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House of Commons Hansard #48 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was aboriginal.

Topics

Opposition Motion—Aboriginal AffairsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for raising that particular case, but I am not familiar with it.

When I say it is not always a matter of political will I am saying yes, there seems to be political will to solve the problem, but the political will cannot just be superficially expressed. In this particular case, the political will should translate into concrete action on the ground.

Yes, first nations peoples need to be involved in decisions regarding their water treatment plants. That is why the idea of a first nations water commission is a good one. I would go even further and say that a first nations water commission should be an umbrella group and that each community should have a water council. Yes, there could be representatives from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, Environment Canada, Health Canada, and Public Works and Government Services. We can get people talking and then translate the political will into action.

Hillcrest LodgeStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Bruce Stanton Conservative Simcoe North, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I am pleased to bring attention to the success of an innovative seniors' housing initiative in my riding called Hillcrest Lodge.

For low-income seniors in our area facing illness, isolation and risks to their safety, Hillcrest is setting a new standard. It has created a community where quality housing, safety, good food and camaraderie have transformed the quality of life for some of our most vulnerable.

At Hillcrest, the cost of rent, utilities, meals and insurance is well below 60% of the average $16,000 a year that a low-income senior lives on. The residents have independence; a safe, inviting home; and a caring staff. I hope the Hillcrest model will spur the creation of more of these affordable assisted-living communities in the years ahead.

I would like to take this time to congratulate the Hillcrest volunteer board of directors and their partners, like Helping Hands and Community Care Access. They are working together to make supportive, assisted living a reality for seniors in our region.

DemocracyStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Jamie Nicholls NDP Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, in 1956, the Speaker of the House and hon. member for Vaudreuil-Soulanges, Louis-René Beaudoin, had to end his political career after shutting down an important debate on the construction of a pipeline. Closure of that debate caused such an uproar that chaos reigned in the House for weeks.

Here we are 55 years later and we see closure invoked on a weekly basis. Preventing debate has become a habit for this government. The Conservatives brag about how wonderful democracy is the world over, but they are having a hard time practising it here in this House.

What are they afraid of? Do they think that shutting down the debates will prevent Canadians from noticing the flaws and nonsense in their answers?

EmploymentStatements By Members

November 17th, 2011 / 2 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Rickford Conservative Kenora, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have more good news to report for the great Kenora riding. AbitibiBowater recently announced they have purchased, and are fast under way in retooling and modernizing, a dormant building in the beautiful town of Ignace. More than 100 well-paying permanent jobs will return to the community very soon, just like the 600,000 other jobs our government has helped produce with Canada's economic action plan.

This is testament to the resolve and resilience of the folks in Ignace, who have always believed that their town has a future in forestry and other industries just on the horizon.

I want to thank the past and present mayors and councils with whom I have had the privilege of working and who have believed that if we could rehabilitate or replace critical infrastructure, Ignace would get a serious look from traditional and new industrial growth. That is exactly what Canada's economic action plan addressed in the Ignace area, putting Ignace in the best possible position for sustainability and growth.

Congratulations to AbitibiBowater and the citizens of Ignace. They are just another example of what is so great about the great Kenora riding.

Youth HomelessnessStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Liberal Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, for many years different governments have tried to tackle the challenges surrounding poverty in Canada. We are a rich country and we all do our best to help others. Yet, as youth critic, it bothers me greatly to know that more than 65,000 young Canadians at any given time during the year can be homeless.

While all the different parties are working to find solutions to this issue, why not set a reminder or a time in our busy lives one day a year when we get to ask ourselves, what have we done to help put an end to youth homelessness?

A national youth homelessness awareness day would be that one small step in the right direction. We need all parties, together with the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development in particular, to come together and support this motion.

Let us show Canadians that when it comes to our young people and their well-being, we can do the right thing and be non-partisan in creating this annual reminder to us and to all that we need to address the root causes of youth homelessness.

Foreign Credential RecognitionStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Devinder Shory Conservative Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, thousands of Canadians still face challenges in having their foreign qualifications recognized, and I have promised my constituents that I will not let this issue die.

While many Canadians struggle to navigate confusing recognition pathways, life goes on. Hard-working foreign-trained professionals do what needs to be done: they drive cabs, clean offices, or work in warehouses, but many get stuck.

Now some people say that the safest place to have a heart attack in Canada might be the back seat of a taxi; the chances are that it is a doctor driving.

The foreign-trained professionals I have spoken with are thankful that our Conservative government is taking the lead in exploring new ways to shorten the qualifications recognition process. They are also encouraged to see all levels of government working co-operatively under the pan-Canadian framework to find ways to shorten and expedite the process.

PovertyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Alain Giguère NDP Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am sad to say that there has been a sharp increase in poverty in the riding of Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, mainly due to the Conservatives' inaction. In fact, they have not acted decisively to counter job losses, especially in the industrial sector, where 350,000 jobs have been eliminated and replaced only by precarious, poorly paid and, often, part-time jobs.

At present, in my riding of Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, too many people have to use food banks and turn to social housing to have a roof over their heads at a reasonable cost.

There are people in my riding who run food banks, provide meals on wheels and work in community kitchens. They are much more compassionate than the members of the Conservative Party.

Salvation ArmyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to congratulate Salvation Army Commissioner Brian Peddle, and his wife, commissioner Rosalie Peddle, on their appointment as the territorial commander for Canada and Bermuda, and territorial president of women's ministries, respectively.

The Salvation Army is the largest non-governmental provider of social services in Canada. Last year, in 400 communities across our nation, the Salvation Army assisted over 1.6 million people in need, through addiction programs, homeless and street youth programs, palliative care and emergency disaster relief.

The Salvation Army has also been at the forefront of national and international efforts to end modern day slavery by raising awareness in communities and providing invaluable shelter and rehabilitation to survivors.

I want to congratulate Commissioners Brian and Rosalie Peddle on their appointments and commend the Salvation Army for its commitment to the hope and dignity of all people.

Holodomor Memorial DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Robert Sopuck Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette, MB

Mr. Speaker, on November 26 I encourage everyone to commemorate the victims of the Ukrainian genocide of 1932-33. In 2008, this day was enshrined in legislation as Holodomor Memorial Day after a bill was introduced by my distinguished colleague from Selkirk—Interlake.

The Holodomor represents a period when Stalin's communist regime engineered a famine. Stalin's government imposed exorbitant grain quotas—in some cases confiscating supplies down to the last seed.

Soviet armed units surrounded the Ukrainian population in the Kuban region and in Ukraine, and prevented people from obtaining food in the neighbouring Soviet regions. The result was the death of millions, in what can only be described as one of the most horrific genocides in history.

As chair of the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Friendship Group, I respectfully urge all members to take a few moments to remember the men, women and children who lost their lives in the Holodomor genocide.

World Prematurity DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, to mark the first World Prematurity Day, parents of premature babies and the staff from Edmonton neonatal intensive care units are today launching a campaign for extended parental leave to ensure proper care for infants born prematurely or with serious illnesses.

Some babies spend weeks to months in the intensive care unit. Some require multiple surgeries. Of necessity, the majority of paid parental leave is spent in hospital with the infants. As a result, the parents lose their usual one year at home with their healthy, well-developing child.

Doctors advise that parental participation in infant care is essential in intensive care. Yet many families face ongoing challenges once home. These parents need and deserve additional time with their children before returning to work.

On behalf of these children and their families, I call on the government to extend the allowed one year of paid parental leave for any parents caring for premature infants.

National Field Lacrosse ChampionshipStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the Eastern Townships received some great news when the Gaiters of Bishop's University in Lennoxville won the Canadian University Field Lacrosse Association's national championship.

The tournament was held in London, Ontario, on November 10.

Bishop's University defeated the Brock Badgers 11 to 6 in the finals. With a lead of 4 to 0, the Bishop's Gaiters prevented the Brock Badgers from scoring four consecutive times. Bishop's won the game with five unanswered goals in the last 25 minutes. The Gaiters' defence helped lead the team to its first national title.

I would like to congratulate this Quebec team of student athletes on its impressive victory in Canada's national summer sport.

Go Gaiters, go!

National Transit StrategyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to address an urgent issue in my community of Newton—North Delta and in many cities across this country. The lack of public transit for hard-working Canadian families is abysmal. Challenging economic times make affordable, accessible transit all the more important. My community has grown at an astounding rate for the past two decades, yet investment in infrastructure has lagged.

Our party is calling for a national transit strategy, a permanent investment plan for environmentally-responsible, quality transportation right across the country. Canada should be a leader on this issue. Instead, we are falling behind. Canada is the only country in the G8 without a national transit strategy.

I want to take this opportunity to urge the House to work with all levels of government to establish a national transit strategy that would benefit all hard-working Canadians.

Religious FreedomStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Dechert Conservative Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, this week His Holiness Pope Shenouda III celebrated the 40th anniversary of his ordination as Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church. Anniversary celebrations recently took place in Egypt.

I would like to congratulate Pope Shenouda and his followers, many of whom live in my riding, on this very special occasion.

Our government remains very concerned about the recent violence in Egypt. Freedom of religion is a fundamental human right. I am so proud to see that our government is following through on its promise to create an office of religious freedom. While still in its planning stages, the process of establishing this office is well under way.

I am also pleased to highlight that last week our government communicated directly to the UN Secretary-General the motion which was unanimously adopted by the House and that called for an investigation into the recent violence. Canada has been clear that the violence must stop.

Our government will continue to advocate on behalf of all people of faith around the world in order that they may be able to worship in peace and security.

Tom Kent and Fraser MustardStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, last night, Canada lost two of its most creative progressive thinkers with the passing of Tom Kent and Fraser Mustard.

Tom Kent served all Canadians in his many roles as journalist, editor, public servant and author, but his greatest legacy was his role in working on the groundbreaking social innovations that characterized the Pearson administration, including our national medicare system and the Canada Pension Plan.

Tom never tired from his crusade, working later in Cape Breton, and authoring solutions for social reforms well into his eighties. I can tell members that he never shrunk from challenging the leaders of today when he felt they were not doing enough to advance the cause of progress.

I also want to mark the passing of another great social reformer, and a good friend, Dr. Fraser Mustard who sadly also left us last night.

Fraser helped to build McMaster's medical school, was an pioneer in occupational health, the development of centres of excellence, and can really be called the father of early childhood development in Canada. He advised governments in Canada and around the world and was a tireless worker for better policy and better lives.

All Canadians owe Tom Kent and Dr. Fraser Mustard a debt of gratitude for their pivotal roles in shaping our nation.

Let us all resolve to take up the torch of these two great men and resolve to strive to make Canada an even more equitable, more just and more progressive nation.

YukonStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Ryan Leef Conservative Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, last week, I had the honour of being in my wonderful riding of Yukon. During the busy week, I was pleased to announce $900,000 in federal government funding to Yukon College for geoscience and geohydro technology programs. This will help Yukon students and workers gain certification for highly skilled work in the mining industry. An additional $1.3 million for training simulators were given to the Yukon Mine Training Association, both were through CanNor.

While the member for Western Arctic criticizes CanNor, votes against the Dempster highway extension from Inuvik to Tukoyaktuk and refrains from standing to vote for his constituents to end the long gun registry, our government, our Prime Minister and this member of Parliament is making the north and the people there a priority.

Campaign FinancingStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Ève Péclet NDP La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative Party pleaded guilty to election fraud in the amount of $1.3 million. The party had to pay a $52,000 fine. And yet the Conservatives referred to this as a victory. Really? A victory? Certainly, the fine is not that big a deal for a party that kept $187,000 in illegal rebates from Canadian taxpayers.

The hon. member for Cypress Hills—Grasslands' campaign received $1,900 in illegal rebates. The hon. member still owes Canadians this money. The hon. member for Beauce's campaign owes Canadian taxpayers $3,000. The campaign of the hon. member for Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière and that of the Minister of Veterans Affairs each owe Canadian taxpayers $14,000.

Taxpayers should never have to foot the bill for politics. The Prime Minister must ensure that every penny that was taken from taxpayers is given back to them immediately.

New Democratic Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Clarke Conservative Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, the anti-trade NDP is at it again. With its anti-Canada campaign in Washington, the NDP continues to attack the Canadian economy and good jobs. Members of the NDP do not just want to put hundreds of thousands of Canadians who work directly in the oil sands out of work, but they also want to shut down a further seven major industries, including Canada's mining sector, the seal industry, the forestry sector in B.C., auto manufacturing, the trucking industry, the nuclear sector and the GM food sector. The NDP opposed creating jobs and it is actively attacking Canada abroad.

Ironically, even the private-sector union bosses disagree with the NDP and its job-killing stance against the oil sands. Unions representing hundreds of thousands of engineers, electrical workers, pipe-fitters and other trades are lining up against the NDP attacks on their jobs.

Undermining the economy and attacking Canadian jobs are yet more worrying examples that the ineffective, disunited NDP is unfit to govern.

PensionsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, day after day Canadian families sit and watch as their private savings evaporate on the stock market. Hard-hit families do not know how they will pay the bills, let alone how they will afford to retire.

Instead of taking practical steps to strengthen the guaranteed CPP and QPP, the government wants them to roll the dice with even more of their retirement savings.

Why is the out-of-touch Prime Minister forcing Canadians to play retirement roulette on the tumbling TSX?

PensionsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have absolutely no idea what the Leader of the Opposition is talking about.

What I do know is that today the government announced another step forward on the pooled registered retirement savings plan, something that has been welcomed by pension experts and the small business community across the country. Canadians are looking for options. Canadians are not looking for a hike in their CPP premiums, as advocated by the NDP.

PensionsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the facts speak for themselves. In the last quarter alone, the CPP outperformed the markets ten to one.

The markets are tanking around the world, but the Conservatives want Canadians to invest even more of their hard-earned money in those markets without any guarantee that doing so will pay off one day.

What is the government's plan for families who are bogged down in debt and do not even have any money to save? What does the government suggest they do? Should they never retire?

PensionsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, today's announcement of a new retirement savings tool for companies and individuals was well received by the business community, small and medium-sized enterprises and Canadians across the country. Canadians are not looking for a hike in their CPP premiums, as advocated by the NDP.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, why would Canadians believe this government, which is sitting idly by while jobs are disappearing at an alarming rate? Just yesterday, we learned that 600 workers at the White Birch plant in Quebec City will be out of a job just before Christmas. While the number of unemployed workers is on the rise, the number of employment insurance claimants is dropping because fewer and fewer workers qualify for benefits.

The question for the Prime Minister is very simple, and Canadians want an answer: where is his plan to create jobs?

EmploymentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we are well aware that the world economy presents challenges and that, from time to time, jobs are lost in Canada. When this sort of thing happens, we work with the communities.

It is important to say that what we do on this side of the House is work on employment and job creation. We have measures before the House to do that. What we do not do is what the NDP does, which is demand that industries be shut down, demand that taxes be raised on employers and go to other countries to fight against Canadian trade. On this side of the House, we are dedicated to fighting for Canadian jobs, not against Canadian jobs.

PensionsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston NDP Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, today the minister said that when we buy in bulk, we save money. That is certainly true with the CPP and the QPP. In the last quarter, the CPP outperformed the markets by a ten to one factor. The chief actuary says that CPP is funded for 70 years. Increasing CPP and QPP will mean money in the pockets of retiring seniors.

Why is the government's only plan to line the pockets of mutual fund managers? Why will it not increase the CPP now?

PensionsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint Boniface Manitoba

Conservative

Shelly Glover ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the fact remains that today we have a good news story. We have introduced a very new pooled registered pension plan that will help millions of Canadians who otherwise have not saved for retirement.

I have to question the member's commitment to that statement when people within the CFIB have said time and time again that if we raise CPP, they are very worried about jobs, and right now we are concentrating on jobs and the economy and our low tax plan to maintain those.