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House of Commons Hansard #138 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was senators.

Topics

Fruit Growing IndustryStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Madam Speaker, our fruit growing industry is in deep in trouble. B.C. apple growers are making a return of 12¢ a pound while their cost of production is 22¢ per pound. Current farm support programs are too complicated even for accountants to understand and are not paying out. Many farmers have yet to receive program payments they applied for in 2008.

Our trade policies are taking a toll on our fruit growers. Cheap subsidized apples coming in from Washington State are undercutting prices for our farmers. The president of the B.C. Fruit Growers' Association is appalled that the CFIA has approved an import permit from yet another Chinese province. We simply cannot sustain any more apple imports from countries with low production costs, especially those whose standards do not exactly conform with ours.

I call upon the federal government to put Canadian farmers first and to ensure that any current or future trade agreements do not interfere with their ability to earn a decent living and to supply us with good quality food.

Volunteer FirefightersStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Daryl Kramp Conservative Prince Edward—Hastings, ON

Madam Speaker, author Kurt Vonnegut once said:

I can think of no more stirring symbol of man's humanity to man than a fire engine.

Today, I wish to thank the brave emergency service volunteers, especially the firefighters from Prince Edward County, Deseronto, Belleville, Thurlow, Madoc, Marmora, Tweed, Stirling, Bancroft, Maynooth and all points in between, all of whom play a vital role in our communities.

Their tireless dedication is an inspiration to all mankind.

Over two-thirds of rural Canadian fire departments are staffed by volunteer firefighters who put their lives in danger while saving lives and property every day in our communities.

In return, it is essential that we support their training programs and offer adequate tax relief that encourages recruitment and retention of volunteers.

It is for these reasons that I believe, and have believed, that we must continue to be a strong advocate for our first responders.

People with DisabilitiesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, 25 years ago, Rick Hansen embarked on a world tour to make the world more accessible and inclusive and to find a cure for spinal cord injury.

Inspired by a deep-seated belief that anything is possible, Rick's dream took shape in the form of the Man in Motion World Tour. I was there in Vancouver when he launched his tour. For 26 months, he and his team wheeled more than 40,000 kilometres through 34 countries raising awareness of the potential of people with disabilities.

The government must introduce a national disability act to promote reasonable access to medical care, medical equipment, education, employment, transportation and housing for Canadians with disabilities.

Rick's tour was a testament to his tenacity and his deep-seated belief that anything is possible when one is determined to live a dream. Rick has inspired and continues to inspire Canadians and people all over the world to live their dreams.

Forest Sector Champion AwardStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Upper Ottawa Valley continues to have a proud history in forestry, with local foresters like Grant Gulick, Leo Hall, Chris Heideman, Ray Pastway, Raymond Bell, Dana Shaw, Earl Bochert, Bob McRae, Dean Felhaber and the Dombroskie brothers carrying on a tradition started by pioneers like Peter White, Thomas McKay, J.R. Booth, John Egan, and the Buchanan and the McLaughlin brothers, to name a few.

It gives me great pleasure to congratulate the county of Renfrew for its selection as 2011 forest sector champion by the Ontario Forest Industries Association, the OFIA. The award was made to the county at a special ceremony during the 68th annual meeting of the OFIA.

As good stewards of the earth, it is important for us to acknowledge that our forests are growing.

Canada's record of forest management and regeneration is unsurpassed with a rate of deforestation that is virtually zero, a record we should all be proud of in this United Nations International Year of Forests.

Tax HavensStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Carrier Bloc Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, during the latest World Social Forum in Dakar, Eva Joly, a European MP, stated that tax havens are weapons of mass destruction against the development of poor countries. According to Joly, the detrimental role of tax havens has been known for 10 or 15 years. If we are unable to combat them, it is because they are the crux of strong, converging interests.

Governments are quietly subsidizing multinationals by allowing them to avoid paying taxes. Leaders of poor countries are amassing a fortune through corruption. Political parties are obtaining their funding illegally.

Eight non-governmental organizations on various continents have launched the international campaign “End Tax Haven Secrecy”. The purpose of this campaign is to demand that the G20 leaders introduce concrete measures to put an end to this lack of financial transparency.

The Bloc Québécois welcomes this initiative.

The EconomyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Nina Grewal Conservative Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Mr. Speaker, our government has successfully led Canada through the most serious global recession in recent memory.

We have cut taxes for families and small businesses. We have begun to rebuild our armed forces. We have toughened up our criminal justice system. We are strengthening our borders against terrorists and human smugglers.

Our government is now embarking on phase two of Canada's economic action plan. It is a plan for jobs and growth that keeps spending and taxes down. It is a world leading plan that will position Canada for the future as a strong, prosperous and united country, the best place in the world to live, work and raise a family.

My constituents look forward to the upcoming budget. Now is not the time for an opportunistic election. It is a time to remain focused on what matters most, which is keeping Canada's economy growing and creating good jobs for Canadians. That is exactly what we intend to do.

Main EstimatesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the President of the Treasury Board recently tabled the main estimates, which confirm two things: that the Conservatives lack financial management and that, at all costs, the Prime Minister will do as he said, “You won't recognize Canada when I get through with it”.

The estimates show that spending is still $11 billion more than it was in 2009. So much for fiscal restraint. Every year, spending by the Conservatives has well outpaced inflation. A media report this week said, “The...government has a poor track record when it comes to controlling spending”.

However, there are cuts to the CBC, to EI and to regional economic development. The estimates show that the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency is being cut by $64 million. These are all areas that the Prime Minister said he does not support.

The one area where there is a massive amount of increased spending, over half a billion dollars, is on Conservative crime policies, the same policies that failed in the United States and in the United Kingdom, and are being brought in when crime rates are actually falling in Canada.

It is about choice. Choices made by the Conservatives certainly are changing Canada, but not for the better.

Freezing Assets of Corrupt Regimes ActStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, today, our government tabled the freezing assets of corrupt regimes act in order to freeze the Canadian assets of former dictators.

Canada took swift action to freeze the assets of Moammar Gadhafi's regime in Libya. This act would ensure that we have the tools to act just as swiftly in all future cases.

The unrest in the Middle East and in North Africa has made it all too clear that Canadian laws do not allow us to react as quickly as our allies around the world.

The people of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and elsewhere are courageously voicing their legitimate democratic aspirations. Thousands have paid the ultimate sacrifice, losing their lives in the fight for freedom.

In Canada, it is our responsibility to ensure that we do not become a safe haven for murderous dictators to stash their cash.

I call upon all parties in both chambers to put partisan politics aside and urgently pass this important legislation.

Jim TraversStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, members of the NDP caucus were shocked and profoundly saddened to learn today of the most untimely death of our friend and colleague on the Hill, Jim Travers.

Jim was a seasoned, veteran journalist and a consummate professional who was an inspiration and a mentor to many. “The kind of journalist I aspire to be”, one press gallery member said today. He was an old-school guy who would never burn a source, never pull a punch and never hesitate to speak truth to power in the finest tradition of his honourable craft, and he did so with a sense of humour and a turn of phrase that was always pithy, unique, clever and memorable. The man could really write.

In all of his many roles in an illustrious career, Jim represented the very best of journalistic integrity. His colleagues at The Toronto Star have lost a dear friend and an inspirational leader.

Our deepest heartfelt condolences go to Jim's family. His many friends on Parliament Hill will miss him profoundly, and I am proud to have been one of them.

SoccerStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Conservative Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, as a soccer mom, a soccer coach, a referee and an avid soccer player, I am thrilled to report that in Zurich this morning, FIFA awarded the hosting rights for the 2015 Women's World Cup to Canada.

In addition, Canada will host the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup 2014.

It is a tremendous honour to host the single largest women's sporting event in the world. We know that cities from coast to coast will provide outstanding venues for these exciting games.

Soccer continues to grow in popularity in Canada and the Women's World Cup will build on that enthusiasm.

Our senior women's team, the reigning regional champions, is off to Germany this summer for the 2011 World Cup.

Our government is proud to be a key supporter of these tournaments. They are certain to be highly successful and we look forward to watching Canada's teams play the beautiful game with the world's best right here at home.

I say “go Canada go”.

Quebec AthletesStatements By Members

March 3rd, 2011 / 2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the history of sports, never before have we seen a nation with so many champions in sliding sports in the same year.

Érik Guay, winner of the super G crystal globe in 2010, was triumphant in December at the 2011 alpine world ski championships. Alexandre Bilodeau, who brought home the gold in the single moguls event at the Vancouver Olympic Games, was crowned the 2011 world champion in dual moguls. Jennifer Heil brought home the gold in single and dual moguls at the 2011 world championships. Alex Harvey won the 30-kilometre pursuit at the under-23 world cross-country championships and just yesterday became the world champion in the relay event. I should also point out that Jasey-Jay Anderson won gold in Vancouver in the snowboarding parallel giant slalom event.

In the last year, Quebeckers have dominated the world stage in sliding sports, making our nation very proud.

Jim TraversStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise with sadness today to speak on the passing of a good friend, a fine Canadian and a great journalist, Jim Travers.

Jim was a true gentleman whose rumpled presence concealed a sharp mind, a lovely sense of fun and a great pen. He had a distinguished 40-year career in journalism, both at home and around the world. He was editor-in-chief of Canada's largest newspaper, The Toronto Star, as well as a mainstay of the Ottawa bureau.

Jim was rightly honoured by his colleagues, winning the Charles Lynch Award in 2005 and the National Newspaper Award in 2010.

We will all miss his keen mind and shrewd analysis, but even more, we will miss the warmth and kindness he showed to so many of us.

He had a deep love of our country and a profound respect for the importance of our democratic institutions and traditions, and he would have been annoyed with me for not being able to get through this without crying.

Jim's passing leaves so much behind, great friends on all sides of politics and journalism, but also a hole in our hearts. We send our deepest condolences to his wife Joan and children, Ben and Paddy, and his wider family.

Political FinancingOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, Conservative election fraud has been investigated for four years. Police raided Conservative headquarters. The fraud was pursued by two chief electoral officers, the chief investigator at Elections Canada, and the independent director of public prosecutions. Four of the Prime Minister's top advisers are charged with serious illegal conduct for which there is voluminous evidence and the likelihood of conviction, triggering fines and jail terms. That is some administrative matter.

How is all of that not a character issue for the Prime Minister?

Political FinancingOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member is referring to the typical back and forth that we could expect from a five-year-long administrative dispute of this kind.

Conservative candidates spent Conservative funds on Conservative advertising. The national party did, indeed, transfer funds to local campaigns, which is legal, ethical and commonplace among all political parties.

The reason that Elections Canada is aware that we made such transactions is that we told it, and we will continue to make our case in a court of law.

Political FinancingOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, this is about the public's trust. Nothing happens in the government that this all-controlling Prime Minister does not dictate. He is, after all, the boss. He makes the rules. The in and out scheme, the forged invoices, and the voluminous evidence of illegal conduct go right to the top.

At the National Citizens Coalition, in the Reform Party, and as Conservative leader, the Prime Minister has made a habit of trying to circumvent campaign spending laws to let big money rule, so how can he deny it now? Campaign spending violations have been his stock in trade.

Political FinancingOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier, it appears the member is referring to a five-year-long administrative dispute and the ongoing back and forth that has flowed out of that dispute. Of course, Conservative candidates did spend Conservative funds on Conservative advertising, and the national party transferred funds to the local campaigns.

The reason Elections Canada knows that is because we told it. We had no reason not to tell it because it is legal, ethical, and common practice among all political parties. We will continue to make that case in a court of law.

Political FinancingOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, common practice it is not.

The Prime Minister is responsible for the people he gathers around him. He sets the standards. When local riding associations questioned the illegality of the Conservative in and out scheme, all the Prime Minister's men attacked them. They were called “undisciplined”, “turds”, and “idiots”. Those are Conservative words, not mine, but that is the mentality the Prime Minister fosters: the culture of deceit.

If he will not ask his senators now charged with offences to step out of the Conservative caucus, would he at least remove the taint of the plumbers being in the Auditor General's Office?

Political FinancingOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the kinds of personal slurs that the member is engaging in will not create a single job for Canadians. It will not allow Canadians to save for their future.

What will do those things is Canada's economic action plan. We have created 460,000 net new jobs, we have the smallest deficit in the G7, five million Canadians invested in tax-free savings accounts, and unemployment is two points lower than in the United States for the first time.

It is time that the opposition stopped trying to tear people down and join with us in building Canada.

Political FinancingOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, we will see whether the judge finds the two Conservative senators or the Prime Minister's cronies as funny as the parliamentary secretary. Apparently, the Chief Electoral Officer does not share the same sense of humour. The Director of Public Prosecutions does not share the same sense of humour either. And the three judges of the Federal Court of Appeal do not seem to have understood the parliamentary secretary's humour.

All of this is a joke. Is this the Conservatives' idea of accountability?

Political FinancingOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the kinds of personal slurs that the Liberal Party has been engaging in for some time now will not create a single job and will not help families save for their future. What will do those things is Canada's economic action plan. It has already created more than 500,000 jobs, helped five million Canadians open a tax-free savings account and helped create steady economic growth for a year and a half. We are building Canada, not tearing people down.

Political FinancingOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, he is talking about personal slurs. He apparently has not been watching television over the past couple of weeks.

I have no doubt that the administrative interpretations of Vincent Lacroix and Earl Jones were as interesting as those of the Conservatives. The problem is that the judges of the Federal Court of Appeal, the Chief Electoral Officer and the Director of Public Prosecutions are clearly stating that the Conservatives' actions were not legal. The Conservatives committed electoral fraud to the tune of $1 million.

What about that is “tough on crime”?

Political FinancingOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's overheated rhetoric notwithstanding, what we are really talking about here is that Conservative candidates spent Conservative funds on Conservative advertising.

It is true that Conservative headquarters did transfer funds to local campaigns. The reason that Elections Canada knows that is precisely because we told it in open disclosures.

This dispute is ongoing. We will continue to press our case in court.

CinarOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, following media disclosures in October 2009, we asked the Prime Minister whether political interference had prevented the RCMP from laying criminal charges in the Cinar case. Of course, this question went unanswered. Today, we have learned that the Sûreté du Québec has finally pressed charges in the Cinar case.

Why has the government still not taken action in the Cinar case, which it has known about since it was elected?

CinarOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure exactly what the hon. member's problem is.

This matter is before the court. I do not know why the hon. member is worried about this matter. It is before the court. The hon. member should let it be there. That is the way the process works in this country and I hope that he is not hearing this for the first time.

CinarOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it was the Bloc that raised this issue in 2000 and, in the six years that the Conservatives were in the opposition, they did not ask a single question about it. They should wake up instead of just spouting rhetoric.

Under the voluntary disclosures program, the Liberal government at the time settled the dispute with Cinar behind closed doors without co-operating with the RCMP.

Now that the Sûreté du Québec has confirmed Cinar's fraud, does the government realize that the agreement reached with Cinar under the voluntary disclosures program is unacceptable and that immediate action must be taken?