House of Commons Hansard #50 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was pension.

Topics

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, does the member actually think it is fair and just to have tax measures in the budget that would not benefit low-income Canadians?

Does he think it is tenable, in any way, that low-income volunteer firefighters, that low-income families with children, and that caregivers from low-income families would not benefit from these measures? If he believes it is unfair, will he work to change that and to ensure that these measures are made refundable and as such, would benefit low-income Canadian families who need them the most?

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Chungsen Leung Conservative Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I know the member's riding quite well, as my wife is from the same riding. She lived in Kentville.

I must say that in that riding a lot of wineries are being established. Let me tell the member that if he were to speak with those people, all of them would tell him that the low tax jurisdiction is the best way to create jobs and hire people to work in those wineries.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Conservative Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, while the opposition not only continues to filibuster priorities to grow our Canadian economy, when it comes to private members' bills and the opposition's priorities, the member for Windsor West introduced a bill about labelling for cat fur in products.

I know the government's priorities. I wonder if the member can comment on the difference between the priorities that we have of growing this economy through lower taxes and other initiatives and the priorities, like labelling products that contain cat fur, from the New Democrats. Would he speak to those priorities?

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Chungsen Leung Conservative Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, regarding those priorities, I think they are best left to businesspeople. I am sure that business would find the best strategy.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston NDP Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today and speak to the third reading of Bill C-13. This is not the first time I have encountered Bill C-13. In the Standing Committee on Finance we reviewed it reasonably thoroughly and I am critic for finance in the area of pensions, although I will speak in broader terms here today.

On this side of the House, we believe that Bill C-13 is a major missed opportunity. The obvious question that follows is: What would we do in the official opposition if we were making the same decisions that the government is facing at this point?

New Democrats have been proposing job creation types of proposals such as shelving the planned corporate tax cut for January 1, 2012. This would create $3 billion to $4 billion a year that could be used in job creation. We hear from the other side that somehow this would raise taxes. No, it would not. It would be a continuation of the tax that exists at the present time.

Next, we would have offered a new-hire tax credit for every new hire who stays in the job a full year. New Democrats would also help small businesses by providing a 2% tax cut for them, to encourage job creation. The previous speaker just talked about the environment needed for small business. Considering the dire warnings from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities for at least the last five years regarding the huge deficit of infrastructure needs in this country, we would put aside moneys and set forth a plan to address the $130 billion in infrastructure deficit.

It is very important to have long-range planning and that is what seems to be missing here today. New Democrats believe Canada should be in the lead in investing in green infrastructure and renewable energy, but we lag far behind the United States and other countries. The message from this side of the House is that it is time for the government to invest now.

Workers from the boomer generation are retiring. Canada has a zero birthrate. We must invest in skills training for current workers, for those workers who will replace the ones who retire and for the future needs of this country in leading-edge industries of tomorrow.

During our finance committee's recent pre-budget hearings for the 2012 budget, I stressed the following.

Canadians are too indebted to stimulate the economy. Business is holding on to some $500 billion in cash because of the fear of another freezing of bank lending as happened in the last recession. This leaves only the governments to stimulate our economy. The government should seriously consider the options put forward by New Democrats.

At our pre-budget hearings, Glen Hodgson, senior vice-president and chief economist of the Conference Board of Canada, at one of our public meetings, stated the following:

We believe we're severely under-invested as a country in infrastructure. We haven't done the numbers, but others have, including engineers and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, and I think their number going back five years was of a deficit of about $130 billion in terms of infrastructure investment.

He went on to say:

That tells me there is huge scope for realigning government spending priorities and making sure we're making adequate investments in roads, ports, and bridges to ensure that the Montreal economy, for example, works well. Could you imagine if the Champlain Bridge actually broke...? That would be a huge loss to Montreal's GDP and to Canada's GDP.

Sylvain Schetagne, senior economist, social and economic policy department, Canadian Labour Congress, said:

Corporations benefit from the kind of infrastructure they have around them. So a bridge that is falling apart is not good.

That is an understatement. He further said:

Having enough workers who have skills and education needed in order to provide productive work is also needed.

That is in line with the suggestion that came from the New Democrats. He said:

There are other things we can do. For instance, in social infrastructure we are facing an aging workforce, and we would like to see more Canadians working... more women and more aboriginals working. There are programs such as child care that we can put in place to allow more women to go back to work, to improve labour force participation, and to make sure that companies have workers when they need them.

Glen Hodgson said:

As part of our globalization, sadly inequality is growing in most countries around the world and in Canada. The rate of growth of inequality, as we measured it, was actually greater than in the United States, which is a bit of a surprising result.

He closed his statement by saying:

We are asking questions about whether we're doing enough as a country to ensure that all Canadians are benefiting from the economic growth--

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing ActGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

I regret to interrupt the hon. member at this time. He will have 15 minutes remaining in his speech when the House returns to this matter.

Saint Boniface Overseas WorkersStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Conservative Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honour some exceptional constituents from my riding of Saint Boniface who will soon be embarking on overseas mission work.

Judy Holukoff, Dave Fidler and Scott Hildebrand have all chosen to leave the comforts of home to bring hope to people in need.

Judy will be working in Southeast Asia from November 25 to December 9. She is travelling with a team of women from a denomination of churches called the Christian and Missionary Alliance. The team will work with exploited women rescued from prostitution to give them courage and skills for a better future.

Dave and Scott will travel this February to the earthquake-ravaged region of Haiti. They are part of a team of 10 from the Cornerstone Alliance Church. The team arranged their mission through an organization called Samaritan's Purse. They are excited to help rebuild an orphanage and hopefully have a chance to distribute toys to Haitian children.

I want to applaud these individuals, their families and everyone who has taken part in these initiatives. I thank them for doing their utmost to make this world a better place.

God bless them and bring them home safe and sound.

JusticeStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Tyrone Benskin NDP Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives' irrational approach to crime is jeopardizing the good work done by community organizations throughout Quebec, and particularly in my riding of Jeanne-Le Ber. Quebec would rather focus on crime prevention than impose mandatory minimum sentences, especially for young people.

I would like to recognize the time-intensive work carried out by the many community groups in my riding. They are there for our youth to encourage and guide them toward better choices and away from organized crime and crime in general. The prevention approach is proven to have far better results than the blind punishment approach of the government.

Canadians want a system that prevents crimes before they happen by targeting the causes of these crimes instead of young people. We have a responsibility to ensure that our young people make the right choices.

We also have a responsibility to help them when they fall. This is what our community groups do 365 days a year, and for this they deserve not only our support, but our thanks.

Parliamentary Committee on Palliative and Compassionate CareStatements By Members

November 21st, 2011 / 2 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to the work of the Parliamentary Committee on Palliative and Compassionate Care. MPs from all parties in the House participated in building a report on how vulnerable Canadians can be better served. Focusing on suicide prevention, palliative care and elder abuse, the committee's report, entitled Not to be Forgotten, was launched last week here on Parliament Hill.

The report lights our path ahead so that all levels of government can identify gaps and act accordingly within the means available, moving us methodically forward toward improved care of vulnerable Canadians.

Not to be Forgotten was built on the experiences shared by Canadians in hearings across the country and on the advice of those groups struggling to serve our most vulnerable citizens. With every small step, we can make a real difference.

I thank the hundreds of Canadians who came forward to share their stories, often through great pain. Those stories and that pain will not be forgotten.

Riding of Cardigan, Prince Edward IslandStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Liberal Cardigan, PE

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I stand in the House today. It was on this day 23 years ago that I was first elected to this great chamber. Over the past 23 years, we have worked with different federal and provincial governments and we have made many achievements in eastern Prince Edward Island.

I want to thank all the people of the Cardigan riding who have stood with me, from the people who have served at the constituency level to all the people who have voted for me and provided me with this great opportunity. It is truly an honour to represent the people of Cardigan in the House, and I look forward to many more years of working together to create a better standard of living for the people of eastern Prince Edward Island.

I would also like to thank all of the colleagues I have worked with over the years on all sides of the House. It has been an honour to work with them in the past and the present, and I look forward to working with them in the future.

Recognition of ServiceStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Daryl Kramp Conservative Prince Edward—Hastings, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I am doubly proud to congratulate two gentlemen from the riding of Prince Edward—Hastings who have recently been awarded prestigious honours for their service to Canadians.

On November 4, Dr. Robert McMurtry of Picton became a member of the Order of Canada.

Dr. McMurtry, an orthopedic surgeon, created Canada's first trauma unit at Sunnybrook Hospital and has been instrumental in strengthening health care delivery in Canada and making a positive difference in the lives of others.

As well, Mr. Martin Vermeer, a retired Canadian Forces veteran, recently received the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation. Throughout his lifetime Mr. Vermeer served the community of veterans with distinction and dedication.

On behalf of my constituents from Prince Edward—Hastings and all Canadians, I say congratulations to Dr. McMurtry and Mr. Vermeer.

Attawapiskat State of EmergencyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, it has been three weeks since the Attawapiskat First Nation declared a state of emergency, and in those three weeks, not a single federal or provincial official has even bothered to visit the community. Not a single aid agency has stepped forward with logistical support, but in Attawapiskat, conditions have gone from bad to worse.

Temperatures have dropped 20 degrees. They are likely to drop another 20 degrees in the coming weeks. Families in non-insulated tents and families in makeshift sheds without water or electricity are facing immediate risk. “Immediate risk” is the language being used by medical officials in the community, meaning immediate risk from infection, from disease and from fire.

There are children who are using a bucket for a toilet. This is unacceptable in Canada, and it is unacceptable that although their territory holds the richest diamond mine in the western world, those royalties go to Queen's Park and Ottawa, and nothing comes back to help this community get on its feet.

Where is the action plan to help the people of Attawapiskat?

Recognition of ServiceStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Hoback Conservative Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to give tribute to an honoured Canadian, the Reverend Sandy Scott.

Reverend Scott will be awarded the Meritorious Service Medal by His Excellency the Governor General this coming January.

Sandy served with a team of six Canadian chaplains in Kandahar, Afghanistan, from the fall of 2009 to the spring of 2010.

In October Captain Scott was promoted to major, following his appointment as the deputy area chaplain of Land Forces Western Areas. He also recently received an award of merit from the City of Prince Albert during its 43rd Armistice Day Ball.

Sandy continues to serve in Prince Albert as Reverend Scott of St. Paul's Presbyterian Church, as padre for the Royal Canadian Legion and as the Prince Albert Police Service chaplain.

On behalf of all colleagues in the House of Commons, I thank Sandy for his service to Canada, his service to our soldiers and his continued service to our community.

Buckam SinghStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Eve Adams Conservative Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to pay tribute to a great Canadian and one of the true heroes of the Sikh community in my riding of Mississauga—Brampton South.

Private Buckam Singh is one of only ten Sikh Canadian soldiers to have fought with a Canadian regiment during the First World War.

Private Singh's story had been forgotten over time, until his victory medal was discovered in a thrift shop by Sandeep Singh Brar of Brampton.

Through hard work, Mr. Brar was able to help piece together Private Singh's story and trace it to his gravesite in Kitchener, where he is the only known Sikh Canadian soldier from either the First or Second World War to be buried on Canadian soil.

Private Singh has rightfully become part of our Canadian military history, and his story should be told as yet another example of the courageous women and men in our armed forces who stood up to defend the freedoms Canadians are so blessed to have.

I hope everyone in the House today will join with me in saluting Private Singh and his sacrifice and bravery.

Lest we forget.

White Birch PaperStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Raymond Côté NDP Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Wednesday, the 600 workers at White Birch Paper learned that the Quebec City mill, located in my riding, will be temporarily shut down two weeks before Christmas. This mill is running at full capacity with three shifts and a full order book.

Brant Industries, which owns White Birch Paper, is being sued in the United States by creditors of a paper mill for imposing astronomical management fees.

The receiver, Ernst & Young, has indicated that White Birch Papers has $53 million in cash assets.

When will we stop tolerating the behaviour of the Gordon Gekkos of the world? Just like the famous character in the movie Wall Street, Peter Brant has no regard for the interests of thousands of workers, retirees and people who do business with White Birch Papers. This anti-social behaviour is unacceptable. We cannot put up with these thousands of human tragedies caused by the whims of a single man.

On May 2, Canadians were vocal about their distaste for the repeated abuses and the reprehensible complicity we have seen from government.

This must stop.

Canadian Wheat BoardStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, it has been my honour to be part of the legislative committee tasked with focusing on the marketing freedom for western farmers act.

When implemented, this legislation will allow western Canadian grain farmers, including those in the B.C. Peace River region, the opportunity to finally decide when, where and how they sell their product.

We are not killing the Canadian Wheat Board, but quite the opposite: we are allowing it to compete in an open market.

I think David Wuthrich, president of the BC Grain Producers Association, said it best in a local news article:

We want choice, it's not that we want them to disappear. This is their opportunity to show they are the best option, and so far they haven't done that.

I personally agree with Mr. Wuthrich, but we do have a long way to go and a short time to get there. I am proud to say this freight train of freedom is coming soon to western Canadian wheat farmers near us.

PovertyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Ruth Ellen Brosseau NDP Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, I find the continued existence of and the increase in poverty in Canada extremely worrisome.

According to the Hunger Count 2011 Report, released on November 16 by Banques alimentaires Québec, the use of food banks has increased by 22% in Quebec since 2008. What is more, 15.6% of people used a food bank for the first time. Nearly three times as many seniors are using food banks and nearly half of the households asking for help are families with children. This situation is very troubling.

In my riding, unemployment is high and the population is aging. These factors obviously affect the need for food aid. The Louiseville organization called Le Noël du pauvre has noticed an increase in requests for help.

I feel it is our duty, as elected members, to work to implement measures that will fight poverty in Canada. I am committed to doing just that, as are my NDP colleagues, and I urge the government to do the same.

TradeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Jean Conservative Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, the NDP opposes creating jobs and attacks Canada abroad. The anti-trade NDP has a long history of attacking Canadian jobs, whether it is mining, the seal industry, forestry, automobile manufacturing, long haul trucking, GM food producers or the nuclear or oil and gas segments of the energy sector. All were opposed.

The NDP pretends to be mainstream but it is clear that the NDP is just a political front for the narrow interests of public sector union bosses and radical activists.

The fact that the NDP is focused on special interest groups and anti-Canadian activists tells us everything we need to know. The NDP opposes creating jobs. Worse, in this time of global economic uncertainty, it is actively attacking Canada abroad. The NDP members should be ashamed of themselves. It is obvious that they are not fit to govern.

Our Conservative government is focused on job creation and economic growth. While the NDP tries to hurt Canada, our Conservative government stands with Canadians for the best interests of Canada.

Stephen Turner Memorial FundStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in the House to recognize the Stephen Turner Memorial Fund. Stephen Turner was a UPEI and Holland College graduate, a community leader, a great Liberal and a friend to all whose life was taken far too soon in his youth.

Stephen gave so much of himself to his community that it seems only right that he continue to give even in his passing. Stephen's friends and family have made sure that his memory and character stay alive by encouraging the values of leadership, political participation and academic success of youth on Prince Edward Island.

The memorial fund in his name in the form of a scholarship will be awarded annually to a student who attends an Island post-secondary institution and who has shown interest within and commitment to the political process and community organizations on P.E.I.

On behalf of Islanders and this House, I thank Stephen's friends and family who so kindly created this memorial fund so that Stephen's legacy as a community leader could live on.

CrimeStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, every man, woman and child has the right to respect, dignity and pride. Every year, innocent people are the victims of heinous crimes. These crimes have a serious impact on their lives, their loved ones and our entire society.

I would like to commend Senator Boisvenu for all the hard work he has done to inform Canadians about the real purpose and scope of Bill C-10. Like dozens of organizations, Senator Boisvenu truly cares about the safety of our young people and vulnerable populations. He wants to protect them from drug problems and prevent repeat sexual offences at all costs. We have the power and the duty to act, and we encourage all organizations to join our fight to prevent what cannot be undone.

Conservative Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Dan Harris NDP Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, when in opposition, the Conservatives were outraged by an arrogant government that hid from the opposition by invoking closure. Now they have done it nine times since the election.

The Minister of Public Safety once said:

For the government to bring in closure and time allocation is wrong. It sends out the wrong message to the people of Canada. It tells the people of Canada that the government is afraid....

The Minister of Canadian Heritage decried, “...the arrogance of the government in invoking closure again”.

The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration once called it, “...yet more unfortunate evidence of the government's growing arrogance...”.

I have one more quote by the Prime Minister who said, “...the government is simply increasingly embarrassed by the state of the debate and it needs to move on”.

Those out of touch Conservatives came here to change Ottawa. Instead, Ottawa changed them. In six short years they have become everything they used to oppose.

JusticeStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Nina Grewal Conservative Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Mr. Speaker, recently there have been several troubling cases of dangerous individuals being released into our communities.

When it comes to keeping the most serious violent offenders off our streets, Canadians can count on this government. We introduced and passed the Tackling Violent Crime Act which strengthened provisions against repeat violent and sexual offenders.

With the introduction of the safe streets and communities bill, our government is taking further steps to ensure that the most serious violent offenders are kept off our streets. This important legislation would give the Parole Board of Canada new powers to keep Canada's most dangerous offenders behind bars where they belong.

The NDP, on the other hand, have tabled amendments that would mean lighter sentences for those who import hard drugs. It is time for the opposition to put an end to its delaying tactics and support our efforts.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDP Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian economy faces many challenges, and one of them is the infrastructure deficit.

New federal rules, like the waste water regulations, are being imposed on municipalities without any new investments. This is an opportunity right now to inject new money into the economy and fix some major infrastructure problems. Municipalities cannot do it on their own.

Why not stimulate the economy by helping municipalities to meet new water standards?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, waste water regulations are being put forward and designed to ensure that Canadians have safe water when and where they need it. Those regulations are responsible in the way in which we are doing it.

The Leader of the Opposition is right in the sense that these regulations need to be twinned with investment with regard to infrastructure for water. The problem is that the NDP has voted against every dime of new investment that we have made to ensure that water gets to Canadians safely.

It is true that we need to have effective regulations. We do have to have responsible regulations. It would be nice if the NDP offered solutions and supported both.

Cost of Federal MeasuresOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDP Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives' strategy to implement measures and make others pay for them is not a sustainable strategy. For example, employment insurance eligibility criteria that are too stringent are forcing people to seek provincial social assistance. The waste water treatment regulations are forcing municipalities to buy equipment that they cannot afford. The Conservative crime strategy is to force the provinces to build prisons.

When will the government foot the bill for its own ambitions?