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House of Commons Hansard #6 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was seniors.

Topics

Auditor General of Canada

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I have the honour to lay upon the table the spring 2011 report of the Auditor General of Canada with an addendum on environmental petitions and the status report of the Auditor General to the House of Commons.

Pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(g), this document is deemed permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.

A message from His Excellency the Governor General transmitting supplementary estimates (A) for the financial year ending March 31, 2012, was presented by the President of the Treasury Board and read by the Speaker to the House

Main Estimates, 2011-12Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table, on behalf of my colleagues, part III of the estimates consisting of 95 reports on plans and priorities. These documents will be distributed to members of the standing committees to assist in their consideration of the spending authorities already sought in part II of the estimates.

Tobacco RegulationsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health and Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, proposed tobacco regulations that will strengthen package labelling requirements for cigarettes and little cigars.

The proposed regulations present 16 new enlarged health warning messages that would appear on cigarettes and little cigar packages. The proposed regulations would also prohibit the use of the terms "light" and "mild" on various tobacco products.

Interparliamentary DelegationsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

James Lunney Conservative Nanaimo—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian delegation to the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association respecting its participation to the meeting of the Standing Committee of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region and the second Northern Dimension Parliamentary Forum held in Tromso, Norway, February 22 and 23, 2011.

Canada Labour CodeRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-205, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (replacement workers).

Mr. Speaker, it is my great pleasure today to reintroduce a bill to ban replacement workers or scabs during strikes and lockouts.

New Democrats have always struggled for the rights of working people and this bill represents a critical piece of that struggle. It is essential for ensuring that the right to free collective bargaining cannot be undermined.

Some may say that this is the wrong time to introduce this legislation but I would suggest that the opposite is true. As we are still struggling to come out of the great recession, the need for labour and management to work together in a spirit of co-operation, involvement and trust is greater than perhaps at any other time in our country's history. However, nothing breaks that trust more quickly than a company's ability to hire scabs during a legal strike.

I would ask all members to support this bill at all three stages so that we can finally bring the Canada Labour Code into the 21st century.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Canada Pension PlanRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-206, An Act to amend the Canada Pension Plan (pension and benefits).

Mr. Speaker, I am thrilled to re-introduce my bill, which will finally put a legal end to the potential for people who have been convicted of spousal homicide to derive a CPP survivor benefit from their heinous crime.

I had assumed that the long-established principle in law, that no one should be able to benefit from a crime, would also be enshrined in the eligibility criteria for government benefit programs. Imagine my surprise when I received the following correspondence which states:

I have a relative who killed his wife, served very little time for manslaughter, and is (and has been) collecting CPP survivor benefits for over 10 years. Since 1-2 women per week die at the hands of their partners, how many more men are collecting this? How is this legal?

I researched the file to verify that this could really happen and learned that there was no legal prohibition that prevents people who have been convicted of spousal homicide from collecting either the death benefit or the survivor pension. Clearly, that is a loophole that must be closed.

My bill would do precisely that. It would amend the Canada pension plan to prohibit the payment of the survivors pension, orphans benefit or death benefit to a survivor or orphan of a deceased contributor if the survivor or orphan has been convicted of the murder or manslaughter of the deceased contributor.

The integrity of the Canada pension plan is enormously important to Canadians. I know that I am not alone when I say that the very thought that someone convicted of spousal homicide could derive a monetary benefit from such a heinous crime is an issue of fundamental justice.

I trust that all members of the House will feel the same way and I look forward to the speedy passage of my bill.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Ways and MeansRoutine Proceedings

June 9th, 2011 / 10:10 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I have a motion to put forward that I believe will receive the unanimous consent of the House.

That, notwithstanding the Order of Monday, June 6, 2011, upon adoption of the budget motion the Speaker shall not put the question on Ways and Means Motions Numbers 2 and 3 standing on the Order Paper; and, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, immediately following the adoption of the budget motion, the Speaker shall forthwith put every question necessary to dispose of the Ways and Means motion tabled June 8, 2011.

Ways and MeansRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Does the hon. government House leader have the unanimous consent of the House to propose the motion?

Ways and MeansRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Ways and MeansRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Ways and MeansRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Ways and MeansRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

(Motion agreed to)

Business of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, it is a long-standing practice to adjourn the House for political party conventions and, therefore, pursuant to Standing Order 56.1, I move:

That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, when the House adjourns on June 16, it shall stand adjourned until Monday, June 20; and on Thursday June 16, the hours of sitting and order of business of the House shall be that of a Friday provided that the time for filing of any notice be no later than 6 p.m.

Business of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Will those members who object to the motion please rise in their places.

And fewer than 25 members having risen:

Fewer than 25 members having risen, the motion is adopted.

(Motion agreed to)

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed from June 8 consideration of the motion that this House approve in general the budgetary policy of the government, and of the amendment.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, congratulations on your election as Speaker of the House.

I would like to begin by saying that I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Drummond.

It is an honour for me to rise in the House on behalf of the people of Abitibi—Témiscamingue. That is why I would like to thank the people in my riding for placing their trust in me and giving me the opportunity to sit here. I would like to tell them that I will defend their interests every day. I would also like to recognize the work done by Marc Lemay, who represented the people of Abitibi—Témiscamingue for seven years.

As we can see from this budget, the government and I have differing views on the type of country that we want to build. However, since we share the same passion for our community and the same commitment to serving our constituents, I hope that the Minister of Finance will be so kind as to listen to my message and that of my community. On May 2, communities like the one I represent did not simply choose new members, they also sent a clear message to the Canadian political system. They said that we must change our old ways of doing things and do better.

In my riding, over 50% of people voted for the NDP so that families would be a priority and so that no one would fall through the cracks. Since I humbly accepted the mandate that they gave me, I can say that this budget does not defend the interests of families or the marginalized. This budget puts the interests of the most profitable banks, the big polluters and companies that are sending our jobs elsewhere first.

Up until the day before the election, I was working in a small health care centre as a clinical nurse in the intensive care unit and the emergency room. I would like to commend all the workers at the Centre de santé et de services sociaux des Aurores-Boréales who work hard every day to preserve one of the things that Canadians value most: a public health care system. I would also like to join with all the other NDP members in recognizing all the heath care workers in our country.

The measure that the Minister of Finance is proposing, to forgive the student debt of doctors and nurses who work in under-served rural and remote communities, is more of a curse than a blessing.

First, it completely disregards many other health care professionals who work tirelessly for the good of our health care system, such as practical nurses, respiratory therapists, medical radiology technologists, medical laboratory technicians, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and all the others I have not listed.

Second, the Minister of Finance's offer again brushes aside experienced staff who have been the backbone of healthcare for years and who, each day, work an incredible amount of overtime, quite often mandatory, at the expense of their families. This measure can attract new professionals, but it will not attract experienced staff to these under-served communities that need them so much.

Third, this measure has the potential to drive a huge wedge between the communities that are eligible and those that are not. Imagine how difficult it would be to attract staff to an ineligible hospital that is an hour away from one that is eligible. Hon. members must remember that the shortage of health care professionals is a nation-wide issue, and every community should be eligible for help.

To conclude, I would like to say that this measure will not bring any new doctors or nurses into the health care system. It will move them to clearly under-served areas, but it will be at the expense of many other areas that will not see their situation improve in the least.

This measure will not do anything to diminish the number of health care professionals who leave, completely burnt out, after a few years of practice. And it will not do anything to reduce the long wait times in Canada's emergency rooms.

Taking action on health care means taking action on the incredible amount of work facing our health care professionals. One of this government's top priorities should be poverty because, as we all know, being poor makes it very difficult to stay healthy. All of the international health organizations agree that socio-economic status is one of the major determinants of health.

In my riding, I am very pleased that the mining boom has breathed some new life into the region. However, it has also helped create an unprecedented housing crisis. The price of houses and housing in general has increased dramatically in cities like Rouyn-Noranda and this is causing even more poverty and precarious situations for many families. Furthermore, this crisis is having a devastating effect on students, who are having a hard time finding decent housing. It is even having a negative impact on college and university recruitment in Rouyn-Noranda.

Since we are talking about poverty, I would be remiss not to mention the seniors of my riding, who cannot get a good night's sleep because they are worried about their retirement income and because they can no longer make ends meet, since their income is not increasing.

When this government talks about increasing the guaranteed income supplement by a maximum of $600 a year for single seniors—that is, by $50 a month—it is ridiculing seniors living in poverty. In 1983, when I was born, an extra $50 a month was not enough to get someone out of poverty, so imagine now.

My region has also had to deal with unprecedented crises in forestry and agriculture. I spoke with people in my riding who lost full-time jobs and now must get by with unstable jobs and no benefits. Consider, for example, the forestry workers of Tembec or small-scale farmers who have to try to compete with multinationals.

That is why I was hoping this budget would contain job creation tax credits for SMEs that create jobs in my region, instead of tax breaks for large corporations that do not need them and that come into my region and take over or destroy my small businesses, only to send the jobs elsewhere.

In closing, I also want to talk about the first nations peoples living in my riding. Many of them have spoken to me about their concerns over health care and education. Year after year, cuts are made to their health care programs and their post-secondary education programs. It is time for this government to restore its assistance to an acceptable level in order to help the first nations educate themselves and maintain good health.

The people of Abitibi—Témiscamingue are proud of their region and would like this government to truly support them. However, this government has instead decided to support major polluters and abandon small rural communities that are stagnating in terms of their growth.

I hope I can count on the co-operation of all members of the House to adopt practical solutions that will make a real difference in the riding of Abitibi—Témiscamingue. I am counting on our Prime Minister to respect the mandate that has been given to us as members of Parliament, to allow us to do our work in Parliament.

Some 4.5 million Canadians voted for the NDP. They voted to boost public pensions, to improve health care, to help families pay their bills, and to have an economy that generates new jobs and new opportunities. By voting for the NDP, Canadians have chosen an official opposition that keeps its priorities in the right place and does not hesitate to defend them. Our mandate is clear: we will propose practical solutions for families, work together to get results that will put the country on the right track, and oppose the government when it makes bad choices, and this budget is full of bad choices.

I am honoured to have been chosen to serve the people of Abitibi—Témiscamingue and honoured to be able to work with all the hon. members of this House. We all come here with different skills and different priorities, but we can choose to work together in a constructive manner. Otherwise, it is regions like mine that will pay the price in this budget.

I am reaching out to this government to work co-operatively to make this budget truly serve the interests of all Canadians and naturally the people of Abitibi—Témiscamingue.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

Saint Boniface Manitoba

Conservative

Shelly Glover ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Madam Speaker, I would like to welcome our new colleague here to the House of Commons.

I would like to reiterate that we have heard many members of the NDP say that they have positive things to say about our budget. I would like to give the new member a chance to talk about just one measure she liked regarding investments in research and development. She can choose any sector, but it must be something positive.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to see that the Conservative budget allocates some money for research in the forestry sector. What worries me is that often, small businesses must spend huge amounts of money to be eligible for these funds. If someone is required to spend $10,000 to receive $5,000, he is no further ahead. What worries me is that it is difficult for small businesses to access this money because they are required to invest money in order to find someone to make the request for access to this money.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, I understand from the hon. member's earlier comments that she was a health worker. In regard to health care, the Bloc has a position in which it would prefer to see tax point transfers as opposed to cash transfers going to public health in the province of Quebec.

Does the member have a personal opinion as to what she believes would be in Quebec's best interest?

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Madam Speaker, with respect to the $4,000 measure to forgive student loans for nurses and family doctors, and in light of the fact that Quebec already has its own loans and grants program, I can say that these people will lose out, since Quebec has chosen to limit the number of loans and to give grants. As a result, nurses in Quebec will receive lower refunds, just because Quebec has chosen to give grants instead of allowing students to accumulate debt. This measure also puts Quebec at a disadvantage.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

NDP

John Rafferty NDP Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Madam Speaker, I would like to welcome our colleague to the House and congratulations to you, Madam Speaker, on your new role.

The people of Thunder Bay—Rainy River, whom I represent, have indicated that there are three most pressing issues facing them today: first, affordability; second, retirement security; and third, health care.

My question is regarding retirement security. There was a lot of talk in the last Parliament about retirement security in the case of companies going bankrupt. I am surprised that there is virtually nothing in this budget about retirement security, including increases in the CPP.

I wonder if my colleague would comment on that particular issue.