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House of Commons Hansard #76 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was creators.

Topics

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of the national anthem led by the hon. member for Cape Breton—Canso.

[Members sang the national anthem]

Team Ontario Golf ProgramStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Bryan Hayes Conservative Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today with the pleasure of congratulating one of my young constituents on a great achievement.

Zaafina Naqvi has accomplished an outstanding feat at the young age of 14. This past July, she won the Ontario bantam golf championship held in Cambridge, Ontario.

She is the first resident of Sault Ste. Marie to ever earn a berth in the prestigious under 17 Team Ontario golf program. This program provides support, guidance and training to aspiring athletes. I would like to extend my congratulations to Zaafina for earning a place in this prestigious program. On behalf of the Canadian government, I would also like to wish her the best of luck in her training.

As an avid golfer myself, I am happy to see such excellence displayed by members of my own constituency. I hope that this program provides her with the tools necessary to take her golf game to the next level.

Bagotville AirportStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Dany Morin NDP Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Saguenay region has had a civilian airport since 1942. Over the past few years, the City of Saguenay, which owns the airport, has been improving airport facilities, tripling the runway and apron area, building a new road and increasing the number of parking spaces.

There is just one thing missing; a customs service would enable the airport to reach its full potential. Thanks to the presence of the Bagotville military base, the airport site boasts exceptional infrastructure for a regional airport: a control tower, precision radar, a weather station, a round-the-clock rescue service and level 5 fire service.

A customs service in Bagotville would not only enable the people of Chicoutimi—Le Fjord to travel internationally, it would also constitute a major economic driver for the entire Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region. It would open the whole region up to the world. I am therefore asking the Minister of Transport to be proactive. It is high time the Canada Border Services Agency gave Bagotville a customs service.

Toronto Garrison Officer's BallStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Wladyslaw Lizon Conservative Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I had the honour and privilege to attend the 2012 Toronto Garrison Officer's Ball, hosted by the Queen's York Rangers.

This was an important event to launch a year of celebrations for the bicentennial anniversary of the War of 1812. The Garrison Ball brought us back to a time of historical significance to Canada and our regiments. Canada's historic regiment has a story that has been linked to Canadian and North American history for over 250 years. The Rangers trace their roots back through some of the most notable conflicts and events in our history.

The Garrison Ball was a resounding success in raising funds for the Wounded Warriors. I would like to take this time today to thank the men, women and families of the Canadian armed forces for their immense sacrifices at home and around the globe in the name of freedom and democracy.

I wish to congratulate and thank both the Wounded Warriors and the Queen's York Rangers for their continued support of our military and communities.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday afternoon near the town of Killam, Alberta, two RCMP officers were shot while fulfilling their duties to their community.

One officer was shot in the back, the other was shot in the arm, shoulder and leg. Thanks to the quick and efficient response by emergency services, both officers were airlifted to hospitals and are now recovering in stable condition.

The day could have taken a far more tragic turn for the officers and their families. This is a harsh reminder of the danger that our RCMP officers face in their communities and of the sacrifice that the men and women of the RCMP are prepared to make in the line of duty.

We thank these two brave officers for their continuing service. Our hearts and prayers are with them and their families at this time. We wish them a speedy and full recovery. We await the conclusion of the investigation and hope that those responsible will be brought to justice.

Jean PigottStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Royal Galipeau Conservative Ottawa—Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is with great emotion that I rise here today to pay tribute to a member of the 30th Parliament, the late Jean Pigott.

Jean was a distinguished MP for Ottawa-Carleton, an Officer of the Order of Canada, confidante of prime ministers and paupers alike, a trusted daughter of the late Cecil Morrison, a loving wife for Arthur Pigott, a caring mother for John, David and M.J., and a doting grandmother.

At the national, provincial and local level, she acted with authority and determination in order to always get the best value for taxpayers' money.

The first woman chair of the NCC, she enhanced the national capital region for the enjoyment of all Canadians and increased its national and international significance.

She cared about people and we cared about her. I want to tell her sisters, Grete and Gay, that I miss her too. Arthur knows that she had the best cookie jar in town. I wish him well in this hour of sorrow.

TibetStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston NDP Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to stand in solidarity with the people of Tibet.

Our Prime Minister currently is on day two of a four day visit to the People's Republic of China. It is critical that while there he take a strong stand for human rights in China and in Tibet.

As many as 19 Tibetans, primarily Buddhist monks and nuns living under Chinese control, have set themselves on fire in the past year alone to protest the Chinese occupation of their land. It is important that the people of Tibet know that Canadians are with them in their struggle for freedom. Moreover, it is crucial that while in China, our Prime Minister treat the issue of human rights as the core commitment his government claims it to be and not as some kind of frill, secondary to trade.

As the NDP human rights critic, I say Tibetans should not be forced to live in circumstances so bad that they would rather set themselves on fire than to go on living under Chinese rule.

Firearms RegistryStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Garry Breitkreuz Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, it has taken many long years but, finally, law-abiding firearms owners can see the end in sight.

For some 18 years, I have been defending the interests of law-abiding gun owners in Canada. The long gun registry has been targeting the wrong people, and not the criminal use of firearms. Responsible long gun owners would no longer be forced to expose their names and addresses in a computer database that has been hacked by criminals over 300 times by the RCMP's own admission. The registry data must be erased.

Today, it is estimated that fewer than half the guns in Canada are actually in the registry. Moreover, the data is riddled with errors and omissions. Front-line police officers refuse to rely on it when answering domestic calls because it can get them killed.

With the registry gone, we would be able to focus our tax dollars on more effective crime control. One witness at the Bill C-19 hearings hoped:

Bill C-19 will serve as a memorial of sorts, a tombstone marking the final resting place of wrong-headed policy-making.

Amen to that.

Mental HealthStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, today, I encourage all Canadians to support mental health.

At least one in five Canadians will suffer from mental illness in their lifetime. Unfortunately, the reality is that most will not seek treatment because of the stigma surrounding the disease. There is so much that we can do to support those with mental illness so that they do not have to struggle alone.

Today is Bell Let's Talk Day. For every long distance phone call or text message sent by Bell customers, Bell will donate 5¢ to programs dedicated to mental health. Last year, over $3 million was donated to support mental health in Canada as a direct result of Let's Talk Day.

Other organizations, like the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health, are doing their part to raise awareness about mental illness.

This initiative, and those like it, send the message that Canadians want to listen and we want to help. I congratulate businesses and organizations like these for their dedication to this cause.

I encourage all of us to join in the dialogue today and to support mental health.

PensionsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Marc-André Morin NDP Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would remind the members opposite that the Prime Minister and his government are improvising at every turn and saying things to scare anyone approaching retirement. One of my constituents has worked hard her whole life to raise her son and even send him to university. She will be 65 in May and she is extremely worried. She is wondering what will happen to her and how much longer she will have to work.

If the Prime Minister has no intention of touching that, he needs to say so unequivocally, because millions of Canadians are worried at this time and are wondering what their futures hold.

Human RightsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Adler Conservative York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, Today, I have the honour and privilege of welcoming Boris Nemtsov to Ottawa. Mr. Nemtsov was deputy prime minister of the Russian Federation from 1997 to 1998. He was also the youngest governor in the history of the Russian Federation.

As an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin, he was co-founder of the political party Union of Right Forces. Mr. Nemtsov has been a significant opposition political leader in the Russian Federation. He has been active in promoting free speech, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

In 2008, Mr. Nemtsov co-founded Solidarity, a new pro-democracy opposition movement. He was one of the organizers of last week's pro-democracy rally in Moscow, which attracted tens of thousands of people. Mr. Nemtsov has devoted his life to championing for democracy and human rights.

As the Prime Minister of Canada has said, one of the human rights we treasure most is the right to freedom of expression. Without it, there can be no democracy, no free press, no free enterprise and no free exchange of ideas, the universal catalyst for human rights.

All of my best wishes to Mr. Nemtsov in his efforts to make the Russian Federation a more free and--

Human RightsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please.

The hon. member for Joliette.

Women and PovertyStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Francine Raynault NDP Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the issue of poverty concerns us all personally as parliamentarians and even more so as women. When we look closely at the situation in Canada, there is cause for concern when the Conservative government is planning to make cuts to the old age security programs. Poverty hits women harder than any other group in our society.

In 2003, 150,000 older single women were already living in poverty. What is more, poverty is widespread among women who are widowed, separated or divorced, women who have recently immigrated to Canada, and those who do not have a private pension plan or who have a low income. Older single women account for 60% of all seniors living below the poverty line. Surely such observations should give us reason not only to reflect, but also to react and take concrete measures in order to rectify the situation.

Police OfficersStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, every day, across our nation, police officers face life-threatening situations as they protect our families and communities.

Yesterday afternoon, we learned that two RCMP officers in Alberta, Constable Sidney Gaudette and Constable Sheldon Shah, were shot and seriously wounded during the execution of a standard search warrant. One of the officers is a young father and recently married. Our prayers and thoughts are with these officers and their families and we wish them a speedy and full recovery.

I invite the House to join me in expressing our utmost gratitude to these officers and to all the men and women who serve as police officers across our nation for their continued courage and bravery as they serve our communities. Their enduring dedication and commitment demand our highest admiration and respect.

Mental HealthStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, Bell Canada is sponsoring a nationwide conversation today on mental health. I want to thank it for this initiative.

I suffered from depression when I was younger, and I greatly appreciate the social change being encouraged by companies like Bell Canada.

Mental illness is treatable and curable. It affects every family in this country. It costs billions of dollars to the economy and we need to all join together to help each another. The conversation starts with looking each other in the eye and asking “How are you doing?”, and then listening with care and attention when the answer is more than “Fine, thanks”.

It means national and provincial strategies on mental illness and suicide prevention to help our kids, our adolescents who are straight and gay, people coping with life crises of so many kinds and even more serious challenges that face literally hundreds of thousands of Canadians.

We must be leaders in listening, in caring and, finally, in acting decisively on an issue that touches all of us.

London North CentreStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Susan Truppe Conservative London North Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, here we go again. The opposition has once again painted a dark, dreary picture of my beautiful city of London, Ontario. The closure of Electro-Motive Diesel was, indeed, unfortunate and my heart goes out to all those affected. However, my constituents and all those affected deserve the facts.

As London economist, Mike Moffatt, recently pointed out, Caterpillar was not given a tax break from this government. Rather, it was a capital cost allowance increase for the entire industry, an increase that all parties, including the NDP, supported at committee.

Since 2008, our Conservative government has invested over $257 million in the City of London. Since being elected last May, I have been pleased to deliver nearly $20 million for organizations across the riding of London North Centre.

Our government is taking real action to create and sustain jobs, strengthen our local economy and work with those affected by EMD. I am proud of my city.

Committees of the HouseStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash NDP Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, anytime the Conservatives hear something they do not like, they just run and hide.

Yesterday, in the heritage committee, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage blew a gasket and ordered all eight witnesses out of the committee room. It did not matter that they had come from all across the country to give expert opinion. What seemed more important was the parliamentary secretary's own personal temper tantrum.

Unfortunately, that is how the government treats the important legislative work that should be done in committees. Committee after committee is shut down and held in camera anytime the Conservatives do not want Canadians to know what is going on.

Canadians elected all of us but the government believes it is entitled to shut down those voices. It is an insult to Canadians and democracy.

It took the Liberals 13 years to get this arrogant. My goodness, the Conservatives are a quick study.

Canada-China RelationsStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Lee Richardson Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, today, the Prime Minister attended the official opening of the Canadian Tourism Commission's newly outfitted marketing centre in Beijing. This centre will play a key role in highlighting Canada as a destination of choice for tourists. It will further facilitate the flow of people among our two great countries and strengthen our ties with one another.

2012 marks an exciting year for the CTC as it aims to promote Canada as an all season destination of choice by focusing on a collection of unique travel experiences offered by our country. In particular, the CTC's 2012 international marketing campaign will highlight the centennial celebration of the Calgary Stampede.

Moreover, our 2012 government introduced two new Canadian visas, the long term multiple entry visa and the parent and grandparent super visa, making the visa application process easier and more efficient.

By increasing people-to-people connections, Canada is strengthening its economic co-operation with China.

The Conservative GovernmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I will summarize the Conservative government's week thus far. It suggested giving ropes to prisoners to hang themselves, it reopened the debate on the death penalty, it reopened the abortion debate, and it said that gun control was a Nazi policy and that, henceforth, obtaining information by torture is acceptable. What is going on with the government?

The Conservative GovernmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, of course none of that is true. We have taken responsible positions, whether it be with the economy, whether it be with respect to the treatment of seniors or whether it be with law and justice issues, which is all about protecting victims in this country. We are making fiscally prudent decisions that will preserve our social network well into the future.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives need to rein in their Reform Party wing, especially those in cabinet.

Yesterday, the Minister of Public Safety said, “information obtained by torture is always discounted. However...”. What does he mean by “however”? There is no however and no but. People either condone or they do not. Which is it: no however, no if or no but?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, Canada's position, the Conservative government's position, has always been clear. We do not condone torture. We do not engage in torture as a country. CSIS, its employees and all of our defence security officials are clear on that and they are bound by Canada's laws. Our government expects all of our officials to abide by those laws.

We will always protect Canada's security and Canada's human interests.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I must say that the minister's reply is interesting. If that is the case, will he withdraw his directive?

Not only is it immoral to obtain information by torture, but the information is often false or incorrect. We know that a person who is being tortured will say anything to make the torture stop. The minister has opened the door to abuse, torture and wrongdoing, as we saw in the Maher Arar case. Just a transfer to a country where torture is acceptable. No big deal.

Does the minister realize that this does not make sense? Again, will he withdraw the directive—

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I will repeat that Canada does not condone the use of torture and does not engage in this practice.

What the hon. member opposite appears to be indicating is that, under no circumstances, if information came into the possession of Canadian officials that would stop the death, a mass death perhaps, such as a bomb threat at the Air Canada Centre, that we would be forced to refuse to use any information that would save lives. That is not the position of this government.