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House of Commons Hansard #77 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was investment.

Topics

Government Operations and EstimatesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fourth report of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates in relation to its study on the certificate of nomination of Anne-Marie Robinson to the position of the President of the Public Service Commission.

Pest Control Products ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-390, An Act to amend the Pest Control Products Act (prohibition of the use of chemical pesticides for certain purposes).

Mr. Speaker, I thank my seconder for the introduction of this important bill.

The bill seeks to put a moratorium on the use of chemical pesticides in the home, garden and recreational facilities, such as parks and golf courses, until the scientific and medical evidence showing that such use is safe has been presented to Parliament and confirmed in a report prepared by a parliamentary committee.

The bill seeks to put the reverse onus on the chemical companies for them to prove the product is safe, instead of putting the onus on the individual to try to prove that the product is dangerous, an impossible test in many areas.

We believe the bill has broad support across the country and I would seek the co-operation of my colleagues in the House of Commons for the passage of this bill at second reading.

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

Currency ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-391, An Act to amend the Currency Act and the Royal Canadian Mint Act (calling in of the cent).

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to re-introduce this bill and I, again, thank my seconder.

There are over 30 billion pennies in circulation in Canada today, many of which are underneath my bed in an old cookie jar. I believe everyone here has a similar jar underneath their bed.

In spite of this silliness, one billion pennies are produced by the Royal Canadian Mint every year. Each penny costs more to produce than it is worth and nobody wants them. We are spending a fortune producing something nobody wants and nobody needs, and that provides no functional service to the public anymore.

If any evidence is needed, it is the freebie jar at every cash register that says “Take one or leave one”. We do not see jars full of loonies there because loonies are worth something and pennies are not.

I am urging the Minister of Finance, perhaps in the budget or by the introduction of this bill, to eliminate the penny. I ask that he do us all a favour. I hope this receives broad support from my colleagues.

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

Labour Market Training, Apprenticeship and Certification ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-392, An Act to provide for the establishment of national standards for labour market training, apprenticeship and certification.

Mr. Speaker, once again, I thank my nominator for his support of this bill.

As a certified journeyman carpenter as my post-secondary education, I feel strongly that the apprenticeship system could be enhanced and would benefit from the introduction of such a bill that would provide national standards for each apprenticable trade. The bill also would encourage more trades to become certified apprenticable trades. We believe it would increase the labour mobility of working people in the skilled trades and would address some of the serious skills shortages we have going forward in the coming years.

We are hoping the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development would adopt such a bill in recognition of the need and demand for more skilled trades and certified apprenticeships in this country.

I ask for and seek the support of my colleagues on this important initiative.

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

Railway Noise and Vibration Control ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-393, An Act to amend the Canada Transportation Act (railway noise and vibration control).

Mr. Speaker, I thank my seconder from Laval—Les Îles who is one of the new bright young lights in the NDP caucus.

In many parts of the country, we have rail yards in urban areas where there are excessive, noisy activities in the evening. We are talking about idling of diesel engines, shunting and extended whistle blowing. This interrupts the sleep of constituents in my riding and, of course, Canadians right across the country.

The amendments to Bill C-11 simply have not dealt with the problem. Mediation has not worked. We have many examples where mediation has not been respected by the railway companies.

I am bringing forward this legislation to give very clear guidelines about what rail companies can do in the middle of the night in urban areas. They cannot do the shunting, idling and excessive whistle blowing that interrupts the sleep of so many Canadians.

I hope to get all party support on a problem that many urban areas experience. I am sure all members would agree that every Canadian has the right to a good night's sleep.

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

Railway Noise and Vibration Control ActRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I have been making considerable efforts to invite other parties to arrive at workable approaches to dealing with bills before the House. In fact, I have asked them on specifically 10 bills to agree to work plans. I am particularly optimistic on one bill and that is Bill S-5, because speakers from all parties have indicated that they are willing to move forward quickly.

Therefore, based on those speeches, we have proposed the following work plan in this motion, for which I hope there will be unanimous consent. I move: That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, Bill S-5, An Act to amend the law governing financial institutions and to provide for related and consequential matters, shall be disposed of as follows: The bill shall be deemed read the second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Finance; if the bill has not been reported back to the House by Wednesday, March 28, 2012, during routine proceedings, it shall be deemed reported back without amendment and when the order for consideration of report stage of the bill is called, the bill shall be deemed concurred in at report stage without amendment and a motion for third reading may be made immediately and not more than one sitting day shall be allotted to the third reading stage of the bill provided that the motion for third reading shall not be subject to amendment and that at the end of government orders on that day, when no further member rises to speak, the bill shall be deemed read the third time and passed.

This would allow ample time for study at committee.

Railway Noise and Vibration Control ActRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Does the hon. House leader have the unanimous consent of the House to propose this motion?

Railway Noise and Vibration Control ActRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

The EnvironmentPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Gord Brown Conservative Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to rise today to present a petition on behalf of the constituents in my riding of Leeds—Grenville that calls on the government to sign and implement a binding agreement to take the place of the Kyoto agreement.

Health of Animals ActPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present three petitions today. The first one is in support of my current Bill C-322, which states that horses are ordinarily kept and treated as sport and companion animals, that they are not raised primarily as food-producing animals and that they are commonly administered drugs that are strictly prohibited from being used in the food chain.

The petitioners, therefore, call upon the House of Commons to adopt legislation based on my previous bill in the last Parliament, Bill C-544, to prohibit the importation and exportation of horses for slaughter for human consumption, as well as horse meat products for human consumption. It is signed by over 200 citizens from the southern Ontario region.

Nuclear DisarmamentPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Madam Speaker, my second petition deals with nuclear disarmament.

The petitioners note that there are 22,000 nuclear weapons in the world today, that several thousands are on alert and capable of being used in under 30 minutes, that their use could accidentally trigger a catastrophe and that the UN Secretary-General has proposed a summit on nuclear disarmament.

Therefore, the petitioners call upon the House of Commons to issue an invitation for all states to gather in Canada to begin discussions needed for a global legal ban on nuclear weapons.

Wine IndustryPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to present my last petition from citizens all over British Columbia in support of Bill C-311, An Act to amend the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act (interprovincial importation of wine for personal use) and a personal exemption for the purchase and shipment of wine across provincial borders.

I am in support of the bill and I thank the hon. member for Okanagan—Coquihalla for presenting it. I certainly will be voting in favour of Bill C-311.

Oil and Gas OmbudsmanPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Madam Speaker, petitions just keep pouring in from all over the Golden Horseshoe calling for the creation of an oil and gas ombudsman. I am pleased to present two stacks of those petitions here today. Clearly, consumers are tired of getting hosed at the pumps.

While the petitioners acknowledge that the combination of growing demand, worries over the turmoil in the Middle East and the closing of several strategic refineries in eastern Canada will continue to keep gas prices high for the foreseeable future, they also know that speculation by unregulated derivatives traders and index investors operating without enough government oversight exacerbates those price hikes.

The government cannot play these petitioners for fools. They rightly point out that it is rampant speculation that has thrown the fundamentals of supply and demand right out the window and that supply and demand fundamentals cannot discipline the price of discovery and that the price can be whatever it wants and any excuse can be used.

That is why the petitioners are calling for the speedy passage of my bill, Bill C-336, which would establish the oil and gas ombudsman. The ombudsman would be charged with providing strong and effective consumer protection to ensure that no big business can swindle, cheat or rip off hard-working Canadians.

The petitioners are demanding a meaningful vehicle for having their complaints taken seriously with effective mechanisms for investigation and remediation to help consumers fight the squeeze.

While the rules of the House do not allow me to endorse a petition, I do want to conclude by thanking everyone who is actively engaged in working toward the passage of my bill.

Employment InsurancePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

Madam Speaker, I am honoured to present a petition on EI benefits. The petition, signed by a number of constituents, states that there are a number of severe and potentially life-threatening conditions that do not qualify for disability programs because they are not necessarily permanent or because of waiting lists for surgeries which lengthen recovery time and that the current medical EI benefits of 15 weeks do not adequately address the problem.

The petitioners are calling upon the House of Commons to adopt legislation to provide additional medical EI benefits to at least equal to maternity EI benefits for people who find themselves in these situations.

Korean War VeteransPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present today.

The first petition is from dozens of residents of the Lower Mainland of British Columbia who appreciate all the sacrifices made by the tens of thousands of Canadians and millions of Korean soldiers who served in the Korean conflict under the banner of the United Nations.

These petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to participate in and support the creation of a Canadian memorial museum centre for the Korean War, which would educate Canadians about this important part of our history and, in particular, about the sacrifices of those veterans to uphold the values of democracy, freedom and dignity of human rights.

As members know, in Burnaby there is a Korean War memorial. These petitioners are asking that a museum centre be created to honour the memory of those veterans.

Foreign AffairsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Madam Speaker, the second petition is calling for the early release of Dr. Wang Bingzhang.

As we know, he is a father of the Chinese democracy movement. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. He was arrested and has been serving time in prison. There are reports that he has been tortured. He has been held incommunicado. There are very clear indications of ill health, as well. Many people believe that his life is in great danger.

These petitioners, and there are hundreds of them, from the Lower Mainland of British Columbia are calling upon the Canadian government to publicly express its concern regarding Dr. Wang's situation and to request the early release of Dr. Wang so that he can attend his mother's funeral and have his medical problems attended to.

Poverty of SeniorsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Madam Speaker, I have two petitions to present today. The first petition is from Londoners who seek to end poverty for seniors.

The petitioners note that my motion, which was passed unanimously in this House, called upon the government to take action against the rising poverty levels for Canadians and to take immediate steps in order to lift all seniors out of poverty.

Unfortunately, despite the unanimous passage of my motion, no action has been taken.

The petitioners ask, respectfully, that the Parliament of Canada make the promised investments in the guaranteed income supplement in order to lift all seniors out of poverty.

LabourPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Madam Speaker, the second petition is from the community of London and the workers of Electro-Motive Diesel.

The petitioners want the Parliament of Canada to know that Caterpillar illegally removed production equipment from the EMD plant in London against the collective agreement, that it forced a lockout on December 30, 2011 and demanded that the workers take a 50% reduction in wages, slashed benefits and insecure pension, despite the fact that these workers had made this a very profitable company. In fact, profits are up billions of dollars over last year.

The petitioners want the Parliament of Canada to investigate the conditions of sale of Electro-Motive Diesel to Caterpillar and to immediately enforce any and all appropriate penalties should there be violations under the Investment Canada Act.

I might add that, in light of today's debate and discussions, the petitioners would like to see improvements to the Investment Canada Act so that this travesty that happened to the EMD workers does not happen to others.

AsbestosPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Madam Speaker, I am proud to present a petition signed by thousands of Canadians.

The petitioners call upon the House of Commons to take note that asbestos is the greatest industrial killer the world has ever known and yet Canada remains one of the largest producers and exporters of asbestos in the world. They also point out that more Canadians now die from asbestos than all other industrial or institutional causes combined. They also criticize the government for spending millions of dollars subsidizing the asbestos industry and blocking international efforts to curb its use.

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

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

February 9th, 2012 / 10:20 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

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

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

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Opposition Motion—Investment Canada ActBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

moved:

That this House condemn the decision of Caterpillar Inc. to close its Electro-Motive Diesel plant in London, Ontario, with a loss of 450 jobs, and that of Papiers White Birch to close its Quebec City plant, with a loss of 600 jobs, and call on the government to table, within 90 days, draft amendments to the Investment Canada Act to ensure that foreign buyers are held to public and enforceable commitments on the ‘net benefit’ to Canada and on the protection of Canadian jobs.

Madam Speaker, it is truly my privilege to introduce this motion on behalf of Electro-Motive Diesel workers of London, Ontario. This motion seeks to highlight the recent plant closures in my community of London and in a second community, that of my colleague, the MP for Beauport—Limoilou, with whom I will be sharing this speaking spot.

The motion also seeks to offer some remedy to workers across the country by calling on the House to draft amendments to the Investment Canada Act, amendments which most desperately are needed to ensure there are good paying jobs in Canada so that our families, communities and country can thrive. We need to protect Canadian jobs now. We can no longer allow the government to simply watch while good jobs disappear across our borders.

Many of the members across the aisle on the government benches have shrugged off any suggestion that this country is in the midst of a manufacturing sector crisis, but the figures from Statistics Canada do not lie. Canada has lost nearly 400,000 manufacturing jobs since the government took office in 2006. We have lost 40,000 manufacturing jobs in the last year alone. We are currently at a historic low in terms of manufacturing jobs going back to when these statistics were first gathered in 1976. I would like to note that this low is quite significant because both our labour force and our population have grown significantly over the same period. In other words, there are fewer manufacturing jobs in Canada now than there were in 1976.

Of particular note, the textile and clothing sector, which according to Statistics Canada has long been one of the largest manufacturing employers in the country, was the hardest hit among the manufacturing industries. From 2004 to 2008, clothing manufacturers and textile and textile product mills saw almost half of their jobs disappear. Manufacturing jobs are declining at a rapid rate in this country and most of these jobs are landing in China.

A Statistics Canada report found that China has become the world centre of manufacturing employment. In fact, the number of workers in manufacturing in China was estimated to be at 109 million in 2002, which represents more than double the combined total of 53 million in all the G8 member countries. The same report paints a dismal picture for the Canadian automotive industry, which is concentrated mainly in Ontario. In fact, my communities are still reeling from the effects of the closure of the Ford plant in Talbotville.

I would like to quote from the Statistics Canada report:

Automotive parts manufacturing lost more than one-quarter of its employees from 2004 to 2008, while motor vehicle manufacturing lost one-fifth. Parts manufacturers saw their jobs go from 139,300 to 98,700, which completely cancelled the strong growth from 1998 to 2004. For their part, motor vehicle manufacturers lost 15,900 jobs between 2004 and 2008, following a rather modest job growth of 5.0% from 1998 to 2004.

Just a quick reminder that most of these job losses have occurred under the watch of a Conservative government led by the Prime Minister. It is very clear that tax breaks to big businesses do not keep or create manufacturing jobs in Canada. We need a new strategy. We need an intelligent strategy.

The first step of the NDP strategy would be to make changes to the Investment Canada Act. We want to reduce the threshold for investments subject to a review to $100 million. We want to provide explicit and transparent criteria for the net benefit to Canada test. We want an emphasis on the impact of foreign investment on communities, jobs, pensions and new capital investment. We want there to be a required public hearing that allows for communities to have input into decisions on both the assessment of net benefit and conditions to apply to the investment. Last, we want to ensure public disclosure and enforcement of all commitments undertaken by potential investors. We also need to investigate and close the loophole in the Investment Canada process, whereby a takeover of a foreign company operating in Canada may not be subject to the act.

These changes would be the first step in the right direction for our manufacturing sector. A plant such as White Birch in Quebec City, when it was sold off to Black Diamond Capital, would have benefited from a requirement in the sale to provide a net benefit to Canada.

My own community of London has been particularly hard hit. The city's manufacturing sector has been shrinking at a rapid rate, and the auto sector jobs have all but disappeared.

Electro-Motive Diesel was one of those few plants offering good jobs that was still in operation. They were good paying jobs, jobs that helped support a family, jobs that helped support an entire community.

I have heard from the families of the workers who lost their jobs, from people such as Michele, who wrote:

My husband is one of the workers and he is devastated by the closure....How would people go about trying to attract a company like GE to come to Canada. It wouldn't be hard to line up a work force for them. How do you get government to offer incentives that protect the jobs of Canadians. There must be something that can be done for these workers....I hope the government does something about Cat doing business in Canada and makes them give back the money that the company received or provide good compensation packages to these workers.

The London community has been very supportive. I have heard from many people who have offered encouraging words to workers and their families, supporters such as Gary, who wrote:

First of all I give them credit for standing up to Caterpillar the way they did & for keeping a peaceful demonstration.

They deserve any penny they earned while working to build the best locomotive plant throughout the world & yet Caterpillar didn't appreciate all that these workers have done for them to build an excellent product & give Caterpillar fantastic profits, which would have continued if the workers had only been treated with respect.

Another London resident, Carl Campbell, headed out to the picket line and handed out 1,000 dollars' worth of $50 bills to locked out workers.

The loss of the Electro-Motive plant will impact our entire community. I heard from the local United Way just this week. The workers at EMD were very generous. They had raised over $100,000 in donations and payroll deductions for the United Way during its most recent fundraising drive. Sadly, the majority of this money will not be donated. Those jobs have been lost. The EMD families can no longer afford to support our United Way.

Canadians are recognizing what is happening to our communities. It is a crisis not just in my community but in many others. They have written to me and pointed to the obvious.

For example, Beth from Stratford, Ontario wrote to the Government of Canada to say:

The situation in London, Ontario with Electro-Motive and similar incidents in many communities across the land is destroying our country.

I urge you to review the June 2010 purchase of Electro-Motive by Caterpillar, under the Investment Canada Act. If it does not adequately protect Canadian jobs and workers then an overhaul of the act itself must be made and applied directly and immediately!

The EMD closure has been a hard lesson. What we have learned with the depletion of our manufacturing sector is that tax cuts to corporations are not a job creation strategy, nor do they keep good paying jobs here in Canada.

We have also learned that there are serious flaws in the Investment Canada Act that need to be addressed if we are to protect the remaining manufacturing jobs in Canada. We need to take action now. Communities across our country are begging the government to keep our jobs here. The families hurt by the loss of Electro-Motive Diesel do not wish that any other family suffer in the way that they as well as all of our community have suffered in London, Ontario.

Opposition Motion—Investment Canada ActBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Newmarket—Aurora Ontario

Conservative

Lois Brown ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation

Madam Speaker, I listened very carefully to the comments of my colleague across the way. I would first ask her if she has ever run a business, because businesses have decisions they have to make every day.

The manufacturing jobs that have been lost in Canada have been replaced with high tech jobs and good paying jobs. Over 600,000 net new jobs have come into Canada since the worst of the recession that we saw in 2009.

I go to schools all the time in my riding and I speak to the young people, often the grade 12 classes. When I ask them about their aspirations, 100% of those young people tell me they aspire to go to university, that they want post-secondary education, that they are looking for high paying quality jobs in the high tech industry, which is what Canada is attracting.

Which students in the member's riding does she want to assign to assembly line jobs when other high tech jobs are coming here?

Opposition Motion—Investment Canada ActBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Madam Speaker, I am quite distressed that the member opposite would insult the people of Electro-Motive Diesel in the way that she has.

The government is a half a million jobs short in terms of its predictions. That affects communities across Canada.

In terms of high tech jobs, they were at Electro-Motive Diesel. These were the most skilled workers in North America in electromotive and locomotive building.

We do indeed want our children to go to college and university so that they can make a contribution to this community and to our country. However, the children of workers at Electro-Motive Diesel are not going to university or college because the government did nothing to protect the jobs of the workers who would have been delighted to send them there, if they had work.