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House of Commons Hansard #11 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was seniors.

Topics

Summer Festivals in Moncton-Riverview-DieppeStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Robert Goguen Conservative Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, I want to start by congratulating you on your election as Speaker of the House. I would also like to thank the voters of my riding for the confidence they have placed in me and for giving me the opportunity to sit here in Parliament.

As members know, we are quickly moving into the summer festival events. This is of course a time of many celebrations of much joy. High school students will soon be getting their grade 12 diplomas. I would like to recognize those diploma recipients who are from the high schools in my riding: École Mathieu-Martin; École L'Odyssée; Moncton High; Harrison Trimble; Bernice MacNaughton High School; and Riverview High School.

There are also many other celebrations: tomorrow, June 21, National Aboriginal Day; Saint Jean Baptiste Day on June 24; Multicultural Day on June 26; Canada Day; and la Fête nationale des Acadiens on August 15.

However, the most important celebration that each one of us will have on both sides of this chamber is going about with our constituents at various barbecues, celebrating the most important event this year, May 2, the election of that stable national Conservative government.

Product SafetyStatements by Members

June 20th, 2011 / 2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Wladyslaw Lizon Conservative Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Mr. Speaker, as I rise today for the first time in the House, I would like to thank the good people of Mississauga East—Cooksville who placed their trust in me.

I would also recognize the coming into force of the consumer product safety legislation. Passed unanimously by the House, the new legislation reflects our government's commitment to the health and safety of Canadians. Canadian parents want to ensure their children's products are safe and the new customer protection law ensures government has the ability to act when unsafe products are sold in Canada.

I am pleased to announce that, as of today, these new rules, supported by all members of this place, will be in effect.

This is yet another example of our Conservative government's commitment to Canadians, resulting in the positive action that has been welcomed by consumer groups and parent across our country.

National Aboriginal DayStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow is National Aboriginal Day. Under the umbrella of KAIROS, more than 200 representatives of Canadian church congregations today join aboriginal representatives in dramatically demonstrating their nationwide support for our action on the rights and interests of all of Canada's aboriginal peoples. Both church representatives and aboriginal leaders have reminded us that the outstanding international commitments to the rights of indigenous peoples needs action now.

The Auditor General has reported that not only has the government failed to act on the majority of the recommendations made over the last decade, conditions have worsened for first nations housing, education and basic necessities of life, a disparity he found unacceptable in a country as rich as Canada.

However, I am confident that together with the New Democrat aboriginal commission, we will bring heightened energy and attention to the significant challenges facing Canadian first nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.

I encourage all members of the House to join us in tomorrow's celebrations.

World Refugee DayStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Roxanne James Conservative Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to recognize World Refugee Day.

Canada has a long history of providing protection to those who need it. As a Canadian, I am proud of our compassionate tradition. Canada's refugee programs are world renowned for their fairness and generosity. In fact, last year Canada welcomed more refugees resettled through the UN than any other country in the world per capita.

For example, we have welcomed more than 2,300 Bhutanese refugees in several communities across Canada and we plan to resettle up to 5,000 more Bhutanese refugees from Nepal over the next few years. As well, we have almost completed the resettlement of over 3,900 Karen from Thailand.

Today I urge all Canadians to reflect on the courage of the millions of refugees and displaced persons around the world who are fleeing persecution, tyranny and oppression.

World Sickle Cell Awareness DayStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday was World Sickle Cell Awareness Day, a day to spread the word about a disease known to the western world for 100 years and to recognize and celebrate the courage of those living with sickle cell, a genetic blood disorder.

Sickle cell disease affects blood cells which carry oxygen throughout our bodies. In Sickle cell disease, red blood cells harden into long slivers that block veins and arteries, causing injury to blood vessels of organs, including the brain and lung. About 10% of children develop strokes. Children with sickle cell are also extremely vulnerable to infection and have periodic health crises that cause terrible pain and difficulty breathing.

Last week I tabled Bill C-221, An Act respecting a Comprehensive National Strategy for Sickle Cell Disease and Thalassemic Disorders. I hope all hon. members will educate themselves on this devastating disease and support families who cope with it.

New Democratic Party of CanadaStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, the NDP clearly demonstrated this weekend that it is out of touch with Canadian families, workers and seniors.

With its high tax plan, the NDP is not fit to govern or to lead Canada through the fragile global economic recovery.

It is also demonstrating how reckless it would be to national unity by promising to re-open the Constitution and by allowing many sovereignist MPs to sit within its caucus. NDP recklessness would help pave the way to a third referendum on Quebec sovereignty.

The NDP's attempt to make it look like it is modernizing and shedding some of its radical ideology is misleading. It is not really changing and it is leaving many of its most dangerous policies in place.

Our Conservative government represents the interests of families, workers and seniors. Our government received a strong mandate to advance the interests of hard-working Canadians from coast to coast to coast, unlike the NDP that prefers to listen to special interest groups and big unions.

Listuguj Mi'gmaqStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Philip Toone NDP Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, today is the 30th anniversary of Listuguj raids. On June 11, 1981, armed provincial police officers and fisheries officers raided that Mi'gmaq community, arrested residents and seized their boats in order to prevent them from commercially fishing salmon.

It was 30 years ago today, on June 20, 1981, that the provincial government ordered a second raid, but this time, the residents of Listuguj erected barricades to prevent access to their community. In 1993, the Mi'gmaq government drafted the Listuguj Mi’gmaq First Nation Law on Fisheries and Fishing.

We are celebrating this act of self-government. Today, the Restigouche River is known as one of the best-managed salmon rivers in the country. This demonstrates that it is possible for the Canadian and first nations governments to develop and maintain reciprocal, non-violent relationships that are mutually beneficial.

Betty FoxStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder Conservative London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, today we celebrate a life well lived, struck by grief yet anchored by hope.

Betty Fox, the wife of Rolly, mother of Fred, Darrell, Judy and Terry, passed away on Friday morning. We feel grief because no parent should outlive his or her child, yet hope because she was inspired by a fierce determination to keep Terry's cause, a cure for cancer, ever present in the psyche of Canadians and to keep Terry alive in her heart. It is what a parent's love does.

Betty Fox's great legacy was the passionate commitment to continue Terry's dream, his Marathon of Hope, as only she could. She was a reluctant champion, but understood the importance of her role when she was thrust into that extraordinary circumstance.

Yet this devoted, determined, compelling woman also gave us hope, our marathon of hope. She had a generosity of spirit and it was clear that she knew her mind when it came to Terry's legacy. Today, around the world, we run for Terry and we will always remember the mom who in every way kept his dream alive.

Betty made us very proud. She did her job. Her marathon is over. Now it is our turn.

Privy Council OfficeOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have learned that the Prime Minister's staff, both in the Privy Council Office and the Prime Minister's Office, are not complying with Treasury Board rules regarding hospitality expenses.

The rules require that expenses be authorized in advance and neither the PMO nor the PCO are following the rules. The Prime Minister and his government like to make a big fuss about the importance of law and order.

How is it that the Prime Minister believes he is above the law when it comes to his own expenses?

Privy Council OfficeOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, our government has cut spending on hospitality by more than 30% over and above the previous government's record.

To be clear, measures were put in place some time ago to ensure that any necessary spending on coffee or on limited hospitality was in fact approved beforehand.

Privy Council OfficeOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, as is the case with his Treasury Board president who broke all the rules, the Prime Minister does not seem to understand that if he is going to preach restraint, he had better lead by example.

A trip with friends and family to a hockey game in Boston, $100,000. Watching the government avoid the question, priceless.

Why is it that the Prime Minister has just written to his ministers to require them to follow the rules and tighten their budgets when his office is breaking those very rules and his own budget is completely out of control?

Privy Council OfficeOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Again, Mr. Speaker, I am not exactly sure what the hon. member is going on about.

Again, it is our government that has cut spending on hospitality by some 30%. We have in fact improved on the approval process.

Just because we are reducing hospitality spending does not make us inhospitable. We are such warm people over here.

Canada PostOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government claims to be acting in good faith. Let us see. Our collective bargaining system is based on good faith. In the case of Canada Post, it was the government itself, through a crown corporation, that locked out Canada Post employees. This same government is now turning around, pointing at the situation it created, and saying that it must put an end to the lockout it created by introducing a special law to break workers' rights.

Is that acting in good faith?

Canada PostOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers have had an ample amount of time to discuss their issues at a bargaining table and, indeed, to use the collective bargaining process.

We have been part of that, too. What we have been doing is facilitating, either through conciliation or mediation, or indeed through my trying to bring the parties to focus their attention on the issues, because, at the end of the day, the work stoppage affects all Canadians, small businesses and charities, and that is what needs to be addressed.

Canada PostOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, the government is threatening back to work legislation for Canada Post workers.

However, the limited rolling strike is not what disrupted Canada's mail services. It was the lockout of 9,000 mail carriers by Canada Post. At stake are pensions, health and safety conditions, and fair wages for the next generation of Canadian workers.

Why is the government interfering in these negotiations and trampling on free collective bargaining?

Canada PostOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, as we stated before, the parties to the dispute have been unable to attain a collective bargaining agreement thus far.

That is why the Canadian government is proposing to introduce back to work legislation. That is exactly what I will do today at 3 o'clock.

Canada PostOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, that is going to take rights away from workers.

Canada Post employees took legitimate measures to assert their rights. The employees decided to stand up for their rights, but they also decided to continue serving the population. The employer decided otherwise. Canada Post decided that it did not care about the Canadian people or the service it is supposed to provide.

Why not denounce the employer's position? Why is the government going to reward this attitude with back-to-work legislation?

Canada PostOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, it is both parties at the table who are negotiating and who have been unable to attain an agreement.

That is why we are acting on behalf of Canadians, on behalf of small businesses, on behalf of charities, who are being affected by this work stoppage across the country. As I said, that is exactly why we will be introducing back to work legislation today.

PensionsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, one of the things the minister just said was that she was trying to get the parties to focus on the issues.

It is very clear that one of the key issues is that workers who used to be able to rely on a defined benefit plan that would provide them with a degree of security are no longer able to rely on that security with respect to major employers in the country. This is a pattern that has been growing. The fact remains that the defined benefit provision has been one of the main pillars of the Canadian pension system.

What is the government doing to make sure that this pillar does not simply crumble?

PensionsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, in the context of the negotiations at the table, the parties have been able to narrowly define three or four issues that are in contention. Unfortunately, they have not been able to find a process or even come to an agreement themselves on those three issues. I encourage the parties to find their own way, find a process and come to an agreement. But if they cannot, today at three o'clock, we will be tabling back to work legislation.

PensionsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I did not hear an answer to my question about pensions. This issue affects not just the workers at Canada Post, but all workers in the country. It is evident that there will be more strikes this year and next if we do not find a solution that provides more security for Canadian workers.

PensionsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, in fact, it is this party that actually recognized the inconsistency with retirement income in this country.

We are working with our partners, the provinces and the territories. Over 63% of Canadians do not have either a defined benefit or a defined contribution plan. We are making sure that it is equal and fair for all Canadians.

PensionsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives have failed again to seriously deal with the pension crisis facing Canada.

Last week, all the finance minister could come up with was to tout his plagiarized version of Australia's experiment with pooled retirement pension plans. But Australia has found out already that its plan only resulted in higher fees and program costs and did not help the average Australian.

When is the government going to learn from the mistakes of others and start working to really help Canadians prepare for retirement?

PensionsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, the only mistake we will not follow is that of the Liberal government that chose to do nothing about this. This situation did not just happen overnight. This has taken years to build.

We have reduced taxes for seniors by $2 billion. That is an important benefit for them, but it is not all that they need. They need assistance in saving for their own retirement. That is what we are putting together in conjunction with the provinces. We will be bringing that idea forward to the House very soon, a shared plan with our partners in the provinces.

Mortgage InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, just before the recession, this government rolled out the red carpet for American companies that specialize in mortgage insurance. They invited the very companies responsible for the crash in the United States' housing market. With Bill C-3, the government is planning to take this risky policy even further.

Why should taxpayers have to assume the risks run by these American companies?