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House of Commons Hansard #78 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was balance.

Topics

PensionsStatements By Members

10:55 a.m.

Conservative

Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, the current path of our nation's old age security program is unsustainable. We have all seen the figures. With our aging population, the cost of the program will increase from $36 billion in 2010 to $108 billion in 2030. As a recently released Macdonald-Laurier Institute report states:

Canada will either proactively implement solutions to this coming problem or react, probably in crisis, when the full weight of the costs of an aging society fully confront our society.

Canadians like my parents, Ernie and Mary Zimmer, who are currently receiving old age security, or those who are close to retirement age, will not be affected by our long-term sustainability planning. We will also ensure that those who will be affected, meaning those not yet near retirement, will have plenty of time to plan for their future.

Our government will do what nearly every other advanced country has done. We will ensure that my generation and all future generations have a sustainable public pension system.

DiabetesStatements By Members

11 a.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, a week ago a lovely kid called Michael came to see me for some pins and a flag, because he is off to Italy in March. Michael, just 11, has been scouted by the Italian soccer club Roma and invited to try out for its boys club. Michael is a modest kid with a competitive glint in his eye. I know he will do us all and, most importantly, himself proud.

However, Michael also came to see me for another reason. He has type 1 diabetes. He came to ask me to urge the government to continue its funding partnership with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. That partnership, just created in 2009, is already making new technologies and treatments available to Canadians like Michael. This partnership ensures that kids like Michael get an opportunity to choose the talents they want to pursue and to realize their dreams. Canada has a long, storied history in diabetes research and treatment. Let us not stop it now.

Finally, I ask the House to join me in wishing Michael good luck in Italy.

Canada-China RelationsStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Conservative

Eve Adams Conservative Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, our Prime Minister is leading a successful mission to China, promoting Canada's interests. This visit will deepen trade and economic ties between our two countries and set the foundation for long-term economic growth in Canada. Under our government, Canada's exports to China have increased by 85%. Thanks to our government's securing approved destination status last year, the number of Chinese tourists coming to Canada this year has increased by 25%. These are real dollars coming into Canada and keeping Canadians working.

Our two nations have agreed to jointly fund science, technology and innovation research in human vaccines and clean transportation. We will also strengthen our ties in the areas of energy, natural resources, agriculture, science and technology and education, as a new strategic priority.

We look forward to continuing to strengthen our strategic partnership with China and maintaining a frank and respectful—

Canada-China RelationsStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The hon. member for Scarborough—Guildwood.

Child SoldiersStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, February 12 commemorates the day on which the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict entered into force as international law. Hundreds of thousands of children have been robbed of their childhood, killed, maimed, raped, drugged and otherwise abused and forced to do the same to their families and communities while under the direction of adult combatants. Soldiering is not a career option for a seven-year-old who is barely taller than his gun. In spite of international law, this tragedy continues to unfold in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burma, Sudan and others.

As we mark the International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers, let us commit to ending the use of children in armed conflict and criminal activities and let our actions speak louder than our words. Our friend and colleague, Senator Roméo Dallaire, has worked tirelessly on this issue. He has been a world leader in the fight against the use of child soldiers. In partnership with Dalhousie University, he has led research on failing states, as well as conducted training for military police—

Child SoldiersStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. the hon. member for Cypress Hills—Grasslands.

Foreign InvestmentStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Conservative

David Anderson Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, Canada's energy sector is on a roll. Hundreds of millions of dollars of investment is flowing into Canadian energy development. The result is hundreds of thousands of jobs across our country.

In the past, we have put our energy eggs into one basket and have exported virtually all of our products to one market. That is no longer good enough. Our energy is as valuable as any in the world and it needs to be priced at world prices. That is why we are focusing on diversifying our export markets. We need new markets around the world.

Let us be smart when we do this. The countries we deal with must be responsible members of the international community, showing a commitment to freedom, human rights and democratic ideals. Foreign corporate entities must operate under the same guidelines as everyone else, getting what they are prepared to give. State-owned enterprises need to be scrutinized. Who controls them? Do they function according to world trade and financial market principles? Are they financially accountable and transparent?

We do not need to be granting special treatment to any entity or country in order to get its investment dollars. We are world class, let the world come to us.

The EconomyStatements By Members

11 a.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the government is a one-trick pony when it comes to economic policy because, instead of presenting a comprehensive job creation plan, the Conservatives continue to sit idly by making faulty economic comparisons with other countries and claiming that tax cuts create jobs.

The reality is that corporate tax cuts do not increase productivity. We watch as executives take the cuts, award themselves bigger bonuses, shut down operations in Canada and move them elsewhere. Public sector cuts do not make any more economic sense. More than 60,000 jobs economy-wide are jeopardized by the public sector cuts made over the last few years.

New Democrats believe that any job creation worth its salt must include public sector investment, and the Governor of the Bank of Canada agrees, but the Conservatives are ignoring his advice because it inconveniently contradicts them.

It is clear that the economic policies of the anti-science, anti-worker, Conservative government are bad for Halifax, bad for Nova Scotia and bad for Canada, and we demand better.

Canadian Punjabi CommunityStatements By Members

February 10th, 2012 / 11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Conservative Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canada notes that state elections are taking place in India, the world's largest democracy. With a Punjabi background, I note with great satisfaction the massive turnout of over 77% in the State of Punjab.

Punjabis, both of Hindu and Sikh religion, exercised their democratic right to chart their own destiny.

Here in Canada, the Punjabi community, again made up of Hindus and Sikhs, plays a vital role in our country's destiny. I am very happy to be a member of that community as are my colleagues in the House of Commons.

However, there are certain groups that would like to create discord among these communities. To them, there is a clear message coming from communities all over the world: ”Stop it, let us move on toward addressing the issues that are of far more importance, like prosperity in this country”.

The EconomyStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Robert Goguen Conservative Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, it was only back in 1995 when The Wall Street Journal called this great nation “an honorary member of the Third World” and ridiculed our currency.

This week, the same newspaper praised Canada:

...as a favored destination for investors seeking refuge from the turmoil sweeping the euro zone and the continuing uncertainty over the U.S. fiscal position. The country now is the world's third-biggest issuer of sovereign debt to be rated triple-A by all three major credit-ratings....

Our fiscal position was described as “sterling” and our Conservative government's economic leadership was praised.

I am pleased that the international community will be able to read these words about our country. Despite the financial problems in Europe and other parts of the world, we remain steadfast in our commitment to focus on Canadians' priorities: jobs and economic growth.

Community OrganizationsStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

NDP

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe NDP Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, here is a surprising statistic: one-quarter of the people who live on Montreal's West Island have, at some point, requested help from a community organization. In Pierrefonds—Dollard, community organizations provide a variety of important services. The Comité d'aide Cloverdale provides affordable meals to children; the Family Resource Center helps courageous students to overcome academic difficulties; VON Montreal provides palliative home care. If I could, I would name them all. Although all of these organizations have different missions, they all face the common threat of unstable and insufficient funding.

That is why the work of the West Island Community Shares is essential for the community. It has a mandate to raise funds which are then distributed to local community organizations in the West Island. Just two weeks ago, Community Shares collected $140,000 at its red and white event.

I am proud to say that in the West Island we are all in solidarity. I thank the West Island Community Shares for organizing the event and I thank everyone who donated. This is--

Community OrganizationsStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Pickering—Scarborough East.

Forestry IndustryStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Corneliu Chisu Conservative Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to helping the Canadian forestry industry to diversify and succeed in priority markets around the world. With Canadian lumber exports to China at a record high, our efforts are paying off, creating jobs and economic opportunities for Canadians.

Canadian wood exports to China grew to $835 million in 2010, up 119% from 2009. During the first 11 months of 2011, wood products were Canada's third largest export to China, totalling $1.36 billion and expected to exceed $1.5 billion in 2011.

Eighteen Canadian mills have reopened and have dedicated part of their production to servicing the Chinese market.

While we are focused on growing Canada's economy and creating jobs with our pro-trade plan, the NDP continues to promote its anti-trade agenda that will kill jobs. The NDP's reckless and irresponsible anti-trade agenda is a danger to the Canadian economy and Canadian jobs.

Community OrganizationsStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Monday, January 30, an organization known as Le Fablier, une histoire de familles, officially opened its new premises on Chemin de Chambly in Longueuil. Every day, the dynamic team at Le Fablier welcomes families and organizes various public education activities to prevent poverty and promote literacy. In Quebec, 1.3 million people over the age of 16 have difficulty reading and writing.

Day after day, Le Fablier carries out its mission on a shoestring budget. That is the case for most of the community organizations in my riding, yet I cannot imagine what our society would be like without these courageous and noble organizations. Federal subsidy programs are inadequate or laden with red tape, and offer no guarantees of future funding.

It is time to stabilize funding for all of these valiant organizations that are key to making good things happen in our society. At the end of every fiscal year, the organizations' clientele and staff find themselves in the same boat: vulnerable to the government's whims. Keeping these organizations guessing from year to year not only interferes with their ability to carry out their missions but is also very disrespectful to them.

Canada-China RelationsStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

LaVar Payne Conservative Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, our government remains focused on jobs and economic growth. Our efforts toward improving international ties are no exception.

The Prime Minister's visit to China this week is just one example of Canada's successful efforts to improve and diversify trade linkages around the world.

Be it in forestry, tourism, education, energy or agriculture, our joint initiatives are rapidly increasing commercial, cultural and scholastic ties between our two countries. Canadian families, business and communities will see the economic benefits of these agreements. Our economic relations with China will benefit Canadian communities, large and small.

As China continues to grow in significance as one of our trading partners, I am sure we will see more and more benefits from our government's efforts to strengthen economic ties in Asia.

HockeyStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, Globe and Mail journalist, Jane Taber, wrote a story last fall about the financial challenges faced by a community museum in Windsor, Nova Scotia. The article in the Hockey Heritage Museum caught the attention of some significant hockey enthusiasts and sparked an idea to launch a celebration of the game on Long Pond on the Dill Family Farm in Windsor, Nova Scotia where the sport was born.

The inaugural Long Pond Hockey Heritage Classic takes place tomorrow and I want to salute the volunteers who have tirelessly persevered to preserve the origins of our national game in its birthplace. Over 200 years ago, the first game was played on Long Pond and this weekend's hockey's home ice will once again witness a passionate celebration of our favourite winter sport.

I send my best wishes for a successful event and best wishes for the ongoing success of the Hockey Heritage Museum in Windsor, the birthplace of hockey.

Firearms RegistryStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Leon Benoit Conservative Vegreville—Wainwright, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians gave our government a strong mandate to end the wasteful and ineffective long gun registry once and for all, and that is exactly what we are doing.

However, we are not the only ones who promised this. Many NDP MPs from rural Canada told their voters that they would scrap the registry as well. The member for Western Arctic even stood at an all candidates debate last May and said, “Vote for me or vote for the Conservatives. It's all the same. We'll both end the registry”.

However, guess what? Unfortunately, that individual has decided that he will stand up for the NDP big union bosses rather than for his constituents, saying that he wants the registry but he does not want the records. That is just silly.

I call on the member for Western Arctic to live up to his promises to the good people of the Northwest Territories and vote in the House to scrap the long gun registry once and for all.

National DefenceStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, the F-35 procurement process has had so many problems that the Associate Minister of National Defence does not even know how to defend it anymore. Yesterday he said that all acquisitions and procurements currently under way for the Canadian Forces are “holy and decent”. Those were his exact words.

Would the minister have us believe that the F-35s—the fighter jets that seem to have one new problem after another, including safety issues, skyrocketing costs and delivery delays—are a gift from above? How pitiful.

It has become clear that all of the countries that were considering purchasing the F-35 are backing off. Canada is the only one continuing its crusade towards this reckless, irresponsible expenditure.

The government is completely incapable of managing this file and is now hoping for a miracle from up above, instead of coming up with a plan B. There is no evidence that this is the right plan. We must launch a competitive bidding process.

Fred DicksonStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Conservative Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise today with great sorrow in my heart to say goodbye to a good friend, Senator Fred Dickson, who passed away early yesterday morning.

[Member spoke in Scottish Gaelic as follows: ]

Cha bhithidh a leithid ami riamh.

[English]

His equal will not be among us again.

Fred was a key negotiator in the offshore agreement between Nova Scotia and the federal Government of Canada in the 1980s, an agreement which led to a huge success for the future of our province.

As a senator, he was dedicated to ensuring that future generations of Canadians could have a health care system that was strong and one they could count on.

His passion was for his family; his wife, Kay; his sons, Colin and Ian; his daughter, Kathryn; and his grandchildren.

Fred, my friend,

May the road rise up to meet you,

May the wind be always at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face,

and rains fall soft upon your fields.

And until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Goodbye my friend. God bless you, Fred.

PensionsOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

NDP

Philip Toone NDP Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week, the Conservatives were incredibly transparent with Canadians about the government's priorities when they reopened the abortion debate, condoned torture and fired warning shots into the air. They even made despicable references to the Nazis in their national discourse.

Nevertheless, there is one thing they refuse to be transparent about: does the government plan to raise the age of retirement from 65 to 67 or not?

PensionsOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member does not appreciate what the priorities of this government are. The priorities of this government are jobs, economic growth and the financial well-being of Canadians. Those are our priorities. That is what we are working for every day.

That is in fact why we are committed to ensuring the long-term sustainability of the old age security system for the future. It also includes ensuring that those who are receiving old age security today and those who expect to receive it in the years ahead will be assured that they will receive it. We also have to ensure, having looked at the demographic realities, that we have a system there to also serve generations to come, in the decades to come. That is our priority.

PensionsOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

NDP

Philip Toone NDP Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is not an answer. They simply refuse to be honest with Canadians. Our seniors worked hard their entire lives in order to leave their children with a better country. Now, under the Conservatives, they are learning that for the first time, their children will live in tougher conditions than they did. It is unacceptable and avoidable.

Those families need to know: will the government increase the age of retirement or not?

PensionsOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the actual risk to Canadians is if we had the kind of forward-looking policies of the NDP, those that simply ignore the future, ignore the realities, they would, if followed, result in future generations not having any old age security.

Our approach is to ensure that there is long-term sustainability, that there is a system there to ensure that those who reach their retirement 20, 30 or 40 years from now can count on old age security for the future. This is our priority. This is what we are doing. That is why we are having the discussion we are having now on how we can ensure old age security is there for those who are receiving it today and tomorrow.

PensionsOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

NDP

Philip Toone NDP Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, there seem to be a few facts missing in that answer. The government is unravelling in front of our eyes. It promised families it would not touch OAS. Now it is doing just that. It said it was unsustainable. Now the independent PBO has shown that it is. The government members attacked the Liberals' secret plan to raise OAS eligibility from 65 to 67 years, but they have become everything they used to oppose.

In the name of all things holy and decent, I ask the government to give seniors and families an answer. What is going to happen to OAS?

PensionsOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, thanks to our government, old age security will be there today, tomorrow and in decades to come. That is what is going to happen to OAS.

As for the Parliamentary Budget Officer, it was just months ago he was saying that we have real demographic challenges and it was important for the government to take action. It was just months ago when he said there was a structural deficit and he wanted to see action taken to address that. All of a sudden, he has said these are no longer issues. I am missing the report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer where he commends this government for having solved all those dramatic problems in just a matter of a couple of months.