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

Guaranteed Income SupplementOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Simcoe—Grey Ontario

Conservative

Kellie Leitch ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, we are committed to ensuring that seniors in our country receive their benefits. We have done many things toward that goal. Whether it be in 2007, when we created automatic renewal for GIS, or whether it is the proactive sending out 600,000 applications every year to those who do not receive GIS, OAS or CPP, or whether it be increasing the greatest increase in GIS in the last 25 years, these are all things the NDP voted against.

We are standing up for seniors. I wonder why the NDP never does that.

Canadian Food Inspection AgencyOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

LaVar Payne Conservative Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, farmers, processors, transporters and others in the agricultural supply chain sometimes have issues with CFIA as their regulator. Sometimes this can be things like quarantines of a farm or inspectors not providing consistent inspection. Fortunately, I know our government is acting and launching a new CFIA service commitment.

Could the parliamentary secretary please update the House on this very new issue?

Canadian Food Inspection AgencyOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to improving service delivery for producers, consumers and other stakeholders in the food processing system.

I am happy to announce that we are launching a new complaints and appeals process. This new single window approach will provide a more transparent and accessible way for stakeholders to register complaints and appeals.

This commitment aims to improve interactions with CFIA stakeholders by offering a clear explanation of what the CFIA does, its service standards and what stakeholders can expect when dealing with the agency.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

Noon

NDP

Sana Hassainia NDP Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, two women in my riding are afraid of losing their home on the Îles-de-Boucherville in the St. Lawrence River. The Durocher family has been asking the federal government since 1997 to reinforce the embankment with rocks to prevent erosion. The situation is urgent: their ancestral home is in jeopardy and could be lost within two years.

Will the Minister of the Environment act quickly to protect all the homes located along the St. Lawrence as well as the archaeological and architectural remains of the municipalities along the St. Lawrence?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

Noon

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Michelle Rempel ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, our government takes ensuring environmental stewardship of this country very seriously. We can certainly commit to looking into the member's question further.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

Noon

Bloc

Jean-François Fortin Bloc Haute-Gaspésie—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Mr. Speaker, with less than two weeks to go before the budget, a large number of employed and unemployed workers are worried about the government's silence on the employment insurance program. They are worried about the imminent end of the three pilot projects that help people in many Quebec regions like mine, because the pilot projects are critical to ensuring the dignity of the men and women who have lost their jobs and the workers who are dependent on seasonal work.

Instead of pillaging the employment insurance fund, as they tried in the last budget, will the Conservatives show that they understand the needs of the unemployed by enhancing the employment insurance program and announcing—right now—the permanent renewal of the employment insurance pilot projects?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

Noon

Simcoe—Grey Ontario

Conservative

Kellie Leitch ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, I will not speculate on what will be or will not be in the budget. However, I will say that our government's top priority is job creation and economic growth, making sure that workers are well supported and that we provide all of the opportunities for young people, older people, seasonal workers and others to have gainful employment in this country.

DecorumPoints of OrderOral Questions

Noon

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order that relates to Standing Orders 16 and 18. Standing Order 16(2) states:

When a Member is speaking, no Member shall...interrupt him or her, except to raise a point of order.

Standing Order 18 states:

No member shall speak disrespectfully...nor use offensive words against...any member thereof.

The House started the 41st Parliament with a real commitment to respectful discourse, but there is no question it has slid badly. There is no one party which is solely responsible. Every party has played its part in making the atmosphere unpleasant and excessively partisan.

However, I must say that I found the treatment of the hon. member for Saint-Jean when he was posing his question today to be despicable. Imagine ourselves as teachers in a schoolyard where one child may not speak as clearly as the others and a bunch of bully boys decide to make fun of that child as he is speaking. We would look on that situation and as teachers, we would say, “Excuse me boys, you don't speak to so and so that way. Give him a chance”.

I know we are partisan, but do we have to be cruel?

DecorumPoints of OrderOral Questions

Noon

NDP

Tarik Brahmi NDP Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleagues who spoke. I would just like to say to them that I already know how to read, therefore I am learning to speak. Perhaps in a few years, I will know how to speak. I will be on the other side and I will speak to you.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

Noon

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's responses to 13 petitions.

International Day of La FrancophonieRoutine Proceedings

Noon

Madawaska—Restigouche New Brunswick

Conservative

Bernard Valcourt ConservativeMinister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) (La Francophonie)

Mr. Speaker, as the minister responsible for La Francophonie and on behalf of the Government of Canada, it is with great enthusiasm that I wish to invite all Canadians and parliamentarians to celebrate the International Day of La Francophonie on March 20.

It was on March 20, 1970, in Nigeria that Canada participated as a founding member in the creation of the Agency for Technical and Cultural Cooperation.

Who would have guessed that, in the next four decades, this modest intergovernmental co-operation agency would evolve into an international body composed of 75 member states and governments representing over 890 million people worldwide, including 220 million French speakers?

Canada, Quebec and New Brunswick participate actively in the efforts of La Francophonie, which, more than just promoting the French language, also promotes human rights, democracy and the rule of law around the world, values upon which Canada’s foreign policy is based.

Spoken by more than 9.5 million Canadians, French is an integral part of our history, our identity and our daily lives. It links us, not only to our fellow Canadians, but also to French-speaking countries around the world and this in all fields, whether they be related to the economy, culture, arts or science, to only name a few.

As demonstrated by our roadmap for linguistic duality, our government remains committed to supporting the vitality of the French language everywhere in Canada. On March 20, we invite all citizens to celebrate the indisputable contribution of the French fact to our cultural diversity and our economic progress.

Best wishes to la Francophonie on its day, March 20.

International Day of La FrancophonieRoutine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, the French language is a jewel and francophone culture is the setting in which it is held, protected and displayed. If someone had told me one day that my love for the French language would result in me rising as a parliamentarian to promote and defend la Francophonie, I would not have believed it. That is why I will remain forever indebted to Mr. Layton for having offered me this wonderful opportunity when our relationship was still new.

This year, the theme for the francophonie festivities is “French is an opportunity”, and this opportunity is ours, in Canada. However, all too often, as with an old friendship, we take it for granted, and the things that we do, instead of bringing us closer, take us further away from the ideals that we were once committed to. Our credibility within an organization comprising 75 states and governments, representing 890 million people, including 220 million French speakers, will not grow unless we dedicate time, money and energy to the development of our francophone communities, which are all so different.

When it comes to la Francophonie, the international community often has its eyes on Canada, and Canada must play its role as a leader by defending and promoting the French fact. The French language and culture remain alive because men and women in Canada struggle every day to live in French. We have made the choice to have linguistic duality and so, as the saying goes, we must walk the talk.

On behalf of the NDP, I join in saluting the remarkable work of the Secretary General of the Francophonie, Mr. Abdou Diouf, but I would add my thanks to all those workers who, on a daily basis, add to the glory of the French language. On Parliament Hill, I think of all the translators and interpreters, as well as all those who are developing their skills in our two official languages. Thanks to them, Francophones can remain hopeful of growing up, living and growing old in French.

In closing, I make a wish each year, that we will continue to celebrate the international francophonie on March 20, but that on all the other days of the year, we will work tirelessly to meet the needs of the francophone communities in this country. I wish all francophones and francophiles, both here and abroad, all the best as they celebrate.

International Day of La FrancophonieRoutine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Liberal Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

Mr. Speaker, one of the many opportunities we have as Canadians arises from our membership in la Francophonie. We are one of the rare countries whose two official languages are international languages. This is an extraordinary asset that we must cultivate. French is part of Canada's past, part of its history, but it is also and especially part of its future, a future in which we must invest, in which we must believe, for it is the future of our children.

La Francophonie begins first at home, through Quebec's influence, through the development of Acadia and of all our official language communities. It is in the interests of all Canadians that these communities remain vital, now and forever. La Francophonie also entails broadening the scope of the francophone space in Canada. We must ensure that all Canadians who wish to do so have an opportunity to learn French, have access to French culture here and around the world and pass this valuable heritage on to their children.

La Francophonie is a gateway to the world, an immense window that looks out onto a number of continents, and an incredible cultural treasure. La Francophonie is an international organization that Canada, Quebec and New Brunswick must support and help resonate, for the francophone world expects such leadership from us.

This autumn, the Francophonie Summit will take place in Kinshasa, a symbolic expression of the enormous social, environmental and humanitarian challenges that are sweeping through the francophone world and that Canada must consider with determination. Canada will have to speak out in Kinshasa with a voice that is clear and firm for human rights, democracy, liberty and dignity for all French speakers in the world.

La Francophonie is also an underestimated marketplace, an opportunity and an outlet for our technologies and our expertise in French, and Canada has every incentive to make a significant investment in these areas.

In conclusion, let us hope that our membership in la Francophonie continues to inform Canadian foreign policy. We owe a great deal to the French language and French culture. We owe a great deal to la Francophonie. Let us give it a great deal in return.

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

James Rajotte Conservative Edmonton—Leduc, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the seventh report of the Standing Committee on Finance regarding Bill S-5, An Act to amend the law governing financial institutions and to provide for related and consequential matters.

The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House without amendment.

PovertyPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

March 16th, 2012 / 12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, I stand today to present a petition that has been signed and presented by members of my constituency from Marion Bridge to Glace Bay to Howie Centre and the Sydney River area, all great spots and good people. These are people who care a great deal about those who live in poverty.

We know that poverty impacts almost 10% of Canadian and that it reaches into their health and well-being and educational outcomes. We know that many provinces have undertaken strategies to reduce poverty. The folks who support this initiative and signed this petition believe that the federal government should take a far greater role in this.

I present the petition on their behalf and support the principle of the petition.

Human RightsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Colin Carrie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition from constituents of mine from the Ukrainian community and supporters of the Ukrainian community.

The petition is for equity and fairness at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. They call upon Parliament to ensure that the government ensures that the Holodomor and Canada's first national internment operations are permanently and prominently displayed at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in their own galleries, and that the government suspend any further funding to the museum until issues surrounding the governance of the museum are reviewed and addressed in a transparent manner.

SharksPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise here this afternoon to present two petitions. The first petition comes from Canadians living in Montreal and deals with the issue of shark finning, a horrendous practice that involves removing sharks' fins. As a result of this, many sharks are now on the endangered species list. The petitioners are calling on the House of Commons to take action.

Pipelines and SupertankersPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

The second petition I would like to present was signed by residents primarily in the Vancouver area and has to do with pipelines and supertankers.

The petitioners are asking the House of Commons to insist that our government look at the threats posed to the B.C. coastline, particularly by oil tankers. This coastline has been protected for 40 years by a federal-provincial moratorium that every provincial and federal government has respected since 1972 because of the very significant threat due to the specific ocean action and geographical conditions that apply in northern British Columbia.

The petitioners call for the protection of the coast from supertankers and a no to the pipeline projects.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, Question No. 423 will be answered today.

Question No. 423Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

NDP

Charmaine Borg NDP Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

With regard to the report of the Standing Committee on Health presented to the House on December 2, 2010, entitled “An Examination of the Potential Health Impacts of Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Radiation”: (a) which of the recommendations presented in this report does the Minister of Health plan to implement; (b) when does she plan to do so; and (c) if she is not planning to implement them, why?

Question No. 423Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health and Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

Mr. Speaker, Health Canada monitors the scientific literature and funds studies on the health impacts of electromagnetic radiation and evaluation of exposure frequencies. Information on Health Canada research in this area is available on the Health Canada website: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/radiation/cons/radiofreq/index-eng.php.

In addition the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, CIHR, funds research investigating the effects of low frequency electromagnetic fields. Currently funded projects include a study examining the mechanisms by which extremely low frequency magnetic fields interact with biological systems; another is investigating the mechanism and effects of power-line frequencies on human brain processing.

Health Canada and CIHR are also contributing support and funding for the Canadian component of MOBI-KIDS, an international study which aims to assess the potential associations between the use of communication devices, including cellphones, and other environmental risk factors and brain tumours in young people.

Health Canada is also formalizing a process for an expert panel of the Royal Society of Canada to review exposure limits through a literature review. The Royal Society previously conducted such reviews up to and including 1999, 2001-03 and from 2004 to 2007. The next review is expected to be undertaken in 2012 and the results will be communicated by Health Canada.

Health Canada will work with Industry Canada to explore how existing web-based and other communications materials on this topic might be improved. Health Canada’s work in this regard will begin in 2012.

Health Canada will continue to monitor the scientific literature on this topic.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, if Questions Nos. 419, 420, 421, 422 and 438 could be made orders for returns, these returns would be tabled immediately.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Question No. 419Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

With respect to the risk of corrosion and spills and other safety concerns arising from the transport of bitumen in pipelines, and to government action to address these risks: (a) how does diluted bitumen compare with West Texas Intermediate (WTI) in terms of (i) abrasive material content, (ii) acid concentration, (iii) sulphur content, (iv) viscosity; (b) to what extent is diluted bitumen more likely than WTI to cause corrosion or erosion in the pipelines through which they respectively flow; (c) what is the composition of diluted bitumen in Canada; (d) what are all of the volatile chemicals, persistent organic pollutants or carcinogenic substances present in diluted bitumen in Canada; (e) in the process of diluting bitumen in Canada, what are the (i) natural gas condensates used, (ii) other petroleum products used; (f) what is the process by which diluted bitumen corrodes pipelines, with specific reference to (i) abrasion, (ii) friction, (iii) high pressure, (iv) settling of sediment, (v) velocity, (vi) sulphur-reducing bacteria, (vii) other significant factors; (g) for all proposed or existing National Energy Board (NEB)-regulated pipelines, what is (i) the amount of hard sediment passing through the pipeline annually, (ii) the average pressure, (iii) the average temperature; (h) what, if any, (i) research, (ii) action, (iii) investment has the government undertaken to determine whether diluted bitumen can flow safely through pipelines; (i) what, if any, (i) research, (ii) action, (iii) investment has the government undertaken to determine whether or not conventional crude should be distinguished from diluted bitumen when setting minimum standards for pipelines; (j) what, if any, (i) research, (ii) action, (iii) investment has the government undertaken to design safety and spill responses and spill liability management capabilities that are appropriate specifically to diluted bitumen; (k) how does a diluted bitumen spill compare with a conventional light sweet oil spill in terms of (i) the impacts of the natural gas liquid condensate used to dilute the bitumen, (ii) diluted bitumen’s ability to form an ignitable and explosive mixture; (l) in the case of a diluted bitumen spill, at what temperatures would ignition of the spill occur, and what heat sources might cause ignition; (m) what, if any, are the (i) names, (ii) dates, (iii) conclusions, (iv) recommendations of research undertaken by the government concerning the environmental and economic risks of a diluted bitumen spill; (n) what, if any, are the (i) names, (ii) dates, (iii) conclusions, (iv) recommendations of risk analyses (including such factors as potential avalanches, flooding, remote location, rockslides, and snowpack) undertaken by the government concerning the danger of a diluted bitumen spill; (o) what, if any, are the (i) names, (ii) dates, (iii) conclusions, (iv) recommendations of analyses undertaken by the government concerning the possible economic, environmental, and social impacts of a diluted bitumen spill on First Nation and non-First Nation ways of life; (p) what are the challenges associated with clean-up specifically of a diluted bitumen spill, in rivers, wetland and marine environments (including when surface water is frozen), particularly as raw bitumen is heavier than water; (q) what appropriate clean-up operations might, in case of a diluted bitumen spill, be required in terms of equipment, personnel, and supplies, compared to a spill of light sweet crude oil; (r) what are the likely economic and environmental costs of a diluted bitumen spill compared to a spill of light sweet crude oil; (s) how might a diluted bitumen spill impact human health, including, but not limited to, (i) potential impacts both in the short-term and the long-term of exposure to toxins, including benzene, hydrogen sulphide, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and n-hexane, (ii) potential impacts of exposure to toxins (such as arsenic, nickel, mercury and other heavy metals that do not biodegrade) that can bio-accumulate in the food chain; (t) what health and safety precautions does the government require emergency personnel to take when responding specifically to diluted bitumen spills; (u) what are all pipeline spills that have occurred from 1990 to 2010 in NEB-regulated pipelines, including (i) location, (ii) cause, (iii) affected area, (iv) environmental costs, (v) significant challenges to clean-up, (vi) impacts on human health, (vii) equipment, personnel and supplies required, (viii) economic costs; (v) what, if any, (i) research, (ii) action, (iii) investment has the government taken to evaluate the need for new Canadian pipeline safety regulations and standards that reflect the unique characteristics of diluted bitumen, and to restrict further diluted bitumen pipeline development until adequate safety regulations are in place; (w) what, if any, (i) research, (ii) action, (iii) investment has the government undertaken concerning changes to the design, operation and decommissioning of pipelines that may be necessary due to impacts of climate change, including but not limited to melting permafrost, changing moisture regimes, more severe storm events, increased incidence of forest fires, and slope instabilities; (x) what, if any, (i) research, (ii) action, (iii) investment has the government undertaken regarding the adoption of pipeline regulations and standards that require new pipeline routes to avoid landslide-prone routes, and that provide an adequate risk assessment for risks to pipelines arising from landslides and snow avalanches; (y) what, if any, (i) research, (ii) action, (iii) investment has the government undertaken to evaluate the risk of pipeline spills caused by multiple incidents happening at the same time, including worst-case scenarios; (z) what specific action and investment will the government take to ensure (i) that bitumen pipeline operators will fix safety problems identified at their facilities, (ii) that bitumen pipeline operators keep their emergency procedures up-to-date; (aa) what specific actions will the government take to ensure that pipeline companies which transport bitumen employ emergency-procedures manuals that adequately (i) identify the hazards posed by the operation of the pipelines, (ii) assess the risks posed by those hazards, (iii) map nearby residences and evacuation routes, (iv) describe and locate emergency response equipment, (v) identify any environmentally sensitive areas potentially affected by an incident, (vi) explain governmental roles in an emergency response; and (bb) in what ways, if any, must the emergency-procedures manuals referred to in sub-question (aa) differ from those concerning pipelines that do not carry bitumen?