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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

Financial System Review ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, there has been a great deal of concern in terms of the government's management of this particular file and why it has chosen to bring in time allocation. I understand that the deadline is April 20 of this year. That is when the legislation has to have passed.

Given the member's background and what he has commented on, why is it that the government waited so long before bringing forward this legislation? In fact, with respect to many of the points the member referred to, we probably could have better legislation had the government been more co-operative in bringing forward the legislation, thereby allowing for more input and debate inside the House, as opposed to it being brought forward at the last minute.

Why did the government wait so long before it brought the legislation to the House?

Financial System Review ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

Costas Menegakis Conservative Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for the good work he does on the committee. I certainly appreciate his input.

The government wanted to allow enough time for the consultation process to take place. In fact, today we are debating the bill at second reading. Once this bill is passed, and I hope it will be passed unanimously by this House later today, it will go to committee for further study. There will be plenty of opportunity for the bill to be studied further in committee.

It is very important that we understand our role as parliamentarians. We must put partisan politics aside and support important legislation like this that keeps our financial system and our financial sector strong and stable for Canadians.

Financial System Review ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Blackstrap Saskatchewan

Conservative

Lynne Yelich ConservativeMinister of State (Western Economic Diversification)

Mr. Speaker, I would just like clarification. Some of the questions the opposition is asking I believe are outside the scope of the bill. I understand that the statutes that govern the financial sector are reviewed every five years. It appears that some of the opposition to this bill is outside the scope of the bill.

I wonder if the member would clarify that for the benefit of those listening.

Financial System Review ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Costas Menegakis Conservative Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, the only response I can offer is that the opposition has voted down every significant piece of legislation the government has brought forward in this Parliament. This is the first time I have been elected. I am sure that is their goal and their objective. That is the only answer I can offer as to why the questions are outside the scope of what it is we are actually discussing today.

Financial System Review ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Merrifield Conservative Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to speak to Bill S-5, the financial system review act.

The bill has cleared the Senate and is now in the House. Some of my colleagues on the other side are asking why now and why so fast. It is not really fast. The consultation process started in September. We had to use that process to be able to get it to this place. Then we need to get it to committee and move it through so that it can actually be implemented by April of this year. That is very simple to understand.

We have a very strong and stable financial system in Canada. In fact, we came through the financial crisis with flying colours as a country, as did our financial institutions. Why? It is because we do these regular reviews. We ensured we made changes as we moved along and that nothing would be left on the back burner. We are actually moving forward and doing something with it to accommodate Canadians and their interests in the changing world in which we live.

Bill S-5 would make a number of improvements to key areas in the Canadian economy. The financial sector is very stable, and there are reasons for that. It is stable because of these mandatory reviews we are doing. It is also very big. We must realize that 750,000 people work in the system, all in well-paying jobs. It makes up about 7% of the GDP of this country. A lot is made up of the oil sands in my province, being 6% of the GDP in this country, and yet the financial institutions are larger than that and is doing very well.

The bill is not only big but also good. Why would it not be good when we have the number one Minister of Finance in all of the world? That is something that has never happened before to Canada. In fact, we are rated number one in the world in many different areas, especially in the field of financial management. In fact, the World Economic Forum has ranked Canada as having the soundest banking system in the world. Forbes magazine has ranked Canada number one in its annual review as the best country to do business with as we move forward. Bloomberg has recently listed our five big banking institutions in Canada as the world's strongest banks, more so than in any other country in the world.

There is a competitive environment in this place and opposition members do what opposition members do, they oppose.

I have a quote here from a past Liberal finance minister, the now president of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, John Manley, who said:

Our financial system and institutions were tested during the financial crisis and have proved sound. Canada’s banking system is now widely viewed as the most stable and efficient in the world.

That is high praise from a former opposition individual who knows the financial system very well.

Last month, an independent financial stability board appeal review praised the government's swift and effective response to the global financial crisis. We did come through it quite well. In its review, it highlighted the resilience of the financial system that we have as a model for other countries to follow. As Canadians, we should be proud of that.

We must realize that as we went through the financial crisis in Europe there were many problems with a lot of the banks there, as well as south of the border in the United States. If we compare ourselves to our number one trading partner, there was a meltdown of the financial systems. Not one of the financial institutions in Canada failed. Not one failed or required direct government support in the form of cash injections or debt guarantees during the global financial crisis. That is something that did not and does not happen by accident. It happened because there was good management of the Canadian financial systems and it is directly related to what we are doing here today with this legislation.

In fact, the report stated:

This resilience, which was achieved in spite of Canada’s relatively complex regulatory structure, highlights a number of key lessons for other jurisdictions.

What are those lessons that Canada can teach other jurisdictions? The first is to be proactive with targeted macroeconomic policies supported by adequate fiscal space and flexible exchange rates that will help absorb the external shocks.

The second is a prudent banking system management so that we do not become over-leveraged, as has happened in Europe, the United States and other banking systems and sectors. This is particularly important if we are to go through a crisis, such as what is happening around the world. We hope that we are through it now and that we will not revisit it, although what is happening around the world should make us a bit cautious, particularly the debt crisis in Europe and perhaps some overspending in the United States that could impact us in years to come.

The third thing is the comprehensive regulatory supervisory framework that effectively addresses the domestic prudent concerns including, when necessary, adopting regulatory policies that go beyond the international minimum standards.

Those are three lessons that other jurisdictions can learn from.

As the board noted, since 2008, the Conservative government has taken significant steps to make our financial system more stable and to reduce systematic risk to Canadians and to the system. In fact, the first thing we did in the 2008 budget was to modernize the authorities of the Bank of Canada to support the stability of the financial system.

We came through it in glowing fashion, as far as our financial institutions, but in budget 2009 we suggested other changes. Just in case we were to run into problems with our banking system, we wanted to ensure we were able to capitalize our banks so that they would not go into receivership. This is very important. What it really allowed for was, if there was an injection needed into our banking system to sustain it, the Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation would have the flexibility to do that. That is actually a very wise thing. We did not need it, thankfully, and, hopefully, we never will. A bridging institution was what we needed. In banking terms it is called a bridged bank. Bill S-5 includes a number of technical refinements to ensure that the efficient implementation of those bridged bank tools are there.

Budget 2011 also announced our government's intention to establish a legislative framework for covered bonds, which are debt instruments secured by high quality assets, such as residential mortgages. This bill would make it easier for Canadian financial institutions to assess the low cost sources of funding and help to create a robust market for covered bonds in Canada.

Let us look ahead. We have this five year review. It is very important that we do this review, mainly adding to some of the changes that we have made over the last number of years, chiefly technical. One of the changes that would actually make it a little stronger goes back to one of the changes that was made by Liberals in 2001. It would back that off so that any bank that invests in more than 10%--

Financial System Review ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order please. I will stop the member there. He still has two minutes left to conclude his speech.

Black Communities in QuebecStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Maria Mourani Bloc Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, for more than 300 years, Quebeckers from the black communities have been sharing their know-how and talents with Quebec. As a child of Africa, I am proud to honour the memory of those who have distinguished themselves.

In 2011, two remarkable persons passed away. There was Ousseynou Diop, a pioneer of African and Senegalese Montreal, and a host for 25 years at Radio-Canada International. He played an active role in creating the Vues d'Afrique festival in the early 1980s. And there was Papi Djo, a cultural revolutionary who left Haiti for Montreal in the 1960s. He was involved in creating a new Haitian folklore group, Mapou Ginen. In 1979 he returned to Haiti and became a host at Radio-Soleil, a station whose broadcasts helped bring about the fall of the Duvalier regime.

Long live the black communities of Quebec and Happy Valentine's Day to all Quebeckers.

Valentine's DayStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Bruce Stanton Conservative Simcoe North, ON

Mr. Speaker, today we should take the time to give extra attention to our loved ones, wanting them to be our valentine and hoping, with every measure of our being, that they will want us to be theirs.

Today I would like to express my love and gratitude to my incredible family: our eldest daughter, Stephanie, whose determination is there at every turn, and her wonderful children, Sienna and Carter; our only son, Jason, whose kindness and laughter are contagious to everyone he meets, along with his devoted wife, Amanda, and their bright young daughter, Lyla; our daughters, Lauren and Valerie, who grace each and every day for both of us; and finally, Heather, a wife who is without equal, who is an incredible strength for our family and who holds us together.

I am so proud of each and every one of them. I humbly ask on this special day that they be my valentine.

Public TransitStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Mike Sullivan NDP York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, on this Valentine's Day I just want to tell the House that I love public transit. Too bad about Toronto.

Three years of construction has started on the air rail link between Union Station and Pearson Airport. It was a Liberal scheme for a private train that would not cost taxpayers one nickel. It will now cost federal and Ontario taxpayers well over $1 billion and the private operator is long gone.

Is public transit not good for the environment and good for the poor and the middle class to get home quicker from work? Not this one. It is designed to be a premium service for business-class passengers to the airport. Those people do not want to rub shoulders with ordinary Torontonians going to work, so the fares will be high enough to discourage ordinary folk from using it. It will have only two stops, so it will whiz by transit-starved neighbourhoods in Toronto.

We will be the only country in the world running diesel trains to an airport. They will actually pollute more than the cars they replace.

The federal government needs to step in, demand that it be electric and that it serve the taxpayers who are paying for it.

It is a great opportunity for the government to help Mayor Ford put in rapid transit that does not take up roadways.

AgricultureStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, this past summer I was excited to represent the hon. Minister of Agriculture in presenting a $261,000 grant for a new innovative program occurring in my riding of Okanagan--Coquihalla.

The funding helped support a new food packaging technology developed in partnership with the Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre. This technology can greatly extend the shelf life of fresh fruit and produce. A longer shelf life also means more economical shipping options will soon be available to fruit growers throughout the Okanagan Valley.

Why is that exciting? On February 9, our Prime Minister was in China and I was pleased to learn that a new trade agreement was signed that will open up the Chinese market to many Canadian foods, including cherries. In my riding, we not only make some of the greatest wines but we also grow some of the world's best cherries.

This is great news for my riding and a great example of how our government supports innovation and technology in the agricultural sector. This leadership creates jobs and helps grow our local economies.

Ocean RangerStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Liberal Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

Mr. Speaker, thirty years ago tonight a tragedy began to unfold. Thirty years ago a winter's gale spawned itself on the North Atlantic sending sea states to 70 foot waves, pushed up by winds of over 100 knots.

As evening rolled into night, the semi-submersible drill rig, the Ocean Ranger, capsized in the North Atlantic 267 kilometres east of Cape Spear, Newfoundland. Eighty-four souls were lost, taken forever. None were spared.

To remind us of our responsibility to the lost, we still wear the scar of that tragedy even though it was inflicted a generation ago. It was a tragedy that could have been prevented, or so found a royal commission on the sinking.

So, today, as we in this Parliament assemble to discuss what is reasonable, what is responsible and what is needed to live up to the promise we made to those 84 souls, expediency can never be allowed to trump safety; no man, woman or child can ever be lost to a cold calculation of financial efficiency; and, if we fail, we prove that we can be more brutal than the sea could ever prove to be.

Firearms RegistryStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Moore Conservative Fundy Royal, NB

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to ending the long gun registry. We are moving forward by abolishing this wasteful and ineffective program that has left Canadian taxpayers on the hook for close to $2 billion.

Over the last decade, we have seen that the registry does not stop criminals from committing acts of violence because, as we know, it targets the wrong people. It targets law-abiding Canadians. Since its creation, the long gun registry has unfairly targeted the residents of my riding of Fundy Royal and has done nothing to prevent the serious crimes that have taken place in many of our communities. Instead, it targets hunters, farmers and sports shooters.

Our government is committed to putting the safety of Canadians first with real action on crime that delivers real results. We will continue to fight for safer streets and safer communities and we will do that by targeting real criminals.

Our government has always been clear. We will end the long gun registry and we will focus on real criminals who commit real crimes.

Bathurst Regional HospitalStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to recognize the 40th anniversary of the regional hospital in Bathurst. Over the years, the hospital has expanded and has diversified its services to the public. In 1972, the hospital employed 17 doctors and 525 other staff members. In 2012, it has 103 doctors and 1,077 other staff members, not to mention the volunteers who have provided support to hospital staff over the years.

The Bathurst regional hospital offers a broad range of health care services, including the provincial cochlear implant follow-up program, the bariatric clinic and the surgery program for morbidly obese patients. The hospital is also home to the Joslin Diabetes Center, which is the only clinic of its kind in Canada.

I would like to thank all the employees and volunteers at the Bathurst regional hospital for their dedication to serving the people of Acadia and the Chaleur region.

I Love Me ClubStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Patrick Brown Conservative Barrie, ON

Mr. Speaker, on January 25, 12-year-old Mackenzie Oliver from my riding of Barrie, Ontario was named as one of the 12 final recipients for the 2011 Ontario Junior Citizen of the Year Award out of 176 nominees.

When Mackenzie was just seven years old, she found a grade three student crying in the school washroom. Bullied by other children and called fat, the little girl was trying to force herself to be ill. Mackenzie comforted her and told her there was nothing wrong with her, she was beautiful and she was loved. Mackenzie went home that night and told her mom about the girl and how she wanted to reach out to others being bullied. Her mom suggested starting a club at the school. Therefore, Mackenzie started her own organization and called it the I Love Me Club.

I am proud to announce that the I Love Me Club currently has 621 members in Barrie and since 2007, Mackenzie has raised over $35,000 for local charities. Currently, she has been focusing on fundraising to finance a school in Kenya. It is my pleasure to pay tribute to this remarkable young lady.

ScoutingStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Chungsen Leung Conservative Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to stand today to welcome Scouts Canada and L' Association des Scouts du Canada which are in Ottawa today on their 100th anniversary.

Scouts is one of Canada's leading youth organizations, offering programs for boys and girls in towns and cities across this great land. Scouts Canada has experienced three successive years of significant growth. Today, Scouts Canada is a highly diverse co-educational organization with over 100,000 members nationwide, representing many faiths and cultures. Scouts offers programming in over 19 languages reflecting Canada's multicultural landscape.

Scouting is both a program and lifestyle that has a positive impact on the lives of thousands of children and youth, focusing on the integrated physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual development of the individual. Scouts Canada has made an enormous contribution to its communities and in the process, its members are learning valuable life skills and becoming better citizens.

I was a scout for eight years, involved in the scouting movement in Taiwan, Japan, Canada and the United States. Scouting has certainly enriched my life.

I ask all parliamentarians to rise today to recognize Scouts Canada and L' Association des Scouts du Canada, their service to our nation, and to remind members of the reception later today.

PovertyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, more than 20 years ago the House pledged to eradicate poverty among Canadian children by 2000. We are now 12 years past our deadline and one in ten children still live in poverty in Canada. While we have doubled the size of our economy, the income of Canada's poorest families has stayed the same.

Tomorrow I will be tabling a motion, seconded by MPs across party lines, denouncing the shameful failure of the House to fulfill its pledge, due to a cruel and selfish lack of political will for which all members should apologize. There is clear evidence that poverty, particularly child poverty, increases the cost to our health, education and justice systems by a sum greater than the cost of eliminating it. We are all culpable.

Today many of our colleagues are taking part in a discussion about how to address poverty in Canada at an event hosted by the Dignity for All campaign. All members of the House should join in the conversation about how and why we should eliminate child poverty and all poverty as soon as possible.

International TradeStatements By Members

February 14th, 2012 / 2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Cannan Conservative Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, following the Prime Minister's successful trade mission to China, where several agreements were reached, including a foreign investment protection promotion agreement that would deepen the trade and investment ties between Canada and China, the hard-working Minister of International Trade is yet leading another trade visit in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei.

This visit is part of Canada's interest in joining the negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, otherwise known as the TPP. At the same time, Canadian officials are also meeting with their U.S. colleagues in Washington, D.C., regarding the trans-Pacific partnership.

Our government is committed to opening new markets for Canadian businesses in Asia, which we know will sustain and create jobs and prosperity for Canadian workers and their families.

We are increasing Canada's ties in the economies of the Asia-Pacific region through our pro-trade plan in order to bring more jobs and opportunity and greater prosperity to hard-working Canadians in every region of our country.

Ocean RangerStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Ryan Cleary NDP St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, my statement begins with a question. “And whose wish never fails to find my vacant heart on Valentine’s?” That question was written by the great Newfoundland songwriter, Ron Hynes, in his song, Atlantic Blue. The song is a tribute to the 84 men who went down with the Ocean Ranger. It is their wishes that never fail to find vacant hearts on Valentine's.

In the early morning hours of February 15, 30 years ago this evening, the indestructible Ocean Ranger went down off the coast of Newfoundland in a vicious storm. The sinking of the Ocean Ranger resonates to this day among the family and friends of those who were lost among people who were strangers to them.

Marine tragedies are a reality of life for people who live and die by the sea, but the Ocean Ranger is a reminder of the danger of lax regulation, of the danger of assuming the unthinkable could never happen, a reminder of the importance of search and rescue because, 30 years later, needless tragedies continue to mount off our coast.

I end with a quote from another great Canadian songwriter, Gordon Lightfoot, “Does any one know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours?”

Canada-U.S. RelationsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, before Christmas travel began this season, our government announced that passengers travelling to the United States would soon be able to use NEXUS cards in order to expedite screening at Canada's eight largest airports.

The Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities announced that, as of tomorrow, Nexus program participants will be able to use their Nexus cards in designated, faster security lines when flying to the United States. This announcement comes as part of the action plan on perimeter security and economic competitiveness announced by the Prime Minister and President Obama.

This agreement will expand competitiveness, reduce hassle and costs and create jobs for Canadians.

We have signed trade agreements with nine different countries. In the next two years we hope to conclude agreements with Europe and India, making us one of the most competitive, free trade environments in the entire world.

Vaclav HavelStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to the heroic memory of Vaclav Havel, an inspirational colleague and friend for over 30 years, the architect of charter 77, the human rights manifesto that inspired not only the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, but the march of democracy in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, and more recently, charter 08 of human rights defenders in China, whose words and writings moved and mobilized the powerless as they exposed and brought down the politburos of the powerful, who chaired a dissidents gathering five years ago that inspired prospective dissidents of the Arab awakening, who wrote movingly and compellingly of the responsibility to protect, not only in terms of the responsibility to prevent, but the responsibility to remember, le devoir de memoir, as he wrote recently in the introduction to a book I co-edited, The Responsibility to Protect.

May his memory serve as a blessing for us all.

Member for PapineauStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Merv Tweed Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, the member for Papineau grew up hearing about a strong, united Canada, but just last week he said he would favour Quebec independence. When asked if he would consider it, he said, “oh, yes, absolutely”.

While our Conservative government is committed to keeping Canada strong, united and free, the member opposite is contemplating reasons for Quebec to separate from Canada.

Our country is more united than at any time since the centennial year. We are proud to be Canadians and proud to live in the greatest country in the world.

Since 2006, our government has strengthened national unity by recognizing that the Québécois form a nation within a united Canada, restoring fiscal balance with the provinces and establishing a formal role for Quebec at UNESCO.

Our government will continue to ensure Canada remains strong, united and free.

Will the member opposite clarify his position or recant his support for an independent Quebec nation?

Government AppointmentsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, Valentine's Day came early for Tim O'Connor and Gary Valcour.

Tim, who was the campaign manager for the finance minister's wife, was appointed to the Farm Products Council of Canada. Gary, who is the minister's Conservative riding president, will be heading up the new Oshawa port authority.

In return for these patronage roses, it looks like these Conservative insiders will rubber-stamp the construction and receive $25 million for an ethanol refinery on the Oshawa waterfront. This plan is opposed by local councillors, but the owner of the company, Tim and his brothers, are big Conservative donors.

The people of Oshawa are asking this. How much money does it take to get on the finance minister's valentine's list?

Rewarding friends and political insiders is what the government does best. It is just too bad it does not have more love for the citizens on this special day.

Firearms RegistryStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, it may be Valentine's Day, but the NDP really has gone too far with its hug-a-thug ways. It has no problem standing up for criminals while at the same time punishing law-abiding farmers, hunters and rural Canadians in every region of the country who use firearms for legitimate purposes.

The NDP has a chance to vote with its constituents. In fact, the NDP leadership candidates from Churchill and Skeena—Bulkley Valley have a chance to vote with their constituents and vote to scrap the long gun registry, a registry that needlessly and unfairly targets law-abiding Canadians while doing absolutely nothing to reduce crime or strengthen our efforts to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.

Since it was created, the long gun registry has done nothing but waste taxpayer dollars. This money could have been used to crack down on real criminals and real crime.

Our government will vote to scrap the long gun registry. The NDP should listen to its constituents and do the same.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, when the cat's away, the mice will play. While the Prime Minister was out of the country, the Minister of Public Safety let it be known that Canada is in the market for information obtained through torture.

Does the Prime Minister realize that the message here is that Canada does not think torture is all that bad?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have a highly detailed protocol for ensuring the safety of Canadians under any circumstances. That is this government's policy.