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House of Commons Hansard #65 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was panama.

Topics

Canada-Panama Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

Lisa Raitt Conservative Halton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I can only speak for the current Government of Canada and that we do feel an urgency for it to pass.

Canada-Panama Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Well, what if they don't?

Canada-Panama Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

Lisa Raitt Conservative Halton, ON

We have worked long on it. There have been several rounds of negotiations. My officials in labour have been talking to officials in Panama. As I mentioned in my remarks, we have had the ability to do some co-operative and funding programs with Panama. I look forward to having a bilateral discussion with my counterpart in Panama in order to ratify this.

Canada-Panama Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Cannan Conservative Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for sharing her time with me.

It is a pleasure and honour to rise in the House to talk about the benefits of the Canada-Panama free trade agreement and what it would bring to Canadian workers and their families from coast to coast to coast.

With one in five Canadian jobs generated by trade, we recognize how important our success depends on our ability to access foreign markets and global value chains. Our government received a strong mandate on May 2 to implement an ambitious job-creating free trade plan that will benefit Canadian workers and their families. Our plan is creating jobs and economic growth for Canadian workers and their families. For example, on August 15 of this year, the Canada-Colombia free trade agreement came into force. Through that agreement, Canada's producers and exporters will benefit from reduced or eliminated tariffs on nearly all of Canada's current exports to Colombia. This agreement demonstrates our government's commitment to creating good new jobs and economic growth for Canadian families, workers and businesses.

We continue to work to provide Canadian workers and companies with opportunities for growth in key economies. The access to foreign markets and the rules for secure and stable trade and investment across our borders is of key importance. Passing the Canada-Panama economic growth and prosperity act is an important part of this plan. This agreement represents an opportunity for Canadian workers and businesses to expand their operations in the growing and dynamic Panamanian economy.

Although small in size, Panama is a significant player in the region. It is a platform for commercial activity through Latin America and is a nexus for world trade. Canadian workers and businesses want to deepen their ties with Panama, access new commercial opportunities, and further develop their operations in this exciting market. Passing the Canada-Panama economic growth and prosperity act would help our export-oriented industries, investors and service providers do just that.

Many Canadian sectors have already demonstrated their interest in Panama. These include the machinery, motor vehicles and parts, pharmaceutical equipment, pulse crops, and other sectors. Our agreement with Panama would give these and other exporters enhanced access to the Panamanian market, addressing both tariff and non-tariff barriers. The agreement would offer tangible benefits to Canadians and companies across all regions of this country.

We should consider the prospective benefits to Western Canadian families. This agreement would specifically help my home province of British Columbia, as wood exporters would no longer have to pay Panamanian tariffs of up to 15% on their wood products. It would remove a significant barrier. It would be a great opportunity for British Columbia and the western forestry industry. Exporters of fats and oils would see tariffs as high as 30% eliminated from their products.

Alberta's power generating machinery sector and information and communications technology sector would no longer have to contend with tariffs of up to 15% on their exports to Panama. Agriculture producers in Saskatchewan would see the elimination of tariffs on pulses and cereals, which currently amount to 15% and 40% respectively. In Manitoba, producers of precious stones and metals, as well as iron and steel, would benefit from the elimination of Panamanian tariffs of up to 15% on their exports. In addition, Western Canada's investors that are active in the mining sector in Panama would benefit from this agreement's investor protection and legal framework.

Shifting to the other side of the country, the Atlantic region would also stand to significantly benefit from the Canada-Panama free trade agreement. My hon. colleague, the member for Malpeque, will be especially interested to know that Prince Edward Island potato producers would see the elimination of Panamanian tariffs as high as 81% on their exports. I think that would make our folk legend, Stompin' Tom Connors, sing about Bud the Spud from the bright red mud rolling down the highway smiling, because the spuds are big in the back of Bud's rig and they are from Prince Edward Island. There would be more spuds rolling down to Panama if we get this agreement through the House.

In New Brunswick, producers of frozen french fries would no longer face Panamanian tariffs of up to 20%. Paperboard producers would see the elimination of tariffs reaching up to 15%.

Nova Scotian exporters of trees and plants will see the elimination of tariffs of up to 15% and tariffs of up to 20% will be eliminated for vehicles and parts exporters.

In Newfoundland, the information and communications technology sector will see the elimination of Panamanian tariffs of up 15% on Canadian products.

That is not all. The benefits of this free trade agreement will also be felt in Ontario, where key exports to Panama include pharmaceuticals, industrial and electrical machinery, vehicles and scientific and precision instruments. For pharmaceutical products, tariffs as high as 11% will be eliminated. Exporters of industrial and construction machinery, information and communications technology, electronic equipment and precision instruments will see the elimination of tariffs as high as 15% for their respective sectors.

In addition, Ontario service providers active in this market, including those providing mining, banking and engineering services, will benefit from a secure, predictable, transparent and rules-based trading environment, something we have heard about over and over from Canadian businesses. They want secure, predictable, transparent and rules-based trading. They will have the advantage of being able to plan for the future.

For Quebec exporters, investors and service providers interested in expanding into the Panamanian market will receive real, tangible benefits from the implementation of the free trade agreement. With $25.7 million in merchandise exports to Panama last year, Quebec accounts for the largest share of Canada's two-way trade with Panama. These exports are primarily in the areas of meat, mainly pork, paper and paperboard, pharmaceuticals, fish and seafood and electrical machinery and equipment.

Quebec's automotive sector will enjoy improved access for vehicles and auto parts, with tariffs of up to 20% eliminated. Quebec's pork producers will see the elimination of tariffs as high as 70%.

For Quebec's highly competitive aerospace sector, current Panamanian tariffs of up to 15% will be eliminated. Tariffs as high as 15% on pulp and paperboard will be eliminated.

As the Forest Products Association of Canada has testified in the Standing Committee on International Trade, the Panamanian market for forestry products such as pulp and paperboard is currently worth $120 million, but this figure grows by 10% a year, a great opportunity for the forest products industry.

Canada currently only exports $6.5 million in these goods, so there is significant room for growth and this tariff elimination will help considerably. In particular, it will help Quebec plants that supply a large quantity of the Canadian paper to Panama.

Quebec's service providers will benefit as well. For instance, SNC Lavalin, a company with substantial interests in Panama, has indicated that the Canada-Panama free trade agreement will “provide a good framework for further business”.

In 2010, Panama announced a $13.6 billion strategic investment plan that would focus on economically sustainable infrastructure projects, including a $1.5 billion metro system and an airport project that will triple its current capacity.

As we can see, the passage of the Canada-Panama economic growth and prosperity act will provide economic benefits to Canadian workers across the country from coast to coast to coast and across a wide number of industries and sector. It will provide new business opportunities for exporters countrywide, from forestry workers in British Columbia to farmers in Ontario, from information and communications technology providers in Newfoundland to manufacturers in Quebec.

We live in an era of global competition. Succeeding in the global economy means keeping pace with competitors and securing new access to foreign markets. There is no question that Canadian companies are world competitors, but the government has a role to play as well.

We need to strengthen Canada's trading relationships abroad, eliminate barriers to trade and provide opportunities for Canada's businesses to expand and grow in key markets. Our government is doing just that. We are fighting for Canadian workers and businesses to connect them with new opportunities in growing markets like Panama and to ensure they are not at a competitive disadvantage, vis-a-vis competitors benefiting from preferential market access.

With one in five jobs and over 60% of Canada's economy generated by trade, deepening Canada's trading relationships will create prosperity and opportunity for Canadian businesses, workers and their families.

While we are focused on protecting and growing Canada's economy with our job-creating, pro-trade plan, the anti-trade NDP wants to slap job-killing tax hikes on families and employers, which would kill jobs, hurt our economy and set families back. We cannot allow that to happen.

For this reason, this Conservative government and this party will be supporting the Canada-Panama economic growth and prosperity act.

Canada-Panama Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, Panama's labour record is not very good and it is only getting worse. Our Conservative colleagues often wonder why the NDP has problems with free trade agreements. It is simply because the emphasis is placed on the economic aspect and very rarely on the human or environmental aspects.

My question is simple: why does the Conservative government insist on trying to conclude free trade agreements that focus almost solely on economics and very little on human and environmental rights?

Canada-Panama Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Cannan Conservative Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague is new to the House. I had the opportunity to serve for five and a half years on the international trade committee and to travel to Panama with it in May of 2008.

I share her concerns that we all need to be responsible globally to look after the human, social and environmental components of any sustainable community. Within the trade agreement with Panama, we have what is called the labour cooperation agreement. Canada and Panama are committed to ensuring that their laws reflect internationally-recognized labour standards, including the right to freedom of association and effective recognition of the right to organize in collective bargaining.

As far as the environment, both countries will pursue high levels of environmental protection to improve and enforce the environment laws effectively. They will maintain appropriate environmental assessment procedures and ensure that they do not relax the environmental laws to encourage trader investment.

The fact is we are not silent on either one of those issues. We are working hand in glove. It is a balanced approach between the economy, the environment and the social aspects of the community to have a sustainable future for all.

Canada-Panama Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, I have a point of clarification. He mentioned something in Newfoundland and Labrador that would be of benefit by quite a bit in telecommunications. I think there was a percentage on it. Precisely of which company was he speaking? My colleague from St. John's South—Mount Pearl and I would like to know.

Canada-Panama Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Cannan Conservative Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, I do not have the exact name, but I would be happy to find out the specific company.

The industry overall is looking at the information and communications technology sector. There are opportunities for growth by removing barrier tariffs for industries across the country. Representatives of many businesses from the Atlantic provinces have come to the committee. This issue has been debated for over 30 hours. Between the House and committee meetings, there have been many discussions. As I said, committee members went to Panama and met with the former Panamanian ambassador. There is a new Panamanian ambassador now who will come before the committee and we will be able to provide the specific information. This agreement is a great opportunity for Canadians from coast to coast to move forward.

Canada-Panama Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder Conservative London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is an interesting House in which we all work. As part of this whole debate, the member for Malpeque had the floor at one point and we went back and forth on some questions. Then he suggested that the member for London West, who happens to be me, stop and smell the roses, while in the same breath saying that he, along with his party, would be supporting this trade agreement. I find it a very curious thing that on the one hand we can work together on something, but Liberals can still find a way to say things that, frankly, demean this process.

However, I would like to ask my hon. colleague, who I have the privilege to sit with in the committee, this question. We know that 73% of tariffs with Panama would be eliminated immediately and that this is intended to be a good deal for all of Canada. Coming from Ontario and knowing that he comes from British Columbia, what are the major benefits for British Columbia as he promotes this free trade deal with Panama?

Canada-Panama Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Cannan Conservative Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from the city of London, the 10th largest city in Canada, as I have been reminded of at a few meetings along the way, for his great work on the trade committee.

As I mentioned, for the forest industry specifically, this agreement would be a significant investment potential for forest product associations across Canada. I do not believe my hon. colleague across the way would insinuate that he does not stop and smell the flowers. He is one of the most sensitive members in the committee and I appreciate his hard work.

Canada-Panama Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the hon. member for Kelowna—Lake Country.

I have a copy of sections of the proposed Canada-Panama agreement, including article 9.11 regarding expropriation, which describes it as being, in effect, equivalent to nationalization or expropriation except for public purposes. The language would not worry people if we did not have the experience of similar language used in chapter 11 of NAFTA to undermine decisions taken by the democratically-elected House in relation to bills that protect human health and the environment. I specifically recall the issue of the Ethyl Corporation challenging the Government of Canada.

Will the hon. member commit that we will have adequate time in the House at second reading to look through the implications of this kind of legislation, or are we to have debate closure once again?

Canada-Panama Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Cannan Conservative Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, I had the opportunity to be in the riding of the hon. member on Friday to open up Canada's largest indoor climbing wall. It is an incredible facility. Gary Lunn, who was the minister of the day, partnered with the province in this significant asset for Canada.

One of the specific questions that the member asked was on rules-based trading. It is significant and something that has been called for by businesses coast to coast to coast. They have come to our committee asking for some certainty and predictability.

We also have the side agreements on labour and the environment, which will be debated at committee. We will then come back at report stage when we will have an opportunity to debate those issues as well.

I want to reiterate for all sides of the House the significance of moving this project forward. The Minister of International Trade was in Europe last night and will be working for the next 10 days or so with the World Trade Organization.

There is an excellent article in The Canadian Press that came out last night. It talked about how Canada was working with Brazil, China, India, as well as Panama and Jordan. We are diversifying markets, as was committed to in the throne speech by the Prime Minister, so we can create jobs, hope and opportunity for Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

Canada-Panama Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, I want to compliment the member for his intervention. However, I wish he had not blown what was a pretty good speech by including some rhetoric in it about the anti-free trade NDP.

I know the member is a very conscientious member of the international trade committee. Does he agree, and maybe he could speak to this, that it is extremely important when doing a trade deal, or any deal for that matter, to understand what the impact of the deal will be before one signs on the dotted line? People should take the time to consider all the items on the table and the different clauses that have been signed off in order to understand what the impact is so they could say with some confidence what would good and what would not.

Canada-Panama Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Cannan Conservative Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague served a short term on the committee with us. I wish him all the best in his leadership race for his party.

We have had significant debate. We will have additional debate at the committee and it will come back to report stage.

I refer back to the article in The Canadian Press with my hon. colleague, the Minister of International Trade. He said:

I realize how critical it is to actually engage at a much higher level and much more often with our key trading partners to develop trust...Sometimes you are so close and so far away from a solution because you haven't developed that bridge.

The hon. Minister of International Trade has worked closely with the Panamanian ambassador. I have had a chance to meet with him. I know he has met with several ministers and trade officials around the world, as I mentioned, with Brazil, China and India.

This is all about relationships as we continue to work forward to build new markets for Canada. I am thankful for this opportunity and I look forward to moving this agreement through the House.

The Bloc QuébécoisStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, no matter what the federalist parties say or think, the Bloc Québécois is still very much alive, and I have the great pleasure of announcing that Daniel Paillé has been chosen as leader of the Bloc Québécois. My colleagues and I would like to congratulate him on the campaign that he conducted with conviction and determination.

Starting today, the Bloc Québécois will tackle a big job—showing Quebeckers that they do not belong in this Canada, which does not reflect who they are, and that an independent Quebec would have everything it needs to make its own laws, collect its own taxes and sign treaties, while respecting its own values.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the thousands of Bloc Québécois supporters who participated in this important democratic exercise. Their participation and support are proof of the Bloc Québécois's relevance.

Finally, I take my hat off to the member for Ahuntsic and the member for Haute-Gaspésie—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia for their important contribution to this leadership race.

Together, with conviction and determination, we will succeed in accomplishing this task. As Daniel Paillé, our new leader, said yesterday, “Let us get to work”.

BullyingStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Chris Alexander Conservative Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to put a question asked by students of the Pickering family of schools. That question is: How do we use our collective voices to uphold everyone's right to live in a safe, caring and inclusive community?

The “i Am Who i Am” campaign was developed at Pine Ridge Secondary School after the devastating suicide of grade six student Mitchell Wilson, a victim of years of bullying by his peers.

At a time when adolescents are navigating new waves of social norms, online media, endless fads and personal insecurities, the “i Am Who i Am” campaign challenges students to stand up for each other. It seeks to promote integrity, honesty and non-violence.

To spread the message, schools in the Durham region will be selling T-shirts and wristbands, using the proceeds to purchase a wheelchair for a Pickering family in need.

In the first week of this campaign, over $5,000 has been raised, with monthly events now planned to raise even more.

In the wake of this year's human rights day, all of us have a role to play in breaking this cycle of intimidation and violence by taking a stand against bullying.

Let us speak out against bullying among teenagers.

Let us speak up and speak out on behalf of victims. Let us celebrate the unique individuality of every Canadian.

I applaud the collaborative efforts of the 19 participating Pickering family of schools for saying “i Am Who i Am”.

Holiday Season VolunteersStatements by Members

December 12th, 2011 / 2 p.m.

NDP

Charmaine Borg NDP Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, today, I would like to pay tribute to the fantastic work done by thousands of volunteers every year when they collect tens of thousands of dollars, food and toys for people in need across the country. I greatly admire the community organization needed to achieve this and to run successful food drives every year.

I would particularly like to highlight the work of volunteers in my riding of Terrebonne—Blainville. I had the opportunity to participate in this year's food drive four times, and the good humour of these volunteers and their gift of self was heartwarming. I thank the volunteers of the food drive at the Sainte-Famille parish in Blainville, the Knights of Columbus in Terrebonne and Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines, and the Blainville firefighters, with whom I volunteered for the Moisson Laurentides food drive.

I would like to thank the public for giving so generously. These contributions help families in need to feel supported by their communities and to have a better holiday season.

To all the families who depend on these donations, I would like to say that you are not forgotten, you play an important role in our communities, and I hope to have the opportunity to work with you.

Human RightsStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Stephen Woodworth Conservative Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, as a member of Parliament I often hear the concerns of Canadians for their loved ones overseas who are subject to difficulty. A good MP cannot help but extend heartfelt compassion and ensure that these concerns are heard by government and Parliament.

Tamils, for example, have experienced great difficulty in Sri Lanka. Accountability and real reconciliation need to occur there.

Iran continues to violate the rights of individuals, including academics, journalists and Baha'is.

Reports that Falun Gong practitioners are arbitrarily detained in China are disconcerting.

People in Sudan and the Ogaden region, among others, still face violence.

There are many, many examples. My constituents told me of these situations and I have relayed them to our government.

Canada promotes human rights around the world. Parliamentarians have a responsibility to make it our first priority to raise our voice in support of every person's fundamental human rights.

Saint-LéonardStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Massimo Pacetti Liberal Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

Mr. Speaker, the parish of Saint-Léonard-de-Port-Maurice was founded in April 1886 and, at the time, it was primarily made up of French Canadian Catholic farmers. A single, main road—Jarry Street—cut through the farmland and there was one church. Saint-Léonard grew from a parish into a town, and is now one of Montreal's largest boroughs.

The changes in its name and status reflect the evolution of the land. After a housing boom, many newcomers—including old stock Quebeckers, Italians and others—came to settle in Saint-Léonard and contributed to its economic growth. The population quickly grew from 925 in 1956 to over 70,000 today. Saint-Léonard is known for its ethnic diversity and its determination, thanks to the many key figures who have contributed to sports, politics, science, arts and culture.

At 125 years old, it remains as young as ever. I am very proud to wish the residents of Saint-Léonard all the best on this special anniversary.

LondonStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Susan Truppe Conservative London North Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, once again, the opposition has painted a dark, dreary picture of the beautiful city of London, Ontario. Allow me to shed some light.

It was this government that in 2009 established the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southwestern Ontario to help strengthen our local economy. In fact, the first major funding project undertaken was the greater London international airport. Guess whose riding the airport is located in? The NDP member for London—Fanshawe.

Since 2009 many London organizations have benefited from FedDev funding, including the city of London, the Boys & Girls Club, the YMCA, UWO Research Park, and Southwestern Ontario Angels Group, just to name a few. This is on top of the millions of dollars of investments in my riding and city from various other federal departments.

I encourage the member for London—Fanshawe to exit the darkness of higher taxes and see the light of strong, stable investments in our city.

I, for one, am proud to live in London.

Saint-Basile-le-GrandStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was extremely proud to attend the Governor General’s History Awards ceremony today, where the Saint-Basile-le-Grand historical society won the Award for Excellence in Community Programming for its “La Mémoire des Grandbasilois” project.

On behalf of the historical society, its president, Richard Pelletier, accepted a prestigious award created by Canada's History and presented by the Governor General to acknowledge excellence in history and heritage.

Mr. Pelletier and countless volunteers amassed a collection of 50 or so interviews with seniors from our region and thousands of old photographs, which were then filed, digitized and shared with the people of my riding in order to promote the wonderful history of Saint-Basile-le-Grand.

The Saint-Basile-le-Grand historical society has mounted a number of photo exhibits and first person accounts by seniors to help the people of Grand Basile discover their rich history. Every participant in the historical society's project can be proud of their tremendous work. I am proud of it as well.

Elmwood Curling ClubStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Lawrence Toet Conservative Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, in my riding of Elmwood—Transcona, there are many celebrations of anniversaries happening this year, for museums, organizations and community clubs.

Today, I want to bring to the attention of the House the Elmwood Curling Club, which recently celebrated 100 years as part of the community of Elmwood.

Community centres and facilities are the backbone to a healthy community and so, today, I want to acknowledge how proud I am that there are facilities like the Elmwood Curling Club celebrating a long and healthy relationship with the community.

To all those who took part in the celebration, congratulations. It really is a service that is greatly appreciated by all of Elmwood.

I also want to quickly pass on a warm Christmas wish to all the constituents of Elmwood—Transcona. I hope they enjoy this season with family and friends, and have a blessed new year.

SaskatchewanStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Hoback Conservative Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, what a year it has been for Saskatchewan.

In May we witnessed the election of a strong, stable Conservative majority government, ready and willing to implement promises it made in the election.

This was followed by the Saskatchewan Party's landslide election win, in which the socialists were reduced to nine seats.

Saskatchewanians are very high on the future. They see marketing freedom for its wheat and barley producers as just around the corner; freedom which would give them access to world grain prices, if they so choose.

The view of our free trade deals in Latin America are models with which trade deals in Europe and Asia can be structured, access to markets which would fuel Saskatchewan's economic boom well into the future.

The new Saskatchewan has changed dramatically for the better. No longer does it demand increases in federal handouts, as in the case of the previous NDP government. We now promote our natural wealth and our entrepreneurial spirit as a means of increasing our prosperity.

This is the new Saskatchewan, proud of its place in Canada, and proud of its growing economic and political power.

The year 2012 will be full of challenges. However, in Saskatchewan, it will be full of opportunities.

On behalf of my constituents, merry Christmas and happy Hanukkah to all.

Community of Honoré-MercierStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Paulina Ayala NDP Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the community of Honoré-Mercier for its spirit of giving.

I am referring to all the organizations that are mobilized to ensure that the holidays are enjoyable and inspiring for everyone. I would like to thank and congratulate all those people who made the food drive a great success, helped hundreds of children to meet Santa Claus this weekend, and gave of their time to provide Christmas hampers to families in need.

I would also like to mention all the seniors who work hard to prevent their peers from being lonely by organizing many activities allowing them to join in the celebrations. It is great to see the energy of our seniors as they dance, sing and bring happiness to others.

Thank you and happy holidays to everyone.

Firearms RegistryStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, it is old news now. The Bloc Québécois is outdated and Quebeckers have realized how ineffective the party is in Ottawa. To prove it: Daniel Paillé's first public statement is misleading. The newly elected leader of the Bloc Québécois compares getting a long gun to opening an account on Facebook.

The Bloc Québécois leader's comparison is ridiculous. Our government believes that it is very important to maintain the requirement of obtaining a permit in order to own a long gun. We will not allow the Bloc Québécois leader to mislead the people of Quebec. We on this side of the House believe that the firearms registry is expensive, ineffective, and unfair to honest farmers and hunters.