This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #24 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was post.

Topics

Jobs and Economic Growth ActGovernment Orders

1:10 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I was particularly interested in the member's comments about tax havens. There is a provision in this 880-page Bill C-9 that deals with ensuring the provisions of the Criminal Code that apply to serious crimes related to money laundering and terrorist financing are invoked in cases of tax evasion prosecuted under Canada's tax statutes.

I would like to be able to ask questions of government members, but we cannot find any government speakers. There have not been any for the last couple of days on this bill. I am not certain whether or not there is an application in the bill that deals with the tax haven issue.

Interestingly enough, at this point the government is offering an amnesty to people involved in tax haven activities. It is basically a risk-free endeavour for the people doing it. We were only seeing this happen recently. There is a lot of activity of people involved in tax havens asking for amnesty. Some computer disks were sold, I believe it was by an employee of one of the Swiss banks, to the German government so that it could chase down German citizens who were involved in tax havens. When Canadians read about this, they started rushing forward to declare their income on the money invested in these tax havens. This is not going to discourage it if we are offering amnesty.

Jobs and Economic Growth ActGovernment Orders

1:10 p.m.

Bloc

Raynald Blais Bloc Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the NDP member for his comments. I must say that it is very hard to defend the indefensible. Sometimes it is so frustrating that there is no point. I think that is what is happening with the Conservative Party: it is defending the indefensible.

I remember it used to be that when a bank was bringing in $1 billion in profits a year, that was a lot of money. I think that was the case not too long ago. Now, we do not talk about $1 billion in profits a year, but $1 billion in profits in a quarter, in a three-month period.

Furthermore, it is clear that these banks also take advantage of tax havens, which enables them to make even more profits and to provide more assistance to the people who also benefit from tax havens. It is a vicious circle.

The mini-measures announced are a smokescreen, a cover. They are a bunch of nonsense.

Jobs and Economic Growth ActGovernment Orders

1:10 p.m.

Conservative

Paul Calandra Conservative Oak Ridges—Markham, ON

Mr. Speaker, we are learning a lot today about what a Liberal-NDP-Bloc coalition would have looked like had they had the opportunity to form one.

We know that tax cuts to Canadian families and creating jobs are not what they like. Cutting taxes or tariffs for our manufacturers, and investing in the environment and natural green technology are not what they are interested in. We know that our agenda on the economy and jobs is certainly not something they are interested in. We know they are not in favour of corporations that try to make money and employ people.

I wonder if the hon. member might share with me and Canadians some additional policies that a Liberal-Bloc-NDP coalition might be considering in the future.

Jobs and Economic Growth ActGovernment Orders

1:10 p.m.

Bloc

Raynald Blais Bloc Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, speaking of coalitions, let us talk about the coalition between the Conservative Party and the oil companies. That is a coalition. And what about the one between the Conservative Party, big business and the banks? That is also a sort of coalition.

If a political party wants to defend the poor and the people who need help the most, I see no problem supporting it or forming a coalition with it.

The Bloc Québécois has supported a Conservative budget in the past. I humbly remind the House that was the case in 2006 and 2007. At the time, there were useful measures concerning the fiscal imbalance.

I also remember that the current Prime Minister, before he became Prime Minister and while he was in opposition, was fully prepared to form a coalition with us.

What is the problem with a coalition? Why are they trying to turn it into a scandal? It makes perfect sense to form a coalition in order to respond to real needs.

Jobs and Economic Growth ActGovernment Orders

1:15 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-9, the so-called jobs and economic growth act, but based on my reading of it, I believe it needs a new title. This rather large tome is short on potential for jobs and growth and long on gimmicks, fee increases and a lot of challenges.

The bill does not address some of the key issues of importance to Canadians, such as child care and pensions. It does not assist small business to encourage job growth. It does not address the requirement for future economic success. It does not address the skills shortage, nor does it encourage lifelong learning. Bill C-9 does not focus on productivity and does not focus too heavily on innovation.

What the budget did do was increase moneys for the Privy Council Office for ministerial advice. It continues the deep investments in government advertising. I guess government ads will be showing up during the Academy Awards and the Super Bowl in the future. This bill funds a record number of ministers, and we all know how that is going.

This bill ensures another huge deficit after 11 straight surpluses. The Conservatives formed government and within a couple of years the country was back in deficit. At the same time the bill does not provide security for Canadians in tough economic times. This bill fails to improve the lives of Canadians. It fails to ensure economic security. It fails to ensure job growth.

According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, there are some 400,000 more unemployed today than in 2008. Youth unemployment is double the average national unemployment rate. There have been several reductions in manufacturing shift hours, which means less take home income and a lower standard of living. According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, we are 4.5% behind where we should be in terms of job growth.

What did the Conservative government do? It laid out a plan that would raise employment insurance premiums by 35% over the next four years. This payroll tax would cost a two-earner family $900, and a small business with 10 employees $9,000 more.

This bill would also impose an increased charge for air traveller security. The cost of an airplane ticket will rise. For a domestic one-way trip the fee of $4.90 will rise to $7.48, a $2.58 increase. A domestic round trip fee will rise from $9.80 to $14.96, a $5.16 increase. The fee for trans-border trips will increase from $8.34 to $12.71, a $4.37 increase. The fee for other international trips will rise from $17.00 to $25.91, an $8.91 increase. This will raise about $1.5 billion in revenue over the next five years. That is quite a substantive fee increase.

I live on the island of Newfoundland. There are only two ways to get off the island of Newfoundland, either by plane or by ferry. We know what the government is doing with respect to air travel security. We know there is going to be an increase. To get off the island of Newfoundland, there are going to be increased costs.

On the other side of things, in order to get off the island of Newfoundland and Labrador I could drive and get the ferry at Port aux Basques. Marine Atlantic is a crown corporation. In the budget a small amount of money has been set aside to have additional capacity on this ferry. This small amount is a pebble in the ocean of requirements for Marine Atlantic.

The Auditor General produced a report which indicated that over $1 billion was required to ensure that the province of Newfoundland and Labrador had adequate service and to ensure effective and timely capacity so that the transportation of goods and services is efficient and effective and available. During certain times of the year grocery stores hang a sign saying, “Sorry the boat didn't get in”. In this day and age that is simply not acceptable.

I am concerned about this budget. There are several other things in Bill C-9.

There is some mention of pensions. The government is going to increase the maximum solvency ratio for pension plans from 110% to 125%, allowing for more overfunding. However, during the briefing on Bill C-9 the financial officials suggested there would not be many pension plans in a position to take advantage of this extra room. This is an overfunding of pension plans. I wish there were more businesses in a position to overfund their pension plans so that we could ensure that people who pay into their pensions actually have them at the end of their working lives when they retire.

For the second year in a row the government is using the budget bill to weaken environmental laws. We have this tome, as I said earlier, and buried in it is a change to ensure there will be some weakening of the federal environmental laws. This is not acceptable. If the government is going to change environmental laws, there should be full disclosure so that we can have a discussion and debate.

Also buried in this very large bill are changes to Canada Post. Bill C-9 removes the exclusive privilege of Canada Post to deliver mail outside Canada, allowing remailers to collect and transport mail to a foreign country. This is being done through the back door because it would not have been allowed through the front door.

In previous sessions of Parliaments the Conservatives tabled Bill C-14 and Bill C-44 to try to do just that. Now they have included it in this budget implementation bill. It should not be in this large bill. It should have a full discussion. It should go through the proper process. It should have a full review, complete disclosure. There should be complete democracy actually. People should be able to debate it and bring forward their ideas on how improvements could be made, or simply express their concerns with regard to remailers.

There is a lot in this rather large document that does not necessarily work for Canadians. It does not necessarily give the kind of economic security that Canadians are looking for.

We are coming out of a very difficult economic time. We still have a situation where, as the Parliamentary Budget Officer has said, over 400,000 people are still without work. We have been talking about this in Parliament.

Yes, the bill puts in place a second phase of the economic stimulus package and that is going forward.

My view on this bill is that a lot more should have been done to ensure Canada's position for the future. In my riding I have talked to a number of people. A lot more should have been done to ensure that we have the economic security that we require as Canadians, to have a vision.

KAIROS is an organization that did international development work. Sadly, its funding was cut by the government. For 35 years that organization did some great work worldwide. At the same time we see increases in advertising. I guess there is a disconnect between what Canadians want and what the government is prepared to allow to go forward.

This is a stay the course budget that is on the wrong course. I believe that Canadians deserve better. I believe that Canadians want better. I would be remiss if I did not say there is a lot in this bill that should be taken out, debated, disclosed and discussed in other ways.

Again, I appeal to the government and say there are things we should be addressing in this country. We take our international development work quite seriously. We take the needs of Canadians for health care and pensions quite seriously. It is time for us to buckle down and do just that.

Jobs and Economic Growth ActGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, previously bills C-14 and C-44 were before the House, and they contained provisions to destroy the Canada Post legal monopoly on mailings going outside Canada. What it would do to Canada Post would be devastating. As a result, either our postage is going to go up or there will be massive layoffs in this privatization move.

I do not know where the Liberal Party stands. The hon. member said she is opposed to the privatization of Canada Post, but the provision is in this budget implementation bill, Bill C-9, and her party is about to allow this bill to pass.

Which is it? Does she support the privatization of Canada Post or does she not? If she does not support it, then why are they allowing this bill to pass?

Jobs and Economic Growth ActGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, my colleague raises a very interesting point about what is buried in this rather large document. What is buried in it is a provision that will remove the exclusive privilege of Canada Post to deliver mail outside of Canada, allowing remailers to collect and transport mail to foreign countries. As she indicated, that is very similar to what was being proposed in two previous bills, Bill C-14 and Bill C-44.

My point, and this is what I raised during my speech, is that it should not be encapsulated in this bill. If we are going to discuss Canada Post, bring it forward and look at whether there is a going to be an increase in the price of stamps or, as my hon. colleague called it, a privatization of Canada Post, do we not deserve to know the pros and cons, to have the conversation, the disclosure, the debate and the discussion to ensure we make an informed decision rather than having something buried in another bill?

Jobs and Economic Growth ActGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, I listened very attentively to the member's speech. There is no doubt that, though Liberal members have stood in the House of Commons to criticize this crude omnibus legislation, 12 bills packed into 1, they seem to be supporting it yet again. This has gone on year after year after year. Whatever the Conservative agenda is, Liberals seem to endorse it.

Within the bill, and this is very important, there are punitive measures taken against the softwood industry. Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan were hard hit by the softwood lumber sellout by the Conservatives, supported again by the Liberals, and thousands and thousands of jobs have been lost.

Now, within this omnibus legislation, we have an export tariff that is going to kill even more jobs in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec and yet the Liberals are going to give the green light and vote to endorse yet another Conservative policy. I have to ask why the Liberals are selling out softwood communities across this country.

Jobs and Economic Growth ActGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I recall that the party my hon. colleague represents voted in favour of the budget implementation bill in the past budget.

There are things buried in this document, and I have brought forward quite substantive things that I think are of concern in it. On at least two occasions, possibly a number of occasions, I have voted against the budget and I will be doing so again with this implementation bill.

Jobs and Economic Growth ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to join in the debate. It is interesting that some of the final comments to the previous speaker were about the Liberal position vis-à-vis the exclusive privilege at Canada Post. That is a nice segue, a nice place for me to begin, because that is going to be the focus of my remarks.

What was previously known as Bill C-14 and Bill C-44 is now incorporated into the budget implementation bill, basically making it an omnibus bill. They have stuffed everything they can possibly legally manage and think of in there in the hope that one vote gets a whole bunch of things passed.

One of the cute things for the Liberals in this particular bill is that when Bill C-14 first arrived, the Liberal critic at the time was very clear. They were in favour of this bill and they were opposed to maintaining the exclusive privilege, without any question. Then the bill came back with a new number, but very little else changed. I am not really sure what the new critic for the Liberals said. They sort of modified it a bit.

When my colleague asked a very specific question about support, the answer was about process. They were playing games particularly with the union in this regard and in terms of conversations they were having with them, because of course the organization that represents the 55,000 people who provide our important, crucial, efficient mail service cares about this issue.

The Liberals got some heat from the first go-around, so what did they do in the second go-around? They made up some kind of nonsense about how they were going to help the workers when it got to committee. When it got to committee, they would roll up their sleeves and be there for the workers. The difficulty is that the Bloc was already on record as being opposed to both bills and so were we. This means that, had the Liberals taken a position that said they were opposed to the bill, we could have killed the bill and there would not be any committee for anybody to roll up sleeves at and play games.

We are hearing the same thing again. As I understand it, and things change over there a lot, they are going to roll in a minimal number of members to technically vote against it. However, by not bringing in enough members to actually win the vote, the government will get what it wants. Bill C-9, the budget implementation act, moves on to committee. Tagging along like a trailer hitched to the back is a little issue that the government is hoping nobody will pay any attention to, and that is the issue of Canada Post and the exclusive privilege.

We have been around and around on this issue. What is frustrating is that something has happened during the tenure of the government. Let us understand where we are. The law right now says Canada Post has exclusive privilege to all mailing, full stop. Canada Post is not obligated or mandated under the Canada Post Corporation Act to solely be there as a cash cow to make money. It is quite the contrary. The act spells out that it is there to provide a similar service across the country at the same price to every Canadian, and it makes sure they charge reasonable fees for doing that.

Let me just say what an undertaking that is. Canada is the second-largest country by land mass on the planet, and we are promising to deliver mail to the farthest corners of this huge country at the same price as we charge for halfway across downtown Toronto. We do it efficiently and the workers there do a great job. It is not perfect, but nothing is. However, when we look at this and compare it to other countries and the challenges, they do an excellent job.

All of a sudden, these private entities take a look over there. They are eyeballing Canada Post, as they do all the time. They are looking at the money to be made and they are saying that they want a piece of this action. So they just step right in and start getting involved in the international remailing issue. Canada Post reminded them it is against the law. To make a long story short, these private entities took Canada Post to court. They lost. They appealed. This is where it gets interesting.

On May 8, 2007, when the panel ruled on behalf of the Ontario Court of Appeal, this is what the judge said:

The purpose of the statutory privilege can only be to enable CP to fulfill its statutory mandate or realize its objects. It is meant to be self-sustaining financially while at the same time providing similar standards of service throughout our vast country. Profits are realized in densely populated areas which subsidize the services provided in the more sparsely populated areas.

It sounds like a great Canadian idea. That was to support the law. That means the work that these international remailers were doing remains illegal. It remains illegal this second as I stand here. So the government's intent is to change the law. If their buddies cannot win in the courts, the beauty of being the government is to change the law so the courts have no choice but to rule in the way it wants.

In fact, on July 25, 2006, the Conservative minister responsible said:

The activities of international remailers cost Canada Post millions of dollars each year and erodes the Corporation's ability to maintain a healthy national postal service and provide universal services to all Canadians.

What changed? It was illegal to start with. They went to court and lost. They went to the Court of Appeal and lost. The Conservative government in 2006 said it was standing by the exclusive privilege. What changed? I think what changed was that friends of friends got talking here and there. I am not suggesting anything illegal. I do not know enough of the details to make that charge. I would not say it was not, but I would not say it was. Anyway, discussions took place and the government had an epiphany. Conservatives woke up one day and said they had been wrong, the previous government was wrong, the courts were wrong, the strategic review in 1996 was wrong; they needed to sell off part of Canada Post and at the same time have their backbenchers make speeches about no privatization of Canada Post and hope that no one followed the details enough to know that they really were starting to privatize Canada Post. That is what is going on.

The Liberals are going along with it. We are going to have a couple of opportunities, if the Liberals want to suggest that what I have put forward is not accurate. We are going to ask that the bill be severed and we are going to need support for that. We have the votes and we would hope that the Liberals would join with the Bloc and us in severing off this piece of Bill C-9 and at the very, very least, allow Canadians an opportunity to have some input before the government monkeys around with the financial stability of something as important as Canada Post, particularly when 55,000 Canadians and their families rely on those jobs. It is not there solely to create jobs. It is not there to be a cash cow. It is meant to do exactly what it is doing, and that is why this change ought not to happen. It is wrong. It is not in the interests of Canada Post. It is not in the interests of the workers there and it is not in the interests of Canada. So we ask the Liberals to finally get off the fence, join with us, get it severed and let us kill this sucker before it kills Canada Post.

Jobs and Economic Growth ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the member for a terrific speech on this matter. I have a feeling he wants to say a few more words on this subject.

However, I want to point out to him that the member for Hamilton Mountain, when she made her speech on Bill C-9 the other day, did point out that the bill under a different number was initially introduced by a Liberal MP, perhaps when they were in government. That was news and a surprise to me. Then the current government took up the torch and carried it forward under Bill C-14 and Bill C-44, knowing that it would never pass because of members like the member for Burnaby—New Westminster who would dig his heels in and make sure it did not get passed. The Conservatives put it in this omnibus bill, which is a treacherous way to approach an issue like this.

Would the member like to continue his explanation of why the bill should be severed and not proceeded with?

Jobs and Economic Growth ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I compliment my colleague for his remarks in this regard and certainly my fellow Hamilton MP and the hard work she does on this and every file.

The fact is this story goes back so far, it is like we have to pick a point in history where we want to work from. I will go from the point when the Conservative government came to office. There is no question that the previous government had been talking about this sort of thing, but then in 2006, fairly early on in the government's term, the Conservative minister, when asked about this, said:

The activities of international remailers cost Canada Post millions of dollars each year and erodes the Corporation's ability to maintain a healthy national postal service and provide universal service to all Canadians.

The question that remains is this. What has changed since the Conservative minister stood up and read what I just said as the government policy? Now it has flip-flopped and it is doing the opposite. The House and Canadians have a right to know what has changed. What is so important that caused the government such a massive flip-flop?

Jobs and Economic Growth ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is the budget implementation bill, but the budget passed the House by a vote of 142 to 132.

We have a minority government. If all three parties, the Liberals, the Bloc and the NDP, come together, we would have the majority vote to kill the budget implementation bill.

What would my hon. colleague say about members who on one hand said in the House that they were very much against the budget, but then when it came to vote, at least 30 of them disappeared and allowed the budget to pass? This may happen again with this bill.

What does he call that kind of behaviour?

Jobs and Economic Growth ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, my colleague puts me in a horrible position. What would I call that? I am standing on the floor of the House of Commons. I cannot call it what I would like to call it, but I think people will sort of get it by looking at the circumstances.

When people say one thing and do another, there is a word for it, and I will not go there. However, make no mistake. This is the trickery on the part of the Liberals. They want everything to focus on the budget. They have already cut the deal and have said that technically they are opposed, but they will not bring enough members in to actually win the vote and stop the government.

My question to the official opposition is this. The NDP will put a motion to sever this part of the bill, to deal with it separately and vote on it separately. Will the Liberals be there to do that? It will be interesting to see.

The main point I want to make is the fact that there are two political shell games going on. One is the government has snuck this into a budget implementation bill rather than let it stand on its own, as it has done twice before. The second one is the Liberals, who hope that one of their big, hot political potatoes gets dealt with quickly under the cover of—

Jobs and Economic Growth ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Brampton--Springdale.

Jobs and Economic Growth ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Dhalla Liberal Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to a budget which impacts my constituents in Brampton—Springdale and many Canadians across the country.

In attending numerous events in my constituency, meeting with many Bramptonians, both men and women, in their workplaces, listening to seniors in seniors homes and visiting with children at schools, I have had the opportunity to hear first-hand of their needs and their priorities.

The past few years have been a very difficult time for many families in Brampton. Brampton based companies, such as Nortel, Saputo and Chrysler have closed their doors. Other small and medium-sized businesses have also struggled. The impact has been felt by many men and many women who were employed at those companies.

There are men and women who have been let go and others who have been laid off. There have been seniors and many of the people who have been laid off who have been forced to make that choice between filling up the fridge, the medicine cabinet or their gas tank.

Many of those families that have struggled in the past few years are looking for opportunities for themselves to ensure they can put bread and butter on the table. They are looking for opportunities to ensure their children have the very best in education, resources, tools and skills they need to succeed. Then there are new Canadians who are looking for opportunities, the opportunity to contribute, to build a better Brampton and a greater and stronger country. Also seniors out there want to have the opportunity to age with dignity and respect.

I think all Bramptonians, like all Canadians, are looking for that better hope for tomorrow and a brighter future. This is why the budget implementation bill brought forward by the government is so incredibly important. It is important to those Bramptonians who are struggling to be heard and those individuals who are the vulnerable.

Let us take a look at the areas in the automotive and manufacturing sectors, both crucial to the economy of Brampton and Brampton families. When Chrysler closed its doors, over 2,000 men and women lost their jobs overnight.

It was amazing to see how the community came together in this time of need. The Chrysler Action Centre was opened for the men and women who had just lost their jobs. The union showed its leadership. Chrysler took leadership. The provincial government also took leadership in opening the centre, which provided resources such as resume writing and job finding for those who had lost their jobs.

They were also looking for leadership in that time of need from the federal government. The budget claims to have created many jobs, but the fact is the country has lost almost 300,000 jobs. Look at our unemployment rates, which continue to rise.

Just a few weeks ago in my riding, Saputo, Canada's largest cheese maker, announced its decision to close its plant. The result is 190 Bramptonians are out of jobs. These are hard-working families that are looking for hope and for the opportunity to give back.

We must ensure that as these people struggle in this recession, there is the opportunity to provide them with job security for the future and with the resources and the skills they will need to find new jobs.

This global recession really knows no boundaries or barriers. A demographic that has often been forgotten is our young people. This recession affected everybody. We only have to take a look at the unemployment stats for young people aged 15 to 24, which reached a record high in 2009 of 20%, the highest jobless rate since 1977.

A report of the Community Foundations of Canada, called “Canada's Vital Signs 2009”, provides insight into the dire situation young people face. The normally lucrative summer months for these young people was 30 hours. It now is down to 23.4 hours. We must ensure these young people have the opportunity to go to university or college. They need that employment during the summer months.

Investing in education, investing in our young people is really about investing in our country's future economic prosperity and productivity. No government can turn a blind eye to young people. We must ensure they have the opportunity to get the educations they desire. As Canada moves forward, we must base the opportunity to go to college and university not on the pocketbook but on the desires and passions of students.

Another challenge we have faced is the issue of infrastructure. Communities like Brampton, one of the fastest growing cities in the country, put forward a number of projects for which they needed funding assistance from the federal government. We heard during the Speech from the Throne and budget 2009 that funds were committed but many of those funds had not been spent.

Out of $2 billion for the infrastructure stimulus fund, $874 million were unspent. Out of $200 million for the green infrastructure fund, $186 million were unspent. The list goes on. Money unspent means projects have not started, which mean people do not have the opportunity to work.

The government needs to act to help Bramptonians who are looking for those jobs. If the projects Brampton had put forward had been implemented, it would have created an estimated 21,000 jobs for Bramptonians who lost their jobs in the past few years.

Then there is the issue of health care. In many ways Brampton's new civic hospital has been leading edge both in terms of technology and the provision of services. However, there still continues to be a challenge faced by not only for my constituents but by many people across the country, and that is the issue of wait times.

Looking at the statistics of Brampton Civic Hospital, individuals with complex conditions are having to wait 17.5 hours versus the average of 13.6 hours. We realize much work needs to be done in the area of health care. People are looking to the federal government for leadership on this issue.

As a health care provider, I have had the opportunity to see first-hand the challenges encountered in our health care system. There is the issue of wait times, as well as the shortage of doctors. We must ensure we provide Canadians with access to doctors, specialists and nurses. We must invest in health human resources to ensure that every Canadian, regardless of where one lives in Canada, or the amount of money one makes or one's socio-economic status, has the opportunity to receive the very best in health care. It is the hallmark of our great country.

I also want to touch upon the issue of poverty. Poverty is a growing concern in my riding. People look at the medium income of almost $80,000 and think my riding must be doing very well. The fact is the issue between those who have and those who have less continues to grow.

The issue of poverty is increasing and impacting many individuals. Many low-income and single-parent families are living too close to the poverty line. People like Edna Toth with the Peel Poverty Action Group have done incredible work to raise awareness.

We must ensure, as we move forward, that the federal government once again takes leadership and puts together a national housing strategy. We are one of the only industrialized countries in the world that does not have a national housing strategy.

There are many issues to discuss and many challenges being faced by constituents, Bramptonians and Canadians. I hope the government will take this opportunity to examine these challenges and work in a co-operative and collaborative manner to ensure Canadians get the changes they need and, most important, the hope for a better future and brighter tomorrow. We must ensure that every man, child, woman and senior in Canada are given the resources, skills and tools needed to succeed. When Canadians succeed, our country succeeds.

Jobs and Economic Growth ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member said how terrible the budget was in that it did not deal with poverty, health care, wait times, housing and youth employment. Astoundingly, reading from Hansard, not long ago she did not show up to vote against the budget. She was among the 30 Liberal MPs who did not show up. As a result, the budget passed. Maybe they deliberately did not show up, I do not know.

Is the member planning to vote in favour of or against the budget implementation bill or is she planning, like last time, to simply not show up?

Jobs and Economic Growth ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Dhalla Liberal Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I take the responsibility that my constituents have given me very seriously and whenever there is a vote, every attempt is always made to show up to ensure that we vote. I am a strong voice on behalf of my constituents in Brampton—Springdale. The member's implication that it may have been deliberate is certainly not the case and was certainly not the intention.

When we talk to Canadians at Tim Hortons or meeting them at various events, they are not looking toward an election right now. Hearing the NDP members, I think if they had their way Canadians perhaps may be at the polls on a monthly basis.

Canadians are looking to have work done and action taken on the issues and priorities that are important to them. I am glad that we in the Liberal Party are working in that co-operative and collaborative manner to ensure that Canadians receive the results that they need.

Jobs and Economic Growth ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Kootenay—Columbia B.C.

Conservative

Jim Abbott ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, I am a little bit unclear. If the member does not want an election which is why she did not turn up or she did not turn up because she was busy in her constituency, I am terribly confused. Perhaps the member can clarify this. Is she going to turn up next time and perhaps she could also tell us why she did not turn up last time or was it something to do with the Liberal inaction policy? How does this all fit together? It seems so bizarre.

Jobs and Economic Growth ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Dhalla Liberal Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I cannot recollect the exact date that the vote took place, but I can tell the House that every attempt is made to always show up for all votes. There is certainly never a deliberate attempt, I hope, by any member of the House to ever miss any votes.

I think when Canadians and our constituents elect us, they expect that we would actually be here to represent their views and their ideas. I can say that by no way, shape or fashion is the budget perfect, but we all know the consequences of what could occur in voting against a particular budget which is a confidence measure.

I would hope that in 2010 we would all be able to turn a new page and start talking about the ideas and the issues that are important to Canadians across the country. I think the time, politically, has come to really put partisanship aside, to put political rhetoric aside, and to really start getting down to work and start delivering results.

Jobs and Economic Growth ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Paillé Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, in an effort to move this very fruitful debate between the New Democrats, the Conservatives and the Liberals forward, I would like to inform my colleague, who does not recall the date of the vote, that it took place on March 10, 2010. Now I would like to hear the member's response.

Jobs and Economic Growth ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Dhalla Liberal Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, being a very community-oriented and grassroots constituency MP, I am going to ensure that I get back to the member with my exact whereabouts of where I was before I say something that is incorrect.

I want to take this moment as well to wish the entire Sikh community a very happy Vaisakhi. It is our new year today. I wish everyone who is watching CPAC the very best wishes for the new year, great health, happiness and prosperity moving forward into the new year.

Terry FoxStatements By Members

April 13th, 2010 / 1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder Conservative London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, 30 years ago today a young Terry Fox woke up, shook off the pain of his marathon run the day before, and started day two of his Marathon of Hope.

He ran 143 consecutive marathons, until he could not run any further. His run was spectacular and he galvanized a nation.

I was honoured yesterday to return to Newfoundland with the member for Calgary Centre-North, Betty and Rolly Fox, and Terry's siblings, Fred and Judith, to announce that our government will be creating a fitting historical park at the starting point, Mile Zero, of the Marathon of Hope.

I want to thank Donna Ball of St. John's for bringing the idea of the park forward. Like Terry Fox, she was thinking of others when she shared her dream. We will appropriately honour the place where Terry dipped his leg into the Atlantic Ocean to start his Marathon of Hope.

The members of this House pay tribute to Terry Fox, a Canadian legend, a Canadian hero.

Michel ChartrandStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec labour leader and political activist Michel Chartrand passed away yesterday.

Born in 1916, he experienced Quebec's development throughout the 20th century. He witnessed the Great Depression, Maurice Duplessis, Quebec's dark ages, and then the Quiet Revolution, Lesage, Bourassa, Lévesque and everything that has happened since then.

But he was not content to simply observe Quebec's political scene: he was a participant, a critic and, for some, a conscience.

In the late 1940s, Michel Chartrand began fighting for unions at a time when Maurice Duplessis was in collusion with big industry to block all attempts at unionization. He inspired generations of workers and never stopped fighting for their rights.

Even though some of his views were not in keeping with the beliefs of Quebeckers or those of the Liberal Party, it is important that we recognize Michel Chartrand's contribution to Quebec's political life and development.

Michel Chartrand, a great Quebecker.

Genie AwardsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Roger Pomerleau Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Quebec film industry dominated the 30th annual Genie Awards ceremony last night in Toronto.

The film Polytechnique won in nine categories, including best film and best direction, awarded to Denis Villeneuve, and best actress, hailing the performance by Karine Vanasse of Drummondville, and best supporting actor, Maxim Gaudette.

The Master Key also won in two categories: best make up and best original score. Father and Guns won the Golden Reel award for earning the most at the box office. Marie-Hélène Cousineau and Madeline Ivalu's Before Tomorrow won for best costumes. The award for best live action short drama went to Pedro Pires for Danse macabre and the best animated short film award went to Cordell Barker's Runaway Train / Train en folie.

Xavier Dolan's I Killed my Mother, recognized around the world but not nominated for a single Genie award, received the Claude Jutra award for the best film by a first time director.

Congratulations to the artists of the Quebec film industry whose talent and creativity have once again allowed them to shine.