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House of Commons Hansard #80 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was banks.

Topics

Protecting Children from Internet Predators ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-30, An Act to enact the Investigating and Preventing Criminal Electronic Communications Act and to amend the Criminal Code and other Acts.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Income Tax ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Jamie Nicholls NDP Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-395, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (transportation benefits).

Mr. Speaker, this bill would amend the Income Tax Act with respect to transportation benefits. The bill would serve to promote sustainable transit choices and not impose the burden of taxation upon employers or employees who receive these benefits.

I believe the bill would be of benefit to all Canadians.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Public Service CommissionRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

moved:

That, in accordance with subsection 4(5) of the Public Service Employment Act, S.C. 2003, c. 22, and pursuant to Standing Order 111.1, this House approve the appointment of Anne-Marie Robinson as President of the Public Service Commission, for a term of seven years.

Public Service CommissionRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Public Service CommissionRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Public Service CommissionRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

(Motion agreed to)

AsbestosPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition signed by literally thousands of Canadians from all across Canada.

The petitioners call upon Parliament to take note that asbestos is the greatest industrial killer the world has ever known and that more Canadians now die from asbestos than all other industrial and occupational causes combined, yet Canada remains one of the largest producers and exporters of asbestos in the world.

They also note that Canada spends millions of dollars subsidizing the asbestos industry. The petitioners call it corporate welfare for corporate serial killers. Canada also spends a fortune blocking international efforts to curb its use.

Therefore, the petitioners call upon Parliament to cause the government to ban asbestos in all its forms and institute a just transition program for asbestos workers and the communities they live in, to end all government subsidies of asbestos both in Canada and abroad, and to stop blocking international health and safety conventions designed to protect workers from asbestos, such as the Rotterdam convention.

Canada-European Union Free Trade AgreementPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to submit a petition signed by a significant number of Canadians, most from my riding of Guelph. They add their voices to the thousands across Canada and the 16 municipalities across the country calling on the House of Commons to urge the government to exclude all sub-federal governments and their public agencies, including municipalities, from any Canada-EU procurement agreement.

As it stands, CETA negotiations include government procurement, including projects at the provincial and municipal levels.

Municipalities like Guelph are rightfully concerned that they will lose the right to have independent procurement policies and the ability to buy local materials and services. These restrictions would cripple the ability of municipalities to stimulate local innovation, foster local community economic development, create local employment and achieve strategic local public policy goals.

Falun GongPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, I also present a petition signed by concerned residents of Guelph who are calling on the Canadian government to speak out at every opportunity and call for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners and assist in petitioning for the release of 11 family members of Canadian residents incarcerated in China for their beliefs.

It is important that we remain a beacon for human rights in the world and that we stand up against discrimination against others' beliefs.

The EnvironmentPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition signed by thousands of people in the Lower Mainland who are opposed to the delivery of jet fuel within the Fraser River estuary.

The Fraser is a designated Canadian heritage river and is a significant bird flyway. Ninety per cent of the wetlands have been impacted by human activity. The Fraser is one of the largest salmon rivers in the world and is vital to the survival of Pacific salmon, sturgeon and 70 other fish species.

The petitioners view the delivery of jet fuel as a threat to wild salmon, migratory wildlife and the health of the ecosystem. They join with the city of Richmond in opposing this proposal.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Bill S-5—Time Allocation MotionFinancial System Review ActGovernment Orders

February 14th, 2012 / 10:05 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

moved:

That in relation to Bill S-5, An Act to amend the law governing financial institutions and to provide for related and consequential matters, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the said bill; and

At fifteen minutes before the expiry of the time provided for government business on the day designated for the consideration of the said stage of the said bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the bill shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.

Bill S-5—Time Allocation MotionFinancial System Review ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Pursuant to Standing Order 67.1, there will now be a 30 minute question period. I would invite members to keep their questions to one minute and their responses to a similar length of time so that we can accommodate as many members as possible. As we have been doing in the past, preference in the rotation will be given to members of the opposition, although government members will be recognized during the time as well.

The hon. member for Windsor—Tecumseh.

Bill S-5—Time Allocation MotionFinancial System Review ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, here we are again. This is the 16th time allocation motion since the 41st Parliament convened. There have been four in the last two weeks.

I want to mention the preposterous statement that was made last week when the government House leader moved another one of these time allocation motions. He was trying to justify his anti-democratic, abusive conduct in this House. As is so typical of people who abuse their power, he blamed the opposition parties, specifically the official opposition.

I practised family law for a good deal of my professional career as a lawyer. I did a lot of work on domestic abuse cases, both between spouses and partners and with regard to children. The same story was heard. The abuser would always say to the recipient of the abuse, “I am doing this because of what you did”. The abuser would not accept any responsibility.

There is a real victim here. I ask the government House leader if he recognizes the abuse he is perpetrating on the victims, who are the Canadian people, with this attack by the Conservative government on the democratic process.

Bill S-5—Time Allocation MotionFinancial System Review ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, the past few weeks have given us an opportunity to see exactly what the strategy of the official opposition is. It is one of seeking to simply run up the score by compelling the government to resort to time allocation in order to advance any proposition.

We had to resort to time allocation with respect to the pooled registered pension plan bill. That bill is broadly supported by every province and generally is seen as non-controversial. However, it was impossible to get any agreement from the official opposition on the length of time for debate.

We saw it with the copyright bill. The identical bill in the previous Parliament went to committee after seven hours of debate. After 75 speeches here in the House, the official opposition simply had not shown any willingness to come to any agreement on the number of speakers it would require before sending the bill to committee where the detailed study could actually occur and it could advance. That is an important bill for the economy, the high tech sector and for job creation. Again, it was impossible to get that bill to advance without resorting to time allocation.

We see the same thing with Bill S-5. A highly technical bill comes along every five years. The last two times it has come along all the parties have agreed to send it to committee after one day of debate. We could not get any agreement out of the NDP. Those members would not ever provide us with a single list of the number of speakers they had, the number of days they wanted for debate. The Liberals, in fairness, did. They were in agreement with approaches to move this matter forward. The only way to move this legislation forward is to resort to time allocation again because the NDP simply will not co-operate.

Bill S-5—Time Allocation MotionFinancial System Review ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

There we go again, Madam Speaker. In how many other Parliaments in Canadian history has this happened? Have official opposition parties ever taken the proper role of the official opposition in saying it has the right and the responsibility to debate in the House, to bring an alternate voice to this chamber and to the Canadian people as to what they are hearing from the government? That is a fundamental principle of our democracy.

As I said in my opening comment, the use of time allocation is not a response to the normal process that the official opposition has used since this Parliament started. This process is being used by the government to curtail debate, to eliminate that alternative voice which the official opposition is responsible for bringing.

Again I ask the government House leader, does he realize how much he is undermining the democracy of this country by the repeated use of this process?

Bill S-5—Time Allocation MotionFinancial System Review ActGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Madam Speaker, this really demonstrates the extent to which the New Democratic Party is not interested in advancing or discussing issues. That party is interested in merely debating them.

We have already had debate on this legislation, but members were not talking about the bill. Most of the debate took place on the question of the Canada pension plan, things like old age security. People talked about pooled registered pension plans, which was a separate bill before the House. There was a debate on the national rate of unemployment. There was a lot of talk about the health accords apparently. Somebody even talked about French socialist party leaders. We had a great debate on who should take credit for the soundness of the banking system, whether it should be the current government or the previous Liberal government. There was actually no debate on the bill itself.

After a day of that, we still could not get any agreement from the NDP on how many further days to allocate for debate on a routine bill that comes up every five years. The bill has to be passed by April 20 or it will sunset and then our banking system will have to function without any law in place. It cannot do that. We have the soundest banking system in the world and we have to keep it that way. That is why we have to proceed forward with this legislation.

The NDP would not co-operate, even after we made several offers even in public here in the House. There was nothing forthcoming from the official opposition.

It is clear that the NDP strategy laid bare is to run up the score, compel the use of time allocation on every occasion. It makes all of those words from the opposition House leader ring entirely hollow.

Bill S-5—Time Allocation MotionFinancial System Review ActGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Massimo Pacetti Liberal Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

Madam Speaker, I am going to try to stay focused on this particular bill. We have seen time allocation almost 50 times since this new government. I think it is something that everyone here is uncomfortable with. We already know that the government does not like the democratic process and is using its majority.

The bill is non-controversial. It was tabled in the Senate mid or late November. It went through the Senate the second week of December. It was put before the House the last week of January. The government House leader knows it has to get out by April 20. The government knows that the day after the last bill is reviewed we have five years before we have to review this bill. It is non-controversial, but we have to hold hearings and we have to have a debate. I do not understand where the planning is.

The government House leader knew all along that he was just going to ram this through Parliament. I do not understand the attitude that we cannot get bills through without time allocation, whether they are controversial or non-controversial.

My question is, at what point will the government House leader go to the Prime Minister and say he cannot handle the job because he cannot have the bills funnelled through Parliament like they should be? At what point will he say he cannot do this any more?

Bill S-5—Time Allocation MotionFinancial System Review ActGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Madam Speaker, the hon. member's party, the Liberal Party, has been quite practical about its approach to the bill. Liberals were at the Senate where it was dealt with in an appropriate fashion, similar to that in the past. It took 23 days from introduction to final passage. The proposals that we put forward in this chamber took about three times that for consideration of the entire bill, even though the Senate is the chamber that is traditionally most engaged in banking. In fact the Senate has a banking committee. It was able to consider the bill in 23 days. Here in this House, his party has shown a willingness to engage in discussions and to agree to a reasonable approach in dealing with the bill. Liberals know this is the appropriate way to do it. It has been done in the past: one day of debate at second reading, each of the last two times it came up. Let us have the focus happen at committee. Let us get it to committee where they can discuss it.

The review has been going on since September 20, 2010. That is when the Department of Finance launched the review. It began seeking submissions from Canadians, requesting their interest. That was the input that produced the bill. The bills come forward in the exact same sequence, with roughly the same timeframes as in the past. In fact, with the amount of time consumed for debate, on the previous occasions when it came up, there was more than ample opportunity for review.

We are happy to have the constructive support of the Liberal Party, both in substance and in process, as it has expressed in the House. In fact, the NDP critic has even expressed support for the substance of the bill. He has said the NDP will support the bill at second reading and probably even at third reading. So that leaves the question: Why are we forced to resort to this? It is because the NDP House leader has an agenda. It does not matter what his critic says. It does not matter what the caucus says. It does not matter what public policy interests are. He wants to run up the score so he has a stat to quote in the next election. Well, so be it. We will continue to run this House in an orderly, productive, hard-working fashion, in the best interests of Canadians.

Bill S-5—Time Allocation MotionFinancial System Review ActGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Madam Speaker, I am just amazed that the House leader of the Conservative party thinks I have that kind of control or sway over my caucus. The reality is I have a number of members of our caucus who want to speak on this bill. Madam Speaker, you have the list in front of you today. They want to address this bill. Part of the reality is, we have a large new caucus here. Maybe the Conservatives could have asked us why we have that large new caucus, rather than spending $16,000 on it. Caucus members want to communicate to their ridings what their positions are on any number of bills, including S-5.

I want to go back to the point that my colleague from the Liberals raised. This really is about the incompetence of the government House leader. The government knew the April 20 deadline was there since Parliament came back. It is there. It is the reality. By moving the bill at a much earlier stage, the government House leader could have accomplished what he needed to accomplish in order to meet that deadline. Therefore, why do we see this bill at the last minute, forcing us to be confronted with a time allocation motion? That is not the way to be the general manager in the House. The fact that we are faced with this is his responsibility, not that of the opposition. Not at all.

Bill S-5—Time Allocation MotionFinancial System Review ActGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Madam Speaker, the bill was introduced in this Parliament on November 23, 2011. That is not at the last minute. I appreciate that the hon. member does not believe in the Senate. However, the Senate is still a constitutionally important part of our parliamentary system. The fact that we introduced it in the Senate first instead of in the House does not mean that we have cut short the time. In fact, it means that we have had ample time. It would still have to go through the Senate to become law.

It is important that we have the bill in place. We are very fortunate in Canada to have what has been voted the world's soundest banking system the past four years by the World Economic Forum. That is a testament to the oversight provided by this government and the institutions that are established by it. The laws and rules we have in place are very strong. This review has revealed that indeed they are strong. We do not need dramatic change, although there are a lot of technical changes that need to occur.

I hope we will not have a debate like we have in the past, where people thought it was about old age security, or what French socialist political leaders say, or the Canada pension plan, or natural rates of unemployment. I hope that all those people who the member said want to speak this time will actually speak about the bill instead of what we heard the last time.

This is an important bill that would ensure that our banking system continues, stays sound and continues to function in the best interests of Canada. The strength of our banking system has been a bulwark of our economic success during a very challenging time globally. Other countries look at our system with envy. We should look at it with pride. This is our opportunity to endorse that.

Bill S-5—Time Allocation MotionFinancial System Review ActGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, I have been a house leader. I have gone through majority and minority governments. I have dealt with government House leaders, both Conservative and New Democrat. I can honestly say that I have never yet experienced a government trying to incorporate time allocation as a standard procedure. That is actually what the government is doing.

It does not matter how long a bill has been debated for, it is standard procedure. That is what I see this government House leader moving toward, if he is not already there. Canadians need to be aware that it is not democratic. The government needs to sit down and start working with opposition House leaders in order to negotiate matters.

In the past, numerous government House leaders provided all the bills that they wanted to talk about. They worked with the opposition as to when they would like to see which bills go through. Some are dated, like Bill S-5, which is relatively non-controversial and should be able to pass through relatively quickly. For other bills, such as the Canadian Wheat Board or the pooled pension plan, time allocation should be put off until well after the opposition has been afforded the opportunity to legitimately debate the issue.

I ask the government House leader with all sincerity if he does not see the merit of working with opposition House leaders to have better, more functional House proceedings that would allow for adequate debate on those bills that are important to Canadians.

As I say, we do not have a problem with Bill S-5 going through. Where we have a problem is that this particular government House leader is so focused on making time allocation standard procedure. This is not healthy for the House of Commons.

Bill S-5—Time Allocation MotionFinancial System Review ActGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Madam Speaker, I am a bit challenged on how to answer the question. It is not my practice to discuss what happens in our private House leaders' meetings. However, the member is asking me to do exactly what I did at previous House leaders' meetings, including one at which he was present. Therefore, I am very perplexed.

We do lay out for the other parties the bills that we have and ask them how long they would like to debate them. We seek that kind of agreement. That has been reflected in the motions that we brought forward in the House over the past couple of days seeking unanimous consent. The member's own party has actually been somewhat co-operative in that process, including on this bill. Therefore, I find his question very puzzling. He is asking me to do what we have been doing so that his party could do what he said it would do, which it did in fact do.

Our problem is there is another party whose sole objective is to run up the score and compel time allocation in every case. It is good that its members take that position, that this is a routine bill and a technical bill that should be dealt with quickly. I am glad that the Liberals take that position because in fact it is. However, it is also a critical bill because it is time limited.

The existing act that regulates our banking sector sunsets in April. It is designed to sunset every five years. Some people might think that is extraordinary, but it has actually been praised by world financial authorities as a system that ensures that we are not stuck with old rules, that when we see problems we are compelled to correct them. It has helped to make Canada's banking system the strongest banking system in the world.

However, it means there is an obligation on each and every one of us here in this Parliament to ensure that we do our work, that we do a review, that we send it to committee, and that we do pass legislation before that deadline.