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House of Commons Hansard #59 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was colombia.

Topics

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Chief Electoral OfficerRoutine Proceedings

June 9th, 2010 / 3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I have the honour to lay upon the table a report of the Chief Electoral Officer entitled, “Responding to Changing Needs: Recommendations from the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada Following the 40th General Election”.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.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 responses to nine petitions.

Canada Consumer Product Safety ActRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-36, An Act respecting the safety of consumer products.

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

Elder Abuse AwarenessRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Calgary Nose Hill Alberta

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy ConservativeMinister of State (Seniors)

Mr. Speaker, on June 15, Canada will join countries around the world in marking the fifth annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

I am pleased to say that also on June 15 there will be an International Elder Abuse Awareness Conference in Toronto. The conference will feature presentations on elder abuse initiatives across Canada and around the world. It will also focus partially on youth and intergenerational activities that promote awareness of elder abuse.

Taking action against this very serious issue begins with education, by teaching all Canadians to recognize the signs and symptoms of elder abuse and where to go for help, and empowerment, by encouraging older Canadians to speak up, individually and collectively.

We are taking steps on these two fundamentals. In budget 2008, we committed $13 million over three years to help raise awareness about elder abuse and to aid seniors and all Canadians in dealing with this issue.

As part of the initiative, we launched a national elder abuse awareness campaign in 2009. The “Elder abuse, it is time to face the reality” campaign reached out to Canadians of all ages through television, print, and the Internet.

As members know, the priority of this government is always the safety and security of Canadians. Therefore, we see the issue of elder abuse as a very serious one. That is why I am pleased to announce that we will be launching a new phase of the elder abuse awareness campaign across the country in the fall.

The campaign aims to help seniors, as well as all Canadians, recognize the signs and symptoms of elder abuse and exploitation in all its forms—physical, financial, sexual, psychological, and neglect—and to provide important information on the support that is available.

Furthermore, budget 2010 provides an additional $10 million over two years to the new horizons for seniors program, bringing the program total for the next two years to $80 million. This enhanced funding will support projects that focus on volunteering among seniors and on raising awareness about the financial exploitation of seniors.

The new horizons for seniors program also has an elder abuse awareness funding component. Through this funding, new educational and awareness resources about elder abuse will be available. These will again help improve quality of life, safety, and security for seniors and will enable non-profit organizations and coalitions to raise awareness on a national or regional level.

As the Minister of State for Seniors, I am proud of the work this government is doing to empower older Canadians. On June 15, I encourage all Canadians to focus on ways to join in the fight against elder abuse.

Elder Abuse AwarenessRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and, as the official opposition critic for seniors, I am particularly pleased to address this matter today.

I should also add that as a GTA MP, I am very pleased that the University of Toronto will be the host site for the International Elder Abuse Awareness Conference next week, a conference predicated on the statement, “World Day...Five Years Later”.

In essence, the statement celebrates past successes in addressing elder abuse but ponders what is yet to be done. As a legislator, I can say that strides have been made during the past few years but there is still much to do.

For example, as far back as 2003, then Liberal MP, Diane Marleau, presented Bill C-439, an act to establish the office of the ombudsman for older adult justice and the Canadian older adult justice agency. That legislative package was one of the first to raise the issue of elder abuse to the national stage. It was also part of an effort to underscore the looming issues associated with an aging population, issues that need our immediate attention.

If we fail to address these issues with a comprehensive national vision, we risk the long-term sustainability of national social programs, we promise to hinder our productivity and, worst of all, we will have failed in our moral obligation to protect an important segment of our society.

In the next 20 years, a large portion of our society will have celebrated their 65th birthday. Statistics Canada estimates that Canada's population over the age of 65 could reach an unprecedented 10.9 million by 2036. With this, as the Canadian population continues to age, new financial and logistical challenges will emerge; issues that include elder abuse, poverty and quality of life.

In a country like Canada, it is unacceptable that senior citizens anywhere would be subjected to abuse, poverty and squalor during their retirement years. Governments and societal agencies must take the lead and be prepared to step up and do their share. Resting on our laurels should never be a substitute for future action.

We must consider and implement private and public retirement savings options, stiff and unwavering Criminal Code penalties for those who abuse, mistreat or deceive the elderly, and decisive interventions when issues of ill health, poverty and isolation are identified.

Like the delegates who will attend the International Elder Abuse Awareness Conference next week, I am anxious to take the steps, along with my party, that are required to end elder abuse in Canada and around the world.

In the spirit of co-operation that should more often permeate this place, I would urge rapid government action to effectively tackle these important issues and I would offer my support for the same.

Elder Abuse AwarenessRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Freeman Bloc Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, I must point out that June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Our fathers, mothers, grandfathers, grandmothers, uncles and aunts are the ones who built our society. They laid the groundwork for the development of Quebec society, which moved into the next stage with the Quiet Revolution. They are the ones who ensured that our family history will be passed down from generation to generation. What could be better than hearing our elders recount their version of our history?

However, despite the respect that most of us have for seniors, there are unfortunately far too many cases of mistreatment, which can go as far as physical or emotional abuse, fraud or neglect. The mistreatment of seniors is a taboo subject. Some experts estimate that 10% of seniors are subject to mistreatment. They cannot or choose not to inform the authorities or loved ones who can help them. Some witnesses keep quiet, do not know what to do, or do not have the wherewithal to react appropriately.

In Quebec, the SOS abuse information package launched in January 2010 provides stakeholders and seniors with a host of abuse detection tools as well as material on prevention, training and intervention. The Association québécoise de défense des droits des personnes retraitées et préretraitées and the Réseau québécois pour contrer les abus envers les aînés launched their project in January 2008 through Quebec-wide consultations. The results are now available in the 18 administrative regions of Quebec and close to 1,300 stakeholders are benefiting from it.

The Bloc Québécois is proud to acknowledge today the support provided by these agencies that are so crucial to social cohesion in Quebec.

These are not the only initiatives on the matter that have been taken in Quebec. In the coming days we are waiting to hear the results of two consecutive years of consultation by Quebec, which will launch its own plan to fight elder abuse. Quebec will acknowledge this international day on June 15 in its own right, as it has done in the past.

The Bloc Québécois joins Quebec in underscoring the desire of Canadians to do their part to raise awareness about and prevent elder abuse and would like its colleagues in the House to show the same openness to what is already being done in Quebec.

This is a day on which we must join forces and stand up for what we believe in so that our seniors may lead their lives to the full and in dignity. Dignity must be our common goal, and dignity is inevitably dependent on the income available to seniors. It is undeniable that the living conditions of each and every one of us are dictated by income. It is no different for seniors. Be it food, housing, health, travel or social life, financial independence is key to living a full life.

I see that my time is up, but I just want to say that—

Elder Abuse AwarenessRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member, but her time has run out. The hon. member for Hamilton East—Stoney Creek.

Elder Abuse AwarenessRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston NDP Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, on June 15, New Democrats will join Canadians and countries around the world in marking the fifth annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

In my view, the Conservative government has only begun to scratch the surface of this serious problem as Canadians begin to face the enormous challenge of adapting to our aging population.

Young families often face the situation where their parents do not have the income to sustain a reasonable set of living conditions and so, must live with their children. This group of younger caregivers have gained the moniker of the “sandwich generation” and they do feel trapped or sandwiched between the normal pressures of raising a family of their own and the care so often required by their parents.

The minister noted the June 15 World Elder Abuse Awareness Conference in Toronto but I would remind the House that the New Democrats started addressing the problem facing our aging our population when we introduced our seniors charter during the previous Parliament.

Our motion laid out a thoughtful plan as to how we should respond to this serious need. We proposed guaranteeing income security for seniors through a retirement income system under which OAS and GIS payments would be adequate to ensure seniors do not slide into poverty.

The seniors charter also included recommendations for safe, comfortable accommodations geared to a cost of 30% of income.

Under the provisions of our charter, seniors' health and well-being would be addressed further with a commitment to ensure the availability of secure public health care system.

I would remind the House that the New Democrats' seniors charter passed unanimously.

Just last June, once again New Democrats led the way with our opposition day motion that laid out a road map to retirement income security for pensioners. We called for an immediate increase to the guaranteed income supplement to raise seniors out of poverty. Our motion said that we must also prepare for the future by doubling CPP.

As a backstop to the type of crisis many seniors have faced in this recession, following the collapse of so many companies, we proposed a national pension insurance plan. This motion, like the seniors charter, was passed with the unanimous support of all parties in the House.

The New Democrats have committed ourselves to ensuring the well-being of the current and future generations of seniors. Elder abuse is as much a symbol of a historic failure of governments to prepare for the boomer generation's retirement as it is a direct problem of its own.

We, the Parliament of Canada, are charged with the care and protection of all Canadians. We must do so much more than we have to date. We must ensure our seniors are not seen as a burden on younger Canadians but, rather, are empowered to live out their senior years to their fullest, to offer the abundance of their knowledge and experience to younger generations, and to receive the respect from Canadians that they so richly deserve.

Public Safety and National SecurityCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 97.1(1), I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the second report of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security in relation to Bill C-391, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act.

Industry, Science and TechnologyCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the fourth report of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology concerning the study of the statutory review of the Canada Business Corporations Act.

Access to Information, Privacy and EthicsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the eighth report of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics in relation to the certificate of nomination of Suzanne Legault, the nominee for the position of Information Commissioner of Canada.

Your committee has considered the proposed amendment of Ms. Legault as Information Commissioner of Canada and reports its unanimous support for her appointment.

Further, we recommend that the government proceed with the appointment as provided by Standing Order 111.1(2) and that the House do ratify this appointment.

Transport, Infrastructure and CommunitiesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Merv Tweed Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities concerning Bill C-442, An Act to establish a National Holocaust Monument.

The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House, with amendments.

Mr. Speaker, while I am on my feet, I move:

That the House do now proceed to orders of the day.

Transport, Infrastructure and CommunitiesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Transport, Infrastructure and CommunitiesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Transport, Infrastructure and CommunitiesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Transport, Infrastructure and CommunitiesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Transport, Infrastructure and CommunitiesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

All those opposed will please say nay.

Transport, Infrastructure and CommunitiesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Transport, Infrastructure and CommunitiesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

In my opinion the nays have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Call in the members.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #64

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I declare the motion carried.

I wish to inform the House that because of the ministerial statement, government orders will be extended by 13 minutes.

Bill C-2--Time Allocation MotionCanada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Prince George—Peace River B.C.

Conservative

Jay Hill ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I move:

That in relation to Bill C-2, An Act to implement the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the Republic of Colombia, the Agreement on the Environment between Canada and the Republic of Colombia and the Agreement on Labour Cooperation between Canada and the Republic of Colombia, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration of the report stage of the bill and one sitting day shall be allotted to the third reading stage of the said bill and, at the expiry of the time provided for government business on the day allotted to the consideration of the report stage and on the day allotted to the third reading stage of the said bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the stage of the bill then under consideration shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.

Bill C-2--Time Allocation MotionCanada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Pursuant to Standing Order 67.1, there will now be a 30 minute question period. I invite hon. members who wish to ask questions to rise in their places so that the chair has some idea of the number of members who wish to participate in this question period.

I therefore call upon the hon. member for Burnaby--New Westminster.

Bill C-2--Time Allocation MotionCanada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

4:10 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, there is absolutely no doubt this is a day of shame and infamy for this Parliament of Canada.

At this time, given the human rights violations in Colombia, there is no doubt that after simply having two hours of debate at report stage, it is shocking that the government brings in the bulldozer of closure. It is a day of infamy for all those Canadians, those thousands of Canadians, who have been writing in to say that the government is wrong, and the Liberals are wrong for propping up a government that has such a shameful human rights record.

Now we know, but I am going to ask this question. Why are the Conservatives bringing in closure now? We know that just the other day we had the release of report from the government that confirms that the number of trade unionists killed in Colombia is rising, and that the targeted killings of African-Colombians, aboriginal people in Colombia, and lesbian and gay community leaders are increasing in Colombia.

We have seen the involvement of president Uribe's brother in the brutal killings by paramilitaries. We have seen the Colombian army attacking striking British Petroleum workers in Colombia. We have seen the paramilitaries attacking unionists in Segovia.

We have seen 30 trade unionists lose their lives so far this year and we have seen the ignominious title of worst country in the world for trade unionists bestowed on Colombia. Fifty percent of all killings of trade unionists occur in Colombia. It tops the list worldwide.

Is that not the real reason why closure is being invoked today, that with all of these incredible revelations coming forward in the last few days the Liberals and Conservatives are simply embarrassed to have a real debate on this floor, a real democratic debate that allows members of Parliament more than two hours to debate this agreement, and talk about the issues facing Colombians and the appalling human rights violations? Is that not the real reason why they are bringing in the bulldozer today?