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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

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

It being Wednesday, we will now have the signing of the national anthem led by the hon. member for Timmins—James Bay.

[Members sang the national anthem]

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

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

Government House

Ottawa

March 23, 2011

Mr. Speaker:

I have the honour to inform you that the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, will proceed to the Senate chamber today, the 23rd day of March, 2011 at 3 p.m., for the purpose of giving royal assent to certain bills of law.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Wallace

The Secretary to the Governor General and Herald Chancellor

Ray Walter and Ken ReaStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Schellenberger Conservative Perth—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to two fallen firefighters, Ray Walter and Ken Rea. These two brave men were killed in the line of duty last Thursday while battling a fire in Listowel, Ontario.

Ray and Ken were not just firefighters, they were also community leaders. Ray was vice-president of the Listowel Kinsmen and a second generation member of the North Perth Fire Department. Ray leaves behind his wife Holly.

Ken was a founding member of the Atwood Fire Department and active in the Atwood community. He leaves behind his wife, Louise, three children and three grandchildren.

Ray and Ken showed true courage and dedication as firefighters by entering a burning building to protect their friends and neighbours. Let us hold their example as an inspiration as we mourn their loss.

I know that all hon. members will join me in honouring these two brave men who gave their lives while serving their community.

Acadian and Francophone WomenStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, on Sunday, March 6, 2011, I had the honour to attend a dinner at the Campbellton Civic Centre, organized by Femmes acadiennes et francophones de Campbellton in honour of International Women's Day 2011. The goal of the event was to highlight the volunteering done and contributions made by a number of women in their respective communities. I would like to take a moment to highlight the work of the nine women who were recognized: Sister Thérèse Daigle, Lucille Boudreau-Doucet, Nicole Légaré-Dumont, Julienne Perron-Haché, Gisèle Thibodeau-Laviolette, Lorraine Parisé-Léger, Lyne Raymond, Diane Béchard-Robichaud and Monique Arseneault-Savoie.

I sincerely thank them for the time and effort they have invested for the good of their communities. It is very much appreciated. I would like to give special thanks to the organizing committee, chaired by Lorraine Ahier, who helped make this event a huge success. I also thank Denis Poirier for the wonderful music he provided for the evening. It was a pleasure for me to attend this event. To the nine honourees, I say thank you and congratulations.

André LachapelleStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Roger Gaudet Bloc Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to pay tribute to a great missionary who was taken from us on March 12, 2011. My cousin, André Lachapelle, the sole Quebec victim of the tragedy in Japan, was a priest who dedicated his life to all Christians. His nickname was “le Japonais” and though he returned home only once every two years, each of his visits was a celebration.

Last summer we celebrated his 50 years of priesthood in his birthplace, Saint-Jacques-de-Montcalm. He was deeply and sincerely committed to the missions in Japan. He was ordained in 1960 and left for his first mission to Japan the following year. In 2010, he received a certificate from the Japanese justice department thanking him for 25 years of service at the Sendai prison. He had also written three books in Japanese.

Memorial masses were celebrated in his honour: one in Laval for foreign mission priests and one in Saint-Jacques for family and friends. I know that for a man of religion, death is not the last sleep, but the final awakening. Sayonara domo arigato.

Infrastructure FundingStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the government announced that it would support the building of a highway from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk, a project that I have personally supported for a number of years and one that is in environmental assessment at the request of northerners. It is a great project but where is the money?

Unfortunately, there is no money assigned to do this. Nowhere in the government's detailed spending estimates is there a budget line for this highway.

What do we find in the main estimates? We find a cut of 70% to funds for the safe use, development, conservation and protection of the north's natural resources, and a 58% cut to funding to promote the social, political and scientific development of the three territories.

Northerners remember how the Conservatives promised Iqaluit a port but never delivered. We remember the armed ice-breakers now shelved. We remember a food mail program that caused prices to climb. Hollow promises all.

Northerners will not be waiting for this new hollow promise to come true. If the Conservatives really want to help northerners build this road, then it should be in the main estimates.

The BudgetStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Bev Shipley Conservative Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, the next phase of Canada's economic action plan will keep taxes low and continue to create jobs for all Canadians.

What was the response of the opposition coalition? Together, it said no, no to seniors, no to municipalities, no to laid off workers, no to rural doctors and nurses and no to homeowners who want to make their homes more energy efficient. Shockingly of all, the coalition said no to our brave volunteer firefighters who put their lives on the line every day.

Today it is clear to all Canadians that the opposition coalition is the party of no. No to balanced budgets, no to small businesses, no to our brave men and women in uniform, no to jobs and job creators and no to farmers. The only thing the coalition wants is an election that Canadians do not want.

I look forward to returning to my constituents in Lambton--Kent--Middlesex to tell them about this Conservative budget.

Filipino CanadiansStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, given the societal turmoil happening in the world today, I bring to the attention of the House a significant world event a quarter of a century past.

Twenty-five years ago, the Filipino people changed, without bloodshed, a dictatorship that they had detested to a democracy that they have since enjoyed.

People power has since been shown to work in other countries when a courageous population is determined to effect change.

Filipinos and Canadians of Filipino origin can truly take just pride when they celebrate the 25th anniversary of their people power revolution this year.

It is a Filipino legacy and an inspiration to a world committed to the democratic ideals of freedom, human rights, peace and justice, as my friend Dr. Rey Pagtakhan, a former MP, so beautifully reminded me last week. He continued to say that it helps remind everyone that freedom is so precious a human aspiration that the people of a nation, when long deprived of it, willingly face the danger of death to regain it.

I ask all members to join me in saluting the Filipino community in Canada in its celebration of people power.

PakistanStatements by Members

March 23rd, 2011 / 2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Devinder Shory Conservative Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, today, March 23, marks the anniversary of the 1940 Lahore resolution that called for Pakistan's independence.

For the thousands in the hardest working riding of Calgary Northeast and those across Canada with roots in Pakistan, I wish them a happy republic day.

Pakistan has come a long way but continues to face threats from a small group of radical extremists. A great champion against such radical extremism, Shahbaz Bhatti, was cowardly gunned down three short weeks ago. We in this House know that Mr. Bhatti's legacy will continue.

On the streets of Cairo, in Benghazi and all around the world, we see men, women and children standing up to claim the freedom, democracy and human rights for which all human hearts cry.

While oceans separate us, we stand with them united in the cause of freedom.

Guaranteed Income SupplementStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Freeman Bloc Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, with budget 2011, the Conservatives have failed in their duty to ensure a better life for our vulnerable seniors. The funding announced is only half of what seniors need to reach the low income threshold.

The Conservatives are proposing a guaranteed income supplement top-up benefit of up to $600 a year for singles with an income under $4,400 and up to $840 for couples with an income under $7,360 a year. That is woefully inadequate.

Only one in three GIS recipients will benefit from this measure. Thus, the government has rejected the demands of the Bloc Québécois and seniors' advocacy groups, including FADOQ, which are still calling for the GIS to be increased by $110 a month. Furthermore, the budget does not include any retroactive GIS payments or automatic registration for the estimated 40,000 eligible seniors in Quebec.

The Conservatives have some nerve, trying to save a few pennies at the expense of our most vulnerable seniors. How shameful.

The BudgetStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Lee Richardson Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of Finance tabled our government's new budget. It is a solid budget, a budget I encourage opposition members to support. It is a budget that seeks to implement phase two of our economic action plan, a plan that has served Canada well, effectively navigating us through the worst of the global recession.

The budget reiterates our government's commitment to Canadians. We will keep taxes low. We will undertake additional targeted investments to support jobs and growth. We will control government spending and stay on track to eliminate the deficit. Unlike previous Liberal governments, we will not cut transfer payments for crucial services like health care and education. We will not give in to opposition demands to impose massive tax increases.

Our budget includes sound measures that address the needs of hard-working Canadians and it contains significant new supports for families and local communities from coast to coast.

It is the budget Canada needs to keep our economic recovery on track.

Government of CanadaStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Andrews Liberal Avalon, NL

Mr. Speaker, from the overcast skies of St. John's this morning came the government's Challenger jet. Why, we might ask? It is to allow the desperate government to make a quick pre-election announcement. While the Minister of National Defence ducked inside the terminal for a quick political photo op, he kept the Challenger idling on the tarmac for two hours.

The government spent over $70,000 to fly the Challenger to St. John's. It has lost focus and has abandoned seniors, students, families and hard-working Canadians. It is so ironic that the minister neglected the opportunity to tell Newfoundlanders about the proposed cuts in his budget.

Why did the minister not tell them that his government plans to cripple Marine Atlantic? Why is he gutting the DFO budget? Why did he not tell them about the huge cuts to ACOA?

Government ministers want to tramp around the country on expensive jets making commitments that we cannot trust. We want permanent EI pilot projects and meaningful GIS increases for our seniors. The government is failing Canadians.

Once again, the government has been busted abusing its authority and demonstrating nothing but contempt for taxpayers, but Canadians will not be fooled with these election goodies.

IsraelStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rod Bruinooge Conservative Winnipeg South, MB

Mr. Speaker, earlier today, an explosion occurred in a crowded market in Jerusalem. Canada strongly condemns this cowardly act of terror against the Israeli people. Our sympathies are with the victims, their families and with the people of Israel.

Terrorism must be rejected as a means of achieving political ends. A comprehensive, just and lasting peace can only be reached through negotiations. These heinous acts of terror cannot be tolerated. Those behind this criminal act must be brought to justice and held accountable.

Further, we urge both parties to return to peace negotiations as soon as possible to stop the further escalation of violence and civilian casualties.

Our government stands by the people of Israel on this tragic day.

Gender EqualityStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada has recently dropped in the UN ratings for gender equality. A key factor in this is the increase in maternal death rates in this country.

Specifically, the Canadian maternal mortality ratio has been growing steadily since 1990. In fact, the number of deaths has doubled. There are many factors that contribute to this, including rising obesity rates, more caesarean sections and an increase in overall maternal age.

To reverse this trend, we need investment in education and women's health, more specifically, family-centred care that promotes the healthy, normal process of pregnancy and birth.

Another factor affecting gender equality is access to regulated, affordable child care. Yesterday's budget ignored the needs of Canadian families. The government failed to take steps to increase the number of affordable regulated daycare spaces.

Like their Liberal predecessor, the Conservatives refused yet again to introduce a national child care program that would give Canadian women a much needed boost in the direction of equality.

The BudgetStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, my constituents keep telling me they do not want an election and they absolutely cannot understand why the opposition would force the country to go to the polls at this time.

The opposition will be voting against help for seniors, against bringing more doctors to the regions, against infrastructure projects and against all the measures for helping families.

I am sure that when voters are forced to go to the polls they will remember that the coalition of the Liberal Party, the NDP and the Bloc is only interested in raising taxes, cutting jobs in the regions and stirring up old quarrels just to be in power.

Our Conservative government has listened to the regions, held consultations and presented a responsible budget that will not put an extra burden of debt on our future generations.

Keeping the economy vibrant and keeping taxes low in order to stimulate growth and employment are what people expected from the budget, not an unnecessary election.

The BudgetStatements by Members

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we already knew it, but the 2011 budget is yet further evidence that the environment is not one of the Conservatives' priorities.

While the Bloc Québécois was calling for an end to gifts for oil companies, the Conservatives have made slight adjustments to some of the subsidies granted to the oil sands, bringing them back to the level of those granted to the traditional oil and gas industries, which is a ridiculous decrease.

While barely $100 million will be allocated to the development of clean energy, the Conservatives are granting over $405 million to Atomic Energy of Canada Limited to help cover its losses. Had the government invested in the enhancement and extension of the eco-energy program, the $1.3 billion that AECL has been given over the past four years could have been used to ensure that ongoing efforts were being made to protect the environment.

The Kyoto framework is the basic means of meeting the strict reduction targets; however, the Conservative government is not taking action.

The BudgetStatements by Members

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Lise Zarac Liberal LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister plotted to orchestrate an election with an out-of-touch budget that gives billions for stealth fighters, prisons and corporations, but only crumbs for families.

The finance minister has ruled out any compromise, and the Conservatives already have new attack ads on the air that prove they have wanted the budget to fail all along.

By hiding the cost of their prisons and stealth fighters from Parliament, the Conservatives have misled the House and all Canadians, which means we cannot trust their budget numbers.

The Prime Minister's inner circle has been charged with violating the Canada Elections Act and is also the subject of two RCMP investigations. Now, there is going to be an election to prevent the Auditor General from reviewing the $1 billion that the Conservatives wasted on G20 photo ops.

The Liberals can no longer support this government, which is out of control and out of touch and which is misleading Canadians and threatening our democracy.

The Prime Minister does not make the rules; Canadians do.

The BudgetStatements by Members

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, the next phase of Canada's economic action plan is critically important to Canada's economic recovery. It is a low tax plan of critical importance to the financial security of Canadian families.

However, the Liberal leader, the NDP and Bloc Québécois have united once again, as a coalition, and are prepared to defeat this budget.

It seems not to matter to the opposition that this budget includes sound measures that address the needs of hard-working Canadians, provides strong initiatives to support job creation and continued economic growth and contains significant new supports for families and local communities from coast to coast.

The budget provides the opposition parties with a clear choice: whether to place their own political ambitions ahead of the financial security of Canadians and recklessly force an unnecessary election because they are thinking only of themselves.

Members of the opposition still have the opportunity to put the interests of Canadians ahead of their own political opportunism, and we encourage them to do precisely that.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, spending billions of dollars on stealth fighters, corporate tax cuts and megaprisons means the Canadian family has to be shortchanged.

There is nothing in the budget on affordable housing. There is nothing in it on child care. There is nothing to support our health system. These are the priorities of Canadian families.

Why is the Prime Minister out of touch and out of control?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the budget presented yesterday by the Minister of Finance focuses on the priorities of Canadians, whether it is most vulnerable senior citizens living in poverty, there is help for them; whether it is support for volunteer firefighters who do an extraordinary job in communities across Canada, there is support for them; or whether it is support for health care, which will have risen by 36%, an unprecedented commitment to public health care.

The Liberal Party, and he will not know because he was not here, cut health care by $25 billion. I know that because the member for Toronto Centre told me so.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the priorities of the government make no sense to Canadians.

It spent more in a single day at the G20 than it spent on seniors in a year. It is about to spend a thousand times more on jets than on helping students get a college or university education.

No Canadian can understand those priorities. Why is the Prime Minister so out of touch?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the priority of the Liberal Party is to bring Canada into a reckless election and to form a coalition with the Bloc Québécois and the NDP. That is not in the interest of hard-working Canadians.

What Canadians told us, when we consulted on this budget, was seniors living in poverty needed help, and it is in there; that volunteer firefighters needed support, and it is in there; that the men and women who worked in our hospitals needed an increase in transfer payments to the provinces, and it is in there.

The Liberal leader should put aside his own narrow partisan interest and do the right thing for Canadians and support the budget.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we cannot support this budget because its priorities are not good for Canadians. There is 1,000 times more for prisons than for crime prevention among teenagers. There is nothing for affordable housing, nothing for child care services, but there are billions of dollars for fighter jets, megaprisons and corporate gifts.

Why is the Prime Minister so out of touch with the priorities of Canadians?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Liberal Party cannot find billions of dollars for these fighter jets and cannot find billions of dollars for these alleged prisons he talks about.

Let us look at what Canadians are saying about the budget.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation said, “The government should be commended for standing up to the opposition calls to undo job-creating business tax relief”.

The Canadian Labour Congress said, “This is a win for every senior living in poverty in Canada”.

Environmental Defence said, “We applaud the decision to renew funding for the Chemicals Management Plan”.

These are good benefits to Canadians. He should set aside his own ambition and stand up for Canada.

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we have another problem with this government. The RCMP is investigating Mr. Carson, the Prime Minister's former chief of staff. Four of the closest collaborators of the Prime Minister face accusations of election fraud, and the government is this close to being found in contempt of Parliament.

Will the Prime Minister and the government finally take responsibility for their abuse of power?