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House of Commons Hansard #48 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was indian.

Topics

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I will say it in English. The hon. member is wrong.

It is absolutely false. There are no closures and there are no layoffs in Ontario. We want to make sure that Canadians get their EI processed quickly in an accurate and timely manner. That is what we have been doing. During the recession we raised our performance standards. We exceeded those standards.

The member is simply fearmongering, and he is doing so irresponsibly. He should stop it.

Digital EconomyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, our government recently reaffirmed its commitment to becoming a leader in the world's digital economy. In fact, two weeks ago, the Minister of Industry was in Stratford, Ontario at the Canada 3.0 Forum where we engaged in groundbreaking public consultations on the digital economy.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry explain what our Conservative government is doing to ensure Canada remains a leader in the digital economy?

Digital EconomyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce that today we indeed tabled two bills to promote Canada's digital economy: the fighting wireless and Internet spam act, and the safeguarding Canadians' personal information act.

Our goal is to ensure confidence in online commerce by addressing the privacy and personal security concerns that consumers associate with spam and related online threats that can deter consumers from participating in the online marketplace.

We are working to make Canada a leader in both fields by providing a more secure online environment for both consumers and businesses.

First Nations UniversityOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, it has been a month since the government provided any new information about First Nations University.

Strong leadership has been shown by Chief Lonechild and the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations. There is a new board of governors, a new president and a new chief executive officer. A tough financial officer has been reinstated.

There is full support from the Saskatchewan government, the University of Regina, the Regina and the Saskatchewan chambers of commerce, and the Canadian Association of University Teachers.

Will the minister now make that long-term federal financial commitment that is urgently required?

First Nations UniversityOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, we are encouraged by many of the changes that we have seen take place at First Nations University.

I agree with the hon. member that Chief Lonechild is doing a stalwart job trying to clean up the mess that he inherited. I give him full credit for that, and I have done that both privately and publicly all along. He is making serious efforts to make some serious changes.

We have already given $3 million as promised to get students through to the end of the academic year. That was the promise we made initially when we said we had to see those changes, that students had to come first. We are now working with the university, the University of Regina and others.

I would encourage that reform to continue.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Nadeau Bloc Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Commissioner of Official Languages reiterated that, when the government appoints Supreme Court justices, knowledge of French should be considered an essential skill. The Minister of Official Languages tried to justify the government's failure to act by saying that the issue “is dividing the country”.

Is that the government's position? Should French remain a second-class language because some people are afraid of dividing Canada?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the member has made a ridiculous assertion.

With respect to all appointments of judges, linguistic competencies are always taken into consideration.

With respect to the Supreme Court of Canada, Canadians can take pride in the fact that all services and all communications are in both official languages, and every individual has the right to have his or her matter heard in either official language.

This is a successful federal national institution, and perhaps that is why it is always getting criticism from the Bloc.

HealthOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, since 2006 the infant mortality rate in Canada has skyrocketed and poverty is the underlying cause for this increase.

It creates barriers to accessing health care, health education, obstetric care and good nutrition. The problem is particularly acute in Nunavut where the infant mortality rate is four times higher than the national average.

How many more lives will be lost before the government takes action? When will the government get serious about addressing the direct link between poverty and health?

HealthOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, as the member is aware, we have increased transfers to the provinces and territories last year as well as this year by spending $25 billion.

Our government has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to a number of areas in improving aboriginal health, as an example. That is why in budget 2010 we provided $285 million over two years to renew areas of aboriginal health programs in areas of diabetes, maternal health, health human resources and aboriginal health transition fund.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Conservative Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Mr. Speaker, on March 26, the South Korean ship Cheonan sank in waters near the northern limit line, claiming the lives of 46 sailors.

At the request of the South Korean government, Canada deployed three experts from the Canadian navy to join the multinational investigation team.

In the light of the conclusions of North Korea's belligerence, what further measures will the government pursue?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, Canadians can be very proud of our swift response and unwaivering commitment in the face of the North Korean aggression and our help to our friends and allies in South Korea.

We condemn North Korea's blatant disregard and egregious violations of international law. We will take steps to impose enhanced restriction on trade investment and other bilateral relations with the regime, including the addition of North Korea to the area control list.

VeteransOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Veterans Affairs is still refusing to hold public consultations about transferring the Sainte-Anne hospital to the Province of Quebec. The transfer will cause a number of problems, including a $1.5 million annual shortfall for the City of Saint-Anne-de-Bellevue.

Instead of hiding behind his unelected negotiator, the minister should be giving regional stakeholders, including veterans, the opportunity to have their say about this ill-conceived transfer. Why is he disregarding our veterans' freedom of expression and that of people in the region?

VeteransOral Questions

3 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, as everyone knows, there are now fewer World War II veterans. As such, the best way to ensure that we can provide services to our veterans over the long term is to transfer this hospital to the Government of Quebec. Ultimately, we want to keep the experienced people we have working there. As I said before, if this transfer happens, we will always have to ensure that access for our veterans is a priority.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

May 25th, 2010 / 3 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week, Kruger laid off 440 workers in Trois-Rivières and AbitibiBowater closed its Gatineau mill. More and more jobs are being lost, yet the Conservative government is doing nothing to help forestry workers.

How many jobs will have to be lost before this government puts in place loan guarantees to help the industry get through the crisis?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, my colleague knows that the issue in the forestry industry is not access to credit, but the markets where we sell our products. In their press release last week, the people at Kruger said that market conditions were still quite unfavourable and that demand had dropped 30% in two years. That is the reason. We will continue to support the forestry industry, provide new programs for workers and work on new products. No one has ever helped the forestry industry as much as our government.

Royal Recommendation—Bill C-501Points of OrderOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

John Rafferty NDP Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order to respond to the government concerns about Bill C-501.

The week before last the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons argued that Bill C-501 required a royal recommendation. The basis of his argument was that clause 6 of the bill imposed an additional financial responsibility on the Crown. This particular clause would mandate the Minister of Labour to appoint an adjudicator to hear a claim made by a former employee of a company against a director of the same company.

The basis of my bill moves workers' pensions to secured status after a bankruptcy. It gives the pension so-called super-preferred status, meaning workers receive their pensions before shareholders and other creditors receive their money. In the event of a dispute or should a former employee bring a claim against the director of a company, the bill would mandate the minister to appoint a arbitrator to hear the claim.

The parliamentary secretary's arguments fell into two parts, the first being that the appointment of an arbitrator was a new purpose or created a new mandate for the minister. The second argument was that the payment of an arbitrator would increase government spending.

I reject these arguments and do not believe the bill requires a royal recommendation. First, it is already within the mandate of the Minister of Labour to appoint an adjudicator. The Minister of Labour regularly appoints adjudicators, conciliators, mediators and referees often under the powers of the Canada Labour Code. The minister's mandate to resolve disputes, adjudicate claims and protect workers' rights is broad and encompasses the intent of the bill. No new responsibilities or duties are being imposed on the Crown by this bill.

In previous cases stated by the parliamentary secretary to support his argument, all involved bills where new commissions or committees were being created by the minister and where the minister had neither a previous role in appointing such committees nor a mandate to involvement himself or herself in the issue being studied for resolve by that said committee.

In the case of Bill C-501, the minister regularly appoints adjudicators to hear claims concerning workers' rights, labour issues, grievances. In addition, the minister has a clear mandate to involve himself or herself in labour disputes and bankruptcies.

When an adjudicator, mediator or referee is selected to assist with claims or grievances, they are often employees of the federal mediation and conciliation service. These are Government of Canada employees. In this case, no royal recommendation is needed as the staff already carries out very similar tasks. The bill would not change their roles, their duties or their responsibilities nor the cost of their employment.

Should the minister decide to appoint a third party adjudicator, as happens in some cases, the common practice is for the parties involved to pay the costs of the arbitrator. Nothing, and I want to make this perfectly clear, nothing in Bill C-501 makes the Crown responsible for the costs of an arbitrator. In fact, the bill does not even state that there will be a cost.

The parent act to the Canada Business Corporations Act also does not provide for any compensation for an arbitrator. While the minister certainly has the power to pay, the bill does not mandate any payment. In fact, the minister could ask for an eminent Canadian to take the case and discuss and decide in the particular case. Therefore, no money actually has to be spent according to this clause.

Therefore, I respectfully suggest, Mr. Speaker, that the parliamentary secretary is wrong in suggesting that Bill C-501 requires a royal recommendation. These are my arguments for it. I hope you will take them under consideration.

Royal Recommendation—Bill C-501Points of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I thank the hon. member for Thunder Bay—Rainy River for his submissions on this point. Of course they will be duly noted and taken into consideration as I consider my ruling on this matter.

Business of SupplyOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Prince George—Peace River B.C.

Conservative

Jay Hill ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, as usual, there have been consultations with all parties. I think if you were to seek it, you would find unanimous consent for the following motion. I move:

That, during the debates on May 27 and May 31, 2010, on the business of supply pursuant to Standing Order 81(4), no quorum calls, dilatory motions or requests for unanimous consent shall be received by the Chair and, within each 15-minute period, each party may allocate time to one or more of its members for speeches or for questions and answers, provided that, in the case of questions and answers, the minister's answer approximately reflect the time taken by the question, and provided that, in the case of speeches, members of the party to which the period is allocated may speak one after the other.

Business of SupplyOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Does the hon. government House leader have the unanimous consent of the House to propose this motion?

Business of SupplyOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Business of SupplyOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Business of SupplyOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Business of SupplyOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

(Motion agreed to)

An Action Plan for the National Capital CommissionGovernment Orders

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Tony Clement Conservative Parry Sound—Muskoka, ON

moved that Bill C-20, An Act to amend the National Capital Act and other Acts be read the second time and referred to a committee.

An Action Plan for the National Capital CommissionGovernment Orders

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Royal Galipeau Conservative Ottawa—Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, before I begin, I was wondering if I could have the unanimous consent of the House to share my time with the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.