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House of Commons Hansard #38 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was firearms.

Topics

Office of the Commissioner of Official LanguagesRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I have the honour to lay upon the table the annual reports on the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act of the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages for the year 2010-2011.

This document is deemed permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

Fair Representation ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-20, An Act to amend the Constitution Act, 1867, the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act and the Canada Elections Act.

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

Holidays ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-337, An Act to amend the Holidays Act (Flag Day).

Mr. Speaker, in 2015, the 50th anniversary of our Canadian flag occurs. As I have raised before in this House, it is vitally important that we have a national holiday to celebrate the Canadian flag, a flag that unites us from coast to coast to coast.

I have introduced this bill in the House previously. I am hoping that, in this 41st Parliament, we will finally have the opportunity to vote on this bill and bring forward a national flag day in February. In many provinces in this country, we now have civic holidays that fall on the third Monday in February and this particular bill would do exactly the same thing. It would extend that civic holiday nationally in honour of our nation's flag.

In 2015, the 50th anniversary of our national flag occurs. What a great idea to have a national holiday to celebrate the Canadian flag.

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

Bankruptcy and Insolvency ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

John Rafferty NDP Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-338, An Act to amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (termination and severance pay).

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to stand in the House today to introduce my severance protection bill.

As we found out, since 2008 a lot of companies are struggling, which means that a lot of workers and their families are struggling. When companies close their doors, what happens to workers in this country is that their severance pay is unsecured when those bankruptcy proceedings occur.

This is a very simple, straightforward bill with only one clause and it would elevate the status of those payments from unsecured to preferred. My old bill from the last Parliament, Bill C-501, has now been taken over by my friend from Hamilton. I am very glad that the pension part will also be taken care of. This is the severance part.

I want to let everyone in the House know that this is not a political statement. It is a measured and effective proposal that could help workers who are owed money during bankruptcy proceedings. It would do so without disrupting capital markets or negatively affecting the borrowing costs of struggling companies. It would also fulfill a promise that I made to workers from Buchanan Forest Products and others in my riding and, indeed, workers right across this country, that we would protect their severance when their companies go bankrupt.

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

Search and RescuePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, I stand today to present a petition wherein the petitioners object to the closing of the marine rescue co-ordination centre in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador.

The petition is signed by a number of residents of the area of St. John's and residents from other parts of Newfoundland and Labrador, such as Portugal Cove, Musgrave Harbour and Twillingate, and even by some residents of New Brunswick. The petitioners oppose the decision to close the marine rescue co-ordination centre in St. John's.

The petitioners urge the Government of Canada to acknowledge that the closure will mean services will suffer and lives will be put at risk.

They cite in the petition that the Newfoundland and Labrador region has the highest proportion of distress incidents in Canada. The Coast Guard Operations Marine Centre responds to an annual average of over 500 incidents involving 2,900 people, saving the lives of an estimated 600 people in distress each year. The St. John's rescue centre is responsible for 900,000 square kilometres of ocean and nearly 29,000 kilometres of coastline.

This is something that is of grave importance to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. The petitioners want the decision reversed because it needs to be reinstated.

Canada PostPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, the manner in which the government took action against our postal workers was not fair or right, and it has not been forgotten. The people who have signed this petition are calling upon the House of Commons to review the role the federal government played in denying the workers of Canada Post the ability to have a negotiated labour contract based on a free collective bargaining process.

Visitor VisasPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition on behalf of hundreds of residents of the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, southern Alberta and the Calgary region. These are individuals who believe that Canada should be providing visa-free requirements for visitors from Serbia to Canada.

As members know, Serbian Canadians have played a terrific role in the growth and development of Canada. In fact, in British Columbia, they could be considered to be among the founding people, because Serbian immigrants to British Columbia were there and present when British Columbia entered Confederation. Of course, in my riding, I have a very strong and vibrant Serbian population, including the presence of a Serbian community centre.

As members know, 25 European states have waived visa requirements for Serbian visitors travelling throughout the European Union. These Canadians in Calgary, southern Alberta and the Lower Mainland believe that Canada should offer the same visa-free travel requirements from Serbia to Canada.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Bill C-19--Time Allocation MotionEnding the Long-gun Registry ActGovernment Orders

October 27th, 2011 / 10:10 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I move:

That, in relation to Bill C-19, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act, not more than three further sitting days shall be allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the bill; and

That, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for government orders on the third day allotted to the consideration at second 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 said stage of the bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.

Bill C-19--Time Allocation MotionEnding the Long-gun Registry ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Pursuant to Standing Order 67.1 there will now be a 30-minute question period.

I would invite all hon. members who are interested in participating in this 30-minute question and answer period to stand in their place so the Chair has an idea of how to best allot the time.

We will try to keep the questions and comments to about a minute and a half and the responses of a similar length. As in previous periods such as this, the Chair will give preference to members of the opposition to best allocate the time. Although government members will be recognized in the rotation, the preference will be given to the opposition members.

I will recognize theHouse Leader of the Opposition

Bill C-19--Time Allocation MotionEnding the Long-gun Registry ActGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, what we are faced with today is really interesting. Back on October 1, 2002, the current Prime Minister made this statement with regard to the Liberal government of the day. He stated:

The government has used closure and time allocation more frequently than any previous government.

The interesting thing about that is that, at that point, October 1, 2002, there were 212 sitting days in the 37th Parliament and the Liberal government of the day had moved time allocation nine times over 212 days. The current Conservative government has now moved time allocation for the fifth time in 35 days.

Is the House leader trying to match the record set by the previous Liberal government or is he willing to look at his practice and say that it is wrong for democracy and give us more time for debate?

Bill C-19--Time Allocation MotionEnding the Long-gun Registry ActGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, the numbers that the opposition House leader provided are rather misleading because most of the legislation to which he referred that have been the subject of time allocation motions have been before the House in several previous Parliaments and have cumulatively been debated by the House for literally hundreds of days. As a result, there has been abundant debate on all these issues.

We ran an election on May 2 and told Canadians the things on which we would deliver and the commitments we were making. They responded to those commitments by providing us a majority mandate to deliver on those commitments. We are, right now, ensuring that we are delivering on the commitments we made in the last election and doing what we said we would do.

Bill C-19--Time Allocation MotionEnding the Long-gun Registry ActGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, the government House leader is wrong. He tries to give the impression that the government has done due diligence and has allowed for a good, healthy debate on issues. This is now, as has been pointed out, the fifth time. The last time the government did it was on the Canadian Wheat Board and, within hours of the debate getting under way, moved time allocation. That was the first time that bill was actually being debated and those time constraints were instituted.

In recognition of the importance and respect of the chamber, in which we all want to represent our constituents, by not allowing ample opportunity for members of the opposition, even government backbenchers, to provide comment on bills is not a healthy environment. The government House leader has the responsibility to work with and negotiate with House leaders. Time allocation should only be brought in when the government has failed to negotiate with opposition House leaders.

Has the government House leader given up negotiating in good faith with House leaders to the degree to which the government now feels obligated to bring in time allocation as a standard procedure nowadays in the House?

Bill C-19--Time Allocation MotionEnding the Long-gun Registry ActGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I think that everyone in the House recognizes that our House leader is a reasonable, indeed, patient person and has demonstrated patience and reasonableness on numerous occasions.

In respect of Bill C-19, we need to be clear. This debate has been going on since 1995. There have been countless days before this Parliament and past Parliaments in respect of this issue. The issue here is not a complex one. It is a straight up and down question: Do we want to continue the long gun registry or not? Almost every member, prior to the last election, made a clear statement in respect of their position on the long gun registry.

We are clear and we are providing a rather generous four days as compared to past Liberal governments that only provided one day in order to ram through very complex bills. This is not a complex bill. This is a straight up and down question.

Bill C-19--Time Allocation MotionEnding the Long-gun Registry ActGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, I find it ironic that the government House leader talked about the clear mandate the Conservatives received and therefore they are going to put time allocation on this legislation. All we have had is 34 minutes of debate on this legislation. There is no indication that anyone wants to carry this debate on forever, yet they brought in time allocation immediately.

It is one thing to say they have formed a majority government, and I think we acknowledge that, but to suggest it is a strong mandate from all Canadians to do everything the Conservatives want to do and to ram it through Parliament is another question entirely. It was not only government members who were elected in the election, but our party is the largest official opposition party the country has had in 30 years. Members deserve an opportunity to participate in this debate. There are more than 60 new members in our caucus alone who have not had an opportunity to participate in this debate. The minister is saying that they will not be allowed to participate because the government has brought in time allocation.

Does the minister not recognize that is not just the Conservatives who were elected? They got a majority government, but there is a very strong opposition, and in fact, 60% of Canadians voted for parties other than the Conservative Party.

Bill C-19--Time Allocation MotionEnding the Long-gun Registry ActGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

Vic Toews Conservative Provencher, MB

Madam Speaker, I would reiterate that this is a very clear question. It has been the subject of numerous debates not only in the House and in the other place, but also in the public generally. This has been a matter of debate in every riding prior to every election.

Three days are being allocated for the further discussion of this bill. It has been very clear what the opposition coalition of the Liberals and New Democrats want. Those members have indicated that they simply want to retain the long gun registry and will take every step to delay this process.

Those members do not want this matter to come to a vote for another reason as well, which is that their members are divided and they do not want the public to see the division between their members. That is why they will use every procedural trick in the book, as we have seen in the past little while, to delay the meaningful debate on the bill.

Three days of debate on this simple question gives a meaningful period for debate.

Bill C-19--Time Allocation MotionEnding the Long-gun Registry ActGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Chambly—Borduas, QC

Madam Speaker, the positions may be clear, but the goal of a debate is not only to describe a position but also to explain why one espouses it. Although this debate has been going on for a long time, as the minister pointed out, many things have changed. For example, the government did not say that it would destroy the information in the registry instead of transferring it to the provinces. That had not been said before and is new information. Now, we should have the opportunity to discuss it.

Incidents continue to happen and new statistics on crime in our communities are published. We should have the right to talk about them.

Bill C-19--Time Allocation MotionEnding the Long-gun Registry ActGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

Vic Toews Conservative Provencher, MB

Madam Speaker, this is an amazing argument that somehow the government said it would not destroy the data. Our government has been very clear and our party has been very clear. We are getting rid of the registry. We are scrapping the registry.

What is the registry? The registry is data. There is no distinction. Like a Philadelphia lawyer, the member opposite says we said that we would destroy the registry but not the data. The two are inseparable. It is similar to a farmer saying to his neighbour, “I know you wanted to buy my farm. I am willing to sell you the farm, but I'm keeping the land”.

Bill C-19--Time Allocation MotionEnding the Long-gun Registry ActGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Madam Speaker, I want to respond to the statement that the data is equivalent to the registry. That is not so at all.

The registry is a process in a system for ensuring that there is a record of guns. It is a requirement. It is a regulation. It is an understanding. It is a process for putting that understanding in place that the government will actually track these weapons that are used in so many tragedies of suicide and domestic violence.

There is data collected, but the registry is actually an information technology system. It is a system for tracking, registering and providing information. That is what the registry is about.

The government has gone beyond the ideological elimination of something that the police, citizens, women and victims' spokespeople say is an important tool for saving lives and protecting people. It has gone well beyond that with the elimination of the data.

Why is the government going beyond ideology and slapping the faces of those who might want to—

Bill C-19--Time Allocation MotionEnding the Long-gun Registry ActGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

Order, please. The hon. Minister of Public Safety.

Bill C-19--Time Allocation MotionEnding the Long-gun Registry ActGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

Conservative

Vic Toews Conservative Provencher, MB

Madam Speaker, I would invite the member to review her question and her comments. That is one of the most unintelligible comments I have heard in this House: we are not dealing with data when we are dealing with the registry; we are dealing with information. I would ask the member to tell us what the distinction is between data and information. She indicates that the registry is more than information or data, that it is a process. It is a process to do what? It is a process to collect information and data.

Our government said that we would get rid of the registry. We are getting rid of the registry, which is a process that collects data or information. That is what we are doing. That is what we promised the Canadian people.

Now members are saying to tell the Canadian people that we are getting rid of the registry but we are keeping the data. That makes absolutely no sense at all.

Bill C-19--Time Allocation MotionEnding the Long-gun Registry ActGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

Conservative

Garry Breitkreuz Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

Madam Speaker, I would like to provide a historical perspective on this issue.

Some of the opposition members may not be aware of the fact that we have debated this now for about 15 years. The comment by the member from Newfoundland that we have only had 34 minutes of debate on this issue is absolutely absurd.

In fact I was here yesterday after those 34 minutes, and it was the NDP that decided it was not going to have any more debate on this issue. It was that particular opposition party that shut this down. It is a bit hypocritical for the NDP to complain that it needs more time to debate.

We just finished the Canadian Wheat Board debate, and I was here for most of that as well. After the first hour, not one new element was presented. After those 34 minutes, and after the opposition gave its first speech, not one single piece of new evidence came forward.

We have been debating this now for 15 years. In the last Parliament we debated it ad nauseam. I am not sure how many hours we debated it.

Does the minister think there is any new data coming forward that we might wish to consider? If so, would three days be enough time to present that data?

Bill C-19--Time Allocation MotionEnding the Long-gun Registry ActGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

Conservative

Vic Toews Conservative Provencher, MB

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for his very hard work on this file over the last 15 years.

Rather than provide my own comment, I will go right to what the Canadian Police Association said about this issue:

The Government received a clear mandate from the last election to proceed with their proposed changes to the long-gun registry....We respect the message that voters have sent on this issue.

The CPA has indicated that I have consulted with them regularly on issues affecting public safety and front-line officer concerns. It concludes:

We're quite satisfied with the efforts the government has made to work on behalf of front-line police officers, specifically with respect to the comprehensive justice legislation [Bill C-10] that has been a priority since the last election.

The police are saying that this debate has gone on long enough. Let us get on to substantive issues that actually deal with public safety.