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House of Commons Hansard #98 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was refugees.

Topics

Protecting Canada's Immigration System ActGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.

NDP

Mylène Freeman NDP Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, one of the major problems with the bill is it would concentrate more power in the hands of the minister, who clearly does not know what is going on within his ministry, by allowing him to name safe countries and restrict refugees from those countries. Under the former Bill C-11 that was passed in the previous Parliament, which from what I understand enjoyed approval by all parties and was balanced, there was a panel of experts, including human rights experts, that was to designate these countries. This is no longer case.

Protecting Canada's Immigration System ActGovernment Orders

11 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. I hate to stop the hon. member there, but we have to move on to statements by members.

The hon. member for Yukon.

World Water DayStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Conservative

Ryan Leef Conservative Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, international World Water Day, recognized annually on March 22, helps focus attention on challenges related to the world's fresh water. It gives us the opportunity to reflect on how protecting this life-sustaining fundamental resource is of paramount importance to Canadians.

Water is one of the symbols that define our country. That is why this government takes the job of protecting Canada's freshwater resources so seriously. We have a comprehensive approach to ensure clean water for all Canadians and we have taken concrete and measurable action to advance that approach.

In February, we released a plan to implement enhanced oil sands monitoring, which will provide high-quality data on a region's biodiversity. This integrated monitoring program, which is being advanced jointly with the Province of Alberta, will rank among the best in the world.

These measures show that we have a real plan to protect fresh water and that we are acting to achieve measurable results for Canadians. We will continue to work with our partners across this country and internationally so that water is clean, safe and sustainable, now and for generations to come.

Cougar Flight 491Statements By Members

11 a.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, three years have passed since the tragic Cougar helicopter crash took the lives of 17 workers in Newfoundland's offshore and it has been over a full year since the Transportation Safety Board released its findings and recommendations.

The report of last February called upon Transport Canada to require all class A helicopters to meet the 30-minute run-dry requirement following the loss of main gearbox lubricant. This requirement would have changed the outcome of Cougar flight 491.

The Conservative government has followed the Americans' lead and waived the 30-minute run-dry requirement on all existing helicopters, even over water.

It is time the government recognized that Canada's coastal reality is unique and that Canadian lives are sacred. Transport Canada and the Conservatives have not put a priority on safety and the government has allowed search and rescue standards to lag behind international norms.

It is time for the government to put safety and search and rescue first for our offshore, for our north, for our Great Lakes and for all of Canada.

Canadian Defence Executive of the Year AwardStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Conservative

LaVar Payne Conservative Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to recognize one of my constituents who has received a very prestigious award. Spencer Fraser, general manager of Meggitt Training Systems Canada, has won the Canadian Defence Executive of the Year Award by the Canadian Defence Review magazine.

A former officer of the Royal Canadian Navy, Spencer proved himself to be a leader and one that commanded the respect of those who served with him. Graduating from the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Spencer would go on to serve a two-year stint with France's navy.

One of Spencer's main objectives is being honest with the customer and delivering what he has promised. Under Spencer, Meggitt Training Systems has flourished and his style has led to that business growing in Medicine Hat.

It is his desire that Canada be a world leader in the production of unmanned military vehicles. This is a major contribution to ensuring that our armed forces are kept safe.

I wish Spencer all the best and congratulate him for having won this prestigious award.

John F. DeeStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, I rise here today to pay tribute to the life of John F. Dee, who passed away last Friday in Grand Falls, New Brunswick, after a tough battle with cancer. John worked for Canadian Pacific for his entire career. He was a long-time member of his local Baptist church. He enjoyed gardening, fishing and a good dose of political debate.

A Liberal to the very core, even when he was too sick to visit friends and family, he found the strength to come out to a recent Liberal event in Grand Falls to meet our leader, the member for Toronto Centre, to show his unwavering support for the Liberal Party of Canada. He said he needed to “speak out with [his] dying body” that what has been happening in this country is intolerable and needed to change, and that we are the party to be that change.

Our thoughts and prayers are with John's wife Shirley, his sons Gary and Wayne, daughters Sandra, Linda and Barbara, and their family during this difficult time.

May he rest in peace.

St. Patrick's DayStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Conservative

James Rajotte Conservative Edmonton—Leduc, AB

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow the Irish diaspora will celebrate St. Patrick's Day.

The impact of the Irish in Canada is well known. The most famous Irish Canadian, of course, is a father of Confederation, Thomas D'Arcy McGee, one of the greatest orators and men of letters in Canadian politics. His life, unfortunately, ended far too soon by assassination not far from his political home, the House of Commons.

Most Irish came to Canada during the great famine. There are many memorials in Canada commemorating this event. At Grosse Île, Quebec is in fact the largest famine grave site outside of Ireland. Over 5,000 Irish graves are there, as well as the graves of those selfless French Canadian nurses, doctors and others who welcomed and cared for the Irish newcomers as if they were their own brothers and sisters. It is one of the most poignant places in Canada.

However, the Irish story in Canada continues with pride and joy. They continue to come to Canada from the Emerald Isle to work, to study, and many to stay and call Canada their home.

I would like to recognize all of the contributions of the millions of Canadians with Irish heritage and welcome all other Canadians to celebrate with us.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day.

Canada PostStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

NDP

Sana Hassainia NDP Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to draw the attention of this House and of the minister responsible for Canada Post to the fact that 10,000 people from Verchères—Les Patriotes will no longer have access to postal service effective March 26. Autoroute 20 separates Domaine des Hauts-Bois from the rest of the town of Sainte-Julie, and the only road linking the two is a viaduct that is being demolished in a little over a week.

Domaine des Hauts-Bois's only postal outlet has been closed since March 5. The town's 10,000 residents therefore no longer have any postal services since the other points of service in Sainte-Julie will no longer be accessible to them and especially to the countless people who do not have a car. Many seniors live in this area, and most of them have a hard time getting around. It is unbelievable that they are being denied such a service.

Last June, the government declared that postal service was so important to the economy that it was worth attacking the workers' constitutional rights in order to protect it. It is time for the government to be consistent for once and to take all the necessary measures in order to provide permanent postal service in Domaine des Hauts-Bois.

The Hastings HelpersStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Rick Norlock Conservative Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Mr. Speaker, Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has”. No community or its people understand the value of these words more than the hard-working people of the village of Hastings in Northumberland—Quinte West.

Faced with the difficult task of dealing with a bridge closure in their community, the good folks of Hastings have worked together to establish the Hastings Helpers group. The Hastings Helpers is a grassroots community organization launched by resident Tonya McColl-Smith, to develop ways of assisting community members affected by the closure of the swing bridge.

During difficult times, co-operation and optimism are vital to the continued prosperity of any community. I would like to personally thank the Hastings Helpers for their dedication to their fellow citizens and I invite all members of the House to join me in saluting the good people of Hastings and the Hastings Helpers as they move forward in these challenging times.

JamaicaStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, later this year, Jamaica will celebrate its 50th anniversary of independence. On August 6, 1962, Jamaica became the first British colony in the Caribbean to gain full independence. This significant achievement became an inspiration to other island colonies of the region.

Later this month, cities across Canada, including Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, will be hosting Jamaica 50 festivities led by members of the Jamaican community. These celebrations will not only reinforce the Jamaican diaspora's pride in its heritage but also provide a timely opportunity for Jamaican people to renew their commitment to their Canadian home.

Next week on March 22, Her Excellency Sheila Sealy Monteith, High Commissioner for Jamaica to Canada, will be at the government conference centre to begin the festivities celebrating all that Jamaica has achieved in the last half-century.

Please join Senator Meredith and me as we welcome this important milestone and celebrate the goodwill and warm ties that bind Jamaica and Canada.

New Democratic Party of CanadaStatements By Members

March 16th, 2012 / 11:05 a.m.

NDP

Dan Harris NDP Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on this last sitting day of the House before change comes to Ottawa. Next Monday, we hope to add the talented voice of Craig Scott to our caucus to continue Jack's work in Toronto—Danforth.

That is not all. New Democrats will also gather together in Toronto to pay tribute to Jack Layton, who taught us all that we can make a difference and do so with honour and integrity.

Then we will elect our new leader who will come back to lead a caucus that is stronger and more united than ever. That is because of the humble strength of our current leader who was given the impossible task of leading us through this difficult time. She stepped up and I applaud her for the job she has done.

Thank you, Nycole, for all your work as our leader. I also want to thank you on behalf of our caucus, our party and all Canadians and Quebeckers who want the best for their families.

Co-op WeekStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder Conservative London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, this week we celebrate Co-op Week in Canada, which honours the best in co-operative education. We recognize the critical importance of the role colleges and universities play, as they celebrate outstanding co-op students, employers and staff members. This is our time to honour co-operative education in Canada.

We recognize employers and students who reflect the best in co-operative education. This select group of highly trained individuals receives experience in a work-integrated environment and enters the workforce with essential employment skills. Employers prize these graduates because they use them immediately upon hiring them, and in permanent positions. Co-op practitioners and institutions give passionately of their time and energy to ensure that opportunities exist for students seeking co-op work terms. We must thank employers who provide work-integrated experiences for students in partnership with educational institutions.

Let me add the thanks of this House to the dedicated institutions, employers, students and co-op staff. Canada's strong co-operative education system is recognized throughout the world because of that amazing commitment. Let me add my personal acknowledgement to Londoner, Kirk Patterson, chair of Co-op Week for Canada, for his leadership.

Enabling Accessibility FundStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Mike Sullivan NDP York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is hard enough for any person to get through life in Canada if he or she has a disability. Statistics Canada says there are nearly 3 million Canadians with disabilities.

The enabling accessibility fund was created to improve accessibility and reduce barriers for these people. Since 2008, the fund has gone through five projects calls and approved 644 projects worth $67 million.

One would think that would be good news for Canadians with disabilities. However, it is only true if one lives in a Conservative riding. Data released by HRSDC reveal that nearly 85% of this fund went to Conservative-held ridings. Conservatives represent barely half of Canada's population. This is clearly unfair: it discriminates against people with disabilities living in opposition-held ridings. It is an example of shameful pork-barrelling by a party that ran against such odious behaviour.

To restore credibility, the government must put into place an unbiased, non-political evaluation process, to ensure that all Canadians with disabilities have fair access to this fund. That is what Canadians expect of their government.

Montfort HospitalStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Royal Galipeau Conservative Ottawa—Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, next Thursday will mark the 15th anniversary of the S.O.S. Montfort rally. The support for the Montfort Hospital is a testament to the strength and determination of the Franco-Ontarian society to which I belong. The commitment of $200 million over 20 years made by this government in June 2006 has doubled the scope of the hospital's services.

Too often, the suggestion by an Ontario commission to close the hospital is politicized, and demagogues blame a former provincial premier. Yet this situation never would have occurred if the federal government of the day had not made drastic cuts to health care transfers.

When federal health care transfers were reduced from 50 to 14 cents of every dollar, the provincial government was forced to close 44 hospitals, including Ottawa's Riverside and Grace Hospitals, and merge 14 others.

Since then, this federal government had made major strides in this area. It now provides 30 cents of every dollar spent on provincial health care, and counting.

Canadian Hunger FoundationStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, founded by the Hon. Mitchell Sharp, the Canadian Hunger Foundation, CHF, is now celebrating 50 years of service. CHF works with numerous partners in 52 countries around the world to break the cycle of poverty.

The organization changes lives and creates solutions to combat the effects of drought, disease, and devastating poverty in rural communities. Its approach is grounded in sustainability. It respects and empowers the local population as architects of their own development in building peace in post-conflict areas; in reconstructing the lives of those struck by disaster; in empowering women; and in protecting the environment.

I was recently given the opportunity to visit one of the projects managed by CHF in South Sudan and was impressed by the positive impact of peace-building efforts and the success of a micro-food processing enterprise led by women.

I congratulate the staff of CHF for their passion and devotion and thank the thousands of Canadians who contribute annually to CHF. Their generosity is truly helpful.

Member for PapineauStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Daryl Kramp Conservative Prince Edward—Hastings, ON

Mr. Speaker, surely it comes as no surprise that earlier this week the Liberal member for Papineau expressed his support for an NDP-Liberal coalition.

He said:

—if by 2015, with the election approaching, and neither party has got our act together enough to shine and to be the obvious alternative, then there will be a lot of pressure for us to start looking at that.

Really, is this a platform that he will advocate during the Liberal leadership race? Or, will he be taking this plan to the new NDP leader later this month?

It is clear that while our Conservative government has focused and will continue to focus on Canadians' top priority, jobs and economic growth, the Liberal member is already looking at coalition plans in order to protect his Papineau seat from challengers in the next election.

Incidentally, I wonder whom he is supporting for the NDP leadership.

SeniorsStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

NDP

Mylène Freeman NDP Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government continues to ignore the real causes of elder abuse. Although it launched an awareness campaign in 2009 about such abuse, the government refuses to take real action to help seniors. That is unacceptable. Our seniors built this country and made us who we are today. We owe them a great debt.

All the experts agree: seniors need their independence and better living conditions, meaning more home care and affordable housing. Unfortunately, this government would rather build prisons than look after those seniors most vulnerable to abuse. Before it is too late, this government must develop a concrete strategy to ensure that all seniors are safe. That is what the NDP has done.

Seal HuntStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, the documentary The Hidden Faces of the Seal Hunt won the audience award at the sustainable hunt and biodiversity film festival in Paris last week.

Filmmaker Raoul Jomphe attended the festival to accept the award, together with Denis Longuépée, president of the Magdalen Islands Sealers Association, two staunch supporters of this viable and humane hunt.

Through footage of the hunt as well as interviews, the documentary shows the positive impact of the sealing industry on small coastal communities, where sealers can earn up to 35% of their annual income from the hunt. The film also explores conservation, biodiversity and animal welfare.

Our government continues to make the case for this type of economic activity, which is important to many coastal communities. I would like to congratulate Mr. Jomphe on winning this award. The seal hunt will be under way soon, and I wish everyone a successful hunt.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Chief Electoral Officer, Marc Mayrand, made public that he would like to make a presentation to the procedure and House affairs committee. He wants to update the House, through the committee, as to the status of the voter fraud investigation his office is conducting.

Will the government agree to let Mr. Mayrand appear before the committee? Will it commit that the hearing for Mr. Mayrand will be done in public, not in camera?

41st General ElectionOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, as the opposition House leader well knows, these are questions that are properly asked at the committee, of the committee. In our House of Commons, the committees are masters of their own process. They make the decisions about which witnesses they will call. I expect they will deal with that matter when we return after the constituency week.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

If that were only true, Mr. Speaker.

Here are the facts: Elections Canada received 700 legitimate complaints concerning fraudulent calls. People whom the Conservatives had previously identified as non-supporters were called back and told to go to the wrong place. That is a system. The Conservative government cannot deny it. Blaming the Liberals is not good enough.

When will there be a public inquiry to uncover the details of systematic electoral fraud?

41st General ElectionOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, once again, the New Democrats are making false allegations. The NDP MP for Winnipeg Centre has already had to apologize for making false statements about this matter. The NDP used a website to generate bogus complaints to Elections Canada, which suggests that they are exaggerating the situation and making false allegations. We are co-operating with Elections Canada because we want the truth to come out.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, the 700 complaints came from Canadians, not from New Democrats.

The Conservatives have also been careless and haphazard with the F-35 file.

The Conservatives have really messed up the plan to replace the CF-18s. The Auditor General is about to release a report confirming that the Minister of National Defence misled Parliament on the subject of the F-35s. That is very serious.

Has the government seen the report—we know that it has—and did it mislead Parliament?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, obviously, I have not seen the report in question. It would be inappropriate to speculate on such a report. I think the normal practice is that we respect a new officer of Parliament. The report will be tabled in Parliament before it is commented on.

Canada has been a partner in the F-35 program for almost 15 years. Our plan is to continue in the program. As we have not signed a contract for purchase, we retain the flexibility to remain within our budget. Ultimately, however, the government will ensure that the Royal Canadian Air Force has the equipment it needs to do the job we ask of it.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government's answers on the F-35 have been a bit stealth-like, evading questions every day. We have been warning the Conservatives about their misguided approach to the F-35s. Now the Auditor General is set to report that defence officials have misled Parliament on the F-35 deal. The Conservatives have just run with Lockheed Martin's numbers and have failed to do their homework. Once again, corporate interests trump Canadian taxpayers under this Conservative government.

Has the government seen the report by the Auditor General, and what is it going to do about it?