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House of Commons Hansard #49 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was air.

Topics

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of the national anthem led by the hon. member for Chatham-Kent—Essex.

[Members sang the national anthem]

Miss Indian WorldStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Conservative Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to share with the House the impressive accomplishments of Miss Dakota Brant, a young woman from Six Nations in my riding of Brant.

Last month at the Gathering of Nations powwow in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Ms. Brant was crowned Miss Indian World. Chosen from among 26 constituents, Ms. Brant is the first Mohawk woman to have ever captured the title, which is awarded annually to a young native woman from North or South America. Throughout the next year, Ms. Brant will act as an ambassador to the world on behalf of native American nations.

As a member of the Mohawk Nation Turtle Clan, Ms. Brant also served as Miss Six Nations in 2005 and was recognized in 2008 as a Youth Aboriginal Woman in Leadership by the Women In Leadership Foundation.

I offer my heartfelt congratulations to Ms. Brant on her achievements and wish her continued success in the year ahead.

Komagata MaruStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Dhalla Liberal Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, this month marks the anniversary of a very unfortunate chapter in Canadian history: the 1914 Komagata Maru injustice.

There were 376 passengers that arrived aboard the Komagata Maru at the port of Vancouver. Due to immigration laws at that time, which were exclusionary and discriminatory, these individuals were kept on the ship for two months without any food and water. Two months later the ship was returned back to India where many of these individuals were shot or killed.

In 2008 we had a private member's motion that I put forward, Motion No. 469, that asked the government to apologize for this injustice. However, the apology, even though the motion was passed, was done at a cultural event.

On behalf of many Canadians and the Indo-Canadian community, I would once again request that all members of this House put partisanship politics aside to once again support another motion that I have put forward, requesting that the government apologize in a respectful and dignified manner for the Komagata Maru injustice and declare May 23 as a day of commemoration.

Marc GasconStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to congratulate Marc Gascon on his election as president of the Union des municipalités du Québec. He was elected at the 89th annual conference, which was held from May 13 to 15, 2010.

A native of Saint-Jérôme, Mr. Gascon has been the mayor of that community since 1995. A man of action, he is a member of a number of development agencies and puts all of his talent and energy into improving the quality of life in Saint-Jérôme, with results to show for it. I have no doubt that he is well-suited to his new responsibilities as president of the UMQ.

A Quebec-wide survey was presented at the meeting, and it shows that a majority of citizens believe that the chief executives of their communities have integrity and listen to their citizens. These characteristics describe Marc Gascon, the mayor of Saint-Jérôme, perfectly.

On behalf of my Bloc Québécois colleagues and myself, congratulations, Marc, on your new position as president of the UMQ.

Synthetic ChemicalsStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, new studies support previous scientific research showing the harmful effects of dozens of unlabelled synthetic chemicals used as fragrances in numerous body products, air fresheners and cleaning products.

Studies have shown that many of these chemicals, banned in the countries of the European Union, are linked to allergic reactions such as asthma, skin reaction, as well as hormone disruption.

Fragrance companies do not have to safety test these chemicals and in addition, they do not have to list them on product labels.

Products by Calvin Klein, Axe and American Eagle contain 14 to 24 unlisted chemicals used by people of all ages, every day, year after year.

Canadians are becoming increasingly concerned about how it is possible that these synthetic chemicals can be banned in Europe and not in Canada.

Canadians want their government to require that these synthetic chemicals be listed on all consumer product labels.

Firearms RegistryStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians continue to speak out against the wasteful and ineffective long gun registry, but the Liberal leader does not want to listen. He thinks he can score political points by fighting a so-called cultural war against rural Canadians.

However, the Liberal leader's cultural war idea hit a snag last month when my fellow Manitoban, NDP Justice Minister Andrew Swan, announced his government's support for scrapping the long gun registry. Minister Swan clearly states that the Manitoba NDP government is prepared to work with our Conservative government to crack down on illegal firearms and not innocent hunters, farmers and outdoor enthusiasts.

NDP and Liberal MPs from my great province of Manitoba should listen to Minister Swan's advice: do the right thing and vote to scrap the long gun registry. The voters of Manitoba deserve to have their voices heard.

Accident MemorialStatements by Members

May 26th, 2010 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Liberal Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to remember a tragedy that happened 30 years ago near Swift Current, Saskatchewan.

On May 28, 1980, a bus carrying CP Rail workers was involved in an accident that saw 22 young Canadians lose their lives. Twelve of those men were from Newfoundland and Labrador.

The town of Rushoon, a rural community with a population of 300 in the riding of Random—Burin—St. George's, lost four men in that accident. These were young men who left their homes each spring to work on the tracks, as they referred to it. These were young men who sacrificed all to earn a living for their families.

Though a small community, the people of Rushoon raised funds for a monument in memory of those men. I will be at the unveiling in Rushoon this Friday, May 28, 30 years to the day of the tragedy.

I ask all members to take a minute to remember all 22 of those men who lost their lives so tragically.

AfghanistanStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Conservative Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians can be proud of the bravery shown and the sacrifices made by Canada's military personnel in Afghanistan. The recent vicious attack on the main NATO base reminds us that our men and women in uniform, in all capacities, face constant danger.

We are all sad to learn of the 146th Canadian soldier to die in Afghanistan since 2002.

As chair of the foreign affairs committee and chair of the special Afghan committee, I have presided over many meetings, hearing evidence of our performance in Afghanistan.

Canadians should know that our mission has many successes. Our troops are working hard. Whether under attack or feeling the pain of war, our troops are not intimidated and they persevere in spite of difficult surroundings. Our troops will say that they have helped improve the lives of countless Afghans.

Canadians should be proud of the bravery shown, and the sacrifices made by our men and women serving in Afghanistan.

International Cultural FestivalStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Bloc Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, once again the Conservative government has demonstrated its contempt for culture. The Festival International des Rythmes du Monde, which attracts more than 250,000 visitors to Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean, has just had its funding under the marquee tourism events program cut.

This festival, which is a showcase for hundreds of artists from dozens of countries, results in economic spinoffs of approximately $20 million for my region.

With only two months left until the event, this news is devastating for the organizers. Year after year we have to fight for funding for cultural activities and this leaves us wondering about the future of many marquee festivals in the region.

By refusing to help fund the Festival International des Rythmes du Monde and ending the marquee tourism events program as of next year, the Conservative government has made a purely ideological decision, driving yet another nail into the coffin of culture.

SecuritiesStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Conservative Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Mr. Speaker, we are an investing country. Canadians own RRSPs, mutual funds and registered retirement plans. These nest eggs represent Canada's financial future and they deserve the strongest protection possible.

Today, the finance minister released a proposed Canadian securities act, an act that will reduce unnecessary compliance costs, helping give Canada a competitive advantage, and attracting new investments and creating new jobs in this country.

We are asking the Supreme Court to confirm that the act is constitutional and does not infringe upon provincial jurisdictions.

A national securities regulator is exactly what the Earl Jones victims committee, the IMF, the OECD, and dozens more have long demanded. Canada is the only industrialized country without a national regulator, a glaring gap in an otherwise world-leading financial system.

The global financial crisis has shown the dangers of uncoordinated regulations. Canadians deserve better than to have 13 separate regulators in 13 separate jurisdictions.

Fishing IndustryStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Todd Russell Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, in the past 30 years shrimp and crab have become the mainstay of the Labrador fishery.

Labrador fishers have seen a 10% cut to crab quotas and now face a 28% reduction in shrimp. Area 6 off Labrador accounts for half of the northern shrimp industry. It supports fishers from our eastern coastal provinces, but more importantly it supports fishers from aboriginal and non-aboriginal communities in Labrador.

Everyone is concerned about sustainability. The fishers and processors in my riding have and are willing to shoulder a fair share of conservation efforts, but not an unfair share.

We ask the minister to respect adjacency: the principle that Labradorians should benefit from the resources of the Labrador Sea, those waters which have sustained us for generations.

We say to the minister to recognize the historic attachment we have to the region and these fisheries.

We demand fairness and call on the minister to fully consult with our fishers before making major decisions about one of Labrador's most important resources.

Bloc QuébécoisStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Bernard Généreux Conservative Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, Bloc Québécois members say they are in Ottawa to protect Quebeckers' interests, but it might be a good idea to review some of the things our government has done since coming to power. Twenty years after the Bloc Québécois' arrival in the House, I still have to wonder exactly what it has accomplished for Quebec.

Since coming to power, our government has recognized that Quebeckers form a distinct nation within a united Canada, signed an important agreement between Canada and Quebec about UNESCO, invested heavily in Quebec infrastructure, provided real help to agricultural producers, and more.

Bloc Québécois members have often remained seated when our government proposed initiatives for all Quebeckers. When it is time to act, Quebeckers can count on the Conservative government. Our government is here to serve all Quebeckers.

Gender EqualityStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, Canada no longer compares favourably in international measurements of gender equality.

Under the government's watch, Canada has fallen from 7th to 25th in the World Economic Forum gender gap ranking for gender equality. Women in Canada are not equal to men and are becoming less so.

Rather than taking actions to promote women's equality in Canada and abroad, the government has attacked women's rights in Canada by negating pay equity, abandoning the court challenges program, and cancelling funding to research and advocacy groups, thereby de-funding organizations essential to women's economic and social empowerment.

The government has pushed its Conservative ideology abroad and continues its attacks on women's rights by refusing to fund a complete range of family planning services through the G8 maternal and child health strategy.

May 24 marked the 92nd anniversary of universal voting rights for Canadian women. A century later, Canadian women have the right to vote, but they are still not equal.

Firerams RegistryStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Conservative Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, many provincial and territorial justice ministers have come out in support of scrapping the wasteful and ineffective long gun registry. Let us listen to what some of them had to say in their own words.

The Alberta justice minister supports the “repeal of a registry that unfairly targets law-abiding hunters, farmers and sports shooters”.

The Manitoba justice minister wrote that his government has “consistently and repeatedly opposed the registry”.

The Saskatchewan justice minister wrote that Saskatchewan has “consistently opposed the long gun registry, seeing it as a massive waste of taxpayers' money that has yet to solve a single crime”.

The Yukon justice minister wrote that “Yukon's position is that the registry legislation does not deliver positive results”.

Will Liberal members and specifically the member from Yukon listen to his constituents or will they bend to the will of the Liberal leader?

On this side of the House, we will continue to oppose the wasteful long gun registry.

Control of InformationStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Nicolas Dufour Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, once again last week the Conservative government demonstrated just what it is capable of in terms of controlling the message and giving it a distinctly Conservative flavour.

Hundreds of young people were invited to a meeting to discuss issues related to the G8 and G20, providing what should have been an opportunity for them to ask the Prime Minister some questions. Some of those young people have said that the Prime Minister's staff changed and even discarded some of their questions in order to avoid any controversial or potentially embarrassing topics for the Conservatives.

Any questions related to abortion in their policy on maternal health in developing countries were discarded. Any questions related to the environment were discarded.

There was nothing transparent about the question and answer session, which was led by Senator Mike Duffy, a good Conservative. The Prime Minister's Office managed to turn the whole affair into a partisan exercise.

The Conservative government should be ashamed of itself for its obsession with controlling the message and for muzzling these young people in the context of what was supposed to be a democratic exercise.

Atomic Energy of Canada LimitedStatements by Members

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, Canada's world-class Candu technology is about to become another victim of a Conservative ideology that continues to hollow out key industries.

Thousands of Canadian families, many living in Conservative ridings, are being victimized by a government intent on destroying AECL.

There are about 150 nuclear industry workers on the Hill today. They deserve to know why the government is not protecting their jobs. Instead, the Conservatives are negotiating an outright sale behind closed doors, without any transparency or accountability.

Obviously, the Reform Party's hidden agenda has morphed into a Conservative culture of deceit.

The EconomyStatements by Members

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, when the Liberal leader finally gets around to asking about the economy, all he can talk about are the taxes he wants to raise. His boast of being the first Liberal to tout a carbon tax are well known, and so is his plan to hike the GST. New on the Liberal leader's agenda is a plan to hike job-killing business taxes, a move that even the former Liberal finance minister, John Manley, has said will not provide Canada with the tax advantage it needs to compete in the global economy.

Canadians see through the Liberal leader's failed approach. Canadians know that our plan is working. Low taxes are fuelling Canada's economic growth that is set to lead the G7 this year and next year. Canadians know that the 285,000 jobs created since last July are due to the responsible economic leadership of this Conservative government. Canadians know that higher taxes to pay for reckless Liberal spending promises will stop our recovery in its tracks.

Canadians can count on our Conservative government to continue with our approach, an approach that is working.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, this government's economic choices are impossible to understand. The government is borrowing $6 billion in order to give tax cuts to businesses that are already profitable. What is more, the government is borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars in order to turn around and hand out subsidies to the oil industry when those subsidies are pointless.

At the G20 meeting in Pittsburgh, the Prime Minister promised to eliminate these useless subsidies. Will he keep his promises in Toronto?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, that is totally false. Canada is a leader in this regard. The Leader of the Opposition is talking about the economy. Today the OECD said that Canada will have the highest growth rate of the major developed countries this year and next. The reason is that we have a government that lowers taxes, unlike the Liberals who want to increase taxes.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, he should tell that to the Canadian families who happen to be the most indebted group of families in the world. He should try that with them, because it will not work.

I asked a clear question in the House. Will he or will he not keep his promise to eliminate the useless fossil fuel subsidies that the G20 meeting at Pittsburgh promised to eliminate? Will he keep his promise in Toronto? Yes or no.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, absolutely. In fact, Canada is a leader in this regard in terms of the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies. In fact, one of the important steps taken by this government several budgets ago was the phase-out of accelerated capital cost allowances for the oil sands. Guess what. They were put there by the Liberal Party, and the Liberal Party opposed getting rid of them.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the undertaking made by the government was to eliminate them in four years. I am talking about whether it will do it in three weeks, which is when it needs to do it.

The government needs to face the fact that Canadian families are among the most indebted in the world. Over 50% of their income goes to housing. That is going to increase as interest rates rise. Instead of helping those families, the government is giving another $6 billion gift to corporations and useless subsidies to oil corporations.

When will it change course, freeze those taxes, and start helping middle-class families?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, while the Leader of the Opposition has been off on all kinds of other tangents for the past year, this government has been focused on the economy. That is one reason the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said today the same thing the International Monetary Fund said, which is that Canada will lead growth among the major developed economies this year and next.

That is why the Canadian economy has created 300,000 net new jobs in the past six months. It is because we have a government that believes in getting taxes lower, unlike the Liberal Party, which wants to raise those taxes.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Safety knows very well that the cost of security for the Olympic Games, which lasted almost four weeks, was less than $800 million.

How does he explain the soaring cost of security for the meetings to be held in Huntsville and Toronto in a few weeks? Why is the cost of security for these summits more than $800 million?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, all the costs, in fact, have been budgeted and are on target.

As we have stated, the overall cost will be finalized during the completion of the summit. Based on a medium-level threat assessment, we have budgeted up to $930 million.

This is an unprecedented event. We have two summits back to back, and we believe the experts when they say that this is the necessary level of security. I understand that the Liberals do not believe in securing Canadians or the visitors here. We are different.