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House of Commons Hansard #120 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was regard.

Topics

National Housing StrategyPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Rob Oliphant Liberal Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to present a petition in support of a national housing strategy. Over the past year, a group of petitioners has been working within my riding and beyond its borders to address the problem of a lack of affordable housing in the city of Toronto, and in parts of my riding in particular. The petitioners are calling upon us to engage all Canadians in a discussion regarding a national housing strategy. I will be asking that the human resources committee take that on.

AfghanistanPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by dozens of Canadians to end Canada's military involvement in Afghanistan.

In May 2008, Parliament passed a resolution to withdraw Canadian Forces by July 2011. The Prime Minister, with agreement from the Liberal Party, broke his oft-repeated promise to honour the parliamentary motion and, furthermore, refuses to put it to a parliamentary vote in the House.

Committing 1,000 soldiers to a training mission still presents a danger to our troops and an unnecessary expense when our country is faced with a $56 billion deficit. The military mission has cost Canadians more than $18 billion so far, money that could have been used to improve health care and seniors' pensions right here in Canada.

Polls show that a clear majority do not want Canada's military presence to continue after the scheduled removal date of July 2011. Therefore, the petitioners call upon the Prime Minister to honour the will of Parliament and bring the troops home now.

Multiple SclerosisPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to present a petition regarding chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency, or CCSVI, in multiple sclerosis.

Over 12,500 liberation procedures have been performed in over 50 countries. Bulgaria, Canada, Italy, Kuwait and the United States report that 80% to 97% of MS patients show one or more venous abnormalities. Interventional radiologists at recent conferences have suggested that one-third of MS patients treated have shown at least short-term significant benefit, and another one-third some benefit. The petitioners are therefore calling on the government to undertake clinical trials here in Canada, where 55,000 to 75,000 live with this devastating disease.

National Housing StrategyPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to present three petitions.

I, too, am presenting petitions on the need for a national housing strategy, signed by many people in lots of communities right across the country, from British Columbia to Ontario. Folks have been working very hard to bring forward the urgent and critical need for a national housing strategy and the adoption of Bill C-304, which would ensure secure, adequate, accessible and affordable housing for Canadians. I hope this bill will come forward very soon.

Sisters in SpiritPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the second petition concerns phase II of the Sisters in Spirit initiative and calls on the Government of Canada to renew the funding of the Native Women's Association of Canada.

This is a critical issue in my community of east Vancouver, where over 60 women have gone missing or been murdered. We know that across the country the number is now as high as nearly 600 aboriginal women and girls who have gone missing or have been murdered.

It is critical that this funding be continued for phase II, and the petition calls on the government to renew the funding.

Offshore DrillingPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have pages and pages of petitions from folks in British Columbia who are very concerned about the protection of B.C. waters from an oil disaster. They bring to our attention the Enbridge pipeline and supertankers the size of the Empire State Building that could operate off the coast there. It will be a disaster if there is ever an accident. Therefore, the petitioners are calling on the Government of Canada to immediately legislate the moratorium on offshore drilling and oil tanker traffic off B.C.'s coast.

Veterans AffairsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition addressed to the Government of Canada by Canadians of all ages and from all walks of life who genuinely support and value the contributions of our veterans. They regard a veteran as a veteran regardless of where or which deployment he or she may have served on.

The petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to extend the mandate of veterans hospitals to include veterans who have served in conflicts and peacekeeping operations since 1953; to end the clawback of veterans' pensions at age 65 and thereby eliminate the reduction of veteran's pensions at age 65; to change the widows benefit to a non-taxable benefit; to create a veteran advisory panel to provide input on the selection of future veterans ombudspersons; and to ensure that Veterans Affairs Canada remains a stand-alone department.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I would ask you to please review the response by the Minister of Public Safety to my question. I would submit that the language he used was unparliamentary and misleading. One can have one's opinion, but one does not make up the facts. I do ask that you review Hansard and come to a conclusion on it.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Very well.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

January 31st, 2011 / 3:15 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, before I proceed with routine proceedings, let me just say on my part and that of all members of the government, congratulations to you on your recent 10-year anniversary of being Speaker of this House.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Conservative Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

It is well deserved, sir.

The following questions will be answered today: Nos. 545, 547, 550, 553, 558, 562, 563, 565, 574, 575, 580, 582, 585, 590, 592, 594, 601, 609, 618, 619, 625, 629, 630, 633, 636, 641, 646, 647, 648, 649, 651, 654, 656, 658, 675, 684, 685, 686, 687, 688, 689, 690, 691, 694, 695, 697, 700, 701, 702, 703, 705, 706, 708, 709, 710, 711, 712, 715, 716, 717, 718, 719, 720, 721, 722, 723, 724, 726, 727, 728, 729, 730, 731, 732, 733, 734, 735, 736, 737, 738, 739, 742, 745, 748, 770, 771, 772, 773, 777, 778, 779, 780, 782, 783, 784, 786, 787, 789, 790, 791, and finally Question No. 806.

Question No. 545Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

With regard to the trade in illicit tobacco products: (a) when will the Minister of Revenue publish the technical rules relating to the stamping regime which was created in Budget 2010 to combat contraband tobacco; (b) when did the Canada Revenue Agency first develop the stamp as a solution to contraband tobacco; (c) when were licensed tobacco manufacturers first consulted on the requirement to affix these stamps to their packages; (d) by how much will each stamp increase the cost of a single package of tobacco products; and (e) what impact does the government expect the stamping regime will have on the manufacturing and sale of contraband tobacco and why?

Question No. 545Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield ConservativeMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, the response from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to the above-noted question follows.

In response to (a), technical rules for the stamping regime will be elaborated through public announcements, excise duty notices and the publication of proposed regulatory amendments in the Canada Gazette, entitled Regulations Amending the Stamping and Marking of Tobacco Products Regulations. In 2010, duty notices were released on the CRA website in July and September, and a consultation draft of the regulations was released to industry, provinces and other stakeholders in November 2010. CRA officials continue to work with officials at both the Department of Justice and the Treasury Board Secretariat to publish the proposed regulations in the Canada Gazette by January of 2011.

In response to (b), as early as 2003, CRA officials were reviewing various initiatives that might respond to the growing issue of the proliferation of contraband tobacco; one option that specifically responded to the challenge of counterfeit and other illicitly produced tobacco products was the concept of enhancing Canada’s excise tobacco stamping regime with a new tobacco excise stamp.

One element of the tobacco compliance strategy was a new enhanced stamping regime based on the development of a new state-of-the-art tobacco excise stamp. This was delineated in the federal budget of 2005.

In response to (c), in February 2005 the CRA began approaching several tobacco manufacturers individually to attain a better understanding of their production facilities and packaging lines for purposes of the adoption of a new excise duty tobacco stamp to be affixed to tobacco product packages. In July 2005, the CRA publicly released a discussion paper entitled “Tobacco Stamping Regime -- Review and Recommendations” to seek representations from various stakeholders. Consultations have been ongoing since the 2005 federal budget announcement. In January 2008 the CRA invited all tobacco licensees to an information session.

In response to (d), following the federal budget of 2005, the CRA conducted a competitive procurement process that resulted in the award of a contract to design, produce and distribute a tobacco stamp incorporating overt and covert security features. The contract was awarded on January 3, 2008, and specifies a firm unit price of $0.00592 per stamp which could, if added on, result in an increase of just over one-half cent to the cost of a stamped tobacco product.

In response to (e), the new stamp contains state-of-the-art overt and covert security features that will enable all levels of the supply and distribution chain, from producer to consumer, to identify legitimate duty-paid tobacco products from contraband. The government expects that the new stamping regime will contribute to reducing the amount of counterfeit and other illicitly produced tobacco products entering the Canadian market. This will result in the enhanced integrity of the tobacco tax system, which supports the Government’s health objectives.

Question No. 547Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

With regard to Statistics Canada and the census: (a) is Statistics Canada currently spending money to assess the value of the data it will collect from the new, voluntary National Household Survey (NHS) as compared to the value of the data previously collected from the mandatory long-form census; and (b) is Statistics Canada transferring any questions from the NHS to the 2011 Census of Population questionnaire which would render the questionnaire different from that published in the Canada Gazette, Part I on August 21, 2010?

Question No. 547Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, with regard to Statistics Canada and the census, in response to (a), Statistics Canada is currently focusing its efforts on developing, assessing and adapting its statistical and operational procedures to minimize non-response bias and to achieve the best quality possible from the national household survey. Only when data collection is complete will we begin to assess the actual data quality using a number of measures, including comparison to data from 2006 long-form census and use of the 2011 census short-form results. Until then, the quality-related costs of the 2011 Census of Population and the national household survey cannot be segregated.

Statistics Canada is confident that the national household survey will produce usable and useful data that can meet the needs of many users.

In response to (b), the 2011 census questionnaire will contain the same questions as published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, on August 21, 2010.

Question No. 550Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

With regard to Statistics Canada and the census: (a) how much money did Statistics Canada project would be required to ensure the quality and accuracy of the data of the now defunct 2011 mandatory long-form census; (b) how much money does Statistics Canada expect will be required to ensure the quality and accuracy of the data of the new National Household Survey, which is to replace the mandatory long-form census; and (c) if the amount in (a) differs from the corresponding amount in (b), what explains this difference?

Question No. 550Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, with regard to Statistics Canada and the census, in response to part (a), Statistics Canada received a budget of $630 million for the 2011 census program. Every component of the census and national household survey, NHS, planning and implementation of operations, such as systems development and testing, interviewer hiring and trainingand collection and follow-up design contributes to ensuring data quality. Due to the integrated nature of the quality assurance measures in place for the census program, quality-related costs cannot be segregated.

In response to (b), Statistics Canada is projecting expenditures of $630 million for the 2011 census and NHS. Statistics Canada is adapting its procedures to conduct the 2011 census and NHS within the existing budget initially planned for a mandatory short- and long-form census.

In response to (c), Statistics Canada will conduct the 2011 Census and the new NHS with the resources provided.

Question No. 553Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

With regard to the government's decision to terminate the development of an HIV vaccine manufacturing facility: (a) on what date was the Public Health Agency of Canada first informed that the Gates Foundation had commissioned a report to analyze the current vaccine manufacturing capacity in North America and Europe; (b) on what date was the Public Health Agency of Canada first informed of the results of the report commissioned by the Gates Foundation to analyze current vaccine manufacturing capacity in North America and Europe; (c) what were the dates of each meeting, including in person meetings and meetings conducted via teleconference, between the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Gates Foundation regarding the report commissioned by the Gates Foundation and the changes to the Canadian HIV Vaccine Initiative; and (d) on what date was the Minister or the Minister's office first informed of the report and requested changes made by the Gates Foundation concerning the Canadian HIV Vaccine Initiative?

Question No. 553Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the response to (a) is that the initial cornerstone of the Canadian HIV vaccine initiative (CHVI) announced in February 2007 was the establishment in Canada of a pilot-scale HIV vaccine manufacturing facility to produce clinical trial lots. The facility was intended to address the global shortage in pilot-scale manufacturing initially identified by the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise, an alliance of independent organizations around the world dedicated to accelerating the development of preventive HIV vaccines.

Consultations were held in late 2007 by CHVI participating departments/agencies, including the Canadian International Development Agency, Public Health Agency of Canada, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Health Canada and Industry Canada and the Gates Foundation, to seek expert input on how to move forward with establishing a facility in Canada. Based on this consultation, a process was launched in April 2008 to select a not-for-profit corporation to build, operate and manage the facility.

As part of the participating departments/agencies’ and Gates Foundation’s review processes, both the participating departments/agencies and the Gates Foundation received input from external experts and undertook internal analyses related to value for money and other factors. On March 17, 2009, the Public Health Agency of Canada was informed that an analysis of the current vaccine manufacturing capacity in North America and Europe would be part of the Gates Foundation’s internal review process.

The response to (b) is that in late June 2009, the Gates Foundation informally shared preliminary results of the report with the Public Health Agency of Canada. The study results were presented to officials from participating CHVI departments/agencies on July 16, 2009.

The response to (c) is that further to regular informal discussions, two teleconferences between participating CHVI departments/agencies and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation were held on July 16th and July 31st to discuss the report. In addition, face-to-face meetings and/or teleconferences were held on September 28, 2009; December 21, 2009; March 2, 25 and 26, 2010; April 15, 22 and 29, 2010; May 6, 13, 20 and 27, 2010; and, June 3, 17 and 24, 2010 to discuss the renewal of the CHVI. In July 2010, at the XVIII International AIDS Conference in Vienna, Austria, the Government of Canada and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation renewed their commitment of up to $139 million to implement the Canadian HIV vaccine initiative.

The response to (d) is that the minister’s office was informed of the report following the July 2009 teleconference between participating CHVI departments/ agencies and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Given the importance of the CHVI and continuing commitment amongst partners to making progress on overall objectives, all options were examined to yield the best results.

This was an important decision that the Government of Canada and the Gates Foundation could not take lightly nor make quickly. The decision was based on a number of factors. A thorough, evidence-based review of all applications was completed. This included an internal review and external review by an international expert panel. None of the applicants were found to be successful in meeting the pre-established criteria.

Additionally, as part of the due diligence process, the Gates Foundation commissioned a study on vaccine manufacturing capacity. This study demonstrated that there was sufficient vaccine manufacturing capacity in North America and Europe to meet research needs.

After weighing all of the evidence, the Government of Canada and the Gates Foundation decided not to proceed with the vaccine manufacturing facility.

Question No. 558Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Bloc Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Regarding the Competition Bureau’s investigation, initiated in 2005, and the charges in 2009 against information technology (IT) services companies against which Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) has levelled allegations of anti-competitive bid-rigging: (a) what are the names of the people from PWGSC, the Competition Bureau and the Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC) who engaged in discussion or correspondence regarding the investigation and, if applicable, for each communication, (i) when did the communication take place, (ii) at what stage was the investigation, (iii) what matters were discussed, (iv) was there consensus on the action to take, (v) what is the description of the consensus; (b) during the period from June 1, 2008 to July 31, 2008, what are the names and titles of the people who made inquiries to the Competition Bureau about the stage of the investigation from (i) PWGSC, (ii) the Competition Bureau, (iii) the PPSC, (iv) Canada Border Services Agency, (v) Transport Canada, (vi) the Prime Minister’s Office; (c) were inquiries made to the PPSC or the Competition Bureau by people other than those identified in (b) and, if so, what is the name of each person and the date of the inquiry; (d) did the PWGSC Deputy Minister discuss the inquiry with the PPSC and the Competition Bureau and, if so, (i) when did these discussions take place, (ii) what was the content of these discussions, (iii) was the lawsuit brought by one of the companies named in the charges discussed and, if so, what is the name of the company; (e) can Competition Bureau lawyers work simultaneously for PWGSC; (f) can PPSC lawyers work simultaneously for PWGSC; (g) for the period from June 1, 2008 to March 31, 2009, (i) what recommendations were made to PWGSC by the lawyers identified in (e) and (f), (ii) what are the names of these lawyers, (iii) were these lawyers informed of a lawsuit against PWGSC brought by one of the companies named in the Competition Bureau charges; (h) were Mr. Denis Pilon and Mr. V. Chénard, lawyers named by the government in a criminal case, denounced by the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner; (i) regarding the PPSC’s hiring of Mr. Denis Pilon, (i) what was the date of hire, (ii) what are the names of the people who made recommendations or suggestions or commented on the hiring of Mr. Pilon, (iii) who made the decision to ask Mr. Pilon to handle the file on the IT companies named in the Competition Bureau charges, (iv) were Mr. Pilon’s political activities for the Conservative Party declared and, if so, who informed the PPSC of these activities; (j) regarding the PPSC, the Competition Bureau and the various departments involved in the case, was a study or an audit done on the quality of work performed by the companies involved in the alleged bid-rigging and, if so, (i) what was the assessment of the various departments of each company, (ii) what was the title of the document containing the studies or audits, (iii) on what date were these studies or audits done; (k) regarding the PPSC, the Competition Bureau and the various departments involved in the case, was a study or an audit done on the market impact of the alleged bid-rigging and, if so, (i) on what date were these studies or audits done, (ii) what was the title of the document containing this information, (iii) what were the key findings and recommendations; (l) regarding PWGSC’s plan in December 2008 and January 2009 to debar the companies that allegedly rigged bids for IT services, (i) who, within PWGSC, the Competition Bureau or the PPSC, proposed this idea, (ii) was the basic principle of Canadian law that a person is innocent until proven guilty discussed, (iii) did the person responsible for the debarment decide to disregard the principle set out in (ii), (iv) did PWGSC subsequently assure one or more of the companies in question that they would not be debarred and, if applicable, what companies and why, (v) did PWGSC warn one or more departments that these companies might be debarred, (vi) after withdrawing its threat of immediate debarment, did PWGSC inform one or more departments to act as if nothing had happened with these companies, while awaiting the court’s decision, (vii) did PWGSC urge one or more departments to do whatever was necessary to prevent these companies from accessing business opportunities or contracts, (viii) for each circumstance in (i), (ii), (iv), (v), (vi) and (vii), on what date did the communication take place; (m) did PWGSC senior officials provide instructions to avoid sending written information on certain lawsuits that risked being the subject of a possible access to information or privacy request and, if so, who gave this instruction and for what reason; (n) can the PPSC, the Competition Bureau and the departments involved confirm that they still have all the evidence in their possession; (o) were the companies named in the Competition Bureau’s charges subject to greater scrutiny regarding their commercial activities with the government and, if so, (i) what are the names of the PWGSC employees given this task and (ii) which departments were contacted; and (p) is PWGSC involved in evaluating the proposals or in the contract adjudication process and, if so, (i) to what extent are PWGSC public servants involved, (ii) what is the objective, (iii) what follow-up and communication procedures are in place between PWGSC and the departments regarding these cases, (iv) is there a document describing these procedures, and (v) have these procedures largely been followed?

Question No. 558Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, PPSC, is an independent prosecution service whose mandate is to provide prosecutorial advice to law enforcement agencies and to prosecute offences under federal jurisdiction. The PPSC performs these functions in a manner that is free of any improper influence and that respects the public interest.

The questions above seek information in respect of matters that are currently the subject of a criminal prosecution and civil litigation before the courts. Accordingly, it would be inappropriate to respond to these questions at this time.

Question No. 562Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

With regard to the current renewed peace talks in the Middle East: (a) in what meetings has the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) participated regarding the renewed peace talks; (b) what briefing notes has DFAIT received or produced regarding the renewed peace talks; (c) what scenarios has DFAIT prepared for a Canadian role in the renewed peace talks; and (d) what scenarios has DFAIT prepared for a renewed Canadian role with the Refugee Working Group?

Question No. 562Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), Canada has not participated in meetings surrounding the renewed peace talks. These meetings have been largely restricted to the parties and the U.S., with some regional and Quartet participation.

In response to (b), DFAIT closely monitors developments on the peace process and a briefing note on the Middle East peace process is updated as appropriate.

In response to (c) and (d), as stated publicly on many occasions, including a statement in support of the continuation of peace talks on October 9, Canada is ready to assist the parties in any way they find helpful.

Question No. 563Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

With regard to the flooding in Pakistan in late July 2010: (a) how much money has the government matched in donations from Canadian citizens; (b) to which organizations has the money from the matching program gone; (c) how much additional money has the government spent on the prevention of disease in Pakistan; (d) how much additional money has the government spent on the reconstruction of Pakistan; and (e) has the government looked into any other programs besides direct economic aid to help the people of Pakistan?