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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

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, the other question I wanted to ask the member is, what would he say to seniors living in British Columbia?

What the Conservatives did was impose the HST, which is a massive tax shift. That is what they love to do. They love shifting taxes from the wealthy, very profitable Canadian corporations, to ordinary people. Seniors are paying $2 a day more because of the HST in British Columbia and this budget actually gives them back $1.15. So they took $2 away and they give $1.15 back.

Why do the Conservatives not just admit that they made a mistake with this budget and work with the NDP, so we can have real progress for seniors in this country and lift every senior in the country above the poverty line?

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie Conservative Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, the problem with my friend is that he has such a short memory. A little while ago, we reduced the GST on everything, from 7% to 6% to 5%, and my friend voted against that. That was on everything.

I do not know where he has this problem of thinking that we increase things. His party opposed to it and when the GST in Canada was reduced, the province of Nova Scotia, with an NDP government, raised it another 2%.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to speak today on the next phase of our Conservative government's economic action plan. Our government's action plan is the right plan for challenging times and it is critical to securing the economic recovery that had started through our previous budgets.

Before I speak to the budget, I would like to first take this opportunity to thank the voters of Wild Rose who re-elected me to this place in the May general election. As all of us who serve in this place know, it is a tremendous honour and a great responsibility to represent Canadians in their federal parliaments. I am humbled by the trust that my constituents have placed in me by returning me as a member of a Conservative team that is dedicated to balancing the books, cutting costs and waste and working for the well-being of all Canadians.

The people of Wild Rose have my pledge that I will continue to work hard for them at all times and always in the best interest of our great nation of Canada to ensure the confidence they have shown in me has not been misplaced.

Our government's good work on behalf of all Canadians is evident today as we continue debate on budget 2011. A global economic crisis that started outside our borders three years ago nevertheless impacted our country and brought with it significant challenges for Canadians. Our government met those challenges head on.

The economic action plan was designed to lead Canada out of the worst recession in generations. The temporary stimulus measures of the economic action plan had their intended effect. The projects created jobs in a time of recession, while making investments in local infrastructure that would benefit our communities for years to come.

In my riding these investments were needed since years of rapid growth in Alberta had left municipalities in a crunch to keep pace with infrastructure requirements. In Wild Rose the action plan has created jobs, while benefiting the town of Canmore with a new pedestrian underpass. Banff has opened a very popular Legacy Trail. The town of Olds has renovated its sportsplex. Airdrie and Cochrane are completing major upgrades to arterial streets. These are among many other examples.

The action plan did the job it was designed to do. As a result, Canada has weathered the global recession in a stronger position than nearly all major economies.

Our economy has grown for seven straight quarters, with 540,000 new jobs created since July, 2009—

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I will stop the member there as it is time for statements by members. The member will have seven and a half minutes left to conclude his remarks after question period.

VictoriavilleStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, my home town, Victoriaville, is currently celebrating 150 years of history. The first person to build in Victoriaville was Louis Foisy, who, in 1861, asked to have the town of Victoriaville incorporated. He was a merchant, innkeeper, postmaster, church warden and, naturally, the first mayor of Victoriaville.

Victoriaville was once the furniture capital of Canada and, over the years, other industries have flourished there, including textiles and agriculture. The famous hockey sticks were also made there. Economic diversification helped many SMEs get a start there, and Victoriaville was known as the cradle of sustainable development thanks to the visionary Normand Maurice, the father of recycling in Quebec.

I commend the builders of Victoriaville—as well as those of Saint-Valère and Chesterville, which are also celebrating their 150th anniversary this year—for having left us an economic, cultural and community legacy that is so dynamic, vibrant and modern.

I would also like to invite my colleagues to come and visit us this summer to see the Laurier Museum, attend the cheese festival or simply partake in one of the many activities associated with the 150th anniversary of these municipalities.

BullyingStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Conservative Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Mr. Speaker, the riding of Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley is proud of our children, as is every riding across the country, but in recent months our children have faced a new and dangerous threat, a threat that is taking the lives of our children.

In Nova Scotia over the past several months four children have lost their lives due to cyberbullying and Internet intimidation, two of them, sadly, in my riding. As adults and leaders of our country, it is our responsibility to keep our children safe.

For parents out there, please supervise what children are sending to others on the Internet and supervise what they are receiving on the Internet.

For the children of our country who are feeling alone, bullied and intimidated, do not stay silent. Children are not alone and should tell a parent or a teacher. They are there to help.

I look forward to working with all colleagues in the House from this and the other side of the aisle as we deal with this new and dangerous threat.

SeniorsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, in his recent budget, the Minister of Finance is helping only a third of seniors living below the poverty line. The government is making a minimal effort. Unfortunately, it is much too little. The NDP called on the government to help all seniors living below the poverty line. To do so, the budget should have allocated $700 million, not $300 million.

It is unacceptable in a society like ours to abandon those who built our country's economy. It is unacceptable that in 2011 we are unable to find the necessary resources to lift all seniors out of poverty.

On behalf of all seniors in need and especially those in the riding of Drummond, today I invite the Minister of Finance to immediately increase the guaranteed income supplement by $700 million in order to allow all seniors to live in dignity.

Pickering—Scarborough EastStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Corneliu Chisu Conservative Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I take this opportunity to thank the people of Pickering—Scarborough East for the trust they have bestowed upon me and my volunteers for making it happen.

I would also like to thank the francophone voters in my riding for their support.

After 18 years, the constituents of Pickering—Scarborough East have chosen a representative from a party which advocates for a real change in the community. Energized by the wisdom, determination and true leadership of our Prime Minister, the people of Pickering—Scarborough East have chosen the path toward maintaining a strong economy, creation of jobs and low taxes.

Being part of the community where the beautiful Rouge River binds together two cities, Toronto and Pickering, I am very proud about the preservation of our green spaces for future generations, the Rouge park, which will be the first urban national park. It will be a great benefit to many people in the GTA.

I also thank Canada, the greatest democracy in the world, for allowing me, a humble emigrant from Romania, to become an accomplished engineer and to serve my country as a military engineer in the Canadian Forces, including the mission in Afghanistan.

In conclusion, it is a good feeling to be able to give back to society. I am here to serve.

Audrey-Ann MurphyStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, this week we mourn the passing of our friend Audrey-Ann Murphy, who had worked with me for 14 years both in election campaigns and in my office.

Audrey-Ann took pride in helping people, never wanting any attention for herself. She was modest, hard-working and viewed her work with a sense of a honour.

A note from constituents yesterday said, “We left your office feeling that Audrey-Ann was a person who could take on any task and get the job done”. They were right.

She could be loud and boisterous and was certain to tell people what they perhaps did not want to hear, but sometimes needed to hear.

I want to thank Audrey-Ann for being a friend to me and for working so hard for our constituents. I will miss her booming voice, her candour and her counsel. To her husband Graham, daughter Jessica, parents Alvin and Violet, sister Frances and Auntie, and her extended family, I share their loss and will miss her terribly. We loved her dearly.

Winnipeg South CentreStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Joyce Bateman Conservative Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to rise for the very first time in the House of Commons as the very humble servant for Winnipeg South Centre.

I give special thanks to my campaign team, my incredible family and the wonderful voters of Winnipeg South Centre.

I was so privileged to be visited by students from Churchill High School on the first day of this session and I want to thank each of them: Connor Boyd, Eason Cerasani, Randy Clark, Jase Falk, Brittany Fulford, Tiffany Jackson, Caelin King, Stuart Maddocks, Christopher Mantyka, Giorgia Skorletos, Calder Thorsteinsson, Chantalle Young and their three wonderful teachers, Susan Chodirker, Ross Penner and Dominic Zagari.

It is a privilege to share this House with the leaders of tomorrow.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Ève Péclet NDP La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this first opportunity I have to thank the people of La Pointe-de-l'Île for choosing me to represent them in the House of Commons.

I am also rising today to voice my concern about Canada's future, particularly in terms of the environment. This government continues to cut millions of dollars from the fight against climate change and is still refusing to meet its international obligations. Canada's per capita level of greenhouse gas emissions is among the highest in the world.

Even the largest energy company in Canada, Suncor, has described the government's approach as ineffective and has said that this approach will result in increased costs for consumers in the long term. On Monday, this same company called on the government to adopt stricter measures for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

This government's attitude continues to marginalize Canada within the international community because of its poor environmental policies. The government must therefore recognize the urgent need to invest in the fight against climate change rather than granting tax breaks to companies that pollute our environment.

Flood PreventionStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, I know all parliamentarians join me in expressing our sympathy to the flood victims who are dealing with the devastating flooding that has gripped Canadians.

We want to express our thanks to all municipal leaders, firefighters, emergency measures staff, the countless volunteers and military personnel for their tireless efforts this spring.

I want to thank the Prime Minister for his commitments to this year's flood fight.

Flooding has been a challenge for Manitobans, including those in my riding of Selkirk—Interlake. Flooding is impacting the north Red River, Lake Manitoba, Lake St. Martin, the Shoal lakes and Lake Winnipeg.

Constituents in my riding have legitimate questions about the management of flood control infrastructure in Manitoba, such as the Jenpeg, Fairford and Shellmouth dams and the Portage Diversion, which are operated by the province of Manitoba. These structures have created intentional flooding.

While we cannot prevent natural disasters, the Manitoba government needs to look at long-term flood prevention strategies which help communities north of Winnipeg. The province of Manitoba needs to be grateful for the sacrifices made by flood victims, gracious in how it treats them and generous in how they are compensated.

Aboriginal AffairsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Rickford Conservative Kenora, ON

Mr. Speaker, on this, my first occasion to rise in the House in this session, I want to thank the constituents of the great Kenora riding for re-electing me. I will continue to be a strong voice for Kenora in this government.

Three years ago, on Wednesday, June 11, the Prime Minister stood in the House and asked for forgiveness from aboriginal peoples for Canada's role in the Indian residential school system. This apology was an historic event and was a significant step toward reconciliation with aboriginal peoples.

We will continue to work closely with former students, their families and their communities to build a new relationship based on the knowledge of our shared past and renewed respect for each other.

This anniversary is an opportunity for all Canadians to remember and reflect on the lessons taken from the Indian residential school experience.

We must all renew our commitment to work together to build a better future and to make a meaningful and sustainable improvement in the lives of aboriginal people throughout Canada.

Beaches—East YorkStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in this chamber today to speak for the first time as the member for Beaches—East York. I am incredibly proud to do so and I am incredibly grateful to the people of Beaches—East York for the privilege to serve as their representative in the House.

On May 2, the people of Beaches—East York said to me, “Go forth to represent the values and priorities of this community in the House of Commons. Do your utmost to build a generous and compassionate country—a country worthy of those who have gone before us and of those that we have brought into this world”.

I look forward to that challenge and to working along side all those in the House who share in it.

There are many to whom I owe thanks, but most certainly we only get to this place with the support of those who love us. Therefore, I reserve my deepest thanks for my parents and my kids, Emily, Hannah and Rory, and my wife Donna who does the heavy lifting back home so that I might be free to do my best for Beaches—East York in this House.

Birthday CongratulationsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Ted Opitz Conservative Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in recognition of His Royal Highness, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh on the occasion of his 90th birthday tomorrow.

The Duke of Edinburgh supports Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in her work and duties, but also serves as the president or patron of more than 40 Canadian organizations. I wish to highlight the Duke of Edinburgh's honorary military positions within the Canadian Forces.

He is Colonel-in-Chief of the following: the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa; the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada; the Royal Canadian Army Cadets; The Royal Canadian Regiment; the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry (Wentworth Regiment); and, The Seaforth Highlanders of Canada.

During more than 20 royal tours, the Duke of Edinburgh has actively promoted the Canadian armed forces and His Royal Highness has travelled throughout Canada meeting people from all cultures and regions.

On behalf of all Canadians, I wish the Duke of Edinburgh a happy birthday.

Claude LéveilléeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Dionne Labelle NDP Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is with great sadness that we learned today of the death of one of the greatest singer-songwriter-composers of his generation, Claude Léveillée.

A pioneering crafter of Quebec song, this great artist has left behind lyrics and melodies that will forever resonate in the collective memory of Quebeckers. We will remember this intense songwriter, with his deep voice, seated at his piano, singing to us about his loves, his Frédéric, his nostalgic piano tunes, his inner self, his freedom.

On behalf of the New Democratic Party, I offer my sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Léveillée, and I pay tribute to this legend who made such a huge contribution to enriching Quebec culture.

And the member sang a Claude Léveillée song:

“Je me fous du monde entier...”

Detroit River International CrossingStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Conservative Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, in the next phase of Canada's economic action plan, re-tabled by our finance minister this week, our government committed to take continued steps with the state of Michigan, the U.S. and Ontario governments to advance the construction of the new DRIC bridge at the Windsor-Detroit gateway and trade corridor.

We are pleased to see the governor of the state of Michigan has given his support to the plan and is currently moving forward with legislation.

While our Conservative government has demonstrated a strong, ongoing and active commitment to this infrastructure priority, including in our budgets, opposition members have not. Canadians expect and want action not talk.

I call upon all members of this House, especially New Democrats, to support and vote for our plan. We encourage our counterparts in Michigan to help us move this project along quickly for the shared economic, trade and security benefits of our two nations.

Tourism WeekStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, this being Tourism Week, I would like to take a moment to recognize the important contribution made by Canada's tourism sector.

From coast to coast to coast, tourism is a $64 billion enterprise. This important industry contributes to the growth of new businesses of all sizes and employs over 650,000 Canadians.

My riding of Ottawa—Vanier—and I would like to take this opportunity to thank my constituents for placing their trust in me for the seventh consecutive time—has over 700 businesses related to tourism, with more than 6,000 employees.

Canada is blessed in its natural beauty and its cultural diversity.

I wish to thank all employees in the tourism sector. Their warm hospitality will be felt again this summer when it comes time to welcome the millions of visitors from our own country and around the world to Ottawa and the rest of Canada.

Auditor General of CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Leon Benoit Conservative Vegreville—Wainwright, AB

Mr. Speaker, after serving a decade in the role, Sheila Fraser has retired from her position. On behalf of all Canadians, I thank Ms. Fraser for her dedication as Auditor General of Canada.

Whether it was conditions on reserves or the sponsorship scandal, nothing slipped the unfailing eye of Ms. Fraser.

As the Prime Minister said:

She has made an outstanding contribution in support of Parliamentary decision-making, increased accountability and transparency, and strengthened management of the public service. Ms. Fraser’s service to Canada and Canadians exemplifies the very best of public service.

I fully agree with that.

I would invite all members to join me and thank her for her commitment, dedication and great service to this country.

Workplace SafetyStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Glenn Thibeault NDP Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is with a heavy heart that I rise today to honour the lives of two Sudbury miners who were killed last night as a result of a tragic workplace accident at the Stobie Mine in my riding of Sudbury.

Both men were dedicated family men whose lives were taken from us far too soon. My thoughts and prayers are with their families, friends, co-workers and other members of my community as they try to cope with this shocking and devastating loss.

This is also a heartbreaking reminder of the danger miners put themselves in every day. We can only hope that the investigation into this accident leads to a safer workplace for workers, especially in the mining industry.

I believe I speak for all members of Parliament and extend our condolences to those mourning this very tragic loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.

Protection of ChildrenStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Kyle Seeback Conservative Brampton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the voters of Brampton West who elected a Conservative federal member for the first time since 1988.

There are few actions more despicable than committing a sexual offence against a child. I have just learned that an individual convicted of unspeakable crimes against children has been sent to a halfway house next to a school. This is unbelievable but, sadly, not uncommon.

Our government took action to protect children from sex offenders by strengthening the National Sex Offender Registry. However, more must be done.

Our government will ensure that those who commit crimes against children are punished by imposing strict mandatory minimum sentences. Anyone who commits a sexual offence against a child will never get a criminal record suspension.

These measures could already be in place but they were opposed and delayed by the NDP. As the father of two young children, I call on the opposition to support our legislation to protect children from sexual abuse when it is introduced.

Auditor General's ReportOral Questions

June 9th, 2011 / 2:15 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General explained at length how lucrative it is to be friends with a Conservative minister. For example, the former industry minister sat down with two friends to share tens of millions of dollars. There were no witnesses, no documentation, no records. The auditor himself said that he has never seen anything like it and that he is scandalized. Is this sponsorship scandal 2.0?

How is it that, with such a poor track record, this same minister is now responsible for budget cuts?

Auditor General's ReportOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, these municipal projects were actually approved by the federal government and the municipalities. All of these projects were announced publicly and appear on the website. However, the Auditor General made several recommendations to improve the process in the future and we accept all of those recommendations.

Auditor General's ReportOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, considerable sums of money were divided and allocated by the three wise men of Deerhurst.

There has been no accountability, no transparency and no rationale for decisions, which for the most part were completely unrelated to the stated objective.

This is truly the Liberal way of Chuck Guité and Alfonso Gagliano.

How could the Prime Minister give carte blanche to the minister? How could the minister choose 32 projects by himself without providing the slightest rationale? And how is it that he is still here?

Auditor General's ReportOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the NDP member's statements are entirely false. The reality is that these 32 projects were published. They are on the website. Every dollar was accounted for by this government. As I said before, the Auditor General made several recommendations to improve the process in the future and we accept those recommendations.