House of Commons Hansard #145 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was libya.

Topics

AnaphylaxisPrivate Members' Business

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Conservative Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

moved:

That, in the opinion of the House, anaphylaxis is a serious concern for an increasing number of Canadians and the government should take the appropriate measures necessary to ensure these Canadians are able to maintain a high quality of life.

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank a number of individuals who have been behind the scenes working hard on this: Cindy Paskey, Chris George and Debbie Bruce from my area of the country. I know this is an initiative that has been worked on across the country but I want thank the people from NASK, which is in the Niagara region, for being such huge proponents behind the scenes and working so hard and tirelessly on behalf of this issue. It is an important issue and they have done a great job.

It is a great honour to begin debate on my motion on anaphylaxis, which reads:

That, in the opinion of the House, anaphylaxis is a serious concern for an increasing number of Canadians and the government should take the appropriate measures necessary to ensure these Canadians are able to maintain a high quality of life.

I must admit that I have been overwhelmed by the public reaction to this motion since it was added to the order paper back in June 2010. I have received an enormous amount of emails and phone calls and have had many people come up to me and thank me for bringing this very important issue forward for debate.

I have also been very encouraged by the support I have received from my hon. colleagues from across party lines who have voiced their support for this motion. I thank all parliamentarians who have spoken or written to me and all of those who took the time out of their busy schedules to attend the information luncheon I hosted back in December of last year.

I would especially like to thank the hon. member from St. Catharines who first introduced a motion on anaphylaxis back in the 39th Parliament, which ended before he had the opportunity to bring it forward for debate. He and his staff have been most helpful throughout this process.

Anaphylaxis describes the most severe form of allergic reaction. An anaphylactic episode is rapid in onset and, without immediate medical treatment, can sometimes lead to death. While the most common cause of these reactions is the ingestion of or contact with certain foods, they can also be caused by insect stings, medicine or even something as simple as contact with latex.

An estimated 1.3 million Canadians suffer or are affected with this condition, and that number continues to rise. Most of us know someone whose life has been affected by anaphylaxis. It is for these people that this motion is being brought forward.

It is for Carmen, whose daughter, Caitlin, has already been diagnosed with anaphylaxis and who has now been told that another daughter, Caroline, must wait eight months before being tested after having a horrifying episode while the family was dining out at a restaurant.

It is for Susan and her five-year-old son, Lucas, who she describes as her most loyal friend. Susan actually worries more about the milk allergy that afflicts Lucas than she does his potentially fatal congenital heart defect that he also has been diagnosed with.

It is also for Chris and his family who take their vacations by car rather than a plane so as to feel safer about avoiding a food allergy reaction that could prove deadly for seven-year-old David.

How can bringing forward such a motion and passing this motion help these and other families living with anaphylaxis? Perhaps my greatest goal with this motion is to increase awareness. Education tends to lead to more consideration from those who do not suffer toward those who do. I think about how it is now becoming common to be asked whether one has food allergies when being invited to weddings and other public events,and even smaller dinner parties with new friends. This would have seemed very strange 10 or 20 years ago, but as food allergy organizations have increasingly educated the public, we are seeing this type of consideration become more commonplace.

As the general public learns more about the grave dangers facing anaphylaxis sufferers, they can take and are taking more precautions in their daily lives, reducing that burden that, until recently, tended to lie solely with the affected person and their families.

Thoughtful Canadians are now asking about allergies before cooking meals for dinner guests. They are now packing lunches for their children that avoid some of the most common allergens. They are using more discretion in the snacks they choose to eat in public places where they might be sitting too close to someone with severe food allergies. This is very important in places like sports stadiums and classrooms but even more so on a plane or train where medical assistance may not be readily available should an anaphylactic attack occur. This type of consideration by non-allergy sufferers is becoming more commonplace and it is hoped that through greater awareness this level of thoughtfulness will only continue to increase.

To understand why this awareness and consideration is so highly sought by the anaphylaxis community, one must consider the fears that a parent of an affected child has on a daily basis. Let us imagine a father or mother who has seen first-hand their child having a life-threatening attack where, within minutes, their face and neck have swollen to become almost unrecognizable and the child struggles just to breathe.

Let us imagine that each day when the child goes to school the parent is left worrying whether that child will unknowingly come into contact with the trigger that could cause a similar reaction. It could be something as simple and innocent as another child sharing a snack that could cause a life or death situation. These very real and terrifying fears of a parent can never go away, but collective steps can be taken to help ease them considerably.

I have spoken with constituents who have a great deal more comfort because their child is in a school that has made it a priority to provide as safe an environment as possible. Food programs have been altered and alternative solutions found, making it less likely that children with food allergies will encounter their forbidden substance. While not all schools have been so accommodating, I believe that as awareness increases so too will the level of consideration and mutual level of respect that leads to the discovery of solutions agreeable to everyone.

Of course, such an outcome is more important at the schools level because 80% of children with anaphylaxis do not outgrow their condition. It is hoped that it might eventually become more commonplace to see this dialogue and mutual respect, leading to protective measures throughout Canadian society.

While raising awareness is a key motive for bringing forward this motion, it is also hoped that the passage of it will encourage further federal government action with measures designed to increase protection for those Canadians living with anaphylaxis.

However, before talking about what can be done, it is important to underline what has been done. With the announcement of the 2007 food and consumer safety action plan, our government signalled an ongoing commitment to develop policies and standards in support of these issues. I am very proud to be part of a government where these words have been followed up with action. Last month I had the pleasure to participate in a very important announcement concerning new food labelling regulations.

Our health minister announced new requirements for manufacturers to clearly declare all food allergens as well as gluten sources and sulphites by name in the products that they sell. This can either be in the list of ingredients or at the end of the list of ingredients using the word “contains”.

The regulations will also require that food allergens, gluten sources and sulphites that are sub-ingredients of food be declared on the product label. For example, if a bag of potato chips uses casein in its seasonings, milk will be required to be declared in the list of ingredients. The mention of milk can appear in brackets after the seasoning declaration in the list of ingredients or in the “contains” statement. Once these new regulations are fully implemented by August 2012, consumers with food allergies will benefit greatly by being able to more easily avoid foods that contain their specific and potentially deadly allergens.

However, more can be done, and going forward there are five key areas where stakeholders have asked the federal government to consider further action: One, initiating awareness campaigns; two, greater federal coordination on anaphylaxis matters; three, a long-term commitment to research; four, improved transportation safeguards; and five, improved allergen labelling.

I have already talked about why awareness is so important to the cause and certainly a nationally coordinated information campaign will go a long way toward educating Canadians. However, this recommendation is also important as there needs to be greater levels of knowledge and understanding among health care providers.

Health Canada can and should play a key role in providing accurate and targeted information to groups such as medical professionals, first aid and emergency training providers, child care workers, food service providers and to those who work in the hospitality industry. Consideration should also be given to establishing awareness initiatives for publicly regulated workplaces and public transportation vehicles, as well as public facilities.

Greater federal coordination is not only important in an awareness campaign but also to the programs and services that deal with distribution of information regarding anaphylaxis and food allergy information. To this end, Health Canada could consider creating a primary contact in order to coordinate federal departments and agencies in the combined response to the growing instances and risks associated with anaphylaxis. This contact would also develop communications channels across federal, provincial, territorial and municipal borders in order to coordinate intergovernmental health information.

It is important that all levels of government work together on this issue. I have been encouraged by municipal governments in my riding that have passed motions endorsing Motion No. 546. One of the benefits of working in coordination is that there are sometimes great ideas in one jurisdiction that could be considered by other jurisdictions, sooner rather than later. A prime example of this would be a private member's bill known as Sabrina's law that was enacted in Ontario and has received widespread praise for the positive effect it has had in the protection of students.

What Sabrina's law does in the province is threefold: first, it provides strategies to reduce exposure to allergens; second, it provides procedures to communicate to parents, students and employees about life-threatening allergies; and three, it provides regular training to deal with life-threatening allergies for teachers and staff. What happened to Sabrina was quite sad but the legacy of the bill has been good for the whole community.

Another important step that the federal government could take is a commitment to research. We, unfortunately, do not yet understand why the disease is becoming so prevalent, how to stop this upward trend or how to prevent food allergies from developing. It is incredibly important that we mobilize Canadian researchers to find ways to prevent this trend. A long-term financial and program commitment is necessary within Canada, and standardized and evidence-based guidelines for diagnosis, management and treatment of food allergy and anaphylaxis need to be developed.

The federal government can also lead the way by implementing new allergy safeguards for people making use of public transit that will reduce the risk of unnecessary and potentially fatal anaphylaxis attacks. The establishment of a transport policy that implements risk reduction for anaphylaxis passengers should be explored. Air travel especially should require airlines to consult with the anaphylaxis community to develop policies to effectively reduce some of the risks.

Small steps have been taken in this regard but I agree with anaphylaxis organizations that have said that more can be done.

While the airlines, quite rightly, do not want to infringe unnecessarily on the freedoms of other passengers, the safeguards that could be enacted are relatively minor and could be life-saving. Working together with both the airlines and other stakeholders means that the federal government could play a key role in negotiating policies that are both mutually acceptable and that greatly reduce the risk of severe reactions occurring during flights.

I will now talk about what could be done in the area of allergen labelling. As I mentioned earlier, I am very proud of the steps that our government has taken in this regard but there are some considerations as to what priorities might be going forward when it comes to labelling.

The first is that currently there are no regulations surrounding the use of precautionary allergen statements such as “may contain...”, or “processed in a facility that processes....” The danger of the lack of formal rules in this area is that people may have seen those warnings on so many labels that they may incorrectly assume that because they do not see it that the product is necessarily safe. That actually might not be the case but rather that the producer of the packaging has simply chosen not to include such a warning.

Another positive move to consider in this regard would be to consider the development of an allergy aware symbol that indicates that an item has been reviewed for the 10 major allergens.

Effective steps can be taken to make the lives of anaphylaxis sufferers safer and provide a degree of relief to them and their families. Our government and members from all sides of the House have started down the right road in this important cause. It was encouraging to witness this Chamber pass a unanimous motion to designate May as Food Allergy Awareness Month in Canada. This means so much to so many families coping with anaphylaxis.

I am, therefore, heartened by the response so far to Motion No. 546. I look forward to working together with all parliamentarians to see it passed and then acted upon in an effort to continue to improve the lives of anaphylaxis sufferers and their families.

AnaphylaxisPrivate Members' Business

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I understand that the regulations are being put into place but I am concerned about the size requirements on the warnings. Many of us my age and older, and maybe some even younger, have difficulty reading the current labels on different products. We practically need magnifying glasses to read them. I just wonder whether any size requirements will be provided.

There is an 18 month phase-in period for these regulations. I wonder why it has taken so long to do that and where we are in the process of phasing in the regulations.

AnaphylaxisPrivate Members' Business

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Conservative Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, one of the things that the government wanted to do was to get some consistency in labelling.

The starting process is getting the manufacturers and those that are putting things into foods to put it on the labels, so that when people start to look, they will know where to go and where to look for it.

In terms of the thought process and phasing-in, I think there was a compromise struck. I know that the challenge of phasing-in any new regulations is the effect it has on packaging and costs. It is fair to say that the 18-month phase-in period would give those who manufacture and produce these labels a chance to work out the existing packaging they have and phase-in the new packaging at a minimal cost and disruption to those organizations.

AnaphylaxisPrivate Members' Business

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, I commend the member for his statement.

The recent labelling regulations announcement exempted brewers from the need for labelling. Can the member, as a member of the government caucus, explain the rationale and motivation behind that?

I know groups such as Anaphylaxis Canada are disappointed with that. Perhaps the member could tell us something.

AnaphylaxisPrivate Members' Business

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Conservative Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned, most people who are affected are children. I do not think most parents are concerned at this stage that it is not on the beer labels.

However, we continue to work with and engage all interested stakeholders. We believe this is important. As we continue to move forward, we did not want this to be the holdup. It has taken some time to get this done. We wanted to move forward with concrete steps because we believe this is so important for our children.

Let us get this dealt with. As we move forward, we will have an opportunity to continue consulting to get that taken care of.

AnaphylaxisPrivate Members' Business

11:20 a.m.

St. Catharines Ontario

Conservative

Rick Dykstra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the member for Niagara West—Glanbrook. He has done an incredible amount of work on this issue and moved it forward.

I am hoping he will receive the unanimous support of the House on this. It really is a motion that speaks to an issue that has perhaps been if not ignored at least not put in the forefront as he has done this morning.

I know there has been a lot of work from the local Niagara community, assisting him and us in terms of moving this forward. Could the member just comment on the importance of the support from a local perspective that certainly has the influence and outcome of meeting a national issue that has a national need and that has the support from a local community?

AnaphylaxisPrivate Members' Business

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Conservative Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, I did want to highlight that even though there has been an amazing amount of work done at the local level, this is an initiative that goes from coast to coast.

One of the things I wanted to touch on before I go back to the great local support is that Canadian Anaphylaxis Initiative is an advocacy group that has moved forward all families to talk to all members from all parties. This is an initiative that has been moving forward from coast to coast, from B.C. all the way to the east coast.

It is always great having a local initiative talking to the importance of an issue. As members of Parliament, one of the things we find important when a new issue comes up is that we want to understand and be encouraged by the fact that local people are concerned with the issue.

It is with that in mind that I think NASK has done a great job informing not only the members here in Niagara but their counterparts across the country. Canadian Anaphylaxis Initiative has worked just as hard on this issue to coordinate efforts amongst all parties and all members to educate us, so that we could move forward with this initiative.

AnaphylaxisPrivate Members' Business

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, I commend the member for Niagara West—Glanbrook for a very comprehensive statement on this issue. I rise in support of the motion that he has put forward and to raise some concerns about the exemption that the government has allowed in the regulations.

Obviously, the motion is self-explanatory. It talks about anaphylaxis as being a serious concern for an increasing number of Canadians and that the government should take the appropriate measures necessary to ensure that Canadians are able to maintain a high quality of life. I am assuming all members of the House would support that. I certainly stand in support of the motion.

There are approximately 1% to 2% of Canadians who live with the risk of an anaphylactic reaction. More than 50% of Canadians know someone with a life-threatening allergy. That is why, in principle, this is a very important motion and has my support. However, I want to voice some concerns with regard to the exemption the government has given to the brewery industry.

The government had promised to bring in new regulations with regard to food labelling in July 2008. Almost a year and a half later, in February of this year, the government announced that one sector if industry would be exempt from the new labelling regulations, which is the brewery industry.

As I said earlier in my question, groups such as Anaphylaxis Canada have raised concerns about the exemption of the brewery industry and I have a statement from Anaphylaxis Canada. I want to read two sentences from its press release of February 14 for the record. It commended the government, of course, and then stated:

After two decades of tireless advocacy by thousands of Canadians, our organization is very pleased to see the passage of important new regulations that will make food ingredient labels easier to understand. However, we are very disappointed by the federal government's decision to alter the regulations as proposed and provide a special exemption to the brewery industry.

I want to put that on the record because I believe the government should be moving faster to deal with that exemption, eliminate it if at all possible, and to do all of the other things that the member talked about in his statement. I do not believe I need to waste the House's time by saying anything more than that.

I rise in support of this motion. My friend made a very comprehensive statement, and I believe the House and all members must pay attention to it. It is a very serious condition, like many other conditions. The member has done an excellent job of putting it forward and I would encourage him to urge the Prime Minister to end the exemption of the brewery industry at the earliest possible time as Anaphylaxis Canada has requested.

AnaphylaxisPrivate Members' Business

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Ève-Mary Thaï Thi Lac Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak about anaphylaxis, a condition that must be taken very seriously. Anaphylaxis is a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction. More and more Quebeckers and Canadians suffer from food allergies and approximately 4% of the population has one or more food allergies.

Motion M-546 aims to promote public awareness and to establish product standards to make life easier for people living with allergies. As I said, these allergies can sometimes be life-threatening. Living with an allergy-related health problem affects individuals and alters their quality of life. They live every day with worry. It is a daily battle. The allergies also affect family members, friends and other people in their lives.

I can share my own experience, since I have allergies to two medications: codeine and cortisone. These medications are found in many over-the-counter products. Every day when I take medication, I must be very careful to keep myself safe, since many other medications or products are made with codeine and cortisone derivatives.

My personal experience has shown me that it is not always easy to determine and identify which products contain these derivatives. As the hon. member said, it is important to remember that many children suffer from these allergies. It is also important to remember that they will have to deal with this issue their entire lives, even as adults, because these allergies do not go away and will always be part of their reality.

The Bloc Québécois and Quebec understand the importance of acknowledging food allergies. And so, on May 14, 2010, the Bloc Québécois voted in favour of a motion designating May as Food Allergy Awareness Month. The majority of people who suffer from allergies, suffer from food allergies. They must always be on the lookout, whether they are going to a restaurant or someone's house. It is a constant challenge for people suffering from food allergies because they must always be conscious of what they are eating. Allergies can appear in infancy or can develop at any point in a person's life. The most common allergies are to peanuts, eggs and milk—all basic food products.

Over 10 years ago, Quebec declared March 21 food allergy awareness day. Today is March 21. The purpose of this day is to increase awareness about the problems and issues associated with food allergies. It is important to educate the public and increase awareness about this affliction. Prevention is also a major issue and very important to any success that is achieved, since it helps increase the quality of life of those who suffer from these allergies.

We support today's motion, for the most part. As always, the Bloc Québécois studied the motion very carefully, and we concluded that it respects the values upheld by our party, the values of Quebeckers, and that it calls for compassion in particular. We therefore believe that the government should take the necessary steps to ensure that Canadians and Quebeckers who have these allergies can maintain a high quality of life.

However, these measures must be taken only in areas that fall under federal jurisdiction. Quebec and the provinces have exclusive jurisdiction over health and social services. The Conservatives won adoption of a motion recognizing the Quebec nation. Therefore, they must also respect the fact that certain matters fall solely under Quebec's jurisdiction.

In order to allow Quebec to fulfill its responsibilities regarding health and social services, the government must settle the $5 billion dispute it has been having with the Quebec government, for instance, by resolving the equalization issue once and for all.

In its 2007 budget, the Conservative government allocated money for equalization. The Bloc Québécois supported that budget at the time because it resolved, in part, the equalization issue. Nonetheless, it has not been resolved entirely. Quebec still has not been paid what it is owed.

Quebec is still waiting for compensation for harmonizing the GST and the QST, despite the fact that it is a nation and it harmonized its taxes a number of years ago, as a number of Canadian provinces have done. I think we were the first province to do so and we are still waiting for compensation. The Conservative government, including the Prime Minister, initially used Quebec as an example of harmonizing taxes. The government must compensate Quebec the way it has compensated the other provinces and adequately fund social programs.

The federal government can get industry to change its rules on labelling food allergens, as it did recently for gluten and sulphites.

When I was elected I sat on the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food with the hon. member for Richmond—Arthabaska, who does excellent work for our party in that area. We were studying food labelling. The government asked us to do our homework and set labelling standards for products entering Canada. Despite a consensus in committee, the government introduced an entirely different bill.

If we adopt a motion as important as the one being moved today, I invite the government to respect the will of the House and not repeat what it did with the labelling issue. It disregarded the report that had been presented in committee and it implemented unsatisfactory standards for all Canadians and Quebeckers. The government should work with the opposition and respect the will of the House when it comes to labelling.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, allow me to propose the following amendment, seconded by the hon. member for Richmond—Arthabaska:

That the motion be amended by adding after the words “the government” the following: “with respect to subjects under the legislative authority of the Parliament of Canada”.

I invite hon. members to support the Bloc Québécois amendment to the motion moved by the hon. member for Niagara West—Glanbrook.

AnaphylaxisPrivate Members' Business

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I must inform the hon. members that, pursuant to Standing Order 93(3), an amendment to a private member's motion or to the motion for the second reading of a private member's bill may only be moved with the consent of the sponsor of the item.

Therefore, I ask the hon. member for Niagara West—Glanbrook if he consents to this amendment being moved.

AnaphylaxisPrivate Members' Business

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Conservative Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Agreed.

AnaphylaxisPrivate Members' Business

11:35 a.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, this is an exciting day with motions and amendments. There is a lot going on here. People are working together. I am so pleased to work with the member for Niagara West—Glanbrook and to speak to and support Motion No. 546 asking that the House find that anaphylaxis is a serious concern for an increasing number of Canadians and that the government should take appropriate measures to ensure that these Canadians are able to maintain a high quality of life.

I applaud the member for this motion, but I also very much applaud him for his speech. So often we come to the House of Commons and hear feel good motions that look great on paper and do not really do anything or take any action. However, I was very impressed by his speech laying out real actions the government could take to fully realize the intention of this motion and to make the lives of Canadians better. It is an honourable motion and, without a doubt, has been received very well by the anaphylaxis community. I have met with members of this community and they are definitely in support of this motion.

As we have heard, anaphylaxis is a serious and sometimes life threatening allergic reaction. It can affect respiration as well as gastrointestinal and cardiovascular functioning. It is caused most commonly by food, although, as we have heard, there are a number of other triggers like insect stings or medicine, latex, or exercise. The most common food allergens are peanuts, tree nuts, seafood, egg, and milk products.

One may think that it would be easy to ascertain if a food contained nuts or a milk product by just reading the labels. However, labelling is not that simple. We have been pushing hard for changes to labelling and we have seen some changes recently, which have been a wonderful first step.

I was talking to a mom recently who has a child with an anaphylactic condition. She said that when she goes to the grocery store, she has a long legal size sheet of paper with all the possible wordings and names for all possible ingredients that could be in the foods, because the labels are not clear. We need really simple and clear labelling for people with anaphylactic conditions, and for everybody really. We need to know what is in our food.

According to Anaphylaxis Canada, approximately 1% to 2% of Canadians, or about 510,000 people, live with the risk of an anaphylactic reaction and more than 50% of Canadians know someone with a life-threatening allergy. I think everybody in this House knows someone like this, because the former member for Halifax, Alexa McDonough, had an anaphylactic condition, something that she always has to be careful of when she is out visiting with constituents and at dinners and community events, because it is a life-threatening allergy. It is clearly something that is of national concern.

It is worth noting that while anaphylaxis is usually diagnosed during childhood, it can also be something that develops later in life. There are so many challenges to living with anaphylaxis. Avoiding the allergen that causes a reaction is paramount, and people need to be constantly prepared for unexpected reactions.

What can we do? We did hear the member point out a list of things that we could do at the federal level to help people with anaphylactic conditions. I would like to add to that list because there are other ways that we can bring attention to this issue and make sure that Canadians are safe. First and foremost, I would say that we need better education and awareness for all Canadians whether they have an anaphylactic condition or not, including the parents of children living with anaphylaxis. We need better primary care and community care. I bring this up, knowing that 2014 is just around the corner, the year when we have to renegotiate the accord under the Canada Health Act. If we are to make sure that kids and adults with anaphylactic conditions can receive the immediate treatment they need, it is essential that we have good community and primary care across the country. With 2014 approaching, we really do need pan-Canadian consultations about the future of medicare in our country.

We need to consider food security and ensure that Canadians have access to nutritious, adequate, safe and appropriate food. Sometimes that means culturally appropriate food, and sometimes for people with anaphylactic conditions, “appropriate” means that they know what is in a food and whether or not allergens are in the food.

Of course, we need good inspection of food. We need label literacy for food and medication labels. We also need improved numeric skills to help people better understand food labels and dietary choices. This is not something that we automatically think of as an issue for new Canadians, but when we are doing settlement services, we need to ensure that there are those numeric and label skills and English literacy so that new Canadians can understand what labels are saying.

Finally, we need pharmacare. We absolutely need an affordable drug strategy. This is something that would help people with anaphylactic conditions, as well as Canadians around the country.

Without question, I think that over the last five years the Conservative government has not shown a lot of leadership on the health file. Some of the areas where we have not seen leadership relate directly to improving the lives of those living with anaphylaxis. Areas such as food inspection, particularly of imported foods, have not been sufficiently addressed. We heard about the total inaccuracy of the labelling of imported foods and the inadequacy of enforcement measures.

I have talked about poverty reduction, food security, primary care. These are all things that we need to look at and invest in.

Those with anaphylaxis, like all food-conscious consumers, rely on accurate labelling to make safe food choices. However, we know that reliance on labels can come with consequences when companies are not labelling properly.

Last year, it was reported that 6 out of 10 candies, baked goods and breads at the grocery store had labels that made inaccurate statements with respect to being sugar-free, low in fat, or 100% whole wheat. How can we rely on labels when we know that 6 out of 10 are inaccurate?

We have learned that the CFIA did target companies responsible for these labelling inaccuracies between 2006 and 2010 and suspected compliance issues, but it actually did not release the names of these companies for four years.

On top of publicly shaming the companies, which was a very good step, the CFIA could have removed products from store shelves or prosecuted a company, something that has not been made a priority, which has left customers and consumers without much protection from misleading information.

There has been change in this file in recent weeks. The federal government has begun to name food manufacturers that run into serious troubles with CFIA inspectors. This is a positive thing. The increase in labelling accountability is heartening, but we do wonder why there has been so much delay. We do absolutely welcome this kind of clarity in food labelling and the CFIA going after labellers to make sure labels are correct.

However, the government has done no favours to those with anaphylaxis and celiac disease because it has provided exemptions for brewers, something that one of my colleagues raised earlier. Breweries do not actually have to list the presence of glutens and glucosides in their products, nor the addition of other non-traditional ingredients in their specialized beers. That is something that consumers should have the right to know about.

We might think that beer is beer, that we can figure out that it probably has wheat in it or probably has something in it that we are allergic to. However, back home we have Garrison Brewing, and one of its ales is called Nut Brown Ale. It does not have nuts in it. However, we have seen beers from other microbreweries, in particular, that actually do have nuts or traces of nuts in them. For example, there is Chocolate Stout, where the chocolate may actually have been in contact with nuts. Therefore, we cannot say, “Well, it's called Chocolate Stout, and so there might be nuts in it”. What about the Nut Brown Ale? It does not have nuts in it.

Therefore, we just need clear labelling. We cannot rely on companies to put whatever they want on their labels and to call their products whatever they want.

I actually saw an interesting beer called something like Crustacean Crusty Ale or some such nonsense. It does not have shrimp in it. Don't worry, it has been tested and there is no shrimp in it.

I raised pharmacare, which is incredibly important. We need universal pharmacare. Too many times we hear of people going up to the counter at the pharmacy and seeing the cost of their prescription and just walking away, leaving it on the counter. This is something that is important to people across the country, whether they have anaphylactic conditions or not.

On that note, I am proud to support this motion. I am also proud to support the points that were raised in the speech that will help us actually fully realize better and safer conditions for people with anaphylactic conditions.

AnaphylaxisPrivate Members' Business

11:45 a.m.

St. Catharines Ontario

Conservative

Rick Dykstra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak about an important issue for Canadians.

Food allergies affect approximately 1.2 million Canadians. Most of those currently affected are children. Sensitivity to sulphites affects approximately 200,000 Canadians, the majority of whom have asthma. Taken together, these conditions affect the health of approximately 1.4 million Canadians. For these people, it is crucial that they or their caregivers have the information they need to make the right choices about the food they eat. The consequences of eating the wrong food could mean potential life-threatening reactions, such as anaphylaxis. That is why I support Motion No. 546.

The member for Niagara West—Glanbrook who moved the motion accepted the amendment this morning, which shows his commitment to get the motion through Parliament, supported unanimously by all four parties in the House of Commons. It speaks volumes to the work he has done on the issue and the importance it has to Canadians and members in the House.

The motion calls on the government to address anaphylaxis as a serious concern for an increasing number of Canadians and to take the measures necessary to ensure that Canadians are protected and able to maintain a high quality of life. Right now, the only way that Canadians suffering from food allergies can protect themselves is to avoid the ingredients they know will make them ill. This continues to be an important challenge. That is why our government has placed a high priority on helping allergenic Canadians make informed food choices to avoid life-threatening anaphylaxis.

We rely on food labels to provide us with information about what we eat or should not eat. Strengthening ingredient labels on food, we have introduced new measures that require the use of clear language on food labels and the declaration of otherwise hidden allergens. The new measures, which were announced in February in Ottawa by the Minister of Health, ensure that labels of most prepackaged foods declare any food allergen, gluten source or sulphite in the list of food ingredients. They will also require that labels use plain and simple language that Canadians with food allergies, their families and caregivers will be able to understand.

These measures will also create more predictability for food processors and reduce the number of food recalls. Most important, they will help reduce life-threatening reactions, such as anaphylaxis, that may result from the consumption of the undeclared ingredients in packaged food.

The amended regulations will come into force 18 months from now and all prepackaged foods offered for sale from that time forward must comply. In the meantime, and a couple of members have mentioned this, we are certainly encouraging the industry to start making changes to improve food labels as quickly as possible. To the industry's credit, a number of companies have begun that process as we speak and will be completed much in advance of the 18-month timeframe.

It is anticipated that the enhanced labelling requirements will result in improved quality of life for individuals and families and reduce costs to the health care system. In addition to changes in how we label food allergens, work has been undertaken to evaluate the health risks posed by certain foods and to support the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's compliance activities by providing experts to conduct human health risk assessments of undeclared allergens. We are also new allergen-detection methods and generating various educational materials on allergens.

Health Canada maintains a world-leading food allergen method development program to address the lack of methodologies for the detection of low-level and undeclared allergens that are present in foods. This further supports the compliance and enforcement activities of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Anaphylaxis prevention is about raising awareness. To do this properly, there needs to be a better understanding of what anaphylaxis is, who it affects, how it affects them and how the impact of these reactions can be lessened. By acknowledging the seriousness of this issue, we are supporting the work of the Government of Canada and, more important, its partners. We have made and continue to make advancements in our understanding of the relevance and prevalence of severe food allergies and the attitudes and behaviours of those living with severe allergies.

A full picture of the health, social and economic burden of illness that food allergies represent in Canada is essential in being able to determine their scope and impact on Canadians.

In terms of anaphylaxis specifically, it is important that we are able to advance our knowledge of these types of reactions. If we can characterize these reactions, identify what triggers them and follow up with patients after they have suffered from such a reaction, we can begin the development of improved diagnostic approaches and therapeutic strategies that will contribute to reducing the incidents along with the morbidity and mortality of anaphylaxis.

Again, by supporting the motion, the Government of Canada and the House will reaffirm its commitment to this important area of work and demonstrate how we can work within the health portfolio and among our stakeholders in advancing our knowledge and understanding of key health issues.

Adoption of the motion will also provide an opportunity for the government and all in this place to reiterate that allergies are a serious public health issue that continues to challenge the health care sector, the food industry and the Canadian public.

I would like to take a couple of minutes to congratulate the Minister of Health who has worked on this issue and has ensured that this has not been left in the background, while other issues have come to the fore.

We attended an announcement at an Ottawa grocery store in early February on the whole aspect of food labelling, how it was going to work and the process that was going to be undertaken was announced. A retired individual who used to work in the ministry of health in Ottawa also attended.

The first thing she did at the conclusion of the announcement was speak to the member for Niagara West—Glanbrook. She thanked him and the minister for the efforts they had put forward in this regard. She also thanked the government for taking action on food labelling. She worked on this issue for the past 18 years, not only when she was with the ministry of health, but also after she had retired. Hearing her speak to the issue showed how time had gone by, but her efforts were not in vain.

Over the next 18 months, with this motion, the passing of the food labelling regulations and the advancement the industry has made in regard to food labelling, we will be on the right track.

If we look at the five issues brought forward by our partners and fellow Canadians who are concerned about this issue, the federal coordination of programs and services which, as we see the motion today, is the beginning.

With respect to an awareness campaign, there is no reason why, as members of Parliament and as a Canadian government, we cannot assist in that effort. In speaking to the motion today, all four parties have delivered speeches on it, which means a point of awareness needs to happen. All the members who spoke today referred to that.

With respect a commitment to research, as indicated in my speech, it important to continue to better understand anaphylaxis and its impact. The more we research, the more diligent we become, we will have better opportunities to find a way to beat this disease at a very early age, rather than individuals having to be concerned their whole lives about what they are eating.

We have improved allergy labelling, which is a huge concern within allergy circles and organizations in the country. The input they have had, whether it be, as the mover of the motion said, the assistance of individuals and groups locally or across this country, speaks to the issue. They all speak with one voice.

The fact that we have moved forward on labelling speaks volumes to where the government wants to move with respect to this issue.

Finally, with respect to the issue of transportation safeguards, there is no question that Canada is geographically large. We need to be concerned and we need to continue to work on those issues relating to transportation and food allergies.

AnaphylaxisPrivate Members' Business

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, I highly support the motion and I congratulate the member for bringing it forward. As one of the members who wrote to the government saying that we needed action on this front, I am delighted to see it going forward.

It would be impossible for people to remember all the products. Anaphylaxis affects over one million people. It could cause death to some people if they ate the wrong products. As a result of the complexity of today's foods, the adding of additives and all kinds of things, one can never know for sure if a certain item is in a product unless that item is specifically labelled.

Our leader has talked about increasing labelling and inspection to make foods safer in Canada. He talked a lot about that in rural Canada. In that spirit, I definitely support the idea brought forward by our critic, that no company should be exempt, for any reason, because anaphylaxis is dangerous for some Canadians.

I definitely congratulate the member and I strongly support the motion.

AnaphylaxisPrivate Members' Business

Noon

Conservative

Ron Cannan Conservative Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise to express my support for Motion No. 546, which was brought forward by the member for Niagara West—Glanbrook.

This is a big issue for my constituents of Kelowna—Lake Country, as we have heard from folks across the country. My niece and her daughter are celiac. I met with folks last week who were affected by this.

The motion is a great step forward, and I appreciate the leadership taken by the Minister of Health. I had the opportunity to be at the announcement that day along with my colleagues. I remember the smiles on the faces of Mr. George and his family with whom we have worked so hard over the years to bring this initiative forward. I believe consumers should have an informed choice. Labelling improvement and the regulations will help those Canadians suffering from anaphylactic reactions.

We perhaps do not realize how important this is to the approximately 2.8 million Canadians who suffer different allergic reactions to sulphites and other things. By doing this, we will be giving them a quality of life that they have not had an opportunity to enjoy.

It is also much more expensive when individuals who suffer allergic reactions go to the store with a shopping list on an 8.5x11 piece of paper of all the different potential chemical analyses, as my hon. colleague from the NDP mentioned. My niece said that she felt like a scientist when she went to the store. There is an additional cost and burden on young families. The motion would help provide more options for these people and would help bring down the cost. It also would help them with their food budget.

We are highlighting for the Government of Canada additional issues with regard to this specific issue, such as allergens, gluten sources and added sulphites.

On February 16, the regulations were published by Health Canada. These regulations will come into force on August 4, 2012, and require priority allergens to be clearly indicated on the label on the food either in the list of ingredients or in a separate statement that begins with the word “contains”. These labelling requirements will improve the quality of life for individuals and their families suffering from severe food allergies, celiac disease or sulphite sensitivity. By minimizing the risks associated with the consumption of undeclared allergens, gluten sources and sulphites, the government is maximizing the choice of safe and nutritious foods for those with dietary restrictions.

Until the new regulations come into force, Canadians can find additional information on what to look for on food labels to safely identify the presence of allergens, gluten sources and sulphites in Health Canada's pamphlet entitled “Common Food Allergies - A Consumer’s Guide to Managing the Risks”.

I thank my colleague and all members of the House for supporting the motion, as we continue to provide important regulatory and labelling changes for Canadians in order to provide them with a quality of life that they have been unable to enjoy.

AnaphylaxisPrivate Members' Business

Noon

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Kelowna—Lake Country will have six and a half minutes left to conclude his remarks the next time the motion is before the House.

It being 12:04 p.m., the time provided for the consideration of private members' business has expired and the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the order paper.

The House resumed from March 7 consideration of the motion that Bill C-60, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (citizen's arrest and the defences of property and persons), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

Noon

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor has 10 minutes.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

Noon

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise to speak to this particular issue about citizen's arrest and the events that precede it.

We are here today to look at an amendment to section 494 of the Criminal Code. In my opinion, we are righting a wrong by doing this. I fully support this idea and fully support this bill.

There have been several episodes in history where this has been looked at and analyzed as a way of fixing an issue that has arisen due to one particular case that was featured in the city of Toronto. That was the story of David Chen. There has been a lot of media attention around this situation and his particular circumstance. If I may, I would like to talk about that very briefly.

In his security videos and from his own personal observations Mr. Chen noticed a particular individual time and time again stealing certain merchandise. The perpetrator was known in the area for having committed certain crimes. As a result, he appeared very suspicious.

The perpetrator went to Mr. Chen's place of business and stole a particular item. He then returned a half hour later only to be confined by Mr. Chen. The police moved in right away, but they went after Mr. Chen, not the perpetrator. As a result, there were several charges laid that we have talked about in detail. I will get to that in just a moment. The important fact is that Mr. Chen made the citizen's arrest after the incident had taken place. Therein lies the meaning of this particular legislation, and I am sure many Canadians would agree, that a certain period of time be allotted to act upon this or that there is a reasonable amount of time allotted wherein one can make a citizen's arrest.

The bill seeks to amend the Criminal Code to allow private citizens who own or have lawful possession of property to arrest a person they find committing a criminal offence on or in relation to that property within a “reasonable amount of time”. This power of arrest is permitted only in circumstances where there are reasonable grounds to believe that it is not feasible for the arrest to be made by law enforcement officials. Therein lies the other part of this, which is to say that in the case of Mr. Chen, which is the example we are using, he was put in a position where he was called into action. There were no peace officers there at the time. Therefore, in the absence of law enforcement officials, his judgment call was to make a citizen's arrest on that particular person he felt would steal something from his business. I imagine most of us would feel that his acts are justified.

As a result of this action, therein lies the crux of this particular amendment, which talks to the reasonable amount of time one has to do this. Currently, the legislation deals with the acts or actions one may take in making a citizen's arrest within a specific period of time. Therefore, the emphasis is on the particular amount of time that one has to make a citizen's arrest.

If a person, having witnessed a crime wherein the perpetrator has left the scene only to return, in David Chen's case it was 30 minutes, feels that he or she must take action, I believe the majority of Canadians feel that making a citizen's arrest at that time is indeed justifiable.

This has been an issue since I believe September 27, 2009, when the minister originally mused about it. As a result, almost two years later we are now looking at the legislation being tabled as we debate it in the House.

There does not seem to be a tremendous amount of debate here as the government put this bill forward and the Liberal Party and the NDP have endorsed it. Of course there have been private members' bills from the Liberal Party, by my colleague for Eglinton—Lawrence, and also my colleague from the NDP in the riding of Trinity—Spadina reflecting this issue.

As many people can imagine, there are some concerns around the term “a reasonable amount of time”.

Every time we talk about legal issues and legislation that makes an amendment to the Criminal Code, we always talk about and sometimes consider what is a reasonable amount of time and actions that are deemed to be reasonable in a court of law. Therefore it is open to interpretation.

Because we are at second reading of the bill and by accepting this in principle, it would now be sent to committee to find out what is a reasonable amount of time and to flesh out some of the parameters around this piece of legislation.

There is a certain amount of ambiguity that constitutes what is a reasonable amount of time between when an act of violence is committed and when a citizen's arrest is made.

We know that some police officers have raised concerns in the past about this legislation. We certainly look forward to hearing what input they bring to this and I will get to a few examples in a few moments.

Many months ago this issue was moved on when we saw the situation with David Chen. Private member's Bill C-547 was introduced by the member for Eglinton—Lawrence. We now find ourselves debating a government bill but two years ago we were dealing with all kinds of amendments to the Criminal Code. How this issue did not manage to pop up in the debate over the two-year period is slightly questionable.

The amendments that are being made, whether they be mandatory minimums, whether they be Internet crime and things we have seen over the last little while, especially when it comes to mandatory minimums, there has been a lot of debate in the House regarding amendments to the Criminal Code.

I am not a lawyer, but nonetheless I have heard from many legal experts who have said that the Conservatives could have done all of this in a much shorter period of time if they had done the amendments through, say, four, five or maybe even six bills as opposed to the 15 to 20, in that range, that we currently have. This could have been done two years ago, or the Conservatives could have accepted my colleague's private member's bill at the time. That probably would have been the most prudent way to go. Nonetheless, we find ourselves in the House today debating this legislation.

I look forward to what will be talked about at committee. I talked earlier about the ambiguity surrounding this. In the circumstances, we do have a legitimate concern to be addressed, but nonetheless, the principle of the bill is a sound one, which is the ability for citizens to make arrests. The situation with David Chen in Toronto is really an illustration of why we are debating this and why, I assume, most members of the House accept the bill in principle.

The incident of David Chen took place in October 2010. At that time there was a lot of debate and it received quite a bit of notoriety from coast to coast to coast. As a result of that, the debate became apropos of the times. Citizen's arrest is something we talked about. It has not been as publicized as it is now. The David Chen video tapes became news everywhere. I am from Newfoundland and Labrador and it was a big story there as well. It was featured prominently. It was not just a local Toronto story. Therefore, the issue gained that much more weight as a result of it.

The Criminal Code allows for a citizen's arrest as it stands right now. The amendment to section 494 would address that, but where an individual is caught in the act of committing a crime on a person or property and a citizen immediately detains the subject, therein lies the current state of the Criminal Code which addresses a citizen's arrest. The provision allows for an arrest to occur without having to wait for law enforcement to arrive on the scene. There are several examples over the years that would address this. Certainly an amendment to section 494 would address the situation regarding a reasonable amount of time. There is no doubt in my mind that a reasonable amount of time, which was illustrated by the David Chen case, perfectly justified a citizen's arrest. I believe the time was 30 minutes after the first encounter.

Therefore, in that particular case, it illustrates that a reasonable amount of time would be justified by this amendment. However, to put the parameters around this particular piece of legislation requires it going to committee and I look forward to hearing the debate on that.

The bill would also expand the scope of a citizen's arrest to allow for such detention to occur within a reasonable amount of time. It is not clearly defined what constitutes the reasonable amount of time, which will certainly be debated. The bill states clearly that no individual is entitled to use excessive force in the process of detention of another individual.

There have been other groups and stakeholders who want to discuss this as well and I am sure they will be given ample opportunity once they arrive at committee. I implore all my colleagues to support this bill in principle and send it to committee.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, I compliment my hon. colleague for having had the energy and eloquence to address some of the issues in Bill C-60.

He quite rightly pointed out that this is a bill that emanated from private members' initiatives, mine in particular, and the one by the member for Trinity—Spadina. It is important to say both parties because the Government of Canada—I am sorry, the Prime Minister's “SH” government responded with great tardiness. I notice that some people smile at that, but he wants it to be known as that.

It responded with great tardiness to a situation that was egregious. It was egregious because a repeated victim of theft by a convicted felon was penalized by the justice system. It is a government that constantly talks about its crime and justice agenda, but allowed Mr. David Chen and others like him to languish for the better part of 18 months while it did absolutely nothing.

Worse, it caused that individual to assume the costs of defending himself in court in order to prove something for the benefit of the government and the government mucked that up as well. Look at this piece of legislation. I wonder if my colleague would comment on that.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I think the member is a little angry. I want to congratulate him on his private member's bill. In the course of this debate a lot of it has been fleshed out over the course of time.

Another issue I noticed about this piece of legislation is we seem to have a little here and a little there when it comes to amendments to the Criminal Code. The Criminal Code seems to have garnered a lot of attention around here and in many cases justifiably so. The only problem I have is that sometimes we sensationalize these things to the point where they become overdone. Sometimes other pieces of legislation, whether it is with regard to crime or other social policy, get left behind, which is unfortunate.

My colleague talked about this particular piece of legislation and the principle by which we are accepting it. Senior police officers in Halifax have urged caution about the legislation. That is one thing we must bear in mind and that is why it should be sent to committee for further study. I look forward to that.

Again, I congratulate my colleague from Eglinton—Lawrence on his role in all of this.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, as the member is aware, parts of this bill mirror the bill tabled by the member for Trinity—Spadina trying to address what occurred to one of her constituents, the arrest of Mr. David Chen.

My colleagues, including the member for Windsor—Tecumseh, have raised concerns and I am wondering if the member supports the concern raised by my colleague in the House to the effect that members would like this bill to go to committee for consideration and discussion, but that there is the potential for expediting the amendments to section 494 to address what happened to Mr. Chen and clarify the issues on the occasion of a robbery and one's property is impacted.

Does he believe that we should be exploring the separation of additional provisions not raised in the Chen case dealing with provocation, justification and claim of right?

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the member questions me often and does it to great effect, so I look forward to her question each and every time.

I have two things. The NDP addressed the situation in Trinity—Spadina, which is a good illustration of where this happened. I used to live in Trinity—Spadina near where the incident took place, so I know the area well.

We had several renditions of this private member's bill, including from my own colleague, the member for Eglinton—Lawrence and, I think, from the member for Windsor—Tecumseh. My colleague, a former professor, also spoke to this.

--courts pay attention to what Parliament says when they look for direction in law.

I think that was from the Minister of Justice, and—

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. I will have to stop the member there as he is out of time.

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Richmond—Arthabaska.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise today to speak to Bill C-60, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (citizen's arrest and the defences of property and persons).

I will summarize what the bill is all about. The bill amends the Criminal Code to enable a person who owns or has lawful possession of property, or persons authorized by them, to arrest within a reasonable time a person whom they find committing a criminal offence on or in relation to that property. Bill C-60 also amends the Criminal Code to simplify the provisions relating to the defences of property and persons.

More succinctly, the bill significantly broadens the notion of self-defence and slightly broadens that of citizen's arrest.

I have had the opportunity to review some of the speeches about Bill C-60. One of my colleagues also talked about this bill.

It will come as no surprise that the Bloc Québécois supports sending Bill C-60 to committee. Today, we have heard that the scope of the bill raises certain questions. I will talk about the notion of self defence a little later. There are many questions about the problems that could be created by Bill C-60.

A Liberal member said that when an event gets a lot of media coverage, parliamentarians immediately want to solve the problem, which is quite commendable. Everyone in the House undoubtedly acts out of good faith when it comes to solving a justice-related or other problem. However, we must ensure that the scope of these laws does not give rise to other problems. That is what we fear with Bill C-60.

Two members introduced private member's bills to address citizen's arrest. In the Toronto area, the owner of a convenience store took the law into his own hands and was arrested. The public believed that the arrest made no sense because the owner of the convenience store had acted in good faith to protect himself and his property.

Bills were introduced in this regard. Then, the Conservatives introduced a bill on the same topic but with a much larger scope that also addresses the issue of self-defence.

For the Bloc Québécois, defending oneself and one's property, within reasonable limits, is a fundamental right. We do not see any problem with this. It is already permitted by law, but the law is too restrictive. Mr. Chen's case is a good example.

Bloc members support a legislative amendment that would enable honest citizens to defend themselves, their property and others. However, we do not want to implement a populist approach reminiscent of the wild west. No one here was alive during that time, but we have all seen movies in which people take justice into their own hands. Clearly, we do not want violence to escalate in such a manner or we could find ourselves in a situation where the lives of individuals and groups are endangered.

As legislators and as people who want to defend their families and their property, we do not want to create other, more serious problems and we do not want to contribute to an increase in violence. Certain provisions in the current bill could give rise, in the short to medium term, to situations that neither the public nor the police would want.

Bill C-60 was introduced in response to the incident in Toronto that I mentioned earlier. A business owner was arrested and taken to court for catching and detaining a man who had robbed him. This arrest of an honest citizen, who had repeatedly asked for police help without any response, outraged the public.

Two private member's bills were introduced immediately following this incident, and then Bill C-60 was introduced. Bill C-60 includes the vision of the political parties that introduced the private member's bills to address the issue of citizen's arrest. The Conservative government introduced a bill that seeks to amend the self-defence provisions of the Criminal Code.

Questions are being raised about the changes to the Criminal Code. The deputy chief of the Halifax Regional Police urged the federal government to caution the public about making citizen's arrests, because we want to prevent well-intentioned individuals from committing crimes themselves. He also pointed out that an arrest carries risks that a citizen has little chance of responding to as well as a police officer can. It is not our job to take on the role of vigilante. However, out of necessity, there are some situations in which citizens must be allowed to arrest someone who is in the process of committing a crime or harming property, a loved one or even a stranger. We even have a duty to intervene when we see someone in danger. We cannot stand by and do nothing, even if there is clearly a risk in intervening. It could jeopardize the life of the victim or our own life. Necessary force must be used. The changes made to self-defence with Bill C-60 could cause problems. Some situations that are currently illegal could become legal. We are not convinced that this would be desirable for the well-being of the community. Some situations covered by Bill C-60 were discussed by those who spoke before me, but I would like to give some examples.

There is a spat between neighbours: John is unhappy because he lent Jim his lawnmower and has not gotten it back yet. So he starts to threaten Jim and his family. He may even go as far as to threaten to kill them. Jim does not want to take any chances and decides to kill John before he attacks Jim or his family. When Jim is arrested, he tells the police that he could not guarantee his own or his family's safety because of the threats they had received. This may seem like an exaggerated, ridiculous example, but if we just look at what happens in court or read a newspaper, we will see a number of similar examples where people are trying to justify what they have done, even if their actions are unforgivable. How does one prove that John truly endangered the lives of Jim and his family? It will never happen, because one person killed the other.

Or consider this scenario: someone steals a pack of cigarettes from a convenience store. The cashier has a firearm under the counter and if he pulls it out, any number of things could happen: he could accidentally kill the man who stole the pack of cigarettes just by pointing the gun at him; he could say to himself that the man is a thief so he is allowed to take the law into his own hands and he decides to shoot; or the thief takes off and the other man decides to shoot and seriously injures or kills him because he wanted to stop him. We do not know whether he intended to kill the thief or not, but we do know that he pulled the trigger. I would remind hon. members that the man stole a pack of cigarettes. The shopkeeper may also decide to kill him because he has been robbed too many times and the police do not act quickly enough. So he pulls the trigger and kills the thief.

In either scenario, society does not win. Indeed, there is always a delicate balance that must be struck between going too far—even if one's intentions are good in proposing reforms that could have a negative impact—and taking action to protect one's property, one's family or unknown individuals. A balance must be struck. There is no doubt that the Criminal Code does have some shortcomings at this time, as we saw with the example of the shopkeeper, but the committee needs to examine certain things much more thoroughly.

In closing, situations like this often come up. When I was a teenager and still living at home, thieves broke into my parent's house. I was in the basement with my girlfriend at the time, and no one else was home.

When I woke up, I heard voices, so I knew there was more than one thief in the house. To scare them away, I told them I had a firearm. They ran away, but I definitely would have had a problem if I really had had a weapon and had decided to fire on them when they were running away across the lawn. That is why we must not go too far.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

I have a few questions for my colleague, who gave a pretty thorough summary of the bill before us.

I wonder whether my colleague would find it strange, if not deceptive, that the government, which waited for 18 months after it promised David Chen that it would look at an egregious situation, comes forward with legislation that not only looks at the issue of reasonableness, which, by the way, was already addressed by the court as it dealt with David Chen's case, but adds on to it a whole series of extraneous items that it says are absolutely important and crucial to understanding the concept of reasonableness in a citizen's arrest situation.

I would like the hon. member to give us an indication of whether he finds that the government took so long in order to come right up face to face with the prospect of not having to deal with it at all. This bill will go to committee but we do not know if the committee will be heard. However, David Chen will have expended a lot of energy, a lot of resources and a lot of money.

Does the member not think that the government should reimburse him for what he did in order to upgrade the criminal court's case study of situations like his?

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question.

Let me come back to the famous delicate balance that is needed when it comes to self-defence. I concluded my speech rather quickly a moment ago, talking about my own experience.

The government is playing around with the issue of self-defence by removing the whole notion of necessity. Everyone knows we have the right to defend ourselves and that that is enshrined in the Criminal Code, but that only the necessary force can be used.

I want to come back to my previous example. The thieves were in my parents' house. I managed to chase them away by screaming “I have a gun”. It was not true, but they did not know that. Fortunately, they believed me. When I saw them running through the neighbour's yard, I noticed there were three of them. I was glad that I had not come out swinging and that I had not tried to fight with them. I was with my spouse at the time and I did not want to leave her alone.

However, if I had had a gun and had decided to shoot the thieves as they were running away through the neighbour's yard, I do not think I would have been using necessary force or that I could have argued that it was necessary to kill someone who had entered my parents' home. If the thieves had entered the room I was in and jumped me, or started hitting me or my spouse, I think I could have used necessary force in that case.

That is the difference. The problem lies in identifying what the government wants to do with Bill C-60.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, I must insist because the issue that caused the bill to come forward is essentially one of a citizen's arrest, in other words, the right of an individual to protect himself as well as his property but, most important, his property at this stage of the game. The government has come forward with legislation that unnecessarily deals with, as the member has noted, a series of issues even though the courts in the David Chen case addressed his issue, which was the reasonableness of the time and the continuity of the actions where, under any normal and reasonable expectation, someone would have found that David Chen actually did protect his property by using all the means available to conduct a citizen's arrest.

Under those circumstances, would he not think that the government is really trying to thwart the will of the courts?

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12:35 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member has hit the nail on the head. He has been here long enough to know that the Conservative government always tends to adopt populist measures, especially when it comes to justice.

It was easy, especially given the bill he himself introduced and the bill introduced by the NDP, to move very quickly to resolve the problem in the Criminal Code. We see that. That is why we agree with sending Bill C-60 to committee. There are changes we can make without unravelling everything.

However, to introduce this populist measure is to suggest that this is what people want and that the government will move forward with it without considering the consequences. In wanting to resolve a situation involving Mr. X, in this case Mr. Chen, the government is using a bazooka when all it really needed to do was to make a very quick change by passing either the bill introduced by my colleague or the one—

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Resuming debate.

The member for Don Valley East.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today to Bill C-60, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (citizen's arrest and the defences of property and persons).

The genesis of the bill was the arrest of Toronto grocer, David Chen, who apprehended a man who had previously stolen from his store. Mr. Chen was arrested and charged with forcible confinement after the perpetrator of the theft was caught outside his store by Mr. Chen who effected what, in his mind, was a citizen's arrest.

Under the current provisions of the Criminal Code, a citizen may make an arrest only when a criminal offence is being committed or has been committed and the alleged criminal is in the process of fleeing. Eventually, the court, after a lengthy period of time and a large public outcry, found Mr. Chen not guilty due to a reasonable doubt being identified by the judge.

As I look at Bill C-60, it tries to amend subsection 494(2) of the Criminal Code to enable private citizens who own or have lawful possession of property, or persons authorized by them, to arrest, within a reasonable time, a person who they find committing a criminal offence on or in relation to that property. This power of arrest would only be authorized when there are reasonable grounds to believe that it is not feasible in the circumstances for the arrest to be made by a police officer. It would also amend the Criminal Code to simplify the provision relating to the defence of property and persons.

We must be careful that the passage of this bill does not give the public the erroneous impression that individuals have the right to mete out any form of vigilante justice. The government has taken too long to introduce a bill on this issue, and when it came up with this wording, there are some issues around clarity. There is ambiguity. What are these things that need to be clarified? The ambiguity that is most concerning is what is meant by a reasonable amount of time between the act of violence that is committed on a personal property and when a citizen's arrest is made.

If this ambiguity is left unresolved it could lead others to inadvertently commit a criminal act. For example, let us say that we see someone breaking into our house or garage and stealling tools but we are not able to apprehend the person, if we were to meet that person next week in a park could we apprehend him or her then? What is a reasonable time? How does one get around it? If I see somebody breaking into my neighbour's house, what is my job as a citizen? Should I make a citizen's arrest? Where are the parameters? Those are the parameters of the citizen's arrest that are missing from this explanation or change to the act.

How do we ensure clarity? We need to have clarity so we do not have a repeat of what happened to Mr. Chen. Mr. Chen did what he thought was helping the police. He arrested the guy who was a repeat offender and because it was his personal property he thought he was doing the right thing. Unfortunately, the police arrested Mr. Chen and told him that he was doing the wrong thing.

I wonder how many of us would stop if we saw a theft taking place, take a picture and ensure the picture was correct so we could give it to the police do they could find the person. We know the police force is underfunded. It needs all the citizen help it can get. Where is this clarity that we are looking for? I know police officers have also raised concern about the legislation and I look forward to hearing those concerns. I would look forward to sending this bill to committee.

For a government that says it is a law and order agenda government, why did it take so long to bring about changes?

The member for Eglinton—Lawrence and the member for Trinity—Spadina both addressed this issue many months ago when they brought in a private member's bill. It was after they brought in the private member's bill that the government decided that it should get around to this issue as well.

I want the government to be smart on crime and to be alert on crime, not to make crime some election issue. These are crimes that affect citizens and that affect my daily life. I would like the government to clarify due process. How does the judge know what due process is? The judiciary should be given that clarity.

What determines a citizen's arrest? The police need to be given clarity so they do not repeat the mistakes that happened in Mr. Chen's case. If the police do not understand the interpretation of this bill, we will have another repeat of Mr. Chen's situation.

This is important for all of us. I will give an example that is very interesting. Spitting is not allowed on many streets, especially in Europe. People cannot spit on the street. Is spitting a crime? Do I take a picture? If I do take a picture, what do I do with it? How do I make a citizen's arrest? If I see a member's computer being stolen, what do I do about it? What is a reasonable time? When do I enforce it? As I mentioned, the police force does not have the wherewithal to arrive on time sometimes. It needs all the help it can get.

Therefore, when we are looking at making changes to that act, we should let the police do their justice job. If we are trying to apprehend a perpetrator and the perpetrator has a gun, what do we do? How do we protect ourselves? Yes, the police should do their job and, yes, the police cannot always be there, but when we are talking about citizen's arrests, let us be clear about what we want.

It is unfortunate that the government took so long. It is unfortunate that Mr. Chen had to go through this lengthy and costly legal process due to the ambiguity. I do not think the ambiguity has been clarified by what the government has introduced.

I hope the committee and its members will look at these concerns and that they will come up with a solution that provides clarity to the public, the police and the judiciary.

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12:40 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, I compliment my colleague on attempting to make the legislation relevant to the everyday experiences of ordinary citizens.

Mr. Chen was an ordinary citizen. He had the assurance of the Minister of Immigration that his situation would be rectified very quickly by the Government of Canada, or the SH government. He also had a similar assurance from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice.

By his own words, we have the Minister of Justice's account that in late 2009 the governments of the various provinces were already coming to a conclusion with regard to this and yet the government did nothing.

I wonder whether the member will comment on why it took two opposition bills in order to prompt the government to action?

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12:45 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member's question brought me back to the fact that the Prime Minister went to Mr. Chen's store for electioneering purposes.

It was the member for Eglinton—Lawrence and the member for Trinity—Spadina who were the proponents of this private member's bill to move it forward.

I can only speculate that this was electioneering because if it was for the law and order agenda and I as a private citizen am not protected, it must be speculation time.

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12:45 p.m.

Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia Manitoba

Conservative

Steven Fletcher ConservativeMinister of State (Democratic Reform)

Mr. Speaker, I was listening with a little interest to what the member was saying and I reflect on her comment about the fact that the Conservative Party is tough on crime. We are tough on crime and that is why we have introduced this bill. This bill would take care of the people who wish to harm citizens or their property. We have introduced legislation to get rid of the three for one and two for one time served credits that criminals were taking advantage of. We have introduced laws that are tough on crime.

Would the member not just admit that the Liberal Party is soft on crime and would like to see as much leeway as possible given to the bad guys so they can escape prosecution? Would the member please state for the record that she is against prosecution?

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12:45 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am quite amused by this. If there is a three for one credit, I have to wonder whether the senators who were charged with fraud in elections will be going to jail and what time they will serve.

When it comes to Conservatives committing a crime, why is it that the government absolutely refuses to put them in prison or ensures that due process takes place? Ordinary citizens who commit crimes are put wherever and the Conservatives think they are being tough on crime. But when it comes to the Conservative senators, members and ministers who are implicated in fraud in elections, where will they be going?

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12:45 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite just raised a very important point, and that is that the SH government has no agenda for getting tough on crime. It does not have a reasonable approach to dealing with crime and promoting justice. In fact, there are no more resources being allocated for justice issues.

How can one be tough except by one's own wrath?

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12:45 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, instead of investing in the police, who are underfunded and under-resourced, the government is creating mega prisons for unreported crimes. The government needs to invest in resources. The police need money, so let us invest in the right resources. Let us be smart on crime, not stupid on crime.

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12:45 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to stand today to speak to Bill C-60, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (citizen's arrest and the defences of property and persons).

The New Democrats are happy to support the bill, at least insofar as it would expand the legal authority for private citizens to make an arrest within a reasonable amount of time after they find that person committing a criminal offence.

It is important to understand that the bill would do three things: first, it would extend the time period from the present Criminal Code situation in which a person may make a citizen's arrest; second, it would amend the defence of persons provisions of the Criminal Code; and, third, it would amend the defence of property provisions of the Criminal Code.

It is the New Democrat Party's position that the first part of the bill is an appropriate amendment to our law that our party supports. With respect to the other two sections, we believe that those sections should be split from the bill or otherwise studied independently in committee prior to making any changes in that regard.

Again, the legislation would expand the legal authority for private citizens to make an arrest from the present situation which allows citizens to make that arrest if they catch someone in the commission of a crime; that is, any citizen of Canada can make a citizen's arrest lawfully under the Criminal Code provided that they make that arrest during the commission of that offence.

Canadians saw a spectacle last summer where a Toronto shopkeeper arrested a person who had come to his store on multiple occasions and stolen from him. His name was David Chen and the name of his store was the Lucky Moose. The thief returned to the store within a very close amount of time from having robbed it earlier, I think within the last day or two, and entered the store again. Mr. Chen had a videotape of this person, so identification was not an issue. Mr. Chen and his staff held that person until the police arrived.

What happened next is something that I think revealed the problem with the current law, which is that upon arriving at Mr. Chen's store, the police did not arrest the alleged thief, but arrested Mr. Chen and charged him with a number of offences, including unlawful confinement and other such, I think, completely unreasonable offences.

Of course, at the time, the police really had no choice but to do so because the law, as it currently stands, says that a person may only make that arrest during the commission of an offence. Since the thief had arrived at Mr. Chen's store not during the commission of the offence but within a day or two later, Mr. Chen was not within his rights, under the Criminal Code, to make that arrest.

The bill would also bring reforms to simplify or clarify, according to the government, the Criminal Code provisions on self-defence and defence of property, and clarify where reasonable use of force is permitted in relation to those issues.

The amendments to subsection 494(2) of the Criminal Code, on citizen's arrest, would authorize private citizens to make that arrest within a reasonable amount of time after they find someone committing a criminal offence that occurs in relation to property and the power of arrest would only be authorized when that person has reasonable grounds to believe that it is not feasible in the circumstances for the arrest to be made by a peace officer or, in other words, a police officer.

The legislation would also attempt to clarify, by cross-reference to the Criminal Code, that use of force is authorized in a citizen's arrest but that there are specific and concrete limits placed on how much force could be used.

In essence, the laws currently permit the reasonable use of force, taking into account all of the circumstances of a particular case and, of course, the current Criminal Code and the bill would continue to make it clear that a person is not entitled to use excessive force in a citizen's arrest.

There are very important considerations in the bill. A citizen's arrest is a very serious, potentially dangerous undertaking. Unlike a peace officer, a private citizen is neither tasked with the duty to preserve and maintain public peace nor, generally speaking, properly trained to apprehend suspected criminals.

In most cases, an arrest consists of either actually seizing or touching a person's body, with a view to detaining him or her, or by using words where the person submits to the arrest. Citizen's arrests made without careful consideration of the risk factors may have serious, unintended, physical or legal consequences for everybody involved.

When deciding if a citizen's arrest is appropriate, people should consider a number of factors, including whether a peace officer is available to intervene at that time, their personal safety or the safety of others, and whether that safety would be compromised by attempting an arrest. They should report information about the crime to police instead of taking action on their own wherever possible. They must have a reasonable belief regarding the suspect's criminal conduct and identity, and of course, they must turn over the suspect to the police without delay once an arrest is made.

I want to give credit where credit is due. My colleague from Trinity—Spadina, upon learning of Mr. Chen's situation, immediately went to work, as New Democrat MPs are renowned in the House for doing, by drafting a private member's bill, Bill C-565. The NDP responded to the situation before any other party in the House did.

My colleague drafted a bill that dealt surgically and precisely with the situation at hand. It could have been law today if the government had simply agreed to pass Bill C-565 by unanimous consent. In fact, all the parties could have done that. That bill would have expanded the time in which a citizen could make a citizen's arrest, which is all that is required.

The situation Mr. Chen faced was that he made an arrest after the commission of the offence and that is what put him in jeopardy. If we had amended the Criminal Code, we could have clarified that situation. The problem with the bill the government has put forward is that it goes beyond that. It purports to amend the sections of defence of property and persons in the Criminal Code, which are not situations that were required to be amended because of the Lucky Moose situation and which, of course, will slow down this legislation because now all parties in the House have to study carefully what those sections mean.

After my colleague drafted her bill, I was proud to second it. My colleague and I then toured small businesses in Vancouver Kingsway where I brought up the situation of Mr. Chen and the Lucky Moose to small business owners and asked their opinion. I also drafted a petition asking whether or not small business people would support my colleague's bill and there was overwhelming support.

The conversations I had with small business owners in Vancouver Kingsway made it clear that small business people are very concerned about theft, pilferage in their stores, the very slow response time of police, and the inability of police to deal adequately with the problem of shoplifting. These are hard-working store owners who employ thousands of my constituents and deserve to be better protected from those who would steal from them. I heard from small business people that their margins of profit are very thin and the difference between a small business owner making a living or not very often depends on the amount of crime, whether vandalism or theft.

I also met with the head of the Vancouver Chinatown Business Improvement Society and Tony Lam, and I heard their experiences. The shop owners in Chinatown in Vancouver tell me that their very existence is threatened by the crime experienced in the Downtown Eastside. They have to hire private security. They say that police are so over-stretched they are unable to respond. I want to talk for just a minute about that because part of the problem underlying this bill is the problem of over-stretched police.

I have met with police board representatives, police officers, chiefs of police, and with municipalities across this country. They tell me that the 2,500 police officer positions the government promised to create have not materialized. They have said that the $500 million in federal policing costs are being downloaded to municipalities. They told me that in order to make their streets safer, and ensure that citizens and businesses are protected, they need more community policing.

That is the underlying problem that this bill seeks to remediate. Citizens are now placed in the position of having to do what they pay taxes for, which is to get police to respond to crime. However, that does not happen when the government does not provide the necessary funding for long-term positions, does not target the money to provinces to create the positions, and does not create enough funds to hire the civilian staff necessary to support the police officers.

I am proud to support this bill and small businesses in this country, and to ensure they can protect themselves from crime.

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12:55 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hon. colleague is a lawyer and is accustomed to ensuring that precision is part of the presentation. He will recall that, on June 16, I presented a private member's bill to draw the government's attention to the fact that Mr. Chen's case was languishing in a stupor of indifference. The member for Trinity—Spadina followed that up the following September, still in 2010, weeks before Mr. Chen's case appeared in court for deliberation. Still there was no action by the government. Remember, the government says that it is tough on crime, but it is indifferent to victims.

Those of us who really wanted a balanced approach to life were looking for an indication that the government would deliver on its promises, promises made by the Minister of Immigration and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice. Even the Justice Minister, in his presentation, indicated that in the fall of 2009 he was already in consultation with the provincial attorneys general to do something, and did nothing. Does the member not find this all strange?

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1 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, I give credit to the hon. member for Eglinton—Lawrence and commend him on his early action as well to draft legislation, again showing that the opposition was first off the mark in dealing with the situation of Mr. Chen and the Lucky Moose.

Absolutely, Canadians want a balanced approach to crime. Very often I think it is a fair comment to say that the government tries to reduce crime to simple sloganeering, to name calling and to simplification that really all Canadians utterly reject. Every member of the House is in favour of reducing crime in our country. Every member of the House is dedicated to ensuring we take care of victims. For one party in the House to constantly stand and accuse the other parties of not caring about those things is as dishonourable as it is dishonest.

We need to look at our law and make improvements where the law really requires it. I think this is a section of the Criminal Code that all parties can agree, and I think we all agree, that expanding the citizen's arrest provisions of the Criminal Code is necessary and is desirable to modernize this section to keep up with the expectations of Canadians in this important area.

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1 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the hon. member's intervention because, with his legal training, he has an insight into the way the law would work, from which other members of Parliament might benefit.

Trying to tap on his expertise, I would like to get his views on whether it has been necessary for this legislation, Bill C-60, to be as expansive as it has become. We were essentially trying to address the issue of a citizen's right to arrest, period, pure and simple. The government has unnecessarily burdened this debate with other issues that will take the public's attention away from a very small amendment to the Criminal Code.

In fact, it is an amendment that had been studied by various university law professors and had been worked on by those associated with Mr. Chen. I compliment Chi-Kun Shi and all her team of legal experts who provided the energy and incentive to Mr. Chen and gave him the courage to stand up to government, to speak truth to power and to ask for a change in law so citizens could be protected.

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1 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, the short answer to the hon. member's question is yes.

All that was required to amend the law in this case was to pass the essential amendment that my colleague from Trinity—Spadina and my hon. colleague from Eglinton—Lawrence proposed in their legislation, which is simply to extend the time period in which a citizen may make an arrest to a reasonable time within the commission of a crime.

The fact that the government tacked on unnecessary and complicating amendments, which have to do with sections of the Criminal Code that are not engaged by the Chen incident, that are not required to be amended in order to deal surgically with the situation at hand, does slow down the passing of this bill. It does make every reasonable member of the House have to pause and study the impact of those sections of the Criminal Code. Therefore, it is likely that the bill will not be passed as swiftly as it could have been had we just done what the hon. member's bill and my hon. colleague's bill would have done.

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1:05 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, to begin with, I must tell you that the Bloc Québécois will support this bill at second reading. The reason is quite simple: we very much want the bill to be referred to committee so it can be studied. In fact, as is their custom, the Conservatives introduce bills with titles that are sometimes misleading. In addition, we are familiar with their Republican-style approach, characterized by penalties, punishment and being tough on crime. Often, a simple bill goes beyond the issue it is supposed to resolve. That is what we are dealing with today.

The bill is called An Act to amend the Criminal Code (citizen's arrest and the defences of property and persons). In reading the bill, we realize that it goes too far. As I was saying, it errs on the side of punishment, ideology and rigidity. There is no flexibility in the Conservative ideology, which makes it difficult to try to find new ways of dealing with new behaviours in society. The Conservatives always have the same reflex: the response has to be far-reaching, people must go to jail, and rehabilitation is not possible.

So, you will understand that with this bill, like many other bills related to justice and safety, as the saying goes, the devil is in the details. When we take a closer look at these details, we see that the title of the bill before us does not necessarily reflect its content.

I would like to give examples of the Conservatives' lack of flexibility in their approach to crime, which focuses solely on punitive measures. There are many examples, one of which is Bill C-25 to amend the Youth Criminal Justice Act. This bill was considered heresy in Quebec because we believe that it is more important to focus on prevention, particularly when it comes to adolescents. We should not imprison them and thereby send them to crime school because, when they get out of prison, they will have indeed become true criminals. In Quebec, we want to do the opposite; we want to rehabilitate these offenders and give them a second chance. If you look at the statistics, you will see that Quebec has had the most success in this area. This not only benefits society, but it also saves money because it means that we do not have to spend money on prisons, as the Conservative government is preparing to do by making major investments in correctional facilities.

These are examples of the lack of flexibility we have a hard time accepting because we do not have the same type of society. And you know that the Bloc members try to reflect the reality and the vision of Quebeckers as much as possible. But these visions that come from the rest of Canada, especially from the Conservative Party, in no way reflect Quebeckers' wishes in terms of justice.

It is the same story with the bill to amend the regulations for certain drugs. Pursuant to this bill, a teenager who is caught smoking a joint will be thrown in prison and will be tried in court, instead of being rehabilitated so he can become someone who contributes to society instead of spending his life behind bars, becoming someone who will, upon release, commit other crimes and make his situation worse, at which point he will be beyond help.

The Conservative government is not on the right track with its approach. It has missed the train entirely, and that is why the committee must examine this bill together.

Another example is the appointment of judges. The Minister of Justice now has the majority on the committee that selects judges. That is an odd way of controlling justice. But the judiciary is one of the basic pillars of a democracy, along with the executive and the legislative branches. As soon as a government goes to extremes to control the judiciary, as the Conservatives are doing, it is not surprising that these pillars would weaken and that our society would become dysfunctional. Therefore, it is important for us to delve into this bill and to examine it in detail.

We are looking out for the concerns of Quebeckers. We want a balanced approach, without too much repression, based on today's realities, because we are no longer working with 19th or 20th century laws. This is the 21st century. We need a new approach, which Quebeckers have managed to implement in their justice system. We cannot see ourselves in what the Conservative government is putting forward.

We must avoid the huge trap the Americans have fallen into. Proportionally speaking, seven times more prison sentences are handed down in the United States than in Quebec. We think we are on the right track. Imitating the Americans will not resolve matters here; on the contrary. The government wants to build more prisons. This will probably mean more guards in secure environments. This all costs money, and we are anxious to see those details. In fact, the opposition has requested documents in that regard and I would remind the government that it is running out of time to produce those documents, if it wants to avoid being found in contempt of Parliament.

The Bloc Québécois looked at some interesting points. Our parole system makes no sense. It makes no sense that Norbourg's Vincent Lacroix is out of prison in an open environment, when he ruined the lives of about 9,000 people and stole over $100 million. He should have served a full sentence for his crimes, instead of being released on parole. The proof that we are in touch with reality is that Quebeckers do not agree that Vincent Lacroix should be almost completely free at this time.

People also want us to do more to fight organized crime, which would be easy to do. We simply need to confiscate more assets. Anyone who accumulates goods or money fraudulently would have it confiscated and those assets and money would be placed in a fund used to pay for the fight against crime. These are excellent ideas. Unfortunately, the government refuses to listen to them.

We also need to eliminate the provision regarding the double credit that is given for time served before sentencing. At present, offenders can simply ask their lawyers to delay their cases, since every day they serve before sentencing will count as double. That is a problem. Unfortunately, once again, the government refuses to listen.

Let us now talk about citizen's arrest. There is a change here, and the devil is in the details. It must happen within a reasonable time, but what is a reasonable time? There must be reasonable grounds. It must not be feasible in the circumstances for a peace officer to make the arrest. The person wanting to make the arrest must feel that no other options are available because the police are not there. This is a very arbitrary provision and should be more precise in order for progress to be made.

We must also ensure that things do not get out of hand. We do not want to encourage vigilantes like the ones Charles Bronson played in the 1970s. If someone tries to make off with a pack of gum, the convenience store owner must not take out a gun and shoot him. Who will determine the amount of force needed? I may be told that these are mere details, but it is important to consider them.

It is the same for self-defence. Necessity is no longer a requirement for using force when it comes to self-defence. It used to have to be proven that force was necessary. At present, someone could threaten my friends or family and I, in self-defence, could seriously harm them. These things need to be examined. And that is why the Bloc Québécois wants this bill to be passed at second reading. The incident in Toronto cannot be ignored. Citizen's arrests can take place as long as certain rules are followed, and these rules need to be established and studied in committee.

We will support Bill C-60 at second reading so that it can be studied in more detail in committee and so that we can chase the devil out of the details.

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1:10 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, I think that the members in the House need to pay attention to the Bloc member when he says that the devil is in the details.

This could have been a very easy bill to address had the government told everybody that it saw a problem with a specific element in the Criminal Code that it wished to address. It had unanimous support in the House. Witness the two bills by the member for Eglinton—Lawrence and Trinity—Spadina. However, the government has taken a position, and I hope my hon. colleague will comment on this, that the entire Criminal Code needs an uplift, needs sorting out and greater attention, but it has not made the case for this bill.

We are looking for government members and government ministers to convince the House and the general public why the bill needs to be accepted in all its complexity as presented to the House.

The hon. member has just made a compelling case for saying there are very important issues that need to be addressed. The business of citizen's arrest is one of them. It is a crucial one. It tips the balance toward the citizen on reasonable grounds on a case-by-case basis--

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1:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Saint-Jean.

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1:15 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I agree with the hon. member.

Often when the Conservative Party tries to resolve one problem it creates others. In a way, that is what is going on with the bill before us today. The bills presented by the private members could have easily fixed the situation, but once again the government took advantage of an opportunity to interfere further in the details. Parliament as a whole, the committee and all the parties, have to rebalance this bill. The situation was not complicated: an individual and his employees arrested someone who was robbing his store. That individual was charged and he is the one who has to defend himself in court. People's perception is that criminals are better protected than victims. That would have been easy to fix, but the government has added all manner of detail and now we are also addressing self-defence. We are dealing with that because, once again, the Conservative government is going too far. Let us look at the details.

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1:15 p.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Liberal Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I was wondering what the hon. member would think about the following perspective, that lying behind this particular set of facts that gave rise to this amending legislation was a situation that involved common law defences and the statutorily written defences in the Criminal Code.

I always thought that the combination of the two was sufficient to deal with the actual case at hand. As it turned out, they were sufficient to deal with the case at hand because the charges against the individual involved were dropped or dismissed. In fact, they were not dropped but were proceeded with, which was the big problem, as they occasioned costs and all kinds of potential embarrassment to this citizen, this businessman.

However, I am just wondering if the hon. member would agree that the government is now going back and tinkering with the common law defences, because over half of this bill deals with the common law self-defence provisions. Will the tinkering not hurt the purpose of the bill, which was just to fix the one problem identified in the fact situation?

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:15 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, again, the hon. member is right. This is a common law issue.

The Conservative Party tends to make mountains out of molehills and ends up putting otherwise minor offences into the Criminal Code. That is what I would call rigid Conservative philosophy and Republican-style justice. It is not the answer. It is not necessary for this individual to be punished under the Criminal Code. On the contrary, the common law applies. However, the Conservative Party tends to twist common law matters into criminal law matters. I think this will create a society where things are not quite right. Hon. members are here to try to create balanced bills that resolve problems without making them worse.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:15 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, today I have the pleasure of speaking to Bill C-60, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (citizen's arrest and the defences of property and persons).

I would like to read a summary of this bill.

This bill seeks to amend the Criminal Code to enable a person who owns or has lawful possession of property to arrest within a reasonable time a person whom they find committing a criminal offence on or in relation to that property.

In general, advancing the cause central to Bill C-60 is a legitimate endeavour.

In many cases, the Conservative government puts up smoke screens and takes on the responsibility for finding a solution, whereas in many more cases they create the problem.

This was a real-life situation. However, it was members of the House who attempted to amend the law in order to ensure that citizens, such as Mr. Chen, would not have to go before the courts after legitimately protecting their property.

There was not enough security for his property. I am convinced that Mr. Chen legitimately wanted to protect his property and what he had earned through hard work. It was a huge economic loss for him. In some cases, depending on the situation, it could also be a sentimental loss.

I will get back to the smokescreen and the fact that the Conservatives like to take credit for solutions or let everyone think that they came up with them. However, once again, they have found ways to create additional problems rather than providing solutions.

I would like to acknowledge the extraordinary work done by the hon. member for Eglinton—Lawrence, who raised this point. I believe it is important to fully understand that member's efforts.

The hon. member introduced a private member's bill on June 16, 2010. He did so because he thought it was important to protect the people in his riding and throughout the country. He introduced the private member's bill to correct existing errors or, at the very least, improve the measures that were already in place.

Since early November 2010, the government and the Prime Minister have been repeatedly saying that this is one of their major priorities. This was not a major priority since a bill had already been introduced; a private member's bill was introduced by a Liberal member to move this issue forward. The member for Eglinton—Lawrence and his Liberal Party colleagues identified this priority long before the Conservatives did. The Prime Minister was likely asleep at the switch and someone woke him up to tell him that this was becoming a hot and important topic and that maybe he should pay special attention to it because he might gain some political advantage from it. As for my colleague from Eglinton—Lawrence, he introduced the bill in order to stand up for a cause and ensure that the people in his riding and elsewhere got the respect they deserved and were able to protect their property.

Despite the elaborate speeches given by the Prime Minister, ministers and Conservative members in November 2010, we still had to wait until February 2011 before they presented any amendments to the House, not only with regard to the specific point we are discussing today—the case of Mr. Chen for example—but also with regard to other situations.

Eight months went by between June 2010 and February 17, 2011, when the Conservative government made its big presentation.

This is surprising given the Conservatives' claim that they are champions of law and order—the reality is clearly different. When something happens in our country and someone tries to make things better for our constituents, the government takes eight months to react and present to the House, not a speech, but a concrete document on what it is offering to Canadian parliamentarians, those who make decisions for all Canadians.

Eight months earlier, my Liberal colleague for Eglinton—Lawrence had already found a way to improve the situation. The self-appointed champions of law and order said that it was not important, that the public was not really concerned with the issue and that they were not going to worry much about it. When things started to happen, when Mr. Chen's case came before the court in October 2010, the Conservatives saw that many people were paying attention to this issue and felt that it was important. It is normal for citizens to want to protect their property, whether we are talking about businesses or individuals, economic goods or property with sentimental value, or anything else.

My Liberal colleague had already identified the problem. This is where we see the Conservative government speaking double-talk. One day, it says it is here to protect the public, but when the time comes to do it, how much time does it take before it starts to do something? When it presented its bill in February, there was a panic because it could not prove to the public that it was the party that had identified the problem. Now this has to be dealt with overnight, when it could simply have given the credit to our colleague from Eglinton—Lawrence. He could then have had his private member’s bill passed easily and quickly. It was a very simple bill that contained what we expected to see. No one could have thought that they were going to get backdoored by the Conservative government’s bills.

The matter could have been dealt with very quickly in September, even before the court heard Mr. Chen's case in October. But no. The Conservatives always find a way to complicate things and give the impression that they are the great champions and saviours of the world. During that time, members working for the welfare of their constituents had already taken a position. That is the big difference between Liberal Party members and the Conservative government. The government wants to blow smoke and take the credit, while we are working for the welfare of our constituents.

I hope the government is going to learn a lesson from all this, and next time a member proposes an idea to meet the public’s needs, they will listen, regardless of political party. There is only one goal: to present or amend legislation so the public will have a better quality of life and a better structure to protect it.

We have seen smokescreens that did not produce much. A few years ago, in 2009, the Minister of Immigration said that the government would have to amend some of the regulations. It is fine for them to spend their time making speeches, but as long as there is nothing concrete, nothing is being done for the public. We have seen 2009, 2010 and part of 2011 go by, and the Conservatives still have not done anything. I would like to congratulate my colleague from Eglinton—Lawrence and thank him. His actions are the reason we have been able to understand the problem and find solutions.

I hope that the Conservative government will now open its eyes and ears, and come up with a solution.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, one of my observations about the current government is that it brings forward piecemeal amendments that are just a hodge-podge of little things here and there surrounded by fancy titles and are, in many cases, for what I call the retail side of politics.

All of this could have been accomplished with just a few amendments and some decent, indepth legislation that would have given us a greater idea of how we want to battle crime in this country. The government wants to be tough on crime but it is certainly not smart on crime. The comprehensive debate that we have had here comes down to a few adjectives here and there thrown about like they are substantial. In this particular case, it has taken way too long. I wonder if the member could comment on that.

I wonder if the member could also comment on just how lackadaisical this legislation seems to be despite the fact that it is well-intended and principled.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Newfoundland and Labrador for his comment and question.

Indeed, that is exactly the way things are. It has now become clear that the Conservatives are masters in the art of complicating the uncomplicated, when all Canadians want is results. And yet there are no results. As I mentioned, this could have been resolved in September. It probably could have been addressed in June, had there been the political will to do so, when my colleague from the Toronto region introduced his private member's bill. The matter could have been settled expeditiously on June 16. It was an important issue, but the Conservatives are masters in the art of complication. All the while, it is Canadians who pay the price and end up being not as well protected. It is not difficult to see where Liberal and Conservative Party members differ, and this is all the more evident when it comes to the Conservative government, which has a knack for making life complicated for itself and, ultimately, for Canadians.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, I could not let this pass without thanking my colleague from Madawaska—Restigouche for giving me such credit. I will return the compliment by complimenting his constituents on having such a great member of Parliament.

My colleague has pointed to a very important issue in this bill. There are three grave shortcomings in the legislation. First, Mr. Chen and others like him were victims of a criminal act. Second, they became victims of the law and the way it was applied. Third, they became victims of government indifference at their own cost in order to rectify an unjust situation.

Knowing that my colleague has been at the forefront of a movement in this place to bring to account both the government and its agents of Parliament, some of them have become agents of the government rather than agents of Parliament, and because he is familiar with hush money put aside for one particular individual, I wonder if he thinks that this might not be yet another case where the government, instead of putting forward hush money, it actually contributed to the cost of having had Mr. Chen proceed through the courts in order to establish the principle of a citizen's arrest under reasonable grounds.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, I would once again like to thank my Liberal colleague. Quite clearly, had the Conservative government got its priorities straight, rather than negotiating a half-million dollars in severance pay for the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner, it could have focused on coming up with solutions regarding Mr. Chen and his specific situation.

My colleague is right. Mr. Chen was battling a criminal. He then had to battle a particular piece of legislation and ultimately—and this is the worst part—contend with a government that deliberately threw a monkey wrench into the works with the aim of making the process grind to a halt, only to ultimately devise pretexts to get the ball rolling again.

However, as I said, instead of hammering out a half-million-dollar deal with the former Public Sector Integrity Commissioner, why did the government not instead focus on coming up with solutions for individuals like Mr. Chen?

Why did the government not choose to back my colleague, the member for Eglinton—Lawrence, to advance his cause? That would have benefited all Canadians, even though it was perhaps not advantageous for the Conservatives at the time.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am obviously pleased to be speaking today. This may be the last time we see each other before the upcoming election.

Bill C-60, as it is called by the government, has to do with self-defence and citizen's arrest. These are fundamental aspects of our everyday lives, but they can also involve diverse and extreme situations. How do we interpret legislation like this? How do we determine how far people can go in defending themselves and making arrests?

To give you a little background, the legislative summary of Bill C-60 states the following:

This enactment amends the Criminal Code to enable a person who owns or has lawful possession of property, or persons authorized by them, to arrest within a reasonable time a person whom they find committing a criminal offence on or in relation to that property. It also amends the Criminal Code to simplify the provisions relating to the defences of property and persons.

The bill significantly broadens the notion of self-defence and slightly broadens that of citizen's arrest. As I said earlier, the question revolves around the scope of these two notions, how this can be interpreted or how far people can go. Should we be setting the stage for abuse that is not prescribed and certainly not desired: abuse of the ability to defend oneself or abuse of the ability to make a citizen's arrest? Regardless, every person in our society should expect to have the full use of their property without having someone try to steal from them. That is obvious. Every person in our society should also expect to be able to move freely without worrying about being attacked and put in danger.

If someone tries to rob you, that is one thing. If someone tries to physically attack you, that is another thing. In these two cases, there are also elements that dictate how far we can go. That is why the Bloc would like to examine Bill C-60 in committee. It has to do with self-defence, which is a very sensitive and important subject.

For the Bloc Québécois, people have a basic right to defend themselves and their property within reasonable limits. This is already the case under the current legislation, but it is too restrictive. We are therefore in favour of a statutory amendment to allow honest citizens to defend themselves and their property or defend other people. However, we do not want to see an increase in the amount of violence in our societies. Quebec must not become the far west of old. Everybody would lose.

Some provisions are disturbing and could result sooner or later in situations that no one wants to see. We are therefore eager to study this bill in committee.

I am not a lawyer. I am not an expert in crime and certainly not a criminologist, but when this bill refers to defence of property or self-defence, certain things come to mind. For example, it was said that people could not use excessive force, or more force than necessary, to defend themselves or their property.

I have also heard it said that people could be prosecuted and sentenced for failing to assist someone in danger. When we speak about defending others, the following questions arise. What is excessive force when I am protecting my property? What is the extent of my responsibility to assist others in danger? There is my responsibility, but there is also my ability to do something. The context is important and must be specified, if we want to avoid excesses in either direction.

On February 17, the government introduced a bill broadening the concepts of self-defence and citizen’s arrest, especially to protect one’s property. This bill was in reaction to an incident that occurred in Toronto, where a shopkeeper was arrested and charged for having captured and detained a man who had stolen from him. The public was outraged by this arrest of an honest citizen, who had requested police help several times without always receiving it. In Toronto, and in Quebec as well, many people have the feeling—it is just a feeling, but it is an important factor nonetheless—that criminals are mollycoddled and the law does more to protect them than to protect honest citizens.

It is not surprising that the hon. members for Trinity—Spadina and Eglinton—Lawrence introduced bills to broaden the concept of citizen's arrest. However, these two bills only slightly broadened the notion of citizen's arrest whereas Bill C-60 substantially broadens the notion of self-defence.

As for citizen's arrest, Bill C-60 would amend the law to allow a property owner to make an arrest. Basically, a property owner would be given the right to arrest, within a reasonable time, a criminal who committed an offence, if the property owner has reasonable grounds to believe that it would not be possible for a peace officer to make an arrest under the circumstances.

Bill C-60 does not make many changes with regard to citizen's arrest, even though that is the pretext for the bill, but it makes sweeping changes with regard to self-defence. It takes away the requirement of necessity—the requirement of not killing an attacker unless absolutely necessary—and adds the possibility to defend oneself in reaction to a threat without defining what type of threat is likely to lead to legal violence. That is why I referred to determining the amount of force that can be used for self-defence and to the ability to defend oneself. Either way, we need to evaluate the ability to defend oneself as well as the force that can be used in these kinds of circumstances.

One potential concern about citizen's arrests is that the amendment could be misunderstood and things could get out of hand. In fact, Halifax's deputy chief of police has suggested that the federal government urge caution in the use of citizen's arrest. This is not only to ensure that a well-intentioned person does not commit a crime, but also to remind people that an arrest involves risks and that an ordinary person is not as likely as a police officer to be able to get control of someone who has committed a crime.

I would like to use the minute I have left to repeat what I said earlier, which is that everyone has the right to possess property without the fear of having it stolen from them by other people, and everyone should be able to live freely and without fear in our society. For this to happen, we need a responsible government that can ensure prevention, information and rehabilitation. This comes by integrating people socially and economically into society.

It was surprising that people did not resort to looting in Japan, which has suffered such terrible catastrophes, although that is often what happens here in North American society.

Thus, this happens through education, prevention and rehabilitation.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, during the debate a lot of concerns have been expressed about the concept of what constitutes reasonable time and reasonable force.

These elements tend to beg the question of how an ordinary citizen is supposed to understand the concepts involved, and there is a possibility that what we may in fact be doing is opening up a situation where people will simply understand that they can arrest someone without knowing or being able to make that judgment. When these incidents occur, they are usually instantaneous opportunities.

I wonder if the member has heard any of these concerns and the need for clarification of reasonable time and reasonable force in the legislation.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, the very essence of my speech was clearly about our concerns regarding the fact that the use of force is open to interpretation and regarding the reasonable time. I find it hard to imagine someone who is robbed, or the victim of an attempted robbery, spending the rest of his days trying to track down and arrest the robber, and physically defending himself under all kinds of pretexts.

We must be very careful about how this bill is implemented. Above all, the public must clearly understand that these interventions have time limits, of course, but also limits in terms of the amount of force that can be used, whether during a theft or a physical assault, very simply.

The Bloc has said so again and again: we want this bill to be examined in committee to measure its impact and the potential that the public could misinterpret what it is allowed to do.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the member for Sherbrooke because, just like the members for Richmond—Arthabaska and Saint-Jean, he got right into the details. They have shown the courage and the will to resolve the problem with the principle of this bill.

I want to ask my colleague from Sherbrooke a different question if I can. In this instance we have at least one individual who was engaged in court action to defend his person and property against the very court system that was put in place to defend him. All the while the government knew that he had a very solid position, as evidenced by the court in the month of October.

In fact, the Minister of Justice stood here in front of all his colleagues and said that in the fall of 2009 he had already reached an agreement with the attorneys general of all the provinces, including the province where Monsieur Chen had found himself before the court, that they would change the law in the same way that my colleague from Trinity—Spadina and I had already proposed.

Does he not think there should be a political willingness to do justice and to help the victim by reimbursing him for the thousands of dollars he had to spend?

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, obviously when a citizen is wronged and this results in significant expenses, everyone tends to think that they should receive some compensation. I would like to come back to the idea of necessary force, whether in the event of a theft or personal and physical attack.

Will we go so far as to consider someone innocent if they shoot a thief over a bag of chips? There are limits. We must create very specific limits. The use of force to protect property or to defend oneself against a physical attack remains a grey area and it must be clarified.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to stand in the House this afternoon to say a few words in this debate.

It is an interesting debate that I have been following very closely. It really blends in the issues that have been around a long time. First is the issue of self-defence. In other words, a resident of Canada has the basic right to protect his or her person, family or property and use whatever reasonable force is necessary, depending on the circumstances.

It follows in the continuum to the next issue of the right of someone to make a citizen's arrest. Generally, the law has been that a citizen's arrest is made during the commission of an offence. If we move along the continuum, we get into the whole issue of vigilantism, where someone or a group of people takes the law into its own hands. Of course, that principle is not supported in a free and democratic society.

This legislation arose from the case of Mr. Chen in Toronto. Certainly, no Canadian I have ever spoken to or heard from has expressed anything but support for Mr. Chen and the circumstances he found himself in. He obviously is a small business person who works hard, plays by the rules, pays his taxes and was the victim of a crime.

Unfortunately, he was not able to effect a citizen's arrest but did identify the victim. Lo and behold, a day or two after the commission of the original offence, the offender reappeared at Mr. Chen's place of business and the latter then effected a citizen's arrest. Unfortunately, at one point it looked as though he would be subject to sanctions from the authorities. Certainly every Canadian did not agree with that position, which was unfortunate, and the response has been overwhelming.

Since then, there have been a number of private members' bills and Bill C-60. This legislation would change the statute, but not substantially. Rather, it would broaden the statute and add the concept of a citizen's arrest being made not only on the commission of the offence but also on a reasonable time thereafter. Of course, that begs the question, which other members have spoken to, of what is a reasonable time.

At first blush, I believe most members of Parliament support this legislation, and I support it and its referral to committee. It is important to get this legislation to committee so that committee members can hear from some police officers, criminologists and experts who deal with this issue on a day-to-day basis.

It will be a very interesting debate in the committee and perhaps the committee will decide at the end of the day after hearing witnesses that the law does not require any changes, but it would appear now that there seems to be a fairly broad level of support for this particular initiative. I support it very cautiously, and I certainly will be deferring to others who are more knowledgeable in this area than I am and will be following the debate in committee very closely.

We get into this whole issue of what is reasonable. Do not forget that if anyone is ever charged with the offence of unlawful arrest, the Crown would have to be in a position to prove that offence beyond a reasonable doubt, which is an extremely high threshold. We could envisage all sorts of circumstances where a person or child was offended, assaulted or whatever, and then two weeks, three months or six months later, he or she decides to make an arrest without the powers, authority and respect that peace officers have.

That would lead to the next question of whether the person making the so-called citizen's arrest is entitled to use whatever reasonable force is necessary in the circumstances. Is he or she allowed to enter a private dwelling? Is he or she allowed to go to the person's workplace? There are some issues that will be given a full airing when the matter goes before the committee.

Again, it is extremely interesting. It is an issue that members should proceed cautiously on and whether the law requires tweaking or amendment, I believe, should be considered after the committee has had a good, long, hard look at this particular legislation.

As I said before, I will be voting for this legislation when it comes up for a vote at second reading and I will be following the issue extremely carefully before committee.

That basically concludes my remarks. I have summarized where I stand on the particular issue. It is an interesting issue that requires a little more discussion, review and analysis when it does go before committee.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate and respect the erudite position put forward by my colleague, who is steeped in law and has great courtroom experience. However, I want to take him to the other issue that has arisen as a result of Bill C-60.

He has followed the debate. He knows that the government did not act, as it promised, back in 2009. Then we found out in this debate that the Minister of Justice had actually struck an agreement with his provincial counterparts, including the one in the province where the David Chen case arose. The minister knew then that the case would not be decided negatively and waited while Mr. Chen ran up legal bills in the tens of thousands of dollars to protect his person and property. He knew that and wanted to ensure that the courts reinforced the decision that all the attorneys general had already struck.

I would like the member from Charlottetown to give his perspective on how expenses should be dealt with in all fairness when a private citizen is subject to the courts so that the government can accomplish its objective of testing something that it should already have done on its own and on which it already knew what the result would be. What is his view on that?

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, as the member for Eglinton—Lawrence indicated, this is an unusual set of circumstances. The member is quite right that this was apparently discussed by the Attorney General and his provincial counterparts previously and that there was an agreement made to do nothing. Then the incident with Mr. Chen arose and, of course, there was an overwhelming national outcry about his being sanctioned. It makes one wonder why the police officers or the crown prosecutors did not have the wisdom to see where this would lead and head it off at the pass. That, unfortunately, did not matter.

The member's question deals with restitution. I will leave that to the committee as it is a complicated area. It gets into whose responsibility is it. Is it Ottawa's or the provinces? We do not know all of the facts now, but I know Mr. Chen incurred substantial bills. The Canadian public certainly sympathizes with him and I believe it wants to see him get restitution, but we should leave that to the committee and let it have a full hearing on this very interesting and important issue.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

There will be two minutes remaining for questions and comments after question period. We will now move on to statements by members.

Democratic DevelopmentStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, on March 20, the whole world celebrated La Francophonie. Today we mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Unfortunately, the Conservative government has ignored these two events.

Canada has cut funding for Canadian organizations that work to promote democracy, and has abandoned the project that was to create an agency to promote democracy abroad.

In the current international context, African countries, including some that belong to La Francophonie, are most in need of help with creating and strengthening their democracies.

The government's lack of action suggests a withdrawal from the international Francophonie and a policy that discriminates against Africa, made worse by the removal of many African countries from the international priority list for assistance.

I am asking the Conservatives to stop this discriminatory policy and to free up the money required to respect the commitments that have already been made to democratic development.

Jean NeveuStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Paillé Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, he was “a force of nature, as if he came out of a Gilles Vigneault song.” He was a great citizen who was remarkably generous and tremendously approachable. He was a Quebecker who loved his country. That is how the president and CEO of Quebecor, Pierre-Karl Péladeau, described Jean Neveu, one of the builders of the company.

Jean Neveu was strong-willed, brave, genuine and sometimes even shy and uncertain. This is how people perceived this man who was so well loved and respected. I knew and worked with this great man.

He passed away quietly and suddenly but his passing caused a shock wave among his family, friends, colleagues and employees. Let us honour him in the House and let Doris, her children and grandchildren know how much we care.

Good-bye Jean. Say hello to Mr. P. for me.

Women of VisionStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, for the last 16 years, Edmonton's Global Television network has showcased local women of vision whose vision and leadership enrich our lives and community. One of the 2010 honoured women of vision is Edmonton—Strathcona resident and acclaimed writer, poet, and teacher, Shirley Serviss.

Shirley is a very special kind of poet. Not content with publishing award-winning poetry, she is Canada's first literary artist of Artist on the Wards, a unique arts therapy program. Over the past decade, the poetry lady, as she is dubbed, has pushed her cart and supplies through the wards engaging patients in the University of Alberta hospital in writing to ease the stress of their illness. Shirley writes poems on demand and encourages patients to write their own. Her third collection of poetry, Hitchhiking in the Hospital, was inspired by her work on the wards.

Shirley's efforts for others do not end there. She is leading Artists Urban Village, the Edmonton chapter of a national initiative for affordable housing and workspace to support the careers of low-income and aging artists. She is just one of the many extraordinary women of Edmonton.

CurlingStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, a week ago Sunday, four outstanding curlers competed to win the National Men's Curling Championship held in London, Ontario. The win is a victory for all Canadians but particularly for those who hail from their home province of Manitoba.

Though a tough match, Jeff Stoughton led his team of Jonathan Mead, Reid Carruthers and Steve Gould to an 8-6 victory over Ontario's Glenn Howard. The Stoughton foursome shot 96% in the Brier final, the highest team percentage in the history of the championship game and the second highest in the history of the entire event. They made all Manitobans proud by making every big shot out there, giving Manitoba its record 27th Brier, the most of any province.

All Canadians can be proud of their efforts and those of all provincial teams who competed in this truly Canadian event.

I ask all members of Parliament to join me in congratulating Team Stoughton for a fantastic Brier win and to wish them success as they represent Canada at the World Men's Curling Championship in Regina from April 2 to 10.

NowruzStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Liberal Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to wish all Canadians who are celebrating Nowruz all the best in the year ahead.

The passing of the vernal equinox is a sign of rebirth and awakening of nature, a moment of renewal that celebrates life. As we celebrate this time, we are given the opportunity to reflect and give thanks for past blessings and look forward to the hard work that we as members of Parliament will continue to do to help build a society that is inclusive of all its members.

At this time of renewal, I wish everyone a year filled with happiness and success. As members of Parliament, we should do everything we can to ensure that this new year provides opportunities for everyone.

I ask my colleagues in the House to join me in wishing everyone health, happiness and success for the new year.

[Member spoke in Farsi]

[English]

Ontario Expropriations ActStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, under Ontario's Expropriations Act, if the province takes away people's land it must pay them full, just and timely compensation. The province must pay the market value of the land, plus moving costs, et cetera.

However, if the government places restrictions on the use of people's land or requires them to make large expenditures to continue using their land as they always have, they get no compensation, even if compliance with the new rules financially ruins them. That is why MPP Randy Hillier and I have introduced identical resolutions in the Commons and at Queen's Park to extend these compensation rules to all actions of the Ontario government that devalue property by depriving landowners of the full use and enjoyment of their land.

If passed in both places, this resolution would add property rights for Ontarians to Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms and it would ensure that the costs of new rules intended for the benefit of all would be borne by all Ontario taxpayers and not just by the unfortunate landowners whose rights to use or enjoy their property have been restricted.

Aboriginal AffairsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Yvon Lévesque Bloc Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

Mr. Speaker, given that this is nutrition month, it is shocking to learn that the government insists upon implementing the Nutrition North Canada program, which is at the root of the food crisis currently affecting isolated communities. The purpose of the program is to help give families access to healthy food. However, it has done the opposite by driving up prices.

The Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and the Minister of Health, who is an Inuk herself, have been blindly obeying their leader, while their colleague from Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean has been making a mess of things because he knows absolutely nothing about this issue.

The government led us to believe that it had got the message but it was all a sham. The government demonstrated its cynicism by restoring the items to the list of foods that will be subsidized until fall 2012, which only puts off the problem.

This government signed the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and yet it lacks consideration for Canada's northern communities. It is sad and, above all, shameful.

JapanStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Nina Grewal Conservative Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is with sadness that I offer my condolences to those who have lost friends and relatives in the Japan earthquake, its aftershocks and the tsunami. My thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by this terrible disaster.

I was born in Japan and spent my early childhood living there. My father worked in Japan for many years. The news of the earthquake, loss of life and destruction have left both of us heartbroken as we think of those many Japanese friends and their wonderful country.

Japan has been struck by this tragedy greatly and needs all the support it can get. I know that Canadians are very compassionate and are willing to help whenever possible. Already, the Government of Canada is doing its part but everyday citizens can also assist. The best way for Canadians to help is to donate money. I ask everyone to please do so now and to please be generous.

LibyaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week, the international community spoke with a united voice to take action to protect the Libyan people from the Gadhafi regime. Despite the UN resolution, Gadhafi has continued to kill his own people.

The Liberal Party of Canada has been calling for a no-fly zone since the Libyan crisis began as a means to live up to our responsibility to protect. It is a shame that Canada is not a member of the Security Council, as we could have then cast a vote in favour of this historic resolution.

In keeping with the Security Council resolution, the Liberal Party supports Canada's participation in this operation. However, Parliament must also have a say in this and other combat operations. We expect the government to consult Parliament on this decision. We also want the government's commitment to obtain Parliament's approval if it plans to extend this deployment beyond three months.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the brave members of our Canadian Forces as they embark on a dangerous mission in the defence of the people of Libya.

International Day of La FrancophonieStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Sylvie Boucher Conservative Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, 41 years ago, in 1970, in Niamey, Niger, Canada played an active role in the founding of La Francophonie. In honour of that occasion, yesterday, on Sunday, March 20, Canada and the other members of La Francophonie celebrated International Day of La Francophonie.

French is spoken by more than 9.5 million Canadians and has played an important role in our history, our identity and our daily lives. As our Prime Minister often reminds us, Canada was founded in the language of Molière—in French.

French is still spoken in many communities in our country, from Acadians in the Maritimes, to Ontario and Saskatchewan. Of course, our language remains a strong symbol of our identity in all regions of Quebec, as in my riding, Beauport—Limoilou.

Salaries of CEOsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, according to Maclean's magazine, in the 12 year period between 1995 and 2007 there has been a 444% salary increase for the highest paid CEOs in Canada.

The following are just a few examples of how profits of millions of Canadian shareholders were spent. In 1995, the CEO for the Royal Bank received $2.2 million and in 2007, it was over $44 million. In 1995, the CEO for Petro-Canada received $1.3 million and in 2007, it was $17 million. In 1995, the CEO of Air Canada received under $2 million and in 2007, the CEO for ACE Aviation, which owned Air Canada, made $43 million.

It is time that the millions of ordinary Canadian shareholders are protected from such outrageous executive compensation and that CEO compensation be approved directly by a two-thirds vote of the shareholders who own the companies.

Liberal Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, last week, the Liberals revealed that they have not dropped their plan to impose a carbon tax. Their spokesperson, the member for Kings—Hants, said:

A carbon tax is not a left-wing or a right-wing policy, it’s simply a sensible, pragmatic, courageous [policy].

We should make no mistake. The Liberal leader has a plan to raise taxes. He is openly calling for a $6 billion tax hike. He is demanding that this tax hike be included in the next budget or he will force an expensive and completely unnecessary election.

Now, he is bringing back the Liberal carbon tax on everything. However, Canadians should not be surprised. After all, the Liberal leader has been called the “father” of the carbon tax.

Sadly, the Liberal leader's high tax agenda will stall our recovery, kill jobs and hurt ordinary, hard-working Canadians.

In contrast, our government continues to focus on completing Canada's economic recovery and implementing our low tax plan for Canadian families.

JapanStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Jean Dorion Bloc Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebeckers, like all Canadians, share in the pain of the Japanese people as our friends in that nation have faced challenges over the past 10 days.

Since I have personal and family ties to this country, where I had the privilege of living for six years, on behalf of the Bloc Québécois—but I think this also reflects the sentiment of the House—I would like to offer our sympathies to the people of Japan and also express our admiration for their dignity and discipline in the face of these catastrophes. Japan has once again displayed its distinctive characteristics: solidarity, discipline and integrity.

To the people of Japan, its diplomatic representatives and to our citizens of Japanese descent, instead of wishing you good luck or wishing you well, I would like to share a saying in Japanese that reflects the importance of work in this country's culture: Ganbatte kudasai, or do your best.

Harriet TubmanStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra Conservative St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, after meeting with stakeholders from the Salem Chapel in St. Catharines, one of the last stops on the Underground Railroad, over the disputed date of Harriet Tubman's date of birth, the issue has been resolved. The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada will honour Harriet Tubman with a plaque to commemorate her heroism for future generations of Canadians.

The plaque will now read: Born on a Maryland plantation, Harriet Tubman escaped slavery to become one of the great heroes of the 19th century. The most famous “conductor” on the Underground Railroad, she courageously led many of the people she rescued from American slavery on dangerous, clandestine journeys to safety and freedom in Canada. Tubman helped these black refugees settle after their arrival and played an active role in the fight to end slavery.

On May 27, I will proudly be joined by the members of the BME Church and my community to celebrate Harriet Tubman as one of Canada's leading abolitionists and a person of national historic significance.

Government of CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, the government's ethical tailspin continues to spiral out of control.

Let us look at it by the numbers: two RCMP investigations in one week; two contempt of Parliament rulings in one day; four ATIP investigations into government members or their staff; four top prime ministerial insiders charged with breaking election laws; one half million dollar gag order for the Integrity Commissioner; two ministers who, amazingly, are still ministers even though one used public resources to fundraise for the Conservative Party and one misled Parliament; and one Prime Minister hijacking the Government of Canada name plate with his order to the public service to replace it with his own personal moniker.

However, the most important number is the millions, the millions of Canadians who are now beginning to realize just how bad this government is. They are tired of the scandals, the abuse and reckless waste. They know it is time we had a government that is there to serve Canadians, not the other way around.

Leader of the Liberal Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Robert Sopuck Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal leader is again attempting to mislead Canadians about his job-killing, high tax agenda. Last week he inaccurately stated, when asked about the corporate income tax rate, “We have to maintain it at 18%”. As of January 1, Canada's business tax rate is 16.5%, cut from 18%. The Liberal leader knows this, but this is not the only instance of him making inaccurate statements.

Why is the Liberal leader misleading Canadians? The answer is obvious: he wants to hide the fact that his Liberal Party will raise taxes. He would much prefer if Canadians believe he will only freeze taxes “where they are now”.

The Liberal leader is misleading Canadians for his own political gain. This is clear evidence that the Liberal leader is a political opportunist. Indeed, the very definition of a liberal is someone who raises opportunism to the level of a principle.

The Liberal leader's high tax agenda will stall our recovery, kill jobs and set families back.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the government faces two RCMP investigations at once, one of them about Bruce Carson's influence peddling right in the Prime Minister's Office, and four members of the Prime Minister's inner circle face accusations of election fraud that could result in jail time. As if that were not enough, a committee of the House has found the government in contempt of Parliament. This is an unprecedented cascade of abuse. The issue here is one of trust.

How can Canadians remain trusting of a government guilty of such flagrant abuse of power?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, it will not come as any surprise to the leader of the Liberal Party that I completely reject all of the misleading premises in his question.

There is no member of the government who is under investigation for a criminal offence. Let me be very clear that this government is the government that acted very expeditiously to bring in the Federal Accountability Act, to clean up the ethical mess that we inherited from the previous Liberal government.

He was not in Canada to know exactly how bad the Liberal ethics policies were. Maybe he should look at the Federal Accountability Act and look at the great changes, especially, that the Prime Minister has ushered in.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, Bruce Carson was at the centre of the government's inner circle and there he remains. This is a question of the judgment of the Prime Minister, who is guilty. The government is facing charges of election fraud, influence peddling and a scheme related to access to information. As if that were not enough, a committee of this House has found the government in contempt of Parliament.

How can Canadians trust a government that treats them, and the country's institutions, with such contempt?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I guess the Liberal leader believes we do not need to have police to conduct an investigation. We do not need to have a court system. He will simply assign guilt as he sees it on the floor of the House of Commons.

Immediately after serious allegations were brought to our attention about a former member of the office, the matter was immediately referred to the RCMP, immediately referred to the Ethics Commissioner and immediately referred to the Commissioner of Lobbying. That was the right thing to do.

Let me be very clear that this government has brought in tough penalties for people who break the law. Anyone convicted of breaking the law will face the full force of Canadian law.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives cannot deny the RCMP is crawling all over the government at the moment.

Conservatives also expect us to vote tomorrow for a budget without telling Canadians what their waste is going to cost: waste on corporate tax giveaways; waste on prisons; waste on jets, which they do not have accurate costing on for Canadians. Instead of telling Canadians the truth, they went out last week and spent millions of taxpayer dollars on government partisan advertising.

When is the government going to show some respect for taxpayers and a little respect for democracy?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I do not agree with the Leader of the Opposition at all.

The Liberal Party can try to attack the government with political smears. It has become very good at it.

This government is focused on the priority of Canadians, on jobs, on the economy and on economic growth. That focus has helped create 480,000 net new jobs.

The Liberal leader has recently become a convert. Last week we learned he wanted to provide hundreds of millions of dollars to billionaires who owned hockey teams. He is going to have to explain that to Canadians.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, Bruce Carson was illicitly using his government connections to finance the purchase of $400 million worth of water filtration units.

According to the contract witnessed by Mr. Carson, his fiancé stood to gain $80 million from the scam. Carson had inside information that could only have come from the Prime Minister's office, like, for example, who would be the next minister of Indian affairs.

Who in the Prime Minister's office was funnelling information to Mr. Carson? Have they, too, been referred to the RCMP?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear at the outset that there is no information whatsoever to suggest that any individual or company obtained any contract from the government in any of these matters.

Any individual who breaks the law should face the full force of the law. Rather than assigning the job of enforcing Canadian law to the member for Beauséjour, we have referred the matter to the RCMP. We will let it take it from here.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, we know that last fall Bruce Carson introduced his fiancée to the then environment minister, Jim Prentice; to the former human resources minister, Monte Solberg; and even to the Premier of Alberta.

What other ministers or government members have spoken with Mr. Carson and Ms. McPherson over the past year and a half? Has the government determined what information was given to Mr. Carson and Ms. McPherson? Did they provide this information to the RCMP as well?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I think it is a matter of public record that the political staff in one office did have a meeting. It provided publicly available information. Let me be absolutely clear that no government funds and no government contract were awarded as a result of that meeting.

Sales Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec's finance minister, Raymond Bachand, said that negotiations between Quebec and Ottawa regarding harmonizing GST with sales tax are far enough along to conclude an agreement. He even sent a draft agreement to his federal counterpart on February 22. The ball is in the Conservative government's court.

Will the minister finally resolve the sales tax harmonization issue and include in the budget the $2.2 billion the federal government has owed Quebec for years now?

Sales Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, we continue to negotiate in good faith with the Government of Quebec and things are on track. Major progress has been made over the past few days, but once again, it is not over yet. Discussions continue and our budget will be brought down tomorrow.

Sales Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, things are on track, but the train left the station 19 years ago. It is high time for the government to take action. Things moved quickly for British Columbia and for Ontario. It is a matter of political will. That is what it boils down to. If it was done for the others, why is it not being done for Quebec?

Sales Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, the taxes are not fully harmonized and we will continue to negotiate in good faith. Things are on track and we will bring down our budget tomorrow. They have been here for 19 years and now they are pulling this out of a hat. Why? To have an untimely election that Canadians do not want, that is why. We will be taking care of the economy and creating jobs in our ridings in Quebec. We will be negotiating, not with those people, but with the Government of Quebec.

Shipbuilding IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, right before a huge shipbuilding contract is about to be granted, the Conservative government has changed the invitation to tender specifications at the last minute in order to exclude the Davie shipyards.

Workers in Lévis cannot count on the Conservative member for Lévis—Bellechasse in this matter. He is complacently accepting the fact that his government is changing the rules at the last minute in order to disqualify the Davie shipyards.

Will the Minister of National Defence admit that the new rules concerning solvency are intended only to exclude the shipyard in Lévis and favour others, outside Quebec?

Shipbuilding IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's question, but it is important for her to understand that it is standard for all government contracting that any company doing business with the Government of Canada be solvent. Davie is aware of that. The RFP states that very clearly and we have worked with all of the shipyards across the country, including Davie, to ensure they understand that.

Moving forward, the bid does not close until July. Davie has every opportunity to become solvent between now and then.

Shipbuilding IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to a study by Secor Group, the Davie shipyards could generate economic spinoffs worth $2.1 billion and create over 2,700 jobs in Quebec. “...Davie is the only Canadian shipyard with the existing facilities to build the largest vessels...”

Why did the Minister of National Defence change the rules of the game at the last minute, if not to disqualify the shipyard in Lévis?

Shipbuilding IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

As I said, Mr. Speaker, it is standard that all companies doing business with the Government of Canada be solvent. This has been made clear to all of the companies that are part of the bidding process for the national shipbuilding procurement strategy.

However, let me be clear that between now and when the bidding process closes, Davie does have an opportunity to become solvent.

JapanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, it has been a difficult week on the international stage.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Japan as they struggle with the terrible situation that has befallen them. We would like the government to update the House on this situation. In particular, we have heard that there have been some problems at the embassy in terms of a lack of resources. Have those resources been increased?

What is the government doing to make sure that all of the consular services necessary for Canadians in Japan and the people caught in the danger zones in particular are being provided?

JapanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Nose Hill Alberta

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy ConservativeMinister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs)

Mr. Speaker, as the member opposite said, Canadians have been watching with shock and great sympathy the disaster and turmoil in Tokyo and Japan from the earthquake and the tsunami.

I can assure the member that our consular services have been working 24/7. Our emergency response centre has received thousands of calls. We have assisted citizens in leaving the worst affected areas. We will continue to support citizens in Japan.

LibyaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Libyan people are also facing grave danger, this time from their very own leader.

We support the United Nations' efforts to protect civilians.

As the Canadian military is currently involved in the operations in Libya, could the Prime Minister tell us what are the goals and objectives of the mission? Is humanitarian aid included in our goals and objectives? How is success to be defined when it comes to this particular mission? What are the rules of engagement that have been given to the Canadian pilots?

LibyaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, it would be difficult to answer all of those questions. I provided much of that information in a recent press availability.

I can tell the hon. member that we are there to comply with the resolutions that have been passed by the United Nations Security Council. We are there primarily to protect civilians on the ground in Libya from their own administration. We have clearly seen evidence in the past number of days, if not weeks, that Gadhafi has wreaked havoc on the ground against his own civilians.

We are there with an international partnership providing as much protection as we possibly can.

LibyaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, when a country becomes involved in military operations, it knows the start date but, unfortunately, it rarely knows the end date. Therefore, it is important to have objectives that are clear and understood by everyone.

Not only must there be an urgent debate by Parliament of the Libyan situation, but it is essential that we apply the lessons learned from the Afghanistan war and give Parliament a supervisory and oversight role.

Will the Prime Minister make that commitment?

LibyaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to confirm that we will be having a debate immediately after question period.

As well, I will take this opportunity to inform the House and Canadians that we now have conducted our first air operation in Libya. Four CF-18 fighter jets and two CC-150 Polaris refuelling aircraft departed Trapani, Italy this morning. They have since conducted patrols off the northern coast of Libya. I can confirm that they are now safely back at base.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, Bruce Carson is the consummate Conservative insider, a former chief of staff to the Prime Minister.

After he left the PMO in 2008, he began promoting water systems to be purchased by the Conservative government, generating profits for his fiancée of some $80 million.

It is publicly admitted that he met with the office of the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and with bureaucrats in the department.

How many meetings were there? Exactly who was in each meeting? What was on the agenda? When was the minister personally briefed on the outcome?

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's Office did absolutely the right thing by turning these allegations over to the Commissioner of Lobbying, the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner and the RCMP.

I have never met with Mr. Carson regarding the H20 Global Group. My staff met with Mr. Carson on January 11 and provided publicly available information as did departmental officials. No contracts have been awarded to H20 Global Group.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, none of this passes the smell test. This regime cannot deny the intimate role in Conservative affairs played for decades by Bruce Carson.

Given his criminal record, how he ever passed a security check is a mystery. However, more recently, acting for a private vendor and standing to profit personally by $80 million, how did he get in the door of the current minister's office, what contact did he have with the previous minister, and how did he know of last year's cabinet shuffle in advance bragging that he had the new minister in his pocket?

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the member for Wascana seems to have come to conclusions.

What we have recognized is that they are very serious allegations. The moment we learned about these serious allegations we referred the matter to the RCMP, we referred the matter to the Ethics Commissioner, we referred the matter to the independent Commissioner of Lobbying.

It is our government that brought in these tough laws. We expect every Canadian to follow them. Those who do not should face the full force of law.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, many Canadians were, I think it is fair to say, shocked and surprised to discover that Mr. Carson, who was the acting chief of staff to the Prime Minister, had been disbarred, spent time in jail, had the highest security clearance and highest access to the Prime Minister and to all the affairs of every single department of government, and that he then left the government to head an institution which miraculously receives $15 million from the Government of Canada.

Can the minister please explain how all this happens?

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I think this individual's past has certainly been well known. It has been well documented not just before the courts but it has also been well documented in the Canadian media.

Let me be clear. When serious allegations were brought forward about this individual and his alleged contact, I think the government did the right thing and referred the entire matter to the RCMP, and referred the matter to the Ethics Commissioner and the Commissioner of Lobbying.

As a matter of first priority, it was our government that brought forward the Federal Accountability Act, which brought in these tough ethics rules. We expect every single Canadian to be held accountable when he or she breaks the law.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the fact remains that Canadians who did not know Mr. Carson were very surprised to hear about his past and his criminal record, to discover that he had access to the government's most important secrets, and to learn that, when he left the government, the organization he joined received a gift of $15 million from the government.

How did this happen? That is the question.

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, let us be clear. This gentleman's past was a matter of public record. It had been written about in the mainstream press. That is not a surprise and it should not be a shock to anyone. I know the member opposite knows that to be the fact as well.

This government brought in the Federal Accountability Act, which imposed tough new lobbying and ethics rules. This government expects every Canadian to follow that act.

When the allegations were brought to our attention we immediately referred them to the relevant authorities. We expect anyone who has broken the law to face the full force of the law.

Champlain BridgeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Transport is hard to follow. Last February, he said in all seriousness that the Champlain Bridge was completely safe and that he did not see any urgent need to repair it. Since that time, we have learned that, for several months now, his department has had reports from engineers confirming that the Champlain Bridge is unsafe.

How can the Minister of Transport claim that the bridge is safe when the reports from the Federal Bridge Corporation say that the bridge is at risk of collapsing? How can a bridge at risk of collapsing be safe?

Champlain BridgeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Yellowhead Alberta

Conservative

Rob Merrifield ConservativeMinister of State (Transport)

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague for the question.

We take the safety of the Champlain Bridge very seriously. In fact, we have done more than that. Last Friday, together with the previous years since 2009, we have announced $380 million to ensure that it is not only safe today but it is safe long into the future. We can affirm that. I actually have a letter in my hand coming from the Federal Bridge Corporation that I would be pleased to table or give to the hon. colleague to be able to help her out. It tells us that the bridge is safe today, and with the investment it will be safe long into the future.

Champlain BridgeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister is mistaken if he thinks that the band-aid solutions announced by his government will be sufficient to fix the Champlain Bridge, which, according to all the studies and reports published to date, is unsafe and has reached the end of its useful life.

What is the minister waiting for to listen to the engineers consulted by his department and announce the construction of a new bridge?

Champlain BridgeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Yellowhead Alberta

Conservative

Rob Merrifield ConservativeMinister of State (Transport)

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to the bridge, as I said, it is safe and I have that affirmed by the Federal Bridge Corporation. As for the investment of $380 million, only somebody from the Bloc would see that as plaster and a minor amount of dollars to cover the repair. Those dollars will keep it that way long into the future.

When it comes to any future options with the bridge, we are waiting for a final report and we will look at those options as they come forward.

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Freeman Bloc Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, a long-time aide to the Prime Minister, Bruce Carson, is under investigation by the RCMP because he allegedly engaged in illegal lobbying activities. In return for a 20% commission for his girlfriend, an escort, he promised to provide full access to the Conservatives. The Prime Minister said that he was surprised. Nevertheless, his aide was sentenced to 18 months in prison for fraud.

How can the Prime Minister be surprised by Bruce Carson's illegal practices when he tolerated this individual with a shady past as a member of his entourage for so long?

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, let us be very clear that when allegations were brought forward to the attention of the Prime Minister's Office, the matter was immediately referred to the RCMP, to the Ethics Commissioner and to the Commissioner of Lobbying.

The Liberal member earlier asked how could this individual outside of government know who was going to be the new minister of Indian and Northern Affairs. I remember watching the news the night before and it was Craig Oliver on CTV National News who I think had the scoop.

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Freeman Bloc Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, on the heels of the Jaffer affair, here is another instance of illegal lobbying by one of the Conservatives' close associates. The Prime Minister promised that he would not allow individuals to use their time in government as a stepping stone to private lobbying. Nevertheless, that is what his former caucus chair and his advisor did.

Do these two examples not show that the Prime Minister has proven that he is incapable of controlling the greed of friends of the Conservative regime?

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I guess the member from the Bloc Québécois does not feel that we should have an investigation, does not believe we should have a trial and she herself will determine the guilt or innocence of any Canadian.

It is this government that wanted to reduce the influence of lobbyists and impose tough five-year bans on those of us in government for conducting lobbying. When any individual breaks the law, he or she should face the full force of the law. We felt so strongly about that issue that we wrote the law ourselves.

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Siobhan Coady Liberal St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, when Canadians hear of secretive, controlling governments that have political operatives, they likely think of other countries. Yet last week the Information Commissioner revealed that this was happening in Canada and the RCMP had to be called. We know she is studying other departments for interference in access to information.

How can we trust the Conservative regime when every week there is evidence of new abuses? How can we trust a government that hides information? How can we trust a government that does not believe Canadians have the right to know?

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, I am really going to miss the exciting vibrancy of question period and questions like this one. In fact, when it comes to information access, there has been a record number of requests this year both under the Privacy Act and under the Access to Information Act. As a matter of fact, over 75,000 of those requests have come in, which is a record, and the majority of those get answered within 30 days.

We are always working to improve those and hopefully with some good suggestions from my friend opposite, we may even be able to accelerate that process.

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Siobhan Coady Liberal St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, the information commissioner has said we have “hit rock bottom”. Conservatives have been exposed for trying to hide information from Canadians. The Information Commissioner is undertaking a sweeping study of the abuses of the Conservative regime. We have a scandal-a-week government that is again being investigated by the RCMP for potentially criminal political interference.

How can Canadians trust the government when it is known to hide the truth?

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, anybody who looks at the numbers in terms of the sheer volume and importance of the information we have made available over the last year alone to opposition requests will see that it is at an all-time record high. Never before has the amount of information been released that we have released.

I would refer my friend to last week's announcement about open government. Some 261,000 data sets of information are now available to all Canadians. It is number two in the world for a government opening up data sets of information.

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians have rights with respect to access to information, and we will ensure that these rights are respected. The Information Commissioner has joined a long list of public officials who are investigating the Conservatives' schemes. The Conservatives always want to hide everything, which was evident when we tried to uncover the exorbitant costs of the F-35s and the megaprisons. Furthermore, a ministerial aide flouted the Access to Information Act and no one is taking responsibility.

Why do the Conservatives systematically refuse to come clean with Canadians?

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, when I received the Information Commissioner's report in February, along with its five recommendations, I immediately asked the department to implement all of them. They have been implemented fully already.

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, there are serious allegations of political interference by the government over access to information. The Information Commissioner had to investigate these allegations and now the RCMP is involved yet again.

Whether it is Canadians asking for information or the opposition requesting costs for megaprisons or $30 billion stealth fighters, the Conservative regime just will not come clean and give Canadians the straight goods.

Why do the Conservatives not respect the public's right to know?

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, with regard to the member's comments about the Information Commissioner's report, as I said, I received the report in February and immediately asked our department to implement all of the recommendations. All five recommendations have been fully implemented.

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Bernard Généreux Conservative Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, our Conservative government is a proud defender of the regions of Quebec. Unlike the member for the Plateau and his political party that is obsessed with urban issues, we care about the concerns of Quebeckers in all the regions.

Could my colleague, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice, explain to us what the government is doing to fight crime in all of the regions of Quebec?

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles Québec

Conservative

Daniel Petit ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his excellent question.

As members know, our Conservative government understands the regions of Quebec and takes action on their behalf. That is why we introduced Bill S-10 to impose minimum penalties for individuals who sell drugs to our children near school grounds.

Unfortunately, the leader of the Bloc and his leftist urban elite are against that. They would rather see criminals out on our streets. Fortunately, our Conservative government shares the values of Quebeckers in all the regions. Our government continues to defend them and not to defend the rights of criminals, as the Bloc is doing.

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, a new day, a new promise broken by the Prime Minister, who said that he wanted to clean up Canadian politics.

There is a well-known crook in the Prime Minister's inner circle. He wanted to make his girlfriend rich with money meant for first nations communities. The Prime Minister hired this man and trusted him.

How many other crooks does this government trust?

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I think it is a bit rich for the member to stand and talk about broken promises.

I have a good friend in Timmins, Ontario, who listened to election campaign commitments from this member, not in one election, not in two elections, but in three elections, where he made a solemn pact with the voters to stand in this place and vote against the wasteful long gun registry.

Finally, when his constituents needed him, he exposed an act of electoral fraud by breaking faith with his constituents. I do not need to hear about broken promises from this individual member.

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, that answer speaks to the broken moral compass of the government.

In my riding, I have kids who have open sores on their bodies because of the treatment that they get on reserve. But instead of help, their misery is a jump-off point for a convicted fraudster and his gal pal to make millions.

The Prime Minister gave this guy an all access pass. He had the inside scoop on cabinet shuffles. Why would anybody believe a government that allows influence peddlers and convicted felons into its inner circle?

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, why would the member's constituents trust him? This is a member who committed massive electoral fraud, not once, not twice, but three times. Let me say, his constituents will be convicting him in the next election.

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order.

Hon. members should refrain from suggesting any other hon. member has been engaging in fraud.

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please.

“Fraud” is a different word. We have not heard that lately.

The hon. member for Chambly—Borduas.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, transitional measures were put in place in 2000, after the employment insurance economic regions were inadequately reconfigured. Certain regions, like the Lower St. Lawrence and north shore areas, have a blended unemployment rate, which was adopted in an effort to correct this error until the next reconfiguration. These transitional measures are now being phased out gradually.

Will the government renew the transitional measures until there is a fair reform of employment insurance?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, they are called transitional measures for a reason. They were extended to give unemployed workers an additional solution. The transition period has been extended until economic recovery begins.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is transitional until something better comes along. This “something better” has not come yet, and the government has extended certain pilot projects to buy time until the election. Instead of proposing piecemeal measures, the government should undertake a sweeping reform of the employment insurance system to increase benefits and make it easier to access the system.

Will the government use the budget to improve the employment insurance system and provide better support for vulnerable workers?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we have tabled three budgets that included measures to help workers and the unemployed. These measures include five additional weeks of employment insurance benefits, help for long-tenured workers and help for self-employed workers.

Yet these people who claim to defend the rights of workers and the unemployed voted against each of these initiatives. That is shameful.

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, after four months of stonewalling Parliament, the Conservative regime continues to hide the true costs of their U.S.-style prison bills. It is treating this Parliament and Canadians with contempt. Canadian taxpayers have a right to know how much these U.S.-style prison bills will cost.

How can Canadians believe anything in tomorrow's budget when the Conservatives continue to fudge the books, and hide the true costs and the real numbers?

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, we make no apologies for investing in our prison institutions. Unlike the Liberals, we recognize the need to improve our facilities in order to make them modern and safe for our staff.

As I have mentioned on many occasions, the cost that we are investing is $2.1 billion over five years. That is $1.8 billion in respect of operating costs and $800 million in terms of construction costs.

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, that minister told Canadians that his prison bill would cost $90 million. Now he is talking $2.1 billion. Canadians cannot trust the government's numbers. It is a government that has spent Canada into a $56 billion deficit and now it continues to hide the true cost of its prison bills. The Conservatives are ignoring the Speaker's ruling. They are asking MPs to vote on legislation without telling us what the costs will be for Canadians.

How can we trust anything in tomorrow's budget when the Conservatives continue to fudge the numbers and hide the true costs from Canadian taxpayers?

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, this is a member who prepared a document for the committee, a motion that was deficient. Then he comes to committee and attempts to remedy the situation, and not only does he attempt to remedy the situation by trying to insert things that were not in the motion, he deliberately misrepresents what people have said in the past.

The record is very clear about what I said. I told the member in committee and he still continue to come back to the House, deliberately misleading the House.

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. Minister of Public Safety knows that we cannot suggest that any hon. member would deliberately mislead the House. That is unparliamentary. We will deal with that after question period.

The hon. member for Outremont.

Sales Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative Minister of Finance has in his possession a seven-page document signed by the Quebec finance minister, Raymond Bachand. The document suggests solutions to all of the contentious issues being disputed by the Quebec and federal governments regarding compensation for sales tax harmonization.

What excuse will he come up with now for refusing to resolve this issue? Is it because he would rather announce it during an election campaign, rather than in the budget?

Sales Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, negotiations between Quebec and the federal government are going well. We are making progress, but both sides recognize that we still have work to do. We will continue negotiating.

Sales Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, the real reason the Conservatives are stalling is that they are afraid that the Bloc might actually vote for the budget in that case and that is the last thing they want.

There is nothing left to settle. It is all in the document.

Quebec's offer is entirely in accordance with established precedents. Only Quebec has never been compensated. The government's refusal has nothing to do with economics or legal matters; it is purely political. Anyone can create a problem and then try to pass himself off as a hero for putting out the fire that he himself started.

Quebeckers are not fools. The time to resolve this matter is now. What are they waiting for?

Sales Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I agree with the hon. member that now is the time to resolve the issue, but to resolve the issue, there has to be the type of detailed arrangements that were made with the other provinces that harmonized recently, and that in fact were made with the Atlantic provinces that harmonized some years ago.

These things cannot be done shooting from the hip or on the back of an envelope. They have to be done carefully to get to the conclusion that we all want.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Conservative Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Mr. Speaker, this morning Bloomberg pointed out that thanks to Canada's economic action plan, we had the fastest growing economy with the lowest deficits in the G7. We are also the first country to recoup all job losses from the recession.

The praise continued:

Foreign investors rewarded the government with record purchases of Canadian bonds in 2010 and with the G-7’s best performing currency over the past two years.

The author also said he is very concerned about the opposition trying to force an unnecessary election.

Could the minister please inform the House if Canadians should also be concerned about an unnecessary opposition-forced election?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I know the member shares my concern for Canada's economic recovery. Our government is focused on our low tax plan, keeping taxes low, and creating jobs for Canadians.

The opposition parties want to force an unnecessary election in order to raise taxes and kill jobs. While they are focused on opportunism and partisanship, we are focused on bringing forward the next phase of Canada's economic action plan, and creating jobs and growth.

Champlain BridgeOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the list of worrisome studies on the state of the Champlain Bridge keeps growing year after year. The only thing the minister has done is send a senator and would-be candidate to throw a bit of money into the potholes. In 2008, the engineering firm Oxand was already sounding the alarm, and a study had been done by Dessau the year before that. Now it is Delcan's turn to draw its own troubling conclusions.

If the minister is saying that the bridge will hold for another 10 years, will he agree to release all the reports on the diagnostic testing done by these three engineering firms?

Champlain BridgeOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Yellowhead Alberta

Conservative

Rob Merrifield ConservativeMinister of State (Transport)

Mr. Speaker, as I said before, the safety and security of the Champlain Bridge is a very important one. It is one we take very seriously.

Last Friday we announced a significant amount of dollars and together with the last two years, since 2009, $380 million has been allocated to make sure the bridge is not only safe but it stays that way long into the future.

I have just tabled documentation with regard to that and my hon. colleague can be assured that the bridge is safe.

Rights & DemocracyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, the new president of Rights & Democracy, Gérard Latulippe, has confirmed the new approach at the agency, which works in international development. Rights & Democracy will no longer be publicly criticizing certain of the government's political stands as it was able to do in the past. That is quite the statement: the Prime Minister has managed to silence Rights & Democracy.

Does the government realize that this statement by the new Rights & Democracy president is the clearest evidence that the Conservative government has successfully taken ideological control of this agency?

Rights & DemocracyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member talks about taking control, but I am simply talking about modernizing the approach used by Rights & Democracy. It is, as we all know, perfectly normal for the board of directors to address the direction of this agency. In that regard, the president and CEO shared his point of view and the new intentions of the agency.

Aerospace IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, Diamond Aircraft, a leading manufacturer of private planes, has completed the expensive and sophisticated research and development to launch its new D-Jet and the next generation of private jets.

Diamond already has an order for 240 D-Jets, $20 million from the private sector and a $35 million loan guarantee from the Ontario government. To begin production and secure over 200 good jobs and the potential for 500 more jobs in London, Diamond needs a federal commitment.

Will the Minister of Industry approve a federal contribution for this job creating initiative?

Aerospace IndustryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I thank the members for Elgin—Middlesex—London and London West for their hard work and engagement on this file.

Our government was pleased to support Diamond Aircraft, with close to $20 million in financial support in February 2008 through our strategic aerospace and defence initiative. That was to support their R and D efforts.

This new request is a lot of money. Our government does not take this lightly, and we will be considering our options.

The EconomyOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Paul Calandra Conservative Oak Ridges—Markham, ON

Mr. Speaker, since 2006 this Conservative government has focused on low taxes for Canadians.

In the first phase of Canada's economic action plan, the government delivered a strategic injection of temporary, timely, targeted stimulus into the economy through programs like work sharing, which helped Canadian families like the Nelsons and the Peters from my riding maintain financial security.

Could the Minister of State for Finance tell the House what time tomorrow the government will be letting the House and all Canadians know about the latest steps in our plan to create jobs, continue the recovery and improve financial security for Canadian families?

The EconomyOral Questions

3 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals clearly want to force an election. They want to impose higher and higher taxes on Canadians that would stall the recovery, kill jobs and set Canadian families back.

That is not what our economy needs or what Canadians want. We are focusing on what matters to Canadians, which is jobs and economic growth. We are focused on building on the 480,000 net new jobs created since July 2009.

We are going to continue our focus on creating jobs and growth for Canadians.

JapanOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. Following discussions among representatives of all parties in the House, I understand there is an agreement to observe a moment of silence in memory of the victims of the earthquake in Japan.

I invite hon. members to rise.

[A moment of silence observed]

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, at your request, if I used any unparliamentary language in response to a question from the member for Timmins—James Bay, I withdraw it.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, if I used any unparliamentary language in the course of my response to the member for Kings—Hants, I withdraw that completely and unreservedly.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I thank both hon. members for their generous compliance with the rules of the House following question period.

Access to InformationRoutine Proceedings

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I have the honour to lay upon the table, pursuant to section 39 of the Access to Information Act, a special report by the Information Commissioner entitled Interference with “Access to Information, Part 1”.

Conflict of Interest CodeRoutine Proceedings

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Pursuant to Section 15(3) of the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons it is my duty to lay upon the table the list of all sponsored travel by members for the year 2010 as provided by the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 33 petitions.

Canadian HeritageCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the ninth report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage on the impacts of private television ownership changes and the move towards new viewing platforms.

I also have the honour to present, in both official languages, the eighth report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage on the Canada-European Union comprehensive economic and trade agreement, the anti-counterfeiting trade agreement, and issues regarding cultural diversity.

Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with DisabilitiesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 11th and 12th reports of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities in relation to Bill C-304, An Act to ensure secure, adequate, accessible and affordable housing for Canadians, and Bill C-481, An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Canada Labour Code (mandatory retirement age). The committee has studied both bills and has decided to report each bill back to the House with an amendment.

I wish to thank all of the committee members for their work and collaboration in the course of this process.

Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with DisabilitiesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I wonder if the House would give its consent to revert to tabling of documents. I believe the Minister of Veterans Affairs has a document he wants to table. I did not see him at the time and failed to recognize him. Would the House agree to revert?

Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with DisabilitiesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with DisabilitiesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Agriculture and Agri-FoodCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 109, I would like to table, in both official languages, the government response to the seventh report of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-food entitled, “Young Farmers: The Future of Agriculture”, which was tabled in the House of Commons on November 19, 2010.

Canada Business Corporations ActRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-640, An Act to amend the Canada Business Corporations Act (remuneration of directors and officers).

Mr. Speaker, I am introducing an amendment to the Canada Business Corporations Act regarding the remuneration of directors and officers. It is called the Canadian shareholders act.

The shareholders act would make corporations more accountable to the shareholders of corporations by giving them a direct say in the salaries, stock options and other compensation to the top executives and officers of their companies. This amendment would provide for a special resolution as defined by the Canada Business Corporations Act, which requires a two-thirds vote of the shareholders for passing approval of top executive pay, which applies to the approximately 196,000 federally-regulated Canadian corporations.

We have seen an outrageous increase in top CEO pay since the 1990s, as well as over 400% increases of $10 million, $20 million, even over $40 million a year in a single decade. For years, investment funds and shareholder associations throughout Canada have been asking for greater accountability in executive remuneration for the sake of greater responsibility toward its shareholders' investments.

It is time that the government stands up for ordinary Canadian shareholders who depend upon their investments for their modest pensions, while top executive pay skyrockets shamelessly into the stratosphere of tens of millions of dollars. It is time for corporate responsibility to shareholders who own the companies and it is time for the Canadian shareholders act.

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

Income Tax ActRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-641, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (death benefit).

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce this bill today in the House and I thank my colleague from Cape Breton—Canso for seconding it.

The bill would eliminate income tax payable on a death benefit received under the Canada pension plan. I have heard from many constituents of the heavy burden that funeral costs place on their families and of their surprise when they find out that they must pay income tax on the $2,500 Canada pension plan death benefit.

In some cases, receiving this benefit can have disastrous financial implications, not only reducing the amount available to help with the funeral costs but pushing a beneficiary's income into a higher tax bracket or reducing eligibility for social assistance or the GST/HST tax credit. Making the CPP death benefit tax free is the right thing to do and the fair thing to do to support families as they mourn the loss of a loved one, and ensure that there is no financial penalty for receiving this payment.

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

Employment InsurancePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

March 21st, 2011 / 3:10 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition from the town of Charlottetown, Newfoundland and Labrador about the best 14 weeks of an EI claim. Signatories signed a petition to make permanent the pilot projects that were installed through the EI system. They would like for this permanency to go beyond the normal expiration date, which is the end of June. A permanent program would certainly benefit seasonal workers, both businesses and those currently in the EI system.

I also have a petition from the area of Port Union. This one has particular relevance, given the fact that in the town of Port Union recently it was announced that the shrimp processing plant would not reopen this season. Therefore, these pilot projects would go a long way, extending beyond the month of June.

Animal WelfarePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Bill Siksay NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to table.

The first petition has been signed by over 550 Canadians from British Columbia and Ontario, including organizers Gwendy and Alfie Williams of Burnaby. The petitioners point out that we are obliged to protect other sentient beings from needless cruelty and suffering. Their particular concern is the use of electric shock as an animal training tool, a practice that they name as barbaric and unnecessary. They also point out that many experts have documented the use of electric shock as abusive and damaging to an animal's physical and psychological well-being.

The petitioners, therefore, call for a ban on the sale of electric shock devices for use on animals.

Citizenship and ImmigrationPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Bill Siksay NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to table a petition organized by people seeking justice for Mohamed Harkat and signed by over 400 Canadians from Ontario and British Columbia.

These petitioners are very concerned about the security certificate provisions of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act noting that they make possible indefinite detention without charge or conviction based on secret information, that detainees may never know of the information held against them, that an appeal can be denied, that the evidentiary standard is very low and that detainees are at risk of deportation to face torture or death.

Furthermore, the petitioners believe that the process is undemocratic and violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Canada's international human rights and refugee obligations.

Finally, they call for the abolition of the security certificate process, for open, fair and independent trials and for a guarantee that no one will be deported to face torture or death.

Public Transit SafetyPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Conservative Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present three petitions.

The first petition is signed by Canadians who are calling on the Canadian government to recognize the growing incidents of violence against public transit, school bus, paratransit and city transit operators affecting their safety and that of the travelling public of Canada.

They request that the Criminal Code be amended to give further protection to the hard-working essential members of our community.

Child PornographyPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Conservative Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, the next two petitions are identical to the ones I presented previously in the House.

The petitioners call on Parliament to take all necessary steps to stop the Internet as a medium for distribution of repulsive victimization that is called child pornography.

Protection of Human LifePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Conservative Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, the final petition calls on Parliament to enact legislation to protect human life from the time of conception until natural death.

Take Note DebateRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, there have been negotiations among the parties and I believe you would find unanimous consent for the following motion. I move:

That notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, after routine proceedings this day, the House shall resolve itself into Committee of the Whole for a take note debate, pursuant to Standing Order 53.1; that the committee consider the following motion: “That this committee take note of the March 17, 2011 United Nations Security Council resolution approving immediate action to protect the civilian population in Libya and Canada's contribution to international efforts to enforce that resolution”; that, after four hours of debate or when no member rises to speak, the committee rise and that a minister of the Crown be permitted to rise on a point of order.

Take Note DebateRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Does the hon. government House leader have the unanimous consent of the House to propose this motion?

Take Note DebateRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Take Note DebateRoutine Proceedings

3:15 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?

Take Note DebateRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Take Note DebateRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

(Motion agreed to)

Take Note DebateRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Preston Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would ask for unanimous consent to return to reports from committees.

Take Note DebateRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Does the House give its consent to reverting to presenting reports from committees?

Take Note DebateRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Preston Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 27th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding the question of privilege relating to the failure of the government to fully provide the documents as ordered by the House.

PovertyPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Tony Martin NDP Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to table a petition in the House that I am sure my colleagues will support. It is one of hundreds of petitions out there across the country right now in support of Bill C-545, An Act to Eliminate Poverty in Canada. I am happy to stand in support of this. It is an act that would go a long to bringing the federal government back into the game where eliminating poverty in the country is concerned and establishing a national anti-poverty strategy.

HealthPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I bring forward a petition that calls upon the government to take some action with regard to health care.

Canadians want a national government that will insist on more accountability in health care, which means stable funding, national standards and much more. The health care accord is one of those agenda items that needs to dealt with. The petitioners call upon the government to take action on that very important issue to all Canadians. In part, this is what the petition deals with.

PovertyPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table two petitions today from my riding of Hamilton Mountain signed by residents who are profoundly worried and dismayed by the Conservative government's inaction on poverty reduction.

While the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development has rejected calls to develop a comprehensive and measurable poverty reduction strategy, the petitioners see hope in the NDP's Bill C-545, An Act to Eliminate Poverty in Canada. With nearly 3.5 million Canadians living below the low income cut-off, including 800,000 children growing up in poverty, it is time to show leadership.

The petitioners know that poverty is linked to poor health outcomes, social exclusion and lower life expectancy. They also know that poverty impedes the economic and social development of society as a whole. For all of these reasons, the petitioners call on Parliament to give swift passage to Bill C-545 and begin the implementation of a strategy for poverty elimination immediately.

I know the rules of this chamber do not allow me to endorse a petition but let me just conclude by saying that I am absolutely delighted to have had the opportunity to table this one in the House today.

EnvironmentPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to present and table three petitions.

The first petition comes from residents of metro Vancouver who are very concerned about the proposed Enbridge northern gateway pipeline that would carry over 1,170 kilometres from Alberta to the coast of Kitimat, B.C., contributing to an expansion of the tar sands.

The petitioners call on the Government of Canada to immediately legislate the moratorium on offshore drilling and oil tanker traffic on B.C.'s coast. This has been a huge issue in British Columbia and there have been many petitions on this issue, so I am pleased to table this petition today.

HousingPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the second petition has to do with Bill C-304, An Act to ensure secure, adequate, accessible and affordable housing for Canadians. The petitioners call on the Government of Canada to play an increased federal role in housing and to create a federal housing program.

I note today that the bill was tabled in the House. There have been many petitions on this issue right across the country calling on Parliament to move on this bill swiftly because it is an urgently needed matter to provide accessible and affordable housing for all Canadians.

Aboriginal AffairsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the third petition is from residents of the Vancouver area who call on the Government of Canada to renew funding for the Sisters in Spirit initiative phase 2, evidence to action, and to invest in an action plan for aboriginal women, which NWAC has developed, to stop the devastating number of missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls in Canada.

Disability Tax CreditPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition signed by 100 residents of the provinces of British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick. These are individual Canadians who are concerned about the current test for eligibility for the disability tax credit. For hard of hearing Canadians, the threshold for the disability tax credit is very high. Hard of hearing Canadians, if they understand a familiar person in a quiet setting, are ineligible for the disability tax credit.

Hard of hearing associations across the country, including the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association and the Canadian Association of Audiologists, support my Bill C-577 that would amend the Income Tax Act and set a more reasonable bar for access to the disability tax credit.

On behalf of these 100 hard of hearing Canadians from coast to coast, I submit the following petition in their name to change the disability tax credit eligibility so that it is reasonable and allows hard of hearing Canadians to access it.

Multiple SclerosisPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table a petition signed by hundreds of Canadians from Ontario and B.C. They urge the Government of Canada to take immediate action in having chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency surgery, also known as CCSVI or liberation treatment.

It is evident that more and more Canadians are seeking this treatment in the hopes that their quality of life will be improved. They are encouraged by the thousands of Canadians whose quality of life has been improved since they have undergone the procedure abroad.

Multiple SclerosisPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen NDP Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, I also have a petition to present from residents of my riding concerning CCSVI. The petitioners are not only family members of MS sufferers but are themselves MS suffers. They are saying to the government that it is time to give them hope and to stop sending them abroad. What is happening in this country is that those MS sufferers who have the wherewithal and financial means are leaving this country to get treatment when we should have a pilot program here.

As the family member of a father who suffered from MS and eventually passed away, I saw that he had no hope when he had it.

Today, we have hope for MS sufferers across this country and we are denying them based on the fact that we will not have a pilot project. That, in my view, is discriminatory and we ought to start the project, not yesterday but last week. Let us get on with it. We know the methodologies and we know the science. Let us move forward and give those who suffer from MS in this country the ability to hope once again that i they may have a better quality of life than they endure today.

Fisheries and OceansPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to submit a petition signed by over 9,000 Canadians who express serious concern with the impacts on B.C.'s wild salmon coming from industrial open-net salmon farms. They are concerned that these operations intensify disease, privatize ocean spaces and threaten their sovereign rights to food security.

They, therefore, call upon the Government of Canada to take appropriate measures to get open-net aquaculture out of federal waters.

Multiple SclerosisPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle NDP Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by dozens of people from Markham, Pickering, Oshawa, Montreal, Laval and Saint-Hubert.

The petitioners urgently call on the Government of Canada to accelerate a greater and broader participation of multiple sclerosis sufferers in a pilot testing and treatment by providing fast-track funding, to work immediately with the provinces and territories through the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies, and to take a leading role on the basis of this evidence and encouraging the swift adoption of a procedure in the territories and provinces.

Multiple SclerosisPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, I also rise in the House today, along with a lot of my colleagues, to table a petition from more than 100 Canadians calling for federal leadership and action on the new treatment for multiple sclerosis.

With respect to multiple sclerosis, a high percentage occurs just outside and around the city of Edmonton. An increasing number of people are suffering from this disease. I am proud to say that the Government of Alberta has stepped up to at least follow up on these operations.

I encourage the Government of Canada to show leadership and expedite further testing and piloting of this intervention.

Multiple SclerosisPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Bruce Hyer NDP Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I also have a petition relating to enhanced treatments for MS under the CCSVI treatment regime.

Almost 100,000 people across Canada have MS. This comes at a time when most people are in the prime of their life. This special procedure was developed in Italy by Dr. Zamboni. We could and should be developing this procedure here in Canada so that our MS suffers have hope and do not need to go abroad.

Air CanadaPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my petition is signed by machinists from the Air Canada overhaul base in Winnipeg. Over 500 full-time employees may be finding their jobs ending up in El Salvador.

Air Canada failed in its duty to comply with the Air Canada Public Participation Act by selling its overhaul bases to Aveos, formerly known as ACTS, in Winnipeg, Mississauga and Montreal.

On December 14, 2010, Air Canada counsel, at the transport committee in this House, claimed that Aeroman, the Aveos' subsidiary in El Salvador, could not do Air Canada maintenance in El Salvador. This is totally untrue as Aeroman performs maintenance on exactly the same aircraft that is overhauled in Winnipeg, namely the A320 series and the Embraer. The El Salvador shops can maintain 87% of Air Canada's fleet.

In a confidential J.P. Morgan information memorandum from February 2007, which attracted equity investors into the company, it detailed the expansion plan in El Salvador going from four to sixteen lines.

Aveos has four lines in Vancouver, four in Montreal, one in Toronto and five in Winnipeg, for a total of 14. In El Salvador alone, it will have 16 lines, more than all of Canada combined. San Salvador overhauls exactly the same narrow-bodied planes, the A320s, as Winnipeg and Montreal does.

In fact, page 28 states that the narrow-bodied aircraft can travel to Central America for service. The report states that the aircraft overhaul schedules are months and years in advance, so it is easy to schedule the work in El Salvador.

When we consider the machinists in Canada cost Air Canada about $90 an hour and in El Salvador--

Air CanadaPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. member wants to give a brief summary of the petition. I submit that reading in a report is irrelevant. If he would like to give a brief summary of the petition, I would urge him to comply with the rules in that respect.

I assume he tabled the petition. I did not hear that but I will assume that.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 824, 830, 832, 834, 835, 837, 840, 841, 848, 852, 884, 885, 888, 889, 903, 905, 906, 914, and 916.

Question No. 824Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Liberal Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

With regard to the investigation and prosecution of all licensed Canadian sealers who were charged under the Fisheries Act or the Marine Mammal Regulations as a result of actions taken by the sealers during the 1996 harvest of a category of Hooded Seals known as “Bluebacks”: (a) how many licensed sealers were originally charged due to actions arising from the harvesting of this class of hooded seal; (b) what was the final year in which the prosecution of any sealer from this group concluded; (c) how many were convicted of any offence during the course of this prosecution and what were they convicted of; (d) what specific regulation or statutory provision were they originally charged with and what regulation or statutory provision were they convicted of; (e) what is the total cost of both the investigation and the prosecution of these charges, broken down by each department or agency involved in any aspect of the investigation or prosecution of these charges; and (f) what is the description of any changes made to the Marine Mammal regulations subsequent to the conclusion of these cases and originating from circumstances made clear during the course of this investigation and prosecution?

Question No. 824Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), 75 individual fishermen were charged.

Regarding (b), the last two individuals’ violation files were closed on December 23, 2010. The files state the trials started on March 16 and 17, 2004 respectively. Charges were laid in November 1996.

Regarding (c), 65 individuals were found guilty and given an absolute discharge. One individual was found not guilty. Charges against nine individuals were withdrawn by the Crown.

Regarding (d), the individuals were charged and convicted pursuant to section 27 of the marine mammal regulations, which states: No person other than a beneficiary shall sell, trade or barter a whitecoat or blueback.

In response to (e), unfortunately, this information is not available as the information was never tabulated in that format. Departmental financial records such as travel claims would be shredded for such dated expenses, a lot of the fishery officers involved are retired and, in some cases, deceased. Salaries are part of integrated budgets and are not itemized in a manner that breaks out what portion is attributed to a particular investigation or prosecution. It would be very difficult to provide an estimate, taking considerable time to provide a crude or rough estimate, as we are dealing with a 14 year investigation, involving dozens of fishery officers and other departmental staff, such as scientists, policy and economics staff, etc. Also, the costs of prosecutions are not tracked by individual files within DFO.

In response to (f), no changes were made subsequent to the conclusion of these cases, i.e., in December 2010. However, there were changes made to the marine mammal regulations regarding humane harvesting practices in 2009, including to subsections 28(2), 28(3), 28(4), and section 29 as part of the implementation of the three-step process.

Question No. 830Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

With respect to railway shipping service in Canada: (a) what analysis has the government conducted on the impacts of rail shipment rates on the forestry, mining, agricultural and manufacturing sectors; (b) what analysis does the government conduct on the impacts of the lack of competition in the railway sector on remote and northern communities; (c) has the government begun drafting legislation and regulations for the railway service industry to address the recommendations of the Rail Freight Service Review Panel’s Interim Report; (d) what is the government’s response to the request by the Coalition of Rail Shippers to implement regulatory changes immediately; (e) what is the government’s position on appointing a facilitator to assist in negotiations between railways and shippers; and (f) when will the government provide a response to the final report of the Rail Freight Service Review Panel?

Question No. 830Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Yellowhead Alberta

Conservative

Rob Merrifield ConservativeMinister of State (Transport)

Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), what analysis has the government conducted on the impacts of rail shipment rates on the forestry, mining, agricultural and manufacturing sectors, the government’s capacity to analyze the impacts of rail shipment rates is limited by the lack of accessible data. The Canada Transportation Act requires railways to prepare publicly available tariffs that identify a rate for the movement of traffic. However, it is not clear the extent to which tariff rates are applied in practice since most rates in the forestry, mining and manufacturing sectors are established within confidential contracts. For example, in its submission to the rail freight service review, Canadian Pacific Rail indicated that confidential contracts govern more than 75% of its business. Within confidential contracts the rates can vary from published tariffs, as rates are negotiated in conjunction with related service commitments, ancillary charges, terms and conditions. The government does not have access to confidential contracts.

The transport of western grain is subject to the revenue cap provision of the Canada Transportation Act. Each year, the Canadian Transportation Agency examines whether the railways have complied with the legislation. The agency has just released its determination for the 2009-2010 crop year, finding that the revenues of both railways were below the amount allowed by the legislation.

In response to (b), what analysis does the government conduct on the impacts of the lack of competition in the railway sector on remote and northern communities, the government monitors and conducts analysis on freight rail transportation issues in Canada including issues related to shipper’s access to more than one railway. At present, the government is addressing concerns about rail freight service through the rail freight service review. The review consisted of six analytical reports to achieve a better understanding of the nature and extent of problems within the logistics chain, focusing on the performance of stakeholders involved in the rail-based logistics system, primarily the railways, particularly Canadian National Railway, CN, and Canadian Pacific Railway, CP, but also shippers, ports, shipping lines and terminal operators.

Phase two consisted of a panel of three persons who consulted extensively and received written submissions from over 140 different stakeholders from across the rail-based logistics chain. As noted in the interim report of the panel that led the review, there is a range of views as to the degree of competition and captivity that exists in the rail-based supply chain. At the same time, the research report entitled, “Analysis of Railway Fulfillment of Shipper Demand and Transit Times”, prepared by QGI Consulting, found that there were no systemic differences in transit time performance depending on shipper size, flow size, access to rail competition or core versus non-core railway origins.

The panel’s interim report, consultant analytical reports and stakeholder submissions are publicly available on the rail freight service review website.

In response to parts (c), (d), (e) and (f), the government will review the panel’s final report before deciding on next steps.

Question No. 832Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

With respect to carbon capture and storage (CCS): (a) what is the total funding amount that the government has committed to CCS since 2006; (b) how is this spending broken down by project and fiscal year (including future spending already committed); (c) what is the contribution from the private sector and from other levels of government to each project funded; (d) what are the expected greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions resulting from federal funding of CCS projects; (e) what is the projected rate of GHG reduction per dollar of federal funding invested; and (f) what GHG reductions have been achieved to date from CCS projects funded by the government?

Question No. 832Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), since 2006, Natural Resources Canada has committed approximately $1 billion to carbon capture and storage, CCS.

In response to (b), with respect to CCS, the annual breakdown of funding by project, including future funding that is already committed, cannot be released publicly as this information is protected due it being business and contractually sensitive information.

In response to (c), the contribution from other levels of government to CCS projects funded by the federal government is $1.7 billion.

As the amount of funding from the private sector to CCS project is commercially sensitive information, NRCan can not provide the requested information.

In response to (d), the expected greenhouse gas,GHG, reductions resulting from federal funding of CCS projects is approximately 4.7 million tonnes per year.

In response to (e), if the CCS plants are operated over a 10 year period, the minimum expected, then it is estimated that 57 million tonnes of CO2 would be captured resulting in a projected rate of 0.06 tonnes of C02 captured per dollar of federal funding invested. If the operations of the CCS plants are extended to 25 years, then 142.5 million tonnes of CO2 are estimated to be captured resulting in a projected rate of 0.16 tonnes of C02 captured per dollar of federal funding invested.

In response to (f), the Canadian Government has set an economy-wide target for reducing GHGs by 17% from 2005 levels by 2020. Globally, CCS has been identified by many organizations as one of the few technologies available for making significant reductions at existing large industrial point sources of emissions, at large fossil fuel processing plants, as well as at coal-fired electricity plants.

The projects currently being funded are large projects that are expected to start operations by 2013-2015. Therefore, Natural Resources Canada cannot provide the amount of GHG reductions that have been achieved to date from CCS projects funded by the government.

Question No. 834Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

With regard to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) investigation of the Caribbean-based investment fund known as St. Lawrence Trading Inc.: (a) does the CRA know the identities of all Canadians with investments in the fund; (b) does the CRA know the identities of the six prominent Canadian business families with holdings of as much as $900 million in that fund and, if so, what are they; (c) how many Canadians are involved in the St. Lawrence Trading Inc. fund in total; (d) what are the key reasons the CRA has been unable to obtain the information it needs to determine whether evasion of Canadian taxes has taken place; (e) what are the impediments to identification by the CRA of all those Canadians involved in the St. Lawrence Trading Inc. fund; (f) how much tax does the CRA estimate that Canadian individuals, who invested in the St. Lawrence Trading Inc. fund, have failed to pay; (g) how much tax does the CRA estimate that Canadian families with investments in the St. Lawrence Trading Inc. fund have failed to pay; (h) how much tax has been recovered from each Canadian individual and family that invested in St. Lawrence Trading Inc.; and (i) what is the estimated cost of the CRA’s investigation of the St. Lawrence Trading Inc. fund to date?

Question No. 834Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield ConservativeMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), the CRA can confirm that it has identified between 90% and 95% of the shareholders of St. Lawrence Trading Inc., SLT.

Regarding (b), as the confidentiality provisions of the Income Tax Act prohibit the CRA from disclosing either directly or indirectly specific taxpayer information, the CRA is unable to disclose the information requested.

Regarding (c), though the CRA cannot confirm at this time the number of Canadians involved, it can confirm that approximately 180 Canadian taxpayers have invested in SLT.

Regarding (d), the confidentiality provisions of the Income Tax Act preclude the CRA from disclosing either directly or indirectly specific taxpayer information. Furthermore, it prevents the CRA from commenting on matters relating to specific taxpayer cases. Therefore, the CRA is unable to respond to the question in the manner requested.

Regarding (e), when a company does not reside or carry on business in Canada, the CRA may have no authority to compel information from it if there is no tax convention or tax information exchange agreement signed with the relevant country.

Regarding (f), (g), and (h), as this matter is still ongoing, it would be premature for the CRA to provide any estimates or possible outcome as it relates to this review.

Finally, regarding (i), with respect to its actions relating to taxpayer compliance, these are undertaken by the CRA as part of its regular mandate. Therefore, as the CRA does not estimate its costs in the manner suggested by the question, it is unable to provide a detailed response.

Question No. 835Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

With regard to government monitoring of the working and labour conditions in oil sands areas: (a) what is the total amount of injuries reported or registered by the responsible government departments from 2006 to date; (b) what departments, agencies and commissions are responsible for monitoring working safety conditions in the oil sands; (c) how many inspections of the work safety conditions in oil sand production sites were conducted by each department, agency or commission from 2006 to date; (d) what are the major issues associated with working conditions at the oil sands production sites; (e) what types of injuries are common at the oil sands working sites; (f) from 2006 to date, what is the average crime rate in communities where oil sands production is going on; and (g) how much money did the government spend on monitoring and regulating safety conditions in the oil sands production sites, for each department, agency and commission?

Question No. 835Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), crude oil production from the oil sands is not an industry within federal jurisdiction.

In response to (b), (c), (d), (e) and (g), the monitoring of working safety conditions is under provincial jurisdiction.

In response to (f), crime rates in communities are outside the purview of the labour program’s mandate.

Question No. 837Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

With regard to the Canadian Firearms Program: (a) how many long guns have been seized since the inception of the long-gun registry and, of those seized, how many were registered and how many were unregistered; (b) how many long-guns have been seized from individuals as a result of a diagnosed mental illness or emotional instability and, of those, how many were registered and how many were not; (c) how many long-guns have been seized from individuals who have been charged with a violent or serious criminal offense, what were those criminal offenses, broken down by category and, of those, how many of the long-guns seized were registered and how many were not; (d) how many long-guns have been seized from individuals who have been charged or convicted of spousal abuse or domestic violence of any kind and, of those guns seized, how many were registered and how many were not; and (e) how many long-guns have been seized for other reasons than those mentioned above, what are those reasons, and how many of the seized weapons were registered and how many were not?

Question No. 837Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, the database of the Canadian firearms program, CFP, also known as the Canadian firearms information system, CFIS, is legislated to retain specific records on firearms as outlined in the firearms records regulations, SOR/98-213. These records include applications for a firearms licence and registration certificates, registered firearms and revoked firearms. Where a firearms licence has been revoked, CFIS collects and maintains information concerning the reason(s) for revocation. The regulation, however, does not require the registrar to collect and maintain information on unregistered firearms, nor does it obligate public service agencies, e.g., the police, to report to the registrar when or why a firearm is seized. Therefore, CFIS could not identify seized firearms until the public agents firearms regulations, SOR/98-203, PAFR, came into force on October 31, 2008.

PAFR requires all public service agencies to report all protected firearms that come into their possession regardless of the firearms’ registration status. Protected firearm means a firearm that is in the possession of a public service agency and that is not for use by its public agents. However, reasons for the seizure of protected firearms by a public service agency are not included in the PAFR as a reporting requirement.

Although revocation of a firearms licence and/or registration certificate may lead to a seizure of firearms, seizure of firearms from a valid licence holder does not necessarily lead to a revocation of the firearms registration certificate and/or firearms licence. Therefore, the grounds for seizure may only be determined where a firearms licence is also revoked. Without revocation of a firearms licence, the grounds for seizure cannot be determined.

Although PAFR has improved upon reporting requirements and has been instrumental in expanding the range of information on registered firearms, the record is still incomplete in some areas. As a result, the RCMP response to this question draws on the available information that is reasonably complete.

CFIS has 10 predetermined reasons for revocation of a firearms licence: (i) court order or prohibition, (ii) domestic violence, (iii) drug offences, (iv) mental health, (v) potential risk to others, (vi) potential risk to self, (vii) providing of false information, (viii) unsafe firearm use and storage, (ix) violence, and, (x) other. In any given case, there may be more than one reason for a revocation.

The reference to long-guns in the questions is assumed to mean non-restricted firearms.

In response to (a), between the implementation of the PAFR on October 31, 2008 and January 4, 2011, 51,815 non-restricted firearms were seized by public service agencies and reported to the CFP. Just over 47%, or 24,246, of the seized firearms were registered or had previously been registered at the time of seizure.

In response to (b), of the 51,815 seized non-restricted firearms, 4,612 registered firearms were owned by individuals whose licenses were revoked due to public safety concerns. Of these 4,612 firearms, 207 firearms were owned by individuals whose licenses were revoked for reasons of reported mental health concerns. The CFIS is not configured to capture data beyond the predetermined reasons for revocation.

In response to (c), the CFIS is not configured to capture data beyond the predetermined reasons for revocation.

In response to (d), the 51,815 seized non-restricted firearms, 4,612 registered firearms were owned by individuals whose licenses were revoked due to public safety concerns. Of these 4,612 firearms, 108 were owned by individuals whose licenses were revoked due to reported domestic violence. The CFIS is not configured to capture data beyond the predetermined reasons for revocation.

In response to (e), of the 51,815 seized non-restricted firearms, 4,612 registered firearms were owned by individuals whose licenses were revoked due to public safety concerns. The reasons for revocation due to public safety concerns included: reported prohibition or court order, 3,887; reported potential risk to others, 547; reported potential risk to self, 399; reported unsafe firearms use and storage, 224; reported violence, 198; reported drug offences, 15; and providing false information, 3. The CFIS is not configured to capture data beyond the predetermined reasons for revocation.

Question No. 840Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Liberal Willowdale, ON

With respect to the ongoing process to acquire 65 Joint Strike Fighters (JSF): (a) which engine will the government be selecting; (b) what analysis has been conducted in terms of engine selection; (c) when was the analysis done; (d) what analysis has been done in regard to the maintenance of the stealth frame and what are the expected maintenance costs; (e) what is the expected cost difference per plane between acquiring the first quantity of JSFs under a Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) phase and the JSFs bought in the last year of acquisition; (f) will the initial JSFs purchased by Canada have the same operational capability as the later purchases or will they require upgrades; (g) what would be the cost to upgrade the first JSF acquired by Canada to the same level of capabilities as the 65th JSF acquired by Canada; and (h) will Lockheed Martin or the United States pay for any upgrades necessary to ensure that Canada’s first JSF has the same operational capabilities as the last one delivered to it?

Question No. 840Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), currently, two engines are being developed, the F135 by Pratt and Whitney and the F136 by General Electric/Rolls Royce. DND/CF expects to make a final decision on engine selection later this year. Canada will closely monitor the US Government decision-making process on whether or not to continue supporting the F136 as an engine alternative and assess the impact, if any, on Canada and the JSF program.

In response to (b) and (c), interaction with the two engine manufacturers has been ongoing for several years. Initial information on engine performance, cost, and potential industrial benefits was provided by the manufacturers of both engines, Pratt & Whitney and General Electric/Rolls Royce, to Canadian governmental officials in a series of meetings, briefings, and correspondence.

More detailed information was received in the 2008 to 2010 timeframe. Analysis of this information has been an iterative and ongoing process.

In response to (d), specific details on maintenance costs associated with the F-35 stealth capability are still being determined; however, these are not expected to be a significant part of the overall sustainment costs. While some specific maintenance equipment will be required to sustain the stealth capability, there are no associated maintenance requirements for dedicated and permanent infrastructure. Overall, we expect the cost of sustainment of the F-35 aircraft to be of the same order of magnitude as any current generation advanced fighter, roughly $250 million to $300 million Canadian per year.

In response to (e), based on current estimates, Mar 2010, provided by the multinational joint strike fighter program office for project costing purposes, the expected cost difference per plane between the acquisition of the first quantity of joint strike fighters under the low rate initial production, LRIP, developmental phase and the JSF aircraft bought in the last year of acquisition will be a decrease in cost by $11.1 million U.S., base year 2002. The term “base year 2002” indicates monetary amounts valued at 2002 inflation figures.

In response to (f), Canada’s purchases will be from several production runs of joint strike fighters. As the JSF project advances, each production run will deliver aircraft with greater capability from the production runs before. Continuously upgrading the aircraft to a common standard is integral to Canada’s and other partner nations’ participation in the JSF memorandum of understanding; as such, as Canadian JSF aircraft are upgraded in production, all other nations’ JSF aircraft will also be upgraded.

In response to (g), the next generation fighter capability project, NGFC, team continues to evaluate upgrade costs in consultation with the JSF program office. A rough order of magnitude cost estimate for upgrading the first JSF aircraft acquired by Canada to the same level of capability as the 65th aircraft acquired by Canada is $2.4 million Canadian and has been factored into the NGFC project costing. The cost of bringing all the previous aircraft to the common standard of the last purchased production run has already been factored into the project costs.

In response to (h), as per the JSF MOU, each individual partner nation in the JSF program will pay for any upgrades on their national aircraft fleets. As stated above, the cost of bringing all aircraft to a common standard has already been factored into the JSF project costs.

Question No. 841Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

With regard to the government’s planned purchase of 65 F-35 aircraft and other purchase options made available for the government consideration: (a) when was the decision taken by the government to approve this purchase; (b) what was the quoted unit price given to the government at that time; (c) what was the maintenance and in-service support estimated cost over a period of 20 years at that time; (d) to what amounted the estimated industrial benefits to Canada at the time in terms of dollars and jobs; (e) what other purchase options were made available for the government's consideration; (f) what was the quoted unit price for each other aircraft option at the time; (g) what was the estimated cost for maintenance and in-service support covering a period of 20 years for each option at the time; and (h) to what amounted the estimated industrial benefits to Canada at the time in terms of dollars and jobs?

Question No. 841Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

The Government of Canada announced its decision to purchase the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighters, JSFs, as Canada’s next generation fighter on 16 July 2010.

The unit price of the conventional takeoff and landing variant, the F-35A, of the JSF is estimated in the mid-$70 million U.S. range. The $9 billion committed to this purchase includes not only the cost of the 65 aircraft, but also the associated weapon systems, supporting infrastructure, initial spares, training simulators, contingency funds and project operating costs. All of these items are funded through the Canada first defence strategy and the national defence investment plan.

The maintenance and in-service support cost for Canada’s fleet of 65 F-35A fighters is estimated to be of the same order of magnitude as any current generation advanced fighter, at roughly $250 to $300 million per year. The Government of Canada is continuing to work with its JSF project partners to minimize the cost of sustainment by studying various economy measures, such as the pooling of spare parts for the global F-35 fleet.

As a result of Canada’s membership in the joint strike fighter program, its participation in the 2006 JSF production, sustainment, and follow-on development memorandum of understanding, and the industrial participation plans signed with JSF prime contractor Lockheed Martin, the value of economic opportunities available to Canadian industry is currently estimated at approximately $12 billion for production, with additional opportunities for sustainment and follow-on development. Over 60 Canadian companies, universities, and research laboratories have already won JSF related contracts valued at more than $350 million Canadian, even as full production of the aircraft has yet to commence. This figure is a clear demonstration of the significant benefits the JSF program has, and will have, for Canada, and an impressive rate of return on the approximately $200 million U.S. invested in the JSF program by the Government of Canada since 1997.

The decision to purchase the F-35 was made following extensive and rigorous analyses carried out by experts within the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces. These experts studied a range of aircraft options and a range of procurement methods. Three advanced fighter aircraft with capabilities comparable to or better than the Canadian Air Force’s current CF-18 Hornet fighter were subjected to in-depth assessments using confidential information obtained from manufacturers, as well as data provided via government to government channels and through Canada’s participation in the joint strike fighter program. The conclusion of these studies, conducted between 2005 and 2010, was that only the F-35 met all of the mandatory requirements specified in the Canadian Forces’ statement of operational requirements. While the statement of operational requirements contains sensitive information and, like all such documents, cannot be disclosed publicly without redactions, a listing of high level mandatory capabilities has been released publicly and tabled with the Standing Committee on National Defence.

The Government of Canada is committed to providing our men and women in uniform with the best equipment possible so as to ensure mission success and their safe return. Given Canada’s commitments to the North American Aerospace Defence Command and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the F-35A will enhance the Canadian Forces’ ability to fulfil its three core roles of defending Canada, defending North America in cooperation with the United States, and contributing to overseas operations in concert with our allies and partners. As a cutting-edge, adaptable, and sustainable multi-role fifth-generation fighter, the F-35A will renew Canada’s manned tactical fighter capability for the 21st century, permitting the Canadian Forces to meet the known threats of today, as well as the anticipated and unanticipated threats of the future.

Question No. 848Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Liberal Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

With regard the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program, since the beginning of Canada’s participation: (a) what was the first evaluation of the acquisition cost-per-plane Canada would pay, (i) when was that evaluation made, (ii) based on what information was it made, (iii) who provided the government with that information, (iv) via what medium (e.g., conference, personal discussion,briefing note, etc.), (v) what is the name of the government document containing that evaluation, (vi) what is the topic of that document, (vii) which government members were provided with information; (b) for every subsequent re-evaluation of the acquisition cost-per-plane that Canada would pay and up to the government's current evaluation, (i) what was the new evaluation (ii) when was that evaluation made, (iii) based on what information was it made, (iv) who provided the government with that information, (v) via what medium (e.g., conference, personal discussion, briefing note, etc.), (vi) what is the name of the government document containing that evaluation, (vii) what is the topic of that document, (viii) which government members were provided with that information, (ix) as precisely as possible, what new information prompted the re-evaluation; (c) what was the first evaluation of the maintenance and repair cost-per-plane Canada would have to incur, (i) when was that evaluation made, (ii) based on what information was it made, (iii) who provided the government with that information, (iv) via what medium (e.g., conference, personal discussion, briefing note, etc.), (v) what is the name of the government document containing that evaluation, (vi) what is the topic of that document, (vii) which government members were provided with that information; (d) for every subsequent re-evaluation of the maintenance and repair cost-per-plane that Canada would have to incur and up to the government's current evaluation, (i) what was the new evaluation, (ii) when was that evaluation made, (iii) based on what information was it made, (iv) who provided the government with that information, (v) via what medium (e.g., conference, personal discussion, briefing note, etc.), (vi) what is the name of the government document containing that evaluation, (vii) what is the topic of that document, (viii) which government members were provided with that information, (ix) as precisely as possible, what new information prompted the re-evaluation; (e) what was the first evaluation of the total cost of Canada's purchase and maintenance of the planes and Canada's participation in the JSF program, (i) when was that evaluation made, (ii) based on what information was it made, (iii) who provided the government with that information, (iv) via what medium (e.g., conference, personal discussion, briefing note, etc.), (v) what is the name of the government document containing that evaluation, (vi) what is the topic of that document, (vii) which government members were provided with that information; (f) for every subsequent re-evaluation of the total cost of Canada's purchase and maintenance of the planes and Canada's participation in the JSF program and up to the government's current evaluation, (i) what was the new evaluation, (ii) when was that evaluation made, (iii) based on what information was it made, (iv) who provided the government with that information, (v) via what medium (e.g., conference, personal discussion, briefing note, etc.), (vi) what is the name of the government document containing that evaluation, (vii) what is the topic of that document, (viii) which government members were provided with that information, (ix) as precisely as possible, what new information prompted the re-evaluation; (g) what was the first evaluation of the date of delivery to Canada for the F-35s, (i) when was that evaluation made, (ii) based on what information was it made, (iii) who provided the government with that information, (iv) via what medium (e.g., conference, personal discussion, briefing note, etc.), (v) what is the name of the government document containing that evaluation, (vi) what is the topic of that document, (vii) which government members were provided with that information; and (h) for every subsequent re-evaluation of the date of delivery to Canada for the F-35s and up to government's current evaluation, (i) what was the new evaluation, (ii) when was that evaluation made, (iii) based on what information was it made, (iv) who provided the government with that information, (v) via what medium (e.g., conference, personal discussion, briefing note, etc.), (vi) what is the name of the government document containing that evaluation, (vii) what is the topic of that document, (viii) which government members were provided with that information, (ix) as precisely as possible, what new information prompted the re-evaluation?

Question No. 848Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (f), (g) and (h), in general, departmental plans are under constant review to ensure that the plans are current. It is normal procedure for the Department of National Defence, DND, to plan for replacement of its major weapon systems to maintain CF capabilities and to ensure that departmental objectives are in line with government objectives. Data from the joint strike fighter, JSF, program are complex and constantly evolving. As a result, evaluations of Canada’s participation in the program are iterative. Due to the complexity and number of iterative evaluations, it is not possible to identify each specific re-evaluation of project costing and/or scheduling data within the time available.

Evaluation of the next generation fighter capability options occurred in two phases: 2005 to 2008, and 2008 to 2010. The first phase was to “research the marketplace” and determine what realistic options might exist. The first phase provided sufficient information on the F35 to determine if it were a credible contender. This phase provided the rationale for entering the production, sustainment, and follow-on development memorandum of understanding, MOU, in order to preserve the JSF option. The second phase provided Canada with detailed capability and cost information on the aircraft options carried forward from phase one. A detailed costing, using specific Canadian Forces requirements, was first conducted in the fall of 2009 and refined in the spring of 2010. The costing was based on information provided during visits to manufacturers, manufacturer visits to Canada to speak to senior representatives of DND and other departments, and detailed government to government discussions.

In the specific case of the JSF, the multinational joint strike fighter program office, JPO, has been continually providing to all participant nations the evolving costs of both the aircraft unit flyaway cost and the cost of sustainment throughout Canada’s participation in the system design and demonstration MOU and the production, sustainment and follow-on development MOU. A formal costing conference with all participating nations is held annually. The JPO maintains a costing database that evolves as the programme moves forward. As refined or additional information becomes available, the costing undergoes further refinement. The unit cost of the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing version of the joint strike fighter using specific Canadian requirements is estimated in the mid $70 million U.S. range. Together with associated weapons systems, initial spares, infrastructure, and project management and contingency funds, the total acquisition cost for the F-35 is estimated at $9 billion. The estimated cost of sustainment for Canada’s fleet of 65 F-35s is $250 million to $300 million per year over 20 years. Further costing exercises will be conducted by DND as the JSF project advances. Canada has contributed $10 million for the concept demonstration phase, $150 million for the system development and demonstration phase, and has committed to providing $551 million for the production, sustainment, and follow-on development phase of the JSF program.

The first evaluation of the date of delivery to Canada of the F-35 was made during phase one of the next generation fighter capability options analysis during 2005 to 2008. This evaluation was based on the estimated life expectancy of the CF-18 Hornet and next generation fighter capability option information gathered during the first phase of options analysis referenced above. This latter information was provided to DND through contacts with industry and other air forces with whom the department and the Canadian Forces maintain relationships. These relationships facilitate the exchange of information so that DND and the CF can understand and analyze the development of military capabilities and provide recommendations to the Government on future CF capabilities. In the case of the F-35, the information would have been collected via discussions, conferences, the defence attaché network and open source material such as trade publications.

After the initial evaluation, the next generation fighter capability delivery requirements were re-evaluated in the next generation fighter capability statement of operational requirements, or SOR. The SOR identifies the capability, sustainment and delivery requirements for a CF-18 Hornet replacement. The re-evaluated date of delivery was based on the estimated life expectancy of the CF-18 Hornet, research on known world-wide fighter development and production programs, and information gained by participating in the JSF program under the 2006 joint strike fighter MOU as a partner nation.

Question No. 852Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

With respect to the contract awarded for sending letters to employment insurance offices about the 20 additional weeks of benefits announced in the new employment insurance measures for long-tenured workers: (a) was a call for tenders held for this contract and, if so, where and on what date; (b) what companies bid on the contract; (c) what is the name of the company to which the contract was awarded and on what date was the contract awarded; and (d) what is the total value of the contract?

Question No. 852Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), (b), (c) and (d), no contract existed for sending letters to employment insurance offices about the 20 additional weeks of benefits.

Question No. 884Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Kania Liberal Brampton West, ON

With regard to Recreational Infrastructure Canada projects in Manitoba: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

Question No. 884Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Blackstrap Saskatchewan

Conservative

Lynne Yelich ConservativeMinister of State (Western Economic Diversification)

Mr. Speaker, for parts (a), (b) and (c), please see the listing of RInC projects approved in Manitoba, as found on the Department of Western Economic Diversification Canada’s public website: http://www.wd.gc.ca/eng/11930.asp

In response to (d), all RInC projects must be completed by October 31, 2011.

Question No. 885Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Kania Liberal Brampton West, ON

With regard to Recreational Infrastructure Canada projects in Saskatchewan: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

Question No. 885Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Blackstrap Saskatchewan

Conservative

Lynne Yelich ConservativeMinister of State (Western Economic Diversification)

Mr. Speaker, for parts (a), (b) and (c), please see the listing of RInC projects approved in Saskatchewan, as found on the Department of Western Economic Diversification Canada’s public website: http://www.wd.gc.ca/eng/11931.asp

In response to (d), all RInC projects must be completed by October 31, 2011.

Question No. 888Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Liberal Papineau, QC

With regard to Recreational Infrastructure Canada projects in Alberta: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

Question No. 888Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Blackstrap Saskatchewan

Conservative

Lynne Yelich ConservativeMinister of State (Western Economic Diversification)

Mr. Speaker, for parts (a), (b) and (c), please see the listing of Recreational Infrastructure Canada, RInC, projects approved in Alberta, as found on the Department of Western Economic Diversification Canada’s public website: http://www.wd.gc.ca/eng/11928.asp.

In response to (d), all RInC projects must be completed by October 31, 2011.

Question No. 889Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Liberal Papineau, QC

With regard to Recreational Infrastructure Canada projects in British Columbia: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

Question No. 889Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Blackstrap Saskatchewan

Conservative

Lynne Yelich ConservativeMinister of State (Western Economic Diversification)

Mr. Speaker, for parts (a), (b) and (c), please see the listing of Recreational Infrastructure Canada, RInC, projects approved in British Columbia, as found on the Department of Western Economic Diversification Canada’s public website: http://www.wd.gc.ca/eng/11929.asp.

In response to (d), all RInC projects must be completed by October 31, 2011.

Question No. 903Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

With regard to Building Canada Fund projects in the Yukon: (a) what is the description of each project; (b) what is the expected cost of each project; and (c) what is the expected completion date of each project?

Question No. 903Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, a list of approved infrastructure projects funded by Infrastructure Canada in the north, the three territories, under its national programs can be found on our website at the following location: http://www.buildingcanada-chantierscanada.gc.ca/regions/quicklinks-liensrapides-eng.html.

Question No. 905Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

With regard to Building Canada Fund projects in Northwest Territories: (a) what is the description of each project; (b) what is the expected cost of each project; and (c) what is the expected completion date of each project?

Question No. 905Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, a list of approved infrastructure projects funded by Infrastructure Canada in the north, the three territories, under its national programs can be found on our website at the following location: http://www.buildingcanada-chantierscanada.gc.ca/regions/quicklinks-liensrapides-eng.html.

Question No. 906Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

With regard to Building Canada Fund projects in the Nunavut: (a) what is the description of each project; (b) what is the expected cost of each project; and (c) what is the expected completion date of each project?

Question No. 906Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, a list of approved infrastructure projects funded by Infrastructure Canada in the north, the three territories, under its national programs can be found on our website at the following location: http://www.buildingcanada-chantierscanada.gc.ca/regions/quicklinks-liensrapides-eng.html.

Question No. 914Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

With regard to responses to questions on the Order Paper, prepared by the ministries but sent to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) or the Privy Council Office (PCO) for review in 2009 and 2010: (a) what responses to questions on the Order Paper were reviewed by PMO or PCO staff; (b) what responses were amended or sent back to the ministries with suggestions for amendment; and (c) what responses to questions on the Order Paper were completely rejected by PCO or PMO with instructions to the ministry or ministries to rewrite or submit a non-response to the House?

Question No. 914Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the Office for the Coordination of Parliamentary Returns at the Privy Council Office, PCO, coordinates the government-wide process for producing and tabling responses to parliamentary written questions seeking factual information from ministers of the Crown relating to public affairs.

PCO seeks to assist the government in providing timely, complete and accurate responses to questions from parliamentarians and has prepared a “Guide to Producing Parliamentary Returns” to assist departments, agencies and other government organizations to prepare timely, complete and accurate responses.

Officials in PCO examine the Order Paper and Notice Paper of the House of Commons and the Senate on a daily basis for new questions. The text of each question is analyzed and, on occasion, clarification of a question may be sought from the parliamentarian who filed the question. PCO then determines, in consultation with departmental parliamentary return officers, which departments and other organizations in a minister’s portfolio will be assigned to respond to the question. In the case of complex questions assigned to many departments and other government organizations, PCO will often produce and distribute written instructions. These will state which organizations should answer parts of a question, provide advice on interpretation of the question, refer to relevant government policies, and, if needed, provide a template so that information is presented in a consistent manner. These instructions are tabled in Parliament with Ministers’ answers to the questions.

PCO has also produced, as requested by the Auditor General, a “Glossary of Terms for Parliamentary Returns” to help parliamentarians frame written questions in a manner that will assist them in getting the type of information they wish, and to help government institutions ensure there is a consistency of response. Many of the glossary items relate to financial and accounting terms used by federal government institutions.

PCO is responsible for ensuring compliance with the guidelines, for ensuring that there is a consistency of approach with respect to multi-departmental/agency responses, for quality control as far as practicable, and for ensuring the responses are formatted for tabling in Parliament and using appropriate parliamentary language. For responses to questions tabled in 2010, PCO in carrying out these responsibilities made or suggested that 275 discrete changes be made to proposed responses submitted to the PCO Office for the Coordination of Parliamentary Returns. Approximately two-thirds of these interventions were to address formatting issues, typographical errors, translation issues, or issues of parliamentary language. An additional 25% of the interventions were to provide greater precision, greater clarity, or additional information in the responses. In four instances, duplicate information was removed. In five other instances, PCO interventions were to suggest the privacy of individuals or companies be protected in accordance with government policy, i.e., that the principles of the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act be applied. For responses tabled in 2009, PCO made or suggested 41 changes to provide greater precision, greater clarity, or additional information in the responses. It was not possible in the time available to research the number of changes to address formatting and other similar types of matters in 2009.

Question No. 916Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

With regard to the G7 Finance Ministers' meetings in Nunavut: (a) how many Canada Goose parkas were purchased for the event; (b) who were the recipients of each jacket paid for by the government; and (c) what was the total cost of these jackets?

Question No. 916Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Saint Boniface Manitoba

Conservative

Shelly Glover ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), for the February, 2010 G7 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting held in Nunavut, 40 Canadian-made parkas were purchased from Canadian manufacturer Canada Goose. Similarly, the Department of Finance previously provided jackets to participants when it hosted the G20 finance ministers meeting in October, 2000, as well as the western hemisphere finance ministers meeting in April, 2001.

In response to (b), parkas were provided to those involved in the event, including: officials from Canada, the Minister of Finance, Tiff Macklem, Associate Deputy Minister of Finance and G-7 Deputy for Canada, Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of Canada; from France, Christine Lagarde, Minister of the Economy, Finance and Employment, Christian Noyer, Governor of the Bank of France, Ramon Fernandez, Director of the Treasury; from Germany, Wolfgang Schäuble, Minister of Finance, Axel Weber, President of the Deutsche Bundesbank, Jörg Asmussen, State Secretary for the Ministry of Finance; from Italy, Giulio Tremonti, Minister of the Economy and Finance, Mario Draghi, Governor of the Bank of Italy, Vittorio Grilli, Director for International Financial Relations; from Japan, Naoto Kan, Minister of Finance, Masaaki Shirakawa, Governor of the Bank of Japan, Rintaro Tamaki, Vice Minister of Finance for International Affairs, from the United Kingdom, the right hon. Alistair Darling, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England, Michael Ellam, Managing Director, International and Europe, International and Finance Directorate; from the United States of America, Timothy Geithner, Secretary of the Treasury, Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve System, Lael Brainard, Counselor to the Secretary of the Treasury; from the European Central Bank, Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the European Central Bank; from Eurogroup, Jean-Claude Juncker, Prime Minister; from the European Commission, Joaquin Almunia, Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, Marco Buti, Director General of Economic and Financial Affairs; from the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director, John Lipsky, First Deputy Managing Director; from the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, President, Jeffrey Lewis, Senior Adviser and Head of the International Policy and Partnerships Group; from the Financial Stability Board, Rupert Thorne, Deputy to the Secretary General; and from the Government of Nunavut, John Quirk, Clerk, National Assembly, Karen Kabloona, Nunavut Territory Liaison. Surplus parkas were transferred to Crown Assets at Public Works and Government Services Canada.

In response to (c), $19,874.64. The total cost provided includes the cost of 40 Canada Goose parkas, as well as all taxes, shipping costs, and costs for ‘G-7 Finance Minister Meeting in Iqaluit’ logo patch and sewing of the logo patch.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, if Questions Nos. 818, 819, 820, 821, 822, 823, 825, 826, 827, 828, 829, 831, 833, 836, 838, 839, 842, 843, 844, 846, 847, 849, 850, 851, 853, 854, 855, 856, 857, 858, 859, 860, 861, 862, 863, 864, 865, 866, 867, 868, 869, 870, 871, 873, 874, 875, 876, 877, 878, 879, 880, 881, 882, 883, 886, 887, 890, 891, 892, 893, 894, 895, 896, 897, 898, 899, 900, 901, 902, 904, 907, 908, 909, 910, 911, 912, 913, 915, 917, 918, 919, 920, and 921 could be made orders for returns, these returns would be tabled immediately.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Question No. 818Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Liberal Willowdale, ON

With respect to the meetings between the Government of Canada, U.S. governors and members of the U.S. House of Representatives on U.S. protectionist legislation in a bid to defend Canadian companies: (a) how many meetings were held; (b) with whom, for each meeting; (c) what were the dates of these meetings; and (d) what is the content of the meeting minutes and correspondence?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 819Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston NDP Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

With regard to the Infirm Dependent Tax Credit, for each calendar year between 2004 and 2010: (a) how many people applied for the tax credit; (b) how many people qualified to receive a tax credit; and (c) what was the total amount granted for this tax credit?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 820Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston NDP Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

With regard to the Disability Tax Credit, for each calendar year between 2004 and 2010: (a) how many people applied for the tax credit; (b) how many people qualified to receive a tax credit; and (c) what was the total amount granted for this tax credit?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 821Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston NDP Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

With regard to the Eligible Dependent Tax Credit, for each calendar year between 2004 and 2010: (a) how many people applied for the tax credit; (b) how many people qualified to receive a tax credit; and (c) what was the total amount granted for this tax credit?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 822Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston NDP Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

With regard to the Medical Expenses Tax Credit, for each calendar year between 2004 and 2010: (a) how many people applied for the tax credit; (b) how many people qualified to receive a tax credit; and (c) what was the total amount granted for this tax credit?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 823Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Liberal Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

With regard to the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO), of which Canada is a Contracting Party: (a) what are the current Contracting Parties to the Convention on Future Multilateral Cooperation in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization, otherwise known as the NAFO Convention; (b) which of these Contracting Parties are known by Canada through its diplomatic relations to have ratified the revised NAFO Convention, as adopted by NAFO in September 2007; (c) which of these Contracting Parties are known to have informed the NAFO Depository or the NAFO Secretariat of their ratification, acceptance and approval of the revised NAFO Convention; (d) how much did Canada spend conducting enforcement of NAFO fisheries conservation measures in the NAFO regulatory area in each of fiscal years 2007-2008, 2008-2009 and 2009-2010, broken down by all departments and agencies; (e) how much did Canada spend on scientific research and fisheries stock assessment in the NAFO regulatory area on NAFO regulated species and on ecosystem research in each of fiscal years 2007-2008, 2008-2009 and 2009-2010, broken down by all departments and agencies; (f) how much did all other NAFO Contracting Parties spend on conducting fisheries enforcement of NAFO conservation measures in the NAFO regulatory area in each year from 2007 to 2010; (g) how much did all other NAFO Contracting Parties spend on scientific research and fisheries stock assessment and ecosystem research in the NAFO regulatory area in each year from 2007 to 2010; (h) how much did Canada contribute directly to the operation and management of the NAFO Secretariat in each of the fiscal years 2007-2008, 2008-2009 and 2009-2010; (i) how much did all other NAFO Contracting Parties contribute directly to the operation and management of the NAFO Secretariat in each year from 2007 to 2010; (j) using data supplied in response to subquestions (d) to (i) and using the newly adopted and revised contribution formula for the Contracting Parties adopted by NAFO, what would be an estimate of the Canadian financial contribution to NAFO in 2010 and 2011 and what would be the contribution of each of the other NAFO Contracting Parties in those same years; (k) which NAFO Contracting Parties have filed formal objections to any of NAFO’s management decisions in 2010 and for 2011, what was the original NAFO management decision being objected to and the nature of the objection from the Contracting Party, as well as specific details of the unilateral fishing plan taken by the objecting Contracting Party for each of the years 2007, 2008 and 2009; (l) how many Canadian citations, NAFO Contracting Party citations or NAFO citations have been issued against fishing vessels of Contracting Parties that were believed to be fishing contrary to NAFO requirements within the NAFO regulatory area, which of these citations resulted in convictions of these fishing vessels, which jurisdiction was responsible for prosecuting these infractions and what penalty was assessed as a result of these convictions in each of the years 2007, 2008 and 2009; (m) what was the total number of at-sea fishing days of NAFO Contracting Party fishing vessels operating in the NAFO regulatory area for NAFO regulated species, broken down by Contracting Party; and (n) what was the total number of at-sea fishing days within the NAFO regulatory area conducting on Non-Contracting Parties to the NAFO Convention in each of the years 2007, 2008 and 2009?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 825Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Liberal Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

With regard to the operations of Marine Atlantic Incorporated: (a) what was the total revenue collected by the corporation from commercial vehicle traffic resulting from cancellation penalties and late arrival fees in 2010; (b) what was the total revenue collected from commercial truck traffic resulting from the limited, special reservation allocation for commercial truck traffic; (c) what was the total value of refunds and customer courtesy fee waivers provided by the corporation due to scheduling issues and late departures or arrivals of its vessels; (d) what was the on-time performance of Marine Atlantic Incorporated’s ferries in 2008, 2009 and 2010 on each scheduled crossing for each ferry within its fleet; and (e) what was the total revenue resulting from drop trailer storage in the yards at North Sydney, Port aux Basques and Argentia, respectively?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 826Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

With regard to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's programs AgriStability, AgriInvest, AgriRecovery and AgriInsurance: (a) what is the total amount of program funds dispersed to producers since 2004, broken down by program and (i) year, (ii) province and year, (iii) riding and year, (iv) sector and year, (v) commodity and year; (b) how many producers have made use of each of these programs since 2004, broken down by program and (i) year, (ii) province and year, (iii) riding and year, (iv) sector and year, (v) commodity and year; (c) broken down by program, province and year, for each year since 2004, what was the staff complement for each program; (d) broken down by program, province and year, for each year since 2004, what was the field staff complement for each program; (e) broken down by program and year, for each year since 2004, what was the ratio of program administration to producer funding; (f) broken down by program, what commodities are currently not covered by these programs; (g) broken down by program, what commodities have been added since each program's inception; (h) how much has been spent by each program on outside consultants since 2004, broken down by program and by (i) year, (ii) individual contract description, contracted company and amount; (i) for each program, what benchmarks are used to measure; (j) what benchmarks have been achieved, broken down by program and year, for each year since 2004; and (k) what benchmarks have not been achieved, broken down by program and year, for each year since 2004?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 827Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen NDP Welland, ON

With regard to government expenditures in the communities of Niagara, on an annual basis and broken down by department, what is the amount spent: (a) in the ridings of Welland, Niagara West—Glanbrook and Haldimand—Norfolk from 2004 up to and including the current fiscal year; (b) in the former riding of Erie—Lincoln between 1997 and 2004; (c) in the former riding of Erie between 1993 and 1997; and (d) in the ridings of Niagara Falls and St. Catharines from 1993 up to and including the current fiscal year?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 828Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

With respect to the Muskoka Initiative on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health: (a) what is the total amount of funding dedicated to the initiative, broken down by destination country, project name and project duration; (b) how will the funding be monitored and tracked; (c) how much of the funding is new; (d) how much of the funding is existing, broken down by source; (e) what benchmarks are being used to evaluate the project; (f)what evaluations or reports exist about the project; (g) how much of the funding will be delivered bilaterally; (h) how much of the funding will be delivered through multilateral agencies; (i) how much funding will be delivered in partnership with civil society; and (j) what are the criteria for receiving funding?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 829Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

With respect to the distribution of jobs in the government and all federal organizations in the National Capital Region: (a) how many jobs were there on the Quebec side of the National Capital Region in 2010; and (b) how many jobs were there on the Ontario side of the National Capital Region in 2010?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 831Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

With respect to biofuels: (a) what is the total funding amount that the government has committed to programs supporting biofuels since 2006; (b) how is this spending broken down by program, recipient project (including project description) and fiscal year (including future spending already committed); (c) what is the contribution from the private sector and from other levels of government to each project funded; (d) what are the expected greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions resulting from federal funding of biofuel projects; (e) what GHG reductions have been achieved to date from biofuel projects funded by the government; and (f) how much energy has been produced by biofuel projects funded by the government?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 833Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

With regard to Crown corporations, agencies, boards and commissions: (a) what is the annual salary paid to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of each Crown corporation, agency, board and commission; (b) how many full-time equivalents have been working in the office of the CEO for each Crown corporation, agency, board and commission from 2006 to date; (c) how was funding spent on the operations for each CEOs office for each Crown corporation, agency, board and commission from 2006 to date; (d) what is the total amount of performance bonuses paid to each CEO of each Crown corporation, agency, board and commission from 2006 to date; (e) to what privileges and pension benefits are CEOs of Crown corporations, agencies, boards and commissions entitled; and (f) how much money did the government spend on retreats for CEOs and senior management of Crown corporations, agencies, boards and commissions from 2006 to date?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 836Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

With regard to federal lands in Pickering, Ontario: (a) what is the status of the Needs Assessment Study for a potential Pickering Airport, which Transport Canada (TC) commissioned the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA) to complete, and what are its primary recommendations; (b) will it be released to the public and, if so, when; (c) it there a way a Member of Parliament can obtain a copy of the study and, if so, how; (d) has the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities determined the government's official position concerning the proposal by the GTAA to develop an airport on federal lands in Pickering Lands and, if so, what is it; (e) if the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities has not yet determined the official position, when will he; (f) was Transport Canada made aware of the recent announcement made by the Sifton family, owners of the Buttonville airport in Markham, that the airport will close before the announcement was made in November 2010 and has Transport Canada been working with the Sifton Family on this matter; (g) how will this development impact decisions concerning federal lands in Pickering; (h) will the government agree to consult with the Member of Parliament for Ajax—Pickering and the community on any future demolition proposal before any final decision is taken; (i) what are the government's plans to preserve, restore and protect structures deemed as heritage structures by the City of Pickering or advisors to the City, including the houses located at 5050 Sideline 24, the “Richardson-Will House”; 840 Concession 8 Road, the “Stouffville Christian School”, 5413 Sideline 30, the “Century City”, 429 Concession 8 Road, the “Tran House”, 140 Concession 7 Road, the “Michell House” or “Perennial Gardens”, 5165 Sideline 22, 1095 Uxbridge-Pickering Townline, the “Hammond House”, 5245 Sideline 28, the "Hoover-Watson" House, 635 Uxbridge-Pickering, the "Worker’s Cottages", and the Bentley-Carruthers House, located at Concession 8/Sideline 32, which Transport Canada initially agreed to protect but boarded up in December 2010; (j) does the government have any plans to reinstate the Transport Canada Heritage Working Group; and (k) does the government have any plans to rescind the no-re-rental policy on residential structures and begin to re-rent residential properties when they become vacant?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 838Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

With regard to correctional programming provided by Correctional Services Canada (CSC): (a) what are the reasons that explain the sharp decrease in the number of inmates participating in the Living Skills Program since 2000-2001; (b) what are the reasons that explain the sharp increase in the number of inmates participating in the Violent Offenders Program since 2000-2001; (c) how many offenders who are required to participate in correctional programs refuse to participate, broken down by year, since 2000-2001; (d) what are the reasons that explain the sharp decrease in the number of inmates participating in the Substance Abuse Program since 2000-2001; (e) how many offenders are diagnosed on intake as having a substance abuse problem for which they require treatment; (f) how many inmates are otherwise believed by CSC to have an addictions issues; (g) what course of action does CSC take when an inmate diagnosed with an addiction refuses to participate in Substance Abuse programming; (h) what is the cost per inmate to participate in the Substance Abuse Program, broken down per year since 2000-2001; (i) how is CSC programming addressing mentally ill inmates and their associated behavioural issues; (j) on what basis does CSC decide which programs will be offered at which institutions; (k) how does CSC ensure that inmates will have access to the programs they need if all programs are not offered at every institution; (l) in light of the CSC statement that it “will not be expanding the types of programs offered to offenders,” how will CSC meet the diverse needs of the growing inmate population; (m) does CSC have plans to cut the number of programs available to inmates and, if so, which programs and when; (n) what is the Integrated Correctional Program Model, how is it administered to inmates and what current CSC programs will it replace; (o) what are the reasons that explain the increase of inmates participating in the Sex Offender Program in 2009-2010; (p) how many inmates, broken down by year since 2000-2001, have been evaluated by CSC and have been found to require sex offender programming and how many of those inmates have participated in Sex Offender programming, broken down by year since 2000-2001; (q) what is the cost per inmate to participate in the Sex Offender Program, broken down per year since 2000-2001; (r) what is the per inmate spending on correctional programs, broken down annually since 2000-2001; (s) with regard to other correctional intervention programs, broken down per year since 2000-2001, what is the per inmate spending each of the following programs: (i) Offender Case management, (ii) Community Engagement, (iii) Spiritual Services, (iv) Offender Education, (v) CORCAN Employment and Employability; (t) what is the Correctional Reintegration Program, what does it do and where is it available?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 839Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

With regard to the government’s support for victims of crime: (a) how do each of the following bills directly assist victims of crime: Bill C-4, An Act to amend the Youth Criminal Justice Act and to make consequential and related amendments to other Acts, Bill C-5, An Act to amend the International Transfer of Offenders Act, Bill C-16, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, Bill C- 21, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (sentencing for fraud), Bill C-22, An Act respecting the mandatory reporting of Internet child pornography by persons who provide an Internet service, Bill C-23B, An Act to amend the Criminal Records Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, Bill C-29, An Act to amend the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, Bill C-30, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, Bill C-31, An Act to amend the Old Age Security Act, Bill C-32, An Act to amend the Aeronautics Act, Bill C-35, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, Bill C-37, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act, Bill C-38, An Act to amend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, Bill C-39, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, Bill C-42, An Act to amend the Aeronautics Act, Bill C-43, An Act to enact the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Labour Relations Modernization Act and to amend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, Bill C-48, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make consequential amendments to the National Defence Act, Bill C-49, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the Balanced Refugee Reform Act and the Marine Transportation Security Act, Bill C-50, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (interception of private communications and related warrants and orders), Bill C-51, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Competition Act and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, Bill C-52, An Act regulating telecommunications facilities to support investigations, Bill C-53, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (mega-trials), Bill C-54, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (sexual offences against children), Bill S-2, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and other Acts, Bill S-6, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and another Act, Bill S-7, An Act to deter terrorism and to amend the State Immunity Act, Bill S-10, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, and Bill S-13, An Act to implement the Framework Agreement on Integrated Cross-Border Maritime Law Enforcement Operations between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America; (b) were victims groups consulted in the development of any of these bills and, if so, which groups where consulted, on which bills and what advice was given to the government; (c) broken down per year since 2000-2001, what programs specifically directed to victims of crime has the government funded, how many victims have been served by these programs and how are these services accessed by victims of crime; (d) what is the funding, broken down per year over the past 10 years and over the next 10 years, for grants and contributions for victims of crime; (e) what is the formal position of the government concerning the role that rehabilitation plays in reducing victimization; (f) what is the formal position of the government concerning the role that crime prevention programming plays in reducing victimization; and (g) what empirical evidence does the government have that mandatory minimum sentences will address the needs of victims of crime?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 842Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

With regard to comments made by the Minister of National Defence at the House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence on September 15, 2010: (a) what companies, associations, ministries or groups own the copyright mentioned by the Minister in regards to the Statement of requirements for the replacement of the CF-18s; (b) did any aircraft manufacturer have any input of any kind into the drafting of this Statement of requirements and, if so, which ones; and (c) what is the official policy on Requirement documents published by the Department of National Defence and its accessibility to Members of Parliament?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 843Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

With regard to the Employment Insurance pilot projects known as the “the best 14 weeks”, “working while on claim” and “additional five weeks”: (a) how much, by year, has each of these initiatives cost the government; (b) how many people, by federal riding, year and initiative, made use of these initiatives; (c) how many people, by federal riding, would have seen their Employment Insurance payment diminish without the existence of these projects in 2009; and (d) what would have been, by federal riding, the average difference between the Employment Insurance payment people did receive under these pilot projects and the amount they would have received if these pilot projects would not have existed in 2009?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 844Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Liberal Willowdale, ON

With respect to the discussions with the Republic of Panama concerning a double taxation agreement and a sharing of financial information, as well as discussions concerning an agreement to share financial information, what are (i) the details of the meetings, (ii) the dates, (iii) the details of the correspondence between the government of Canada and the government of Panama?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 846Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Liberal Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

With regard to Rights and Democracy, provided that if identifying an individual by name is impossible on privacy grounds, he or she would be identified by a number: (a) what are all the positions that were filled by appointments or contract awards made by the Conservative government since 2006, within or outside the organization, but which deal directly with the organization (e.g., private investigators), specifying at what time each position was created and what justified its creation; (b) where do those positions fit in the organization's hierarchical chart and, when outside the organization, what is their relation with the organization; (c) what criteria did the government use to select candidates for each of those positions, and how were those criteria determined; (d) who were the individuals or firms appointed to fill each of those positions; (e) who were the other individuals or firms that were interviewed or considered by the government for those positions; (f) which of the individuals identified in parts (d) and (e) have (i) held contracts awarded by, (ii) worked for, (iii) volunteered for, or (iv) run for a federal political party, identifying the position held and work done, the timeframe in which it took place and the name of the party; (g) which of the individuals identified in parts (d) and (e) have held governmental appointments in the past, identifying the position held and work done, the timeframe in which it took place, and the name of the appointing political party, Minister, or public office holder; (h) who were the Rights and Democracy employees who left the organization since January 2006, specifying at what date they were hired, what responsibilities they had within the organization, where they fit in the organization's hierarchical chart, at what date they left and the reason for their departure; (i) who were the individuals hired by Rights and Democracy, internally or as subcontractors, since January 2006, specifying at what date they were hired, what responsibilities they have within the organization, and where they fit in the organization's hierarchical chart; (j) which of the individuals identified in part (i) have held contracts awarded by, worked for, volunteered for, or run for a federal political party, identifying the position held and work done, the timeframe in which it took place and the name of the party; (k) which of the individuals identified in part (i) have held governmental appointments in the past, identifying the position held and work done, the timeframe in which it took place and the name of the appointing political party, Minister, or public office holder; (l) with regard to all the contracts awarded by the government since 2006 for studies, investigations or audits involving Rights and Democracy, (i) what were they, (ii) what was the value of each contract, and what was the objective of the study, investigation or audit, (iii) to whom was each contract awarded and based on what criteria, (iv) what was the process used to select the contract recipient, (v) what were the conclusions and recommendations of each of those studies, investigations and audits, (vi) when was each of those studies, investigations and audits made public, (vii) if a study, investigation or audit has not been made public, why, (viii) when was the government provided with the report on each of the studies, investigations or audits, and which government members were provided with the report or a briefing on the report; (m) what were the conclusions and recommendations of the Sirco investigation; and (n) what were the conclusions and recommendations of the forensic audit done by Samson Bélair-Deloitte & Touche?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 847Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Liberal Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

With regard to shoreline erosion: (a) what are all the studies undertaken, ordered or consulted by the government since 2000 to study or take under advisement the problem of eroding shorelines along the St Lawrence River; (b) for each of the studies referred to in (a), (i) who ordered it, (ii) who carried it out, (iii) when was it ordered and when was it delivered, (iv) what stakeholders, e.g., mayors, regional groups of elected officials, companies, lobbyists, etc., were consulted during its preparation, (v) to whom was it submitted; (c) for each of the studies referred to in (a), (i) what suggestions and recommendations were made in it, (ii) which of these suggestions and recommendations have been adopted by the government, (iii) what are the government programs dedicated to implementing the suggestions and recommendations identified in point (c)(ii), (iv) which suggestions and recommendations identified in point (c)(i) were rejected and why; (d) since 2006, for each fiscal year and for each riding bordering the St Lawrence, as well as for all ridings affected by shoreline erosion on the East Coast, identifying the federal program from which the funding came and listing the amounts by riding, by year, by program, by riding-and-year, by riding-and-program, by year-and-program and by riding-year and program, where possible, (i) how much did the federal government spend in that riding during the given year on the suggestions and recommendations identified in point (c)(ii), (ii) how much in total did the federal government spend in that riding during the given year to combat shoreline erosion; (e) how does the government explain differences between the answers to points (d)(i) and (d)(ii); (f) what studies are currently underway to enable the government to monitor the problem of the St Lawrence’s eroding shorelines?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 849Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Liberal Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

With regard to the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program, since the beginning of Canada's participation: (a) what are the criteria (operational requirements, contractual conditions, etc.) on which the government is selecting the F-35s as a replacement for the CF-18s; (b) when and by whom were those criteria determined; (c) what are the relevant studies which were conducted prior to determining those criteria, specifying the (i) dates, (ii) names of the studies, (iii) names of individuals requesting the studies, (iv) authors of the studies, (v) names of the individuals presented with the results; (d) before those criteria were determined, on the basis of what information did the government evaluate that the F-35 could satisfy Canada's needs; (e) since the beginning of Canada's participation in the JSF program, what were all the studies conducted that evaluated different fighter planes in relation to Canada's needs, specifying the (i) dates, (ii) names of the studies, (iii) names of individuals requesting the studies, (iv) authors of the studies, (v) studies which were used to evaluate the planes, (vi) names of the individuals who determined those criteria, (vii) planes which were considered in the study, (viii) names of the individuals presented with the results; (f) what is the operational availability of a fleet of 65 fighter jets; (g) what effect will a reduction in Canada's fleet of fighter jets have on operational capability, on Canada's ability to play its role within the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) and on the distribution of fighter jets across Canada's military bases; (h) how did the government determine that Canadian Forces needed 65 planes; (i) what is the formula used to determine the number of planes Canada should buy and who is the author of that formula; (j) for each of the variables in that formula, how was the value of that variable determined, specifying by whom, based on which criteria and how those criteria were determined; (k) what is the definition of a fifth generation fighter jet; (l) what is the history of the "fifth generation" appellation; (m) of the criteria identified in part (a), which ones can only be met by a fifth generation fighter; (n) which governmental officials were directly involved in the JSF competition; (o) does this competition satisfy the government's procurement guidelines, specifying which guidelines it satisfies, and which it does not; (p) how is such a competition different from a public tender; (q) what are all the types of incremental costs associated with maintaining a plane with stealth capability, compared to a similar plane without stealth capability (for example security of storage facilities, special training for pilots, maintenance of stealth capability elements, etc.); (r) what is the expected value of each of those types of incremental costs over the expected life of the F-35s, in Canada's case; (s) what is the sum of those expected values; (t) what is the current expected value of industrial benefits that will befall Canada's aerospace industry if the government buys F-35s; (u) what is the probability distribution which yields this expected value; (v) what is the reasoning behind this probability distribution; (w) expressed as a percentage, what proportion of those benefits identified in (t) is constituted by guaranteed benefits; (x) what are the guaranteed benefits; (y) what proportion of the benefits identified in (t) and in (x) would Canada necessarily forego if the government bought another fighter plane; (z) what is an itemization of the (i) expected, (ii) guaranteed benefits that Canada's industry would necessarily have to forego if the government does not buy the F-35, including dollar values and total sums; (aa) how has the government's evaluation of the information sought in (t) evolved since the beginning of Canada's participation in the JSF program; (bb) on what date did that evaluation change; (cc) what is the name and topic of the governmental document containing that evaluation and which government member was provided with the document; (dd) what is the new, detailed information which prompted the re-evaluation?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 850Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

With regard to the operation of the Canadian Tourism Commission for the past ten fiscal years: (a) what has been the government's contribution for each year; (b) what amount of money was earmarked for administration; (c) what amount of money was earmarked for marketing as a whole for (i) special projects, (ii) targeted countries or regions within an area, (iii) targeted events; (d) how much money was spent promoting specific special events within Canada such as the 2010 Olympics and what was the breakdown of how the marketing money was spent; (e) how is the efficiency of this marketing spending determined; and (f) what criteria are used to determine if a specific event, destination, or targeted country or area should receive marketing dollars?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 851Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

With regard to the government's lifting of the protected area designation of the Edehzhie area of the Northwest Territories, were any Members of Parliament, cabinet ministers, parliamentary secretaries, deputy ministers, director generals, or members of cabinet ministers' staff or parliamentary secretaries' staff lobbied by, or did they communicate in any way with, Olivut Investments, Lani Keough or any agents or lobbyists acting on behalf of either Olivut Investments or Lani Keough about opening the Edehzhie Candidate Protected Area for exploration or mining development?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 853Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

With respect to the Canada Revenue Agency's (CRA) Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Incentive Program for 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010: (a) by province, what is the percentage of approved applications; (b) by province, what is the percentage of approved applications in response to an appeal of a decision; (c) what is the waiting period, broken down by province, for assessment of (i) claims for refundable credits, (ii) adjustment of refundable credits as required by the claimant, (iii) claims for non-refundable credits, (iv) adjustment of non-refundable credits as required by the claimant; and (d) what is the waiting period for assessment of an appeal following receipt by the CRA of a claim, broken down by province?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 854Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

With respect to the Roadmap for Canada’s Linguistic Duality 2008-2013, broken down by year: (a) what were the expenditures of each department involved; and (b) to what line item were these expenditures charged?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 855Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

With respect to parliamentary officers, for the past 10 years, what were the expenditures of each officer, broken down by officer and by year?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 856Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

With respect to language training, for each fiscal year from 2005-2006 to 2009-2010: (a) what were the government’s expenditures, broken down by administrative region, on the language training of public servants for the learning of (i) French, (ii) English; (b) what were the amounts, broken down by administrative region, paid out by the government to third parties for the language training of public servants for the learning of (i) French, (ii) English; and (c) what are the names of the third parties that received funding for this purpose?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 857Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

With regard to travel to Vancouver, British Columbia, by government officials and employees for the period January 1, 2009, to present: (a) what is the total number of room nights charged to the government; (b) which departments purchased accommodations in Vancouver during this period; (c) how many room nights were charged to each department; (d) in which hotels were government officials and employees accommodated; and (e) what, if any, standing contracts for hotel accommodations does each department hold and with which hotels?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 858Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Bruce Hyer NDP Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

What is the total amount of government infrastructure funding, allocated within the constituency of Thunder Bay—Superior North in fiscal years 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 to date, identifying each department or agency, project and amount, including the date allocated?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 859Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

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

With regard to the Italian-Canadian Advisory Committee of the Community Historical Recognition Program: (a) who are the members of the committee; (b) what criteria were used by the Department of Citizenship and Immigration to select the members; (c) what are the specific qualifications of each member as identified by the department; (d) are the members being compensated for their services and, if so, how much is each member being paid; (e) were any other individuals considered to serve on the committee and, if so, what are their names; (f) of the individuals considered to serve on the committee who are not currently on the committee, were any contacted by the department and, if so, what are their names and qualifications; and (g) were any of the individuals in (f) offered a place on the committee by the department and, if so, (i) what are their names and qualifications, (ii) what were their reasons for refusing the offer?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 860Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

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

With regard to projects pertaining to the Italian-Canadian cultural community and the Community Historical Recognition Program (CHRP): (a) how many applications for CHRP grants and contributions related to such projects have been (i) received, (ii) accepted, (iii) rejected; (b) for each application that was approved, (i) what was the name of the applicant organization, (ii) how much money was given to the organization, (iii) what was the nature of the approved program or event; and (c) for each application that was rejected, (i) what was the name of the applicant organization, (ii) how much money did the organization request in its application, (iii) what was the nature of the rejected program or event, (iv) what was the reason for the rejection, (v) how was the rejection communicated to the group in question?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 861Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

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

With regard to the Community Historical Recognition Program (CHRP): (a) how much money was spent informing the Canadian public about the application criteria for the portion of the program that pertains to the Italian-Canadian cultural community and how were these monies spent; and (b) were any monies spent advertising the portion of the CHRP pertaining to the Italian-Canadian cultural community through private organizations and, if so, (i) which private organizations (i.e., newspaper, radio station, community group, etc.) were contracted by the government for this end, (ii) how much money was spent by the government to advertise with each private organization?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 862Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

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

With regard to the Italian-Canadian Advisory Committee of the Community Historical Recognition Program (CHRP): (a) how often has the committee convened itself to discuss applications and on what specific dates; (b) what internal procedures has the committee put in place to vet applications; (c) has the committee kept records of their deliberations and, if so, what are the contents of these records; (d) how much money has the government allocated to the committee to fulfill its mandate; and (e) what is the total cost to date that the committee has incurred in order to fulfil its mandate, including (i) the item-by-item breakdown of these costs, (ii) the expenses that were reimbursed by the government, (iii) the expenses that were rejected by the government and the reasons for rejecting them?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 863Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

With regard to the following two Catalogue Numbers, A114-12/2009 (ISBN: 978-1-100-50445-2) and A114-12/2007 (ISBN: 978-0-662-49839-1), of the publication entitled “Rural Canadians’ Guide to Programs and Services”, a publication from the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Canada’s Rural Secretariat Branch: (a) when was each paper edition published; (b) when was each paper edition released for distribution; (c) were both publications available to the public and, if yes, what measures were implemented to make the public aware of each publication; (d) which companies were awarded the contracts to print each edition of the publication; (e) what were the amounts of the contracts for the printing of each edition of the publication; (f) which departments authorized the publication of each edition; (g) which departments authorized the contracts for the printing of each publication; (h) how many paper copies of each edition were printed initially; (i) have more paper copies been printed since the initial printing of these editions; (j) what was the total number of paper copies of each edition requested between (i) January 1, 2007, and December 31, 2007, (ii) January 1, 2008, and December 31, 2008, (iii) January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2009, (iv) January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2010; (k) what was the total number of paper copies of each edition distributed between (i) January 1, 2007, and December 31, 2007, (ii) January 1, 2008, and December 31, 2008, (iii) January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2009, (iv) January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2010; (l) what is the maximum number of paper copies of each edition that can be ordered by (i) an individual, (ii) a private business, (iii) a public organization, such as a public library, a university, etc., (iv) a person who holds public office, such as a city councillor, mayor or reeve, MLA or MPP, MP, etc.; (m) can the maximum number of copies in (l) be increased with the permission of departmental authorities and, if yes, who would authorize such an increase in the distribution of each edition; (n) what was the total number of paper copies of each edition distributed to each parliamentarian between (i) January 1, 2007, and December 31, 2007, (ii) January 1, 2008, and December 31, 2008, (iii) January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2009, (iv) January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2010; and (o) for each of the periods between January 1, 2007, and December 31, 2007, between January 1, 2008, and December 31, 2008, between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2009, and between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2010, identifying for each request which of the two editions was requested, what was the (i) name of each parliamentarian who requested paper copies of either edition, (ii) number of paper copies requested by that parliamentarian, (iii) date the request was made by that parliamentarian, (iv) number of paper copies received by that parliamentarian, (v) date those copies were received by that parliamentarian?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 864Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

With respect to mental health and suicide in the Canadian Forces (CF), including regular forces, reservists and veterans, as well as among Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) veterans: (a) what does history and research show from the First World War (WWI) and the Second World War (WWII), regarding the percentage of Canadian veterans who suffered some degree of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and how it might have impacted their ability to (i) hold down jobs, (ii) maintain relationships, (iii) overcome substance abuse, (iv) maintain their will to live; (b) how are suicides tracked for CF regular forces, reservists and veterans, including RCMP veterans, (i) has the tracking method changed over time (from 2000 onwards) for any of these groups, including name changes (e.g., suicide versus sudden death) and, if so, how, why and when, (ii) how are suicides tracked among veterans who may not be known to Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) and who may be under other types of care (e.g., in hospitals) or in homeless shelters, prisons, etc.; (c) what are the identified gaps in tracking for each of the identified groups and, for each gap, what action items (i) are planned (including predicted start and completion dates, and necessary funding), (ii) are being implemented (including predicted completion date and necessary funding), (iii) have been completed to address the problem; (d) how are suicides investigated for each identified group today and, for each group, for the years 1990 to the present (or years available), (i) what percentage of victims were known to either the Department of National Defense (DND) or VAC prior to the suicide, or to the medical, social-aid or prison system, (ii) what percentage had attempted suicide before, (iii) what percentage suffered from an identified Operational Stress Injury (OSI), including PTSD, anxiety, depression or substance abuse, (iv) what percentage suffered from acquired brain injury (ABI), (v) what, if any, relation was found between the number of traumatic events and suicide, (vi) what percentage were under mental health care counselling, (vii) what percentage were under addictions counselling, (viii) what percentage had been discharged for misconduct, (ix) what percentage had called the crisis help line in the month before the suicide, (x) what percentage had seen their physician in the month before the suicide, (xi) in what percentage of deaths might it have been possible to intervene, (xii) what percentage had experience with any of the suicide education and awareness programs, and screening and assessment, (xiii) what percentage had had follow-up care for suicide attempts, (xiv) what percentage had had restriction of access to lethal means; (e) do DND and VAC try to determine the trigger for a suicide and, if so, (i) what are the broad triggers (e.g., financial problems, relationship breakdowns, substance abuse, tensions with other members of the unit, traumatic event, etc.), (ii) is trigger information included in suicide prevention programs, (iii) is it possible to identify how military service might have generally impacted the mental and physical health of the victim and, if so, is it possible to reduce these impacts; (f) what are the suicide statistics for each identified group, namely CF regular forces and reservists, and veterans, including RCMP veterans, for the last 10 years, 20 years and, if possible, back to 1972, (i) broken down by gender and by five-year age group, (ii) for each group, how does the data compare with that of the general Canadian population; (g) for five-year periods, for the years 1972 to present (or years available), for every CF suicide identified, how many members of the CF were hospitalized, on average, for attempting to take their own life; (h) for five-year periods, for the years 1972 to present (or years available), for every veteran suicide identified, how many veterans were hospitalized, on average, for attempting to take their own life; (i) for five-year periods, for the years 1972 to present (or years available), what is the number of CF regular forces, reservists and veterans who died in auto accidents, and how much more likely is it that members who serve in Afghanistan will die in an auto accident or motorcycle crash than civilians; (j) how do DND and VAC report accidental drug-related overdoses, and for five-year periods, for the years 1972 to present (or years available), what is the number of CF members, reservists or veterans who died of accidental drug-related overdoses; (k) what, if any, mental health surveys have been undertaken by DND, particularly regarding suicide, (i) for what years, (ii) how many members were surveyed, (iii) what were the survey questions, (iv) what percentage of Air Force, Army, and Navy members had attempted suicide; (l) what, if any, mental health surveys have been undertaken by VAC regarding suicide, (i) for what years, (ii) how many veterans were surveyed, (iii) what were the survey questions, (iv) what percentage of former Air Force, Army, Navy and RCMP members had attempted suicide; (m) what, if any, surveys of health-related behaviours have been undertaken by DND, (i) how many CF members and reservists were surveyed and for what years, (ii) what were the survey questions, (iii) what percentage of Air Force, Army and Navy personnel showed dangerous levels of alcohol and drug abuse, such as abuse of pain killers; (n) what, if any, surveys of health-related behaviours have been undertaken by VAC, (i) how many CF and RCMP veterans were surveyed and for what years, (ii) what were the survey questions, (iii) what percentage of former Air Force, Army, Navy and RCMP personnel showed dangerous levels of alcohol abuse and the illicit use of drugs such as pain killers; (o) what percentage of CF members and reservists today have suicidal thoughts before seeking treatment and what percent have attempted to kill themselves; (p) what percentage of veterans today have suicidal thoughts before seeking treatment, and what percent have attempted to kill themselves; (q) how do DND and VAC explain any changes in the suicide statistics among any of the above groups in (f), (i) what specific practical steps have been undertaken by both DND and VAC to reduce the number of suicides for each identified group, (ii) how is success of these steps measured, (iii) what, if any, change have the identified steps made in the number of suicides; (r) how has operational tempo and number of tours impacted OSIs, particularly PTSD, as well as addictions, anxiety, and depression, and suicides for the groups identified, (i) what does research show the impacts of increased operational tempo and number of tours are, (ii) what recommendations are suggested by research to reduce these impacts, (iii) what, if any, steps has DND and VAC taken to implement these recommendations; (s) what, if any, health surveys have been undertaken regarding military service and physical demands on mental health (e.g., chronic pain, ABI, and sleep deprivation); (t) since the establishment of the 24-hour, seven-day-per-week suicide hotline, how many CF members, reservists, and veterans have been counselled, and how many suicides are estimated to have been prevented through the hotline; (u) how does DND reconcile its suicide statistics with those of Mr. Sartori, which are based on access to information requests, and what, if any, discussions have taken place with him regarding (i) the publication or presentation of his work, (ii) the implications of his work, (iii) what specific actions might be undertaken to reduce suicides; (v) what do CF members and reservists who seek mental health services risk (e.g., loss of duties, loss of security clearances and weapons, etc.), and how might these losses impact their career aspirations; (w) what specific efforts are being undertaken to reduce the stigma associated with a CF member or reservist seeking mental health help, (i) what, if any, efforts are being taken to review performance among officers, senior non-commissioned officers, etc., regarding mental health attitudes, (ii) what, if any, efforts are being taken to review military programs addressing mental health and suicide for quality and efficacy, (iii) are attitudes and delivery of mental health training and suicide prevention part of performance training and review and, if so, how important are they in the review, (iv) how often are people and programs reviewed; (x) what, if any, review has been undertaken of suicide prevention methods (e.g., mandatory mental health review every two years, confidential internet-based screening available any time) in the military of other countries for possible implementation in Canada; (y) what, if any, effort has been undertaken to interview CF members and reservists who have attempted suicide and their family members, (i) how many members and their families were surveyed, for what years, (ii) what were the survey questions, (iii) what were the results and recommendations; (z) what, if any, review has been undertaken of the DND's and VAC's efforts to prevent suicides among CF members, reservists and veterans, (i) how many were surveyed and what were the major findings, (ii) was trust measured and, if so, how, (iii) did members and veterans trust DND or VAC to help them, (iv) did members and veterans think suicide prevention training programs were successful and, if not, why not, (v) what percentage of servicemen and veterans came in for mental health help and, if they did not come, why did they not;

(aa) what, if any, review has been undertaken of veteran transition programs for mental health training and suicide prevention training, and will successful programs be implemented across the country; (bb) what, if any, thought has been given to skills-based suicide prevention training for families; and (cc) what, if any, thought has been given to DND and VAC partnering with Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to undertake a comprehensive study of military and veteran mental health and suicide, (i) what would a comprehensive study cost to identify risk and protective factors for suicide among members, reservists and veterans, and provide evidence-based practical interventions to reduce suicide rates, (ii) what factors could be included (e.g., childhood adversity and abuse, family history, personal and economic stresses, military service, overall mental health)?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 865Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

With respect to cuts in government funding to newcomer settlement organizations: (a) how does this policy reflect Canada’s commitment to cultural diversity; (b) what, if any, needs assessments of newcomers to Canada have been undertaken over the last five years, if none were undertaken, why not, and of those undertaken, (i) when were they undertaken, (ii) by whom, (iii) what were the results, (iv) what were the chief recommendations; (c) what was the detailed process undertaken to examine funding of newcomer settlement programs, which led to the government's cuts; (d) over the past five years, how much money did the government promise to invest in newcomer settlement services, by province and territory, and what amount was actually invested in newcomer settlement services, by province and territory; (e) how was the decision to cut $53 million from newcomer settlement organizations made, (i) what were all the procedural steps in the decision-making process, (ii) what stakeholders were consulted, (iii) which departments were involved in the decision-making process, (iv) what formulas were used, (v) how was it determined that 85 percent of the cuts were necessary in Ontario; (f) what percentage of the Ontario cuts to newcomer settlement organizations were made in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA); (g) how many newcomers arrived in Canada in each of the last five years, (i) how many newcomers arrived in each of the provinces and territories, (ii) how many people settled in each of the provinces, (iii) how many people settled in each of Canada’s ten largest cities; (h) what information does the government have regarding the movement of newcomers from one province to another or from one city to another in the newcomers' first three years after arrival in Canada; (i) from which countries did the newcomers arrive in each of the last five years and, for each country identified, (i) what are the official languages spoken, (ii) is English or French one of the country’s official languages; (j) what services are needed by newcomers to Canada and what services are provided by settlement organizations in Canada, by province and territory; (k) what, if any, research has been undertaken in Canada regarding gaps in services, by province and territory, and (i) when was the gap analysis undertaken and by whom, (ii) what were the results and recommendations, by province and territory, (iii) if no such analysis has been conducted, why not; (l) for each province and territory, (i) how many settlement organizations exist, (ii) what services do they provide, (iii) what populations do they serve, (iv) how many settlement organizations applied for federal funding, and (v) how many organizations that applied had their federal funding increased, decreased, or cut; (m) for each GTA constituency, (i) what percentage of constituency inhabitants are newcomers, (ii) what percentage of constituency inhabitants are not yet citizens, (iii) what percentage of constituency inhabitants are first generation Canadian born, (iv) how do percentages in (i) to (iii) rank nationally amongst the 308 ridings, (v) did any constituency's settlement organizations receive an increase or a decrease in funding and, if so, in what amount; (n) for each group given in (m) (i) to (iii), what major challenges do they face, including, but not limited to, family reunification, and language and job barriers; (o) how were organizations informed of any funding decision, (i) what reasons were given for a denial, (ii) were complete contact details given so that an organization could ask for further feedback, (iii) if so, what were those details, (iv) if not, why not; (p) what programs in the GTA (i) had their funding decreased, (ii) had funding cut entirely, (iii) will have to close down; (q) for each identified program in (p) (i) to (iii), (i) what are the specific reasons for denial, (ii) is the program an essential or unique program; (r) which schools in the GTA provided newcomer services, including, but not limited to, "We Welcome the World Centres", and which schools had their funding increased or decreased and by how much; (s) for each school identified in (r), what percentage of students are (i) newcomers, (ii) newcomers who do not speak English or French as their first language; (t) what, if any, research was undertaken to determine the impact of any decreases or cuts to funding for schools in (r) and what were the projected impacts on (i) student learning, (ii) student test scores, (iii) school performance in relation to other Ontario schools, (iv) socio-economic status of families, (v) tertiary education; (u) what, if any, plans have been developed to absorb the thousands of newcomer families who will be impacted by a loss of newcomer settlement services, by (i) province and territory, (ii) specifically, Canada’s ten largest cities; (v) is there an appeals process to funding-related decisions and (i) if yes, what is it, (ii) if not, why not; (w) what, if any, impact analysis was undertaken to determine the socio-economic impacts of cuts to newcomer settlement services on (i) clients, (ii) their families, and (iii) the economy of the GTA, and Canada, (iv) what were the results and recommendations of any analysis; and (x) by province and territory, as of January 1, 2011, (i) how many organizations had been informed of a funding decision, (ii) how many organizations were under review, (iii) how many were still waiting to hear about funding?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 866Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

With regard to Aboriginal Healing Foundation projects, since the end of government funding: (a) what new programs were put in place by Health Canada to ensure the continuation of services to victims of residential schools; (b) from new programs identified in (a), what are the Aboriginal Healing Foundation projects and, for each project, what is the approximate number of clients it serves; (c) which Health Canada project is now serving each of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation clients by (i) territory and province, (ii) reserve or designated client target group, (iii) funds budgeted for each project and targeted completion date, (iv) total budget for each territory and province; (d) what programs administered by Health Canada ended and who were their clients served, in which territory or province and how much was spent; and (e) if programs have not been developed by Health Canada for some former Aboriginal Healing Fund projects' clients, as per the government mandate, why have they not been developed and when will they be developed and implemented?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 867Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

With regard to criminal law amendments contained in legislation introduced in the 40th Parliament, Third Session, namely Bill C-4, An Act to amend the Youth Criminal Justice Act and to make consequential and related amendments to other Acts, Bill C-16, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, Bill C-17, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (investigative hearing and recognizance with conditions), Bill C-21, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (sentencing for fraud), Bill C-23A, An Act to amend the Criminal Records Act, Bill C-23B, An Act to amend the Criminal Records Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, Bill C-30, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, Bill C-39, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, Bill C-48, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make consequential amendments to the National Defence Act, Bill S-6, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and another Act, and Bill S-10, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts: (a) was a gender-based analysis of the impacts of the proposed amendments undertaken before the legislation was introduced in Parliament; (b) if yes to question (a), (i) when was this analysis conducted, (ii) by whom was the analysis conducted, (iii) which indicators were used to determine the gender-based impact of the legislation, (iv) what was the conclusion of the analysis regarding the gender-based impacts of the proposed amendment; (c) if no to question (a), (i) does the government intend to undertake a gender-based analysis of the amendments, (ii) when will this analysis take place; and (d) did the Treasury Board Secretariat require that a gender-based analysis of the legislation be completed before the bill was introduced in Parliament?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 868Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

With regard to the government’s funding for crime prevention in Manitoba: (a) broken down by fiscal year since 2000-2001, what programs specifically directed at crime prevention has the government funded and what was the level of funding per program; (b) how many individuals participated in these programs, broken down by program and by year; (c) what is the formal position of the government concerning the role that crime prevention plays in reducing levels of gang violence and other types of crime; (d) what empirical evidence does the government have regarding the level of recidivism of individuals who have participated in crime prevention programs; and (e) what empirical evidence does the government have regarding the level of need for crime prevention programs?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 869Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

With regard to federal funding for flood mitigation in Manitoba: (a) what flood mitigation and flood prevention programs has the government funded since 1996-1997, broken down by year; and (b) what is the government’s position concerning its role in responding to a future flood, including all aspects of coordination and cost-sharing with the Province of Manitoba?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 870Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Liberal Newton—North Delta, BC

With regard to family class immigration applications, what were the processing times for complete application packages for each different type of application, by country, for each calendar year or, if not available, each fiscal year between 2005 and 2010?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 871Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Liberal Newton—North Delta, BC

With regard to programs begun after 2005 to “support Canada's softwood industry, including fighting the spread of the pine beetle in western Canadian forests and helping communities struggling from U.S. softwood duties”, as stated on page 19 of the 2006 Conservative Party of Canada's Federal Election Platform, for each program: (a) what is its name; (b) what funds were allocated to it; (c) what funds for the program were announced in government press releases; and (d) what funds will it have spent between 2005 and 2011?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 873Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

With regard to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's Economic Action Plan funding for affordable housing, for every project funded, what was: (a) the number of projects with a construction deadline; (b) the number of projects that were rescoped to meet the deadline; and (c) the number of projects that are not expected to be completed before the deadline?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 874Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

With regard to the government's current negotiation of Comprehensive Land Claims Agreements and Self-Government Agreements with Canada’s First Nations: (a) for each negotiation, (i) with which First Nation is the government negotiating, (ii) what is the status of the negotiation, (iii) how does the First Nation claim compare with the government's position, including both parties' positions on land mass, boundary outlines and monetary requests, (iv) to date, how much time has been spent on the claim negotiation, (v) to date, what is the total cost of the negotiations of the claim, (vi) when are negotiations expected to be concluded; (b) how many of these claims are Canada's negotiators currently negotiating, and which ones are temporarily on hold and for what reasons; (c) in failed negotiations, will court settlements be necessary to resolve the claim and, if so, which claims are expected to end up in court or are already before the courts; (d) what has the government budgeted for comprehensive land claim negotiations; and (e) what has the government budgeted for comprehensive land claim settlement payments to First Nation communities with which they are now negotiating?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 875Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

With regard to ecoENERGY Fund projects in Quebec: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 876Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

With regard to ecoENERGY Fund projects in Newfoundland and Labrador: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 877Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

With regard to ecoENERGY Fund projects in Ontario: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 878Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

With regard to ecoENERGY Fund projects in Nova Scotia: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 879Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

With regard to ecoENERGY projects in the Northwest Territories: (a) what is the description of each project; (b) what is the expected cost of each project; and (c) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 880Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

With regard to ecoENERGY Fund projects in Manitoba: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 881Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

With regard to ecoENERGY Fund projects in New Brunswick: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 882Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Kania Liberal Brampton West, ON

With regard to Recreational Infrastructure Canada projects in Ontario: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 883Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Kania Liberal Brampton West, ON

With regard to ecoENERGY projects in Nunavut: (a) what is the description of each project; (b) what is the expected cost of each project; and (c) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 886Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Liberal Papineau, QC

With regard to Building Canada Fund projects in Prince Edward Island: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 887Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Liberal Papineau, QC

With regard to Recreational Infrastructure Canada projects in New Brunswick: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 890Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

With regard to ecoENERGY Fund projects in Prince Edward Island: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 891Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

With regard to ecoENERGY Fund projects in Alberta: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 892Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

With regard to Building Canada Fund projects in Ontario: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 893Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

With regard to ecoENERGY Fund projects in Ontario: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 894Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Alan Tonks Liberal York South—Weston, ON

With regard to Building Canada Fund projects in Alberta: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 895Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Alan Tonks Liberal York South—Weston, ON

With regard to Building Canada Fund projects in Saskatchewan: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 896Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Alan Tonks Liberal York South—Weston, ON

With regard to Recreational Infrastructure Canada projects in Nunavut: (a) what is the description of each project; (b) what is the expected cost of each project; and (c) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 897Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Alan Tonks Liberal York South—Weston, ON

With regard to Building Canada Fund projects in British Columbia: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 898Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

With regard to Building Canada Fund projects in New Brunswick: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 899Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

With regard to Building Canada Fund projects in Manitoba: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 900Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

With regard to Recreational Infrastructure Canada projects in the Northwest Territories: (a) what is the description of each project; (b) what is the expected cost of each project; and (c) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 901Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

With regard to Recreational Infrastructure Canada projects in Nova Scotia: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 902Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Liberal Charlottetown, PE

With regard to Building Canada Fund projects in Nova Scotia: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 904Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

With regard to Building Canada Fund projects in Newfoundland and Labrador: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 907Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

With regard to ecoENERGY Fund projects in British Columbia: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 908Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

With regard to ecoENERGY Fund projects in Saskatchewan: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 909Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Lise Zarac Liberal LaSalle—Émard, QC

With regard to the jobs created by the government's Economic Action Plan: (a) for each North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) designation used by Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey, (i) how many full-time jobs were created, (ii) how many part-time jobs were created; and (b) by NAICS category, how many (i) full-time jobs were filled by women, (ii) part-time jobs were filled by women?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 910Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Liberal Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

With regard to Recreational Infrastructure Canada projects in Newfoundland and Labrador: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 911Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Liberal Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

With regard to Recreational Infrastructure Canada projects in Prince Edward Island: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 912Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Liberal Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

With regard to ecoENERGY Fund projects in the Yukon: (a) what is the description of each project; (b) what is the expected cost of each project; and (c) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 913Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Liberal Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

With regard to Recreational Infrastructure Canada projects in the Yukon: (a) what is the description of each project; (b) what is the expected cost of each project; and (c) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 915Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

With regard to the tri-lateral meetings last year at the Wakefield Mill with Hillary Clinton: (a) how many days was the Wakefield Mill rented out; and (b) what are the total costs associated with hosting the event, including facility rental, security, hospitality, transportation, gifts, decorations, sound and video, media monitoring, overtime for government employees and gratuities?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 917Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

With regard to Building Canada Fund projects in Quebec: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 918Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

With regard to Recreational Infrastructure Canada projects in Quebec: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 919Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Navdeep Bains Liberal Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

With regard to programs and grants provided by Citizenship and Immigration Canada for the settlement of new immigrants: (a) what are the names of the organizations to which the government has provided funding in the years 2005-2006, 2006-2007, 2007-2008, 2008-2009, 2009-2010, 2010-2011, 2011-2012; (b) what were the program guidelines in each of the years identified in (a); (c) how much funding did each organization receive in each of the years identified in (a); (d) where are the agencies that received funding located; (e) how much of the budgeted funds was not spent and, in the case of 2011-2012, what is the amount that has not been committed; (f) what was done with the unspent funds; (g) how many people did each of these agencies serve in each of the years identified in (a); and (h) what were the performance targets in each of the years identified in (a), identifying the agencies that met and failed to meet those targets?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 920Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Navdeep Bains Liberal Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

With regard to the Employee Innovation Program: (a) how many submissions have been received since the launch of the program; (b) what recommendations were made; (c) in which departments were the submissions made; (d) what is the status of these submissions; (e) how many of these submissions have been acted on by the government and, in each case, how has it been acted on; (f) how much money has the government saved because of this program; (g) have any of the adopted initiatives put forward through the program cost the government more money than the costs that would have been incurred had the changes suggested by the initiative not been adopted and, if so, what were those initiatives and their costs; (h) how many different employees have made submissions; (i) how many employees currently work on this program and what are their titles, roles and responsibilities; (j) what is the cost of this program for each of the budget years for which it has been announced; (k) how much did the program cost to set up; (l) does the government plan to extend the program; (m) who will review the program; and (n) what is the evaluation process for the program?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 921Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Navdeep Bains Liberal Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

With regard to the Public Appointments Commission: (a) what has been its annual budget for each year from 2006-2007 onwards; (b) how much of this money has actually been spent; (c) what has happened to the remaining funds; (d) how many employees work directly for the Commission; (e) how many employees work on the file in the Privy Council Office; (f) what is the breakdown in expenses for each of the years since its creation, including, but not limited to, staff, office space, travel, contracts, hospitality, etc.; (g) how many Commissioners does the Commission currently have; (h) who are these Commissioners; (i) how much are the Commissioners paid; (j) what is the breakdown for the Commissioner’s office budgets, travel expenses (transportation, hotels, per diems) and hospitality expenses for each year since the Commission’s creation; (k) what is the mandate of the Commission; (l) who does the Commission report to; (m) when was the last review of the Commission; (n) what are the roles, responsibilities and titles for each of the Commission’s employees; (o) what are the names of companies that the Commission has entered into contracts with since 2006; (p) what were these contracts for; (q) how much are these contracts for; (r) were any of these contracts tendered and, if not, were they sole-sourced; (s) how much has the Commission spent for telecommunications devices since 2006; (t) how much has the Commission spent for long distance calls since 2006; (u) what are the deliverables for the Commission; and (v) is there an evaluation process for the commission and, if so, what are the results of that process for each year since the Commission has been in operation?

(Return tabled)

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Conservative Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all remaining questions be allowed to stand.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(House in committee of the whole on Government Business No. 12, Mr. Andrew Scheer in the chair)

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning LibyaGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

moved:

That this Committee take note of the March 17, 2011, United Nations Security Council resolution approving immediate action to protect the civilian population in Libya and Canada’s contribution to international efforts to enforce that resolution.

Mr. Chair, thank you for spelling out the parameters of the debate, and colleagues, let me begin by stating how grateful I am that the members of this House have made it a priority to consider the important matter of Canada's ongoing military contributions to helping the people of Libya.

The government has been actively monitoring this situation since it erupted last month when, as part of a popular uprising, a wave that has spread across the Middle East and to North Africa, the Libyan people began their protest against Colonel Gadhafi's brutal regime.

At that time it was certainly our hope, along with others, that following the examples of Tunisia and Egypt, Colonel Gadhafi would submit to the will of the Libyan people and that positive change would be brought about peacefully and without foreign intervention.

It was hoped that he would heed the clear signals that came from the people of Libya, of their desire for change and to simply step aside. Unfortunately, as we are all now painfully aware, that did not happen. Colonel Gadhafi chose instead to ignore the legitimate demands of the Libyan population and to wage war on his own citizens.

Using the armed forces that are under his control, tribal militias loyal to him and even foreign mercenaries, Colonel Gadhafi has launched ground attacks and air attacks against rebel forces and defenceless civilians alike.

In response, Canada initially joined the international community in expressing its outrage, condemning these actions and calling for their immediate end, and I commend the Minister of Foreign Affairs for his leadership in that regard.

On February 26, the United Nations Security Council passed resolution 1970 in an attempt to halt Gadhafi's actions without resorting to armed intervention or threat of force. These resolutions froze the assets of Colonel Gadhafi, his family and top associates. It also imposed a travel ban on Mr. Gadhafi himself, an embargo on a shipment of arms to Libya and called on the International Criminal Court to investigate the possible commission of crimes against humanity by Libyan leaders.

The day after this resolution was passed, the Canadian government followed suit and in fact went further. We acted under the Special Economic Measures Act to institute a freeze on Libyan government assets in Canada and a ban on financial transactions with the Libyan government or any of its associate institutions or agencies.

Unfortunately, just as he had ignored the pleas of the Libyan people, Colonel Gadhafi boldly rejected the demands of the international community and pressed on with his bloody campaign. As the violence escalated and the situation grew increasingly unstable, this government sought to secure the safe evacuation of Canadian citizens from Libya. To do so, it called on the capabilities of the Canadian Forces, who responded quickly and professionally, launching Operation MOBILE in support of whole-of-government efforts led by the Department of Foreign Affairs.

In all, two C-17 Globemasters, two C-130J Hercules tactical transport aircraft and approximately 80 total Canadian Forces personnel deployed to Malta. Operation MOBILE saw the safe evacuation of 191 people from Libya, including both Canadians and citizens of other nations.

I visited Malta last week myself to personally thank the Maltese prime minister, the Maltese government, and citizens for their co-operation and assistance in this exercise, which without their assistance would simply not have been possible.

As it turns out, these evacuation efforts were only the beginning of the Canadian Forces response to the Libyan crisis. As the violence between Colonel Gadhafi's forces and the Libyan opposition continued to escalate, resulting in the senseless deaths of many Libyans and the needless suffering of many others, the international community then began to debate the possibility of some form of humanitarian intervention.

At the same time this government took steps to ensure that it was in a position to make a meaningful contribution to any UN sanctioned action and to forward deploy for any eventuality. To that end, on March 1 the Prime Minister announced the deployment of HMCS Charlottetown, and only a day after Commander Craig Skjerpen had her on her way from Halifax to the Mediterranean, taking with her a crew of 240 officers and sailors, as well as a CH-124 Sea King helicopter and an air detachment.

Charlottetown has since reached the Mediterranean, where she has joined Standing NATO Maritime Group 1, and working alongside with her NATO counterparts, Charlottetown is conducting surveillance, presence patrols, and stands ready to assist the international effort as required, including, if necessary, further enforcement of sanctions.

As we are all well aware, since Charlottetown's deployment, the UN Security Council has passed resolution 1973, authorizing all necessary action short of occupying Libyan territory to protect citizens in civilian populated areas.

Canada is an active member of NATO and supporter of the United Nations, and has responded quickly.

On Friday, March 18, the Prime Minister announced the deployment of CF-18 Hornet fighter aircraft—along with the necessary supporting personnel—to the Mediterranean region. Within mere hours of the announcement, fighter jets from 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron—or the Alouettes as they are known—were on their way, led by Colonel Alain Pelletier and supported by approximately 140 air force personnel from Canadian Forces bases Bagotville and Trenton.

These jets have since arrived in Trapani, Italy, and will very shortly be ready to join our allies and partners in the conduct of the operation—now dubbed ODYSSEY DAWN—to enforce resolution 1973. Between the presence of HMCS Charlottetown and the deployment of the CF-18s, Canada is in a strong position to play an active role in protecting the lives of Libyan civilians and enforcing both the no fly zone and the arms embargo mandated by the Security Council.

This is a sizeable operation, but certainly not one without precedence. The House will recall that Canadian CF-18 pilots enforced a similar no-fly zone during the Kosovo air campaign of 1999. In that mission, as part of NATO's Operation Allied Force, Canadian aircrews flew 678 sorties and logged over 2,600 flying hours from March to June of that year. They carried out a full 10% of NATO's strike missions against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia during that campaign.

It is safe to say the Canadian Forces are experiencing a similar c