House of Commons Hansard #156 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was workers.


Opposition Motion—Employment InsuranceBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.


Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, my colleague from Winnipeg North is absolutely right.

The minister gets up during question period time and time again. Her parliamentary secretary provides equally sad performances. They continually regurgitate talking points written by bureaucrats in an office tower in Gatineau, Quebec.

They do not understand the reality of everyday living in small town and rural communities across the country, or even in larger urban centres like Winnipeg, represented so ably by my colleague from Winnipeg North. People may be encouraged to take part-time work during the year when perhaps there is no work available when they find themselves laid-off through no fault of their own or while they are receiving the parental or compassionate leave benefit.

The minister clearly does not understand the changes she has made. She consistently reverts back to the high-income earner examples, the people receiving maximum EI benefits and working part-time for $600 and $700 a week. That is not the reality in many communities across this country and the minister should do better for those people than simply regurgitate lame talking points.

Opposition Motion—Employment InsuranceBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.


Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I certainly concur with the member that the minister does not seem to understand her own project. The information we have received in the House during question period and debate shows how much misinformation there is and how contradictory the government's responses have been.

However, I do know that the Liberal member for Cape Breton—Canso was initially very positive about the working while on claim provision in May. In fact, he congratulated the minister at committee for that program. I wonder if the member could illuminate us about what has happened since May, when I think at least one Liberal member thought it was a good program.

What changes have taken place that now lead the Liberals to understand the problems with the program and the harms that are being caused to many people on EI? It is something that we have to deal with and hold the government to account for.

Opposition Motion—Employment InsuranceBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.


Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, like my colleague from Cape Breton—Canso, initially I thought that the changes, which were vaguely described in the budget document, were intended to increase to 50% the previous pilot project. As has been said many times, the previous pilot project allowed someone receiving EI benefits to earn the greater of either $75 or 40% of their EI benefit, without the earnings being clawed back dollar for dollar. In the example I gave of someone making $309 a week on employment insurance in my riding, that person would have been able to work up to 40% of that EI benefit for $123 without a clawback.

However, that example no longer exists. The government was very deceitful in talking about an increase to 50%. It did not say that it was changing the base on which that percentage was calculated. It is not based on the amount of one's EI benefit; the government changed it to the amount of income one earned separately and apart from the EI benefit.

Therefore, if the base of the calculation is changed and the government starts clawing back earnings dollar for dollar, it perversely and severely punishes low-income earners and, of course, continues the Conservative way of benefiting the highest income earners among us. That is what they like. That is not what we like on this side of the House.

Opposition Motion—Employment InsuranceBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.


Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise and add a few of my thoughts to this debate and thank the member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles for introducing this motion.

This is an extremely important discussion that we are having today. As a result of this discussion, maybe we can begin to get to the bottom of why the government on the one hand is making claims that it is doing such great things for unemployed Canadians, but on the other hand the fact that a great number of Canadians, hundreds of thousands of them, will be worse off as a result of this decision.

I will be sharing my time with the member for Churchill.

When the government first introduced these changes and said it would move forward with this working while on claim pilot project, it told us that the intent of the program was to decrease the amount of clawback of employment insurance, so that people who take a part-time job and are still able to claim EI are encouraged to continue to work.

It is a laudable intent and one that we support. As information about the pilot project dribbled out and we became increasingly aware of what was happening, we began to ask questions, as did many Canadians who called my office and, I am sure, the offices of the members opposite to get the details of exactly how the program would affect them.

We started to ask questions here in this chamber of the minister and the parliamentary secretary. The minister said, first of all, that the changes would affect everyone and benefit all Canadians on EI. We began to raise some discrepancies with what she was saying, and then she said it was going to help the majority of EI recipients. We started to bring more information forward, and then the minister started to change her tune again. She said that the vast majority of EI recipients would be better off as a result of this project. That is basically where the government stands.

Members may recall that I brought a case forward last week of a woman in my riding who was trying to make ends meet by picking up a few hours of work. Before this program, while on an EI claim, she was able to keep almost $110 per week, but now that is being clawed back to $75.

It was in such contrast to what the minister and the parliamentary secretary have been telling us here in this chamber that my staff called Service Canada to give the details of this case directly to it and to find out what the circumstances were. It was not that we did not believe our constituent who was raising the issues, but we just wanted to double check the information, because it flew in the face of the answers that we were getting here in the chamber. Service Canada employees told us that in fact what we had told them was correct, that the woman would be receiving $35 a week less as a result of her part-time efforts.

The government states that the intent of the changes is to encourage people on EI to take part-time work, to find any employment opportunity because, as the minister said, they will feel better if they are able to work even a few hours and it might provide an opportunity for them to make connections and find a full-time job. While that is not an ideal situation, it is not completely untrue.

New Democrats are not opposed to this type of incentive, as long as it does not hurt people who through no fault of their own are unemployed and receiving EI. However, that is not the case. We have brought all of these cases to the attention of the minister. If the government's intent was to make things better for unemployed people, why does it not recognize that it has screwed up, made a mistake and needs to go back to the drawing board to fix the problem?

The government brought forward something that was an improvement over the old system, but rather than being to the benefit of 100% of EI claimants, it may be to the benefit of 60% at most. Most of the unemployed, those with the lowest incomes and earning the least money, are the ones being most disadvantaged. It is wrong-headed for the government to be moving in this direction and I urge it to make a change.

The government fails to recognize that it is not just attacking the people on employment insurance but also the seasonal industries. Here I will talk about the region I come from, the Atlantic region. It is not unique, as there are seasonal industries across this country. However, in Atlantic Canada, whether it be in the fishing industry, tourism and hospitality or forestry, there are increasingly industries that fail to operate 12 months a year, particularly because of the changes in the fishing industry. Because of the move from multi-species licences to single licences, people are only able to work four, five, or maybe six months of the year. For them to stay in their communities and be able to continue to work on traps and be there the next year for the lobster season, it is important that there be some way for them to pick up part-time work.

It is also important for seasonal employers, whether it be agriculture, fishing or whatever, to draw on residents in their communities who are available to do the work. However, under this system and the other changes the government is planning to make to employment insurance, it wants to drive all of the people who support seasonal industries away from Atlantic Canada to Fort McMurray or other places where, supposedly, they may find year-round work. That is great for the industries in those areas where they are able to provide full-time work, but what about the seasonal industries that make the world turn in places like Atlantic Canada? They are not going to have the workforce to draw on. I suggest that this further penalizes Atlantic Canada and its seasonal industries and those across the country. That is wrong. This is not a one-industry country but a country with a diverse economy, and the government has to begin to recognize that.

I have some hope having witnessed the incredible opposition and the call by tens of thousands of inshore fishermen, their families and communities in the last couple of weeks to get the government to support the owner-operator fleet separation policy. The minister and the government said that they would not. They were silent. They were hesitant to support fishermen.

As a result of increasing pressure, they have now stood up and are supporting those fishermen. I believe that if members in the House and people from across this country recognize this problem and communicate it to the Conservatives, they will do the right thing and fix the mess they have made.

Opposition Motion—Employment InsuranceBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.


Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the remarks and I agree with most of what the member had to say. I will relate an example to the member, just so that people will understand how serious this is in other areas beyond just people's income. In fact, this is the most outrageous example of hurt from a government decision. I could think of nothing less than just pure stupidity in terms of its implications.

I have a constituent who is on parental leave. She is a nurse. For scheduling at the hospital, she is being brought in for a four-hour shift to complete what is a normal twelve-hour shift, so she is only getting four hours of work. However, she is doing the work and it is not that much income. She is not there for the income but it keeps her skills sharp and she is in the system so when she goes back to work she will be up to speed. When she goes in for that four-hour shift she drives 40 minutes each way and she has to hire a babysitter or sometimes her mother-in-law looks after the child.

The implication for that person is that when she goes in for four hours of work she only gets paid for two, but the implication for the health care system is real in that there is a nurse who is now getting scheduled. I wonder if the member could comment on the implications going well beyond employee and employer. In this case, they impact on the health care system and it could be easily fixed.

Opposition Motion—Employment InsuranceBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, there is no question that the changes the government would make to the employment insurance system, which is funded by employees and employers and not by the government, would create real problems for people who are unemployed and for employers who depend on a seasonal labour force being available. Increasingly, there is a casualization of work, whether it be at hospitals or with major employers, where employers are unloading full-time employees and increasingly depending on part-time employees.

If the government keeps moving in the direction it is going, there are going to be fewer people available to fill those part-time and casual jobs, and maybe those employers are going to have to move out to Alberta as well.

Opposition Motion—Employment InsuranceBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Sana Hassainia NDP Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to congratulate my colleague on his speech, and I have a question for him.

The Conservatives are emphasizing the people who will benefit from the changes they are making to employment insurance. Does my colleague think this is how things will really work for the most vulnerable workers?

Opposition Motion—Employment InsuranceBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, the member is right that the Conservatives are making the claim that everyone will be better off. However, what we have heard in the House, what the member has heard and what I have heard in my office in Dartmouth—Cole Harbour is that the most vulnerable people, those who are unemployed through no fault of their own who are earning the lowest amount of money, are the ones who are having their meagre earnings clawed back the most.

The lengths to which the government will go to further shift the burden onto the most vulnerable people in our communities is unbelievable. It is wrong. It is up to us to stand up and push the government back and ensure that Canadians know the government is not representing them. It is representing someone else, and we are going to be there for them.

Opposition Motion—Employment InsuranceBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Niki Ashton NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to stand in the House to speak to the NDP opposition day motion, which truly serves to represent the many Canadians who are worried about their futures in so many sectors of our economy and communities across our country. Those Canadians are voicing that concern not just to us but also to their members of Parliament and certainly members of Parliament on the governing side.

We are seeing a government go as far as to dismantle what is a critical foundation in our country, part of our social safety net, as many call it. This foundation serves to hold us up and to hold up the kind of quality of life that we as Canadians have fought for. The fact that Canada has been known in history as being one of the best countries in the world to live in did not just happen. It is because women and men across this country have fought for it, whether for our health care system, our pension system, our education system or our employment insurance system. In one fell swoop, the government is trying to dismantle, frankly, all of these, but with the real target of employment insurance.

My colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour commented in his speech that the fundamental notion we must all respect is that employment insurance is our money, that it is Canadians' money. It is not the government's money. It is not a corporation's money. It is all of our money.

The language the current government has used to describe people who access EI, who need to use the EI fund that we helped build, is offensive and frankly it is against the kind of ideals that we believe in as Canadians. The fact is that it is there to benefit all of us when we fall on hard times or when we fall through the cracks or when we are participating in a seasonal industry, which holds up our communities and builds our regions, in the season when that industry cannot be done in the same way.

I just want to start off by speaking to the government's true agenda, whether it is on the working while on claim program or on its systematic cuts to EI both in the omnibus budget bill and overall. I want to quote a statement made by the Prime Minister in 1997:

In terms of the unemployed, of which we have over a million-and-a-half, I don't feel particularly bad for many of these people. They don't feel bad about it themselves, as long as they're receiving generous social assistance and unemployment insurance.

That jogs my memory about a very recent statement that we heard from the gentleman running for the presidency of the U.S., Mr. Mitt Romney, who talked about the 47% of Americans who do not feel sorry for themselves and that he cannot help in power.

This is the kind of language that we see republicans espouse in the country to the south of us, a kind of exclusionary, critical eye on what is really about all of us. This is not about one group of people but who we are as Canadians. We believe in these programs. We believe that these programs should exist and we believe they should be supported. That is why we all contribute to them.

Yet, the Prime Minister of our own country has made such disparaging statements.

Here is another quote, from 2009:

We do not want to make it lucrative for them to stay home and get paid for it, not when we have significant skills shortages in many parts of the country.

That is a statement made by the Minister of Human Resources.

One quote after another from various ministers and from the Prime Minister himself speak to the underlying idea that employment insurance, frankly, in their minds, should not exist.

However, what they fail to say is what the alternative is for people in an economic cycle, in any economic cycle, who do fall out of work. What they fail to say is that the burden will be, first, on the unemployed themselves, on seasonal workers and on the families who depend on this work, and, second, on the provincial welfare system.

The reality is that the provincial welfare system would be further overloaded, as it has been due to further restrictions on employment insurance in recent years, and would be struggling to support people who will, as a result, fall further down in terms of their quality of life.

I can speak to the region of northern Manitoba that I represent. We started a petition this summer that was signed by thousands of people. Most of them come from communities that depend on seasonal work. I would invite the Prime Minister, the Minister of Human Resources and the Minister of Finance to come to my riding.

The Prime Minister came to Churchill, a community that depends on seasonal work as well. From what I understand this issue did not come up because there was no opportunity to sit down with local people to hear their concerns, to hear about the fact that entire communities depend on seasonal work and to hear the fear people have when they cannot access EI.

What will happen to the seasonal work that maintains their communities? These are not make-work projects. These are things like lake fishing, which helps to feed communities, helps to feed our country and is also part of Canada's export business.

These are things like tourism. The community of Churchill is known as the gem of the north in terms of tourism and its polar bears. The people we need to work there are seasonal workers. Here is a news flash: polar bears do not hang around northern Canada the whole time. They only stay for a while. We need people who can work when the polar bears are there for people to see them.

These are details that are being overlooked and I would like to say by chance. However, there is an insipid and systematic attack on people who do seasonal work and depend on employment insurance.

Perhaps one of the most egregious examples of seasonal work where people are very concerned about what the changes to EI will mean for them is forest firefighting. Every year communities across Canada, such as the ones I represent, are gripped by the fear and the risk that forest fires pose to them. The people we depend on most at the eleventh hour are seasonal forest firefighters. They cannot hang around to do this job all year, because most of the year is winter and we really need them in the spring and summer.

The cuts to EI and the difficulty for seasonal workers to access EI, which they have paid into, put our communities, public safety, the safety of our communities and the safety of entire regions at risk in a very real way. That is not what the role of a government should be.

We hear brash statements about the government's concern for Canada's economic growth. We also hear proud commitments to Canada's north, part of which I have the honour to represent. Yet it does not add up.

We see the attack on employment insurance. We see the attack on seasonal workers and on communities that have helped build this country, communities that are raising the next generation, communities that are helping to diversify the economy to what we ought to have in Canada. Yet the government is not at the table. It is sitting back, ready to bring down everything that we have worked for, that social safety net, that ultimate notion that we all have to be part of finding the solution in good times and bad.

Canadians have an official opposition on their side that will speak for them and work with them in calling for justice on EI and on all the issues that the government is taking the wrong path on.

I stand here proudly with my colleagues in the House on behalf of Canadians to say that we hope that the motion is supported by all of our colleagues. We hope that the government will, once and for all, stop its attack on workers in Canada and ultimately stop its attack on what we are all so proud of, the programs that we have built, the country that we have built and the future that we all hope to be able to contribute to.

Opposition Motion—Employment InsuranceBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

There will be a five-minute period for questions and comments for the hon. member for Churchill when the House returns to the motion later this afternoon.

Statements by members. The hon. member for Kildonan—St. Paul.

Police and Peace Officers' National Memorial ServiceStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the 35th annual Police and Peace Officers' National Memorial Service took place on Parliament Hill. I want to pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of the Canadian officers who have paid the ultimate price.

Today, I stand with the families who have lost loved ones in the line of duty. With my own son being an RCMP officer, I know the sacrifice and dedication it takes to be in the force, but none know that sacrifice more personally, more profoundly or more painfully than the families and colleagues of a fallen officer.

I especially want to express my sincere condolences to the family of Constable Vincent Roy of the Bromont Police Service in Quebec who was honoured at yesterday's ceremony after being killed on December 1, 2011, during a routine traffic stop.

Last, I thank all police officers from across our great nation for ensuring that our communities and our families are safe. Through their work and dedication they make us proud.

National Seniors DayStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe NDP Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, today is National Seniors Day. It is a day to celebrate the contributions of Canada's seniors.

Unfortunately, the Conservative government has a sad way of honouring seniors: just this year, the Prime Minister talked about the aging population as a problem that could hurt our economy. What is more, Canadians were surprised to learn that the government has decided to change the age of eligibility for old age security from 65 to 67, when experts are saying that this program is viable the way it is.

The government can do better for the financial security of seniors. The NDP disagrees with the attitude of this government, which, far too often, pits generations against one another and promotes ageism.

Whether they are part of community organizations, political associations, boards of directors or social groups, as volunteers, experienced workers or mentors, seniors make an invaluable contribution to Canadian society.

That is the message I want to send Canadians on this National Seniors Day.

World Habitat DayStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Kellie Leitch Conservative Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today on World Habitat Day in support of Habitat for Humanity Canada.

Here in Canada, Habitat for Humanity has been working with over 50,000 volunteers to build safe, affordable homes across the country since 1985. In fact, in my riding I am happy to report that we have just finished a home in Collingwood and we are building two more in Angus.

Supported by community-minded businesses and volunteers, like the chair of its nation council, Annette Verschuren, Habitat for Humanity has lifted countless low-income partner families out of poverty and into home ownership.

In my riding of Simcoe—Grey, it is the hard work of volunteers like Fred Sproule and Iona Tough in Collingwood who know I am terrible framer from our build last year; and Susan Fitzimmons and Paul Cormier who work tirelessly for Habitat for Humanity in Alliston.

With its “hand up, not hand out” approach, Habitat for Humanity Canada and its affiliates are supporting the government's goals of empowering Canadians through the dignity and pride of home ownership.

I ask everyone to please join me in celebrating World Habitat Day with Habitat for Humanity Canada and its partnership families. Thanks go out to all the generous volunteers for everything they do for Canadians.

National Seniors DayStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, today is National Seniors Day, a day intended to recognize the contributions made to society by seniors in every region of Canada.

While I am pleased to offer my thanks to the millions of seniors who work hard to help build Canada, I would prefer to show that appreciation.

Canadian seniors continue to struggle. Inadequate pension rates, low income thresholds, unfair clawback rules and living expenses that are increasing faster than payout rates are each contributing to less and less gold in one's golden years.

Seniors have ensured that the next generation of Canadians will inherit a better nation. Let us hope their example will finally nudge the government to start showing, not just saying, that seniors truly matter.

Bruce Grey Child and Family Services FoundationStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Larry Miller Conservative Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity today to congratulate the Bruce Grey Child and Family Services Foundation on a very successful fundraising event in my riding of Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound.

This past Friday night, Bruce Grey Child and Family Services, with the generous support of Bruce Power, was able to bring former Maple Leaf captain, Wendel Clark, to the riding to speak at the event. Grown men lined up like kids at a candy store to meet No. 17, or Captain Crunch, as he is affectionately known to his fans.

The event also showcased the talents of Johnny Gardhouse, a local comedian who also acted as the MC for the evening. Finally, an auction of sports memorabilia also helped to raise funds.

I am proud to say that this event raised $26,000. This money will help support children throughout Bruce and Grey counties. A November draw on Air Canada tickets will more than double that amount.

I congratulate the foundation on a job well done. I thank all the sponsors, volunteers and attendees at this event and a very special thanks goes to Cindy Wheeler. Without her it would not have happened. Well done to all involved.

Municipal InfrastructureStatements By Members

2 p.m.


François Pilon NDP Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, for several months now, through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, a growing number of Canadian mayors have been calling for a new agreement with Ottawa in relation to federal infrastructure programs.

I even asked a question regarding this matter last spring. The response I received at the time, as is too often the case with this government, had nothing to do with my question. So I will try again. In the city of Laval, for example, which is represented by me and three of my NDP colleagues, water treatment infrastructure needs to be improved. Furthermore, many other water filtration projects that are much cleaner and more environmentally friendly are waiting for funding for the current program to be renewed so that they can be developed on a larger scale.

I therefore urge the government to listen to our mayors and invest more in our communities instead of leaving them to fend for themselves.

UnionsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, section 2 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects freedom of speech and yet we are not forced to speak. The same section protects freedom of religion and yet we are not forced to be religious. Yet freedom of association somehow forces people to associate.

In Canada, employees in unionized workplaces are forced to pay union dues even if they do not want to join. Force and freedom are opposites but the former swallows the latter when it comes to unions. It must be so, say the union leaders, otherwise “free-loaders” would enjoy the benefits of unions without having to pay for them. What benefits? Do federal public servants benefit when their union backs separatist parties that would destroy federal jobs? Does a Jewish worker benefit when his union spends money on an Israel boycott?

I do not see the benefits, but it is not my choice. Workers should decide. Is it not time we gave them the choice?

Outdoor HeritageStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Garry Breitkreuz Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, Canada's outdoor heritage is under attack again. Recently, the Shaw Media Global television network announced that it will stop airing all hunting shows on December 31 of this year. This is astonishing news given that millions of Canadians not only participate in Canada's great hunting tradition but are known to be some of the most respected leaders in wildlife conservation.

Recreational hunting in Canada contributes billions of dollars to the economy each year. Popular shows that promote the sport and educate Canadians, such as Angler & Hunter Television, Canada in The Rough and The Canadian Tradition have been unceremoniously pulled from the Global lineup. Many large, well-funded international groups want to shut down not only hunting but other outdoor heritage activities as well. This unfortunate decision smacks of bias against Canada's hunting and sport shooting traditions.

As co-chair of the Outdoors Caucus, I encourage all Canadians who value Canada's traditional outdoor heritage sports to speak out against this decision. Hunting is part of our cultural fabric. We must protect it.

Food Prices in the NorthStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Romeo Saganash NDP Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the privilege of representing one of the largest ridings in Canada, which means that I have a number of communities to visit.

The summer months gave me the chance to visit many of those communities in Nunavik, Eeyou Istchee, hearing their concerns first-hand. In every community I visited, the one issue raised over and over again was the price of food and the cost of living in the north. Citizens of Canada's north have seen their food prices rise tremendously since the Conservative government cancelled the food mail program without any regional consultations.

In response, over 20,000 people have joined the Feeding My Family Facebook page and northerners have held protests across the country.

And yet how did the government respond? With indifference, Mr. Speaker. The Prime Minister visited the north, but he ignored this problem, and the Minister of Health seems to be ignoring the issue as well.

We New Democrats believe that the north cannot reach its full potential until those who live there can get access to affordable quality food. It is time for the Conservatives to take this issue seriously and act in the best interests of northern Canadians.

Mental IllnessStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, this week marks Mental Illness Awareness Week. It reminds us of the importance of positive mental health and its role in helping each of us to live longer healthier lives.

Our government understands the importance of mental health for Canadians and their families. That is why today the Minister of Health announced important new mental health research projects. The private sector will be matching federal funds, doubling the impact this investment can have.

Every budget we have tabled since we formed government has invested significantly in mental health research and promotion. We established the Mental Health Commission of Canada. The commission recently released a strategy that is a resource for all levels of government, industry and the volunteer sector on how we can improve mental health in our country. We have invested more than $319 million in mental health research since 2006.

Through research, we are addressing the inequities in aboriginal health and developing a national network of patient-focused depression research and intervention centres.

Mental Illness Awareness Week presents an opportunity to consider how each of us can promote positive mental health in our daily lives and support those who are affected by mental illness.

100th Anniversary CelebrationsStatements By Members

October 1st, 2012 / 2:05 p.m.


David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, constituents throughout my riding of Hamilton Centre have recently had the good fortune to participate in 100th anniversary celebrations, not just once, not even twice, but three times this past month.

Early last month, I was pleased to attend the 100th anniversary of the founding of St. Stanislaus Church. St. Stans continues to provide spiritual leadership and guidance and is a cornerstone of the Polish community in Hamilton.

Last week also saw the 100th anniversary of the ArcelorMittal Dofasco Hamilton operations. Anyone who knows anything about Hamilton knows the important role that steel and ArcelorMittal Dofasco have played in the development and history of our city.

Finally, this past weekend I joined with Cathedral High School as it celebrated a century of excellence. The full weekend of events brought former staff and students back to the school and highlighted Cathedral High School's many significant achievements.

I congratulate these three outstanding organizations on their historic anniversaries and I wish them all another 100 years of success.

Canadian Police and Peace Officers' Annual Memorial ServiceStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Shelly Glover Conservative Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, the 35th Canadian Police and Peace Officers' Annual Memorial Service was held yesterday.

I am honoured to pay tribute to the lives, service and sacrifices of these Canadian police officers who have given their lives in the line of duty.

Police and peace officers play an important role in keeping our streets and communities safe.

More than 820 officers have had their names engraved on the honour roll in the Memorial Pavilion just steps away from the House. Every year, all Canadians hope that no more names will be added to this memorial. Unfortunately, this was not that year.

I would like to pay tribute to Constable Vincent Roy of the Bromont Quebec Police Service who gave his life last December. Our thoughts are with the Roy family and the families of all those who have given their lives in the line of duty. On behalf of our government, we would like them to know that we are forever grateful for the lives, the service and sacrifice of their loved ones.

For our currently serving police and peace officers across the country and serving abroad, I express my deep gratitude for their dedication to keeping our families safe and making our communities better places to live.

Stay safe.

Raylene RankinStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise today with a heavy heart. Raylene Rankin, of the internationally acclaimed Cape Breton musical family, the Rankins, died yesterday morning after a long and courageous battle with cancer.

Raylene and her siblings, Cookie, Heather, Jimmy and the late John Morris, were at the forefront of a resurgence of an entire culture when they took Cape Breton Celtic music mainstream about two decades ago.

However, that is not her only legacy. Raylene was, who we are as Cape Bretoner, and she showed that resilience with the personal strength she displayed in her fight with this incredibly cruel disease. Raylene's signature song as a vocalist was the Cape Breton anthem Rise Again. When she sang it, she brought a lump to our throats and she made us all stand taller as Cape Bretoners.

I am proud to have called Raylene a friend and I know there is a beautiful voice in Heaven's choir today.

On behalf of myself, Cape Bretoners everywhere and the entire House, I offer my deepest condolences to Raylene's husband, Colin; her son, Alexander; and her entire family.

Women's History MonthStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Susan Truppe Conservative London North Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is a great day. October marks Women's History Month. This year's theme “Strong Girls, Strong Canada: Leaders From the Start” focuses on the historic contribution of girls in the same month as the first annual International Day of the Girl.

From Girl Guides to hockey players and from entrepreneurs to artists, girls have truly been and continue to be leaders from the start. There is also a growing recognition around the world that support for girls and their basic human rights is the key for healthy communities. In other words, strong girls will help build a strong Canada that is safe, innovative, economically prosperous and a leader around the world.

During Women's History Month, we honour Canadian girls, past and present, who have done incredible work across all communities, taking on great challenges and opening doors so that others may follow.

I encourage everyone to participate in their communities. There is much to learn about the achievements of Canadian girls, past and present.

Parliament of CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, Parliament is a very old institution with very old traditions and we all have the responsibility of ensuring the standards of this institution. For example, it is very unparliamentary for one MP to call another MP a liar and yet we see in the 41st Parliament how there has been a serious slide where it has become not only okay to lie in Parliament and okay to repeat the lie in Parliament but somehow unparliamentary to call the lie for what it is.

Therefore, we end up with backbenchers who, instead of talking about the work they should be doing for their communities, believe that if they repeat a lie often enough people will start to believe it.

Canadians are smarter than this and the New Democrats will push back against a lie because it does not matter how much carbon they put on it, how often they use the word “tax” or how many Commies they think are under their beds, the parliamentary lie is not only undemocratic and unparliamentary but it is un-Canadian.