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House of Commons Hansard #101 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was banks.

Topics

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of our national anthem led by the hon. member for Abitibi—Témiscamingue.

[Members sang the national anthem]

Kraft Hockeyville CompetitionStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Daryl Kramp Conservative Prince Edward—Hastings, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am thrilled to stand in the House today and congratulate the Prince Edward—Hastings towns of Bancroft and Stirling for their outstanding community effort to win $100,000 in arena upgrades in the Kraft Hockeyville competition.

Across Canada, Bancroft made it into the final 15 and I am extremely happy to report that Stirling has made it into the top 5 finalists. This achievement came about because of the tremendous teamwork and community spirit shown by so many people.

This was typified by Stirling resident and musician Freddy Vette, whose theme song and video, Stirling Hockeyville, went viral and galvanized everyone to get involved, vote online and share Stirling's excitement with everyone in the area.

On behalf of the residents of Prince Edward—Hastings, I congratulate everyone in the town of Stirling and wish them good luck. On March 31, as we await the results on Hockey Night in Canada, we will all feel as if we are from Stirling.

We must remember that, no matter what the outcome of the results, Stirling has, without a doubt, proven itself to be the little town with the big heart.

Reconstruction of HaitiStatements By Members

March 28th, 2012 / 2:05 p.m.

NDP

Paulina Ayala NDP Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week, I went to Haiti with some ParlAmericas colleagues. We were able to see first-hand Canada's commitment to the reconstruction of this devastated country. The people of Haiti are very grateful for the generosity and solidarity shown by foreign governments, which have saved many lives. Nevertheless, the extension of emergency aid is creating a climate of dependency and thus negatively affecting the Haitian economy and society.

After meeting with members of Haiti's parliament and people from local NGOs, I realized just how excluded the people of Haiti are feeling when it comes to the reconstruction of their own country. Canada is facing a major challenge—to inspire a new direction in international co-operation.

We must promote independent and sustainable economic development and always encourage grassroots participation. The people of Haiti must be allowed to take charge of their own destiny in the rebuilding of their country.

Young Humanitarian AwardStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Rod Bruinooge Conservative Winnipeg South, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today inspired by the work of two young boys who live in my riding. Brothers Freddy and Kevin Noriega-Gomez of École St. Avila have been recognized over the years for their humanitarian work in Winnipeg.

In 2011, Kevin and Freddy were recognized as the year's youngest Young Humanitarian Award winners ever, an award that highlights that education is so much more than academic studies, athletic ability and school involvement.

Aware of the subject of the needs of women and children who experience domestic abuse, the boys approached the school in efforts to help raise funds for the Osborne House, a safe place for women and children. Working with their school's vice-principal, they developed a presentation about the needs of the facility and the families that use it, encouraging their classmates to bring items that would be helpful to women and children.

Kevin and Freddy's efforts resulted in collecting over 100 boxes and bags of toiletries, clothes, blankets and toys, a huge help to the shelter during the holiday season.

I congratulate both Kevin and Freddy.

Public TransitStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, public transit is key to alleviating urban congestion, the negative effects of air pollution on human health and the climate-altering impacts of greenhouse gas emissions.

There is perhaps no place in Canada with a greater need for improved public transit than the West Island of Montreal. Currently, the West Island is forced to tolerate a commuter rail service hampered by the necessity of sharing the same track as freight trains.

Over a decade ago, I had the opportunity to work on a local task force my predecessor, Clifford Lincoln, launched to implement his vision for better commuter rail service for West Islanders.

Clifford Lincoln continues to spearhead this vision, which is today known as the Train de l'Ouest project.

The Quebec government has already committed $200 million to facilitate expanded rail transit from the West Island to the city's downtown core. It is time for the federal government to express its support for the Train de l'Ouest so that improved daily rail service can become a reality for thousands of West Island commuters.

Ontario Medal for Firefighter BraveryStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Patrick Brown Conservative Barrie, ON

Mr. Speaker, on March 9, a daring rescue took place on Kempenfelt Bay. Twenty-seven fishermen, including a 12-year-old boy, were sent adrift after a two kilometre piece of ice had broken from shore.

The OPP chopper began by airlifting a man to hospital who had crashed his ATV on the ice in a failed attempt to reach shore. In spite of dangerous conditions, an emergency team of Barrie firefighters made their way onto the ice. Their biggest challenge was to try and stay out of the water themselves. They could have easily been swept under the ice or crushed in-between the massive slabs.

I am happy to report that the rescue was a success. There were no fatalities and only one injury. The rescue involved some 20 firefighters, 15 police officers and 12 Simcoe county paramedics.

I am especially proud of the five Barrie firefighters nominated for the Ontario Medal for Firefighter Bravery. This award was established in 1976 and only 195 people have ever received it.

I rise today to salute Captain Keefer Hood and firefighters John Cargoe, Matt Monkman, Scott Ellis and Ben LaRoux for their bravery, valour and courage.

Community Action ProgramStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, as the saying goes, “never put off until tomorrow what you can do today”.

The Minister of Industry is embroiled in controversies and must regret his procrastination. In early 2012, several organizations in my riding wrote letters to the Minister of Industry about the importance of renewing the community access program, CAP, and its youth initiative.

The Maison de jeunes Kekpart, Le Trait d'Union community centre, the Centre des générations de Boucherville, and the Centre communautaire des aînés et aînées de Longueuil wrote to him three months ago and have not received a reply or even an acknowledgement. These programs are vital because they help youth find that first job and help seniors end their isolation. The program's funding runs out on March 31, which is this Sunday.

The Minister of Industry must reassure our organizations and the people involved in this important and worthwhile program and must provide them with sustainable funding.

Birthday CongratulationsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

LaVar Payne Conservative Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is with best wishes that I stand today to tell hon. members about the oldest living person in Canada, Cora Hansen of the city of Medicine Hat in my riding.

Cora turned 113 years old on March 25. Born in 1899, Cora is thought to be the last person born in the 19th century still to be living in our country. This is a great milestone.

Cora's family were Norwegian immigrants to Minnesota in the 1800s and they moved with her to Jenner in 1912 during the great land rush. They rode into Jenner on a horse-drawn carriage. Simply to imagine all of the societal and technological advancements that Cora has lived amazes us all.

At her 107th birthday, Cora was interviewed by the Medicine Hat News about what her secret was for her very long life and she said, “The key is in God's hands. I have lived a plain life. I did not drink or anything like that”.

I wish Cora all the best in the coming years and wish her a very happy 113th birthday.

Oyen, AlbertaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Conservative Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, all members of Parliament can share a tale or two about how Canadians rise up to face the challenges of our winter weather.

In our Crowfoot riding in east central Alberta, the good people of Oyen are still being applauded for responding to an emergency on March 19 when a heavy snowstorm shut down most highways throughout central Alberta, leaving many folks stranded in bitterly cold icy conditions with zero visibility.

Oyen mayor, Paul Christianson, implemented the disaster plan to help those who were stranded due to numerous road closures in the area. The local police and fire department, the Oyen Ministerial Association, town staff and many volunteers dropped everything and scrambled to serve the stranded travellers. Even the Oyen Legion emptied to join the brigade. Mats, blankets, food and beverages were on hand at three schools in Oyen for the cold, tired and shaken-up travellers.

The great Canadian winter challenges Canadians and brings out the best in all of us from coast to coast to coast. I am very proud to recognize my constituents in Oyen, Alberta for their brave response to a winter emergency.

Aveos WorkersStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

François Pilon NDP Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, on Parliament Hill, a number of my NDP colleagues and I showed our support for Aveos workers, many of whom live in my riding of Laval—Les Îles.

I find it absolutely appalling that the Conservative government forced Air Canada employees back to work, claiming that the economy was at risk, and then, one week later, did not even lift a finger when 2,300 people in the Air Canada fold lost their jobs. Does this mean that the Conservatives think that the jobs lost by Canadian families are not important enough to the economy?

This is another example of the government's total lack of respect for Canadian families. Only the NDP has the interests of Canadians at heart. Do we have to buy sleeping bags or go hunting with the Minister of Industry in order for our workers to keep their jobs?

Ecole Robert H. Smith SchoolStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Joyce Bateman Conservative Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, it was my pleasure on March 2 to attend the community breakfast held by Ecole Robert H. Smith School in my riding of Winnipeg South Centre.

Over 1,000 people attended. Students cleared tables, guided guests and showcased their talents. Teachers, families and friends in the community joined in with the students to make the event a reality.

Under the leadership of Principal Tom Rossi, the students chose the charity of their choice, Winnipeg Harvest, for any surplus the event might achieve.

Given the generosity of the business community to support the breakfast, the students were able to raise over $13,000 in support of Winnipeg Harvest.

I compliment the staff of Ecole Robert H. Smith for guiding students to become philanthropists. With students like these leading us to tomorrow, the future is in very good hands indeed.

Gender ParityStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Annick Papillon NDP Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, at a time when many entities have a gender parity policy for the selection of senior managers and board members, the Conservative government is showing no leadership in this regard.

A number of studies have shown that there is no longer any question about the benefits of parity. What we need to do now is find ways to achieve parity.

To that end, I would like to acknowledge the efforts made by the Quebec City chamber of commerce, which recently won the 2012 equality award from Quebec's status of women office for creating a charter for parity in governance.

Together with the Quebec YWCA, the chamber of commerce invites organizations in the region to sign the charter and provides them with a list of worthy female candidates.

I urge the Conservative government to show its support for parity by doing something tangible. That is why I am calling on the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities to appoint a woman to the board of directors of the Quebec Port Authority, which is currently an all-male board.

MacedoniaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Lois Brown Conservative Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, this winter much of Europe experienced unseasonably cold temperatures which led to many injuries and deaths. Temperatures plunged to -35°C. Some areas received over one foot of snow, leaving roads cut off and people stranded. Many countries were hard hit, including the Republic of Macedonia. Many villages are experiencing continued disruptions to their water and electricity access. These extreme conditions increase the risk of exposure among vulnerable groups, while blocked roads have caused shortages of food and medical supplies in affected areas.

Canada responded in solidarity with our Macedonian friends by providing the Macedonian Red Cross with supplies to 5,100 people over a period of three months. This meant distributing basic food and non-food items such as blankets, clothes and hygiene parcels to affected families who were braving the harsh conditions that the winter storm brought.

Canada and Macedonia have a long history of co-operation and friendship. We look forward to maintaining this relationship in the future.

Committee on the Elimination of Racial DiscriminationStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, on March 9, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination completed its most recent review of Canada's performance in combatting racism. Its central observation is a call to action. Canada needs a comprehensive strategy on indigenous issues.

Last month I wrote to CERD and urged members to consider the government's failure to meaningfully consult with aboriginal peoples as required under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the systemic underfunding of essential services like education and child welfare.

The UN committee has called on Canada to establish a comprehensive strategy, including a national plan of action on aboriginal gender-based violence and measures to prevent excessive use of incarceration of indigenous peoples.

The Conservatives must take substantial concrete steps beginning with tomorrow's budget to close the unacceptable gaps by including funding for education and water infrastructure.

Toyota CanadaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie Conservative Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have some great news to bring to the attention of this House. Because of investments our government made to ensure increased productivity and greener production, Toyota Canada is investing in Woodstock in my riding. Production of their Rav4 crossover vehicles will see 400 new jobs in the Woodstock area early next year. Production will increase by 50,000 vehicles at the plant. Toyota Canada's chairman, Ray Tanguay, is optimistic that the market is coming back. Previously they announced that their first electric vehicle in North America will be built at the Woodstock plant beginning this year.

Our Conservative government is focused on Canadians' top priority: jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. Our plan is working for the hard-working families in Woodstock, across my riding and all across Canada.

Elections CanadaStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, over two weeks ago the NDP motion giving the Chief Electoral Officer more power passed this Parliament unanimously. Mr. Mayrand believes these powers would “substantially enhance transparency and accountability”. We are still waiting for the government to honour its vote and bring in the actual legislation that will give the CEO the power he needs to do his job.

To make matters worse, Conservatives are now playing games with the Chief Electoral Officer. Mr. Mayrand asked to come before Parliament and report on his investigation into allegations of coordinated voter suppression by Conservative operatives. However, the Conservatives used their majority to force Mr. Mayrand to testify tomorrow, on budget day, when almost every journalist on the Hill will be locked up in a room without even their BlackBerrys.

Talk about the Prime Minister's dream democracy: an electoral process the Conservatives can manipulate, our Chief Electoral Officer with no powers and all the journalists locked up.

New Democratic Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Chris Alexander Conservative Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, today, the new leader of the NDP delivered a speech that showcases his extremist views.

Before the budget is even tabled, he says he will attack our Conservative government's low tax, low debt plan for jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. He has already set his face against a road map that has brought Canada out of the recession sooner and stronger than other advanced economies, putting over 610,000 Canadians into new jobs in the process.

The NDP has already opposed stable, sustainable and record investments in health transfers, support for seniors, including the largest increase in the GIS in over 25 years, and every tax cut and credit introduced for hard-working Canadian families.

Instead, this NDP has a new plan to create a new carbon tax, a second GST that would kill jobs and raise the prices of almost everything.

The NDP is opposed to the responsible development of our natural resources and the creation of hundreds of thousands of good jobs in the Canadian energy sector.

Canadians simply cannot afford the NDP and their—

New Democratic Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. Oral questions. The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

Government ServicesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, on June 7, 2011, Jack Layton asked the Prime Minister the following question:

What services will Canadians have to do without when the Prime Minister is finished his cuts?

The Prime Minister gave the following categorical answer:

This government has been very clear. We will not cut pensions. We will not cut transfers to the provinces for major programs such as health care.

Our question is just as clear: tomorrow, will the Prime Minister keep his word or break it?

Government ServicesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, this government, every year since taking office, has increased support for the provinces for health care, which is a huge priority for middle-class families. Every single time we have stood in this House to raise funding for health care, the NDP has voted against it.

We are not doing what the previous Liberal government did. We are increasing support for health care. In fact, those increases this year will be higher than most provinces are making. That is the priority this Prime Minister is making to health care, honouring our commitments to Canadian families.

Government ServicesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the very next day, June 8, 2011, Jack Layton asked this question of the Conservative Prime Minister, “...will the Prime Minister commit today not to cut services that are key to Canadian families?”

The Prime Minister's answer was again categorical, “Mr. Speaker, of course we will not cut such services...”.

Would the government tell us whether or not the Prime Minister's word will be respected tomorrow, yes or no?

Government ServicesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, this Prime Minister has been very clear when it comes to middle-class families. They can count on this government to support their key priorities, whether that be health care, which is so important to middle-class families; whether that be education, which is so important to middle-class families.

This government is not only holding the line on low spending, we are actually providing more support to the provinces on those key areas. That is what middle-class families voted for in the last election. That is why this government will continue to pursue a low tax, low debt plan that will create jobs, hope and opportunity.

Government ServicesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the whole pyramid of public administration exists to do one thing: deliver services to the public. That is the last thing that should be touched, especially when people need help, as now.

These cuts will hurt Canadians by denying them the services they need. They will hurt the economy, especially in regions where public servants have a huge impact on the local economy. Does the Conservative government not understand? Or is that it just does not care?

Government ServicesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, this is the member of this House of Commons who, when he was minister of the environment of Quebec, cut spending, slashed spending by more than 15%. Now he is going to lecture this government.

Let me say this. Members will be pleased to learn this. The Minister of Finance will present a budget tomorrow. That budget will help create jobs for Canadians. It will help the middle class by ensuring the long-term prosperity of this great country. It will support the priorities of working families: creating an environment for job creation, supporting health care, supporting education. It is going to do great things over the next year on this plan.

HealthOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives promised more jobs. Instead, they are slashing vital services like medicare. Five million Canadians do not even have access to a family doctor.

The Prime Minister made a single health care promise in the last election: to protect federal transfers. Yet, it took him just eight months to break that promise. Why should Canadians trust a Prime Minister who cannot even keep such a basic promise? Why is he turning his back on Canada's most cherished institution? Why is he abandoning medicare?