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House of Commons Hansard #46 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was treaties.

Topics

Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of CommonsRoutine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Pursuant to section 28 of the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons, it is my duty to present to the House the report of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner on an inquiry in relation to the hon. member for Halton.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10 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, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to one petition.

Transboundary Waters Protection ActRoutine Proceedings

May 13th, 2010 / 10 a.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-26, An Act to amend the International Boundary Waters Treaty Act and the International River Improvements Act.

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

Canada Pension PlanRoutine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Liberal

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

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-519, An Act to amend the Canada Pension Plan and the Old Age Security Act (biweekly payment of benefits).

Mr. Speaker, I would first like to thank my hon. colleague from Avalon for seconding this bill. The bill would permit persons receiving CPP and OAS benefits to choose between biweekly or monthly payment schedules.

Currently, people receiving these cheques can only get them on a monthly basis. I have had several representations from people who said it would be easier for them for budgeting and in many respects when it comes to their monthly bills, they would prefer to have the option to be paid biweekly.

I would like to thank the Newfoundland and Labrador Pensioners and Senior Citizens 50+ Federation, representing over 100 clubs, for inspiring me to do this. I would like to thank its president, Robert Rogers of Glovertown, for bringing this to me.

I hope that with the graciousness of the House, this bill will be passed for our seniors.

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

Criminal CodeRoutine Proceedings

10 a.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-520, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (luring a child outside Canada).

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to introduce two bills that aim to protect our youth in a way that the government has yet to address.

The first involves legislation that brings forward something that my predecessor and good friend Dawn Black began. Today I move this bill to deal with the question of child luring, a danger to all communities across Canada. It expands the definition of child luring to include all forms of communication, be it electronic, by cellular phone, or otherwise.

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

Criminal CodeRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-521, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (means of communication for child luring).

Mr. Speaker, this bill makes it illegal for any Canadian citizen or permanent resident to lure a child outside the borders of Canada and makes prosecution possible here at home.

I feel, as Dawn Black felt, that these changes to the law are long overdue and I hope that my hon. colleagues will agree and choose to support this bill.

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

First Nations University of CanadaPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, I wish to table a petition today with several pages of signatures in support of the First Nations University of Canada.

Their position, of course, is in addition to the support of the Government of Saskatchewan, the University of Regina, the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Association of University Teachers and many others. The signatories are members of the faculty, staff and general public in Regina in particular, but generally across Saskatchewan.

They call upon the Government of Canada to work with the students, staff and faculty to build a sustainable and viable future for First Nations University of Canada by fully reinstating the federal funding of at least $7.2 million per year.

I am very pleased to table this petition on their behalf today.

Employment InsurancePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

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

The first petition is signed by dozens of Manitobans. The current EI program provides adoptive parents with 35 weeks of paid leave, followed by a further 15 weeks of unpaid leave. Biological mothers are given both the first 35 weeks and the latter 15 weeks as paid leave. We know that adoptions are expensive, lengthy and stressful to adoptive parents and their families. There have been recent studies out that an additional 15 weeks of paid leave would help parents to support the adoptive children and to help them through a difficult period.

The petitioners call on the Government of Canada to support Bill C-413 tabled by my colleague, the member for Burnaby—New Westminster, which would amend the Employment Insurance Act and the Canada Labour Code to ensure that an adoptive parent is entitled to the same amount of paid leave as the biological mother of a newborn child.

Earthquake in ChilePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my second petition is also signed by dozens of Manitobans calling on the Canadian government to match funds personally donated by the citizens of Canada for the victims of the earthquake in Chile.

Members know that on February 27, 2010 an 8.8 magnitude earthquake occurred in southern Chile. The Chilean Canadian community has been putting on social events, raising money for earthquake relief.

The question everyone is asking is, “When will the Prime Minister give the same treatment to the earthquake victims in Chile as he did for the earthquake victims in Haiti, and match funds personally donated by Canadians to help the earthquake victims in Chile?”

Assisted SuicidePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to present a petition from almost 100 constituents of mine requesting that we defeat Bill C-384, which was done. I was glad to vote against that bill.

The petitioners are saying that euthanasia and assisted suicide should not be considered as part of our society. We need to look more into helping those people live in a respectful way, to ensure that they are not suffering needlessly, and that we help them deal with their suffering.

I am proud to present this petition on behalf of my constituents.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 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. 179 will be answered today.

Question No. 179Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

With regard to the Health Canada’s Indian Residential Schools (IRS) Resolution Health Support Program: (a) what measures is the government taking to ensure Indian day school survivors are eligible to receive access to this program; (b) is the program meeting the emotional health and wellness needs of day school survivors; (c) to date, how many Indian day school survivors have accessed the professional counselling services offered under the program; (d) how many day school survivors have accessed the emotional and cultural support services; (e) do day school survivors and their families have access to these same emotional and mental health services; (f) how many day school survivors have contacted Health Canada inquiring about their eligibility for this program; (g) how many day school survivors have been denied services and how many, if any, have appealed the decision; (h) how many IRS survivors have been denied services and how many, if any, have appealed the decision; (i) how many family members of IRS survivors have accessed these services and how many, if any, have been denied these services; (j) how is Health Canada ensuring that professional counsellors, recognized as Health Canada service providers, are the best service providers available; (k) how is Health Canada ensuring an efficient and streamlined service provider approval process; and (l) what recommendations from the Aboriginal Working Caucus has the government implemented as part of the IRS Health Support Program?

Question No. 179Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, with regard to a) to e) Under the terms of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, the Government of Canada is legally obliged to provide existing mental health and emotional support services to those eligible for compensation under the terms of the settlement agreement. Day schools do not meet the criteria set out in the settlement agreement which define Indian residential schools, thus former day school students are not eligible for compensation, nor are they eligible for the mental health and emotional support services provided through Health Canada’s resolution health support program. Requests to include additional schools in the settlement agreement can be submitted to Indian and Northern Affairs Canada.

Health Canada officials work with former day school students who are seeking mental health and emotional supports to find other services in their community for which they are eligible, such as Health Canada’s non-insured health benefits’ crisis counselling benefit, or mental health services funded through Health Canada’s brighter futures or building health communities programs. Provinces and territories may also be able to provide services.

With regard to f) The program does not collect data on the number of individuals who request service and are denied.

With regard to g) Day schools do not meet the criteria set out in the settlement agreement which define Indian residential schools, thus former day school students are not eligible for resolution health support program services. Health Canada works with these individuals to find other supports in their community that will meet their needs.

Health Canada maintains an appeal process for the professional counselling component of the program, which allows eligible former students to appeal specific decisions made regarding treatment plans, for example, the number of counselling sessions approved by Health Canada. There are three levels of appeal, and in each case supporting information is required and reviewed. Decisions are made based on the client’s needs and the Indian residential schools resolution health support program policies. To date, three appeals have been received by Health Canada. Each has been resolved at the first level of appeal.

With regard to h) All former Indian residential schools students who are eligible under the settlement agreement for the resolution health support program are provided access to services.

With regard to i) The status of a client as a former student or family member is not captured in Health Canada’s data; all eligible individuals are considered clients.

With regard to j) In order to ensure that clients have access to qualified providers, Health Canada has established the following criteria to which mental health providers must subscribe in order to register with the program: providers must be registered as a psychologist with clinical or counselling orientation, and in good standing in the province/territory in which the service is being provided; or registered as a psychological associate with clinical or counselling orientation, and in good standing in the province/territory in which the service is being provided; or registered as a social worker, and in good standing in the province/territory in which the service is being provided, MSW or PhD in social work with clinical orientation; and Masters of Arts, psychology, or Masters of Education degree, and currently supervised by one of the above designations may be accepted if there are no other providers in the vicinity and access to services is limited.

With regard to k) The registration process is directly managed by Health Canada’s regional offices. Providers must meet the minimum work experience as demonstrated on their resume, proof of education, annual proof of current registration with the appropriate regulatory body, clearance certificate with the local policy authority issued within the last 12 months, and in some instances, reference checks. The timeline for registration varies across the regions, but is usually processed within a month.

With regard to l) The aboriginal working caucus existed from 2001 to 2006 and made over 40 recommendations to Indian Residential Schools Resolution Canada, IRSRC, now INAC, during that time. Fourteen of the recommendations concerned health supports. Twelve of these recommendations have been implemented. These recommendations involved: increasing the availability and types of health supports available to claimants throughout all of the various resolution processes; creating information tools on services available and how to access them; improving access to professional counselling for claimants living in rural and remote communities; providing financial compensation to elders and traditional healers who provide health supports; and increasing the awareness of IRS issues among professional mental health providers. The two recommendations not implemented involved: joining IRSRC’s form filler service with Heath Canada’s resolution health support worker, RHSW, service; and establishing community based healing programs to complement community-based alternative dispute resolution, ADR, mechanisms. Form fillers and RHSWs perform two separate, but complementary, functions. In order to protect the emotional support services provided to former students and maintain current service levels, there is a need to keep these two roles distinct. Under the settlement agreement reached in 2006, ADR has been replaced by the independent assessment process.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Conservative Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

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

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed from May 12 consideration of the motion that Bill C-14, An Act to amend the Electricity and Gas Inspection Act and the Weights and Measures Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Fairness at the Pumps ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Nanaimo—Cowichan has four minutes left to conclude her remarks.

Fairness at the Pumps ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, in the brief time I have left there are a couple of points that I want to bring to the attention of the House.

Bill C-14 is entitled fairness at the pumps act. I just want to briefly talk about what fairness means. It means conformity with rules or standards, ability to make judgments free from discrimination or dishonesty, and the attitude of being just to all. Fairness could be that everyone gets the same, but maybe that should be that everyone gets what they actually need and I think that is an important point.

Fairness at the pumps is part of the title of this bill.

New Democrats have been calling for a number of measures for consumer protection over a number of years. I alluded yesterday to the fact that the member for Windsor West since 2008 and earlier has been calling for some fairness for consumers when it comes to overall gas price regulations and fairness at the pumps.

New Democrats have a much broader agenda when we are talking about consumer fairness and consumer protection. We have been calling for a number of initiatives. This measure that is before the House is a step but it is not adequate. We have been calling for fairness for consumers with regard to ATM fees, interest rates, fees charged by fringe banks, and for air passengers.

Many members of the House have spent all kinds of time in various delays at airports. I know the member for Elmwood—Transcona has been working hard on fairness for airline passengers.

The member for Sudbury has worked on capping the interest rates on credit cards to a maximum of five percentage points over prime by amending the Bank Act.

We have called for an ombudsperson when it comes to gas prices. We have asked for funding for citizen oversight committees to monitor fees, rates and regulatory decisions as part of the formal regulatory and rate setting process for banks, telephone companies and cable corporations.

We have been asking for an investigation and recall of unsafe and toxic consumer products including toys, groceries and pet foods. We have asked for increased testing and inspection of imported products and a requirement that federally-regulated agencies provide better customer service as well as better complaint mechanisms and measurable high quality customer support.

There is also the leaky condo crisis in my own province of British Columbia. In my riding of Nanaimo—Cowichan the leaky condo crisis is an ongoing crisis for many families. We would like to see the responsibilities of federal agencies, as promised by the Conservatives, to hold an inquiry into the roles and responsibilities and tax exemptions for repair and restoration. We would also like to see mandatory labelling of farm fish.

Finally, we would like to see all consumer related federal agencies under one roof, by naming a minister specifically responsible for consumer affairs. Canadians deserve a minister devoted to protecting their interests. In terms of gas pricing at the pumps, that would make a lot of sense.

Fairness at the Pumps ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure to listen to my colleague from Nanaimo--Cowichan both yesterday in the early evening and today again about something that is a hugely important consumer protection issue.

I have been hearing about it from my constituents not just this year but frankly since I was first elected. It seems to me that every long weekend, every time the weather turns nice, we see the price at the pumps going up.

I recognize that the bill that is before us today only deals with a small part of that. It deals specifically with the actual pumps and the recalibration of the pumps, but I think there is a much larger issue.

As far as I am concerned, the bill leaves the profiteering oil companies largely untouched. It goes after the small business retailers with enforced inspections, with this new mammoth bureaucracy, when really what people want is to stop the gouging at the pumps.

I wonder whether my hon. colleague has any thoughts at all about what the bill might do to some of the smaller businesses that actually operate family-run gas stations.

Fairness at the Pumps ActGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Hamilton Mountain is right. We are coming up to a long weekend and I expect that each and every one of us will go back to our home communities and surprisingly find that gas prices have gone up 5¢ to 10¢ a litre. It is a tradition on long weekends in Canada. Sadly, it is a tradition that affects consumers. Yesterday in my speech I mentioned that low income Canadians are even harder hit by this kind of pricing. The member for Windsor West has long called for oversight on how prices at the gas pumps are arrived at.

I want to come back for a moment to why this piece of legislation was introduced. The member for Hamilton Mountain pointed out that it does not go nearly far enough and adversely impacts on small retailers. I want to refer to the Ottawa Citizen article in 2008 which talked about the report that eventually led to this piece of legislation. It said:

But using the most conservative figures, pumps that fell outside the tolerance zone would have shortchanged consumers by at least $17 million annually if projected across the entire industry. At the same time, however, fast pumps would give out $8 million in free gas. On the small percentage of pumps outside the tolerance zone, consumers come out about $9 million behind.

It went on to say:

But if pumps that passed inspection also skewed against the consumer by about the same rate within the tolerance zone, Canadian drivers would be out of pocket even more.

With about 40 billion litres of gas sold in Canada, the 0.5% variation within the legal tolerance represents a potential swing of $240 million in either direction. If the variations in gas flowing from these pumps evened out, it would have no effect on consumers. But even a small shift could represent millions of dollars.

That article points out that not only are consumers impacted by the variations in the pumps, but the small retailers are as well. Their margins are pretty tight. If they are giving out free gas, they cannot afford that. The much broader issues around regulation of gas prices and effective oversight into pump regulation require attention.

Fairness at the Pumps ActGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, this bill gives the great appearance of what it intends to do which is to create fairness for consumers at the pumps and at the same time make it easier for retailers, but therein lies the problem with the bill.

For retailers the Conservatives have thrown much of the enforcement into the realm of the private market. It is similar to when people wanted to receive rebates for doing work on their homes so that heat would not escape. The problem was the consumers had to pay for the inspection. It was that upfront cost. In this case what bothers me is throwing it to the private market to allow inspectors to come in and do the inspections. Unfortunately, that could cause problems for smaller retailers especially in my riding and perhaps in the member's riding as well. I would like her to comment on that.

Fairness at the Pumps ActGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, my riding includes a number of small towns and small retailers. We also have a very proud co-operative movement. There are a number of co-operative gas bars that service Nanaimo—Cowichan and other parts of Vancouver Island. These small retailers cannot afford to have downloading on the prices. The solution is to increase the number of government inspectors that are available--

Fairness at the Pumps ActGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Random inspections.

Fairness at the Pumps ActGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

The member for Elmwood—Transcona is pointing out that random inspections are the way to deal with it. The government inspectors do a very good job, but they need the resources to do that job effectively. More inspectors are needed. Random inspections would certainly help to identify where there are problems.