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House of Commons Hansard #58 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was growth.

Topics

Caledon FairStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

David Tilson Conservative Dufferin—Caledon, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to recognize the 150th anniversary of the Caledon Fair. This annual celebration of agriculture, community and family has become a cherished tradition for the residents of Dufferin—Caledon and surrounding areas.

Since the fair first begin in 1860, it has honoured agricultural excellence and represents all that is rural Canada. Today families can still enjoy livestock shows and home craft displays. However, new and exciting additions to the fair include the Caledon Idol, truck and tractor pulls and a midway.

I would like to sincerely thank and congratulate the Caledon Agricultural Society, especially Anne Ward and Clarence Pinkney, as well as the directors, members, volunteers and our community for successfully and enthusiastically preserving this family tradition for 150 years. Their efforts, hard work and dedication are deeply appreciated.

I encourage everyone to travel to Caledon Village on the weekend of June 11 to 13 to enjoy some outstanding family fun.

World Oceans DayStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, today is World Oceans Day. Although the concept was proposed at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and the day has been celebrated every year since, the UN General Assembly officially declared June 8 as World Oceans Day in 2009.

The goal of World Oceans Day is to raise global awareness of the threats to our oceans and the resources they contain. The day also promotes sustainable stewardship of oceans and their resources by mobilizing governments and people to preserve the ocean and its riches.

It is to be hoped that governments everywhere, and especially the government opposite, will make a greater effort to better manage our oceans and their resources, which sustain coastal communities around the world, including the communities in Gaspé and the Îles-de-la-Madeleine my riding.

It is therefore imperative that Newfoundland comply with Quebec's request for a moratorium on oil and gas drilling.

World Oceans DayStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

John Weston Conservative West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, today we celebrate UN World Oceans Day, a time for all Canadians to consider the importance of oceans to life on our planet. Today people around the world celebrate our oceans, raise awareness about their importance and acknowledge our connection to the sea.

The Government of Canada is committed to preserving our oceans and our marine environments. We are doing so by establishing a national network of marine protected areas and designating new national wildlife areas. We are committed to protecting fragile lands, waters and species.

Our Canada is enhanced by the vital natural resources provided by its three oceans, which also provide employment for many Canadians.

I hope all my colleagues will join me in accepting our responsibility for preserving our oceans for the benefit of our children and future generations.

Microcredit LendingStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I would like to thank all members of the House for their unanimous support for my motion of today, which asks the government to provide additional funding for microcredit lending to the world's poorest people, those surviving on less than $1.25 a day.

Two months ago, I attended a microcredit conference in Kenya, featuring such leaders in the field as Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus. That experience, plus visits to the slums of Nairobi, convinced me that microcredit could make an important contribution to alleviating world poverty.

I would like to extend my warmest thanks to the fifteen or so members from all parties who have supported my motion from the outset, particularly the leaders of the three opposition parties as well as the Minister of Finance and the Minister of International Cooperation. Sometimes we can work together in this House.

Yes, sometimes we can work together in this place.

Immigration ConsultantsStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Nina Grewal Conservative Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Mr. Speaker, today our Conservative government is fulfilling a campaign promise to crack down on crooked immigration consultants who victimize those who dream of coming to Canada by stealing their money, providing bad immigration advice and encouraging them to lie to Canada's immigration officers.

The cracking down on crooked consultants bill would make it a crime for unauthorized individuals to provide immigration advice for a fee and would punish them by up to two years in prison and a $50,000 fine if found guilty.

The government is also responding to the concerns regarding the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants, whose directors have been accused of being in financial conflicts of interest, retaliating against legitimate consultants who criticize them, and running the organization without any transparency and for their own financial gain.

I hope Parliament passes these changes expeditiously and protects those who dream of immigrating to Canada from crooked immigration consultants.

Employment InsuranceStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Denise Savoie NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, for 25 years Grace Collins has served Victoria's special needs community. Since being diagnosed with cancer in 2007, she has applied for CPP disability twice and she has been denied twice.

Undergoing treatment and unable to work, she is disappointed that there is no compassionate consideration for people in her position, and I share her disappointment. My office has advocated time and time again on behalf of constituents like Grace with so-called episodic illnesses. No doubt offices of other members have too.

We know there is a serious policy gap here, and finally, a solution has been proposed. Introduced yesterday, Bill C-526 would extend medical EI to up to 52 weeks for people living with serious illnesses so they can focus on their recovery.

I urge the government to take action and work with us on this long overdue issue.

Citizenship and ImmigrationStatements by Members

June 8th, 2010 / 2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, today our government is taking action and introducing a bill that will protect those who dream of becoming Canadian citizens from the dishonest and unscrupulous activities of crooked immigration consultants.

Canada is chosen as a destination by thousands of people who wish to build a better life for themselves and their families.

Although the Government of Canada treats all immigration applications the same, a large number of applicants choose to hire an immigration consultant to help them through the process.

Although the majority of immigration consultants are honest and legitimate, there are some crooked consultants who take advantage of those who want to become Canadian citizens.

So our government is proposing to crack down on these crooked consultants who take advantage of vulnerable people wishing to become Canadian citizens and who abuse Canada's generosity.

Our government is taking the measures needed to better protect those who hope for a better life in Canada.

Bill C-9Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, budget implementation Bill C-9 alone amends 70 other statutes, some of which have nothing to do with the budget. The privatization of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited without requiring a debate in Parliament, the end of Canada Post's monopoly on certain services, and the intentional disappearance of the $57 billion that the Conservative government owes the employment insurance fund are just a few examples of the amendments in Bill C-9.

By hiding his reforms in such a huge, indigestible bill, the Prime Minister is muzzling the public, which is struggling to sort everything out, and the hon. members, who cannot study these reforms with the attention and the diligence they deserve.

As Le Devoir's Manon Cornellier points out, by creating this omnibus bill, the Prime Minister is bypassing debates and once again undermining the role and the authority of the people's representatives, .

This is yet another illustration of the Conservatives' lack of transparency and their contempt for parliamentary democracy.

Sydney HarbourStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government seems content to spend millions of dollars on a fake Muskoka in the middle of downtown Toronto while Cape Breton waits to get Sydney harbour dredged. The government should stop wasting money on false lakes and instead invest in a real water infrastructure that will not be drained after the G20.

The province, the private sector and the municipality are on board, but the federal government will not come to the table. The money needed to dredge this harbour means 15 minutes of G20 security, 15 minutes. My constituents are fuming mad to see the Conservatives wasting millions when they cannot even get a fraction of that amount to secure our economic future.

It is time for the Conservative government to come to its senses and stop dredging an indoor lake and dredge the Sydney harbour instead. This is a real project in a real harbour with real benefits. The Prime Minister should get real.

Opposition CoalitionStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Preston Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, last weekend the Liberal leader's new strategy became clearer. He will form a coalition government if given the opportunity following the next election.

The last time the Liberals tried to team with the Bloc Québécois and the NDP, the Liberal leader said, “I'm prepared to form a coalition government and to lead that government”. This Liberal strategy is the same as the last one: run an election campaign by telling Canadians there would be no coalition, then after the election join forces with the NDP and the Bloc Québécois to overturn the results.

The Liberal leader's plan remains unacceptable to Canadians. It is not acceptable to ignore an election result and install a party and a leader rejected by the voters. It is not acceptable to give the NDP co-management of the economy and it is not acceptable to share power with the political party committed to the breakup of this country.

Canadians need no further proof the Liberal leader is not in it for Canadians, he is just in it for himself.

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are paying $1 billion for the G8 and G20 summits, and are getting nothing in return, except a fake lake. The amount of taxpayer money being wasted on this event is shocking.

Why is the Prime Minister telling other countries how to manage their money, when he is wasting the money of Canadian taxpayers?

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the security measures are the same as those taken for other summits. Canada is in one of the strongest fiscal positions in the world. Obviously, we are working with our G20 partners to improve the very serious debt situations in several countries.

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, what do fake lakes, gazebos and boats that do not float have to do with security? The issue is not just the waste of money, it is that the summit promises to deliver so little on climate change, on women's rights, on jobs and growth. This summit looks like a billion dollar speed bump on the road to the real summit which will be in Korea at the end of this year.

How can the Prime Minister justify this expense for so little possible result?

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this is a historic change of position for the Liberal Party to be against a multilateral process such as this. The G20 has been key in the world's response including in Canada's response to the recession we have avoided at present by taking a series of strong measures on stimulus, on regulation of the financial sector. There are still very real challenges around the world that the G20 summit will be addressing. Canada's positions are well known. We are optimistic about the outcomes.

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives can try to justify these expenses, but it just does not add up. Canadians are asking simple questions such as, “We spent $1 billion and all we got was this lousy fake lake?” That is not the end of it. They are asking about the agenda. There is no progress on key issues. Many issues are not even on the agenda.

Canadians wanted leadership and what they got was a fake lake. How does the Prime Minister explain this?

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the summit has not happened, so it would be a bit early to speculate on its outcomes.

The opposition is obviously throwing around a bunch of falsehoods. For instance, yesterday the opposition said that there is a $2 million lake when in fact what there is is a $2 million marketing pavilion. There are thousands of visitors from around the world. This is a classic attempt for us to be able to market the country. We have quotes from all kinds of people in the Ontario tourism industry, including the president of that industry, saying that this is our chance to profile Ontario tourism to the world and we must not miss this opportunity.

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, now it is a marketing pavilion, as if that changes anything.

Having run up the biggest deficit in Canadian history, the Conservative way to welcome journalists to meetings on fiscal restraint is to put them around a 72-hour fake lake in downtown Toronto, complete with a Jumbotron the size of a house to watch soccer. Even Conservatives are balking at the growing list of waste. The Prime Minister's former campaign manager and mentor said that the costs are indefensible. He said he is glad he is not paid “to spout that kind of nonsense”.

With so many real priorities underfunded or cut by the Conservative government, how can the Prime Minister justify this waste of money?

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, media are reporting widely, and obviously incorrectly, that the cost apparently of this artificial lake, which is a small part of the experience Canada exhibit, is $1.9 million.

Through you, Mr. Speaker, and to colleagues, building costs for the water feature are $57,000.

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, even if it $57,000, that is more than the annual income of 40% of Canadian families.

The fake lake and accessories will cost $2 million; dancers, fiddlers and flowers will cost $20 million; a boat will cost $40,000; distant gazebos and bathrooms will cost $300,000. There is an unlicensed security firm and even a fake lighthouse.

Now Toronto, too, gets something. Calling it their signature environmental initiative, the Conservatives are leaving a giant wall of plants, the cost of which they buried under the fake lake.

What else are they hiding? How much more crazy does this thing get?

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we are receiving and welcoming a large number of reporters. We are receiving a large number of heads of government, of leaders from around the world. We are using this opportunity to showcase Canada. We are telling Canada's story. We are proud of what we have done. We are proud of what we are doing. We are proud of being able to promote Canada abroad and we will continue to do it with this amount of money.

Committees of the HouseOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, a subpoena was issued over a week ago for the Prime Minister's press secretary, Dimitri Soudas, to testify before a parliamentary committee. Since then, Mr. Soudas has been avoiding the bailiff, who has been unable to hand-deliver the order to appear. The Prime Minister is responsible for ensuring that people obey the law, and he should start with his own staff.

Will the Prime Minister call his press secretary to order? If he does not, we will be forced to conclude that the Prime Minister and his political staff hold the law in contempt.

Committees of the HouseOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, members of our political staff are accountable to us, and we, as ministers, are accountable to Parliament. My chief of staff has already answered these questions.

Committees of the HouseOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is not up to the Prime Minister to decide what constitutes the law. He, like any other citizen, must obey the law.

By authorizing his press secretary not to testify before the committee, the Prime Minister is condoning breaking the law. He is doing the same thing with the gun registry by looking the other way when gun owners refuse to register their weapons.

Does the Prime Minister realize that he is creating two classes of citizens: those who must obey the law and those who are above it? He seems to think that he should be the one to decide who fits into each class. That is not very democratic at all.

Committees of the HouseOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, in our system, ministers are accountable to Parliament for their actions. If the Bloc leader has questions, he can ask the Prime Minister. He should have the courage to do that instead of trying to intimidate the Prime Minister's staff.

Committees of the HouseOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Freeman Bloc Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, to put an end to this cat and mouse game with the Prime Minister's director of communications, the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics passed a motion whereby it now considers that Dimitri Soudas has been summoned to appear. The Prime Minister and his director can no longer hide: they must be accountable.

Will the Prime Minister stop obstructing parliamentary committees and order his employee to appear before the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics?