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House of Commons Hansard #147 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was information.

Topics

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I have the honour to inform the House that a communication has been received as follows:

Rideau Hall

Ottawa

March 23, 2011

Mr. Speaker:

I have the honour to inform you that the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, signified royal assent by written declaration to the bill listed in the schedule to this letter on the 23rd day of March, 2011 at 5:57 p.m.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Wallace,

Secretary to the Governor General and Herald Chancellor

The schedule indicates the bill assented to was Bill C-59, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (accelerated parole review) and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

6:30 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the announcement you just made regarding Bill C-59 is a great response to the question that the Minister of Foreign Affairs asked today about the Bloc's achievements. That bill is one of the Bloc's achievements. The Bloc Québécois inspired and brought forward the bill to abolish parole after one-sixth of the sentence is served.

During this adjournment debate, I would like to discuss the question I asked on November 25 regarding arts and culture. Several of the people who promote our artists abroad noted that abolishing the programs for artists touring abroad had adversely affected the competitiveness of our artists and the dissemination of Quebec and, obviously, Canadian culture. It was a very bad idea, both from the cultural and economic points of view, for the Minister of Canadian Heritage to decide to abolish the programs for cultural tours.

At that time, the minister told me that the real issue was when would the Bloc vote in favour of their budget, which provided unprecedented funds to assist our artists on the international scene. I must say that the minister misled the House because a deputy minister from the Department of Canadian Heritage has officially submitted a document to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, revealing that in 2010-2011 there was a 7% or $27 million cut to the budget for arts and culture. It is therefore completely false to say that the government's budget gives unprecedented funds to help artists on the international scene. It is even a bit ridiculous.

Nevertheless, the Minister of Canadian Heritage always comes back to the same thing: the Bloc voted against the budget. This is untrue. The Bloc Québécois votes in favour of motions when they are good for Quebec and votes against them when they are not. The Bloc Québécois voted in favour of the 2006 and 2007 budgets when fewer cuts were being made by the Conservative government.

We are raising the issue of the International Exchange for the Performing Arts, CINARS, again this week. The request this organization made to the Department of Canadian Heritage last April for $77,500 in funding for an important arts and culture activity that it holds year after year was refused. In the past, CINARS has always received funding for its activities, which consist of a forum and a training seminar, which began in 1993 and 1999.

The eligibility criteria for the program have not changed over the past few years. Nothing has changed. It is the same program, the same applicant and the same activity. The organization even asked for approximately the same amount of funding—$77,500. Yet, all of a sudden, a new element appeared: a “no”.

Was it the office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage or was it the Minister himself who said “no” and vetoed this request for funding that had no reason to be denied, much as the Minister of International Cooperation did before him?

6:35 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, the member is clearly confused, so perhaps I can clear up her confusion. She is often confused on the heritage file but I will do my best to clear it up in the four minutes I have been given.

The government has in fact increased funding to the Department of Canadian Heritage by 18% across the board since it became government. Canada is the only country in the G7 that actually increased funding to arts and culture through the recession. Every other country cut it, except this Conservative government: we increased it.

Where did we increase it? We increased it for the Canada media fund, which I am sure the member is well apprised of, and for the Canada Council and things like cultural spaces. We put money behind all of those things. The member knows this well.

She also knows that she voted against those increases. When Canada and the entire world was combatting the deep recession, rather than voting to support artists, the Bloc voted against the budget. Its members stood side by side and voted against the budget. However, we should not be surprised.

A special legislative committee right now is studying the copyright bill. Witnesses have come in. Folks came from the feature film industry, some of them from the city of Montreal, I believe. They indicated that almost $1 billion, or $971 million, is evaporating and 12,000 jobs.

The member claims to be proud of feature films like Barney's Version, made in Montreal. There may not be another Barney's Version if we do not fix the Copyright Act. However, that member and her party have stood wilfully in the way of updating Canada's copyright law and securing those jobs and the investment in the entertainment software industry, which is huge in Montreal and Quebec. That member stood against updating that act. It is not as if she just votes against increased funding for the arts, but she also votes against the private sector investment that would come into the arts. She is allowing things to be stolen because we cannot update the Copyright Act.

Canada has five of the top ten piracy sites in the world operating within its borders. We want to put an end to that on this side of the House, because we believe that creators deserve to be paid for the work they do. That member does not and neither does her party: they are not supporting it.

It really troubles me when I hear people stand up and say they support the arts, they support creators, they support artists, that they want to help them. Their deeds show exactly the opposite. That member has had a lot of opportunities to stand up and support artists and she has turned a blind eye every single time. Shame on her.

6:35 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am not at all ashamed and I find that statement completely ridiculous. Furthermore, if there is anyone here who does not understand, it certainly is not me. What I do understand, however, is that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage thinks that by making these false statements, he will make them come true. He said that the Department of Canadian Heritage has been given an unprecedented budget. That may be true, but he needs to prove that to us.

However, the Department of Canadian Heritage is about more than just arts and culture. Status of women, amateur sport and the pensions of former lieutenant governors all come out of the Canadian Heritage budget. As for the budget for arts and culture, the deputy minister of Canadian Heritage himself tabled that before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage at my request. He had to make a chart. The numbers never lie. In 2009-10, Canadian Heritage had $424,889,014 for arts and culture alone, and in 2010-11, it had $397,783,000. As we can see—

6:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

6:35 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Conservative Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, of course the member picks and chooses between the numbers.

We have increased funding for arts and culture by 18%. We have also found some administrative savings, things that Canadians will be proud of.

I encourage the member to stand up in Montreal and go to the entertainment software industry, go to the film industry and to the radio stations that are advertising that she is attacking local radio with her stance on ephemeral rights in the copyright bill.

I encourage you to go to them and preach your position to them, because you are contrary to Montreal, you are contrary to Quebec and contrary to artists.

6:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I will just remind the hon. parliamentary secretary to address his comments through the chair and not directly at other members.

The hon. member for Vancouver Quadra.

6:40 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am here to talk about the environment.

One of the most difficult and disappointing parts of being a member of Parliament is to see what the current Conservative government has done in presenting a piecemeal, ad hoc, visionless approach, which has taken us backwards on climate change.

Compare that to where Canada was five years ago under a Liberal government. We were poised to have a comprehensive regulatory approach. We were poised to have a price on carbon. Businesses were on board. Funding was in place for programs to help citizens reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. That has all been blown away by the Conservative government's approach.

Clearly, putting a price on carbon allows businesses to plan. It is efficient and the most effective way to go. However, the government has just tabled a budget where almost half of the funding for the clean air agenda is about regulations.

Supposedly the government wants to cut red tape, but instead it has added red tape and wrapped it around the business community. It is as though the government is replacing the windshield wipers and waxing the car when the transmission and the engine are shot and the trunk is full of cement blocks. That is the Conservative government on climate change.

The Liberal Party has a vision in which Canada would accept its responsibility to reduce carbon pollution that is in line with other developed countries with a 1990 baseline. We would create a cap and trade system that would be verifiable and binding with hard caps leading to absolute reductions. Then the market could do the work and bring greenhouse gases down in the most efficient and effective way.

A Liberal government would make the most significant investments in clean energy and energy efficiency in our nation's history. We would become leaders and could export those technologies to other parts of the world.

Unfortunately, the Conservative government has rested its plan on obstructing and trying to undermine the actions that other countries have taken, while rubbing the wax on its car and trying to show it off as action on climate change. It has been disappointing and undermines the efforts that companies want to make.

Today is the 22nd anniversary of an environmental event, which is the running aground of the Exxon Valdez in Alaska 22 years ago today.

I want to mention another piecemeal, ad hoc, visionless, backward approach, and that is the government's approach on the oceans. The government has disabled and discarded the long-term moratorium defending our oceans from supertankers.

On the contrary, a Liberal government would take a position of global leadership in protecting our shared ocean heritage and vital coastal communities and their jobs so these kinds of ecological disasters would never harm our shores.

The government is in contempt of Parliament, it has contempt for Canadians and it has contempt for the environment. No wonder parliamentarians can no longer express confidence in the government.

6:40 p.m.

Langley B.C.

Conservative

Mark Warawa ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the comments of my colleague across the way. She said that she was disappointed and frustrated being in the House. However, she did say that the Liberal Party, of which she is a member, had a vision. What is that vision? Is it from 1993 to 2006, those many years when the Liberal government had the opportunity to get things done? Did it get things done? No, it did not.

Year after year, the commissioner of the environment would give damning reports, stating that Liberals made great announcements, but before the confetti hit the ground, they forgot those promises. They got absolutely nothing done. Greenhouse gas emissions continued to rise. The Liberals made a commitment under Kyoto, which covered 27% of global greenhouse gas emissions and they accomplished nothing.

Canada now has a Conservative government that has a well-deserved reputation for getting things done. Since Copenhagen, we are now part of an international agreement that covers 85% of global greenhouse gas emissions. What a difference. Also, emissions are being reduced.

The member across talked about a carbon tax. In 2008, Canadians said absolutely no to the Liberals idea of a carbon tax. It is not good for the Canadian economy. Once again, we hear the coalition members calling for a carbon tax. The answer from Canadians is clearly no.

What else was she disappointed with? In 2003, she was the minister of B.C.'s water protection. In 2003 there was a Liberal Government and David Anderson was the minister. He believed that it was okay to dump raw sewage into Victoria harbour. At the same time, that member was the B.C. minister responsible for water protection. What did she do? She ignored staff concerns and let the region drop the plans for a treatment plant. She argued that turbulent, deep, cold water off Beacon Hill Park functioned adequately as a natural sewage treatment system.

This government stands against dumping raw sewage into our oceans. We believe we need to protect our water, our land, our economy and Canadians. Therefore, it is not surprising that the member has a different philosophy and she finds herself frustrated because her philosophy is to do nothing. She was part of a regime that did nothing. She is frustrated with a government that is getting things done

We are providing a cleaner environment. Under this government, emission levels are dropping. We are getting it done on every front, even with the home renovations, which is a very important part of the new budget. Do the Liberals support that and many other good things? No, they do not. Therefore, it is not surprising the member would support a contempt motion because she does not appreciate the good work this government is doing.

6:45 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, I always love the reminder of the Victoria waste management project, which I was proud to increase the testing and the science of those waters. That led to the commitment very shortly after to build a sewage treatment plant. That is one of my successes as an environment minister. I thank the member for bringing that up once again.

Also, the member talked about the Conservative government's pride in signing the Copenhagen accord. I do not believe the member opposite was there. However, I was. Canada was rejected from being among the dozens of countries that worked on this for a few days at the conference. It was approximately a five-page agreement. Canada was not allowed to participate in drafting it because of its woeful reputation for obstructing efforts on climate change. It is not legally binding and the members of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change did not ratify this agreement.

That is what the member is claiming pride in.

6:45 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, what the member neglects to share is this government sent a delegation of Canadians to Copenhagen and Cancun, and Liberals were part of that delegation. Were they constructive in working for the interests of Canada and global greenhouse gas emission reductions? No. They were out protesting. When they were not protesting, they were leaving these very important conventions early. It was this government that worked hard, with our international partners, to draft the new Copenhagen accord.

We are getting it done. Emission levels are already going down and we are committed to continue. We will be focusing on the major emitters, the transportation sector and helping homes become more efficient. We are getting it done.

6:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m. pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 6:49 p.m.)