This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #129 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was workers.

Topics

International TradeOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, as I have said many times, our government's focus is on the economy and creating jobs and opportunities for Canadians. We are doing that through trade, through an ambitious campaign to promote Canadian goods and products and through negotiating free-trade agreements with eight countries and being in negotiations with close to 50 others.

Today there are new statistics that show we are making progress. In December there was a posting of a 10% increase in our merchandise exports. For the first time since February 2010, we are now posting a trade surplus rather than a deficit. This is good news.

However, the economic recovery remains fragile. We must continue our efforts. That is why we are working on things such as our free trade negotiations with the European Union to deliver jobs and prosperity for Canadians.

Government PrioritiesOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Liberal Bramalea—Gore—Malton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government cut $6 billion in taxes for the richest and largest corporations, while it hiked payroll taxes for every small business in the country. It has cut millennium scholarships for students and has wasted billions of dollars on megaprisons. It has cut off spending on affordable housing, but have billions to spend on fighter jets.

Why is this government ignoring the real needs of families?

Government PrioritiesOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Saint Boniface Manitoba

Conservative

Shelly Glover ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise for the first time to defend businesses and families across this country.

Just the other day, the Liberal Party claimed to represent the interests of small businesses, misleading the House, indicating that the Canadian Federation of Independent Business supported its plan to increase taxes by $6 billion.

I am going to take this opportunity, Mr. Speaker, to ask you to encourage the Liberal Party to apologize to the CFIB today for that misleading comment.

TaxationOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, for decades the building trades have been lobbying for income tax deductions for travel and accommodation when their members are working away from home. My Bill C-227 would achieve that goal, but frankly, I have told the Minister of Finance that I do not care who gets the credit as long as we get the job done.

Past Liberal governments refused to act and ignored the evidence that this initiative actually saves the government money. The tax cut is cheaper than paying EI for workers who cannot afford to accept jobs in other parts of the country.

I know that the finance minister cannot reveal what is in his budget, but will he assure the building trades that he is working on giving them support?

TaxationOral Questions

Noon

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, we look forward to seeing the member's bill.

The Minister of Finance is currently receiving submissions for his next budget. We have had literally hundreds of round tables right across the country. We obviously want to do everything we can to ensure that jobs are created and we are on solid economic footing.

I would appreciate, though, if the member from the NDP would read the budget before she decides to vote against it.

InfrastructureOral Questions

Noon

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Champlain Bridge is in such a state of disrepair that its entire deck needs to be replaced. According to an engineering report, the patchwork approach announced in the last budget is inadequate because the bridge does not meet earthquake standards and the costs related to extending the life of the bridge are expected to rise quickly.

Can the government tell us what it has planned for the Champlain Bridge? What options are being considered?

InfrastructureOral Questions

Noon

Fort McMurray—Athabasca Alberta

Conservative

Brian Jean ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the joint study by the Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Incorporated and Le ministère des Transports du Québec will be finalized and delivered to the government by the end of February. Conclusions of the study will be made public after an analysis of the results. Everyone can be assured that we are going to act in the best interests of Quebeckers.

My question is, why did the Bloc members vote against every economic action plan investment that this government put in Quebec, every bridge, every new road? They should be ashamed of themselves.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

Noon

Liberal

Rob Oliphant Liberal Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a point of order arising out of question period with regard to the answer I received from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation.

She would be well aware that her predecessor had to issue an apology for having misled the House of Commons. He had to apologize because he stated that the government's priorities had not been met by the application made by KAIROS for funding its 23 projects. He said that he did not know and was not aware that the priorities had actually been met.

We now know that the priorities of the government were stated to CIDA. KAIROS put in an application, they were approved for funding by the officials and now the parliamentary secretary, once again, has indicated that this application did not meet the priorities.

This is the second time that a member on that side of the House has attempted to mislead us by stating that the government was not made aware of the priorities. It was made aware; it is on the record.

A previous parliamentary secretary has been shuffled out and, once again, the House is being misled. I think the House deserves an explanation.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

Noon

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

This is clearly a dispute as to facts. These things happen in the House from time to time, but I do not think it serves as a point of order. I suggest that, if members wish, they can have a debate on the subject, but it will not be now.

Canada Elections ActRoutine Proceedings

Noon

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-623, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act (voting with an uncovered face).

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure to introduce today, in both of Canada's official languages, English and French, a bill to strengthen public confidence in our democratic system. The proposed legislation would require everyone to uncover his or her face to vote in federal elections. The bill includes an exception for medical reasons. I would like to thank my colleague from Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar for seconding the bill.

This is simple, straightforward legislation that aims to increase the transparency of our democracy. Furthermore, the bill includes an exception for medical reasons.

I invite all parliamentarians to support this bill so that it may be in force during the next federal election.

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

Protection of Beneficiaries of Long Term Disability Benefits Plans ActRoutine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-624, An Act to amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (providing protection for beneficiaries of long term disability benefits plans).

Mr. Speaker, last Christmas this government left a lump of coal in the stockings of 400 sick and disabled Canadians when the Prime Minister ordered senators to kill a bill that would have prevented their medical benefits from being cancelled.

Aside from it being a right and decent thing to do, Bill S-216 was legally prudent, fiscally sound, and would have saved taxpayers millions of dollars. Despite this, the Prime Minister turned his back on hundreds of sick and disabled Canadians.

Today, I am tabling the bill that would right this wrong and restore the medical and income benefits needed by this group of disabled Canadians. It would also make sure that the rest never find themselves in this situation.

Canadians deserve better than to be thrown to the wolves when they get sick. This bill will work to protect some of the most vulnerable people from having their sick benefits taken away when they are needed the most.

I am happy to present this, proud to support it, and hope that all members will do the same thing.

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

Controlled Drugs and Substances ActRoutine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-625, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (amphetamines).

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to introduce this bill. This bill has come about as a result of the original Bill C-15 that came through the House on the mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes. This was a bill that the NDP fought against because we thought it was a very bad bill. We pointed out over and over again that there was no evidence to show that mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes worked.

As we know, that bill eventually passed through the House of Commons and went to the Senate. Then it was eliminated because of prorogation. The bill was reintroduced in the Senate and is actually now back in the House as Bill S-10 , and I am very glad the NDP will remain in opposition to that bill.

However, in debating the bill, we did agree that there was one element of the bill that we thought was important, and that was dealing with amphetamines and how they were listed in the various schedules under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

I made a commitment during the debate that we had on the original bill that I would move a private member's bill to transfer amphetamines from schedule 3 under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to schedule 1 under the same act, so the punishment would be more severe for offences involving amphetamines.

That was something we actually did support in the original bill, so I am pleased to rise in the House today to bring this forward, to make it clear that we did support that element, and we agree that those drugs should be moved from schedule 3 to schedule 1.

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

National Anthem ActRoutine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-626, An Act to amend the National Anthem Act (gender neutral).

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise again in the House to present this bill. It is actually a very simple bill, but I know it would probably generate a fair amount of debate. It has to do with our national anthem, O Canada. It was a bill that was formerly presented by my colleague, Judy Wasylycia-Leis. I know she felt very strongly about this.

It is basically a bill that would substitute the words “of us” for the words “thy sons” in the English version of the national anthem, thus making it gender neutral.

I was going to sing the new version, but my colleagues talked me out of putting people through that pain. I think people are very familiar with going to public events and actually hearing a growing number of people voluntarily substituting gender neutral language in our national anthem.

I know some people do not agree with that. They say that it should stay the way it was written, so I think we will probably have quite an interesting debate on this. Nevertheless, I put it forward because I think it is important that our language be gender neutral.

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

Criminal CodeRoutine Proceedings

February 11th, 2011 / 12:10 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-627, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (sports betting).

Mr. Speaker, this is a piece of legislation that we would be amending that goes back hundreds of years, back to the British parliament. It was introduced as part of the transfer of legislation here.

At the current time, we are allowed to bet in Canada legally in several areas, but in particular on sports activities, and only if it is three or more events. That is the legality. It is strange how that came about. I do not fully understand it.

The effect of this bill would be to allow us to bet on individual events. There is a great deal of criminal activity that is going on, both inside and outside the country, where moneys are flowing out and Canadians are betting illegally on those activities.

This would be a way of allowing government, and government agencies, to run these events much as we allow for casinos and horse racing betting, so it would move it into that area. I have heard from all the casinos and a good number of the provinces. They want the ability to do this.

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

Criminal CodeRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-628, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (consent).

Mr. Speaker, this is a bill that really should not be coming forward by way of private members. The Minister of Justice should have brought this in quite some time ago.

These particular sections of the Criminal Code discriminate against the gay community with regard to sexual activity and the age of consent with regard to that sexual activity.

The pertinent section has actually been struck down by more than one court in this country, including at least one appeals court. In spite of that, the government, and the previous Liberal government, have not moved to correct that discrimination which exists in the Criminal Code and this bill in fact would do it.

Members will see that there are 12 or 15 sections of the code that have to be amended in order to do away with that discrimination against the gay community

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

Notice of MotionWays and MeansRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 83(1), I have the honour to table a notice of a ways and means motion to amend the Softwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006. I ask that an order of the day be designated for consideration of the motion.

Mr. Speaker, while I am on my feet, I move:

That the House do now proceed to orders of the day.

Notice of MotionWays and MeansRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Notice of MotionWays and MeansRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Notice of MotionWays and MeansRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Notice of MotionWays and MeansRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Notice of MotionWays and MeansRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

All those opposed will please say nay.

Notice of MotionWays and MeansRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Notice of MotionWays and MeansRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

In my opinion the nays have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Call in the members.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #178

Ways and MeansRoutine Proceedings

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I declare the motion carried.