhausted their employment insurance.

I talked a little bit earlier about forestry workers. We know that forestry workers in my riding, throughout British Columbia and in other parts of Canada have been hit hard. Some of them have either exhausted their employment insurance or were not eligible for some of those provisions that were supposed to protect workers.

If we were going to try to jam employment insurance into this budget implementation act, we would have liked to have seen some of the initiatives that other members, such as the member for Acadie—Bathurst, the member for Hamilton Mountain and the member for Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, have called for. We would like to see an elimination of the two-week waiting period. We want to see a reduction in the number of weeks that are required to qualify. We want to see an adequate length of time that actually allows people that safety net that many of them have paid into their whole lives. We want to see an increase in the benefit rate.

Studies by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Canadian Labour Congress have indicated that if we want to talk about economic stimulus, we should provide that social safety net so people have money to spend in their own communities, so they can support their local restaurants and stores. If we ensured people had that safety net through employment insurance, we would make sure our economy stayed more stable.

Another aspect of it is that, as people exhaust their employment insurance benefits, they end up becoming the responsibility of the province. Once the workers have exhausted their employment insurance and then depleted their savings, they then end up going on income assistance. It seems to me that this is another example of the federal government shoving its responsibilities onto the provincial governments, particularly in light of the fact that there was a $57 billion surplus in the EI account, paid for by workers and their employers.

It is very difficult to support a budget that says the government will take the money that workers paid for and make sure it stays in the consolidated revenue fund, with no access to it by workers or their employers.

There are many, many parts of the bill that are simply anathema to New Democrats, but I want to talk very briefly about the environmental assessment part of this legislation. It exempts through legislation rather than regulations certain federally funded infrastructure projects from environmental assessment. This goes well beyond the efforts by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment to streamline the environmental assessment process, which was to be the object of a review in 2010. At the outset of my speech, I referenced the fact that parts of this Bill C-9 legislation are taking the responsibility away from standing committees where it appropriately belongs.

Our environment critic, the member for Edmonton—Strathcona, is here intently listening and I know she has raised the issues around the fact that there was a process that was going to be under way and this legislation attempts to usurp the authority of the environment committee to do its work. It allows the Minister of the Environment to dictate the scope of the environmental assessment of any project to be reviewed and it allows for, rather than requires, the National Energy Board and the Nuclear Safety Commission to pay for public participations and reviews that they choose to undertake. That is in line with the budget speech, which outlined the plan to remove assessment of energy projects from the Environmental Assessment Agency and give it to the NEB and the NSC.

In British Columbia, we recently had a Supreme Court of Canada ruling where MiningWatch Canada raised an issue. The Supreme Court said that the federal regulators erred when they failed to subject the Red Chris project to a full review under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act following its review and approval by the B.C. government. The question this raises is that there are dozens of projects under federal review including mines, highways and pipelines. The court said the so-called responsible authorities including the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Environment Canada and Natural Resources Canada must undertake comprehensive reviews of all projects that qualify for CEAA scrutiny.

So the question then becomes, with what is in Bill C-9, what happens to that court ruling. What happens to that responsibility under CEAA to put that kind of assessment review process in place? It is very worrying that the federal government seems to be distancing itself from its responsibility as a federal regulator to oversee these kinds of processes.

In my riding we have a very difficult situation with the Chemainus River and the Halalt First Nation. The Halalt is asking for a judicial review of a water project undertaken by the District of North Cowichan. There had previously been some action by the community because they were so frustrated by their inability to have the District of North Cowichan, the provincial or the federal governments pay attention to their very legitimate concerns.

As Chief James Thomas has said a number of times, their attempt to raise the issue around the Chemainus River aquifer was not just about Halalt First Nation. It was about protecting that aquifer for all of the residents of Chemainus. They had been passionately pleading with all levels of government to come to the table with them as full partners at the table to make sure the aquifer would be protected not only for this generation but for future generations. So they have been forced into the courts. They have a petition asking the courts to order a judicial review of the $3.6 million water project, which has been approved under both the federal and provincial environmental review processes.

Grand Chief Phillip has also commented on this and he has said:

As Indigenous Peoples, we are increasingly alarmed when third party interests are granted access to the resources of our territories, especially fresh water, government and the courts protect those corporate interests at the expense of our Aboriginal Title and Rights and of the environmental values that many British Columbians hold dear.

When we speak about the environmental values, many of us in the House keep in mind that we are not just talking about today. First nations will talk about seven generations into the future and that is what we need to be talking about when we are looking at protecting those valuable environmental assets.

I want to touch on a couple of other items.

I want to speak very briefly about Canada Post. Bill C-9 removes Canada Post's legal monopoly on outgoing international letters. The bill includes some provisions from previous bills, Bill C-14 and Bill C-44. I want to acknowledge the work done by the member for Hamilton Centre in raising concerns around this issue.

I live in a rural community. It is essential that we protect the ability of Canada Post to deliver cost-effective services to all residents in Canada. One way is to continue Canada Post's exclusive privilege to collect, transmit and deliver letters, including international letters, which is what is referenced in this piece of legislation. This would allow Canada Post to maintain its universal obligation. In many communities Canada Post is the lifeline. It is the mechanism by which people receive and send their correspondence at an affordable rate.

The member for Hamilton Mountain identified that where deregulation of that kind has happened in other countries, the costs have gone up and many postal workers have lost their jobs. Surely a piece of legislation called the jobs and economic growth act should look at protecting jobs, and not include measures that would do away with jobs.

Other New Democrats have mentioned that we will not be out of the recession until we have full job recovery. Many communities do not have full job recovery. The kinds of initiatives the government has proposed with respect to Canada Post will see job loss, not job recovery.

I want to touch on a couple of things that are particular to first nations, Métis and Inuit. This week the House had an emergency debate on the Aboriginal Healing Foundation. Bill C-9 does not provide any continuation of the funding for it. On Tuesday night, over the several hours we debated this matter, there were passionate pleas for an extension of this funding.

I remind the House once again that the evaluation done on behalf of Indian and Northern Affairs talked about the program's effectiveness. It said that there was almost unanimous agreement among those canvassed that the AHF has been very successful at achieving its objectives in governance and fiscal management. Just to be clear, not only did it achieve its objectives but it has been fiscally responsible.

Every member who spoke on Tuesday night talked about the effectiveness of the AHF. Members mentioned that it is a grassroots community-driven organization and that it is culturally appropriate. Conservative members, without exception, talked about its effectiveness. A member asked me why the Conservative government would cancel a program that it agrees is effective. There simply is no answer to that.

It is very disappointing that the budget does not acknowledge the good work the Aboriginal Healing Foundation has done. The funding should be reinstated so the program can continue until residential school survivors have received the healing they need to become healthy, active, participating members of their communities, socially, culturally and economically. It is an outrage that it was not included in the budget.

With regard to violence against aboriginal women, we know that $10 million was earmarked in the throne speech, but we would like to see a commitment to continue the funding for the Native Women's Association of Canada. The Native Women's Association of Canada has done a Sisters in Spirit follow-up report, which laid out a number of factors that should be included.

At this juncture, we have no confidence that the Native Women's Association of Canada will continue to be funded, included in the action plan and the implementation of it. It needs to be at the table as a full partner in developing the action plan and implementing it.

The association has made a number of recommendations. In my short 20 minutes I will not have time to go through all of them, but I want to touch on a couple.

One is with respect to the reduction of violence against aboriginal women and girls, which results in their disappearance and death.

The association is recommending that the association and all levels of government work collaboratively to review and consolidate existing recommendations from all of the commissions and inquiries that have occurred.

The Native Women's Association needs to participate as a full member in developing a work plan to identify outstanding recommendations and priorities for action. The Native Women's Association, governments and police need to collaborate to develop policies and procedures that address the issues of prostitution, trafficking and sexual exploitation of children by focusing on the perpetrators, preventing the abuse and ensuring that the victims are not penalized, criminalized or had their personal autonomy restricted.

There needs to be a reduction of poverty experienced by aboriginal women and girls that will increase their safety and security, and a reduction in homelessness and an increased ability of aboriginal women to access safe, secure and affordable housing which meets minimum standards of cleanliness and repair. Finally, there needs to be improved access to justice for aboriginal women and girls and their families. There is a whole list of recommendations that fall under that subject.

I want to specifically address the Canada Council on Learning and First Nations University. A letter from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to the Prime Minister indicated:

The research, analysis and reporting capacity of an organisation such as CCL represents an important asset in a knowledge-driven economy. At the OECD, we have watched CCL's rapid evolution with interest. I have been impressed with the above-mentioned Composite Learning Index, which integrates robust measures across varied dimensions of learning and enables individuals and communities to assess the impact of learning on social and economic outcomes.

As we know, investing in a knowledge economy not only supports economic resilience and fuels economic growth, but also improves health levels, strengthens community, and heightens employment prospects.

In light of that letter from the OECD, one would think that the Canada Council on Learning's funding had been extended. Sadly, its funding has been cut. An organization that has raised issues, has monitored, has reported and has evaluated is losing its funding.

Its recent report, “Taking Stock: Lifelong Learning in Canada 2005–2010”, is a very good overview. It indicates that our country has a fundamental data gap in post-secondary education. It states:

Canada has the greatest deficiencies in acquisition and use of data on learning after high school of any OECD country. This renders the country capable of: matching labour market demand to supply; providing adequate information on which students can base study and career decisions; establishing accountability for resources expended and determining how much and what progress is being made.

Another report indicates that the discrepancy in post-secondary education attainment for first nations can be attributed to the university level. Only 8% of aboriginal people age 25 to 64 had completed a university degree compared to 23% of non-aboriginal Canadians.

The CCL has excellent information. One would probably suspect that because the CCL has raised some very troubling issues its funding was cut. Because it has raised some issues around aboriginal people, I want to touch on the report, “Walk In Our Moccasins, A Comprehensive Study of Aboriginal Education Counsellors in Ontario”.

The CCL outlines a number of factors that are essential for aboriginal learners to complete post-secondary and K-12 learning. It talks about a culturally enhanced and supported curriculum taught by caring educators, teaching strategies and assessments that are culturally reinforcing and diverse, and adequate economic well-being.

That leads me to First Nations University of Canada. We know that the provincial and federal governments cut its funding. The provincial government has reinstated it, but the federal government has only reinstated a portion of the funding. The former grand chief of Prince Albert Grand Council, Gary Merasty, wrote a very good op-ed saying that FNUC has turned the corner. He pointed out that in Saskatchewan 50% of the population will be first nations by 2045, and that First Nations University is an essential factor in terms of the economic health and well-being of that province.

Any economy that is going to thrive and grow needs an educated and trained workforce. First Nations University has a vital role to play in that.

For all of the reasons I have outlined, New Democrats will be opposing this budget implementation bill.

Jobs and Economic Growth ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario


Dean Del Mastro ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Madam Speaker, I listened intently to the member's speech. I would say that I am disappointed but not surprised that the NDP will be voting against jobs and economic growth for Canadians.

However, I will give the NDP some credit. It has become a liberal think-tank, after all. Principles that are put forward by the NDP within a few short months become Liberal policy. I point to the NDP's platform on EI. Philosophically I did not agree with it, but the Liberal Party saw fit to adapt it this weekend.

After the thinkers' conference, the leader of the Liberal Party came back and endorsed the NDP's corporate tax plan, which would cost Canada jobs and economic growth. In fact, if we consider the KPMG report that was issued this week on competitiveness and we see that Canada has now climbed to second overall in competitiveness, it demonstrates the success of advantage Canada as a plan for Canada to continue down this path of being a jobs and economic growth leader.

We know that Canada is leading all of its trading partners in economic growth and job creation, and obviously the prospects of the Canadian economy are much better than the prospects of our trading partners. If being in first place is not good enough to support the government's economic agenda, in which place would the member like to see us?

Jobs and Economic Growth ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, we can refer to any different set of numbers to argue our position on any kind of matter. I would say that there are many parts where we are falling dismally behind.

With respect to first nations, Métis and Inuit, we have some of the highest rates of tuberculosis in the western world, in Nunavut it is 185 times the average rate. When we look at the wellness indexes and we take into consideration housing, water and education, first nations are something like 67th or 87th when looking at the composite numbers.

Some parts of our country may be doing very well, but there are many places in Canada where the unemployment rates are still unacceptably high. We will not have a full recovery until we have that job recovery. Many of us want to see that kind of job recovery before we are willing to jump on that number one bandwagon.

Jobs and Economic Growth ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for her interventions, particularly on First Nations University.

The budget does not really address jobs, veterans, families, climate change, culture, clean energy and first nations to name a few. The list goes on and on.

The member will also know that the government had promised to create 190,000 new jobs, but now it is some 135,000. At the bottom of the recession, we are looking at over 300,000 people having lost their jobs since October 2008.

I would ask the member whether or not she believes that the government in fact put us into a recession even before the global economic recession, and put itself in a position where it cannot address the priorities of this nation.

Jobs and Economic Growth ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, clearly this country has not had a full job recovery. What those job numbers actually cloak is the fact that often those jobs are seasonal, part-time, contract work. They are not the kinds of full-time, full-year jobs that people in this country need in order for families to have that kind of economic security. Until we have that kind of job recovery, we do not have a recovery.

Jobs and Economic Growth ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member will have six minutes to conclude the questions and comments period after oral questions.

Arts and CultureStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Ron Cannan Conservative Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, I wish to bring to the attention of the House an important milestone in my riding of Kelowna—Lake Country. The Okanagan Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of maestro Rosemary Thomson, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

I had an opportunity, with my wife, to attend its performance on Friday night. It was just spectacular. This is marking its place as a cornerstone of the arts community in the Okanagan.

Our Conservative government is supporting the symphony and other arts organizations in our riding, through the endowment incentives component of the Canada cultural investment fund, which matches donations from individuals, companies and community groups, and ensures a long-term future for the arts across Canada.

Congratulations to the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra on reaching this milestone and congratulations to the many donors, volunteers and patrons in Kelowna—Lake Country who continue to support and nurture an appreciation for the arts in our community.

World Autism Awareness DayStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wish to bring to the attention of this House that tomorrow, April 2, is World Autism Awareness Day.

Autism is a pervasive disorder which affects one person in 110, and millions of people around the world, including thousands of Canadians.

We need a national strategy in this country to help those who are living with autism and their families, a strategy to address the challenges brought on by autism, with child, adolescent and adult supports. We know this will not solve autism. However, if we can make people aware of the importance of early diagnosis and early intervention, maybe we can make lives a little easier.

The importance of World Autism Awareness Day is to give a voice to all those undiagnosed, misunderstood and looking for help. Children and persons with autism must be given the opportunity to lead full and meaningful lives.

Institut Nazareth et Louis-BrailleStatements By Members

April 1st, 2010 / 2 p.m.


Monique Guay Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, for 150 years, the Institut Nazareth et Louis-Braille has been the sole rehabilitation centre specializing in vision loss in Quebec.

It provides services to children, youth, adults and seniors. Seniors have access to a program that helps them adapt and readjust to an active lifestyle at home and within society. The program has two multidisciplinary teams, partly made up of volunteers, whose work is very important in the provision of services at the institute.

My father, Paul Guay, lost 80% of his vision a few years ago. As a result, he also lost his driver's licence, and, most importantly, his pride in being independent. Thanks to the seniors' program, he is keeping up with his volunteer work, at the age of 80, and remains active and healthy.

The institute's work helps people like my father maintain their dignity and be proud of actively contributing to society.

Universities and CollegesStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, as the member of Parliament for Edmonton—Strathcona, I am privileged to have three university campuses in my constituency: the University of Alberta main campus, Campus Saint-Jean, and King's University.

Faculty, students and their families have shared their concerns that advanced education is becoming increasingly unaffordable.

At the U of A, on top of rising tuition fees, students must pay new fees, and faculty must take 8 to 13 days of unpaid leave.

Market modifiers, or higher tuition fees, have been imposed for professional faculties, assuming they will earn more after graduation. This hurts those least able to pay, and increases an already high debt burden. Few law graduates can consider a public interest career.

This week, I met with U of A medical students concerned that as medical fees increase, access will be denied to many at a time when we have a need for more doctors.

There is no better investment than the education of young Canadians and to ensure accessibility for more than the privileged few. I am sure members will agree with Dr. Paul Capon, that education and learning are at the heart of a democratic society.

Should our federal government not be contributing more?

Royal Regiment of Canadian ArtilleryStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Ray Boughen Conservative Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the 18th Battery of the 10th Field Regiment, RRCA Saskatchewan.

First activated in Regina as the 26th Field Battery, 100 years ago today, this is the longest continuously serving Canadian artillery unit in the province of Saskatchewan.

In 1920 the independent 26th Field Battery became the 10th Field Brigade, a part of which was the 18th Field Battery. After World War II, they grew to become known as the 10th Field Regiment.

Gunners of the 18th Battery, 10th Field Regiment, have served us bravely for a century, in two great wars, in Korea, in Afghanistan and elsewhere, and they continue to serve us today.

I ask all members to rise with me to salute these men and women. These dedicated regular and reserve volunteers have placed themselves in harm's way, so that we in Canada might never feel the pain of war in our own country.

Daffodil MonthStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the great honour to rise today to mark the start of Daffodil Month. This month, volunteers across Canada will spread awareness and raise money to fight cancer.

Based on current incidence rates, two in five Canadians will develop some form of cancer in their lifetime. Few will be untouched by this disease. However, an ounce of prevention, primary prevention, is worth a pound of cure. We are saddened that the government has denied funding to environmental and occupational cancer prevention projects.

We implore the government to implement a PET imaging strategy that would provide earlier diagnosis and more appropriate treatment. Many cancers are being found too late.

It is time for the government to do more. We need better data, better research, and better tools to implement preventative measures, find it earlier and provide better care for Canadians with cancer and their families.

World Autism Awareness DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Mike Lake Conservative Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont, AB

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow is the third World Autism Awareness Day. Twelve years ago today, my son Jaden was diagnosed with autism. For the last two years on this day, I have shared Jaden's story, but this time I want to focus on his 10-year-old sister, Jenae.

As with many siblings of people with autism, our family's attention often seems to be on someone else and yet Jenae never complains. She sees the good in her brother, often pointing out, for example, that Jaden never fights with her like her friends' brothers do. When she was five, she described their relationship this way: “I'm Jaden's little sister, but sometimes I'm like his big sister”.

She is Jaden's guardian, his helper, his teacher and his friend. Jenae's name is Hebrew for “God has replied” and there are countless others all across this country just like her: people like Josh Bortolotti, Jeanette Holden and the member for Sydney—Victoria.

They are answers to prayers both spoken and unspoken. We thank God for them today on behalf of those who may not be able to say it themselves.

Daffodil MonthStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Nicolas Dufour Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, April is the month that brings good weather, but it is also the month when we are reminded that we must never give up in our fight against cancer.

Daffodil Month begins today, and that is why I invite everyone to support the volunteers who will be spending the coming month raising money and making their community aware of the fight against this terrible disease, which affects two in five people.

The money raised by the sale of daffodils, which symbolize hope and courage, will be used to fund research projects, distribute information about cancer and provide support for people who have been or will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.

I would also like to invite all my colleagues to wear a daffodil for the month of April to show their support for all those touched by cancer.

Democratic RepresentationStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, this morning, the Minister of State for Democratic Reform tabled Bill C-12, An Act to amend the Constitution Act, 1867, our government's commitment to restore the democratic principle of representation by population right here in the House of Commons.

This legislation will update the current formula that was designed in 1985 and will restore fair representation in the House to all Canadians, regardless of the province in which they live. That is because we believe that each Canadian's vote should carry equal weight.

Over time, representation of Canadians from the provinces of Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia was underrepresented. Our government has taken a principled approach that strikes a balance between restoring fair representation for faster-growing provinces while protecting the seat counts of slower-growth provinces.

We believe that all Canadians deserve to be represented in the people's House, this House of Commons. This bill is about giving the new Canada a new voice for the millions of new Canadians who have entered these three new provinces.

Midget AAA HockeyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Shawn Murphy Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, on Sunday, March 21, the Charlottetown OK Tire Abbies won the Atlantic provinces midget AAA hockey championship. Teams from Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island participated in this Atlantic tournament. The Abbies went undefeated during the tournament and won the championship for the second straight year.

The Abbies defeated their hosts, the Summerside Hemphill GM Capitals, in a 5 to 3 victory in the championship game. Their victory on Sunday marks the end of a very successful season. The team dominated the Atlantic midget AAA hockey circuit, winning the Monctonian, the Sherwood-Parkdale Early Bird, the Charlottetown Spud and the Prince Edward Island midget AAA tournaments. The Abbies were capably coached by Mark White, Mike White and Steve Ramsay, and were managed by Jerry MacKenna and Kevin Ramsay.

I would like all members of the House to join me in congratulating the Charlottetown AAA midget Abbies for their tournament win and their very successful season. Every member of this team has every reason to be proud and I do want to wish them all the best in their future endeavours.

InfrastructureStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Bob Dechert Conservative Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, as part of Canada's economic action plan, our government is making unprecedented investments in infrastructure projects. To date, almost 16,000 projects are completed or under way in every corner of this country. Roads and bridges, college and university campuses, arenas and recreation centres, and water treatment facilities are being built, upgraded and renewed, thanks to our investments.

These stimulus projects are creating jobs and hope in the largest cities and smallest towns from coast to coast to coast. According to the Conference Board of Canada, infrastructure spending provides a larger stimulus to the economy during a recession, and “provides a bigger bang for the buck”.

The Conference Board of Canada finds that every dollar spent on infrastructure increases real gross domestic product by as much as $1.20, and with Statistics Canada reporting yesterday that Canada's economy grew for the fifth straight month, it is clear that Canada's economic action plan is working.

Jobs and economy remain our government's top priority.

Manufacturing IndustryStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, workers in Hamilton are still reeling after the abrupt announcement by Siemens that it will be closing its doors, putting 550 people out of work.

The province lost a “competitive process” to Charlotte, North Carolina, a state that will not only get our current jobs but a $130 million expansion as well.

It is disgraceful, but at least the province was at the table. Where was the federal government in this process? Apparently AWOL again. When we asked about the Siemens closure in this House, the Minister of Industry replied that what he was doing for Hamilton was bringing new jobs in the health service field to our community. Say what?

Clearly, the Conservative government has no industrial strategy for creating and protecting manufacturing jobs, and no green energy strategy that could support the Siemens plant here. We cannot win a fight if we are not even in it.

This issue is about the future of Canada's manufacturing sector and the future of family sustaining jobs, without which the government will not have the money to make more health care announcements.

When will the government start to care about more than big banks and the oil patch? The Siemens plant is not closing until July of next year. There is still time to act, but the clock is ticking and the time to act is now.

JusticeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Sylvie Boucher Conservative Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, we recently learned, and were surprised to learn, that murderers sentenced to life imprisonment receive a monthly old age security pension. It was even more surprising to hear the leader of the Bloc publicly defending criminals' rights and demanding that a killer who savagely murdered 11 children still receive his old age pension.

Although this notorious criminal is serving a life sentence for horrible crimes against children and adolescents, the Bloc leader thinks that he should still receive his federal government pension to help his rehabilitation. This is a slap in the face to any family who has had a loved one murdered. I am outraged.

The Bloc should stop blocking Conservative government initiatives to fight crime and rehabilitate their victims. The leader of the Bloc claims to stand up for Quebec, but it seems he is actually standing up for criminals.

Aboriginal Healing FoundationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Marc Lemay Bloc Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, today is a dark day for thousands of aboriginals in Quebec and Canada. Because of funding cuts to the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, 134 community services will no longer be available to them.

One of the victims, the Native Women's Shelter of Montreal, lost one-third of its budget. This morning, three women stayed home because they no longer have jobs. The shelter, which helps over 200 aboriginal women and their children every year, no longer has the means to offer workshops on such topics as violence, surviving rape and self-esteem. It has also lost the services of a psychologist.

This government is simply not aware of the negative impact of its decisions on aboriginal peoples. In the 2010 budget speech, the government said that it would continue to offer a helping hand to those who need it. This is not a helping hand. This is yet another slap in the face for aboriginal peoples.

CrimeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Brian Murphy Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, I wish to pay tribute to the greatest crime solvers in our nation. Police admit it is not themselves, but families and communities.

On February 26 hard-working and transplanted Newfoundlander, Donna O'Reilly, was abducted without trace outside her place of work in Moncton. The family offered a $25,000 reward and spread word in the community. The RCMP worked the file hard, St. Bernards held vigils, and a whole community took note.

Then 27 days later, she escaped her captor. On March 24 a Purolator truck driver, made aware by the campaigns, recognized her running up St. George Boulevard and took her to police. The police then picked up the captor, who has been remanded.

Donna O'Reilly, husband Harold and daughters Amy and Karen are the heroes we all want to be. We should all remember that saving society is not up to government and police alone, but also families and communities like the O'Reilly's in Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe.

It was through a strong woman's will, a vibrant community's vigilance, and a tight family's love that Donna O'Reilly is alive today.