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House of Commons Hansard #29 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was nation.

Topics

Citizenship and ImmigrationCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Conservative

David Tilson Conservative Dufferin—Caledon, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration in relation to the citizenship guide.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police ActRoutine Proceedings

10 a.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle NDP Nickel Belt, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-514, An Act to amend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act (lump sum).

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured today to table my private member's bill.

RCMP officers put their lives in danger in the service of Canada and no amount of money to their beneficiaries could ever compensate for their loss but a payment of $300,000 would at least ensure that these families are not left in a vulnerable financial situation while they deal with their grief.

This bill would also ensure payment is made to the beneficiary of every officer killed in the line of duty irrespective of their time in service.

I also wish to point out that this bill is consistent with one of the key priorities of members of the Canadian Police Association who are on the Hill this week to bring their concerns directly to parliamentarians.

My colleague from Vancouver Kingsway is pleased to second this bill.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Air Passengers' Bill of RightsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10 a.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present to the House today.

The first petition is signed by thousands of Canadians who are calling on Parliament to adopt Canada's first air passengers' bill of rights, Bill C-310, which would compensate air passengers travelling on all Canadian carriers, including charters, anywhere they fly in the world.

The bill would provide compensation for overbooked flights, cancelled flights and long tarmac delays. It addresses such issues as late or misplaced baggage. It would require all inclusive pricing by the airlines in all of their advertising. Airlines would need to inform passengers of flight changes, delays or cancellations. The new rules must be posted in the airport and airlines must inform passengers of their rights and the process to file for compensation.

If the airlines follow the rules, it will cost them nothing. In fact, legislation of this type has been in Europe for over five years. Why should Air Canada passengers be treated better in Europe than they are in Canada?

The petitioners call upon the government to support Bill C-310, which would introduce Canada's first air passengers' bill of rights.

Earthquake in ChilePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is signed by dozens of Canadians calling on the Canadian government to match funds personally donated by the citizens of Canada for the victims of the Chilean earthquake.

On February 27, a huge 8.8 magnitude earthquake hit southern Chile and the Canadian Chilean community has mobilized itself and has been raising money non-stop since then. They keep asking why the Prime Minister does not give the same treatment to the victims of the Chilean earthquake victims as he did for the victims of the Haitian earthquake and match funds personally donated by Canadians to help the victims of the Chilean earthquake.

Employment InsurancePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present today. The first petition deals with medical benefits.

The petitioners are concerned that a number of severe, potentially life-threatening conditions do not qualify for disability programs because they are not necessarily permanent, that the current medical EI benefits of 15 weeks do not adequately address the problem and that residents find themselves losing their homes and livelihoods while trying to fight these severe medical conditions.

They are calling upon Parliament to enact specific legislation to provide additional medical EI benefits to at least equal to maternity EI benefits.

Assisted SuicidePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is regarding counselling someone to commit suicide.

The petitioners state that people who experience depression and mental illness need to be protected by the law, that youth in Canada are just as vulnerable as youth from around the world, that predators are both encouraging and counselling suicide without penalty through the Internet and that predators can do this without fear of prosecution.

The petitioners call upon the House of Commons to enable the prosecution of those who encourage or counsel someone to commit suicide by updating the Canadian Criminal Code to reflect the new realities of the 21st century, and to fund educational programs that empower people who experience depression and mental illness and Canada's vulnerable youth to protect themselves from online predators and to find appropriate community support resources.

North Korean RefugeesPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by hundreds of residents of Toronto, Richmond Hill and Thornhill, Ontario. All of these Canadians are calling upon the House of Commons and the Government of Canada to support my motion, Motion No. 383, and to vigorously participate in an international effort to push the Government of the People's Republic of China to ensure safe passage for North Korean refugees to South Korea.

As members know, the conditions in North Korea are absolutely appalling with famine and a brutal regime of thugs who persecute, torture and kill routinely the citizens of North Korea. Many North Korean refugees manage to escape North Korea and they are returned by the Government of China back to North Korea, back to certain death, torture and persecution.

These many residents of southern Ontario, hundreds of them, are calling upon the Government of Canada to push the Government of the People's Republic of China to ensure safe passage for all of those refugees from the torture, persecution and physical violence that they are victim to every day.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, Question No. 123 will be answered today.

Question No. 123Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

With respect to aviation security: (a) what are all terms of the agreement which Canada signed with Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Panama, the Dominican Republic and the United States in Mexico City on February 17, 2010; (b) what steps will be taken to ensure the personal information of Canadians shared with these countries is protected and not used for any other purpose; and (c) when will this agreement be presented to Parliament for review and debate?

Question No. 123Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the response is as follows: a) On February 17, 2010, Ministers and high-level officials from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, United States, Mexico, Panama and Dominican Republic, jointly with the Secretary General of the International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO, issued a joint declaration recommending that States, in collaboration with ICAO and pursuant to international law and domestic law, regulations and programs, establish procedures to strengthen their capacities to assess and face civil aviation security risks and threats, thereby facilitating legitimate passenger and air cargo flows.

To this end, governments represented in the meeting signaled their intent to promote the implementation of measures to strengthen travel document security, passenger screening procedures and biometric information, to broaden existing cooperation mechanisms, to share best practices related to civil aviation, and to utilize modern technologies to detect and prevent the carriage of prohibited materials.

Furthermore, attending governments aim to systematically collaborate within ICAO with a view to convening both international expert and intergovernmental meetings to agree upon actions in the following fields: aviation security standards, information exchange, research and development, and international cooperation.

b) Canada has not committed to sharing any personal information through this joint declaration. Plans for any future information exchange mechanisms will be developed with full respect for all domestic laws on protection and confidentiality of personal information.

c) By signing this declaration of intent, the Government of Canada has simply reconfirmed its long-standing commitment to the continued strengthening of global aviation security, through cooperation with other like-minded member states of the United Nation’s International Civil Aviation Organization.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, if Questions Nos. 80, 81 and 90 could be made orders for return, these returns would be tabled immediately.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

The Speaker

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Question No. 80Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

With regard to Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) staffing levels and use of contracts for each fiscal year since 2004-2005: (a) what is the total number of staff employed at Headquarters, full time and contract; (b) what is the total number of staff employed in each of INAC’s Regional Offices, full time and contract; (c) what is the total number of staff employed by INAC organization, directorate and sector; (d) what is the total number of contracts awarded, their value, contact persons and the names of those organizations that received contracts all broken down by both province and constituency, and whether the contracts are for goods or services; (e) in detail, what was each contract awarded for; (f) was the contract tendered or sole-sourced; (g) in the case of a sole-source contract, was it approved by a minister and, if so, which minister approved it; and (h) in the case of a tendered contract, what is the number of tenders put forward and the length of the tender period?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 81Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

With regard to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and their Social Development Partnerships Program (SDPP): (a) which organizations have received funding over the last three years; (b) in the latest distribution of funds, what percentage of funding went to each province and how was that distribution determined; (c) what are the criteria for deciding what organizations are funded; (d) how much funding has been given to each federal riding over the last three years; and (e) why was there a budget cut for SDPP in 2006 and how has that affected the funding of new programs and the renewal of funding for current projects?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 90Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

With respect to the Expert Review Panel on Medical Isotope Production: (a) what were the criteria and rationale to choose the four members of the panel; (b) who declined to sit on the panel; (c) how many times did the panel meet; (d) who did the panel consult; (e) what was the formal mandate of the panel; (f) did the panel have the technical expertise alone to be able to understand the proposals and make recommendations; (g) what is the relation of Dr. Alexander MacEwan, the Special Advisor on Medical Isotopes to the Minister of Health, to the panel; (h) did the panel recommend to the Minister that she implement the four recommendations of the Canadian Association of Nuclear Medicine mentioned at the November 23rd meeting of the Standing Committee on Health; (i) what was the process for the panel to consult with provinces and territories; (j) did the panel consult and meet with each public and private consortium that made a submission to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of their proposal; (k) will the government release the 22 submissions on ideas for isotope supply that were received and reviewed by the panel; (l) what was the role of the firm SECOR in the production of the expert panel report; (m) who, from SECOR, was assigned to this task; (n) what were the recommendations of the panel’s November 30th report to the government; (o) will the panel be dismantled or will it continue its advising role to the government following its November 30th report; and (p) what will be the outcome of the panel and the government’s next steps including, but not limited to, recommendations to proceed with projects, funding recommendations, or another phase of evaluations?

(Return tabled)

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Conservative Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

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

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

The Speaker

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Opposition motion—Representation of Quebec in the House of CommonsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

April 20th, 2010 / 10:05 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

moved:

That the House denounce the fact that the government seeks to marginalize the Quebec nation by introducing a bill to decrease Quebec’s political weight in the House, and that it affirm that Quebec Members of Parliament, who represent a nation, must hold at least 25% of the seats in the House.

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel.

I would like to begin by saying how proud I am to rise in the House today to move the Bloc Québécois motion, because I feel that we are doing the work for which Quebeckers have elected a majority of Bloc members to the House six times since 1993.

In 1993, 1997, 2000, 2004, 2006 and 2008, a majority of Bloc members were elected in Quebec to represent and defend the interests and values of the Quebec nation.

Today, we are opposing the Conservative government's Bill C-12, which is designed to further marginalize the Quebec nation in the House of Commons. This reduction in the Quebec nation's political weight in the House is completely unacceptable to Quebeckers.

When the Canadian Confederation was created in 1867, Quebec held 36% of the seats. If Bill C-12 were passed, that proportion would decrease to 22.4%, which is less than the Quebec nation's current demographic weight within Canada. That is an unacceptable decline compared to Quebec's current representation of 24.3%.

This bill is a direct attack on the rights of the Quebec nation. That is why we are putting forward the following motion, which the Speaker already read, but which I will reread:

That the House denounce the fact that the government seeks to marginalize the Quebec nation by introducing a bill to decrease Quebec’s political weight in the House, and that it affirm that Quebec Members of Parliament, who represent a nation, must hold at least 25 percent of the seats in the House.

This motion is our response to Bill C-12, which is the latest manifestation of a Conservative obsession. The Conservatives are almost aggressive in the way they keep introducing legislation to marginalize the Quebec nation.

Bill C-12 is the latest example of this obsession, but the government previously introduced Bill C-56 and Bill C-22, not to mention the ones it introduced to amend the terms of senators, in violation of the Canadian Constitution, which requires constitutional negotiations with the provinces, particularly Quebec.

The Quebec minister responsible for government affairs was very clear when he said that Quebec would never agree to unilateral changes, even to the Senate. We would like to see the Senate abolished, but that must be subject to constitutional negotiations. The government can open up this Pandora's box if it wants to, but it cannot act unilaterally. The House of Commons is not able to amend the current rules, particularly those governing the Senate.

Bill C-12 is another example of the Conservatives' obsession. Every time the federal government has introduced such bills, the Quebec National Assembly has unanimously adopted a motion denouncing the Conservative government's actions and calling on the government to withdraw its bills. I have these motions here, and I think it is worth reading them.

Regarding Bill C-56, on May 16, 2007, the National Assembly unanimously adopted the following motion:

THAT the National Assembly ask the Parliament of Canada to withdraw Bill C-56, An Act to amend the Constitution Act, 1867, introduced in the House of Commons last 11 May;

Bill C-56 essentially had the same objective as Bill C-12: the political marginalization of Quebec.

Regarding Bill C-22, another example of the Conservatives' obsession with marginalizing Quebec's political weight, the National Assembly adopted the following motion on October 7, 2009:

THAT the National Assembly demand that the Federal Government renounce the tabling of any bill whose consequence would be to reduce the weight of Québec in the House of Commons.

The National Assembly unanimously spoke out against these two previous bills and called for the government to withdraw them, and we are sure that it will do the same thing with Bill C-12 as soon as it has the opportunity.

We want to align our motion as closely as possible with the last motion I just read, which was passed on October 7, 2009, so we will amend our own motion on this opposition day. The amendment will be presented by my colleague and friend, the member for Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, to make it clear that it is out of the question for the Quebec nation to lose any political weight in the House of Commons. We want to maintain our current weight. However, we know that some members of the House indulge in intellectual dishonesty. I will not name names, but I do have several members—nine or ten at least—in mind.

Opposition motion—Representation of Quebec in the House of CommonsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Daniel Paillé

A lot more than that.

Opposition motion—Representation of Quebec in the House of CommonsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

I was thinking of Conservatives only, but if I were to add several Liberals, that number would go up. We want to make it perfectly clear that maintaining the current political weight refers to the relative weight of members representing Quebec in the House, which is 24.3%, not the absolute weight, which is 75 seats. I have heard some Conservative members claim that they are maintaining Quebec's weight because there will never be fewer than 75 seats. Clearly, they do not know how to count. If the Canadian nation gets 30 more seats, that will unquestionably reduce Quebec's relative weight in the House.

That is totally obvious to Quebeckers and the Quebec nation. Of the Quebec members who have spoken to date in the House, 49 have condemned any reduction of Quebec's political weight. In the Conservative caucus, the token Quebeckers, including the members for Lévis—Bellechasse and Beauce, have defended the indefensible. As token Quebeckers, who do they really represent? They represent the Canadian nation, the Prime Minister and the Conservative Party.

Unfortunately, I have not heard from Liberal members, but I hope that they take this opportunity to speak up and ensure that Quebec's rights are upheld in the House.

Forty-nine members of the House spoke in favour of maintaining the current political weight, Quebec's relative weight, as did the 125 members of the National Assembly. That means that two-thirds of Quebec's elected representatives in both the House of Commons and the National Assembly condemn the Conservative government's proposal and call on it to withdraw Bill C-12. There is a very strong consensus in Quebec when it comes to this issue.

An Angus Reid survey taken April 7, 2010, indicated that 71% of Quebeckers are opposed to Bill C-12. That is a very broad consensus; Quebeckers are practically unanimous. Only 15% of Quebeckers support the bill, and that number is approximately equal to the current Conservative vote. It is a very small number that continues to shrink.

It is understandable that all of Quebec wants Bill C-12 to be withdrawn and wants to keep Quebec from being marginalized in the House, especially given that the House of Commons recognized the Quebec nation in 2006. In fact, there are not 10 provinces and territories represented in the House, but two nations—Canada and Quebec. But Bill C-12 gives Canada another 30 seats and does not give Quebec a single one. This is completely unacceptable.

We have been recognized as a nation, so we need to be given the means to be heard. The current relative weight of Quebec's members must be maintained. If we simply took the demographic proportions into consideration, it is obvious that there would only be 75 of us in a sea of Canadian members who would be defending the interests of their nation, which is completely legitimate. But our voices would never be heard in the House.

However, proportionality is not the rule. If it were, Prince Edward Island would not have four members. Other factors come into play and the Supreme Court has said this many times. One of these elements, which is new, is the House's recognition of the Quebec nation in 2006.

It is unfortunate to see the Conservative members defending the indefensible, but again, they are simply the mouthpieces for their party, which has refused to make businesses under federal jurisdiction accept French as the working language and refused to adopt Quebec's integration model for newcomers. If the House does not acknowledge and pass this motion, Quebeckers will have only one choice, that which the Bloc Québécois stands for, Quebec sovereignty. Then we would have 100% of the power, not the 24.3% that the Conservatives are proposing, but 100% of the power to make our own laws.