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House of Commons Hansard #8 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was mission.

Topics

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

Vote #4

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6:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I declare the subamendment carried.

The next question is on the amendment, as amended.

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

Vote #5

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7:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I declare the amendment as amended carried.

The next question is on the main motion, as amended.

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7:05 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Conservative Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, if you seek it, I believe you would find agreement to apply the vote, with the Conservatives voting yes.

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7:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Is there unanimous consent to proceed in this fashion?

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7:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

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7:05 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, the members of the NDP will be voting yes.

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7:05 p.m.

Liberal

Massimo Pacetti Liberal Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party will be voting in favour of the motion.

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7:05 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bloc Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Mr. Speaker, the members of the Bloc will be voting in favour of the motion.

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7:05 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will be voting no.

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

Vote #6

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7:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I declare the motion, as amended, carried.

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

7:10 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, Canada recently tabled two reports concerning our international climate change obligations.

The first report detailed our federal climate change policies and their impact on meeting Canada's international obligations under the Kyoto protocol. That report very clearly affirms that the Conservative government has absolutely no plan when it comes to climate change. The report shows that once again the government's inaction will see our country miss our own completely inadequate climate change goals by 75%, if it can be believed. The goals are inadequate to start with, and then we are going to miss them by 75% in 2020.

This report also shows government stalling on implementing some regulations, for example, renewable energies content or energy efficiency standards. This has resulted in even lower emissions reductions than we had planned. I would say that clearly climate change is not a priority for the government.

It was not mentioned in the throne speech. It was not mentioned in the budget. The upcoming budget cuts will only undermine Environment Canada's ability to address climate change. The 2011 main estimates show a 20% cut to Environment Canada, including a 59% reduction in spending for climate change and clean air.

The second report was our national inventory report to the UN about where our emissions come from. Nowhere in here can we find where our emissions are or what kind of emissions we have with regard to the oil sands. In this report, emissions from the oil sands were not explicitly listed, but if we looked hard enough we could find them. We could figure it out and we could see the data showing that there is a 20% increase in oil sands emissions in 2009 alone. No wonder it is not specifically listed. No wonder it is hidden. As I pointed out earlier in the House, that amount is actually more than the emissions of every single car in Canada.

I would like to know, who made the decision to try to hide this very important information on greenhouse gas emissions from the oil sands productions?

7:15 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Michelle Rempel ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Madam Speaker, I would like to congratulate the member opposite on her election and her appointment to the environment file. I look forward to working with her in the future.

First, it is important to note with regard to the government's plan for climate change that Canadians actually had an opportunity to consider the NDP's climate change platform in the last month, during our election, and it was soundly rejected. Our plan, the best plan for it, is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions sector by sector, aligning with the U.S. where appropriate.

With regard to our reporting requirements, our government has been compliant with our international reporting guidelines in this area. That is why this year has been no exception. We have met our reporting deadlines and Canada has not once been found to be out of compliance for finalizing our submissions.

The UNFCCC report that the member referred to and the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act are two different reporting mechanisms with which our government was compliant, posting our UNFCCC response within the allowable grace period, and we were in compliance.

Our government is taking strong action on climate change. We have a clear plan to meet our committed Copenhagen accord in a sector by sector approach which is well underway. What is really important to note is that our plan is to partner with industry in developing regulations to reduce GHG emissions without jeopardizing the fragile economy as it recovers from our recent economic downturn.

Canadians elected our government because they know our path is the right one, going forward on climate change. Our plan is also not reliant on industry alone. Our government is taking action on mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change, including important investments in climate science.

I look forward to working with the member opposite to work constructively with our government as we move forward toward meeting our Copenhagen targets.

7:15 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Madam Speaker, as it is the first time I have had the opportunity to hear my colleague in the House, congratulations to her on her election and also for her appointment as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment.

The report shows clearly that sector by sector is absolutely not working. This is not a plan for climate change. The Conservatives have a plan and it is not working. The information in this report was hidden. Emissions from the oil sands went up, and to top it off, we were late in reporting. After a tsunami and earthquake, Japan managed to report on time and we did not. It is unbelievable.

Considering the dismal failure for us in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and the fact that we cannot even get a report together that makes sense and where we can find clear information, how can we possibly trust the government to take its climate change obligations seriously?

7:15 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Centre-North, AB

Madam Speaker, it is important to note that there was no hidden report. The breakdown in emissions originating from the oil sands sector in 2009 is captured in several categories, including fossil fuel production and refining, mining and oil, gas extraction and fugitive sources. It is in the report.

I want to emphasize that we have a very strong plan going forward. Our government has a strong plan to ensure both environmental sustainability and economic sustainability.

Through consultation with industry and other levels of government, we will continue to regulate all major sources of emissions within that context of balancing environmental sustainability with economic sustainability.

7:15 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Madam Speaker, I thank the parliamentary secretary for taking the time to respond to questions on the very important matter of funding decisions regarding seniors and the poverty that is the reality of life for far too many older Canadians.

On June 7, I asked the Minister of Finance to explain why the government chose corporate tax giveaways over raising every senior in this country out of poverty, opting to give the poorest seniors a mere $50 a month in guaranteed income supplement increases. The parliamentary secretary for the minister responded that seniors expected this increase, that she hoped I would support it and that she wanted to address the needs of seniors.

I have no doubt that seniors will appreciate this modest increase in GIS. When one lives in poverty, every extra dollar eases the heavy burden of trying to manage.

However, the needs of our country's seniors are not being met and will not be met by this miserly increase in the GIS. Though this raise may in some small way help our seniors meet the increasing costs of living, it will not raise them out of poverty. Ending poverty must be the goal of any government that claims to have the best interests of its citizens at heart.

A quarter of a million of Canada's seniors live below the poverty line. They struggle to afford basics like food, housing and prescription medication. After spending their lives working to build our country, we have failed them by not providing for them as they once provided for us.

It is not as though the government has not had the opportunity to make changes in the lives of our seniors. The government found $668 million in the budget for the G8 summit, billions for corporate tax giveaways and $50 million for perks, such as the gazebo in a minister's riding, but it strangely was unable to find $700 million to raise every senior in Canada above the poverty line.

It would seem that the government refuses to prioritize the needs of our seniors over other more corporate or personal interests.

My question is straightforward. If the government truly wants to address the needs of seniors, why has it so far refused to take every opportunity to take the necessary actions to raise all seniors out of poverty?

7:20 p.m.

Simcoe—Grey Ontario

Conservative

Kellie Leitch ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Madam Speaker, our Conservative government recognizes that Canada's seniors helped build our amazing country. Many of those seniors actually live in my riding of Simcoe—Grey.

That is why the next phase of Canada's economic action plan introduces key measures to improve the quality of life and expand opportunities for Canada's seniors.

Some of these initiatives include enhancing the government income supplement, GIS, for low-income seniors with increased benefits of up to $600 for single seniors and $840 for couples. This is an initiative the Canadian Association of Retired Persons has said that it was, “very happy to see....this issue has been an issue that we have raised many times before and it is finally something that is being addressed”.

Also included in these initiatives are: enhancing the new horizons for seniors program with an additional $10 million to promote volunteerism, mentorship and expanded awareness of elder abuse; extending the targeted initiative for older workers with an additional $50 million; keeping transfer payments to provinces and territories at record highs, ensuring they can provide the health care and social programs seniors depend on; and eliminating the mandatory retirement age for federally regulated employees to give seniors who want to remain active in the workforce the freedom to make that choice, unless there is an occupational requirement.

As the Canadian Taxpayers Federation noted, “People have a right to determine how long they work, and this”, eliminating the mandatory retirement age, “is a major step towards eliminating poverty for seniors”.

During the recent election, Canadians seniors, especially in my riding of Simcoe—Grey, reviewed the next phase of Canada's economic action plan and what it proposed for them. Canadian seniors gave the Conservative plan a strong endorsement on election day, providing the government with a strong mandate to support seniors. Now is the time to move forward on that plan.

The next phase of Canada's economic action plan builds on the over $2 billion in annual tax relief our Conservative government has provided to seniors since 2006, including: introducing pension income splitting; increasing the age credit amount by $2,000; doubling the pension income credit to $2,000; increasing the amount of GIS recipients can earn through employment without any reduction in GIS benefits, from $500 to $3,500; increasing the age limit for RRSP to RRIF conversion to 71 from 69; establishing the landmark tax-free savings account, which is particularly beneficial for seniors; and much more.

Indeed, through our strong record of tax relief, over 85,000 seniors have been removed from the tax rolls completely since 2006.

Rest assured, our Conservative government is and will continue to stand up for seniors.

7:25 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Madam Speaker, it is easy for Conservatives to stand in the House of Commons and say that the government has done much to improve the lives of seniors and that there have been many measures introduced to try and ease the economic burden that our seniors carry.

The truth remains, however, that these measures have not been enough and we continue to fail senior citizens. I cannot stress enough that despite the work of the past years, over a quarter of a million of Canada's seniors continue to live in poverty. The small gains in benefits that the government has granted them has not changed this fact.

The government had several opportunities to change that reality, but instead choose to spend money in a frivolous manner. If, for example, the government had made a few conference calls instead of hosting a $668 million photo op, every senior in our country could be living above the poverty line right now.

Once again, why did the government refuse to take the opportunity to lift every senior in our country out of poverty?

7:25 p.m.

Conservative

Kellie Leitch Conservative Simcoe—Grey, ON

Madam Speaker, let me reiterate that our Conservative government has been given a strong mandate because of its strong record of supporting Canada's seniors and we will continue to advance their interests in the years ahead.

Indeed, just today, we introduced legislation to implement the enhancement to the guaranteed income supplement promised in budget 2011. Provided this legislation passes in the days ahead, this will provide increased payments to more than 680,000 vulnerable seniors beginning July 1 of this year.

As the C.D. Howe Institute has recently observed:

—the new Guaranteed Income Supplement...top-up benefit for low-income seniors would bring a meaningful increase in benefits too low-income seniors.

I urge all parliamentarians to work with our government to support Canada's most vulnerable seniors.

7:25 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly, this House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 2 p.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 7:27 p.m.)