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House of Commons Hansard #94 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was drugs.

Topics

Air Service Operations LegislationGovernment Orders

9:45 a.m.

Conservative

Kellie Leitch Conservative Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned before, the best solution that we can come up with is one to which all the parties agree. What has failed to happen is for the parties to come to an agreement. That is why the government feels there is a need to take action to ensure we protect the Canadian economy in these fragile economic times. That is why last Friday, we moved to protect the Canadian economy. That is why we will take action to ensure Canadian families are protected.

As I mentioned in my speech, we have given ample opportunity on numerous occasions to both of these organizations. We provided opportunities for all parties to negotiate over a significant amount of time. However, the time for action is now to protect the Canadian economy.

Air Service Operations LegislationGovernment Orders

9:45 a.m.

Conservative

Ray Boughen Conservative Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for my colleague. Have we reached a point in time where lockouts and strikes are old technology? I have looked at what we see in the labour disputes of today and of yesterday. The people who are against one another effect so many others who have no stake in the issue at all.

Could the member share with us her thoughts on whether we have outgrown lockouts and strikes and have to look to different technologies to solve disputes?

Air Service Operations LegislationGovernment Orders

9:45 a.m.

Conservative

Kellie Leitch Conservative Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is very important that all of the parties have had the opportunity to negotiate. The government has provided the opportunity to have the use of a conciliator and a mediator. The parties have not come to a resolution on this issue. The damage to the economy would be overwhelming and unimaginable. We want to ensure that we protect the national interest and Canadians families. That is why the government is moving forward now with legislation. We need to act now to protect the Canadian economy.

Air Service Operations LegislationGovernment Orders

9:45 a.m.

NDP

Rathika Sitsabaiesan NDP Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to comment on something the parliamentary secretary, as well as the minister, said. She said that the labour code did not support or call for government interference in collective bargaining. I agree with that statement, yet the minister and the parliamentary secretary do not seem to understand the importance of fair and free collective bargaining. The government seems to consistently interfere with that fair and free collective bargaining process. It continues to rob the parties involved of their hard-earned rights, the rights for both the employer to leverage its negotiations and lock out the employees, as well as the employees' right to leverage their solidarity and power to go on strike.

Why is the government on a full frontal attack on the hard-fought rights of workers and working people, the rights for which they fought for decades and decades?

Air Service Operations LegislationGovernment Orders

9:45 a.m.

Conservative

Kellie Leitch Conservative Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, I beg to differ. Our government is here to protect families and to protect the national economy. We are here for all Canadians and moving forward to ensure we protect the national economy. Taking action to ensure Air Canada continues to fly and there is not a work stoppage does exactly that. It protects Canadian families and the economy.

Air Service Operations LegislationGovernment Orders

9:45 a.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, the government seems to be overlooking that many Air Canada employees have families too. The government needs to be sensitive to that fact. Those employees believe in the free collective bargaining process, something in which the government obviously does not believe.

Where was the Government of Canada when Air Canada was turning to Aveos and getting rid of the overall maintenance base in Winnipeg? When the Government of Canada should have been standing up for those Air Canada employees, it threw its hands up in the air and did nothing. Why did the government ignore Air Canada workers when it came to farming out certain aspects of its responsibilities that were set when Air Canada was privatized in 1988? Where was the Conservative government then?

Air Service Operations LegislationGovernment Orders

9:50 a.m.

Conservative

Kellie Leitch Conservative Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned in my speech, there are 25,000 employees at Air Canada outside of these two union groups who will be affected by the stoppage. There are also another 250,000 Canadian families that will be indirectly affected by a work stoppage. Moving forward on this helps to ensure that the 25,000 Air Canada employees who are not involved in these two unions and the 250,000 Canadians who are indirectly affected by this, will continue to work. Most importantly, we need to understand that this affects millions of Canadian families. We need to ensure that those families know we are taking action for them to protect the national economy and their jobs.

Air Service Operations LegislationGovernment Orders

9:50 a.m.

Conservative

Ted Opitz Conservative Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hon. parliamentary secretary's speech was very fulsome and logical, but I would not expect anything less from one of Canada's pre-eminent surgeons.

Given that the minister has referred a question on health and safety to the Canada Industrial Relations Board, CIRB, regarding both of these threatened work stoppages, why does the Minister of Labour think that government action is necessary at this time?

Air Service Operations LegislationGovernment Orders

9:50 a.m.

Conservative

Kellie Leitch Conservative Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister referred this matter to the CIRB in an effort to determine whether a work stoppage at Air Canada would have a negative impact on Canadian families. We want to ensure we are doing the right thing. That means determining whether transport of cargo, something as valuable as a vaccination for a child in the north, or moving patients to a southern facility to receive the care they need, would be impacted by an Air Canada work stoppage. I want to commend the minister for sending this matter to the CIRB to look at the health and safety risks that may occur because of a work stoppage.

Air Service Operations LegislationGovernment Orders

9:50 a.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, I am actually not very pleased to have to stand again and speak to an issue of this nature, dealing with a motion to cut the time we can spend debating the issue of whether we should support the back to work legislation which the Conservatives have sponsored.

I listened to the Minister of Labour's speech. She said that there is more at stake than what is at the bargaining table.That statement is very true. What is at stake with the legislation and the particular approach the Conservatives have taken?

First, when we talk about process in the House, we have a motion that is dedicated to eliminating any discussion on this issue. That is one thing that is very clear. We have some very significant issues with that.

The Conservatives are basing their argument on the principle that this work stoppage, this labour issue, is going to affect the national economy very seriously. We have heard other things from the member for Simcoe--Grey. She said that the work stoppage and disruptions could cost Air Canada $22 million a week. Carried over a year, that figure would be about $1 billion. Out of a $1.5 trillion Canadian economy, it does not appear to be as large a figure. If there was a two or three week labour stoppage, we would be dealing with an impact on the economy of less than $100 million, according to the figures supplied in the speech that was just given.

We are dealing with legislation that is ostensibly put forward for one reason only, to stop the labour dispute because it affects the economy, yet the figures that have been given are laughable.

I also heard concern about not being able to get vaccinations into northern and remote parts of the country. Anyone who lives in a remote part of our country realizes that Air Canada is not the provider of transportation services there. A strike would have to include First Air, Canadian North, and many other sub-carriers which carry people all over the country. They are not part of Air Canada. The remote regions of our country are not going to be impacted tremendously by this labour dispute. That is just not going to happen.

As for the issue of major Canadian transportation across the country, there is another airline that does that very well: WestJet. It does not have executive seats. Maybe that is one thing the Conservative Party is worried about. I walk past many government members on the way back to economy class on Air Canada when I go across the country. I would put that as a very serious consideration.

The bill has more at stake than what is at the bargaining table. Since it got its majority, the government has been dedicated to crushing labour. It identifies organized labour as a prime opposition to its continued hold over the country. The government is taking very firm action right at the beginning to make sure it separates what it considers to be its problem from its legitimate place in Canadian society, with legitimate rights of collective bargaining. This is what is going on here. It is another step. Perhaps it is not as dramatic as the postal work stoppage that we had to deal with in June, but it is one which is clearly along the same lines.

Let us talk about what the Conservative government has not done for the aviation industry to help these companies so that they can afford to pay the workers a decent wage. One is that the government views the industry as a cash cow.

If we look at what the U.S. government charges its airport facilities for rent versus what the Canadian government does with our airports, we would see a remarkable difference. On the one hand the government says it does not want to get involved in a labour dispute, but on the other hand it collects money from the very airline it is supporting. That has made the airline less competitive in the world. Many Canadians cross the border to get flights from the United States. We see that loss of passenger services.

All these things add up to airlines that cannot compete as well. It is not about the cost of wages. Many other factors enter into why our airlines are having trouble today.

Is it the number of passengers on the flights? No. Actually the number of passenger seats that are filled is higher than it has been for a long time. In other words, domestic flights are fuller than they have been in a very long time, so the aviation industry is actually healthy when it comes to that.

It is not healthy in the extra charges, the security charges. What we have to pay for security in Canada, a country where security is not--

Air Service Operations LegislationGovernment Orders

9:55 a.m.

NDP

Rathika Sitsabaiesan NDP Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. it is hard for me to concentrate on my colleague's remarks as members opposite are carrying on loud conversations.

Air Service Operations LegislationGovernment Orders

9:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

Order. This matter has been raised before, that there is noise in the chamber prior to question period. I would encourage all members to listen to their colleagues. Certainly today it is not anywhere near as loud as it often is.

The hon. member for Western Arctic has about a minute left.

Air Service Operations LegislationGovernment Orders

9:55 a.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, there is a difference between people being quiet and people actually listening. I will leave it at that.

When it comes to domestic travel, as I mentioned, the numbers are way up and the aviation industry is healthy in that regard. However, the government has imposed other charges on the industry in the last few years. It upped the security fee. Canadians who fly with our airlines pay three or four times what the Americans pay for security charges. That hurts the industry as well. The government continues to do things which hurt the industry. It sees the industry as a cash cow and that is wrong.

Air Service Operations LegislationGovernment Orders

10 a.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

Order, please. The time for Government Orders has expired. The hon. member for Western Arctic will have 12 minutes when the House returns to this matter.

Habitat for HumanityStatements by Members

10 a.m.

Conservative

Susan Truppe Conservative London North Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, before I begin my statement on Habitat London, I would like to congratulate the Western University Mustangs men's track and field team for winning their first CIS national title this past weekend.

Habitat for HumanityStatements by Members

10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Habitat for HumanityStatements by Members

10 a.m.

Conservative

Susan Truppe Conservative London North Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, since its inception in 1993, Habitat London has built homes for 34 local families. While the houses are simple, they provide families with a home where they can feel safe and comfortable.

Our Conservative government believes strongly that partnerships with community organizations like Habitat for Humanity play a vital role in creating opportunities for families while building stronger communities. I am pleased to inform this House that our friends at Habitat London are expanding their affiliate to Oxford, Middlesex and Elgin counties. Between 2012 and 2016, Habitat London will build homes and serve 38 families. This is more than the number of homes built in the previous 18 years combined.

I am pleased to support Habitat for Humanity London. I congratulate Habitat London's CEO, Jeff Duncan, and his dedicated team for their commitment to a stronger London and a stronger Canada.

The EnvironmentStatements by Members

10 a.m.

NDP

François Pilon NDP Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, just a few days ago, Le Devoir reported that, in the Laval region alone, developers have been given permission to fill 25 of the region's last remaining wetlands.

I am very worried about this continuing trend. When he was a minister in the Quebec government, the member for Outremont fought, with the determination for which he is known, against the destruction of wetlands and even ordered that a building site be restored to a wetland in my riding of Laval—Les Îles. Last May, Quebeckers voted en masse for a party that stands up for the environment and Quebeckers' values.

I intend to work hard to draw attention to the wetlands issue during the conservation study that the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development has just begun.

Mr. Speaker, we in the New Democratic Party will work hard to protect Quebec's natural areas and green spaces and to improve co-operation between the federal and provincial governments on the environment and sustainable development.

Focus for Ethnic WomenStatements by Members

10 a.m.

Conservative

Stephen Woodworth Conservative Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week I celebrated International Women's Day by attending an awards banquet for Waterloo region's Focus for Ethnic Women. This unique volunteer-driven group has, for many years, provided support for women facing the challenge of re-establishing their lives in Canada.

The room was full of articulate, effective women from the four corners of the earth successfully contributing to our community in a great many ways. I was reminded of the infamous Canadian law which would have hindered so many successful women by failing to recognize them as “persons”. We can be grateful that law was reformed in the last century. We all win when everyone's fundamental human rights are recognized.

Special congratulations are deserved by the women who won awards: Margaret Skowronska-Binek for achievements as an immigration lawyer and Ann-Marie Marston for a successful banking career. Hats off to Focus for Ethnic Women.

Arctic Winter GamesStatements by Members

10 a.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Liberal Party, I would like to congratulate the over 2,000 competitors who competed in this year's Arctic Winter Games in Whitehorse, Yukon highlighting traditional Arctic sports and Dene games.

The very first Arctic Winter Games were opened in 1970 by former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. More than 40 years later, the games continue to honour the athleticism and pride that are part of the culture and unique traditions of northern Canadians.

Canadians from coast to coast to coast cheered on our competitors from the Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Nunavik and Northern Alberta, and celebrated the victories of northern Canadians.

Rachel Kinvig from the Yukon, age 15, was undefeated in both the 7 dog/13 kilometre and the 6 dog/10 kilometre dog mushing competition. Andrew Bell from Kugluktuk, Nunavut, age 27, won the gold in the Arctic sports triple jump open male competition.

Congratulations to all the competitors from Canada and abroad, their coaches and supporters, as well as the volunteers and organizing committee who made the 2012 Arctic Winter Games a resounding success.

Carmen CorbassonStatements by Members

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Brad Butt Conservative Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is with profound sadness that I rise in the House today to announce the passing of former Mississauga City Councillor Carmen Corbasson on Saturday morning.

“Carmen”, as everyone affectionately knew her, was a selfless, truly dedicated public servant both in the years she worked as the executive assistant to councillor Harold Kennedy and then in her 16 years of representation in Mississauga's Ward 1.

She put her fingerprint on just about everything that happened in her community. She was never afraid to speak out and was one of the few people in politics I know who returned every call and email. Carmen was a true grassroots politician who will never be forgotten. Her grace under fire and ability to truly listen to people are legendary.

Carmen leaves many, many friends but also her daughters, Lisa and Julie, granddaughter Summer, grandson Gabriel, her great partner, Sebastion, and beloved dog, Maggie.

My family and I join thousands in saying “we will miss our Carmen each and every day”.

TelecommunicationsStatements by Members

March 12th, 2012 / 10:05 a.m.

NDP

Sylvain Chicoine NDP Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, the telecommunications industry is one of our economy's most dynamic industries. However, the effects of this industry are not all positive. Recently, in my riding, a cellphone company put up four cellphone towers less than 15 metres high without consulting anyone.

The current legislation does not require these companies to consult municipalities, city planners or residents prior to construction. Given the increasing number of companies that offer wireless services, the government needs to adjust its policies so that towers are not just being built haphazardly.

To the extent possible, we must ensure that Canadians are not seeing towers erected right next door to their homes. This is what happened to a resident of Mercier, who says that she cannot sell her home because the tower that was erected several metres from her backyard is scaring off potential buyers.

I am calling for changes to Industry Canada's policy by joining my voice to that of this resident and the mayor of Châteauguay who has said that the current approach is outdated and that the precautionary principle should be applied given the harmful effects that microwaves may have on health.

Herbert H. CarnegieStatements by Members

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Lois Brown Conservative Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is with great sadness that we learned of Herb Carnegie's passing this weekend. Herb Carnegie was a good friend to many in York region and, indeed, all of Canada.

He was known as many things in his remarkable 92 year life: hockey trail blazer, philanthropist, author and mentor. To me, perhaps most vividly, he was someone who always put the interests of youth at the forefront. His future aces program aimed to inspire youth to be their very best and to enhance character-building initiatives. Fittingly, a hockey arena and school are named in his honour: the Carnegie Centennial Arena in North York and the Herbert H. Carnegie Public School in Vaughan. Among his many awards, he was named to the Order of Ontario and the Order of Canada. In 2006, he was made an honorary police chief with the York Regional Police.

I invite all Canadians to join me in recognizing the remarkable life of Herbert H. Carnegie.

Mattawa Voyageur DaysStatements by Members

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Jay Aspin Conservative Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I want to recognize the continued success of the Mattawa Voyageur Days festival in my riding of Nipissing—Timiskaming. For the fifth year in a row, Mattawa Voyageur Days has been named one of the top 100 festivals in the province by Festivals and Events Ontario.

Voyageur Days includes many exciting events, including regional talent night, the lumberjack competition, canoe races, performances by noted Canadian musicians and a choreographed fireworks show that should not be missed. This year marks the 15th anniversary of Voyageur Days. Festival organizers expect to see 35,000 visitors and locals attending events in July.

I want to congratulate the community of Mattawa on organizing this festival and sharing its beautiful town with festival goers each year. I am proud to represent the community leaders in Mattawa who make Voyageur Days a success. I encourage all who are able to attend the festival to do so.

Folks should get their wristbands early.

Alain-Grandbois Cinematic Cultural CentreStatements by Members

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Élaine Michaud NDP Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the Portneuf village of Saint-Casimir, a large cultural project is nearing completion. In a few weeks, the Ciné-centre culturel Alain-Grandbois will finally open its doors.

The Ciné-centre is a cinematic interpretation centre that promotes culture. In addition to providing a meeting place for people who work in the film industry and the general public, the centre also highlights Saint-Casimir's heritage by giving new life to the old cultural centre that was built in 1947.

Since environmental protection is also part of the centre's mission, it will host the ninth edition of the Portneuf environmental film festival, the first francophone festival of its kind.

The centre's name pays tribute to Alain Grandbois, the great poet and writer from Saint-Casimir. Considered Quebec's first true modern poet, Alain Grandbois sparked our imaginations with his tales of travel and discovery of the world's hidden secrets.

Congratulations to Léo Denis Carpentier and his team for their work on this outstanding project. I wish the Ciné-centre culturel Alain-Grandbois great success and I hope to see you at the Portneuf environmental film festival in April.