This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #84 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was agreement.

Topics

Senate Reform ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Ève Péclet NDP La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Madam Speaker, the Conservatives introduced this bill without consulting the provinces. To amend the Constitution, the provinces and the people of Canada must be consulted. Regardless of the outcome of the referendum, the people of Canada must be consulted.

A 2011 survey showed that 61% of Canadians were in favour of holding a referendum. The government, therefore, knows full well what Canadians want, but that does not necessarily correspond with what the government wants. The government insists on avoiding the issue. It did exactly the same thing in the case of the Canadian Wheat Board. The government knew full well that farmers wanted a referendum and what the result of that referendum would be, but it decided not to hold the referendum because it was not in line with its principles. Yes, the government is refusing to listen to and consult the people of Canada.

Senate Reform ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, the Constitution is very clear. It says that in order for there to be a constitutional amendment to abolish the Senate, which is what the NDP wants to do, every province has to agree to it. Even under the NDP's proposal of holding a referendum, if the province of Quebec said no, that it saw some value to the Senate, that means the premier in the Manitoba legislative assembly would not support the change to the Constitution that would be required.

Does the member not see that her policy would not work? She would not be able to get all 10 provinces—

Senate Reform ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

Order. The hon. member for La Pointe-de-l'Île.

Senate Reform ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Ève Péclet NDP La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Madam Speaker, I know exactly what the Constitution says. I studied law. I have a law degree and I know exactly what the Constitution says.

There is a difference between the provinces having to agree together and consulting the public. The member is putting everything in the same basket. We have to consult the public and then the provinces would negotiate together. He is putting the two principles together in the same basket and that is not the same thing.

Senate Reform ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Raymond Côté NDP Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Madam Speaker, I admire the member for La Pointe-de-l'Île's spirit. She really stressed that the Liberals would be encroaching on provincial jurisdiction. With respect to the voting system, it is no secret that the government has downloaded all responsibility onto the provinces, with very different systems from one province to the next, and has chosen to ignore the outcome. I would like my colleague to comment on the pitfalls that would create.

Senate Reform ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

The hon. member for La Pointe-de-l'Île for a brief question.

Senate Reform ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Ève Péclet NDP La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Madam Speaker, regardless of a given province's voting system, and regardless of what the provinces do, this bill will not fix the problem. The Prime Minister will still decide who gets into the Senate. It will not matter how many millions of dollars the provinces spend; it will not matter if voters go to the polls. In the end, the government will refuse to listen to the voters.

Air CanadaStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Ève Péclet NDP La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Madam Speaker, last Friday, I attended a press conference in Montreal held by the two unions that represent Air Canada employees. Here is the situation: this government refuses to obey a law passed by Brian Mulroney's Conservative government in 1988.

Air Canada is moving jobs from Montreal to Toronto, even though the law stipulates that the head office must remain in Montreal. A number of employees have already lost their jobs and more will lose theirs in the coming years. The NDP is determined to force the government to be accountable to Canadians and obey the law.

Air Canada's head office must remain in Montreal, and the company must stop moving jobs from Montreal to Toronto.

Conservative Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

John Williamson Conservative New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Madam Speaker, Canadians place immense trust in us to act in their best interest and to, at all times, work diligently for the betterment of our country.

As a Conservative, I believe that government does not always know best. Innovation does not come from a government bureaucracy but springs from hard-working Canadians. Solutions to our toughest problems come from individuals with their God given freedom to thrive.

Government has a very important responsibility to provide a level playing field with fair rules that apply to all. That is why I am proud of the Conservative record. We have lowered taxes. We respect personal freedoms. We take the tough action needed to keep our communities safe and ensure criminals are put where they belong.

We do not practise crony capitalism and we do not pick economic winners and losers. We trust Canadians with their family's best interests and we work to pass laws that reflect the timeless Canadian values of faith, freedom and family.

We know that Canada is the best nation in the world today, tomorrow and always.

Elevation to CardinalStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

Madam Speaker, words can hardly describe my feelings as I sat in the majestic splendour of the Vatican for the elevation of a favourite son of Guelph, Thomas Collins, to cardinal.

Born and raised in Guelph, Cardinal Collins demonstrated, through his leadership in the archdioceses of Edmonton and Toronto, a deep spiritual conviction and intellect matched only by incredible moral strength and humility. His entire life has been dedicated to the service of his community and, through his words and actions, he has shown the value and importance of servant leadership. When I first heard the then Bishop Collins expand on this, he revealed an absolute dedication to the service of others before self, something we must try to emulate as members of this House and an important lesson that we all too often forget.

I was fortunate to join an immensely proud and elated Canadian delegation in Rome on February 18 to witness the deeply spiritual and exceedingly moving ceremony installing Cardinal Collins as a prince of the church.

The Roman Catholic Church will be well-served by his counsel, just as Canada continues to be well-served by his leadership.

Kootenay Ski HillsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

David Wilks Conservative Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Madam Speaker, in February and March of this year, the ski hills of Kootenay, British Columbia, are hosting some important downhill ski competitions.

Kimberley Alpine Resort hosted the International Paralympic speed event, which had several world-class athletes, such as Josh Dueck and Sam Daniels, using these races as a tune-up for a world cup event.

That Paralympic World Cup event is being held at Panorama Mountain Ski Village near Invermere, B.C., between March 13 and 16. Four events will take place: the super “G”, super combined, giant slalom and slalom.

Finally, the Golden Nordic Ski Club in Golden, B.C. is hosting the Master's National Nordic championships between March 12 and 17, with over 250 master skiers from Canada and the United States competing for the top prizes.

Good luck to all the competitors and enjoy your stay with us in the Rockies.

Oscar AwardsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Tyrone Benskin NDP Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Madam Speaker, Canada shines brightly this morning as the 84th Oscar awards saw a number of Canadians take home gold for technical and artistic merit.

However, a special and heartfelt congratulation goes out to Montreal's native son and colleague, Mr. Christopher Plummer, recognized as the 2012 best supporting actor.

From stage to big screen and flat screen, Mr. Plummer has demonstrated the depth of talent Canada has always had to offer. Having worked with him more than once, I can attest to the gift that he truly is to his fellow performers.

Alongside this much honoured Canadian are others who continue to showcase the wide-ranging talents of Canadian creators: Andrew Clinton, Mark Elendt, Ian Cavén, Raigo Alas, Greg Marsden, Michael Lewis and Michael Vellekoop, winners in the science and technology categories.

And let us not forget the creative team behind Monsieur Lazhar, which represented Canada and Quebec with great distinction. These are Quebeckers.

These are Canadians, ambassadors of the creative, technical and scientific art of storytelling. I congratulate--

Oscar AwardsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

The hon. member for Essex.

Automotive IndustryStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Conservative Essex, ON

Madam Speaker, this Conservative government has done more for Canada's auto industry than any previous federal government.

Our auto action plan, launched in 2008, has invested significantly, including at Ford Essex Engine, to create jobs through flex manufacturing and improved research. We have harmonized regulations, invested toward a new bridge at Windsor-Detroit to boost trade and negotiated an historic beyond-the-border agreement with the U.S., measures that secure a future for blue collar auto workers in Canada, measures voted against or opposed by NDP MPs.

At the height of the great recession, it was our government, not opposition New Democrats, that stood up for Canadian workers and their families by voting to save Chrysler, GM and 600,000 high paying jobs across Ontario. We have resisted NDP calls for high carbon and corporate taxes that would have killed the futures of auto workers by killing their jobs.

It is the Conservatives, not the NDP, who stand up for Canadian auto workers.

Shipping IndustryStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Madam Speaker, last week we were reminded again that quiet, focused, hard work pays off for the country.

For the last year, 72,000 jobs related to the St. Lawrence Seaway have been on the knife's edge as a result of New York's unattainable shipping regulations on ballast water. After vigorous Canadian intervention with the state, New York has now decided to accept uniform regulations that will protect the environment and save jobs at the same time.

In short, jobs are saved. I thank the Minister of Transport for assigning me to work with him on the file and for his direct collaboration with the Obama administration and Brooklyn senator, Diane Savino, for working with me as well. I thank the exceptional public servants at Transport Canada for their second to none world-class knowledge on the file.

Ballast water is not exactly a sexy issue but it is an important one to the thousands and thousands of families who rely on the shipping industry for their jobs. We will and we have fought for every single one of them.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Marie-Claude Morin NDP Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Madam Speaker, last week I met 13 secondary IV students in the sports program at Fadette secondary school in Saint-Hyacinthe. These students are worried and unhappy, and they shared with me their concerns and questions about the government's inaction on climate change.

I left their classroom with letters addressed to the Minister of the Environment. In these letters, the students express their strong opposition to Canada's withdrawal from the Kyoto protocol. Their concerns about the environment are shared by millions of Canadians. Their teacher, Émilie Ferland, has done a fantastic job of guiding them through this project.

It is crucial to raise awareness among our youth, no matter what their age, of the importance of citizens' opinions in our country's decision-making process. These students, who are just 15 or 16 years old, understand this and are asking the government to make more responsible decisions.

Religious FreedomStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Dechert Conservative Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Madam Speaker, as the democratic process continues in Egypt, our government continues to be worried about the mistreatment of the Coptic community.

The violence against the Coptic community must stop. Tensions have led to violence and, most recently, forcible home evictions. I share the concerns of the Canadian Coptic community that is worried to hear about the recent reports that several Coptic families have been forcibly evicted from a village in northern Egypt.

I urge the Egyptian authorities to take the necessary steps to ensure a peaceful democratic transition. There should be no place in the new Egypt for repressive and violent acts on members of religious minorities. Freedom of religion is a fundamental human right and a vital building block for healthy democracies. People of faith must be able to practice and worship in peace and security.

Canada continues to support the ongoing democratic transition in Egypt and urges those writing the country's new constitution to safeguard the principles of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law for all Egyptians.

Public TransitStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash NDP Davenport, ON

Madam Speaker, the greater Toronto area is home to 5.5 million people, 17% of the Canadian population, 40% of corporate head offices and one-fifth of Canada's GDP.

In other words, what happens in Toronto and how it happens matters except, it seems, to the Conservative government.

The GTA loses $6 billion a year due to gridlock and yet the government will not endorse the NDP's national transit strategy. What is worse, it has not come up with its own plan.

In the midst of an affordable housing crisis, the government will not endorse the NDP's national housing strategy. What is worse, it has not come up with its own plan.

When it comes to confusing voters about which polling station they should go to at election time, in that case the Conservatives come up with their own plan.

The NDP has come up with our own plans for housing and transit. Will Canadians have to wait until 2015 and an NDP government before they see real leadership for cities like Toronto?

Human RightsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Rickford Conservative Kenora, ON

Mr. Speaker, Christian congregations in the great Kenora riding are extremely distressed regarding the unjust persecution of Pastor Nadarkhani and are united in prayer on his behalf.

Indeed, our government is deeply concerned by reports that the Iranian authorities may imminently execute Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani on charges of apostasy.

Freedom of religion or belief is a fundamental right recognized by the international community. Pastor Nadarkhani's case is another example of the regime's utter disregard for human rights and its failure to meet the internationally recognized norms. Iran consistently violates the human rights of religious and other minority groups.

We call on Iran to release prisoners, such as Pastor Nadarkhani, who face execution for charges contrary to Iran's own laws and constitution, and to reverse its current course and meet its international human rights obligations.

Short Circuit DreamStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Liberal Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize a remarkable young man from Marystown in my riding of Random—Burin—St. George's.

Now 19 years old, at the age of 14, William Short wanted to lift the spirits of terminally ill children so he formed the charity, Short Circuit Dream, to raise funds to grant them a dream. To date, the charity has granted 12 dreams that included TV sets, video games and computers to a bedroom makeover.

William's kindness has been recognized with various awards, including the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award, the Knight of the Year Award, the URock Volunteer Award, the finalist for TD Canada Trust Community Leadership Scholarship, the Loran Award national finalist and the Knights of Columbus state scholarship.

Last year he received the Newfoundland and Labrador Knights of Columbus Award and was selected as one of the 10 provincial finalists for the Experience Genie title, finishing in an impressive third place.

William is currently a student at Memorial University in St. John's.

I ask all members of the House to join me in saluting William Short whose thoughtfulness has made a difference in the lives of terminally ill children.

Italian CampaignStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Royal Galipeau Conservative Ottawa—Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, Saturday marked the 67th anniversary of the end of Canada's involvement in the Italian campaign. It is important to recall the courage of the Canadians and the sacrifices they made in defence of our rights and freedoms.

Canadian troops played a crucial role in one of the longest battles of World War II. Of the 93,000 Canadians who fought on the front lines of that long campaign, almost 6,000 made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of world freedom.

They fought in the rugged mountains, flooded rivers and rubble filled streets of Sicily from July 10 to August 6, 1943. On September 3, they landed on the Italian mainland. Canadians fought a bitter battle until February 25, 1945, when the major Canadian presence in the Italian theatre ended.

We honour this legacy by caring for the World War II veterans who are still with us and those who have come after them. We stand with the veterans and their families when they need it. They can count on our care and support.

Lest we forget.

Conservative Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, The Conservatives were elected on a promise to clean up the Liberal style scandals of the past. There is the first election fraud. Then they got caught trying to buy an election with a big money shell game. In fact, not four months ago, the Prime Minister's Conservative Party had to plead guilty to election fraud. That is twice.

Now Canadians see they have been at it again. Misleading voters about their polling station is shameful. It is wrong and it is illegal. This is also election fraud.

Canadians demand answers. They deserve better than another five year runaround by the Prime Minister before their next inevitable guilty plea.

The Prime Minister has it within his power to get to the bottom of this today, to identify the guilty parties and to ensure that they are prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Or, the Prime Minister will have proven that in no time at all he has become exactly that which he used to loathe.

Via RailStatements By Members

February 27th, 2012 / 2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Wallace Conservative Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, as the member of Parliament for Burlington and on behalf of all Canadians, our government offers our sincere condolences to the family and friends of the three VIA employees who died when a VIA Rail passenger train derailed in Burlington yesterday: Ken Simmonds, 56 years old, and Peter Snarr, 52 years old, both from Toronto and both with more than 30 years of service as locomotive engineers with CN and VIA. The third individual was Patrick Robinson, 40 years old, of Cornwall, Ontario, a new VIA employee who was on board as an observer as part of his training program.

One accident is one too many. We wish a speedy recovery to all VIA passengers who were injured.

I thank the first responders to the scene yesterday who clearly did their very best to address the immediate needs of those involved. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those affected by this tragic accident.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, thousands of Canadians received fraudulent telephone calls during the last election from individuals claiming to be from Elections Canada, telling people to vote at the wrong place. There were even people who got phone calls in the middle of the night. The government must take action.

What is the Prime Minister going to do to prevent these fraudulent tactics? What is he really going to do to restore people's confidence and increase, rather than decrease, the voter turnout? That is the issue: people's confidence in the election process.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative Party of Canada has denied and still denies such allegations. When we become aware of such information, we pass it on to Elections Canada. I encourage the opposition to do the same if it has this sort of information.