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House of Commons Hansard #69 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was plan.

Topics

Pooled Registered Pension Plans ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government sure spent a lot of time tooting its own horn in that speech, but I am not sure why it is so proud of itself. I believe I heard a couple of points about Bill C-25 that I would like to address quickly.

They say this program would not cost much. The first thing I would like to know is how they can be so sure that this kind of program will minimize costs. After 10 years in effect, the management fees of a similar program in Australia were about the same as other stock investment programs, such as mutual funds. To my knowledge, there is not a single scientific study or argument that clearly proves this will be the case.

Let us not forget that Canada pension plan management fees are less than 0.5%. Retirement plans that invest mainly in the stock market tend to have management fees in excess of 2%. Management fees for pooled registered pension plans will probably be pretty close to that.

The second thing I want to say is that we already have a lot of optional programs: TFSAs, RRSPs, group RRSPs. This is an optional program like the one proposed by the Liberals.

I would like to know how this program can meet the needs of the 70% of Canadians not currently contributing to an RRSP despite its attendant tax advantages.

Pooled Registered Pension Plans ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Conservative Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for his questions and I want to welcome him back to the House of Commons. I am quite pleased at his interest in our proposal for this pension plan.

When we talk about low cost it is important to remember one thing: when businesses can co-operate on pooling their purchasing power to reduce costs, it helps them to offer such a pension to all those who want to take advantage of the low cost. This purchasing power will help us tremendously in every province and territory, thanks to the program we are proposing today.

As far as the administrative costs the hon. member referred to are concerned, when provincial and territorial representatives spoke with our Minister of Finance, they strongly believed that the administrative costs would be quite low as a result of co-operation between the provinces and territories and the administrators. Purchasing power is a reason for that, as well.

I would like to reiterate that, through automatic enrollment, the people who will collect this pension will certainly be receiving benefits and advantages.

Pooled Registered Pension Plans ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I listened closely to the parliamentary secretary's remarks on the bill, but she failed to talk about the Prime Minister's latest bombshell, which is the government's plan to increase the age that seniors can draw OAS and GIS.

She knows that Bill C-25 only addresses a small part of the problem when it comes to pension concerns. She admitted that for Bill C-25 to work, it needs to be harmonized by the provinces. We know how that is working. Provinces are angered at the downloading of crime costs onto the provinces and the unilateral action of the government in terms of health care costs, so how does the government expect to get co-operation on this?

My question relates to what the parliamentary secretary signed onto in the lastest finance committee report, which is that the federal government would not raise taxes or cut transfers to persons, including those for seniors and children. Will she admit that the Prime Minister's current proposal goes against that commitment she signed onto in the report? Will she admit that the Prime Minister's current proposal on increasing the number of years before people can draw those funds will cost families $25,900 per year?

Pooled Registered Pension Plans ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Conservative Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to welcome my colleague from Malpeque back to the House. I am surprised he was able to hear anything I had to say because he continued to heckle the whole time I was trying to talk. I am surprised he was able to take anything from this.

Pooled Registered Pension Plans ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

That's not true.

Pooled Registered Pension Plans ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Conservative Saint Boniface, MB

Here we go again, Mr. Speaker. If those members would give me a moment to finish what I am saying, it would be a much easier way to answer the member's questions.

First and foremost, the comments made by the member with regard to our Prime Minister are false. Frankly, I am quite shocked that he continues to perpetuate this kind of thing. Our Prime Minister has said very clearly that he intends to protect the income security of seniors. He intends to look at a long-term prosperity issue that is creeping up. He intends to make sure that we sustain these programs that are so vitally important to our seniors for generations to come. That is outside the scope of the PRPP.

The PRPP is what we are talking about today. It is a necessity to help the people who do not have pension plans through their employers to do something to save for their future. This is why the provinces are on board.

That member is insulting the provinces by suggesting they cannot harmonize things, that they cannot get along, that they cannot have discussions that are prudent and which lead to better things for our country. I am surprised that he would do that. It is important that we all work together. I would suggest he start doing so here in the House.

Pooled Registered Pension Plans ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

Robert Sopuck Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure to be back in the House after our hiatus over the new year.

It is always a great pleasure to hear my colleague from Saint Boniface, Manitoba so clearly articulate our government's plan for jobs and growth.

The contrast between this side of the House and the other side could not be more stark. The parliamentary secretary spoke at length about the need to create wealth and all we hear from the other side is to spend, spend, spend. Creating wealth is vital to our country.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance tell us what she heard during the consultations regarding pooled registered pension plans?

Pooled Registered Pension Plans ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Conservative Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, as chair of the Manitoba caucus on Parliament Hill, my colleague is a wealth of information and a joy to work with. I want to thank him for his dedication to this wonderful place and to his constituents. I want to take a moment to read a couple of quotes from stakeholders.

This is what Dan Kelly, the vice-president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, had to say:

A new voluntary, low-cost and administratively simple retirement savings mechanism will allow more employers, employees, and the self-employed to participate in a pension plan. CFIB is particularly pleased that firms will be given a choice as to whether to register for or contribute to a PRPP.

This quote is from Yves-Thomas Dorval from the Conseil du patronat du Québec:

The flexibility of the PRPPs will allow federally regulated businesses (especially small and medium-sized businesses) that do not already have a pension plan to offer one to their employees in order to ensure their financial security at retirement.

I repeat that this is exactly what our Prime Minister has been focusing on, to provide income security to folks for their retirement. We are looking at all aspects. The PRPP would be a tremendous advantage to those 60% of employees who presently do not have an employee pension. We are going to continue to fight for these folks along with the provinces and territories which are unanimous in their support for this.

I just do not understand why we cannot get support from members of the opposition parties. They know clearly that this is the will of the provinces, the will of the territories, the will of the people of Canada, and yet they intend to stand in their way and put up barriers. I just do not understand why they continue to act in this manner.

Pooled Registered Pension Plans ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Hélène LeBlanc NDP LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Vancouver East.

I am pleased to announce that in 2012, LaSalle is celebrating its centennial. This 100th anniversary is an opportunity to acknowledge the effort, determination and entrepreneurial spirit of our predecessors, both those who are retired and those who have passed on, who built this city in the southwestern part of the Island of Montreal. This is my opportunity to acknowledge the seniors who chose to live there, work there and raise children there, those who contributed to the success of the businesses and neighbourhoods of LaSalle and who gave their names to streets and neighbourhoods. We could not celebrate the 100th anniversary of LaSalle this year without honouring its elders. The debt we owe to the seniors and retirees of LaSalle is also owed to those of Ville-Émard, the rest of southwestern Montreal and all of Canada.

It is in acknowledging the debt we owe to previous generations that I feel morally obliged to defend the accomplishments of our elders. The right to a comfortable and secure retirement is the cornerstone of the contract that ties younger generations to previous generations. It is that contract that I want to defend today by opposing Bill C-25 on pooled registered pension plans and by speaking out against the government's abandonment of our seniors who have contributed so much to our society.

Pooled registered pension plans will create retirement savings plans for self-employed workers and people working for companies that do not offer their employees a retirement savings plan. This bill has the support of the private sector because it will save businesses money. I recognize that businesspeople, companies and self-employed workers face financial dilemmas, but this plan will do very little to address the crisis hanging over Canada's retirement system. Similar plans in place in Australia for the past 10 years have produced disappointing results. The Canada pension plan is based on stable investments, while the stock market has plummeted 10%. A group of pension experts has asked the Minister of Finance and his provincial counterparts to enhance the Canada pension plan, as recommended by the NDP.

Clearly, the government's current solution is not the right one. The crisis, however, is real. People are living longer and longer, and that is a good thing, but it means that the savings we build up during our working lives have to last much longer. In 2007, only one Canadian in three could count on the stability of a supplemental pension plan. Only two Canadians in five have RRSPs. According to the former chief statistician, Michael Wolfson, half of all middle-class baby boomers will see their quality of life decline in retirement.

Retirees depend on the old age security programs to complement their personal savings. The government says that the costs associated with OAS will be astronomical by 2030. The crisis is real, and we need a solution now. The point I want to make today is that the current crisis has nothing to do with federal revenue, as the Prime Minister suggested recently in Davos.

Canada is near the bottom of the list of OECD countries in terms of the percentage of GDP it spends on public pensions.

As Tommy Douglas said so eloquently, for a country as rich as ours, that there are seniors living in poverty is an absolute disgrace.

The true roots of this crisis can be found in the growing inequality within Canadian society over the past few decades. This crisis was caused by the stagnation of wages among Canada's middle class, while the salaries of the wealthiest Canadians continued to rise during the same period.

Now middle class families are being asked to save even more, but with salaries that have not increased for decades and have definitely not kept pace with the cost of living.

Canadian families would all like to put some money aside for their retirement, but how can they with a debt rate of nearly 160%? Families are going into debt for the same reason that they cannot save: because they simply have less money.

The retirement crisis is also a moral crisis, because the Conservatives' ideology rejects the contract that ties young generations to older generations. That is the real crisis—a moral crisis.

There are 70,000 seniors living in my riding and thousands more are approaching the age of retirement. According to Statistics Canada, more than 14% of senior women on their own are living in poverty according to the standard measure.

The sensible NDP proposal to increase the guaranteed income supplement is enough to eliminate poverty among seniors. The people of LaSalle—Émard demand to know, will the Prime Minister augment the age of retirement and ask Canadians in difficulty to wait still longer to get the income supplement they were promised a lifetime ago?

Friday morning one of my constituents wrote to my office. She agreed that I could read her letter. She told me that changing the minimum age from 65 to 67 would be unwise, because it would actually cost Canadians more since the change to the old age security would actually affect the poor rather than the rich. She said that the poor would not be able to take care of themselves properly, would cost more to the health system, would eat into their meagre investments, would get into welfare, and so on. She went on to say, “In the real world, not politics, have you tried to find a job at age 65, age 60, age 55, age 50? Are you aware of the reality of many people's situation as they get older? Take my case. At the age of 58 I have been struggling more than two years trying to find permanent employment, drifting from one job to another, training to improve my chances, and now I am stricken with cancer. If it was not for my 65-year-old husband to help out financially and emotionally, where would I be?”

That is what a constituent wrote to me. How is that for a dose of reality? I thank this fellow citizen for having the courage to speak out and for allowing me to share her concerns with Canadians.

The debate on retirement reform conceals another much more profound debate: the one between Conservative ideology and a New Democratic vision of a society in which young people honour their debt to their parents.

In Davos, the Prime Minister shared his vision of Canada for future generations. Canadians will have to tighten their belts further and continue making sacrifices. That is the Conservative vision of a competitive yet anorexic Canada, the vision of a population that is impoverished by stagnating salaries and debt, the vision of a society in which everyone is left behind, in which seniors and sick people are regarded as a burden, the vision of a country that believes that wealth is created by making other people poor and by cutting essential services. This is the Conservative Party vision: a middle class that must constantly adjust to the market economy, that must say goodbye to any hopes and dreams that the Conservatives consider unrealistic or too costly.

In contrast, the NDP is proposing a Canada in which younger generations acknowledge everything that the older generations have done for them—the sacrifices that have been made for them and the education and love that they have been given. The NDP believes in a Canada in which everyone has equal opportunities, in which we reach out to help those who have fallen, a society that shares the wealth. That is the Canada that was built by previous generations. That is the Canada that we in the NDP want to pass on to our children. Together, let us build such a future.

Lunar New YearStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Dechert Conservative Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to extend my best wishes to all Canadians who have recently celebrated the Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean Lunar New Year Tet and Spring Festival in Canada and around the world.

As many Canadians of Asian heritage gather with family and friends to mark the beginning of the new year I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on their accomplishments and all they wish to achieve in the new year in our great country. I encourage all Canadians to participate in the many new year's festivities that will be celebrated across Canada.

I am pleased to see that our government is continuing to foster positive relationships between Canada and China, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Republic of Korea by expanding trade and cultural ties. Our government's new year's commitment is to continue working hard on the economy and to create the jobs and economic opportunities that will help ensure that the year of the dragon will indeed be a year of prosperity and well-being for all.

Happy new year.

Xie Nien Kwai Le.

Chuc mung nam moi.

Gong Hey Fat Choy.

Sabok Mani Baduseyo.

Official LanguagesStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, 2011 was a bleak year for francophone communities across the country. This government repeatedly showed its utter contempt for protecting the French language.

To name a few examples: appointment of a unilingual Supreme Court justice; a unilingual Auditor General; several complaints filed with the Commissioner of Official Languages; studies dropped by the Standing Committee on Official Languages; announcement of a phoney committee to study the situation of French in federally regulated businesses, when the NDP introduced a bill for that very purpose; and more recently, the closure of the public service language training centre.

The Prime Minister, who promised to govern for all Canadians, has broken his promise, and francophones across the country are worried. Bilingualism is not a concept we can afford to disregard so blithely. Bilingualism must be protected through concrete actions.

It is high time for the government to follow the NDP's example and show leadership on this issue.

Richmond Hill Winter CarnivalStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Costas Menegakis Conservative Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, the 44th annual Richmond Hill Winter Carnival is one of my riding's most anticipated events. This free, weekend-long family festival of entertainment and outdoor fun will take place February 3, 4, 5 at Richmond Hill's beautiful Mill Pond Park. Wagon rides, snowboard demonstrations, skydivers, ice carving displays, face painting and a spectacular War of 1812 outdoor re-enactment are just some of the activities to be enjoyed.

Even more amazing is that the winter carnival is run entirely by a dedicated group of local volunteers. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the tireless efforts of committee chairs Chuck McClellend and Lynn Foster and their team of Karen, Ray, Michele, Doug, Cindy, Sarah, Jennifer, Arja, Anders, Chris, Jean, Lisa, Inge, Melanie, Robert, Ester and Noa, for a job well done.

I invite everyone in the House to join me and my constituents this weekend in Richmond Hill at Mill Pond Park.

Lunar New YearStatements By Members

January 30th, 2012 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ted Hsu Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, bonne année chinoise.

[Member spoke in a foreign language]

[English]

This past Saturday the Chinese-Canadian Association of Kingston and District held its annual lunar new year's pot luck. Canadians of Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese heritage, with their families and friends, have been celebrating a year of hard work, the value of family, friends and community, and their hopes for the coming year.

As with many festivals around the world, people travel and gather together. Delicious meals are shared, family stories are recounted, grandparents spoil their grandchildren and then parents of young children like myself and my wife struggle to get their kids to say proper thank yous. Some things never change. Some things are the same everywhere.

To all Canadians, I offer this Chinese new year's wish:

[Member spoke in a foreign language]

[English]

May our country thrive and be prosperous, may our people live in peace and harmony.

Blue Water Bridge CanadaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Patricia Davidson Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour today to commemorate the exemplary service of Ken James, a former MP who represented the same riding I represent today and a man who has dedicated his life to serving the public.

Most recently, Mr. James served his country as the chair of the board of directors for Blue Water Bridge Canada, a role he filled from November 2007 until November 2011. Mr. James played a vital role in shaping the strategic planning initiative at Blue Water Bridge. Mr. James also oversaw an important period of revitalization at Blue Water Bridge, including the largest capital development program ever undertaken in the history of the organization.

Mr. James leaves very large shoes to fill. However, I know that he will always be willing to share his knowledge and expertise with his fellow community members. I wish to thank him here today, in Canada's House of Commons, for his vast dedication to Canada and his community. On behalf of Sarnia--Lambton, our thanks to Ken.

Sudbury Steelworkers HallStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle NDP Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, four years after a tragic fire destroyed a vital part of Sudbury's history, a new Sudbury Steelworkers Hall has risen from the ashes.

Last week, I joined community and labour leaders for the grand opening of the state of the art Sudbury Steelworkers Hall. Its two halls, three classrooms and offices are now home to Local 6500. What we did at 92 Frood Road will continue at 66 Brady Street: labour schools, nomination meetings, weddings, community celebrations and charity work.

Present Thursday was Sudbury native Leo Gerard, now international president for the Steelworkers. Leo stood in the new hall, named after him, to remind us of our history. He said one of the things that always made him love his union was that it never saw itself as just a collective bargaining tool. Leo said, “We saw ourselves as an instrument of social and economic justice for our members and for our community. And we fought for the things that mattered for working people”.

Congratulations go out to Leo, president Rick Bertrand and executive members of Local 6500. Good job.

Barney McCaffreyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to mark the end of an era with the passing of Barney McCaffrey. Barney became an adopted son of the Ottawa Valley, eventually settling in the hills around Killaloe. He embraced the people of the Ottawa Valley and we embraced him.

Barney was a person who did not just talk the talk, he walked the walk. His early involvement in the Catholic worker movement eventually led him to the Madonna House Apostolate lay community in Combermere. As a devout Catholic, Barney celebrated life with a lifetime of concern for the less fortunate in our society.

Barney eschewed the trappings of modern society, preferring to live a simple life. He lived life off the grid before it was fashionable.

Barney was not afraid to stand up to the man. I remember a regular newspaper column he wrote in a Barry's Bay newspaper called Bite Back. He called out the new head of the Liberal Party for trampling the rights of rural residents as a lobbyist for industrial wind turbines. Barney always stood up for the little guy, in everything he did.

I ask that Barney go in peace and be proud of how he is remembered.

Sarah BurkeStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Bruce Stanton Conservative Simcoe North, ON

Mr. Speaker, earlier this month we received the tragic news that one of our own had suffered a serious injury while training in Park City, Utah. Sadly, only nine days later on January 19, we learned that Sarah Burke who was only 29 years of age had succumbed to her injuries.

A six-time gold medallist at the Winter X Games and world champion freestyle skier, Sarah was a pioneer and fierce advocate for her sport. She recently led the campaign that will see the superpipe competition debut at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia, where Sarah surely would have been a gold medal contender for Canada.

I invite all hon. members to join with me and the legions of Canadians for whom Sarah was a role model and champion in keeping in our thoughts and prayers Sarah's husband Rory, her sister Anna, her parents Jan and Gordon, and their family and friends in Squamish, British Columbia and Midland, Ontario.

To Sarah, for the generation that she has inspired, for the memories that she leaves with us and for the spirit that lives on in our hearts, we thank her, we thank an outstanding Canadian.

Living Wage HamiltonStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, in my hometown of Hamilton 30,000 people do not earn enough income from their jobs to keep them above the poverty line. The situation is even worse for women, aboriginals and members of visible minority groups who disproportionately make up the working poor. Undaunted, last month a coalition of community partners including the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction, the Social Planning and Research Council, McMaster Community Poverty Initiative and the Hamilton Training Advisory Board launched Living Wage Hamilton.

Living Wage Hamilton will work with employers in the private, non-profit and public sectors to encourage them to develop and adopt policies that will pay a wage that allows people to do more than just meet minimum basic needs. It will provide for a decent quality of life for workers and their families. It will also provide benefits to businesses and the community as a whole.

I want to congratulate Living Wage Hamilton for its leadership on the issue of poverty reduction. I am hopeful that businesses and community associations will work together to ensure that everyone in Hamilton has a living—

Living Wage HamiltonStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please.

The hon. member for Cariboo—Prince George.

Tanker TrafficStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Dick Harris Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, the interim Liberal leader has joined the MP for Vancouver Quadra in calling for a job-killing tanker traffic ban off the B.C. coast.

Let us be clear. There is no ban now, nor will there be a ban on tanker traffic under our Conservative government. We oppose the implementation of a reckless job-killing ban on B.C. tanker traffic.

During the past five years, over 1,300 tankers arrived at the port of Vancouver and nearly 200 at the ports of Prince Rupert and Kitimat. They all did so safely.

Our government will continue to enforce strong environmental and safety standards right across this country, including those on tanker traffic.

Our government's top priority remains the economy and job creation. The Liberals and the NDP want to kill job opportunities for Canadian families. However, the Conservatives want to create jobs for Canadians and their families.

Respecting the Voters' ChoiceStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Mathieu Ravignat NDP Pontiac, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the last election, Canadians voted to put an end to the old ways of doing politics in Canada and to change things in Ottawa. During the break, the voters of Saint-Maurice—Champlain were the losers in the same old political games even though they were among the 4.5 million Canadians who voted for change.

One of the fundamental principles of our representative democracy is the trust placed by voters in those who represent them. When politicians breach this trust, they show contempt for the voters and they fuel people's cynicism about politicians.

We should remind ourselves that our ridings do not belong to us; they belong to the voters. The NDP has been clear: if members wish to cross the floor, they should first ask the voters. Our bill to respect the voters' choice would make this mandatory. Voters who have placed their trust in us deserve no less.

TaxationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Lois Brown Conservative Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the NDP leadership contestants gathered for a debate on families. What families heard was a lot about expensive and unaffordable new government programs. They heard no practical measures that would help Canadian families who are working to get ahead. The NDP would create disaster for Canadian families and be a threat to their financial well-being.

The NDP poses a threat to the great advantages provided by the universal child care benefit. The member for Parkdale—High Park has said that this direct assistance to parents is poorly-spent money. The NDP would prefer that everything be controlled by a bureaucracy.

Other schemes are no better. Candidates like the members for Skeena—Bulkley Valley and Outremont are promising a cap and trade carbon tax. This would increase the costs for gas, electricity and nearly everything else.

Higher gas prices, higher taxes, ending choice in child care and a less prosperous Canada are the--

TaxationStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. The hon. member for Ottawa—Vanier.

2012 NHL All-Star GameStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to wish everyone a happy new year. I extend my best wishes for good health and happiness.

Now let us talk about the 2012 National Hockey League All-Star weekend just held in Ottawa.

Ottawa was proud to host the celebratory game. Kudos to Alfredsson and his team. Kudos also to the folks involved, the league, the Senators hockey team, the Governor General, the city, the convention centre, the volunteers and the fans who made our city a destination.

The residents of Ottawa have demonstrated once again how welcoming we are. The entire weekend was a great experience for thousands of tourists and locals. They also got to meet NHL stars and see the Stanley Cup. The entire city came alive.

Hockey teams, no matter where they are based, experience highs and lows. This is also the case in politics. The important thing is to keep the team spirit and sense of camaraderie alive and to skate for the puck. One thing is for certain: on the weekend, everyone in Ottawa was a big winner.

Let us see this famous weekend once again in the not too distant future.

Sealing IndustryStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Conservative Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Mr. Speaker, in an effort to downplay his long-term opposition to the Canadian sealing industry, the member for St. John's South—Mount Pearl last week borrowed a sealskin vest and wore it around. This photo op has not distracted from the fact that the NDP's downtown agenda has not overcome the interests and the concerns of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The NDP does not care about the priorities of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador but rather the priorities of left-wing radicals who have declared war on one of Canada's oldest industries, the Canadian seal hunt.

Last Tuesday, the member mused about the end of the Canadian seal hunt. This is not the first time he has made comments like that. Canadian sealers were disgusted by his comments.

Frank Pinhorn of the Canadian Sealers Association said:

I thought that he would represent the interest of the hard-working sealer, the hard-working commercial fishermen...

The people from Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as all Canadians from coast to coast, care about the Canadian sealing industry. We will stand up and fight for it at home and abroad.