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House of Commons Hansard #25 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was senators.

Topics

Mental Illness Awareness WeekStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Dany Morin NDP Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise in the House today in support of Mental Illness Awareness Week, which runs from October 2 to 8 in Canada this year.

Mental Illness Awareness Week was established nearly 20 years ago in order to highlight the challenges and successes of the roughly one in five Canadians who are living with or have had a mental illness. This is also an opportunity for me to join the thousands of Canadians who are calling on this government to implement measures to deal with this issue that costs the Canadian economy close to $14 billion annually.

In 2003, health agencies in Canada joined forces to call for a national plan of action on mental health. Some eight years later, we are still waiting. During this Mental Illness Awareness Week, I am calling on the Canadian government to show its commitment and dedication to all affected Canadians, their doctors and their families by coming up with an effective, comprehensive mental health action plan.

Harvest for HungerStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Schellenberger Conservative Perth—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, this week, in Perth—Wellington, 120 combines will harvest 160 acres of soy beans in less than 10 minutes. If all goes as planned, not only will the participants break a world record, but they will also raise over $200,000 for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. What is more, CIDA will match these funds four to one, making this Harvest for Hunger event worth close to $1 million.

As hon. members know, the Canadian Foodgrains Bank is a partnership of Canadian churches and church-based agencies working to end hunger in developing countries.

I am very proud of the hard work that the Harvest for Hunger organizers have put into this event. This is a fun and exciting example of government, community organizations and individual Canadians partnering together to change the world.

Women's History MonthStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Centre-North, AB

Mr. Speaker, October is Women's History Month in Canada. This year's theme is “Women in Canadian Military Forces: A Proud Legacy”.

Canadian women have a long history of excellence in military history. We are proud of their individual and collective achievement,s as well as their extraordinary dedication.

This year, we celebrate the full range of women's contributions to the military. Whether as members of the armed forces or as civilians providing support roles, women have worked on every front: on the battlefield, in the air and on the sea as pilots, navy commanders and peacekeepers, nurses and physicians, war artists, war correspondents and engineers.

We dedicate Women's History Month 2011 to them.

FRAPRU Social Housing OrganizationStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, today on World Habitat Day, I would like to show my support for a remarkable initiative undertaken by Quebec's Front d'action populaire en réaménagement urbain, or FRAPRU. This morning, in Ottawa and Quebec City, two caravans made up of FRAPRU members and 35 people living in inadequate or social housing demonstrated in front of the offices of the federal and provincial finance departments, and called for 50,000 new social housing units. And that is just for starters.

From October 3 to 9, about 80 people will criss-cross Quebec and travel 3,200 kilometres demanding the right to housing. Artists such as Judi Richards, Webster, Johanne Fontaine and Yvon Deschamps are participating in the caravan for social housing. Next Saturday, in Longueuil, which is in my riding, the two caravans will meet up in St. Mark Park for a rally. The event will come to a close next Sunday in Montreal.

As we all know, the NDP has been proposing a national housing strategy for quite some time. Let us applaud the FRAPRU initiative calling for access to housing for all.

Mental HealthStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Blaine Calkins Conservative Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, this is Mental Illness Awareness Week and October 10 is World Mental Health Day.

Mental illness is a pervasive issue affecting the lives of many Canadians and their families. In Canada, it is estimated that one in five of us will experience a mental illness in our lifetime.

Canadians such as Dr. Austin Mardon, this year's winner of the Canadian Medical Association Medal of Honour, has demonstrated outstanding public commitment to raising awareness of mental health issues and diminishing the stigma and discrimination faced by Canadians living with mental illness.

I also invite members to acknowledge the many volunteers and donors who help support initiatives like the Kids Help Phone. In 2010, almost 30% of the calls made to the Kids Help Phone related to mental or emotional health struggles.

Our government is committed to improving the mental health and well-being of Canadians. In 2007, we invested $130 million over 10 years to create the Mental Health Commission of Canada. In 2008, we provided an additional $110 million over five years to the commission for research in mental health and homelessness.

I urge my colleague in the House and all Canadians to support those affected by mental illness and to help promote understanding of this disease.

International Seniors DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Jacob NDP Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Saturday, October 1, I had the opportunity to celebrate International Seniors Day in my riding of Brome—Missisquoi with the Memphrémagog branch of the Association québécoise de défense des droits des personnes retraitées et préretraitées.

International Seniors Day coincides with the UN's International Day of Older Persons, an initiative designed to recognize the great contribution seniors make to society. This initiative encourages governments to implement policies that meet the needs of seniors.

International Seniors Day was an opportunity to recognize how important seniors are to Quebec and Canada and to acknowledge their contribution, whether it be in the home, the community or the business world.

It is essential that seniors be able to fully participate in Quebec and Canadian society under optimal conditions.

Sales Tax HarmonizationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have kept our promise.

Last Friday, our Prime Minister and the Premier of Quebec, Jean Charest, announced the conclusion of a memorandum of agreement regarding the harmonization of the Quebec sales tax with the federal goods and services tax.

This is excellent news for Quebec, which has been calling for this for a long time.

Our government delivered on a promise that it made in the Speech from the Throne. With this agreement, Quebeckers will no longer have to pay QST on the GST—no more “tax on tax”.

Our Conservative government has proven that it is committed to working closely with the provinces and territories on their priorities, and this is an excellent example of how open federalism should work.

With this historic agreement, our Prime Minister has shown everyone that he is a friend of Quebec.

Bras d'Or LakesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to recognize the beautiful Bras d'Or Lakes in Cape Breton, a body of water that forms a true inland sea, which is special to many of us. This unique lake covers over 1,000 square kilometres.

In Dresden, Germany, on July 29, an international committee designated the Bras d'Or Lakes as the 16th UNESCO biosphere reserve in Canada. This designation results from the tireless efforts of many that started back in 2005. I, along with the member for Cape Breton—Canso, would like to send out a special recognition to the Bras d'Or Lake Biosphere Reserve Association, whose passion and dedication was a big part of bringing this all together.

Celebrations were held at various communities on the weekend of September 17, featuring ceremonies and performances that represented the four leading cultures of the Bras d'Or Lakes: Mi'kmaq, Scottish, French and English. It was a great weekend, one in which I was proud to take part.

Congratulations to all who made this designation possible.

Democratic ReformStatements By Members

October 3rd, 2011 / 2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Rodney Weston Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, Premier David Alward announced this past weekend that his government intends to proceed with legislation giving New Brunswickers real input into choosing who represents their province in the Senate. As the member of Parliament for Saint John, I can say that this is good news for democracy and good news for my province.

As it stands, the Senate status quo is unacceptable. The Senate's legitimacy and effectiveness will be enhanced when senators have a democratic mandate from Canadians and can no longer serve terms as long as 45 years. It is our Conservative government's long-standing commitment to strengthen and enhance our democratic institutions so Canadians can be better represented by their government. That is why we introduced the Senate reform act.

As an Atlantic Canadian, the Senate could play an important role in giving us a greater voice in our democratic institutions if reasonable and achievable reform is made. Unfortunately, it seems that the opposition would rather support the Senate status quo than work with us to encourage other provinces to follow New Brunswick's lead.

Nancy RicheStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Ryan Cleary NDP St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Newfoundlander Nancy Riche, a champion of feminism, a giant of the union movement and fighter for social democracy.

Nancy rose from humble beginnings as a clerk in St. John's to become a key voice in Canadian labour during the 1980s and 1990s, rising to the position of secretary treasurer of the Canadian Labour Congress. Nancy Riche was a feminist, socialist, activist and trade unionist. Nancy was probably best known in Newfoundland and Labrador for her work with the provincial New Democrats. The NDP are on the verge of a historic breakthrough in my home province and it is due in large part to her work.

What was Nancy like? Nancy was admitted to hospital late last week after suffering a heart attack. She was waiting for surgery and demanded—demanded—to carry out a telephone poll from her hospital bed. She was a tireless worker, adviser and friend to everyone.

Nancy passed away on Saturday at the age of 66. I would ask Nancy to please make sure she says hello to Jack.

New Democratic Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Strahl Conservative Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon, BC

Mr. Speaker, the NDP claims it stands up for workers, but its actions tell a different story.

While NDP MPs found time to support a few dozen radical activists protesting against the Keystone XL pipeline, not a single NDP MP bothered to show up to support Canada's building trade unions at their event on Thursday night. Nine NDP MPs confirmed their attendance, but none showed up. Apparently the NDP support for union workers does not extend to those working in Canada's oil sands.

Forty percent of these workers are actively engaged in the oil and gas industry. Canada's oil sands directly employ 132,000 people and provide hundreds of thousands of indirect jobs across Canada. With Keystone XL and other projects, it is projected that Canada's oil sands will employ over 600,000 workers, directly and indirectly in the future.

The union official hosting the event Thursday said that the NDP would be very bad for workers and the entire Canadian economy. I could not agree more.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister may not see how big the problems of Canada's economy are. Unemployment is going up. Stock markets are going down. The IMF says that the worst is yet to come.

The NDP has put forward an action plan. The House will vote on it today. Will the Conservatives join the NDP to promote job creation, strengthen pensions, improve aging infrastructure and maintain the public sector contribution to the economy?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint Boniface Manitoba

Conservative

Shelly Glover ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, contrary to what was just said by the NDP, we are actually doing relatively well in Canada.

When we look at the facts, Canada has the best fiscal position in the G7, lowest net debt in the G7 and among the lowest deficits in the G7. We have created nearly 600,000 new jobs since July 2009, which is the strongest job creation record in the G7.

However, the global economic recovery remains fragile. We need the NDP to just hold on and wait for it. The next phase of the economic action plan is on its way to create more jobs and continue on this path of success.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, during the last election, the NDP introduced a job creation plan.

The NDP proposed to reduce the small business tax rate from 11% to 9% in order to help this sector of our economy, which creates almost half of all new jobs.

Why does the Prime Minister not choose to help small businesses rather than giving billions of dollars in tax breaks to large, profitable corporations?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, what we understand from the NDP's promises is that they would increase the tax burden by about $10 billion a year. That is unacceptable; it would kill the economy.

I would like to remind the hon. member that Quebec just received good news in this regard on Friday. A tax harmonization agreement was reached that will put $2.2 billion in Quebec's coffers. That is the type of action people expect.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, if the Prime Minister were serious, he would table a real job creation plan rather than half measures. The NDP proposed the introduction of a job creation tax credit of up to $4,500 for all employers for each new job created.

Rather than giving tax breaks to large, profitable corporations that do not create jobs, why not reward all those who do?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, we know that low taxes boost the economy. That is what allows the economy to grow and how jobs can be created.

The results speak for themselves. A total of 600,000 net new jobs have been created in Canada since 2009. That is action and that is what Canadians expect.

We hope that, in the future, the NDP will support the measures we announced in our platform and in the budget—tax assistance measures for small and medium-sized businesses that include hiring credits.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, the problem with this government is that it is always ready to shower tax giveaways on profitable oil companies while putting real job creators last.

A well thought-out economic policy would reward companies that create jobs.

We have repeatedly proposed practical measures such as a $4,500 tax credit for each job created and an additional $1,000 for each job that is protected for one year.

Does the government support this reasonable suggestion?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint Boniface Manitoba

Conservative

Shelly Glover ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we agree that Canadians pay far too much in taxes. We must continue to move forward with our plan. It is working well and it is creating jobs. The government feels that taxes should remain low, but we also believe that all businesses and Canadians should be paying their fair share of taxes. That is why, since 2006, we have taken tough measures to close more than 40 tax loopholes. And how did the NDP vote on this issue? They voted against our measures. That is unfortunate.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, that shows how out of touch those members are.

In the last election we laid out a practical plan to create jobs. In addition to a tax credit for new hires, we proposed lowering small business tax rate by two percentage points, from 11% to 9%. This would help grow our economy and create new jobs in all communities.

Why are the Conservatives rewarding the most profitable companies with big tax giveaways and refusing to lower the tax rate for small businesses? Why are they doing that?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint Boniface Manitoba

Conservative

Shelly Glover ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, this government has reduced taxes for small business in a number of ways. In fact, the CFIB's president has said repeatedly that this government has done many things to help small businesses to flourish.

When we talk about creating jobs, we have a plan to support job creation and to support the fact that small businesses need to flourish by having fewer taxes. They need to be able to hire the people who can help their businesses grow. Unfortunately, the NDP votes against those measures time and time again, like flowing $1 billion in federal funding to provinces and territories for infrastructure, like the accelerated capital cost--

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. The hon. member for Toronto Centre.

TaxationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary referred to the fact that there are taxes that are a real burden on Canadians and I think everyone could agree. The issue that really arises right now is the question of taxes on employment. It is the question of the proposal by the government to increase taxation on employment by $1.2 billion starting January 1, 2012.

I ask the Minister of Human Resources, does the government not understand that this is a killer of jobs, a direct attack on employment and is going to further hurtle us toward a recession?

TaxationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, let us take a look at our record through our economic action plan. We have created almost 600,000 net new jobs since the worst of the recession. That is a record unparalleled in the developed world. We did that in a number of ways including putting a freeze on EI premiums. We had to do that to make sure that companies were encouraged or at least were not prevented from employing people. We also have to strike a balance and make sure that the EI fund is balanced. That was our commitment to Canadians, that we would not create a $53 billion EI surplus like the Liberals did.

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the Minister of Foreign Affairs can explain why the Government of Canada is actively planning to conclude an agreement with the United States on perimeter security. It is doing this just at the time when the administration is pushing for buy America which will directly discriminate against Canadian jobs, and just at a time when the Federal Maritime Commission in Washington is holding hearings on imposing yet another set of tariffs, another set of costs on Canadian ports and on Canadian businesses.

Where is the coherence in the government's strategy? Why pursue the perimeter security when we are being nailed with discriminatory actions in Washington?