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House of Commons Hansard #192 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was open.

Topics

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of the national anthem led by the hon. member for Hochelaga.

[Members sang the national anthem]

Chai LifelineStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Adler Conservative York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, this Thursday night, an outstanding organization located in my riding, Chai Lifeline, is holding a fundraiser to support all the meaningful work it does.

Chai Lifeline is an international organization that helps children and their families after a child has been diagnosed with a critical illness. When a child suffers from a critical illness, it is not only the child who suffers, it is also the child's family and the whole community.

Chai Lifeline tries to make life better for those children and their families. It offers many helpful programs, including Camp Simcha, a summer camp for children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses, family counselling, family retreats and much more.

Even though we may not be able to cure an illness, we must always do our best to improve the quality of life for those affected. As the father of nine-year-old twins, an organization like Chai Lifeline is certainly close to my heart.

I ask all members to please join me in applauding Chai Lifeline and the essential contributions it makes to this world.

Halifax HarbourStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, our communities are a constant source of inspiration and pride, and our shared experiences and histories give us powerful tools to move forward and make life better. The riding of Halifax is no different.

As a community working together, supporting one another, the people of Halifax overcame great tragedy 95 years ago after the Halifax explosion of December 6, 1917, a catastrophe involving the collision of two ships in our harbour.

The explosion destroyed our harbour, wharves and ships. It flattened industrial districts and our neighbourhoods in the north end of the city. The explosion sent debris flying for miles. Thousands of people were killed or injured, thousands more were displaced and the economy and infrastructure of our city were levelled. The explosion and the incredible heroism seen during the crisis left an indelible mark on our community.

The lesson learned that day and the months after was that we were a caring community and that, through our ingenuity, passion and great help from our friends, we triumphed over great adversity.

I am so proud to represent a community like Halifax, a city with strong community roots that keeps us standing tall.

Rights of the UnbornStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Leon Benoit Conservative Vegreville—Wainwright, AB

Mr. Speaker, a few months ago, my daughter, Jennifer, and her husband were devastated when they lost their unborn child through a miscarriage. She cried herself to sleep for weeks, and maybe still does.

My wife, Linda, and I experienced the same sense of loss and emptiness when we lost our first child to a miscarriage. People never really get over it.

I know that many parents experience this same pain but what I cannot square and what I need someone to explain to me is why the loss is any less when a child is aborted. Why is the loss any less, why does the child become less just because it is not wanted?

Community NewspapersStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in the House to recognize the value and importance of small community newspapers and newsletters in rural ridings across Canada.

In my riding of Malpeque, we are fortunate to have publications, such as the Northern Star Newspaper, the County Line Courier, the South Shore Newsletter and the Coffee News to name a few.

Their promotion of local businesses and events keeps the riding thriving, connected and helps preserve our sense of community. These papers remind us of the achievements happening every day within our communities. They tell a story of Islanders, of Canadians and their daily lives.

If people want to be encouraged about their local communities, they should pick up a local paper today and be informed and inspired.

On behalf of the House, I thank community newspapers across Canada for the great work they do.

Volunteer DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Chris Warkentin Conservative Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to stand today on International Volunteer Day to pay tribute to the countless Peace Country residents who have given and who will continue to selflessly give their time and resources this Christmas season to make the season brighter for others.

Mr. Speaker, you and many others in this House will have heard me say many times that I represent some of the hardest working and some of the most generous people in this country.

This Christmas season, people of all ages will come together in the spirit of generosity. Men, women and children from our local rotary and elks clubs, the Salvation Army, local schools, food banks, friendship centres and churches will give of themselves to help others in need in our communities and around the world.

Our community has been blessed, and this Christmas season many more will be blessed by the generosity of others in our community.

On behalf of all Peace Country residents and on behalf of our government, I thank each and every volunteer from our community who will make Christmas special for others.

Roger RondeauStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise here today to pay tribute to a dearly departed friend.

Roger Rondeau had a vivid imagination. If you needed a handyman, Roger was your man. He was an outstanding photographer, and he cultivated miniature roses and even bonsai trees. A few years before he died, Roger became homeless. Did the image in my colleagues' minds change when they heard that? Why?

During this holiday season, let us think of the Rogers of the world. Conservative members and ministers must know how important it is to renew the homelessness partnering strategy in 2014 and to index, or even increase, its budget.

Anyone can end up on the street, just as Roger Rondeau did. And there are at least 300,000 others just like him across Canada.

Happy holidays, ladies and gentlemen. And farewell, Roger.

Season GreetingsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Devinder Shory Conservative Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, this is my fifth Christmas as the member of Parliament for Calgary Northeast. On December 16, at 3 p.m., at Falconridge/Castleridge Community Hall, I will host my fifth Christmas open house and all are welcome to attend.

Here in Canada, friends from many backgrounds bring many traditions. From Vaisakhi to Hanukkah, from Chinese New Year to Eid, from Diwali to Christmas, we are free to celebrate them all.

As we are free to celebrate the new traditions together, we should also celebrate the old ones. In the spirit of the holidays, I wish my constituents and colleagues on behalf of the entire Shory family and from the bottom of my heart, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Foreign DiplomacyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

John Weston Conservative West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, one of the greatest success stories of our foreign diplomacy has been Canada's role in encouraging human rights and the rule of law.

As president of the Canada-Mexico Parliamentary Friendship Group, I saw this first-hand last weekend as I accompanied our Governor General and our Minister of State for Foreign Affairs to attend the inauguration of Mexico's new president, Enrique Peña Nieto.

The president devoted one-fifth of his inaugural address to the rule of law, and this is an area where Canadians, with quiet cost-effective work, have contributed to an astonishing turnaround.

Mexicans have supported sweeping changes to move from a closed system of criminal justice to an open adversarial system where witnesses will, for the first time, be open to cross-examination.

Welcomed enthusiastically by Mexico, Canadians are having a powerful impact. The Department of Foreign Affairs, Canadian judges, lawyers and police are working with Mexican counterparts to promote fairness and integrity in the Mexican system.

In the words of our Governor General, “It's very important to Canada and the world that Mexico succeed”.

In the area of human rights and the rule of law, we Canadians are doing more than our part.

Canadian Centre for Policy AlternativesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and to thank all those involved for the excellent research on social policy that it does.

Under the very capable leadership of editor, Ed Finn, each issue of the CCPA Monitor is filled with well researched and thought-provoking articles. For example, in the October issue, author John Jacobs explains how the proposed free trade agreement with Europe could potentially, in his words, “clamp Ontario in a straitjacket” by removing tariffs on goods and services, preventing buy local initiatives, threatening public services and constraining government purchasing decisions.

In last month's issue, Bruce Campbell outlined how Norway has been able to manage its oil wealth better than Canada.

In the same issue of the Monitor, Allan Gregg, a former Conservative strategist, accused the current government of waging a war on reason declaring that “it's time to gather the facts and fight back”.

I strongly urge my colleagues to read the CCPA Monitor and research papers. I thank all those at the CCPA for standing up for Canadian values.

International TradeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jay Aspin Conservative Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada always has been and always will be a trading nation. In fact, nearly 65% of Canada's economy depends on trade and one in five Canadian jobs are generated through exports.

That is why our government is advancing the most ambitious pro-trade plan in Canadian history, a plan that includes a comprehensive trade agreement with the European Union. This trade agreement is expected to boost our bilateral trade by 20%. I will put this into perspective. That is like a $1,000 increase to the average Canadian family's annual income, or 80,000 new jobs for Canadian workers.

Free trade with the EU would bring new opportunities to workers and to their families from coast to coast to coast, including my home province of Ontario.

While the anti-trade NDP continues to stand in the way of Canadian exporters, our government is focused on the opportunities for Canadians.

Eliminating Violence Against WomenStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Anne-Marie Day NDP Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, it has been almost 23 years since 14 young Canadians were brutally murdered simply because they were women. Tomorrow, December 6, will mark the sad anniversary of the École Polytechnique massacre in Montreal.

On this occasion, I invite all members in this House to come together and to condemn all forms of violence against women in this country and around the world. Partisanship aside, we are duty bound to stand up and together condemn an enduring societal problem that is absolutely unacceptable.

The 12 days to end violence against women campaign is currently underway, and I invite everyone to learn more about the problems of domestic violence, physical abuse, harassment, verbal abuse and all other forms of violence to which Canadian women and girls are still subjected.

Let us stand together. Violence against women must be relegated to the past, eliminated from the present and never plague our future.

VolunteerismStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Brad Butt Conservative Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House on International Volunteer Day. We are celebrating the invaluable work and countless hours of contributions made by volunteers in Canada.

Our government is proud to stand up and recognize the hard work volunteers do, especially around the holiday season for those less fortunate. Close to 12.5 million Canadians volunteer their time to charitable and not-for-profit organizations. This equals a contribution of over two billion hours annually, the equivalent of more than one million full-time jobs. It is a spirit founded on values that our Conservative government shares. We believe that volunteers play an enormously important role in our collective responsibility for better communities.

We are proud to work with organizations across Canada to support volunteerism. It is why we continue to invest in projects that connect individuals with volunteer opportunities and in our tax credit for volunteer firefighters.

Queen's Diamond Jubilee MedalStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, one of the truly nice things a member of Parliament gets to do is nominate distinguished citizens to be awarded the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal. By celebrating them, we pay tribute to Her Majesty's 60 remarkable years.

It has been a great privilege to nominate outstanding Saskatchewanians who represent the wide range of talent, hard work, community service and excellence that typify our country. Among that group is Mr. Sam Gee. For years, Sam and his beloved wife Morley were pillars of the vibrant Chinese Canadian cultural and business community in Regina. They ran the most popular neighbourhood store. They contributed generously to Regina's rich multicultural mosaic. Always a proud Canadian, Sam played a vital role in drawing public attention to the sad legacy of Canada's Chinese head tax and in securing redress.

It was a great honour to present the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal to Mr. Sam Gee today.

Carbon TaxStatements By Members

December 5th, 2012 / 2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to come back to the carbon tax. The carbon tax is a tax that the NDP is proposing. We must not allow the NDP to play around with our economy by imposing a carbon tax.

The carbon tax will take money out of Canadians' pockets, so we know that Canadians and families do not need a carbon tax. The carbon tax will increase the cost of electricity. The carbon tax will increase the cost of groceries. The carbon tax is an insult to families. The carbon tax will hurt Canadian households. The carbon tax will hurt seniors. Ultimately, the carbon tax will increase taxes.

Canadians do not want the carbon tax and neither does the Conservative government. Only the Conservative government will do a good job of managing the economy without imposing a carbon tax.

When I look in the eyes of the NDP members I see their obsession with the carbon tax!

The SenateStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, last night I had a nightmare of Dickensian proportions. I dreamt that the spirits of senators past, present and future rose up from the other place and were feeding upon the hard-earned dollars of Canadian taxpayers, millions upon millions, from poor, hungry and frozen waifs.

These senatorial spectres were dressed in their Sunday best while busy emptying the wallets of the innocent, impoverished masses. Some of these ghastly senators murmured strange things, like, “What if all the maritime provinces turned into one big province?”, or, “I deserve to be paid for a secondary residence, even though I've lived here for decades. These are my entitlements”. The scariest of all was the two-faced man just behind them who was turning his eye from this unaccountable, unelected gluttony.

The question is this: When will the Conservatives wake up from this fiendish nightmare and finally abolish the Senate?

New Democratic Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Eve Adams Conservative Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, 'tis the season to be merry. I would like to wish all Canadians a very merry Christmas.

Christmas is a wonderful time of year. It gives Canadians the opportunity to spend time with their families. It gives Canadians the chance to share gifts with loved ones. It gives Canadians the chance to enjoy a bit of time off.

However, someone was very bad this year. Canadians must be warned of the grinch and his party's plan to try to steal Christmas by imposing a job-killing carbon tax on Canadians. The only thing the leader of the NDP wants to rekindle is his carbon tax plan to raise the price of everything, from turkey to cranberries to cookies and eggnog.

Thankfully, Canadians elected our Conservative government to protect Canadians against such taxes. Our government will remain focused on the priorities of Canadians: jobs and economic growth. Our government will not let the grinch steal Christmas.

JusticeOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, every year more than 1,250 Canadians die as a result of drunk driving. In 2010, Conservatives proposed changes to the Criminal Code to allow for random roadside breathalyzer tests.

Random breath testing has been studied by everyone, from provincial governments to legal scholars to members of Parliament. Evidence from countries like Australia, New Zealand and Ireland shows that random breath testing will not only save provincial governments money but will save at least 200 lives a year.

Why has the government failed to act on its own proposal to prevent hundreds of deaths from drunk driving?

JusticeOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, of course, this is a very serious issue the Leader of the Opposition has asked about. We are anxious to undertake any steps that will be effective in dealing with drunk driving. There are far too many deaths from this across the country. The government has brought in measures to deal with it.

The government is always interested in doing whatever it can to deal with serious crime in this country.

JusticeOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, constitutional experts, from Peter Hogg to the Law Society of Alberta, have said that random breath testing complies with the charter. In 2009, the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights unanimously recommended random roadside breathalyzer checks. In 2010, the Minister of Justice himself put forward a plan for just that. However, the only mention of drunk driving we have seen from Conservatives since was in 2010. It was in a fundraising letter.

Why will this tough-on-crime Prime Minister not crack down on the number one cause of crime-related deaths in Canada?

JusticeOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, obviously the hon. member missed this, because this is probably his very first question in the justice area, so we can understand that. That being said, he might want to check out the Tackling Violent Crime Act in which we increased the penalties for impaired driving, particularly in instances when an impaired driver causes death or bodily harm. However, none of these measures had the support of NDP members.

If they have had a conversion, that is a wonderful thing.

JusticeOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the government has been sitting on this for two years. It has not done anything. All the work that has been done is unanimous. The legislation has been drafted. The only mention members will find, and after question period we will be glad to supply copies of it, is in a fundraising letter.

Is that what the Conservatives' tough-on-crime agenda is about: fundraising and letting Canadians die on the roads because they will not act?

JusticeOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the NDP has ignored these issues for decades. We have brought forward legislation to make it tougher on individuals who are impaired, either by alcohol or drugs, by reducing the number of defences with respect to the breathalyzer test and by getting tough on impaired driving. None of these measures had the support of the NDP. I hope those members have finally woken up and figured this all out. It is about time.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, for a week now, the Conservatives have been unable to answer a very simple question. The Minister of Finance's recent economic growth projections were lowered to 2.1% for this year. The latest data from Statistics Canada show that economic growth would have to be around 4% this quarter to reach this target. No one thinks that will be the case.

Will the Prime Minister once again adjust the incorrect economic growth projections his Minister of Finance made just three weeks ago?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the budgetary and economic forecasts are determined through a survey of economic professionals. The government does not come up with these figures. These figures come from the experts. The government carefully monitors the state of our economy from month to month. We are always prepared to take action.